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Your top 10 mistakes in this hobby? - Page 4

post #46 of 241
Originally Posted by pne
-thinking tubes were some sort of magic, I now realize whatever warm characteristics tube equipment possesed could be emulated with a tube buffer stage, and it is so much more hassle free to own solid state equipment.
Hello pne,

this may be a little OT, but I wanted to ask you whether you could elaborate on this comment? I began to look into Singlepower's MPX3 and other tube amps, as I've never tried one before I also wanted to compare them to some solid state ones.
post #47 of 241
Thread Starter 
post #48 of 241
I wouldn't really call it a mistake but I spent quite a long time figuring out the type of sound that I actually like. Some people are lucky enough to figure this out right away but unfortunately it took me quite awhile.

Welly, you are being overly critical of modded equipment. I certainly understand your aggrivation with not getting the improvements (if any) that you had hoped for. But I think you made one of the key mistakes that I see happen all the time with getting gear modded. You need to make sure that the piece of gear you are going to get modded is actually a good base to start from and unfortunately in your case it seems you didn't do that.
post #49 of 241
Thread Starter 
post #50 of 241
I think one big mistake many make is getting overly excited about the next greatest thing to hit the market and believing it will automatically outshine what they own.

One tip I picked up EARLY in the hobby was to reread rave reviews of the equipement one owns, to take a break from listening to it, but continue to read the articles...then, have a listen, enjoy it again like it was the first time. This can often cure the upgrading bug. When one gets right down to it, amps, for the most part are based on a handfull of circuits. Find a manufacturer who builds to last, has a good rep, a good return policy/warranty and go from there.

As tkam indicated, finding the sound one wants it a big bonus, if one can do it early on, they can grow from there. I personally feel that one should focus on the transducer first. Figure out the overall signature one wants, then get enough amplification to get enough out of the speaker that one is enjoying them, then pump the rest of the cash in the frontend. When more money is available, upgrade the amp so the speaker is getting all it needs to perform at its maximum.

Save for my cd player and the PS-1's, my entire audio system is made up of retro equipement. Not that the units themselves are old, but the designs are. My tt is 20 years old+, so is my arm. My cart is a 30 year old design minimum, RS-1's are 10 years old etc. Any time I read about this amp or that amp, this arm, or that cart, I start to reread...learn about my system intimately and this cures any urges to upgrade or swap in and out.

As for modifications, start with a good circuit first. This is the most important bit. Then mod it. Also, if the circuit is excellent alreadyk, sometimes the parts chosen, though for a price point, are sometimes the best for the job. Think RA-1. So many clone it yet try to "improve on it" by included BG's, DACT stepped attenuators etc...only to realize that the stock RA-1 will beat it in an A/B with say...the RS-1's. Strange huh? Yet, take the EAR 834p phono stage. An excellent circuit, simply, tubed, long held as a leader in price/performance yet when modified (better resistors, caps and transformers) the amp totally comes alive and takes on units 3-5x the cost. It can be a crap shoot but it doens't have to be, learning about the units, the circuits, finding out truly what works and what doesn't and then modifying...sinking the cash to bleed the last bit of performance out of the unit...it works.
post #51 of 241
Welly Wu- thank you for taking so much time to compose and post that. It was thoughtful and I agree with much of what you said.

Give yourself credit for recognizing that what you bought wasn't satisfying and taking steps to change.

And I think you're on the right path. Get some books on electronics, get a soldering iron and a DMM, too. Buy a PCB, reasonable components (avoid the boutique stuff) and learn how the stuff works while you build it. I've found that incredibly satisfying and you do save a lot compared to the commercial stuff when you realize that Orange Drops work just fine.

I was brought into hi-fi by way of restoring old radios. That lead to amateur radio and, 'hey, why don't I try building an audio amp?' My "Elmer" (an experienced ham who helps younger ones) was also my uncle, and knew electronics and radio inside and out. He did it in the military, it was his job after the war and his hobby the rest of the time. Wish he was still with us. Among many things, I learned that there's a lot of BS in hi-fi. However, if you use quality (but not boutique) components, your circuits will be trouble-free and work fine. Which has been my experience exactly.

And you're right about growing your music collection. Junk store LPs, used CDs and legal downloads will open things up for you at a low price. Music is all that's really important.

Anyhow, my point is that you shouldn't spend too much time flogging yourself. Learn and understand electronics and get some more music. It is very satisfying.
post #52 of 241
Originally Posted by Alu
Hello pne,

this may be a little OT, but I wanted to ask you whether you could elaborate on this comment? I began to look into Singlepower's MPX3 and other tube amps, as I've never tried one before I also wanted to compare them to some solid state ones.
sorry, I was speaking from a speaker point of view, not a headphone. As for headphones, this comment doesn't apply as much. The reason I say this for speakers is the inconvience of owning tubed monoblocks is way too high. My monoblocks take 7 tubes each, which equates to heating up the room and a big cost to replace or roll tubes. I also have to consider their impedance handling when buying new speakers. Lastly they need constant monitoring for the correct bias voltage and warm up time. It feels like every hour I listen to them is another hour crossed off their lifetime. I find myself only turning them on when I have a good 5-6 hours to dedicate to music, because its not worth it to shorten the tube life with a 30 minute session, 10 minutes of that already given away to warm up. I know it sounds real cheap but when I an paying around 3-400 dollars for those NOS tubes, it really gets on my nerves.
post #53 of 241
Welly Wu, just curious, how does a cashier afford all that nice audio equipment?
post #54 of 241
I have never experienced a case where a well-built interconnect sounded worse than a more expensive one.

Spend your money on something that actually matters, like your source.

post #55 of 241
Thread Starter 
post #56 of 241
My biggest mistake so far has been buying cheap stuff, my father has always said "you buy cheap, you buy twice", and he was right, when my next set of upgrade comes along, which should be after this summer, I won't make the same mistakes, I plan on a Rega Apollo, and a Melos Sha-Gold. Spaced out over the next year I'll buy a Theta DAC, Monster MS-5100 power conditioner, and some reference interconnects, hopefully after this I'll be satisfied enough that this rig'll last me through the rest of high school then college, then I'll upgrade again one I get a full time job.
post #57 of 241
I dont have 10... yet... I'm usually very carefull with my gear and purchases. But I havea few:

MDR EX51- JUNK... Pure crap. Dont isolate enough to be worth the hastle of shoving a cork in your ears. Harsh, biting treble that overwhelms the recessed mids. An all around turd of a headphone for the $40 I paid.

Koss UR40- Why oh Why did I ever sell these for $15!!! DOH!!

MDR-CD1000- Fried some expensive MDR CD-1000 drivers in a botched recable DIY project. these drivers are ~$90 each from Sony.

Closed cans (mid-fi level)- YUK, MDR-V6, DT770, HD280... Dont know why I bothered. I was stubborn, thinking that closed cans have superior sound quality and imaging, $ for $.

Sennheiser HD580- Why did I hold out for so long on the Senn house sound? Yeah my Grados rock out and headbang like no other. But the HD580 can be a VERY good rock can with the right amp, and the soundstage is HUGE!!

MP3 players- Cant compete with a good vintage PCDP. At least mine cant, by themselves. Need amplification to come close.

Hmm... thats about it.

post #58 of 241
Nice post welly. Glad you got that out of your system

My errors over the years in no particular order.

Starting this hobby young when I was much more impressionable and actually believed the snake oil being served up all around.

Spent way too much on 'tweaks' that did nothing worth mentioning except make me poorer.

Believing that good gear would make crappily 'mastered' (an ironic description) recordings sound good.

Cables, biggest con evar!

Subscribing to an online music service... craptacular quality downloads.

Making do with gear that was readily available rather than searching out the good stuff.

Upgrade mods... mostly a waste of money that could have been spent on something better in the first place.

Buying stuff based on rep rather than listening to it first (difficult to avoid)

Taking mag reviews seriously, though not recently.

Buying CDs and finding I had bought 'censored' versions (Circuit City will never get my money again).

Getting married, it really crimps your Hi-Fi style

Listening to equipment rather than music... I'm better now
post #59 of 241
1. HD600 - Can't believe I sold mine for a pittance, thinking I was sick of the Senn sound. Now I want another one.

2. MP3 players - I've gone through a series (iPod shuffle, Creative, now Sandisk)...but I never use them on an everyday basis. I just never acquired a taste for listening to music on the go...though I will admit they're nice for the odd bus/train/plane ride.

3. HD201 - bleh. Pointless purchase.

4. Modding the KSC-75 - Sorry Kramer! It kind of ruined one pair of KSC-75s for me...but they're cheap to replace, so no biggie.

4. Coming back to head-fi - I was quite happy with my HD-497 for nearly six months before curiosity about better sound brought me here and started me on amps and higher-end headphones.

And that's about it, fortunately.
post #60 of 241
I can't think of 10, but here are a couple:

* Buying multiple PCDPs to find the best sounding one. Most vintage PCDPs sound like *ss, and really only the ones that are already acknowledged as sounding good, sound good (unfortunately most of them are really pricey, but there are a few exceptions).

* Spending too little money on entry level stuff, when I could have saved up and bought something that would really satisfy. This goes for headphones, amps and sources alike. Cost me a lot of money in the long run. Still costing me money actually (I'm a cheapskate, I guess ).

I would say cables as well, although I've spent very little on them. I can only tell slight differences, and all of them are tradeoffs (e.g. slightly less bass for a slightly more airy sound). I don't believe in literal improvements via pricier cables... at best, you'll get a tradeoff that fits your sonic preferences more closely, or results in the synergy you've been looking for. Don't spend big bucks, period.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head.
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