Author Topic: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?  (Read 17567 times)

plantingourpennies

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How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« on: December 01, 2012, 06:26:32 AM »
Hi All,

I've been wrestling iwth this decision for a while, and thought I would ask the Mustache hive mind for its input. Music is a joy in my life, and for the last 10 years I've wanted a tube amp to match the speakers that I built many years ago. The tube amp would be something that I assemble myself, and final cost would be about $2,000. It is likely that the amp would last...well, I actually can't think of why it wouldn't last forever, even thought some parts would wear out and be replaced along the way.

Mrs. PoP and I are doing OK, but not great, in the income and networth areas; you can see our numbers below if it helps with your decision.

http://www.plantingourpennies.com/sample-page/

So do you guys think I should finally pull the trigger on this thing next month?

Best,
Mr. PoP

norvilion

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2012, 06:39:31 AM »
Given that you are assembling it yourself it is obvious you know what you are getting into and not just stumbling blindly into an expensive purchase. As a non music-afficianado I personally cannot see an instance where louder music would be beneficial (and not disturb neighbors), however you most likely have a specific use case where it would be more enjoyable to you.

In my view your savings are enough to justify a one-time large scale project like that. Depending on your life situation and connections I can also potentially see turning it into a small hobby business by putting one together and use it while it is available for sale (then if/when someone buys it you make a profit and have funds to put together another one with the added experience of having done it before). Repeat as needed.

iamlindoro

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2012, 09:35:54 AM »
Are you currently able to play music that is perfectly audible, if not with the full fidelity you are looking for?

Looking at your balance sheet, it appears you still have debt on car loans (7.4K?) and possibly credit cards (1.4K?) if I am reading this right?  And *50K* in unsecured debt?

If so, there is absolutely no good reason to purchase such an expensive luxury at this point.  You have some serious, high interest, holy-shit, red-alert debt that needs to be addressed before even considering such a thing.  It might be different if this was a work tool or something deductible, but this is luxury through and through.

Mrs MM

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2012, 09:52:50 AM »
I'll have to direct MMM here.  He is a music fanatic and has owned many music-related systems for years, including building his own speakers.  He must have music on at all times and it must sound good.

I don't think he could ever justify spending $2K on an amp though... :) -- especially since I still see some red on your graph that is not just under real estate.


iamlindoro

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2012, 09:54:55 AM »
Now you're in trouble ;)

chucklesmcgee

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2012, 10:37:15 AM »
I personally couldn't imagine dropping $2k on a stereo ever and I'm in a pretty solid state financially. Even if I'm going to spend $2k on luxury goods, I can think of a lot of things I'd rather spend it on.

Maybe music's really, really important to you, and that's ok, that's what you value.  Even so, you shouldn't be spending $2k on luxury goods when you're still in debt like this! Pay of your loans first. How many hours a week are you actually going to listen to music on these? What's the cost per hour to have these for 2 years? How much more enjoyment are you going to get out of your music as a result, per hour? Sure, you could say it'll last a long time, but at that point it's worth considering the opportunity costs- the amount of interest you'd generate or not have to pay by investing this or paying of your debt.

Jamesqf

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2012, 10:52:27 AM »
Why tubes?  Unless you're doing it purely for the antiquarian experience, like people who learn to knap flints, I'd think you could get far better quality at a fraction of the cost (and power consumption) with solid state.

KingCoin

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2012, 01:05:33 PM »
Why tubes?  Unless you're doing it purely for the antiquarian experience, like people who learn to knap flints, I'd think you could get far better quality at a fraction of the cost (and power consumption) with solid state.

The debate over tubes vs solid state has raged for decades with almost religious adherents in both camps. Though, most recent double blind tests indicate that people can't reliably tell the difference. Even if one has a "golden ear" and can perceive the difference (setting up your own blind test is worthwhile), you have to ask whether a small difference is worth $1500 (both hedonic adaptation and the fact that you have nothing to compare them to when listening to in isolation argue for a cheaper unit).

I think hobbyists/enthusiasts easily get tunnel vision when it comes to plowing tons on money into the highest end upgrades. Back when I was a more avid mountain biker, I remember lusting over the latest $1000 suspension fork, and Shimano XTR componentry. Now I look back and laugh, realizing that the marginal difference between good stuff that costs $250 and "the best stuff" that cost $1000 was basically nil in practical terms.

plantingourpennies

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2012, 06:00:11 PM »
Thanks for the input everybody; here is some clarification around the debt. The 50K was borrowed to purchase our duplex, the term is 5% with a balloon at 2015; we expect to have cash on hand at that point, but also have a HELOC at 6% that we can use in case we tie our cash up in another RE investment. This means that except for the car and credit card 100% of our debt is RE, and some of it is producing a nice return on investment. The car is at 3.9%, so while we will have paid down 38K of debt between June 2012 and Jan 1 2013, we would pay that last because it is the cheapest loan we have. Whew!  (Mrs. PoP here - we treat the credit card as a revolving LOC and have never paid interest on them - the $1.4K balance on that sheet is just what was on the line at the point in time that the balance sheet was created.)

The points about flint and the marginal difference are very valid; this is a 10/10ths solution with the added benefit of owning something I consider aesthetically pleasing. In normal listening conditions (radio, movies) the extra fidelity will be wasted, but when I turn off the lights, crack a beer and listen to one of my favorite albums front to back...maybe not. It is a luxury, albeit one that I would enjoy for a very, very long time. Just to be clear, the price of the amp has nothing to do with how loud it gets =)

Cost per hour of listening is interesting, currently I probably listen to my headphones for 45 (Mrs. PoP says it's more like 90!) minutes a night (average). If I had purchased these amps 10 years ago, when they were 1500(!), I would have paid 150$ a year for using them thus far, or about...41 cents a night, roughly a penny a minute? Feel free to double check the math, but I think that is the ballpark.

Opportunity cost...  Well, if we didn't buy this, we would using the money to be pay off a debt that is currently at 6% which is being paid down at a rate of about $4K in principal each month.  Right now, total payoff on that loan is about 2 months out, so buying this would push it to about 2.5 months.  Carrying the extra $2K at 6% for 2.5 months is about $25. 

One of the saddest things I have ever seen was a retired doctor, now in his 80's, who had spent years collecting audiophile records...only to have gone deaf over the last 10 or so years of his life. He told me it wasn't the money, it was that he would never again be able to hear the music.

@Mrs. MM, Tell MMM to be careful in Oahu-the last time I was there I meant to stay for a month, but would up staying for 6!
« Last Edit: December 01, 2012, 06:05:08 PM by plantingourpennies »

grantmeaname

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2012, 01:51:19 PM »
What does a $2000 tube amp do for you that a $100 setup wouldn't? It's not cost of listening per minute, it's the cost premium per minute. $.41/minute of listening doesn't sound terrible until you compare it to $.02/minute.

plantingourpennies

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2012, 05:46:07 PM »

You could say it is a like a piece of art, or many pieces of art, that I would be able to enjoy every night. The more I read and think the less sure I am of valuing this purchase as anything but the enjoyment of an artform. I suppose you could loose some of the fidelity on the sistine chapel as well and nobody would notice...

Anyway, thanks for the input from everybody.

Best,
Mr. Pop

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2012, 06:16:56 PM »
It sounds to me like you know what you want and what you are going to do. :)

Jamesqf

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2012, 08:07:14 PM »
You could say it is a like a piece of art, or many pieces of art, that I would be able to enjoy every night. The more I read and think the less sure I am of valuing this purchase as anything but the enjoyment of an artform. I suppose you could loose some of the fidelity on the sistine chapel as well and nobody would notice...

So what is the difference between the actual piece of art - say a painting - and a print that's good enough that the difference isn't detectable by the human eye?

Not even that, because for audio, the only way to enjoy the "real" art is to go to live performances.  Here you're just arguing about which copy is better :-)

plantingourpennies

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2012, 04:48:10 AM »
@Erica Ha! There may be an element of that; if anybody could talk me out of this, it would be this community though.

@James-I could agree for that, I'm paying for the rights to improve the quality of the art I listen to, by building something I think is also quite pleasing to look at in and of itself. I'm not on board with your definition of music, though many people are. Lots of great bands made albums that they can't/did't play live in the same way; I would still consider it music. And let me know the next time Jimmi Hendrix plays live-because right now all I have of him is the recordings =)

I was reading some of Jacob's posts over on ERE and was surprised at two of the items he owns-a very nice omega (luxury, gasp!) watch, and a high-end tube audio set up!

Neither are talked about explicitly in this post, but its food for thought.

http://earlyretirementextreme.com/day-20-own-classics.html

Best,
Mr. Pop

arebelspy

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2012, 08:17:55 AM »
In the future, when someone complains that this community face punches too hard and too often, I'm going to use this thread as proof to the contrary.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
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iamlindoro

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2012, 09:46:39 AM »
In the future, when someone complains that this community face punches too hard and too often, I'm going to use this thread as proof to the contrary.

Hey!  I punched.  I punched early.  ;)

Edit:  I should add that when someone asks an obvious sounding question ("Should I buy this luxury item because it will make be happy") and then the universal response is "No!!" but that person still wants to push to get what they want, they don't really intend to change course anyway.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2012, 09:54:54 AM by iamlindoro »

sideways8

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2012, 10:01:37 AM »
I was about to say that it was stupid to drop $2K on a good speaker... then I remembered that I'm a musician who dropped $10K on a piano :P

grantmeaname

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2012, 10:08:10 AM »
In the future, when someone complains that this community face punches too hard and too often, I'm going to use this thread as proof to the contrary.
I think everyone made it very clear where they stood.OP just didn't care, as is his prerogative.

tomsang

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2012, 10:26:12 AM »
Without fully understanding what we are talking about. Is this something that would depreciate in value or appreciate in value over the next 10 years?  If you are getting significant pleasure and it is appreciating then I think the question is different than most electronics which are worthless after 4 years.   

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2012, 11:41:38 AM »
Lots of great bands made albums that they can't/did't play live in the same way; I would still consider it music. And let me know the next time Jimmi Hendrix plays live-because right now all I have of him is the recordings =)

Obviously we define music differently.  I can't hear Bach or Handel play live - even if they could have played their music single-handed - but does that matter?  Good music transcends the performer.

With Jimi Hendrix and similar, you've also got a technical GIGO problem.  Hendrix was an electric guitarist (thank you, Wikipedia!) who died in 1970.  Anything he played would be the product of the limited electronics of the time, often deliberately distorted, so there is not much fidelity in the original to be reproduced.  (Like today's popular "musicians" who deliberately downsample their output to be sort of acceptable on MP3.) It's not as though you're trying to reproduce an acoustic performer of that era, like Segovia.

plantingourpennies

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2012, 04:37:19 PM »
Obviously we define music differently. 

Yes, we do =)

Without fully understanding what we are talking about. Is this something that would depreciate in value or appreciate in value over the next 10 years?  If you are getting significant pleasure and it is appreciating then I think the question is different than most electronics which are worthless after 4 years.   

Good question! From what I've seen these amps can be purchased on the used market for between 10-25% discount, regardless of age (they've been around about 10 years, through a few different versions), and yes, I plan on enjoying it immensely. I may ask Jacob over at ERE what type of amp he has that has appreciated slightly. As I've said, I am interested in things that will last for decades with minimum depreciation...and am generally willing to pay for it.

I was about to say that it was stupid to drop $2K on a good speaker... then I remembered that I'm a musician who dropped $10K on a piano :P

I'm not familiar with Pianos-but I'm sure that there are types that you can re-sell at little or no loss, or that you may keep for decades. Depending on the particulars, that could be a fantastic deal. Play it in good health =)

Apologies to those that say I'm not taking their advice; I do respect your opinion and am enjoying the discussion. I've wanted this amp for about 10 years now and your arguments are the same things I've said to myself in the past. By most metrics I can afford this amp easily, never mind that I think I'll use it for decades to come, and could come out even vs. buying several cheaper ones over time. I'm curious to know, but don't want to push the issue if people are getting upset-

If I was worth 10M, do you think this would be an OK purchase?

Best,
Mr. Pop

grantmeaname

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2012, 05:16:44 PM »
Apologies to those that say I'm not taking their advice; I do respect your opinion and am enjoying the discussion. I've wanted this amp for about 10 years now and your arguments are the same things I've said to myself in the past. By most metrics I can afford this amp easily, never mind that I think I'll use it for decades to come, and could come out even vs. buying several cheaper ones over time. I'm curious to know, but don't want to push the issue if people are getting upset-

If I was worth 10M, do you think this would be an OK purchase?
$10 million dollars? I think you lost me.

Don't worry about upsetting people, though... we're not big on self-censorship for fear of hurting feelings around here.

arebelspy

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2012, 05:46:37 PM »
I'll ignore the last hypothetical as ridiculous, unless you want to explain why you're asking the question (10MM?).

Try this approach: start setting aside money to cover it, investing that money.  Continue investing that money.  And so on.  And when that invested money kicks off enough (in a reasonable period of time.. say, 3-6 months) to buy that amp, then you buy it with the proceeds.  May take 2-3 years, but then it'll give you a good savings goal and awesome reward at the end (the reward being having all that money invested.. the amp being a byproduct).
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StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #23 on: December 05, 2012, 06:37:18 AM »
Why do you need $2K to build a tube amp?
I've nothing against tubes, it's just that that price seems more like retail. I am a bit confused.

EDIT: You said "assemble". Is this from a kit?
« Last Edit: December 05, 2012, 06:40:18 AM by StarswirlTheMustached »

The Bearded Bank Builder

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2012, 11:04:47 AM »

http://www.plantingourpennies.com/sample-page/


I don't have advice on the stereo, but just checked out your website and loved the setup! The monthly balance sheet/income statement made my accountant brain happy

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #25 on: December 05, 2012, 11:43:08 AM »
If I was worth 10M, do you think this would be an OK purchase?

Depends on what you mean by ok.  It's your money, and you can spend it any way you like.  I just think it's the auditory equivalent of the wine snob who lays out hundreds of bucks for a bottle of premium wine, but in a blind test can't tell the difference between that and the $5.99/bottle stuff from the supermarket shelf.  Or worse, can tell but likes the supermarket stuff better :-)

KingCoin

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #26 on: December 05, 2012, 12:00:56 PM »
I just think it's the auditory equivalent of the wine snob who lays out hundreds of bucks for a bottle of premium wine, but in a blind test can't tell the difference between that and the $5.99/bottle stuff from the supermarket shelf.  Or worse, can tell but likes the supermarket stuff better :-)

I think this is the crux of the issue. There's actually a guy offering a $10,000 award for anyone who can tell the difference between solid state and tube amps in their normal range in a blind test. Thousands of people have attempted, 0 have succeeded. A modern $500 modelling amp will easily do as well or better than a $2500 tube amp. Even if there is some difference in the clipping range (hello noise complaints from the neighbors), it's certainly not worth $1500-2000 more.

plantingourpennies

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #27 on: December 05, 2012, 06:04:30 PM »
Re 10M: I'm currently worth roughly 400k (along with Mrs. PoP and our cat!); curious if the forum believes any amount of net worth would justify a purchase like this. You can substitute other luxury items like an Eames lounger or even things that are considered a veblen good like a Rolex-at what net worth is a purchase like this "OK"? Assuming that the buyer gets joy from owning a classic  for several decades. I suppose I could save up for another few years like RebSpy suggests, but all the 2k spend does is put me 2 weeks behind any "early retirement" point (wife and I put away 4k a month towards debt, in addition to 401k, Roth).


I don't have advice on the stereo, but just checked out your website and loved the setup! The monthly balance sheet/income statement made my accountant brain happy

Thanks! I think the balance sheet and income statement approach should be used by everybody. I told Mrs. PoP about this and she said you're awesome =)

Re Audio Quality: I'm not married to the idea of tubes, but not really interested in a tubes vs. solid state discussion either. If I could sample a dozen different amps with an A/B test in my living room with my setup, that would be great. Unfortunately, because of how much that would cost in time and money I'm basically making an educated guess on a product that I hope will be so good that any additional amount of money will result in NO increase in quality. This results in an amount of uncertainty

I'm looking for a 10/10ths solution that is repairable, "hackable", will last a lifetime while being nice to look at....and I'm willing to pay for it. I find it interesting that Jacob at ERE recommends buying classics that are along those lines (hope I'm not putting words in his mouth), but this community balks at it. At its core, most discussions of PF are discussions of how to maximize happiness; right now I can't help but feel I have enough money and could enjoy this purchase for a very long time.

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2012, 06:51:18 PM »
I find it interesting that Jacob at ERE recommends buying classics that are along those lines (hope I'm not putting words in his mouth), but this community balks at it.

You've referenced Jacob over and over.  The guy is awesome, but he's not a deus ex machina to win all arguments about frugality.  Yes, buying classics can be a good idea.  Reselling something for more than you paid is nice.  That doesn't make something automatically a good purchase either.  I don't think we balk at the idea at all.  We've had various discussions on buy it for life items, good quality work boots, etc.  Many (most?) here embrace that philosophy.  The problem is that one can just use that as an argument for ANYTHING they want to buy, so it's more or less better to adopt that as a guiding philosophy, but then scrutinize each purchase individually.  Which is what we've been trying to do here.

If you want some authority on the subject, apparently, have you asked Jacob for permission?

Or here's the closest MMM post I could find to the topic:
www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/09/18/is-it-convenient-would-i-enjoy-it-wrong-question/

Quote
If you still need to work for money, or at the very least, if you’re not saving at least 50% of your take-home pay, you can not afford it. Where “it” is anything.

Are you saving at least 50%, if not more, or no longer working for money?

And even if so, I'm not quite sure why you don't like the "investing in assets to pay for it for you" other than you want it now. Plus I think many people's issues have been the fact that they see it as pointless (compared to other purchases in the same audio category that will be equally good for less money).

(wife and I put away 4k a month towards debt, in addition to 401k, Roth).

(Emphasis mine.)

Wait, you have a debt emergency and still want to spend 2k on unnecessary audio equipment?  I can't speak for the guy, but I'm fairly confident MMM would just laugh or facepunch.

At its core, most discussions of PF are discussions of how to maximize happiness; right now I can't help but feel I have enough money and could enjoy this purchase for a very long time.

I feel like MMM goes beyond mere happiness to life satisfaction as well as other themes (sustainability, etc.). But if it boils down to happiness for you, and buying stuff will make you happy.. Okay.  Go get it.  Enjoy. :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
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KGZotU

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2012, 07:49:43 PM »
At its core, most discussions of PF are discussions of how to maximize happiness; right now I can't help but feel I have enough money and could enjoy this purchase for a very long time.
I also see maximizing happiness as the point of this site. The issue is that your feelings are not good predictors of your future happiness. We understand perfectly that you have strong pre-purchase feelings. We are telling you that your feelings of appreciation will fade to much less than you expect and you will get less than $1500 marginal benefit over an equivalent $500 solid-state amp.

We understand how much you want it. That doesn't tell us, or you, anything about how much you will enjoy it.

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2012, 07:59:38 PM »
Re 10M: I'm currently worth roughly 400k (along with Mrs. PoP and our cat!); curious if the forum believes any amount of net worth would justify a purchase like this. You can substitute other luxury items like an Eames lounger or even things that are considered a veblen good like a Rolex-at what net worth is a purchase like this "OK"? Assuming that the buyer gets joy from owning a classic  for several decades.

I don't think it's a question of net worth, but of whether the joy/happiness you get from the artifact is greater than the anti-happiness of not having the money any more.  That's almost purely subjective (unless the purchase puts you into debt).  As for instance, I could probably afford a Rolex without excessive pain, but it would provide me no increase in happiness.  My happiness comes from not having to wear a watch - and in fact haven't since maybe my early 20s or before.

I think a lot of the opposition - that's maybe too strong a word - to your amplifier is just a matter of thinking that you will buy/build it, then be disappointed.

Posthumane

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #31 on: December 06, 2012, 09:11:37 AM »
This is an interesting discussion. On the one hand there are the issues that were mentioned of hedonic adaptation, the "grass is greener" syndrome, etc. which may lead you to believe that this one purchase will make you suddenly much happier than you were before. Even having a classic 10/10ths hackable system will eventually get old though, and you may look at it as just another piece of gear to maintain.

On the other hand, I don't believe that the MMM "philosophy" should entail putting off things that you enjoy just for the sake of saving money a bit faster. It's really about spending consciously on well thought out purchases, rather than spending blindly. Since you say you've been thinking about buying this for 10 years, it's obviously something that's not just a fleeting desire. And if you do get tired of it after 5-10 years, you may be able to sell it at a small discount (or even gain) which would reduce your overall cost of ownership considerably.

I think it comes down to a few questions. First off, if you've been waiting for it for 10 years, why do you suddenly need it right now? Will waiting another couple of years until your debt is gone hurt that much? Secondly, are there ways that you could offset the cost of either this amp, or your audiophile hobby in general? You mentioned that older used ones can be had for a 25% discount, so why not look at those? Can you find a damaged one at an even greater discount which you could then repair? Or better yet, would you maybe gain more enjoyment out of learning to design/build yourself an amp of comparable quality from inexpensively sourced components and self fabricated pieces?

I have a few "unmustachian" items that I've splurged on over the years which would probably elicit similar responses. For example, for the last few years I've been reading and learning about sailing, and have it in mind that one of the next phases of my life will involve sailing to various parts of the world for extended periods. So, after much deliberation, I finally decided to go out and buy a sailing dinghy to learn on. I did get a fairly old used boat which is at the tail end of its depreciation curve though, so after a few years I can probably sell it for something similar to my purchase price, which will reduce my cost of ownership to things like opportunity cost, storage, and maintenance.

totoro

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #32 on: December 06, 2012, 02:26:16 PM »
"So what is the difference between the actual piece of art - say a painting - and a print that's good enough that the difference isn't detectable by the human eye?" 

Is there such a thing?  I'm not an audiophile but I am and have been for as long as I can remember an appreciator and creator of art.  I think I can tell the difference between a print and the original - or maybe I just haven't been tested on this enough :) 

I don't buy prints because I don't enjoy them.  There is something about original that exponentially increased my level of appreciation - mostly the quality of it and also the feeling of valuing the artist's time that went into the process of creation.  Most recently I have been finding a few older peices online on sites like CL which are original, but not expensive.

And back to the op's post - increasing happiness is a great goal.  Appreciation of art can bring a lot of joy into your day.  As others have said, balance the joy vs. the financial cost.  I would not enjoy purchasing art if it meant that I did not pay off debt or if it put me into debt. 

James

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #33 on: December 06, 2012, 03:05:57 PM »
I just get a strong sense of "all or nothing" from your question.  You are not FI, buying this is obviously not mustachian.  Why do you need something costing $2000 at this point?  How about finding something you own that you can sell, some odd job(s) you can pick up, some significant savings you can make, and apply all or part of that to this hobby?  And maybe start small, figure out how to feed this hobby with less expensive tastes?


Can you give us some idea of whether there are intermediate things you could do short of spending $2000?  Are there things you could purchase to play with for $100?  $200?  $500?  Would building a less expensive set give you experience and knowledge and satisfy this itch for a while?


In the end it's your money obviously, and spending your money on a priority like this prior to FI isn't something I can say I would never do.  But I wouldn't look here for support either, and I'd hope that people here would encourage me to reconsider something so clearly unnecessary.  I assume you came here to balance your enthusiasm, and I think we are filling that need.  In the end you will make the decision and I assume you will do well financially either way.  Just remember that these little decisions can set the pattern for many others, which certainly can have a long lasting effect on your financial picture.


If you do buy/build it make sure to follow up here with a picture, I'm curious what exactly you are building.  Maybe a link would help?

skyrefuge

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #34 on: December 06, 2012, 03:23:22 PM »
If you do buy/build it make sure to follow up here with a picture, I'm curious what exactly you are building.  Maybe a link would help?

http://scaryideas.com/content/17582

(ok, it sucks that they're making fun of tube-amp dorks for the purpose of convincing you to buy a brand new luxury vehicle, but still, making fun of tube-amp dorks is awesome)

James

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #35 on: December 06, 2012, 03:31:49 PM »
I should add that I sympathize with your desire.  I was recently at a musician friend's house and sat down in his recording studio.  He has a couple of very nice speakers sitting in front of him which I commented on.  We has just driven all day and spent much of the time listening to music, so he put on some that we both liked and listed to during our drive.  The difference was astounding.  I sat back, closed my eyes, and marveled on all that I had been missing the many previous times I had heard the song.  For the first time I think I fully understood the terms high fidelity.  It wasn't any louder than we had it in the car, but I could hear each and every instrument, I could hear so much that I couldn't before, I enjoyed it immensely.  Some day I hope to spend a few hundred getting a couple high end speakers used, and connect them to my computer in a way that I can get them to perform up to their ability.

I have owned some decent speakers and had a very good receiver at one point, I really regret getting rid of them.

I love the "There's real gas in these tubes"...  :D

plantingourpennies

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #36 on: December 06, 2012, 06:42:13 PM »
Thanks again for the thoughts everybody.

@ARS Yes, I'm going to ask Jacob about this. I think I reference him because his value system is at once extreme, and still allows room for certain "classics" that others would call luxury; this is strange to me. I suspect Mrs. Pop and I are at >50% this year (depending on method of calculation), but have not run the numbers yet. We will do so at year end. Not really asking permission, but am enjoying the discussion.

@KGZotzu As I said, I'm not married to the idea of tubes for their sound, but i find them visually attractive and you cannot repair or "hack" a solid state chip amp...in that way a cheaper amp, if based on chip technology, falls a little short of what i'm looking for. If we start arguing over 500 vs. 2K in the realm of sound quality we'll quickly devolve into some VERY subjective areas.  Also, if i had started at the $500, i suspect you would be telling me to spend $100 =P

@Skyrefuge I love this! I need to show Mrs. Pop!

@James Thank you, I am coming to the forum to balance my enthusiasm, and its fulfilling that goal. What I am about to say is probably the most important thing that will happen in this thread: Look at Grado or Sennheiser headphones for a very high quality audio experience-I run the grado 125s from my macbook for about 1.5 hours a night, and have done so for 9 years (I bought them when i first discovered "audiophile"). I paid 150$ originally, used them for 8 years, and sent them back to grado HQ in brooklyn NY to be refurbished for 35$. They came back as new...I do not own another physical object that has brought me so much joy (except perhaps my computer over the past 6 years?). They're basically what i've used to "scratch the itch." Go on-buy a pair and have that experience every night...I won't tell =)

@totoro Sometimes the art IS the print-I would make this argument for most musicians in the digital age, and some visual artists post warhol (i'm sure there are others besides him, but this isn't my area!). Many of my favorite artists have done  music albums that they would just never attempt to directly replicate live. JamesSQF agrees with nothing from the previous statement =)

@Posthumane, Jameswqf and others regarding Hedoic adaption: This is a very good point! This is probably one of the reasons I haven't pulled the trigger. You're also spot on regarding purchasing used-I may restrain myself until i can purchase a used, or hopefully a damaged piece. To be fair, I've only seen a damaged set come to market once-I don't remember if the discount was greater. Understood about the rolex-but I know of at least one man who no longer needs to work, but would sooner sell his ring finger than his Rolex-for whatever reason it means very much to him, and is a very personal object.

After discussing this with the forum I think i'll be double checking my assumptions about quality (is this beast still considered top notch, or are there solutions that are as good at lower cost), and seeing if i can find used.

Best,
Mr. Pop
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 06:44:30 PM by plantingourpennies »

grantmeaname

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #37 on: December 06, 2012, 06:49:19 PM »
Understood about the rolex-but I know of at least one man who no longer needs to work, but would sooner sell his ring finger than his Rolex-for whatever reason it means very much to him, and is a very personal object.
It's important because it was his father's.

totoro

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #38 on: December 06, 2012, 07:22:51 PM »
"Sometimes the art IS the print-I would make this argument for most musicians in the digital age, and some visual artists post warhol (i'm sure there are others besides him, but this isn't my area!)."

Yes. Art is not financial analysis. There are no numbers to run.  Instead you are left with your internal system - your perception based on YOU - and results vary :)  That is a pretty fabulous thing imo.

KGZotU

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #39 on: December 06, 2012, 08:10:46 PM »
 
@KGZotzu As I said, I'm not married to the idea of tubes for their sound, but i find them visually attractive and you cannot repair or "hack" a solid state chip amp...in that way a cheaper amp, if based on chip technology, falls a little short of what i'm looking for. If we start arguing over 500 vs. 2K in the realm of sound quality we'll quickly devolve into some VERY subjective areas.  Also, if i had started at the $500, i suspect you would be telling me to spend $100 =P

To be honest, of all the "ponies" this month, yours sounds the most reasonable to me. :P

I've done my face punch already, and your purchase has a lot of merits. I won't argue for them, though, only because I feel like I have more value by helping people correct for their biases (our human biases) rather than pointing to what I think is the right decision.

James

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #40 on: December 07, 2012, 07:17:19 AM »
After discussing this with the forum I think i'll be double checking my assumptions about quality (is this beast still considered top notch, or are there solutions that are as good at lower cost), and seeing if i can find used.

I see this as very reasonable.  I like the comparison to art, I think that is very apt.  It's not mustachian, but it's certainly not wall of shame material by any stretch.  It's just about personal priorities.

Peter

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #41 on: December 07, 2012, 06:52:06 PM »
Quality speakers are right up there on my "buy for life" list, which includes:
Musical Instruments
Good wood furniture
Art
non-mechanical Kitchen items (i.e. Pans, knives, unbreakable glasses)

and thus the cost/benefit analysis is more leniently applied to such items.


chopperdave

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #42 on: December 07, 2012, 08:09:12 PM »
While I love listening to music, and having a high quality system makes a big difference to me, I think it is important to remember what an audiophile is:

An audiophile is the greatest customer.  They will buy special markers to mark the edge of their CDs.  They will buy "Quantum Dots" to place on top of their CD players.  They will purchase magical speaker cables that keep the electrons aligned.

After they have bought all the most expensive things they can find, then they will be an evangelist for your products, and tell all their friends, and the whole internet how great your product is and how it gives a "Wider sound stage" or some such unmeasurable, but important, advantage.

I know, I know, I'm just not sophisticated enough to understand this high end stuff.

I'm pulling my face-punch before I get to the part about using tubes for a hi-fi system.

They have advantages in a guitar amp, where the distortion from over-driving your tubes can be pleasing, but for hi-fi you're running the amp in the part of its range where it is very linear. (Oops, couldn't hold back.)

Russ

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #43 on: December 07, 2012, 09:33:36 PM »
non-mechanical Kitchen items (i.e. Pans, knives, unbreakable glasses)

Engineering fact of the day: knives are machines. See: wedge

gooki

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #44 on: December 08, 2012, 12:08:17 AM »
My 2cents as someone who's owned some expensive kit ($7000 speakers, etc). 

$2k is a hell of a lot to pay for a kit amplifier. I'd only do it if DIY building is your hobby, and this will be your spending money for the year.

If you want something cheaper, get an icepower module, or other class D amp. Make/buy your own chassis and call it a day. At least with class D you save on power due to increased efficiency.

chopperdave

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #45 on: December 08, 2012, 01:10:22 PM »
Yep, modern class D amplifiers can be very high quality.

If you are an analog designer, it would probably be more fun to build an analog amplifier, though.  And if you are a very old analog designer it might be more fun to build a tube amp ; P

While class D amplifiers might not be as much fun to build, I don't think there is a legitimate argument against them in terms of audio quality.

chesebert

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #46 on: December 12, 2012, 02:16:24 AM »
Hi All,

I've been wrestling iwth this decision for a while, and thought I would ask the Mustache hive mind for its input. Music is a joy in my life, and for the last 10 years I've wanted a tube amp to match the speakers that I built many years ago. The tube amp would be something that I assemble myself, and final cost would be about $2,000. It is likely that the amp would last...well, I actually can't think of why it wouldn't last forever, even thought some parts would wear out and be replaced along the way.

Mrs. PoP and I are doing OK, but not great, in the income and networth areas; you can see our numbers below if it helps with your decision.

http://www.plantingourpennies.com/sample-page/

So do you guys think I should finally pull the trigger on this thing next month?

Best,
Mr. PoP
Having been an audiophile for over a decade, I can share with you some of my initial thoughts:

1. $2k for a DIY amp is too much.

2. Always buy used and Audiogon is your friend. Used quality gear can generally be sold for the same amount as what you paid for, if not more.

3. The hedonic treadmill is real with audiophone equipments. My amp is 2x the cost of your proposed amp (not that I paid that much for it), but I do get "used to it" after a while. The way to "refresh" your gear is stop listening for a week or listen to lesser quality gear for a period then go back to your high-end gear

4. Why not pick up a book on speaker placement and do some simple room treatment (can't emphasize this enough); you might be suprised at the increase in sound quality

5. Buy SS if you can, tube replacement cost can be significant if replace in pairs. You will also avoid "tube rolling" syndrom and avoid wasting money/time

Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2012, 02:21:38 AM by chesebert »

chesebert

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #47 on: December 12, 2012, 02:32:17 AM »
What does a $2000 tube amp do for you that a $100 setup wouldn't? It's not cost of listening per minute, it's the cost premium per minute. $.41/minute of listening doesn't sound terrible until you compare it to $.02/minute.

$200 - you are listening to a system

$2000 - you are experiencing an event through a window and sitting 10 feet back

$20000 - you are experiencing an event as it happens in front of you; you can feel the performance and if you reach out with your hands, you can touch the musician


chesebert

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #48 on: December 12, 2012, 02:39:27 AM »
While I love listening to music, and having a high quality system makes a big difference to me, I think it is important to remember what an audiophile is:

An audiophile is the greatest customer.  They will buy special markers to mark the edge of their CDs.  They will buy "Quantum Dots" to place on top of their CD players.  They will purchase magical speaker cables that keep the electrons aligned.

After they have bought all the most expensive things they can find, then they will be an evangelist for your products, and tell all their friends, and the whole internet how great your product is and how it gives a "Wider sound stage" or some such unmeasurable, but important, advantage.

I know, I know, I'm just not sophisticated enough to understand this high end stuff.

I'm pulling my face-punch before I get to the part about using tubes for a hi-fi system.

They have advantages in a guitar amp, where the distortion from over-driving your tubes can be pleasing, but for hi-fi you're running the amp in the part of its range where it is very linear. (Oops, couldn't hold back.)
Listen to a SET tube system and report back. Tube generate primarily 2nd order harmonic distortions, which is significantly more pleaseant and more natural sounding than 3rd and 5th order harmonics produced by most SS amplifiers.  In addition, when tubes clip, it does so in a more natural fashion, rather than a hard clipping for SS. However, a well designed SS amplifier can mitigate the odd harmonic effects (still hard clipping though), but those SS are not cheap ($5k+ for separates). On the other hand, tube amps generally have higher distortion (granted pleaseant) than the equivalent SS amp. A well designed tube amp can mitigate the higher distortion, but those amps also are not cheap.





iamlindoro

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Re: How does everybody feel about spending 2K on a stereo?
« Reply #49 on: December 12, 2012, 11:29:01 AM »
What does a $2000 tube amp do for you that a $100 setup wouldn't? It's not cost of listening per minute, it's the cost premium per minute. $.41/minute of listening doesn't sound terrible until you compare it to $.02/minute.

$200 - you are listening to a system

$2000 - you are experiencing an event through a window and sitting 10 feet back

$20000 - you are experiencing an event as it happens in front of you; you can feel the performance and if you reach out with your hands, you can touch the musician

I nominate this post for antimustachian hall of shame.