To an audiophile, this would be about the lowest of the low-end of acceptable gear (Bose is not acceptable, even if more expensive), but I'm happy. Audiophiles tend to witter on about linearity of response, crossover, and whatnot. Most of the music I listen to was recorded in the 1950s or earlier, or in concert, on rather dodgy equipment; I don't expect any music system to make it sound like "being there". On more recent, high-quality recordings, I really can't tell the difference from a live instrument, and can't see myself spending ten times the amount on "serious" audiophile gear. But I don't claim to have golden ears. Many people tell me they can't distinguish the Wharfedales from an average Sony boombox, costing a tenth as much -- that's good for them. And many audiophiles claim they can tell the difference from a system costing ten times as much; I don't doubt it.
Unfortunately, audiophilia is not always accompanied by sound knowledge of science and engineering; and the human mind is very impressionable. This gives audio manufacturers freedom to charge extra for ridiculous products. The most common are:
- High-stability, jitter-proof CD players: Apparently, many people think CD players, like LP turntables, need to be balanced delicately, rotate at a constant speed, and so on. Digital electronics is a mystery to them. So of course the manufacturers address that market.
- Cables: Apparently things like "skin effect", capacitance/inductance effects, and so on can affect the quality of the audio that your speaker cables deliver to the speakers, so you should pay several hundred dollars per metre of audiophile cable that takes care of these things. Yes, these effects exist, but none of them operate close to audible frequency ranges. But that then leads to
- Frequency response: even though the human ear can't hear above 20 kHz, apparently it's good for your amp or speakers to be able to reproduce much greater frequencies. It mysteriously affects the audio that you do hear. Similarly, the fact that CDs sample at 44.1 kHz, and therefore are limited to 22.05 kHz frequencies, means they're bad. Nyquist's theorem is irrelevant, as is the fact that earlier technologies -- LPs, tapes -- don't have a prayer of approaching such frequencies.
There are many, many more such audiophile myths. Here is an amusing discussion. Here is another.
And finally, here is a hugely entertaining list of actual voodoo-audio products that people, presumably, have been known to spend money on.
If you plan to spend serious money on an audio system, be sure to read those links before talking to a salesman.