I know it’s cliché to have the list of resolutions and goals for the new year. I’m not talking about losing weight or that professional goal you may have or anything. At least I am referring to audio goals for the year.
In the last year, I have dramatically downsized and reinforced the pieces that I enjoy the most. I suppose you can call that the “minimalist approach.” To me, it only made sense. You can only wear one piece of audio equipment or listen to one chain at a time. I know there is ability to have a chain for one genre of music and a different one for another, but it never sense to me.
My goal is to further focus and take this goal one step further. I started with 4 sets of headphones, two amps, and two DACs for my desktop only. Now, I don’t even have a desktop setup. I put all of my focus on my favorite, which is my speaker setup and any quiet-time listening are on my IEMs, which I reduced down to 2 sets, with no overlaps.
I suppose this became soapbox-ish, but maybe this advice can be helpful to another. One can look at the 5-8 sets of $100-200 headphones and realize they could have combined them into one or two really nice sets.
Sorry for the wall of text, I guess I had a lot of thoughts running around my head.
True statement! Although I think there is also somethign to be said for having 5-8 sets of headphones to learn what you really want out of your 2-3 ultimate keepers. There is value in the journey, IMO.
No, not at all.
I’ll be happy if I get the Audiovalve Solaris to test next week and it’s such a blast that I’ll buy it later this year.
Then I would have something I wouldn’t have to worry about for the next few years, even if it costs a small fortune.
I sold the Denon D7200 and the Lcd 2 C came.
Whether it will stay that way tends to be yes, but it’s never certain.
With the modded Fostex Tr x00 and Denon D2000 and the Lcd 2 C, I’m really happy at the moment.
What would still tempt me would be a Lawton mod, but otherwise I don’t have anything to think about.
Boy was I naïve and suffering from early onslaught denial… “only dabbling in this for the moment and not looking to dive head-first to full audiophile mode.”
To my credit though, my crystal ball was pretty darn accurate… “Although, this could well be a gateway to that end”
Also, from that from that first post:
I feel confident in stating that yes, I certainly accomplished those objectives, AND THEN SOME!!! Especially in regard to setup enhancements.
Since that first post in July of 2020, I spent the remainder of the year doing a lot of buying and sometimes rebuying while replacing/updating source gear, speakers, and headphones. There was a lot of learning to do, and there was a lot of trial and error that facilitated the learning (and still does). One example, I never would have thought that headphones would be a part of the mix. “I’m a speaker guy” would have been my answer if someone asked. But I had never heard my music through a dedicated modern DAC/amp chain, or converted to FLAC, but when I did the old Corsair gaming headset was the first thing to go. Obviously now that I have this ability to hear music better, I needed better headphones… They are such a rush! I won’t go further with that because well, we all are aware of that rabbit hole. I think at heart I’m still more a speaker guy. My introduction to headphones was not a replacement for speakers, but is more just another way to listen to music and get a different feel for the same tracks that are also unique at the same time. I don’t know how to put it, other than to say I want both options available.
My point to all this is that I spent a lot of time catching up and now that I have a set of sources and listening gear, it is now time to start enjoying it – by listening more to music, getting that rush that just makes your foot bounce for no reason, or the feeling of emotions past that come rushing back as a result hearing a track from back in the day, remembering where you were etc. etc. AKA my second stated objective from July 2020 , “get back into music”.
Thus, my goal for 2021 – is to get deeper into enjoying music with what I have. Will there be additions or changes? The answer is undoubtedly, yes. But my main emphasis on changes in 2021 will be more environmental and revolve around designing another more comfortable listening area away from a desktop. I spend most all of everyday behind a desk and keyboard etc. for work, and more time recently also for entertainment, at least for audio. I would like to add more separation from work and pleasure so, that will be a thing for me. Setting up a comfortable dedicated listening zone. Why???
To do as @WaveTheory is always saying, “Enjoy the Music!”
Then there are those that they collect the 5-8 sets over a longer period of time, as it’s much closer what they could realistically afford given their particular level of income. It’s like if I took my first 3 pairs of good headphones (990 Pro, K550, and 4XX. So $180, $200(though I paid $100 cause it was half off) and $160(I think I paid $120 used)) so $540 two-three years ago. I had a FX Audio DAC-X6 to drive whatever I got with. Pairing a ~$500 headphone with a $60 DAC/Amp isn’t exactly the most advisable thing. If we split the difference, you’re looking at… $280 roughly for each the headphone side, and the DAC/Amp side. In that case, you’re still looking at landing in the “well, if you saved more, you could have gotten a really nice set”. This kinda logic just doesn’t pan out for people who find themselves needing to work in a lower budget tier.
If my logic is off, feel free to say so.
I think you’re experience is shared by many. I also played around in the lower tier for awhile out of financial necessity. I think @Veritas’s point makes a lot of sense if you think about it when you’ve been playing around in the entry tier for awhile and have a better handle on what you like, you have a pile of assets that you can flip into something better. Starting in summer 2020, I owned about 9 sets of headphones and several amps. I sold several and flipped it into HexV2, LCD2, MLP, and my Lawton modded Fostex. So I think @Veritas - and he can correct me if I’m wrong - was at least partially saying that if you’ve ever thought “there’s no way I can have ___” but you have 8 sets lying around, you probably can get closer to many of those can’t haves.
IDK man. Maybe I just got lucky in that its the sound sig I like, but I just snagged a pair of clears today and they blow everything else I own absolutely out of the water in basically every way. I 100% get wanting to figure out what you want before you blow big bucks, but IMO, you have to go used on the lower end ones to do such without costing yourself a higher end headphone
Im not sure this contradicts @WaveTheory as much as its just a different scenario than he is talking about. You have to use whatever budget you have as effectively as possible, and a year with entry level but good headphones to upgade later is better than a year without them to jump straigh to something higher.
But if you have the budget to try like 4-5, maybe 6 headphones right when you are starting, you are probably better off pooling that into a higher tier can.
No impulse purchases!
I did that twice in 2020. Got lucky with the first of the two, the second one… had some issues…
Build a headphone amp.
I made one for a project that needed to just tick the box of “headphone jack”. I also have that project-blog on here for a rather complicated concept. If that is not my first useable headphone amp, then some other design will be.
I have perfect defenses against new shit. Its all them used deals. Not like im ever going to go over my allotted play budget (im super good at that), but i sit there checking avexchange and head-fi like
I’m going back to onsite at the office after 10 months, so my WFH ride that semi-justified my audio equipment usage for the majority of the day may coming to an end.
In preparation of going back, I made some major impulsive purchases and even more so, sales, but I think I’m satisfied with what I trimmed my collection to. Ultimately, I’ve simplified what I have on my desk, and I’m liking it.
Going forward, I won’t be able to help myself with any impulse purchases, but I will try not to actively seek gear unless it is brought to my attention directly.
My goal is to build a small and inexpensive computer / tv setup, one that i can add too as needed. So starting with powered speakers (probably 1700bts )and a optical to rca converter (fiio d03k). Then eventually a dac amp (ifi zan dac). With how i consume music / gaming / movies, that sould be enough for a long time. Though any suggestions as to directions to go would be appreciated.
My main goal is now to rearrange my listening spaces. I’m in the phase of just enjoying my music more than just listening to the gear all the time. I’m pretty much set up on headphones and amps for now so I can listen on my couch and on my desk. But I have to get a bigger desk, and drastically improve the comfort there. Than I need something like a relax seat for listening away from my pc. So listening more comfortable is a main goal for me. Since I have a few good headphones now, I don’t feel the need to buy more cheaper headphones. I’m more on the thought of saving up and buying one better than than 3-5 cheap sets. A gear goal might be a higher end dac (Bifrost 2 or so) and maybe a good set of IEMs.
I got more open to selling stuff that doesn’t get much use, even if I like it. So I will try not to unnecessarily hold onto things that I’m not fully satisfied with.
2019 was trying lots of entry to mid-tier stuff to figure out what was important for my preferences, and 2020 was finding quality items to build around. 2021 is time to just stop and enjoy the music, focusing on a few central pieces and only consider acquisitions that will enhance those core items.
For those of you struggling with impulse purchases, I suggest establishing a budget. Decide how much you want to allocate to audio purchases on a monthly basis and stick to it. Keep track of your budget in a spreadsheet. Every month, you add your monthly allowance. You can also add the proceeds of anything you sell off. While your balance is building, keep researching and deciding what your next purchase should be. Prioritize and hold fast to the rule that you can’t buy anything until you’ve saved up for it in your budget.