Audiophile’s quest to create their dream hi-end audio setup is a testament to their obsession with music, but maintaining is, as sensitive electronics require special cleaning. Learn more about maintaining your gear with our guide on hi-end audio care and why it’s important to be meticulous and precise with what you purchase for cleaning.
Audiophile’s Axiom: top quality gear requires top quality maintenance
What exactly is an audiophile? The word seems somewhat foreign even for people who are obsessed with music, while most of casual listeners are oblivious to their existence. To the outside world, audiophiles seem like weirdos, unable to just enjoy music through normal means, constantly berating everyone for using cheap headphones and not buying expensive stereo setups, obsessing over miniscule details of their speakers’ sonic output etc. Just like any other stereotypes, these assumptions aren’t baseless, but they describe people’s perception and not what being an audiophile means.
Audiophiles don’t view music as just another form of entertainment. See, while music is perceived through our ears, it also causes visual and tactile sensations to occur. This is why audiophiles consider listening to music to be a transcendental experience that goes beyond its physical limitations of simply being a combination of pitch and rhythm. Music evokes emotions, feelings, memories. Therefore it would only make sense that in order to immerse themselves in this experience, audiophiles search for the “ultimate” sound – this explains their affection for older, simpler technology (vinyl records and turntables for their “warmth”) or characteristic obsessive search for the best hi-end audio setup possible (tube amps, speakers, cables) and so on. To an audiophile, acquiring gear makes more sense than, say, buying expensive cars or computers – they simply have different priorities.
So what’s the deal with hi-end audio gear? The problem with common amps, speakers and other equipment sold at your average superstore and even some specialized shops is their actual quality. Mass-manufactured gear is made to be sold to the general populace, who is blissfully unaware that they’re buying fake “hi-fi”, even if the price tag suggests excellent sonic output. The real deal is often hard to find: this kind of equipment is poorly advertised (especially compared to its direct competitors that dominate the market) and is usually cheaper (!), which leads people to believe it is worse. Whenever you decide to discover the magic of hi-end audio, don’t trust advertising and look for audiophile forums, where knowledgeable members of the community will guide you step-by-step on what you should purchase. As time goes on, you’ll be able to tell the difference between true hi-end and heavily advertised products that aren’t up to par.
Of course, this adventure is far from over. Cables, preamps, speakers, room selection and even time of day have influence over what your ears will hear in the end. And, sure enough, Chisto offers a couple of things which will help you get just a little bit closer to audio heaven.
Hi-end audio care is sometimes neglected by audiophiles: they are so obsessed with figuring out the perfect setup that maintenance and cleaning are often left behind. And that’s a shame, because the gear that is typically used is very sensitive to conditions of the environment around it, which is why special treatment is a must.
Here is the first rule of hi-end audio care: DO NOT USE HOUSEHOLD CLEANING PRODUCTS. Yes, in all caps. This should be common sense, but for some reason the same people who pride themselves on attention to detail then end up using stuff that they clean their windows with on their hi-end setup, which is ridiculous beyond comprehension. These are concentrated chemicals, for crying out loud! You didn’t put in all this effort just to ruin your gear in one fell swoop, did you?
That’s the reason there’s a niche market catering specifically to audiophiles’ needs – things that work for everybody else won’t work for you, so you need to be real picky with what you choose to buy.
Of course, we’d like to offer a solution of our own made for cleaning hi-end gear – Hi-End Show Gloss. This product has been designed to be as gentle as possible, so it can even be your go-to screen cleaner – it is extremely tender and won’t harm your equipment or leave a trail of surfactants behind. Its efficacy has been approved by a variety of experts from all over the world (notably Mark Levinson), so you know you’re getting your money’s worth.
Another important thing about hi-end audio care is reducing the influence of static. Audio aficionados have come up with a number of solutions for that (like simply lifting your cables above the ground), but we at Chisto in particular have concocted an antistatic spray to be used on everything from amps to cables to even the floor around your gear – the less static will interfere with signal transmission, the better. Those who are new to the world of hi-fi and hi-end might be curious as to why it is so important. Where does static even come from in the first place? Well, static charges happen everywhere. Here is a basic example: let’s say you have cables that connect your hi-end setup lying on carpet. When you walk on that same carpet, there is friction that occurs between your slippers (shoes, boots etc.) and the carpet. Friction generates static charges. Since the aforementioned cables are touching that same carpet, they can easily absorb static. Then you attempt to run an electrical signal that encounters a static charge (or several) along the way. This electrical interaction can really impact the signal in a negative way, which ultimately makes audio quality worse. Honestly, there are a billion and one things that influence the signal in one way or another (radio frequency interference, cell phone activity, the condition of the power grid and the list goes on and on…), but static is one of the factors that can be easily dealt with. In particular, it can be dealt with using our Staticaster. This agent is the best item for hi-end audio care currently available on the market, and it can be used not only on cables, but even on shelves and floors that your gear stand on, as they can accumulate static too.
Buying an antistatic spray and a liquid for hi-end audio care will certainly help your setup, but your search shouldn’t end there. Being an audiophile means accepting and appreciating the constant struggle for absolute perfection of sound, so always look for new methods and solutions from fellow audio connoisseurs. Good luck, and may your passion for sound guide you to even further appreciation of and devotion to music!