I have been at this for 35 years, and just recently got to a place where I feel like maybe posting my system in the "done for now" category. For me, a series of recent acquisitions produced the synergy I had been looking for. In particular, a pair of Wilson Benesch Curves are the linchpin to my new-found satisfaction. I am hoping to be done "fiddling" for good long while.
great. i've been setting up systems since 1975 and will never quit even if i win the lottery. ha. i have recently got to the point of diminishing return i can stand and would have to spend a lot more money to get just a bit better sound. so for now it is just experimenting with room treatments, and a powercable and.........ha
I can remember my first "system" back in the late 60's. Hope to God I never find that I'm satisfied. I look here daily to see what else I can play with hoping that I'll find something that will "move my soul"
I say I feel the same as you do , However the influence of ones financial health cannot be overlooked. Get too healthy in that area and it always becomes easier to justify a little more expense at least easier than it was to do it all the years that financial health wasn,t there and still did it anyway. So I,ll say I'm done...... at least till I'm "healthy" enough to afford a kick ass all tube system and enough tubes to roll for the next 30 years!
Over 60 years and during that time have had 5 "Final" systems That is also why tubes are fun because you can change the sound of the system by tube rolling although that can also get expensive. My power amp has 16 KT-88's
Finish line! There ain't no stinkin finish line! There I said it, I have been at this for 35 plus years and have yet to see a finish line. You do get pit stops, some long ones a few years and some short ones only a few months but that is all. The never ending search, that's the fun of the trip. For me anyway.
It has taken me six years of effort to cludge my system together to the point of complete satisfaction. (I still wish to install dedicated lines but that is for completeness rather than seeking out audio improvement.) During the journey, never having excess money seemed to cause great frustration for me as I knew what direction in sound to continue to improve towards but could not get there fast enough. But looking back on it now I feel it was a blessing as it forced me to do far more investigation and be very disciplined with my selection process. Limited funds kept me from purchasing "flavor of the month" gear and instead forced me to rely more on my own ears than others' opinions. I still lost some money on some of the items I've replaced over the years but each replacement was always a great improvement towards the sound I was chasing.
Gotta say, I have no current plans for major changes. I have owned the Aerial 9's for about 5 years, Lector for 3 yrs. and Tom Evans Vibe/Pulse for 3 years (off and on - I have owned several of them). I have only had my Clayton amps about a year, but with the upgrade to current product, I cannot imagine wanting different amps. The only possible near-future changes I foresee would be with my source, where I am currently going between the Lector and a MUSE, and also by potentially adding server based music.
To get here required some stops, starts and sideways moves to try new things which usually were not aligned with my sonic preferences. I have found simpler to be better for me, by staying mostly away from tubes, simplifying support options with Herbie's products, and getting off the cable merry-go-round. In summary, I will not say I am totally done forever but, for now, I will move forward at a much slower pace since my current system sounds great to me, I am a little tired of the upgrade process, and I have other ways I would prefer to spend my time. To answer the OP question, I started upgrading my previous system of 15 years around 1999, so it has taken 12 years to achieve my current system.
Did you notice that most of us "old farts" have been playing with equipment for a long, long time and hope(I can only speak for myself)to do so until we can't hear any more. I feel like a pup compared to some of you elder statesmen!
Before you can even think about finding the finish line, you have to actually know what you want to hear from your system. For example, if you like the Virtual Dynamics sound over the Stealth sound, that tells you something.
Next, you have to open up yourself and seek out and if you're lucky enough to find someone who knows more than you and understands what you're looking for, listen to them.
My search ended when I found Roger (Irish65), Peter Israelson, Craig Hampel (CH Acoustic), John Pharo (The Cable Company) and Mark (Tone Studio) and actually listen to them.
It doesn't sound like you've gotten there Gary, it sounds like you're still flying on your own. The reviews and Audiogon forum contains too many opinions by audiophiles who don't know you personally and your personal preferences.
being satisfied with one's stereo system is very subjective.
i have one priority which i have yet to achieve--accuracy of timbre. i have not yet reached it. i doubt i ever will. so i have to accept some inaccuracy. i haven't decided when i reach a level of inaccuracy that is acceptable, so i continue to make adjustments.
Right when I think I've arrived at the finish, someone will come along and throw something at me to make me change my mind. I believe I've arrived with my last purchase. My system has had ups and downs. The last upgrade should be my last. Just tired of trying to one up the last change. It sounds sweet, and I'm pleased. No need to waste any more time or money for a meager gain.
My quest will never stop for as long as I can hear at least a single note. That doesn't mean that I am going to spend a fortune though; just $500 on every piece on average including a set of isolation cones, no more.
I think that there is a finish line, but it's made by each individual. I think that point is when an individual says "I am fine right here".
It may be because they are really content with the sound from their system, which has the best chance of lasting. A lot of times someone may vow to stop because of the money spent, but that doesn't always last.
What Roger and Peter have shown me is that there is a point where you can be content if you know what you like and how to achieve it.
But in order to reach that point, you have be willing to accept the help and guidance of people in the industry who really know what they're doing and talking about, and will help without allowing monetary gains to be the driving force.
Listening to music is a great experience , but if It wasn't for tinkering with my system or the systems of other club members I think I would lose interest quickly . Shouldn't a hobby be ongoing . Improving things and then listening for improvements or changes is fun , educational and highly entertaining , for me . We often swap components , cables , cords or something with other members temporarily so the cost is usually nile and if you learn something it may save you money in the long run .
At some point you would have to change the listening room and possibly the house. How many of us would go that far? Even now my modest $7.5k in used prices system would sound much better if I could move it to a better room which I cannot do. But that wouldn't stop me from upgrading. Though my stereo is not a true hi-fi yet it is very sensitive to even small changes; that's good to keep the hobby going. It is not at all only about music, it is also very much about the sound as we all know.