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joessportster

Law of diminished returns

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I am at a point with audio where I love trying and hearing new gear but I am tired of the constant search and dealing with the seemingly endless line of folks that appear to be either oblivious or out to take advantage. I also hate the shattered expectations when a piece of gear is supposed to excel and for me it FAILS

 

I find myself asking (myself) am I at a point where any improvements will be nuance at best  and spending double or more on a component is going to garner enough to make it a worthy investment.

 

I feel like my modest headphone setup is at the point of diminished return (except perhaps my  dac) There are several higher end headphones on the market that would cost minimum of double and as high as 4 times what my current HiFiMan HE500 cost. I find myself wondering how these monsters of headphones sound then I play my system and I have to ask how can anything sound twice or more better than this

 

The fact that I question this so much kind of tells me I am at that point, yet without hearing the other headphones how can I truly be sure.  Perhaps I need therapy so I can learn how to be satisfied :D

 

How do some of you pick a point that is far enough and then just be happy with what you have ??

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Audio enjoyment for me is two fold. I love listening to music but I also love the technical aspect of taking a source and routing it as cleanly as possible to my ears. I do sometimes always want to upgrade but then I think about how much benefit I am really going to get vs money in. If I am just wanting to upgrade to satisfy my technical aspirations then I will look up some free/cheap DIY fixes such as room acoustics/speaker placement etc which is more rewarding in the long run.

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Knowing what really needs to be fixed helps immensely.

 

There are of course people that believe you can throw money at anything and it'll get better, but that simply isn't how it works.

 

Where I've drawn the line is when I can sit in front of the system for a couple hours and, no matter what's playing back, just get lost in the sound field without any distraction from the equipment in any way.

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Joe, you hit the nail on the head....therapy..... :emotion-46:

Edited by jimjimbo
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Agree with TWK.  ^^^  There are multiple reasons for enjoying your music.

 

When I was younger, I had a fascination about getting theoretical "perfect" sound reproduction.  Now I'm older, and I don't want "perfect" I want "good", that being what sounds good to my ears.  I matured and moved on, the same way I liked the Beatles when I was 10, but now I am older and I like Beethoven.

 

To me, it's about a maturation and a personal growth in listening to music.  It's all good, but I don't want the same thing at 60 that I did when I was ten.

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Great post and you nailed it. I've bought/sold more gear over the past 10 years that at this point, yes I've heard enough equipment and believe I am done. Maybe a tube tweak here or there but equipment wise my current stash of 2 tube amps, 2 SS amps, 3 CD players and 6 pr of speakers should hold me. Once I got the KHorns I was winding things down. I Might be able to get more performance but at what cost? And now being retired I just need to be satisfied, and I am. Chased my tail and have spent enough over the years. Most sane people would give their eye teeth for my level of equipment but as we all know this hobby aint for the sane.

I was like this with motorcycles, over two dozen the past 10-12 years sometimes 5 in the garage. Now compelety happy with 2 and have jumped from that merry-go-round also. But it's all been fun!

Oops I forgot - make that 8 pr of speakers, add a tube preamp and an HK 430. And a Denon TT, Budgie cart amp, 3 carts - yeah I'm done.

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This question is an issue with every hobby, not just audio. I view it as being on par with a famous baseball quote:

"Being with a woman all night never hurt no professional baseball player. It's staying up all night looking for a woman that does him in." -- Casey Stengel

Meaning, the chase will drain you. At some point you've just got to call it good and stop what you're doing.

Case in point, I've seen somebody who "invested" over $30,000 on a used Chevy Cavalier. Stereo, neon lights, engine upgrades, racing seats, wheels, who the hell knows what else. That young man was so proud of that ride. Had he been more mature, he'd realize that he could have invested it and retired rich. But no, he had to polish a turd. Don't be a turd polisher.

Edited by MetropolisLakeOutfitters
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Yup, Dave,

 

The expression is something like, "Contentment is wanting what you have, not having what you want".  Of course, there are legitimate reasons to seek "better", but for some it seems acquisition is more the desired end, rather than the profferred reason--take your pick of the numerous, reasonable-sounding ones.  Buying/acquisition motives are easy enough to identify in others, and difficult to detect in ourselves.

 

And, hooboy, can I relate to--"Now I'm older, and I don't want "perfect" I want "good", that being what sounds good to my ears."

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I posted this for someone here many moons ago when he was going through seemingly endless "keeping up with the Joneses" self-flagellation trials with all the stuff that he "must own/must be able to say that he's owned and experienced", sort of like a "king of the hill" addict:

 

https://community.klipsch.com/index.php?app=core&module=attach&section=attach&attach_rel_module=post&attach_id=46881

 

Being a "maximizer" means that you'll be unhappy, too.  I think that Tom's prescription above is the right one.

 

Chris

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The law of diminishing returns! I really first found out about this when shopping for a diamond for my ex-wife. To my eye and hers thankfully there was a point that unless it was right next to a better diamond you could not tell the difference. It was easy not to spend the extra money on it. I feel that I have come to that with audio also although for me since it is a hobby it is harder to find that line. I have gone thrrough probably 10 sets of speakers after reading the reviews and basically living on craigslist. I am now back with my original set of speakers and have no intentions of changing. For now anyway!

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Further, talking back and forth with others about what distinguishes the "perfect" from the "good" is a lot of fun, isn't it?  Difficult to have much genuine discussion if there is nothing with which to compare/contrast.

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I am at a point with audio where I love trying and hearing new gear but I am tired of the constant search and dealing with the seemingly endless line of folks that appear to be either oblivious or out to take advantage. I also hate the shattered expectations when a piece of gear is supposed to excel and for me it FAILS

 

I find myself asking (myself) am I at a point where any improvements will be nuance at best  and spending double or more on a component is going to garner enough to make it a worthy investment.

 

I feel like my modest headphone setup is at the point of diminished return (except perhaps my  dac) There are several higher end headphones on the market that would cost minimum of double and as high as 4 times what my current HiFiMan HE500 cost. I find myself wondering how these monsters of headphones sound then I play my system and I have to ask how can anything sound twice or more better than this

 

The fact that I question this so much kind of tells me I am at that point, yet without hearing the other headphones how can I truly be sure.  Perhaps I need therapy so I can learn how to be satisfied :D

 

How do some of you pick a point that is far enough and then just be happy with what you have ??

I think I'm just about there.  I'm going to get ALK B crossovers for the three Cornwalls and maybe...just maybe upgrade my surrounds and that will be it (knock on wood).  

 

I'm getting into doing things with my PC that people do with hardware and a lot of these are free...those that cost - the cost is minuscule,  the point diminishing returns is very close for me. I've gone to shows and said - this is better than what I have....but is it $$$$$ better?  If I can be satisfied - I'm good (the only thing that bring me out of hiding is a great deal - then I'll belly up - 4 ALK vs 2 B's for $400?  That's a good deal right there!!!!!!) 

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In many regards, I think ignorance is bliss. Many of you in this hobby hear a particular system or component and spend years and $$ trying to replicate it. My goal has always been the pursuit of a pleasing (to me) music playback system. I haven't listened to more than 10 properly sorted systems, nor am I emotionally tied to a format, a sound signature, or brand name (Klipsch is excluded). So my choices are guided more by my budget and the philosophy of keeping it as simple as possible, with incremental upgrades in components that matter. Most of my tinkering these days is with playback software and horn positions.

 

I fully expect that half of you would listen to my system and walk away thinking I was deaf or high on my own farts. In either case, it doesn't really matter because I enjoy the experience I get out of it and it brings a smile to my face when I think about it.

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Guest Steven1963

^ this.

/thread

Edited by Steven1963

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Guest Steven1963

^ this.

/thread

 

stop agreeing with me.  :angry:

I wasn't very clear. I was agreeing that you were probably high on your own farts.

Edited by Steven1963
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I have fallen into the modding fad,  My headphones have several highly regarded and longterm mods and for the first time in my life I have found improved SQ through modding

 

1st mod went well opened up detail and clarity by a good margin,

 

2nd mod not so good and removed rather quickly, took the cans backwards but I am on the fence about the material I used be to absorbant so may persue this one again with the proper / advised material

 

just completed the 3rd mod and I feel like the cans are at a new level with a lowly 12.00 spent

 

some good points here I appreciate the feedback, I feel like I want to be done with the exception of a dac with higher resolution capabilities while remaining NOS (non over sampling)  :D

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