What I bought, the story of evolution...


Well-Known Member
Oct 5, 2008
This no doubt is an interesting forum topic especially for budding audiophiles who have some money to invest in the near future but who wish to plan for the future too. The discussion is solely from my personal experience, concentrating on a 2-channel hifi system for music listening, and with no business interests in products and dealers. So here we go (fairly long).
Several years back, I started with a music+home theater system with Yamaha electronics and Polk Audio speakers using stock cables and locally made stands and racks. Movie watching was okay but music was hardly listenable, no emotional attachment or involvement. Slowly I started reading and researching as well as interacting with 'knowledgeable' people who do not wish to sell things. After listening to several components wherever possible, I just felt and decided that time and phase accurate speakers should be a starting point which add the least coloration to music, thus ended up buying a pair of Vandersteen (other options were Thiel, Dunlavy, Meadowlark, only limited choice in this category). When it came to subwoofers, musical subwoofers (not the thundering types) with sealed enclosures were not too many, Rel, Bag End, Vandersteen to name some, and ended up buying the Rel. Initially I thought a home theater surround processor/receiver should be good enough, so went for a Rotel A/V receiver, but reached nowhere. Meanwhile, I got a pair of Quad power amps and vertically biamped my speakers and the situation became tolerable. After studying preamps, I initially started with a passive preamp but found that it was not good enough. Meanwhile, I went for a new source, an Arcam CDP, very good, but the overall situation did not improve much. That is when I started paying more attention to electronics, especially vacuum tube preamps and no-negative feedback power amps. All these years, I was saving for the 'big buy' and ultimately got the preamp and power amp I was looking for, thus giving me an opportunity to upgrade my source too as the final point. Meanwhile, I moved up from Monster, Qed, van den Hul and other cables to Audioquest and others, locally made MDF racks and stands to much better ones. Believe me, everything made a significant difference. I am not saying I have attained audio nirvana but can sit and listen in front of my system for hours together now and emotionally involve in the music. That is the most important.
Music reproduction systems cost money and planning and saving will help a lot. A lesson I learned. Don't get carried away that a 100K system or even a 200K system will really give you a peek inside what high end audio is all about. We spend for automobiles, luxury vacations, dresses etc, why not keep something substantial for music, something we can live with for the rest of our lives.
Finally, please be aware that selling secondhand components in our country is not easy and it is wiser to invest a larger sum and live with it, a lesson I learned the hard way.
So good luck and happy listening.
> murali
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