Total cost of ownership - how to reduce it
Audiogon members love their music - but I am not alone, I think, in finding that the requirements in terms of cost and time for keeping the system running at optimal, can become too steep. Can we help each other out?
Today I have spent two hours trying to find a failed tube in my system. Two months ago I had a bad episode with a repair service that did not repair and did not return my stuff. Some weeks ago, I blew a speaker driver, I am still waiting for the replacement. Thinking, I need a tube tester, since my system has a lot of tubes - I got the tester, but it blew tubes, not "dead on arrival" but "over-excited" - and has to be repaired. I am perhaps especially unlucky. But I ask myself, how much is enough? When such experiences accumulate, I can understand people plugging into Mp3, it is simple and it works.
I have thought about my situation and diagnosed two main types of problems - maybe, relevant for other Audiogon members also.
The first is where you buy a thing used and then get it upgraded by the manufacturer. You pay quite a lot for this, and you would expect the whole thing is checked - but it is not. In two cases now, I have experienced that even if the upgrade works fine, the box as a whole is not checked, and develops problems a year or two after the upgrade.
The second case is where you pay for an upgrade that is more like a new build (e g of a speaker) or rebuild (of a cartridge). Now, there is no lagging wear and tear problem, but it turns out that the upgrade parameters were not fully developed, things have to be changed or checked afterwards (speaker drivers dont work optimal, needle not quite in place, etc).
I would be the first to recognize that some of these costs (time, mainly, but money also) should be accepted. I have paid local repair costs without complaining, and have used many hours of my own time. As an advanced user, I accept some extra costs.
It is just that, sometimes it gets too much.
I would like other Audiogon users' thoughts on this dilemma, and especially, what can we do to reduce the total ownership costs.
Your thoughts and experiences welcome.