High-End Audio: a definition by SW1X Audio Design

High-End Audio: a definition by SW1X Audio Design™


What defines High-End Audio?

High End Audio refers to the high performance audio reproduction equipment, which should be able to:

  • involve us emotionally
  • sound musical, natural & organic
  • reproduce the finest nuances of music recorded
  • make us forget that we are reproducing music
  • make speakers “disappear” from the room
  • provide a feeling of music being alive
  • make us feel as if the music performer is in front of us


What makes real High End Audio equipment:


What high-end audio equipment should really not be associated with:

  • Eye-catching designer furniture casing
  • Inexpensive, randomly chosen components and materials hidden inside
  • Have the most advanced specifications and measure extraordinarily
  • Driven by the impressive complexity of the circuit design
  • Fashion driven by the latest technology, which tends to change all the time
  • Constantly upgraded for better, more modern and the latest versions
  • Loaded with features that matter the least (such as displays, numerous inputs and outputs, compatibility with all formats)
  • Cost driven priced according to the specs and looks with value added by marketing (marketing cost more than 50% of total product cost)
  • Frequently advertised by audio press and on the web
  • Is highly reviewed and regarded
  • Mass-produced


In sum, a real high-end audio equipment is not a consumer product (like a smartphone or similar) but a timeless design that brings enjoyment to listening to music and does so over long period of time.


A Brief General Comment on the State of the High End Audio & the Slow Slide Towards Sonic Oblivion


Some interesting material for further reading here

Are You on the Road to Audio Hell?

SW1X Audio Design Philosophy

SW1X Audio Design Performance Level System



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