Absolutely! Many days, especially when looking at a pic of a cool integrated, I long for just two boxes. Oh well, maybe someday.
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I've only been at this for about 8 months. I have old NAD equipment and PSB Image 2b speakers. Not much money involved. However, tonight I was alone and listened to Sweet Honey and the Rock. I could hear all the distinct voices, breathing, diction, I could tell the placement of all the singers, and I was thrilled with the depth of overtones and the richness of their voices. I love it and hope I keep my gear simple so I don't get caught up in worrying about my equipment. Having said that, I hope those who get as much enjoyment out of tweaking and upgrading as I do listening, keep it up. Without them I wouldn't be learning nearly as much from this site.
You bet! Need a smaller room and time to just listen. SET? But even that involves tube rolling, etc. Lower the old standards? Maybe that's the ticket! Forget about trying for absolute accuracy and shoot for absolute simplicity. A nice integrated combined with a nice cd player and a couple of monitors. In a smaller room, that could be just the ticket. There is some nice stuff out there. Shoot, if you have the right cd player with a volume control, you don't even need an integrated and could actually work off of a couple of mono blocks. CD only. Could work. Makes me wonder.
Sounds like my office system or something like it. CAL-CL-10 direct to Berning Microzotl to Sequerra Met 7 monitors. Great for a small room, with headphone capabilities as well. About $2.2 k on the 'gon, including LAT ics and T-14 Silversonic speaker wires. If it was a main system, you could go with Berning ZH-270 (2 input amp w/volume) and Merlin VSMs and an Audiomecca or or EMC 1 box CDP. You could do lots worse for way more $.
I've just gone through that process, replacing a stack of separates on a big rack and floorstanders with a one-box cd player, monitors and (gasp!) a receiver.
It's a more satisfying system in several ways. It doesn't dominate the room or, more important, the experience of listening to the music. It cost less, and the things I've spent the difference on have all been a lot of fun.
Most surprising, it sounds better. I don't know how to explain that except, perhaps, by assuming that aiming a little lower got me newer gear that benefits from advancements in the technology and that I've paid attention to the recommendations here on Audiogon, leading to some good choices.
When I made the decision to downgrade I consoled myself at first, telling myself it was an 'interim' system. (But, then, they all are, aren't they?) Instead, I'm really happy with how it's all worked out and I'm enjoying the music more, not less.
Yes, I think the process of simplification can be the solution to a general over-involvement with the gear. When your objective is reduced complexity, refinement is key to avoid compromises in any area. For me it cost more to get less, but the result was well worth it.
There is no denying the thrill of the chase for great audio equipment. But when you get to the point of "the minimum amount you have is the best you'll need", the value once held by audio magazines and dealer showrooms is gone. I enjoyed the journey and felt a little depressed when I arrived.
I've done that! I've used a high-end CD plyer w/ built in volume control connected directly to a pair of small mono-blocks (either solid-state or SET) powering a pair of monitors on lead/sand filled stands. Excellent sound in a moderate sized room, but only a single source component. Bang for the buck is VERY high!!
I also sometimes use a small tube integrated amp/ CD player setup.
I pay a lot of lip service to this idea as I cruise the web looking for More Audio Stuff. While my system may not represent Henry David Thoreau's ideal to any non-audiophile observer, I always try to focus on using the least to get the most. This hasn't extended to integrated amps and monitors, because I want things from my system that this approach doesn't provide. However, I have stuck to the notion of a single source, two channel, no bi-wiring, no subwoofers and no more electronics than are required to do the job.
I really identify with Rny's sense of depression when you realize you're all done. I'm practicing at reorienting my lust for the hunt onto music rather than gear, though. There's no prospect of being "all done" when it comes to fulfilling the real point of this hobby, and no music collection can ever be too complex IMO.
Yes,done just that!Woke up on the wrong side of the bed,looked at the audio rack and said your outta-here.Put together a small bedroom system with a big fat fleshed out mid-range that calms the soul,very happy,for now?JVC-XL1050Conrad-Johnson MV-45AMorel Monitors JPS Superconductor-2 Am I done,for now yes!!Good Luck,It can be done....
Interesting commentary. Sounds like we all struggle a little with the idea of simplicity. Obviously I still struggle with it. The one component I have not searched carefully for is speakers. Early on I ended up with some Tannoys and so far I've been happy with them. But at least I'd like to shop around and let my ears hear the options. I was considering a pair from the Tannoy Prestige line which is said to be a step up from the line I have. One speaker I'm looking at, the Yorkminster, weighs 135 lbs. each and are huge. The idea is appealling, but I wonder if I'll kick myself later for not getting something more manageable.
I can totally relate to what Rny said about reaching the end. I made a deal with my wife and so until October I can't change out any components. But there are so many I haven't tried yet! It's depressing. Sure, it's simpler not to be spending time demo'ing stuff, but my curiosity gets the best of me. I miss the journey.