Settingup to live system for max results

This may be off the standard analog path a bit,although the front end in this set-up is a major factor to this tale.I decided to post here since it is this thread that I am most interested in,as I believe that the front end in a good syst. is of PARAMOUNT importance,and I get the impression that the vast majority of people following this,ANALOG,section are fairly experienced in this wonderful hobby as well as avid lovers of music(first).In no way am I proclaiming that my observations or philosophies are Holy GRAIL just observations I have made that I'd like to share and maybe some of you have experienced similar emotions.Firstly I have finally found a way to be truly openminded about equipment and systems that I hear elsewhere.It is so easy to try to rationalize that the stuff we,ourselves,own is as good as some other set-ups we may hear,and,THAT IS A BIG MISTAKE!You advance as a LISTENER when you hear superior equipment to what you already own.LIve music is the ultimate comparison,but,you must hear superior equipment set-ups to advance your own.Live music(providing it's acoustic and the environment,hall or studio)always sounds "well LIVE".It can't be matched.No amount of money thrown at a RIG will replicate the event.BUT'a truly superior set-up listened to open mindedly(VERY TOUGH TO ADMIT TO IF YOU HAVE A MEGABUCK SYSTEM)will reveal alot to you,AND,you will be a better listener,and potentially improve your set up skills,if you can admit to it.You don't have to spend a penny in most cases.Sometimes you realize that what you are hearing can influence your dialing in of your own set-up that much more accurately.You can realize that maybe your cartridge parameters could be more closely toleranced or possibly you could yield a quieter environment or electrical line conditions.POssibly something in a superior RIG could yield an epiphany to you elsewhere,about your set-up,that may allow for more optimal speaker placement or component isolation.You get the point.LIve sound is invaluable,but,you MUST get up off your tush(EVEN SOME OF YOU BIG SHOTS)and hear some other set-ups(NOT AT SHOWS).You will be better off.Here is how it started for me.I like to think I have good stuff(pretty pricey,which means NOTHING,if not optimized),however every time I think it I can end my lessons I am BLOWN back to reality when I visit my friend.This gentle unassuming former music critic lives in a PERFECT bachelor pad for the audio obsessed(which unfortunately I am one).When one enters his home it is literally like entering the environment of an audiobuff from a Harry Potter movie or the laboratory of an obsessed Vinyl loving scientist(I mean this in a very good way).This extremely gentle and good natured soul NEVER brags or tries to influence any one to spend money.What he does do(like YODA,to those who can really listen)is to give an audio listening session and music/audio discussion that always allows me to go home and fine tune to a higher degree.I have made it my business to tryto hear almost all of the better stuff the industry and press have been promoting.I have been at this hobby for 36 years.YES I saw HENDRIX "LIVE" twice.As my 21 year old daughter loves to remind me "I'm old".HOwever nothing comes close to the MUSICAL story told by my friend Sid's set-up(there is your one hint).The speakers are 22 year old dipole/hybrids the bass amps are about 20 years old.the Turntable is about 6 years old the arm about 6 or7.Don't get me wrong he has really good stuff(Infinity rs-1's(MODIFIED)krell 160 bass amps,CJ premier 8 amps on mid panels and an old ART pre and phonostage,The cable are elcheapo stuff that goes for about 8 bucks a yard.NO line conditioning.No room treatment,but good acoustics in a 12x22x9 room.The real MASTERPIECE(in my opinion)is the front end that to say he has been fanatical with would be an understatement.Here is a TNT-5 with massive stand a Titan cart. and the one thing I LUST for more than ANGELINA JOLIE(I really must have lost it)an AIR TANGENT 1b.He has only wooden floors,but, the real secret lies in the fact that SID has learned to LISTEN REALLY CAREFULLY and will only make a change when he feels it will"significantly"improve the syst.Which as of lately is never.A guy like Jonathan Valin could not possibly(I think)be happy with stuff with an average age of about 10 years and trust me this set-up makes the leading contender sound like TOYS.I have heard the Kharma combos so touted.They are fine,even if they are overpriced to the point of RIP-OFF.I still like them,but,this setup at my old friends EATS ALL of the newer stuff out there.It has made me a much better set-up person of my own stuff.I remember being invited through a friend to the home of a top reviewer(at that time)a nice fellow,self absorbed.He kept proclaiming how great his stuff was,the latest at about$200,000.Literally.The next day I went to Sid For an informal listen.I could not stop laughing ay the comparison between the LATEST CRAZE stuff and an older set up.A set-up that was tuned into it's environment openmindedly and with great care and an ear towards MUSIC NOT THE LATEST AD COPY.I'm better off for that.I hope I haven't bored any of you.Maybe you could save a bit of cash from reflecting on this and spend it on a loved audio wife.HAVE A GREAT HOLIDAY SEASON!
Sometimes the live experience can be overhyped too. To get the true sense of a live event, you should sit fairly close to the performers. Beyond a certain point and all the secondary reflections cloud out the main event and its of little value.

I'd agree 100% that setup (which include room acoustics) can make or break a system, however cheap or expensive it might seem, and yet many still fail to actualise the potential their components could ultimately achieve. Some have WAF or family concerns which is unavoidable and understandable, but others take a callous view of things and follow the latest craze.

The best may not be the latest, nor the most expensive. It is a question of putting together the correct system for the room, within the budget contraints.