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Audiophiles Across America, DATELINE: Naples, Florida

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[Publisher’s note: This article is presented by Dagogo Senior Reviewer David Blumenstein.]


Jerry Seinfeld, on his show, once said that “Florida was the place old people go to die”. While there are parts of Florida that have a big retirement population, lower Southwest Florida has a younger, more family-oriented demographic.

I moved to the Naples area four years ago because it’s a great town with a mix of very expensive home, on the Gulf, and starter homes. Last year I decided to convert one of my bedrooms to my audio room and posted pictures of my audio gear on my development’s Facebook page. Soon I started receiving questions from some of the three hundred plus homeowners. The questions varied from basic audio questions to asking for recommendations on audio components.

Doing my best to answer homeowners’ questions as best I could it soon became clear that given the predominantly younger millennial families in my development, there was a gap in their understanding of what it meant to be an audiophile and right there I decided to sponsor an audio Q&A session in our clubhouse. We called the event “What is an audiophile: A guide to better sounding music”.

The event was promoted on the development’s Facebook page as well as in the community area of the clubhouse. I invited a local retailer to join me and he not only accepted, he took it upon himself to bring down two audio systems for demonstration purposes, which I will describe and discuss later.

When the event finally kicked-off I was surprised to learn that there were almost fifty people in attendance. The audience was a mix of homeowners, but most were millennials with a sprinkling of some baby-boomers. Since it was cold up North, we also had some Generation X folks in the audience, which was most welcome.

I started the session by talking about audiophiles, describing an audiophile as “someone who wants the best sounding music they can get within their budget”. I made a point of telling the audience that while there are very expensive components out there you don’t need to spend a great deal to achieve a great sound. It was at this point that I displayed a couple of components the dealer brought with that cost well over $30,000 as an example, Mark Levinson amp and Revel Studio speakers, and then quickly switched to some recommended components on various websites that were well below $5,000.

The next part of the event was a demo of some music via the two systems that we had in the room.

System 1: Mark Levinson 585.5 Amplifier, Revel Studio Speakers, Bryston BCD-1 CD player

System 2: Musical Fidelity – M6si Integrated Amplifier, FOCAL Aria 936 Speakers, Denon 1600 CD player


The music on-tap was classical, jazz, country and classic rock. To set a baseline, attendees listened to music via the clubhouse’s all-in-one CD-based system which, to be honest, had seen far better days. As the music played, it was turned down a bit so people in the audience could offer their feedback, their opinion about the music and most importantly, how it sounded. Not one person could be motivated to raise their hands. Such was the system’s lack of quality.

Changing over from “System 1”, which got the oohs from audience until they learned of its price to “System 2”, the more realistically affordable system, the engagement factor kicked in almost immediately. The strings in the 1812 Overture had depth, warmth and balance and the cannons sounded like they were in the room. This was communicated as the difference in audiophile vs mainstream stereo components. More music was heard to demonstrate the finer points of audiophile gear as attendees dined on hot dogs and soft drinks. Instinctively there was a barrage of questions but as the music played more than a couple of attendees were getting into it and magically talking amongst themselves about the sound and how they could better appreciate the music.

The closing Q&A session proved to be most enlightening with the thrust of the questions revolving around the price of systems and whether re-mortgaging the house would be necessary. It was emphasized that better sound was/is relative and out of the gate an expensive outlay is not required to achieve a better sound.

Millennials seemed to focus more on “matching” components and wanting to learn more about the products themselves. Generation Z attendees were intent on learning more about smaller systems with turntables. Boomers got nostalgic, recalling “the sound” they remembered growing up and were keen on discovering the criteria of a good sounding system.



Two of the homeowners did spend some decent money on B&W speakers and Cambridge Audio components and at the end of the day, they were happy with the sound from their system.

This event hit it home that more grassroots efforts are needed to alert people that nice-sounding and properly integrated Hi-Fi gear can be pleasantly rewarding. On the heels of this positive event, a Facebook page for this burgeoning Floridian audiophile community will be created in response to the steady stream of questions being posed.


About the author

Richard Meyer has been an audiophile for over 25 years. He started his journey working at Sony as a Product Manager for Discman during the introduction phase of compact discs. During his tenure there he met and got to be good friends with some of the engineers who invented CD technology.

He resides in Naples Florida where he listens to his extensive library of jazz and blues, and being good friends with two local hifi shop owners enables him to enjoy exploring the ever changing audiophile environment.


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2 Responses to Audiophiles Across America, DATELINE: Naples, Florida

  1. Doug says:

    Awesome! I would also say that having a person closer to their age to set an example would also be a big help in spreading the word, I say this because it was a talking point in a panel discussion with young people and Steve Gutenberg at one of the audio shows. I know from my mellinial friends and gen. X family members that they do want the best and they want it now:)

  2. Wade Souza says:

    Good to hear that actual experience of a good entry level audiophile system engaged listeners and moved some to buy. I believe, hearing is the key. Visiting the area now, what retailers are in the area?

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