I was wondering if the reason a lot of us are con stantly after the next ‘best’ amp, DAC, deck, cable, speaker etc is because we are trying to get back that feeling of wonderment, astonishment, joy when we first heard really good sound?
After owning the really good sound for a while, it is no longer novel so we start to think that maybe there is a better sound. We then buy whatever is an ‘upgrade’ to what we have. We are even more astonished. Nothing can beat it.
Then after a while …
Just like the addict forever chasing the feeling brought on by the first hit.
I was in Tesco doing the food shopping when this occurred to me. A short while before, I had decided not to ‘chase’ a better integrated amp because I realized that I am very happy with the Audiolab 83000a. Maybe as I have played it daily for a few weeks and it has ‘settled’ as I am told happens with speakers, DACs and amps.
Or maybe because I changed a setting and the drums on Anticipation sounded fantastic and I thought this really is it. What I wanted. What I have.
Now I don’t spend my time on You Tube looking at reviews nor hours on the net looking for and reading reviews of speakers, amps, DACs etc.
Same goes for the Yammy and Panasonic tv. We have the HZ2000 and are extremely pleased with it. The latest Yammy seems a tho it will not hold any benefit. The Yammy man himself said I would be better to wait to see what the changes will be to the 2022 model.
Although I am quite serious in my writing here, I am not suggesting we need interventions or something like AA-Audiohiles Anonymous.
What helps a lot also is visiting audio buddies, dealers, and shows to listen to all sorts of components and systems.
You’ll quickly find your sweet spot, as the point of exponentially diminishing returns happens to be at relatively low investments.
Only drawback, it’s not really doable in these times…
You have made some very good observations in my opinion about this hobby. For some the hobby is music and good equipment is tool in that hobby to a certain point. For others, the hobby is the gear itself and the reward is the bragging rights and knowing you have the absolute best of the best gear. I am happy to see that it is the former for most of us on the forums and it is okay to have some of the latter mixed in @Chrislayeruk said it best, “You have to get off the train at some point…Happy is the man who can get to this stage of contentment.”
MANY years ago, I bought a new cartridge. It was expensive. The reviews were incredible. The sound at dealer was terrific. When I installed it at home, I was utterly delighted with how much better it sounded than the old one. A few days later (after almost constant listening) I thought something sounded “wrong.” Just a little off, lacking substance and depth. I thought it must be defective so I went back to the dealer. The dealer told me that it’s a common complaint dealers get, and it’s characteristic of human psychology that we adjust to new things and often (and often suddenly) new things don’t sound new any more. I bought that explanation. Same thing’s true every time I buy a new car. To this day I’ve tried not to be influenced by the post-purchase disillusionment of the “new.” It’s all human nature.
I am at the budget audio level and had got to a point of: NUC (ROCK)-Raspberry Pi-DAC HAT feeding Soncos into Old Denon Amp into KEF Q5 old Floor Standers.
All CD’s ripped to Flac by NUC, this opened my eyes to MP3 v FLAC quality.
I had MP3 files ripped off Albums I have in the Attic and MP3’s downloaded from various sources like Amazon etc for the post 90’s years.
I Went to my local store. Question: Do I spend hours re-ripping my Album collection or get Streaming or look into a new complete system.
Some Albums were not in a great condition as in the 80/90’s I was mainly into Drinking, parties and members of the opposite sex while playing Albums on various peoples decks ;-). Sorry purists.
The guys at the store were great and advised me my KEF’s were fine and it may be down to source file and room correction. I was given an NAD M10 for two weeks to test out with Dirac. Advised to try Tidal Masters as this would be more economic than buying my collection again on CD and ripping.
Wow, my KEF’s sounded so much better. Leaning from this forum has opened my eyes and music is now the major part of mine and my wife’s entertainment time. Getting into more and more new stuff also. Thanks Guys. Sometimes it’s all down to a bit of education and a little investment. I am now really happy and (without a new room) no more is needed. (Until a year’s time maybe)
Streaming is where it’s at, and you can still rip your CDs over time. Best of both worlds. If music is important to you, buy it and rip it.
Pre owned CDs are almost worthless in the UK and charity shops practically give them away nowadays. So, hunt down what’s missing in your collection, call it sport… Game on…
Beware the end game, or, like me, you risk becoming the Audiophile that Alan Parson’s described thus:
“Audiophiles don’t use their equipment to listen to your music. Audiophiles use your music to listen to their equipment”
With my setup (dCS Network Bridge, Chord Blu2/DAVE, Illusonic Processor, Sanders Model 10 speakers/Magtech amps, tweaks aplenty) I can hear exactly how any multitrack song has been contructed in terms of the mix, as each individual track is held rock solid in a different position in the soundfield. I can even tell how many mics have been used on the drums, for example
This has afforded me a tremendous new respect both for the virtuosity of the individual musicians (as I can listen to any individual instrument/track I choose in isolation) and for the incredible skills of the producer in how the final mix is put together
The downside is that I now tend to listen to how the song is made, more so than how it sounds as a coherent whole
Not to say I don’t enjoy the music, I just find myself listening to the mix rather than the song
You raise an interesting thought exercise. I suspect that there’s lots of factors contributing to constantly searching for ever improved listening experiences. For me, and I imagine for a lot of people, music can be a pretty emotional experience; perhaps half of us according to this article.
When emotions get involved human beings are more vulnerable to influence and tend to not make the best decisions. Envy of expensive audio gear that pundits laud as creating night and day differences can drive people to poor choices. Ignorance in equating price with quality can lead people to believe that only an expensive audio system can provide satisfying sound. We often abandon physics and facts in this pursuit - see the ad nauseam debates in this community and others about improvements wrought by exotic power suppliers, USB cables, interconnects, and ethernet switches for example.
Some folks probably do need an intervention although the risks in this hobby seems more to financial than to physical well being. At large though we may benefit from recognizing how we are susceptible to influence and attempt to inject some objectivity into our decision making when the outcome of our pursuit is so emotional. Some level of healthy skepticism may be valuable when reading about the latest and greatest component.
In the end each of us will apply our own value judgements and level of due diligence when deciding if some new gadget or gizmo is worth seeking out.
You give many of the reasons why I no longer look at You Tube audio reviews or TV reviews.
We are both very happy with the sound we get now. We both still listen to the music and become emotionally involved.
One of the thrills for me is listening to albums I have owned since 1974, played to death, and still I hear stuff on it I haven’t heard before.
One pretty amazing thing, to me, is I sometimes check to make sure the music is only stereo and coming from just the two front speakers as it sounds as if it is surround. Maybe it’s the acoustics of our living room or the quality of the amp and the speakers. No idea.