Audio Lessons Learned - post your best advice for the newer members!

I thought it would be great to have our longtime audiophiles post their "lessons learned" along the way.

This is not a thread to start arguments, so please do not do that.
Just a repository where newer members can go to get a few good tidbits of knowledge.

I'll start - I have been an audiophile for 50 years now.

1. Learn about how humans hear sound, and what frequencies SHOULD NOT be flat in their response.. This should be the basis for your system. "Neutral" sounding systems DO NOT sound good to the human ear. You will be unsatified for years (like I was) until you realize this.

2. I do not "chase" DACS anymore.. (I went up to 30K Dacs before realizing the newest Dac chips are now within a few % of the high end Dacs.) Do your research and get yourself a good Dac using the best new dac chips. (about 1000.00 will get you a good one) and save yourself a fortune. - This was one of the best lessons I learned (and just recently) . It allowed me to put more of the budget into room treatment, clean power, and cables which are much more important.

3. Do you want a pleasant or unpleasant sounding system?
I had many very high end systems with NO real satisfaction, until I realized
why a certain company aimed for a particular sound..

4. McIntosh:
As a high end audiophile, I regarded McIntosh as just a little above Bose for about 40 years.-- (not good)
I thought I was an elite audiophile who knew way too much about our hobby to buy equipment that was well made, but never state of the art and colored in its own way.

This was TOTALLY WRONG, as I realize now.
McIntosh goes for a beautiful sound for HUMAN ears, not for specification charts. This is not a flat response, and uses autoformers to get this gorgeous sound. If you know enough about all the other things in our hobby, such as room treatments, very clean power, and very good cables, you can bring a gorgeous sounding McIntosh system to unheard of levels. I have done this now, and I have never enjoyed my music more!


Two cheap, overlooked factors:

1.  Portable sweet spot chair.

Get a small chair and move it around to find the sweet spot for each recording.  The idea of setting up a system with a single, large, fixed sweet spot (and comfortable chair to match) is a myth.  I wind up moving my chair around for each recording.  Try it - you'll get it.

2.  Head angle.

Learn which vertical position of your head puts your ears at the best angle.  You want your complex ear structure in the position where they capture the musical information in the most pleasing way.  Do this by raising or lowering your head so the angle of the music information arriving at your complex ear structure results in the most natural sound.  For me, this usually means lowering my head to a position 20 to 30 degrees from level.  Your job is to figure out what head/ear position you prefer.  Try it - you'll get it.
+1 @tvad 

I still consider myself somewhat of a beginner audiophile but one of the things I fell for early on was, what is being advertised the most is not necessarily the best.  Seek advice from folks who aren't trying to sell you stuff (like on this forum).  I've made many good choices based on the advice I've received here.  Most of my bad choices were due to advertising hype
Don’t accept advice from audiophiles unless you’ve confirmed that what THEY like to hear is what YOU like to hear. Everyone’s perception of sound is different. 
After 45 years I say Make up our own mind!  Only you know what sounds good to you.
1) I learned this just recently, when you burn in new gear don’t just do it when you get home from work, on the weekends or when you have time, let the new gear run in 24/7 for 3 to 4 days or so from the jump, as soon as you can. Do not put this off.

Then you’ll have more time (and peace of mind) to make an informative decision if you want to keep the new gear or not.

2) Make darn sure you read and ask what the return policy of the manufacture, dealer or seller is. Make sure if there is even a return policy cause (surprise) sometimes there is no return policy!

And you’re stuck with the gear you can’t return! Or if there is a return policy you only get store credit!

I don’t care what it is - from fuses, turntables, speakers, interconnects, integrateds, separates, kits, and even custom you need to know.