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Spending big bucks on HiFi Audio

CleanSound

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This topic came up few time on other threads.

Why is it not acceptable by our society (and wives) to spend big bucks on HiFi audio (or any other lesser practiced hobbies) when it is acceptable to spend $75k on a new car or have second car as a hobby car?

Is it because HiFi is an obscure luxury? Is it because societal standards brained washed us? Is it because the hobby has been tainted with snake oil?

How much have you spent on this HiFi hobby over your life time? How much do you spend on average an year? Will you ever reach your end game and stop upgrading? How do you deal with your wife/gf/partner when it comes to HiFi spending?
 
edit: I accept that people are willing to spend exorbitant sums of money on status symbols, but it does not elevate their status in my eyes.
Would you say someone is spending big bucks on luxury is for a status symbol and not for the gluttony?
 
I don't care what's acceptable to "society". (As long as your children are getting fed, etc.). I'm a free-market guy and you can do with your money what you wish.

What's between husbands and wives and family finances is none of my business.

I've probably spent the most money on music, mostly CDs. I've got almost 20,000 songs on my computer (mostly ripped from CDs) so that's probably $15-$20,000 USD. I've probably have spent $20K over my lifetime on hardware (I'm in my 60s) especially if you include car audio. My most "extravagant" purchase was a CD burner for $1000 when they were 1st available and blank CDs were $12. At the same time, I upgraded 2 car stereos to CD. My main left & right speakers are DIY and the surround speakers were donated/inherited (so nothing properly matches.)

My "latest" upgrades were going to 5.1 surround several years, and a pair of 15-inch DIY subs a few years ago. I don't need feel the need to upgrade at the moment.
 
A friend of mine bought a really nice Mercedes and it only cost him a bit over 30K...

My annual budget? I bought an amp this year for about $130. A very nice unit used. I maybe buy $100 worth of CDs over the course of a year. So my annual budget would be about $230...

Yes, I need to eat and pay rent...
 
This topic came up few time on other threads.

Why is it not acceptable by our society (and wives) to spend big bucks on HiFi audio (or any other lesser practiced hobbies) when it is acceptable to spend $75k on a new car or have second car as a hobby car?

Is it because HiFi is an obscure luxury? Is it because societal standards brained washed us? Is it because the hobby has been tainted with snake oil?

How much have you spent on this HiFi hobby over your life time? How much do you spend on average an year? Will you ever reach your end game and stop upgrading? How do you deal with your wife/gf/partner when it comes to HiFi spending?

Lots of snake oils and deceptive marketing out there with HiFi Audio
 
This topic came up few time on other threads.

Why is it not acceptable by our society (and wives) to spend big bucks on HiFi audio (or any other lesser practiced hobbies) when it is acceptable to spend $75k on a new car or have second car as a hobby car?

Is it because HiFi is an obscure luxury? Is it because societal standards brained washed us? Is it because the hobby has been tainted with snake oil?

How much have you spent on this HiFi hobby over your life time? How much do you spend on average an year? Will you ever reach your end game and stop upgrading? How do you deal with your wife/gf/partner when it comes to HiFi spending?

I don't know how or why others feel the way they do. I think the root cause may be some inherent jealousy in a lot of cases, but I don't care how people spend their money. My particular pet peeve is the story of the improved sound quality that follows those big dollars. Unless you are talking about speakers, where big dollars may be required in order to have the experience you want to have, in terms of electronics they are seldom marketed as being only about bling. If Rolex watches were sold on the basis of being better timekeepers, I'd have the same issue with them, but they aren't.

The snake-oil purveyors and those marketing blatant nonsense to the innocently ignorant have certainly cast a stench across the whole thing.

People in the rabbit holes of most any hobby are going to spend money to pursue it that others find hard to relate to. This is just one of many in that category I think.

Total spending for me would be hard to add up, but mid 5 figures probably total. At this point, I'm quite satisfied with my system and may buy something cheap for fun (recent Tanchjim Space and Truthear Zero's for example), but have no plans for significant upgrades anytime soon.
 
This topic came up few time on other threads.

Why is it not acceptable by our society (and wives) to spend big bucks on HiFi audio (or any other lesser practiced hobbies) when it is acceptable to spend $75k on a new car or have second car as a hobby car?

Is it because HiFi is an obscure luxury? Is it because societal standards brained washed us? Is it because the hobby has been tainted with snake oil?

How much have you spent on this HiFi hobby over your life time? How much do you spend on average an year? Will you ever reach your end game and stop upgrading? How do you deal with your wife/gf/partner when it comes to HiFi spending?
Well, a big topic, for sure!

1) It's completely acceptable by our society to spend big bucks on unnecessary toys. Our society values luxury more than it values necessity. For many items, the price is the point. If they weren't so expensive, we'd value them less. There's even a term for it. ;)

If we really need something, we expect it to be an entitlement, so we can afford luxury goods.

2) 'Obscure hobby' is a good term. Kind of like fine watches, fine wine, haute couture, fine dining, sneakers, art... Man, it's a big list. People not immersed in a given hobby might not get it, and they feel better about themselves if they criticise it. Human nature. I don't care how much people spend and I really don't care if someone is unhappy about it.

As for the "Snake oil" name calling, I partly get it - but the term has been bastardized into a form of virtue signalling and herd vocabulary. Like other people have said, don't care what your bag is, just don't inflict it on me. (A very valid part of disdaining 'snake oil' is that people who promote this aspect of the hobby are making claims on our behalf. I equally hate the stuff with "Well, if your system only had the resolving power mine does," or, "My fine tuned ears hear things yours can't." Screw that.)

Not promoting snake oil, it's just the "I'm part of the herd" mentality of how many people approach it. Kind of self-congratulatory. It reminds me of The Crucible.

3) Gosh, I don't know how much I've spent, and I don't wanna know! :D

My wife handles the money, so she knows everything. She is happy that I love Wiim!

__

Apologies for ranting. My inviolable positions are subject to modification!!!
 
I don't know how or why others feel the way they do. I think the root cause may be some inherent jealousy in a lot of cases, but I don't care how people spend their money. My particular pet peeve is the story of the improved sound quality that follows those big dollars. Unless you are talking about speakers, where big dollars may be required in order to have the experience you want to have, in terms of electronics they are seldom marketed as being only about bling. If Rolex's were sold on the basis of being better timekeepers, I'd have the same issue with them, but they aren't.

The snake-oil purveyors and those marketing blatant nonsense to the innocently ignorant have certainly cast a stench across the whole thing.

People in the rabbit holes of most any hobby are going to spend money to pursue it that others find hard to relate to. This is just one of many in that category I think.

Total spending for me would be hard to add up, but mid 5 figures probably total. At this point, I'm quite satisfied with my system and may buy something cheap for fun (recent Tanchjim Space and Truthear Zero's for example), but have no plans for significant upgrades anytime soon.
I didn't mean to parrot too many of your points, I had my reply window open too long!
 
This topic came up few time on other threads.

Why is it not acceptable by our society (and wives) to spend big bucks on HiFi audio (or any other lesser practiced hobbies) when it is acceptable to spend $75k on a new car or have second car as a hobby car?

I personally don't care what others do with their money, even if I think it's fulish.

My wife and I have a simple system, We both have our separate discretionary spending accounts. At the beginning of each month money is transferred into the accounts, and we can do whatever we want with it.
 
From a utilitarian perspective, hi fi is way too small in aggregate expenditure to be criticized. I’m sure there are innumerable examples of vastly larger categories of spend and resource utilization that are far more wasteful. Imagine all the excess cotton t shirts the world produces each year and how those dollar, water and land resources could be reallocated to more productive use. the world’s richest person at times has been chairman of LVMH, owner of many luxury goods grands. That’s cool with me but I also see as evidence of very poor decision making, and resource allocation and distribution by humans. But i enjoy reading Veblen, Mencken and their modern counterparts and luxury goods make for entertaining satire of human failings.
 
What one spends is up to the individual family. Most people with substantial resources don't look like it. Some of them even shop at Goodwill. When you ask them why they are so frugal they respond that's how they accumulated wealth. Everyday families with over $2,000,000 in assets are more common than I remember growing up. With that level of wealth in the USA a lot of people can buy whatever they want. Most who earned the money themselves still justify large discretionary expenses in their own minds. They usually have a scale of evaluating how many days they would work to pay off the item and is the item worth it. Or if retired, how long will it take to replace the funds from investments or pensions.

With audio gear the level of scrutiny can be high with the spouse side if resources are tight. If not, the spouse may not care as long as all their desires are filled as well. For most families it's somewhere in between. The problem with audio gear is it can get very expensive quickly and to be honest you don't need to spend $20K for a great sounding system. The reasonable audio fan will realize when the price tag is crazy and their satisfaction will not increase by spending even more. We lie to ourselves that somehow we are searching for the ultimate way to enjoy a musicians talent. In reality, most are more interested in listening to the nuances of their audio gear than actually looking for great music. In fact, some of the older greats weren't recorded well and they don't have the pizazz audiophiles are looking for.

Bottom line, spend what you want as long as your family is well taken care of. Don't expect to impress anyone but yourself. Most will think you are a little crazy - so don't tell them. You don't need to spend a ton of money for a totally satisfying audio system. People find that out on their own. Sometimes after their largest audio purchase ever. Happy travels!
 
Why is it not acceptable by our society (and wives) to spend big bucks on HiFi audio (or any other lesser practiced hobbies) when it is acceptable to spend $75k on a new car or have second car as a hobby car?
I think a big divide comes from what people think it should cost. For instance, show a couple people a picture of the Focal Grande Utopia EM Evo and I’d wager most people won’t guess over $5k despite it retailing for $280k. Even going more realistic and sane, if you show them a Revel F208 they’ll probably guess around $700 and not $4000.

People don’t have exposure to audio product prices, they have a giant exposure to car prices. Thus if you tell them $5000 they almost can’t fathom what you could have purchased.
 
I'm an audio gear enthusiast but I can easily understand my wife's point. If I have a complete system in the bedroom, one in the living room and one in the den, what the heck do I continue to buy equipment considering that the poorest of my systems costs more than 99.9% of people are willing to spend for audio reproduction?
In my forty-year-old life I will have spent a total of a little less than 15,000 euros on audio equipment, it's not much compared to the type of hobby but it's madness if you ask any non-enthusiast, but it's about 1/20 of the cost of mine home, so it still seems like a sustainable budget for my only expensive passion.
 
I have never considered my passion for hifi as a matter of life.
therefore I have never invested particular amounts to purchase devices etc.
I don't want and am not interested in taking resources away from the family to pursue a passion that only I practice.
Clearly it follows that I am embarrassed when I read certain sums for a cable, an amplifier or speakers. I would invest those sums elsewhere, frankly for more lasting issues, or for things to share or for collectibles... no, never for a box full of circuits and wires.
It seems strange, because I have a room full of devices, but everything arrived over time without major sacrifices. Indeed, in a natural way.
Having said that, I have a limit, but to be honest I have it for everything.
Rather, I am much more intrigued by being able to build a system at the right price that can give me satisfaction, and this involves more of a study and experimentation part than a portfolio part.
 
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Audio is a hobby but listening to music is more than a hobby. Music is like air or sunshine to me. Over five decades I've spent thousands on equipment, perhaps as much as the cost of a new Honda Accord in total. That was only one-half the expense. How much have I spent on LP's and Cd's I wonder. Do many of you, like me, enjoy looking for used CD's at thrift stores and stores that stock and sell used media? At $16 per CD I won't take a risk on an unknown artist or music from an obscure part of the world, but for a few $'s I often do, and I have been rewarded doing that. How many LP's and CD's have I owned and played over the years? Maybe 500 LP's or more, and 1,500 Cd's. The cost isn't much if you think of music as being akin to food. It nurishes us. Maybe playing with the equipment does too. And it is play. I won't but I could write about getting the Thorens set up right, and the experience of first listening to memorable records (record is a term for LP which is a specific memory bank on an old-timer).
 
Why is it not acceptable by our society (and wives) to spend big bucks on HiFi audio
I think this is a faulty assumption, I think spending a lot on HiFi is as socially acceptable as spending a lot of money on any other niche hobby or luxury.

However, if we assumed it really was less acceptable than spending on luxury cars or watches or boats or whatever, my reasoning would be this:

Everyone is familiar with stereo equipment. The headphones and speakers they might consider "really expensive" usually top out at $500. That's close to the ceiling for a single audio component in the mainstream world. In the "audiophile" world, $500 is considered entry-level for "actually" good sound.

Everybody has a rough idea of what an italian sports car costs, they're not surprised to find out it costs 5-10x what their own daily driver costs. But hifi is less mainstream, so there is a lot of sticker shock when someone hears what your system costs. They expect a really good system to cost maybe 2x what they consider "expensive", not 10x.

How much have you spent on this HiFi hobby over your life time?
I don't totally want to tally it up, but I think it's not nearly enough to buy even one Blade Meta, let alone a pair, and I've been buying stuff for 20 years. I probably recently increased the lifetime total by over 100% by snagging some LS60s.

Probably in part because I feel that telling people what I spent on audio would be awkward, I strive to buy secondhand whenever possible. That way no matter how much I spend, I can follow it up with "and, well, I got a really smokin' deal on them and I could probably sell them at a small profit if I needed to... it's about total cost of ownership, you see..."

Hell, even the WiiM Minis I have around were purchased from the "refurb" listing on eBay.

I think my only brand-new-paid-retail stuff in the whole house is a set of LCD-XCs (a gift) and a Topping DX5 Lite. (And a couple Fosi amps, I guess.)

All in all, the money I have tied up in stereo equipment is pretty close to what I spent on my car, which I bought with 75K miles on it.

How much do you spend on average an year?
In an average year maybe $200-500, but I also sell stuff secondhand.
Will you ever reach your end game and stop upgrading?
I may be close to that state. At some point you have to admit there's no compelling reason to upgrade unless something breaks. The only way I'd make major upgrades now would be if my financial situation took a big leap upward and I moved to a new, bigger house. So in other words, not likely.
How do you deal with your wife/gf/partner when it comes to HiFi spending?
Try to avoid talking about it and try not to object too strenuously when she wants to buy some $$$ handbag or clothing or whatever.
 
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