Dilly I agree with you. Part of MY enjoyment is getting more gear and trying out all sorts of things. I hope I dont ever get to the point of every being satisfied with my system or else I will just lose interest and move on.
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Of course there are others like you. Lots of us. There is nothing to be afraid of (save perhaps bankruptcy!) Why should you be done? Bird watchers are seldom 'done.' Ditto for NASCAR fans, square dancers or stamp collectors. You shouldn't feel you have to halt one hobby in order to partake of another.
I think most of us here -- you included -- are likely to be part gear hound and part music lover. You just need to keep in mind that there are two distinct but not mutually exclusive hobbies in play here. If you have the financial capacity, then by all mean, enjoy them both!
I, like many others, have upgrade urges, even though I am often musically satisfied with what I have. It isn't a result of a system deficiency, status or envy as much as it is plain old interest. I just happen to enjoy the gear about as much as I do the music it makes.
Probably most of us have that same concern to some degree.
Perhaps rather than trying to change out your equipment on a regular basis, you could switch to either:
A). Trying out different music from different genres.
(i.e. if you're into jazz, try classical or visa versa.
Or, even if you're only into rock, try different sub-catagories, like alternative rock, or heavy metal. (This is currently what I am trying to do to kick the upgrade habit! It is somewhat working, as I have at least slowed down! :-) )
B). Or, if you're into vinyl, like I am, you could try to either get better pressings of albums you already have, or better yet, get vinyl copies of albums you only had CDs of.
Both of these alternatives still involve spending money, but this is a hobby after all. (And at least the law of diminishing returns does not play into it as much, except for getting the best pressing alternative, which is starting to get a little bit expensive! However, IMHO, that is almost an investment, as the price of good pressings seems to be rising pretty constantly. I honestly feel I have made money on my good or rare pressings, should I feel the need to sell them.)
My two cents worth.
If a person really believes that the purpose of the system is to allow him/her to listen to music and music is the primary goal, then it should be easy enough to get off the merrygoround. But if the equipment is equally important (or of greater importance) as the music, then the merrygoround goes on forever. When I read "it's about the music" (not in your post, I don't think you say that), but in the mags and online, I often cringe because what I see is more like "it's about the music being a justification for spending money on equipment". For people who it really is almost entirely about the music, they often care very little about the sound system and lots about music. And there are millions more of these kind of people than there are audiophiles. I believe that the depth and richness of music far exceeds that of equipment and that if I could put that into play (and not be distracted by the allure of the equipment) I would indeed be off the merrygoround and better off (no pun intended) for it. Good question.
If you are satisfied with the sound of your two systems for the present, take a break and get off the upgrade path for the next 6 months. Spend the money and the time going to every live music concert you want to see, that is convenient for you to attend. At worst, you will end up with some great memories, a renewed perspective on how live music sounds, and maybe even the answer to the question of whether the time off has re-energized you for your audio hobby, or made you realize your systems are suitable for your enjoyment as they are now. Have fun.
I'm 49 and have been in the hobby for 30 years more or less. I've reached the pinnacle (at least as far as am willing to go) with separates (amp/pre) and have found a speaker that I really, really think I can stay with for a long time (Merlin VSM-MXe). The urge to get off the merry-go-round has also hit me. My first step is to move towards exploring integrateds. I'm buying a small 30 Watt Ars Sonum integrated which is suppose to be a great match with my speakers, and if is close to my CAT stuff, I'll be through with separates. So far, so good, except I'm already planning on having a couple of intgrateds based on different tube types, etc. I have to admit it; I love equipment (and music). At least I'll have one less cable and power cord -that's a start.
That is so true tarsando about the gear or sound stage,ect.my musician freinds care about the playing...not how great gear looks or ultimate transparency,ect.some of the best playing(musicianship)on my cd,s are the shitiest sounding recordings.as a ex pro(playing,giging musician)i look for musicality of the gear,my wants far exceed my bankroll so i must be content.i love gear too but i some times have to listen to my better judgement and sit tight.good post.
This sounds awfully familiar. What I did was calculate how much my next purchase was going to be (turned out to be about $3500), and then I used that money to go to concerts. If I had to fly & stay at a hotel to make it, it was part of the budget. I used the internet to find touring schedules and planned to catch top orchestras and my favorite singers as close by as possible.
After about 6 months, I'd been to 18 concerts, not including a summer concert series every week last August. By then I had spent the money. But I returned to my systems at home with a new appreciation and some new favorite singers/acts. Most fun I've ever had in this hobby. And I appreciated my home systems even more because I was focused more on the music, and a lot less on the sound. Doesn't mean I won't buy more stuff, but the recalibration of my ears sure helps me appreciate what I've got!
Hope this helps!
Although I read this daily and still recieve the major rags I only want 3 things for better part of a year now,
My own room to listen
I helped my dad choose gear for a major upgrade in the past fews months and it was a blast, even if I was spending his money and his gear is MUCH better than mine it was great to share this stuff with my dad,so I get just as much fun putting others in better gear as I do with my own passion, though I am no know-it-all I really think my dad was grateful for the help I offered.
Now I am going to the show in NYC this weekend and I fear the bug will hit..a guy can dream right, after all its free to dream....................for now!
I am no longer afraid.
There are so many different sounds and colorations out there that it is impossible to stop unless you are prepared to accept a reference. I chose what many of the experts in making studio recordings choose. It is more than good enough for me if it is good enough for artists like Sting, Mark Knopfler, Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, Hans Zimmer, Lenny Kravitz, Enya, Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, Tina Turner, Kate Bush, Sade, Neneh Chery, 10cc, Tears for Fears, Mike Oldfield, Robert Plant, Barbara Streisand, AC/DC, Dire Straits, Simple Minds, Suzanne Vega, Level 42, John Williams, Roger Taylor....I could go on and on and start listing most of the world's most prestigious studios but why bother...I figure it enough that these professional musicians (who know a lot more about what sounds accurate musically then I do) choose certain gear; I'll simply follow their lead and buy the very same gear and get off the Merry-Go-Round.
In my estimation, you're right... you should be done. You have 2 very satisfying music systems and you think there is a dilemma? Some of us are trying to assemble one satisfying system. You don't need or have to keep spending. I've kept spending because I haven't been able to assemble 1 satisfying system. I'm very close now after 3 years of burning churning buying selling. There's no dilemma. Stop spending money right now! You are very lucky. Count your blessings and give up and buy music for your 2 systems.
As far as other hobbies, there are few that bring out the passion of the love of music and music reproduction. I don't have another one like it.
In general, being a music lover is not a hobby, per se, it's something innate (i'm still a music lover when i'm asleep, but i'm not golfing,playing a guitar, or swapping equipment). Spending time listening to music is just that, to me. Listening to music.
Now of course, I also happened to (thanks Dad), get hooked into electronics at an early age. The two happen to co-exist (music lover and electronics geek) for me. The 'hobby' aspect of this, for me, might involve the swapping of components to see if I can hear a difference, and hopefully something that resulted in a better sound. That is not really listening to music though. That is changing hardware configurations to see if my ears can pick up the difference. Absolutely NOT listening to the core of the musical artform. The music is the art, NOT the reproduction, in my book. One can argue that when systems get to a certain level of fidelity this high def representation brings them that much closer to the music. That's cool but for me it's not necessary. I can get into music sometimes more intensely on my way to work than listening to my kilo buck system (also happens to be a function of mood though and number of beers at home of course).
Over the past years I have fallen in the cycle of using certain well recorded music to ENABLE the practice of subtle difference detection, and of course that triggers the urge to by ever more expensive (suppossedly higer resolution) gears by which I could continue the "hobby" aspect of reproduction. For me, I am totally burned out of that and I just want to get back to what it's all about, the music. Always will be. Of course I still love to look at the glossy pics and think about what the designer was thinking, but that's the engineer geek in me, not the music lover. I can hear Blue Sky by the ABB on my iPod, in my car, at work over *crappy* speakers and still have the same feeling. BAH! enough. It's about the music. The gear and the merry go round is the "hobby". I've sold my seperates and picked up a nice integrated, (oopps I upgraded my speakers too) and lately I've been buying more music and reading the MISC posts instead of thinking about equipment upgrades (except that i just bought a new cdp, darn, o well)...the music lover in me has to keep check on the equipment geek...sorry for the long rant!
All those big names...do they listen to the same stuff?
Yes, in fact all of them are customers of a certain speaker company. For sure, musicians with such good success often own much more than one set of gear, as some have several homes and any have their own dedicated home studios...nevertheless you get the idea that you wouldn't need to keep on the merry-go-round if you own the same gear that they have selected...you can just relax.
except for abbey road(b&w) i have yet to visit a name facility that uses anything but jbl 4400 or 4600 pro monitors to mix major artist releases. i would not however recommend them for anything but the studio.
I agree about JBL (not recommended) - these became popular in the 70's and were ubiquitous. They are more like workhorses. The speakers that muscians and artists tend to go for are the studio demo speakers or main monitors in the showcase main studio. ( these speakers are used to impress the socks off clients but are not necessarily part of the mix process, which is most often done on near fields) Here is a good article on the evolution of studio monitors. For those interested in studio gear.
The B&W 801 (used in Abbey Road) are often used in mastering classical ...I would recommend these to any audiophile who wants to get off the Merry-Go-Round and would feel secure in knowing their choice was popular with critical listeners.