Audio Roadrage


Ask yourself why you decided to upgrade from that Sanyo tabletop system you had years ago or why a boom box in the living room is not enough. We all got into audio not because we want to spend lots of money, but because we are well aware that there is always an available upgrade path and we simply want good sound - sound that could always sound better with the right equipment.

It is inevatible that anyone who gets into high-end is looking for the perfect sound. This involves swapping out equipment, and determining whether we like it or not. Perhaps we may have reached a particular plateau in hi-fidom and, after enjoying it for awhile, begin to look for the next level. So more swapping happens more careful listening is is done and lo!, here we are at the next level - Are we satisfied and content? Well, maybe for a short time, but after a few months our ears and minds are no longer dazzled and it's time to climb to the next plateau.

It's easy to see how this can become a vicious cycle and some folks can get pretty upset about it too. Really upset. The followiing statements closely resemble a few messages posted at

"I'm free! I finally got off the high-end merry-go-round! I'm selling all my equipment and getting back to having a life! Goodbye."


"I'm at my wits end! I've tried Meridian, Proceed, Krell, Mark Levinson and all the other 'big' names and still can't ameliorate my glassy midrange. I swear I'm going to throw everthing out and learn from the loss if I can't fix this."

While psychological analysis or deconstruction of the two statements could be very entertaining, let's just cut to the chase: The Secret. The secret to not being discouraged with audio is very simple, so simple and direct that even the deepest of thinkers may overlook this glaringly obvious answer....are you ready for it?

The secret is: don't take this hobby so seriously.

No, really, that is all. It's just a hobby. Your life does not depend on it and it's not worth pulling your hair out over it. Even an audio manufacturer can make a living by building other things. High-end audio is so largely trivial in the grand scheme of things that even cow chip throwing contests are more well known by the general public - how's that for perspective? Here's some more perspective:

A starving child can be fed for only $0.50 per day. Four starving children can be fed every day for 11 years for the price of a Wadia 861 CD player.

Tortured prisoners in Peruvian jails have no means to escape reality much less try to recreate it with a convincingly huge soundstage and natural timbre.

Not one of the 1,693 battered wives living in NJ shelters can figure out how to amelorate your stupid glassy midrange - they've got other problems to deal with.

This is not a public service message or a humanitarian aid plea, nor is this a guilt trip. The point is just that there are REAL things out there to be angry and serious about - audio is not one of them. Music and high-end is supposed to be fun. It's entertainment, a hobby, a pastime. Experiment, play around and enjoy, for we are a privleged few who can not only afford this hobby, but also possess the rare listening skills to truly appreciate it. If you've become angry and frustrated with audio and are at your wit's end, then please do yourself (and everyone else) a favor and get off the merry-go-round....



Page created by James L Woodley © 2002 Page last updated 21 August 2005