Do you listen to equipment or music.

This Blog got me to thinking about the subject:;postID=191909277...
In the past I have spent hours listening to the same part of the same song just to fine tune various components of the of the audio system. I even move speakers and listen - move them again and listen more. Sometimes I wonder what I am doing. Whatever it is, when I get into this mode, I am not listening to the music.  It would be nice how the community feels about listening to music or equipment.
Universal problem, I think, for all serious audiophiles. We all do what you have done,to some degree or another, and we quit when we have optimized our systems potential, but , even then, when we put on a (new) disc the first thing that we notice is it’s audio quality. The real sickness begins when we can no longer listen to recordings that don’t live up to our systems potential even though the music is great.

Good point. I think 'listening to the equipment' comes and goes..   
Particularly when one has been buying new equipment!  
For example, I had the same basic setup for eight years, with Magnepan 3.6 speakers, The only changes over those years, were a few new interconnects.  Then I got the bug to maybe buy new speakers. So after thinking I went all out and bought the most expensive I could afford, Magnepan 20.7   
That got me started on a bunch of upgrades. And all the time listening TO THE EQUIPMENT.        
New CD spinner, whole new to me upgrading the duplex, all in even the conditioner internal duplex..     new PC cords   etc...    
Now almost a full year later, A year filled with lots of small upgrades after the two main upgrades: speaker and CD spinner..And finally I am down to just moving power cords around, adjusting the resistors on the speaker midrange. Still. always LISTENING TO THE EQUIPMENT. But close to stopping the nonsense of listening to the equipment, and just getting back to listening JUST to the Music.   
Now in-between, certainly I was enjoying the music, but also listening to how it sounded, so I could make some adjustments. LOTS of adjustments.   
SO I am getting back to JUST enjoying the music, finally.    
I think one has to occasionally listen to the equipment just to keep up on does it sound as good as it did? OK , But not too often. Seems more like noticing something is off.. What??    
And then like me, buying new stuff. One has to get it set up right. That requires listening to the equipment.     
There are folks who call 'listening to the equipment' a curse (I have!) where one gets stuck endlessly listening to the equipment, judging it, always. That is a problem for some folks. It is possible to stop.  
Then folks who claim they never do..  who somehow magically claim they have never listened to anything but the music. Maybe they have no stereo, and play in a band?? or orchestra??    
"Listening to the equipment' is an insult one audiophile tosses at another. SO it is recognized as a negative. But a necessary one at times.
I do believe it is necessary to listen to components at certain intervals or when changing out or inserting new pieces into the system.  While I have moved beyond this, I have had times when I did nothing but listen to the equipment.  I listened to the same music repeatedly.  I, frankly, seemed to find more joy in evaluating the system vs. listening to the music.  I am not sure that is wrong if that is what a person wants to do.  I am just pleased to now be regularly listening to the music.  I have even found that doing such has resulted in a broader appreciation of music genres. 
Elizabeth, I am duly impressed, not only with your equipment but your ear for listening that reaches as far as resister adjustment.  You must now be finding joy and amazement in your listening.
I found the best way to return to listening to the music (as opposed to analysing equipment it was being played upon) was by playing those songs I love the best. The songs with the greatest emotional significance to me.

For example, classics like James Taylor's Fire and Rain, Joan Baez's Diamonds and Rust, Nick Drake's Magic, or Joni Mitchell's Answer Me, My Love etc are so enjoyable and compelling that sound quality concerns more or less disappear. These tracks sound great through anything, even a flat screen TV. 

The only time I get a little frustrated with sound quality nowadays is when I'm driving. The system in the car has always sounded a little washed out and lacking dynamics, and the CD player is broke.

So I'm stuck with FM radio with it's crass presenters and endless traffic of bad news interruptions - non stop Brexit waffle. Classic FM is my current favourite because there's more music and less news and talk. It makes many others here in the UK seem Ill mannered.

Even better, once in a while they will play a piece of music so compelling as to forget the poor sound quality in the car - it can happen! I guess if a piece of music really moves you, it can break the audiophile habit of constantly analysing and remind you again why you got into this pastime in the first place.
I got carried away.... All I can say.                      
What makes it easy to 'adjust resistors' is I am crazy about clarity. Most of the upgrades go to more clarity. The downside of many clarity creating things is in addition to getting the clarity, one loses some midrange, going lean sounding. So I am always on the edge of the system sounding lean. With that problem, the things that take it out of lean to neutral, maybe even a tiny bit rich, are easy to hear! (when they work) In particular, the midrange resistors for the Magnepan speakers are NOT to lower the sound level. they make the midrange richer. more mid bass, more mids, less lower treble, the resistors change the midrange tone. So it is actually easy to hear the difference between (having narrowed the range from 0.5 to 2.0 with cheap resistors) to using Duelund CAST in pairs to get 0.95 ohms. 1.0 ohms. 1.1 ohms. and what is in the speaker now, 1.05 ohms (pairing  2.0 ohm with a 2.2 ohm) I am pretty sure the best is either 1.0 or 1.05 ohm as of now. The increments of 0.05 ohm are pretty easy to hear IN THIS SITUATION. So I do not claim golden ears...Just sayin'.            
Also... One way to break 'listening to the sound'.. is to listen to poor recordings.  Like right now I am listening to Miles Davis Birdland 1951. The sound is bad.. LOL but great music! So worth listening to. certainly NOT for the sound quality. Certainly one needs to like the music, but good music with not so good sonics is one way to break the habit, even if temporarily, of listening to the sound.
Music, but if there's something glaringly wrong with your equipment, you'll be unable to enjoy the music. For instance, if your system is fatiguing, as often happens with solid state amps or mediocre DACs, you'll find yourself either not listening often, or swapping components in and out until you find a configuration you can live with.
johnspain, what you're doing, listening to the same track over and over, while ubiquitous and I'm sure will be staunchly defended is nevertheless one of the worst habits you can get into. I know I'm in the minority, but who cares when you got Mikey Fremer in your corner? Yeah. Michael Fremer. 

Not that I don't ever play the same thing twice. Playing one cut last night it hit me that its been a while since I demagnetized and so I stopped, demagnetized, and started over. Huge improvement, of course. But I didn't do it for that specific reason. To compare. I did it because I want to hear the whole song beginning to end. I never, ever in my life would subject myself to the torture- the ineffective, short-sighted, stifling, sucking the life out of the experience monotony of playing the same track over and over and over again. Pretty sure I dropped 10 IQ points and forgot two sound critique terms just thinking about it.

Where was I? (See what I mean?) Oh yeah: audiophilia nervosa. This is the term you all are looking for and its a real thing. Building a long term musically satisfying system calls for mastery of some pretty technical listening skills. Then on top of that there's a whole lot of applied physics and acoustics. Then as if that wasn't complicated enough there's all these shysters clamoring to convince you their morphic field polished rocks yada yada blah blah blah. When at the end of the day what we really want, supposedly our reason for doing all this, is to get the toe tapping. Real easy to lose track of that. To find yourself so caught up in dissecting technical details you lose the ability to just sit and relax and let the music move you. Of all the pitfalls, and there are a lot of them, this may be the worst. 

That being the case, surely whatever you can do to lessen the likelihood of this awful outcome you should do. One of them is to stop playing the same old same old over and over again. Play music you love. Play it because you love it. Because you want to enjoy hearing it. Never play it just to prove a point.

That's what I do. The way I figure it, its nice to know the rose is made of molecules, but zooming in to that level ain't never gonna tell you zip about how beautiful it is. Step back. Relax. Take it all in.

Don't waste any more time than you have to listening to equipment. Listen to music. The more what you hear feels like music, the better the equipment. Period.
My equipment allows me to listen to more than the music. I’m listening to the microphones used, the room, the mix, the eq, the cutting of the disk, the pressing. When it all comes together it’s audio nirvana. I’m at the point where I’d rather hear a superb recording of a bad polka band than a horrible recording of the Beatles. 
Hey all... just getting back into the music thing after 25 year hiatus. I am in the process of building a vintage Marantz system.  After reinstalling my "out of storage" mid 2000's system and hooking it to something call "You tube" on this thing called the "Internet" I have discovered all kinds of cool stuff.  But to the point of the string.  My goal is to have one room dedicated to a complete system with one chair in the middle of the room and it came to me.... It will never be right.  If I am play Kampert, or Styxs, or Polka or this LP chick I found on "da Puter", it will all sound different and it will never be adjusted correctly, or am I wrong. On a side note, look up LP and her song "lost on you"... wow.... oh... also "the HU band" out of Mongolia with their song Yuve Yuve Yu... really cool stuff.
So I’ve had a system for about 35 years. Each time I change a cable or a component I take some time to listen for the changes.  Then it’s back to listening to music. Been doing this since I started putting together a system.

I don't listen to the equipment unless I just got new piece, but I do sometimes listen to as much of a sound as of the music being played. I know my system very well and don't have to re-evaluate it.
I also compare different vinyl pressings from time to time, this is fun, I always try to have the very best sounding pressings. With some it is like big system upgrade, the difference can be striking.
One does not have to sacrifice either clarity or fullness and musicality. This is not easy to achieve but it can be done.
Now that 90% of my listening is from streaming on Tidal, I find myself listening to only part of a particular track, then move on to the next one. When I was spinning vinyl, I would listen to at least one side of an album, then with CDs I would listen to a complete album before changing to another CD.  

So I have found that I need to sit back and at least listen to entire tracks, "sides" or, even entire albums again.

Anyone else have this issue?
I was very satisfied with my system for many years. Then for some reason my Dahlquist DQ-10's piezoelectric tweeter started sounding screechy. I started to listen to the bass response which could be lacking at times.  I was more and more listening for the DQ-10's  failings and successes at music reproduction, not the music itself, after all these years 

The more I couldn't help but listen to the speakers, rather than the music, the more I realized my old friends needed upgrading. Mind you they sounded pretty much the same as always.  I just couldn't listen to only the music anymore. 

I'll shed a tear for them when my Magico A3's finally arrive this month. They've always been sitting near the corners of each living room in every place I've lived, like bookends, old friends, for the best part of my life. (credit to Simon & Garfunkel). 

I had not changed any major audio equipment from 2012 to June 2018 and just enjoyed listening to music.

But from July 2018 to January this year I had spent more than 15K$ to change components and cables.

Now I am getting close to the sound that I had wished.

It is about time to go back to enjoying music.

I also bought more than 300 red book CDs for last two months.
The more audio modes  and filters ,a processor has, the more you are switching from one to the another : 2.1 - 3.1 - 5.1 - 7.1 channels -dolby atmos - DTS X - PEQ - speaker crossovers -  etc. 
My processor has all of this and I am never completly pleased with the sound.
My solution is to connect good headphones ( Focal Clear ) to the source. NO ADJUSTMENT  .Then, I can concentrate on music.


Happiness comes when you don't give a rip what others think about how you listen.  :) 
You're listening to music when it's right, equipment when it's not. Getting to the "right" is the journey.
The music sometimes isn't "right" (meaning meeting my personal criteria of rightness) due to weird recording engineering or strange production preferences, and that's only clear because the equipment I've fussed over reveals it. 
Newbee's comment +2.
You beat me to it.
Post removed 

Now that 90% of my listening is from streaming on Tidal, I find myself listening to only part of a particular track, then move on to the next one. When I was spinning vinyl, I would listen to at least one side of an album, then with CDs I would listen to a complete album before changing to another CD.
So I have found that I need to sit back and at least listen to entire tracks, "sides" or, even entire albums again.

Anyone else have this issue?

Oh yeah!

That’s a very commonly expressed "problem" with ubiquitous access to music, even from non-audiophiles.

It totally happened to me. Once I ripped my CD collection and could stream it via iPad control, I really loved the experience. Then I added Tidal as well, so a world of music at the finger tips. But as much as I started with great awe and enthusiasm, it wasn’t long before I noticed exactly what you did: With all that instant access I found myself sampling, sampling, sampling through the music, and often not listening through even an entire song. I’d save songs to favorites fully intending on going back and listening to them. But often enough, because there was so much to explore I’d never get back to listening to the albums and tracks I selected, and would spend the night cruising through possibilities, exploring. As I’ve said before here, what started as enthusiastic exploration turned more in to restless listening sessions.

Getting back in to vinyl is what cured me of this. Once I’ve decided to cue up the system, turntable, select my music, I pretty much always listen to at least a whole side of an album, if not the whole album.
This is re-enforced by the fact that, recognizing I don’t want to spend time skipping tracks only to a few good one on an LP, it changes my buying habits where I’m making sure I actually like the majority of an album before purchasing the vinyl. (E.g. sampling on youtube/discogs etc...I go for some pretty rare stuff that I’d never find on Tidal).

I have this huge collection of ripped CDs, and Tidal, that I rarely get to these days as I’m too busy being thrilled whenever a new record shows up that I’ve ordered and spending a while listening to it.
I'm afraid most of you didn't get the memo... it's ALL about the music.

Equipment can be forgotten in a burst of new music in a millisecond.

If it were ALL about the music I'd still be listening to my 1972 Minimus 7's (hey, they had a lifetime warranty)! 

Can anyone here truthfully say they have never listened to the equipment?  It's highly unlikely--how would you choose one component over another or decide to upgrade?

I'm afraid most of you didn't get the memo... it's ALL about the music.

Apparently you missed the memo too, or did you not notice you joined a web site devoted to audio equipment? 

Both. When I’m tweaking or changing components, I’m listening to the equipment by comparing it with what it sounded like before. When everything is set and I’m not tweaking stuff (rare, but one of my personal goals) I’m listening to the music and enjoying it. 

One must spend years listening to the equipment, until they get it right; I spent time listening to "speaker wire" and then I went from there to "interconnects", next SS amps as opposed to tube.

I decided at the beginning that I wanted a speaker that reproduced whatever it was fed without any sound of it's own; that meant a custom speaker with a crossover designed by a "crossover engineer", which I have to this day.

Last but not least has been "room treatment"; now I have the "holographic sound" that I sought from the beginning, now I can listen to music.
One must spend years listening to the equipment, until they get it right; I spent time listening to "speaker wire" and then I went from there to "interconnects",...


That sounds like drudgery.  But, to each his own.

I wish to thank everyone for their thoughtful and in most cases courteous responses.  I freely acknowledge that there is a time for listening to equipment. I have spent a lot of time trying to get the right pieces that ultimately complement each other.  I also know that there are other factors that can impact the sound that cannot be fixed by components.  I realize that I will not be able to just enjoy music for the rest of my life without periods of system adjustment.  I also freely acknowledge that in the past I have become obsessed with adjustment and had to make myself get back to the joy of the music.  It is a fact that there may be some that just want to tinker with the equipment.  For those of you that fall into that category, I hope you find the joy in tinkering that I find in the music.
Thanks again to everyone
Sometimes the problem is not the equipment but the pressing. When I was at college in the mid 60’s one of my favorite albums was the John Mayall Bluesbreakers album known as the Beano album. This was some of Clapton’s best playing. A few years back I bought a copy off Amazon and it sounded so bad I only played it once. I didn’t realize it was a bogus copy. The music didn’t rise above the sound quality. On the other hand some music I prefer to listen to on the car audio system. I like to listen to SRV in the car cranked. However it is a very expensive CD because before you know it your driving 40mph over the speed limit.
Well the only time I listen to equipment is when I repair something for another person.  That allows me to know how my system sounds to a variety of components.  So far, I am very happy with my system but I did recently upgrade speakers same brand but the new models.  I sold the old models but the guys has not come to pick them up yet and I have not even taken the time to swap them out.  Once you learn what exactly where to make the change in your system, and how to make your system sound like you want it to, then you can stop listening to your equipment.  Happy Listening.
Biggest fun I had was when I was comparing a few power cords. But very short fun. It took 30 seconds or less for each of four to hear what there was to hear.
wolf_garcia, agreed; although my 'approach' to 'audiophrenology' may be considered 'fringe' to an outright travesty in choice of equipment, cables, ad infinitum.  I generally listen to the music, since What I employ to do so pleases me enough.
Any equipment variations of my own of late currently lean more towards signal control vs. 'quality'.  That detail can vary so much that one notices more the variables in the process of engineering, the source of the selection and how it was created, and where I found it...
....but that's only IF I'm cranky enough to pay attention to it...*G*  If I'm 'just listening for entertainments' sake', I can blow it off and just enjoy myself.... 
However, if I've completed a new pair or set of the DIY speakers I've completed, all that gets tossed.  Then, I'm listening Hard, the 'puter's are Up, and the serious analysis takes place.
Ultimately (and IMHO...well, perhaps, Not so H...smirk*), the quest for perfection is a solitary goal.  One 'hunts' or not, if pleased where one finds oneself; until you're not.  Then budget, SAF and tolerance, and the usual bevy of variables comes into play.  If one is lucky (or not; your call on the IRL opinions of others), you've got local 'audioholics' to opin on your 'arrangement.'
In that regard, I'll consider myself my own worst critic.  As for the rare 'listener' I host, the great majority have NEVER heard anything approaching what I'm about....
...and it's just my Hobby.  For now.... *s*
@prof  yes, listening to equipment can very easily become a laborious chore where you easily find yourself going found in circles. I have nowhere near the self discipline or the methodology  required to keep it meaningful.

It's better if you have willing friends to help you, most likely audiophiles. But even then we hardly ever went beyond 20 minutes or so before the urge to put on an album and listen purely for pleasure took over.

Apart from that time when someone put on a Northern Soul album ... luckily the sofa was very comfortable and I could easily allow myself to nod off for it's duration.

Prof, it was drudgery, but that was the only way to get it right. Now I find it hard to read a magazine in the listening room when music is playing because I'm so drawn to the music.
Asvjerry..."audiophrenology" that the act of using audio to explore the bumps on your head? If so, I'm all for that.

I will note that audio equipment doesn't work without music, although test tones can be utilized even though they're often difficult to dance to. Anyone who fiddles with their rig (you know what I mean) compulsively isn't necessarily gifted with "Golden Ears," that person is likely simply compulsive and may have an ear wax issue...and that's OK also, although I've found those people to be disturbingly less fun, and, after all, the world is there to provide me with just is. The "imagined tweak benefit" crowd of religious zealots are also less fun due to their zealotry, but they have the swarming buzz of hyperbole festooned fellow Seekers to provide the necessary backup, bolstered with 30 day return policies...otherwise most just like and trust the sound of whatever base they landed on and can't be bothered with "Quantum" magnetic place mats, or compulsive fuse direction swap stress...and those Lumpy Head explorers are always more fun.
Many years ago I had a audiophile friend who was a complete equipment junkie. He couldn't get more than 30 seconds into one track without stopping to take that CD out, and insert another, and repeat the 30 second process all over again...Talk about annoying!
My head lumps tell me I like clarity. Not so much bass... Classical first, Jazz second, Rock third. I must have acquired a new lump sometime in the 1990's to suddenly like Jazz, 'cuz I never had any interest in it prior...
Both- until one reaches his destination while traveling along this Audio journey. Happy Listening!

Heh, when I upgrade I always throw some of my older tunes on. I need to hear what it was I heard before and it should be better. I think were all guilty of that one.
Also sometimes one is listening to the tinnitus! ...              
Or the pressure on the eardrum from a blocked ear canal tube. Ever have an ear 'pop' and suddenly everything sound better???


Right On! I received my Jazz lump 15 years ago. That was a sweet day fast forward (ed) to present date. I never looked in my rear view mirror.

I still enjoy Pop and Rock (Classic/Hard/Metal) in smaller doses.

Happy Listening!

I've been in high end since 1963. All audiophiles listen to equipment then if there is any time left--music.

Back then what were the battles?
Mono vs. Stereo
Consoles Vs Separates