Are You an Audiophile? These 10 Questions Reveal the Truth

Dan Price 28-03-2016

You might think you are an audiophile, but in reality very few music lovers tick all of the necessary boxes. Are you really an audiophile? Or are you just a great pretender?


Just because you have the complete back catalog of Britney Spears in your iTunes library doesn’t qualify you – it’s all about what equipment you use and your understanding of music technology.

If you want to find out whether or not you’re a true audiophile, you can take our made up on the spot 100 percent scientific quiz below. Answer each question with a “Yes” or a “No”, keep a running tally in your head, and we’ll reveal the results at the end. That’s right, you’re about to find out if you’re an audiophile.

What Is an Audiophile?

Before we begin, it’s important to qualify exactly what we mean when we say “audiophile”.

According to Dictionary.com, an audiophile is someone who is “especially interested in high-fidelity sound reproduction”.

Wikipedia expands on this further, stating:


“Audiophile values may be applied at all stages of music reproduction: the initial audio recording, the production process, and the playback, which is usually in a home setting. A key goal of audiophiles is to capture the experience of a live musical performance in a room with good acoustics, and reproduce it at home.”

For the purposes of this quiz, it is the home listening aspect that we are interested in. So, without further ado, let’s begin!

1. Do you own a pair of headphones worth more than $200?

Sorry, but using those outrageously uncomfortable free iPod/iPhone headphones just because they are “hip” doesn’t qualify you as an audiophile. Instead, you need a pair of headphones that have exceptional build quality, high levels of comfort for extended wearing, and, most importantly, stunning sound 10 Terms You Should Know to Identify the Best Headphones In this guide we'll cut through the jargon and show you what the key headphone specifications actually mean, and why — or if — they matter. Read More .

These don’t come cheap. For example, the Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones will set you back a mind-boggling $1,699. Reportedly, it’s like listening to real speakers.

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We don’t expect even the most ardent audiophile to shell out that much, but it’s reasonable to expect a true advocate to spend more than $200. Without that level of investment, the high-end quality just isn’t there.

2. Do you subscribe to Tidal for the high-fidelity sound?

Tidal has been in the news Why Jay Z's Tidal Music Streaming Service is Doomed to Fail Jay Z recently relaunched Tidal, the music streaming service he acquired for $56 million. Tidal has 99 problems, and the pitch is one. Read More for all the wrong reasons in recent months – from Kanye West’s botched album release to Jay Z’s somewhat confusing marketing campaign.

However, there is one thing that sets Tidal apart from the likes of Spotify et al… lossless music.



Lossless music retains every single bit of detail from the original song recording; it makes file sizes much larger (almost ten times the size of MP3s), but the quality is greatly increased.

It means that true audiophiles would choose to subscribe to Tidal’s $20 per month lossless service rather than settling for a lower-quality alternative.

3. Do you believe expensive cables actually make a difference?

Let’s get one thing clear – scientifically speaking, the cable quality does make a difference to the sound of your speakers. The speaker, receiver/amplifier, and cable create an electrical circuit, so using a cable with higher quality components will affect the resistance and capacitance of the circuit and change the output accordingly.

The catch? The difference is negligible. Which means it requires a highly-trained ear to notice the change in sound. If you can hear the difference, there is a good chance you’re an audiophile.


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4. Do you still buy vinyl?

We’ve already looked at why vinyl is better than digital. There are lots of reasons, but arguably the biggest difference is sound quality.

Vinyl is often how the artist intended his music to be heard: it has not been digitally enhanced, not had its volume artificially bumped up, and not been saved, ripped, and converted a thousand times before hitting your ears.

Most people don’t care enough about the sound difference to head to a bricks-and-mortar store and buy a vinyl record. Except audiophiles, who care a little too much.

5. Do you pay attention to the acoustics of a room?

I went to school in Manchester, England. During my time there we had a large new indoor sports hall built.

Not long after it was completed, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was looking for a place to record their new album. The conductor of the orchestra walked into the hall, clapped his hands once, and immediately knew that was the place for the recording to take place.

He was clearly an audiophile. If you also have an ear for such things, you probably are too.

6. Do you care more about the audio quality than the actual music?

Would you choose to listen to an old Cliff Richard recording of “Congratulations” on vinyl in favour of a modern band’s digital release?

Would you avoid your favorite artist’s new release just because it was only released on CD?

If you answered either of these with a “Yes”, then you’re a) crazy (!) and b) an audiophile.

7. Do your speakers have pride of place in your living room?

Poorly-located speakers can make a quality recording sound like fingernails being dragged down a blackboard. Similarly, if you have spent several thousand dollars on an expensive setup, why would you want to hide them away on a shelf under your TV?

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If your speakers take centre stage in your living room at the expense of sofas, tables, and televisions, you’ll need to mark this question with a “Yes”.

8. Do you know the definition of “slew rate”?

If you know the definition of slew rate, you can move on to question nine.

For the uninitiated, a slew rate is the “rate of change of voltage per unit of time”. In musical terms, it refers to amplifiers – specifically, the amp’s ability to maintain output in higher frequencies (i.e., the rate of how quickly an amplifier can respond to a rapid change of input level).

No, we don’t really understand it either. Which is why knowledge of slew rates is a determining factor in this quiz!

9. Do you spend hours discussing bitrates with your friends?

Back in the days of illegal file-sharing, before we had Spotify and Tidal, we’d use programs such as Kazaa and Limewire to grab music files off other users. The key to getting a good copy was downloading a version with the highest possible bitrate.

In short, bitrate means the amount of data that is processed over a certain amount of time. In the music world, this is normally measured in kilobits per second. The higher the bitrate, the bigger the file and the higher the quality.

On iTunes, music is offered at 256 kilobits per second, while music you hear on the radio is normally broadcast at around 128 kilobits per second. A lossless file, such as those on Tidal, will run at 1,400+ kilobits per second.

To the average user, theses differences are barely noticeable. However, if you’ve got expensive headphones or a really good set of speakers, you’ll be able to pick up the differences more easily. And discuss them with your friends. Ad nauseam.

10. Do you own any import albums only released in another country?

Have you been trawling online stores trying to find a new album by that breakout Cuban conga band? Have you flown to Nigeria to sample the latest African folk music? If you love music from other cultures and in other languages, you could well be an audiophile.


Alternatively, you may have spent a small fortune acquiring import albums of your favorite artists just because they have one rare track on them. Or are destined to be a collector’s item in the future. Again, this could mark you out as an audiophile for whom no effort or expense is too great when it comes to music.

How Many Questions Did You Answer “Yes” To?

So, how many questions did you answer in the affirmative? Keep that number in mind, as here is our official breakdown of the scores designed to determine whether or not you’re an audiophile:

0: You’re the opposite of an audiophile – an audio philistine, if you will. Your music collection probably consists of Avicii remixes of Justin Bieber hits.

1-4: You’re a typical music lover. You enjoy spending money on occasional big-ticket music items and are happy to make a few sacrifices to maximize your enjoyment, but you’re not willing to take it to extremes. Justin Bieber doesn’t feature in your library, although Avicii might.

5-7: You’re an audiophile. You’ve built up an impressive library of songs and are always on the lookout for the best equipment through which to enjoy it. You think Justin Bieber is a singer, but you’re not 100 percent certain.

8-10: You’re the embodiment of an audiophile. Music producers call you up for your opinion and you get free hardware samples from the industry’s finest manufacturers dropping through your letterbox on a weekly basis. You have never heard of Justin Bieber… you lucky so-and-so.

Did you enjoy this quiz? What was your score out of 10? Are there any other questions you think could be useful in sorting true audiophiles out from the wannabes? Please let us know in the comments below.

And audiophile or not, you might want to consider getting a soundbar for your TV What Is a Soundbar and Why Do You Need One for Your TV? Improve the sound from your TV with a soundbar! What is a soundbar? How does a soundbar work? Here's what you need to know. Read More . It’s a quick and simple way to improve your TV-viewing experience!


Image Credits:musical concept by Lucky Business via Shutterstock

Related topics: Audiophiles, Headphones, Music Album, Speakers, Streaming Music.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Handbass
    April 15, 2020 at 8:03 am

    Yes, I am 🎧 my score = 10♪♪

  2. Pete
    October 18, 2018 at 2:12 am

    8/10 I guess I'm an audiophile, but I'm really an audio engineer, so many of these questions are part of the job (acoustics, headphones, slew rate, etc). I kind of cheated on #9, we discuss bit depth and not bit rate. We don't even get into streaming music. Which is why I answered no to #2. I prefer to own the music I listen to, not license it for the duration of it's playtime on the service. Cables are a yes, to a point. When I'm listening to music I care about the music AND the quality so I had to answer no. So while I care, I'm not a snob about it.

  3. Jack R
    April 27, 2018 at 9:57 am

    Yep, um I got 6 for this one. I pretty much only buy expensive gear so I CAN enjoy Avicii. Avicii is my one and only, why would you even use shitty Apple earphones to listen to his magic?!

  4. Jose Jairus Mesticampo
    September 7, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Do you still buy vinyl? No! Can't find here in the Philippines and besides I do not have money to buy a vinyl player. Hope I could buy expensive gear someday

  5. Andy Q
    April 8, 2017 at 12:32 am

    Def's a most bollocks article. Q2 is irrelevant, Q3 "the difference is negligible" is bollocks if you're talking an analogue signal, where the difference between the shite cables and the good stuff can be as plain as night and day, even to the relatively unconcerned listener in an A/B comparison. As others have mentioned you need to be a music lover first-and-foremost as the whole point is that you love music and you want to experience it as realistically as possible. Speaker placement is obviously critical, vinyl being superior is digital is a dubious conclusion, although I admit the approach of usage can help with a more serious appreciation of the music. Discussing bitrates is pretty irrelevant if you're listening to vinyl, so shouldn't be part of this "calculation" process. Need I go on?

  6. Ken Wright
    November 29, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I think being a music lover is the 2nd most important thing in being an audiophile. The 1st is your wallet

    • Ray
      October 13, 2018 at 11:35 am

      Best comment yet.

  7. Ken Wright
    November 29, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    I think your love of music is the 2nd biggest factor to being an audiophile. The first is your wallet

  8. dvous
    March 30, 2016 at 12:36 pm


    Agree totally with every point you make, and I second you plea not to spread pseudoscience.

    I think the author of the article belongs to a peculiar species of audio snobs called "Golden Ears", who claim to hear things that science can't measure. I think it is an acquired condition caused by the astronomical cost of of their audio hardware, and the consequential inflation of their egos...

  9. christian
    March 30, 2016 at 12:28 am

    question #2 needs to go.

  10. george
    March 29, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    I answered “yes” seven of the questions, but I totally and completely disagree with the statement that vinyl is better quality than digital.
    That’s total nonsense! How come the inherent clicks, hisses thumps of vinyl are superior to a properly cleaned (not sound enhanced, only click, hisses and thumps removed digital WAVE or AIFF) digital recording.
    I want to hear one orchestra conductor or instrument soloist who likes the sound of vinyl with all the hisses, clicks and thumps.
    Anyone who says vinyl is better than digital (as I described it above) has no idea what audiophile means.

  11. Col_Panek
    March 29, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    5 and 8 yes, all the rest no. I'm a musicphile, not audiophile.

    Well, 8 yes because I'm an electronics engineer. But slew rate in amplifiers is not a meaningful parameter.

    5 because reverberation, resonances, and echo can make a big difference in sound. I recently clapped my hands in the empty Teatro Colon opera house of Buenos Aries, and it was really sweet and smooth. My church with its parallel walls sounds like an oil barrel. Sigh.

    So much epic fail in this article.

  12. Anonymous
    March 29, 2016 at 6:52 am

    IMHO 1st of April would be better time to publish this article.

  13. Kit Kimes
    March 29, 2016 at 3:51 am

    One thing is obvious to me. The writer of this article is no audiophile. There are so many holes in the logic that I can't begin to point them out. In fact, the fact that provenance isn't even mentioned makes the whole discussion here moot.

    And the fact that Dr. Mark Waldrep, the leading proponent of hi-rez audiophile music, isn't even mentioned in the article shows that the author have done very little homework on the subject.

  14. Scrotus
    March 29, 2016 at 3:44 am

    "you're an audiophile if you like African music!!!!1!11!"....... No words.......... "Vynl is better than cd because it isn't digital GUIZ!!1!1"......are you kidding me. "guys you arent an audiophile unless you subscribe to tidal by the way we totally arent getting paid by them"......im done

  15. Bob
    March 28, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    What a load of crap!

    I own a system that cost $14,000, is largely made by Linn and yet at a push only 4 of the questions applied to me.

    Do my speakers have pride of place in my living room? No I have a room dedicated to listening!

    Yes, I understand slew rates but I also understand how important currant is.

    I don't have tone controls or L.E.D.'s. Understand that cables do affect sound and that they don't have to be expensive.

    My aim is to hear the music (or speech) as it was (or as close to) intended to be heard and yet apparently I'm not an "audiophile."

    Might as well ask; can you write a good article for publication.... Or are you a hack?

    • Andy Q
      April 8, 2017 at 12:35 am

      Lucky bugger...I've got sweet-FA chance of reserving a room for my stereo listening. I hope you get time to appreciate it!

    • Bob
      July 14, 2018 at 11:08 am

      Totally agree with your comments. I also own a Linn system and I'd have thought MUO would have learnt their lesson by now!

      All their articles on audio quality (high end) have been utterly pathetic. I get the suspicion that their writers are assigned topics to write to get paid regardless of their knowledge or specialities

  16. Esteban
    March 28, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    This article spread lies, and you should feel bad. I can almost hear the wrong bits in it.

  17. Perry F Bruns
    March 28, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    I also have a problem with the way this article seems to tie audio snobbery--ohhh, sorry, audiophilia--to musical tastes. For instance, I love Frank Zappa, who was one of the greatest musical surrealists of all time and an expert composer and producer--and I listen to him on digital, because I'm not carrying a vinyl record player with me everywhere I go.

  18. Chris
    March 28, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    "Vinyl is often how the artist intended his music to be heard"
    - Nope. Recording and mixing is done 100% in the digital domain and music is made exactly as the artist (or producer) wants it. Afterwards you get a separate master for vinyl to make it playable on vinyl discs by record players.

    "[Vinyl] has not been digitally enhanced"
    - This is pure technobabble BS. What does it even mean? As I mentioned, all music is produced 100% in the digital domain already.

    "[Vinyl has] not had its volume artificially bumped up"
    - True. It had its volume artificially bumped down. You do realise that volume has nothing to do with quality. Just turn your volume knob up or down to test if the musical content changes...

    "[Vinyl has] not been saved, ripped, and converted a thousand times before hitting your ears.
    - Not a thousand times, but at least one more time than the original digital master. And that, using error-prone, non 1:1, analog equipment.

    The only valid reason to go for vinyl is listening to a record that was actually recorded on tape (analog) and there is no CD transfer of that original recording. If you avoid remastered editions you are much better off listening to a CD from a quality standpoint, by far.

    Please, don't spread pseudoscience...

    • Ken Wright
      November 29, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      Audio philosophy is that you hear the music the way it was sung or played originally. Right.? Wrong. How many artists sound crap when seen in concert and how many artists recordings are not enhanced at source.