Life After Hi-Fi
Oct 31, 2017 at 9:45 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 5
Jul 22, 2011
Hey guys! It's been a while. More specifically, it's been 3 years since I bought a pair of headphones, after almost 5 years and 7+ thousand posts worth of TOTL end-game IEM buying, selling, and auditioning.

I just wanted to poke my head back in the forums to share my experience of what life is like "on the other side."

Just so there's no confusion, I still own 3 end-game level IEMs/headphones. I just hardly use them anymore, except for when I really want to sit and get lost in the music, or when my listening would disturb others. Most of my listening is now done on the Harmon Onyx Studios in my bedroom and living room, or in my car.

The side effect of this has been rather counter-intuitive...I actually enjoy my music more now.

We all know the typical reaction to listening to a new, revealing IEM..."I can hear things in my music I never could before!" It's an amazing feeling that leaves you in near ecstasy as you stay up until 3am rediscovering your music library. It's almost a religious experience. Unfortunately, we're human beings and we can easily become blase about even the best of things. That "new music" feel loses its luster almost instantaneously, and we're on to the next IEM discovery. Thus, we stay on the merry-go-round, constantly buying new IEMs to replace that initial "wow" , without ever truly being able to attain that feeling again.

What I've noticed in the last 3 years is just how much more I can enjoy my favorite songs now that they are more than just means to evaluate the performance of a shiny new IEM or headphone. I still enjoy hi-fidelity reproduction, but now that's no longer the point. The point is simply the music. I no longer switch headphones if i'm in the mood for "fun and warm" or "analytical" or "neutral". Instead I switch music based on my moods. Terms like "extended treble" and "2 kHz spike" have faded away to the back of my consciousness. I can really just sit and listen to music without having to quickly switch between headphones, while replaying the same 20 second clip over and over to find differences. It's actually been quite nice.

The consequence is that my library has grown much more, my tastes have expanded, and my wallet is starting to show signs of recovering from PTSD.

At the end of the day, the best thing about hi-fi is that we get to do experience music in a way that the general public cannot. They key is to keep it about the music, not the tools that present them to our ears. When we realize this, we see that life after death isn't so bad afterall.
Oct 31, 2017 at 9:51 PM Post #2 of 5
Maybe people get in this loop of buying audio gears because they want to be able to talk to others about this hobby. Many actually believe they are making friends like when guys go to a bar.
Nov 1, 2017 at 2:47 PM Post #3 of 5
Its a natural progression of the audio hobby to come to that realization you've stopped listening to the music and are only listening to the gear. Once you break through that wall you can find the balance and enjoy music, enjoy gear, or enjoy both.

There is no "right" way to do the audio hobby. Some people are gear nuts that actually enjoy pouring over data sheets and graphs. Others only care about music and finding that sub-sub-sub-underground artist that no one has heard of that makes unbelievably good tunes.... And some like marrying the two and finding gear that makes them feel like they're in the room with the artists they love.

I'm glad you've found your happy "zone" @eke2k6 , and I hope all of the other head-fiers get there someday as well. It feels amazing.
Nov 4, 2017 at 1:23 AM Post #4 of 5
Ahhh Eke! I am on the same boat as u. Stuck with my Aurisonic Rockets. Try to justify other purchases, but I always relent at the end. Just the other day I was trying to justify the Massdrop Plus, even seeking shotgunshane for the extra push. Do home listening out of my Kefq100's. Im pretty much set, but I still linger on here from time to time.
Nov 4, 2017 at 2:13 AM Post #5 of 5
When I get the feeling of buying something more expensive, I go to a store and listen to it with prejudice. "You mean these $1000 headphones resonate at mids? Bleh!"
"Planar is magic? Well these T20 mark 3 sound more like those crappy SHP1900 if you ask me"

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