Grimace, no sillier than the high price of a proctology exam.
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Right, silly hobby. Not at all like oneophiles who spend tens of thousands on old grape juice. Or my fishing and hunting friends who end up spending several grand to kill a fish, or an elk, or whatever. Or classic car collecting, or falconry, or spelunking, or match book collecting, or all of the other sensible hobbys.
As far as relative usefullness goes, is your system so good that it will play without speaker cables?
You know, Viridian is correct.
I have a buddy who collects watches. I wear a Tag Heuer I bought 2 years ago that to me seemed nice enough. But my buddy buys watches that cost many multiples of my Tag's purchase price, just to have them. Of course they all do the same thing: Attempt to accurately display the current time. And it gets funnier- some of the more expensive watches he owns are quite inaccurate next to my "inferior" Tag. He of course points out it's about the craftsmanship, not just accuracy. Sounds like tube versus SS arguments to me!
My point? Your opinion about the excesses of others depends upon your interests. I love watches, but one Tag will do for me. I will however drop several grand on a piece of equipment without a second thought if it will help me enjoy my music more.
To each his own!
I was at a library book sale this weekend and picked up about 45 classical LP's at $0.50 each. I've been cleaning and playing them and really having fun. Hours and hours of fun.
Comparing that to the 4 Mullard 6922's I bought for $576 from Vintage Tube Services... which is going to give me more pleasure for the buck? You're right. It is a silly hobby.
My wife tells me she'd rather have me spend on these things than on fast women or bookies. I guess it's all relative. Maybe ALL hobbies are silly at some level!
On the plus side, our musical passions seem less self destructive than many others. One of my best friends is into vintage car racing. He routinely blows $3-5,000 for a weekend of racing, sometimes more. But the gratification he gets makes the mere monetary value insignificant. On the other hand, he can afford it.
The fact is, it is NOT about the money, ever.
I agree with you Grimace and disagree with Viridian and Danlib1. It's easy to justify the exorbitant amount spent on audio gear by using other excessive hobbies as examples. Those hobbies have the potential for absurdity as easily as this one. Besides, high end audio is not really a hobby anyway. "Hobby" needs to be dropped. The money I've spent and what many are spending on this gear is absurd; especially when the sound we achieve does not meet the expense. For those where money is no object it's fine. But those of us who live in a "money is no object" scenario are in a minority. For me, my investment in high end gear has gone far beyond what I could have conceived of 5 years ago.
I think this hobby has a pretty good bang for the buck factor provided one doesn't do anything stupid, like buying the $10,000 pre amp that just showed up on the cover of Sterophile at full retail. If you buy used and let the other guy take the depreciation hit you can sell it for close to the same price years later. So the net investment isn't too bad, although it's not very liquid these day.
Try boating if you want a foolish hobby. boating is a hole in the water you throw money into.. Over and over again. you never get back what you spent. you usually aren't able to do it everyday. it can be dangerous, and safety precautions are a must when doing it. Theres cleaning, maintenance and tweaking going on all the time.
you're always thinking of options for more power or speed or ease & comfort... Some new gizmo for it, trailer, GPS system, or just updating things to current standards, or considering chucking it all and going into a completely different scheme, such as power boating to sailboating, fresh water to offshore... cruising to jet boating... etc.
Hmmmmm. Maybe things are more similar than dissimilar between these two hobbies.
Or could it simply be the HOBBYIST, and not the HOBBY which appears foolish?
Life is a matter of perspectives... your's and everybody else's.
Whose perspective you live by, or can live with, happily, seems to me to be the ticket?
And yeah... $500+ for speaker cables? you're definitely slumming.... unless that was per driver. :-))
to appear foolish one only has to open one's own mouth when asked the price of their system, or it's parts when queried by the uninitiated.
The looks I used to get from friends when they ask and Id tell, how much this or that sold for were incredulous... and even I felt foolish sometimes. They were more commonly those looks one gives someone when they think that someone needs professional or psychiatric help, as they shook their head slowly while managing a regretful smile.
Now a days when asked I just say, "Oh I got that for about 40% off retail, or, I bought that second hand." and give no prices. The looks of astonishment have vanished and heads now nodding with approval have replaced them.
My fav thing is when friends first see the tube amps and ask, "So you collect/like antique electronics?" My answer (s) depend on my mood, but it's always accompanied by a smile and feeling foolish is no longer an issue.
I just want to know how my proctologist does the exam with both hands on my shoulders...
Hey, cabling is the one place where this hobby ISN'T silly, if you're buying used. With the market and my 401K so bouncy, my money is relatively safe in used cabling.
When I got back into this hobby, a 2 meter length of used Valhalla speaker cables was about $3500.00.
Its the same today.