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
  • be timeless


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In sum, a real high-end audio equipment cannot be out of date, regardless when it was made. It 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 Performance Level System



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