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.


Just think, Had you done your Homework you would have learned-wisdom and understanding-...Most of those issues are available...price to spending.... Knowledge in = quality out.. IMHO

@jgandy +1

"I have always been audiophile atheist regarding wires, power conditioning, audiophile magazines (although I have subscribed to both since their inception), and  most of the myriad other ancillary devices marketed to the audiophile."

right... such things might be tiny tweaks, though I too am an educated skeptic...,

but the bang for the buck is proper speaker-amp-room synthesis


"Ironically, after all these years my hearing is not what it used to be and I listen less critically now, and simply enjoy the music itself.

The high end gear is long gone, yet I have settled with some nice components that faithfully honor the music without breaking the bank."


2 simple sentences that speak volumes.



@dman1974 : Good post. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy the music, the gear, and most importantly, the journey. Life is short


"An interesting observation I've made is that the older audiophiles tend to focus on things lower in the chain, like speakers and amps.

The digital generation values and focuses on cleaning up the source and thinks that makes more of a difference in their setup."

Maybe the "older" audiophiles have been around the block and know a thing or two about proper - or at least best bang for buck - priorities?  There is that possibility.