Retired audiophile?


Maybe it comes with age. Fatigue with upgrades. Wisdom and satisfaction with the material world - acceptance of the audio system and a return to enjoyment of music without audio analysis - acceptance of deteriorating hearing and the resultant judgement that "what's the use" in the pursuit better fidelity - more restricted finances of retirement.. a feeling of "done for now" or forever. (Unless something brakes down) After improving and "investing" in my rig for over 30 years, I've come to the realization that I have little interest in the latest/greatest. "Tweaking" has little or no monetarily corresponding reward.
I'll still peruse the web, but the magazine subscriptions have elapsed and I don't miss the self-congratulatory reviews and commentary.
I suspect I'm not alone on this although the Audiogon community by it's very nature, is active in the hobby. Other retired audiophiles out there?
Convert?fit=crop&h=128&rotate=exif&w=128papermill
I haven't "retired" but I have achieved "satisfaction" with the sound coming out of my speakers.
I really can't imagine better without spending triple my investment.
The only area I would care to improve is the size of my listening room. Currently, it is 17.5 * 21 feet.
I'm pretty sure my satisfaction would increase in a 30 * 40 foot room. At this point, I'd acquire a pair of 12-15 inch subwoofers and be done.
Dweller, like many who spend many years in the hobby, find that the ultimate component is really the room, not the electronics. Acoustic sound is primarily the function of the design and size of the room, and often who you treat it. So, all you newbies, learn this lesson early and your wallet will be fatter, and your enjoyment greater.
Rapidly approaching this state as well.

Major upgrades a few years ago and now just enjoying the music.
I may try to add a DAC and CD player upgrade before I retire, however not a priority at this time.
I’m retired and in general I agree with your opening post.
I think there comes a time when some of us are happy with what we hear within our system and we don’t have the urge to upgrade and/or try new or different tweaks.
Sometimes that could be because of a lesser income due to retirement or a job change and other times maybe it’s because we have a new or different interest.
I’m happy with my major components however I admit that I do get the itch to experiment with power cords and interconnects, or at least I use to until recently.
Now a days I might try some tweaks that are reasonably priced.
I know of many audiophiles that simply enjoy trying equipment for a few months and then they sell and move onto other components; I say whatever floats your boat ;-)
I relate with your thinking. I retired a few years ago and decided it was time to replace my system of 25 years. Took me 3+ years to get to where i am now and am happy with the new one. I take my time putting a system together and them focus on the music for which it was developed. I have never been one to fret over tweeks, however do play around with speaker placement and believe in room treatment, good cables, isolation, and chassis dampening. Once I have dealt with these things, many on a DIY basis, I hold tight.
I'm still about 10 years from retirement more or less.

I always stop once it sounds right to me. It does currently. Hopefully it will stay that way for awhile, but nothing stays the same forever.

I suspect I will downsize at some point, especially if I move into smaller quarters.
I'm just a couple of years from doing what I like: nothing in particular.

Having gotten that out of the way, there have been a couple of times when I thought I'd gotten as far as I could go with my system only to find out it was just this one item.....

All the best,
Nonoise
I'm semi retired I think. My main system has stabilized and hasn't changed for the past few years. Unless something fails or I move I think I'm pretty much through.

BUT, I did just set up a second budget system using some small and inexpensive stand mount monitors and a small tube amp and was just amazed at the result. Makes me wonder why I spent all the time and effort on my main system - if I had to I could easily live with that second system (easy enough to say when you know you don't have to do that :-).
I do still find audio and music fascinating as well as enjoyable and do have visions of being able to experiment more with different gear and approaches when I retire and have more time, although again on a much smaller scale.

Or maybe I'll move on to other new things. Who knows. I have too many interests to pursue them all.

Currently it will take me years to listen to all the music I have queued up already, so no time for mucking with equipment unless needed.
Even if you had unlimited means and a willingness to buy, try and experiment constantly with new gear, accessories and 'tweaks,' I think you'd find, as i have, that all of these activities may have little bearing on your enjoyment of your system as a source for listening to music. Audio is a hobby that can be pursued for its own sake, having little to do with listening to music for enjoyment; instead, the quest is to find 'better sound.' Nothing wrong with that, but at a certain point, it becomes more about the gear and tweaks than the music itself.
Like most things in life, there is a balance- a point that is different for each of us, depending on pocket book, interest, time and knowledge. I've actually found myself more able to enjoy my system now than at any time in the past. Yes, the system does some things extremely well, and has some limitations which I not only acknowledge, but can live with pretty happily. That doesn't mean I'm not interested in gear, but I'm more drawn to antiquarian stuff than the latest and greatest. Reviews are, at best, to paraphrase Mike Fremer, a form of 'informed entertainment.'
One thing having more time has afforded me is the ability to dig into the thousands of records I've collected over the years and listened to them, learn more about the artists and recordings themselves. If there's a place where I've spent money in the last few years, it has been on records- buying better pressings of records I like.
I'm not taking pot shots at those who want to spend time in gear acquisition and comparisons. But, having a fairly dialed-in system, I'm less concerned at this point with owning the latest and greatest- I'll replace a cartridge or retube a piece of gear when appropriate, but I'm actually having more fun, and getting more use and enjoyment out of the system now, than ever before.
I'm with Whart.

I'm way more interested in listening to music than mucking with different gear. That's just the means towards the end.

I've pretty much heard it all over the years. There is nothing I have heard that I feel I am missing these days. So I'll likely just keep it that way and like I said maybe downsize over time as well if needed.

I've boiled my recipe for enjoying audio down to a few simple things. It should not take a lot of work from here for me to keep myself musically enabled.

Someone here jokingly mentioned my OHM speakers might serve well as a tombstone, and I would tend to agree. Maybe with some additional weatherproofing. :^)
Sounds like you just ran out of money.
Papermill-
I, personally, will never retire form this hobby. Most will be come satisfied w/ their respective systems- this is perfectly acceptable. So long as the technology keeps moving forward and there are musical gains to be made, do not retire.
Happy Listening!
Papermill, first, compliments on the craftsman house, the river dwelling and your rigs. It appears you are in a very comfortable place for retirement.

I have slowed down the buying and trying of audio gear considerably as I am very comfortable with how my system sounds, its functionality and the enjoyment it brings me. Looking back, the surprising thing is the contrast in how much time I have spent building this system compared to my college/early adult system of a vintage Sansui receiver, Jensen triaxial speakers in DIY cabinets, and a Phillips (later Thorens) turntable, which was every bit as satisfying.

I think "retirement" from being an audiophile is more related to priorities and what is important to a person than to what they have achieved with their system. The endless tweaks, cable changes, gear swaps, reviews, etc. lose their significance after awhile, especially when the gain is viewed in relation to the effort. In life, we vote with our time. In retrospect, I wish I had started retiring earlier.

I am reminded of advice I received years ago when overly weighing the pros and cons of components to put on a new mountain bike....."just ride the bike."
Zd,
Honestly, money is certainly always part of the equation . When isn't it? However, the last two years have been transformative in terms of equipment. Digital front end (Esoteric K-03) amp (BorderPatrol P21) and speakers (Volti Alura) have all been upgraded along with cabling. So the level of performance and investment has become very satisfying. I have the good fortune of having a friend who is an audio reviewer, and so I have been able to hear multiple high end systems through the years. My ear and heart are educated. My contentment then, is real.
Jayant,
I frequently tell my audio buddies that I am a committed luddite when it comes to new technology. I was recently forced to source digital (CD, iTunes, TIDAL) while I solved an analog problem. Although I enjoyed revisiting music in my library, I continue to prefer vinyl. New technology? Not so much: source - vinyl, preamp - tubed, amp - tubed 300b, speaker - horn hybrid. Done artfully, old technology is my preference.
Do I continue to consider myself an audiophile by its varied definitions? Yes. Retired.
I wasn't being completely serious in my last post. By the way, who's the reviewer you know?
I seem to be some kind of outlier. I'm 85, retired 15 years, still buying open reel tapes, vinyl, and SACDs/CDs, still investing in new gear (most recently an Oppo 105 with ModWright tube mods), currently comparing balanced interconnects between this unit and my Aesthetix Calypso linestage. Twenty-nine tubes in the system and I have massive quantities of records, tapes, CDs/SACDs and even 78s. Yeah, I can afford this and and am extremely grateful that I can. Downsides: my hearing sucks and my heavy lifting days are long gone. Upsides: plenty of time to indulge all this and my interest hasn't flagged in the slightest. Another major upside is having a group of audiobuddies of like mind who visit frequently (as I do them) and a wife who encourages all this nonsense.
Dopogue,
Glad to know you and I'm sure many others who in the retirement years, continue to be active in our hobby!
Dopogue: I was in the operations control room today at work. We were discussing playback media formats including vinyl, 8 track, cassette, etc.
Several youngsters (25-35 YO) had never even heard of open-reel tape recorders!
I must say, it felt a little like the Twilight Zone.

I'm glad to hear you're still interested in music and audio.
I'm 62 and still have adequate hearing (thank the Lord).
Audio has certainly come a long way since the 50's and I'm glad to be a part of it!
I'm retired and I have been spending more time with my systems than ever. I finally have the time to tweak and play music. I tried downsizing once and it just didn't work out, I still want to improve my system(s). Working made being an audiophile possible but retiring gave me the time to enjoy it.
Papermill, maybe you can clarify but I perceived the "retirement" part pertaining to your purchasing of new gear (aka getting off the merry go round) and not retiring from work, which may be the case for you also.

In any case, I along with quite a few others could have retired from buying new gear years ago if we were in your boat, based on the looks of your gear. Nice setup!

Anyhow, retirement in the audio arena actually sounds pretty good. Once you are happy with the sound then all that's left to do is sit back and enjoy the music which is something that often gets lost in search of the newest and best gear.

Happy Listening, and retirement!!
I'm there too. I really have little to no interest in adding, changing, tweaking anything. At least not to the point where I actively chase it anymore.

If there is something to try, I will try it, as long as I don't have to spend substantial $ on it, because I'm not chasing that ghost anymore. But if someone brings something over I will give it a go. But minor differences don't really interest me anymore.
I would like to test the high efficiency speaker/tube amp waters still someday prior to retirement maybe just to see if that polar opposite approach to what I do today might win me over. Then when I retire hopefully in a few years, assuming I move into smaller quarters, I will feel educated enough to decide where to go from there.
B_limo
Double entendre.
As I composed this forum subject, I realized that I was speaking on parallel levels of audio and "life". Unintentional at first, but clearly my dual path might also be shared by other members. Professional retirement, honestly, is a few years away, but audio retirement seems to have arrived. My audio buddies tell me I'm going through a phase which ultimately will have me rejoin the "madness". We shall see. But yes, the rig I have assembled continues to serve my music enjoyment with really no yearning to correct or enhance the sound - for two years! Acceptance is quite rewarding.
Ptm.
Agreed.
Mapman.
Your audio journey continues !
I also went the inefficient, high power route for many years. The ultimate attraction for me of efficient horn hybrid, 300b has been the utter ease, organic and musical presentation of music. I'm not very good at discussing audiophile terminologies so I won't attempt. Suffice to say, the hobby has been all those things that we all have experienced. Frustration, Consternation. Excitement. Anticipation. Joy. And now satisfaction.
Happy listening !
dopogue- I have a Calypso also and going to buy a OPPO 105, what IC did you find that worked the best in your system.  Thanks  Chris
I too have been retired for a few years now. I have to budget my money carefully but that was a given  so it is not a problem. I started in audio in the early 70's and have run the gambit as to equipment. I have kept a list of items purchased for the hobby and it is crazy to see the amount of money spent over the years. I have experienced some hearing loss and being a stubborn geezer have not tried hearing aids as yet. This loss has changed my way of listening however. I acknowledge the fact that some frequencies are lost or diminished. I also realize that things have to be a little louder than in the past. What this has done speaker-wise is I now have a very open and dynamic speaker that projects a wide soundstage that compensates for the loss of frequencies. I sold my Sonus Fabers because they were too polite and not open enough. I am thoroughly spoiled by my computer set-up and recently adding Hi-Rez Tidal has complimented it. The only thing I will spend money on in the near future are speaker cables (I need a better match) and a better USB cable. I have hunkered down for the long haul. Now I just want to "Enjoy the music".   
Another reason music gains even more ground on sound-for-sounds-sake as one reaches retirement age, is the growing awareness of one's mortality, and the finite number of hours left in one's life in which to listen to music. Those remaining hours are now too precious to fritter way on purely audiophile concerns and matters. Speaking for myself, of course.
The nature of hearing is such that whenever a veil is lifted, the ear/brain quickly recalibrates itself to the new normal. Hence, the sound may have improved, but one's appreciation for that improvement tends to fade. Some of my most gratifying listening sessions were with primitive equipment from the 70's, before I knew anything about high fidelity.
Raptor88, sorry I missed your post until now.  I'm partial to the Clear Day balanced silver interconnects.  Clear Day (Paul Laudati) used to sell only speaker wires, also silver, and more recently introduced a line of interconnects.  They're not expensive, for what they are, and I couldn't be happier with them. 
For me, I too am extemely happy with my system, at leas the electronics, and my new passion has become learning as much as possible about loudspeakers, and DIY, while applying that to learning about 'sound' that way.  I am very much done with the crazy prices for more equipment, unless I build it myself.  I am just finishing up a 125 liter 12" SB Acoustics woofer cabinet, taking my time and doing it as perfectly as possible.  Gonna use it with my Volti Audio horns and upgraded crossovers.  This is extremely rewarding for me, especially since I am near retirement also. I guess I am not downsizing at all, 'cuz two 125 liter (4.5 cubic feet cabinets) is a large affair.  This is fun, and if you have the inclination, I would heartily suggest that you give it a go.  Too fun. 
I am retired and content that my humble system provides satisfactory enjoyment (transporting). However,I enjoy reading and the pace of technical advancement is so interesting I can't help having curiosity about the effect of new materials and new technology. My experience with the extraordinary benefits,to my Spectral based system,of Martin Glasband's balanced power was a revelation,likewise some of MIT's simple technologies;compels me to follow present tech advances due to materials,both magnetic and fabric (perhaps both in one in the event of graphene / nanotubes). I find it natural to be intrigued with the potential for improvements for all aspects of music recording and reproduction. I'm glad tech is moving at such a speed and hope to hear the benefits.
Yes, I am retired.  Your original post rings true for me. I retired last May, yet I've been done with my main system for a few years.  These days it's maintenance and listening.  
A friend introduced me to Stereophile magazine some 25 years ago, partially to draw attention to the absurdities of expensive cables (he worked on electronic equipment for a living).  But of course this only INCREASED my interest in high-end audio, and soon afterwards i traded in my ADS speakers for B&W-801's.  Then came the inevitable upgrades costing more and more money.  But now this enthusiasm has mostly run its course.  A local audio store recently wanted me to give a new $20,000 digital preamp a try, along with extremely expensive "footers".  Also, my cables, already having been upgraded four or more times, have now been improved upon yet again.  Oddly enough is the fact that i listen to my Tivoli radio/subwoofer system in bed for more hours a week than my big stereo. Since i enjoy BOTH as much as i do indicates that the human ear "can" learn to be happy in either case.  
     Thus, while the Boulder 3000 series mono blocks are one good example of the current audio "end of the road" (1500W/ea.),
i just can't get excited about what they can do that my "miserable" 500W mono blocks aren't able.  So maybe you can see the point I'm making...
I have retired. Maybe too early, but my hearing isn't best by far. Often have to ask "can you repeat" when talking on the phone and often same music day by day isn't sounding same and it's getting kinda worse as well. Quit upgrading for good -- No point. Getting new music or some super-rare desirable titles on vinyl is my current passion.

I’m with jafant,dopoque and others who find retirement a time for even more appreciation of music and quality of reproduction. Ever since assembling front end kits and loudspeakers and evaluating speaker wires,in my late teens,I’ve appreciated the musicality,detail and dynamics obtained with improvements in reproduction. I also feel the thrill of live music and this exposure continues to feed my interest in enhancing what I hear at home. Naturally my measured hearing is far from perfect,however, my ears are trained and sensitive. I will change the phase on my Spectral preamp to suit what’s playing; whether Classical or Opera on FM,or any extended piece from any source. I find the improvements very satisfying.For those content with their main equipment,as I am,but who haven’t tried AC power isolation/conditioning,I feel confident suggesting experimenting with it as it will most likely take any enjoyable system to an entirely enhanced level. Cheers! Pete.
As our systems improve, our hearing declines. At some point the curves cross. Then, any enjoyment we derive from improving our systems is imaginary. Not that there's anything wrong with that..
You are part of the "VAST" majority of audio lovers, not on the internet!

Enjoy the life you have left!
Papermill,

My wife and I moved a few years ago, and when I went to set up my system I did something different.  I took my time and my wife and I listened to all the amps, preamps, receivers that I had collected over the last forty years.  I ended up favoring my ancient Sansui 9090db over everything else I owned.  ( Krell, Mac, Citation, GAS, Mark Levinson, etc. ). I have friends that think I'm nuts, but I am enjoying my music like never before.  Listening is fun again, and what's upsetting is that what I am listening too now is pretty much the system that I started with. (So much wasted time and money)

So, yes I am a retired audiophile.  I now call myself a music lover and am buying more LPs then ever before.  


Norman,
No, your not nuts. Very interesting development. I wonder what life-elements are playing out for you and for those of us who fancy ourselves retired, adjusting/modifying on how we enjoy our music as audiophiles.  
czarivey,
I'm with you and Norman. Just paid significant $$ for a sealed Gentle Giant "Playing the Fool".  Haven't  played any digital in quite awhile ...
I wonder.
Reverting to analog has something to do with needing to unplug from the ever-present world of techno devices. They have invaded the audiophile world big-time with streaming, digital music files and all the digital manipulations requiring a "video screen". I found myself having to "sign-in"on the iPad and the music server, just to play my music, staring at a screen to capture metadata or playlists -  finding the process to be, for me, ultimately a bit disconcerting. Geez. Music, reproduced on vinyl, and ink on paper, just seems to be naturally "human". And analog remains better sounding, engaging and enjoyable. Being a retired audiophile (or music lover) ain't bad.
 
Ha, Yes there are lots of senior audiophiles with deteriorated hearing and assorted ailments out there along with you and me. For the past 40 or so years I, myself have been striving for audio nirvana with a reasonable amount of success. Spend a fortune on tweaks, upgrades to equipment and cables. You know the score. I'm close to the end as like you now running on a limited budget, no more overtime for me! I did however recently do one "upgrade" which I should have considered much earlier in life. That upgrade is room treatment and it surely has made the single most profound difference in my listening experience. When I think of all the money wasted on tweaks and such I look back and say what if. Young and dumb is a good expression. Getting the room acoustics right put me in audio nirvana, Deteriorated hearing and all. Love this thread!
I've been retired just over a year and do not make frivolous system changes (audiophile nervosa?)  My latest purchase, a significant speaker upgrade, made all of the pieces fall into place for me.  I've done the cables the tweaks, footers, mass damping etc. So now it's moving through my LPs CDs and SACDs and just enjoying the joy of music.  Here's hoping my system can stay stable now and most importantly that nothing breaks down.

Ditto.....my last big purchase was this spring when I re-tubed my CJ pre amp and amp.  I believe my cartridge will outlive me unless I clip off the cantilever.  I'm 61, 'retired', & living on a limited budget.  I believe my high end equipment should last.  If not I'll seek out repair in lieu of replace.
Yes...if you can locate a good technician within a reasonable distance from you, you should be in good shape.