Girlfriends and wifes, how do YOU cope?

I would be very interested in finding out how one manages to justify (or sneak in the home) expensive audio equipment without having to sell your soul to the Devil? It's quite a challenge for many of us I think. I heard of someone buying a Bel Canto DAC and telling his girlfriend that " Oh it's just a $ 100.00 power conditionner", or whatever. Seem like we need to get creative here if we can pursue this crazy hobby much longer! Regards All...
I managed it by getting my wife as into it as I am. This was quite easily accomplished by having her help with some side by side comparisons. Now that she understands the difference quality equipment makes, and is as crazy about great sound as I am, its me that has to keep her from spending too much!
I always tell the truth and either get an approval or not. I did however tell my wife that "our" Bel Canto DAC was a computer for the stereo (which it really is, but this does somehow "glorify" it a bit). To this day she introduces new visitors, to our home, (who are interested in the rig) to "the computer" for our stereo. Fifteen year olds are very impressed with this "line". I (we) are in a no spend mode right now, but I just purchased $100 worth of tubes today (which we can barely afford) and all that I did was ask. As a thank you for my wife's approval, I stopped by a thrift shop on the way back from the post office and picked her up a little gift for a dollar, which is a Princess Diana "Mix 'N' Match, Magnetic Dress Up Fun Kit", still in the shrink wrap. She loves Princess Diana stuff. The other agreement that we have made is that I have to sell other stuff (I have a lot of stuff) to offset the expense of the Hi-fi system. So far, including the $100 today, I am only in the hole $200 on over $6K of expenditures in the past year and I have kept up my part of this bargain. With the exception of my blood pressure readings, I have never lied to my wife.
My wife is very understanding. She understands I could be into any number of hobbies, which cost tons more money and take me out for the weekend.
Honetsty about what you can afford is the best approach. To finance my hobby, I drive a 5 year old, 4 cylinder econo-car which is paid for. My family enjoys watching DVDs with soundtrack through my stereo system. There is plenty of time to enjoy my music at other times. How many of you know someone who has an expensive boat which is used only a few times a year? How many people buy thousands of dollars worth of jet fuel every year and have only a few photos and stories to show for it? I use my stereo 365 days a year and enjoy every minute!
Girl friends and wives are easy to cope with, provided you follow some very simple audio rules that I've picked up from the audiogon site....

1) Try to find a truly balanced mate. Avoid the single ended type, as I hear they don't sound as good and tend to get a bit loose after a while.

2) Make sure she's solid state. Older tube types tend to burn out after too much use and are hard to find replacements for. (Tube swapping can be fun, but don't get caught.)

3) Be sure to use adequate room treatments. Mine likes Ethan Allan. Avoid Sears and Ikea, or your mate will constantly sound bad.

4) If you don't like what you hear after a few months, upgrade quickly to something else. Constant upgrading can be quite expensive.

5) Make sure that she has an adequate source of power in order to avoid unecessary static and interference. If that doesn't help, get her own dedicated line, plug her in, and leave her alone.

6) Give her a chance to warm up before you do any serious listening. This is especially helpful for tube wives, who can become sweet sounding and forgiving after you listened to them for half an hour or so.

7) Try to find a remote control model. If they're too loud you can simply turn them off without lifting your feet off the couch.

8) Certain new models can be programmed to respond to a series of commands, such as: "Honey, I'll be back by 2:00 AM", or Can you get me another beer from the fridge?" However, these models tend to be very expensive and hard to find on the open market. Those of us that do have them, tend not to part with them.

9) If they blow a fuse, it means you've accidently touched something that's overly sensistive, or she's got her wires crossed.

10) If the volume becomes too loud, leave the room and go put away dishes or clean something. The volume will be lower and less irritating when you return.

Above all, make sure you spend time listening to her each evening and be sure not to turn her off until you leave for work in the morning. --Lorne
I learned many many years ago from a father. My dad just turned eighty four a couple of months ago and I swear to God he's still sneaking equipment into the house! I don't want to sound disrespectful to my wife because she excels in so many other areas, but she really doesn't pay a whole lot of attention to the equipment. That's not to say that an entirely different set of speakers wouldn't turn her head, but if you change out an amp that looks similar or stay in a particular style of speaker albeit a more expensive one in the line, it makes it a little easier to slip it in the house. I once traded in my Spectral DMC-10 preamp that we had for many years for a Spectral DMC-20II that looked almost identical except the power supply was as large as the main unit. I told her that I bought a new power supply and that was the end of that discussion. Most women would commit their husbands to an asylum if they ever knew we'd spend some crazy money on a power cord. I'm thinking that she's thinking how much could a power cord cost? Twenty or thirty bucks tops...Speaker cables and interconnects are no brainers. No one other than us fanatics would consider paying the tidy sum equal to the price of a decent second car for a few feet of wire. I better get off this thing pronto. I think I hear my wife heading this way right now and I don't want her to know what I'm up to. Oh hi honey..
I use to sneak the stuff in. Hide the receipt. Tell sales people never to call under any circumstances. But that never worked. Her not knowing became much worse then knowing. Now I fess up when I buy something. I always try to sell something soon after to help off-set the cost. Half the time she has to recieve the item ups when I'm not at home anyway. Better off confessing early.
You folks are great : )

Besides Lorne's "suggestions" making me chuckle, i especially liked the "return rate" on Dekay's audio expenditures. He gets $100 of tubes, she gets a $1 "toy" !!! I bet other guys wish they had the same 100:1 "exchange ratio" !!!

I guess i'm just "lucky". While i'm not married, i've lived with my girlfriend for about 5 years now. Once our common living expenses / bills are paid, my money is my money and her money is her money. This way, we are both happy and responsible for our own actions and expenditures. The fact that she makes more money than i do and i end up paying for most of or a larger percentage of our meals somehow hasn't gotten fully figured out yet, but i'm working on it : )

In terms of electronics / audio gear though, she does "get on me" once in a while. If she starts making comments about how much i just spent or how much "junk" i have stacked up everywhere, i just tell her "let's compare the resale value of ONE of my amplifiers to ALL of your shoes or clothes". She usually shuts up REAL quick... Sean
I consider myself lucky in that, while by no means rich, my wife and I have separate incomes and checking accounts, but we share a "household" account. I feel sure that this system has spared us a LOT of anguish.

Also, like Vegasears above, she'd much rather see me involved with the seemingly harmless hobby of high-end audio rather than smoking, drinking, doing drugs, and general carousing and hell raising in our community. You can get 2 CDs for the cost of a carton of cigarettes (I'm not trying sound self-righteous here as I smoked for 19 years, and also quit 19 years ago :>). Cheers. Craig
My girlfriend doesn't care ...... But my wife moans once in a while!
Loved this post, and Lornecherry you cracked me up. Sean also posted a similar understanding that I have with my wife, " Once our common living expenses / bills are paid, my money is my money and her money is her money ".

My wife has never questioned me when I buy an expensive LP or a piece of stereo gear, and I have never questioned her when she buys an expensive mirror for the house (As an example).

It works for us, and I love her for it.

Dekay, I bet you bought that Princess Diana mix"n"match dress up fun kit in hopes your wife would "wear"it for you.Come on,admit it.As for me,I have no current squeeze but I'm always looking.I'm hoping my clothes washer will die so I can hit the laundromat!
I used to try a lot of the tricks mentioned above, but got to the point I just told my wife it was my hobby, etc., & that I was going to change stuff here & there. We've been together 20+ years (14 married) and my wife just doesn't care about anything to do with the system as long as it doesn't occupy too much space & I'm able to meet all my financial obligations. My job used to keep me away from the house for weeks at a time, so now that I come home every night, maybe it's a little unspoken gesture on her part not to say anything except the occasional "turn it down." BTW, it was my choice to take the job that kept me away & conversely my choice to give it up & spend more time at home. Having a solid marriage helps.
My wife is pretty cool about it. We been together for 28 years and she knew from day one, how important music is to me. I used to volunteer for Rock Medicine and took her to a lot of shows where we would hang out backstage and meet many of our favorite rock stars. A few years ago, I was faced with a life threatening illness and spent the year on heavy meds which made me feel more sick than the disease itself. Music was my salvation and therapy (even with a satellite dish, most of the stuff on TV sucks). I began to upgrade all my equipment during that time. I went to a home theater set-up which didn't impress me. So I returned to stereo and began the hobby of buying and selling gear in search of audio nirvana. I save my mileage and per diem checks. They add up very quickly as I direct two statewide pubic health projects in California and therefore travel a lot. So I never spend money out of our account or dip into our budget. Her only complaint is how loud the music is when she comes home from work. In which case I lower it and say: "I'm sorry, what did you say, I couldn't hear you?"
Honesty is indeed the best policy, but marraige involves compromise. The dollars should be within your means, but if she has an expensive clothes or jewelry habit, you're golden. To make the spending more acceptable, all new components become "gifts": birthday, anniversary, or Christmas. Hopefully you don't need more than three things each year.

Aesthetics are another matter. In my case, she vetoed the speakers I wanted for the living room because they were "too big," so I explained that to get sound that good from a smaller speaker would be more expensive. She said "fine" as long as she liked the way they looked. On the electronics side, she insists that I keep all gear out of sight in an old built-in cabinet. Space is limited and the turntable eats up a big chunk (for dust-cover clearance). Tubes seem out even though I would love to try them(no ventilation, except for the open cabinet doors). So I have stayed with SS gear. hmmm...could I get away with a tube preamp? Anyway, if you love each other, you can find a way to make it work.
Hi, upgrade you girlfriend, (or wife)! from Italy, diver (P.S. it's a joke, my wife loves hi-end too!
David99: Very funny and I had forgotten about the old laundromat ploy. Just make sure that you throw all the clothes (light and dark) in together on cold wash. This will get their attention more than anything else. I also used to wear a brown cartegan sweater with the buttons sewn on poorly with light blue thread (this worked like a charm as well).
Dekay,Isnt that the way one washes clothes anyway? I guess its more complicated than I thought.Also,I have a sweater like the one you had,my fav! blue thread and all!
Yes, David it's a bit warm now so maybe save the Chick Magnet sweater for later on in the year. I met a great girl friend when I was in school wearing that sweater. When she was gone (moved back the CA), I put the buttons back on with the same spool of lame light blue thread and then immediately met another love of my life. However I married the woman who told my to loose the sweater, period, because it made me look stupid. Now if I need a button sewn on I ask the 65 year old seamstress at the cleaners to do it.
Dekay-hmm,so the wife told you to loose the sweater because it made you look stooopid? Maybe I better look for a new sweater.I havent had much luck wearing it anyway.Its possible chicks and sweaters discussions will tick off the powers to be.We dont want to suffer the same "almost" horrible fate our brother Dug did!!! :)
Not a problem, not to worry: I sold my old "button" sweater to Arnie, but now that he has lost a lot of weight and has started working out, he no longer requires its use. Maybe it (the sweater) and its use would chill out that Brian character. As far as the sweater goes, it all depends on whether you are seeking the maternal "GQ" type or not.
THROW 'EM OUT!!! See how long they can make it on their own without a stinkin' lawyer
PS: David, having privately discussed a few minor matters with the Audiogon staff, on occasion, they really are normal people (just like the rest of us) with a sense of humor. They are just not allowed to kick back as the rest of us, on a regular basis, as this is their place of business, which is understandable. What I mean is that if you offer yourself up, on the chopping block, as a willing successor to Alessandro Moreschi (who in their right mind would not follow through on this offer:-), but otherwise, as I have said in the other threads, I do not find the new forum guidelines to be restrictive, at all (just in good taste), even more so than this post.
My wife has listened with me for over thirty years. She was the one that said the dCS upgrade from the MSB Platinum was worth the extra $$.
Girlfriends and wifes, how do I cope? Easy, I never allow them to listen to my system at the same time.

Seriously, when my wife and I met for the first time nearly thirty years ago, I already had speakers nearly her height at one end of my living room. She knew from that moment on that I was dedicated to music and has rarely ask about the system since.

One exception was in 1990 when I replaced my Vandersteen 4's with Soundlab A1's. She came into the living room one day after work, looked at them ( how could she miss them? ) and ask, "are those going to stay here?" (They did).
The secret is to bring your wife into this madness in a way that she understands and can appreciate. This takes time and patience, but the long term benefits are significant.

Timing is critical.... don't try to get her to sit down and listen when she is focused on something else. Catch that relaxed, all caught up, nothing critical mass going on, time and suggest opening some wine (after YOU'VE made dinner) and listen to some music that SHE likes.... one that is well recorded and musical (this will take some research, but well worth it)....

If you can get her to sit down, just for a little while.... 30 minutes......make sure that she has the sweet spot.... her wine glass full......... YOU'LL WIN for the rest of the TIME!

Ya gotta get her hearing the soundstage - once you do... it's YOUR LIFE and you can DO what EVER you want!
Sounds like work??? Isn't anything worth having?

The point is that you need to spend some time and effort to get her to understand.. at least a little....

Once she's in your corner, you've got it made....

Trying to go (sneak) around doesn't work.... News Bulletin - WOMEN DON'T LIKE SECRETS... of ANY kind.....I'm sure that it can be traced back to caveman or something, but trust me on this one.....
Angela, do you use this on your husband, or are you still looking for Mr. Nice guy/audiophile?
I subscribed to various audio magazines and was an enthusiast for the first 16 years of our marriage without moving away from my system that I bought in college (which was nothing to write home about). During the last four years, Katie bar the door! My wife and I jointly auditioned many different speakers and amps in our home (the kids too!). She absolutely noticed the difference and we agreed on the best set-up. During the last two years or so, oh boy did we go through a lot of upgrades. Lately, I generally did the research alone but often was able to audition before buying. This made all the difference because audio differences are really not all that subtle once you actually pay attention.

Since my wife runs the finances I don't hide anything, nor do I want to. Great sound costs more and is a constant search. It's more fun when you don't do it alone. Which is why I involve my family and why I enjoy everyone at Audiogon. BTW, I wouldn't recommend the 16 year approach to anyone just starting out; things just happened that way, but I do remind her of all the money I saved during that time. Cheers.
Albert, that is how HE seduced me into this madness.... He gets the 2 channel, I get the HT....

Besides, this ONLY works on women..... men are easy in this hobby... they get it right away.....
I've attempted (successfully, I think) to get my wife used to the fact that gear is going to occassionally come and go, that the experimentation is part of the fun, and that just because boxes show up occassionally doesn't mean that it's all expenditure, because I've sold many pieces as well, usually at a little less or a little more than I paid. I'm the wage earner in the family and do all the finances, so until I start telling her that we can't afford music lessons for the kids or something because I just bought a new amp, she remains pretty flexible. I thought I was going to really test her limits, though, when I shipped an amp to DSSMAN a few weeks ago with the now-famous results. Amazingly, she took it all in stride even after I told her the amount.

One thing that I think helps a lot is that all the gear is in it's own room - if I was trying to set something up that took up much space or was really visible in the living room, I would hear about it from that side. Since it's my room and my hobby and she realizes she's got it pretty good with me, I pretty much get to do my own thing.

I do wish I could draw her into it occassionally though, as I do with my daughter who is a budding cellist. Here is this wonderful sounding system, right in their own house, available to use almost at will, and they NEVER touch it. I've learned to settle for apathetic even if I want enthusiastic, because it beats hostile by a large margin :-) -Kirk

My wife has started using the system more, when I am out (which is a good thing). I think that she was afraid of the tube amp in the beginning, but I told her that if anything goes wrong, we will just have it repaired, just like anything else. The only instructions that she has are to give it 15 minutes to warm up and in the event that sound stops coming from one of the speakers, to then shut off the source (on occasion one of our cats has clipped one of the speaker cables). She has even started to use the special CD mat that I made up with the Peter Belt Rainbow Foil as she likes what it does to the sound. I don't know if is more fun to share or if sharing helps to diminish some of the guilt for all of the money that I have spent, but either way I am glad that she enjoys it. I also get a kick out of my godson visiting and doing an antler dance in front of his friends when operating the system.
I "done in" my man, buried him in a shallow pit in alligator country and moved to another state with his stereo.
What a shame. I assume that at 14 years old he was at his prime hearing age.
Elizabeth, I hope you buried him with the portion of the musical library that you dislike. It would be a shame to listen to a great system and come across a song that suddenly reminded you of unpleasant times.

One thing I got to know.......Is it true that if you play Acadian music near the alligators they are mesmerized and don't snap at your shovel whilst burying the departed?
My best break was w/ my mother in law. We auditioned speakers together (the full A-Physics range) and my wife caught on! Although she considers audio as my (expensive) "toy" she does enjoy the wine scene Angela describes. And she appreciates "voudou" tweaks such as cones, shelves, etc, as long as they improve the reproduction of her favourite concerto (read Angela again).
BUT she'd never admit or discuss that -- go figure!

Overall, I'm lucky. Now, if I could get the MIL to finance the next mega$ upgrade...:^)
Greg, I'll give you three tweaks and a small box of cables for your mother-in-law! How about just for a week or so? I bet you and she could clean up by having her tour the country and helping more Audiogon spouses see the light (er, hear the waves) ;-)
Oz, you're onto something there. Thanks for opening my eyes! Now, how do I get this one past the wife....
> Simple < I don't KEEP count of HER shoes and she doesn't
count / comment on the little (or not so) blk boxes I bring home. MikE
I did not visit this thread for a while because I thought its title was meant to warn all men to keep off the premises: "how do YOU (read: wives, girlfriends) cope?" Aren't men earnestly requested to leave this forum to those poor women unfortunately related to some compulsive audio freak, instead of filling it with our own stories and ruses? We all well enough know what it is like to be an audiophilic husband or boyfriend--something in the nerves, in the heart, in the brain which has more to do with the love of sound than the love of woman, child and oneself.
Women, I was waiting in eagerness for things like: The first instinctive movement of these cowardly audiophilic creatures is to make a "cache," and hide their audio treasures in it. The first thing to do is to uncover their "cache" and find out what is in it. Then you can play the trick of throwing a remark at them on some mighty issue and either hit or miss their particular weakness of the moment.
(I had an ingenious girlfriend who would make a cunning practice out of asking thinks like: "Mullard has a nice colored box, don't they?" or "What's up with Temper Transfiguration these days?" to my astonishment, between remarks about the daily news. I don't deny that I felt a pang in these seemingly casual asides, yes, a stab, but there was also an entreaty, a sigh--that was particularly effective when I had the fever to upgrade. I actually put off buying a few article with remarks like these flashing through my conscience.)
Women, please make a few revelations relating especially to your audiophilic partner, just a few things such as women commonly never tell. Men, put your wives and girlfriend on this forum and leave the room. Perhaps you women do not know if you can trust us with them. (Men: shouldn't we like to hear them? No. We would love to hear them!) In any case, my respect goes to all the good, patient wives and girfriends of audiogoners! to their soft hands and pitying voices we must all come at last--with that sad, lost look we get when things break down and we are caught without a replacement...

Hi, my name is Margrit, and I have known "slawney" (my husband) for 10 years. He asked me to write something to you about how I cope with his audio interests, so here it goes. Usually, things go pretty well since he has his own listening room and listens pretty quietly, and I like the music he likes. The last time I had to cope with his audio hobby was when our cleaning woman accidentally plugged one of his American CD players into our German electric outlet. He was really upset when he came home from work and saw this, since the CD player didn't work. The poor cleaning woman did not want to admit that she had broken the CD player for fear of having to pay for it (she just wanted to listen to some CD of Polish music I got on my last trip to Poland, because our cleaning woman is Polish herself and is a little homesick), and there were moments when I thought Jay--oops, that is what I call him, he did not want me to tell you my nickname for him--suspected that I myself had broken his CD player and was not telling him (I like the Polish CD too and sometimes I do not know how to plug all of the components in the right way, since he has so many different colored cables, and changes the cables around on my little stereo and even my TV and VCR alot, for some reason...). One thing that acn get out of hand is when we are travelling around in Europe in a big city and Jay starts going record shopping. I can tell when he wants to do this when he takes out the hotel telephone directory and writes down the addresses of the record stores in town in his notebook and then starts to look at this long list of records that he keeps with him all the time. One way I cope with this is by asking him to give me a definite time when he will be finished shopping for records before he goes into the store. It also helps if there are some nice women's clothing stores or furniture stores that specialize in modern Italian furniture or lighting near the record store, because then I just go shopping myself. To conclude, I think Jay is a wonderful husband and I like that he has this audio hobby rather than some of the hobbies that some men in German have. I have to get back to my work now, so goodbye, it has been nice having the chance to write to you, Jay seems to spend alot of time lately on the computer, and I think he writes alot of things here.
Yes, Thank you for the insight Margrit. You have done well Jay, yet another instance of opposites attracting.
What a wonderful lady. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.
She doesn't ask, and I don't tell. We've been married for over 17 years. When we dated and lived together (gasp) she knew I was a 'audio nut', her words. Since I'm the bread winner, she doesn't bother me much. When the UPS truck pulls up, she just e-mails me at work and says "what did we get now?" I explain the new toy, but never discuss pricing. That's on a need to know basis, and she don't need to know. She'd probably flip if she knew I was spending what I spend. She can look at a $5000 amp, and really believe it only cost $200. Precious, ain't it. What they don't know, don't hurt them. You guys that share your hobbies with your wives are very lucky. Mine still thinks I'm nuts, everything sounds the same to her. I don't care for her taste in music either. Oh well, that's life.
I was married to an audiophile once. I encouraged him to buy all the equipment he wanted, as it kept him busy and out of my hair. I finally threw him and his awful, bright, screechy sounding stereo out, and that's when I bought my first system and discovered how good high end audio could really sound. My ex is still buying stereo and still can't hear a damn thing! :)
suzy: what a great story from "the other side." my bride of 34 years and i have a kinda unwritten agreement; every time i make a major upgrade, she goes to europe. seems to far. -kelly
Hay kelly do you go with your wife when she goes to europe or do you stay home and enjoy your upgrade? just curious, seems like a good idea either way
I've got a new girlfriend who could care less about this audio stuff, but we both make good money, and I'm so into it I can't help but explain every new component and theory behind their operation and prices do inevitably come up. I went 5 years without any upgrades, actually downgraded to a receiver due to living in an apartment. Now I'm back, have been ebaying, audiogoning etc... have 2 systems (the '80's system and the good system) and she thinks I was always like this. I'm at the mid-high end level with Sonic Frontiers pre, BAT pwr, Cary cd and Vandersteens. However, I am considering taking it to the next level, and I mean the super-expensive components from the likes of Goldmund, Gryphon, Avalon, Revel and she is NOT happy. (I shudder at the thought of what I would need to spend for an "acceptable" home theater.) If this occurs, I won't be upgrading for a few years... (right?) She has no problem going out to dinner and spending $250. I figure a few dinners cost as much as some of the way-cool stuff I got on ebay. Anyway, my first point is thanks for the advice in the above posts, I and others here are heading into dangerous waters and can use it! My second point is advice, make sure the incoming equipment equals the outgoing equipment so you can have the appearance of sanity. This seems to work pretty good, got a new amp but don't worry the old one is up for sale because I don't need 4 amplifiers (biamp?) and I would rather someone like those of you here at the 'gon enjoy it rather than it sitting in a box in the garage.
- good luck.
Hiding the pre and CDs in an arty-but-rigid Arts&Crafts cabinet (save for "ONE attractive box allowed on top"--thank goodness the EMC-1 rates high!), along with the 25%
jewelry surcharge penalty works fine.
Give the wife more back rubs while listening to the equips never fails. She will encourage you to buy more.