How do YOU justify this hobby?

This might seem like a stupid question, but I want to know how people can justify this Hobby.

Myself, the real answer is a bit complex and mystical, and maybe I will post it later on down the line.

The answer I give to the average person who askes: How do you justify your $30k sound system? or How can you justify spending $1k on 1M of wire????

My answer: Some people collect art. Do you consider music art? [This gets them thinking, and thy always reply 'yes'] Well I own over 700 pieces of art, these are called CDs. My music system is a Window to this art. It is the way the art is experienced. [Next I ask, if you had a nice piece of art would you not want it to be viewed the best way possible? Damn, I love this argument.] This is why I want the most transparent music system I can buy. I love music and it is art. I cannot own an original Picaso, but I CAN own a piece of music that was composed by Bach. And this piece of music is about the best a layman can own of Bach since he is deceased. The best thing would be actually able to play Bach pieces well yourself. This is a whol,e other discussion.

Anyway, tell us how you justify this hobby. Even if you do not go as overboard as I or others do (spending thousands on Ics... etc).


kf, i agree with you that music is an art and i have a huuuge collection of that art that the system that reproduces these pieces is relatively small in comparison pricewise. so i can say that my record and cd collection is the main component of my hobby.

my system acts as sort of appreciation to the music and how i want to hear it.

my appreciation didn't grow up to spending $1k for the 1m wire and probably wouldn't ever grow since i have so much plans to get more records than anyone could imagine and there will be always an argument inside of me telling: how dare you to spend even $250 on the cable when you can get more than 10 rarest and coolest records to own and listen damn it?

sometimes i have to sell my cds and records in the need of listening to something new or sacrifice with some records to fullfill more rare collection or just to adjust the budjet that is melting so fast due far not to the acquired components.

i can tell that within the past 3...4 years i've listened to approximately 10000 cds and records where only 1700...2000 are kept.

bach for me isn't the bottom line and becides he's boring for me except Tocatta and Fugue in D-minor, but i'm not into naive hip-hop either.

i also have some classical music that have a boring performances(i keep them to compare with non-boring performances of the same pieces) for instance if Jaques Loussier plays Bach it's not boring if any piece played.

which music is an art i think everyone should define it personally.
Justify to whom? It is my hobby and I don't think there is need to justify my own enjoyment to myself.
I just tell them I love music and I'm obsessive/compulsive about it. They add that I'm nuts... I think your explanation might work better.
My system cost around $5000. Each component lasts me an average of 10 years, listened, on average about 2 hours a day. Add in about $3000 of LPs and CDs and this works out at about $1 per hour cost for the whole lot (assuming 10 yr write off).
I buy inexpensive used cars (not too old, but unfashionable) and drive them until I have to push them to the junkyard. I ride my bike to work 3-4 days a week.

I really don't think it's an expensive hobby ... unless you want it to be. No green fees, no transmission rebuilds, no lift tickets, and no gasoline to power it.

I must admit it's getting harder to justify new stuff now I have a daughter, though. 10 years might stretch to 15 from now on.
Maybe the term 'Justification' is too strong or not right? Maybe I should have asked: How do you explain this hobby to others?
When a friend of mine who was wearing a 10K + Rolex told me I was crazy because I had over 10k in my system I just pointed to his watch and said who is the crazy one?
Sometimes I just run out of other things to do.
If you must explain, they can't possibly understand.
I "explain" this hobby by saying that I love music and truly appreciate the difference an expensive tube, cable, cartridge etc. adds to my enjoyment. I begin with the truism: A life without passion is not worth living. The are good passions and others that are questionable Music is amongst the most emotionally and spiritually edifying passion, so enjoy to the point where other important responsibilities are neglected! And take the trouble to listen to and assimilate all of the great music -- it is more difficult to justify the time and expense if one is listening to same music one enjoyed as an adolescent decade after decade.
Lastly, if there is a problem with this hobby it is the line that is sometimes crossed where the audiophile makes a purchase of high-end gear in the hope that it will confer prestige/status upon himself.
If you are interested in a hobby, you usually want the best the hobby has to offer. Art collectors buy art, drag racers buy funny cars. If you can afford it, you'll have it if it interests you enough. Everyone needs something to do with a little spare time aside from work and family and all that. For me, this takes up some of my time, but it gives me enjoyment. I like the music, but mostly I appreciate the time and enregy spent to build a decent set of speakers. Or the design work that goes into building an amplifier.
In my short 29 years of life, I have learned everyone has his/her own vices. Weather it's shopping, cars, jewlery, art, drugs/alchol, sports, whatever...mine is stereo. The rare individual who does not have a vice (hobby) I have often found to be the ones who will never understand spending $2K on a preamp or whatever. In the end, like all things in this world, "to each is own."
I, simply, love music. Also, music works for me in wondrous ways. So I wish to listen to music in a way that tricks my ears to enjoyment (of music). Similarly to you, I cannot own a Picasso or Mondrian, etc. But I can listen to a Furtwangler reasonably well, better than most. And you can't get Furt live anymore, alas! Electronics, wires, components... and some s/ware is all I have left. But I'm not that badly off, after all!
How do I justify?? Well it's cheaper than doing drugs--- Ok,---? maybe not by much!! Stereo doesn't do as much harm-- My shrink has a second opinion on that one.Whatever makes your boat float? A? Actually I have this thing about brown trucks pulling up in front of my place and they want my autograph---- Nobody else does.
For me, it's cheap therapy!
Hey at least it isn't cocaine
KF, I like your explanation! For me, it's all about the music and I just want to hear it like it was meant to be heard. I tell people I am in pursuit of the "live" experience and that everyone needs something to keep them off the streets (no offense to all you avid bikers out there). Everyone pretty much gets it once they listen, though they may choose to spend their time and money in other pursuits.
It's hard to justify something you love without someone else feeling the same way you do. I just keep telling myself, and I really don't think you have to justify it to anyone else, that I could be spending money on many other wasteful things and not get the long term enjoyment that I get out of my system. I don't smoke(my choice, not preaching)so I figure I save about $3-4.00 @day there. I don't own a boat, but I used to and I watched it deteriorate over time and either didn't have time to use it or the weather was bad or the fish weren't biting, or, or, or! So now I'm boat free and loving it. Yes, we own a couple of pretty decent personal cars, but I work for an auto dealership and I get a company car too, so I don't have to invest tons every other year or so in new cars, insurance, etc.. I guess it really boils down to what you feel are the most important things...There are few things in life that give me as much pleasure as music and a system to reproduce it on. I'll own as good a system as I can afford until the day I die or go deaf, and hope to God that I die before I go deaf!!!
Justify? Think about this, people buy homes everyday for BIG money, after only visiting them for 5 minutes with a real estate agent. Now THAT is something difficult to justify.
I don't justify it,or maybee I do. People I work with generally spend more money on their hobbies than I do i.e. racng cars, racing motorcyles etc.etc. I simply love music. Both playing the piano and listening to my system give me great pleasure.
My experiences pretty much determined that if I have to "justify" my system, then nothing I say is going to change the other person's belief system that $50,000 is ridiculous for stereo equipment. However, there are those music aficionados who are amazed by the "lifelike" music emanating from my two speakers, and they need no justification.
Music is as old as mankind.The persuit of good music is equally as old.Perhaps those that do not understand are the troubled ones.Very few things are more basic to the wellbeing of humanity. Imagine a world with no music or a world with only noise.Fingers on a chalk board,jackhammers,screaching tires saws,ect... Music is needed ,Good music is only human.To be the best that you can be.That's what has brought us up from the level of other animals. When you don't appreciate music or you can't understand the need to improve it then I can't help to think that may have something to do with the the problems we humans have created.
In the long run, it is both less expensive and healthier than heroin.
Tireguy, you're right! Cocaine isn't as expensive or as addictive as being at the mercy of an audio "jones"! Ucmgr, when I think about how much money (and aggrevation!) that I have saved by selling my boat, hi-end audio seems down right cheap! I think that audio is a lot like cars and drivers...some people will drive any crap car as just transportation, and other people LOVE driving and feel that the actual drive in a great performing machine is half (or more) of the fun!
It is probably cheaper than the therapy that would be needed in my case....
Justify? AA = Audiophile Anonymous? I'm a musician? I'll get it right soon? It's one of the things I do that I like.
I am on my second Toyota Corolla that is 10 years old and has 180,000+ mileage on it. So in the last 20 years since I got out of college, I have only spent about $18,000 on cars.

I am about due for another one soon, which I guess sell for about $16,000 now. So that will be only $34,000 over 30 years for cars.
Funny, I never had to justify it. People who have visted my home have made comments such as "that stuff sure looks expensive but you obviously derive much pleasure from it , it must be worth it to you", "I have to admit, it sure does sound good" and "maybe I should do something like this, it would be thereapeutic".
It's very easy to justify this hobby. Material things can be
replaced, money can be reimburse, but your lifetime cannot.
Every hour I spent listening to my system gives me great joy. Once I leave this world, I won't be able to enjoy music
again, and there are a limited number of years I will live.
Most people live their lives like they will last forever,
don't take time to enjoy leisure. Provided that you don't
jeopardize your kids education, home mortgage, etc. I belive
that I rather have an expensive sound system than save to money for an expensive funeral.
I can appreciate responses such as the one given by Hepl and others.

I generally don't try to justify this "hobby", because I don't consider my purchase of audio gear to be a hobby any more than my many other consumer activities in which I can endeavor to make cost-effective, within-my-budget choices.

I think the hobby aspect comes more into play for me concerning my rather large collection of recordings and the ongoing process of adding to and revising that collection. I think that music is where the real art is, and there is no need (or way) to justify to others the music that gives one pleasure and insights.
to you Sugar,
i use 10-year old automobiles for... years and drive them personally to the junk yard or order the last tow-pickup from the AAA club there.
currenlty i have 1987 Lincoln Town Car which has already 150000 miles among which more than half are mine.
i believe that this vehicle will last at least another ten years before the major repair is done. i never loved anything more better than this one even if compared to the to the 1992 Infiniti Q45 previousely owned.
I think very few of us who have invested tens of thousands of dollars in our equipment and music recordings have actually gone out and written a check (or presented plastic) for $50,000 in one fell swoop. That would be amazing and I wouldn't know where to start if such a sum came my way. Instead, it takes most of us years of listening, trading, swapping and fine-tuning to end up with a system worth $50,000, and we spent that amount in lumps, dribs, drabs and splats over the years. When a friend wonders how much all of my CDs must have cost, I ask her/him to add up what she/he has spent on dining out this year alone. Then add in all those $8 movie tickets or $70 show tickets. Like everyone else has said, my music, played through my system, brings comfort, pleasure and peace. There are plenty of other ways to get these things too; some are free but most cost you something. Anyway, most people who visit my house have absolutely NO idea how much I've spent on my system. The 20 tall bookshelves of CDs stagger them the most, I guess because a CD is something they know the price of.
My wife does VALUE VISION,I do audio...Simple thats how I justify it.