While being interested in high-end audio is deeply based on an appreciation for gear, it obviously also stems from a great love of music in many audio enthusiasts. You wouldn’t need the gear if you didn’t have some music you were passionate about hearing in its best quality. So a natural question that follows is to ask which is more important? Or in reality, which are you willing to spend more money on? But things aren’t so simple. Audiogon user Bonhamcopeland created one self-imposed rule, but after hearing the thoughts of the community ended up changing his outlook. Read below for more details.
Bonhamcopeland: So for whatever OCD-riffic reason, I have this rule… As long as my total hardware investment doesn’t go beyond what I’ve spent in music, I feel like the hardware costs can be justified. That’s just me. And the great thing about this absurd self-imposed 1st world consumer rationalization is that I can conceivably keep going on forever. Or can I?
I’ve got to believe that folks who are lucky enough to own six figure+ systems have far exceeded what they’ve spent on gear than music. And I’m not knocking that or judging anyone. Because I totally get the quality vs. quantity argument. I just feel like a great system deserves a great collection and vice versa. I have an audiophile friend who’s TT rig is simply stunning. He owns less than 100 LPs. It makes me sick. But more in the way of thinking he could be getting so much more from his turntable. His total spend ratio is in the neighborhood of 85% gear, 15% music (at best).
I don’t keep a spreadsheet, but if I’m being totally honest right now about total cost – I’m at my limit: 50% hardware and 50% software. That bugs me. So one of my New Years resolutions is not to buy any new gear unless I have too (see how long that lasts, junkie). Curious if anyone has thought about their investment this way and what your ratio is.
Jmcgrogan2: I’ve never really done a price breakdown of my software side, so I don’t think I could put a price tag on it. I am limited by space, so I have only about 600 LPs and 400 CDs. I tend to keep it at about that level even while buying more. That means that when I buy more software, some older stuff has to go to make room. The same reason I’ve never owned planar or electrostatic speakers, floor space is at a premium. Now, if my family were to move out…
Mrtennis: It is hard to answer such a question. I would have to count my LPs and CDs and attach an average price to each. I think equipment and music purchases are independent of each other, thus the ratio is irrelevant.
Toddnkaya: Why buy any music? I don’t anymore. My wife and I spend 10 bucks a month and have access to about 3 million albums on Spotify.
Rhljazz: I recently purchased the Decca and Mercury Living Presence boxed sets, 50 CDs each set. The total price was around $240 for both. There is no gear that would come close to matching the value of that music investment! Overall, I’ve spent more on gear. An expense ratio of one to the other never entered into the process of a purchase.
Bonhamcopeland: The more I think about it, Mrtennis is right. Even though I may have spent any ratio of software vs. hardware, it doesn’t matter. I have way more personal investment into the music in terms of time, appreciation, and memory. I’m less attached to the gear in these ways, so the overall value can’t be truly compared, and I have quite a few vinyl gems that you can’t buy online anywhere for any price. So I’m not sure a monetary scale is relevant. Maybe a better question would have to ask if anyone has ever felt like their collection wasn’t worthy of their hi-fi and vice versa. I know I have felt both ways at times.
How does your budget for music compare to your gear budget? Do you compare them or just have an overall audio budget? Any rule you abide by? Let us know in the comments!