Audiophile Addiction

I met a man on Audiogon who had a fairly high-end system and he was selling the whole thing off. I asked him why, which is the purpose of this posting, is that he was constantly trying to find the perfect sound from his audio system and came to the conclusion it does not exist. Additionally, he said most often all of his hours of listening were alone, taking many hours of quality time from his family. In addition, he said he was listening to his equipment vs. the music. He is now very happy listening to background music with his family from his AV system. I don't know, I just wanted to share this story as I myself fall into this trap (made me think).
Someone sold me thier (older) system for a pittance because of the same reasons. They did not have a state of the art system, but HAD decided to change thier behavior and spend the time with family in the main living area instead of in his man-cave.
I had a ~150k system that I sold because I had lost complete sight of the music. Audio was a miserable chore, and, as a result, the system ultimately had to go. I'm completely content listening to my infinitely cheaper second rig while I cobble together the pieces for a budget-minded main system. Music is now technicolor again instead of the black and white it was when I had my uber-rig.
I think the best medicine for an Audiophile is to spend their money on music, be happy with their system as there comes a point of lower return and just get your mind off the equipments faults and enjoy the music. I have some friends who are talented musicians and their high end systems are boom boxes, they just fall into the music and could not be happier. Perhaps this is the definition of a true Audiophile.
Hello, I am an avid reader of these forums and I have noticed recently that there have been a few posts regarding this issue. I have to say that yes, enjoying the music is number one. After all, isn't that what got us into high end audio? I do not agree that tweaking your system and looking for that little extra every so often is a bad thing. To me thats half the fun in this hobby. I have to go now, just got my 1000 ohm resistors to solder in my phono stage.
I think a balance between the two poles is a good thing, but it is easy to find yourself out of balance. I realized recently that for the past year and a half I have not been spending enough on music vs. hardware, so I'm changing that. I have to say I'm pretty tame though, especially when I read threads by guys comparing the minute differences they have observed in 5 different brands of very expensive power cords. That is when it seems that perspective is being lost.
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Why music or audio and not both. What is wrong in having two hobbies?

Many posts suggest to not worry about sound and just listen to music. It was even mentioned that talented musicians systems are boom boxes while they "could not be happier". I like it and hope that it will convince more people to sell cheap.
My system is in the main, great room, of our house that connects the rest of the rooms, including the kitchen, and I play music CONSTANTLY. To me it's much better than the idiot-box on constantly.

My kids complain sometimes, but they sing along too, and they can, and do play anything they want. My 10 yr old is very adept at changing records, very carefully with attention played to cleaning them with the brush prior to playing.

I am addicted, but ironically, we all enjoy it, and my kids hear everything from Ella Fitzgeard, Prokeiv, Mozart to Led Zeppelin, The Beatles (whom they all love), Michael Jackson, Nina Simone.
"rest of the rooms, including the kitchen, and I play music CONSTANTLY"

My family complains a little at night.
As a long time audiophile I can tell you this, audiophiles go through many phases......listening to music (which is what got you started in the first place) not always first on the list.

If you stay long term, and get past the listening to everything but the music stage, you will, in the end be happy.

After 40 years I'm happy, and probably no longer an audiophile.......but I do listen to a lot of great music.

My audiophile years taught me a lot, and I'm glad I went through them.

If you can't listen to music and are at the mercy of upgraditis to the point of having to sell off the system to be free of it, you are in way too deep. That's like going cold turkey from a nicotine addiction - pretty severe IMO.

@Hooper -- how did you lose sight of music to the point where your $150k system became a "miserable chore"? Were yo never able to sit down and appreciate what you had put together? I can't imagine it didn't impress at least a little. I've had my frustrations, system analyzing and upgraditis as much as the next audio nerd, but I can say with certainty that my system today has never sounded better, and I'm pretty pleased with what I've accomplished.

What I can say is that listening to the same music over and over again can get quite boring and monotonous, no matter how good it sounds. The cure, of course, is to buy new music for your system and ears to chew on.
he was constantly trying to find the perfect sound from his audio system 07-22-10: Rpg

It's too bad he had to learn a lesson the hard way. I'm not in this for perfect sound. There is very little perfection anywhere. To seek it would seem to be folly. A "satisfying sound" is all I hope to achieve. But even that is not so easy with a High end system. Does anyone agree with me? The performance of a high end system is UNFORTUNATELY sensitive to so many different variables, that putting together a satisfying system becomes a complex process of Applied Physics (control of resonance, vibration, isolation), Electronics (impedance matching, inductance, capacitance, resistance, emi, rfi,) and so on. Oh yeh! and then you need some luck after all the trial and error.
A "satisfying sound" is all I hope to achieve

One person's satisfaction is another person's drivel. Indeed, I think it's finding a level of comfort within compromise
why would anyone choose to spend more time with his family than with a high-end system?
"why would anyone choose to spend more time with his family than with a high-end system?"

I was going to ask the same question.
My time in the man cave is my "meditation" time. Without it on a regular basis my stress level shoots way up! Properly de-stressed I can spend time with the family :-)

The hardware tweaking is fun but ultimately must be in the service of music. My goal has always been to put together a system that can trigger an emotional response when the music provides the basis for such a response... This can be achieved even on a very low budget with proper selection of gear and WORKING WITH YOU ROOM...

i thinnk there is a strong relationship between this thread and the one titled "music vs components".

as for enjoying the music with regard to how it affects you, a table radio is sufficient.

i think you can hear the music in tour head without any equipment and still enjoy the feeling that you are creating an image in your brain of music that you enjoy for its own sake, regardless of how it may sound on a well assembled stereo system.

i believe in the dichotomy between music and sound. a good stereo system can recreate the timbre of an instrument, while a mediocre one may still enable one to enjoy the music.

i can recognize, what i consider "good" music listening to a stereo system that has an imbalanced frequency response, while acknowledging that sonically the stereo system may be deficient in certain respects and my enjoyment of the sound might be impacted.
Music is medicine.
"a table radio is sufficient"

To be able to hear 50% of orchestra's instruments ain't bad. No distracting details - also a benefit.
Loomisjohnson and Kijanki, why have a family at all? I'll bet lots of audiophiles wish your parents had never met! Rock & Roll!!!!!!!!!
Retired audiophiles like retired politicians have fought the good fight and now after all is said and done seek more time with friends and family.

Perfection is in the next world.

Or to paraphrase Suzuki "Your audio system is perfect as it is and there is plenty of room for improvement."

Relax, enjoy, this too shall pass
Kijanki, you also make a good point. I consider my enjoyment of music a separate thing from my interest in hardware, audio magazines etc. Still, I have found that the latter can get in the way of the former.
Having friends as Audiophiles keep me interested.
It would not be near as much fun by myself.
In fact, I probably would never have known the differences in nice systems.Same holds true with the music.
amen, polk 432. my speakers and amps never try to borrow money, get pregnant or want to share their feelings.
I hope your amps and speakers never fail you. Always use protection. I need to find a Polish lesbian...they like guys. Good luck! Happy listening
I personally make an effort to attend as many live concert events as possible to help retain perspective and remember what the sound really is for my wife and I.

By getting out and hearing the musicians we love in a live venue, it then makes our system the bridge for enjoyment between these events.

Enjoy the music.....
I could not agree with this post more....I can still remember the days when Bose used to make me and my entire family so happy..:-(
Rpg wrote: he was constantly trying to find the perfect sound from his audio system

Art Dudley has long been one of my favorite writers in the field, and in the introduction to his review of some modestly priced preamps (HiFi Heretic, number eight, 1987) he made a distinction between hifi as a means of bringing music into your home, and hifi as a "jockishly obsessive exercise where what you have in mind is to keep trading gear season after season, with even new components viewed from the start as mere stations along the way." Paraphrasing a bit to shorten it up, he contended that investing in a mid-priced system--and stopping there--is a perfectly satisfactory way of bringing music into your home. The goal of hifi should be to assemble a real music system you can keep and enjoy, and not be just another pastime you can dump cash into.

A good dealer can really help sort this out, and I'm grateful to the dealer who helped me 25 years agot to 1) define my priorities (pacing, rhythmic drive, tunefulness, and microdynamics were more important to me than soundstaging, frequency extension, macrodynamics, and hyper detail); 2) determine the system needed to meet my level of musical expectation (that is, what level of quality and price was it going to take to keep me happy); and 3) devise a plan of starter system and upgrades over time (as budget allowed) to get me where I wanted to be with minimal loss along the way.

It took three years, but I eventually got my preferred system (all Linn, LP12/Ittok/LK1/LK2/Saras), and it provided musical satisfaction virtually unchanged (job layoff led to selling the Ittok LVII to pay a bill, but I was later able to sell my original LP12 to help fund getting the LVIII/2 and a Cirkus LP12) for about 20 years.

Age and use took its toll, and two years ago I put together a new system, but less systematically and with the priority of "buying American" (in response to the President's stimulus spending plea) rather than focusing strictly on the sonic attributes most important to me. It's not a bad system, and it does some things better than my all-Linn gear did (width and depth of soundstage, image localization, richer tonality, detail retrieval), but rather than satisfy me for 20 years, I'm already getting the itch for change. I think it's time to head back to the dealers, re-focus on what's most important to me in reproducing music, and make a new plan for bringing music into my home.

Avguy wrote: I can still remember the days when Bose used to make me and my entire family so happy...

When I brought home a pair of Bose 301's a few months ago, mainly as something cheap to support the new plasma TV in my bedroom, and found that they made music through my main system more rather than less enjoyable, I realized I had gone awry in assembling my system.
That addiction I'm am finding is true. to combat it, I try to insure time with the family, and keep myself out of the man-cave and off of the computer, as much. Having the music is a great retreat and needed, but family should come first. Your kids will be with you for what in hindsight at least is a very short time. The good relationship of your spouse, can be sweeter than any new gear. Try to bring the family into the music as much as possible, but one yet needs some time and something for themselves as well. It will help to keep you sane and interesting, All things in moderation.
Speaking of good dealers, a dealer once wisely advised me that the hobby is full of men who after many turnovers, arrive at their retirement and sell everything off as a result of psychic burn-out or financial necessity. We saw some of this after the financial crisis of 2008-- and probably from many who were well short of their planned retirement age.

It has been helpful for me to redirect audio restlessness into a light study of electronics and piece-part substitutions and circuit mods. It's less complicated than one might think and the sonic & psychic rewards can be significant. This is a way to think about continuous improvement in a slow & deliberate way without becoming too obsessed. Moreover, as the roots of the high end are in DIY it's a small holding action against the luxury goods mentality that threatens to consume the entire hobby.

While meaningful internal modifications can be inexpensive and rewarding relative to endless component swaps, the grossest addictions may be the so-called affordable luxuries of over-priced external commercial tweaks and cable swaps. Though cheaper than electronics, over a lifetime of purchases these external tweaks can add up to some serious waste. On similar grounds I resist the temptation of a $5 cup of coffee.
It is an indulgence. It can be great fun, but, like any indulgence (wine, sports), you need to monitor it's effect on your life. People often drop the hobby entirely when they simply need to focus on other things (e.g. raising children). Also the audiophile "itch" seems to come and go.
>>07-22-10: Loomisjohnson
why would anyone choose to spend more time with his family than with a high-end system?<<

Some times it's better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you're a fool rather than open your mouth and prove it.

Everybody has a right to be stupid but you're abusing the privelege.
I would much rather listen to a bad system than my wife and squaling children. The family is way over rated. Just keep switching out gear and you will be almost completely insulated from the vagaries of your sad suburban existance.
We need to strike a good balance between this hobby and other things such as family. Whatever you do that is excessive would not be good to you. Like yin/yan, one is more than the other would upset the balance.

I continue to upgrade the components and tweak the system to ensure high quality sound reproduction. I admit that I am more into the electronics than the software. Equipment is the priority in this hobby for me. To the contrary, my friend is more into softwares. He hasn't upgraded anything (except tweaking) for 20 years, but he has been buying so many LPs and CDs. A lot of the older LPs and CDs are just sitting in the shelves and collecting dust since he mostly listens to the new ones.

Regardless of your priority, make sure you enjoy this hobby and balance it properly with other things. Oh, make sure you don't go overboard and become bankrupt. Enjoy.
I'm no audiophile by any stretch of the imagination (and have the system to prove it!), but reading these posts two things occur to me. First (with a nod to Macdadtexas), involving the family can be a great thing; for example, it was my then three-year-old son who turned me on to Radiohead (I bought the cd, but he insisted that we listen to it again and again). Two, I think Jrtrent's post says something important about system synergy. A system that works--and works together--doesn't leave you feeling that you have "work" to do.
"A system that works--and works together--doesn't leave you feeling that you have "work" to do."

True, unless you have Gear Acquire Syndrome (GAS) or Gardener Syndrome (constant need to trim or re-pot)
Enjoy your music followed by your equipment in reasonable moderation, it is a great hobby. Keep it in perspective and perhaps even give yourself a time constraint. There are other more important priorities and if you don't know what they are, you have fallen into the Audiophile Addiction.
that's the beauty of the internet, audiofile. i can exercise my right to be stupid and you exercise your right to call people names and vent and express your unhappiness. enjoy your freedom!
My appologies. My intent was to share the crazy trap I fell in and coined it an addiction, rather, is more of an obsession, spending the majority of my weekends in my "man cave" as some have coined just wasting huge amounts of time trying to squeeze the last drop of performance out of my system, for me, it's just not right. I need to just STOP listening to the equipment and start enjoying the music and simply be happy and greatful with the system I have. I'm chasing a ghost. Again, my appologies, I can see and understand my poor choice of words.
Addiction is a bad thing!!
I'm not an audio Addict, I'm not an audio Addict, it's all of you.

You're all against me, I don't have a problem, you all have the problem with my superior audio system

Everytime you have this urge to buy new tweaks, accessories or equipment, just give that amount of money to your wife, children or donate to charity! :)
"Everytime you have this urge to buy new tweaks, accessories or equipment, just give that amount of money to your wife, children or donate to charity!"

Everytime you have this urge to buy new tweaks, accessories or equipment, just give that amount of money to your wife, children or donate to charity! :)

My wife makes her own money, so I spend on myself, so my money equates to my own satisfaction. Like most here, I by lots of music, all records, but once in a while I will do a minor upgrade or tweak, and over a longer period of time, a big upgrade, but rarely. Addiction, well to family first, music second, when the wife is out of the house I am in the music room listening to my recent thrift store or e-bay finds.


Do you really believe in Audioquest that much?

Hello there. I often get asked this. Too bad you have wrongly associated my moniker to equate to a relationship to Audioquest cables; in which case I do happen to like some. I can see where it could appear to seem that way, like a tattoo.

The main purpose of my moniker relates to the purpose of the many who deem this a hooby and a journey to achieve musical bliss, no matter how or to what means.
Audioquest4life equates to a lifelong search for that quest of musical satisfaction, hence my moniker name equating to a lifeling search for musical enjoyment. Something I will never stop doing. So I am on an audioquest for life, just like the knights of the round table, looking for the chalace, something that might never be found.

I was hoping it was that. But you did walk into it. I sincerely wish you and I the best of luck.

You only live once.

"I sincerely wish you and I the best of luck." Same here. I have actually tried a new phono cable from Silver Breeze that I will be writing a review about in a few days. A great phono cable to say the least.
Interesting article by Robert Harley in this months Absolute
Sound that parallels the first posters experiences. Not quite to the same extent but certainly along the same lines and focusing on the having ones system accessible to have everyone listen to it. Bringing music back into the living room like it used to be. Simply listening to the music.

It certainly doesn't need to be an A/V system though!

The idea that a high quality system can be out and enjoyed by everyone is a HUGE step in the right direction for Audio
and High End Audio in particular. The thought that it is for music enjoyment for entertaining, family, laying around reading, etc makes the proposition of having a quality music system very appealing to many "normal" people and one that shuld be beaten like a drum from coast to coast in every lifestyle magazine, every blog about style, every new
story about family living and what makes a home tick...etc, etc.

This is the direction of High Fidelity Audio. Not tweaks, not the "man cave", not the exclusionary nature that so many feel, not the crazy flavor of the month chase. A high quality music system for the home. Why? Because music matters. Simple as that.

Jrtrent wrote: When I brought home a pair of Bose 301's a few months ago...they made music through my main system more rather than less enjoyable.

Avguy wrote: I can still remember the days when Bose used to make me and my entire family so happy.

Thankful and glad you both mentioned it. I resurrected a 12-yr old model last Feb and thrilled with the results. Am feeding it with endless music.