Am I a burning out audiophile????

...or am i simply a music lover to begin with???

Disregarding the debate that could potentially be born from the statement above, I sit here in my 18x18x8 room listening to Diana Krall's 'When I look in your eyes' through a pair of Totem Winds powered by a Krell kav-400xi and Jolida JD100a source. It sounds great, it truly does! It does so many things right and so little wrong! Why then, do I have the question in the back of my mind - 'is this system as musically engaging as my past system was?'

Tonally, it's better. It goes deeper. It's more accurate, smooth, well balanced, etc. etc. etc.

The prior system the back of my mind questions is that of the Totem Arros powered by a PrimaLuna Prologue Two with Cairn Fog source in a 9x11x8 room. If memory serves me correct - pure magic! What I thought at the time (and am wondering now) was the epidomy of emotional involvement!

Q.1 - am I only remembering the 'good times' with the prior system? (like how we photograph only the good times of our life and wax nostalgic about how great things used to be)

The move to the upgraded system was initiated by my desire to listen to more music with my wife. Today, (and last night, and the night before...) I still find myself listening by myself. Regardless of the extra chairs in larger space!

I also wanted to simplify and combine my seperate systems (5.1HT and 2-channel) into one higher-end 2-channel dual purpose system. The result is great sound, but perhaps not the most musically enagaging two-channel nor the most enveloping, impactful HT either? As a dual purpose system it performs great, but it isn't send ingtingles down my spine or have me toe-tapping like the smaller Arro system did.

Q.2 - have I gone too far??? Have I treaded into water where I have to think about the music too much to enjoy it??? Am I asking too much of a single system???

The road from system #1 to system #2 has had a lot of in-between systems that have just led to frustration and/or musical dissatifaction, but too much too get into detail here...

Q.3 - which brings us back to where I started; am I a burning out audiophile??? Am I simply thinking about this too much???

I don't know what I expect in response to this babble? I don't know if these questions are even 'real' or simply part of a rhetorical rant? Anyway, thanks for listening and feel free to post and thoughts or comments....
We all second guess ourselves at times and can also relate to your issue. Many times I have wondered the same thing.We all tend to forget there are electronics in front of us and expect everything to dissapear and have the musician magically appear in front of us.I guess my point is if your not enjoying what you have dont be affraid to try something new.Don't believe all of what you read and half of what you hear outside your room..Trust your gut!
The other thing ( from past experiance) dont try to do too much with you budget.Pick one area or component at a time. Focus one one step at a time,not the whole system. This can make each evealution a bit easier to take in..Good luck and have fun!!!!!
Sounds to me like you are a typical audiophile.
In college, we just jammed to the music through my Phillips TT/Sansui Receiver/Jensen triax 12 inch homebrew speaker system. Lots of midrange and mid bass. The sound was good, but the music was the thing. Sometimes I wonder if a better system can result in a lower level of musical satisfaction because it makes us listen more critically to the shortcomings in the software. I usually have those thoughts after listening to my much less expensive deck/poolside system on a summer day, or after cruising and spinning discs on the stock system in my car. Maybe I should get a turntable!
No not at all you are a typical audiophile. You can always do what I do for the most part and keep your stuff . When you want to hear it just put it on. The only problem is I am running out of space. Fire sale to follow!!!
You are not burned out Sir. I agree with Eldarado. You are a Audiophile. Thats not good. Being a Audiophile is like being on drugs. You get high and then you need another fix, only you are using stereo electronics for your fix. Your system is fine. You have very nice equipment so chill out and enjoy it. For the record, there is no perfect system so stop looking. If you get tired of your equipment dont listen to it for three or four weeks. Get out while you are ahead. This can be serious. I know cause ive been there. I wasted alot of money. Good luck.
Don't worry, if you are listening to Diana Krall you can rest easy, you are an audiophile not a music lover. Can Pat Barber be far behind?
18 X 18 X 8 hmmm?
sounds to me like you've traded a tubed amp for a solid state amp...could this be where your emotional connection was lost?
You might want to try the system in a different room. The acoustics won't be as good in a room with two of the same dimensions. Starting at about 31 Hz, the room doubly reinforces the sound energy about every 30 Hz with large gaps of reinforcement in between (except for some occasional help from your 8' ceilings). That's got to make the music sound a bit off. Your previous room was not ideal, but should have presented a more even level of reinforcement.

If you can't easily try out a different room, you may need to try a high quality equalization device (e.g., Rives).

My two cents. Never underestimate the room.
Viridan, You beat me to it! Diana Krall for Pete's sake. Small wonder Jh2os is getting bored. As for Patricia Barber, great recordings, in monotone! Lets talk real jazz, my jazz that is. :-) No offense intended.

For Jh2os, FWIW I'm driving Tylers with Primaluna stuff and loving the hell out of it. No more anal fiddling for me. My big stuff is all tucked away in the closet for now except I might get a phono stage for my analog front end.
I have to agree that the room is the most likely culprit. In time as you listen you may identify the room resonances that may be present. There is lots of material on this site about room treatment. There is a simple way to test the theory. Cover three walls of the room with blankets, duvets, drapes, carpeting, whatever you can lay your hands on. You will then be listening to your system without most of the room effects. Most find this quite an eye (ear) opening experience. Then you can plan more appropriate treatments to get the required effect.

My listening room has one wall naturally covered in curtains because it is all glass. Two more walls have curtain rails fitted along the top with curtains that are drawn into the corners normally. When I do serious listening I simply draw the additional curtains across the walls. The effect is amazing. The carpeting on the floor also helps.
Let me hazard a guess....

Perhaps you are facing diminishing returns...a good $1000 speaker (Arros) can do a pretty good job when well placed in an appropriate small sized room with unchallenging material like female vocal and acoustic guitar. Under certain conditions the LF cutoff of a smaller speaker gives better balance than a full range one (because LF room modes can get out of hand easily and boominess can cloud your ability to hear the lower midrange).

My experience: I still like my Energy 22's from 1983 (less than $800 new at that time). Do the Energy 22 have huge dynamics, startling mid range clarity and ability to play at all levels (including extremely loud) whilst maintaining balance, low distortion and without sounding compressed and boomy? Can Energy 22's fool me into thinking I am at a live venue with realistic live SPL levels? The answer to both these questions is absolutely NOT. However, do the Energy 22's still sound great and pleasing at moderate levels on most source music ...ABSOLUTELY! Would Energy 22's still be enough for me if I lived in a small appartment with neighbours that I had to respect...ABSOLUTELY!

Your old Arros were a great speaker and still are. If you don't feel the Totem Winds are a huge improvement you may want to check your room modes out (test CD & Rat Shack meter). Or simply just crank it up a bit...that is where a higher $$$ design will shine giving you crystal clear sound even at realistic music levels. Also try something a bit more challenging and get yourself some excitement rather than the ever so pleasant (boring) Tower of Power What is Hip (Soul Vaccination Album) or Seal "Crazy" or something from Mahler or dare I say it, try some Angus air guitar kicking circles around the floor... "Back in Black".

Like a Barchetta sports car...if you use it for groceries at 30 MPH the benefits will not be very apparent....let it rip on a challenging winding country road...ahh Sunlight on chrome, The blur of the landscape, Every nerve aware....
The main body of the room is actually 17'8x18'8, and is open to a 8'x12' alcove on one side and a 4'x10' dormer on the other so it is not as bad as I may have led you to beleive...

...however, Erasmusj, your idea is an interesting one.

Soundlogic, your statement sounds logical. ;) I think you may be onto something there and it is something I find myself wondering as well!

I know this is good equipment and it does sound good, I am just THINKING about my system more now than ever before!

Before I had the bright idea to combine & have the money to get 'better' electronics, I didn't really question what the next best thing was, I just enjoyed the system. I need to get off this train!!!
Shadorne, you are absolutely correct. On more complex musical sources the Winds do out perform the Arros and at higher volumes levels as well. They outperform them on many levels and in many noticible ways. I am disturbed as while I can easily discern this and even enjoy these added benefits, something just doesn't quite seem right - the emotional engagement.
Many of us- thrilled by the musical high induced by our systems- seek to make the experience better. With some things you buy, the synergies click and there's magic. With other components, there's less synergy adding up to less emotional involvement with the music, hence less satisfaction.

Isn't this just how life is?

I think often of a line from Paul Simon that I think is central to all human experience:

"The thought that life could be better, is woven indelibly into our hearts- and our brains"

Enjoy the music.
I the smaller room your system was set up for nearfield listening. Is this the case in your current setup? I find nearfield listening more involving. Could this be part of the problem.
As I see it, there are too many choices out there. How can anyone possibly find the "Best" system with hundred of speakers and thousands of combinations to choose from.
Secondly, each system has it's strengths. Depending on the song, volume, your mood, etc., one system could sound better than another. Change the song and the "Best" system is now something else.
It's an enigma that spending more money does not gaurantee more peace of mind. It should but it doesn't, go figure.
What worked for me is single driver. If you can live with the limitations, there aren't many choices out there. So less to decide between. Because of the inherent simplicity the differences are pretty obvious.
A second option is adding a sub to a little system like mine. A third option is a speaker which runs up to 5-10kHz and add a supertweeter like the Ling.
As for your wife listening, my girlfriend tells me my little system "Sounds really good". Women don't listen in the same way as men and what may sound good to you may not sound good to her. As on dealer recently told me "There aren't many women audiophiles out there because they hear a lot more faults on stereos that men do.". So may I suggest getting your wife involved in the auditioning process and she may gain a better appreciation of stereos and who knows, with her input you may get a better stereo than you have now.
At some point you have to admit to yourself that what you've got is pretty damn good, even if there might be something better out there. That doesn't mean that you're swearing off pursuing better / different, just that you can not worry about it constantly.

I've also found that being realistic about what my room can support and what the rest of the household will tolerate helps me forget what could be, and focus on enjoying all the music I have.
A good case for keeping the old stuff and "trying" the new before making a final decision. You can always go back and compare.
I had a Cairn Fog for a few months, I upgraded to a more expensive player but both my wife and I agreed that the Fog was more pleasant to listen to. And, many times I wish I still had the Naim Nait 5i here, but it's gone too...
I understand brother.
well, have you ever been to an audio show, or visited a local store, where a system that exceeds all logic and common sense
(i.e.- an enormous pair of speakers driven by enormous monoblocks, ditto for the preamp, cdp, wire, whatever) is demonstrated for your pleasure and envy? and then you think about "what if" you actually owned such a system, would all those watts and spl's be truly satisfying in the long term,
or would it just be "too loud"; as to fidelity, it might be great at times, or, like owning a large telescope in a city with too much ambient light and dirty air, you can't see much anyway through all the grime and grit (as in mediocre recordings). of course, hi-rez cd's could solve some of the problems you're likely to encounter (if the industry would get up off of its dumb ass and make thousands of titles available- and after a relatively short period of time people would start buying them). plus all those watts could be put to good use if you want the full effect of symphonic music in your home.
OTOH, i sure was having fun with a pair of ADS L-810 speakers and SAE components years ago (playing tons of vinyl on a thorens 160). absolutely no complaints, and no desire to get anything else (no cd's as of yet thank God) unless something actually broke. SO, how can you replace "SATISFIED" with "this new power cord is so much better than the last one i had, even if it cost $2000, it's worth every penny..."?
there have been many good points made above, so I don't know if this will contribute much. I find however that a great cure for my system sounding average and lacking that magic, is to leave town for a few days. When I return home, the listening sessions are always magicical once again.
Timrhu, the current system is not a nearfield listening scenario - this may be part of the problem as you state.

French_fries, hearing those cost-no-object systems can sometimes be pleasing but i never intend to invest that type of money into hifi (at least for now). I think moving even several notches up the audio ladder is making me (and my wallet) realize the law of diminishing returns and I am seriously questioning if it is worth the $$$ to me?
Could be the post honeymoon blues? Those new anticipated expensive Totems or something else in your life, much deeper...
The move to the upgraded system was initiated by my desire to listen to more music with my wife. Today, (and last night, and the night before...) I still find myself listening by myself.

IMHO. My mood has as much to do with how how I feel about music - it is not just down to the technology. Perhaps something is irking you. Perhaps it has nothing to do with audio technology?

Do not set unrealistic demands that your wife should be expected to enjoy what you do (especially since you made all this effort/money, which sounds like a dangerous chip on the shoulder is building to me!).

Instead of withdrawing by yourself to listem in your room....stop being a hermit... try to find out what SHE enjoys and try to do that together and make sure she knows you are having might be surprised that it works may find yourself enjoying music again much more than any technology money can buy!
knowing when to quit, is the most important thing you learn in this hobby. any system stinks, if you think it stinks. consumer satisfaction in hi end audio is (for most) short lived or non existant. many hi end components are not designed to be used long term. they are designed for a great first impression,and as the classifieds will confirm...most in this hobby believe that 'the equipment' will replace the real reasons we loved music in the first place....and that has NOTHING to do with expensive gear.
Have you tried high-efficiency gear? For me, it has been the answer to enjoying music more. Perhaps it's personal taste, having started with 15 watts and Jensen reflex speakers 40 years ago. I went through speakers from the Cambridge, Mass era, Martin Logans, Aerials and have ended up with horns and reflex speakers again. My least efficient speakers are 91 db and my most are 98 db, and cost less than $5000. I still have the Jensens (in Heathkit cabinets) in a secondary system.
Shadorne, get out of my head! ;) All good suggestions, but I find myself listening alone after she has gone to bed for the evening, not 'hermiting' or neglecting in anyway. We spend the evenings shopping, at the movies, mini-golfing, etc. The only thing unsatisfying in my life is probably work, and only the fact that I HAVE to work! ;) I do agree that mood does have a lot to do with one's perspective on a system. Who knows, maybe next week I'll be loving it?

I just think, for me, when spending this amount of $$$ I want to get some use out of it, but am realizing that this whole 'audiophile' thing may be way further down on my priority list that I thought???

Jaybo, that may be my wife's only concern with this hobby of mine. Every step up, every next piece I think (and state) I won't need to replce this for awhile. Awhile for me is usually in the 3-6 month realm. For my wife it would be 5-10 years! I think she's the one who's right about how that should be! ;)

Friztg, I have never tried high-efficiency gear before. Having a prior system that I still seem to hold in high regards I almost think it's smarter to rebuild that than opening a whole new can or worms! Although, that can could quite possibly be the answer as well?
Is the thrill gone a bit? Maybe so. We are really excited when we first get the bug and often people spend much more and get that small** improvement and get a little disenchanted. Its that way with anything...... I gotta tell you I think Diana Krall is beautiful but it wouldn't be long before I wanted to bang my head on the wall when listening to her. Are you sure you're not burnt out on software raher than hardware?


** this refers to the return on investment in almost any product. A $10K system doesn't sound 5X better than a $2K system and so on. As well a $400,000 Ferrari isn't 8X faster or 8X better than a Corvette- don't get me wrong I would gladly push a Vette off a cliff to get a Ferrari
I agree with the "Krall-at-fault" posts. Try Ella in mono, try Coltrane, Beethoven...on down the road!
one way to appreciate what you have as opposed to what you don't have, is to take a break for a while--say a few months. don't touch that stereo system during that time.

at the end of that period listen again.

your head will be clearer and you can make intelligent decisions.
You obviously like female vocals. Before you make any changes to your system, pick up Shirley Horn's "Here's To Life" cd. If that doesn't make you feel involved in the music, then there is something definitely wrong with your system. I guarantee that you and your wife will both want to listen to it in it's entirety. A revealing system doesn't just let us hear problems and attributes of components, it also let's us hear the problems with performers.
Well, this evening I played around with the placement of the speakers and it did make quite a difference - in the right direction!

Also, my wife and I listened to the following this evening:

Anna Nalick
Better than Ezra
O Brother Were Art Thou?
Tracy Chapman
Jeff Buckley
Jack Johnson
Carole King
Counting Crows
Cold Mountain
Tori Amos
Jill Scott
Keb Mo
Jane Monheit
Marilyn Monroe

With the speakers closer to each other with less toe-in and the listening position moved closer as well, it has allowed the large Winds to 'dissapear' and to allow the music to become a bit more engaging. The system may still be missing some of that 'magic' of my prior system, but this evening I had a smile on my face and my toes a tapping.

Good for you!!!!!! Seems that you have found the way out.

I'm convinced that if you don't get really into "playing with your system around" i.e. tweaks here and there, positioning and room accoustics, you'll never know what your system can do.
Following a little what Electroid said I believe too many of us are trying to get a Ferrari or a Corvette (well in my case a compact)
up to speed on a wet grassy, muddy terrain that gets us only useless wheel spin !!!!!!!!!!!

The room / system, setup is many times not overlooked but forgotten as the field we are playing on, so many try to fix things changing equipment (which many know gets dissappointing / desperating and expensive) when a large part of the problem is elsewhere.

BTW nice listening mix you did.

Keep following the path to light...

Your most recent post is great news! It sounds like things may be coming around, but are perhaps not quite where you want them to be. I'm wondering, do you think that your system may be just a tad below your expectations in terms of warmth and/or musicality? Several questions come to mind:

1) How long has your current system had to break in?
--If it's anything less than at LEAST two weeks, then
i'd say all bets are off.
2) Have you tried Dakiom Feedback Stabilizers?
--Not cheap in absolute terms, but RELATIVELY so in high end audio terms.
3) Have you considered adding a killer DAC (like a Dodson)?
You need to mental-floss your brain. How? Sell everything that is insanely expensive. Go a month without ANY music to erase recent memory of ''sound'' and start with fresh mind and ears again.

Get a nice, inexpensive integrated (like a Cayin TA-30 at a whopping $ 700.00), some nice $ 1,000.00 (used price)speakers and the latest Cambridge Audio 640 V2 cd player.

Now take the left-over money from the sale of your expensive system to buy an i-pod for music discovery, and to put some fun back into the hobby, and spend the rest wining and dining with your significant other!

Not a bad plan is it ?
Good grief, I hope this doesn't happen to me. When does this evolve from an expensive hobby into something less healthy? I suggest moving your focus to other outlets...something less expensive, like buying a mountain bike and hitting a national park or two. Probably good advice for all of us...

That's a really nice counterpoint you bring to this thread!!!
Yes going outdoors break a good sweat we all need that.
This hobby tends to keep you indoors
Sammie, that's funny. This Friday I just picked up two retro cruiser bicycles for my wife and I to hit the town on!
I have been spending more time on my mountain and road bikes this summer, and less time thinking about a new preamp......and having more fun. Good call Sammie!
I think I'll air up my tires this evening. Haven't gone for a ride since we moved two months ago.
OK, so our ride yesterday led us past the community pool. We joined and it's close enough to ride our new bikes back and forth to, so 2 new hobbies to fill the summer months and get me back in shape! ;)

Sonicbeauty, you pose a good point as well and I am seriously considering that. The only decision I am making right now, it to put off any audio decision making for a month or so and just live with what I have and spend time enjoying the outdoors!