Packing it all in

After a few stream of conciousness threads, here’s another. Not after advice but if anyone wants to propose an alternative approach, feel free. I’m open to persuasion.

Last year I finally hit the boyhood dream of having a top quality hifi. I’m 57. It’s ended up as a 250, 272 + 555PS, good speakers & cables, a nice rack to stand it on. And now I’m bored with it; the odd occasions when there’s no-one else in and I can use it to its potential are so rare that when an opportunity does arise I’m reduced to rushing through a flurry of music before folk return, desperately trying to fit in a burst of enjoyment and relaxation. It doesn’t work. And when it’s on as a radio like now it seems like the most pointless thing in the world, listening to a phone-in on LBC or PM on R4 on 20 grand’s worth of stereo. There’s also the issue that it’s too big for the living room and would get even less use in there, but too big for the only other realistic room that’s frankly too small, too square and too boomy. And anyway I keep listening for faults. I’m hearing the hifi system not the music, most of the time.

I reckon it’s time to flog it. The alternative is to carry on looking for speakers that might work, or upgrading bit by bit in the endless quest for the ideal sound which inevitably leads onto a 282 + more boxes or a 252 with an extra box, and a better streamer. Suddenly spunking ten grand for a bit of an improvement doesn’t appeal, but neither does listening to something that should be superb but doesn’t work and that I don’t have the opportunity to enjoy. It’s been fun; it’s scratched an itch but it might be time to find another interest.

Anyone else been through the same thought process?


Sometimes yes, but I suspect with myself that it’s not entirely the systems fault. Other factors can get in the way of enjoying listening, even just being comfortable to sit down for a while.
I sometimes buy a whole bunch of new CDs and let them sit on the shelf for a while. This
starts a process of anticipation.
I’m not a selfish person, but if I have an afternoon/day or night to myself - as long as I’ve put the bins out, done the washing up, hoovered and got the dinner ready - then I’m happy to think that everything else can be put on hold while I suspend disbelief.
I have found that 3am is a particularly good time for listening.

I would say invest in some nice headphones and listen to music when family are at home but you can still enjoy it.


Explain to the folk that return that you’d like some time to enjoy your hobby? It sounds like a bit of ‘me time’ wouldn’t go amiss.



It seems to me that you’re having lifestyle issues with it, vs. hardware issues.
Hi fi definitely is a lifestyle hobby. Listening to music has to fit into your lifestyle -
WHERE will you listen to music (ie which room)
WHEN will you listen?
With WHOM will you listen - alone? With a partner?
HOW is a factor, including cd’s and lp’s (do you have room for them) vs streaming.

I agree that simply spending more and more is unlikely to improve things for you.

Would headphone listening be an option? For those who live in spaces where those who co-habit with them don’t want to hear the music, headphone listening is a great option.

Otherwise, as you’ve discovered, owning one’s “dream system” but without the ability to listen to it is not very fulfilling.

Reminds me of a friend who owned every Porsche 911 model made over a period of 6 years, but owned each for less than a year because he never drove any of them more than a few hundred miles. Looking at them in the garage was not but so satisfying.

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Ideas …
Plug your tv into it and enjoy the sound. At least it uses the system … and the sound from films improves
Consider, if you have not got it, a dedicated radial circuit to bring the life back in.
Try radio paradise instead of R4


Found myself in a similar situation towards the end of last year.
Too much £££ sat on a shelf not earning its keep. Having had to move it all to a smaller room, it just didnt work and I just wasnt that interested.
I didnt bin the hobby per se, I just made a drastic downsize to what I have now, an Atom & Harbeth P3ESR’s.
I was apprehensive to say the least as the system I had took me a lifetime to put together but as it turns out it was a good move for me. I’m listening to ‘music’ again not the electronics.
Consider your alternatives that fit in with your situation.


I agree - headphones can let you get lost in the music.

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Stop listening to those radio phone-ins for a start.

You have to find a way to get the pleasure back. Was there ever a time when it was pleasurable? Tell us about it.

I think this a more common problem than you may think. After spending decades building first an extensive Quad system and then Linn I reached this dilemma.
My solution I gifted my Linn system to my son and bought a UnitiQute/speakers, subsequently I have added a Nova and a Star all dispersed throughout the house. Result is I get to listen to more music, not to the hifi standards of before but enjoyable. The Nova and Star are hooked up to flatscreens so movies and concerts are more enjoyable.
It may be a solution for yourself, hope you work something out.


I’d suggest that these feelings of disillusionment may be the result of (unreasonably?) high expectations that you have placed on your system and that you are putting yourself under enormous pressure to enjoy your system because of the amount of money that you’ve spent on it. Under such conditions it would be difficult to be in the right frame of mind to derive any enjoyment. Might I suggest that for the time being you put on just music that is well known to you, that you really enjoy … maybe stuff that holds some nostalgic value. Play your system as often as you can, even as background music… just don’t be rushed about it.

Hope this helps

I would keep the system as is for the time being. In the meantime I would invest in a good set of headphones as suggested above and see if that provides you with more time with your system when others are around. Then take advantage of the time you have to yourself with the system so you are not rushed to hear all the music you want to hear.

Others threads on the forum had folks describing downsizing to meet their needs and were quite happy and that is where you may end up heading. It took you a lot of years to get to where you are and folks on this forum have had the same Naim equipment for many, many years and are quite happy. You just may want to experiment a bit before rushing to another solution. What is not working for you today may just be perfect a couple of years down the road.

Good luck with your decision.


I may have missed something here but I don’t think suggestions to downsize are going to give the OP more time to listen.

It needs to be - feet up, hot chocolate and some music and enjoy. Not play some music, skip a few tracks, a fast forward here and there before somebody arrives home.

It’s not the system that needs attention here.


I’m lucky enough to have an understanding wife, and no one else in the house, who’s happy for me to have the lounge to myself for a couple of hours most afternoons, plus those times each week when she’s out volunteering or doing church stuff! All told I guess I have about 20 hours a week of dedicated listening - never enough, but not too bad.

Can you not negotiate a semi-formal arrangement for time which is yours alone, and for which you need to feel no guilt?

As for the listening for faults, it sounds as though you haven’t yet got your setup precisely to your liking? You don’t mention your speakers, but I have the same black boxes as you and for 95% of my listening time I’m in Audio heaven (the other 5% I write off to stress etc.). Maybe you still have a little tinkering to do?

Anyway, best of luck. I definitely would not sell up in a hurry. £20k of gear took a while to acquire, and you may never be in such a position again. Sell in haste, repent at leisure!


Exactly the same in my case - but with a longer gap in between.

Now I have my own room/study with an Atom and Iotas, the sound is huge and detailed and involving, and I spend hours discovering new music and old in the study, which disturbs no one and is just cracking.

Earlier I had Rufus Wainwright’s camp spectacular Everybody Knows blasting out at level 68 on the Atom, which is loud, and I have never had so much fun in my life.

Roon is brilliant for finding all those songs that you loved and lost and have not heard for years. Listening to Tall in the Saddle (Joan Arm) right now, and I am in bliss!!

As the kids say - get a room!

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Sounds like you are being pressured to only listen to music when it suits everyone else rather than when it suits you. Maybe grow a pair and listen when it works for you?


Some v good points; thanks. Except for this one obvs. Huh? Grow a pair, pressured to only listen to music when it suits everyone else? Err, no. Sorry bud but it’s not even worth a paragraph explaining why not. It would include the words ‘respect’ and ‘family’ though.

Anyway. H/phones; not v keen but it’s a possibility. Not listening to R4 etc is a reasonable thought but it’s my preferred option to have the radio on instead of the tv. R Paradise & JB Radio2 are v good but news & speech are better.

Downsizing the speakers is a strong possibility as that may be the underlying the issue, having a big pair of floorstanders transplanted into a small square room. But that still leaves finding time; I’ve had a couple of spare days at home this week which would have been ideal for some extended time with it, but it didn’t appeal after an hour or so.

Thanks again. It’ll probably stay and get some use as a kitchen radio (from the other end of the house :slight_smile: ), and in time become a focal point again.

Yes. When it was a Nait 5i + CD5 under the tv into a pair of PMC 20.23s, in the living room. Performance was way above expectation and I used to enjoy a 4-5 hour stint on Friday evenings ambling through varied musical journeys. Times change, kids grow up and it’s an hour or so now.

And it’s not their fault, but the number of times each of em [OH and kids] have individual plans that would give me enough time to sit down in front of it without it being a “quick, here’s two hours now hurry up and relax” and which without exception then fall apart leaving me again with an occupied house, is incredible. :slight_smile:


Do not kid yourself your problem is not the stereo.

I had a 172/200/Various Speakers and whilst not in the same league as you, had a similar situation. Could never listen at the levels I wanted and so never listenend to music that often.

In the end I sold it all and got a Muso and that was just fine.

Two years ago we moved and I wanted something a little better, but our new house has a first floor living room and so floor standers were out of the question (the Muso now in kitchen/living). I looked at the Atom, but felt that would be too much for the room, so plumped for a Linn Sneaky with very modest Q Acoutics 3020s…it’s used for TV duties (really good) and music (excellent for where we are now).

I’ve toyed with upgrading but I think I would be back where I started and couldn’t use to its full potential.

My wife got me a B&O TX2 turntable (30years old), I got a Cambridge Duo, B&W headphones and that is impressive for not a lot of money. I’ve now added Ruark MR1 MK2s and they are great as well (used in a spare bedroom).

I don’t neccessarily think going back to something simpler is a bad thing. It may just enable you to enjoy the music more with a little cash in the bank.

:slight_smile: I know. The real reason is that I eventually got this barmy stereo but I’m not into music enough.

The thread in the old forum, the What Are You Listening To? thread? I used to trawl through that and marvel at the way people could describe the experience of listening to a performance. I’d listen to loads of the suggestions and there would occasionally be a CD or a track that would light the candle, but really I’ve heard all of my favourite music and more from my youth so many times it’s got nothing new to offer, even through a decent system. And new music - newly discovered - doesn’t really do it often enough. Sean K on 6M Breakfast occasionally played something worth following up (Amber Arcades anyone?).

The Muso in the front room is useful, as a radio. Cash? It’d just be some different numbers in an account, waiting for a purpose.