Upgrading - When Is Enough, Enough?

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  • David Meek
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Aug 2000
    • 8938

    Upgrading - When Is Enough, Enough?

    A couple of posts in TTP started me thinking about this. When do you say "Enough!" to the upgrade monster? Never? Tomorrow? When? Is it a cost issue for you? A performance issue? An "I've got other things I like too" issue? I suppose another way to ask the question is: Are you a movie/music person or an equipment person?

    Personally, my system has slowly evolved to the point that I only have a couple of things I want to upgrade. At that time, I'll have reached MY cost vs. performance null point and will park upgrades for a few years. I've already hit that level with my source components (DVD player, CD transport/DAC, turntable/phono stage), my primary speakers, sub, interconnects and RPTV. Still to come are better amplification and matching center and surround speakers, but there is no hurry on these. I can go in, put on music or a movie and just sit back and enjoy. I don't sit there going "Oh, if I only had that Whizbang Model 99999a".

    Some members are even happier with their systems as-is, and some aren't. Burke Strickland and Jeff Kowerchuck (the original posters regarding this) will hopefully hop in here with their thoughts. What about you?




    David - HTGuide flunky
    Our "Theater"
    Our DVDs on DVD Tracker

    .

    David - Trigger-happy HTGuide Admin
  • George Bellefontaine
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Jan 2001
    • 7637

    #2
    Now that I am retired, I don't think that much about upgrades. I had been planning for a replacement for my old crt projector well before my retirement, so that really isn't anything new. It's just that I was waiting for prices to drop along with some higher technology before making the move, (which I have since done). But as for my audio and other equipment. I am very happy and am not anticipating any changes in the near future.




    My Homepage!
    My Homepage!

    Comment

    • Burke Strickland
      Moderator
      • Sep 2001
      • 3161

      #3
      If our target in putting together a home theater and/or music reproduction system is to come as close to the “real thing” as possible in our home environment, then we know we have a worthwhile goal, but a quixotic task to attempt to achieve it. We accept some level of compromise based on our listening experience and taste in music, our budget and other constraints such as available space and décor issues (including the whims and desires of others). :>)

      While some people get onto a treadmill of constant upgrading with no time taken to really get accustomed to what they have and never reaching a state of satisfaction with anything that they have, others never upgrade at all, keeping the same decades-old equipment until it fails to operate and cannot be repaired. Most of us fall somewhere in between these extremes.

      We have had some discussion in the past about what constitutes a “good” system, and at what threshold one crosses over to the high end, and at what point of seriously diminishing return the HT “investment” transcends enjoyment of the music and movies and becomes an obsession with the hardware for its own sake. Most of us assert that enjoying movies is the real reason for our HT and enjoying music is the only reasonable rationale for putting together a music reproduction system.

      But we also recognize that our tastes can change and the “state of the art” (SOTA) advances, sometimes fitfully, but almost always more expensively, :>) and our ability to afford “higher level” components whether we objectively need them or not sometimes compels us to consider an upgrade. The question then remains, when is “enough” really enough? At what point have we reached the crossover point of diminishing returns on the cost vs. performance curve where it makes sense for us to stop? Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on point of view, the answer is different for each of us.

      For me it was reached when all the critical links in the reproduction chain were finally at least “entry level high end”. I have found that with the system I currently have assembled, I no longer find myself wondering “would it sound better if I got better / different speakers, amplification, source components, etcetera”. It sounds close enough to the way I remember live acoustically reproduced music often enough that I only visit the HT showrooms to keep up with what is available, not to seek out candidates for an upgrade purchase.

      For me, that has translated, in practice, into sticking for the time being with CD, rather than jumping on the SACD/DVD-A bandwagon. And, I have taken a fairly conservative approach in optimizing my CD playback setup, opting for a neutral transport rather than a high end playback unit with its own built in killer DACs that render the sound “warm” or “deep” or whatever, since my pre/pro has SOTA anti-jitter and upsampling capabilities along with DACs that far exceed the needs of Redbook CD playback by a long shot.

      In the analog-only days, a number of high end advocates argued that the first link in the reproduction chain had to be the best possible for the whole system to sound any good. They advocated spending as much as 50% of the total system price on just the turntable and cartridge (and they were talking a very substantial total system price, not the price of a Sears budget console).

      Some folks even today insist that the same is true in the digital era and would advise pouring a small fortune into the CD deck, for instance. But as our experience has borne out, we actually have a choice now, either getting super-performing CD/SACD/DVD-A players and bypassing the pre/pro's processing entirely, or allocating more of our dollars to mid-stream components such as DACS or processors with superlative DACs now than before. And we can achieve sensational results either way.
      I do have to chuckle, though, when I read that someone's megabuck CD player is in the shop and they just can't bear to listen to music via a lesser unit. My immediate response is "get a life"... er, I mean, "get a DAC". :>) I am convinced that a reasonable balance in expenditure up and down the chain, while not making unwarranted compromises in quality anywhere along the line (IOW, not “cheaping out” just to save money, but also going for very high value for the dollars spent) will not only yield more satisfying results in the short term, but over time, as one becomes more and more pleased with the synergistic effects of these components, will quench the desire for continual upgrades.

      The bottom line is -- it is "enough" when we can sit down and lose ourselves in the music without wondering if it would really sound better on different equipment. (A corollary is that it is "enough" when we have spent so much that we won't tell people how much the system cost, since we know they would think that was "too much".) :>)

      Burke

      PS -- Now, as for the video… that’s another chapter yet to be written. Although my current front projector does not accept progressive-scan signals from DVD it will “do HDTV” (albeit not at full resolution), and doesn’t look too bad the way it is, so I’m not motivated to spring for a new one just yet. As long as I keep this projector, there is no valid reason to “upgrade” my DVD players, either. But someday, as prices continue to drop and technology continues to advance, there will likely come a time when a new projector and progressive scan, possibly HD, DVD player will make sense.

      What you DON'T say may be held against you...

      Comment

      • Andrew Pratt
        Moderator Emeritus
        • Aug 2000
        • 16507

        #4
        For awhile I was on the musical upgrade ride as well with most of my gear being replaced at least once in the last two years...its been a little more stable lately though and I don't see to many more major changes in the near future with the exception of the addition of a projector...though that's been planed since I sold my RPTV. I'm very happy with the speakers, TV, DVD, jukebox, VCR, remote so really the only things I could see upgrading in the future would be the pre amp, power amps and I'd like to get a better CD player. Of those I see the CD and pre amp being the only two likely candidates with the CD being a priority (or a DAC). Truthfully though once I get the projector I think I'm going to have a pretty nice setup that I'll be proud of.




        Comment

        • Danbry39
          Moderator Emeritus
          • Sep 2002
          • 1584

          #5
          This is an interesting thread.

          I'm amazed (jealous) at some of your equipment. On the other hand, none of my friends have setups as nice as mine. I won't say that I don't get the itch to upgrade further when I see a new piece of equipment in a shop or read a certain great review of a product, but I'm just so dang euphoric now when I listen to the sound my system puts out. So, for me now, it's mostly using my money on new software and sitting back and fully enjoying what my gear is capable of putting out.

          But still the upgrade urge hovers around. Recently, in the shop where I bought my Rotel pre-pro, the dealer offered me a great Bryston 5 channel amp at 40% off. Given the company's reputation, the 20 year warranty, and the fact that I hide enough spending cash in a secret place to have bought it right there and then, I was tempted. But, my Parasound is wonderful and less than a year old. It wouldn't have made sense.

          The last two purchases generated from HTGuide. First, there were the Quantum cables from Lex (Doug), then there was the refurb Denon 1600 DVD player that Andrew brought to our attention. The only major buy I made in the previous six months was my Arcam CD player. All of these were important. I wanted to upgrade my DVD player and the CD player was a must. My Harman Kardon wasn't satisfying me at all and the Arcam is a joy.

          Now is the time for me personally to just sit back and enjoy.




          Keith
          Keith

          Comment

          • Lex
            Moderator Emeritus
            • Apr 2001
            • 27461

            #6
            Burke, was that the short version or the long version? :LOL:

            Me upgrade? Never! I believe in milking a component for all it's worth, right down to using duct tape and bailing wire if necessary.

            Yeah right. Well, I believe in upgrading as far as I can go, within reason. But I also believe in buying all that I can when I do buy to avoid near weekly upgraditis like some people do. (Not mentioning any names Ricky)

            Heck, I could not buy another piece and be happy. But for me somehow that's never quite enough. I like it on the extreme side it seems.

            Recently, I upgraded my main speakers, but I won't sell the old ones, they are staying, lol. But I bought speakers that cost over 10 grand new, for half that, so that's a smart upgrade, isn't it?

            Good topic, and like Burke says, there's always video for upgrade. I've got tons of room for growth there. I'm not HD, not progressive scan, so for me, for now? I've focused on audio nirvana but with good video.

            Lex




            Cable Guy DVD Collection
            Doug
            "I'm out there Jerry, and I'm loving every minute of it!" - Kramer

            Comment

            • JonMarsh
              Mad Max Moderator
              • Aug 2000
              • 15269

              #7
              Thought provoking topic, could be a real can of worms, too! Particularly if you try to take a close look at what you're own motivations are about "upgrading".


              I like building stuff. Pure and simple.

              This drives a lot of my "excuses" possibly, for what I do with audio- especially with regards to speakers. Yet there's more to it than that.

              I've been building power amps for ages, (well, if you count the early 70's as "ages ago"), and in my quest to try to combine the best characteristics of tubes and transistors, I've laid out quite a few PCB's, and smelled a lot of rosin flux... fortunately, not too many burning components (I'm a Virgo, so I'm a pretty careful sort at times... for a lifelong motorcycle rider, anyway. :W

              In listening to a lot of my own and other folks electronics, as well as being a former performing musician, and classically trained at that, there's just always been this huge gulf between what I expect to hear, or want to hear, and actually do, out of system or component. It's gotten a lot better over the years, but it isn't perfect yet, by any means.

              The devil's in the details, whether source components, a preamp, a low power amplifier, interconnects, speaker wires, or, worst of all, the room! All have their contributions- additions, subtractions. The best do relatively little damage to the music, even if they change the tone a bit.. those are the components that are keepers.

              Unfortunately, the most complex components (source gear, transducers, and amplifiers) often do some of the most damage. Early digital was a nightmare. Later digital wasn't much better- using something relatively lowly like a Denon platter, Denon DL103, and a tonearm like a Rabco linear, or Linn Itok for comparison. Modern top flight DAC's and transports are finally getting pretty decent, and even midrange SACD is surprisingly musical at times, though still with additive and subtractive issues. Jitter is just plain nasty stuff in terms of what it does to a complex musical signal- the errors that a decent 15 IPS tape transport does are totally innoccuous in comparison.

              Am I done upgrading in Audio? (is this a rhetorical question, or what? :W )


              Audio

              Well, any regular reader's of the Mission Possible topic area know I always have two or more speaker projects in active developement at any one time, so obviously I'll never stop upgrading there, or at least, moving sideways in interesting (hopefully) ways.

              Well, I think I'll be fairly happy with my current DAC project for a while, once it's fully finished. I've got a pretty low jitter CD transport, and I'm hoping to mod my two Sony machines (XA7ES and SCD777ES) to comparable performance before the years out.

              I like my current Marhand passive preamp a lot (as long as the cables aren't long) but I anticipate needing a true active preamp in the near future. Candidates are adding my new gain stage to the current Marchand box (relatively cheap and easy, but would forgo full balanced, which I want, which the gain stage is), addding my current gainstage to a Marchand Balanced PR41 (we're talking about $750 for the Marchand kit of parts, plus the other stuff), or purchase something- the only candidates I've seen and am really interested in are the new Baby Ayre (the K5x), and the new PS Audio (which uses the BurrBrown 15V rail volume controls, with zero feedback balanced electronics, and has balanced inputs and outputs, plus a remote, for about $2K).

              You notice I haven't even mentioned an HT preamp. Aragon Soundstage? A Proceed or Anthem? Hmmmm, don't even want to think about that right now.

              I love my Ayre V5; it's going back to the factory for an upgrade in May. I have a number of Aragons, and I'm working on the PCB design for a non loop feedback all new circuit for them. That would be an upgrade, too, I hope. :W My new input transformers were an upgrade for the Palladiums; now they really ARE balanced inputs, in a worthwhile sense. Another upgrade, isn't it?

              Cables? Lets not go there for now.... certain upgrades are under consideration, but I think of them more as necesary tools... particularly for speaker development. I'm researching options with an old friend, right now. Also playing with some real low buck stuff, because most of my friends aren't nearly as stupid as me, and won't consider $1K or more for a set of speaker or interconnects.


              Video

              Now this is one of those areas where there's tons of room for improvements in a lot of systems, and you don't have to be any sort of golden eared clown to tell the difference between a $100 interconnect and a $1000 dollar interconnect.

              These days, if you don't have an HD capable display, (at least with some reasonable down coversion) with progressive scan, you're gypping yourself out of a lot of video pleasure. Yeah, I mean you, Lex!

              BTW, all you Sony 400Q owners, it IS possible to have progressive scan DVD with your 400Q, just ask ThomasW- he's got the system I put together for that a few years back... it does take more than a $200 DVD player, unfortunately.

              The entry level for surprisingly good basic HD has gotten mighty, mighty low. There's a lot of decent HD RPTV's from Tosh and others that with careful convergence and calibration can produce a very decent picture; I'd cite the current Toshiba 57HX81 as a good example; a friend of mine bought a second, after the first I recommended to him, he was so pleased. (let's not even go there, OK, I know it's a little strange... he's got one in his bedroom, now). FPTV is blooming every where, and I think it's pretty remarkable what Sony is now offering with their HS-10 at $2995- you can readily get these for 10% off list, and with care get even lower than that- it's a heck of a value, especially when setup with the color correcting/contrast enhancing filter. This same trick can be applied to 10HT's and 11HT's, which are pretty inexpensive on the used market.

              There are many other budget LCD's and DLP's available; I'm not personally fond of the latter, because I seem to be hyper sensitive to "rainbows", judging from my few viewing experiences.

              What I really expect will set the benchmark in the future are LCOS displays, such as Toshiba's rear projection 1080P display, and the upcoming Sony SXRD. Once we have good fixed panel displays with high contrast, good colorimetry, and true HD res, I think we can all rest for a while. At least I will.

              How about you?

              (and I haven't even mentioned plasma's, which while flawed in some significant areas (fill factor, screen door effect, blacks and grayscale) have a "gee whiz" factor which seems really appealing to the population at large.)

              Yes, unfortunately, I suspect I will be separated from quite a few more of my hard earned dollars by whole audio/video thing, especially since unlike most of you, I don't have a sensible, pragmatic, tight fisted with the purse woman in the background tapping her toes, looking over my shoulders while I surf, and saying,

              "You're not out looking for more upgrades to that overgrown Home Theater of yours again, are you dear?"


              Peace.

              ~Jon




              Earth First!
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              Resistance is not futile, it is Volts divided by Amperes...
              Just ask Mr. Ohm....

              Comment

              • Uncle Clive
                Former Moderator
                • Jan 2002
                • 919

                #8
                One may say that if this is a hobby, then we should always strive for the best one can do at all cost.

                My Question is about the driving force? Danbry mentioned the word 'jealous" Mr. Pratt > seems to have a goal, Burke talked about being "Satisfied" and Lex my friend will go for the best one step at a time.

                If we all become satisfied early in this hobby will we still have any influence on future products to help solve certain problems like on our ROTEL forum or maybe Dougs' new line of cables? Will the flame die?




                CLIVE




                HEY!! Why buy movie tickets when you can own a Theater?
                CLIVE




                HEY!! Why buy movie tickets when you can own a Theater?

                Comment

                • Burke Strickland
                  Moderator
                  • Sep 2001
                  • 3161

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Uncle Clive
                  If we all become satisfied early in this hobby will we still have any influence on future products to help solve certain problems like ...
                  You seem to object to my use of the word "satisified". Of course, if everyone becomes "satisfied" early in the journey, there would be no further progress. But the key word there is "early". (How early is "early"?) And, with regard to problems being addressed in other Forum areas, we should never be "satisfied" with defective equipment or improperly designed features in our equipment. Getting those issues resolved may or may not involve an "upgrade" to a different piece of equipment. But, if they are really important issues, (as opposed to nit picking or just a matter of preference among equally valid alternatives) they must be resolved to our satisfaction at some point, whatever that takes. The marginal issues then become a matter of choice, not necessity.

                  Most likely you don't know what I'm satisfied with (IOW, what my current gear is, since I don't and won't list it all in public), or what the journey was to get to that state -- how many upgrade cycles I've been through, what kinds of equipment were involved or how long it has taken me to get there. I'm not going to narrate the whole story here, but I can assure you that I was not satisfied "early" in my journey through the upgrade process.

                  But having relatively recently (within the past few years of a several decades long process) attained a level of quality of sound reproduction that wasn't available at any cost when I started the journey, and to attain any significant level of improvement would now require either vast amounts of money that I don't have and/or excessive time & effort to yield vanishingly smaller increments of improvement, I've finally reached the point where spending my time enjoying the music and watching movies is more important to me than pursuing another round of upgrades.

                  Yet I still spend a lot of time listening to systems that are not my own to see what other people are doing and to keep up to a certain extent with what is available in the market place, because other people ask me for suggestions from time to time and and I would not want to offer an opinion based entirely on Internet gossip or magazine articles. I also recognize that the system I have assembled for myself and enjoy so much would not necessarily be the "solution" for everyone else . (You can ask David -- I've helped him evaluate some of equipment for inclusion in his system and he doesn't have any components in common with my system.)

                  And although I have driven Hondas instead of BMWs for the past decade to be able to "afford" the system I've put together, I also realize that at some point, (a point which I feel that I have reached), spending a lot more money on this one area of my life would be foolish. My system is worth a lot more than my car, not even including software, (which would be the equivalent of an even more expensive car) :>) and that is enough for me.

                  Looking back at every stop along the way, I was never really satisfied with what I had until now. I am glad that the state of the art has advanced and the prices on truly outstanding gear have dropped (boutique high end gear prices notwithstanding) to the point that equipment of the quality has been attainable that can, with a reasonable attitude on my part, achieve that state for me. In other words, a system like I had always dreamed of owning has finally been within my means to acquire.

                  But obviously, not everyone has reached this point, even among those who have been at the game as long or longer than I have, and many never will, even if they are very wealthy or tenaciously resourceful in other ways in pursuing their goals, because each of us have different "dreams". Some don't want to reach that point, or won't let themselves, and that is fine, too, if that is the state of being that pleases them.

                  Burke

                  What you DON'T say may be held against you...

                  Comment

                  • Lex
                    Moderator Emeritus
                    • Apr 2001
                    • 27461

                    #10
                    Burke, you mean that Emerson's done that much for you? :LOL:

                    Lex
                    Doug
                    "I'm out there Jerry, and I'm loving every minute of it!" - Kramer

                    Comment

                    • Burke Strickland
                      Moderator
                      • Sep 2001
                      • 3161

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Lex
                      you mean that Emerson's done that much for you?
                      Thanks, Lex for spilling the beans. Now you know why I don't post my equipment list. :>)

                      Burke

                      What you DON'T say may be held against you...

                      Comment

                      • Uncle Clive
                        Former Moderator
                        • Jan 2002
                        • 919

                        #12
                        Point well made Burke. Just to be clear, I made references to key words in the other replies because these have been feelings and questions that I've been toying with for several months. Sorry, it was about me. Anyway, I have created a wish list and when it's fulfilled it will be enough.




                        CLIVE




                        HEY!! Why buy movie tickets when you can own a Theater?
                        CLIVE




                        HEY!! Why buy movie tickets when you can own a Theater?

                        Comment

                        • David Meek
                          Moderator Emeritus
                          • Aug 2000
                          • 8938

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Clive
                          If we all become satisfied early in this hobby will we still have any influence on future products to help solve certain problems like on our ROTEL forum or maybe Dougs' new line of cables? Will the flame die?


                          Clive, I don't think it will. As the technology wheel turns, we'll be exposed to newer and better levels of sound and/or picture quality, which will drive us to get that better piece of equipment. However, with the maturing of the HT/music electronics environment for the last couple of years, our improvements are becoming incremental in nature rather than coming in large leaps, ie. VHS to DVD or ProLogic to Dolby Digital/DTS.

                          The thrust of my question is more along the lines of when do the incremental improvements cease to be a motivating factor in your upgrade path? For instance, I'm happy with my system except for amplification, where I will take the next step as soon as finances allow it. Otherwise, there isn't anything out there that I can reasonably strive for that will improve my system markedly in the other aspects. Oh, this is all excluding those amazing CATCables you understand (loud kissing-up sounds in background).


                          BUT, (you knew that was coming, right?) new technology is the wild card here. I was reading last night in the latest The Perfect Vision that Japan will have true blue-laser HD-DVD available to their consumers THIS YEAR! Now I don't know about y'all, but the minute I can get my hands on that technology (availability- and financial-wise) I'm going to. So, no I don't think the upgrade/improvement flame will ever die. It just gets muted as we focus on other aspects of our movie/music hobby.

                          Does that make my question(s) any clearer?




                          David - HTGuide flunky
                          Our "Theater"
                          Our DVDs on DVD Tracker

                          .

                          David - Trigger-happy HTGuide Admin

                          Comment

                          • Aeromos
                            Senior Member
                            • Jun 2003
                            • 192

                            #14
                            I whole heartedly agree with you guys that the upgrade bug will never die. Everytime a new technology that impresses us comes out that is a great leap from its predecessor, most of us would research it and plan on when we can attain it. I try very hard in avoiding upgrading for a few years by getting the highest quality that I know I can live with for a long time. Even my HTIB is serving me well right now until I can raise the funds to go to my ideal HT. Of course within the price justification that I deem right in proportion to everything else (yes there are other priorites -LOL!!)

                            .




                            Aeromos
                            Enjoy life, it's too short to waste!!
                            My Collection
                            Aeromos
                            Enjoy life, it's too short to waste!!
                            My Collection

                            Comment

                            • ht_addict
                              Senior Member
                              • Dec 2002
                              • 508

                              #15
                              It never ends, especially for me.

                              Audio:

                              1. Yamaha RXV-495(Nov1999)
                              2. Denon 1801(May2000)
                              3. Denon 1801/Rotel RMB-1066(Nov2000)
                              3. Marantz AV560U pre/pro/Rotel RMB-1066(Nov2001)
                              4. Marantz AV560U/Rotel RMB-1095(June2003-current. Trade out the RC2000mkII remote+$150CDN for a RC5000i/docking station)

                              Video:

                              1. Toshiba 27"(1997)
                              2. JVC 32"(June 2000)
                              3. Panny 47wx52(Nov 2002-current)

                              Speakers:

                              1. Sony Sav10(1997)
                              2. Paradigm Mini Monitors/CC350/PS1000(Nov 1999-current)

                              As it stands now with the addition of the new 1095, I'm currently on the wall looking at adding new speakers within the year. After that maybe a new pre/pro. I will admit that most of the purchases were made due to great deals. The Marantz was had for $625CDN(NIB), Rotel 1095 for $1550CDN with 5+4yr warranty, and 47wx52 for $2977 with free RP62(sold it for $300) and $240CDN in rebates. I also sell all my gear that I am replacing(Rotel RMB-1066 is forsale). It just never ends.

                              ht_addict

                              Comment

                              • Raptor550
                                Senior Member
                                • May 2007
                                • 132

                                #16
                                I am a near broke college student who gets headaches from lo-fi and loves music. I have had a hard time with the "bug" because I do not have loads of money to spend, but I have been to enough boutique shops to know what I'm missing eg. B&W, Wilson.

                                Like many people with meager income, I have to streamline what I want and ignore the wonton passions of jealousy and rampant cravings of consumerism in trade of something more practical.... like lunch. By reading on these forums and others I have learned from the journeys of others and have taken note of things I can live without.

                                One thing that has helped is vintage audio. I could be wrong but it appears to me that amplifiers have had less drastic advancements then speakers have. So a top of the line 1978 kenwood that weighs 50 lbs and has a thd of .01% 20-20k and .03@40k, L&R separate power supply's and a conservative 90RMS at $80 should give me enough quality to complement a bargan Zaph or JonM design. I can cut even more corners by only having a good sound card and ripping CDs with a bit by bit copy. Top it off with some premium Dayton cables and maybe a subwoofer and you have a decent setup.

                                Now I am aware it will not outperform one of the $300,000 setups like they have down the street from me at definitive audio, but there is a certain peace with having something "good" and not "bad". Its like heat, you can only get so cold, but you can get infinitely hotter. One sun burns red (1,000C), another burns blue (30,000C), but anybody can agree both are "really, REEEEALLY hot".

                                Now as a cruel twist of life, hearing generally goes down and you get older, and 'old people' often are the ones with the most money to spend on audio. So over time the "I like to listen" will turn into vanity. I think that is where people should draw their lines.

                                Mr. Marshes reasonings "I like to create" are in my own mind, the only reason why someone would keep doing new projects. And it is an honorable reason! Enriching others through your own knowledge and experience, producing quality products, passing on your passion to another generation, these are good ends.

                                Thats my two cents.
                                Check out my cabinet designs. *Updated 6/16/07*



                                See my finished Dayton/Seas Project

                                Comment

                                • JonMarsh
                                  Mad Max Moderator
                                  • Aug 2000
                                  • 15269

                                  #17
                                  Yeah, I wish I had the hearing now that I had 35 years ago, but considering my years as a performing musician., 17 kHz ain't all that bad for your 50's.

                                  It's not just about extension, it's also about distortion, dynamics, and (for me) recreating as much as possible the original accoustic space - others may have different goals, and whatever floats their boat, that's great.

                                  I THINK that if I get my current underway speaker projects wrapped up this year (a tall order considering except that I've just scheduled 5 weeks PTO, and still have November and December for at least a week each!), then other than a sub or two that I already have drivers for, I'll be set for a few years on the speaker side, and be able to turn my attention back to electronics.

                                  Your approach for good vintage gear on a budget is sound (pun intended), I've gotten a lot of stuff from Audiogon and Videogon myself; particularly considering the way much equipment is built to a price rather than a performance level, it's a good practice for real value. Good equipment longevity should be measured in decades- there's stuff I bought in the mid 90's that I don't have personally anymore, but is work just fine at it's current owner's.

                                  Some stuff migrates into different parts of the household, some stuff over to my daughter, etc. It all works out in the end.

                                  Now, the area I'm REALLY in need of counselling is computing gear- there I used to build a new PC every year, and often buy a new laptop. Now I think I'm slowing down to every two or three years, but mostly because my Apple gear doesn't seem particularly obsolescent- I have more focus on teh software and what I can do wtih it. My nearly two year old Quad Core G5 PowerMac doesn't seem the least bit behind the times for me.

                                  OTOH, I'm definitely the Imelda Marcos of laptop bags - just got in a new Booq Evo XL, which looks like it will become my mainstay for my MacBook Pro. Brenthaven's are good too, but awfully heavy- with a slighitly funky back and one gamey knee, you start to pay more attention to that kind of stuff with the amount of business travel I do.

                                  Last thought on upgrades: would really like to have a pair of these, but I could pay for a lot of parts and experimental PCB's to modify my Aragons before I came close to the price these go for:





                                  Ayre Acoustics MX-R





                                  Review by Mike Currie
                                  the AudioWorx
                                  Natalie P
                                  M8ta
                                  Modula Neo DCC
                                  Modula MT XE
                                  Modula Xtreme
                                  Isiris
                                  Wavecor Ardent

                                  SMJ
                                  Minerva Monitor
                                  Calliope
                                  Ardent D

                                  In Development...
                                  Isiris Mk II updates- in final test stage!
                                  Obi-Wan
                                  Saint-Saëns Symphonique/AKA SMJ-40
                                  Modula PWB
                                  Calliope CC Supreme
                                  Natalie P Ultra
                                  Natalie P Supreme
                                  Janus BP1 Sub


                                  Resistance is not futile, it is Volts divided by Amperes...
                                  Just ask Mr. Ohm....

                                  Comment

                                  • Alaric
                                    Ultra Senior Member
                                    • Jan 2006
                                    • 4143

                                    #18
                                    (well, if you count the early 70's as "ages ago"),
                                    Yes. Yes,I do. You're not much older than me so I hope that's taken in the spirit intended.
                                    What kind of motorcycle are you riding , Jon? (I've been doing bikes as long as you've been doing amps!)
                                    As for upgraditis , if I hit the Powerball I'm buying a Clearaudio Statement TT. Then I'm asking Jon how much he wants to build the 'best speakers in the world'. :B
                                    Lee

                                    Marantz PM7200-RIP
                                    Marantz PM-KI Pearl
                                    Schiit Modi 3
                                    Marantz CD5005
                                    Paradigm Studio 60 v.3

                                    Comment

                                    • Hdale85
                                      Moderator Emeritus
                                      • Jan 2006
                                      • 16075

                                      #19
                                      Thats one large heatsink....

                                      Comment

                                      • Raptor550
                                        Senior Member
                                        • May 2007
                                        • 132

                                        #20
                                        MACKEREL thats a beast! It looks like it was carved out of a slab of steel! As far as vintage audio goes I hear Yamaha Natural sound 2010's are amazing. Right now I have two of these hooked up to my computer (front/rear):

                                        I love the brush steel look myself, and the etched glass is a super bonus.

                                        As far as computers go, if your not a 3D animator like me, and are not obsessed with the latest video games you can get by with the same Comp for a long time (at least until mac & windows OS's get too bloated with 'super cool' features that is.)
                                        Jon, if you don't mind me asking, what do you do for a living? Do you work in audio or is this just a massive hobbie?
                                        Check out my cabinet designs. *Updated 6/16/07*



                                        See my finished Dayton/Seas Project

                                        Comment

                                        • JonMarsh
                                          Mad Max Moderator
                                          • Aug 2000
                                          • 15269

                                          #21
                                          wow- I just went back and read the post I did earlier in this thread (2003), and does it ever sound quaint!!!!


                                          In no particular order,


                                          That Ayre MX-R is machined out of a single solid block of aluminum, so the whole chasis is the heatink, and there are no thermal barriers (mechanical contacts, say plat to chasis) to mess up the thermal transfer. In their original V1 the thermal design was the big headache. Problem circmvented quite cleverly with this design.


                                          I've been riding bikes since I was 14, am seriously considering picking up a used VFR800 this summer, most recent acquisition was a Honda 650 Hawk V twin; have an 81 CBX also, and there's a Harley Sportster being prepared for Europe that if it came out here I would probably buy, that was featured on Cycle World a few month back.





                                          Since 2003, what's new (the past predicts the future by the trend line?)

                                          Speakers:
                                          Current main project is the Isiris Dipole using neodymium magnet pro 18" woofers, Accuton C90 midranges (93dB/watt), and a DDS waveguide with German made BMS4540 driver- not even a twinkle in my eye in 2003.


                                          Source Components:
                                          Picked up a new Marantz SA-11 SACD player in late 2006, and really, really like it. Considering I couldn't afford an Ayre universal player, it was "settling", but worked out well.

                                          Amplification:
                                          Picked up an Ayre AX-7 integrated a few months ago for testing these higher efficiency designs I've been working on, and it's a sweetheart; possibly a skosh more transparent in the upper end than my Ayre preamp/power amp combo because it's a passive preamp and inherently has less in the signal path. Some of the nicest 60W/120W per channel I've ever heard, and now I no longer pine for my old Dyna MkIV's.



                                          Video:
                                          NEC 10PG 9" tube CRT front projector, only 500 hours on the chasis and tubes, and 2500X1600 resolution, fully 1080P compatible. Other than the weight and setup effort, what's not to like? Won't be replacing this for a long time....
                                          the AudioWorx
                                          Natalie P
                                          M8ta
                                          Modula Neo DCC
                                          Modula MT XE
                                          Modula Xtreme
                                          Isiris
                                          Wavecor Ardent

                                          SMJ
                                          Minerva Monitor
                                          Calliope
                                          Ardent D

                                          In Development...
                                          Isiris Mk II updates- in final test stage!
                                          Obi-Wan
                                          Saint-Saëns Symphonique/AKA SMJ-40
                                          Modula PWB
                                          Calliope CC Supreme
                                          Natalie P Ultra
                                          Natalie P Supreme
                                          Janus BP1 Sub


                                          Resistance is not futile, it is Volts divided by Amperes...
                                          Just ask Mr. Ohm....

                                          Comment

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