How do you decide when it's time to upgrade?

How do you decide when it's time to upgrade?
I'm dissatisfied with the sound of my system.
34% (69 votes)
I want to be up to date with technological advances.
10% (21 votes)
I've read a review of a product that sounds interesting.
8% (16 votes)
My audiophile friends are all getting new equipment.
0% (0 votes)
I heard/saw a new piece of equipment at a dealer, and I want it.
10% (20 votes)
It's because . . . (fill in your own reason).
28% (57 votes)
I don't upgrade unless a piece of equipment fails and can't be repaired.
9% (19 votes)
Total votes: 202

The urge to upgrade audio components seems endemic to the condition of being an audiophile. Which of the following is usually your main reason for upgrading?

Steve Williams's picture

I have the $$$ and my wife lets me buy new stuff.

M.D.  Chubb's picture

When the prospective "new" piece offers appreciably more in some respect than what it replaces. I've had a DD processor new in the box for nearly two years. I'm just not dissatified enough with the performance of my Fosgate Audionics Model 4 pre-pro, to put it in my system (even though it's just an add-on piece)! Maybe I'll sell it and wait for Pro Logic II.

Ted Betley's picture

Something breaks or some new compelling technology such as DVD/DVDA, or SACD.

Bruno Bicek's picture

My equipment is over 25 years old, but stil working;get a chance for a good bargain for lower price and that it has good results in review.

Joe Hartmann's picture

Each year I review my system against what I read, then go to each of several stores in my area and listen; as I'm a long-term customer, it's visiting old friends. Sometimes a review will expand my review base. This year I replaced my phono cartridge (6 years old); next year, on general principles, my 17-year-old tonearm is up for replacement and my CD player is up for review. Some components stay in the system for extended periods, especially speakers.

Mike Healey's picture

If my system is having trouble making music, it's time for an upgrade. However, if I like the way a piece of equipment sounds, I will keep it until it falls apart and can't be fixed anymore. You never know when the mood will hit you and you MUST play an LP!

I.M.  Outthere's picture

I've got this leather pouch, see. In it are the remains of gear past. I shake it, and scatter the contents on the ground. It's in the reading. It's all in the reading.

Al Marcy's picture


I.  M.  Frugal's picture

When I can afford it, or if I see something used that I can't pass up.

Chris S.'s picture

I upgrade when I can afford to upgrade. My system is always evolving. I constantly look at new gear to keep up with what I'll buy when I get the cash. I don't know about the rest of your readers, but I don't own the perfect audio system (yet), so I plan to keep upgrading for a long time to come. After all, it's part of this wonderful hobby/obsession we share.

Brad - Atlanta's picture

When something dies...

Henry's picture

I upgrade whenever I believe I can make noticable improvements in the quality of sound of my system at a cost I am comfortable with.

Samir's picture

At some point I get used and I get to know better my system. The benefits of the last upgrade are assimilated and I get aware of new weaknesses I want to resolve.

John Gilmour's picture

Usually I am shopping for something other than home audio—such as looking for car audio or a second system for the office—and I find something I have to have . . . now.

Anonymous's picture

Analogue Tape is dead and digital is the future

Ren's picture

Two young kid and a morgage make it imposible to upgrade unless their is no choice. I had my amp service and clean it now sound as good as new the best $50. I ever spend on equipment.

Mike McGregor's picture

When I sense that I am no longer enjoying the music as much as I recall having experienced it in the past, I begin to ponder which component might be upgraded to give me the biggest improvement per dollar of cost. I also consider how long I have had a component, thinking I can take advantage of technology that has improved since I bought it. For example, I have owned my Vandersteen 2C speakers since 1986—my oldest component, and the one I would most like to upgrade. I have spent small sums over the years to add audio systems to more rooms, so that might be considered an upgrade strategy as well.

Peter MacHare's picture

I get so emotionally attached to my equipment that it must fail before I upgrade.

Steve Cuskley's picture

It's Monday (well, today, anyway).

erich's picture

I upgrade when I get the itch to build another piece of equipment. I think DVD-A wil be next.

Gary Smith's picture

I can afford it! I buy as good as I can, the plan upgrades for the future (which are subject to change with technology and new products).

Louis Perlman's picture

(whenever) there's enough money in the budget to make a meaningful upgrae to my system!!!

Eric Jansen's picture

I don't know that I am dissatified as much as I just know something else will sound better.

Brankin's picture

It's because I often have to choose between family necessities and racking up frivolous debt for toys pushed by the "audio pornography" business. I have yet to hear one piece of equipment within $1500 of what I own that would make me want to buy it, save for vain reasons.

Tony Esporma's picture

As a hobbyist, every so often I get the itch and decide that I want something new. Nothing really wrong with what I have, mind you, just that sometimes—only sometimes—change is good. Most of the time it's just change and fun. Who knows? One of these days I may get a CD player for my audio rig.

M.S.'s picture

I think about upgrading at those rare moments I think I can afford it.

Louie, Audio Dupe's picture

Oh yeah, every time Tellig goes off on an affordable piece I start frothing at the mouth wanting to hear it. Yeah, he's cost me some money . . . but not too much.

DC in ABQ's picture

It's because I just can't help myself!

Teresa Goodwin's picture

I don't upgrade until I am forced to pay for a major repair or buy new. Except for new sound and video delivery systems, I usually wait until I can afford them—usually second generation. I'm getting SACD as soon as the Sony SCD-XB940QS makes it to the USA!

Danish Yazdani's picture

I like having new stuff to fiddle with!