Hourly cost of ownership

Hi, I’ve invested a fair bit in my stereo this year - nap 300, nd555, confidence 20s - and i think I’ve crossed the point that makes it hard to justify when I divide it out by time spent listening and therefore the hourly cost. That got me wondering: 1) do other people think about it in similar terms? 2) how long do you all spend listening to your stereos each week?


If you do such a calculation (it has never occurred to me to do), presumably you need to factor in the length of time for which you will keep the equipment(possibly different for different items) and resale value upon disposal. If you keep for long enough to be relevant, don’t forget tge cost of servicing. And add in the cost of electricity for keeping it on 24hrs a day, plus if using vinyl the cost of periodic stylus/cartridge replacement (proportional to usage).

If the result seems to expensive, then you simply need to listen for longer each day.

In answer to the other question, my listening per week varies from 0 to up to maybe 40 hours, depending on other time demands - I have no idea what is the average. And for clarification, I do not play background music, nor do I put TV or projector through the hifi.


I listen a couple of hours each night, after a 10hour day at work, some music and a cold beer really helps relax me!
From the joy I get from my system and how much I use it.
It’s worth every penny I’ve spent on it to me!


When I traded in my UQ2/NAP100, I worked out it had cost $600/year, which was an absolute bargain. I listen to 8hrs a week plus all TV and movies through the system, so great value really. Off course, having upgraded, the hourly cost has increased.

Surely it’s not as basic as cost per hour; what about the investment, the return on investment, depreciation/appreciation, running costs, cost of software, hmm ? nah I think I’ll leave it to my accountant.

Better still, buy what you can afford that will satisfy your music & audio desires, then sit back & enjoy.


Easy numbers for me: a basic olive system and a pair of ProAc speakers cost me around ten grands twenty years ago bringing it down to a cost of a little less than $10 per week. System id being played every day.

How do you like your Confidence 20s?

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In a world that seems, increasingly, to be run by accountants, the last thing I want to do with my system is analyse how much it costs. I’ve spent the money, and I just want to relax and enjoy it.

  1. No - I would never do such calculations as if you apply it to things you own then you start to question the price of everything when you should be enjoying or using it. I have zero interest in being an accountant.
  2. It is playing radio now and when I’m in is playing most of the time.

My curiosity aroused, I did a quick estimate: the new replacement cost of my system today apparently is a rather shocking £42K (though I paid only about half of that). However, considering that as a very very rough estimate my total expenditure on hi-fi over the 50 years since I started has been about £50k in today’s money I don’t think that’s bad. That’s an average of £1k a year in today’s money for a hobby that has given me great pleasure firstly building and more importantly playing music. (If I had considered this question 4 years ago before an inheritance that funded a complete renewal in memory if the person who gave me my love if music, the figure would have been only about 2/3rds of that.) And I don’t expect to spend anywhere near that much more over the next hopefully 30 years of listening.

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  1. No.

  2. The value of my stereo in my life is immeasurable. It’s on most of the time when I am home, sometimes ‘just’ the radio.

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Yes, I have considered this (my wife thinks that any money I spend is a waste of money, so the question arises).
Over the last 20 years or so (the time since my last major upgrade) I have changed the system from Rega Planar 3/Sony TC-645 Reel to Reel/another Sony TC/NAC52/SNAXO/4 off NAP135/SBL through a couple of changes to current system (NDX/NAP500/Ovator S600), and that has cost about £1000.00 after selling the old stuff - possibly less, it’s really hard to account for everything (I went through HDX, 3 DAT tape recorders, NAP300, which I bought and sold - some made a numerical profit, but it is hard to account also for changes in the value of the pound).
So maybe £50.00 a year. Which is amazing value.
But even if I discounted all the resale income from my equipment, my current system cost me about £11,000, I think. Let’s be over-generous and call it £15,000 - and say that it has no residual value, which makes it £7500 a year. I listen to it (not just as background music) at least an hour a day, usually 2, sometimes more. So that would be about £20.00 a day. That would seem to be quite a lot - but I don’t go out to the pub, or spend much money on clothes, none on cinema, or gambling, do not subscribe to TV channels etc. I think that it is great value, personally. Listening to music is hugely important to me. I could be spending my time and money on much worse things.

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I’ve good news for you, it’s only £750 per year :+1:


Oops - and me a one-time maths teacher. I’ll go to the end of my street.


Ah! John Miles the great philosopher. Sums up life in two verses.

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I did the same calculation some time ago (ISTR there’s another thread somewhere) and I decided it was best not to consider these things. I did, and the cost per hour listening was quite upsetting. However it hasn’t stopped me continuing to spend on more kit! :wink:


Hi Dan,

totally agree with that, but just to be accurate, most people might say their mothers were their first love!

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When you have a new toilet installed, do you work out cost per poo? I’d hope not. Why is the hifi any different? What is good value per hour? We went to La Scala a couple of years ago and the seats cost €300 each. A high monetary cost but a priceless experience.


I posted a while ago that after some gentle teasing from my late wife I did a quick calculation and it worked out that my system plus all the content worked out at about £1/hour of listening since 1985 when I bought my Nait. I thought that was a bargain, she didn’t look convinced. Give the upgrades and second system since, I’m probably now at about £2/hour. A fantastic value I think.
Music is really important to me, and has helped me through tough times, so actually the cost is immaterial.


I’ve never had the slightest desire to work out something like that, and even if I did, whatever the cost works out at, it is worth it.

I look at things entirely differently. I work hard every day at work which is my time investment up front. I then get paid which is the pay back for my work. Once I buy something, the action has gone and is already justified by my work to achieve it.
I waste zero time concerning myself with any form of cost/benefit analysis after the event.
I enjoy my hifi with tv etc. driven through it and am delighted with my purchases.

The danger of calculating cost per hour or similar is that it could become a habit. What if I were to calculate the ‘benefit’ of the council tax I pay - cost per dust bin emptied perhaps?

Or visualise the benefit the government get from my road and fuel taxes? Scary territory that could lead to anger! :wink:

I am very much a ‘glass half full’ person so I much prefer to sit back and enjoy the modest but nice home that we have, while listening to great music! I see each day of use as a bonus!

We are all extremely fortunate to be able to engage in our 1st world ‘problem’ of getting our hifi to peak performance!

Always interesting to hear other people’s approaches as in the OP’s excellent thread.