What is the most important pearl of audiophile wisdom you can bestow on someone?

Anyone who participates in this hobby for a few years develops some insight that is worth sharing. What is the most important pearl of audiophile wisdom you can bestow on someone?

What is the most important pearl of audiophile wisdom you can bestow on someone?
Here's my pearl of wisdom
92% (137 votes)
I don't have any . . . yet
8% (12 votes)
Total votes: 149

Nathan's picture

Just because it's expensive doesn't mean it's any good, but cheap usually is cheap.

John P.'s picture

Trust your own ears. Do what sounds good to you. Buy what sounds good to you. Be whatever sort of music lover and hi-fi nut you want to be. Have fun.

peter's picture

1) Trust your ears, 2) Listen to a good budget hi-fi system first before looking at high-end gear, and 3) Think small (integrated over separates, speakers that won't dominate the room).

Dimitris Gogas's picture

Don't believe the hype.

djl's picture

Trust your ears.

Allen's picture

Let your ears be the judge.

Oliver's picture

All the equipment is only there to listen to music! Music is important, not the equipment. Don't read too much about measurements. Don't waste your time at dealers' stores. Visit concerts! Visit more concerts! Buy records! Buy more records. Chat with the musicians before and after the concert. Enjoy the music!

Chris's picture

Find a good dealer and work with him!

dean2000's picture

Smaller rooms may require less investment.

WC2's picture

Forget your equipment and focus on the music—that's what matters.

shagger67's picture

Don't make changes for change's sake. Every change you make must be evaluated before making another change, I find many people get lost in the shuffle of mods tweaks etc, and forget to listen along the way, and wind up listening to tweaks rather than the music itself. Enjoy the process, but slow down and pull out your music, and listen to the music before and after every implementation or change. Have some reference music that you really know intimately and then, and only then, can you have a benchmark to work with.

Joe Evans's picture

The sales staff have to be the kind of people who elicit trust and a desire in customers to return.

C.  Healthgut, M.D., F.A.C.S's picture

Don't believe anything you read.

Fred's picture

Do not fret so much about the equipment and enjoy the music instead. Most audio gear is so refined these days, that what you already own is very likely all you need. If it sounds good to you, all is well. The ear-brain interface is quite adept at making music out of the bits we feed it. Do continue reading about the fine gear in Stereophile and, by all means, find someone to share your passion with.

Stephen's picture

Put the speakers where you like to listen.

Bubba in SF's picture

Spend as much as you can on your speakers. If they can't do it, then it doesn't matter what other components you get.

Dan H.'s picture

Cost has no direct relationship to the quality of audio.

Christian's picture

Neutrality, honesty, and expertise.

Lila's picture

I would mention that specifications do tell most (but not all) about how audio components sound, provided you know what you're looking at and the specs are accurate, but it does seem to require a lot of trial & error before getting to know what the specs sound like and what one likes. Other than that, beware of special/exotic cables that, of course, don't improve sound, although in some cases they can degrade it (eg, additional noise). I generally use the largest well-shielded cables I can find.

Mark's picture

Shop around, listen extensively to what you want to listen to, and buy quality, which does not have to break the bank.

B.Parker's picture

Whatever kit you buy, you need to give it time. Only over a sustained period of time will you truly hear its sound. Patience required (sorry), plus you will save money.

Gallo's picture

Bottom line: You have to live with your choice and it's your money, regardless of what someone else thinks.

Noah Bickart's picture

There are three things that matter for sound quality: Source material, transducers, and the room. Everything else is snake oil.

obieseven's picture

Move your speakers away from the walls.

Will Paladino's picture

Listen to as much live music as you can.

Karl's picture

Let the equipment burn in some 20-100 hours before you make any judgment about the sound quality.

Sherwood's picture

Listen to music for the fun of it sometimes. It's not always about the technical aspects.

Jim's picture

To quote Chuck D, "Don't believe the hype." That or "trust nothing you see, and only half of what you hear."

Glenn Bennett's picture

You don't have to spend a lot of money. It's all about the music. If it sounds good to you, enjoy what you have.

Len White's picture

Most speakers benefit from being set up symmetrically. At least a couple of feet away from front/side room boundaries (front-wall and side-wall distances should not be exactly equal), left/right side-walls as close as possible to being the same (eg, not open on one side and closed on the other), and each speaker an equal distance from the listening position. You can try experimenting with the listening position, distance from the speakers (the closer, the more the room acoustics are taken out of the equation). Sometimes a matter of inches can make a big difference. Room acoustics are also very important. Windows, and other hard surfaces cause spikes and nulls in the reproduced sound. There are lots of DIY acoustic projects or off-the-shelf acoustic products that can help. Start with addressing the L/R side-wall first-reflection points (have someone move a small mirror along each side-wall until you can see the speaker closest to that wall in the mirror from the listening position). The next most important factors are power conditioning (dedicated power line is a good start), synergistic cabling (power, IC, speaker cabling with same or similar design goals), and resonance control (minimizing mechanical and electrical interference of equipment on itself and each other). If you haven't addressed these areas, you really don't know what your present equipment is capable of sounding like.