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Just when you've finally made it to Summit-fi...

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
...you are told that you MUST sell your gear. You must downsize just as you are settling into a life-time of sonic bliss. In downsizing, can you match your $$$$ rig?

Some assumptions: "High-end" unfortunately means pricey, so the reason for having to sell off could range from monetary emergency or a raging significant other who can't stand the site of all that bling cluttering up the living space. The best you are left with is the option of selling it off but keeping some cash aside for a meager rig (back to the bottom of the mountain you go!)

Rules: You must set your priority in terms of enjoying not just the music but the hobby. For instance, if I was in true dire straights, I could live with a radio. Anything that can pump out music would at least keep me sane (life without music is insanity in my mind). But I certainly wouldn't be happy and I certainly wouldn't be involved in this hobby. No gear = no hobby. What I want to read about is what is the lowest one could go down the mountain while retaining the level of gear enjoyment and approximate sonic enjoyment one experiences now at the top of the rock.

I'll start with my own example of the hypothetical:

My wife, after all these years of supporting my insanity, has finally put her foot down. It all has to go to fund some "home project." I'm not happy but I will figure something out. The minimum I could go while being remotely happy on the gear end of things would be a Tivoli Model 2 + iPod + Westone UM2's and Grado SR60's. On the digital side of things, I would have a decent sounding speaker setup, a great tuner, a DAP with a LOT of music stored on it and the two very transportable and quite portable headphones. The versatility of IEM's, their size, shape, sound and ergonomics (I can sleep with them) means I would maximize my listening time and have good sound. These SR60's are close in sound signature to the RS-1's which I enjoy immensely so I wouldn't be completely out of the "good sonics" game. They don't scale all that well but my Tivoli doesn't have gobs of power anyway.

But... I've tasted the good stuff, sniffed the glue...er...vinyl and I gotta have my fix. There is no way this deal is going through without me owning some type of TT. My choice? A vintage Thorens, Alphason HR100 arm, Grado Gold and a Little Rat. This will keep me on the mountain, certainly more than half way up the hill and I get to keep my LPs. I don't believe I would be happy owning anything less than this level of TT after my experience with a nice rig.

When all is said and done my gear is still a bit pricey for most people:

Tivoli Model 2: $250
iPod: $350
UM2's: $250
Grado SR60's: $69
Thorens TD 160: $150
Alphason HR100S: $200
Grado Prestige Gold: $150
Radioshack Phono: $50

Grand Total: about $1500

Not bad to stay firmly footed in the hobby and enjoying my music collection, but a far cry from "dirt cheap" yet just as far a cry from my current setup. Anything less than this and I would want to just pack it in and look for another hobby.

So how low can you go?
post #2 of 65
Portable system:
ipod shuffle 1g $50
westone ES2 $650

Balanced home system:
parasound 1600hd $350
balanced ckkIII (diy) $300
balanced HD580 $125

grand total for an almost unnoticeable downgrade ~$1500

everything used except custom iem

now beat that
post #3 of 65
I'd hang onto the soldering iron, for sure, and I'd scrounge a lot more parts than buy new, as well.

I think I could get by with:

Voigt Pipes with Fostex drivers and painted MDF cabinets: $100
Eric Barbour's Brute Force (headphone amp and pre): $250
Heavily scrounged 2A3 monoblocks (reusing caps and resistors): $350
Used and battered Technics SL1200: $200
Grado Black cartridge: $60
Used Sony SCD-CE595 SACD player: $60
Old Eico mono FM tube tuber: $50
Old HD-580: $150
Grado SR-60: $70

About $1,300, give or take depending on luck finding old transformers and old cases/chassis that can be reused with a few new holes and a coat of paint.
post #4 of 65
**** that. You must realllly love your wife, and I commend you for that, because I am too immature to handle what you are going through.

How low would I go? My current dynamic rig is the baseline:

AD2000 + Pico w/DAC = $1070 (not including computer as source, which adds $1700)

I could stay VERY satisfied with that rig, but:
1) VERY satisfied is not good enough.
2) I am a manic rationalizer who can justify any purchase as being necessary to maintain my hard won mental stability.
post #5 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaron313 View Post
**** that. You must realllly love your wife, and I commend you for that, because I am too immature to handle what you are going through.
This is all hypothetical!!! My gear isn't going anywhere and I doubt my wife would ever really urge me to get rid of my gear unless we were to starve or something in line with that. I was just setting up the scenario where one might be pushed into selling and then how would I go about doing it.

I really like what you guys are doing with DIY. I need to master the iron.
post #6 of 65
a pair of mdr-xd200s, around $20, but thats cos i never reached the summit, ignorance trully is bliss, until i get enough money that is.
post #7 of 65
Pico with DAC ($500) + HD580s (~$130)
post #8 of 65
Thread Starter 
Ignorance is bliss no doubt. And it is very easy once one attains a real solid footing at or near the top to wonder "how much would it cost to get just a little bit more of this?"

This of course is the culprit for most infections of upgraditis. One way I try to curb my own (besides my current empoverished state...darn those kids and school!) is to reread reviews of my current gear. Refamiliarizing myself with why I bought this stuff in the first place. What got me excited about it and can I get excited about it again? I then will go through cycles of listening only to inferior gear. I'll stick with my iPod and iGrados or UM2's vs. listening to my main rig for a few weeks or a month. It helps when I am very busy necessitating such limits on my listening but even during those times when I could conceivably listen..."taking a break" resensitizes a person to their own great gear.

I picked up this tip from Darth Nut. He took a year or two off from listening to his rig, his favoured Omega II's and this T1 amp. This enabled him to absorb what he had heard before. Ruminate on it and then revisit with a fresh perspective and renewed vigor. It worked out very well and it directly benefitted the community here with what is doubtlessly the best headphone review ever written. That goes for pro pubs too.

That all said, there are plenty of hobbies in this world I would enjoy trying out and perhaps getting heavily involved in, but I doubt few if any would provide me with a "joi de vie" as listening to music grants me. The best way to get closer to that music is through better and better gear. In many ways I think I am lucky I am not a rich man. Else, I'd have my dream rig already and I'd miss the joy of climbing the mountain slowly appreciating every peak and plateau. As it is, I've been luckier than many in getting to where I am already and I am very very happy. But I no doubt could be even happier still...
post #9 of 65
I think I could be happy with a modded D2000 and a good soundcard. I'll have the soundcard under any circumstances. If pushed, I could live with a K81 DJ. No speakers necessary. I don't own speakers anyway, though I think it'd be convenient to have a pair.
post #10 of 65
ipod > FreQShows: $700

Vintage Fischer or Marantz receiver (with phono and headphone out), HD-650 > used Rega P1, must have vinyl, some Klipsch Heresey I or II: $1200

At the moment, the above portable rig is what I use now so no adjustment there. I would go without digital or just use line out from ipod to rca to the amp for digital.
post #11 of 65
its surprising to see hat many peoples "minimum" is many people highest aim.
post #12 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by G-man View Post
its surprising to see hat many peoples "minimum" is many people highest aim.
It's all relative. If I had to, I could go back to my ipod and some earbuds. I've assumed that the choice in the hypothetical is not one of eating or music so. But you are right, there are some that would the rig I listed as being their high end. If I were 20 years younger, I would probably say the same thing. Good observation, however.
post #13 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
It's all relative. If I had to, I could go back to my ipod and some earbuds. I've assumed that the choice in the hypothetical is not one of eating or music so. But you are right, there are some that would the rig I listed as being their high end. If I were 20 years younger, I would probably say the same thing. Good observation, however.
im still trying to figure out if that is sarcasm or not. but yes, if you have the money, why the hell not. as long as you have everything else covered that is (which is what i mean by if you have the monye)
post #14 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by G-man View Post
im still trying to figure out if that is sarcasm or not. but yes, if you have the money, why the hell not. as long as you have everything else covered that is (which is what i mean by if you have the monye)
Not sarcasm, I thought it was a good observation on your part and tried to address it.
post #15 of 65
My laptop, SI T-amp, old broken headphones and a pair of SFI orthodynamic drivers to put in them.

$50 less the laptop.
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