Exit plans (and struggles sticking with them)

So I’m sure we’ve all had plans of “once I get x, y, and z, I’ll have what I need and I sell the rest and quit the hobby for a while”. I know I have.

Whether for genuine accountability, or just for the comical playing out of the plan always changing and never being fulfilled – do you have anything you’re trying to complete?

I’d say this is a little different to “what’s your end game”. It may not be ideal, or the best available, just something you’ve told yourself you’ll be content with, or a checklist you’re currently imagining to be your last. Sorry if that is what endgame refers to.

We can also discuss what kinds of things crop up that make the plans so hard to stick to.

I’ll start with mine:

My plan is to sell everything except my Penon Serial, ES100, and Iris 2.0 by the end of May.

Detours I’m already aware of:

  • I do have a Dunu Vernus ordered, I’ll have to make a plan for that after listening to it/see if it has a place in the “team”
  • I plan to buy a Rikubud, probably the Berzerker 1.
The main challenges for me
  • The time it takes to sell gear. While I’m maintaining listings and communication about them, I’m visiting all the places that might easily distract me with something I hadn’t considered (a new product/rumor, or something I already know about, at a ridiculous price). The latter of course pushes everything back as what I’ve bought will have to be resold, or something else will have to be in order to create space/funds. If I could press a button to get a fair value for all the gear I’m planning to sell off, I would probably have made it out once or twice already.
  • Bad habits. While looking for certain finds, checking eBay searches and classifieds and forums is almost a nervous tic. Any bathroom trip (TMI?), time spent waiting for the kettle to boil, or minute alone, it’s the go-to entertainment choice. When I actually have all I want, it’s hard to stop still going to all these places that are based around the “seeking” I no longer need to do. One thing that’s especially hard about this, is that checking a rotation of listings even multiple times can be done in a minute or two. Actually enjoying my earphones has to wait for time alone. So if I have a spare minute and feel I have to do something hobby related, it’s usually browsing rather than listening, even if I don’t need to browse for anything. It’s a poor substitute for the part of the hobby I’d like to be enjoying.
  • The rampant release schedule. If it takes a month to sell off everything, there are a surprising number of new releases in that time, some of which seem like they might be similar or superior to something that was on the “settle for” list. Maybe it’s nothing new but something that could replace one of my ending choices 1:1 but for cheaper. That draws things out…

I’m fairly content that the Serial’s tuning and timbre is not going to be beat for me, the ES100 (@ used price) seems to be the best budget solution to good audio on the go (without the features of the Q5K I never used, so couldn’t justify the price difference only available at new price), and the buds are a more open way to listen when the situation requires it/offer a different sound in general.

In my particular case, I think I am asking for some accountability. Call me out if it looks like I’m straying from my plan above!

I have motivations to sell-up and get out. I’ll be traveling with my family to see my parents in Europe this summer. I don’t want anything left that could have been liquidated by then. I’d also like the funds I get from selling things off to help me to update from an iPhone 7 Plus to something more recent, both for camera gains and battery life. That would be great to do before the trip too, as those features would be handy to bring along with me.

So does anyone else have a plan of action towards being able to “check out” for an undetermined amount of time? If so, are you making a note of it here so you can be amused by how often it morphs and reiterates; or would you like someone to nudge you if you’re getting too thirsty about a new release?



Personally I think trying to set specific system component goals leads to issues down the line for a few reasons. Most typically don’t fully know what they want for a final system until they’ve actually gotten that final system, it’s something you more end up with rather than something you planned in advance the mass majority of the time imo, so I see people more happy when they just end up sticking with a system just enjoying the journey rather than working toward a specific system end goal which people never seem to fully meet. If you have no real expectations or criteria to fully meet, you can’t really be as dissatisfied lol. But of course this could also lead to endless swapping and trying for the fun of it so be careful of that, I’d set some sort of limit (I’d personally suggest limiting the amount of stuff you have on hand, the amount of funds you ultimately put in, and the amount of sidegrades you make, but keep your mind open and go with the flow for the rest). Basically just don’t have a specific setup in mind, let yourself end up with that setup and most will likely stick with it naturally rather than forcing themselves to. At least that’s how I’ve always approached things and what I’ve seen work well for friends as well. It’s also nice seeing someone fully caught into the hobby and not really satisfied because then you know what not to do lol, but ofc really depends on the person. People are in this hobby for really different reasons but at least they (generally) share the main goal of musical enjoyment so at least that connects them.

I know for myself a great way to prevent myself from getting caught up in the flow and just enjoying what I have is just to get yourself distracted exploring new music, like start getting into a genre or scene that seems somewhat interesting and get outside of your comfort zone, and once you start really getting into some of that stuff you might find your desire for the gear is curbed and it’s not something you really focus on, as you are paying much more attention to the music itself. Although that’s not always going to work, that sometimes might end up making it worse, depends on how you approach lol, but it’s typically fun and worthwhile either way. You get to use and take advantage of your current setup and get new material for later, basically just greater focus on the music for the time being

A more extreme way is to financially lock yourself to a setup, basically make yourself feel like you are really strapped for cash and simply can’t afford to attend to audio, so you just have to live with the stuff you have for the time being. If you think you can’t buy anything then you’ll naturally stop looking. You can either try and just mentally convince yourself or actually put yourself in that position (but be careful there lol), as in make a setup that absolutely pushes the most amount you can put into the hobby, and if you are happy with it, you have now successfully locked yourself to where you won’t look into other setups because you have everything into what you already own. Yes this might not be the best advice, but it does tend to work one way or another lol. Can’t upgrade since the next jump up is way too expensive, sidegrading is too much of a hassle since you’d need to sell your current setup to fund it, and downgrading doesn’t make sense. At least that’s where I’m at now personally lol

I guess one big thing is just acceptance, as in just accept the fact that you might not ever truly be entirely done with the hobby, and use that acceptance to approach the hobby in a different light. I think trying to forcefully cut yourself off from the hobby overall just leads to really really wanting to come back full force, so just slowly waning off or looking at things at a different angle helps to increase contentment and curb desire for change or different. Just accept that there will always be better, but also accept that there’s such a thing as a reasonable stopping point that you can live with as well. Hard to really do, but imo that’s the right way of doing it, I don’t think looking for absolute best is really attainable or feasible to do, just accept that you can’t do that and look at things from a more realist point of view. Of course the whole stop looking at reviewers, forums, and buy sell stuff and the sort is obvious but hard to actually do, as forcefully cutting yourself off can just make things worse, and it’s also hard to break the habits slowly. You could try and just convince yourself that you already have the best for you and that everything out there isn’t worthwhile but that’s a somewhat unhealthy approach imo that will really warp your perspective on things and really remove a lot of the enjoyment out of the hobby (aka coping, try not to do that on purpose, a bit of it is fine but don’t rely on it for satisfaction). This is one of the reasons why some of the extremist audio communities exist lol. There’s no real surefire solution here, people approach things very differently so what works for someone might absolutely not for someone else, so just experiment around with what you do to see what actually produces results and what doesn’t.

Having a friend to call you out or keep you in line with what you actually want to do is helpful, someone to nudge you if you end up doing something that wouldn’t really be worthwhile, at least in a productive and kind manner hopefully lol. That person doesn’t even have to know anything about the hobby (although they can give you more targeted guidance if they are), just someone who you can clearly state your goals to that can help you on track. Although, if you find yourself constantly straying from what you planned and going an entirely different direction a lot of the time, there’s a good chance that original track wasn’t really a good fit in the first place. But again with all that stuff you will only really know if you made the right choice when that choice is all said and done lol

Not really sure in the end though, I’m just rambling whatever comes to the top of my head, so not sure if this is meaningful whatsoever. I guess if you aren’t really enjoying the hobby and finding it unsatisfactory you’re likely doing it wrong imo, since I think the best “goal” for this hobby is just enjoyment, enjoying the journey and the current state of that journey. If you only find enjoyment from trying to predict your journey instead of what you actually experienced, somethings really off. Donno lol, I’ve been a part of this hobby ever since I can recall so how I approach things likely isn’t/wasn’t how others have. I keep telling myself I’m truly done now, and I think I’ve finally largely figured out what I want to live with for a long long time, but there’s many reasons I can actually confidently say that this time vs the others I’ve said lol (such as being so committed I can’t really change, but also having no desire to hear anything new since I’m satisfied where I ended up). I never expected I’d end up where I did, but hey I’m here now and not wanting anything else so I guess it worked out alright? Just one of those states you find yourself in and you know you are set and naturally lose interest in the cycle and can still participate in the community without getting caught up, unfortunately can’t really fully plan that out or predict when it happens, it just does

Edit: Ah, and surround yourself with reasonable people, if you end up in groups where people are constantly trying to pull others and themselves in the cycle, you will get caught up in it. If you find a place and people you feel is more reasonable and less caught up themselves, you will be less likely to get caught up and likely end up more satisfied with what you have. Also quickly rereading this a lot of these might be “well no shit” sorta comments, sorry if that’s the case lol


Thanks, some great insights in here and I will be revisiting it a few times to make sure I didn’t miss something.

A quick response to whether or not I’m enjoying the hobby – I do love finding out what’s new, what things sound like, reading reviews, listening to my gear, buying/selling, etc. So I enjoy all of that, I just can’t afford the time tax it takes, I’m wanting to re-prioritize to be more present with my wife/family.

Teaching/coaching leaves very little time and I have to be careful. I want to slow down and focus much more on the listening side. The other parts are more likely to be nagging/on my mind in a way that distracts me from them or eats into time I don’t have at work/home. Often getting something packaged and in the mail is at the cost of planning time for the classes I need to teach that day, and that in turn means I might later have to do prep/grading time at home instead of spending time with my family, for example.
But the listening is something I can during chores/sometimes while planning/during commuting without having any knock-on sacrifices.

So it is something I enjoy, but if it’s down to what I enjoy more, or want to prioritize if it’s one or the other, I find the buying/selling/seeking part of the hobby is something I am happy to lose from my life it grows time at home, and reduces stress from shoe-horning in more than I can actually spread myself between.

And thanks so much for the huge reply man, I’m serious about coming back to read through again. I’m worried I might be skimming it and it’s clearly very thoughtful.

Food for thought: it’s the way I interact with the hobby which is a problem (addictive personality) and that if I do wean myself off that side of it, I will simply fill the gap with something else to do compulsively instead. That I need to work on self control rather than what I’m currently exercising poor self control with.


Ah gotcha, so it’s more a case of priorities than anything. Might be a stupid suggestion but what about investing in audio that can be more easily shared with others/become a family activity, like a nice speaker setup and listen to some music together? Or get others in the family interested in the hobby (if you can actually do that) and have some nice discussion/activity off of that? Although that’s a bit more a stretch, and you also don’t want to push things on people if they don’t want it. Hmmm it’s a hard situation though, I guess just constantly reminding yourself that audio is consuming too many resources within your life and creating more situations that put audio on the backburner is a good idea. I can’t give too much advice here since audio has basically been my one and only hobby and the only real thing I’ve cared about so it’s always been a priority over everything else lol

Taking things slowly is something I really should have mentioned because it’s super important, you won’t find as much satisfaction if you don’t take your time and properly appreciate what you have and where you are in the hobby

I guess the case of passive vs active listening is a thing to consider here. If you want to reduce the amount of commitment to the hobby, (it hurts me to say this) try to reduce the amount of active listening and increase the amount of passive listening. While it’s counterproductive to musical enjoyment and somewhat detrimental to progression in the hobby, it will shift audio from being front and center to more a casual pastime, so don’t have listening sessions only dedicated to music, don’t dive deeply into things, just listen more casually and passively for noise and mild enjoyment rather than making it a focus. But again this is to get out of the hobby not get in lol. If you are naturally less interested and engaged in music listening, you won’t be as interested in gear


Np, I feel you, I’ve been in the situation many times before lol

Yes that’s a somewhat tougher struggle which will further complicate things for sure, and I can’t really give you advice on how to deal with that lol


I came in blind to this hobby not sure how deep I’ll go down the rabbit hole. Now I want to have my own wall of headphones. I want to have all the flavors of sound that I like. I honestly have no idea when I am going to stop.

1 Like

@M0N @rattlingblanketwoman etc. Another thought Full thread, thanks. I was going to highlight a phrase or two, but All of it is good! If we pay attention, we not only learn about gear and sound and new music, but also ourselves. PS headphones, while wonderful, are isolating…and lost TIME with family can never be recovered. Balance!

1 Like

I have a prototype Berzerker along with the Grand Rider 1. Really enjoying the Grand Rider 1. Im on the list to eventually receive the Berzerker. I’m not sure how the prototype will compare to the final but, you’re welcome to it when the final arrives. Just ask you cover shipping and maybe throw a few bucks my way for gas to the post office.


I totally get what you are talking about @rattlingblanketwoman. I too have an addictive personality and get fully absorbed in one thing after the next. I’m someone who also loves to learn new topics and absorb information until something new comes around. I have found it helps to try and stick with hobbies that are skill based vs money based. Things like mountain biking and archery are some that I have been doing for the last year or so. Obviously you can sink a lot of money into anything so I try to keep myself goal focused. With archery it’s about getting more accurate with simple equipment, with mtbing it’s about learning new skills like jumps.

As for IEMs I wouldn’t say I have an exit plan but I have a goal for what I’m trying to accomplish. My goals are to have a solution for the 4 scenarios I listen to music in:
Scenario #1: high intensity outdoor activities where I music is secondary and awareness is key: I use my aftershockz for that
Scenario #2: gym and casual outdoor activities where music is at the forefront but I need the ability to hear my surroundings quickly: earbuds hooked up to my Fiio UTWS3
Scenario #3 (WIP): work and pure music enjoyment: this is currently the Canon with the Q5K and the one which may see the most churn until something just hits
Scenario #4: music enjoyment while traveling or on the go where I wouldnt it wouldn’t be a big monetary hit if I lost them: Olina

Once I feel good about my goals I will step away from buying more IEMs or at the very least have a “one in one out” policy. So far I’m set on 2/4 scenarios


I almost always have a hobby, and in recent years I have been going to more space efficient hobbies, partly because we sold the house, and moved to an apartment in a more expensive place to help the in-laws. Watch collecting is my other one, but I am pretty much at my end game for that hobby.

I am fortunate that my job gives me plenty of time for listening. I write software for a living, so I can listen to music while I am working most of the time.

I also have similar issues, so here are some strategies that have helped me in this hobby

  • My only way to deal with self control is to set a monthly budget, and if I come in under budget, I allow myself to carry it forward to the next month.
  • When I went to work from home, I set aside my old gas budget for home office gear, and my audio gear comes out of that. It means I can get a cool IEM, but I might have to skip some other desk thing I wanted, and it is a good way to force me to prioritize.
  • I noticed some sets tend to scratch the itch better for me. I was very content with Olina, and it did such a good job that I went 3 months without buying another IEM. Mele was good for a couple months too, and I am guessing that Tea will be solid for me too, since it is doing something that I haven’t had before, and I really enjoy it.

I have sort of been pondering what my endgame looks like. I assume that I am approaching it on the IEM side, I keep thinking about an EJ07 variant of some sort, leaning toward the KL, but not totally sure of which one yet, and I am not too far along at this point.

I am guessing I should figure out what I want for an endgame DAC/Amp. I have a BTR5 that I like, and a DIY that isn’t bad, and was fun to put together. I work on the road occasionally, so portable has value to me, and maybe a 5K or a HipDac for something different is the right answer for me. This is the step I haven’t really fleshed out, but the BTR5 works for everything I have, including my over the ear headphones ( the HE400se are my most power hungry ).


Exit plans? From this hobby? No way. I love music too much and I love the technology too much to even consider ever leaving this great hobby. The only thing that ever really frustrates me about it is the predatory and ridiculous prices that some of these manufacturers place on their gear. Every time I consider what the next step for me might be I look at what they are charging and it sickens me to the point of just stopping the search and accepting the fact that where I am is probably where I will stay. And it can taint your thinking up to and including reducing your overall enjoyment of the hobby itself.

But then I stop and reset my brain. I look at what I have, the diversified portfolio of gear I get to play with and how it has enhanced my listening experience, and suddenly it’s OK again. The chase gets old, man. And at that point it stops being about the music, which should never happen. Screw Nelson Pass, PS Audio etc. and their overpriced shit. You don’t need that shit to enjoy music. If you do, you are in it for the wrong reasons.

Sometimes just taking a breath and applying a little reason helps put things in better perspective. I have no idea what my “end game” is going to be. It might be right where I am at today. And if that is the case, I’m quite OK with that. Taking that constant chase for “better” off the table is quite refreshing, to be honest. I have never had the opportunity to listen to a truly high end setup. Who knows, maybe ignorance is bliss in that regard. Either way, I am happier and enjoy the music even more now as a result.