Satisfaction Guarenteed?

How many of us are seeking intellectual and spiritual satisfaction through our involvment in audio? It seems to me that a lot of people enjoy being in a constant state of dissatisfation. Is this type of involvment the "sport" of our hobby or just part of the process of seeking long term happiness that many people have to go through? Got any thoughts?
I like to listen to music. The audiophile thing is merely a means towards that goal. However, in practice it's rarely that clear cut. The equipment can become a fetish and like all obsessive behavoir, at its core is a state of disatisfaction. At this level, being an audiophile is a journey thru a maze towards the music -- something of a Pilgrim's Progress. In such a journey many will lose their way. We should take heed from a well known literary traveler, after much consternation Dorothy realized all she had to do was click her heels. Brothers and Sisters -- stop worrying about the sound, relax and listen to the music.
Ever hear this phrase? "If I liked it I would be dissapointed".
Hi I'm back. Yes, I feel that it can be a very neurotic hobby. After all many people are content listening to a mini system or a table radio. I think that most of us are trying to create a live musical experience in our homes and to do so is quite an achievement when taking all of the variables into account. I do not listen to music at loud levels nor am I concerned with the lowest of the LF's. Because of this I can be satisfied much easier and less expensively than others. If something is out of whack in the sound, yes I obsess over it. But I also up to now have been able to solve most of these problems "to my satisfaction" with a lot of thought and very little cash output on a whole. Doing so has "been" satisfying. Most of the problems that I have encountered have been due to speaker placement, isolation components, the compatibility of cables and cords, room synergy, etc., (the basics). The more thought and energy I have put into it the better our meager system has sounded. I enjoy doing all of this, really. Well, maybe not speaker placement, but somebody has to do it. And yes sometimes the music becomes an after thought, but never for very long. When this system reaches its peak and I cannot improve it anymore I will start experimenting with new components. I also plan on putting together a second system in a spare bedroom and I look forward to the challenge. Music aside it's just something to do, like gardening or working on an old car and yes dissatisfaction is a part of it. I stated before that I took fifteen years off from this hobby. And to be perfectly honest when I experienced my first dissatisfaction with our new system once it was set up, I actually enjoyed having that feeling again about hifi gear. Do you know why? Because I wanted to work on the puzzle of "what is wrong with this picture." I am much better at this than crossword puzzles and the bonus is that our home is full of music that sounds really good.
Having read lots of articles about professional musicians, in almost every case they have at best mid-fi systems. Considering how good their ear must be it has always struck me as strange. Perhaps they know it's not possible and therefor don't try. Any serious hobbyist seems to be dissatisfied after a while. Whether you collect stamps, coins or bottles you always want something better. It's just human nature. Sadly the compulsion to upgrade can distroy some and make a wonderful hobby an obsession.
Musicians listen to the performance first while the reproduction is a secondary thing. Audiophiles tend to let the reproduction detract from the performance and sometimes rob themselves of the great enjoyment that a lesser recording may be possible of giving. Sad but true. I'm guilty of it too. Sean >
Hi Jmora; I don't think most audiophiles are seeking "intellectual or spiritual satisfaction". Those are too grandiose goals, IMO-- at least for most? To me it's just a highly enjoyable hobby, and there's nothing particularily noble about it. I have two audiophile friends who are polar opposites when it comes to their approaches to audio. One put a very good system together quite a few years ago, and he seldom makes changes, ie he's really in it for enjoyment of the music-- classical, opera, and jazz-- equipment to him is secondary. The other guy is an upfront obsessive and is constantly buying, selling, and trading equipment-- never satisfied, yet he refuses to spend money on acoustic treatments, vibration control, AC clean-up etc. To him it's almost purely an equipment "chase", and he only occasionally enjoys the music. But I guess that's what HE likes. As for me, I'm somewhere in between these two extremes. I can be an equipment junkie, and like to try out new "stuff", but having admitted that, the equipment or tweak has to serve the music for me to be satisfied. At age 57, my philosophy is to "never go backwards" regarding music quality. And right now I'm very satisfied with my system, but as I still like to try new components and tweaks, I don't mind "going sideways" occasionally, ie I want to try a good tube amp. And for sure, I want to end up with Vandersteen 5 speakers. So, to pull all this drival together, I am satisfied with what I think is a balanced approach to this hobby-- it suits my temperment and is enjoyable. BTW, all these approaches can be done at radically different budget levels. So the approach each of us takes in an attempt to reach audio wonderfulness(unattainable)comes down to personality, character, temperment-- intensely personal "stuff", IMHO. Cheers. Craig.
I was going to respond but Garfish said it all and so well. He always does that.
In the last year,in no particular order, I upgraded my power amp (same mfg, newer model); my cd transport (from digital out on multiplayer to dedicated transport); my speakers (from floorstanders to monitors, both english designs but diff mfgs) and my preamp (from mfg's best of budget line to older model at the top of the premier line). And after all this, *drum roll please* I've stopped combing the sites and looking at ads! Now all I do is listen. There's a rightness to it that I'm certain could be improved but I no longer feel the need to change it. Kinda like the whole system has gone from 'is that right?' to 'that's it!'. However there seems to be a downside: listening is no longer a casual passtime but more of a sacred experience. Anybody else experience this acute reverence phenomenon?
Jmora, interesting question. For me, at times, the hobby of putting together a system can be spiritually (whatever that is!) and/or intellectually satisfying. Mostly it's a means to some kind of an end (I hope). I only started into setting up a system about 2 years ago. I'm one of those musicians who lived with a boom box or a mishmash of friends stuff. I listened only rarely. And then, it was for the performance. It still is the predominant reason. Only now I realize that it is truly more enjoyable and involving when there is more fidelity (DUH!!) Sooo, when I find myself listening to gear for protracted periods of time, I put on something I love and just enjoy. I've asked my wife to shoot me if I spend big $$ on speaker cables. What the hell, whatever makes you happy (and doesn't hurt somebody else!) I'm out
Hats off to Garfish, the pusuit of musical enjoyment is truly one of the most intensely personal undertakings with which we could possibly involve our selves. This is so because no one of us experiences music in quite the same way. None of us can possibly be turned on by exactly the same musical qualities. It therefore follows that no two of us will approach our audio systems in the same manner. As long as we never lose sight of the fact that our goal is the manifestation of our own personal musical vision in our homes, we will ultimately reach musical satisfaction. The means of that satisfaction may change as our lives change, but it is the pursuit of musical and yes spirtual and even intellectual satisfaction that checks our restlessness. Onhwy61 stated the truth quite plainly, "Stop worrying about the sound, relax and listen to the music."
Hi Jmora; In my above post, I kind of reduced high end audio to just a fun hobby, but on thinking about it some more, I do occasionally have "magic musical moments"-- where EVERYTHING seems to come together musically, and then, yes, some sort of transcendance takes place. I think it's those times that make it all worthwhile. I strongly suspect that many others have these magic moments too; although they may be called something else? Interesting and thought provoking question. Cheers again. Craig