Imagine your system left the house

This is a little game I play inside my head simply for fun or as a distraction from annoying thoughts:
Imagine your system is gone and you find a nicely written card in its place. You (now previous) Hi-Fi lets you know that it’ had reached the usual retirement age for such systems and went to some nice and sunny place. As a thank you for the nice choice of music in the previous years it left the inflation-adjusted amount of cash you spent on it.
What are you going to do? Buy the exact system again? Something better, altogether different or nothing at all?
As most of what I have now is no longer in production and only very occasionally available second hand, I’d be looking at a nearly fresh start.
Let’s see:
My turntable is the Bauer dps 3 with Graham Series 2.2 tonearm and Transfiguration Temper cartridge. The table is great and I wouldn’t want anything else. Arm and cartridge are no longer made and Transfiguration seems to be gone after the death of its founder. That would lead me to the Bauer tonearm, most likely with a Lyra Kleos or perhaps a Koetsu.
As digital source I have a MacBook feeding a NDAC via Toslink. The DAC is no longer available and the current MacBook lacks the Toslink output. I would take a good look at the NDX2 and a NAS, maybe even the Core.
Both SN2 and Bauer phono are current products, so I could and most likely would get them again. A Superline might be tempting, just to open the way into even better vinyl replay.
Speakers would be problematic, as I have found my current ones only recently after a lengthy search. Only a few pairs were ever made and the are rarely available. I might buy something decent as placeholder and start looking at the market again.
Now what about you?

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I would be infuriated because of the time it would take - and I do not enjoy auditioning.

I’d go for the exact same system, other than trying alternatives to MacMini/Audirvana if I could find any way to hear them. However, if I was left the new replacement cost that would be another matter, as I’d buy secondhand and so have greater buying power. I’d probably therefore use the money buy the next models up in the Bryston power amp range (and if enough see if I could audition NAP 300s and/or 500 on bass), and try Innuos Zenith and Chord M-Scaler.

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I would re-purchase a QB only and put the remainder of the cash to something else - I don’t know what. And enjoy the memories.

There is a big difference between one wants and what one needs and I increasingly reflect on why we have a house that is too big, too many cars, too much furniture and too many “things”. Morbid, I know - but you did ask …


i would buy the best integrated which i can afford, like ear v12 or ayon triton. Rega planar 8. Naim cdx2/ xps2 second hand. ear 834 phono.
Probably same speakers. And first of all, a system which doesn’t give me the need or desire to upgrade.

I put a fair bit of time and effort into choosing the system I now own, and if it vanished, I would rather replace it and continue from where I left off. Evolution, not revolution :smiley:

I think those who have stopped (or at least paused) at a Nova/ NAC 272 + NAP 250/ NDX + Supenait 2 combination have made a very astute decision. It’s probably where I would aim if I had to start over again, together with some nice compact standmount speakers.

Maybe a one or two component solution is all most of us really need, particularly if there no desire to move towards Naim’s performance pinnacle? :thinking:


I forgot to add that if my hifi system had left for a retirement village, my wife would have probably helped with the packing and called a taxi for it…


I would take some time to reflect on those things I enjoyed most. After the heartache of being ditched has become a memory, probably try and put together something very similar. Although at a greater cost as the key items were purchased at a much reduced price at the time - even more with today’s prices.

For me, streaming is the challenge. If I was starting new, the savings of streaming over what I’ve spent on LPs and CDs would pay for an NDX2 and SN2. Add the cost of my main system, I’d be well into a high end streaming only system. Question is, does high end streaming from Tidal Hi Fi, beat a mid range stream from a Core with CD rips? Cause with my Nova, the Core beats Tidal.

No sub?

Perhaps. I would need suggestions from the Forum community as I’ve got no experience of subwoofers and how to integrate them properly without getting a continual booming thump thump thump. Besides, I live in a flat and sound travels rather too easily into my neighbours’ homes. On the other hand my dealer has an n-Sub that he religiously brings out annually as part of his January sales (which he has never managed to sell) and several times I have wondered ‘what if…’

My suggestion was because you thought of going from floorstander to small standmounts, so would lose any lower bass. The udea is simply to fill in the bottom two octaves or whatever, at the correct level - if you think ‘boom boom’ you probably haven’t heard a properly integrated sub! (And even on home cinema there should be no boom except for when the film has it as part of special effects - music should sound natural!)

I don’t have experience of subs fir serious music listening, and only very limited for home cinema. But if for some inexplicable reason I had to shrink my speakers in size there’d have to be a sub as the bottom end is a fundamental part of much of the music I like. The one I’d be interested to hear is the Wilson Benesch Torus.

I’d be chuffed to bits to get all the money back and have had years of free pleasure & enjoyment, but I wouldn’t replace it. From the age of about 15 I wanted to own genuinely hifi audio gear; that’s happened eventually, over the last few years, and altho it’s great to still own it, there wouldn’t be many tears shed if it was all sold for a good price.

What to replace it with? A Muso, and maybe a QB - a house needs music. Beyond that the most likely use of the cash would be as a helping hand for the offspring when they find themselves in need of funds for moving out, getting started in a business venture or whatever. I’ve had my fun with it; if all that money came back my way I’d reckon it was time for it to benefit someone else.

Wow, it is sounding to me like for some people interest in hifi was to do with building a system of a certain level, and once they got there something much less capable will do, thank you very much!

Whilst I can see that reducing space or resources, whatever the reason, could drive a desire to physically downsize, I don’t get the apparent readiness to abandon the higher quality.

So, one wonders:

i) Is it that actually your present system is not giving what you really want? (Maybe toe-tapping gets tiring?)
ii) Is it that pursuit of a certain level of system was a goal in itself, and once achieved is in the past and no longer of interest, the music sounding equally enjoyable regardless what you hear it through?
iii) Is it a craving for newness hifi having advanced as far as it can so has become boring?
iv) Is it that you now have other demands for cash that you rate so highly as to justify downgrading the hifi to realise the capital sunk in it?

And then, on the old forum, there were members who had downsized/downgraded, fir various reasons, then started creeping back up…

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Logically then you should sell it now?

Good questions IB. Can only respond for myself obviously…

i) Present system is great, there are few things as enjoyable as finding and listening to a well produced well mastered enjoyable piece of music, but other pleasures exist. See other thread on that subject :slight_smile:
ii) Pursuit of was certainly part of it, finding my way to a system that gave a fine pay-off between expenditure and audio joy.
iii) Newness not a reason in itself, more the improvement either in small steps and more lately in leaps & bounds to get to a great system.
iiii) Mentioned the offspring, I’d feel selfish to carry on spending more instead of helping them get started on their next phases of life’s journeys.

Really though, the fun was in starting out, discovering what works and more often what doesn’t, then being in a position to go for it and create something very good. Then having the time to enjoy it, which currently is a rare event when the house is empty. That happens less and less these days what with life itself and suddenly finding a 90 minute window to have it on and at its best isn’t the best way to enjoy an enjoyable session, if it becomes a rush to fit in a few old favourites before everybody’s back.

I was off work for a couple of days last week with a heavy cold and had one day - about 8 hours in reality - where I could genuinely just sit in front of it and play things in full with no distraction and no other demands on me. That’s such a rare event and it struck me that for all the beauty of my system, it never gets a proper run out. Like owning a Ferrari and only ever having short abridged trips in it. It’s fun and when the opportunity arises it’s brilliant, but the lack of opportunity and the fact that a big part of the goal was to get to the point of owning a hif to see how good it can be, that’s been achieved so I’d be happy to move on to whatever fires me up next. I’ve done decent cars, decent bikes (pedal not m/c), now audio. Maybe something new will loom into view and attract my attention. Everyone needs a hobby after all.

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Not while it still provides the enjoyment it does, even if it’s in smallish doses.

I’d bank the money and return full circle to a MuSo or equivalent, life was simpler back then with less expectation and analysis

If I was in the same position I would go out and get the same again. My system has provided at least ten years worth of enjoyment. Not just musically but socially as well.

If I wasn’t in the same financial position I would be happy with a Supernait based system with a CDX2 and Kudos S20’s.


I would stick with my Nova/N-Sats/subwoofer system - a real sweet spot for me in terms of sound quality, cost, and fitting into my home.

If the record collection was left behind I would replace the LP12, but if my records went missing as well I definitely wouldn’t bother to replace it.

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