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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:18 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 3:58 pm
Posts: 13
Location: Waterloo, ON, CA
I've been building up a system for 30 years, with everything replaced about 3 times.

One day the company I worked for got bought, and all the employees got part of the sale (awesome boss). It paid for my house, a new stereo, and a home theater.

I've made a lot of mistakes, but luckily they were on used gear that I got most of my money back on. I know the sound I like, and I work towards it. I know that I don't like tubes (though I am willing to listen to anything), I don't trust the ears of my local dealer, and I can't stand any grain in the high frequencies.

The biggest mistakes are ... don't spend huge money on digital gear, and don't spend money on multi-channel sound expecting to hear great stereo!

Digital gear will be half price in 2 or 3 years. A/V equipment will be obsolete as soon as the next version of HDMI, 3D, or whatever the next gimick is, comes out. And, a 6-channel system will have to be 3x the price of stereo gear to get the same sound.

A good amplifier, used, will keep its value -- best go for a kick-ass newish model in the used market. Speakers lose their value owing to possible degradation of the drivers. But, a good speaker is a great investment. I don't regret buying my Magneplanars new, though used is great also.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:50 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:36 pm
Posts: 5589
Location: St catherine, QC, CA
Dilbert wrote:
MrAcoustat wrote:
Toby wrote:
When I was a kid my father got a tube system and gave the old family stereo to the two boys. It was a Viking, a rebranded Electrohome perhaps, with a Garrard changer, a single oval speaker... and a tube amp in it. We loved that thing, we had a record collection and probably what we played most often was The Kingston Trio and Roger Voisin playing the classical trumpet. I mention that to show that the interest has always been there.

Haven't always been as lucky as I am today. My mother got a small inheritance and bought me a Dyna tube amp kit. I had that for a couple of years... without anything else. While I was at boarding school in England I picked up a pair of Wharfedale drivers and memorized Gilbert Briggs' Cabinet Handbook. Back in Canada I had enclosure pieces cut and got an Elac changer. That system was stolen. My GF had insurance and she kept the replacement. Hard to take, but she did claim for my guitar.

I worked briefly at a Toronto high-end store in the early seventies. I got a loan on an insurance policy to pay for the best speakers, amp and turntable I could swing. That system went to my ex-wife. I went back to school and had to give up on music for 5 years. I started thinking about it again when I found UHF Magazine, back when it was Hi-Fi Sound.

The rest of it is a continuous process of learning what good gear does for music and how to find a deal on the used market. The best help comes from friends, people who know more than I do. If you want a clear description of how it works, read Gerard Rejskind's book, The UHF Guide to High Fidelity. There's a chapter near the back which shows how to start with the best you can afford, plan your upgrades and wind up with your dream system. I must have read it fifty times.


Man you're not lucky with the women's in your life, if my wife took my system she would join the fishes in a sleeping bag and NO i'm not kidding i don't mind splitting three quarters for me and one quarter for her but the system no way it's part of my three quarters. :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D


OK, MrA, how do you manage a "three quarters for you, one quarter for her" scenario if you were to divorce? I need to learn that for the rainy days.


Very simple Dilbert, my wife knows me very well and i'm sure that my biker pass helps her understand me very well, i'm a good guy BUT don't push your luck, i can change real quick. :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:

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Chord CPM-2600 integrated amplifier - Chord One cd player - Acoustat 1+1 speakers
Life without Acoustat is possible BUT i wouldn't dare.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 2:12 pm
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Location: Vancouver Island, BC, CA
[quote="MrAcoustat]Very simple Dilbert, my wife knows me very well and i'm sure that my biker pass helps her understand me very well, i'm a good guy BUT don't push your luck, i can change real quick. :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:[/quote]

I guess I am out of luck then. I don't ride a bike, and probably never will.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:17 pm
Posts: 2404
Location: Not Toronto, ON, CA
Convinced myself I was happy with what I had... :lol:

My best piece of advice: Hand me down clothes may not be cool, but never balk at a hand me down stereo. And hope you get lots of hand me downs :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:53 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:08 am
Posts: 957
Location: burlington, ON, CA
I think there comes a time you have to stop or slow down or this hobby can drive one obssessive insane or bankrupt.
It took me many years to learn and the system has to fit the room and the type of music you listen to.

I was a real young kid working with my father on a piano studio and an old musician living in one of the apartments had a Quad 57 on the floor in front of his coffee table which was in front of the couch. This was not loud but the sound that came from that modest all Quad system taught me a lot about near field listening, loudness playback level, style of music played and that heavenly beautiful music could be reproduced in a small living room.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:46 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 12:05 pm
Posts: 723
Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
I never buy new if I can avoid it. Used does not mean defective or worn out (unlike cars). Buying someone else's older gear is the best value for your money and when you get the urge to upgrade you will still get good value out of your system. Read the reviews, demo the gear, and become as knowledgeable as you can. My biggest mistake before finding CAM was sticking to myself and not interacting. As a result some of what I thought were good deals left me feeling I had been date raped when I found out the true value. The mister nice guy in the store played me for a sucker and foisted off his used gear on me with very overstated pricing. Now I know better!

This is a great site with great people and as long as you respect everyone's right to have their own opinion you will learn a lot.

Another thing to look at is your personal vices that you don't need as much as you think. For instance your smoking habit could probably finance some great gear also cut down on eating out as much etc. Remember unless you win the lottery or are already a millionaire you can't have everything you want. You have to prioritize. In my case, with the interests I have, I could never see myself with a wife or kids so I don't have those expenses to worry about or any WAF. I belong to a great many volunteer groups so I am never lonely. My car is 1999 Cherokee which I restored by myself and I will likely still be driving it in 2020. I don't use a personal cell phone so I don't have that bill either. On the road I still rely on my CB and always carry a $20.00 phone card and I have never been in a situation where I could not contact someone.

Also I have been involved in the Audio hobby off and on since 1970 so I accumulated a fair bit and still have every bit of vinyl I bought including a of of 78s.

Finally after spending 2 1/2 years in the Vietnam War I came to realize that life was too important to worry about all the conveniences and keeping up with the Jones's. Build your system your way and enjoy the ride.


Cheers

Mike


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:23 pm 
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Interesting read. Yet not very different from I.

Got the bug early, in my early teen and maybe before. As a young boy, an uncle of mine left behind an multi-wave radio and I spent many cold winter nights listening to far reaching radio stations. I remember listening to a musical program from Australia one night, another evening it was a song heard that stayed with me for days.

My first summer job at 16 y.o., I saved my wages to purchase my first gear. It was something like an Electrohome complete system, a receiver, a turntable and a pair two way speakers. This was in '69 or '70. No one I known had anything close to this. My father was enrage that I would spend so much on so little but my mom supported me. At that time most of my LP's were purchased from the local Woolworth. I remember buying 45's in a bag, like 10 disks per, the two outer ones were hits and the balance were misses but I did found some good stuff, Jimmy Hendrix "Hey Joe" was one of them hiding behind "Age of Aquarius" or something like that.

Over the years, I read lots of magazines, started with High Fidelity and slowly got into Audio. The Absolute Sound and Stereophile were my preferred reading for years while I was with family and not able to afford much. The knowledge I gain from all these articles are still helping me today. Knowledge is power. If I have any recommendation to anyone, it is this.

I am very happy with what I get to listen to these days. I has cost me around $3000- and most were purchased used while my speakers (Josephaudio RM25's) were store demonstrators. If I had purchased this system new, I would have put out more then twice that. Good thing I am not rich. LOL

Be patient, the right gear will show up eventually at the right price. My amp (Sumo Nine) was a dream of mine in the middle '80 living in London Ontario. I remember reading about it in TAS or Stereophile and listening to it at a local stereo shop. Today it sits on my floor.

Doc Sage

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2004 6:01 pm
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Location: North Plains, OR, US
Quote:
The big advantage of having lost a couple of systems is it makes it easier to be grateful for what I do have, and perhaps easier to say goodbye when eventually I have to give it up. :roll:
Toby, you've been to my house, nice shack all in all. When I was really done with her, she got the house, I got my stereos and music. Excellent trade IMHO :D :D

I've been through more gear than most stores, learned a fair bit along the way. First, you can't have too many stereos and should have quality music in every room. Secondly, when you've flipped enough and have the infamous synergy, leave well enough alone (I'm finally there). I have what I consider to be a very good system and quite honestly (other than thinking of a cartridge change) I've run out of ideas on what/why I should change. Thirdly, take your upgrade budget and take a nice vacation or two, your trusty system will be waiting for you when you get back. Finally, MP3's suck no matter how you play'em back :lol:

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Remember, information is not knowledge; knowledge is not wisdom; wisdom is not truth; truth is not beauty; beauty is not love; love is not music; music is the best.
-- Frank Zappa


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2011 7:55 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2010 3:51 am
Posts: 112
Location: Calgary, AB, CA
I just spent alotta cash.....wasn't hard.....just gone!

More to the humble beginnings:

Way back in 1890...oppps.......1990..I purchased a Techniques SL-1400 MK II TT.
It was awsome!
I ended-up giving it away with another SL-1400 MK II.
I have come to regret that stupid stupid day.......shoulda gave away the EX....woulda been a better investment!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:13 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:11 am
Posts: 73
Location: Rose dale, BC, CA
Buy used high quality amps,l believe best to buy t.t. ,Cartridge and speakers new because modern technology keeps improving.Don't be afraid to spend some money,l believe you are only renting equipment if it's quality,it holds value and can be resold with little to no loss.Make all room treatments yourself, study how to on net,it's really easy,but a little time consuming.one of the best money saving tips is learn to make all your own cables,there are many formulas on net using cat 5 or 6 cable which is dirt cheap.The most pricey part of building cables is buying RCA connectors,and the savings may be many hundreds of bucks.I did all these things thru study,study,my system has out performed others many thousands more than mine cost,I just studied and used elbow grease,and remember vinyl only, no DIGITAL!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 8:13 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 4:13 pm
Posts: 6356
Location: Fisher Branch, MB, CA
It has been a very long journey. 40 years ago as a teenager I only had a GE Super Radio that I used to press against my ear while I lay in bed and cranked it up whenever a good tune came on. Radio seemed a lot better back in the 70's. Next came a Lloyd's all in one, later replaced with a Sears all in one (more power, bigger speakers). Then I went to University and bought my first decent stereo, Pioneer A7 integrated amp, Pioneer PL-7 DD turntable with B&O mc cartridge, Luxman T210L tuner (still used in my bedroom system today) and Audio Tec speakers (International Stereo house brand). By the end of college I replaced the amp with a pair of Bryston 2b LP amps and a Bryston 0.5b preamp. I also bought a Pioneer laser disc player to play cd's and the one laser disc I bought (2001: A Space Odyssey) to demo the video. LD were too expensive for a poor University student.

I used this system for close to 20 years until the internet came around which opened up the possibility of buying used gear. I then embarked on a journey of buying used higher end gear (compared to what I had) until I have my current system. Even though most of it is used I am still into it for about $30K but this is spread out over 20 years. I drive an old chevy mini van and my Ram 1500 truck has 450K miles on it. My 60 year old house used to be a store that was converted to a residence, it cost me just a little more than what I spent on my main system. And I'm single so you can guess where most of my money went. :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:33 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:46 am
Posts: 621
Location: Calgary, AB, CA
I can't remember all of the gear that at one point was part of my system(s), but I started small with mostly Radio Shack gear and continually made upgrades from there. I would say that roughly 60% of the gear I've purchased was gently used and 40% new. The last 45 years have been a great and interesting audio experience and I'm looking for a few more decades of changes, although they'll consist more of fine-tuning.

You're bound to make some mistakes at times, but don't fret about it as it's a wonderful learning experience and mistakes can easily be corrected.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:41 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 2:32 pm
Posts: 449
Location: winnipeg, MB, CA
I bought used as much as possible. I took many, many years and upgrades to get there. For me biggest decision was hanging on to my last car for about 13 years. Now the stereo is done and I have a newer car again.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:47 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2006 8:35 am
Posts: 239
Location: Oakville, ON, CA
BeEvil wrote:
A lot of luck and a lot of research. Most of my equipment is used. I scoured the listings and found the hidden gems. Some of my gear was just given to me by really nice people. That's how I got "seriously" started.

A really nice gent gave me a Technics SP-10MK2A. We were just talking audio one day up at a cottage. I was told to ask him about what turntable I should look for as I was in the market. We talked for a bit then he said, "You know I have an old Technics direct drive collecting dust. If you want it you can have it." So I said sure. A few months later we are meeting in a parking lot and we are loading the SP-10 in to the back of my car. I still didn't know what I had as I was still clueless. After some reaserch I was freaking out!! Couldn't believe what I had just been given.

I'm currently waitng on 2 Luxman M-05's to be repaired that I picked up cheap because they weren't working. One should be ready sometime this week!!! Can't wait.

My speakers, Angstrom Triads, were a good deal. No one knew what they were as they are extreamly rare. They had been up for sale for a while and no one touched them. The Triads were made to sound exatcly like KEF 105's.

So my advice is. Make good contacts through CAM, keep your eyes and ears open, reaserch and be patient. Good things will happen.

Andrew


Andrew, you're right. Rob Secaris designed the Triads to sound like the 105s. He had a pair of the Kefs and he and my
best friend sat up nights listening to the KEFs while tweaking the Triads. All that was done over bottles of Scotch. And yes,
the Triads sound great and are very rare. Rob passed away a couple of years ago.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 12:33 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 4:55 am
Posts: 116
Location: London, ON, CA
Like many i got started back in the 70's, first system was dynaco tube amp, original AR turntable and AR2 speakers. Fast forward 40 years and i decide I want a system that sounds like the performers are in the room. After a lot of research and trial/error i learned:

- price is not the best indicator of sound quality
- buy good used equipment from reputable sellers
- most audio magazines and reviews are useless
- most LP's and CD's are horribly engineered - take time to find good recordings!
- beware high priced 'audiophile' brands, do you want audio jewellery or good sound?
- there are many different ways to get 'good' sound, you have to know what your goal is

I do have a set of Sound & Vision (Canada) and The Audio Critic and found both very useful sources of information (along with anything written by floyd toole). The annual S&V buyers guides are still useful today. For example, compare specs for old decks with current high priced turntables i am amazed at how crappy some of the new ones are.

My strategy was to gradually upgrade and to put most of the $$$ into the speakers. After some years i am almost there, about the only thing i am contemplating buying is a better DAC and V2 of my sub when the right price comes along. For a lot less than most of the systems in this thread i have a stereo that sounds great, goes from 20hz-20khz ruler flat and voices sound real, a piano sounds like a piano etc) System connections are pro xlr cables (no kimber monster shunyatas in my house) .

Waveform Mach 17's with paradigm active servo 15" sub
Wyred 1kw mono block amps
Emotiva pre-amp with electronic crossover
Emotia ERC-3 CD
Emotiva DAC
Kodi media center PC


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