Thinking of getting out

Saurav

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2001
Messages
2,174
I've been where you are, and I know exactly how it feels. I ended up realizing that good specifications do not always guarantee emotional involvement and satisfaction. That started my research into audio equipment that could provide me what I was looking for, without worrying about what it looked like on paper. My current system has nothing in common with what I had 2 years ago, and I find myself sitting and listening to music much more, instead of constantly checking the imaging or soundstage or other relatively irrelevant details. And this has nothing to do with throwing money at your system, because some of my current components cost less than the ones they replaced.
 

Peter Overduin

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Messages
776
You could also take up other hobbies that cost alot and never leave you happy. Wanna compare golf handicaps?
 

Bryan Acevedo

Second Unit
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
290
Another thing to do - take a break from the forums. I mean all of them, HTF, AVS, etc.

What happens is when you come here and read about someone elses experience, or excitement about buying the latest and greatest, you feel like you are missing something, or are not up to par. What is funny is if you take a break and come back - you really do see how silly some of the hype is. I have spent quite a bit of money on my setup, and I haven't watched a movie in month or so. Part of that is selling the existing house and building a new one, but part of it is also I was just getting bored with it. I needed to take a break and come back down to reality. Not all of us need 7 separate monoblock amps for 7.1 surround sound. Many of us in this HT hobby do just fine with 5.1 receivers.

But seriously - take some time off the internet. Go outside and interact with people, not a computer monitor and "people" in a forum. It will give you a new perspective on the HT hobby when you come back after a hiatus.

Bryan
 

Juan Castillo

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Messages
434
I think it is important to keep this a hobby, and not let it become an addiction. Obviously it is easier to back away from one over the other. Bryans' suggestion, I believe is probably the best. I know that I enjoyed movies, before I ever came in here. I had a better system than anyone I knew or in my family. But when I got in here, I quickly got caught up in all the raving people were doing, and realised that there was so much that I was missing. Well, luckily, I made the clear realisation, because of my minimal budget, that I really did like my system, I just wanted more, and more. Finally, to quote a line from the Matrix "Ignorance is Bliss".. I will stop worrying about what is new out there, and stop drooling over what other people have, and enjoy what I have until I can reasonably upgrade when prices come down.
 

kevitra

Second Unit
Joined
Apr 24, 2002
Messages
364
Bryan has hit the nail on the head.

2 years ago I built my audio system (Denon 2801 as preamp, Rotel amp, ACI Sapphire IIIs, SVS 25-31). I love my system - great for music and HT.

I start reading the message boards again. I read about the Outlaw 950/new Rotel/etc. I start thinking 'maybe...'

Then I realize that the difference in upgrading is going to realistically be next to nothing. My system is already great "but maybe that Outlaw will make it even better..."

Give up. Stop reading messages for a while. It just makes you want to try something new. I am actually going to someones place tomorrow night to audition the Diva 6.1s (for fun - I doubt they can beat my Sapphires). I know I won't buy a pair - I have trained myself to stop spending money (on this hobby at least).
 

Mike_T_

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Oct 30, 2001
Messages
198
Very good points made....
One thing I keep doing is listening with a intensely critical ear. Instead of JUST listening to the music and enjoying it, I tend to listen for areas that can be improved. I mess with speaker placement, Large/Small settings, new equipment, new speakers etc. And in the meantime, I'm wasting great opprotunites to simply enjoy movies and music. I've spent over $10,000 SO FAR and still want more. As far as I'm concerned I'd feel the same way about my equipment if I spent $50,000.
This 'hobby' is supposed to bring us all enjoyment, however we all spend much of our time obsessing over how to improve and upgrade which takes away from the satisfaction we should feel for making it this far. The knowlege we gain can sometimes be a hinderance to our enjoyment. The gear you listed above is all very nice, and 9 out of 10 homes in your neighborhood won't sound as good...believe me!
If our Home Theater's were our children, they would ALL hate us for being overly critical and only looking at their faults. Most of our "kids" are freaking honor students! Now go home and hug those twin Paradigms and tell them how much you care
 

Jim_C

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2001
Messages
2,058
Brandon, you've got some pretty good equipment there. Can you describe what it is that you don't like about the sound? There are some things you could try to improve the sound that don't involve room treatments. Where are your mains setup, up against a wall or pulled into the room? Where are the surrounds, etc?
You might want to try the Klipsch in the system. I have a pair of KG-4's in my main system and KG-3's in my studio. They sound so much better, IMO, than the new Klipsch line. If you aren't already a regular at the Klipsch BB you should check it out. Most everyone there has or is trying to get their hands on the Heritage line. The newer stuff is good but the quality is just not what it was in the 80's-early 90's. I would LOVE to get my hands on a pair of Forte's or Quartets and an Academy center to match.
Anyway, try the Klipsch to see if it changes your thinking at all.
BTW, I do know how you feel. Sometimes I get off the forum thinking 'man, my system will never sound/look good until I get this'. Then I turn on my system and think 'damn, this sounds good. Why do I need to change anything?' Point is, sometimes we analyze our systems sooo much that we forget to step back and take a realistic look at it. For a while now I've been thinking that I've GOT to get a parametric EQ to flatten my room's FR. It'll never sound good until I do. What a load! My system sounds awesome to me and I'm the only person that matters.
Don't sell your equipment. Step back and re-evaluate where you are after taking some time off. And whatever you do, don't sell those classic Klipsch. Unless they're Forte's or Quartets.
 

Eric Sevigny

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Dec 25, 2000
Messages
157
Well, I was in the same boat for a while. But in my case I was always comparing what I have with how the local THX, stadium seating cineplex sounded. Then I read an article that did put everything in perspective and realized how I had it all wrong.
For those who care, the article can be found here:
Audio Perfectionist Journals (click on issue #1)
It's a pretty good piece on the differences between home-theater and the needs of the big ones. It really begins at the section titled "Home Theater Myths", but the rest is great too. It also goes on discussing room accoustics at some point. A worthwhile read IMHO. It's fascinating how perception just hinges on practically nothing, my system's sound had improved after reading that

On a simlar note, my TV recently broke down (lightning strike) and I had to watch movies on a small 13" old TV. Yep, you guessed it, after I got the TV back I could have sworn sound improved. Matter of perception - or maybe I'm just crazy

Point is : if you aren't in the mood, don't like the looks of your system, you are going to find fault with your stuff no matter what - and most will probably be in your head
 

Dzung Pham

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 10, 2001
Messages
271
Brandon, I know how you feel. Sometimes I think my system sounds like total crap. But I think it really is a perception issue and that your ears can sometimes get bored with the same type of sound. When you hear different setups in stores or at other people's houses, they sound great upon first impression. But if you were to spend a lot of time with those systems, I would bet that you would start seeing weaknesses in those systems as well. In the past year or so for my main speakers, I've gone from Vandersteen 2ci's to Vandersteen 3A Sigs, to MBL 111As. Each time I brought in a new pair of speakers, I thought it sounded great. But after awhile, I will occasionaly think one of the older setups maybe sounded better.
As for acoustic treatments, I recently installed some Auralex foam in my room and it's made a signficant improvement (before and after). There are lots of ways to improve acoustics that have a better chance of appeasing your wife, such as well-placed plants, wall hangings, and hidden acoustic panels. It's definitely worth investigating.
 

Steve T

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Oct 12, 2000
Messages
86
These are all excellent posts.

Just like Brandon, my system was not bringing me enjoyment.

As some here have suggested, I started to spend less time listening to music, less time watching movies, and stopped visiting HT related web sites. After about 4 months I really started to miss listening to music especially, and started to listen again. My system took on a whole new sound. What was not pleasing before was now pleasing, because I had stopped listening so critically. I think that is the whole problem.

Since I had always wanted to add an external amp to my receiver, I did so after starting to listen again. Adding the amp brought new life to the system, and I believe it made a much bigger impact due to my leave of absence.

Needless to say I am enjoying the system more than ever, but I am not getting to engulfed in it. I am now back to reading HTF as well.

I believe that you can really enjoy this hobby without having to upgrade all the time. Enjoy the music and movies, they are why you have the system in the first place.
 

John Sully

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Feb 25, 1999
Messages
199
Brandon,

Before any of us can help, we need to know just what it is that you are dissatisfied with about the sound of your system.

You have fairly decent equipment. Have you tried moving your speakers around and experiementing with different placements? If the bass is "boomy" or one note have you gotten a BFD and tried equalizing your sub?

Over the years I have had good to great sounding systems in rooms ranging from a dorm room to a normal family room, to small living rooms in apartments. Speaker placement is crucial. Given my esperience with the BFD, I would say that good equalization of the sub is important also.

However, w/o knowing what you dislike about your system we really can't give you any good hints.
 

Scott Oliver

Screenwriter
Joined
Aug 30, 2000
Messages
1,159
As John Sully said,
What about your system do you not like?
Is it fatiguing? Too bright? To many boxes and wires? Sloppy bass?
What about the dealer's systems do you like so much?
Help us out a little more.
Without more help I am going to echo someone else's opinion here. Perhaps you should devote your efforts to 2 channel listening, for you can still watch DVD's in 2-channel and still get good sound. The biggest difference being that you need to sit in the sweet spot to get centralized vocals and localized sounds.
I recently dumped five speakers, two subs, and a five channel amp on the used market. In my house, I had grown sick and tired of all the choatic wiring laying everywhere and all the space taken up by each and every speaker. At the same time, I realised when I was using my system and not hosting guests, I primarily listened to music for about 90+% of the time. So I sold of all of that stuff to get a better pair of speakers. Nirvana found, although I'm still looking to eek the last bit of performance out of them with a better amp.:b
Those old Klipsch, especially if you are meaning pre 90's, could be quite fun to play around with. Their high sensitivity really opens up some low cost paths to great stereo sound. You only need probably 5 to 10 watts to power the speakers to nice levels. There are alot of tube amps out there that fall in this category and not costly. In fact the Antique Sound Labs Wave8's cost only like $250/pair.
Home theater is the greatest boon to consumerism in a long time. DVD releasals are hyped about as much as a movie opening, which makes you want to gobble them up. It is impossible to keep up with the cutting edge, just like your computer is outdated the day you buy it. And to do it right takes a considerable amount of money, because not only do you want to build a dedicated theater, but you also have 5.1 to 7.1 to 9.3 channels to do right plus the video side. Don't get me wrong I want to do all of this, but for now on my budget, I'll stick to just trying to get 2 channels as good as possible.
If going a more dedicated 2-channel route interests you, feel free to email me or may I suggest www.audioasylum.com
Scott
 

Saurav

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2001
Messages
2,174
I was going to suggest that he keep the Klipschs (assuming they're some of the classics), throw away everything else and get some tubes, but I think I've gotten into enough trouble with my views recently

What about your system do you not like?
Is it fatiguing? Too bright? To many boxes and wires? Sloppy bass?
What about the dealer's systems do you like so much?
I would venture to guess that it's not as tangible or easily identifiable as that.
Here's another idea - have you tried to research the dealer systems that you've liked, to see if there are any common factors between them? This is probably more about design and system philosophy than specific brands and models.
 

Steve Zimmerman

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 6, 2001
Messages
347
Perhaps the problem is simply that Brandon has gotten into a pattern of worrying about his system's sound rather than simply enjoying the music.

As an example, I watched a movie on my HT the other night with my wife. I was worried during the movie...

Is that center channel calibrated correctly? it seems too loud at times... or is it just the way the soundtrack is mixed... i wonder if this movie would sound better if the sub were turned up a notch... Is the DTS soundtrack really better than the DD 5.1 track? hmmm... that was a weird sound--was that in the soundtrack or simply an artifact? hey i haven't heard much content in the surround in a few minutes--did I perhaps not calibrate them correctly last time I was tweaking? Am I sitting in the exact sweet spot? I mean it seems like that explosion was coming from the right hand side but I'm not sure whether it was meant to be at the right or really just sort of off center. Woah, that scene looks pretty good on this TV but am I getting the best picture possible? it's been a while since I manually reconverged and checked the geometry. Uh-oh what was that graininess in that last camera shot?! Is that my TV? I wonder if I need to tweak my IScanPro--perhaps I'm introducing noise I mean after all I don't have a power conditioner yet. And if I had the Outlaw 950 would I be able to hear a difference in this movie--i mean perhaps it would sound better if I crossed over to the sub at 60Hz instead of 80Hz. Hmmm. Maybe not. I'll have to try that out sometime. And speaking of trying out... since my surround speakers are direct radiating and are behind me maybe this doesn't sound quite as good as if I had mirrored-pair dipoles at the sides. Maybe all I need to do is just raise my rear surrounds up a couple inches.

So two hours later the movie is over and I've spent the whole time fretting about it instead of watching. The solution, I think, is not to sell everything but rather STOP WORRYING and just enjoy.

--Steve
 

Brandon_T

Screenwriter
Joined
Oct 3, 2000
Messages
1,903
I will post a reply to some of the questions when I get home from work today. Don't want poeple to think I am ignoring my own thread. LOL

Brandon
 

Rob Landolfi

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Feb 26, 2002
Messages
182
Great post Steve... I'm hooking up my system in a week and you hit the nail on the head with the 'worrying VS watching' description you provided. Can't add anything to your description.
Going back to the first couple of posts, it would appear to me that once someone settles down with what they feel is the best equipment for their money, they should just enjoy it, tweaking as necessary to get the best sound they can. Reading posts around this and other forums, it seems very easy to get swept into trying to keep up with the Jones's. Someone will always have more money, a better system, a bigger car, a better job, a better life, etc. The key is to put it all in perspective and enjoy what you've got (everything in life, not just HT). Step back and see what you have... an HT system that makes movies and music much more enjoyable than with just the TV and the DVD/VCR. There are definite tech studs that can point out the peaks, nulls, frequencies, etc, but all that matters in your environment is if your movie/music experience is enhanced and enjoyable for you. Going out on a limb, a lot of the equipment combinations put out by the mfrs will meet the needs of the majority of us looking for a new experience. The true audiophiles "need" more, but I suspect most of the regular "Joes" like us will be more than satisfied with what we've got.
This may be off-topic: These forums are a great place to pick up useful info and tips, but I try not to get sucked into "the sky is falling" when someone points out an issue with the type of receiver or DVD player I've got when I've enjoyed their performance. I can't imagine that any mfr would knowingly put out equipment that would boost short-term sales at the cost of long-term reputation, customer satisfaction and future sales potential (I'm referring to problems/questions with various receivers). Hopefully customer service is responsive, and understands that HT "downtime" for equipment repair is a bad thing (though another poster has had problems with timely service for his sub). I'm not really going any further with this and I guess my point is that just as it's easy to get sucked into "needing" the "Binford 2000" HT system to watch Toy Story 2, it can be easy to worry needlessly when someone starts bashing a piece of equipment that you own (and enjoy) and a lot of others simply "pile on".
All that said, try and enjoy your system. There are a lot of people out there without a system beyond their TV/VCR or DVD player, and a lot of others that enjoy their wholesale club HTIB. Good luck in calibrating and set up, and realize that if your biggest worry at the moment is the sound of an already highly capable system, things are pretty good. No sarcasm is meant in any of this post... Have a great week!
 

John Doran

Screenwriter
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Messages
1,330
steve,

that was an absolutely perfect description. perfect.

i'd hate to think just how many of us here have done (or regularly do) exactly that while watching movies...

- jd
 

GaryMil

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Feb 23, 2002
Messages
51
This is an interesting thread. As per my thread the Steve Simon Home Theater Experience, I heard a system that totally destroyed mine. When I did some critical viewing/listening to my favorite demo material, Star Wars 1, Matrix, Gladiator and compared it to Steves, I was disillusioned. All of a sudden my system just didn't sound good to me anymore.

I was always satisfied and was actually thinking of cancelling my order for the Outlaw, because I was happy with my sound. But after hearing Steves, my HT became less enjoyable. After reading this thread tho, it occurred to me that my system didn't change. My perception changed. Yeah the Outlaw is only $899, plus shipping, and for HT thats nothing, but in reality its a thousand dollars or damn close to it. Do I want to spend an additional thousand? Can I afford it, yeah I can. Would I rather do something else with it, like maybe a new digital camera(which I need), new golf clubs(current ones are crap), Pool heater(very tempting), mini vacation, etc....

Instead of doing some critical listening, I think I need to do some critical thinking.
 

James Zos

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jan 7, 2002
Messages
725
I'm not sure if someone else has already made this point, but if they have, forgive me.

I think, at its heart, this is a philosophical issue, not an audio-related one. Like many of you, I find myself listening for imperfections in my system FAR MORE than I do listening for simple enjoyment. It is like I designed it with that purpose in mind sometimes.

There have been moments, most recently when I added external amps, where I thought: YES! That is the sound I was looking for! Nirvana is here!

And then, a few weeks later, I find myself wishing for the sound to be improved again, it should be this, it should be that.

My conclusion? I'm never going to be happy with what I have. It's possible that even if I had an unlimited funds, I STILL wouldn't be happy. I can conceive of a system that is so close to perfection it reproduces flaws in the original recordings and you find yourself longing for better recorded materials.

The trick is to find the balance, and I don't know where that is. I get genuine enjoyment out of tweaking my system, discovering this little trick or that ... a never-ending project. And that's fine, as long as I'm happy with it. But if your own hobby causes you unhappiness - what good is it?

My system is used for 90 percent home theater, and do you know my most enjoyable movie watching experiences? When I forget all about the 5.1 setup and just enjoy the MOVIE.

Sometimes the two happen to work together. Requiem for a Dream is an incredible movie AND it has an incredible 5.1 mix. But most often I find that I pay more attention to surround sound when the movie itself is not that interesting.

I don't know where I'm going with this. Judging from the reaction to this thread, there are others of us in the same boat .... I think it just comes back to balance and perspective, and learning to be happy with what we have. As cliched as it may sound, I'll be wishing I had the money for some expensive addition to my system, then I'll think of all the people in the world going hungry because they don't have enough money for food - and I'll realize that, when it comes to life's problems, worrying about my home theater should not, under any circumstances, be near the top of my list (even though it often is).
 

KyleRoussel

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Nov 24, 2001
Messages
99
What I gather from all this is that everyone is basically competing with one another to have the best system. I like to think that most of us here, if transplanted in to one another's HT's, we would be awestruck, if only for a while.
Were all looking to have the best HT possible, better than every other guy in town. That's not realistic. Set your budget, stick to it, and try your best to realize your HT goals. Just because you don't get the BEST sound imaging, or the BEST picture quality, or the tightest, deepest bass, doesn't make your system sub-par. It's been mentioned over and over, its all perception. The idea that there is better out there automatically makes your system weaker in your eyes. Just enjoy your setup, focus your energy on something else for awhile, and it'll be all good!
 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
345,533
Messages
4,744,706
Members
141,475
Latest member
Macoco