Anyone Totally Content With Their System?

Thought this might be fun. Is anyone out there totally content right now with their system? If so, what is your set-up, total cost and how long did it take you to get to this utopia? I post this in the "Speakers" forum because that is my particular obesession for some reason.
Ag insider logo xs@2xitball
If we were totally content, why would we be perusing AudiogoN? No good can come of that!

I can always think of something bigger and better, however...that does not mean I'm not "content" with the components I have put together. that said, I am not just a music lover...I'm also an audiophile. An audiophile remains in a state of flux forever "because he's having fun"....system changes are part of the fun and the reasons for those changes need not be for any reason of non-contentment...usually only to explore new things.

For the last year (and more for some of my components) I've been enjoying:

Kinergetic transport
Counterpoint DAC
Audioprism Mantissa tube preamp
Rogue Audio tubed monos
Apogee speakers
VMPS subwoofers

This system can be put together for around $6,000-$8,000....larger rooms required because of speaker system setup.

Two Channel: Totally content with system. In all honesty, my speakers/sub are more than I have the right to ask for in a roughly 28 foot by 18 (partly 24) foot room, domestic setting. Many pros wish they could afford this kind of setup for daily use at work. Fortunately, I don't need a console and a bunch of other costly mix gear for playback - so I can afford to put the bulk of the investment into the speakers and room setup.

I plan to make some further room acoustic treatments to treat long reverberation times in the sub 300 Hz range and then I'm completely done for two channel....yup I can die happy!

I plan eventually go full 5.1, and I seriously doubt I'll go further than that (6 or 7.1).

5.1: Currently missing a center channel. Philosophy is same as two channel: must be high quality timbre matched speakers (otherwise I see no point in 5.1 at all, after all, who wants cheap sound from five directions, I'd rather have the best sound I can afford from two directions first, then work up from there!). Since my 36" HD TV is CRT, I'll have to replace that first and install LCD/plasma before putting more than 22 pounds of driver magnets anywhere near it.... a rather big and costly step, which will take time, as there is no urgency.
I know my system is a compromise but a very good one for my circumstances, music tastes etc. I don't feel the urge to buy something immediately, but I am interested enough to track the developments. This way I hope I will be ready when the right opportunity for the next change comes, which could happen without warning. Nice thread topic. :)
I'm there, I got there by:
Amps: Krell>Pass Labs>Manley>AES(Cary)>Odyssey>AES(Cary)
Speakers: B&W>Paradigm>Forest>GMA
CDP: Sony>Jolida>Resolution Audio>Jolida
Cables: AudioQuest>VH Audio>VirtualDynamics
All my selections were done in my room with my system, it is the only way I have found to have a clear conscience on my selection. In a couple of instances, I chose a new piece over an existing piece only to learn that the new piece just didn't sustain my interest like I remembered the old piece to and I returned to the old piece, my amps were one such example. The speakers are what I built it around, I believe in finding those first, then building around them, they just had that sound, that decay, that air that I like. The other great breakthrough for me was the addition of a preamp in my system vs. running my old CDP direct to my amps (with analog volume control). I'm going on two years with my amps and speakers and about a year on all other components.
Itball.....I share your obsession....with speakers. I've been building them for several years. My answer to your question is 80% yes and 20% no. It depends on the recording. I can do things with my speakers to adapt them to the music I enjoy, but not all the music I enjoy. And so I am constantly critial and ready to change something in the enclosure or in the crossover to make things better for a particular recording. It is rare for me to just sit back and enjoy music without second guessing my setup, but I am closer than ever before. For me speakers will always be a compromise based on the music I play, but I get the chills more often than I used to, and I can finally just sit and listen to my system.....80% of the time. So why am I shopping for power cords?
I have one reference system which always sounds good and I leave alone. It was assembled in 1996 and sounded fantastic from the first note. It has been left untouched except for a new cabinet this year due to old the TV being replaced by a new Plasma screen. The system is Cary SLI 50 (30W class A vacuum tube integrated amp) with Triad System 3 speakers which include a powered woofer(sealed box time aligned 2 ways 89db @ 1 watt), Chicago speaker stands, wired with RadioShack non terminated speaker wires, Sony 608ESD cd player, stock Sony interconnect, and plugged into a cheap power strip. It cost one tenth of my main system but sounds better in some ways and is musically satisfying and exciting. I use it as a reference for my other system which I constantly futz with to see if what I did made it better or worse. I definitely agree with Sogood51's audiophile definition and that fits me.
it is hard to be content with a stereo system when live music is so much more satisfying. after attending a recital of acoustic performances, i have no interest in listening to any stereo system for a while.

stereo systems are a distant second best to the real thing.
consider the chain:

live performance---recording---stereo system---listener.
it is hard to be content with a stereo system when live music is so much more satisfying. after attending a recital of acoustic performances, i have no interest in listening to any stereo system for a while.

not my experience at all. I often go to a live performance and I am frustrated with both the audio and the quality of the musicians playing...a great live performance is rare local occurence compared to the quality of what you can find at the music store.
Well I've attended a lot of recitals and listened to a lot of small jazz goups, including at Shelly's Manne-Hole, and I'm always amazed at how close the sound in my room is to that I remember.

I am content with both stereo and 5.1 audio, but I want to determine if moving my Sony 36 XBR from between the front LR speakers improves the depth of soundstage. Setups with really outstanding soundstaging always seem to have the speakers farther into the room than I can without blocking access, so this weekend I hope to find out how much if any improvement there is in removing the TV.

And that brings me to my point of discontent: Size and configuration of video. I plan to replace the 36 XBR with either a 70" Sony SXRD RP or a plasma/LCD combined with a pull down screen for FP, depending on the result of the experiment this weekend.

11-28-06: Shadorne

it is hard to be content with a stereo system when live music is so much more satisfying. after attending a recital of acoustic performances, i have no interest in listening to any stereo system for a while.

not my experience at all. I often go to a live performance and I am frustrated with both the audio and the quality of the musicians playing...a great live performance is rare local occurence compared to the quality of what you can find at the music store.

Shadorne, are you talking about live ACOUSTIC performances like Mrtennis? If so, then maybe you have an amazing system. If you are talking about a live ELECTRONIC performance, then you are not talking apples w/ apples.

IME, a stereo cannot approach a live acoustical performance, and I agree with Mrtennis. However, I have heard electronic performances that are poorly set up, with poor amps/speakers, that I feel I've heard better at home. I can agree with you in this situation.

Post removed 
being content with a system, and enjoying listening to music are two entirely different things. it is posible to be a music lover and an audiophile, but hey, i can enjoy music coming from another home, my AM car radio, or my wife's table top in the kitchen with god knows what stacked in front of it. when it comes to my systems, its more about cool equipment that resembles (by definition)high fidelity. when the mood is right, the last thing i care about is the sorce.
Lets just say I was untill I took a 17 year old pre amp out of storage and put it in the system to test it so I could sell it. :(

So the journey begins again.
Shadorne, are you talking about live ACOUSTIC performances like Mrtennis?

Absolutely, the real live symphony orchestra, opera, ballet, quartets and such. I will be the first to admit that the visual and spatial cues of real music in a real live venue are more REAL than from a stereo system but real does not for me equal better enjoyment if good seats, great acoustics and great musicianship are all too rare and performances are very expensive. A $20 CD makes me very content with my system and I think it is a great bargain compared to the mixed bag that I get live....not only can you get better quality sound but you get to pick the best performances from the best artists and bring them home. Furthermore you can hear more detail with repeated playings....something that you only get to do live if you actually are a musician yourself.

If I lived in Boston or Chicago then I admit that I might feel a bit differently. Perhaps I am too jaded by the quality of performances widely available on CD compared to the local symphony orchestra - perhaps it isn't fair on these local artists that they have to compete with World's best on a $20 CD...but that is the way it is.
I have to admit - I am very content with what I have. Really! I have auditioned many, very expensive systems and I feel no need to upgrade!

There is probably something wrong with me...

Dewald Visser
By and large I'm content with my modest system. Granted I want to upgrade my speakers, which still sound good, but has a few things I wish they did better (clarity, soundstaging, for instances). So I'm taking my time as I want this particular upgrade to be truly something better, and not just different (which I think happens more often than not). Once that happens, I think I'll just "kick back" and enjoy the music.
I am content! I have found great satisfaction in the system I have right now. That said, I think my priorities in life are changing too. So, put the two together (really liking my system now, and changing priorites) and this is resulting in great satisfaction. I would not dream of spending the amounts of money I used to spend (which were fairly modest given some of what you see on this site) on this hobby anymore.

Good to see more happy people. I have to admit I enjoyed my time with all the components I have had over the years. I know that owners of very high end systems will slam me for saying this but major improvements are elusive, above about $2K on any component... I think diminishing returns kicks in pretty hard. Yes ultra expensive stuff does sound better....but for 100% more cost you tend to eek out only 5-10% more performance out of it.
Second "old" rig is for contentment. The main rig is always like a mood ring on crack.
For the first time ever I am completely content with my system and until recently I thuoght such a level of content would be unattainable for me.
Two things I have learned.
An audiophile probably won't ever be satisfied untill he discovers exactly what type of sound he personally prefers.This might seem easy and obvious,but I think that it is not, really.And,at least for me,I think it takes a good bit of trial and error.
Secondly,and this is crucial,what will make you happy must be defined by one's self.No one else can do it for you.Not some magazine guru (or internet) or some illussory notion of "neutrality" or "accurracy" posited by others.
I think you have to live with different equipment and your mistakes and then be fortunate enough to find what clicks for you.
One other point.I disagree about minimal return on investment in expensive equipment.Some designs are fundamentally different and better in an exponential way.Some can really capture the magic and essence of music like others can't.And when you finally hear it,you know it.
If a piece of equipment or system is truly different or special it will reveal that pretty quickly,and it won't require intellectual effort for that realization.It will grab hold of your senses emotionally,the way the real thing does.
Pretty much what Clfcarney says... But to add to that, I think realistically the only way to totally satsify you everytime you flip those switches on, it must be 99% of what you expect to hear in your mind for that specific recording coming out of that system.. Bass too lite, To heavy, too forward, too thin, too blended, all add up to you not being totally content. Its cause your brain is expecting one thing, and that is normally correct, so don't second guess yourself, if its wrong sounding, its just wrong, and not what you expected, and if its not what you expected then in your mind always something will be a miss. If your an audiophile than admit it or not your a perfectionist.

It might be impossible for many to gain that balance in every single type recording, but some systems (very few anyway) seem to somehow magically make even those recordings your tired of mainly because they just never came out how you wanted them to sound, and brings them back to life.

When you can finally say it is not making me think about it you have achieved something. Thats when you get to hear the music again, and stop trying to pinpoint tone your electronics, cause they don't matter, the media your trying to play is all that matters.
This hobby is fueled by discontent. If we were all satisfied the high-end audio industry would dry up and blow away. As it is, it relies on a very small customer base to maintain its faint pulse.
I believe that the people who are content with their systems don't visit Audiogon and certainly don't read these threads. They are playing their Bose Wave systems in the background while they do other things to amuse themselves. Some may even read words on paper.
If any of us were truly content, we would vote ourselves off the island and turn our attention to matters of consequence.
I am content with my system. It allows me to fully appreciate the artist. When all is unmasked, every voice inflection, and turn of the bow is heard.

You said it best!!! I could not have said it better!!
Do you mind...I will copy & paste that on all of
my for sale ads from here on out. :o)
I will have to admit, I am pretty content right with my system after a major overhaul of upgrades.(New Amp, New transport, New Cables) I also have had the time to sit down and listen this holiday which has been nice. But knowing me, this will change.. LOL..

I really enjoyed this thread and the great responses..

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!