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Video: Can Audiophiles Define Audio Nirvana?

Emiko takes a deep dive into trying to understand exactly what audiophiles are seeking in audio reproduction.

If you’re old enough you might remember the ad slogan, “Is it live, or is it Memorex?” The 1972 ad campaign for Memorex cassette tapes featured The First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald singing a high note that could shatter a goblet — once during a live performance and again when played back via Memorex tape. 

Although the commercial was brilliant, did it even ask the right question — is it live?

As we discussed in our last video, audiophiles have a tendency to disagree on just about everything. One can debate equipment and specifications until the cows come home, but what is it that audiophiles are actually seeking out of audio reproduction?

Is it live sound?

Is it original sound? 

Is it accurate sound?

Is it hearing what the artist intended?

In this video, Emiko explains why these questions are difficult to answer, much less define. 

Makes you wonder, in the pursuit of high fidelity sound, if there is an end game?

Or maybe Lady Ella was right all along. Perhaps it’s all about not being able to tell the difference between live and recorded music. If that’s the case, we still have a long way to go.

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Let us know in the comments, what is your definition of audio nirvana?

You don’t have to be an audiophile to answer. Watch our video on YouTube.



  1. ORT

    January 15, 2022 at 2:02 am

    I am no “Audiophile”. Neither am I what I refere to as a frAudiophile. What then am I?

    Someone that enjoys music. I have said many times that we all have a soundtrack to our life. I listen to exactly that. The music that makes up the soundtrack of my decades of life. This is what any music enthusiasts does. And an “audiophile”?

    They listen to equipment. I will say only that the equipment is the means to the end and not the end itself. When it is made the end, that is the end of the joy of the soundtrack.

    Let it be said that as with one other site on the internet, I find no such deceit here. I find that delivering the music is the rai·son d’ê·tre of the equipment under review. These are my observations.

    Thank you for the opportunity to voice my thoughts. In all ways and for always, be well.


    • colin williams

      January 15, 2022 at 1:40 pm

      I run a retro audio repair workshop. i find all these new hdmi units dont give a warm sound like the retro units, its to clean. the human ear needs a higher thd 0.4 or so to really enjoy the music.
      44ct357 cape town sa.


      January 15, 2022 at 1:52 pm

      For me, it’s all about the emotion. Music can be reproduced with apparently great fidelity, but if it doesn’t move me, there’s something missing.

      • Ian White

        January 15, 2022 at 3:34 pm


        100% this.

        If you don’t feel emotion listening to music…the system is not for you.


  2. Jeff Hails

    January 15, 2022 at 9:15 pm

    I don’t think there is an achievable nirvana. Listening is a learned critical skill. My change in perspective for audio equipment was hearing the original Ohm Walshe driver back in the 70’s. A good part of my working life was installing theatre and auditorium sound systems. I never had the money or desire to go crazy on my own personal equipment, it would be called budget or mid-fi by most people. If your listening and enjoying the music without knowing something is not right. It might be you’ve reached a personal plateau and that’s good enough.

  3. Moonracer

    January 15, 2022 at 9:28 pm

    Being an “Audiophile” (Blah), Audio Enthusiast, I admit I do love the equipment as well as the lush full sound of a good setup and I don’t see anything wrong with that. It’s like an auto enthusiast deeply admiring the smooth lines of a Lamborghini and loving driving it. The gear and the sound are both equal to me. Love this hobby.

  4. Jesse Brummer

    January 15, 2022 at 11:12 pm

    This is so subjective that it’s meaningless. Everyone has their idea of “The Ideal Sound” so it really can’t be quantified. What is of paramount importance to me might be a minute consideration to you. Agreement might be met on certain criteria to be met, but as to the actual “sound” we seek there really can’t be an agreement met. Let’s just agree to disagree and all pursue our audio nirvana.

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