What I wish I knew before starting my audiophile journey


I’ve considered myself an audiophile for over 3 years now. In those 3 years I’ve owned over 12 pairs of speakers, 10 amplifiers, 4 pre amplifiers, 7 DACs all in search for the perfect sound. What I’ve come to learn is I knew nothing when I started and now have some, not all of an understanding of how this works. Im passing this on to anyone that’s getting into this hobby to help fast track them to a better sound and learn from my experience. If I were to do this all over again, here is where I would start and invest my money.

1. Clean power- I wasted a lot of time and probably sold very good gear thinking it wasn’t good enough because I didn’t have clean power. I installed a dedicated 8 gauge power line with 20 amp breaker and hospital grade plugs for approximately $800. This was hands down the single biggest upgrade. You really have no idea what your gear is capable of delivering until you have fed it with clean power.

2. Speakers-this is where I would spend the a big chunk of my budget. I could make tweaks all day to my system but until I had speaker resolved enough to hear them, it all seems a waste of time. I discounted many things like cables because I couldn’t hear the difference until I had speakers that could actually produce the differences. Keep in mind the room size. I believed that bigger was better. I actually now run a pair of very good bookshelves that have no problem energizing the room. 

3. Amplifier power. Having enough power to drive the speakers is crucial in being able to hear what those speakers are capable of delivering. Yes different amp make different presentations but if there’s enough power then I believe it’s less of an issue and the source determines the sound quality more.

4. Now that I have the power and resolution to hear the difference between sources, cables, pre amplifier, streamer, DACs ect. This is where the real journey begins. 
 

On a side note, my room played a huge roll in how my system sounded but not a deal breaker. I learned that it’s possible to tweak the system to the room by experimenting with different gear. I learned that speaker size based on room size is pretty important. Have good rug!!

For reference my set up

Dedicated power

Lumin U1 mini

Denafrips Venus 2

Simaudio 340i

Sonus Faber Minima Amator 2

cables, AQ full bloom. NRG Z3, Earth XLR, Diamond USB, Meteor Speaker cables.

128x128dman1974

If we are talking about the Stereo, this thread may be spot on. If we are talking about musical fidelity, no one has mentioned the source of the music, the master specs. Lossless recordings, UHD recordings, matter to the actual fidelity.

Nada Bramha.

@dman1974 

You mad bro?

You lost me on that "clean power" nonsense. Is your clean power solar, wind or water?

Also, you didn't state your budget in your OP, nor did you state you bought used gear.  And, I didn't talk about "months" to determine gear synergy.  

Maybe you read what you wrote, and what I wrote.

Either way, please let your wife know how sorry I am.

Great post and we have all been down this road. 
 

Some have been on it longer than others. 

It's an awful hobby, it's costly, lonely and addictive. Number one rule, listen to as much equipment as you can and never commit to anything until you have heard it, preferably at home. Never buy anything at RRP, it's all overpriced. The only thing in my system with 80% of RRP is the Denafrips DAC. Most everything else were 40% or so discount, including cables, power accessories, tube amp, network player and speakers. A play is nothing like a movie and record is nothing like a concert, in the words of a hifi reviewer, and I don't really like any of them, however this is a truism decide which sort of fake you like. Price has very little to do with sound quality, in the same store I listened to a $20,000 tube amp and a $6000 tube, no one could pick a difference. I've listened to $20,000 speakers that can make your ears bleed and your face grimace, $1500 ones that made my spine tingle. However if in the end this hobby becomes all about the equipment, sell it all and buy an iPod, you'll probably enjoy the music just as much.