How does one get off the merry-go-round?

I'm interested in hearing from or about music lovers who have dropped out of the audio "hobby." I don't mean you were content with your system for 6 weeks. I mean, you stood pat for a long time, or--even better--you downsized...maybe got rid of your separates and got an integrated.

(I suppose if you did this, you probably aren't reading these forums any more.)

If this sounds like a cry for help, well, I dunno. Not really. I'm just curious. My thoughts have been running to things like integrated amps and small equipment racks and whatnot even as I continue to experiment and upgrade with vigor (I'm taking the room correction plunge, for example.) Just want to hear what people have to say on the subject.

Ag insider logo xs@2xdrubin
I hear you! I think it is really desturbing when you walk into your local dealer and hear a system that costs a few thousand dollars that is putting out this incredibly musical sound and your thinking that you have spent 10 times that with little better results.

Well, first, depending on the type of music a smaller system can sound pretty good but not on everything. Secondly, friends ask me how I can listen to a $20 radio at work when I have such a nice system at home. I like music; it is that simple. However, when I really want to listen to something that can give me chill bumps, it is not going to be on my little radio.

My advice is that maybe you have hit a wall where you additional investment just isn't bring you any additional "joy" (for lack of a better word). Maybe it is time to quit tweeking or upgrading and just enjoy what you have while you decide on a plan. Downsizing may be an option or maybe finding a new type of music that really turns you on will help. For example, I was talking to a friend who had asked me if I had ever heard of a kind of new age flamingo by Jesse Cook. I borrowed a disk and for the next few months was really energized by this incredible music.

Don't worry. I am sure we all are there at some point. Something will happen to re-energize you!

Check this out:
He turns many of the usual equipment comparison systems on their heads.
Seems pretty interesting, certainly worth a try.
Leafs; your Agon membership could be in jeopardy if you don't at least attempt an up-grade in the next two weeks. Have you gotten the "sweats" yet?
I think you have a good point here. Over the years I have tried all the approachs. Tri-amp, bi-amp, total seperates, multicables & the like.

Now I seek a sound that I can live with, I still like mono amps, but only two. One line source pre-amp, & yes even a one box cd. Simple wiring, one per speaker. I also have decided to go with a smaller reference speaker. A 150 lb one rather than 400 lbs. Oh yes, I have wheels on everything but the speakers. LOL

I will never tell you that single this and that sounds as good as all that other stuff, but things sure are much easier to live with. I just buy better quality componets, but single box ones that are easy to use & set up.

Now my focus is on the music, and just keep the equipment working properly.

Current system: Jeff Rowland Senergy II pre-amp, Halcro power amps-dm58, Audiomeca Mephisto II 24/192 CD player, Piega P10 speakers, Ensemble interconnects, speaker cables, and power cords. Now, lots of new CD's

It has taken some getting use to but I am adjusting pretty well.

Good Listening,
I guess I can whip up a new Power Cord.Throw some wire nd connectors toghther.see what happens.
I have a Resolution Audio CD50 and speakers I love, but my search ended (at least I think it did) with my Rowland Concentra II. I have owned nine other amps (seperates and a Plinius integrated), in the last few years.
I think the gap between the best you may have at home and the sound of real music ( and if you are a true music lover, you will be intimately familiar with it) can be the mother of adiction. Its like the fable of the donkey and the carrot suspended in front of its close...and yet so far, but you keep on running ....and the merry-go-round goes round and round. The answer to get off it is a simple as it it tough and like most things in life ( marriage for example (-; ): Resign yourself to what you've got, make the most of it and enjoy it to the fullest.
I kinda hit the wall with respect to gear upgrades, but am I ever having fun tweaking my systems! Tweaking is cheap, fun, and appeals to us guys who just can't leave well enough alone
The problem for me is this: I've always loved listening to music, but I never let myself buy any truly hi-end equipment until a couple of years ago.

Now I can't stop wanting to experience different types of gear. It is an addiction, and it can be as damaging as any other. As an addict, I have found I have to listen to music 2-3 hours per day, while reading an audiophile mag. Then mess with my system for an hour or two--and before collapsing into a heap--spend a couple of hours on the web looking for the latest and greatest piece of audio gear...

Ahhhhh, group therapy is good for the soul!

Partly serious :( Partly not ;?)

If memory serves me correctly, the only way off a merry-go-round is through the loss of one's grip. Forces that cannot be seen then pull you at break-neck speeds away from the comfort of friends into the sandpits of despair, ultimately leaving you with feelings of vertigo, dizziness beyond belief.

I wish to point out that some people believe that a loss of one’s grip is what landed them on the merry-go-round in the first place. But, if I may quote our great President Theodore Kennedy, who speaking before the Paris Audio Society in 1910 said, “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”
>BR> I think it was delivered to the Paris Audio Society. Anyway, it sounds like it was.
Most here may be aware that the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has decided that audiophilia is an infectious disease. It manifests itself typically in males, but has been known to also affect some females. The manifestation process varies greatly, from extremely rapid infection to slow, almost unnoticable accumulation until one day you realize that having 14 amps in your closet does constitute a disease.
I would bet that the majority of posters to this site will never get off the merry-go-round. While I do not buy into the music-lover versus equipment-lover debate, there are people who simply have decided to turn their love for audio into a hobby. They know that a system can always sound better than it does, and that live music always sounds better than than the home system, so they tweak and trade up in search of the grail (which they full well know is unattainable). Still, for them it is fun, and if they choose to spend their discretionary income in this way, no one should criticize. For some people it's cars, for others it's world travel. For audiophiles, well you know. I spend more money on CDs and spend more time actually listening than anyone I know, but fortunately can resist upgrading my system for around five years at a time....a new amp speakers there. Never have been much for tweaks. So while I've got the bug, it is not a severe case, I guess. But while I've got your attention...can anyone reccommend a good tube preamp with two sets of of out jacks for under $3,000?...just kidding. I 'll ask again in a year or two when I am actually ready to buy one...I can wait....I'm one of the lucky ones...or am I? :-)
djlackey, yer description sounds closest to mine - i'm mostly satisfied w/my system, & generally hang on to someting for quite a while before getting the upgrade itch, & then usually upgrade one ting at a time. changing software helps - listening to lotsa different kinds of music. also, i guess my interests are spread too thin - i enjoy being out in the country, food, & someting that's easily as spendy - or more - than the audio bug: cars & motorcycles. of course, there's the wife-n-kids too... ;~) having other interests helps keep the audiophile disease under control... :>)

regards, doug s.

Is it the result or the journey?

I suggest that most of the fun in this hobby is the journey towards the "holy grail." If some amazing new technology came out tomorrow that provided the "perfect" reproduction of live sound, wouldn't most of us be disappointed that our quest was over? It is that satisfaction which results from an upgrade that keeps this hobby exciting. Yes, we spend ridiculous sums as we approach the asymptote, but it is that incremental betterment of the musical experience that makes it worthwhile.
Very well said, Jmslaw. Indeed, I've had tremendous misgivings about digital room correction because I worry that it may change the nature of the pursuit too much. But I'm going forward anyway.
jmslaw, i don't see it that way - if some amazing gnu *affordable* technology came out that provide the *perfect* reproduction of live sound (whatever that is - i've gone to some comcerts & thought it sounded better at home!), i'd be happier than a pig-in-shit! ;~) i like the *music*. drubin, don't worry - if the digital room correction works, ewe *will* be happy! :>)

regards, doug s.

I pretty much stopped listening to music from 1985 to 2000 with exception of a few music vidios, plays, the Hollywood Bowl and friends performing locally. I sold all of my gear (a tube based Ls3/5a system) and most of my vinyl in 1985 and spent my leisure time from then on reading as I was burnt out on music. The only thing that I kept was my KLH Model 21 table radio to listen to at low volume in the kitchen when I cooked (the local jazz and classical station). When I jumped back into the hobby in early 2000 I was starved for music (we have picked up 500 CD's in a little over a year's time) and as far as the gear goes finally ended up with a system composed of things that were new and interesting to me (digital source, 300B SET amplification and solid core cabling). I added the usual tweaks as well (PC's and isolation components), but found this a natural course to take, no different than replacing the tires on a new (used car) with the Michelins that I prefer or than ripping up the kitchen floor in a rented apartment and replacing it with something more to my liking and at my own expense (I have replaced our kitchen floor three times in the past 8 years:-). This system is almost completed and when I can afford to, it will replace the mini system in the spare room and then I will start all over again on another type of living room system. This is what I enjoy doing as a hobbby. As far as the Merry-Go-Round goes, I can only afford so many tickets at a time.
I did it.
But mainly out of necessity.
Like many of you guys, I am single, which affords me supreme omnipotence with respect to speaker placement.
I'll just say that my small 2 bedroom apt is totally set up around the stereo system. I had it bad. Upgrading, upgrading, upgrading. Meanwhile, I spent less and less time listening, and worse, only to 3 or 4 well recorded CDs, instead of the several hundred others I have.

I was eating at my local chinese buffet here in Charleston SC, and at the end of the meal, as is customary for Americans eating at local Chinese buffets, I opened my fortune cookie, and received the best advice of my life.
"The simplest answer is to act."
This was not a typical fortune cookie fortune. This was pure knowledge.

IF something is bothering you, address it. Don't walk around it, walk straight up to it, and slap it in the face.

I knew that my stereo habit was out of control. Plus, I knew that I didn't really enjoy the "hobby" as much as I did when I began to piece together my first high end system.

I looked at my life, where I was going (actually to law school, very, very soon), and decided that I needed to free up a little cash, plus get out of the upgrade fast lane.

I remembered hearing an inexpensive integrated amp at my local hifi boutique, and decided to take it home for a trial. (thanks, Read Bros. Stereo!!)

My thinking, reinforced by my fortune cookie, was to get rid of the frustration. I wanted a stereo system, for sure, but not one that was quite so costly and frustrating, if it was only going to be used occasionally, as the case had been lately
I had roughly $2k in a $5k retail amp/IC/preamp combo.
Pretty cheap CD (Planet) and speakers that I love (Nautilus 805). I decided to trim the fat from the amplification components.

SO I bought the $1k (retail) integrated amp.
Never looked back.
Sold the Preamp (no longer made CJ PV11L)
Sold the Amp (no longer cheap Audioprism Debut now RedRose model 2)
Sold the IC (no longer made Audioquest Diamondx3)

Looked at my all solid state, 2 piece stereo system, sitting there on the floor, taking up MUCH less space, producing MUCH less heat, using MUCH less power.
And I was Happy.

And you know what else??
Those poorly recorded CDs sound MUCH better.
Detail? Not as much, to be sure.
Soundstaging? not as deep, but wide, wide, wide.
Imaging? Almost as good.
Musicality? light-years ahead.
And I listen LOTS more. To Music, not Diana Krall, though she does still sound RAVISHING....
So, I still check the forums, hell, I still look at the classifieds at least 10 times a day. But I know that I ran the race, chased the grail, got as close as anyone gets, and then settled down and got on with my life.
Some of you are laughing, but I bet many of you are not.
There are jokes about the addictive nature of this hobby, but addictive it is.
How much money have you spent on drugs, legal or not, in the past year?
How much have you spent on stereo gear?
Can you say without hesitation that your $10k rig produces more happiness, and gets used more than the $2.5k rig you started out with?
Now, once I am a rich, fat old lawyer, I might be tempted to jump in again, but if I do (OK, when I do), it will be a supplement to my life, not it's main purpose.

Just Say No! to expensive stereo rigs that don't make you happy

Enjoy THE MUSIC, cliche as it may be in here, that is what it is truly about.
I don't want to get off the merry-go-round. I've got a bad case. I think Jmslaw's above post defined the disease well-- for me too, it is a "quest". Cheers and Beers. Craig
Keep an old reference system to compare each new piec of equipment to;

If the upgrade that you are considering is not 10 times better (better tonal balance, better resolution, better sound stage, better depth, better bass, better high end, more nautral midrange, greater dynamics, ect., don't change or upgrade (this pertains especially to the silly prices for some of the latest audio gear).
I think it depends on why you feel something is "wrong" - are the bills mounting uncontrollably and, yet, expenditures continue unabated? Or is it just that it doesn't seem "normal" to spend so much time and money on the pursuit since you don't know anyone else who does and feel like you should do something different or "better".

For me, it comes down to how much are you enjoying music / audio - if you enjoy experimenting with wires or gear, more power to you even if it's at the expense of reading books, going to the theater or whatever other optional pursuit you might have. There's nothing about one optional past-time that makes it inherently better or worse than any other. On the other hand, if it's actually causing you more anxiety than enjoyment, stepping back for a breather and letting it re-establish itself as important could be a good thing. Personally, I don't have the time to experiment with all the possible enhancements I'd like to, but someday I may. If I could afford it and keep my wife thinking I was sane, I'd find time to experiment with lots of different speakers, at least for a while, but I don't want to spend that much money for the experience.

At the end of the day, nobody should apologize for enjoying something, even if nobody else understands why, as long as it's legal, etc. -Kirk

As a child, I listened to high-end audio in its infancy through my father's system (McIntosh, Marantz, JBL, Akai, you know the stuff). Later, I went to university and played music professionally. My system was the worst, cheapest junk imaginable: a $50 SS Onkyo integrated, a no-name 3 way speaker system with screws as binding posts, the cheapest direct-drive Technics TT with a screetchy AudioTechnica needle. The sound was terrible, but it did not matter. I was more interested in the music. I invested in instruments and records. This went on for about 15 years. Now, I maintain 3 stereo systems and have 8 upgrades under my belt in the last 4 weeks. Everyday, when I come home, even before I say hello to my wife, I immediately fire up the SET monoblocks for warm up. Then I listen for 2 to 3 hours, reading an audio magazine. Then I might move the speakers or clean records or adjust a cable for awhile. Then I will check what is happening on audiogon for another 1 or 2 hours. Then I go to bed and turn on a bedside headphone/CD system that I listen to before I fall asleep. The sum result is that I practice my musical instrument less and less and listen to other musicians more and more. Edifying conclusion: good musicians need bad stereos; high-end audio is the song of the sirens.
g13: most excellent post. i don't envy your staring law school soon. i graduated law school (univ. of iowa) just over 32 years ago. it was the most unpleasant 3 years i ever lived. i might have been voluntarily committed were it not for my music and my friends in the art and writing community. rest assured, if you do well and start makin' the big bucks, you'll jump back on the merry-go-round with a whole fistful of tickets, reaching for all you're worth for the big brass ring. -kelly
Gthirteen, I'm not laughing at all. You definitely killed whatever buzz I had workin. Damn, that's hard, I only have two or three more upgrades to go before I get to the promised land. Now what?
Hey Drubin, you talking to me? I took a 7 year break, does that qualify? I was hardcore from the late 80's to the early 90's ( Krell, Coda, Audio Research, EAD, Proceed, etc.) I found myself so wrapped up in family, that I had no time to listen. I have 3 boys who like sports, I got started coaching and had no time for listening. I found the only thing that 'cured' me was downgrading. I mean nothing real drastic, Parasound and McCormack, nice stuff by many standards. I lived happily for 7 years with the same gear, imagine that. I didn't listen much, to be honest, once a month if I was lucky. As the boys got older and I got more time, early in 2001 I got back into it. I've been ecstatic! It's wonderful to be back! I'm back up to Proceed and Classe and such stuff, damn I feel like I can breath again. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the family time, but it's great to get back to a hobby that you REALLY enjoy. The music just moves me like never before. When you leave the field for 7 years, you'd be surprised how much technology can develop. Oh well, my advice would be, if you're burnt out,take a break. This great stuff will be here when you return. Enjoy the music.
G13!, great to see you again Joe! My take on this is that this hobby should have some sort of direction. It should have a destination. Once that destination is reached, there is not that much more future buying needed. Maybe a big step up as a result of having a lot more money than you did 5 or 10 years ago. Maybe a new player when a new format takes hold. A cable here, a cable there. Maybe a used piece of equipment for sentimental reasons. Something built or modified because it is both fun and educational. Not the kind of turnover that would make a fast food restaurant blush. The most important investment one can make is in themselves. More important than ANY piece of equipment one will EVER buy. First, get to know everything about your tastes, and what you want out of this hobby. What kind of music and sound you like, what kind of room you will listening in, and your budget. You will then be able to seek out and buy(after a thorough audition) the kind of equipment that will provide you with LASTING(!!!) enjoyment of your music. Ask yourself, what is the purpose of me being an audiophile? Is it to be music lover or a gear lover? That will probably answer more questions, and be the best fortune teller there is in this whole hobby. If you are a gear lover, and find the music secondary(we KNOW audio has WAYYYYYYY more of these people than admit to it), read this next sentence very carefully(read it again if needed). YOU WILL NEVER GET OFF THE MERRY-GO-ROUND!!! There it is. Straight, no chaser. Face facts. These people are always tweaking, modifying, upgrading, changing. Saying that they are getting more enjoyment out of their system today than ever before, but appearing as crazy as a loon. The only difference between them and a madman is that they are not mad.
Trelja, Leafs, and other “recovering audiophiles”:

Have you checked to see if your region has a local AA (Audiophiles Anonymous) chapter? Our group meets every week at the local Radio Shack where we listen to MP3, boom boxes, but mostly just talk about downgrading.

Many of us were normal folks, you know -- nice people – good job, loving family, close friends and decent power cords. With me, it started with interconnects. One, two, and then sometimes three a day! After a month or so, I just couldn’t start my day without de-oxidizing that Golden Cross one more time. It was real bad.

But I am happy to say I’m getting better now. I now only reach for that hidden box of Black Diamond Racing Cones when I just can’t get to sleep without a tweak.

At our chapter of AA, we follow a proven 10-step program.

1. The First Step is Admitting You DO have a Problem: I remember my first meeting -- real scary. I had to stand up before the entire group of recovering audiophiles and admit I had three preamps! And that sometimes I couldn’t face the day until I tried mixing tubes and solid state just one more time. Clearly, I needed help. So I embarked on the 9 other steps to recovery listed below:

2. Always Attend Your Local AA Meetings: Last meeting, there was this one guy who came wearing his Stax Lamdas and just couldn’t take them off. Another guy lashed out at other group members with a PowerSnake he had brought along when the group leader suggested that he try unfiltered AC for a week. Poor guy, we had to restrain him with #12 gauge speaker wire and forcefully remove the Bybee filters from his Maggies.

3. Gradual Downgrading – A Sure Way of Getting Off the Wagon: Start slowly. Try cutting your Nearfield Pipedreams in half, or removing the “Martin” from your ML’s so they just say “Logan”. That’s a start. But don’t be too rash -- I once put a Redbook CD in my Sony SACD player and was so hung over with digital grain that I missed the next two meetings.

4. Help Other AA’s Recover: Tell your fiends to resist those Revel Salons, say “no” to that pair of Merlins up for auction, and give the new 10 ft. Nordost Valhallas to their daughter to skip rope with. (Remember, to remove the spades, as kids prefer bananas)

5. Abstain and Stay Clean: Go to eBay and bid on anything Bose. After you’ve set up a surround sound system connected to a Circuit City source, invite your friends over for a “Bose party” Start by hooking the 901’s to your 1000-Watt Classe Omega. Slowly, slowly turn up the volume, and then remove your earplugs. It helps if you are standing next to glass or any other reflective surface so you can really catch those 2nd order harmonics. Did I mention itis beneficial to remove all carpeting and put mirrors on the ceiling?

6. Limit Exposure to Those who Would Corrupt Us: When visiting the CES in Las Vegas, stay in the hotel hosting MP3, visit the “worst of show”, car audio, and Bose (maybe the same as “worst of show”). See if you have the willpower to stay out of any good sounding rooms. Be strong: you can fight temptation!

Last show I spent an entire day inside the Kenwood Van -- the one with the 22” woofers. After that I couldn’t hear anything, so I was immune to the temptations of Levinson, Red Rose, Lamm and some of that strong sounding German stuff, Burnmester, I think it was called.

7. Avoid Relapses: If you must visit a friend with good equipment, bring your Jensen headphones and a hidden MP3 player. If you wear the in-ear design, no one will ever suspect you are “wearing a wire” and not really listening to the Accuphase that your host is hopelessly hooked on.

8. Counsel Your Fellow AA Members: Remind other recovering audiophiles that 2 channel is dead, SACD and 8-track sound about the same, with a slight edge in hiss to 8-track, and that it’s OK if your amp clips now and then.

9. Gradually recover: Crank up that subwoofer, move your system to an all glass room, go back those Chinese tubes. Hell, I even downsample my 24/96 CD to 16 bit by hooking up my DAC backwards. It really works – the graininess is back, soundstage folds up like a tent in a high wind, and my wife says I’m less spend less time fiddling with wires in the back.

10. Stop Temptation Before it Starts. Begin by visiting only the HT section of audiogon. Then abandon audiogon altogether. Stop all subscriptions to Absolute Sound, Stereophile, and especially those highly addictive British mags. Shop by reading the classified of local newspapers, set your browser to search “Realistic”, or buy your speakers from the famous white van man when he visits your local supermarket parking lot.

Congratulations! You’ve reached the Final Stage: You’re off the wagon; now stay off!

Get a job a Circuit City. If there’s no Circuit City, then a Best Buy will do. (Ask to work in the car stereo or portable audio section.) Trust the good advice of your fellow workers and learn from their knowledge. But remember, when you become Manager, you must immediately fire any staff member who tempts you by uttering the words “SACD”, “separates” or “tubes”. And be sure to train your co-workers to tell customers “the bigger the woofer the better”, and “you can’t hear anything above 10KHz”, so why bother, “just hook everything up to your PC”.

All in good fun --- however, the last sentence contains, believe it or not, actual quotes from Future Shop employees (Canada’s equivalent of Circuit City).

Have a great weekend --Lorne
Lorne: Are you a friend of Bill W's? My wife once attended a meeting of the Beverly Hills chapter in the 80's at which a young gentleman who once attempted to rob "The Saloon" in BH's while dressed up as a cowboy (think "Rhinestone Cowboy") and high on cocaine, got up to speak. Nobody took him seriously during the robbery attempt and he was arrested without mishap as he had no intention of firing the six-shooter (which was not even loaded).
Dekay... I got na fends on "de outside" and my pawole offiser only lets mi out once a weak. The Wardun does however let mi keep my Grado headfones on wheneber my cel mate starts a swear'in and a cuss'in.
Until a driver in one of my speakers developed a small tear near the surround, I had not changed anything in my system for over ten years. This was partly due to career and family pressures, so I take no credit for it; it was not some sort of Pentecost. As I have mentioned before in this forum, I stopped reading the zany, wacky audio press all together around 1991 or 1992, taking peeks at the mags on the newsstand now and again only to convince myself that the insanity had, indeed, progressed beyond the critical stage. Because of the damaged driver, I decided to replace my speakers and only then started looking again and, with this newfangled web thing, found Audiogon. I admit that there is a fun factor involved in audio. However, at its outer limits (which I find are reached much more often and much more quickly now days!) the whole thing makes me cringe, seeing as though it has lost sight of what the whole process is about in the first place: the music. If I have developed one credo over the years, it would be something like this: buy the best system you can realistically afford, now and again if you really think that a major development has improved the reproduction of music, shop carefully and buy the component, bringing and keeping your system at a good level of competence, but through it all concentrate on the music, preferably by attending live events as much as possible. If you feel like buying hardware, make a quick calculation of how many recordings you could buy with that money or which live event coming up in some city within striking distance from your home you could attend. Read about music and musicians, not equipment. Remember that any change in a system, (whether real or brought about by the placebo effect) is almost invariably thought to be an improvement on first hearing. One thing that I did learn in coming back to the audio marketplace after being out of it for such a long time is, at least insofar as speakers are concerned, but I am sure this holds true for other components, that you get a lot more for your dollar these days and that spending double or triple (or even greater multiples for that matter!) will not double or triple your enjoyment. Don't feel you are missing out by not buying the most expensive component. I can attest that there are real value leaders out there. I replaced Thiel 3.5s with Paradigm Reference Studio 100s. I wanted Thiel CS 6s or Dynaudio Contour 3.3s. Thiels are not really available locally and with the current exchange rate would be exorbitant. I auditioned the Dynaudios and, although great speakers, could not justify spending 12Ks on them when the Canadian made Paradigms were a little over 2Ks. I heard Vandersteen 5s at 18Ks locally and was mightily impressed, inter alia, with the bass. I am thinking of adding a Paradigm subwoofer to approximate the experience, it may or may not work, I'll see. There's always two ways (well at least, but let's keep things simple here) to look at things: I could feel that I am missing out on the subtle differences the costlier speakers may provide or that I am getting the best deal out there. Actually, the choice is also yours. Remember, the ego thing can pave your way to the poor house. If all else fails, you can do like I did and at the ripe old age of 47 try to learn to play an instrument. I can honestly say that I have no discernable musical talent, but that, as a result of picking-up the guitar and literally plodding forward, I have improved my appreciation of music and musicians to a very great degree. When I listen to Django Reinhardt or Charlie Christian, I don't mind the thin sound of older recordings as much and am only beginning to understand what such men have meant to music. I could multiply the examples, but I don't wish to bore anyone. By the way, now I am hooked on collecting guitars, but that's another story...
about 4 years ago i found myself happy with my system, top grade components, musical sound (tubes), and i found that tweaks and other things that were hyped in the mags (rags) did nothing to make my system sound better. so i cancelled my subscriptions to all of the magazines and concentrated my time and money on records, cd's etc. with the money saved i was able to assemble a large collection which i played regularily. then i bought a computer and i discovered this and other audiophile links. i also bought one issue of each magazine. guess what, nothing has changed! same reviews, same bs regarding whose equipment is best, biggest, etc. much of what i see on these sites can be helpful, if you are having problems, but comments re tweaks and equipment testimonials have to be taken with at least 2 grains of salt. the key to getting off the equipment merry-go-round is to become goal oriented re exactly what you are trying to do and when you reach that goal, listen to music.
What the hell? Just when I was sure you were ALL crazy, some sanity breaks through. Glad to feel less lonely here.
I had not really enjoyed music for quite a while. I spent around $2,500.00 in 1982 for components, which was a lot of money to me. This didn't include speakers, as I had my Rogers Soundlabs Studio Monitors. Somewhere along the way, I lost the need for good sound, as was actually listening to CD's on my computer. Then in April of 2001 I found out my best friend, who happened to be my dog had bone cancer. Sometimes out of the bad, some good can emerge. Being that we were homebound, I started looking at home theater stuff on the net. The more I searched, the more my old love of music came back. I settled on a Bryston SP1, 2 each 4BST's, a 3BST, ProAc Response 2.5's, One SC's, CC one, Sunfire True Sub Sig, California Audio Labs transport, and DAC's, Magnum Dynalab tuner, with AQ python IC's, AQ Caldera speaker cable, and a Toshiba 40H80 digital TV. I'm happy with my choices. I also ended up with some extras such as Totem Acoustic Model One Sig's, ditto center channel, Totem Mites, HSU Research sub, Onkyo A/V receiver, etcetera. I have a stereo setup also, Bryston BP25 preamp, Bryston 4B amp, ProAc Tablette 2000 Sig speakers, Target R4 stands, more AQ IC's and Cable, Rega Planet 200 CD player. That's a lot of traveling through electronics in 6 months. I guess that my point is that it was a distraction at a point in my life when I needed to be distracted. If your audio purchases are causing you consternation, it could help to look at what is going on in your life that you might feel the need to be distracted from. Audiophiles may not consider Bryston/ProAc worthy of their listening, but they sure work for me. I want to extend my appreciation to the members of Audiogon, as I would never have achieved my level of satisfaction without the class, and expertise exhibited every day on this site.
why get off? i have no where to go so i work on secondary systems and video. i love music. it is fun to buy ,sell, and trade. when i finished my main system it was kinda sad. so i put a little av system together in the living room,and a ht system in the took years of buying and selling to reach where i am. you guys no what i am talking about.
Listener magazine calls it Hi Fi Hell...

The only way to come out is to forget the system & listen to the music. What types of music you listen to will determine what equipment level is necessary. If you're exclusively into classical and audiophile recordings, then you're SOL. You'll need top of the line stuff to be happy, if ever. If, for example, you're into chamber music and/or acoustic jazz, then some decent electrostatic setup will provide satisfaction. In my case, I listen to everything. This is the hardest system to rig, but it is also the easiest one to forget. That's my goal.

The above reason is exactly why I purchased a Technics 1200 turntable vs an 'audiophile' belt drive. I purposedly decided to stay at that level so as not to be trapped in Hi Fi Hell. I used to work at an Audio/Video store in my senior year in college. There was a $20,000.00 MacIntosh rig with a pair of B&W 801s. The only two rock groups that could be played there were Pink Floyd and Alan Parsons Project. Why would I want such a system? Now I bought a pair of JMlab Tantal 509s. Bingo! I can play classical, jazz, heavy metal, salsa, ANYTHING. The system is revealling enough that it gives me goose bumps on good recordings of good music, but is also tolerant of the rest.

Hope this serves you well.

Don't read the magazines. It's a simple as that. Magazine reviews often grossly exagerate (or fabricate) the differences between audio components, making you believe that your 5 year old equipment is obsolete. It's nonsense. (Not that I blame them ... they have to pander to the equipment manufacturers since commercials pay their salaries). With the exception of digital source equipment I don't believe that audio equipment's price / performance ratio has changed at all in the last 20 years. My new Densen B100 sounds very good, but so does my 15 year old Cyrus2/PSX (driving 10 year old Spica Angelus speakers). Quality then is quality now, and if you write the cost off over 10-15 years you'll afford a much better rig than if you upgrade every 2 years.

I got off the 'go round for about 7 yrs. Back then I was starting a family and really couldn't afford the gear I really liked so I relied upon whatever local used gear I could pick up here and there. Where I live the pickin's were and still are very slim; I got what I could tweaked and enjoyed the music. After pouring through a 4 yr subscription to Stereophlie I really was deep into my cognitive deprivation, so I trashed 'em all and got out! Now I am back, but for only a spell, because my access to broadband internet access has brought the wider market place closer to me. The gear I coveted while brand new 7-10 years ago can now be had for fractions of what they went for then. I am like a kid in the candy store :-) My taste have always been modest, so products from the like's of Adcom, Audioquest, CAL, Magnepan and Kimber Kable will keep me happy and content for at least the next 10 yrs. I am off again, soon, and back to enjoying the music, love and life. You all take care and happy listening.
I managed to stop for about ten years. I just reached a point where further upgrading would cost more than I could possibly afford at the time, and my system was working together well. So, I got off the bus, cancelled all of my magazine subscriptions and just used my system for listening to music. Then, about a year ago, several things happened...I got a Sony DVP-S9000ES for use as a DVD player. Hooked the analog outs to my main rig...CD has improved a bit over the past ten years. Then, I wanted to burn some LP's onto CD. Went into a used stereo store to find a reasonable used TT and phono preamp...listened to some speakers...and then it was too late...

Hello, my name is Hirsch and I am an audiophile.
Sure is, Mark! Love your wry humour! but I'm sure you'll soon be back in there again. Time heals wounds and checkbooks!
I'm the type of person that HAS to have best I can find, usualy after exhaustive research, that I can possibly afford without hurting myself. It's a curse.

I could go on forever, but to give an example... I wanted to sell my Mongoose bike for a Redline when I was 12. I bought top-of-the-line Volkl snow skis at 16, and my first pistol was a Sig Sauer that I later sold for a Kimber .45 custom. I shoot it maybe twice a year.

I think the way to not get carried away with any hobby is to diversify your interst. It keeps you from focusing (obsessing) over any one thing. Take fitness for instance. There are people that are so into physical fitness that they make vacation decisions around what workout facilites are available.

Most audiophile's homes I've been to have had thier priorites way out of wack. This past weekend I went to a guy's house that had worse furniture than I had in college, the fence was falling down, an old 19" TV and a $50,000 sound system. Part of this were 2 huge Viva tube amps on stands right in the middle of the living room where a coffee table should be.

This year I'm buying a new CD player and speakers. I'm also going to Jamacia in the spring and sportfishing off Cape Hatteras, NC. No, I'm not buying any $10,000 speakers and $2500 CD player. I think the Soliloquy 5.3 and Cambridge D500SE will serve me fine, for now.
I have an old Threshold Stasis amp from the mid seventies, which at that time set me back less than three thousand bucks new! I took it up from the basement and connected a pair of Quads to it through inexpensive wires and an old Krell KBL from the eighties. The combination sounded great, even to my spoilt and not quite inexperienced ears. Now if that is not food for thought......I'll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions..I've certainly drawn mine. It sure slowed down my merry go out and update!
Ahem, Detlof (polite cough), music thru a Goldmund Reference? They must have been on their absolutely best-mannered behaviour :^)!
Similarly, I pulled out a Symphonic Line pre, to test it against a mega$ offering. I can assure you it surpassed itself!

Morale: always allow existing players a second chance. It may be cheaper than recruiting someone from the marketplace!
True,true Greg, well it was through the Goldmund and also through the souped up Sony 777 and indeed, as you suggest, this experiment stopped me from pleasing my dealer!