Has Your Hobby Changed?

I have found that in the last couple of years my audiophile hobby has changed. It started with gear, then the focus shifted to the room and now I’m where I was headed at the start, listening to the music. It’s been a long road to audio nirvana but I wouldn’t change a thing. Every step of the process was interesting, enlightening and enjoyable. I’m looking forward to years of listening pleasure. To everyone on this platform that answered my questions and made suggestions, thank you for your help. It is appreciated.  Enjoy the music everyone!


Congradulations… good place to be.


You just described the cycle I went through about every seven to ten years. For seven years or so, I just listen to music. Then for two or three years go through an upgrade cycle: equipment, wire, vibration, room. Then back to music… the best part.

Great place to be, enjoying the music not chasing gizmos as many seem to do. 

In the same vein, my music preferred genres has shifted as I’ve aged, limited 60’s to 80’s pop and rock largely restricted to SIRIUSXM in the car.

it’s now a lot more of quality mastered Diana Krall, Chris Botti, Michael Buble, Ella Fitzgerald, light jazz , Yo To Ma , and a ,liberal insertion of classical .

THAT IN TURN predicated an change in certain audio components and a change in audio listening room at home that favour this evolution , namely:


- HARBETH 30.2XD speakers replacing prior prior rock genre floorstanders . The HARBETHs provide a best of class midrange and a better fit in a smaller room.

- MOON by SIMAUDIO 280D MIND2 streamer upgrade from BRYSTONs. Premium top of options build, performance and EZ app. The app utility’s a big chunk of digitsl satisfaction

- CARDAS CLEAR cables full loom upgrade from NORDOST FREY loom,,, with a specific choice of CLEAR REFLECTION speaker cables as a bespoke better choice to tame a digital “brightness” and digital “edge” now in my new heaby glass walled listening room.


I migrated out of my basement man-cave and left it strictly for a discrete 7.1 HT system. Now it’s resident in a sunshine flooded comfy LR with a lot of glass with its new audio first reflection warts …but it’s better in lifestyle joy for me now and in line with my new fave music genre and comfort in its new arena paired with a premium scotch or cognac . …



Congrats on reaching your pot-o-gold at the end of this audio rainbow. I'm in the same boat as you and finally have no desire to analytically listen anymore and instead, concentrate on the music.

I've been thinking of starting a thread for some time on the very subject you brought up, alluding to it in one way or another on other threads. It's times like this when I can finally appreciate the term, diminishing returns. 

The odd thing is, while no longer chasing components, I find myself spending less time listening as a means of analyzing, reducing the actual amount of listening for pleasure, as I had to conflate the two. Now I listen when I want to and not when I have to.

All the best,

2 weeks ago, on May 15th, i retired after 49 years in Automotive Retail.

i am very curious to see how this change in my life and time management will affect my hifi/music loving hobby. now i can listen as much as i like, before i worked 55 hours a week, 6 days a week. will my hobby be needed to deal with my stress in the same way, or will i lean away from it?

i expect it to become a bigger part of my day as i love to listen to music in my system. i have spent the last 30 years seriously creating the perfect place to listen, and assembling a system and music collection to satisfy my needs.

we will have to see. i will let life and my feelings happen as it comes. so far i am joyful with my freedom of choice and really enjoying my ability to extend listening sessions without limits. never got so much before from the hobby.

as far as ’gear slut’, ’room set-up focus’ and ’music focus’, i’ve always done all three.. but one change will be staying revenue neutral, i can buy new gear, but being retired, i need to also sell something to pay for it.

Dear mikelavigne,

CONGRATULATIONS! I say that as someone who spent "only" 10 years (two 5 year tours) in the car biz, and I retired last fall. 49 years is amazing...I couldn’t have done that (though I did some digging and learned you were in upper management, and I was just a grunt salesman).

I have followed your audio evolution with great vicarious interest, from the original article (Pos Feedback?) detailing the design and building of your listening room, to all the subsequent changes in it and your system. I have marveled not only at the time and energy invested (you are much better at A-B’ing and gear evals than I could ever be), but the investment too.

My system is modest, but with more free time I find that my interests have shifted back again to what they have always been primarily: listening to the music, and then doing many other things. I have never been a "gearhead" (and I don’t use the term disparagingly), making constant changes to my system, for several reasons: 1) budget, and 2) I am lazy and easily frustrated by comparing gear and making decisions. That doesn’t mean I don’t aspire to improving my system as I can, but gear is just the means to the end. I do wish I could figure out how to make an extra $20K a year very part-time from home, to pay the audio pusherman!

My listening may become more seasonal too, as when the weather is great, I want to be outside much of the day. Much more music listening and other "indoors sports" like cooking during the crappy cold, wet months. It is nice now to be able to listen during the day as loud and as much as I want when my wife is at work. In the evening, that’s a no-go, as my listening room is next to the living room.

So, you have reached a point where you have a world-class system and room, and have worked hard to achieve that. I hope that just listening to amazing music repro is satisfying, because you’ve reached Shangri-La maybe? I’d gladly make the trek from the Olympic Peninsula over to enjoy it with you! I’d bring lunch and libations. 😎 CHEERS

Retirement can open doors for a lot of folks. You finally have the time, if you have the inclination, to analyze your systems sound. Not necessarily a good thing though if you seriously love your music. The trick, I think, is to be able to balance your interest in audio and music and keep them separate. I’m lucky now to have arrived where I can afford to buy anything I would want, but every time I think about the audio function I really can’t find anything that would be worth having to maintain my interest in music. I’m still buying new music though. :-)

One thing for sure about retirement -- I no longer feel guilty about listening to my stereo or playing my musical instruments.  Yeah, there's still the lawn to mow and the garbage to take out. But there are also no more frenzied calls from my bosses wondering "where that report is." Or the call at Five O'clock where I hear, "We're emailing you something and we need the report first thing tomorrow morning."

I envy those of you who have retired. I’ve got four years to go before I can listen guilt free. I work from home so the temptation to listen to an album is sometimes to much to ignore…lol. 

I’m with you. I’m about two years from retirement. I hope I make it and have several years left of good health to enjoy the music. As for gear, I’m still looking for my last speakers and a better streamer/DAC or standalones. Nothing crazy. My system so far "only" costs about $12K, far less than most people on here, but I’m happy with it. After I add about $5K in new speakers, a streamer and a DAC, and a 2M Blue cartridge, I’ll be done and ready to just enjoy the music. Yeah, I’m sure there is better sound out there, but can my 65-year-old ears really hear it? Not sure. I still love knowing what great gear is out there and what people get out of it.

I really enjoy the postings on here of "What is on your turntable?" to get recommendations of new/old music to check out.

This is the only hobby I know of where when you are young and have the ears for it, you can't afford the gear (unless your dad or uncle was into it and you got to hear theirs), and then when you are older and have more disposable income, your hearing isn't as good to enjoy it. LOL.  Ironic. But hey, I still love listening. 

Congrats on retirement @mikelavigne. If your experience is anything like mine, you'll find yourself just as busy, but hopefully spending more of that time on the things you care about. 

I started in this hobby as an audiophile with audiophile gear very early on, and listened to material that tended to sound good; I found that to be very confining-- everyone had the same records and you'd hear the same stuff at listening sessions (those I miss, the in person hang, which was the way we shared info about gear and records). 

A dozen or more years ago, I curated my record collection, got rid of a lot of stuff and spent more time concentrating on obscurities. That was fun, and I built up a knowledge base about post-bop jazz, early proto-metal (what used to be precursor heavy rock but off the radar) and a few other niches.

I discovered that my real fascination is the history of this stuff-- combining the stories behind the recordings with changes in technology and am considering going back to school for archival studies. 

I'm still a gear head, but am not avidly chasing down the latest and greatest. I'm fascinated by antiquarian gear. I would like one last big horn system if I can fit it into my room.

We are on the cusp of another generational change as the performers we knew and loved as young people start passing on. I guess most of the material I find enduring is older anyway, so other than nostalgia, it won't matter much to me personally. I do enjoy learning and find points of contact outside the traditional audiophile community to be a large source of "new to me" information. One young guy who is a hip-hop DJ turned me onto rare groove jazz; another, who is steeped in real country has turned me on to artists outside of the modern Nashville music machine.

There are also new artists that have similar interests in some of this stuff, ranging from folks signed to the Daptone label to Snarky Puppy to 1/2 a dozen bands here in Austin to an equal number abroad making interesting sounds. There's a funky old blues bar not far out of town that I've been meaning to visit and I'd like to have a guided trip to some of the temples of antiquarian sound in Japan. 

To me, the journey has always been the fun part. 

Retired. 6 Saturdays and 1 Sunday. I'm listening on every day that ends with day. Happy listening 🎶

I'm 4 years past retirement, so I already have made the switch. More than the retirement effect, the getting the house of stereo built and properly acoustically treated, followed by multiple equipment upgrades to best take full advantage of the listening room potential has kept me so busy along with all the other homeowner's chores that retirement has not quite sunk in yet. And I"m not sure it ever will even so the audio journey has reached its goal. Definitely able to purely dive into music anymore and no longer having to analyze sound. That right there is worth all the effort I have put in my endeavor.

It's too bad that I can no longer update my system on this site since I must have reached maximum input. No more "edit" showing lol. I am too lazy to start a new one plus since I got where I want to be, it somehow doesn't seem as important anymore. Thanks to all those who have helped me get there. 

Good discussion, nice way to end this special memorial weekend.

Not having to work enables a simple statement:

if the mood strikes you, every night is Saturday night.

@moonwatcher  luckily I still have my hearing. I was recently tested and I am still hearing everything I should, we’ll I do as long as I keep my left ear clear of wax. I am about the same as you as far as gear cost, but then I have another 5K in room treatments. The investment was well worth it. I have a great chair and it really is a great experience to be able to listen to the music now. There really are good and bad recordings and that is all I have to remind myself now. Better gear isn’t going to fix it! I’m 61 and still rocking!

@baclagg good for you. I top out now at 12,500KHz and have 8000Hz tinnitus.  But I still keep listening as often as I can. I'm sure the room treatment was worth it. The godawful sound from very expensive gear at audio shows is indicative of how much we perceive is colored by the room, and usually not in a good way. Happy listening!

On the cusp of big changes so curious how things will play out. After decades in a shared living area working around everyone’s music preferences and the TV I am building a home with a dedicated room that will be acoustically isolated from the rest of the house. Though I expect to continue working for a number of years I anticipate retreating to my space to listen to what I want when I want. I’m guessing I’ll be dipping deeper into my rock and jazz collection and will spend less time listening to chamber music and female vocals at low volume. About a year away but looking forward to the next phase of my audio journey.

It absolutely hasn’t changed. The only reason I bought my gear is so that I can listen to music. I didn’t buy my gear to just look at it.

Mine changed dramatically when I bought a streamer and   subscribed to Qobuz. I use it more than the turntable and CD player and FM tuner combined. I've discovered so much great music and am always searching for the next great thing.  Retirement didn't hurt, either.

Other activities have encroached on my listening sessions.  I'd say the trade offs have been an overall positive change for an aging audiophile.  Even with significant hearing loss, those listening sessions remain very special.

Enjoy the music.  And, life and living.

@mikelavigne embrace the pi$$ out of it man! Soon as I read your post I felt so compelled to respond. Much as you never want to wish precious time away, I wake up everyday yearning for retirement to get here. I have 5-6 more years to go and at this rate not sure I can make it. The daily stresses of work never ever leave (I'm responsible for a 24 hour, 7 day a week operation) and I never get a minute's peace. Even when I am able to sit and try to unwind with my system it never lasts more than half an hour without interruptions. And honestly, I find myself not able to truly get "lost" in the music like I used to. Too much stress and stuff in my head. And it's ALL work related...So even when I should be able to enjoy the sound, I can't...

About 4 years ago when I left my last company and before I started working again, I took 2 months off. It took about 2 days in for all the toxicity to leave and for me to decompress, and for the first time in for as long as I could remember I felt a sense of peace and calmness that I had not known for so very very long...For the first time I was able to truly get lost, enjoy, and appreciate my system without a care in the world. No deadlines, meetings, projects due, no craziness, dealing with people who don't care and don't take pride in their work, etc, just peace and serenity. It was then that I realized how much I will embrace and enjoy retirement. And one of the main reasons is I miss my music...I used to be able to sit for hours on end and just be one with the music and my system. I'd even be able to let music do its true magic and transport me back in time when the world made sense and things were so much simpler. Back to my teen years and those special moments that you appreciate so much more as you get older, you know?😌

So embrace it man, you've earned it! And enjoy every single sweet note that comes out of your system...


Congratulations and Best of Luck to you!

I'm done adding/upgrading. I have enough to create 3 or 4 systems. What I got is what I got. Now I just buy music (LP'S, CD'S, Cassettes, mini discs). Although I already have plenty of them. I always say I'm done with buying records ect...but I always come across something else I want to add to the collection. Not much into the streaming thing, so did not spend a ton on a streamer. Grace Digital Link is all I need. Great for finding new music. 


I will never understand how anyone could consider this stuff a "hobby".

What would you call it, @secretguy ?

For me, audio is part of a way of life, part of a music lifestyle.

moonwatcher, re:

 After I add about $5K in new speakers, a streamer and a DAC, and a 2M Blue cartridge, I’ll be done and ready to just enjoy the music. Yeah, I’m sure there is better sound out there, but can my 65-year-old ears really hear it? Not sure. I still love knowing what great gear is out there and what people get out of it.

I'm with you. I guard my hearing like crazy, but think about how much to invest since I too have 65-year-old ears. I can hear up to 12KHZ well, and I hope that holds. I know someone who helped assemble a million dollar system for an 80 year old man. He says the guy's philosophy is he can't take the $$ with him, and though he can only hear to 8KHZ, it is a glorious 8KHZ!

My system is also modest, like yours, but sounds pretty darn good to me. Of course, I would have a much grander system if I won the lotto jackpot! It really is fun to see what other people are doing with their systems, though frustrating because I would love to listen to them in person. 

The biggest improvement I made several years ago was to switch to ROON for streaming. I have discovered so much more new music and so many artists that I never would have found without it. I can't recommend it enough. Every time i listen it's like a treasure hunt, exploring new music. I get lost in it for hours.


Much the same here too. I have converted from analog to digital over the years, mostly for convenience. My Oracle turntable has been replaced by an Apple Airport Express streaming lossless, and I love it. The DAC's are so much better than the ones from the 80's. I find I'm listening to the music now and not the equipment IYKWIM. Loving my system!

Congratulations on the retirement, it may take a bit to slow down, it took me a few months just to get my stride. Been retired for a few years now, still work sometimes but that has slowed as well. I have re-investing in my music hobby since my retirement (the need to work sometimes to pay for it!) and am reasonably happy with my system now as reconfigured, mostly tubed system, my need for better quality was apparent as my listening sessions (2 to 3 hours per session, usually daily), showed I had some deficiencies.  I enjoy both digital and my vinyl (but lean to the vinyl as having that holistic quality). Before I retired my system was 40 years old and was mostly used in the background. The guitars and banjo's have also been in regular use in retirement. Music is a major part of my life in retirement and I couldn't be happier! Enjoy! 

@ boxcarman

Streaming has basically changed everything both for audio and video. Qobuz has been awesome and Netflix, Paramount Plus ...gets it done 'pretty well' on the video side. I've been in and out of retirement for the last 15 years, but finally settling down to enjoy these systems more than ever before. Most recent changes have been to recable and add room acoustic elements with which I am amazed. My wife and I reside in NW Wyoming near Yellowstone Park. Lots to do and be thankful for. Nice to have this hobby especially when it's cold, windy and snowy here in the Shoshone Valley which was especially true this past winter. Starlink has been a necessary element in the mix as well.


I must say I too have been on your same journey with the only difference being I have enjoyed the music during to whole journey. For me it has never been about the system first. Music has always been first. Have I found more enjoyment as the system got better. You bet I have but I still enjoyed the hell out of the music through my Sansui 7070 and Bose 901’s even listening to fm radio. Think the big plus is when a significant system upgrade makes all the old music sound brand new again. It’s a fun ride and always enjoy the music!


Another +vote- still Audiophile and Always. Enjoy the Music.


Happy Listening!

Since my retirement, I can listen at least a couple of hours each day with only the dogs to occasionally disturb my listening session.


Yes I'm 71 went through alot of years buying and changing my audio equipment. NOW ,i relax and play my collection. I have so many and cd i haven't ever listed to ,Now is the time...i bought so much that i find new stuff all the time....Nice.

"Retired"....lovely concept....until reality intrudes....*L* ;)

Spouse is just on the verge of hiring my 'replacement'.

We're self-employed with an expanding business.
He may be able to 'pick up' 30% of 'what I do'....meaning what I Really Do, overall.

Let's call it....semi-retired.....15+ years in the current situation, with the additional 40+ of the 'activities' and experience will be a tall order....

And what gets done 'in the margins' I call 'fire control', a hallmark of small>medium businesses I've been submerged in for those 40...

@limomangus ....I turn 73 at the backside of June.....most go  'wha...?!' at that.... ;)

I don't think 'retire' and I will live well with each other...😏

I've no real envy of that state....since I've always been pre-occupied beyond rationality, I'd go more bonkers than is currently considered...

A 'change of focus' would be more apt in mho of my pending SOTSituation....

(Besides....full retirement would likely drive me more into these forums, which ought to make some shudder....*LOL*....)

*evil L*, J

Yes, retirement can be seminal in enjoying your system. It has been for me… five years retired and fifty years of being an audiophile. I had started on moving from a very resolving system to a musical one about ten years ago after having season tickets to the symphony for many years. Retiring gave me the time to really listen to my system and drive me to really accelerate my investment in tube gear (Audio Research) and Sonus Faber. After doubling my investment in gear… my system sounds incredibly better than my earlier detailed system (I called it my reference system because I could instantly tell every thing about the venue and mastering (( looking back… this condemned the sound)) ). 

While I used to get bored with my reference system after 45 minutes. I have to tear myself away from my current system after three hours each day. I finally got the balance right between musical and detail and can enjoy my time listening as long a time as I have.

Gear is fun.  Music is life.

I tend to go through 2-4 year cycles:  get into a music genre, then optimize my system for that sound.  Then deep dive into genre.  Then bored with genre, explore something else, then optimize the system.  Repeat.  Music is always first but I can get pretty deep into the tech.  Learning Linux to make Roon work reliably was a deep dive…

I retired and move to a mountain cabin, completely off the grid.  My city system will not work with my cabin's solar/battery power system.  I have a small system up here but rarely us it. Most listening these days is with phones and iPhone.  Yes, I miss a lot but I love my isolated mountain life. Odd turn of events, in the near future I may get to hear my old stuff again, the caretaker of my old city house may be moving and I may just have and opportunity to get it out of storage. Note: Old System: B&W 801S3, VTL 450MKII, Mcintosh C2500 and TT.

My hobby started out as a DIY music production thing, but more recently I've found myself really interested in the tech itself and I hope to one day have a proper sound system set-up.

I am still very interested in the musician side though, and a lot of my purchases come from that angle. I just bought a used Edirol R1 recorder to try and break away from recording and playing everything through my laptop. Still need to invest in some better speakers though.



@baclagg congrats! Great place to be!!! You took great care in putting together that system and tuning the room to complete the setup. It looks great and I bet it sounds excellent as well! Enjoy!!!

@mikelavigne congrats! have a long and healthy retirement!!!

To me, the 'hobby' part is the buying and selling of gear. Listening to music is no more a 'hobby' for me than reading a book or watching a movie. 

Nowhere near retirement, but over these last years have seen my setup going from passive to outboard active configuration and from hifi to pro/studio/cinema segment gear, with my DAC/preamp now being the only member of the bunch that's non-pro (although it was initially aimed at studio use as well). That new gear approach is in service of a more allout physics-first route with a different set of criteria, although merging with and even further building upon these pre-existing values from the "audiophile" camp. Hifi generally became too "flimsy" for me, too brand oriented, too expensive, too "taking the steps up (or down) the hierarchy ladder," too much function-follows-form (and not vice versa), etc. Sometimes you have to unlearn, throw it all overboard and more or less start from scratch. I'm glad I took the jump. 

My job was my hobby...Retirement was difficult with no interaction with the students and teachers...

 i taught reading analysis...


I created my own acoustic tuned room... It takes me 2 years non stop...I lost it...I am in headphone now ( 6 months of listening  modifying experiments now completed) ...


@pooch2 Does the banjo have a resonator or is it open-backed? Your answer is extreeeeemly importnat!!!!😁 As for me, it's an open-backed one as, despite the fact I both frail and claw-hammer, resonator banjos just weigh too much and the finger picks are just too much of a hassle.

I usually play with the resonator installed, but I agree it's heavy. I play sitting down with the banjo in my lap so it's not so bad. I also use finger picks with the banjo but don't use a pick at all with the guitar, go figure.

pooch2 -- Xlnt! And we can call ourselves the ABC, the Audiogon Banjo Cabal...