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Audio time travel: what would you do differently?

Discussion in 'audio' started by Tony L, Mar 26, 2022.

  1. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’m intending this as a ‘what have you learned in all those years of buying audio kit?’ kind of thread more than anything. I’m curious what folk would do/would not do again, what they wish they had done differently with 20/20 hindsight, what are the most significant things they learned along the way etc. I’ll just leave this as a thread starting point before adding anything myself as I’m interested to see where the question goes on its own.
  2. wylton

    wylton Naim and Mana member

    I think the main thing that I would do differently, would be not to buy into those companies that used aggressive PR to push their products, or as Pete Townsend once said, won't get fooled again.
    Andy Stephenson likes this.
  3. Seanm

    Seanm pfm Member

    I might have started earlier. It never occurred to me to pay any attention to the gear until I was in my late 30s. When I did get hold of some nice equipment my enjoyment of music - and especially forms of music I was only half-enthusiastic about previously - increased a good bit.
    paulfromcamden likes this.
  4. manicatel

    manicatel pfm Member

    Hmm, good question.
    I love my present system, really happy with it.
    ( Michell Orbe, Lyra Kleos, Whest phono stage, Mac mini/Roon/Qobuz, Bel Canto DAC & pre amp into ATC SCM40a’s.

    Somewhat controversially, next time round, I doubt I’d spend as much on the cartridge as did on the Kleos. As much as I love the Kleos….it’s a phenomenol cartridge, I could be content with a lower budget cart. I’ve heard the likes of Ortofon Quintets, Hana’s, the Lyra Delos etc. Whilst the Kleos is undoubtedly better, I don’t need that level of expenditure to enjoy music.
    Long story short,
    Whilst I’m lucky enough to be able to afford my current set up & even take it further should I wish, having heard some more modestly priced set ups, I realise I could still really enjoy the music without spending as much.
    Andy1912 likes this.
  5. sq225917

    sq225917 Bit of this, bit of that

    I'd skip the stage in my mobile music explaration where I thought unbiased opinions of merit might be found on headfi.
    dreamer69 likes this.
  6. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    Interesting concept this. I wish I’d gone down the active speaker route sooner, especially when ATC50s were cheaper than they are now.

    More recently I reckon I could have been a bit braver in ditching the naim for a full ATC set up rather than doing so in stages. I’m also no longer convinced that pre/powers offer any real advantage.

    My current system is the best I’ve ever had so can’t complain overall.
  7. Dozey

    Dozey Air guitar member

    I would have gone to more gigs in the 1970s.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2022
  8. Darren

    Darren Doin' the Southern Freeeez

    I wouldn't have bought any new kit
    I would have snaffled up classic items while they were still cheap and bought lots more new vinyl.
    But, the young are foolish.....
  9. johnacurtis

    johnacurtis pfm Member

    Me too I would say!
    Current system is a WT Simplex, DV P75 mk4, DV xx2 mk2, Townshend Allegri +, EWA A40 (also have a DV HX75), Shahinian Compasses, Roksan Caspian M2 CD.
    A really really great sounding system to my ears!
    BUT, in hindsight, I should have stopped at the NAC72, NAP140, CD5X (previously a CD3.5) and flatcap, into Royd Doublets. That system rocked! Always put a smile on my face! Unfortunately, I got the Naim up-grade itch and spent 10s of thousands in the quest for audio nirvana!
    No doubting my current system is better, but I do miss that previous system from 15 to 20 years ago!
    Snufkin likes this.
  10. Stemcor

    Stemcor I should be listening to music

    I think that johnacurtis makes a valid point.

    Like him, I reached a place where my Naim amp sounded superb to my ears (42.5/hicap/160). I then thought that moving further up the Naim ladder would be better still. After spending a fait bit of money I realised that I was wrong.

    There are no Naim boxes in my system and I now know that you can get something which to my ears sounds better for less cash. I’m not Naim bashing and I have said many times that they are a brilliant marketing company. It’s also good to see British manufacturing being sucessful.

    Having said the above, I still have an urge to get a 42/110 or revisit the 42.5/hicap/160 for a 2nd system.
  11. Lavantha

    Lavantha pfm Member

    My biggest lesson came during the pandemic after 35 years muddling around in the hobby. I should have pushed the boat out a lot further and went for the dream piece many years ago instead of my safe, incremental, Best Buy approach. Spent too long in the hinterland of mid-price kit that sounded a bit better than my Nait, Spendor 3/5s... but only just. My last amplifier arrived unexpected last year and is more than 10x the cost of my original Nait but has made everything sound large and real. I'd actually manage to convince myself that expensive kit is just to stroke your ego and has nothing to do with getting more enjoyment out of the music...I was wrong. I'm certain we have all had that dream piece that we heard that you'd walked away day.

    Nonetheless, I am also thoroughly convinced that I could easily be content with my Nait and Spendor's and not changed a thing for the last 25 years. I guess that is the blessing and curse of this hobby.
    w00fer and ryder like this.
  12. Hook

    Hook Blackbeard's former bo'sun.

    That't not too bad at all! I was very much into hifi through my 20's, but put it all away for my 30's and 40's. Was traveling constantly for business, and any precious spare time I had went to golfing, kayaking, bicycling, cross-country skiing, and other outdoor activities. Got back into hifi at about age 50 after developing lumbar problems.

    Looking back, I really enjoyed climbing the Naim ladder, and wouldn't change anything I did. Going forward, I can see doing things differently. Would like to try sats and subs, as well as a modern integrated with subwoofer high and low pass filtering built in. Would also like to try a new digital front-end. Only thing stopping me is inertia. Every time I sit down to listen, I think...why bother? It all still sounds great to my soon-to-be 65 year old lug holes. Oh well, someday....maybe.
    Seanm likes this.
  13. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    Not trade in my Nait 1.
    chiily and Rosewind like this.
  14. gingermrkettle

    gingermrkettle Deep vein trombonist

    I would have bought a TD124 for 125 quid in 1998.
  15. Del monaco

    Del monaco Del Monaco

    I would have built my system with the same thoughtfulness, love and care that I built my classical collection.
  16. Dowser

    Dowser Learning to bodge again..

    Trust your own ears, I spent a few years listening to magazine wisdom of what is good…wondering why I wasn’t enjoying the kit I bought as a result. Also to buy 2nd hand, listen and flip to find out what you like and do not.
  17. MUTTY1

    MUTTY1 Waste of bandwidth

    My most enjoyable distractions have been to do with moving faster than I can run. I loved restoring/tuning Ducati motorbikes and building push bikes. That was a huge part of the pleasure. If I could turn the clock back I would have learnt electronics so I could be involved in building my music rather than just throwing money at it.
  18. herb

    herb music live

    In my 52 years playing the game - trust your ears and avoid boring high fidelity equipment. I have dismissed too much high end kit at dealers and shows. I have no interest in electronics and am amused at the idea that I might have been brainwashed in any way.
  19. tuga

    tuga Legal Alien

    I have learned that vinyl, NOS DACs, euphonic electronics, wide-dispersion speakers, toy-sized speakers and single-driver speakers are not for me;

    And that digital room compensation (below 200Hz) really helps when the optimal positioning of the speakers and/or listening spot is not possible.

    I may at some point chase down the best masterings of my favourite recordings. It will be expensive but it probably beats spending more money on the electronics.

    I also have learned that reviews are misleading and generate bias, and that measurements complement but don't replace listening.
  20. sideshowbob

    sideshowbob Champagne fascia aficionado

    I left it until I was 40, 17 years ago, to have somewhere to live where I could have big Tannoys.

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