A "golden ear" is someone hired by the recording/audio industry to determine high fidelity
differences in recording/playback technique, stereo components
, and/or format.
Alternately, it may refer to someone in the recording industry who can always seem to find artists who go on to become popular and financial successes.
It is also used to refer to audiophiles who claim to be able to hear minute differences in music. These people will often spend thousands of dollars on high-end stereo equipment to get the highest possible musical clarity. It is often used as a pejorative in this sense.
Various awards are given out each year by different groups and organizations called "Golden Ear" awards, including Absolute Sound magazine, the World Academy of Recording Musicians, Audio magazine, the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, and Earshot magazine. Of these, the Absolute Sound magazine award is the most recognized.