I have a confession to make

I have an addiction, and I have to stop. I don't know if it is upgradeitis, or audiophileism. But I suddenly feel real bad. My wife who is the most wonderfull person in the world is even becoming concerned.
It all started one day looking for some speakers for my very modest home theatre set up in my living room. I wanted to be able to enjoy music also. Low end Sony CD player you know. I was using these God awful Fischer speakers with 15" woofers.
Well, that was about 5 years ago. Now $40,000.00 later, I have a dedicated HT room and A dedicated Tube based listening room. I don't make this kind of money to be doing this. What the hell is my problem ? The Vpi record washing machine was the last straw for my wife. "$500 to wash a record? You have a serious problem". She is right,what the hell am I doing? But I continue to look at what is for sale. What would be better than what I have?
Please I beg all of you, If you receive a email from me wanting to buy your product, please delete my email. If you see any of my products for sale, please don't make an offer. I need friggin help here man.
I have to realize that there can always be better than what I have. Just enjoy what the heck I have and be done with it. Masn this is one sick addiction.
This is how I do it when I dont have any money for upgrades-


Only look at the forums or block buy.audiogon.com at the firewall (I do it at both work and home). Still get my daily fix of audiogon but cannot buy anything, has saved me many times when temptation was starting to get the best of me.

Spend your time on the music itself instead, listening, researching, and the occasional album purchase, divert your attention. Get rid of Agon as a shortcut on your desktop...
Stop combing the other audio sites for equip too, today. Be satisfied with what your have now before you start losing it for the $$, then never being able to recover what you had in the first place.
This is how I do it when I don't have any money for upgrades-

Thank goodness for high limit credit cards!! Buy now pay later!!
You know, I was looking through numerous auctions and advertisements yesterday and came across the very product you need, only $799.00....and the great thing is, if you put several of them inline the benefits are cumulative. You are lucky man, real lucky! To have the cure for what ails you so readily available is a true blessing.
I love equipment as much as the next guy, The thing that keeps me under control is the thought of divorce. What's the point of having great gear if your living under a truck. (By the time my wife got through with me that's where I would end up)
New record cleaner $500

Knowing he will either be in the tube based room or dedicated HT room every night PRICELESS

Audiophilia is a highly contageous disease as classified by the CDC (Center for Disease Control - more well spent tax dollars). You may want to seek help, but by all means do not spend time with others interested in music, stereo, or home theaters, as they could easily be infected by you. Their spouses will despise you for inflicting their loved one, and they are likely to ban together with your spouse and begin an onslaught of ridicules in an attempt to rid all of you from the disease. To my knowledge, this form of treatment has never worked and can often make things worse. The important thing is that you recognize the disease and decide for yourself if treatment is necessary.
Pssst! Hey buddy, over here.

I've got just what you need. This is the greatest thingamabob to come down the pike. Only $$$$$$$$. Guaranteed, this will do it. The LAST purchase you will ever need to take your system into Audio Nirvana! Everyone loves it, just read the reviews. These are very rare, so you have to act quick or miss out on the opportunity. Don't be fooled by cheap imitations, this is the real deal! Now, all I need is your credit card number..........
My recommendation has always been, and still is, to go out and spend on records whenever the upgrade bug hits. Buy stuff you always wanted, stuff you never dared to buy, music of a type you never really heard before. There is a vast musical world out there beyond hardware. Think about how much actual music you can get for, let's say, $500. It's about the music and the music is in the recordings, not the equipment itself. Don't buy into this notion that whatever "new and better" component you get will be like having a whole new record collection. You are way beyond the point of diminishing returns on the equipment side. You can go JPN going for that elusive nth degree of "resolution", "air", "dynamics", "PRAT" or whatever the hell you feel like your system is lacking. Oh, one other thing: you have to stop reading the insane audio press and sites such as these. Ask yourself a simple question: could there really be an audio revolution about every ten months? The insane audio press is all about getting people dissatisfied or insecure enough to keep the audio business machinery revolving. Good record buying and good luck.
Scottht, Remember there are two parts to this hobbie, the equipment and the music! Don't get caught up in the FLAVOR of the month as it's for shure a dead end. Last month I thought I needed a new pair of speakers so I went and heard many different one's and when it was all said and done my speakers I had up for sale are no longer for sale. what I finally realized is that I'm happy with my system and I don't want to change that.
Now lets get to the second part of this hobbie the music, It's the most important part, really it is...
I'm on a vinyl buying spree right now and I'm blown away at the used prices starting at about $1.00
The best part is I have a dozen stores in my area that sell music of all formats and used, I generally hit the stores once a week and always come home with 5-10 pieces of music and never spend more than $25 except once I parked in a parking lot that had a sign saying that this parking is for the resturant and you are only allowed 40 minutes of parking and violators will be towed, I thought I'm not going to get towed, so when I came out from the record store my car was gone!! I think any other time I would have blown a rod but I didn't, even though it cost me $120 to get my car from impound. Maybe because I just scored some great vinyl for cheap. I look back at this and laugh!!!
I never got this much enjoyment from the equipment as I do from the music. Works for me and I Hope you find a cure soon!
It's a combination of obssesive-complusive disorder and the placebo effect.
These days, job security and funding a retirement plan take higher precendence; for me, at least.
Software is always more important than the hardware.
Your hearing goes to hell as you age, anyway. Best to enjoy what you have now, 'cuz you won't hear differences in cables when your in your 70's.
Too many audio revues are hazardous to your health...
I understand that there is a little humor mixed in with a little real concern, but I wonder about people here (especially myself) if there isn't a deeper problem. No system, no matter how good is ever going to sound like live music. I have heard lots of good systems including my own, and the moments when I was caught off guard by how good a person or instrument sounded are few and far between. They are the exception, not the rule. Even though they are the driving force behind many of our equipment purchases.

The illusion is in your head.

If that is the case, can't we just decide to be content with what we already have? This gets to be like little kids buying Star Wars trading cards or whatever. One of the real differences between children and adults is self control.

Pbb might have had the first good idea of his life when he suggested that a person buy music when the bug bites. It's a lot cheaper to buy a few LPs or, perish the thought, CDs rather than buy a new pre-amp or speakers. The newness factor is still there, but the savings account is still intact too! Your wife might like that.
Shasta, My wife says I have that Obssesive-compulsive thing you talk about, you know I think I do! I think as to any hobby we all have this to a certain degree that's why I buying lotso music and not equipment as it's a hole lot cheaper than equpment and more enjoyable to boot except when the car gets towed!!!!
Enjoy the tunes!
Color me a fatalist...there is NO cure! Sorry! I am there, I hear your pain!

Everytime I see a thread beginning with: "Getting into vinyl slowly, want to spend less than 1K..." I say to myself, "this guy 's toast!"

To avoid the virus you must either: never use a computer again or start another hobbie that's cheaper (let's say, finding 4-leaf-clovers in the Sahara). Preferably, both!

A few suggestions:
1. When your wife is home, you have to intercept packages before the delivery truck reaches your front door (I have a 7-11 store nearby where these nefarious exchanges take place.)
2. Be the one that oversees home-finances and cancelled checks, CC receipts, etc (take it from me, kids "do not" need to eat every day. Three meals-a-day is only a guideline, just like "all digital connections must be 1.5 meters for optimum transfer of information between transport and DAC").
3. Study in your off-time how to build an accoustically-sound area in the 2x3 ft space you'll be residing in at your local YMCA once you do get thrown out of the house.

My sympathies and best wishes.
My wife Joni had me cracking up two nights ago. She and I had been hunting for the self-titled Ricky Lee Jones album for about an hour and she said, "I can't believe that all I want to hear is "Last Chance Texaco" and you can't find it with all this mess! This is part of your desease." Thank god she started laughing with me (or at me). I told her it's like looking for a needle in a haystack. We never did find it but that's what makes it fun when it turns up.

In re-thinking ad re-reading your post, I am afraid that my last post, and the attempt at levity to address our problem, is absolutely not appropriate. I apologize.

Since I am dealing with, pretty much, the same affliction, I think it best to listen to the wiser minds above as I will also try to do.

My spouse has been very understanding about "my" $800. record-washer and assorted toys but I also see the concern. I don't think it is only the "if you can afford it" factor, it is that the gear starts becoming the mistress.

Best regards.
This is a personal issue and there isn't one cure-all for everyone. Here are two key turning points to my audio nervosa:
I spent a lot of time making the rounds to dealers to check out the "makes heaven come alive" systems. Finally I'm driving home from a really great dealer who spent an hour showing me his stuff. It's a perfect warm sunny day. I realize "what the hell am I doing wasting all this time over micro nuances in sound quality". I should be outside enjoying the world. My system sounds great. There will always be something better and there is no end to chasing it down. But it pleases on it's own terms.
Further "recapturing the live event" is just a ploy by the audio establishment to make you spend more money. First of all, does the original recording sound like the REAL event? Most don't. If the source doesn't no stereo will consistently bring all types of un-real recordings to life since they are so inconsistent in their shortcomings to the live event.
It is an unobtainable goal. Which is great for dealers and stereo mags since their goal is to make you spend money. To do that they first must make you dissatisfied.

Second, I burn my own "best of" CD's collection. I found with a Denon UDM-31 mini system and some ELF .5 single driver speakers on the mantle of my small room: 1) the sound was pleasant and not irritating. And I've heard some very expensive systems that are unpleasant and irritating. More important 2) I could just as easily decide what songs I liked or didn't like as on the big rig. So basically I found the big rig did NOT make me like music I wouldn't otherwise like. And that the quest for better sound over the Denon was a HOBBY not a necessity.
What made this mini-system work was that:
1) small room 13' x 15'.
2) speakers against the wall improved bass response to 40 Hz with the Mission's that came with the Denon.
3) Speakers placed 8' or more apart for great stereo width.
4) For most music, I believe that soundstage depth is unnecessary and an artificial manipulation of the signal by phase shifts (esp tube gear) and largely doesn't exist in the real world. At least it doesn't in the live events I attend and with the type of music I listen to. This is not to be a flame, just qualifying that the system meets what is realistic to my musical style. So speakers against the wall / killing any depth is not important to me.
5) Single driver speaker has an amazing matural sound to it.
6) I don't listen to music loud or require deep bass to enjoy music.

Many improvements are really differences, not improvements.

Scottht, Good luck, listen to your wife, she can be a great help if you let her. You're lucky to have her around.
Joke aside! Cure exist, and it will not please you nor most members of the audiogoon. Downsize! Sell all of your gear, and purchase minimalist integrated amp and Cdp. rest of the money spend for the vacation with your wife. Or she might not stick around much longer.
This is the bigger/faster/more/better quality we humans are born to seek. You mustn't let it get out of hand. I recommend you commit to being happy. Pursue it directly. It sounds to me your hobby is now to the point where it is bringing you more sadness than happiness. This can happen in a relationship with anything, and it means you must alter the relationship if your goal is happiness. Read "The Art of Happiness" by the Dalai Lama...excellent book.

If you don't deal with the problem at its root (which I believe to be about happiness), you may stop buying stereo equipment, but this problem will likely manifest somewhere else in your life.
I agree with much of the above -- focus on the music and spend your time there. Also, get rid of all stereo/video publications to which you might subscribe. Don't ever look at the auction page here. Stay away from the "best of" threads to avoid the upgrade temptation. "If you're not in the donut shop, you won't buy the donuts." Set up a deal with your wife and stick with it so you always talk to your wife before buying anything. You are honestly not alone, and it is not just this hobby. It will take time, but keep working it -- self-awareness really is a critical step so congratulations on that. Hang in there buddy. It will get easier and easier to say no once you get into the habit. Good luck.
that is why there is an audio asylum and people recognize one another as inmates! Welcome to the institution!

You are lucky that you know your "sickness"--many do not. Warn you: there is no cure. Yes, we want to enjoy the music and the movie.

Serious now, one DOES NOT HAVE TO SPEND SO SO MUCH to enjoy the great music. Of course, if one has the money to spend, that is fine.
I fully agree with your wife, Scott, record cleaning devices are vastly overpriced. Other items may be too, but its real obvious with the cleaning machines.
So many responses. And some real fine ones at that. You do realize that there was a lot of truth to what I wrote. Actually, all of it... I am certainly obssesive /compulsive, and I always have been. Everything I have ever done has been all or nothing. I am going to get a grip on this.
You know what is really sick ? I am in this alone. Nobody in my crowd that I do anything with understands this hobby. They all think I am nuts to spend that kind of money on equipment. Let alone listen to vinyl.
They don't get it. They are the lucky ones. It is like a Vampire bite!
Thanks for helping me understand that I am not the only one with this issue.
My wife married me knowing that I was a very sick man with the incurable audiophile addiction. It may be arrested, but never cured.

She actually took a picture of one of my B&W800's and framed it so that I could take a picture if my "Immortal Beloved" to work with me.

She is one great lady!

Scottht, we "may" be able to stop...well, for awhile...but "forget" downsizing! All that'll be left of us emotionally won't be worth living with.

You see, we tasted the fruit...
Scottht, it sounds like Dr. Draz from the asylum is your only hope now. His dramatic TRT is the answer.


In all seriousness, the only answer is a big downgrade. It worked for me....at least for 7 years it did. The disease may be put in remission, but it won't die until you do. I find it works best when you don't read the glossy rags or visit the audio websites. Find another hobby. For me it was coaching baseball. When my kids outgrew the sport, I had more free time on my hands, and I'm back again. It is better than alcoholism anyway.

BTW, I have an amp for sale if you're interested. hehe.
Just make sure you buy good stuff used so you can cash it out if need be. Way better than internet stocks.
I was going to go to treatment but my insurance wouldnt cover it so I started an audioholics anomyous meeting but nobody showed up. Guess im all alone hehe. On a serious note, this is a wonderful hobby, just an expensive one. I once asked another audiophile if i was through spending money. He said "Is your system perfect" I said "No" he said "Then you're not through" The point being that perfection is something we'll never reach, so enjoy what you have.
Those of you with a confession to make; Father avguygeorge,is here to listen;my sons. To rid yourself of all guilt,donating all these 'toys from hell' will make you feel so much better. I issue tax credit forms.We have no biases; we take Wilsons/ Sound Labs-- Boulder 2060's CJ JIl--what ever.Time is short,kneel down with me as we rid your soul of all the evil spirits. Talk about taking credit cards ;yes, we take THE card and your pin #. Buy now;pray now.
This reminds me of my friend who worked in Saudi in the 80's. If I got the story straight, every citizen was given $45,000/year they suddenly got so much money from the oil. The old timer, driving his new Cadillac said he could go back to living in a tent in the desert anytime he wanted to. Yea right!
BTW, a favorite perfume was Charlie. At least he said that's what all the men wore. Serious.
I know a good lawyer and I think that we can sue your local stereo store for damages, professional treatment, divorce court, pain and suffering, etc...
A guess here-you're in debt & buying a little audio here & there won't change the overall picture much, so you think. The audio thing is fine; it's the debt thing that's out of control. If it wasn't audio it'd be something else but since it's audio, you can do some adjusting. I was fortunate & got out of debt a few years ago but have restrained myself & (specifically for audio) have stuck to my guideline of selling audio I have to buy other gear. I won't bore you (or others) with the details but once you do the first item, you'll feel very good about the whole process. Just as a beginning suggestion, how many sources do you have and listen to? If one is dominant, may I suggest selling off your pre & using an inexpensive passive? I mention this as I recently sold my pre & was getting ready to spend $3200.00 for a new one but didn't want the system down while I waited on the sale to finalize, so bought a $150.00 passive. Now my thinking is I'm keeping this little unit, as it's doing a great job. Of course my point is you don't have to keep spending money to enjoy this hobby! You know what's up, you've read the comments & now it's time to take action. I'd like to mention this little phrase I came across earlier today, as it seems appropriate: "Between stimulus & response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom & power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth & our happiness".
Recognize it for what it is: Status climbing and rank materialism. Even if no other audiophiles see your system, and none of your family and friends understands it, you are succumbing to peer pressure and media manipulation. We all do to some degree and in different ways, but the pursuit of social approval attracts some of us more than others (or is more readily achievable for some of us than others).

It is my innate repulsion for excessively conspicuous consumption, and for coercion-induced conformity, that ultimately keeps my habit within managable limits relative to my overall wealth/income (or lack of same :-) Plus, my interest has always lain primarily with the music, and I see audiophilism as somewhat of a fundamentally trivial and slightly shameful diversion that I like to think I could take or leave in extremis...
Stop reading audio websites and magazines and start listening to some tunes while working on optimizing what you have. Most people spend, spend, spend in search of the things that they are looking for yet most of the results that they desire can be found right under their noses with with they already own.

As a side note, if you want to spend, buy some good basic tools for working with electronics and learn how to DIY. FAR more satisfying with financial and sonic rewards to boot. Sean
I think you should downgrade. If you have $40K in equipment it's probable you've spent way more than you can afford or justify. The thing is, a lot of audiophile gear is ridiculously expensive. You don't need gear that expensive to enjoy music. Hey it's different if your rich, your not. You'll feel better if you sell all the crazy, expensive stuff and get more moderate priced gear. Heck, you can have an absolutely wonderful system for $10K and take the wife on a trip with some of the money you rescued. I'm serious. Your guilt will vanish if you get equipment you can actually afford. It will still be great. The last $30K you spent probably only gave you 5% improvement. Your lucky to have dedicated listening rooms. That'a big part of getting good sound. Enjoy the music not the machines.
I know exactly what ya been through because i was in the same shoe,So i got my self to buy used records at flea market,thrift store etc.Just when i thought everything is okie,now my wife yelling at me because our house begin to smell like a thrift shop..good luck..
My experience has been different. I discussed/negotiated with my better-half in terms of how much I would spend on getting a new/upgraded stereo system. Although I have ended up spending a little more than originally agreed and despite occasional outbursts from said better-half, overall it has been OK. For the sake of fairness, my wife spent the same amount on things she wanted for our new house. Not exactly equitable since these include new sofas and appliances that aren't strictly for her benefit, but she does enjoy listening to music from time to time.

I think the advice provided by others in terms of downsizing may be the way to go, particularly if there are budget/debt issues involved. If you have amp/pre separates, try going to an integrated of similar quality but lesser cost overall. Cables: there is a very favourable review at www.stereotimes.com of Signal Cable products, which are said to be of very good quality at affordable prices. Does your HT set-up have more than two channels? If so, try making do with just the two main speakers and, if absolutely needed, keep the sub.

Most important, get your wife involved or, if she's not interested, at least keep her in the loop about purchases.
1. every 2-3 months your wife must have the entire system removed and/or blocked off for at least 10-20 days - or more. It is important that you cannot use or see your system for this period of time.

2. replace the system with a cheap sears or radio shack system - perferrably purchased at a pawn shop. You must listen to the replacement system at least 20-30 hours per week. A large glass of wine -refilled several times may help at first.

3. after the withdrawls she must take you out to diner. While out to diner someone else comes in to setup your system exactly as it was.

4. upon coming home she then gives you the box of remotes.

You will then appreciate your system all over again.

Just some thoughts.
First of all, there is no way I am down sizing. I was confessing my problem. Not a plea for desperation! Next thing you know, you will be asking me to get a Bose radio. I am not in debt, well, not anymore than the average person. What , maybe $350,000.00 total. Of course this does not include my kids educations:-) I think I can come to terms, all I need is a new preamp and I am done!!
You say you are in debt 350k. Is that all consumer debt.
The average consumer debt for an average income family is 30k. If your consumer debt is 350k you are 10x over average. If this is the case you need some serious help.
I would hope he is including is home and cars (and maybe education) in that debt total.
Home and vehicles, and a 7 acre lot on a lake that I just financed. Oh, that doesn't include my SeaRay Mid cabin criuser I bought in the fall. Man, I am a mess aren't I?
Sorry to be brutal, but get a freaking life !!

Your problem is not about how much you spend on audio, but about being insatiable..been there

Nothing wrong about spending 40k, if you have the money and are fully satisfied in the end.

You may want to try what I did when I felt the same sickness comming on: sell everything and turn the hobby into all about music, and the art of getting the most value out of a 10-12k system.. It's a lot more fun !
You would be amazed what the right horse trading, and equipment combo can do for your sanity down at that price range.

Okay, now I am done. Honestly. I just sold my preamp. But get this. I think it is a step in the right direction. I bought another one here at AG. But I spent only the money I made from the sale of mine that I sold. Isn't that good?
Oh, you should see the look on my wifes face. Priceless!!
I thought and do think I have a great life. In fact, I have been truely blessed. Sorry if I led you to believe otherwise.
Sorry I thought that the brutal approach might actually help - as you seemed to be in some sort of audiophile trouble, and of need of a little frank talk.