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!


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.   

Listen to as many types of speakers and amps as possible. 

Horn loaded, open baffle, sealed, ported, electrostatics, multi driver, single driver, high efficiency. Single ended tubes, push pull tubes, high power, low power, Class A solid state, class A/B solid state, single ended solid state.

If you don’t know what types systems are avail, and how they sound, it’ll be a long and expensive journey to arrive where you want to be.


Listening to EVERYTHING is perhaps a good idea at first but impossible for most anyway... Your room and needs will determine the type of speakers... And a speakers set dont sound the same in different room coupled with different components anyway...

Read about the way to embed any system and any component optimally in the electrical, mechanical and acoustical working dimensions... Begin with what you own now ...Dont upgrade if not necessary or if you dont know how to upgrade anyway , study and experiment...

Learn, study acoustic concepts , experiment with fun or pay for an endless rabbit hole of obsessions for a dreamed "perfection" ...

This hobby is about music learning  and acoustic experiments more than about upgrades and money...


Know what you are trying to do. What kind of music do you love? What kind of tech do you want? Is it just 2 channel or do you want theater?

Most of all, the room is the room. Understand it and what can and cannot work. There is plenty of empirical data - you can avoid a lot of problems by paying attention. This includes dimension, construction, power and WAF. These are immutable givens - addressing any of them is expensive.

Unless you live where home auditions are possible and you can afford it, buy used.

Learn how to listen- develop those skills.

understand that your tastes will evolve or morph and some assumptions may need to be re-examined.

Know that the point of diminishing returns is quickly reached- as the wise man sai, don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good. If you start with good stuff the third or fifth version may not be that much better.,,

Finally relax and take your time - a system is part of your life, not your dr focus- least it should be IMO.