How to respond to those who say it's not a hobby?

I only recently started to get into audio and, although my system is definitely not in the high-end category, I like to think it's a lot better than the components that were replaced My better-half was quite accepting of the initial purchase of a new integrated amp (NAD C370), tuner (C420), speakers (KEF Q5) and interconnects (VDH D-102 III). She definitely heard an improvement over our previous gear.

However, she is now quite opposed to the upgrading of the CD player and the addition of a second amp (bi-amping). I've mentioned that it will likely make a great improvement to our listening enjoyment and hinted that this is a new hobby for me. Essentially, her response was that "spending hundreds of dollars on audio equipment does not qualify as a hobby", since I don't actually create/build/assemble any of it.

Any thoughts out there about how one might respond or convince the nay-sayer otherwise?
fuggedabowdid -- you'll never convince her.
buy her a new jeans and stuff with your each next upgrade and no convincing is neccessary.
Must be newlyweds, eh? You are creating/building/assembling a system. Tell her buying clothes isn't a hobby either and go get yourself a cd player. Unless you're the unemployed student and she's the bread winner, then say yes ma'am and do as she says.
Marakenetz idea of buying her new jeans isn't a bad one, but it can lead to higher expectations. I don't want to have to buy her things with my every audio puchase. Generally, I don't complain about the amount of shoes and clothes she buys, and she doesn't complain about my audio system. That's our compromise.
Tell her she is right, it is not a hobby, it is an addiction - but you had a choice between crack and high end audio and you chose high end. Would she rather you chose crack?
Definitely go out & upgrade that source component asap; the biamping might wait awhile however.
Then when you're coming home late from the bar & chasing skirts, you can rationalize that it isn't a hobby either (just be damn sure that you're not "creating anything", but then again, you do need a hobby ... right?).
Try to audition some stuff with return privileges. Get her
input as to if she can tell a positive difference. Just a
Here's my take: What she is communicating to you is not "it's not a hobby". What she's trying to communicate (and has, it sounds like) is "I don't want you spending money on a new CD player and amp". After hearing this, you justified the purchase by saying it's a hobby, so now she counters with "technically, it's not a hobby".

Your secondary argument over the hobby-ness of audio is not the real issue. You're arguing over money, plain and simple. You're in good company, it's the number one subject of argument among couples. It's interesting that your better half sounded quite accepting of your non-hobby until the purchases crossed her comfort level.

It's not relevant whether audio qualifies as a hobby or not, there's no "true" answer to that question. I would stop looking for ways to convince her, as this usually creates the opposite result of what the convincer intends. My advise to you is to sit down with her when you both are in a good mood, and talk about money. Work out for your relationship what the limits are (if any) on purchases and how you individually can make purchasing decisions while still being a part of a couple. The time and effort you spend here will really pay off, as this subject will come up again and again. When she speaks, listen to her perspective and shut up. When she's all done, tell her you understand her perspective. Then tell her your perspective. Then when that's all done start finding solutions together.

You may end up being able to get all the electronics you want AND have a more fulfilling relationship at the same time. It's all about communication.
Tell her you are in a mid-life crisis, and you're either going to have an affair, buy a Harley, or upgrade your cd player.
She'll make the choice for you.
Timing is everything. If money is not a problem then go ahead and FINISH your system and plan on living with it a few years. If you do have a BUDGET and she feels it is not time, then wait. You really do not need to justify your interests in audio/music nor have her validate the interests. Hence do not actively seek her approval of your interests. You can involve her without allowing her involvement to dictate your level of involvement. That said, you do need to stay within the realm of whatever financial agreement you two have for discretionary spending. Timing, timing, timing! If it ain't time...wait.
There's probably more than one reason why most audio components are black. One benefit is the fact that to the untrained eye, they all look alike. All of my equipment has changed at one time or another and I never heard a word about it. Speakers on the other hand can present quite a challenge.
Rosstaman hit the nail on the head. I couldn't have come up with a better sense of reasoning if I tried. No wife here; girlfriend doesn't live with me either. Life is rich.

Midlife crisis.... Hah!
I'll only add that there are FAR greater things taking place in your conversation with your wife than initially meets the eye ( or is it ear ??? ). You might want to try working out the details to those situations prior to creating yet another conflict.

If all else fails, ask her how well her "collection" of shoes and handbags retain their value and then compare that to your audio gear. A gentle reminder that a good audio system is an "investment that is used and enjoyed on a daily basis" : )

As far as "hobbies" go, a hobby is anything that you enjoy and spend money on. How much of a hobby is collecting stamps, coins or ..... ??? You can only look at them so much and you surely don't want to handle them as they might become damaged. At least with a music reproduction system, you can use it as much as you want, enjoy it as often as you use it and vary the effect that it has on your life and the moment simply by swapping discs on the table or cd player. What one accepts as being a "hobby" is all in the eye ( or ear ) of the beerholder : ) Sean
Concede her point about the hobby angle, don't argue it. Admit that it's a luxury, and let her know it's one you really want to have and that makes you happy. Don't get hung up on betting whether or not she'll be able to hear the difference between the CDP's - even if she can (and she probably can), she won't care enough not to resent being made the unwilling beneficiary of your upgrading. This is for you; be straightfoward about it and ask sweetly (telling her exactly what it's going to cost), and you'll probably be on your way with her blessing - at least to finishing up with your plans for *this* system. (When full-blown audiophilia nervousa hits, OTOH, you're strictly on your own buddy boy... :-)
I saw the big dog show on tv last week. they said thats a sport. so..... get some big monoblocks and a pair of pipe dreams start moving those around your room, and, tell her its a sport.
Hmmm... Fighting over the definition of hobby.... All I have to say is be glad you are not buying $1k power cords. Cause then.... you know you've gone off the deep end.... hobby or not.

I tell people who enter my house: "Please do not ask how much anything costs unless you really want to know and can handle it."

Some people look at me very strangely when I tell them I have cables that retail for over $1k. They never look at me the same way again.

Getting great sound out of a system is a hobby of sorts, and can be very difficult (especially with a budget). But even without much of a budget, it can be difficult matching components if you do not have a lot of experience. It is through experience that we develop a sense of what is good and not-so-good.

Some people here at Audiogon could easily be professional audio consultants (and some are) for people who are in need of guidance to build a system. We are hobbiest who love this stuff.

I've often talk to my female friends about my audio HOBBY more so than with my male friends. The females I know enjoy music more plus they think the audio components I have and like are aesthetically appealing.

When they tell me they spend too much on shopping, I'd tell them I spend too much on audio, but they'd actually tell me that I can resell my stereo stuff; whereas, stuff they buy is money down the drain.

As of this moment, the girls more than approve of my hobby. As long as I don't bust my budget with time and money on my hobby, I can't imagine females having a problem with me.

Of course, I might have to eat my words after I get married.
I could be wrong, but it sounds to me like what your wife really means is: I don't think you should spend any more money on audio, we don't need it and I don't understand the expenditure.

It would be nice if both of you work and have your own "mad money" set aside (a small amount from each paycheck) that you can each spend how you want without being criticized.

If you both don't have a source of income, I'm afraid you're in for a hard way to go.

Good luck!
Since an audio system is inherently the result of the sum of its parts, I have to disagree with the argument that you are not "actually building/creating/assembl(ing) any of it". We live in a capitalistic, civilized society, where most hobbiest don't forage for their materials. Like other hobbiest we make use of each others expertise and work. This collaberative effort provides an efficient, satisfying result for those involved and those that are lucky enough to share the rewards for which they contribute little or no effort. I see no difference between this hobby and any other.
Your wife is right. Save your money. Or spend it on something you can build or assemble, like a tube amplifier from a kit.

I agree that buying stuff is not a hobby. Tweaking, tuning, cleaning records, aligning and realigning phono cartridges, I guess qualify as a hobby. But not buying amps and cd players.

I'm still undecided about stamp collecting. I guess if there is some research and work that goes into finding the things you buy, it's a hobby. But I don't think modern audiophilic consumerism qualifies.
I don't understand how you must hand make things for it to qualify as a hobby. This statement is totally rediculous, unfounded, misleading, and, in an Orwellian kind of way, misconstrues the meaning of a word for one person or parties' selfish interest.

Words serve man kind, not the other way around. If I had a wife who told me my hobby isn't a hobby, I'd just agree with her and upgrade, say, the CD player anyways. I refuse to allow the definition of words or slanted logic to take away my LIBERTY to enjoy my HOBBY.

I think a hobby is whatever you enjoy doing. In other words, audio can be related to your profession, say a salesperson, but not a hobby. Or, you can enjoy audio, spend time and money buying and tweaking, and that is a hobby.
It's your hobby, you needn't defend it to anyone. Short form answer to anyone who says otherwise: "F you and everyone who looks like you" ;)
I think there could be some semblance of a hobby in the adroit assembly of components for the reproduction of sounds, but much of this activity is often just luxury consumerism.

The most compelling part of this activity or hobby, to me, is the music itself. The gear is just a means to the end of getting closer to the music. So the audiophiles that I respect are very involved with music first and last. If they are not musicians, then they are at least uncommonly knowledgeable about the music, musicians, and cultures of the genres that they enjoy. They spend more of their time, if not their money, in deepening and expanding their musical knowledge and experiences.

Over the years, due to a limited budget and other priorities, I haven't frequently upgraded my audio system. But, when I have, it's been easy to justify to my wife because of my lifelong involvement with and enthusiasm for music. The last set of upgrades significantly increased her emotional involvement with the music as well.
To me this is not a hobby, it's what I do for a living. I am an audio engineer. I usually try to include my better half by talking it over with her,and seeing what she has too say when I want to upgrade. Then I do what I want. We have a system, that sense we both work, I don't tell her how to spend her money and she dosn't tell me how to spend mine. As long as the bills are paid. I think it works to include her in the process. It seems to work very nice that way!!!
Some good advice above. I especially liked Matt8268's recommendations-- and Rosstaman's humor;>)

My wife and I are not rich by any means, but we have separate checking accounts and this has undoubtedly prevented many wicked marital battles. Audio as a "hobby" doesn't have to justified as others have also suggested.

Unfortunately you may be SOL unless you can solve the money issue. I HIGHLY recommend separate checking accounts if the two of you can find a way to do it. Best of Luck. Craig
My apologies to anyone or everyone who was offended by my previous post. It has been pointed out to me in private that I acted in "poor taste". I meant it tongue-in-cheek and really meant no harm, nor I did I intend it to seem as crude as it seems to appear.
I think the key is not to take people questioning our hobby too seriously. Once you take something seriously, you give that opinion validation.

FUNK & WAGNALLS ENCYCLOPEDIC COLLEGE DICTIONARY: "Hob-by (hob'e`) n. pl. .bies A subject or pursuit of absorbing interest, undertaken primarily for pleasure during one's leisure time; avocation."
Man, you guys just won't let up. What's to be defensive about? Sure a hobby is anything you spend your time doing that you don't get paid for, but not by Mghcanuck's wife's standards. Her idea of a hobby is something you do with your hands or your mind, not your pocketbook. My advice to him is she's right. Save your money.

My hobby is rearranging my speakers. I spend hour after hour with tape measure and spl meter and test discs. Fascinating how an inch one way or another makes such a difference.

Some guys are on an endless quest for old second hand lps in thrift shops. That's a hobby.

Trying to find the cheapest good sound you can get, that's sort of interesting.

But just going out and buying more and bigger and better rated by the buff mags or, worse, online self-styled reviewers? That's not much of a hobby.
I like slipnot's reply on this thread. I completely agree on his sentiment and is straight to the point.
Unsound, by that definition, snapping one's carrot could be a hobby... :-)
Zaikesman, your point being?
My point being :-)
Point well taken.

I always respected my wife's hobby of running up enormous CC debt in her rentless to persuit to fill every closet and drawer with brand new "nothing to wear." Tell your wife (kindly) it's a 'audio-thang-you-won't-understand"
Great responses, serious and humorous alike. Thanks to all who have taken the time.

Matt8268, you are correct about the underlying issue being the spending of $$$.

Sek, absolutely, the ultimate purpose for acquiring gear is to listen to the music and make the experience as real, involving and pleasing as possible. It is fortunate that my lovely wife enjoys doing so, although perhaps not to the extent that I do.

"Snapping one's carrot" caused me to LOL, never heard that one before.
The following is something that I posted a while ago that I am probably most happy with:

Always remember that Music is Art. Our music systems are effectively windows that allow us to experience this art. The more you like the sound/music your music system reproduces the closer you feel to the music and artist that created it. A good comparison is to paintings. People who really love paintings (and can afford it) buy the orginal works of an artist. People who love art and cannot afford originals try to buy high quality limited edition silk screens of works. People who loce art but cannot afford the limited edition silk screens end up buying regular silk screens of paintings. People who have some appreciation (or folks that love art that cannot afford high quality sil screens) for art will end up buying inexpensive prints. What does the person gain by spending $35,000 on the original painting over the person spending $2500 on a signed limited edition silk screen over the person spending $500 on a regular edition silk screen, over the person spending $100 on a print of the piece of art? Some may argue for the investment... I have heard arguments that art (on average) grows less in value than the typical bank savings account. Perhaps it is the same gain that is gotten from a $35,000 hi end music system over a $2500 mid fi music system over a $500 rack system over a $100 clock radio? Always remember though... How many CD's do you own? This is how many pieces of Art you own.

What is our hobby? We collect art (music), and we experience this music the best way we can reproduce it (through our music system that we careful plan and assemble).

Wow, Tok20000, very thoughtful post and great analogy.