HiFI Mental Health

Would be interesting to also see some comments on the impact of those who over think, in terms of stress, debt, family, but also enjoyment, keeps your mind active, etc …

A bit of fun, but also a serious side, to get us to reflect on the hobby or obsession.

    1. All the time
    1. Sometimes
    1. Rarely

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I personally find i over think, it was one of the reasons i sold up all my Naim/Mana first time round, i just felt the fun was gone, it became more goal focused and an obsession. When i rapidly achieved then what was a top end active olive system, it kind of got boring and i started to reflect on time lost, wasted not with family, then also wealth.

Second time round i am actually VERY happy and dare i say box wise I am content with my Nova, yes i know i could upgrade to X/Y/Z, but I do sit listening and thinking of tweaks allot of the time :roll_eyes:

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Hi-Fi forums remind me a lot of photography forums where obsession over equipment can become more important than the end result. At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoyment. Hopefully that’s listening to music but if tweaking your kit or endlessly upgrading works for you then there’s no harm in it. If it causes you stress or worry or you’re using debt to fund your hobby then that’s not so good. As I heard on an advert on LBC this morning - ‘When the fun stops, STOP’

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I’m too busy with the divorce papers to comment on this now…

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@obsydian Could you clarify the question please? The three options don’t clearly relate to a particular question. Thanks

Sorry cannot edit and missed adding the complete title.

How often do you think about your hifi/system ?

An interesting question and one which resonances with me.

I do suffer with depression along with stress and anxiety and have done for over 25 years. My depression has never been down to one thing. It’s always been a combination of factors, one of them being money.

My main passion all my life has been music and from my late teens Hi-Fi. My first ‘proper’ system was a full NAD set-up and a Rega Planar 2. After five years (?) I bought my first Linn system and it was all downhill from there…

Nearly twelve months ago I made the decision to sell my LP12 after many years ownership and after spending A LOT of money. Below is what I wrote to answer to a question ‘’Why would you sell your LP12?’’ put to me on another forum. It covers my Hi-Fi history, my relationship with the LP12/Linn, money and mental health:

After posting a few photos of my new deck (the Well Tempered Versalex) on the March acquisitions thread. I had a number of members express an interest. More precisely why I chose to sell my LP12?

I’ll try to go into why and my thoughts behind the decision.

Where to start? Ok back in 1994 I bought my first proper Hi-Fi system. A full NAD system, CD player, integrated amp and speakers. I also bought Rega Planar 2 and Creek Phono Stage.

After the demo of the above system. I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I asked the dealer what is was and he replied “That’s a LINN Sondek”. Intrigued I asked a few questions, mainly how much it cost. The prices were eye watering even back then. But it was too late. I was under the spell of the Sondek.
Although it was something I could only dream of owning, it was a goal of mine to own one.
Some young men (I was 23 at the time) aspire to own a Ferrari or Porsche. For me it was the LP12 with its fluted plinth and classic looks.

Move forward 9 years (2003) and I finally get the chance to buy one. I bought it second hand for £750.00. It had the Cirkus bearing, Akitio MK1 tone arm and Valhalla power supply and that classic fluted plinth.

OK so that was the beginning of my LP12 journey. 15 years on. Why have I decided to sell it?
Well over the last 15 years I’ve spent circa £15,000 on it.
I took my deck to the very highest spec possible (apart from the LINN cartridge). My deck had the Ekos SE tone arm, Keel sub chassis, Radikal power supply and Urika Phono stage. To buy the above deck brand new you wouldn’t get much change from £20,000.

For a number of years I enjoyed upgrading my deck and loved the improvements along the way but it got to a point where the upgrades started to get really expensive. I would justify the expenditure to myself but really it was getting out of hand.

This part of the post might seem a bit out of the blue but it’s a very fundamental part of why I sold the LP12.

I’ve suffered with depression since my mid-twenties. My depression is not caused by just one thing. It’s an amalgamation of a number of things. What I’ve found is I tend to eat my emotions (I’ll never win 'Slimmer of the Year ') and another way I react against my depression is to buy stuff.
Both of these coping mechanisms are greatly floored and shorted lived…

My relationship with the LP12 is not straight forward and quite complicated.
The upgrade path and the way the LP12 is designed can be a great way to improve your deck over a long period of time.

The other side of the coin is this. I never felt completely satisfied and was always looking at the next upgrade instead of just enjoying the deck and more importantly the music.

For the last 3-4 years I never even used my deck. It just represented a lot of money tied up in something I didn’t use or enjoy.

Over the last couple of years I’d got myself into some debt. Nothing major but I’d had enough of them hanging over me.
I decided to be proactive and look into either downgrading my LP12 or selling it altogether (amongst other things) to clear my debts…

I fell in love with the Well Tempered Versalex after I saw it featured in a HiFi mag around five years ago.
I’d read a number of LP12 owners had sold them and moved onto the Well Tempered decks and not regretted the decision.

I went for a couple of demos. The criteria for which were not to A-B decks. I just wanted to listen to decks and see if I enjoyed what they did.
By this time my mind was made up I was going to sell the LP12. Only a few weeks ago LINN announced more upgrades and my first thought was “thank God I’m selling it”.

The first demo was a lower spec’d LP12 and Rega P6. I still enjoyed the LP12 but I was surprised how good the Rega was.

The second demo was a revelation for a number reasons.
The decks demoed were the Rega RP8 and the WT Versalex. The rest of the set up was a Trilogy 906 Phono Stage, Naim Nova* (all-in-one streamer and amp) and Harbeth P3ERS speakers.

We listened briefly to the Rega RP8 (which did sound very good BTW) but moved swiftly on to the Versalex.

We started off with Jeff Buckley’s Grace. I told the dealer to put any side on. ‘Hallelujah’ floated out of the speakers and
within seconds I knew I had to have one. There was a flood of emotions, mainly excitement but also relief.
It’s fruitless to try to describe the presentation. I just loved the sound it made and how everything came together.

Another major selling point for me was the
lack of upgrades. You could buy another mat or power supply but that’s about it.

*I’ve been anti streaming/downloads and all-in-one systems but the Naim Nova changed my mind set. I’m looking at selling my Linn system and buying one. I was that impressed.

Which brings us up to today.
I had planned to sell LP12 off bit by bit but thankfully the dealer bought it off me complete at very good price. I bought the WT Versalex, Trilogy 906 and walked out with cash in my pocket. With the money from the deck and the money I’ve raised from other stuff I’ve cleared my debts.

Apologies for the rambling. I know it’s a bit all over the place.
Plus I’m writing this on my phone.

I hope I’ve come close to why I sold my LP12?

So there’s a glimpse into my world…’’the horror…the horror’’. Since then I’ve also decided to sell the rest of my Linn gear and hopefully by the end of this month I should be ‘Linn Free’.

Cheers
Rob

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Rob - amazing post.

I must admit I tend over ruminate about hifi, badly in the past, hence the sell up and mindful i do not go down that rabbit hole.

Just to be clear IT IS NOT THE HIFI, but many factors impacting your thinking, then the same over thinking kicks in.

I think it is that constant what next, heck even those with Statements, we hear the odd story of people buying multiple Statements - not referring to cost here, but the thinking behind it.

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Thanks for sharing those very personal insights. I’m pleased you managed to get a good price, some replacement kit and cleared your debts - sounds like a result! Good luck in the future …

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Thanks for sharing, Rob.

I don’t want to think about the amount of money I have wasted on hi-fi over the years. I’ve always looked to get the best sound possible from my hi-fi, even from teenage years. Over the past 10 years I made a lot of wrong turns, often moving sideways or backwards rather than forwards.

I think about hi-fi all the time. I’ve just upgrade my NAP 250 to DR spec and only received 2 days ago. Already I am now planning on getting a Roon setup which involves buying an (admittedly cheap) Raspberry Pi based streamer and the Roon software itself.

It never ends.

I find that if I just sit and listen then I am happy. BUT, when I spend time away from my system I think about what I can buy next: cables, hardware, racks, etc etc. Its weird that when I am not listening to it, my brain slowly starts to think that my system is no longer any good. Five minutes with it and I am OK again.

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I have been there, good luck…

I’ve enjoying this hobby since my late teens. But the upgrade bug got me in 2007, when I bought a cheap Marantz/Cambridge Audio and Kef system and started to slowly upgrade cables, DACs, speakers etc. I now have a SuperUniti and Kudos X2 system in my small London flat. And Although there are times when I think that I’d love to have an even better system, I know that it’s the room/space that is also just as important to the overall sound. So until I buy a new, bigger place, this system is just perfect for what it is. I’ve now stopped caring about system upgrades and am concentrating on finding the time to sit down and enjoy the music with my family.

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I think that there is alot to be said for being happy with what you’ve got and enjoying that. Many upgrades, in my experience, are less about ‘better’ and more about different. Having said that I often use hi-fi upgrades as a distraction technique i.e. something to think about other than the daily routine. I definitely find that listening to music helps me de-stress at the end of a working day and so improves my mental health. I think that there is some clinical evidence that music increases the amount of oxytocin in the blood and hence helps with relaxation. So a vote from me for hi-fi improving mental health under the right conditions…

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Slightly off topic as the OP’s question was to do with thinking about HiFi, but I credit Messrs Bach, Corelli, Vivaldi, Handel and Boyce with saving my life.

Recently due to a medical situation and the NHS response to it (a >4year waiting list - and likely much longer), I became actively suicidal. The music of the aforementioned composers was the only thing that could keep me going. Listening in depth to an intricately woven piece of Baroque counterpoint is not only calming, but also leaves no free space in the brain for suicidal ideation.

So yes I strongly believe that using a HiFi system and listening to music can be a positive contributor to mental health, and I frequently thank those gentlemen for their wonderful contribution to the world.

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I could not agree more. One has just to be enveloped by the music and allow all other worries to slip away for a few moments.

Focussing on a system’s “faults” ruins one’s ability to achieve this. I just know that in a parallel universe I have a Clearaudio V2, Statement, Sonos Faber Aida system and I’m still worrying about whether the record is clean, whether it has warp that I can hear, whether there’s a better version of the recording, whether the speaker positions are 2mm out of alignment, whether the cartridge needs changing, etc, etc … Much better just to accept we’re only ever able to listen to an approximation of the live performance. A half competent system allows us a modest window on music which, “… produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.”

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My bicycles requested that I keep the time I think about my hifi system to a minimum.

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Xanthe/Huge, You are amongst friends here, I for one am glad you found the strength to let the music take you away from those dark places. We have our own personal challenges and need to know what ever our differences are we are not alone.

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If I were a psychiatric I would have advised any distressed music lover to get himself or herself a boombox. It is almost impossible to find a group of people that is more distressed, confused, full of doubts, restless, never satisfied and envious than audiophiles. My slogan would have been: “Give me a High Five and forget the Hi Fi”.

The trick is to learn to be happy with a system that is 90% dialed in. It’s that last 10% that drives one nuts and separates the audiophiles listening to their gear from the music lovers listening to their library, IMHO.

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Yes indeed, music can be very calming, and cathartic. Some classical music, e.g composer Xanthe identified, ans I also find tragic opera á la Puccini or Verdi, and in quite a bit of prog rock, e.g Roger Waters. So plsying music can do a lot to help mental health.

Obsession on the other hand can be negative in terms of mental health (as well as financial health,) and that includes obsessiveness with hifi just as anything else.

When I play music I don’t think about hifi. (And that can be a problem, e.g when auditioning and deciding if something is an improvement, or sufficient to justify the cost. All too often I struggle because I am drawn so swiftly into the music that I forget to compare.) I normally only think about hifi while in the process of making a change, or researching before doing so, or when sitting down to listen shortly after a change - which is something that happens in fits and starts: it can be weeks, months, or quite a few years between. In the meantime something else always manages to fill my head…

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