An audiophile is a person who enjoys listening to recorded music, usually in a home. Some audiophiles are more interested in collecting and listening to music, while others are more interested in collecting and listening to audio components, whose "sound quality" they consider as important as the recorded musical performance, or even more important. The ratio of an audiophile's spending on software (music) versus hardware (audio components) is a rough guide to where they stand in the audiophile spectrum.
While audiophiles would prefer to listen to music at home whose sound quality matches an original live performance, they realize achieving that goal is very rare in a typical relatively small home listening room. An additional problem is that few recordings are actually of live music -- they are usually recordings of individual instruments subjectively blended together by a recording engineer. . While specialized electronic components and speakers can create "good sounding" music in a home listening room, the goal of creating the illusion of live musicians at home is very difficult to achieve with two-channel audio, and difficult with five or more channel "surround sound" audio. . An audiophile who has heard an unusually high quality recording in a high quality listening room, reproduced with high quality audio components, may spend a lifetime trying to duplicate that experience. However, few recordings are good enough to sound like live music at home, under any circumstances, so a challenge for some audiophiles is determining what sounds "best" to his (or her) ears in a room at home, while listening to his recorded music collection. This challenge, plus the audible effects that different listening room acoustics have on sound, make "sound quality" very subjective among audiophiles, except for the general agreement that what they are hearing doesn't really sound like live musicians playing in the room.