By "Lone" I mean you have no other local audiophile buddies. That describes my experience. My wife and I usually listen together. I have no other friends to borrow equipment or to audition theirs. In spite of that I believe I've done a pretty good job of putting together a system which is very good. I've done it strictly by reading reviews, etc and lots of research. I see the situation as both an advantage and maybe a curse. The advantage is that Maybe I don't know what I'm missing. The curse is may be that I often wonder IF I need to upgrade? Or am m missing something.? Like right now. I just bought a CJ CT5 preamp which is silly good.So now I wonder about my amp? The CJ retails for 8x more than my silly little tube amp...a Bob Latino ST-70. Yet I believe that amp is fully pulling its weight while hooked to a preamp which is silly good. Surely, this amp can't be the be all end all. However It did replace an amp which retails for 4x its price. Who knows? maybe its the ST-70 which needed a better preamp to show off its stuff. Nonetheless, I enjoy the music immensely. and all the advice I've gotten from people on the forums over the years. FWIW, I also play drums and have played live. So I DO know what live music sounds like. So, maybe I'm not shooting totally in the dark.
You can relax and stop worrying. There is always something you are missing. Always some upgrade that will make everything better. Always. So relax.
Also in my experience audio buddies are absolutely no good whatsoever. At least not in terms of helping you build a better system. At least not in the sense of better meaning what you call better. Whatever that is. Because only you know what that is. So no one else can ever help you with it.
Still, it can be good if you can find a few. Listening to their systems you can always feel just absolutely wonderful about not having wasted your precious time and money on the crap they have. Or, you might look at it the other way, find yourself thoroughly enjoying something completely different, and realize there’s a lot more than one way to skin this cat. Which there is.
About the worst that might happen is you find someone with like ten or twenty times your budget and a to die for dedicated room, professionally designed and acoustically treated, and he (its always a he) by some stroke of luck actually did something right and it sounds so good you can hardly believe it.
And this is the worst that might happen, and it will still be good. Because then when you get over the initial shock and stop drooling you’ll realize it really is only a little better in certain areas, in this way or that, and for all that money you could have had a whole new house, and Porsche (or whatever car you consider the very best, although if it isn’t a 911 then maybe a little less time on stereo, little more on cars until you get it) and shoot probably trophy wife and/or girlfriend (or both) as well, and again that is the worst that can happen.
Personally I find it a whole lot easier to just visit Definitive Audio every once in a while. Few minutes being barraged by $1.3M worth of dreck and I saunter out with a whole new spring in my step.
Although, come to think of it, trophy girlfriend would sure be nice....
Last thing I need is someone hogging my head in a vice spot or laughing at my musical taste. Would be nice to have a friend though. As for sharing music with the wife, she can hear it through the floor.
I have several audio friends--one I grew up with, my brothers, my former roommate in college who taught me a lot about good music and how to keep records in good shape, along with a couple good buddies now that either bought something from me or I bought from and live pretty close to me. We get together every now and then about once a month or so. We have a great time and we use the extra sets of ears to help evaluate any decisions we are trying to make on equipment. CAN be very helpful. I know what they like and they know my preferences too. It's good fun and no one gets arrested so far.
I only have one audio buddy - my own brother living about an hour away.Still,we only get together a couple of times a year to listen and critique each other's systems.I agree it would be easier to put together a system if there was a shop nearby or a few friends to swap equipment with.The few times I've been able to listen to systems in shops in the last 20years or so I came away feeling very good about what I already own.The latest and greatest equipment rarely lives up to expectations.
For twenty years I had no local audio buddies, but now have five who have materialized over the past ten years. It has been a very nice fraternity, with good conversation on many topics and great insight into the systems we hear and the hobby in general. I think we would all say we benefitted each other, as we all now have much better systems and enjoyment than ten years ago. In fact, I think we have all assisted the others to achieve better than they had expected on their own. I don't know that I could have picked a better group of guys to share it with.
Does the OP know that there is an audio club forum here? He could advertise his general vicinity to source audio friends.
Artemus, oh, wow, I just looked at your virtual system; you're grousing about wife asking you to build a dedicated room!!! Woa! JUMP ON IT! That is a primary way to really gain in the hobby. I built my own room and it is by far one of the best things I ever did as an audiophile. It's hard to overestimate the influence of a great room. I wanted a room that was like a mastering studio, and that's what I got. The intimacy and quietness is wonderful, allowing me to hear deeply into the system performance, a radical departure from using the living room as I used to.
It took me 8 months to build my specialty room as I am not in the trades, because I took my sweet time to make sure it was as close to perfect conceptually as possible. I LOVE the result and it's pure pleasure every time I use the room. I sought the approval of my wife, and she was generous, saying, "I don't care what you do. I don't care what you spend." She asked for new furniture for the family room; she got it!
Re: Audio friends - you build it and they will come! LOL
I like the approach Elizabeth has taken. I am surrounded by genius-level performers and composers. Like Artemus_5 I have no audiophile friends around me, no audiophile stores with in an hours drive...but I have a great system. I have been doing this for many years, and with the care and guidance of an old but distant friend, I have been keeping up to date equipment wise. After all, it really is the music that keeps me here, music well presented.
yes, absolutely. as a young working professional, and female, i have yet to meet a peer who is into hifi stereo as much as i am. its a bet depressing because whenever i go to hifi shops to make a purchase i get treated like an amateur, and with 0 respect. excuse me for taking an interest in your hobby, you crusty old men.
its funny because by turning me away by acting like snobbish cocks, they're just losing out big time.. not now, but 15 years down the road when the market is drying up even more then it is now and a lot more stereo hifi shops begin to close up after being unable to adapt to the changing market.
I used to be a lone audiophile, then I found my local audio club. Not only have I made a few dozen new audiophile friends, but I have heard all sorts of gear and speakers in their homes, audio stores and even at manufacturers’ facilities. And my musical horizons have been greatly expanded, too. All this for $60 a year dues. IMHO, it’s the best bargain in audio by a huge margin.
And then, you get people who think they know what you are all about. Occasionally, they will come over and offer some free crap to you as if it is some kind of gift. Not to be ugly, but just last week a good friend of mine came over with a Sound Design receiver. Try to think one step below JC Penny audio gear and that will get you in the ballpark. Now, I know that he is into Harleys, so I just have to find the junkiest bike ever made and return the favor.
My only audio buddy lives 2 hrs away, so we don’t get to hang out much. We were friends in high school, lost touch until a few yrs ago, but it would seem the audio bug bit us both around the same time. I’d already been collecting records since around 13 or so though, but didn’t know their awesome power until years later. We have sent each things like cartridges to check out and records through the mail though. We also email each other at least once a week to talk about our audio endeavors.
I am lucky to have a very close friend who is an ‘audio nut’ just like me. And our wives get along! My most fun thing to do is let my other friends hear what my system is capable of to try and get them interested in home audio for themselves. Some are impressed, most are not. As Elizabeth says - the music is it’s own reward. Access to Dylan, Coltrane, Miles Davis, etc. is what makes this ‘hobby’ so rewarding!! Happy Listening!!
As others have said, there are two sides to this - the "quest for sound" (the experimental hobby) and the music. You are apparently not positioned well for the experimental quest - so it all comes down to "do you enjoy the music?". If so, do so and let the sleeping dog lie. Maybe scratch it behind the ears. I'll relate a story. I design high end electronics on the side and have for 30 years; so i get the equipment bug and sometimes lived a life of critical listening and swapping as a business... required not optional. First, its hard work and sometimes gets in the way of enjoying the music. But also, you forget that its easy to be happy with something that's truly "good enough" - not harsh, not boring, not opaque - but maybe also not the ultimate. Since i am refurbishing my house. i moved out to a much smaller apartment. I was loathe to move my huge, fragile speakers. So i didn't; I took my older pair (smaller, cheaper, but very very good). I decided then, just for fun to only move a balanced system - - my "B" team - my 2nd DAC, 2nd best prototype preamp, old prototype amp, 3rd string Turntable/arm/cartridge, etc. Guess what? Its great fun and sounds like music. I'm pulling out and enjoying lots of music i have not heard in years because, when i moved, i found those old LPs! By the way this has always been my metric of how much better something is. Not if it sounds better when i hear it, but whether i miss it when its taken away. Was my "big" system better and will i relish it when i move back? Absolutely. Do i miss it and wish it were here? Almost never. Now off to listen to 7 different performances of Chopin's "heroic" on Amazon Prime (which folks, in high quality, through a bitperfect chain, with low jitter, sounds better than most give it credit for). and its free to prime members which is most of us. I guess you are in the countryside? G
I moved overseas to live in West Texas, and I don't know that there's even an audiophile near me. I had posted a page on Facebook, of which my wife and I are the only members (for now). It's a far cry from working in a loudspeaker factory, I miss the interaction, and hearing different gear in different systems.
I’m pretty fortunate- I have 3 active audio buddies within 15 minutes of me. People come to my place and I’ve gone to my friends’ homes too to listen. For 3 out of the 4 of us, our systems have been unchanged in years. There’s also another local man- he’s quite elderly now- who has what in the late 80s or early 90s was a state of the art uber system (Krell amplification, Apogee speakers, Sota table, SME arm, VdH cartridge, Mac tuner). He no longer listens-
Not a one. Fortunately, I have several acquaintances who are music whores, one of which is a borderline audiophile. He's also a musician who does some recording and put together a pretty nice audio system (mix of old/new components, Elac UniFi towers). He's great fun to chat with and we intend on having some listening sessions in the near future.
Interesting thread. Looks like most are lone audiophiles. And why wouldn't that be the case? Music has become so devalued that anyone spending $$$ on it must be weird. FTR, I live in a tri-city area of 3 towns @ about 60k population apiece. I haven't looked in the club forum lately. But the past times I have, even a club 2-3 hours away in Charlotte or Knoxville didn't have any posts that were newer than 4-5 yrs old.
BTW @douglas_schroeder The dedicated room talk was 10-12 yrs ago. had some health issues which actually took that out of play. I took about a 3-4 yr sabbatical from music during that time. Now, I'm old & broke (well, not broke but badly bent). I wish I had done the room back then. But, life goes on. You never know what the future holds
artemus5, ah, water under the bridge regarding the room. Ok, so build the rig! Yup, LOTS of upgrade potential for all audio systems, except perhaps the top 1-2%. There are dozens, at least, of potential improvements to sound quality, many impressive. If you have the itch and the means, for sure work on a few upgrades. Or spice up your life with some alternative components to swap out occasionally. Get something additional like a new DAC, cables, amp or speakers. Get some speakers that are completely different design so that you can have two very different rigs. Lots of fun!
If you have a CD player that has a digital out, get an outboard DAC and be shocked at the improvement. Get two or three different ICs - better yet, try the Schroeder Method of IC Placement. You won't believe how much more there is to gain in a rig. Your biggest enemy is the thought, "It can't get much better". It can get WAY better, and then better still.
I've always been a lone audiophile, been into audio and audio equipment since I was a teen back in the mid to late 80's. No one around me has ever really shared my interest in equipment meant to achieve better sounding audio. My wife has no interest, my son is too young to appreciate it yet.
So for me it would be odd to actually have local friends/family that were into my hobby
an10490413, quite simply put, Schroeder Method of IC Placement is doubling up the interconnects either via adapters that split/rejoin, allowing placement of two ICs as an assembly�, or a manufactured double IC.
These are not merely an IC with more conductor material, but two discrete ICs conjoined complete with their independent grounds.
I invite you to see my seminal article at Dagogo.com "Audio Blast: The Schroeder Method of Interconnect Placement, and the thread on the cable forum bearing my name. You will see that it is meeting with growing approval and praise from users. There have been some caveats brought up regarding gear that might not be suitable, including NOS DACs that send the signal from the chip, and it is unknown largely how Class D amps would react, but caution has been advised that some may have oscillations as a result. However, TEO Audio has successfully used the Red Dragon S500 with Schroeder Method.
If you have concerns speak to your equipment manufacturer about it. Personally, I will not use a single IC again for my own systems, as it is paltry in comparison.
I am in the other camp in the NNJ/NYC area. Many audio clubs, dealers. manufacturers, reviewers, etc. Plus I get to repair and modify components daily so I get to hear so many components and get to experiment weekly. Yesterday I fished building three power amps, all built by my partner. We compared three hybrid amps. two with 6SN7s (one has a single tube per channel the other 2 6SN7 tubes per channel) and one using 6DJ8 tubes (1 per channel). Interesting outcomes.
Back to your question, No matter how many audio friends you have or systems you can listen to, your ears are all that matters. There is always something better in one aspect or the other so there is nothing perfect and it all comes down to compromises and what you prefer your system to sound like. I play guitar and to me no system does the guitar right. Nice reproductions but nothing real to my ears.
The amp you have should sound very nice, it there better, yes but what do you feel is missing? Sometimes you find something better in some areas but not all. Even when I repair or build something, there are several ways to go and each time I give up something for something else.
Things started out that way for me. Then I saw the "Olympia Music Club" on Facebook. I thought about going, but the fact that it was at a local audio equipment dealer's location and that there seemed to be only 1 or 2 people "going" deterred me from checking it out.
Fast forward and a gentleman came to my house to purchase a piece of gear I was selling and proceeded to tell me about this club. Turns out he is the person that started it and he explained that there were usually 5-7 "regulars" that showed up and that the focus was on music, not gear. The music was played on some nice gear at the audio store.
From there I've had the opportunity to visit some of the member's homes and see and hear their systems and vice versa. We usually go out for dinner before our monthly get together and it's always been fun and the guys have a wide range of musical tastes so I'm getting exposed to a lot of artists I'm not familiar with.
It's been a very positive experience and I look forward to seeing the guys every month now.
@douglas_schroeder Another part of my problem is too many hobbies. Each wants my time and $$$. Music is my #1 hobby though I actually consider it my lifestyle more than a hobby
@bigkidz , concerning what is missing with my amp?, ....Nothing. Maybe it could image better. But I'm not sure that is in its job description. That's the interesting part. I bought the amp just to dabble with tubes. Then I sold my SS amp. IMO, its great. I'm amazed that it sounds so good.
I'm a lone audiophile too----but I wasn't when I started the hobby in the mid-80s. Our city had quite a few high-end audio stores but sadly, we have 1-2 now (and they're not that nice.) My friends back then have all moved away and we've lost contact over the decades. We all used to go record/cd shopping too. So now I'm a lone audiophile but recently purchased some equipment for some folks nearby. I wish I had some close friends to hang out with and listen to music. Oh well....
I'm in audiophile solitude. My life long audiophile bud passed 2 years ago. I am in NE NJ and would like to find some people who are local and interested. I know there is NJ Audio Society group but I am not interested in it. So if there is any interest send me a message.
Me too in the same situation. When I lived in Israel I had a lot of audiophile friends. Many of them where also music lovers, that even more important for me! We can talk not only about audio but about classical and jazz music. Now I moved to Canada and live in Ottawa for 3 years. My situation is even worse, because my wife and daughter don't share my hobby. I have other problem - a long time ago I moved from "main stream" audio to vintage, DIY, high efficient speakers and tubes. So, "main stream" audio and audiophile who listen POP music and have 10 "audiophile" CD in their collection are not interesting to me. I prefer people who don't spend too much money for their system but like and understand serious music to people who spend tenth thousands $$$ for audio. On one hand I have a better room and dedicated basement for audio hobby. But on the other hand I have nobody to share this hobby audio and music.
My good friend Rick came round to assist with service and realignment of my Notts TT. He had all the right gear to clean all the old bearing oil out and I had some of the original Notts bearing oil so we got that situated. Spun the platter and after couple minutes it really had not shown any indication of slowing down never mind stopping so I think we can say the bearing is good....
Next he broke out the SmartTractor to align. Well with arm set at 210mm per Notts from pivot to spindle center it was not possible to align to any alignment by a couple mm. Our thoughts were that it can only be that the actual arm was short compared to spec. We reduced pivot to spindle to 208mm and were now able to align cart just! Put it back in the rig and I can tell the difference as it gets closer to the center on last track. I had noticed on some albums some slight distortion at times, well not now, Rough Mix by Pete Townsend played beautifully all the way to the last note.
Good to have someone to assist and bounce ideas of, thx again Rick!
Somewhat of a loner here. But, through AG, I’ve met a few good people, and we are occasionally getting together to talk systems and get to know each other. Hopefully they will become better friends over time... but Minnesota is a funny place for meeting people.
On the other hand, I do have many friends who like to listen to the music, and appreciate the nice system. That’s pretty cool. So, when they feel like a cocktail, a game of pool, conversations, and good music, this is where they come. And, I like that... I can have some drinks, and not have to worry about driving! At the same time, I get to enjoy the system and feel a little proud of the entertainment space in our home!
Another lone wolf here, but since I'm not much of a people person it doesn't really bother me. Some of my friends like to come listen from time to time, but only one has a (barely) decent system and he only streams. None of the family members have any interest in sitting and listening. No one talks about music or gear. Even Michael Fremer (Stereophile) mentioned nobody in his family cared to listen to his system when they all come over for holiday get-togethers. My wife can't fathom the idea of just listening to music without DOING SOMETHING. It really seems to be a solo activity, but I'm perfectly happy with a good cup of coffee, a free Saturday morning, and listening to whatever strikes my fancy in a dedicated listening room, sometimes with our two dachshunds. I still bugs me when someone comes over and expresses zero interest in my treated room, gear and setup. My wife's response is always "Regular people don't care, they have too many other things to think about than a stereo system". I know she's right, but I I'll never understand, sigh...
Your situation gave me an idea! We have a Audio club here in Phoenix that has existed in an anemic form since the mid 80's. 25 members in a city of 4 million + . I went to my first meeting about 2 years ago and was shocked by the makeup of the group. At 64 I felt like one of the Kids.
When the President passed away last year it was put to everyone that if someone would not take the job as president, the club would fold up its tent permanently. As a newbie fool, I agreed on the condition that we must build membership or I had no interest.
I think we will setup a special membership for people like you who don't live nearby or travel well. As I am totally inept at all technological pursuits, I must rely on others to tell me what is required acheive this goal.
A videographer yes. But how to transmit it so people can watch and listen in higher resolution?? Anyone?
I thought I was the only loner. My wife appreciates good audio as well as video, but has no interest in gear. I had a friend who introduced me to AG about 15 years ago and taught me some basis. Since we are no longer friends, I don't know anyone who shares my interest. It seems as my friends and family get older, they're less interested in music - and/or their all listening on BT speakers off their phone. I enjoy reading this forum and have learned a lot. But actually hearing other systems would be helpful. Also, there are so few retail outfits that sell the high end audio any more, I'm pretty much resigned to buying sound unheard on AG and hoping I chose right.
I was a lone audio nut for decades. lately I just don't have time for it, other priorities.the further down the audiophile road you go, the more of a shut-in you become, because you have to sit inside your house all day to enjoy it.
My wife and I love to listen to music together. I had friends passionate about music but none of us could afford systems worth anything when we were young in college. We all live far distances from each other and I was the only one who was interested in Audiophile pursuits. I exposed my dad and future wife to it at an AXPONA show and they thought it was pretty exciting. Eventually I got my system together and when my dad visits we listen for hours on end (he played classical piano for most of my life). Friends come over and they have fun listening as we talk and all are impressed.
Our neighbor asked if she could listen to a new song she really liked and it turned into a five hour party. I have odd days off and work long hours so it is hard to meet people who are audiophiles but that isn’t the pursuit, it’s to relax and decompress. I manage a lot of people in a social context and need my alone time to recharge.
Sometimes it is counter social too. My wife was picked up by some work friends for an out of town event and I forgot to put the blinds down and they saw my acoustically transparent 12x5’ 4K projector screen on and I was watching the Gold Cup soccer match. She walked out and they were all staring and each said something to the affect, “What the hell is that!, My husband is not allowed to come to your house!” They were serious too. . . Unfortunately one of the couples we have gone out with a couple of times and we really like. We shall see what happens.
What bothers me is that young people are not excited about music anymore. Unfortunately I didn’t have my system put together when my daughter was young and she is part of the earbud generation. We exposed her to a lot of music and she appreciates and is amazed at what I have now but there is no desire to pursue the hobby. The culture of discovering a new band in a store listening to albums doesn’t exist anymore. We spent hours doing those things, there are too many new technologies competing for people’s attention these days and most of them are immediately gratifying so playing the long game of assembling a system is a no go. I think people would be much happier if they could learn to appreciate the present then working to get the best selfie to be the next YouTube star. What happened to putting down the camera to enjoy the scene and revel in it? This is how I feel about listening to music. It’s an activity not a distraction but people have to be taught that.
What is crazy to me is that there aren’t any classes about these things in college, nor do they teach life lessons about how not to get burned by a doctor, landlord, pay back student loans, basic budgeting, and saving for retirement and few classes in music/art appreciation. Can you imagine having a music course and hearing the music on an fantastic system rather than some horrible PA speakers in the auditorium? I bet we’d see a lot more audiophiles. How do we make it more accessible and or expose more people to the hobby?