Priorities, who makes the rules anyway?

I'm putting this on the table for two reasons, 1) I am tired of 'which amp for my speakers' threads, and 2) I am right.

Most everyone I know thinks I am a crazy-man. They refer to me as the one who has taken home entertainment to the "extreme." My question is, where'd they get that idea? Generally speaking: the average upper-middle-class yupster walks into a car dealer and plops down $???$ without thinking twice. Next they slice the price into monthly payments, add interest and insure it, all for the low, low, price of what...say, $35k (for arguments sake). Now throw another in for the wife. Where are we now, $70k in cars? The point. This sort of average behavior is thought of as completely reasonable and rational in most circumstances.

On the other hand, a guy like me (or we) who throw(s) down anything approaching (or even half) the total amount of the car, much less both cars, on home entertainment stuff, is a nutcase (or bunch of them if all of you are still on board) with out of whack priorities. What is with this? I enjoy my HT system way more than I enjoy my car. I spend more time at home with my HT system, or at least try to. All else equal I would rather drive a junker pick-up and come home to a plasma flatscreen, than any other, another way around. For me, this is true, even if it's just to watch the news. (The real point, as you may have guessed--I am talking myself into spending more). I NEED that flatscreen. I do.

When are we going to start thinking of home entertainment the same as we do cars? As it is for most, high dollar home entertainment is still thought of as a guilty pleasure.
I've been driving the same car for ten years. I guess it's worth about 2k. System, about ten times that. Seems right to me. As for the question: "When are we going to start thinking of home entertainment the same as we do cars?". Never.
I hear ya and completely agree. While i have a Corvette Stingray in storage and a Harley, i typically drive a 1994 four cylinder Ford Tempo with a manual transmission in it. Glamorous, to say the least. Besides that, i have a rusted out Ford van that i use for hauling stuff. Drive them till they die is my motto.

While the Tempo is in mint shape for its' age due to recent body work and paint and has a system that can deafen you at 40 paces, it is nothing that any human being of reasonable means would long for. As such, i don't have to worry about anyone stealing it or crying when someone has scratched, dented or keyed my "status symbol".

Like anything else in life, people have different priorities and things that they enjoy. While i can't fathom tempting fate and going mountain climbing on a regular basis, others say it is exhilarating and a challenge. Obviously, we have different trains of thought. Who is to say which one of us is right ? Sean
I am not an expert in psychology, but here's what I think. Some people are in the status thing and a $70K car is more visiable and recognized by more people on the street than a $70K system. So I guess Blbloom is right..never.
I agree 100% and also am in need of a ronco 50" plasma screen. How this could be construe as anything less then a basic necessity boggles the mind. Food, clothes, shelter, plasma screen not necessarily in that order.
I agree with you, thunders. The analogy I often use is boats. Some people spend a ton on their boating hobbies.

The only problem is I also want that $35K car...
J thunder: I enjoy this one---Priorities---is the common word here. I whole heartidly agree with you though. It is where your priorities are. I am self employed, own three vehicles,90,93,& 95. All are in real good condition because I keep them up. My point is that my A/V system incl. acc's is way more in $$$ than all three vehicles combined. I sooo enjoy my system. If I am in the mood for music or movies I turn it on and I am in the clouds. So where we spend our money whether it be A/V or cars neither is wrong, we are both right it is what keeps us happy and sane. The waste of money is in excessive drinking, and drugs. I rest my case. Good post .
Ever since I came home from the New York show last month, I have been scheming to get a plasma screen. We need one in our bedroom. We can't live without it. I know all this, and my wife will know it too when I am ready to convince her she needs to know it.
Thunders, how come you and I always seem to be looking at the same thing? Is there a conspiracy going on here? The Runco 50" only costs the same as the Dodge van I bought my wife to ferry all the kids around in. So??????????????????
I paid more for my amp than I did for the used Hyandai I drive.I paid more for my preamp than I did for that car.I paid more for my speakers than I did for that car.I paid more for my TT/arm than I did for that car.My vinyl collection is worth much more than that car.My car is in good shape,awesome on gas,never strands me (knock on wood) gets me from point A to point B very well.Thats all I need! My stereo/music is my passion,my car transportation.
In other words, the car drives you crazy, the music drives you happy.
I also can see the sense here. You guys mised the 'single side' to this. I you keep them as girlfriends, you can easily afford both the car and the HT! I seem to be exactly on this line, with about equal money in both the HT and car, and interesting enough, ~$35K each, so I guess my 'wife's' car is just convienently parked in my living room! Now if the girlfriend reads this, I'm going to be in an acute 'jewelry deficit' situation!

As for which one brings me more pleasure, that's a tough call, the HT looks great, sounds phenomenal, but doesn't do 155 mph. Then again, upgrades cost more than tires.......
I'm with you JT. The Animals had it right,"I'm just a soul who's intentions are good, oh lord, please don't let me be misunderstood". The looks I get when buying yet another piece of "unnecessary" equipment are not easily forgotten. Funny though, I don't hear any complaints when I turn on my widescreen TV, crank up the sub, pop in a DVD, and let the neighbors wonder "what's he doing in there" (Tom Waits). 3chihuahuas is on to something about status symbols. Let's not forget that when we listen to a great recording, or watch an engaging movie that we are appreciating ART. Not everyone gets it, so a car is like a big tattoo for them. Not that have anything against a nice car, it's just that the time I spend listening to music, watching a movie or catching an interesting television program (there are a few) far outweigh the time spent driving, so I would think it rational to spend more on the devices that I use most frequently. Great post JT.
While I agree with Jt, one important difference between the car and the stereo is that in our society, regrettably, the car is pretty much essential to our way of life, eg to get to work, make a living etc., while (and this may be heresy on this site) but the stereo/HT system is not essential-- to most. I see the "thunder" clouds forming and can feel the lightning ready to strike as I type ;>)

My stereo cost 4-5 times what both my P.U. and wife's car are worth, but damnit, we still need cars. But you can see MY priorities regarding spending money. My neighbor, who helps me pack/unpack heavy amps, speakers etc. just shakes his head in wonder at the amount of $$$ I have in stereo equipment. He thinks I'm basically harmless though.

As to what amps with what speakers? Well, there are always (hopefully) new people getting this affliction. Cheers. Craig
J, I completely agree. And, what is more, for this very reason, I do not have a car. I take the train or subway--I live in a big European city, it's easy--or I drive my wife's FIAT (but this happens only once a year). To put the household economy in perspective: there is one IC in my system that retails at more than we paid for her FIAT. BTW, the yuppies around here want it all: the Mercedes and the home entertainment system (but they inevitably buy Bang & Olufsen).
It's not really fair tabling this in front of this group, you all got it as bad as me, or worse. Of course you (fellow nutcases really less crazy than the average shmoe) will agree with me. We got our priorities straight, the rest are who is brainwashed.

I used the car thing because it is convenient to make the point. Anything else works too, like boats or a new kitchen or something. A guy got me to thinking though, when he asked me just last night, "What % of my take-home do you think is the most I should give in making a car payment?"--like a car payment is a fact of life. I admit I'm diseased, but I immediately thought NONE?!?!, what kind of crazy question is that? The payment cuts into any amount you can spend on cool stuff like, well, you know what cool stuff.

Thanks for the responses though, nice to know if I am really not normal, I am thought of as normal at least somewhere.
I just came home from a stop at the local mini-mart. Saw a car all decked out with a twentysomething in the driver's seat. He had the usual mag wheels, spoilers, wide tires etc. Inside there were a pair of custom red leather seats with cross-over seat belts, a tachometer mounted on the left side of the windshield and a fire- extinguisher on the right side. Tunes were blasting away with some deep bass rythm. So I popped my head in and said....." nice tunes. Cool fire-extinguisher. I assume that's there in case one of your amps overheats, right?" He looked at me through his fast shades, confusion spreading across his face, and replied..."no dude, it's in case of an engine fire"
At that moment I realized he was nuts and he realized the versa. He drove away, leaving me wondering why anyone would have a fire-extinguisher just two feet away from his stereo with no intention of using it solely to save the music!
A Formula 301 parked at Shooters dock will get you laid 7 nights out of 7. Try that with the stereo.
Me??? I pay cash for vehicles.... If I can't afford to purchase out of pocket, I don't need it. My only payment obligations are to my mortgage company, utilities, and child support . The credit cards are kept close to zeroed-out, and they're most often used to accumulate airmiles, rather than extend credit. Paid off monthly. Unless, of course, there's a piece of audio gear that I gotta have at a price that can't be beat, and it's halfway around the world... Credit cards are handy for THAT.

Status?? Nah.... I drive a '92 Lumina (the stereo in the car is worth about half the value of the car), and it does the "point-A-to-point-B" adequately. It turns no heads, and that's not what I bought it for. I occasionally borrow a flatbed pickup from work to do yardwork (or haul stereo equipment). Those are the only shotcoming MY vehicle has.

Most of my friends' jaws drop when I tell them what I paid for my most recent investment.... But then again, they're driving new cars and pickups.

At the same time, I don't have the expensive drug/ alchohol/ niccotine habits that some can't seem to outgrow or break away from.... Talk about priorities?? Jeeezzz!!

MY drug of choice is less harmful, and in the long run, won't cost me my home, life, freedom, or cause complete financial ruin. How many geezers do you know who have been on an iron lung or a kidney machine due to "excess stereo gear"? Hit the local Intensive Care unit of the local hospital, and see how many of those people would rather have been addicted to audio.... Hmmmmm.
Funny, the Honda Insight hybrid was supposed to be a babe magnet, but all I get is stares like I'm from another planet. Oh, I am it seems.

True socal story: there was this lowrider boomcar on the freeway, and as the tuning and damping of the suspension was of course out of sorts in the search for lowness, happened to catch a sub hertz resonance with the concrete strips that are poured separately for stress relief. A subtle dip about every few car lengths, that stock suspensions have no problem with.
The occupants had stylist bowl haircuts similar to Larry of the Three Stooges in a vain attempt at individuality through conformity. You've seen the look, abrupt cutoff at the mid of the neck.
So, with the boomcar bouncing severely, and the hair going floppa, floppa, floppa, the stylish occupants were not going to loose their cool, and just hunkered down. The funniest visual in a while. You had to be there, and are probably glad you were'nt. Just to add insult to injury, my buddy, who likes to live life on the edge, rolls down the window, and mimiking the bounce, says something like "are we having fun yet?". Fortunately there was an exit at hand, so no physical injuries were sustained.

Oh, back to the subject...if one includes all three systems, main, secondary, and office, they are more $ than my vehicle (the hybrid). I think that is a healthy ratio. So what if it only gets smiles from geeky granola gurrrls...

Watching the power meter spin backwards,

Then there is always golf......
Its not the money, its the stuff!
Cars vs. a serious rig. Well speaking for myself I went with building up some good sounding music systems first (I have also have a decent HT and still don't care for TV or movies, but that's my own quirk, wife and kids love it). I won't mention my cars, I drew enough fire listing my systems. To me, the music always came first, still does. My cars have damned good sounding stereos, which was just as important as the performance or appearence to me. Do people view my cars as more valuable than my two channel stereo? Yep. Who's right? The cars will breakdown and rust away, and I'll still be loving the fine music from my "expensive" home stereo. Quality audio provides greater long term value and outlasts any perceived status symbols, and more importantly, doesn't need to be under public scrutiny, just enjoyed.
you can be addicted to audio gear or cars or drugs. it's when you crave two or more of these or other exspensive items that you need to set priorities. -kelly
Kitch29 makes a good point, but I never needed a car for that purpose, Viva New York City!
A greater man than me said it all. You just have to believe that you are entitled to be 'you' regardless of what others think.

Another way of saying it: "Your opinion of me is none of my business."
I had a lot of fun in my house last fall when my daughter, a budding cellist, decided that she needed a better cello. She had been using the basic "student" cello she had began with, and was a few years into playing and had really taken to it, practicing hours a day with no pushing from her parents, so I had no problem understanding that she desired something "better".

However, after a few years of crazy looks and exasperated comments about the upgrades I've done to my home system (probably one major upgrade a year), I didn't miss the opportunity to turn the questions around. "Why do you need a new one when you've already got one the works". "What makes a different one better - does it have more strings or something?" "Do you realize we could spend that money on something I want instead?"

After extracting a modest amount of pain with that type of question, I got a little more serious and asked her to explain to me (seriously) what she was hoping to achieve with this "upgrade". She started by telling me that "I just wouldn't understand". I thought this was interesting because when I upgrade the audio system, I'd LOVE it if somebody expressed and interest in what I was trying to accomplish and wanted to hear it for themselves. I insisted that I could understand, at least somewhat, and then my wife got involved in trying to answer the question, which made it a really good exercise. I haven't done a major upgrade since then, so I don't know if it will have a lasting effect, but it was fun to turn the game around.

I have also tried, over time and somewhat unsuccessfully, to point out that if you add up everything I've ever spent on A/V gear, it's less than the kitchen remodel my wife wants to do, probably not much more than the bathroom remodel we've already done, etc. I sometimes think it's another version of the old deal of the differences between how men and women keep "score" - men have different amounts of points earned depending on the quality of the act, while women tend to count things as one point each. I think I could convince my wife to let me spend $50K all at once on a system without a lot more difficulty than convincing her to let me spend $5K five times. I don't think she understands that I enjoy it a lot more spending money over the course of time and experimenting.

Great topic! - Kirk

Re: ....normal....J_thunders you overestimate your estimation of our opinion of thyself, if you accept that I speak for "Our".
So whattrya tryin to say? I am normal, or am not normal?
"Priorities, who makes the rules?" is answered by a far simpler response than any of those above. In two words, "SHE DOES!" Any man who says otherwise is lying to himself or very lonely. Or both.
j_thunders, read the thread "how much are you worth?"'s all about "normal"
I take it all back, nevermind about this whole post. I drove the new twin-turbo, intercooled, Audi S4 yesterday and I now understand why people spend what they do on cars. JESUS is that thing cool!
Rule 1 with cars - DON'T test drive unless you want to be convinced to buy. In fact, I recommend that you don't even sit in the damn things unless you want to be coerced. As with most things, you get what you pay for.
J_thunders, did you listen to the "stereo"?
I did in fact though it was hard to be objective or positive because the sound system is Bose. To my ear, the whining turbos and screeching tires sounded much better, even if muffled by the gasps of the owner.
KThomas, how much was the new cello? Did you listen to her audition any at the music shop? You know, that is very close to checking out new speakers! Charlie