How do you get Happy as an Audiophile?

There’s an interesting, relatively modern take on mental health called Positive Psychology. While not without it’s faults and detractors, PP has a very interesting approach. Instead of asking questions on the axis of illness and diagnosis PP asks questions on the scale of happiness:

What is it that makes you more or less content with your life and in your pursuits? How can these actions, events or states be codified and applied as general principles?

In the spirit of PP then I ask:

How do you get happy? What advice would you give an audiophile that asks "What is satisfying about being an audiophile, and what are the approaches that get me there? Do you personally know the answers for yourself? "


CANI. Continual and Never-ending Improvement.

As long as I'm making "progress" on something. Even if it's just painting or cleaning the joint. I get pretty happy!

And Merry Christmas E.


I get happy just by clicking a few switches, pressing a few buttons, and twisting a couple of dials -- and then enjoying good sounds.

Audiophile or not, I try to take a moment every day, to look around my surroundings (works well on the golf course) and just remind myself how fortunate I am.  Not to be corny about it, but let's be honest, anyone on this site aint living in a tin shack on Haiti?  Seasons greeting to one and all, however you choose to celebrate the time.  

Reading about acoustic....

And simple thinking about S.Q./price ratio analysis..

Taking anything useful from my basement to create devices...

Buying nothing after my three basic pieces of gear were rightfully chosen....

This way i feel  happier by the day....


Can't answer. Was never happy with my system when I considered myself an audiophile. Audio Nervosa I believe it is called. Anyway, somehow I figured out that I just like listening to music and particularly music that I like, music that speaks to me. I quit upgrading my system and buying and listening to only music that "sounds" great.

Now I'm a happy music listener. Yes, listening on a good/great sounding system is a plus and is special to me. However, I can be happy listening to good music, (to me)music, of all genres, even on a pedestrian system. In fact, I do it regularly when I get together at friend's homes to listen. They are normal people. Never suffered from the dreaded...

This is not a condemnation of audiophilia. Tried it. It just didn't work for me.

There's a saying- how you do anything is how you do everything. I think it applies to audio as well.

I just love listening to music reproduced well in my home. In addition, I love the pursuit of trying to enhance the whole experience.

When "I'm there," that's when I'm happy.  That sense was achieved by listening to some astounding Lamm ML-2.2 SET monos; it was pure magic.  Of course I can't afford that, but I can collect enough change between the sofa cushions to buy say a pair of  Lamm ML-1.1 monos.  If I can just get say within 85% or 90% of the ML-2.2 monos, then that's good enough!  :)   Happy Holidays all.  

Happy is elusive feeling and illusion people be happy all time is crime against human. Live life of deep purpose if seek hard play hard learn best focus learn being bored okay if it fill purpose. Be happy is like woman finding shoe for dress. Bless all.

I play Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite, followed by Steely Dan's Gaucho.  IMHO, happiness is based on perspective.  Call me a happy bot.

Hi, great question and great answers so far! I can only speak for myself when I say the thing I was chasing was a level of competence and confidence in that what my system components created was thought through. 
I just wanted to know I had purposefully decided to use components based on merit and for me the knowledge of that merit came from trying different stuff. 
I also really try to have a story for the separate pieces and I think that I can hear the effect of changing out speaker cables because of the way I feel about them. 
For example, I have an armboard made from a plywood shelf out of a nice old Capehart cabinet. I also try to look at my system since for me its all about how the piece comes across when in use. 
In the end I am trying to recreate the feelings that I had when plugging headphones into my dad's system and dropping the needle when I was nine listening to Long distance Voyager by the Moody Blues for around three months in 1983. 
The emotional connection to the music should be clear and if anything is getting in way of that either by it being terrible or maybe too good even you might want to keep searching. I know thats what I do and its what keeps me trying new pieces. And man its hard when you let the wrong thing go, am I right?!!

In high school, I had one those all in one units. Kept it shiny and doted over it. In college, I had a decent Pioneer system. Wasn't bad, wasn't great but it was somewhat close to a real system. Then I had a Honda Prelude with hail damage. Great car with a good audio system. It was fast and I totaled it. Then I had this wireless system that I could plug an iPod into. It ruled. Could listen to music outside through an actual speaker. Wow. Then I had my phone with a portable speaker. Very practical for my age. Then I had nothing for 10 years. Now, I have a system worth all of those multiple times over. So, am I happy? Heck yeah! The music has never sounded so good! 

"How do you get happy?" 

This is what I've observed... 

Happiness is not a thing to be acquired so there can be no "getting" happy.

Happiness is about being, not getting. . . and I cannot be in two places at once! 

As long as I am chasing something "out there" and telling myself I will be happy once I get it, at some point in the future, I am, in effect, denying myself the possibility of being happy, as happiness can only be encountered 1) in the here and now and 2)  internally. 

I don't find being an audiophile makes me happy. It's more like an addiction than anything else. People who are perfectionist by nature, who  love music and who have enough $ can easily become hooked by audiophilia. I find it can be quite an emotional roller coaster. 

Each time I upgrade my system, I notice the desire to attain "the next level" invariably arises. So, in a way, the very act of upgrading inhibits my potential for satisfaction as it continually generates an ongoing chain of desires. I don't find this brings me happiness. Temporary intoxication-- sure-- but happiness? I don't think so. 


Now if you want to talk about music, that's different...







I liked your description of "Positive Psychology", That is something new and needed in the field, Mental Health was my field prior to retiring, and I spent years supervising Corrections Psychiatric treatment and Diagnostic units among other related work.. Our work was grounded on the illness model you describe. I think I had the entire DSM IV (the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) memorized at some point, Thanks for bring up this new approach. It put a smile on my face to hear of it..

To address your question. I’ve only upgraded my system twice. Once in my twenties and again at about age 67. I think I’d be happier if I could upgrade my listening system to include super high end forbiddenly expensive Magico speakers and equivalent equipment next time around.. But why worry about it, And why not enjoy the pricey to me set-up I have now.

What makes me happy is finding great new CD’s and listening to already collected gems, while enjoying the advantages and improved sound of my current system over the old one. I’m doing it right now, listening to the newly available Coltrane "A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle" Can’t beat it, even though the the actual recording was done by amateurs. and certainly doesn’t show off one’s system.

Daydreaming about better stuff can be fun and satisfying as well, abetted by reading Audiogon (when the trolls aren’t out in force) to find out what the rest of you are doing and learning what the more knowledgeable can teach you.

Anyway, great post Erik. Thanks;

Mike (still lying about not being a robot)


When you sit in your listening chair, close your eyes and just listen and it puts a smile on your face then you know you have reached what you gave sought.

I give a rating of 1 to 10 on most things generally aiming for an 8 (happiness, sound quality, taste of food/ drink)

Am massively happy to sell off house and have no mortgage, no more bills etc.

Gone back to the simple pleasure of Arcam Alpha CD, TD160/ SME 3009 and surprisingly good Sony FB940 amp (still rock solid and beautifully tactile controls). Have brought my Onix amp back out- lovely thing that Cyrus seem to be copying aesthetically.

Getting a pair or Senny HD8xx for pennies down the auctions

Grumpy Dingo radio is permanently on he CXN in the garage- love the mixture of dark comedy/ black humour makes me happy

I'm Marvin the paranoid android's twin robot brother

I’m at the point that I have everything I could far as equipment. Now, I concentrate on finding LP treasures, 45’s, cd’s, and pre recorded cassettes...not that I don’t already own enough....overall, I’d say I’m happy, as well as fortunate.

3 ways:

When it sounds so good I can't help but smile, and sometimes shout OMG out loud.

When a visitor hears a 'real' system for the first time. I love watching their faces, I've even had people cry.

Sometimes I'll buy hundreds of records or CD's at estate sales. I love it when I hear some new (to me) artist that blows me away. I once scored 12 feet of records for $50. Took me over a year to go through them, but my horizons were expanded because music before 1960 couldn't be good, right? Wrong!

Answer to OP question:

Remember that music is a goal but so is sound and it's ok to like both.

Don't feel guilty about wanting to tweak, change, play with things if this done in the spirit of experiment and tinkering.

Worry when it becomes a quixotic and desperate quest for realism with a capital R.

I like @reubent 's response. I can only add that I like listening to the different "flavors" imparted by equipment I own while expanding more and more into DIY and vintage restoration type projects.  Learning more and more about audio, electronics and acoustics as @mahgister alluded to is also a real high. It doesn't take so much money to be this sort of audiophile and it returns a lot of satisfaction. O and I like the endless supply of new sounds available these days from's just a dream come true.

i ’am’ happy as an audiophile. don’t need to ’get’ happy.

--when i anticipate listening as i am doing other things, i am happy.

--if one of my audio buddies calls me i am happy to talk hifi.

--surfing and posting hifi forums away from listening i am happy.

---i found a 3000 Lp classical collection a month ago, which was shipped to me. i have it upstairs in my barn. one of my all time greatest audio pleasures is to grab 7 or 8 random Lp’s i’ve never heard, bring them downstairs and one by one clean and then listen to new Lp music, read the jackets, maybe look up data on line, and sit back and travel the music world while i listen. i might take a few listening sessions to sample pieces of these Lps. i get lost into it. makes me so happy.

---i surf Quboz for music to sample, then use their interface to try related recordings. i can do this for hours. it brings me pleasure.

---sometimes i will just listen to my core reference recordings. or put together a play list and lay back. makes me happy.

----i have 4 turntables and sometimes i will grab a few records and play one side on each different turntable. love to hear what they bring differently to the music.

---i have a sofa and three chairs in my listening room since i often have listening visitors. 7 seats. i have another 10 chairs i can bring in. my plan is to have people visit. makes me happy. nothing like a great communal listening session.

---i can be a gear head sometimes; it’s fun to try new gear and think about new gear, but not all the time. but right now i’m about to retire, so i’m assessing my long term system plans and making some choices. i enjoy this process as long as i don’t need to be in any hurry. it’s fun considering new gear. it’s a means to an end, not the end pleasure. but pretty things can be fun and bring happyness. a matter of balance.

--i listen 30+ hours a week in my dedicated 2 channel room. no TV in there. i have no grandkids. wish i did. my life and listening would be different in that case. but it’s not. my wife of almost 48 years is supportive and understanding of my hifi/music enjoyment. so it works for my life. i’m not hiding from my problems. and life balance is important to being happy with being an audiophile. i am happy that i can be at ease when i listen.

i could go on and on.

When first building systems many years ago, suffered much angst in the many failures. Certainly there were successes as well. This success/failure cycle repeated a number of times, rather manic depressive in my reaction. OCD was certainly in play here as well. Then came a point, several years ago when this psychic merry-go-round was greatly alleviated. It happened organically, of it's own accord once system didn't require much psychic energy to imagine live performers in room.


While I continue to experiment with system, success and failures continue, base line sound quality of my system allows consistent pleasure. The failures much less important to me now,  I can find happiness in the process these days.


For me, suffering was necessary in the pursuit of pleasure, happiness. I presume all audiophiles suffer to some extent, depends on how much a perfectionist one is.


And I'm not sure happiness as an emotion can exist in world devoid of suffering, discontent.

How does it make me happy? I do up some cannabis, put on some tunes, sit back, and..... happy!!!! 😁

Also like @jerryg123 's answer!!! 🤣

I'm told it's a Buddhist principal; No expectations! It's the only way I've been able to get through the past few years. It works. I've found I have more good days than bad. When the phone rings and it's bad news, I take it in stride. I sleep better now.


Iam good nature happy person. I appreciate every  little things in life, especially audio, This hobby makes me happy on music I played in my system, even the performance of my system, it made me more happier when I learn to love classical music, learning more about this hobby I get excited and happy.Iam greafully happy to be bless with what I have audio wise.

It’s when you care about the equipment and also when you don’t.

Unless you can stop caring about the equipment once you start listening to the music you’ll never be happy.


we don’t have dispensary’s here, so I have to settle on listening to good music with my dogs on either side of me. 😀

All the best.


So far, I think this hobby is for the obsessive compulsive.  Right now I like the sound of my Harman Kardon in my car the best.  The sound surrounds me.  I may not get a sound stage but it sounds better than my home system.  I am beginning to think either I ad the rear surround speakers or add about $100,000 to get an equivalent sound.  What do you add first?  Amplifier, or speakers.  I just spent $1,050 on a power cord and digital cablee for my BlueSound Nodee 2i and I think I liked the sound better using RCA analogue.  Maybe there is something about MQA that sounds better.  I know MQA sounds better in my car, but I am losing 90% of thee MQA unfold in my car.  If money wasn't an object, I wonder how many have to do with the wife factor.  I have my system in my living room and if I were to add some large ugly speakers to my system, my wife would ask me to live and to take my system with me.  Some of you have some huge systems located in a specific room, but I cannot imagine having to sit in that room all by myself listening to music.  

Great responses.  Lots of +1s.  I'm a bit of both.  I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I love a well thought out upgrade or tweak that pays off in spades.   I reach for that reference (to me) material to marvel at the SQ.  A bit of A Nervosa.  But then there are lots of days I could care less and I spot a CD or a vinyl that I've not heard in X years and it's a rush all over again.  Or a favorite I've played weekly that still triggers that "omg" feeling.