Is downgrading the new upgrade ??
NO! Never has been in any era. Looking forward to reading the comments posted by those who may feel otherwise. I am sure "opinions" abound.
Seems to be the trend these days. Reading about it more and more. Not just audio- homes, auto's, vacations, and many others.
There's downgrading and there's simplifying. They are distinct. Your high fidelity system is nothing more than a possession. At different points in one's life your ideas and feeling toward your possessions can change, sometimes dramatically. It actually would be somewhat strange if over time your opinions and feelings didn't change. Of course, as audiophiles our systems are a reflection of those opinions and feelings.
A wise man changes his mind, a fool never.

Facts change and as a result, the way I see things change. Conceivably, I can see myself never listening to a quality rig again. As circumstances and fortunes change, one has to adapt. Granted, these are extremes I am alluding to but, somewhere in the middle of those extremes, there is room to go one way or the other and still have satisfying sound.

All the best,
By downgrading do you mean a cheaper system? At one time I had a system whose retail worth was $100,000. My current system is $18,000. The current system sounds much better in every way. So i have downgraded the cost but upgraded the performance.
There is a feeling of uncertainty in the air and not just because it is an election year. Everyone is aware the economy is not getting any better as deindustrialization sets in, unemployment increases and taxes continue to rise. It does not matter how low the interest rates go, people will continue to become more conservative with their purchases and continue to scale down to a more manageable household economy. The question is, how low can you go?
I agree with Onhwy61 and Nonoise. The more enthusiastic you become the more infantile mistakes you make. Your strive for better performance and sound builds your addiction and leads you to an unjustified expenses that are very similar to Gambling Compulsive Disorder and once you're there, it's hard to convince You, the victim.
I would certainly recommend to use term Rebudgeting instead of Downgrading.
Agree with Arh. I have been in this hobby since the 70's and the most important thing I have learned over the years is that higher price doesn't necessarily mean better sound.
Probably a smart move for many.

Musical enjoyment may often need not necessarily suffer.
Arh and Sidssp have it right. You can invest the savings into hard assets make profits and buy higher end things for the price of the old purchasing power their money once had. I sold an 07 Mustang Gt for 18K after driving it for 3 years (bought in 06 sold in 09) paid 26K for it. Got 18K back, bought 10oz of gold @ 9k, sold it 3 years later @ 18K so I drove my Mustang almost 3 years for free. I put the other 9K into my stereo and wish I would have invested all 18K into gold instead, but now I won't have to upgrade.
I believe as you become a seasoned audiophile you can do more with less you also know what sound you're after
In my case you go with used equipment and look at building a system which components have a good synergy
as a committed cheapskate I rarely buy something unless it is below market value. this is true for all things, cars, houses, audio gear, lp's etc. This allows me to build on my savings so that my audio gear really cost very little compared to it's market value. In this I am sure I am not alone. S
o downgrading, down sizing etc is just cashing in my audio chips so to speak. But as already been stated- beware when the fever hits! slow down, think hard, sleep on it and talk to someone(unless it is such a deal and time is of the essence). then drive safely and pray you are the first one there...
Integrated amp, source, speakers. Seriously, what else do you need to enjoy your music? I'm through with all the extraneous crap that doesn't one bit of enjoyment.

I agree with Rrog's deindustrialization statement. Just today I heard some commentator, or maybe it was a political figure, talk about covering the east coast with manufacturing facilities the way it was 50 years ago. My thought was, what reality does this guy live in? I don't know where we're heading, but it sure ain't there.
All the high-end uber expensive gear did not deliver as promised. People have wised up. Most of it was just a con.
Rrog makes a good statement. Landing on Mars is one on Mars is another.
...we all make good statements here and not only about donwgrading. educating mass that goes after advices of certain dealers to spend 5 figures for home audio can bring the prices of equipment down for all so that is of an importance to bring this kind of propaganda to the public through the forum and chat media as a matter of fact.
"Right-sizing" might be a more useful term to describe achieving ones goals, even lofty ones, with less.
Apart from the downsizing issue, which for me is not relevant, I think downgrading your expectations can be profitable and free your mind to concentrate on the music.

When you always search for the 'best', within your budget of course, you remain fixed on the sound of your system. If you were to intentionally select components for synergy alone, i.e. 'I like the sound and that is good enough', you can relax and focus on the music. You know there are better components out there that could sound better. Could......but then you no longer care. Yours is good enough. The only thing you really lose is bragging rights.

That is what I've done anyway. Works for me. Oh, when I do feel audio anxiety approaching I try to tweak my room and set up. Occasionally I think I actually improve the system/room interface enough to have made it worth while and it costs $0. :-)
Expectations need to be realistic. That might involve downgrading them especially in the case where one expects their system to transform recordings to what they want or expect them to be rather than what in fact they really are.
Yes, I believe that downgrading is the new upgrade, mostly due to the economy. It has woken up many audiophiles from chasing their elusive dream.
Many good comments posted here.
Rrog, agree increased unemployment along with high taxes = less spending by consumers(poor economic growth).

Arh, better sound with 18K system than 100K system, nice achievement! What was the makeup of these two systems if you don`t mime sharing.

Musicfile, wrote "you can do more with less" Agree, with experience this is certainly true for some.
All to say that it is possible that $18k system is just as good as $100k is very easy:
$30 cable can be as good as $3000 one and no blind test will be precise to describe difference.
Yugo $12 tubes are just as good as $120 Mullards
Digital amp can be just as good as $10,000 Rowland and $500 DAC can be just as good as $5000 dac or player.
You can also get arround without feet under your components that may run upto $200/piece...

Ways to downgrade without loosing performance are so many that it's hard to even list, but at the end you could be turned out to spend 10x less vs. what you used to have before.
Yes, all the heavy hitters here please downgrade. That will help make my rig look better!

18k in the hands of an experinced listener can go pretty far if you factor in used prices. It won`t out perform any and all 100K systems but would equal and beat some of them.Some very exspensive systems sound stunning and there are others that sound rather poor.
When I sold off a pricey tube amp and tube Pre-amp, I then bought an integrated amp (also tubes) and pocketed thousands. I thought I was downgrading. Funny thing- it was quickly apparent that the integrated amp sounded better. I call that a win-win.

As far as digital- something that may have been tops a decade ago is often easily outperformed now at lower cost.
Simplifing can be a good thing; my new passive pre is an upgrade to me. But it was well chosen and not cheap. Constant tuning is the price of progress.
IT is easy to go past your goal; a good idea to back off a little from time to time.
Don't confuse down grading with down sizing. Down grading means crappier sound, if your into that, go for it. From looking at your system link, I think your at the bottom of the food chain already.
'From looking at your system link, I think your at the bottom of the food chain already.'

I thought deriding another member's system was just not done.
I thought deriding another member's system was just not done.

You'd like to think so. But the OP has two systems listed, or did Tmsorosk not bother to notice? BTW, which one is at the "bottom of the food chain?"
Yeah your right , it was a crapy thing to say.
Perhaps he wasn't referring to the system !!!!
Downgrading how? As in, a trade off of quality of sound...or status of gear>?
The two are very different and are confused quite often.

I think a set of small KEF's, a decent old receiver and a planar3 setup might shock the hell out of many audiophiles out there.

(I mean really, when did you sit down and actually listen to a sub 3k system recently?)

Not expecting to be wowed can do an amazing thing.
It can make you focus on the music, which is the whole point, isn't it? I think many of us would do well to take an equipment break and get back to hearing the music.

To me, that would be a great UPGRADE!
I listen to many sub $3000 systems. There all nice enough but none have shocked the hell out of me.
Maybe that's the problem, you're looking for an audio system to provide you with thrills.
Spending more is easy, all you have to do is believe.