Hi Fi burnout.

Are you a victim of Hi-Fi burnout? A friend of mine who is "Into hi fi" recently called me to tell me he was selling all of his high end audio equipment! He was simply tired of keeping up with all the latest and greatest equipment trends. In his quest for the "Ultimate sound" he had upgraded several times at great expense. Sales people were only to happy to sell him what he "Needed" to "Really" improve his system. I think all told he accumulated some 150k in equipment!! What he forgot and lost sight of in his quest for the ultimate stereo, was to listen to the music!! Instead he would take pride in how great his speakers tweeter's sounded, and the the pages clipped out of various audio magazines that showed charts on his equipment and it's performance. He now owns a little Sony do it all portable stereo, and says he's happier for it because he's not so stressed about keeping up with all the new equipment. It's easy to see how this could happen. I look at my stereo equipment as a tool made for the extraction of music from vinyl or cd or tape. The music IS what matters and shall remain with us forever. In this day of hi tech accomplishments and super materials, you have to be very careful not to get sucked into the equipment junkie bottomless pit. Otherwise you could be spending some time at the Betty Ford Centre for recovering Audiophiles. What say you?
Been there!Done that! In fact I am just emerging from my latest case of burnout. The cure for me was live performances, a sony walkman cd player, and a small scale yamaha system that I constructed from Best Buy.
Happened to me at one point....almost sold it all...but then I started to listn to music again...and...decided it is important to me to have a system that "I" enjoy listening to. As I am a young audiophile of a few years, it took those few years to find what "I" like in terms of sound. Now that I have, I am rapping up my stereo for a while and to steal someone elses quote, I plan to "Enjoy the music." This hobby should not stress us out (although sometimes it does, myself included).

I say good for him! It's important for all of us to step back occasionally and realize that music is the reason we listen, not to hear the results of our latest upgrade. Something else I think that's helpful as well are limits. What I mean is, I am not a wealthy man. I make a good living but nothing spectacular, but I'm happy. Because of this I have to think long and hard before getting new (used) gear, and it often means that I have to sell/trade something before I get anything new. Though I sometimes wish I could just get anything I want these natural limits make me appreciate what I have even more. I think that is a great antidote to burnout, when you have to spend months of saving, scheming, and planning to get that new piece of gear it will likely mean more to you than if you walked into the local hifi emporium brandishing a platinum charge card. At least it seems that way to me, which is good because it's the situation I must live with!
Some of us, in addition to enjoying music, also have an interest in technology. In the case of audio, the two interests are linked, but clearly are separate hobbies.

My particular interest is in finding, and even designing/building, low cost equipment which through technical innovation rivals high cost equipment in performance. This is not because I am poor, or a cheapskate, but because it is an interesting challange.
I say you have to give up this website "cold turkey".
It's hard to pass up all the goodies that constantly come up. ;)
I just listen after 30 years of upgrading. Now I blow all my money on modding Corvettes, just as bad.
I recommend to everybody just to get an Ipod and a good set of headphone/earphone and you're done.
If he can listen to his Sony and enjoy the music, why cant he do the same with his more expensive gears? Just wondering :)
been there..done that..came back even more with vigorous passion. It's in the blood...cannot get rid of it. Make peace with yourself,enjoy your music and watch your spending...
Yep, got tired of chasing my tail as well. Sold off all of my expensive gear and accessories and settled down with a simple integrated and CD player. No special cords or cables. No power conditioners, cones, spikes or bladders.
Best move I've made.
Yep it's the music that counts! And Muzikat is right on target. Hell, I just bought a new amp and a set of speakers to play with knowing that it would be difficult, if possible to improve on what I have in a meaningful way. But, I'm having fun, and when it settles down I go back to playing music. I think the key is, if you don't have financial restrictions, to keep the old stuff until the honeymoon is over for the new stuff and only then sell what you don't like.
If one gets to this point I wouldn't sell it all off because you'll most likely have to buy again later. Just sit with it for a long time and enjoy it just as you would enjoy the Sony. Unless you really want to downsize and declutter. Then by all means do so. But then again it can be cathartic to sell it all off, simplify and start fresh someday.
"Every time I think I'm out, they pull me back in"

I, too have been there. I took 3/4 of the $$ out of my system and consolidated. I agree that the problem is this website, and viewing it more than 1 or 2 times per day.
That being said, I think Audiogon has totally revolutionized the Hi-Fi market, and I'm sure that it has changed the way that I go about approaching a possible purchase. GOod for me, good for others like me, bad for Retailers.

I found some speakers that are fairly inexpensive, an integrated (THIS IS KEY, one less set of ICs, one less component, too) that is fairly inexpensive that sounds wonderful with the speakers, and that was it, at the time.

Try as hard as you can to avoid "the office/2nd system syndrome" it will only eat more of your money that should either be spent on loved ones or on your man rig...nuff said.

Most of all, I agree with Budrew, if you read Audiogon, you're just going to spend MORE $$ when you inevitably come back. Simplicity is really the key, and at least for me, has resulted in 2 years with the same speakers, 3 years with teh same amp, and only a new analog setup (ok, mauybe I spent some $$$ there) in the last 2 years.

You could always buy some, I dunno, music???
I made myself a promise that i would never spend more than 1k on any single piece of gear.

My system is pretty modest, but i feel im definatly on the way to getting where i want to be. All i need is 5 speakers for the HT setup (probably mirage Omnisats), then a good pre/amp for the 2ch system and a good CDP. then i think i will be done.

That being said, I think Audiogon has totally revolutionized the Hi-Fi market, and I'm sure that it has changed the way that I go about approaching a possible purchase. GOod for me, good for others like me, bad for Retailers.

I'm using the quote as a general statement ...no direct comment on our mutual friend , Gthirteen,

Yes audiogon has changed the way we do things hi-fi...the Bad retailers will pay a price...The reason however is not to be blamed on the retailer...he is doing his job...it is the manufacturers that have let you down...YOU are constantly changing them and they constanly let you down...you burn out chasing nirvana....hey if they build you a car that doesn't rust....,so keep on buying they'll keep on improving as long as your chasing they will put a carrot for you...just wanted to tickle your minds...

Gthirteen is so right!!! By all means avoid the second system!!! Trust me on this one, I know what I'm talking about. You get a main system that you're happy with, and your wife is tired of the changes anyway, then suddenly you think, oh, I'll start a small second system in the home office. It may start that way but the itch is there. Soon you end up with tube monoblocks, digital separates, and no room for the actual office. You'll want to maximize the hi-fi potential of that second system too. It will never end and you will burn out, twice, cause you've got two systems running!
Sorry, I need more than just the music.

If personal finances are a problem, then indeed wise spending is in order. However, if you have the money and are going to blow it on something anyway, it might as well be your audio system.

Those that have experienced their version of sonic nirvana will remain haunted from that point on. Yes, you can fight it. There is medication, therapy and (my favorite) denial.

If you are one of the lucky ones that can remain satisfied with MP3 and headphones...God bless you. For the rest of us, there is the abyss to ponder.
Go buy a Tivoli radio and you might sell your stereo. I am not kidding, when listening to my local college radio station (which has a very good sounding signal) I am very satisfied. Maybe it is because it only cost $100 but it can make you respect things like system synergy when they can match that little 3" driver and a cheap solid state amp and tuner and you hear the body and intent of the instruments better than most main stereos...

BTW the more I buy Audio Note products the more I am happy with my stereo. I am letting someone else do the matching from now on. I just want to listen to music too!
I entered a 12 step audiophile reduction program. The house only had a Bose system,I was out'o there,pronto. I have actually found new interest in a cheap pre--the Placette--and cheap speakers--Lowthers---These pieces are a step down in money;but not in sound Q.----Of course I'm out trying to score the better drivers,a day or two later.----Hopeless!!
i myself think that we should all be happy that we have a hobby that we enjoy instead of being like most other shmucks who come home & plop their ass in front of the tv.

to me hifi is no different than any other hobby that ive had, harleys, hotrods, strippers & in my youth (substances)it all takes cash.

one thing we all share is that when we do get around to a listening session we hear music in a way others will never have the good fortune to hear.

somthing ive learned is to listen while i cruise agon, ive got the mahavishnu orchestra playing on my rig right now & im havin a ball.

No way I'm not going back..
How could you be satisfied with a sony box?
I can think of better ways to scale back and still have good sound.. a pair of old epicures and a marantz 2275 receiver, a Rega P-3 and a Rega cart. would be a start, costing maybe 2K?
Well said Bigjoe!
I think that this is a lot more common than we would like to think.

Most of this results from reading too many glossy mags, on-line reviews and audio forums where every product mentioned is "as good or better than anything i've ever heard in my life". As such, people feel compelled to try and / or buy everything that gets raved about. They do this with little concern for how well it is implimented in their system ( poor installation or component matching ) or if it really is as good as they read ( probably not ). After all, it's only money right? If it doesn't work out, i can sell it and buy something "better".

After about a dozen or two "betters" and you've only moved sideways ( and sometimes even backwards ) a few steps, "upgrading" gets old and stale. Your disdain for all that you've gone through is taken out on both the system and your enjoyment of music. By removing the system from the equation, much of the stress and disdain for past mistakes is removed and one can once again begin to enjoy the music. Even if it is on a "mini system" or a "boombox", music can still shake your body, raise your spirits and stir your soul.

If that is what it takes to bring joy and music back into someone's life, i'm all for it. I would hope that it doesn't get to that point though, hence my efforts to help educate people in a manner that may help them avoid multiple costly mistakes. I made many of those mistakes myself, hence my animosity towards many of the "guiding lights" in the industry. They tend to stroll you down a path that leads to the bottom of your wallet with frustration and misery close behind. Sean

PS... I'm curious as to how many of the components purchases were rated "Class A", "recommended buys", "product of distinction", etc ???
It sounds like your friend got caught up chasing somebody else's ideals, if you ask me. I mean, to the point of cutting out measurements to show how well his speakers perform? It sounds like a case of lost priorities more than hifi burnout.

If you can keep in mind what you actually want from your system, and if what you want makes it possible to just sit and enjoy listening to music, then things will work out.
A question for those singing the praises of iPod and or Tivoli radio's: What are you folks doing wasting time posting and reading stuff here...it's not exactly a forum that expounds much on that realm of the market. I'm not questioning the quality of the sound of those components, nor bang for buck, or anything like that. Instead I wonder about the motivations alone for remaining in a chat group that perpetuates, and even glorifies, the quest for an "absolute sound". It's curious that, once 'cured' that you people are hanging around here...kind of like an alchoholic hanging around a bar singing the praises of ginger ale. What's the payoff?

The gentleman ( Friend of mine) who has sold all his expensive gear is apparently done with (The Gon) as well. It was I who shared his situation with the rest of the Audiogon crew, apparently he couldn't care less. I myself am very happy with my system and unlike my friend put the music first, not the equipment. This thread appears to have created quite a stir for some.

I am far from cured myself. I listen to my main stereo most of the time but when I do fire up my Tivoli radio I often think 'why do I waste my money?'

My point was that I do not think a lot of people get the synergy part right. You can have all the expensive equipment in the world with extension, definition etc but still miss the woody sound of a chello or the body of a guitar that somehow the Tivoli seems to capture and makes it involving.

I was just trying to get a little attention with the comment on it...

BTW where does the name Jax2 come from?

all the best


Hi Sean
You're right on the money. All of my burnout friends equipment was class A and highly regarded in the industry. It's like his stereo was a project in the works, and when it was completed there was nothing left to do but sell it. Plus as he has told me, he got tired of the endless purchasing of the "Best" equipment. I still maintain that hi fi equipment is only a tool, let the music move you and be you're focus.
Pour another one for my friend Phil! Jax is my dearly departed dog Phil. She passed away a little over a year ago. Some putz already took 'Jax', hence the suffix.

I still maintain that hi fi equipment is only a tool, let the music move you and (should?) be you're focus.

I'd agree that the system is merely a tool. What separates it from the typical 'tool' is in the other half of your statement. Absolutely, we are all doing this to bring us closer to the music that moves us. It seems like the highest accomplishment of this though is when the 'tool' disappears altogether and you become aware only of the music as a 'presence'. Seems like with more conventional 'tools' we are more conscious of the task at hand and how well or poorly the tool aids one in accomplishing the task. Not sure what I'm saying here...just a rambling thought I suppose.


You said it, and your post alludes to the experience that I've been having just this week. Staying up late, reading through posts about the latest and greatest in CD players and mods. I get excited reading about the A/B tests between various components, and the extensive and detailed reviews offered by enthusiastic listeners. Then, I see that several of these heralded 'best' players are up for sale within a day or two of the comments posted. And my head starts spinning, as I realize that I'm burning myself out with upgrade fever and accumulation of knowledge that only returns me to square one of an endless game.

I'm looking at our simple system: a 7W SET amp, a mid-level tube CD player, and a pair of 1977 horn speakers. It's a glorious setup, and so emotionally satisfying. I wonder what the hell I'm doing chasing down a better nirvana?

And that second system that needs a CD player???? Budrew, you hit the nail on the head. But hey, my wife wants to rock out downstairs, and needs the player. We're buying her one today, WITHOUT doing Audiogon research until 3am!

Yes, I'm a friend of Paul Klipsch W., taking this obsession one day at a time...
All the best,
Work on your golf game. Healthier hobby until you get like I do and start changing drivers and shafts all the time....
Actually, I went through five preamps since April and settled with the TAD-150. I actually made money on the units that I bought and sold. I really like the sound of the TAD-150 on my Vandys. The only other thing tat i'm planning is to modify my McCormack DNA-1 to B level.

Funny you should mention that... I'm taking up golf right now...

Anyway, what was it about the TAD-150 that you like with the Vandies? I'm looking for a good preamp right now.
One can never burnt out on audiogon. I spend more time on the GON than listening to music. Very addictive
Once upon a time,I told my audiophile friends, Iam done,
to the point where, I want to change my phone number,
so they cant reach me,and tell me about their system.
I also thought of selling every audio component I have,
For one month I was not returning calls,this is the time
where Iam trying to figure out what cause my burn out,
Finally I made a conclusion that I was more excited
How my friend tells me, how my system sound,negative
comments, make me tune up my system more and more,
sometimes I got lucky, sometimes I mess up the system
musicality.It is when I started listening to the music
more and more,that I was able to recover from being burn
out,for a while I did not invite anyone to hear my
system, until Iam sure,its musical enough, whatever
they will say, Iam not gonna be affected.Sure enough
I am enjoying music now more than before, I countered by
buying expensive speakers, peamps, and cdp.Well today
Iam a very happy with my music and my system.Happy
Listening to all.If its your PASSION enjoy it.Thanks
for me it's a visous cycle shuffling between hifi, watch, golf, and trackdays...
Just the opposite here. I had a lower end (outlaw and rotel) HT system that never sounded well with music, and as a result stopped playing music in the home.

After getting an all Cary HT rig, now my system is producing some sweet music again, and I'm listening all the time. Still this hobby can get obsessive quickly with lots of cash chasing not much more enjoyment.

I can only hope it ends here, but I know that after a while you get used to the sound of your system and you start craving that "Wow" again. I'm hoping to satisfy myself with just a speaker change every 5 years or so. Wish me luck.
I've seen some who begin to seek perfection, the best. Unforunately perfection don't exist and anyone who thinks that it does is deluding themselves. This stuff is machinery, some better. some not so good. If you do get into this obsessive mode, where does it end? Maybe cold turkey is the way to go. This is just stuff made to reproduce music or a reasonable facsimile of same. The stuff can't make us happy. It's essentially nothing but a collection of other stuff. Music can have power though and I think this is the important thing to remember. The acquisition of the machinery, the stuff, should not be the ultimate goal because it will ultimately be empty. I think that's where your friend ended up. Sometimes the equipment obsession obscures the enjoyment of music. The stuff is only here to serve the music.
Rja well said, I agree.
I have an all tube rig and for years was afraid to use it as a music system because of tube degradation, burn out, etc. Then about 4-5 years ago I realized I'm wasting life time and started just popping it on for use anytime I want. I've replaced tubes a couple of times but get much more enjoyment out of everything. I'm no longer afraid!
I'm in a simlar position as EVO8. Between riding trackdays on my sportbike(where it should be in the first place) and other outside activities I then can come back and listen to my system for the music and not how it sounds that day! I once sold all my gear except the speakers which I kept,but eventually replaced them with a newer/better model. I'll never make that mistake again. I believe you can achieve the same affect by disconnecting your system,box it up, and don't listen to it for several months,after that re-connect it and discover what you were missing?
statman,how correct you are,you really dont know what your missin till its gone.

every so often i get a job that requires me to live in another state away from my home,my family & my rig & i can tell ya that after 6 months of hotel clock radios my rig sounds like heaven when i get back home.

same deal with the harley's i ride,its like antartica right now here in michigan with the snow & cold & i cant wait till spring,i get so bad i have dreams about kickin my bike over & just going for a cruise.

Yes, I have been there as well. I did not pick up an issue of Stereophile for years and sold all of my equipment and settled for listening to a receiver and a pair of Signet SL-260s and was very happy. But slowly, I began picking up issues of Stereophile at the newstand and had an opportunity for a dedicated listening room and I was into it again.

However, my present system is much more simple. A tube integrated with a decent source but nothing extreme. Cables are all Audience. No more thousand dollar interconnects or power cords for me. Also, I have really taken a liking to Sonus Faber Speakers. I have owned the Concertinos, the Concertos, and next week will get my new pair of Grand Pianos as we have just moved and I have a larger room and hate using a subwoofer.

Anyway, I think High End is a great hobby but it definately can get outta hand with ease! My wife calls it my "Sickness". Anyway, good thread!