How Do You Think About Cost/Benefit Analysis for Your System?

I use cheap things and I use expensive things, and don’t think some of the cheap things are necessarily inferior. My most used amp for the 75 inch ribbons is the 10 watt/ch single ended Sony 2SK60 spun off by Pass on his DIY site, and cost less than 500 for all the stuff to build it, much of which building stuff I still have. The 2SK60 sounds bloody marvelous on those ribbons, really top notch, and I have had a lot of amplifiers. I did not expect this when I built it and regard it as an odd gift of the audio gods since I never built an amplifier before and did not expect it to even work, I did it on an odd whim.

I would call performance 9 plus FOR MY PURPOSES and my room. My only defense for this audacious claim is hearing many systems at many cost levels over many decades of audiophilia with most of them not really coming close by comparison for my tastes.

On cost effectiveness, it is extremely high for whatever I happen to be using at the time, at least compared to the WBF spenders. Compared to the ASR spenders, however, I have been skinned more ways by audiophile horse traders than can be counted.

It’s all a matter of perspective. Yes, I could afford a lot more in terms of sheer costs, but don't think it is worth the trouble.

If I had the mansion (which I don't want) and the audio butlers (which I don't want) and the heavy hefters to move stuff (which I don't want), I would probably go for an Aries Cerat system, because it looks like it rings all my bells.





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I built amp stands today out of 2 inch thick slab maple from a tree a friend cut in his yard. It dried for a year outdoors and 2 years in my basement. I cut 2 x 20 inch by 16 inch live edge chunks. I put 50 duro rubber feet between the floor and stand. The amps are on 1/4x20 bolts with a rounded Philips head. Absolutely astounded by how well they perform. Very clean and balanced. Super happy with my 8 hours investment in time getting the wood from there to hear and the plank fabrication.
I still have 2 slabs left for other things. One is a 8 foot by 40 inch wide x 3 inch thick Doug Fir. That will be a kitchen nook table.

I think my point is. I'm willing to put some personal time into a stand. Spending multi thousands. No. Can't go there. Am I reaching the performance level of a multi thousand $ stand? I bet what I put together would compare pretty well.
In all honesty. I built one set and split the wood with 2 cuts to flatten the warp and stitched a pair of cross members to hold it together. A total disaster. So it did take me 2 attempt. That first set. I am going to circle around one day and epoxy the parts, plane flat and try again.
 

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I built amp stands today out of 2 inch thick slab maple from a tree a friend cut in his yard. It dried for a year outdoors and 2 years in my basement. I cut 2 x 20 inch by 16 inch live edge chunks. I put 50 duro rubber feet between the floor and stand. The amps are on 1/4x20 bolts with a rounded Philips head. Absolutely astounded by how well they perform. Very clean and balanced. Super happy with my 8 hours investment in time getting the wood from there to hear and the plank fabrication.
I still have 2 slabs left for other things. One is a 8 foot by 40 inch wide x 3 inch thick Doug Fir. That will be a kitchen nook table.

Fabulous. What a great project. They look excellent.
 
With all due respect, what exactly is the purpose of this thread? Do you really expect people will tell others what they spent on their system

No, I don't expect people to post what they spent on their system. The thread was in no way a crass attempt to prompt that. But I can understand how you could take it that way. I'm sorry if I gave that impression with the opening post.

So $400K gets you to an eight or nine out of ten. And I assume that does not include the cost to build your "man cave".

From my perspective, if I spent that amount of coin on an audio system and was not absolutely, positively thrilled with the sound performance, I would be very disappointed in the end result. But maybe it is a work in progress and acceptable to you.

Not your fault, but you are misunderstanding my self-grading. Recently I have become "absolutely, positively thrilled" with the sound performance of my system for me personally. But I have little to no ego relating to this audio hobby. I'm not going to pretend to you or delude myself that my system is, in general, equal to the very best audio system I have ever heard.

In other words, the system may be a 9.5 to me personally, but being more broadly objective about it I would say 8 to 9 compared in general across systems I have heard.

It happens to be the case that just yesterday I heard, I think, at least for jazz music and for classical music, and with the huge qualification that I did not hear on the system any track with which I was familiar, the best system I have ever heard. That system is definitely a 10 to me. So if that system is a 10, my system cannot objectively be more than 8 or 9, even if I might actually subjectively prefer listening to vocals on my system.

There is a very subjective, tenuous relationship between price and performance.
I totally agree!
 
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I don't sit around doing a cost-benefit analysis of my system ... it's my hobby.

Yeah, I do. It's my hobby but also my hard earned money, and unfortunately I haven't seen money grow on trees yet.
 
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I don't sit around doing a cost-benefit analysis of my system ... it's my hobby.

I think it's kind of fun to feel like you have achieved a subjectively better sound than other systems achieve for your ears by spending less money than was spent on those other systems.
 
I think it's kind of fun to feel like you have achieved a subjectively better sound than other systems achieve for your ears by spending less money than was spent on those other systems.

Yes, that's how I feel lately sometimes.
 
Good topic, Ron

I have spent more than what I thought I would spend on an audio system.

That said, it has given me more joy than pain. I used to not like the system as much when the system would be so finicky or would lean more towards certain genre of music. However, with time, and money - and lots of treatment - I have made it to the point where I feel beyond satisfied. If I were to stop here, I would be sufficiently set for the rest of my audiophile life.

But I still have a few peaks to climb... and I will need to expand certain horizons such as other method of listening (headphones) and other sources (r2r).

This hobby means a lot to me. In addition to my own personal exploration with music and its reproduction, I have made many friends and have grown a local club in Dallas. It appears that the hobby has given me lots of personal gratification. So I guess the cost benefit of my system and hobby in general is highly favorable than had I been doing this alone the whole time... it's hard to quantify those numbers in this situation.

But I am definitely very close to the end of my summit at age 41.

Unless I move... then I start again, kind of.
 
one of the great benefits of my setup is that it lets me forget how much I spent.
 
Ron, the process I used for choosing my current system was simple. I heard the system I wanted and I figured out how to get it. It would now be quite difficult to replicate it as many of the components are no longer available, so the value to me is high.

I do not really think in analytical terms for my hobbies. Enjoying music in my home is more of an emotional thing. It is the same with my other hobbies. There is a cost, but how does one value the benefit?

I reserve cost benefit analysis for other things.
And you managed to buy your dream system and keep your boat ! ;)
 
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I think it's kind of fun to feel like you have achieved a subjectively better sound than other systems achieve for your ears by spending less money than was spent on those other systems.

That's easy to do by focusing on systems that have spent more and sound bad and ignoring the much less expensive ones that sound quite better.
 
I think it's kind of fun to feel like you have achieved a subjectively better sound than other systems achieve for your ears by spending less money than was spent on those other systems.

I think it's kind of fun to feel good talking about music with others who have a stereo for sharing mutual interest.
 
I do think that the amount of 'space' your hobby takes in your life is a factor here. I redesigned my small home when I bought it 20 years ago, I built the 2nd floor to be living room, home office and kitchen all in one space. I spend 90% of my waking time here. My TV and stereo are one system, so my system is playing music or video about 8 hours a day. I also built it to be the best acoustically I could at the time with reinforced floors and ceilings, acoustically damped walls, and cabinetry that doubles as bass traps/diffusors. Investing in my system affects the enjoyment of my day and night!

My system is modest by the standards here, probably around 60K with every bit accounted for, but I believe it is 8/10 of ideal systems I have experience with, sometimes pushing 9/10. This is against my experience with systems that cost between 8 to 20x mine. Of course my scale is based on the musical priorities I have, which is more about tonality, vividness, emotional connectivity. My system won't put a whole opera troupe in my home, or a full tilt orchestra or pipe organ, that's not important to me. Having Nina Simone bring a tear to my eye is more my priority.
 
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I literally had a room built from scratch, the whole darned house is designed around the room. My personal taste and goals as my guide, I've acquired the best components I can afford and spent countless hours on set up at times with manufacturer support, direct and remote. One of my justifications is the value of my music collection, both actual and sentimental. My collection started in earnest with our Mom's record collection. She has passed and these to me are now priceless. The actual value I will not say but I do look around on discogs, ebay, etc from time to time to see where things are at. I don't have an aggregate but do know that I have some LPs that have continued to increase some shockingly. So I've assembled an analog rig that theoretically should keep my LPs as pristine as possible by allowing for the least groove wear. Carts, arms, vacuum hold down to minimize warps and what that may make a diamond stylus damage a soft vinyl groove. OCD stuff. Will it have worked.....ask me again if I'm still alive in 40 years. Built the rest of the system meeting from the room/speaker, meeting in the middle at the preamp, then digital, yada, yada, yada boring stuff......I'd give myself an 8.

I've only dealt with what I consider fundamentals in acoustics, mechanical (HVAC), electrical (lighting ballasts, wiring, subpanel, grounding), vibration management, power and proper component matching. I haven't gotten to esoteric stuff. I have not used any fuse other than that provided by the manufacturer. I have not put little dots on things, used a green sharpie except to mark my golf balls. My CO's are branded but not fancy. I have measuring equipment which I use but again nothing fancy. Most of the time phone apps are enough to verify which direction I'm facing. My network at home is enterprise grade but not what might be considered audiophile grade. In fact I only had it done during the pandemic so I could work from home and my kids could do school from home with the least hiccups.

If I could muster the will to say, find a way to get that GPS clock antenna from the basement to a receiving spot on the front yard, get a direct fiber line in, change out my outlets, get an even better subpanel than my Siemens, I'd give myself a 9.

I don't see myself ever getting to 10. There will always be something I will not have interest in trying.
 
I think the cost / benefit of what i put together is excellent , happy with my system , its like i personally want it to be , i don t really want to change anything.
A nice mix of quality components.

Only thing i really want to add is the Full Ultra tape collection of acousctic sounds ( 10 to 15 tapes)
And a more neutral/ revealing power amplifier , transistor this time , although i wont sell the tube one.

Ps And a dedicated custom built trapezium shaped music / movie room with Big screen projector and the audio via the Hifi system would be awesome , but this will drive up the costs considerably off course
 
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My system is probably very cheap compared to the average on this forum, but I still find the cost to be high, so it is hard for me to think of it in terms of cost/benefit.

In 1950 you could buy an Altec 755A speaker for 20$, so the equivalent of 250$ today... What has happened to "Hi-Fi"?
 
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I literally had a room built from scratch, the whole darned house is designed around the room. My personal taste and goals as my guide, I've acquired the best components I can afford and spent countless hours on set up at times with manufacturer support, direct and remote. One of my justifications is the value of my music collection, both actual and sentimental. My collection started in earnest with our Mom's record collection. She has passed and these to me are now priceless. The actual value I will not say but I do look around on discogs, ebay, etc from time to time to see where things are at. I don't have an aggregate but do know that I have some LPs that have continued to increase some shockingly. So I've assembled an analog rig that theoretically should keep my LPs as pristine as possible by allowing for the least groove wear. Carts, arms, vacuum hold down to minimize warps and what that may make a diamond stylus damage a soft vinyl groove. OCD stuff. Will it have worked.....ask me again if I'm still alive in 40 years. Built the rest of the system meeting from the room/speaker, meeting in the middle at the preamp, then digital, yada, yada, yada boring stuff......I'd give myself an 8.

I've only dealt with what I consider fundamentals in acoustics, mechanical (HVAC), electrical (lighting ballasts, wiring, subpanel, grounding), vibration management, power and proper component matching. I haven't gotten to esoteric stuff. I have not used any fuse other than that provided by the manufacturer. I have not put little dots on things, used a green sharpie except to mark my golf balls. My CO's are branded but not fancy. I have measuring equipment which I use but again nothing fancy. Most of the time phone apps are enough to verify which direction I'm facing. My network at home is enterprise grade but not what might be considered audiophile grade. In fact I only had it done during the pandemic so I could work from home and my kids could do school from home with the least hiccups.

If I could muster the will to say, find a way to get that GPS clock antenna from the basement to a receiving spot on the front yard, get a direct fiber line in, change out my outlets, get an even better subpanel than my Siemens, I'd give myself a 9.

I don't see myself ever getting to 10. There will always be something I will not have interest in trying.
Your system + room is definitely a 10!
 
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Your system + room is definitely a 10!
Why thank you Ron.

What I am scared to think of is...........what if it can go to 11! LOL!

That thought can send me into a rabbit hole! :D
 

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