Could you ever stop tweaking?

Some of the longest running threads on our forum have been pondering the impossible for years: What could make you stop tweaking your system?  Could you ever be truly satisfied with it?  How do you avoid “audio nervosa?”  Is it even possible?  Here are some of the responses we found most interesting.

Tom6897: It is natural to never be satisfied with the sound we achieve with our systems. Inherently we know that it does not match the “live/real” sound we tend to aspire to. Since it is impossible to achieve the sound of a “live/real” performance I submit that many of us will continually attempt to make changes large and small to our systems until we lose interest or the money runs out.

Mitch4t: Someone said on this forum several years ago “we’re all as crazy as we can afford to be.” There is no way off once you’ve gotten on. So, you’ll stay on the merry-go-round for as long as you have money, or until you pass on to the great high-end audio salon in the sky.

Mrtennis: I suspect that the chase is more fun than the conquest, so there is a certain pleasure, for some people, buying a component and having no idea how it will affect the sound of a stereo system.

Rockadanny: Two simple rules …1. Stop ALL reading of audio gear. No more audio mags or audio internet. Switch to 0% reading and 100% listening.  2. Never sit to listen critically to others’ systems. Therefore, no comparisons will be made, whether conscious or subconscious… I am very happy with my set up, BUT I just read a thread which makes me suspect that my speakers and amps should not match up well. Is it true? Maybe, maybe not. But it got me worrying even though my system sounds great to my ears! Dang it!

Byroncunningham: Redirecting my compulsion into finding new music. Maybe that’s still an addictive process, but it’s a lot cheaper, and ultimately, more fulfilling.

Mapman: For someone who cannot live with just a single system and its sound for whatever reason, another option is to set up multiple systems. Nothing wrong with variety.

Abucktwoeighty: When it stops being merry.

Are we ever truly satisfied with our gear?  The average person seems to have a strong desire for improvement, and Audiophiles are no different.  As long as you enjoy your system, then it is worth it!  Add your thoughts by commenting below.

1 Comment

  1. Good question! But first, we should distinguish between tweaking and replacing major components. And 2nd, we should distinguish between a system that you are pretty happy with from one that you aren’t quite satisfied with.

    I happen to be very happy with the sound of my system, so I am very conservative about making any major changes. I have to be sure that they are significant upgrades,
    that I’m spending my cash wisely, and that the resulting synergy will not suffer.
    I NEVER want to make a change and find myself performing tweaks to try to get back something I’ve lost or fit a square peg into a round hole.

    I do not understand people who almost constantly have a new piece in their rig. What was wrong with the preamp you fell in love with and bought 6 months ago? How is this one better? And if it’s so great, why will you buy yet another new one next year? (… or new speakers that will work better with the new pre?) Do you even know what your system sounds like this month? … or remember what it sounded like last year?

    I am much more open to trying tweaks, but very few of them end up remaining in my system. Some do little or nothing; Others make a discernable sonic change, but not necessarily an improvement.

    The ones that really work… are gems! Generally, these will not change the essential sound of your system, but address impediments that keep it from sounding its best. And as we become better at recognizing these impediments, the geniuses of the audio industry come up with new ideas on how to mitigate them.

    So I will probably never be entirely closed to new tweaks… and I never discount a new one because I don’t understand the science behind it. But I always remain skeptical and trust my ears. I’m not swapping out footers every six weeks, because “I thought I liked them at first, but…”.

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