Question: What are some of your best pieces of advise to someone new to the hobby?

I have a friend who is interested in putting together a system and am putting together a little guide for him, compiling information I’ve found over the years, plus some of my own personal tips and tricks. However, I am by no means the end-all-be-all of knowledge and want to incorporate information, tips, and tricks from the community - however basic they may seem - into a nice reference resource.

Without specifically naming any pieces of gear or brands (this isn’t a product recommendation question), what are some of the biggest tips, tricks, important pieces of info to keep in mind, caveats, etc. that you would have for someone new?

*side note - hopefully this post can also serve as a nice reference point for people in the future, as well!


Focus on good not perfect or accurate. Accuracy and perfection are illusions in this field.

Realize that you'll probably never stop wanting more. Most audiophiles are never done building their "perfect systems." It can become an obsession and sometimes you have to step back and change your focus from the gear to music, or learning, or experimenting. It's generally a healthy obsession but it can be frustrating at times. Be prepared to walk away and do something else if it becomes more stressful than fun. When you find out your room is as big a factor as your speakers you might get depressed. It's okay. You'll almost certainly get over it.

It's subjective. There's no right or wrong. If you like something, that's probably all that really matters.

If you want simple hardware advice - start with speakers, and don't be afraid to buy used equipment from anywhere that you can audition it first.

Tell him to ignore tech specs, they mean nothing.  Listen to as much as possible and buy what you like.  

It's a hobby and should be fun. Being passionate about your aspirations is part of what stimulates you as a hobbiest. There is no such thing as a perfect system -the trick is learning how to determine which auditory compromise, or compromises, which are ALWAYS a part of the decisions you will find yourself making in this hobby, will lead to what pleases you most and the longest. This hobby can be very consuming- especially of money.