It's a hobby. I enjoyed my stereo when it was crappy, and I enjoy it now. I'm sure to some it's STILL crappy...
I'm not looking to get off the boat, just meet some fellow "sailors" and have a good time.
Wow- I did not mean that the way it sounds! But it's so funny I'm not gonna change it!
You have two steps to go.
I remember when I first got back into this hobby after a twenty five year layoff, I couldn't believe what had happened in the area of cabling, power conditioning and room correction. Back then, you bought some equipment, made a quick trip to Radio Shack and you were up and running.
I made all the classic mistakes. I got impressed with certain components, so I put them all together with used Valhalla cabling and then wondered how such great stuff could sound so bad!
So I paid some pretty painful restocking fees, and started listening to the local gurus.
I've been to several HES's and CES's; never miss RMAF, and today I really know what I like, and how to get there.
I can totally relate to your last comment about not wanting to screw up what you've got. I have a total lack of audio nervosa, and the more I listen to my current setup, the more enamored I get.
There have been some definite "aha" moments; but the biggest one was when I stopped listening for what impressed me, and started listening for absolute neutral. All the systems that impressed me in the past within a few months had me saying "OK. What's next?" With neutral as my "holy grail", the software becomes the focus, and not the system.
You are so right. Being in a good place in this hobby is nice; but I don't think we were foolish before; I just think the dues in this hobby are pretty steep.
I am still on the ship and loving it. The boat is something one gets into when the ship is sinking.
For many the fun is the journey, not the destination.
It's an on going hobby.
Some good thoughts on the dues of the hobby. I have not faired so well in the $$$ area of my buying /selling.
Started out reading Stereophile and putting together the class A system. Then the class a components were lowered to class B and I was screwed. How can you have class B gear running in you system when you can have class A was my thinking.
Turning to vinyl was a whole new world. Digital sucks was my thoughts when I got the complete analog thing going! Soon the inability to keep the dam thing up and running and cleaning records was to much and I got out. Digital still sucks next to vinyl but for me the price was to high.
Moving to PC audio was the final resting place for me. Some my think that I got shipwrecked by doing so but the benefits of PC audio Vs. vinyl was worth it to me. Having a freiend that has zillions of cd's and letting me rip them @ no cost has built up my music library. My wife has filed all her music and can listen to it during the day when I am gone. She knows how to turn on a pre amp/amp. Having my vinyl set up was OFF limits to her having a ten foot rule in effect. Having the wife involved in my hobby has made the change from vinyl to PC worth it.
My internal GPS Has kept me land-locked for many years. I made bad audiophile mistakes and learned from them long ago.
The biggest mistake is not trusting your own ears!
Buying stuff based on somebody elses ears can be hazardous.
So use other's opinions 'wisely' and be sure to ignore the chorus of fanboys for certain products: especially crazies like me.
Danger! Will Robinson, Danger!
Anyway, I have a pile of stuff I like now. I WOULD buy more, but being retired and having spent all the money already on all new stuff, I gotta accept i am in a boat that cannot sail anywhere 'cept in my bathtub.
I took me about six years before I settled into the system that I continue to enjoy seven years and counting now. And, yes, if something happened to it I would seek to replace all the components to rebuild it just the way it is.
The thing is, part of the enjoyment, I'm quite sure, is leaving it alone and letting it settle in over time. Even my audio buddies concur that, over a couple of years, they too notice that it seems to have improved just by playing music.
Elizabeth is right on when she says that buying based on other's ears can be hazardous, and part of those six years while searching for the best complement of parts and pieces was an expensive lesson in how to trust my own ears and not be swayed by what others were telling me.
Trust your ears and your heart is the advice I would give if asked how to spend the least time getting into the bathtub.
Having the wife involved in my hobby has made the change from vinyl to PC worth it.
Glory (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
Of all the comments made thus far, this one stands out as a primary key to high end audio happiness.
Ya, Happy Wife, Happy Life.
But reading this, with all this experience to tap, I find myself asking, almost out loud, "What was your stand out pre, cart., amp, speaker, etc?" -Or is that another thread?
So, I'll start by saying the Quicksilver Full Function Preamp was a standout for the price! (imho) Haven't heard the new one.
Still enjoying the cruise.
For me, it was going back to my first line of high end speakers, namely Tannoy. After spending a pile of dough on nice speakers that I thought would be lifers for me, it turned out something was still missing, so I was yet lost at sea. I decided to return to Tannoy, bought 35 year old HPD drivers on Ebay UK, designed and had built custom enclosures, built custom crossovers w/premium parts, and have now found the whole system was much better than I thought it was. This turn around allowed me to venture into tubes for amplification, and the result is audio contentment. I even changed the name of my Virtual System to "The Summit". Being on solid land, on top of my personal mountain is a goal I didn't know how or if I would reach, but I'm sure glad to be here.
Enjoy the swim!
Mine started around 1996, when after 20 years of owning diff. audio gear, I bought my 1st "high end" speakers, & paid $2500 for a slightly used pair of B&W M802's. This was huge for me. However the rest of my gear was old NAD mid-fi components, & I knew I'd have to upgrade around the speakers.
I started by relying on Boston area dealers, who were mainly either rude, or clueless. (The one on Comm. Ave., wasn't bad, but didn't really help me much). The one in Natick, the salesman kept trying to convince me that large floor standing B&W's are "very efficient, & only need 30w of power (???). So I bought a 70w tube amp, guess how that worked out w/B&W M802's? The dealer in Waltham MA was the only really rude one; it's one of those really snooty audio "salons" that cater to the Rich, & you apparently are supposed to spread around $1000 bills every time you go in there. Oh, & a dealer in Nashua NH that tried to sell me $10,000 cables for my $2500 speakers (??!). The "pomposity" of some of these audio salesmen was unbelievable.
So I started buying everything used, on A'gon. I had 3 systems at the time, so anything that didn't work w/my 802's, I'd put in one of my smaller systems. Fast forward 14 years, I've been thru at least 5 of everything": pwr amps, preamps, spkrs, cables, etc. Had a lot of fun with the various permutations of systems. And finally ended up with 2 systems that I love, & mostly don't even want to change.
The learning curve at the beginning can be brutal tho....
Amen to that, especially for newbies & vinyl!
Great post Gary. I agree with your sentiments. Similar threads can be found on the Gon ("equipment that has gotten you off the merry-go-round"), and they are always tantalising with the promise (or mirage?) of liberation. While many say they enjoy the "journey," I do not. Life is too short. While Audiogon does represent an avenue of deliverance from equipment mistakes, it can also be an existential wasteland where many of us go round and round much like the insane asylum scene in "The Midnight Express."