Taking audio too seriously?

Is it just me or are some people too serious about this hobby? I can appreciate great sound and getting everything you can out of your system. At what point does it get too extreme? A jar of rocks, a magic clock, a $2500 power cord plugged into standard house wiring, speaker cables sitting on styrofoam cups? Should the magnets on my speakers face due north to align the flux lines with the Earth's magnetic field? Is anyone brave enough to share any other crazy tweaks they've tried?

It could just be ignorance on my part and I am not trying to rock the boat, but it just seems a little obsessive.
Life would be a huge bore if you didn't have the passion to be obsessive about something! Why not audio? Whats your passion?
The stuff folks do for entertainment is varied.
Some spend $10,000.'s to climb mountains... For what?
Some spend $10,000.'s on sport car racing.. or skiing.. or sport flying..
So what is a few thou on jars of pebbles and clocks...
If they got it and are crazy enough to want the stuff... who am I to spoil the fun?
"are some people too serious about this hobby?"

No, I think some people are too serious, bordering on obsessive compulsive, about any hobby. It tends to be more of a male thing.

It's not audio, it's the nature of the person.

Having grown up in the UK and now living in the US it has seemed to me that, in general, American men are raised to take themselves, and their hobbies and pursuits somewhat more seriously than in England. There's good and bad in this. On the one hand the Americans will achieve more through their obsessiveness. On the other hand it will be harder to be satisfied.

Life is an eternal struggle to balance learning to be content with striving for better. We all lie at different points in this continuum.
oddly enough, most of the equipment-philes in this hobby (those you have spent a fortune for a system, and are always striving for some absolute sound) have bizarely small record or cd collections. All the money goes for upgrades, room tweeks, etc. In turn most of the obsessive music listeners and collectors don't really 'buy in' to the notion of hi end 'itself' as a hobby.
I find that when I face my speakers east I get a little richer and more musical tone, I found facing them north or south made them a bit bright.
Hobbies are vehicles for acting out our neuroses. I suppose it's reasonably harmless as those things go.
I don't go to Starbucks; so $4 a day is $14,600 over 10 years on coffee. I'd rather spend it on audio.

$4 per day for 40 years at the 10% average stock market historical return is $775,062.

And who is wasting money again?? My gear retains some value. The fancy coffee is literally pissed away..
Music is serious, audio is a diversion.
Taking audio too seriously? Hardly. Pardon me while I rearrange my rocks and adjust my clocks for the next album. Gotta go.......
There is an underlying assumption in audiophile circles and here on Audiogon that equipment as an end in itself is a bad thing, or is somehow "lesser" than the lofty pursuit of music. I don't think that's particularly fair. If someone wants to pursue a hobby of putting together a system that creates a certain quality of sound, but is not necessarily a music lover, are they wrong? Is their hobby less virtuous than yours? More power to them, I say.

Besides, music is for pussies.
Hard to imagine Drubin how or why someone with your attitude towards music would ever get interested in audio to begin with.
My audiophilia nervosa eventually reached the point where I had to do some serious soul-searching and make a far-reaching decision: Either join a twelve-step program, or become a dealer.


ps: On the magnet orientation question, are those ferrite magnets or rare-earth magnets??
I am actually a music lover first. But that does not mean I have thousands of records and my money is spent there.

For classical music, given the choice between a fair sounding great performance and a great sounding fair performance; I always go with the great performance. I know many audiophiles that only go for the great sound, performance is secondary.

In other words...some listen to sound; others listen to music. I want that fair sounding great performance to sound as good as possible, therefore, the great system.

If I can find a great sounding great performance, then I am in heaven...
audiophile is hobby and it is based on sound. Music is also based on sound....so the sound is our hobby! How we experience it is different from one to the other...some people listen just with their ears and others with their ears and body...lets make it fun!
Nuguy - I would be very careful what I say about "hobbyists." They are very touchy. Besides most are busy gawking at thier tubes to really care what works and what doesn't.

I'm with Sugerbrie, its all about the music.

When you don't have a road map to a place you've never been before, you're gonna take directions from anyone. However, if you have the map but you chose not to use it, and still take directions from anyone, where you end up is completely on you.

Wait and see, when I get my mystical glowing chipmucks patented, they're gonna sell like hotcakes. All those guys will have them. ;)

PS - So what DO you do with the syrofoam cups then??!!! :)
Rocks and clocks are serious?
>>Rocks and clocks are serious?<<

Doubtfully; but the seller is laughing all the way to the bank to make a serious deposit.
Hard to imagine Drubin how or why someone with your attitude towards music would ever get interested in audio to begin with.
I like sound, period. For good or ill, music seems to be the easiest was to consume sounds. Some of my favorites are Jacintha Barber, the fat Hawaiian guy. Eva Warnes. and any minimalist recording of any Brazililan female vocalist accompanied by acoustic guitar and shakers. Oh, and Blue Man Group. And if you want to know The Best amp for reproducing shakers (it's a shocker), send me email. Got to keep this one under my hat.
Drubin, the best amp wouldn't be one of those panasonic digital thingies ? I seem to remember you mentioning one, though my memory isnt what it used to be. Do you still have the GMA Europas ?
Nuguy - I would be very careful what I say about "hobbyists." They are very touchy.
You're right, I hope I didn't offend anyone and apologize if I did.

I have friends who think I have become obsessed with music who will spend $5K on vacations twice a year. All I can think is man, you just threw away some nice speakers and all you got is some pictures of yourself drunk on some beach. I guess I'm getting the bug too, I enjoy it very much, it's harmless and keeps me out of trouble.

One more thing, imagine if you could buy the clock with the pebbles already in it? There goes Hawaii!

I took your advice and placed my speaker magnets due north to align the flux lines with the Earth's magnetic field.

Good results but it totally screwed up my Fung Shei.
I took your advice and placed my speaker magnets due north to align the flux lines with the Earth's magnetic field.

Good results but it totally screwed up my Fung Shei.

I had the same problem. It cost me $180,000 to have my house rotated 12 degrees. Now I'm looking at a set of dipolars, and I may have to move it back.
Damn, Nuguy! I should have went to your guy. My guy charged me $180,000,000 to rotate the planet!
nuguy...your observations are correct. there are indeed those hobbyists who covet equipment and obsess over where the tambourine is on a recording. One has only to check out the hundreds of used equipment classifieds to see the great equipment circlejerk.....don't drink the purple kool-aid, and the day you use the expression 'i was blown away', or ask for help choosing music, its time to get a doctor. good luck......
I think you're on to something with the magnetic field alignment! I'll try it right away. Thanks!
>>It cost me $180,000 to have my house rotated 12 degrees<<

Rip off. I had my electrican modify and install a flux capacitor from a 1982 DeLorean. It solved the problem and cost me a measly $30K.
Do you still have the GMA Europas ?
I have them in the au pair's hot tub system. A lot of people don't know this, but the Europas are killer underwater speakers. Very liquid.
Don't spend too much rotating the house just yet.
The planet's magnetic field is due (actually overdue) for a "flip".
After the flip, your compass will point south instead of north.

You mean to tell me I just wasted all that money on rotating my house...for nothing! Why couldn't you have posted sooner. Oh well, thats what I get for taking advice from my magic chipmuck! Live and learn, I suppose. ;)
some people take life too seriously, especialy type "a" personalities. for them everything must be perfect, including their hobbies.

audio and music is no more important than running or eating out. both provide some benefit and enjoyment. hopefully reason will prevail and all activities will be placed in perspective.
From the editor:
And according to reader surveys, the average
Stereophile reader has a system costing $18k-$20k.
$20k is serious money too some
Man, I thought I had completely lost it...

After just having spent $6000 putting in a home theater, complete with projector, screen and 7.1 surround sound, I'm now looking to spend 10-15 grand on a completely separate STEREO system. I've been a vinyl spinner and SACD collector for quite some time now, but I've never really had the chance to experience any of that music on a really exceptional (I know this is all relative) system until just the other day.

From a $3000 Denon stereo SACD player, which they don't sell in the U.S. (I live in Japan), and processed by a Tri triode tube amp and coming out through a pair of B&W 803S speakers, the music was simply astounding. It was so open, airy, clean, full and pure. So...ALIVE! Not anything like listening to it through an HT reciever - even a good one, like I have. Well engineered SACDs, especially sound so 3D in stereo and while CDs sound incredible, as well on such a system, the soundstage is comparitively flat compared to SACD. Is this format really doomed? Tell me it isn't so...

Anyway, it's good to come here and feel sane for wanting to spend a good chunk of change to get a decent musical experience from a sound system. Great site.
stereophile's surveys are seriously flawed......
Well, I've got six seperate stereo systems in my bedroom - I'm just a crazy audio equipment nut.

Unsound - you got ripped. I know where you can get all 9 Planets Aligned for only $15M above what you paid!
Unsound - you got ripped. I know where you can get all 9 Planets Aligned for only $15M above what you paid!

Don't look now but they discovered a new planet. Completely unaligned. It never ends.
jaybo, why do you think Stereophile surveys are flawed? not that I doubt your statement.
Many audiophiles seem like people obsessed with what they eat; those who are always dieting and counting calories, proteins etc. ....they focus on the tiniest details (a meaningless tweak here or there) and completely lose sight of what is good food and healthy eating habits forever torturing themselves with weird combinations and extremes!!
Joeylawn36111, Ausjoe, Another planet!? That's it! I'm now convinced that quantum physics/chaos theory is the one and only seriously way to take in audio. From now on, I'm going to get seriously long cables and hire individuals to randomly run aound my listening room carrying my floor standers, while I run randomly around listening. This is the one and only way to take audio seriously. On a positive note, at least I won't have to realign the universe again!
Unsound - then make sure you and your runners have their sneakers Cryo'ed ;)
it is common knowledge in the publishing industry that people exagerate income bracket,occupation, proffessional title,spending habits, etc. when filling out surveys and questionaires. ironically when the magazine is a 'lifestyle or hobby mag' high times, better homes and gardens, shape, stereophile, etc..........
Heres the reality. Sound is physics, pure and simple. There is no magic. If there is something that your knowledge of phyiscs can't explain then go learn more physics. I am an audio consultant that works with everything from high end listeming rooms to perfoming art centers and everything in between. When I hear flowery audio language, I hear a lack of physics knowledge or someone trying to sell me something. With out comparing to the original master recording or the original performance, realistic is a relative term. Your listening space will never be Carnegie Hall or Royal Albert Music Hall. Conversely most commercial reinforcement systems are not as musical as a good private system. So stop worrying about it and start enjoying the music.
there is no reason to take "audio" seriously when there is such a gap between the sound of unamplified instruments in real space and the performance of most stereo systems.
I know a lot of people use hobbies to different purposes, but my quest has always been to keep my hobbies pure enjoyment, no stress. When I golf, I have a good time - I may shoot well, I may shoot poorly. If I feel like going to the range, I do it - if I don't feel like it, I don't. It's not a quest - it's enjoyment and pleasure.

Music and audio are the same way - I do whatever is fun and interesting. I'm not on a specific quest, and if I ever find myself on a specific quest, it will be with the strict understanding that I could change my mind / direction at any time.

Audio doesn't seem any weirder to me than any other hobbyist / purist pursuit. I never think about how much I do or don't spend on it as part of my budget, or what else it could have bought me, or compare it to how much somebody else spent on their equipment. It's just something that is fun to play around with.

I'll admit, though, that I wonder about the people who invented the green pens, etc. - there must have been a moment where they said, "Whoa, I think I just heard something after I marked up that CD. I think I'll sell green pens and see who buys them."