|This could get long; please pardon me in advance or skip it. I had originally meant this for the Digital Forum, but it grew and meandered to where I just cut and pasted here... I have a large house with many rooms and, to my wife's constant objection, a well-displayed system in most of them ranging in vintage from 1976 to 2010. Each is period correct in that the turntable, electronics, and speakers are approximately age-matched. I'm old-school, so my speakers are big and beautiful-- two channels only and no subwoofers needed. Over the past few days, I've had the house to myself and a chance to do some listening to my vinyl, my better FM tuners, and even my CDs, which I normally consider a convenience medium for background or entertaining. I have absolutely nothing against digital and will admit that good digital sounds sufficiently good that it could actually provide a primary source if my LP collection melted and analog broadcasting were terminated (perhaps that's somewhere in the health care bill?), although mediocre digital is at best rather fatiguing.|
My classic electronics and loudspeakers have been on a program of refurb for the past several years just because I enjoy using them and do not wish to suffer progressive degradation in their sound and function. In fact, I was A/B/C-ing some of my early mid-fi CDPs and TOTL direct-drive turntables against modern ones on my high-resolution living-room rig and came to a shocking conclusion: Properly-functioning old gear does not sound bad at all. In fact, without naming names, some of my old MASH and bitstream players sounded good enough that I would not see any reason to upgrade them unless I had a digital-only rig. Again, I prefer vinyl for solo listening and have the CDPs primarily for socializing. Every five years or so, I match and build a newer system, but since I have lots of closet space and several of Billy Bags' wonderful racks, I just don't get rid of the old stuff.
Still awake? Up to now, I had been enjoying the advances in engineering provided by the upper end of mid- and lower end of hi-fi-- that sweet spot at the rational side of the 10/10 rule. I'm always prepared to get rid of all the stuff and build one dedicated system, but just never pulled that trigger. However, I'm now at the point where I'm not sure that further advances will provide me greater enjoyment in my second half-century. If the stuff that was good enough for me twenty years ago when I had to stretch to afford it sounds pretty darn good now, is it good enough? Yeah, right, only I can answer that for me, but I'm wondering if anybody else here has reached the point where he is listening and enjoying more than ever, but admits that the gear is probably good enough? Does anybody just plain get attached to it?