avoiding component purchase mistakes: part 1

i have been thinking about buying and selling. there are a lot of items for sale, both on ebay and audiogon.

it would seem there is some dissatisfaction with component

the purpose of this essay is to present some ideas to minimize purchases of components that you dislike after a short period of ownership.

1) understand who you are--your personality. try to be objective. there is a relationship between personality and preference for sound. for example, the continuum stimulus avoidance--stimulus approaching can serve as an indication as to what characteristics of sound you might not like. see if there is a consistency between components you sell and where you see yourself as one who is stimulus avoiding and stimulus approaching. examine your personality to see if there are conflicts between your traits of personality and your equipment choices.

another example is the relationship between need for achievemnt and upgrading. there may be other examples.
introspection saves $$.

2) obtain facts about products you are considering for purchase, especially inrelationship to an interfacing component. some of this stuff is elementary, so forgive me if my examples are redundant.

buying a tube amp for an electrostatic speaker ? one of the concerns might be its ability to handle a 2 ohm load.

buying a super efficient loudspeaker, e.g., some horn designs, while own ing a 200 watt solid state class a amp ?
there may be a problem. too much power/current and you may have a problem with your preamp, depending upon its gain.
avoid component mismatches by calling manufacturers and get the facts,.

3) separate marketing, spin, hype and other attempts at persuasion from facts. watch for the use of words that contradict each other in the same sentence, or words which confuse a description of a recording with that of the sound of a component.

don't be influenced by the use of "best" or "better" than the competition.

don't have unrealistic expectations of component performance and don't be too influenced by reviews.
Mrtennis thanks for the thread.

If I may I would like to interject some further thoughts. I like many do not live in NYC or near a major metro area that make auditioning products feasible. I too often have to rely on opinions in order to make equipment buying decisions. For the most part this has worked well but I have been burned a time or two and not necessarily by the seller but by my preconceived notions, sometimes gathered in reading reviews. For instance a pair of Martin Logan Sequels that I heard in a listening room some years back and fell in love with (filed under the category of I will own a pair of these one day)did not at all work well for me in my room and with my gear and I took a bath when I sold them. Money gone, lesson learned. So, I would offer the following points that may seem "elementary" as you put it:
Listen to as much as you can and when and where possible listen to equipment in your room through trial periods or borrowed equipment.
Read reviews and comments with a grain of salt. If someone owns a piece of equipment and is currently playing it in his/her rig they want to believe they made the right choice in buying it so they become natural proponents. To me people are more objective who have had a piece in their rig and moved to something else or who are able to make direct comparison between competing products through experience. But you have to be careful there to because no one wants to admit they moved on to something inferior. After you read enough threads the reviewers/commentators begin to become somewhat familiar to you and you can begin to see some patterns to their comments. Some will ultimately think like you or close to you while others will not. This takes some real time to establish these patterns though. Put even less credence in the rags reviews, they are starting points only as far as I am concerned. You never know what their agendas are (can you say advertising dollars?). Another thing that works well for me is to buy nicely kept equipment used, that way I can ususally live with a piece for a while and if I want to try something else I can get my money back or close to. If you are doing this very often I think a subscription to the audio blue book is a must to have a good idea what things are worth. I try to buy only from people with established feedback here or on Ebay and usually stay away from a "good deal" if there is little feedback to go on as a seller. So, I pay to audition equipment but the cost is low, with the exception of the aformentioned Sequels!
LOL, this is kind of like getting advice on sex from a virgin.
whew, Hey Viridian...I almost skipped this one until I spotted your 'pop'.

thanks for the laugh.
Please, please, please don't post a Part 2!
Here comes MrT,>>>>
one out of 4 isn't bad. as far as getting advice from a virgin. perhaps the virgin is a virgin for a reason and evaluate the advice on its own merits, regardless of the source.

i will post part 2, but no one is twisting your arm to read it. that includes you 9rw.

a little psychology is good for the soul. psychobabble anyone ?
I am Married, I am blessed with a disfunctional family and an idiot boss at work. Viridian still got it right.....psychobabblebabblebabblebabble...
"there is a relationship between personality and preference for sound"
And that is?????????????

Any examples Mr. T?

Pushy people like lots of bass.
Analytical people prefer metal drivers.
Liberals go for planars.
Conservatives go for the "button down" British sound.

Your turn.
So, I am waiting to buy a real good sub-woofer when I finish the re-model, I own electrostats with in one room with my Kef(British) 405 referance speakers in my living room, my plasma is NEC which I have used countless gadgets to 'fine-tune' it and my amps are tube.

I sir, am a 'progressive'.
Unclejeff. No doubt, you own an Irish Setter named "Jake". Smoke a pipe, but only late in the afternoon as the sun begins to lay heavy over the lake. You think wistfully of your mistress, so young and so far away. Your thoughts are broken by your wife rattling dishes as she prepares another dinner in an endless stream of undistinguised meals. You reach for the remote and turn on the NEC plasma. Chris Matthews' "Hardball" comes on. You search for ESPN and finally find it. You wife asks you if you want a glass of wine before dinner, but the basketball playoffs are on and you fail to hear her.

Crap! I take it all back! This stuff really works? You can tell a lot about a person's personality from their choice of gear.
consider the dimension, introversion extroversion, or stimulus seeking, stimulus avoiding.

the type of sound preferred by each would be different. i think it is obvious what the preferences would be for such individuals.

consider also, your category, that of being analytical.

if you are an analytical person, you would want to analyze.

a high resolution system would give such a person plenty to analyze. veiling would be boring for both stimulus seekers and those with an analytical bent.

i think these examples suggest that psychology is a useful basis for helping to explain sonic preferences.
This is a very important post and one that can be answered very easily in my IMHO, find a good dealer that will help you, guide you and hopefully you will avoid some of these mistakes. i.e. horns with 200watt amps.

Running Springs Audio
Imperium Acoustics
TRaD Labs
How about liberals like tubes and conservatives like solid state?
Fundamentalists take it a step further with digital amps.
Meanwhile ultra liberals go for S.E.T. amps.

That ought to get the ball rolling :-)