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Has anybody reached the peak and losing interest?

post #1 of 106
Thread Starter 

I feel that I pretty much reached the peak or got close, and I don't see differences mattering that much any more.  At a certain level, improvements are so minuscule.  Not that excited with next step up.  We know sound changes based on equipment used, but still there are criterias of accuracy, details, resolution, neutrality.  Give these criterias, I don't think I can get much higher anymore.  :o  I wonder what hobby I would move on to next?  :rolleyes: 


Edited by SilverEars - 6/8/14 at 8:18am
post #2 of 106

I never hit the top echelon of electronics, but went pretty far, and at various times had the Sony MDR-R10, Qualia 010, AT L3000, Grado HP-2, etc. There's that recurring point when you realize you have $$$$$ in a headphone system, and you're still getting headphone sound (albeit awesome headphone sound). I moved on to two things: 1. Vinyl source. Swapping high-end MC cartridges is akin to swapping headphones, but requires more delicacy: hope you trust your hands! I love this aspect, and I also find music more enjoyable on vinyl vs. digital (open reel is even better, but quality tape and hardware is far less available). There's limit to how far you can take this. 2. Speakers. Specifically Tannoy speakers in my case. For me, they're more satisfying than any headphones (and other speakers). These speakers are also far more expensive than headphones, so it takes some time to climb the ladder. And between vinyl & speakers, you have endless opportunity for tweaking setup/acoustics. Add in the usual tube amps, and all the tube rolling possibilities. Overall, a vinyl/Tannoy hobby has far more "staying power" than headphones ever did. And like with headphones, you have that "music discovery/rediscovery" aspect to keep it fresh, which is where all my past hobby attempts (besides computer programming, which is my career) have failed me -- once I got exhausted on the gear/gadget side of things, there wasn't another aspect I cared enough about to pick up the slack (e.g. photography). 

 

That being said, I do miss having around a pair of L3000, Qualia 010, and a nice amp. Maybe I'll hit those yard sales to look for an L3000 :D 


Edited by mulveling - 6/8/14 at 10:02am
post #3 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEars View Post
 

I feel that I pretty much reached the peak or got close, and I don't see differences mattering that much any more.  At a certain level, improvements are so minuscule.  Not that excited with next step up.  We know sound changes based on equipment used, but still there are criterias of accuracy, details, resolution, neutrality.  Give these criterias, I don't think I can get much higher anymore.  :o  I wonder what hobby I would move on to next?  :rolleyes: 

 

This is exactly how I feel with my ciem's right now.

I feel as if moving on to speakers is the next step?

post #4 of 106

It's easy to believe that there's always a higher peak — there's always another upgrade to lust after, and possibly save up for and actually buy. That first time you listen to something new is always (or, at least, usually) such a memorable, significant experience that it's tempting to recreate it. But, of course, you can never match the feeling of hearing [equipment X] for the first time.

 

Once you're accustomed to amazing quality, it becomes normal to you. That doesn't mean you stop caring about quality — it just means that you've succeeded in reaching or approximating "the best", whatever that means for you.

 

After that point, it's easy to look around and think, "What else can I upgrade? What's the next level? I just spent $1000 on headphones, so this $200 amp must be insufficient. A more advanced DAC was just released, so I'm not hearing the best quality that I could be hearing. There are $400 cables out there — surely there must be a noticeable difference over my $5 set. And I'm still using this inferior stock power cable, plugged into a consumer-grade, unfiltered surge strip!"

 

Someone will always be happy to sell you another upgrade, and you'll always find people who tell you they got it and heard a huge difference. But most of that is placebo, and the few upgrades with real benefits might be measurable but not necessarily noticeable.

 

Once you reach the point in your setup where you're struggling to hear the difference with an upgrade, there's no shame — and plenty of sensibility — in pausing the upgrade train (I won't say stopping — let's be honest with ourselves) until there's something better out there that you'll actually get a major, noticeable benefit from.

 

A sequel to your favorite headphones? Worth investigating.

 

An entirely new kind of headphone, or a new generation of old tech, that has the community raving? Worth investigating.

 

Everything else? Rarely worth the time or money.

 

I've seen so many people get a nice midrange set of $300–500 headphones — say, the HD 650 or DT-880 — and then spend $2000 over the next couple of years on higher-end supporting equipment than they (or anyone) can really distinguish, while they could have instead just spent the same (or less!) on, say, an HD 800 and an Asgard 2, fed from a Mac or iPhone's built-in (and surprisingly good) DAC. Few people, even around here, could honestly say that the midrange headphones with the fancier amp and DAC would sound better overall than the flagship headphone setup with the "value" amp at a similar total price.

 

Recognizing this doesn't mean you're losing interest — it means you're realizing what matters to you, and what doesn't.

post #5 of 106

Maybe spend the time on finding good new music to listen to on your system? I enjoy finding new music now that it sounds so awesome out of my headphones. 

post #6 of 106

I ended up in DIY land. I have several projects behind me now, SS and tube.  Always somewhere else to go in DIY land.  Of course the gear does not sell the same as buying commercial offerings.

 

Waiting on my BHSE still to finish off my home system.  (not counting the VFet amp, and DDDAC projects)

post #7 of 106

 

 

 

 

 

The Wizard

Here at Noble, we craft some of the finest universal and custom in-ear monitors available today. 

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post #8 of 106

Sort of. I am a Stax kind of guy and a few years back was able to compare my set-up with the best on display at Canjam LA.  That convinced me that I would need a BHSE to be happy, but after a few years and some other changes, mostly inexpensive, like cables and a good optical link,   and I should add, Woo's recent cd transport,  I feel that my sound is a good as the best I heard  I heard at Canjam. I wonder if a top amp would do much more and whether those other systems sounded good mostly because of better connectors and the like. .  I am very happy with the current set-up and can hardly be bothered even following this forum any more, I just listen to my music.

post #9 of 106

i guess i could sell everything else and keep the akg sextett and be plenty satisfied

post #10 of 106
I'm sort of already at that point, even with my lowly modded HE-400. I feel that with speakers I get much greater performance/dollar and more choice of products this way. I plan on buying some Totem Mite's to replace my Paradigm's and then a DacMagic 100 (with my O2 as pre-amp), but after that it might be over. Also, since speakers are more expensive I might have a better chance at a longer ladder of equipment to move up. After I reach my personal point of dimishing returns I plan on entering the DIY community and enjoying making my own gear.
post #11 of 106

2 Rules Audiofools must abide by:

 

1. STOP while you are still happy   :gs1000smile: 

 

2. DON'T try things you cannot/should not afford :confused_face(1):

post #12 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L View Post

2 Rules Audiofools must abide by:

1. STOP while you are still happy   gs1000.gif  

2. DON'T try things you cannot/should not afford confused_face(1).gif
I agree with the first, but the second I disagree. Obviously if it comes to meeting a budget, paying bills, or at the expense of possessions stop spending... but saving for a nice product is a good goal and is really satisfying to listen to.

Then again, I'm not as crazy as some of the people here... for the most part I'm okay with resonable equipment. Maybe a $300 DAC, $400 amplifier, $700 bookshelf speakers with $100 stands (more for floorstanding, maybe $1000-$1200), and $300 subwoofer. So with Canadian taxes around $2000/$2500. That is pretty expensive though, but for end game it isn't terribly bad. My hobbies are important enough to me for spending my money in small amounts until I achieve my dream system. They are how I spend most of my time, after all.
post #13 of 106

I thought this hobby was about music not who has the most toys, or more specifically the most expensive toys. The system I have now that cost less than $2000 reproduces music as well as I need to to be reproduced, far better than any stereo system I have ever owned before and now the payoff, listening to really great music any time I want.

post #14 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by HPiper View Post

I thought this hobby was about music not who has the most toys, or more specifically the most expensive toys. The system I have now that cost less than $2000 reproduces music as well as I need to to be reproduced, far better than any stereo system I have ever owned before and now the payoff, listening to really great music any time I want.
Well everybody loves music, even the people with $20 earbuds. What separates us from them is our knowledge and equipment. I think this hobby is about finding what you like in equipment and having your own unique sound signature. Also you get to learn about audio reproduction along the way. Of course our equipment is more musical, but if it were played through $20 earbuds it would still be the same song.

Technically, you don't need a $2000 setup, so obviously you care about gear to some extent also. But really, it comes down to enjoyment. If someone enjoys expensive equipment, let them tongue.gif. Sometimes it's just the joy of hearing new gear that makes me happy, but price is irrelevant. Anyone with money can drop thousands on equipment, but we know how to get the most for our money.
post #15 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by pachoo5 View Post
 

Maybe spend the time on finding good new music to listen to on your system? I enjoy finding new music now that it sounds so awesome out of my headphones. 


Agreed.

 

When you find your interest wavering its a great time to get back to what drew you here originally..........the music. 

 

Its a great time to rediscover music styles you may have forgotten about,  perhaps a good time to discover new genres.

 

Before you know it the spark will be lit once more and the "gearhead" inside you will awaken once more.

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