Musical threshold event

This thread is related to several others concerning being an Audiophile versus a music lover....but a shade different. From my own personnal experience and from conversations I've had with others, as a person is building their system, there seems to be a threshold beyond which the beauty of the music suddenly grabs your attention instead of the beauty of the sound. After that threshold is crossed, the music is front and center. Recordings are listened ALL the way thru and there is less pre-disposition to mess around with the equipment, perhaps, in part, out of fear of loosing the magic. For me this happened when I got a pair of Forte 4s to drive my Martin Logan Quests. The music grabbed my attention instead of the sound (which was also quite good). All of my equipment purchases past that point have been in pursuit of the musical experience. Sound quality matters, but compliments, instead of dominates my equipment selections. I'd like to know at what points all of you crossed that threshold and what combination of equipment got you there. Contrasting that threshold point for vinyl and digital would be neat too.
I reject you premise for I don't believe there is a threshold for musical enjoyment. In any given day, I spend 40- 50% of my music listening time in my car (a stock Ford audio system) and I cannot say that my enjoyment of the music is any less than my serious living room system. I have a total of 3 music oriented system in my home. They are of varying quality and my attention to setup and room interactions for each system ranges from precise to "I don't care". Yet, I am able to enjoy, at a very deep level, music on any of these systems. Great music can make all issues regarding sound quality irrelevant.
Yep 1953, I hear where you're coming from. My system sounded fascinating but had an unknown nervous quality to it until I replaced my Forte preamp (F44) with a Threshold (FET ten/hl). This made me cross over into pure musical enjoyment. I have stopped shopping! Well almost, hehe. I'm still seeking a silver FET ten/e to mate with my S350/e power amp. But there is simply no hurry anymore. Cool post! I'd been thinking the same thing since I made the switch.
I'm "wit chew" #61. IT IS the music first.I listen with a boom box all day.Mostly I enjoy the music.Sometimes I hear a selection and dream of how it would sound at home.This is how I get new ideas for purchases.Altho there is nothing like live music.While I can't distinguish between Van Clyburn and Libarachi,I would choose someone playing live over a Van recording. So I guess it's both.Heck,a youngster with limited virtuoso talent playing a cello live would be enjoyable.As there is no room in my place for the LSO,I gotta go with the recorded venue.My breakthrough piece was a Fedility Research cartridge,and their phono stepup device; that was it for me.It hasn't stopped since;don't think it will.
Hmm. Already getting some spread in the data! I will readily admit that really good music can poke its way thru poor equipment. I experience this all the time while listening to tunes over the radio in the metal alloyed, four wheeled, transportation device (car). In fact, I choose most of the music I buy based upon what I hear in the car, which is not a quality sound system. Of course, you could argue the point that it IS a quality system because it DOES allow enough of the music to get thru to become involved in the event. But I'm really curious as to what point in an "Audiophile's" evolution does the "system" reach a fundamental and unmistakable musical rightness that just can't be ignored by that person. I knew immediately when I crossed that threshold in my system. I knew I was on the right track and something special was happenning. I just would like to know at what point that happenned to others. I'm sure it doesn't take much for some people to get there but I'm also sure it takes more for others. The variation in what it takes for the emmotional response to the music to domminate the intellectual desire to fart around with the system, I find fascinating!
I think it happens when an upgrade makes a significant difference in balancing the system. What you have posed has happened to me at least 8 times. After a while I find some diffeciency in the sound after months of listening and look for a specific upgrade to rectify the problem. I've been building a system for about 10 years. This effect happened to me when I first purchased Martin Logan's Monoliths. Then when I upgraded to Levinson amplifiers. Again when I upgraded to a VPI TNT turntable. Yet again when I upgraded to a 380s pre-amp. When I biamped the system using Krell mono's on the bottom it happened again. Each time the music became very "right". But after a while I tuned into problems that needed attention. I like many of the other posts listen to many different systems. In fact, much of my listening is on airplanes using ER-4s headphones and a headroom amplifier. I also listen quite a bit in my office (background), classical music on small B&Ws. I enjoy music, but I'm not always listening so intently to the technical and sonic attributes that a high end system is necessary. You can still get the attributes of the performance, if you allow yourself to do that and not be critical of the fact that a kettle drum will never sound like a kettle drum on bookshelf speakers (at least not mine). Lastly, you might be interested in whether or not persons play a musical instrument. It seems to be a trend that musicians have very poor sound systems. On possible explaination for this is the music is in their head and they do not need a high end system to re-create the emotional response. All they need is a brilliant performance. I'm not like this. I play the piano regularly, and thoroughly enjoy a system that can reproduce the piano extremely well. Since the piano has such a large range (frequency and dynamically) and has so many harmonics, paricularly when coupled to the room response it is very difficult to reproduce. Perhaps this is why I know that my system could still use improvement.
This is an interesting question. I have personally hit the "musical threshold" in many different systems, many times over the years. Each time I hit that magical zone I pause to ask myself, "Isn't it good enough yet?" It seems that by definition, an audiophile is someone who is never satisfied with what he has, and who constantly strives for ways to improve on what he's accomplished. So now I'm at a point where I'm looking back over my experiences with past systems and thinking, "maybe I should have stopped with the Magnepans or the Accoustats, or the modified Dyna 70, or the VPI Mk-IV." Surely the sound I've attained with those components was enjoyable and musically satisfying -- so why do I feel the need for change? Marketing hype? Peer pressure? What? Do I hear differences? Yes. Are they worth the trouble and expense? Some of them are, some of the time. Ah, I'm really enjoying my psychosis, er, hobby. :)