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

me's picture

Don't spend more than you need to.

Bob Marcus's picture

Ignore Stereophile reviews.

CrystallineCalciumCarbonate's picture

The whole system is only as good as the weakest link. As an example, you might not think that different speaker cables make any difference, because in your system and room, you can't hear the difference between $1000 cables and a metal coat hanger. That doesn't mean there isn't a different. It probably just means the rest of the system, or the room, isn't up to the task of revealing the differences.

DGC's picture

Listen for yourself. Then listen some more.

G's picture

Trust your own ears only, and then only in your own listening room, with your own favorite discs.

chrissy's picture

Loudspeakers are the most important—so do choose carefully, listen at length, and go with your instinct on ones you can live with for a long time.

G's picture

Trust your own ears only, and then only in your own listening room, with your own favorite disk

Vinay Aravind's picture

No one component is more important than the synergy of all the components and the room. A painstakingly selected, assembled, matched, and positioned cheap system can sound better than an expensive system that is carelessly selected, assembled, matched, and positioned.

Edward Stapleton's picture

Find a good dealer. How? That can be difficult—not many left.

Karl-Rudolf Thomsson's picture

1) Take your time, he who hastens always wind up in a state of disappointment! 2) Spend at least a 1/3 of your budget on fixing the acoustics of your room! 3) The price tag is no indication of system symbiosis! Whether it's low, high, or ridiculously expensive does not matter if the components do not work together! 4) Intrude on others to gain as much experience that you can. Audiophiles are generally a kind bunch that really like to show off if you come around with a bag of cinnamon rolls and coffee! 5) Always bring music that you like! It is easy to make any system sound impressive with the right selection of music—and that is usually audiophile stuff that no sane music lover ever would listen to!

audio-sleuth@comcast.net's picture

Don't chase discounts. Your system doesn't care what you paid for something, just how well all the units work together.

Pjay's picture

Speakers are the most important component. Buy good ones and experiment with placement.

Hrvstr's picture

Do your research and set a budget—otherwise you're gonna go bankrupt.

fabio's picture

Don't waste money on cables.

Keith's picture

Enjoy the music.

John Williams's picture

Listen with your ears, not your wallet.

Dave L's picture

Don't buy something thinking that it will do for now and you will upgrade later, especially not if the product you would upgrade to is sitting in front of you in the same store. Second pearl (are we allowed two?): This might sound facile, but don't buy something that should be incredible or has great reviews, thinking that you will like it when you get home or that it will sound better with time. It probably won't. Then you take it back and everyone's awkward. Trust me. I know...

Gordon Stanley's picture

Listen for yourself.

Max's picture

Listen yourself, in your room, with your music!

Roy E.'s picture

Got it from Bob Harley and I know it's a cliche, but the best advice I ever read was to simplify the signal path. No equalizers, Barcus-Berry processors, or other "black boxes."

Matt M's picture

If it sounds good to you and is in your budget, don't overthink it—buy it.

Louis P.'s picture

Two things, actually. First, listen for yourself. Don't take anybody's word on which technology is best, or how much you should or shouldn't spend on anything. If you can hear what the cables or footers do, and they work for your budget and system, buy them. Otherwise, don't. Second, always aim high. If you do, you might fall a little short, but you will always succeed if you aim low. So listen to stuff you can't afford. Find a good dealer or knowledgeable friend who can map out a multi-year plan to get you where you want to go, and you'll be very happy in the long run. OTOH, if you buy a cheapie preamp or primary signal source, it will be a limiting factor in your system down the road, when you don't want to replace a fairly new component.

Montana's picture

First-order variables: 1) Quality of source material, 2) Speaker/room interface, 3) Accuracy of speakers. Second-order variables: accuracy of electronics. Everything else is a distant third.

Ron Ramsey's picture

Trust your own golden ears. If anyone tells you different: walk away. Absolutely avoid chain stores. Chaaaines! Heed Jacob Marley: "I wear the chain I forged in life! I made it link by link and yard by yard! I gartered it on of my own free will and by my own free will, I wore it! Ah, it is a ponderous chain!"

King Solomon's picture

Don't buy anything new.

bssk's picture

1) Clean power (PFC, filter EMI/RFI, good grounding, dedicated circuits), 2) The best source you can afford, 3) Synergy between components.

Greg Begland's picture

Treat your room, people. It will be a much more significant improvement that any other tweak.

Nathan Jones's picture

Negotiating a home trial before you buy is much more important than any price reduction.

Lars Strömberg's picture

Keep things simple. Even a big problem can have a simple solution. Focus on purpose, not methods.

Ed Strand's picture

Trust your own ears. No matter what a reviewer or other guru says, if it doesn't sound good to you, it isn't good!