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Gremrock

Do we get too caught up with gear to enjoy the music?

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Sitting here after a few beers on a dreary night with the main system in pieces, replaced by loaned gear and unplugged anyway due to stormy weather.

Just playing random cd-ripped WAV tracks through Wifi into an Airport Express to a Marantz 5.1 amp and sub $2k Jamo's and just really enjoying the music. Get to thinking about how much i've spent on the main system and almost wondering why? Yes it's better, it's more accurate, it's cleaner and far more impressive to show off, but does it get to a point you go too far and find yourself searching for improvements instead of just trying to make the most of what you already have? 

 

Am I the only person who thinks about this from time to time or am I not alone?

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I've built an entirely new system in excess of 10 times the value of this old stuff, and still enjoy it any time I let it stretch the legs so to speak.

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On a side note throw some track suggestions at me to put on :)

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That is exactly what I felt this evening.. I started searching for most ideal nearfield speaker and spent whole afternoon demoing speaker after speaker. Then I am back home and listen with my modest current setup and it is not bad at all and I am quite happy with it. Yes, high end newer model speakers tried earlier today great but I can still enjoy favorite music as much as my current ones. Instead of buying brand new speaker, maybe just make a few improvement on current one to suit my liking and make most of it instead...  

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Funny, I've been through the same thoughts tonight.

 

Gone are all my $$ components and I'm listening to an old Lenco with a budget AT MM cart and a DIY Pearl phono stage. Very enjoyable and I'm having a rethink about it all.

 

Expensive gear does not always mean better sound IME  

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@Spider27  Put up a post to go listen to some Lenehan ML1 Reference. Them and a nice Warm valve amp would be my pick in a small room.

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Another coincidence. 

 

I have Lenehan ML1 +R and was listening with my 2A3 SET amp tonight. My system is in the spare bedroom so volume is ok. Does indeed sound good!

 

 

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I never went into 'high end' hi-fi - i'm currently listening to Ben Harper through a restored sansui AU-222 and Yamaha NS-690II. Less than $1k all up. I've had some Osborn, Logan Martins and Duntechs but these have all been passed on. Absolutely loving all manner of coral speakers currently, and i still think my Coral X-VII (which i purchased for $100) are the best sounding speaker i've ever heard. I heard nothing at the hifi show (last year) that inspired me to spend more $. 

 

The Sui 222 has a relatively high noise floor which doesn't bother me, but i'm sure it would have others screaming :) I'ts such a lovely tubey vintage tone. 

 

I spent the last 2 years buying and selling any and all manner of amps/speakers and found some absolute gems that are giant killers for the money - just as JP-1, some mid-80's Tannoys, Corals, Yammie 690's, Sansui amps, Canton Karats (etc). 

 

Anyhoo .. 'Excuse Me' is playing, and coffee getting cold ~ 

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Im still amazed by my hard rubbish speakers and amp.

Ok it runs out of puff at my preferred listening levels but jeez it's old and the stuff just sings.

I reckon in a smaller room it would be magnificent!

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5 hours ago, Gremrock said:

Sitting here after a few beers on a dreary night with the main system in pieces, replaced by loaned gear and unplugged anyway due to stormy weather.

Just playing random cd-ripped WAV tracks through Wifi into an Airport Express to a Marantz 5.1 amp and sub $2k Jamo's and just really enjoying the music. Get to thinking about how much i've spent on the main system and almost wondering why? Yes it's better, it's more accurate, it's cleaner and far more impressive to show off, but does it get to a point you go too far and find yourself searching for improvements instead of just trying to make the most of what you already have? 

 

Am I the only person who thinks about this from time to time or am I not alone?

Understand exactly what you mean and I had and still have some simple and cheap amp and speaker combinations that are very good, but over the last 20 years of more serious hifi though not always throwing big sums of money, I remember the key incremental improvements that stay with me each time and build on the last system so I am happy with the stage I’m at, but remain open to improvements.

 

When I have someone in the house buying some gear and they are at their early stages of hifi, the difference in what they don’t know is very clear. The progression in early hifi is to start at low-fi (chasing big bass and impact), then progress to mid fi (bass, good mids and highs) and years later proper hifi sound (all previous plus better imaging, realism, refinement etc).

 

Occassionally one may revert backwards but come back to reality and soon push forward again. The problem is we place unwavering faith in our memories of what is good sound but in reality over time its a spongy mess of dwindling neurones, fed by mood changing chemical states (dopamine pleasure reward mechanism and alcohol), moments of brilliant logic and clarity, then back to primeval urges, simulated solo mating gestures (that makes you go deaf), biases and jealousy (of others systems) all connected to a fragile fading auditory system often blocked by ear wax and declining frequency response with aged biologics.

Edited by Al.M

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Two of the reasons we churn gear

The way the speakers interact with a given environment is important - move them a few mm and the sound can change dramatically. Change rooms or dwelling and the whole system scenario/dynamics are altered again.

As we age or mature the way we hear charges - we change our gear to suit what we want at any given time in our lives.

 

A lot of the "value" of expensive gear is often in the "man jewelry" factor.

Visited a gentlemen who has a lot of good gear - he had a pair of absolutely gorgeous looking "high end" (and astonishingly expensive) speakers. These were easily the worst performers of the 3 pairs we sampled that day.

Rarity and exclusivity are no guarantee of a superior sonic result - cottage industries may have the genius but don't have the development budget and scale of production to take on the big players.

 

My own personal audio quest has been for some time obtaining better source material.

 

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I'm sure everyone wants to improve their replay, whats wrong with that?

But throwing new items at your system without really knowing how they will interact together could be ummmm? 

Also what works in one system is no guarantee that it will work in yours.

New gear that works for you is just is a big win in helping you to enjoy whats possible from your music medium.

 

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I see this as a very individual mater. Some people are totally content with ear buds or kitchen radio, others enjoy picking up nuances which require medical grade precision. Then there's those who will not enjoy the music any more realising how much money they spent chasing the nirvana.

 

In the end we're in this to enjoy it, so whatever works for you is fine.

 

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12 hours ago, Gryffles said:

Another coincidence. 

 

I have Lenehan ML1 +R and was listening with my 2A3 SET amp tonight. My system is in the spare bedroom so volume is ok. Does indeed sound good!

 

 

I have my 6B4G (like the 2A3) SET as my desktop amp in the computer room/office.  Sounds very nice there.

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2 hours ago, Phred said:

 

The way the speakers interact with a given environment is important - move them a few mm and the sound can change dramatically. Change rooms or dwelling and the whole system scenario/dynamics are altered again.

 

I have become very aware of this lately.  I was almost ready to move my system to a new room in the house because I could not get it to sound right.  I persevered, and after a lot of moving of speakers and stuff, I have it sounding so much better now.     First tweak we should all try before spending money is playing with the speaker positioning and other stuff in the room.

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Yeh, when things don’t sound right the first thing we do is look to upgrade components. 

 

I can say that upgrading components has made a significant improvement to where I was 2 years ago but I didn’t get it right straight away.

 

tweaking and understanding how the components I have work plus positioning of speakers and subwoofers has made an equally impactful difference too.

 

sometimes the biggest issue with a system is it not being setup correctly, been guilty of that myself!

Edited by Hi-Fi Whipped

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For me also one technology cannot generally do what others can do best so several systems are needed.

 

For example, I have a tube amp system as well as solid state and Class D amps. For speakers I have a several types of conventional cone driver speakers plus electrostatic speakers.

 

Both a two channel stereo room and family room with HT system that is used 80% of the time.

 

From this mix of gear I can setup a very detailed and delicate sound with tubes and electroctrostaitcs when needed and also a hard hitting loud system with solid state amp and big 3 way cone driver speakers and variations in between.

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G'day all, an interesting thread.  I'll plead guilty to having my technical perfectionist tendencies get in the way of simple musical enjoyment much more than it should.  Regards, Felix.     

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After more than 25 years in audio retail and 40 year as a musician I'm still amazed at how many people listen to equipment rather than music. When people come with Chesky recordings  & the like I'm alerted that I'm dealing with people who listen to great recordings of uninspiring music. Spanish Harlem from Cheeky makes me wince as a brilliant recording of one of the most lacking performance I've heard, where a scratchy 50 year old record from Billie Holiday can leave me speechless. 

It's about the music surely, that's why I love the sound of my old Ramirez guitar over the modern Smallman sound so love by the technical player. 

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I usually go through an upgrade phase where I chop and change and spend and try new gear for about 6 months or so, and then I just listen to music for many years again before caring about the hifi. It's almost a conscious process but I've done it a few times now and the 5 years or so of just music between hifi upgrades is very enjoyable but I also wouldn't trade the world for the incredibly enjoyable 6 months of absolute geekdom while I do the hifi upgrades - that's the current phase I'm in.

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In my case I'm not on the never ending search for  the new=better or  the different=better scenario.

 

But every few years I will have a look and trial some items.

Things may have improved on what I have.

But if I'm splitting hairs for any noticeable benefit and being asked to fork out it I will pass. 

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17 minutes ago, joz said:

But every few years I will have a look and trial some items.

Had the opportunity to do that for free recently.  Just listened to a dynavector xx2 mc cart on a turntable and system that was a lot better than my own.  Have always wondered what you get when you pay that much for a cartridge.  After listening to it, and then returning to my own system with a cart that costs a tenth of the dyna,   I am happy to stay where I am.    There really was very little difference for the huge price increase.

 

Back to enjoying more great music....

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Not only the gear one can get too caught up in, but also the quality and the production of the recording that one actually concentrates too much on the engineering and not the artists/performances. I know at times I've done that too much in the past. 

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I don't have the money or the interest to churn equipment.  I just want the best quality equipment I can obtain, and look at it as a long-term investment.  But it was great fun going to the hifi show to listen to and drool at all that wonderful equipment that's "in my dreams". 

 

So for me it's about listening to the music in the best way.  But there have been times when i have upgraded or made significant tweaks when I'm sitting back, and note that I'm thinking how fantastic my stereo sounds.  Which annoys me, as i want to focus on the music.  However when the novelty of the improved sound passes, I'm focusing and enjoying the music again, only in better quality. 

 

 

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