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Have you reached the "point of diminishing returns?" (1 Viewer)


Second Unit
Feb 15, 2003
I know some will not agree that you ever reach this point. But I am sure their are some that feel spending anymore more will not get them the equivalent amount of better sound. If you feel that you have reached this point, what is your system now and how did you come to the conclusion that "this is it."

jason willder

Stunt Coordinator
Feb 26, 2003
I have the Anthem/Paradigm setup. I know I have reached the threshhold becuase I listened to everything else I could find in the same price range and like what I bought the best. Also, I am out if money now. In a lottery situation I would probably begin to creep up the curve just out of boredom. I don't think many can argue against the diminishing returns rule, I think many have the money and don't let it stop them from upgrading. Addiction is a disease.:)

Brett DiMichele

Senior HTF Member
Sep 30, 2001
Real Name
I'm getting there.... As soon as I have some Line Array's
for 2 channel and have my 2 channel CD source I will be for
all intent and purpose, done.. (I think?)

2 Channel:

Parasound Halo P3
Antique Sound Labs Wave AV-20DT Monoblocks 20 Watt
Technics SLBD-22D Turntable
AudioTechnica AT331-LP MC Cartridge
DIY Interconnects and Speaker Cables
(CD Source is currently DVD Player.. Blah)
**Bob Carver Sunfire TDC Mono Plate Amp (500Watt)
Home Theater

Onkyo TX-DS787 Reciever
Onkyo M-282 2 Channel Power Amp 110 Watt
Panasonic CV-51 5Disk Interlaced Changer
RCA 61" Home Theater Series RPTV (4:3)
**Bob Carver Sunfire TDC Mono Plate Amp (500Watt)

** = Shared between systems
Shared speakers

Acoustic Research AR9 Mains Bi Amped
Acoustic Research AR4C Center
Acoustic Research PS215 L/R Surround

Other Items

X-10 Lighting Control
Phillips Pronto Pro Remote

Future Upgrades in order of importance

DIY Audio Rack: Finite Elemente` Klone (working on it now)
XM Satelite Delphi SkyFi (In a few weeks)
Reference grade CD Player (within 6 months)
Line Array speakers DIY for 2 Channel (God Knows When..)

That is most likely "it"....


Nov 21, 2001
My system, of course, could be improved, but the extra bucks wouldn't be well spent, given my current level of satisfaction and my budget. In fact, I might feel guilty and selfish if I were to spend more now. I'm very happy and enjoy my system very much. Now, it's time to concentrate more on software, even though I already have plenty of that.

My bedroom is where I do most of my listening/watching. Equipment includes:
Rotel 1066 pre/pro
Parasound 1205A power amp
Klipsch Reference speakers
Hsu VTF-2 sub
Arcam 72T CD player
Denon 1600 DVD player
Panasonic VCR
Monster 5000 power conditioner
Mitsubishi 55859 HDTV
Magenta ADE-24 analog/digital enhancer
Cables by Quantum, Signal, and Rhino

Other rooms have various Denon, Onkyo, Sony, Polk, Adcom, NHT, AR, Toshiba, Yamaha, etc. components

Evan S

Senior HTF Member
Nov 21, 2001
I know I have reached the point of diminishing returns because I got a noticeable upgrade in speakers recently but it wasn't like it was night and day...I know for the money I will have to spend to upgrade THESE speakers, it's simply not worth it to me and can be better spent elsewhere, and I don't mean elsewhere in my system, I mean on other things...like vacations or home improvements and such.

Speakers: ACI 25th anniversary Sapphires, Emeralds, Essence and Titan II LE Subwoofer.

Processor: Anthem AVM-20

Amplifiers: Odyssey Audio Dual Mono Stratos, Stratos HT3, and Rotel RB-1050

SACD player: Sony SCD-555ES

I could upgrade the video side of my system, no doubt, but that's not a high priority right now for me.


Stunt Coordinator
Jan 3, 2002

I don't know about "diminishing returns". While there are poor values (and out and out rip-offs) in all price ranges, I also believe that audible improvements can be had at every level. Maybe you have to spend an extra 50% to reap an extra 10% improvement in sound, but that kind of stuff is really difficult to define. The real problem only comes when you spend an extra 50%, and only 1 person in 20 can hear any difference at all.

As for me, I know I don't have some kind of Ultimate System. There's thousands of people with better sounding gear. I simply did the best I could with the funds I had available. I spent 18 months researching and listening. I'm the kind of person who never wants to ask myself "what if?" two years doen the road.

But I'm not like most folks on this site (or others I frequent like Audio Asylum, Harmonic Discord, and AVS Forum). I am no audiophile - I'm a music lover. For me, this is not a hobby. It is just a means for me to enjoy my passion. And music is the passion - not the equipment.

When I've bought audio or A/V equipment, I've tried to buy the best stuff I can afford at that time, and then I enjoy it for years. For example, I just upgraded everything last year, replacing separate power amp/preamp that I had bought in 1981. My old Thiel speakers had been bought in 1989.

I plan on keeping my current Audio/Video system "as is" for 10 - 12 years (maybe more if these tube amps are as durable as I hope). It's like buying a car. I buy the best I can afford, and then I drive it until its time has come. I don't fiddle with it - trying to improve it incrementally. I'm not going to replace the engine 8 months later "just to try something different". I don't dump the front seats, replacing them with Recaros just because I can. I may want "more tire", but I'll wait until the stock tires wear out first.

Don't get me wrong - I know I'm in the minority here. I know most folks here experience "HT upgrade-itis" all the time. And there's nothing wrong with that, after all, it's a healthy hobby. The only thing that gets hurt is bank accounts.


John Royster

Oct 14, 2001

Martin Logan reQuest speaker
Sony 555es SACD
Adcom GCD700 CD
Aragon 8008bb amp
Adcom 750 pre-amp
All bypassed into a denon 3802 for surround.

At this point its really hard to justify an other purchases. I'd like to get really setup well for multichannel but to go Logan center and rears would cost a pretty penny in terms of amplification and speaker. I listened to the new Prodigy speakers and was really amazed so I guess I could get those for mains and move the request for rear duty...mmmm full range rears.

Truly the limiting factor in my stereo is the room at this point.

Brett DiMichele

Senior HTF Member
Sep 30, 2001
Real Name

For sure it's a much better hobby than recreational drug
use and the like. It's safe it's clean and it's fun! And to
me if someone has a hundred grand in thier system then I
say :emoji_thumbsup: to that! Hey if I had it, I'd spend it too.. And
I do spend it..

I don't have high end gear but what I have sounds fantastic.
It's hard to afford the best when you have more than just
one passion :)


Why would you or SHOULD you feel "selfish" ? Do you work
hard? Do you take care of your wife and kids (if you have
them?) Are the bills paid? If the answer to all this is
yes then you have no reason to feel selfish or guilty. It
is not my job nor yours to worry about every single person
in the world. There are people out there worse off than I,
there are people out there far better off than I. Should I
be green with envy at those better off, and wrought with
sorrow over those who are less fortunate?

Many people are less fortunate because they choose to be.
Some people are born to be Have-Not's and it's not because
they have no oppertunity. This IS STILL the land of oppertunity
anyone can become successful or they can atleast support

Craig Woodhall

Supporting Actor
Jul 11, 1999
Yip, no more spending for a while have a baby on the way, finally paid it all off.. my system is:

Pre/Pro: Lexicon Dc-1
Amps: Cinepro 2k5II + Cinepro 600x2 (for 7.1)
Speakers: Paradigm Studio40's/Studio-cc/(4)Studio 20's
Sub: BPD 1803 + Tumult in a dual 18" PR box
SubAmp: Crest CPX2600 (1600w)
Projector: Barco Graphics 800
Scaler: HTPC


Brett DiMichele

Senior HTF Member
Sep 30, 2001
Real Name
I was thinking... (That always gets me into trouble)

I left a few things out..

I want a 61" Plasma for on the wall... I can hold off on
that for a while though.. I need proof of how long these
things will last before I dump 13 or more grand on one :)

Ok I done babbling..


Nov 21, 2001

It's kind of hard to explain. Yes, I do make enough money to buy more stuff and my wife certainly is understanding. If I had to venture a guess as to why I feel this way, it would probably have to do with the fact that I'm probably the only one in the family that is so avid about audio equipment. Also, I am really happy with my system now, so I would feel bad if I spent a lot more money just for that extra few percent. I have no doubt the itch will hit me at some point in the future, but for now...

Marc H

Second Unit
Aug 22, 2001
I got into this line of work to feed my addiction :)
My two channel system has reached that point. It's as good as anything I have heard at the trade shows. I'd have to be spending a heck of a lot more to beat what it can do now. I'm completely happy with it except for the phono pre-amp and that will change soon. I listen to music more than I watch TV so the two channel gets priority.

Energy Veritas V2.8
Revolver Super TT with Super Arm
Grado Platinum Cartridge
NAD Phono stage (soon to become Grado)
Kimber Silver Streak balanced IC
Kimber 4TC and 8TC speakerwires (tri-wired)
Totem Beaks (two pairs)
Totem Urth Power Block
= total bliss :)

My HT has a long way to go though. Need subs and a projector.


Second Unit
Feb 15, 2003
Marc, how do you like your Veritas speakers? I have the exl26's and the Veritas are on my list of upgrades.


Stunt Coordinator
Jan 3, 2002
I came back to read the ensuing posts, and realized I overlooked Ed's request for our current systems. Mine is as follows:

Front Projector: Sanyo PLV-60HT
DVD Player: Panasonic DVD-RP91
Turntable: Basis 1400 (modded RB-250 / Benz Micro MC-Gold)
Power Amp: KORA Cosmos monoblocks (2)
Stereo PreAmp: KORA Eclipse
Main Speakers: VMPS RM40 (w/ TRT)
HT Amp: Yamaha DSP-E492
Rear Speakers: PSB Alpha S Bipolar
Cabling: BetterCables Silver Serpents


Scott Oliver

Aug 30, 2000
I am not quite there, but getting close to my point with a few more additions.

TV: Sony 35" XBR
DVD Player: Sony DVD-S7000
Turntable: (will be adding one over summer still deciding which one leaning towards Nottingham Interspace or Rega P25)
Tube Power Amp: Art Audio Concerto MK2
Tube Stereo PreAmp: Granite Audio 770fp with MM/MC phono
Surround Processor: Theta Casa Nova
Speakers: Jean Marie Reynaud Offrandes
Subwoofer: Bag End Infrasub-18
Cabling: Analysis Plus Bi-Oval 9, DIY Power Cord, DIY Interconnect, Tara Labs Prism 22 Interconnects, Tara Labs D2

Areas that I am still wanting to improve:
1. TV is of for sale currently to help finance the purchase of a front projector
2. With front projector it will be time to upgrade to a newer DVD player
3. Power treatment
4. Cabling
5. New digital source for CD's and such, this might go hand in hand with the DVD player, thinking of getting a Phillips 963 or Sony XA999es and having them tweaked a little at a time for better performance.
6. Turntable is coming as I said

Steve Schaffer

Senior HTF Member
Apr 15, 1999
Real Name
Steve Schaffer
I'm pretty happy with my current decidedly mid-fi system in my relatively small room so can say that I've sorta reached a plateau.

I don't think I can improve on it for my main purposes (Movies, not music) to any significant degree for any reasonable amount of money.

What I have found in the last couple of years is that I can often get a better performing piece of gear for less (sometimes substantially less) money than the piece it replaces.

This is especially true in the area of dvd players and display devices.

My current Panny CP-72 cost half what my first dvd player (Sony DVPS-500D) did and far outperforms it.

My first serious display was a $2500 analog Sony KV35XBR-48 purchased in spring of '98. In fall of '01 I paid only a couple of hundred more for a 57" Widescreen HD-ready set.

So in some areas I get very significant performance upgrades for less or the same amount of money as spent on the old stuff.

I invariably find a ready buyer for the old gear, so my out-of-pocket cost is not too bad.

My current modest gear list:

Sony KP57HW40 rptv.
Toshiba DST-3000 HD-capable DirecTV receiver.
Panasonic CP-72 5-disc progressive scan dvd player.
Sony 5 disc cd changer
Pioneer CLD-M301 LaserDisc player (my oldest item, bought in 1991)

Pioneer VSX45TX receiver.
Energy EXL-16 mains, EXL-C center channel, EXL-15 surrounds, XL-150 back surrounds, Klipsch KSW-12 sub.

My only really needed upgrade at the present time is a better roof antenna for local HD reception, but with only 1 local HD station that works ok most of the time this can wait until a few more stations in my area commence HD broadcast.

Rich Wenzel

Supporting Actor
Aug 9, 2002
i would say that once you crack around $100 on a cd player, you have entered diminishing returns...i have never seen any proof that upgrading cd players offers a significant change in sound quality, i have actually never seen any proof that it even offers a slight increase in sound quality...Im not saying it doesn't, but there is no way that my $500 cd player clearly outperforms a $100 cd player...

however, $500 speakers clearly outperform $100 speakers (assuming fairly priced).

Hard to say on amps and pre/pros or receivers...

I would think that it starts off pretty quick. The improvements get rather small very quickly...

Having said that, I would really like to a very good 2 channel set up...Like Marsh or maybe Naim...


Kevin T

Jul 12, 2001
i would have to believe that "this is it" when i look at my pre-pro / amps. however, i would like to upgrade to a universal sacd/dvd-a player, new speakers, and a new monitor:

current system:
aragon soundstage
aragon palladium ii monoblocks
aragon 8008x3b
pioneer dv-c302d
panamax max2000
philips 32" tube
mirage frx-7 fronts
mirage frx-center
mirage frx-rears

proposed future upgrades:
samsung hln467w dlp monitor
gershman acoustics avant garde rx-20 fronts
gershman acoustics x-1 monitor (single for center use)
adire audio rava
salamander synergy rack system
denon dvd-2900
perhaps a v inc. bravo dvd player for dvi into the monitor

kevin t


Stunt Coordinator
Apr 18, 2003
Rich Wenzel

I totally disagree with you. It's about balance. You WILL hear a difference between a $100 CD player and a $500 one. I listened to a cheapey Yamaha compared to a $600 NAD. And I "heard" the difference. And no it wasn't my imagination. Some people agree that the source (CD, DVD player) is more important then the actual Speaker. I dont exactly share those opinions but I was given an example that at least made me think.

A room full of journalists were allowed to listen to a disguised system. After listening they declared it was very good. Some considered it reference. The system was nothing more then a modest intergrated amp, PSB Aplha speakers ($150) and a LINNcd12 player ($20,000). Everybody was shocked.

Now consider for a moment, if the setup was the complete opposite. $20,000 Krell speakers, modest intergrated amp, connected to an Audiovox cd walkman. Just because the CD player transfers 1's and 0's dosen't mean its any less important. And doesn't mean it can't be improved.

Would you hookup an APEX DVD player to a Ronco projector? Or would you consider a Denon 2900 or Pioneer Elite instead? Would the Denon offer a better picture? And better more dynamic sound? I think so...

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