Rich, Its a hobby, its not the holy grail. Focus on music and when that and fly fishing, or downhill skying (etc) get boring, you can always take up knitting. :-)
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I think we have all felt like that at one time or another...at least the most crazy of us (I am certainly included in that group). I am about to go into steady state as far as my system is concerned. It took me a while to figure out what "I" like!!! Yes, it took a lot of trying gear, and cableing, and isolation devices, and racks...and...yad yada yada..and no..my system is not perfect. But it is to the point where I am very pleased..and I would like to focus on other things. The only thing I would change is to a more dynamic speaker (Big MBL's or Big Von's)...but that is alot of money and space I don't have right now...so I am done. In my curreny salery range, I have gotten as far as I am going to get (which to be honest is not that far from where I want to be).
IMHO it sounds like you're trying to find a source of happiness/contentedness/accomplishment externally. simplify! meditate! spend time alone in nature! find joy in the MUSIC, whether it's coming out of your system, a transistor radio, or the mouths of babes. easy to say, not so easy to do, as even on my simplified level (used to have a system about 12K or so) i still have to fight the urge from time to time. it's a form of addiction, and if it is significantly and negatively affecting your life (and it sounds like it is in your case), take the necessary steps for positive change. the merry-go-round will not stop for you, so close your eyes and jump off. BTW i don't mean to come across as in any way critical of you. you suffer from terminal humanity.
does this sound more real to you..." no matter what I buy ,or how much more i spend i cannot find the sound i want or am looking for"....
Trying to run away from your problem or taking a break will improve your outlook(on nothing)LOL....it will certainly not get you the sound you want.Keeping searchng, it's out there.
Rich, I know exactly what you mean. I went through very similar feelings of hitting a wall; spent too much for diminishing gains. I reached a point where even though the system might be 'better' in some audiophile respects, I wasn't really enjoying the music to any greater degree.
A few things helped me. For one, I cleaned house and got rid of things that were fuelling obsessive behaviour more than bringing respite. In my case, I unloaded (horreur!) my vinyl and accoutrements. Yes vinyl sounds better, but the amount of use didn't warrant the storage - and I was buying vinyl I'd never listen to...
Then; major break through - I threw the T.V. and all AV stuff out of the den as well - mostly I just channel surfed anyway.
Downsized to a good CDP with a nice integrated and tasty monitors...
At the same time I did work on some Zen things to try to break that cycle of restless acquisition; enjoy the moment, instead of thinking ahead, waiting on something better to come along...I highly recommend Eckart Tolle "The Power of Now" on that score. The title might sound like the usual pop-psych pap, but it is truly deeper and simpler...
Can't claim a cure, but in remission. Just in case I sound smug...my wife says: "Every time you decide to simplify, it costs me money!"
I recently experienced a similar feeling. After much contemplation, I decided to "simplify" my system to ease my nervosa.
I kept my Exemplar 2900 front end. Sold my Pass preamp and amp (that was hard to do) and replaced them with a Cary SLI-80 Signature Integrated w/ NOS tubes.
Thought I'd have to sell my Revel F-30's because surely the Cary couldn't drive 'em.
Well, my downgrade was no downgrade at all. I pocketed a bunch of money, the Cary drives the hell out of the Revels-even in 40 wpc triode mode!- and my system sounds better than ever.
I guess I'm lucky that my "downsizing" brought more musical joy and money into my life. Zen? Contentment?
Not quite, but a pleasant surprise.
Good luck in your quest.
Yes, I've slowed down and simplified. For the most part I simply got tired of chasing something that I could never really identify. I also found a sound/system that I like a lot (!) while also realizing nothing is perfect so why look for it. It also helps if you can find a brand that you like the sound of that builds a full range of components and settle into that kind of system. For me it was Audio Note. A relatively inexpensive pair of speakers, some good wire, an integrated amp, AN digital, and music. Good and good enough. I'm sure I'll always have an interest in audio equipment, but I've found something that gives me immense pleasure musically and I'm going to stick with that for a long while.
Anyway, for those with cash to burn that doesn't mean that they should stay on the merry go round forever. All of us should have an interest in many things in life and not obsess over any one thing.
One thing that you could work on if you get the itch soon is the room. That's an area that I'm sure most of us can make inexpensive worthwhile improvements.
Let me add that if indeed you don't know what to do with yourself without the audio chase then it ia clearly time for you to move on and expand your horizons!
I believe, we are led to believe, that what we have is not good enough. Isn't that what advertising does? We always have to have better. Isn't that what the stereo mags and tv advertisements tell us? What you have is not good enough.You need to have this now. Luckily, I too am off the merry go round. I found what I was looking for and simply stopped! Why am I here? AHHHH.....Now for the second system!!!
It reassuring that I am not alone. I have taken some baby steps. I have boxed up my Stereofools and Absolute!. While I am still on Audiogon, I mainly just read the forums. I think you can still be part of the community even without the strong urge to upgrade. I rarely go to the ads anymore. It sure looks like others(Panderso, Danlib1 etc.) are futher along the Zen road than myself. But, already it feels good. As yes, I agree, audio as with anything in life, must be engaged with balance. Guess, sometimes the weighes on our personal scale changes, which causes us impliment action.
I have more or less stopped buying--even as I look at this webpage 1 or 2 times/day. I think that I know the sound I want--live--and I do not think that I can get there regardless of how much money I might spend. Like my system very much. Listening makes me more than content, it makes me happy.
Can't really ask for much more.
music live and or recorded is the answer to burnout.change your emphasis to software. go back to the music when you were in high school. dance a little. finding a great peice music is every bit as good as a new peice of equipment. go to a night club or a symphony. don't worry we'll be here when you get back. get an ipod!
After 35 years or so at this "hobby" I went crazy when I first discovered Audiogon. It was great fun trying out new gear every few weeks. Things I thought I'd never buy such as DACs and $200 (list price) interconnects were in and out of my system. I actually had three fairly expensive DACs in my possesion at the same time trying to figure which one I preferred.
That ended nearly a year ago. I've still made a few changes but not like the madman I was. It's great to be off the treadmill and back on solid ground. Listening is a pleasure, that is where the reward is. Good luck.
I'm with Newbee--it's really a matter of looking at this as a hobby. Try this, try that and learn something new. I started out in hifi when Stereophile and TAS were not in bed with the equipment manufacturers (at least not overtly). Then you could at least count on an interesting technical piece to learn something new or grow to know and understand the listening preferences of a small stable of reviewers who shared their assessment of different products in an unvarnished fashion. Now the mags are only good for the pictures--every piece of gear is the next best thing and you, dear reader, just got to have it. So now the hobbyist must rely soley on experience to develop any kind of expertise. The joy is in the journey, not finding some final resting point of perfect sound.
One other thing that keeps me in the game--the secondary market that has been created by Audiogon allows you to track the depreciation of your audio assets on a weekly basis. It's like watching the stock market move but you know it only goes in one direction--down. For those of us with limited means the only answer is to turn over equipment to preserve the value it represents on the market. If I were to hang on to the same gear for 10 or 15 years it would be worthless at the end of the day and I would have to start over. Who has that kind of capital?--not me. If I buy smart (low) and sell right (before the depreciation scale begins to head south) I can continually "upgrade" my system without putting in significant funds. I'm a teacher with a paltry income. My teacher friends marvel at my audio system. In the rare case where they ask how much everything cost I tell them first what it would have cost if I paid retail ($13K) and then what I actually paid (6K). Then they want me to put a system together for them for the same money. It took me 15 years to get here--it didn't all happen overnight. So, to conclude, there is no holy grail--just different sounds from different gear. Yeah, the hobby is fun. I've learned a lot over the past years. And, you gotta be on the merry go round if you want to enjoy the ride.
I agree with comments about MUSICAL JOY. If you can find a musical lover's system you will probably better happier than with a super analytical system which reveals faults in the system, recording, etc.
The best advice I have gotten so far has hearing ability in 5 steps:
1) Listens for bass.
2) Listens for tonality - bright, warm, etc.
3) Listens for detail, soundstaging, and all the typical stuff in audio mags. IMHO the road to perpetual unhapiness.
4) Listens for PRAT.
5) Listens for music. The opposite of "technically perfect / musically dead" where ALL you hear is the system. As a generalization, studio monitors which tear the music apart so recording engineers can mix tracks or whatever.
Personally, I am getting into DIY 1) for the sake of learning and 2) because I can tweak the sound the way I want without having to what for Antony Michaelson's latest brain fart. Reading Stereophile is fun because I can learn how companies design their stuff and why.
Having a musical system is key. In my garage, I have an old Sansui receiver & pair of B&Ws, all purchased from thift stores (<$30.00 total) When a great songs comes on, I turn up the volume...no, it is not hi-fi, but it lots of fun.
I guess, in many ways that is why there are burned out audiophiles like myself. At some point, it stopped being fun. It least the gear part. It is no longer fun, looking and buying something only to be tired of the gear a couple months later.
There was a post by someone a while back, or perhaps I read it in the archives during a search, about two types of personalities...a "satisfier" and a "maximizer". The satisfier will buy something of good quality and be happy with it while a maximizer will buy something, perceive flaws(real or imagined), and continue the search for something ever better. Since the search never ends, the maximizer is never happy...rather a sad way to spend(literally) a life when you think about it, but to each his/her own.
If you want to get into the zen aspect of things, or at least the buddhist approach of south asia and/or tibet, then you'll find that "desire" is the root of all evil & unhappiness. If you can eliminate desire, or keep it in it's place (a desire in itself...hence the difference between "try" and "do"), then one can be a much happier person. Seeing the audio equipment game for what it is (substitute cars, golf clubs, boats, motorcycles, or any other material-mania for "audio equipment") helps....it's just a churn of consumerism fueled by "desire"(real, imagined, or imposed)...primarily someone else's desire to own your next dollar(actually your labor)...and most dollars after that. Whatever the item being pushed might actually be is just details. If you think of a bunch of enron-type fatcats sitting around a board room table dreaming up ways of flooding the market with some gizmo and then building a plan to build an "aura"(real or most often imagined) around the product to fuel desire...such that, in the end, they make your money, their money, then it tends to toss a little water of the desire end of things. Images of continually shearing a herd of sheep (your the sheep) also helps. Anytime someone takes a 5 dollar piece of wire, puts some lipstick on it, and marks the price up 7000%...that's shearing sheep...bbbaaah.. aaahhh, but that's just me... :-) ..sorry, I'm off on a bit of a tangent here, it's early & the coffee is kicking in...everyone's mileage varies.
No disrespect intended to the producers pouring their hearts & souls into designing & building equipment. My hat is off to them as they do some fine work & they should be paid for it.
Yes. Buy records.
They all sound different and that's the way they were meant to be.
When you upgrade the hardware and get into $$$$$$$$ territory don't you find it strange that you either have to sit on the edge of your chair with that "now I hear it, now I don't" thing going on in your mind or else you have to lie to yourself about how great a difference in sound any given update makes just to remain part of the audiophile gang and not feel like a sucker?
I have also been an Audiophile for over 35 years and also was co-owner in an audio salon. I burned out once and did not have a system for three years. After that time I slowly began to realize that external pressures as in, Stereophile and Absolute Sound and Audiophile friends with their crash and burn system changes, put me directly on the upgrade treadmill. Don't get me wrong, I was willing to do so and it was ultimately my fault, but it had to change. I slowly rebuilt an Audiophile system that was hand picked by me, through the experience of listening to equipment that satisfied my sense of nirvana. I lived with that system for six years without a change. I recently seriously upgraded and isolated the A/C in the system and speaker and pre-amp and cabling were also upgraded. I am truly satisfied with system before and after the upgrade and continue to listen to music two hours a night. I still read Sterophile and Absolute and still have audiophile friends, however; I think I have matured and keep the external influences in perspective.
A friend of mine recently worked for Harman International. With his employee discount, he put together a honkin' Levinson/Revel system (well over $10K retail). Then he got downsized. So, he sold all the gear and replaced it with a stereo Tivoli table radio and a Walkman (about $300 retail).
He still had surprisingly good-sounding music, and a fat wad of cash with which to pursue a new career in antique clock repair.
Me, I've only just now hit The Wall. I have as much, and as high quality, equipment as my budget can afford and my room can accomodate. Unless I win the lottery and/or move to a bigger house, there's no sane investment I can make in my system. I'm trying really hard to relax and just listen to the music. And there is a Zen to it, the Zen of not trying, which I only seem to acheive at the worst possible moment, like this morning, when I absolutely had to get out of The Chair and go to work...
While I am not burned out, I do try to be careful not to go crazy and spend big bucks on the "latest and greatest". I try to stick with a game plan.
That said, you may want to take a look at vintage gear. Buy yourself a nice 70-80's receiver like a Pioneer, Kenwood or Sansui, some old Advent speakers and a source and just enjoy the music. Very nice sounding, inexpensive, great build quality, and great to look at.
I started out in 1965 or so as a teen.
So I have been around awhile.
At this point I am just wanting to have some RELIABLE, equipment, that sounds ok.
I have been recently (last two years) buying up LPs (14,000.. then tossed 3,000) and just since December 2004 gotten about 300 Jazz CDs also.
I like to tinker a little bit with the equipment, but try to keep anything that is pretty good sounding for a long time.
i do go in cycles where I decide to start looking for something... but no too often.
The last group of items were all Phono stuff. (all from the goN')
My current system is satifying to me.
If I had to pick one area where the Audiophile community has gone 'nuts' so to speak, it would be cables, and powercords.
The other problem is 'state of the art' at $20,000 and up.
The manufacturers concentrate on the small super high end and seem to ignore the middle ground. If they invested as much time in creating $1K to 2K products, they could sell a *ell of a lot more of them...
"O yeah, the ZEN part:
stop listening to the equipment.
Never try to judge the sonics.
Listen to the music."
Well said Elizabeth! I enjoy this hobby very much but I am much more sane about it. I was truly out of control for a while buying and selling and trading. It truly got out of hand when I started buying music for recording quality instead of music I actually wanted to hear. I then called it quits for a while and sold everything but a bedroom system which consisted of a NAD Integrated and some Signet Speakers.
I actually listened to nothing else for about a year and was happy as I was enjoying music again. I then purchased my first home and had a den all to myself. I turned it into a listening room as I decided I would step things up a bit. I purchased an Electrocompainet Integrated opposed to seperates and a single box XA7Es Cd Player and ran a balanced connection. WOW! The music got much better and I did not spend a fortune.
Well, I have upgraded since then but my Cary SLI-80 is with me to stay along with my Sonus Fabers. This is a big step up from the NAD and Signets but I am still enjoying my music. That was what pulled me into this hobby to begin with.
I think it is all about finding a sound that is pleasing to you. When you have it, you will know..
Ah yes. It is a destination for those with the resources to go out and buy the sound they like from dedicated audio stores. For the rest of us on a budget it is a road because usually there are audible improvements to be had everywhere in our systems for a few hundred dollars more in every department. Preamps, power amps, cables, and any sources you care to name. I don't think there is any one of us "budget" audiophiles (I use that loosely because we all spend more than we should) who hasn't heard marked improvements in each area but can't afford those upgrades.
This means we are not happy with the sound we have. It is also amazing to find out what a difference cables of all kinds make.
It's especially unnerving to find that even power cords make such differences. We are talking about people who spend a few hundred to a thousand dollars on components who cannot afford $500 for a power cord let alone enough for all the equipment.
For such people it does become a journey and a long one at that. Nonetheless if you embrace soldering and changing capacitors, wire and opamps you can achieve a great deal of improvements to your systems. Making your own power cords from you tube videos put out by the manufacturers of power cords also helps a great deal.
The best budget preamps are old counterpoints, classe, threshold, even anthem pre2l is a good preamp. Power amps are another matter. Old thresholds are good but must be pure class A. I found an old LLano hybrid that sounds very good but these are quite rare. Tube amps vary but EL34 based amps have little bass so kt66 or kt88 are better in the under $1000 department. Also don't expect lots of bass from a 40w tube amp and higher watt tube amps run above the $1000 mark to be sure.
The best combinations are tube pre and ss amps or SS pre and tube amps. These can all be tremendously benefited by changing internal wiring, capacitors and binding posts to better quality. For example if you see plastic binding posts on a power amp change them out to Cardas nude copper and you will be amazed. Likewise changing coupling caps on tube preamps also net amazing gains. Changing poor volume controls to alps is also a major improvement for most preamps. Changing internal input and output wiring to mundorf silver-gold or just plain silver wire helps incredibly at times. On interconnect wires you can try making your own but hookup wire just really doesn't cut it. You just have to buy and sell from audiogon to get interconnects that work well. Expect to spend $150-300 a pair for these. Source to pre and pre to amp of course are the most important. Pro silway ii work well as do used DH labs silver revelations. I was able to make a good IC from upocc wire but it only works well with overly bright equipment. I am a fan of synergistic research but these are generally just a bit out of price range. Still they are wonderful, especially the active looking glass or kaleidoscope models. It may help to re-terminate a number of these with a hot iron and cardas or wbt solder. Often with age the connections are not as good on used interconnects and this really helps sometimes. You need to get a cheap heat gun and some shrink wrap. It is easy to do. For sources let's just talk dac's at first. Computer based files are where everything is going but you still need a good dac. I find that many older dac's such as the adcom can be improved by replacing the ad711 op amps with modern lm49710 or others. this makes old DACs first rate. Even the cal sigma II can be a great dac with the right tube rolling. There are some good modern tube dac's for cheap and although I've not heard the channel island audio or music fidelity lines they seem to be a good place for reasonably priced dacs. A trick you might try is to use upocc interconnects from the dac to pre. These take away a lot of the harshness of the dac signal. If you get a tube preamp this will help also.
A cheap way to go computer is just use windows and a free music program like music bee and just burn all your discs to the computer. If you get a decent sound card with optical out you can send it to your favorite dac and you will find this to sound pretty darned good. Try a few different optical cables though. Even the polishing on the ends or the plastic vs glass fibers can have audible differences. I find optical is better than USB in my application. As an aside it is just another oddity that differences can be heard in USB cables as well. Although these are not as great as with interconnects they are there.
So, in the end if you are able to read a circuit diagram if you can get your hands on one you can change out capacitors, wire and op amps for cheap. This will net the "budget" audiophile the most gains possible and you will be very pleased even if you haven't reached audio nirvana.
Budget speakers are the most difficult to talk about as there really is no such thing. You can attempt to get older good speakers but they will never sound as good as the newer drivers and new speakers now available designed with thiel small parameters and better technology available today. You must diligently read reviews and of course hear before you buy. Expect to spend about $1500 for a good speaker either monitor or tower. Right now the LSA2 tower looks like it is a good value fore the money. Monitors however do not produce enough bass and I have not been able to really experiment enough but I have never heard good matching of subs and monitors that can be had for small sums of money.
That said, a good 23 liter enclosure can produce good bass. I made the madisound rediscovery with scan speak revelator woofer with a slightly different cabinet and the results were astounding done with silver wire to the tweeters and better capacitors and inductors than the kits. The cardas binding posts I added later made a large improvement in bass and detail.
In the end the budget audiophile can indeed find a good degree of audio nirvana but expect it to be a journey for a good long time before you will be satisfied with the sound of your system otherwise take $15K and go out and buy good sound. It can certainly be had for around that price. Who would not like to go in with $15,000 in hand to a nice high end audio store? Kid in a candy store? You bet!
it's all psychological. some have a strong need for achievement. audio is one hobby where one can attempt to achieve something.
it's probably not the gear but rather the praise from others that satisfies this need.
most people are other directed and that is a problem.
learn to become inner directed and you can eliminate n
it also helps to have some insight into ones motivation.
too many people have no clue what they want. thus they chase their tale, never finding satisfaction. they lack introspection and have no idea who they are.
the burn out issue also sounds like a symptom of obsessive compulsive personality. get some help.
I was burned after 20 years of struggle to find perfect sound system. I went to all hi-end audio stores and shows to find the best sound system. Once I found the perfect one, it will be a final destination of my quest for sound. Money was no object! I'd save money for many years for the perfect sound. However, I found out that money cant buy the perfect sound system! What do you do if you were disappointed with best sound systems (>$200k) in every shows and stores? Those sounds will not be my final destination. They didnt satisfy my ears. 100 years of research and development from so many people and companies, this is it? I thought there had to be a perfect sound system to satisfy my ears! I am afraid there was none. So, what do you do? Give up?
You build one! Finally, I built my own speakers which sound better than anything I heard in last 30 years of searching for sound and I am very happy with my sound system now!
Many very observant and relevant comments here.
"Fishboat", I especially liked your following comment:
If you can eliminate desire, or keep it in it's place (a desire in itself...hence the difference between "try" and "do"), then one can be a much happier person.
And "Nosusaural": very practical and useful information contained in your post.
After attending RMAF last year and recently listening to several audiophile buddies systems, I've come to believe that the neuroticism associated with all the very fine details of this hobby have a way of hampering our enjoyment of why we do all of this the music. I enjoy music at my local audio store, no matter the setup and my buddies audio rooms sound quite good, so much so, that when I'm there, I don't miss my setup.
My rig is quite resolved. Could it be better: yes; do I stress over the whether the cables are off the floor or not, or how I hold my mouth when I set my Tri-Planar/Dynavector XV1s down on a slab of vinyl spinning on my Galibier Turntable, heck no!!
What I'm trying to say is that I have come to believe that we audio enthusiasts stress too much over subtle changes/gains that we oftentimes express as being huge -- notwithstanding many of the postings in Audiogon and we fail to enjoy the music because we're listening to our amps measurements, our systems cables, and fretting over whether our stands are handling acoustic energy properly, or whether we believe our latest new toy is up to snuff, or not.
I really believe that most of us that have been immersed in this hobby for at least a few years, have much more in common in terms of what we believe is "right" than otherwise. Far too often I feel we're disagreeing about nuances rather than really meaningful differences, or as others have said, are chasing the holy grail of audio, when there really isnt one.
For example, my son and I recently went to a buddy's house. He collects & repairs early 20th century radios. While at an event involving like-folks, he acquired a pair of 1950's NOS raw 15" drivers with a tweeter mounted in their center, with 1 capacitor apparently acting as a crossover. Not having a clue about speaker design, he quite randomly mounted these drivers in the first enclosures he found in the Parts Connection catalog & did no tweaking. Surprisingly, they did more things "right" than otherwise. Hes driving them with a pair of Fisher tube monoblocks that he acquired for a song (no pun intended). My son & I focused on the systems positives, which were much more than its negatives and enjoyed the music.
This whole hobby should be more right brained than left. Most of us arrived here from a great love of music. We simply want to have the performances be as believable & emotionally moving & involving in our homes as we can make them. Measurements & other's experiences help designers get close to that end, but our ears and emotions are the final arbiters of what's "right". Can what we have be better, you betcha'! But that defines the human condition doesnt it -- always wanting more.
There is a fine line between constantly chasing "better" and being satisfied with what we have and experience. I really believe we get much too caught up in the chase because that's what we find easy and fun to do, but we also need to focus on simply enjoying what we have and in the case of audio, the beautiful sounds & music that most of us are presently experiencing & enjoying!
My last purchase was to go in the "other" direction and "settle" on some Marantz Reference line components and in the end, I'v got the best sound that I've had so far. Throw in some basic power conditioning and different ICs and I find myself wondering what all the fuss has been and where my head's been at, or up. :-)
I think I've got this all behind me as I still have my older set up and am in no hurry to sell it, which I find strange. It just sits there, gathering dust, probably as a reminder to myself that they were never the brass ring but sure did look the part as I went 'round and 'round.
Funny how some "mainstream" components that proper audiophiles wouldn't deign to listen to can give one immense musical satisfaction. I think that while everyone's been eyeing the latest and greatest out there, advances have been made that've enabled some makes to more than catch up and depending on the price point, surpass the esoteric brands.
All the best,
I'm a vintage lover so cost is relatively modest for me. However I routinely have my purchases rebuilt/upgraded. But I also resell some components albeit usually at a loss. I love tinkering with the gear to bring out it's full potential. It's a big part of this hobby for me. Some of that old stuff gives sota a serious run for it's money. I'm picking up a pair of Infinity Kappa 9's in great shape tomorrow except the woofers need new surrounds which I will install myself. My Roy Esposito TNT200 monos will have no problem making those Kappas shake the house! I love big dynamics. When my JBL 4345's on steroids are finished I may have to reinforce the foundation! I'm changing them up with 2206 mid-bass and 2441/2309/2310 compression drivers and horns/lenses. It's not as much a quest as it is an adventure. Otherwise there's no fun in it:)
The time i enjoyed the music the most (and therefore listening to an electronic device the most) was when i was challenging myself to try playing the piano better every week. although i never got good enough to play Bach and Mozart, the mere ATTEMPT in trying and seeing what it would take, the energy and commitment involved, made listening to live as well as recorded music a hundred times more enjoyable. and furthermore, the sales manager of a local audio store once told me that as long as it was "fun", buying and improving one's system was a worthwhile endeavor. But, If it became too expensive or it resulted in too little gain to do the upgrade, that was a good time to take a break.
Right now i would like to explore Iranian and Middle-Eastern music as
i have heard and liked some of what i have heard on the radio. there's ALWAYS something new out there to inspire, and its not always a tube or a tweak.