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tmsorosk
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Most people , especailly

Most people , especailly young people just want convenience , they don't care about quality .

soulful.terrain
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instant gratification
tmsorosk wrote:

Most people , especailly young people just want convenience , they don't care about quality .

 

Exactly. Young people want instant gratification more than ever these days. Why spend time auditioning gear, cables, etc' when you can just get a handheld device with 3000 songs downloaded. Very sad indeed.

robertG
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Finger pointing...
soulful.terrain wrote:
tmsorosk wrote:

Most people , especailly young people just want convenience , they don't care about quality .

 

Exactly. Young people want instant gratification more than ever these days. Why spend time auditioning gear, cables, etc' when you can just get a handheld device with 3000 songs downloaded. Very sad indeed.

 

There's no need for an audiophile system when listening to the compressed crap the record industry is putting out.

Young people have nothing to do with that. If you eat at McDonald every day, you don't know what else is there.

nunhgrader
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Hinderance

I think the lack of knowledge is the largest issue to getting people interested in audio. People do not "know" how much they would enjoy great sound until they experience it. Seems like people like convenience more than perfect sound.

Cost would be a close second. No doubt about it - the economy - the stress - other hobbies splitting up one's disposable money.

Last but, not least. The long, almost lost, art of listening is becoming a rarity. Really listening. Live music can get you there nicely (and somewhat cheaper at times). Just as alot of our culture has moved towards "quick fixes" - fast enjoyment - hurry up society finds no use for the hobby of listening to music.

robertG
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True. Audio will join the

True.

Audio will join the rank of "elite" hobbies like classic car restauration, horse riding, boating, analog photography and the like.

Perhaps it already did.

I've been to RMAF, CES, SSI and all I saw were old overweight and balding guys - like me. Only in Munich did I see a couple of "young" people.

On the other hand, we all have ears. Sound and music will be here for as long as we're human. What is changing is the relationship we - humans - have with music. The mistress is not as sexy as she's once been.

I see MBL and Griffon and Burmeister gear, and I find that stuff as boring as a 1971 Oldsmobile Delta98 with Landeau roof...

 

 

 

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I think Peachtree has it right...

I think more than anything it will be new products and new ways of doing business that will bring people into high end.

I think Peachtree Audio is going at it the right way, tapping into ipod/streaming/cloud music crowd and introducing them to higher quality sound.  I think it is companies like this that will get more people interested in getting better quality sound.  The use of a tube to smooth out the hashiness of mp3 is a great idea.

Face it, most people listen to music through Ipods, Pandora, Spotify, MOG, Rhapsody etc etc and there need to be more "bridge" products to bring these people into the world of what is possible with better, reasonably priced equipment. 

To someone that pays $5.00 a month for 11 million music titles streamed at 320kbps and can listen to music just about anywhere with a smartphone, laptop or PC and interface that with a cheap stereo, making an incremental investment of $5000.00 may be a stretch.  But hey,  they might spend a grand, get a good improvement in sound and wonder what the next step up in the audio chain might be. 

I don't think that being an audiophile will go the way of the dinosaur, I just think people will get into it from a completely different path than they used to.  The companies that can tap into this will be successful, those that can't won't.

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Is it just me...?

I once thought I was an audiophile but have determined that I'm more of a stereo and music enthusiast.  I've been an SAE fan since I first listened to a system in the 70's and own several pieces since they are plentiful and cheap on the used market, as are vintage Infinity and Polk speakers.  Being an electronic technician, I've repaired many components over the years and the build quality of some of the new equipment just isn't there.

Anytime I've thought about upgrading to something "high end", whatever I audition (new or vintage), I can hear the "digital warble" of any given CD.  Is that normal or am I too picky?  I love LP's but only if I can run them through an SAE 5000A to eliminate the snaps and pops.  When I want a variety of music or background music, I either listen to satellite radio (which is what local FM stations play 24/7 with advertising) or my CD collection as 320 mbps mp3's via music server.

Maybe I answered my question in the first line of my post but how does one get rid of the digital warble of a CD?  I would much rather hear the music than the imperfections that the equipment exposes.  Any thoughts?

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The real problem is simple.

The real problem is simple. The problem is that you get analytically perfect electronics for pennies these days, and there is precious little to tweak. Unfortunately, the nutters at record companies insist on LOUD LOUD LOUD so you never hear good music except from Indies.

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celebrate the death of high end

 

Pennies on the dollar is right, JJ.

We really don't need the high end anymore. Superb speaker based systems can be had for a fraction of the cost of what was acceptable 30 years ago. And headphone systems are even less.

And you want enthusiasm for music and great sound among the young?

Follow the headphone world of head-fi and you will see where the future is.

There are a ton of young people into good sound on the go and and at home with headphones.

I see a return to the enjoyment and acquisition of music over gear.

Dennis the Menace
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Thanks JJ & Tomjtx

I owned a Hafler setup that was top notch but found I enjoyed music from my DeWalt boombox more than the Hafler.  When I listened to the Hafler, I found myself listening for imperfections and I wasn't enjoying the musical content.  So I sold the Hafler and took a look at what I had sitting around and found I had a 70's vintage SAE Mark 31B amp that had problems so I wiped the board and replaced everything with new parts, it meets specs and the audio quality is excellent.

The last 2 or 3 CD's I bought sounded like the engineer tried to stuff as much audio into the audio bandwidth as possible.  And they don't sound any better thru headphones or earbuds.  If the music industry is concerned about profits, they should take a look at their product quality before pointing the finger at people that illegally download their product.

Precious little to tweak?  Is that why the high end market pushes esoteric, high end cables and power cords?   While I believe they might have benefit in the RF world, I can't see where they would provide much betterment to audio reproduction, except to the manufacturer, distributor and dealers bank accounts...  Their claims remind me of the snake oil salesmen of yesteryear hawking their goods to an unsuspecting public.  Back in the day, amplifier specs were scrutinized by the FTC but it's like that's all in the past... 

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Ironic

It seems to me the high end is a victim of the advancement of audio engineering.

The way to produce good sound is well understood and the cost to do so has come down considerably.

So esoterica is the last refuge of the high end hawker. Fortunately for them they found the word quantum to retreat to :-)

John Atkinson
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Alive and Well

tomjtx wrote:
And you want enthusiasm for music and great sound among the young?

Follow the headphone world of head-fi and you will see where the future is.

Stereophile's InnerFidelity.com website, run by Headroom founder Tyll Hertsens and devoted to all things headphone-related, has been growing by leaps and bounds since we launched it in the Spring.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

robertG
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Aftermarket headphone cables?
John Atkinson wrote:

 growing by leaps and bounds since we launched it in the Spring.

 

Hum! Growing by Leaps and bounds! Must be time to market headphone aftermarket audiophile "cables"!smiley

robertG
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I'd say audiophile is the

I'd say audiophile is the victim of high end...

Interestingly enough, most advancements in audio take place in other areas than high end (Pro audio, sound design, car audio, cell phones codecs, ...)

tomjtx
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Another viewpoint
soulful.terrain wrote:
tmsorosk wrote:

Most people , especailly young people just want convenience , they don't care about quality .

 

Exactly. Young people want instant gratification more than ever these days. Why spend time auditioning gear, cables, etc' when you can just get a handheld device with 3000 songs downloaded. Very sad indeed.

 

Why is this sad? I think it's great that young and old can have such easy access to so much music. Why not celebrate that so many listen to so much music?

I am around college students all the time. They all have Ipods , upgrade their earphones and have very acceptable sound straight out of the Ipod or Iphone/Android etc.

 

My kid just started college. He would die w/o his Spotify streaming at 320 through his 100.00 iems which sounds pretty damn good.

 

These are the music lovers that will sustain the art of music making. Without which there would be no need for audio, high or lo end.

Soothsayerman
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Agreed..
tomjtx wrote:
soulful.terrain wrote:
tmsorosk wrote:

Most people , especailly young people just want convenience , they don't care about quality .

 

Exactly. Young people want instant gratification more than ever these days. Why spend time auditioning gear, cables, etc' when you can just get a handheld device with 3000 songs downloaded. Very sad indeed.

 

Why is this sad? I think it's great that young and old can have such easy access to so much music. Why not celebrate that so many listen to so much music?

I am around college students all the time. They all have Ipods , upgrade their earphones and have very acceptable sound straight out of the Ipod or Iphone/Android etc.

 

My kid just started college. He would die w/o his Spotify streaming at 320 through his 100.00 iems which sounds pretty damn good.

 

These are the music lovers that will sustain the art of music making. Without which there would be no need for audio, high or lo end.

I agree, I think personal music services have just taken the place of conventional radio and actually get people MORE interested in music.  It's all good I think.  I have had great fun with MOG listening to artists from when I was in college 25 years ago.  I would never buy a Buzzcocks album, but I'll check them out again on MOG. It has been fun using MOG to get in the waaay back machine and re-discover old and new music.  If I like it, I buy the CD or try to find a hi-rez version to purchase and download.

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I did not know

that I had never had a good secretary until I had one.

I think audio is the same. Not everyone will notice or care about the differences between good and ok sound, but I think there are millions of Americans who would prefer better sound once they heard it. And they will not know to seek that which they do not know exists.

 

Or something.

 

Trey

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Two good reasons for people thinking

that high end audio is crazy are Mr Kait and Ms Belt who post on these forums all the time. You think that by allowing thsoe two to spout their foolishness on here that it is helping any? Any sane person would read what they post, shake their heads and walk away.

soulful.terrain
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I can see your point.
tomjtx wrote:
soulful.terrain wrote:
tmsorosk wrote:

Most people , especailly young people just want convenience , they don't care about quality .

 

Exactly. Young people want instant gratification more than ever these days. Why spend time auditioning gear, cables, etc' when you can just get a handheld device with 3000 songs downloaded. Very sad indeed.

 

Why is this sad? I think it's great that young and old can have such easy access to so much music. Why not celebrate that so many listen to so much music?

I am around college students all the time. They all have Ipods , upgrade their earphones and have very acceptable sound straight out of the Ipod or Iphone/Android etc.

 

My kid just started college. He would die w/o his Spotify streaming at 320 through his 100.00 iems which sounds pretty damn good.

 

These are the music lovers that will sustain the art of music making. Without which there would be no need for audio, high or lo end.

Makes perfect sense Tom.

I guess I look at it kinda like reading a book on Kindle as opposed to actually holding a real book. Tangability so to speak. Seems like the new formats lose that.

But then again, I'm a relic. lol :-)

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The largest hinderance to getting people interested in audio is?

I don't consider myself an audiophile, I consider myself an audio enthusiast. I love music, and sure I want the absolute best reproduction of whatever medium I'm listening to, but I want it within my budget; and if what's in my budget isn't the absolute best quality in the world, then I'm OK with that, because for me it's about enjoying the music not obsessing over the gear I'm running (it's taken me a while to get to the point of not obsessing about having the latest and greatest gear out there, be it TVs, video game consoles, computers or audio equipment). My current setup is by no means what an 'audiophile' would consider to be even adequate; a Marantz 2230 that I got from GoodWill and refurbished (I'm a former mechanic and my other hobby is repairing electronics so I'm pretty handy with a set of tools and a soldering iron), a set of Sony SS-F6000 speakers, and a Technics SL-B300 turntable, (many years ago I had a much nicer Marantz backed vintage setup that in it's day was considered high end) but for $350 it puts out decent sound (and I can admit this because I don't care what you think of my system, I enjoy listening to it and that is what rteally matters). Is it what I consider a stellar system? No, not really, but I can afford it, and it gets me listening to music in my home, and it gets my record collection spinning again, and for what I spent it doesn't sound half bad. Do I wish I could afford some of the gear I see reviewed here and other places? Absolutely. Will this system get upgraded and improved? Definitely, but while I'm no minimum-wage whopper-flopper, I'm also not a 6 figure executive, and when the amount my dual income household brings in is not much more than the average cost of living for a family of three, I don't have big money to plunk down on high end Hi-Fi gear (and believe me I love aquiring gear of all kinds and if I have the money I will come up with any thinly veiled justification for spending money on it that I can pass off to the wife). Does that mean that I can't enjoy music or that the sound quality my system puts out is horrible? Hell no. It's just not the best, and there's nothing wrong with that.

So, in my opinion, what's "The largest hinderance to getting people interested in audio"? I think it's four fold, 1 - Cost, 2 - Crappy music, 3- Time and space, 4 - Snobby 'Audiophiles...

I think the majority of people just don't have the time (and many no longer have the attention span, or they want to 'multi-task' everything in life) to sit down, relax, listen to, and enjoy music. So many people just have way to much they feel they need to fit in to their daily lives, no one stops to smell the roses anymore (or enjoy the music). And to be honest, with the utter garbage that the music industry churns out, I can't say I blame them, I know that I don't want to even attempt to enjoy a lot of the crap that gets released nowadays (seriously, I've heard every Lady GaGa track ever made, and I heard it 20+ years ago when it was made by Madonna). When that's the kind of Short-Attention-Span-Theatre crap that gets shoveled out of the music industry why bother taking the time to listen? I know there are actually fantastic artists out there, but when people already won't make the time to stop and listen to the music what makes you think that they will make the time to find those really good artists, let alone put forth the time and money involved in putting together a good quality system on which to listen to it in their home?

Now, add to that the insane cost of so-called 'entry-level' equipment, that every time it's asked about you tell people is garbage and they should save their money to buy something triple the cost, what makes you think people will even bother? When I was looking for a Turntable to replace my SL-B300 I read a review here about the Pro-ject Debut III, and from what I read it seemed like a decent entry level table for $400, and I could save the money for it in two months (by saving extra expendable income). So, I asked around the web to see what people thought of it. Everywhere I asked I heard "it's junk, save your money and buy 'X'", and 'X' would be something like a Rega P5, or a Linn Sondek, something more than 3 times what I was looking to spend. I have 300 records sitting in boxes in my closet that I want to listen to now, not in 9 months, and I'm certainly not going to spend 5 times what the entire rest of my system cost on just one component. That's ridiculous, especially when I know that the quality of that turntable is above and beyond my system. It'd be like buying a Blu-Ray player for a standard definition tube TV because a Blu-Ray is a better quality picture than DVD. Why even bother? You won't notice a difference in playback quality. When all your advice and recommendations for 'entry-level' gear to someone entering the world of Hi-Fi gear means dropping more cash than you would on a used Toyota or Honda, most people are going to walk away and never consider Hi-Fi gear again. When someone new to the hobby, with a meager amount of money to invest in it, asks about a budget record cleaner like a Spin Clean, and you tell them to drop $700 on a VPI 16.5, but that they won't be happy with it after they use it a few times and will want to upgrade to the 17, what makes you think they'll even want to get involved in the hobby? (I clean my records by hand on a lazy susan using homemade solution and a $20 shop vac from wal-mart, as convenient as a VPI? No. do my records get clean and sound nice? Definitely, and for much less than 1/10th the cost) 'Entry-Level' gear shouldn't cost that much and most people don't want to spend that kind of money on it initially, especially for something that you're calling 'entry-level'. Not everyone has the money to buy super-high-end gear (or even some of the gear that the reviews on Stereophile consider 'entry-level') nor have the living space to dedicate an entire room strictly for the 'optimum' environment for listening to music. You can't tell some 18 year old hipster (no offense meant to any of the 18 year old hipsters out there) that works a minimum wage job at the mall and lives in a studio apartment that he won't enjoy the music or his setup unless he has a dedicated listening room and drops $5k on entry level 'Hi-Fi' gear, that's just absurd.  

Most people don't care if they can hear the squeak of Bonham's bass drum on "Bonzo's Montreux " (I do, I like hearing that kindf of stuff, which is why even though I can't afford it, I can appreciate high end gear, and I can hear it even on my meager setup), 'the subway train go by on this lame ass "Harry Belafonte at Cernegie Hall" 200 gram 45 RPM pressing', or even if they have a 'good soundstage'. Most people getting into this hobby for the first time just want to hear their favorite music on something other than a crummy pair of earbuds hooked into their iPhone, and just the simple fact that the music will fill the room will make them happy with what they have. It'll be that first time they listen to something like "Bonzo's Montreux" and notice that that slight squeak isn't just noise they're hearing past the earbuds, that they'll be hooked and want to improve their system to hear those little nuances. The thing is you have to start them small, on stuff they can actually afford, and foster their love for the hobby, not scoff at them because they're not looking to buy a $5k table, doing that just makes you come off as a snobby douchebag.

So how to save Hi-Fi and get more people into it? Stop being snobby gear worshipping douchebags and encourage people to get any kind of setup on which to listen to their music that doesn't involve MP3s, earbuds or headphones, advise them on actually affordable setups, and just be glad that they are starting somewhere. Because if you help them enjoy their first rig (and not drain their life savings), then they will definitely come back for more and better.

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entry level

To answer some thought's Submitted By: jrfhoutx,

audiophile entry level and what you can afford to start with are two different things. If you have bundles of money the sky is the limit. If you have a couple of grand to kick around you can make a good start or hold on to that system for a long time like a lot of people have or it can be a passion over many years like it's been with me.

I agree that there is a lot of crappy and poorly recorded music out there but there are also many great recordings in all music categories to listen to. 

Buy a decent turntable for a couple of hundred bucks and listen to your albums again. You did say that you love music..

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I do love music, and I'm not

I do love music, and I'm not saying that the music I listen to is poorly recorded, or that the vinyl is poorly pressed, or that my table doesn't do a good job of reproducing them.  Much of my collection needs to be cleaned (it's been packed away in boxes for the better part of a decade), and I listen to them as I clean them, and they sound very good on my table (for a cheap hand me down table they sound fantastic on it, much better than I expected them to). My point was that if you want people to get into the hobby then encouraging them to get into it with anything they can afford is more enticing and inviting to people than constantly telling them to spend boatloads of money on stuff of which they don't currently understand the value. Yes there is a difference between the so-called 'entry-level' and 'what you can afford' but the thread is asking what the biggest hindrance is, and if you ask me it's the way people are going about introducing others to 'Hi-Fi'. If you want people to get into it, then you need to start them anywhere they can afford to start. Often times it's less of where they can afford to start and more of where they feel comfortable investing in something they're unsure of whether or not they'll feel they got their moneys worth out of it. If someone has never owned a turntable and doesn't feel comfortable dropping $3-600 on an 'entry-level' turntable, stop telling them to spend that much and tell them to get a cheap $100 turntable at a Best Buy, if they enjoy listening to vinyl after that, you and I both know they'll go out and buy a better quality table later on. But you need to get them into it in the first place. If all you had ever heard was a $5k rig would you truly appreciate it's sound quality? Now, if you had a $500 rig and then heard a $2k rig, and you notice the improvement over your $500 rig, you'll most likely decide you want to upgrade it, and you will hear and appreciate the difference in sound quality far more and be more willing to do whatever it takes to get that upgrade. The best thing I can reference it to is cars (being a former mechanic it's the easiest thing to reference). If the most luxurious, nicest driving vehicle you've ever driven is a Toyota and someone lets you drive their Cadillac, you'll notice and appreciate the upgrade in quality far more than you would have if all you'd ever driven was the Cadillac. Once you notice the difference in quality it's much easier to want to make that next leap up in quality to a Mercedes, and to do whatever it takes to be able to make that leap up.

You said for you it's been "a passion over many years", but I'm guessing you didn't spark that passion with an expensive setup. I'm guessing it was hearing the difference between an OK affordable setup and a setup a step or two above the one you had that sparked that passion.

In referring to crappy music I wasn't talking about the quality of the pressing, or of the recording itself (as yes there is some poor quality in the industry), I was mainly referring to the quality of the artists themselves, as there seems (at least to me) to be an abundance of garbage being pushed out by the recording industry. Differences in taste are one thing, but dozens of 'artists' putting out albums full of 3 minute tracks that consist of nothing but loops of 4 second samples taken from 30 year old songs, with one sentence vocal tracks that repeat for the entire 3 minute track is not exactly quality music. Personally, I don't even consider it music, and it doesn't require talent. Now that may be a difference of opinion, but if you ask me that kind of 'music' is part of the problem, there's nothing about it to appreciate. When the music doesn't command your attention, make you want to hear more, or inspire any kind of emotion and only makes itself repetitive, generic background noise for your subconscious, why would you bother to spend money to improve the quality of the equipment you use to reproduce it? I know I wouldn't.

I am working on replacing my table with a much higher quality one. I do appreciate high quality gear and better sound quality, I have been bitten by the bug, but as it is for many, it will be aquistion as I can afford it over time. Had I waited to save up and purchase an expensive rig all that vinyl would have sat un-played, and if you ask me letting it sit un-played just because you don't have the highest quality gear is far more of a crime than playing it on lower quality gear. I mean what's the point of having it if you're not going to listen to it? That's the same reason my collection is in the hundreds and not thousands (like my mp3 collection is), who cares how 'rare' it is, if I won't listen to it why would I bother to own it? But again, your immediate solution is that I should spend more money on gear and that that will increase my appreciation of the music, and that's BS. Spending big on gear doesn't show love for the music, listening to it does. Aquiring better gear simply shows increasing appreciation for better sound quality, not that one loves music any more than if they didn't have expensive gear. Don't fool yourself, Hi-Fi isn't about love for the music, it's about chasing better sound quality and sound reproduction, and neither one necessarily goes hand-in-hand with loving music...

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misconceptions

jrhoutx, sorry to say but you are definitely an audiophile. The very fact that you want to improve the sound you listen to makes you an audiophile. I don't know where you've been soliciting advice. Most of the sites I post on don't give the kind of advice you seem to be getting. If the Project Debut III got a good review in Stereophile why not ask those who post on this site and are familiar with Stereophile and it's reviewers? 

As for "audiophiles" being snobby and elitist, the truth is most are not. Most serious audiophiles are ordinary people who sacrifice other things for their passion. Contrary to popular "myth" we don't look down our noses at anything. Being called an audiophile used to mean something good. I don't understand why or how a few sour pusses have managed to make it a "bad" thing. Most of us (audiophiles) gladly and willingly share any and all information and knowledge we have. We are not like those "wacko's" in that Accura commercial. 

I blame the magazines for being a major part of the problem. When they (Stereophile included) call a $5000 investment a "very basic budget system" that turns many people away. You Stereophile writers don't live in the real world as far as gear is concerned. You get lots of gear on extended loan and when you do buy you get an "accommodation price" that looks like outright thievery to the rest of us." So when you magazine reviewers start talking about entry level you usually have no idea what entry level really is.

I have helped many people put together systems that I wouldn't be unhappy listening to. None of them cost more than $2000. Most of them are less than $1500. If the person is willing to go with some (not all) used or "vintage" gear the cost is usually less than $1000. $1000 for a system is not out of line for anyone but the most impoverished.

One thing I do when people ask me how much something cost is first tell them how long I saved in order to buy it. They sometimes say "You have a lot of gear and those huge speakers (full range esl's), all that stuff must be expensive". My reply is yes, it is. However this is my hobby, I've been at it a long time (since 1967) and I rarely buy gear nowadays. They listen to my system make nice comments and finish by saying they could never afford anything like it. That's when I tell them I can put together a system for them for <$1500. I cap that by saying it would be a system I'd love to come visit and listen to.

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starting off

when i decided to get back into audio, i already had a set of pretty good advent speakers that had cost about $300 new. still, i went to the dealer because i thought i needed new speakers.  after some listening and talking, he suggested what i really needed was front end gear.  my dealer set me up with a brand new arcam a80 integrated amp and an arcam cd73 cd player for under $2,000.  he was right that i did not need new speakers at that time because i had never really heard the ones i owned.  that was 6 years ago.  in the intervening years i have upgraded with select new and used components as i could afford them.  so, in my opinion, anyone interested in getting involved definitely needs a good mentor, be it a dealer or someone like JoeE.  cost definietly does not need to be a barrier to better sound.

 

tom

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