any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

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ProfessorX
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any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by ProfessorX » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:51 am

So I always thought of myself as a boglehead, not the strictest boglehead but a boglehead all the same. I max out my tax deferred retirement savings, I max out my families Roth IRA contributions, we save money on top of that... even though our house doesn't necessarily conform to the standards of "living severely beneath your means" that many bogleheads here advocate for... it is hard to do that here in Philadelphia.

In any case I bought a new home theater system over the holidays with a fairly nice set of speakers, but before doing so I joined the AVS forum in order to ask the people over there for some feedback before taking the plunge... and this seems to have been my downfall...

I started reading their forums too frequently and now I have the feeling that my audio equipment is sub-par and that it could be much better... I find myself daydreaming about having higher end speakers and enjoying the "big sound" speaker music as much those folks do over there...

granted I can afford to upgrade without dipping into my fully funded emergency fund or otherwise curtailing any aspect of my retirement savings plan, or cutting back spending in any other area, however it wouldn't be very "bogleheadish" all the same...

so i have come here to the bogleheads forum to ask you nice folks if there is any cure for my current upgrade-itis? :confused

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bUU
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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by bUU » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:54 am

I found that age "solved" both audiophile and videophile upgrade-itis. My hearing and vision have degraded enough that I couldn't appreciate the finer nuances even if I could afford them!
:D

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by livesoft » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:55 am

Yep, my cure has been that my ears have gone bad. Nothing sounds like it should anymore and no amount of technology is going to help me.
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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by midareff » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:02 am

There has to be a balance in life. AFTER I maxed my 457 and ROTH's for the year, and AFTER I hit my year's taxable savings goal the rest was open to life's pleasures, be it audio, video, cameras or international travel. The one rule that made it all work was don't but anything you can't pay for without touching bank accounts or carrying credit card balances. When I had some extra money I would stash it and use for what I wanted. The last six or seven years it was international travel. After I retired and have time to enjoy home threater more than I could while working a couple of new Samsung 55" top line LED's were added.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by nisiprius » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:24 am

I've always been reasonably critical of sound, and my ears are in fairly decent shape (I still pass official hearing tests which for some reason only go up to 10,000 cycles. I stopped hearing 15,734 horizontal scanning frequencies in my late fifties, though). I can hear the difference between a CD played directly and a CD that's been ripped to MP3. But only on some kinds of material (never on popular music; maybe 1/3 of the time on classical).

I rejoice in the fact that the sound of plain old cheapjack low-end consumer gear is so good nowadays. The little bookshelf computer speakers... the $69.95 iPod docks. Everything is beautifully free from distortion, hiss, and 60-cycle hum. (Believe me, your ears NEVER stop hearing 60-cycle hum). Everything is good up to the upper midrange and often beyond. Everything is good down to about 150 cycles or so on tiny speakers, and well below that on anything with "subwoofer" or "theatre" pretensions. The frequency response may not be as flat as an audiophile would like, but it's smooth, only problem being a tendency to boost the bass in the "boom" range. But overall it is far better than expensive home stereos used to be. The sound on car radios is amazing, even with the factory equipment. The sound on my iPod Touch with the new $29.95 "earpods" is completely satisfying.

And never having to hear "tick" (1.8 second pause) "tick" is worth almost anything. I can ignore one tick, but I will never be able to ignore two ticks 1.8 seconds apart. livesoft, don't tell me you can't hear two ticks 1.8 seconds apart.

No more dust bugs! No more DiscWasher! No more fretting about how to clean a DiscWasher or how much d4 to moisten the pad is! No more struggling, struggling, struggling to keep the record clean, and, inevitably, eventually, one day, tick (1.8 second pause) tick. The vinyl crowd have got to be nuts. Or maybe they only expect to get one play out of a record before they replace it?

What I'm saying is that I've actually reached the stage of not fussing. (Much). Everything is good enough to enjoy now.

I once had a friend who was a purist. Specially built listening room. 16" woofers. Some crazy kind of transcription turntable, 16", and the longest tone arm I've ever seen, and holes drilled in the cartridge shell to reduce mass. On nine cuts out of ten, the bass response didn't make any difference, because the program material just didn't have any bass that low. But low organ notes, bass drums, bass fiddles--yes. It was amazing--he had one cut, one cut of people dancing on a somewhat resonant stage: you could feel it on your chest. There was only one problem. He had trouble enjoying it because his bass was so good that nearly every LP he had contained "audible" rumble. If a record was warped, there wasn't the slightest trace of wow because of the special tone arm. BUT, you could feel a sort of sucking sensation in your ears once per revolution.
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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by midareff » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:53 am

What I'm saying is that I've actually reached the stage of not fussing. (Much). Everything is good enough to enjoy now.


Depends on the level of enjoyment and what you want. Most speakers sound nice these days...... I can agree to that. Which is not saying you can tell the placement of the piano and all other instruments on the stage. It doesn't say you can close your eyes and follow the singer walking around the stage in your listening room, or the different sound quality in the room if pillows are on the couch. Most home theatres sound nice these days too, which is different than saying you went into warp drive with the starship, or the knocking on your front door is really the off stage knocking on the show or movie.... .... but yes, most sound nice.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by boffalora » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:54 am

I'll hitchhike on the opinions about one's age being a cure for "upgrade-itis". I've found it curious that the more I can afford the finest toys of life that I once coveted (cars, audio, amateur radio equipment), the less they now appeal to me.

Could it be that in our younger days we became captive of the mentality that owning the finest of something translated into being counted into a more affluent demographic, which in turn justified more respect? Now that we actually have accumulated real wealth we're no longer so captivated by the trappings of wealth and can instead evaluate each purchase on its true value to our individual lives. Owning the very finest of today is no longer so important. In the face of such choices every Boglehead repeatedly asks, "how much is this non-appreciating asset really worth to me?".

Knowing what you know about audio equipment, you may choose to simply enjoy what you've bought rather than be caught up in the conspicuous consumption competition that pervades so many special-interest boards, this one included.

I'm reminded of a televised customized car rally (these days the preferred term is "tuners") where one participant frankly shared that the impeccably-outfitted cars were all the participants owned and thus used them to express their individuality. To their owners they were clearly more than cars.

JMHO.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by Toons » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:56 am

I say don't fight it, go ahead and upgrade :happy
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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by geekgyrl » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:02 am

honestly, I don't want to cure my audiophile upgrade-itis. I try my best to follow all the boglehead principles, but if I truly want something, I realize that new top-of-the-line high-end audio/video equipment will eventually become old and out-dated when the next new-fangled thing comes along. when that happens, that's when I want to buy. since i realize that i'm mostly paying for the product's name, then its quality and finally bragging rights I say thank you, but no thank you. I can always wait a year or two to upgrade.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by midareff » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:11 am

geekgyrl wrote:honestly, I don't want to cure my audiophile upgrade-itis. I try my best to follow all the boglehead principles, but if I truly want something, I realize that new top-of-the-line high-end audio/video equipment will eventually become old and out-dated when the next new-fangled thing comes along. when that happens, that's when I want to buy. since i realize that i'm mostly paying for the product's name, then its quality and finally bragging rights I say thank you, but no thank you. I can always wait a year or two to upgrade.

Some of the best bargains in hi-end audio are older equipment, sometimes seriously older and can be bought for fractions of their original cost on eBay. TV is still evolving quickly enough that a new unit every five to ten years or so may still be worthwhile.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by Sam I Am » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:28 am

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:39 am

geekgyrl wrote:honestly, I don't want to cure my audiophile upgrade-itis. I try my best to follow all the boglehead principles, but if I truly want something, I realize that new top-of-the-line high-end audio/video equipment will eventually become old and out-dated when the next new-fangled thing comes along. when that happens, that's when I want to buy. since i realize that i'm mostly paying for the product's name, then its quality and finally bragging rights I say thank you, but no thank you. I can always wait a year or two to upgrade.
There does have to be a point (IMO anyway) where one says: okay, enough saving, it's time for some Living. I was an audiophile for many years, and enjoyed it. Did I get "my money's worth?" Probably not. But so what?

I'm actually on the downgrade path. I am selling some of the last of my audiophile level equipment: Theta CasaNova processor, aktiv Linn center channel with dedicated amp, etc. My ugly but effective sound treatments have probably been eaten by mice in the garage. In the end, I think I'll just keep my sub and aktiv left and right speakers. Good enough for me now.

Enjoy it.
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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by Calm Man » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:55 am

I"m looking at it the other way. I have a nice Vizio 42 inch flat screen. When I bought it one requirement was that it have its speaker in the front so I wouldn't need extra speakers, woofers, dogs, cats or whatever. Now, 2 years later I have to stand close sometimes for soft dialogue and female frequencies. Not bad enough for a hearing aid and I would avoid that anyway. I really am not interested in a whole setup with amps, speakers, woofers, subwoofers or whatever. I just read about something called sound bars. Seem like single rectangular objects that you can put beneath the tv and are one piece, plug and away you go. Do these work? It seems like they need their own remote though.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by magneto » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:03 am

If one has an understanding of second hand values, then good equipment will hold and even increase its nominal value over the years. Audio equipment is a far better investment than say modern cars.

I have bought both new and second hand quality audio gear over the years, Quad, Linn, Tannoy, etc and could sell if so inclined at a handsome nominal profit. Sadly like other posters the weakest link is now the ears.

So go for it while your ears are good.
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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by midareff » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:04 am

Calm Man wrote:I"m looking at it the other way. I have a nice Vizio 42 inch flat screen. When I bought it one requirement was that it have its speaker in the front so I wouldn't need extra speakers, woofers, dogs, cats or whatever. Now, 2 years later I have to stand close sometimes for soft dialogue and female frequencies. Not bad enough for a hearing aid and I would avoid that anyway. I really am not interested in a whole setup with amps, speakers, woofers, subwoofers or whatever. I just read about something called sound bars. Seem like single rectangular objects that you can put beneath the tv and are one piece, plug and away you go. Do these work? It seems like they need their own remote though.
Thay should work much better than the speakers in the TV do, but should not be confused with home theater in any regard. Going into the TV's menu you should be able to turn off the TV's speakers and select variable out, which will lower and raise the sound bar volume via the TV's remote when you plug the sound bar into the TV's audio out or variable audio out.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by Sunny Sarkar » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:11 am

ProfessorX wrote:so i have come here to the bogleheads forum to ask you nice folks if there is any cure for my current upgrade-itis? :confused
My cure was to keep the sound systems (one decent sounding overpriced Bose stereo, and another ok sounding cheap Onkyo 5+1) as is and buy myself the index fund equivalent of headphones - something that (luckily for us) delivers high-end performance for a low cost - a $80 Grado SR60i

http://www.head-fi.org/t/604727/grado-sr60i-review
http://www.stereophile.com/budgetcompon ... index.html
http://www.digitaltrends.com/headphone- ... 0i-review/
"Cost matters". "Stay the course". "Press on, regardless". ― John C. Bogle

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:14 am

Sunny Sarkar wrote:[snip...]the index fund equivalent of headphones - something that (luckily for us) delivers high-end performance for a low cost - a $80 Grado SR60i.
wonderful products over the years from Grado. Back in the day, they had the highest value cartridges. If memory serves (my ears seem to be holding up better than my memory), I had an AR turntable with a Grado arm and cartridge that held its own against much pricier fare.
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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by harland » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:50 am

ProfessorX wrote: so i have come here to the bogleheads forum to ask you nice folks if there is any cure for my current upgrade-itis? :confused
There is no cure. Only the feeling of a lighter wallet.

But seriously, just do what you do for investing - tune out the noise. No forums. No audio mags (print or online). No hanging around the local audio shops to get a peek at the newest unobtanium. Just sit down and enjoy your music and movies.

I feel your pain, though. I recently swapped out my Meadowlark Shearwater Hot Rod's (that I had for over a decade and bought used) for a pair of Vandersteen 3A Signatures. That was a tactical error which opened the floodgates.

Out of curiosity... what is your setup? (Aha - see, even I can't turn it off...)
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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by bUU » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:51 am

boffalora wrote:Could it be that in our younger days we became captive of the mentality that owning the finest of something translated into being counted into a more affluent demographic, which in turn justified more respect? Now that we actually have accumulated real wealth we're no longer so captivated by the trappings of wealth and can instead evaluate each purchase on its true value to our individual lives.
I don't even think the accumulation of real wealth is responsible for it because I see the same transformation in my friends who are just barely scraping by. I think, rather, that it may just be a reflection of a maturing set of priorities: family, health, service to others, spirituality (for those so inclined), etc.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by SSSS » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:05 pm

Be sure to use FLAC for all your audio files. Rotational velocidensity is a very serious and misunderstood problem.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by Tabulator » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:21 pm

What kind of audio gear ages well and what kind ages badly? I have heard that in speakers, the electronic components are usually the first to go.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by Alex Frakt » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:30 pm

IMO, good speakers make a huge difference They also last for decades, so IMO a good pair (set) is worth pursuing if you've been bit by the audiophile bug.

To limit costs, here's what I did. Set a price limit now. Spend plenty of time researching and listening to speakers within that limit. Buy the best you find. And then stop reading audiophile forums (actually when I bought my Definitive Technology BP10s, it was stop reading audiophile magazines) :-)

You can do the same with whatever combination of DAC/preamp/amp you are interested in. I would not spend audiophile money on anything that has a digital output. All the snakeoil and gold wire in the world can't make 1s and 0s sound any better.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by rob » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:48 pm

nisiprius wrote:The vinyl crowd have got to be nuts. Or maybe they only expect to get one play out of a record before they replace it?
Yeah BUT every now and then I throw on one of those direct metal mastered records and it's like a veil lifts between my ears and the music..... I have a VERY good turntable & stylus and an old setup from my younger - read pre diehards - days. Lets just say it IS possible to spend more on audio then a car and this is coming from a car guy :shock: I think it's probably just nostalgia because you 99.999% right on things been far better then they ever have been but .... :-).
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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by tphp99 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:35 pm

get married

have kids

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by ProfessorX » Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:37 pm

tphp99 wrote:get married

have kids
That is not my cure, I am married and I have an eight month old son. :D

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by tetractys » Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:43 pm

Us musician's know that you can't really do any better than a run-of-the-mill cheap stereo set. Only the real thing will do when discernment matters, and anything else is a compromise. When you get sucked into that audiophile stuff it's just enhancement of the induced, introduced, and background garbage anyway, so why bother. -- Tet

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by leonard » Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:46 pm

Do a blind test of different systems and see if you can really discern the "value" of high end equipment? I would guess most people can't hear the difference.

If you can actually here a difference - is it with the premium and the hassle of upgrading?

Not against hobbies and/or a vice or two - I have a couple that consume almost unboglehead amounts of money. Just make sure you are getting actual value from it rather than just the psychic gratification and/or bragging rights.
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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by gatorman » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:25 pm

Read this:
http://www.matrixhifi.com/ENG_contenedor_ppec.htm

it might help. You'll see even experts can't reliably tell the difference between inexpensive "good" equipment and top end "excellent" equipment. Then take 2 aspirin and go to bed until the urge to spend more goes away'

gatorman

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by Anon1234 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:10 pm

Alex Frakt wrote:IMO, good speakers make a huge difference They also last for decades, so IMO a good pair (set) is worth pursuing if you've been bit by the audiophile bug.

To limit costs, here's what I did. Set a price limit now. Spend plenty of time researching and listening to speakers within that limit. Buy the best you find. And then stop reading audiophile forums (actually when I bought my Definitive Technology BP10s, it was stop reading audiophile magazines) :-)
I use your method, but start out by pushing the extremes to invalidate the marginal improvements of upgrade-itis. If you are craving fast cars, rent a ferrari for a weekend. Once you experience 0-60 in 4.5s and ferrari handling that BMW 335 feels less exciting. Can you apply that to Audio? Rent a recording studio or an actual movie theater for an hour and bring your favorite music to play?

I suppose my method could backfire, too :)

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by ProfessorX » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:16 pm

gatorman wrote:Read this:
http://www.matrixhifi.com/ENG_contenedor_ppec.htm

it might help. You'll see even experts can't reliably tell the difference between inexpensive "good" equipment and top end "excellent" equipment. Then take 2 aspirin and go to bed until the urge to spend more goes away'

gatorman
That is a test for receivers and amps. A lot of audiophiles will tell you that more or less "all receivers sound the same" except some of the higher end receivers will perform better at the top dB levels. So nothing new at your link.

Show me a legitimate test like that where they do blind tests of different speakers. I highly doubt you will get the same result... :beer

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by sscritic » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:18 pm

Attend AA meetings (Audiophiles Anonymous). The basic principles for breaking an addition still apply.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by CrossOverGuy » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:43 pm

Play some LPs -- I held on to mine and ones I inherited from my folks. There are turntables for sale, even ones which will convert them to MP3s. The sound is rich and warm (even if they sometimes skip and get stuck); even some new artists are releasing LPs again. With MP3s and other compacted files, you are missing quite a percentage of the musical information in order for it to fit into that "squished" state to fit into a small file. So you might be missing some of the highs and lows of any particular piece of music.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by WHL » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:03 pm

I have a nice complete stereo in my truck, and I think I will always have upgraded components in my vehicles - it sounds a billion times better than a factory system.

I live in an apartment, so I just listen to my built-in tv speakers, but when I was in a house some years back I had a decent (~$1200) surround sound system.

I have some pretty nice Shure earbuds, I think they were around $250. They sound waaaaaay better than anything else I've owned, and since I fly international a lot, I don't mind the cost. Plus, I bought them about 3 years ago, so the cost is long gone.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by Jim127 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:03 pm

I am also an AVSforum member. I have bought great equipment from people that suffer from upgraditis and then turn around and sell it for a price that is close to what I purchased the items for when I upgrade again. When you buy good equipment and spend more time listening to music, you will end up becoming more picky and that is where the bug kicks in. I am at a level now to where there would be little improvement moving any higher, so I feel less of a desire to upgrade again.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by tarnation » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:19 pm

ProfessorX wrote:So I always thought of myself as a boglehead, not the strictest boglehead but a boglehead all the same. I max out my tax deferred retirement savings, I max out my families Roth IRA contributions, we save money on top of that... even though our house doesn't necessarily conform to the standards of "living severely beneath your means" that many bogleheads here advocate for... it is hard to do that here in Philadelphia.

In any case I bought a new home theater system over the holidays with a fairly nice set of speakers, but before doing so I joined the AVS forum in order to ask the people over there for some feedback before taking the plunge... and this seems to have been my downfall...

I started reading their forums too frequently and now I have the feeling that my audio equipment is sub-par and that it could be much better... I find myself daydreaming about having higher end speakers and enjoying the "big sound" speaker music as much those folks do over there...

granted I can afford to upgrade without dipping into my fully funded emergency fund or otherwise curtailing any aspect of my retirement savings plan, or cutting back spending in any other area, however it wouldn't be very "bogleheadish" all the same...

so i have come here to the bogleheads forum to ask you nice folks if there is any cure for my current upgrade-itis? :confused
Just upgrade in the "boglehead" way. Buy quality, buy used in great condition, patiently wait for a bargain. I bought here: http://app.audiogon.com/. Also, IMO spend at least half of your money on speakers.
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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by Wolkenspiel » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:18 pm

Blind tests :wink:

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by Rob5TCP » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:33 pm

My cure for upgrade-itis was just the shear cost. I purchased two Thiel's 3.6 used at a great price. My amp was inadequate.
I purchased a moderately priced amp.

After awhile this was inadequate and I needed better grade components (including turntable / CD player).
That's when the audio "consultant" recommended top of the line bi amp. The cost was close to what a small car would run.
At the time that was quite an expenditure.

At the same time, digital (MP3) was coming into play. i was listening more and more on my
MP3 player. Even at home I started using headphones.
I ended up selling the Thiel's for just about what I paid for them.
That was 8 years ago.

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Scott S
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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by Scott S » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:55 pm

A Dynaco ST70 clone is on my list of projects, but it's more for the dork factor than any sonic benefit I'd be able to hear. :D
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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:15 am

Scott S wrote:A Dynaco ST70 clone is on my list of projects, but it's more for the dork factor than any sonic benefit I'd be able to hear. :D
Don't be too sure that you won't get a sonic benefit. The Dynaco might not be accurate, but it will sound sweet if it's driving speakers that don't need a lot of power (or even better, just the tweeters).
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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by ohiost90 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:43 am

ProfessorX wrote:
gatorman wrote:Read this:
http://www.matrixhifi.com/ENG_contenedor_ppec.htm

it might help. You'll see even experts can't reliably tell the difference between inexpensive "good" equipment and top end "excellent" equipment. Then take 2 aspirin and go to bed until the urge to spend more goes away'

gatorman
That is a test for receivers and amps. A lot of audiophiles will tell you that more or less "all receivers sound the same" except some of the higher end receivers will perform better at the top dB levels. So nothing new at your link.

Show me a legitimate test like that where they do blind tests of different speakers. I highly doubt you will get the same result... :beer
I find that test rather silly. A more valid comparison of "good" vs "excellent" equipement would be to have the electronics paired with comparable costed speakers. The inexpensive system would not likely be pair with 1k speakers but rather some ~300 polk audio book shelves. The expensive system would more likely be paired with something like a 24k pair of B&W 800s floor standers or equally expensive pair of speakers that I've never heard of. Also, a valid test wouldn't attempt to match the SPLs as this test did. Or at least that is what I think they did. Can anyone translate this sentence into english for me?
In one of the systems there was reproduced some music and determined the adecuate SPL for the test, then, using a multitone found on our Matrix CD test 2.0 the output voltage was measured at the loudspeaker's terminals, then, the other system was adjusted by means of measuring the voltage to finally achieve the same output level on both systems. This eliminated the potential SPL difference that coud bias the test.
To me, this sounds like they played one system(I'm betting system "A") and found its best sounding SPL then forced system "B" to reproduce that level. Could system "A" play SPLs that system "B" would more than likely play with ease?

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Mister Whale
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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by Mister Whale » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:56 am

Whatever you do, don't browse audiogon.com. There's nothing to be had but trouble over there. :D
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telemark
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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by telemark » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:01 am

I love my sound system, but there's no substitute for going to a live performance. Sometimes just watching the musicians is half the fun.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by Mister Whale » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:07 am

telemark wrote:I love my sound system, but there's no substitute for going to a live performance. Sometimes just watching the musicians is half the fun.
They are two totally different experiences, in my opinion. And as I get older I occasionally find myself at a live show and think, "bleh, I'd rather be at home listening to a CD or watching a BluRay on the system." This is coming from a guy who has played over a thousand shows in his life.
" ... advice is most useful and at its best, not when it is telling you what to do, but when it is illuminating aspects of the situation you hadn't thought about." --nisiprius

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telemark
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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by telemark » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:30 am

I got to see Musica Antiqua Köln a few years ago. They play without a conductor, so there's a lot of bobbing and weaving going on to keep everyone together, fascinating to watch. That's true for any chamber group, of course, but they're significantly larger than, say, a string quartet. A good live performance has a certain, I don't know, electricity that you don't usually find in a studio recording.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:33 am

I think we should question here the whole use of the word 'cure'.

I mean, is a cure necessary for the sublime pursuit of perfection?

;-). ;-). ;-).

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by Boglenaut » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:35 am

I've been planning my next system for 5 years. Half the fun is thinking about it.

I'll actually buy someday.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:37 am

telemark wrote:I love my sound system, but there's no substitute for going to a live performance. Sometimes just watching the musicians is half the fun.
That moment when they ready their strings and warm their instruments. And draw the bows across them.

And the conductor raises his baton.

As for at least 1000 years they have done. Performers. Audience. Instruments. Music.

And the music begins. The cranky noises of warming up become sublime notes.

You are closer to God at that moment. Closer to the things for which the Universe made human beings. That for which human was made. Closer to divinity.

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:38 am

CrossOverGuy wrote:Play some LPs -- I held on to mine and ones I inherited from my folks. There are turntables for sale, even ones which will convert them to MP3s. The sound is rich and warm (even if they sometimes skip and get stuck); even some new artists are releasing LPs again. With MP3s and other compacted files, you are missing quite a percentage of the musical information in order for it to fit into that "squished" state to fit into a small file. So you might be missing some of the highs and lows of any particular piece of music.
I believe you'll have better results with other standards and codeds, like FLAC?

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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by neurosphere » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:55 am

ohiost90 wrote:
ProfessorX wrote:
gatorman wrote:Read this:
http://www.matrixhifi.com/ENG_contenedor_ppec.htm

it might help. You'll see even experts can't reliably tell the difference between inexpensive "good" equipment and top end "excellent" equipment. Then take 2 aspirin and go to bed until the urge to spend more goes away'

gatorman
That is a test for receivers and amps. A lot of audiophiles will tell you that more or less "all receivers sound the same" except some of the higher end receivers will perform better at the top dB levels. So nothing new at your link.

Show me a legitimate test like that where they do blind tests of different speakers. I highly doubt you will get the same result... :beer
I find that test rather silly. A more valid comparison of "good" vs "excellent" equipement would be to have the electronics paired with comparable costed speakers. The inexpensive system would not likely be pair with 1k speakers but rather some ~300 polk audio book shelves. The expensive system would more likely be paired with something like a 24k pair of B&W 800s floor standers or equally expensive pair of speakers that I've never heard of. Also, a valid test wouldn't attempt to match the SPLs as this test did. Or at least that is what I think they did. Can anyone translate this sentence into english for me?
In one of the systems there was reproduced some music and determined the adecuate SPL for the test, then, using a multitone found on our Matrix CD test 2.0 the output voltage was measured at the loudspeaker's terminals, then, the other system was adjusted by means of measuring the voltage to finally achieve the same output level on both systems. This eliminated the potential SPL difference that coud bias the test.
To me, this sounds like they played one system(I'm betting system "A") and found its best sounding SPL then forced system "B" to reproduce that level. Could system "A" play SPLs that system "B" would more than likely play with ease?
No, I think the way they did the SPL testing is not only valid, it's necessary. They didn't find the "best sounding" SPL of system one. What they did first was simply to determine what was an appropriate listening volume. It doesn't matter which system they use initially. Just turn the volume knob on system A until everyone agrees that, for the type of music being tested, the volume is not too loud or too soft...i.e. this is a volume people would actually use to listen to the music. Then, they basically adjusted system B so that the output level, the SPL was the same. That way, regardless of whether one was listening to source A or B, the speakers were reproducing the same signal at the same final volume.

Now, this test demonstrated that a $700 system sounded the same as a $12,000 when sharing speakers. As an audiophile and electrical engineer (undergrad), I'm fully convinced this is a valid study. No need to waste money on high end, well high end anything (power supplies, cables/connects, etc).

It get's more complicated with speakers, since listening is SO subjective, and everyone ears have different frequency tunings. I would LOVE to see someone first obtain each "experts" audiogram (actually determine the frequency/SPL tuning of each person's ear, both left and right, by an audiologist) and see if that relates to their preference in speakers. It HAS to affect it. How could it not?
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Re: any boglehead cure for audiophile upgrade-itis?

Post by TSR » Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:26 am

I have a similar problem: I love fine acoustic guitars. The problems are similar because (1) there really is a difference in high/low quality options, (2) there are limitless variations that one can pursue, and (3) the difference between the high and the very high is esoteric at best and unknowable at worst.

My boglehead-ish solution has been "indulgence with limits." I now own two very fine guitars -- one vintage and one recent. The more recent one is an expensive workhorse -- that is, it's everything I need, nothing I don't, and it covers all of my playing styles. The vintage one is just for fun. The other rule I have is that I no longer purchase, sell, or trade guitars. The transaction costs are very high and that's what kills you. I'm now essentially "married" to these two guitars, with all of the joy and frustration that entails.

In other words, go buy yourself some great equipment, but make your purchase like a marriage: this is as good as it gets, "good enough" will do (no matter how unromantic that might seem), and you need to find a way to be happy with that.

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