The audio passionate is keen on the good sound. Therefore, among the five senses the hearing is the most important and of which he has developed, with the experience, a higher degree of refinement if compared with the human average. The truth of the matter is, that the remaining senses do exist and the luckiest of us can use all five at the same time. This is a real trouble, tough. Especially as far as the audiophiles are concerned.
TASTE I definitely cannot imagine an audiophile, or a small group of ravenous audiophiles going to a hi-fi dealer to taste the ultimate Audio Research preamplifier: valve tubes snapped at, transistors and mosfets skilfully separated with two fingers and gently put to the mouth as delicious titbits, capacitors opened and sucked as juicy lobster pincers, finely anodized aluminium panels licked up to consumption. As regards the fast food there are the record shops: how to deny a pair of good LPs, maybe double, stuffed with five or six CDs, better if SACD? No! Maybe, the sense of taste is not suitable for the audiophile.
OLFACTION In some cases the sense of smell might come in handy for the audiophile. I remember with great pleasure the perfumes and essences of new devices just removed from their boxing. I also remember the nice smell of the Infinity K8 I bought at the end of the 80's: a scent of wood and glue both delicate and intense. Same sensation, similar but different, with the Tannoy Westminster.
Also the amplifications are up to emanate fragrances made of plastics and metals, and enticing aromas of soldering pastes. I know passionates fallen in the whirl of vice and addiction. Sometimes I spot them in the dark corners of the backstreets with their head slipped into the CD players' boxing. Those at the “end-stage” rummaging in the waste of the megastores ‘basements looking for any used machine.
TOUCH Another sense not to discard as for the audiophile. We each have surely felt a certain pleasure in running our fingers over the aluminium front panel of an amp, maybe feeling the slight vibration produced by the transformer or the toroidal transformer. We each have surely tested manually the Wow & Flutter or the Rumble of our turntables simply putting our fingertips on the chassis while the engine was operant. And what to say about the children who cannot avoid to put their finger into the dome of the tweeter? Children are the audiophiles ‘worst enemies. Last but not least, the sense of touch is useful to weighing up. Once an acquaintance told me that the quality of a device is directly proportional to its weight. I caught his trusted dealer as he was putting some bricks inside a power amp.
SIGHT Here are the troubles. Indeed, because it has been proved that many audiophiles usually select the components of their system with their eyes and not with their ears. We must admit it and yield before the facts. Cast the first stone who hasn't fallen in love with the object regardless of its sound! Actually, as passionates we are very sensitive to beauty and, as passionates, we are enthralled by the aesthetic. Many manufacturers and designers are aware of that and spend lots of resources to build fine apparatus, alas often to the detriment of the quality. Who becomes very fond, can also fall in love and who falls in love is a man with living desires. This is a good thing.
HEARING Good hearing is not required.
Photogallery: Pantoja, Five Senses