Have you ever downgraded deliberately?

At the start of my Audiophile journey i had a Marantz PM8004 with a Proton D1200. Klipsch RF-82 Speakers and Marantz CD player. I had entry lv Cardas speaker wire. The system sounded very good and very musical.

If i’m honest i still miss that pre amp - amp combo. At the moment i have 2 Higher Fidelity 138 monoblocks and a black Threshold fet 10HE modded. Wadia 9 classic dac and Wadia transport. Soundwise it’s much better than before. But still i think about that suberb Proton and Marantz. Maybe i’m becoming a bit jaded with the hobby..... I sold Both components with a heavy heart. And wonder what would happen if i downgrade to a similar system (better speakers ofcourse).

I want to hear some downgrade stories of fellow Audiophiles. Why they did it, where they came from system wise. And if they are more happy with a lesser system.

A couple of months ago i heard some Apogees "Duetta sigs" It rocked my world. Because most speakers are ugly, and sound mediocre. This was totally different from a design and sound point of view. It was perfect in my book. Never had that before. I'm trying very hard to scrounge up the $ to obtain it.

My gf also liked the Proton D1200 looks. What if i sell most of my stuff downgrade and Buy that Apogee with the Proton amp and a cool looking CD player? Looks are very important in my living room i guess. Maybe more than audio nirvana

I don't think I've "downgraded" my system, but have recently swapped out some more expensive gear for more "basic" components and been very happy with the changes I made.

In my digital system I had a Peachtree Nova 300 integrated that I replaced with a Heed Elixir.  I wasn't using the Peachtree's DAC, headphone amp, phono out or any of the other features like HTBP because I have a good outboard DAC, headphone amp and phono preamp.  The Heed is less expensive, less powerful (60 watts vs 300) and doesn't do anything but control volume and amplify the signal of my sources (well, it does have a decent headphone amp).  The Heed has what I need for my system and to my ears it is more dynamic and detailed and the 60 watts are more than I'll ever need for my Klipsch Heresy speakers.  The Heed integrated also takes up less space.

I did something similar in my office system, replacing a Peachtree Grand X1 integrated with an old Audio Research VSI tube integrated.  I wasn't using all the features of the Peachtree and like the tube sound better, especially with the Klipsch CF-2 speakers I'm using.  Those were also a "downgrade" from the Monitor Audio, Spendor, and Vienna Acoustic speakers I'd moved through there.  I paid $75 for the Klipsch speakers and couldn't be happier with the sound.

Don't get me wrong about the Peachtree units, I liked both units a lot and would recommend either unit if you need all the bells and whistles they offer.  They are great "all in one" solutions.

The changes resulted in better sound (to my ears) and made sense from an overall system standpoint.
I have had many systems over the years, and the one system that I had more enjoyment from was my acurus 150watt amp and Preamp with Martin Logan Areis and Yamaha CD player. After that, I spent so much time and money looking for better audio equipment such as Kef speakers,  Krell amps, totem, moon, and the list goes on. Since I got rid of my first system I never really enjoyed my stereo systems as much as my first. Therefore, I realizeed I was just spending more and chasing my tail without getting that hi-end sound. I have since sold all my audio and regrouped.
I decided to purchase a Parasound sound A21 amp and Preamp vandersteen model 2 sig’s and a ML sub, and I must say I am back to enjoying my music so much more! Not once have I regretted this setup. The moral of the story is that there is so much “Better” sounding audio available at much more reasonable prices in today’s market. 
Yes I have having owned a Audio store until 07.
and systems $$$. My quest for the last 10 years has been to get the best sound for the least amount of monies spent. Very challenging ,but very rewarding. I do a lot of modding this alone 
adds a minimum of 25% in sound quality vs a stock speaker or amp at 1/2 the cost . Many times the big name companies feed on at least 20% markup based on their name .a lot of quality Chinese gear is 
finally showing its value. I own A Digital integrated amp custom built and designed in Denmark Gato Audio that have much lower noise vs a class AB amp And sounds better then most class AB amps and sound excellent.
unless you have $$ to spend on a Big class A or AB amp.Digital music as well as amplification  has been closing the gap .Jeff Roland,   Mark Levinson,Rogue , Bell Canto , and several others have been doing great things with digital . Shoot for Value that is my goal ,as long as it sounds Very good.
Unless you need money or move and no longer have space - why?
I don't care about value, I care about good sound. Best value is the best sound you can afford.
A system is like a sports team - you don't necessarily want the best players you can get, you want the best team.  As you move up your game, finding the right pieces to give you the best synergy within a system can be a challenge. Perhaps you don't have the right synergy yet at your new level?

Some of what you are experiencing is also probably nostalgia.  You remember the excitement and enjoyment you had during that time and the simplicity of not wanting more - just enjoying your experience.  I still hold a system dear to me that I had about five years ago and though I've moved well past it, part of me wishes I could rebuild it.  Realistically though, I know if I built it I wouldn't have the same fulfillment from it that I had all those years ago.

It's always easy to look back on 'better days' and forget the negatives experienced during that same time - negatives that might have caused you to move the direction you are currently in.
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Elizabeth, I suggest you sell absolutely everything except your speakers and couple of Furutech outlets. In a sense, temporarily downgrade to zero. Then start anew, this would be interesting and rewarding. Then you will be proud to take it with you..where the grass might in fact be greener.

i've had to down size due to moving a lot, smaller spaces, financial reasons when my daughter got into an expensive university. every time it was a rebuild but with age comes experience and I've found satisfying music in all sorts of price points and I've found you don't always need to spend big bucks to get enjoyable music.

one thing i've recently found is higher efficiency can get you closer to bliss for less money if you don't need or can't use the lowest bass (can't use as in condo-loft-apartment).

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So, downgrading can be good, it might give you an opportunity to think about how to go higher than before, helps you get disengaged from your current "junk" you are in love with.  
Downgrading is not the same as downsizing. You can downsize and maintain the same or even better sound quality.  
Downsizing whilst maintaining some semblance of sound quality was a good move for me. Low cost, low mass, low distortion, low stress. 
Downsizing and simplifying are totally different. My dream system is reel to reel deck, monoblocks, speakers, and a few cables. Best performance as well.
Downgrade I'm not sure about but space limits made me get rid of my B&W 801 S2's. Not really fair putting SVS gear up against the Beemers but they are rocking my smaller space and sounding very musical and fun. I'm missing nothing.

Tv and movies sound incredible too which is a nice bonus, my old reference system never touched a tv...I should of. 
Years ago I sold my amp and speakers to a friend, and have since had many higher end pieces of gear, and I'm quite happy with the combo I have now, but damn if the original combo doesn't blow me away every time I visit him. For the record, it's a NAD 326BEE amp, and Monitor Audio GR10 speakers, and for whatever reason they are just a perfect match, and sound way better than one would expect for the price point. If I ever did have to downgrade, at least I know what I would get.
Although I don't regard it as downgrading, I do maintain a couple of systems made up of components that I have had for many years as well as some old gear I acquired more recently.

I have one system with Martin Logan CLS (original version c. 1986, driven by period amplification.

And I would happily have a system using original Quad speakers driven by period Quad amplification. There is a magic there that is hard to emulate with more modern gear.
Once...this year actually.  I was running Silnote Audio Morpheus II Series II XLR Interconnects, from my source Oppo 205, direct to my Parasound JC-1s.   The detail was amazing compared to my prior MITs, yet still smooth, with a rare sense of etch (mostly source recording issues IMO).  I decided to step up in the Silnote line.  The Poseidon II XLR interconnects, at 2x the cost.  The Poseidons are of the same materials, just more of it, with a slightly different design weave within the cable  They are touted as being a "luxurious" sounding cable with great reveal.  I quickly realized "luxurious" meant more lush, and more smooth, yet at the expense of the nuanced detail.  It moved the sound in a pleasant direction in some regards, but overall it was not as "live" as being in front of an instrument/band.  The Morpheus II Ser II just pounces everything in this regard.  I could see using the Poseidons in a more digital sounding amp, but the JC-1s are naturally smooth and unetched in their own regard, and didn't need that assistance...so...to get the best realism & detail in a still smooth sound, I moved back down to the Silnote Morpheus.  I have since moved to Tube Amps, and found the benefit of the less expensive, "step down" Morpheus XLR interconnects, to be even further pronounced over the Poseidons, in the tube application.
My journey began in the early seventies with a Harman kardon 340A receiver, dual turntable, and audio analyst speakers.  From there I graduated up the ranks with magnaplanar Spears and electronics from SAE, Amber, Proceed, and Jeff Rowland.  Then one day I stumbled upon a mint Pioneer SX 1250 which I completely restored.  To my now old ears it beats all of those.  The Pioneer remains and the rest are gone.  I also have a vintage Fisher 400 receiver which drives a pair of LS3/5A clones.  Sublime!  I also have purchased and restored an original Harman kardon 330A which acts as my headphones amp on the night stand.  Will never part with any of these old pieces of gear.  
While I have not deliberately downgraded, I have stopped upgrading as my ears can no longer resolve at a level they used to.  Result is different but not necessarily improved to the point of achieving a reasonable value proposition.  

I have deliberately downgraded my system, and it wasn't long before I found myself not listening to music as much as I used to; not happy with SQ and lack of PRaT. I now have the same brand of integrated amp and speakers as I did before the downgrade, although different models. My power conditioner and half my cables are also the same brand as before.

If you can downgrade (but not too low) and find a balance that suits you, perhaps it would work for you if you were able to keep some of the sonic virtues that you currently enjoy. But you will hear the difference; whether you care for it is something I can't answer.

If you decide to try it, I recommend not parting with your current system until you know the outcome of the downgrade; unless you're comfortable with putting a good system back together, and the selling/buying involved with it.

I once had some one make me an offer that Godfather like, I couldn’t refuse.  It was for an Ayre preamp that was over two years old and I was offered what had been my purchase price.  I still had the previous Pre Amp, a Cary SLP 05, laying around so I thought what the heck, this makes monetary sense and the Cary wasn’t so bad.  I was instantly sorry that I had done this, as reinserting the Cary made me remember why I had wanted to upgrade from it in the first place
I've got multiple systems. One around $50K or so retail, another $5K or so. The $3K system puts the $50K system to shame in some areas. It's a pair of Focal Shape 65s connected to Chord Hugo 2 fed via Chromecast Audio.
First off, what amp was on those Apogees?  Something very serious like a Krell, Threshold or Levinson?  The store I worked at back in the day sold Apogees running with Krells, it was the only thing that would run them.  They need lots of current, I don't think the Proton could handle them as they drop down very low in impedence.

Secondly, speaking of downsizing, I've done several times over my almost 40 years in this hobby.  The most significant time was in 93, when my daughter was born.  The hobby just wasn't important anymore and I went from nice tube separates to a lowly receiver.

Right now, I like to try out different things, keep them for a while, then try something different.  I'm a tube guy at heart, but don't always have tubes in my arsenal.  I have found out that when I have SS gear, I'm always changing every so often, but when I have tubes, I tend to not make changes for a much longer period of time.  Tubes just sound right.  I'm also a giantkiller type of person in that I can be perfectly happy with gear that is on the budget side that competes with gear that is much more expensive.  Lastly, I'm very much into vintage gear from the 70's and 80's, reliving my youth I guess :)

Have fun,
The seller was displaying them with a Jadis MC80 Preamp and also a Jadis power amp. He also had JCAT monoblocks laying arround and e-mailed me later that the sound was even better with them. A tube lover as yourself Lou.

Thanks for your input
Well my system changed somewhat due to some components were away for mods. Bought a D1200 on the cheap.

Great component, but definitely beneath my regular setup. Nostalgia indeed.

Another great lesson and tons of fun
(Not entirely Amp related but regarding downgrading).

Well this is an interesting thread for sure. 
As a matter of fact I just sold my Kef LS50s.
In place (currently) are a pair of Definitive Technology Studio monitors SM50s that I bought on the cheap on CL. 
At first I keep switching them in and out and thought boy these
DT sound pretty good. Long story short they sound great to me, maybe they are a better fit for my Peachtree 150 or just sound better to my aging ears. Don't get me wrong I liked the Kefs (sound / look and build quality) but ended up downgrading. The Kefs may have responded to a better amp but I am not interested in pursuing that at this time.

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I think I upgraded while "downgrading" from multi thousand dollar low output MC cartridges to high output MM and MI. I had gotten away from why I was listening to music by getting sucked in to the audiophile dog and pony show.
Elizabeth I don't even have 17 outlets in my home what did you do with 17 Furutechs? Or are many of them just for backup?
I actually have simplified and upgraded.  "right sized." as part of the rest of my home.

I don't regret it, this is the best sounding system I've owned, I just don't have as many cables and shelves to worry about.

Sometimes, to create one must first destroy. - David the advanced robot in Prometheus
There are certain combinations of components that are usually assembled by sheer luck, and are magical. The ones I have heard have been not expensive at all. One I remember included a west coast speaker called Quadraflex.