Age and your satisfaction with your Main Rig

Discussion in 'The Cutting Edge' started by ehoove, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. ehoove

    ehoove Old & New - Carpe Diem Staff Member Super Mod Subscriber

    I have for some time been saving for a upgrade to my main system. Upgraded ARC Pre-amp and Power and upgrading my modified Magnapan MGIIIa's to MG 3.7i or better.
    Last week I conceded that I can live with my main rig, as it sounds very satisfying to me and moved my upgrade funds to an investment for my eight month old grandson's education. I find it harder to make discerning distinctions in gear other than I know what sounds better to me, which is disappointing. The reality is my hearing while not impaired is certainly not what it used to be. Mixing sound for many years in the live rock genre has taken it's toll, but what a wild ride that was! So I do have mixed regrets.
    Anyone else find themselves in this position? I will still work on my sources, but a windfall will be needed to move up the food chain in my main components. Have I conceded too soon or made a solid decision based on System satisfaction and concern for the rising cost of education for my grandson Tucker?
  2. Wildcat

    Wildcat Spring ain't here... Subscriber

    SCS, MI (near a lake)
    Let's just say I hit a "landmark" age a year or two ago. On top of that, and having some good work in the prior months and some gift certificates, I had a bit of extra funds around and decided to finally start upgrading my system after 30 years, as a treat to myself. I tend to buy for the long-term (ya think?) so whatever I bought would be with me for many years. So I didn't mind if I spent a little extra, as I am not one to want an upgrade every year or two. I'm not quite happy with the turntable I chose (the sound is fantastic but the engineering a bit "off"), but otherwise I'm doing well. Upgrading the digital source in my system made a big difference--it made CDs tolerable, and high-res sublime. The turntable was another leap.

    I just got a tubed preamp a few weeks back. I didn't think I would notice the differences in preamp, but I have--the midrange is of course nice and lush, but the soundstage now is so tightly locked in, it is so much easier to pinpoint sections in an orchestra (as one example).

    Since my original power amp was a bit noisy, I briefly had an anemic Rotel in the system, which was actually a severe sonic downgrade from the older Carver I had in there. (It had this weak, sterile sound that made me not turn on my system for weeks at a time. ) I'm maybe 95% happy with this power amp (it's a Nelson Pass design), but it needs a little refreshing in terms of capacitors, and some bias adjustments, then it'll be up to snuff. I've had it about a year now.

    I am still working on my speaker refurb, which will get my system to where I want it. My rather modest speakers (which I've owned since 1979) have revealed each upgrade, but I know I'll hear a lot more once I get the Martin-Logans in the system. :)

    So in my case, age has been responsible for my learning to listen better, and to recognize what is missing from what I should be hearing. I bought my power amp from a local audiophile and hearing his system was a game changer for me. Like me, he always buys used, and he also does minor modifications and refurbishes older equipment. Of all the times I've heard store demo systems, I've never heard anything that approached the soundstage he got out of his system. And I'm talking front-to-back depth as well; the bass player in the jazz recording he played was at a spot about three feet in front of the speakers, to where you could almost reach out and touch it. It was one of those "moments." One where I realized I could do better than my modest system and get a lot more enjoyment out of it, and my remaining time left on earth...
  3. whyaskit

    whyaskit music. Subscriber

    Family before gear. I applaud your decision.
  4. KeninDC

    KeninDC Speedfreak Jive Subscriber

    Priorities. Money and time. I'd much rather go on a hike with my son than listen to my gear.
  5. mcgsxr

    mcgsxr Member

    Burlington, Ontario
    Mid 40's. Had played with DIY OB speakers in the past (for 10 years) and recently found much satisfaction with Maggies. Bought a set of MMG on a lark and a week later landed a set of 1.6QR's. Driving them with my Crown XLS1500 via a NuForce preamp and Grant Fidelity TubeDAC-11.

    Feel like the main rig is pretty much done for me. I started a headphone setup as an outlet!

    Agree that investing past a certain point won't really deliver a ton anymore, especially as I age more and my hearing diminishes over time!
  6. pustelniakr

    pustelniakr Silver Miner at Large Staff Member Super Mod Subscriber

    Tucson, AZ
    59 yrs old and my main rig has not changed in several years. It consists of TOTL Pioneer equipment from the big silver period (78-81) time frame, all fully restored. Room conditions, speaker placement, and equipment capabilities have found their rightful spots. I should be good for a good long time. I have long since ceased from listening to my gear, and have, instead, been listening to the music. I get a real joy, helping others to get to that point also.

    Rich P
  7. mkane

    mkane AK Subscriber Subscriber

    103 miles N. of S.F.
    No Grandkids, yet.
  8. Forty-two and, as of this year, I will not spend another cent on audio gear, whether it's speakers or components. After years of enjoying a mid-level Aiwa/Sony/Technics receiver/turntable/six-disc changer/dual cassette deck setup, I laid the foundation of my current two-channel all digital setup in 2003 and am more than satisfied. I run a server whose output (albums in .mp3 format) is routed through a Marantz NR1402 integrated and allows access to my family's collection throughout the house or just about anyplace on the planet where broadband access may exist while away from home. My personal listening takes place in the "sweet spot" on my living room couch. The KLH speakers I use in combination with a specialty EQ curve in Winamp 2.95 produce dynamic sound - highs, lows, and mids, and warrant no further tweaking or acquisition of equipment. It sounds great, is literally out of sight (the server is behind the chaise lounge in the living room), and is minimalist in the manner I want. I simply walk up to the monitor on the stand in my living, select an album, click "play" and sit back and enjoy. I'm finished. It feels good to find a group of individuals who remember this is merely a hobby, even if an adored one, and keep it all in perspective. And, as a few individuals have already mentioned, my hearing acuity is nowhere near what it was (due primarily to past concert attendance and overzealous volume via home listening) and thus does not warrant "better" performance that may not be psychoacoustically perceived anyway.
  9. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

    SE Alaska
    I bought my JBL's 42 years ago and my Kenwood amp/preamp 41 years. I was 20 years old and I still am enjoying them! I know that the model JBL's I have are nowhere near their best effort, still I have always liked their sound and still do. The Kenwood (once I get the power amp back together) sounds awesome! At my age (61) my retirement income doesn't allow much of a budget these days and I would rather spend it on new music. I can be perfectly happy with my system so long as I don't go listening to someone's better sounding one. I'm good where I am at. I have no kids so I have no need to save for college.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
    mgkfifty and GearHead454 like this.
  10. sqlsavior

    sqlsavior AK Subscriber Subscriber

    EspaƱola NM
    I'm 58, married with no kids. I've spent more than I should recently, and am trying to trim the excess gear to make up. I really want a glorious, to-die-with turntable and cartridge, but cannot at this time. Meanwhile, I'm loving what I have, and being patient.

    I'd say you are pretty far along on the diminishing returns curve, and it's entirely possible you might actually prefer the setup you've worked so carefully on.

    But if you break down and spend it, just change your will to leave him your stereo! We can keep a secret!

  11. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

    San Francisco Peninsula
    Jim my personal feeling is, limiting factors are the space most of us have for listening in the first place. Most of our spaces are dual purpose living space, if we do have a dedicated room it's not optimal sound room design.

    My goal was to get the best I can, that will be reliable and I can die with the system I built. I'm even content with my front end but can flex a bit with turntables, digital will always change a bit but that's ok. At some point it has to be good enough, enjoy the music and don't take the system to seriously because some of us are aging fast. If more money will help advance a younger generation in the family, I would say thats where the upgrade should be.
    stish and asilker like this.
  12. RichPA

    RichPA Don't drive angry Staff Member Super Mod Subscriber

    60 here and I'm quite satisfied with our main system. But there's this amp that's been looking at me from the pages of the magazines ...
    rxonmymind, WhiteSE, stish and 3 others like this.
  13. hugo454

    hugo454 Gold Member Subscriber

    south florida
    I totally agree,except that my space is limited

    Attached Files:

    Bahamayellow and pustelniakr like this.
  14. faber12

    faber12 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Northwest Ohio
    I am probably younger than most of you in this thread, but it sounds to me like you doing it right Jim.

    Those of us who enjoy our systems the most are content with what we have.

    Enjoy that grandson!
  15. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Super Member

    NW Pennsylvania snow belt
    Just turned 54 and intend of at minimum hitting semi, if not full retirement in a year or so. I am a contractor and own my own small construction company. I don't know if I can ever fully quit working (just my nature), but you can only beat up your body for so many years in this business, before it starts to let you know you need to slow down. Single for the last 30 years with no kids, grandkids or nieces and nephews to worry about providing for, and my parents, uncle, sister and BIL are fine, financially, so no worries there either.

    I have multiple systems, all of which are comprised of 70's and 80's gear (with the exception of the digital additions). I think I might have a couple pieces that hit the 1990 mark, but everything else is older. I spent too many years and too much money chasing the gear, but have gotten to the point of satisfaction and now it is time to listen to the music. I actually even "downgraded" my main system because it "got out of control" in terms of detail and resolution--good recordings sounded great, not so good ones sounded awful, and a lot of what I listen to (70's and 80's rock) was not notoriously well-recorded/engineered. So that's where I'm at--it is what it is, and I don't envision any changes anytime soon, unless I hear something that really blows me away.
    superdog likes this.
  16. hugo454

    hugo454 Gold Member Subscriber

    south florida
    I totally agree.I have also gotten to the point where I am sonicly satisfied.I now simply enjoy my system and search for certain records which I would like to add to my collection.
    I have considered letting go of some of the pioneer gear I really do not use but It took some time and effort IMG_0306.JPG IMG_0742.JPG to acquire it all ,it's not costing me anything to keep them and I do not need the vertical space.
    superdog likes this.
  17. Lux Man

    Lux Man Super Member

    59 yrs. old It's March 23 2016 @ 7:29 PM and right this minute I am totally completely happy.
  18. Lux Man

    Lux Man Super Member

    When I leave this world, the first question my 4 sons will ask is," who gets dads JBL 4435's?" My daughter will then say, " then I get his fishing gear."
    Don Bocadill and Scarybees like this.
  19. the_nines

    the_nines AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I know the look.

    58 here and I am also quite satisfied with what I have. A little tinkering here and there, but nothing major.

    I liked your OP, kudos to you. Family always first!
    stish and TK LP like this.
  20. CKDC

    CKDC AK Subscriber Subscriber

    It is your money. You earned it. Spend it on what you want when you can.

    Junior can go to community college and/or get a job.
    hnash53 likes this.

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