@yyzsantabarbara: "I never considered listening to music a hobby." Hallefreakinlujah! I can understand and don’t object to the audiophile pursuit being considered a hobby, but music? If that’s all music is to a person, well, I don’t know what to say. I’d rather be dead than deaf.
As for me, I feel a little differently. Do recording engineers consider auditioning and evaluating studio monitor loudspeakers a hobby? Of course not, those monitors are a tool required to perform their work. The search for playback equipment (the hi-fi system) that allows one to better appreciate and "become one with the music" is not a hobby in the sense that, say, building model cars was when we were kids (a thing I loved!). Hopefully I can say the following without sounding sacreligious: pursuing the assembly of a hi-fi to reproduce music is no more a hobby than is the study of the Bible (or any other sacred text).
It imo becomes a problem when one puts the hi-fi system above or before the music itself. The hi-fi’s job is merely to serve the music, by reproducing it as well as possible (given practical constraints). But I can still become enthralled when I hear great music coming out of the speakers in a restaurant or bar, or the speaker(s) in a car.
It’s all about the music!