What has your audiophile experience taught you about yourself?


So that is the question, "What has your audiophile experience taught you about yourself?" I would think it interesting to know what others have found in an introspective way. This is what I have found.

1. At first I believed in the hype created by over-enthusiastic new gear owners. Most often I made mistakes in buying gear other people liked rather than listening to audio components and picking the pieces I enjoyed.
2. I found more actual enjoyment in listening to my music and my equipment rather than lust after better equipment, much of which is out of my financial reach.
3. I can learn from others on audio sites like audiogon.com. Some other sites are much more geared toward advertising than exchange of ideas and/or opinions.
4. It is ok to want a Bose Wave radio. I once owned Bose 901 speakers in the 80's.
2psyop
A drug addict is always going to lie, so don't believe anything anyone here tells you. 
To be a good listener.
It's taught me that I don't have as much money as I'd like to think...
I'm a little ocd.
"Done for now" means done until next week...
Post removed 
I'm not being realistic enough. I've grabbed a few of brass rings and the first one was good enough.
And you may find yourself
Living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself
In another part of the world
And you may find yourself
Behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house
With a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?

(Talking Heads, of course)
I have learned, most of all, that I am not a true audiophile.
I am, first of all, a passionate for music that drools for nice gear.

I love the discovery of new music, so I listen to radio (FM or internet) a lot more than to my other sources. And when my DJ mood strikes I enjoy spending hours spinning vinyl or CDs while dancing or at least moving around with the sound. I do it alone and I do it with friends - and it gets better with some nice drinks and snacks on the side.
Not a party guy, not a head-banger going crazy regardless what's playing, just a physical way of enjoying the music. And yes, paying attention to and vibrating with details like "that note" or "that silence". But never caring about textures, attack and decay and so on and so on (all the jargons used by reviewers and the so called audiophiles).

Me and my friends, all related to music in a professional way (musicians, singers, sound technicians...), we don't seat to listen to the difference between cables and speakers and all that. We simply enjoy the music and the so many interpretations by fine musicians and singers.
And of course, we all know that better equipment reveals more from the recordings; but we also have a strong belief that after a certain point (component true quality rather than price tag) the improvement made to the sound is close to none.

So yes, we (myself in particular) enjoy owning nice sounding equipment, affordable to our pockets, but realized a long time ago that most of what we read and hear from audiophile reviewers, magazines, listeners, companies, is a lot of fairy dust and snake oil.

So I guess what my audiophile experience taught me about myself was that I am very realistic and logical about the audiophile world and that I know my limits when it comes to spending money in order to get satisfaction from listening to music.
Probably the most important things I've learned are (in no particular order):

(1) Surround yourself with ears you trust.

(2) Don't place much faith in most reviews.

(3) Contentment usually does not come easily in this hobby. 

(4) Money guarantees little.

(5) To get to where you TRULY want to be takes a LOT of time, effort, and experimentation. And often money.
Upgrade at least once a month.
I found that I can be very curious about gear/tweaks and was susceptible to the audiophile chatter out there. I at one point was contemplating buying the audiophile SATA cables that connect from my computer's motherboard to the hard drive. At that point I just said stop to the BS out there and concentrate on the music. There will always be someone out there selling you an audio tweak that promises to take you to audio heaven with your budget system. I've been happier ever since I just said stop to the tweaking and auditioning of different cables etc.
Love of music is the primary driver. Those certain musical pieces that emotionally move me to hunt down what I heard and listen over and over until I finally "get it" and absorb it are why gear has value to me. The means to reproduce music has always been secondary but it became ever more important that the conveyance and enjoyment was to be of high fidelity and accurate. I think I’ve finally hit the asymptote as my focus is 99% on the music these days. Also, a sense of confidence that one’s system will deliver what is about to be played is very helpful. Having said all this, I upgraded headphones recently for late night listening.
At First,
I was just child who loved music and had a phonograph.
2nd, the phonograph stopped working and I tried to fix it by trying to pack ribbon spring back. Instead, the spring went all the way up till reached ceiling.
3rd, I'm in tears and dad brought Telefunken tube console with turntable, tuner, r2r and 8-track player. That triggered me collecting LPs. When it was not sounding good or breaking, I watched dad to replace bad tubes by simple swapping good with bad.
4th I go to after-school to study radio and electronics and also go to the school of music to study accordion, piano and guitar.
5th, I realized in depth -- I LOVE MUSIC and something definitely I'd like to do: either play it or listen via good sounding equipment.
6th, I spend more time in after-school than in school trying to void showing up at school as often as possible (finding various reasons of absence such as rehearsal or illness) to dedicate myself to my devotions: music and electronics.
7th, I'm savvy enough to fix TV or any home-electronic device, but my skills for music not picking up or picking up extremely slow. I'd finally built my modest repertoire consisting of mostly classical dances such as Mazurka, Waltz, Polonaise, Adagio of various classical composers such as Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Strauss. I've also got some recording equipment and after listening to myself recorded as if I would be performing live for at least half-hour, I'm loosing hopes to improve as a musician :(
8th, I found out that trucks from Europe crossing almost right where I lived and started a conversation about records that I need. Every time I was able to get rare records (I only was interested in unused condition period), I was bringing them home, record to r2r and than sell them on market to purchase another to re-sell. Still attending elementary school mostly on exams
9th, I built the bank-roll to buy-sell records and collectibles including great audio-electronics.
10th, Established a gigantic record collection with mostly 80's music that I listen till now. It always gets upgraded and it always has additions and it always grows despite the fact that I sell most at the store and online. 
I once was insatiable ...had to have the latest and greatest....now, I just enjoy the music...  even Spotify
Ultimately, it really is all about the music.  Gear that makes listening more enjoyable - yes.  Anything else, no.  Fooled around for years thinking the latest was the greatest.  Then I got a Sony CDP-101 and realized that progress for the sake of progress is nonsense.

That's when I truly discovered happy listening!  Never looked back, either.

Ahh, those Bose 901's were ahead of their time- though Mr. Vandersteen's efforts put them to shame, in my opinion.
I never had other owners/reviewers influence my decision (remember this is the 80's, no internet), regarding stereo equipment. I only relied upon my ears. 
After 30+ years, I still remembered those Vandy 2 speakers. In fact, after 30 years of inactivity, I ended up with a pair of 3a sigs.
So, yes, Agon is a true friend to all who need to learn about what is available, and many members will provide an unbiased opinion on equipment, though you may have to parse through some biased material.
That the upgrade path is a Penrose staircase. http://stuffpoint.com/optical-illusions/image/272013-optical-illusions-infinite-staircase.jpg
It is hard to explain how much enjoyment I have had from this hobby. It has brought me closer to great music and it has been a fifty year journey that lives on. I am thankful to have had the opportunity and means to put together systems that have basically 'arrived'. By that I mean that there is nothing really to do at this point other than to relish each moment and share the experience with with family and friends. 
The joy of making.

When I retired I began to make my own gear. New skills, new knowledge, new friends. This way, I own gear which I could not possibly afford from a manufacturer.

1) That it is ok to cry when listening to a piece of music

I wept openly the first time I heard Keith Jarrett in Koln through my all tube system


2) That listening to music through a pair of decent headphones through a dedicated headphone amplifier (my choice being valve amplification) can give the same or in certain circumstances more of an intense listener experience than listening to the same piece of music played through a full size system. 


3) That I have to stop lying to my wife when I tell her that this is the last piece of kit/tweak and I am satisfied with what I have (I am satisfied with what I have but there is always that further tweak just around the corner gnawing away at my sub conscience).

Cheers

Mark 

That I love music and understanding the technology well enough to make proper  choices to help assure the music sounds as good as it can as well.
Great comments. Very interesting. Yes Chayro that one made me laugh. Have not purchased any audio in over two years, wife luvs this and told me we don't need a " musical subwoofer". What does she know about subwoofers?
Oh, and another critical lesson that is often not easily or quickly learned:

Be TRUTHFUL with yourself, REALLY know your priorities, and set goals accordingly.
What it most definitely has taught me is that any person who has any intention of reproducing sound similar to a concert hall event in their home while evaluating  high end audio equipment must use classical programme material; anything else is laughable... You're just fooling yourself . You might as well get another hobby!!
It's taught me that I'm an audio nut! I'm OCD big time. Some of this stuff just ain't worth it. It should be always about the music first. Enjoy what you have instead of the stuff you don't. 

All great comments and relate to them all.  It's more of a journey than a destination, a lot worse things you can spend your money on....  ;o) 

Audiophile: anal retentive sonic improvement high IQ enigmatic individuals! Please submit this to Webster dictionary!
I am gratified to have a  cultured hobby that appreciates my intellectual and emotional presence while keeping me grounded in my reality.  
That there is too much gear and not enough money!
I love music and gear EQUALLY!  .... and that's OK.
We love music as an art form.... but good gear is an expression of art too.  Ask anyone who designs or builds it.  I admire of the form, function,  and beauty of good speakers and electronics.  I like to interact with my equipment and my music.  I like equalizers.... really good mastering equalizers..... because not all music that I like has been mastered equally.  I tend not to like most "audiophile" music.   

I very much dislike the trend of boxes with too few knobs... or worse, no knobs at all!   Walk up to a stereo from the 70's-80s, and any idiot could operate it..... most new equipment today has a just a couple multi-function knobs or buttons.... you need the manual to get any sound out of it.   I want to flog the industrial designers of today!!  

I like to turn knobs that affect sound.... that's what I know about me.
.... and that's OK.
I have low impulse control.
That 95% of all audiophiles are not rational, and unscientific fools!
don_c55
570 posts
07-11-2016 4:31am
That 95% of all audiophiles are not rational, and unscientific fools!

I dislike judging before all the facts are in but it appears you didn't get the memo that 95% of all audio is irrational.

cheers
Don_c55
"That 95% of all audiophiles are not rational, and unscientific fools!"

Thats what you learned about yourself???
Laughing....
Unfortunately I have learned that I cannot tolerate inferior sound almost anywhere I go.  In other posts on the site I've mentioned how I have set up my girlfriend's house;  Marantz 2250b receiver,  Meadowlark Kestrels,  Pro-Ject TT and Marantz cd player in her living room,  Pioneer SX 1050 receiver and Usher bookshelves in the bedroom - both because she had gawdawful all-in-ones with cassette players previously.

Now I'm no fool when it comes to appreciating music in any setting.  An am/fm mono radio on the beach will do just fine,  and has for many,  many years.  I still remember hearing The Allman Brothers "Eat A Peach" on the beach through my older brother's Grundig radio and it was glorious.  

When music reaches out it ain't never the equipment...

I just bought a Geneva Model M all-in-one fm/ipod thingy for her kitchen because she has this nasty am/fm/cd/cassette player in white that has yellowed to the point of no return.  (I had this product before and it's far better than what she has.  Personally I prefer Peachtree Deepblue2 for outdoors.)  I'm not telling her about it,  I'm simply going to switch them out and wait for her reaction.  

Being in the wine business I have found that this hobby is as subjective and confounding as my livelihood.  I've had all the wines you can imagine in my tenure, and then some.  The first growths,  the cult wines,  the garage wines.  I've listened to vintners,  experts,  sommeliers,  Masters Of Wine,  the whole megillah,

Sometimes a glass of wine is just a glass of wine...and should be.  I remember how utterly mind-blowing a late 60's vintage of Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour Cabernet Sauvignon tasted one night amidst a gaggle of wine freaks,  but I remember with equal fervor that bottle of Lancer's Rosè I knocked back with Mary Beth one moonlit night on the beach waaaaay back when.

Sometimes the Allman Brothers sound great out of a crappy radio on the beach,  sometimes on the gear I have in my living room.

I must confess...I actually had a Bose Wave radio in my office once,
Science!!!   I chortle. 
How much bias everyone, including myself, is capable of. I used to be easily lead by subjective reviews, my audiophile friends' enthusiasm or my want for a particular piece of equipment to be "better", either because of the hype or it looked more expensive. But a couple of blind tests cured me of all that ... and saved me a bit of money as well.
"How much bias everyone, including myself, is capable of. I used to be easily lead by subjective reviews, my audiophile friends' enthusiasm or my want for a particular piece of equipment to be "better", either because of the hype or it looked more expensive. But a couple of blind tests cured me of all that ... and saved me a bit of money as well."

smittyjs- yes I agree with this, very much so.
There's no fool like an old fool!

Enjoy your system while you are here.  Tomorrow is not promised!

To be honest with yourself.
lostinmusic10 posts07-07-2016 7:29am

1) That it is ok to cry when listening to a piece of music

I wept openly the first time I heard Keith Jarrett in Koln through my all tube system


I wept when I first heard Tom Waits "Small Change" album. I felt that spirit of Luis Armstrong in his tunes! 
I wish for the old days when you could drive a few miles from your home to a brick and mortar building and audition many different components in the flesh. It took 5 pairs of headphones, (all ordered somewhere online and recommended by others) before I found the 6th pair I call my ear-mates.

The HE-6's make me smile each time I put them on my head. I've realized (through the purchase of several warm items-HP's & amp) I don't like anything that leans toward the warm side of neutral UNLESS I can find something else to neutralize it. I have a warm HP amp, but it's a perfect match for the HE-6's.   

There's nothing wrong with searching for "Your sound." But once you find it, be happy and ENJOY it! Don't let other people's negativity change your satisfaction into dissatisfaction.
 mewsickbuff
     I was that guy in late 80s-90s  1-9 shift (our hours lol) .We had a brick building that was hard to find and it was a blast. we sold the ole' Stax headphones .The Discerning Ear .BaltimoreMd. (gone with the times)

#1     I learned after getting so many loaners from reps etc.The price has
          little to do with it's sound or quality  (within reason).
#2      How many times I believed what people told me and was                                
          disapointed
#3      How cool so many guys are ,and how many pompass asses there  
          are.
#4      One mans floor is anothers ceiling
#5      How much music I have been turned onto 
#6      Just when I thought I knew so much, someone knows way more.                  
          so be quiet and listen
#7     Refer to # 3
I learned life is so short.  Two of my top audio buddies have died in the last 6 months.  My close audio buddy died today.  We actually have similar audio systems.  Wow. This has taught me to enjoy my audio within reason. Have balance and remember it's always music first!

I shoulda made making money a higher priority than I did. Too late now!
It's pretty hard to win an arguement over money with the wife after "you spent $1000 on a NEEDLE!"
you told her! lol