The road to insanity...


Piglet's Epiphany
Or
A Long and Painful Sharing of the Shocking True Events that Have Landed Me in this Insane Boat, Along with the Rest of You Loonies, Looking for Moral Support of Like Suffering Individuals Who Would Like to Share Their Tales of Sorrow.

I thank Perkadin for his post, which brought back these memories.

It all started like this...

I though all CD players simply had to sound the same
I could not imagine otherwise.

After moving to a new place, I ended up with my old 'top of the line' pioneer changer, my wife's Kenwood changer, and my mother in law's JVC. All were changers.
I loaded them all up, not to do a comparison, but because I wanted to access over a bunch of cd's at once.

Each was plugged into a difference source in my old Akai (remember them?) receiver.
Well, I started to notice that the three players sounded different. I though, well, it's just the cd's that are different. But it became a rather noticeable difference. The older 'top of the line' Pioneer was clearly the worst, while the $200 JVC seemed to be the best.

So... I found cd's that I had dupes of (from my wife's or mil's collection). Then I realized that not all cd players sounded the same.

Then I decided to see what could make such a difference. The first thing that I found out was... the CD players each have a different DAC (I know, common sense now, but at the time I had given this zero though).

Eventually, I picked up a used Denon changer, which blew all the others away (still in use in the bedroom).

(now, skip forward a couple of years, and I'd now just made my semi-accidental first high(er) end buy, a pair of NHT 2.5's.Tried several other, like Boston Acoustic, and they all sounded very weak.)

These replaced 10 year old Cerwin Vega -gasp you say? let he amongst you who has not owned some "cool" crappy speakers throw the first stone!

This let me to the next (miss)step.
I though all amps/receivers sounded the same. I had read as much from 'professionals.' Frankly, I though only speakers made a real difference, and that speaker freq.. response figures were all I needed to know.

I replaced the Akai with a Marantz, simply because I wanted to listen to movies in surround.
Well, I'll be damned if it didn't sound better than the Akai.

Now, this was something. Hum, well if Denon made a decent CD player, the must make a decent receiver.
Picked up a Denon 5600dts receiver (still thinking 'hey, it does stereo AND HT!, plus -signs of learning- it has a built in DAC, Burr Brown and all).
Now, I was not longer surprised. The Denon blew the doors of the Marantz. Much better, tighter bass was the first thing that jumped at me.

OK, so now I'm beginning to get into music again (it'd been years) but... I started getting tired quickly. I found myself thinking "gee, these speakers sound good." Well, that's gets boring very fast. I wanted to hear music.

So a few months later (notice gravity taking me down the slippery slope?) I decided to get something less "clinical."

Now I went to the web. I bought, sight unseen and hearing unheard, a pair of VSR VR-3's. I bought these because one of the recurring themes in the reviews (both pro and user -I now had little faith in 'pro' reviews) was that these were "musical" speakers.

Well, they sure were/are. Much better than the 2.5's. I was now listening to music, not speakers.

OK, now we start getting into serious insanity, and if you've put up with my ramblings you are more patient than I.

When I bought the VR3's, I received free of charge a pair of unterminated AQ Type 4 cables. I looked at them, said "cable is cable", and tossed them aside.
I was at this time using Monsters (see Cerwin Vega comment above).

One day, I was getting ready to go to work. I had a burst of energy and I decided to take a bit of time and hook up the AQ's (yeah, it's good to be the boss). They were a pain in the behind to install, since the were not terminated but once I start something, I will finish. I expected to hear no difference.

I turned on the system, and played some Ruben Gonzalez.
Oh man, did it sound good, so airy and smooth!

I though: "Hiram, you silly fool, it's not the cables. You just spent half an hour making these things work, and it's a sunny Miami afternoon, it sounds good because you feel good and because you want it to sound good, and that music was made for days like today."
Cable is cable.

Fast forward to November of 2001, we have just moved to a new house, with tons of room including one for... HT.
One of the first things did when we moved was set up the audio. But there's no way I was going to go through that trouble with the AQ's again, so out came the Monsters.

One night my wife sits down next to me and we listen to some Beatles (first time since we'd moved she had a chance to sit and listen).
While listening to A Day in the Life she tells me that it sound "wrong", as if it was "struggling."
"Well", I say, "it has to be acoustics." So she goes to do something, I move the speakers, call her back. Nope, still sounds wrong.

OK, I could only think of item that was different between the two homes: the speaker cables. Out come the AQ's, and I put them in place (only took 10 minutes this time). Called her back... "yes, now it sounds like it did before.'

oh oh...

KP
killerpiglet
In the words of Randy Bachman..."You ain't seen nothing yet.." KP, it gets worse. Before you know it yer screwin' with tweaks of all kinds (and trust me, some are truly bizarre), foolin' with the toe-in of your 9-foot tall planar speakers 1/16 of an inch at a time til the soundstage is PERFECT (only to change the feet on 'em a week later anyway), re-wiring your entire electrical grid, and radically changing the decorations in your house to "tune your listening environment". Once you've gotten to the point of truly questioning your sanity, you'll invest in a killer analog front end and really enjoy the the devious ride-in-the-barrel-over-the-falls. It doesn't get any better, be very very careful....Jeff

p.s never bought sh*tty speakers. Went from Mission (at the ripe age of 13) to Ohm to Apogee to Spica to Celestion to B&W's to Martin Logan to YBA to Totem to Wharfdale to Apogee to Martin Logan *whew*
Yes, I'm already there Jeff!

Dedicated power lines (check)
Silver Cryo Outlets (check)
Foam behind curtains (check)
Tow hours moving 150 lbs. Speaker, checking toe in... (check)
Power cords (check)

Alredy been through 2 DAC's, looking for a third.
Two amps (happy there, even though I had said "tubes? why all the trouble?").
Looking to replace pre amp (two months old).

I don't even want to consider analog (yet...)

KP
i feel yor pain. i had advents , so do not feel bad about the veges.
Been there too KP. I'll admit to Bose 501s (that's right Bose) in my early audio years, then JBL 700s, and the fist "good" speaker-- Vandersteen 2Ces. And like you, I rapidly picked up steam from there........and well, a couple of weeks ago I wrote a rave review here on A'Gon about high purity copper, high expense, ceramic insulation, FIM AC outlets......You know the rest of the story. commiserations, or better yet Cheers;>) Craig.
I spent the first 21 years of my life deeply immersed in music performance. Music playback held little interest ... live performance was all I really knew anything about.

Then one day I started to read about ambience processing. I thought to myself this must be it! They have found a way to separate the sound from the box. Now, maybe I can stand to listen.

I went to a local audio store to find out about something named YAMAHA. A nice young man named Frank played source material for me through this unit. It sounded silly.

Then Frank said, why don't you try listening to THIS? This was a pair of Vandersteen model 3's and a pair of Thiel 2.2s. Enter 2 channel audio. I plunked down $5K and NEVER looked back. Insanity? My husband and I changed our last name to Audiotweak, and have enjoyed the ridicule of friends and family ever since.
Piglet, it only gets WORSE. After completing and tweaking and twisting and turning your main system to your satisfaction, you discover that you cannot stand to listen to the radio in your bedroom anymore. Or the little leftover system you placed on a bookshelf in the living room for nights when there's company for dinner and you're not going to be serving your guests while they are standing up in your listening room downstairs. So you start to put together "small" "secondary" systems. Then you start to tweak THEM. Then you start to swap out THEIR parts when you see killer deals on used items you just CAN'T pass up. Then, once again, you move into a bigger, or at least different, house. Any you START ALL OVER AGAIN. It is MADNESS, it must STOP, you must REGAIN THE RESPECT of your friends and family. . . but you can't. It's all over for you.
My own speaker odyssey from crap to less crap to superb: AR-2 small bookshelf models in college; large floorstander ESS AMT-1A's right after college w/proceeds from first few paychecks of first job; Bose 301's while in law school (a loan from a friend for the 3 yrs so can't criticize the Boseness of them); developed severe lust for Magnaplanar Tympani's after law school, but bought B&W DM-100 large monitors instead; moved into B&W narrow floorstanders for about $1600 a couple of years later (I'm employed as an attorney by this time so can REALLY start throwing away money); in '88 finally got my "dream" speakers of the time, B&W Matrix 801 Series II; in '95 sold them for Genesis 500's which I have loved since '95 and am KEEPING. At least for now!
Ever since my first system to my current one, each and every one has always brought a smile to my face even during the darkest of days.

However, as I have upgraded, my system has become better, but, at the same time, more complex. Setting up my system now takes a great deal more rationalizing than before.

I have, at times, wonder to myself why I go on with this endless quest of upgrading my audio components. Sometimes, as certain humanistic psychologists would argue, I feel my need to achieve and connect is being projected in me tweaking and improving my system. Perhaps my inability to connect with people around has led me to work harder to make my system synergize to offset my own interpersonal deficiencies. (So are all audiophiles as selfserving as me?)

To make matters worse, the social/technological trend towards increasing usage of electrical and wireless appliances has rendered me into a slave over cleaning up my AC. Due to my limited budget, and I am merely renting an apartment, I am using Virtual Dynamic powercords in tandem with Blue Circle Noise Hounds with good results.

After reading this, tell me, am I not on the road to insanity? You might say I am there already... haha. But the end result of it all, my stereo is a big part of my living environment that makes me happy.
As long as your enjoying yourself, go for it! there are alot worse OCD's to have.
Thank you all for the words of support.

What scared me was that I'd made more changes in the last three months than I had in the last 10 years (or more, really).

Heck, I was questioning my sanity. Sure, it sounded great but does everyone go this fast down this slippery slope?
I knew it was contagious when I told my wife I could get a Mofi release of the Wall on CD for $180 and she said "it's worth it."

I think I'm under some sort of control now. Or maybe I'm kidding myself. I'm still looking for a tube pre, and for a new dac. At least now I'm willing to take my time, so that's real progress.

And so it goes.

KP
Moderation. That is my word for the day. And I give it to you.

BTW, I don't like the Blue Circle Noise Hound.
Insanity, ha. You know nothing of insanity. I've been afflicted w/the audio disease for the past 25 yrs. Started w/a Fisher intergrated (cass, 8 track, tt and spkrs) at age 12. First seperates, Nikko rec, Technics tt and Infinity spkrs at age 18. Next it was Yamaha M60, C60 amp & pre, Teac cass, JVC tt and Bose 301 spkrs, age 21. Then NAD intergrated amp and tuner, Denon cd, Infinity spkrs, age 23. Up next, Sony pro logic rec, B&W 601 spkrs, Sony cd chngr, age 25. Rolling on, Harmon Karmon pro logic rec, age 26. About 8 yrs later I really started to make some serious money and in the last 2 yrs I've upgraded to the tune of 35k retail so far. My freinds and co-workers don't understand and just shake their heads. My wife says I'm obsessed and I need help. And every time I turn around and say " that's it, no more" I'm buying a new cable or having my RPTV calibrated or something else to squeeze that last ounce of performance from a system that is not even finished yet. Ha ha ha ha, I'm mad I tell you. I will not stop until someone rips the credit card from my cold stiff hand or there is no power left to run my beautiful creation. No one can stop me. I will have the ultimate system or die trying. Oh-oh, here comes my wife. I better shut this down before she catches me and kicks my a** and never lets me buy another anything ever again.......john
Insanity, ha. You know nothing of insanity. I've been afflicted w/the audio disease for the past 25 yrs. Started w/a Fisher intergrated (cass, 8 track, tt and spkrs) at age 12. First seperates, Nikko rec, Technics tt and Infinity spkrs at age 18. Next it was Yamaha M60, C60 amp & pre, Teac cass, JVC tt and Bose 301 spkrs, age 21. Then NAD intergrated amp and tuner, Denon cd, Infinity spkrs, age 23. Up next, Sony pro logic rec, B&W 601 spkrs, Sony cd chngr, age 25. Rolling on, Harmon Karmon pro logic rec, age 26. About 8 yrs later I really started to make some serious money and in the last 2 yrs I've upgraded to the tune of 35k retail so far. My freinds and co-workers don't understand and just shake their heads. My wife says I'm obsessed and I need help. And every time I turn around and say " that's it, no more" I'm buying a new cable or having my RPTV calibrated or something else to squeeze that last ounce of performance from a system that is not even finished yet. Ha ha ha ha, I'm mad I tell you. I will not stop until someone rips the credit card from my cold stiff hand or there is no power left to run my beautiful creation. No one can stop me. I will have the ultimate system or die trying. Oh-oh, here comes my wife. I better shut this down before she catches me and kicks my a** and never lets me buy another anything ever again.......john