Did you ever just want to simplify?

Have you ever longed for a simpler system? Or a less complicated version of this hobby? I prefer simplicity, but somehow my audio system got complicated. Tubes, digital seperates, expensive cables, various tweaks, 100 lb. amps. I studied a lot and each bit of knowledge caused me to think about every aspect of an audio system, and every audio review or online commentary caused me to dream of new components. Some days it sounds good, others it doesn't. It's a resolving system and every tweak has an impact that seems to cause the equilibrium to resettle. Of course, it's never perfect, just different flavors. Sometimes I wonder if it was worth it. Sometimes i dream of a simpler system. Just turn it on and enjoy the music. Not have to worry about now which tube is going bad, trying to find the perfect tube for the DAC, what happened to my bass today, do I really need that big audio rack, why can't I rearrange the living room to get perfect sound forever? A nice integrated, a one-box (front loading) CDP, some unobtrusive speakers, a few good cables, a power conditioner (a luxury item in a simple system, but worth it in my experience) -- good. Now for the music.
Absolutely! Many days, especially when looking at a pic of a cool integrated, I long for just two boxes. Oh well, maybe someday.
I've only been at this for about 8 months. I have old NAD equipment and PSB Image 2b speakers. Not much money involved. However, tonight I was alone and listened to Sweet Honey and the Rock. I could hear all the distinct voices, breathing, diction, I could tell the placement of all the singers, and I was thrilled with the depth of overtones and the richness of their voices. I love it and hope I keep my gear simple so I don't get caught up in worrying about my equipment. Having said that, I hope those who get as much enjoyment out of tweaking and upgrading as I do listening, keep it up. Without them I wouldn't be learning nearly as much from this site.
You bet! Need a smaller room and time to just listen. SET? But even that involves tube rolling, etc. Lower the old standards? Maybe that's the ticket! Forget about trying for absolute accuracy and shoot for absolute simplicity. A nice integrated combined with a nice cd player and a couple of monitors. In a smaller room, that could be just the ticket. There is some nice stuff out there. Shoot, if you have the right cd player with a volume control, you don't even need an integrated and could actually work off of a couple of mono blocks. CD only. Could work. Makes me wonder.
Sounds like my office system or something like it. CAL-CL-10 direct to Berning Microzotl to Sequerra Met 7 monitors. Great for a small room, with headphone capabilities as well. About $2.2 k on the 'gon, including LAT ics and T-14 Silversonic speaker wires. If it was a main system, you could go with Berning ZH-270 (2 input amp w/volume) and Merlin VSMs and an Audiomecca or or EMC 1 box CDP. You could do lots worse for way more $.
Do it.

I've just gone through that process, replacing a stack of separates on a big rack and floorstanders with a one-box cd player, monitors and (gasp!) a receiver.

It's a more satisfying system in several ways. It doesn't dominate the room or, more important, the experience of listening to the music. It cost less, and the things I've spent the difference on have all been a lot of fun.

Most surprising, it sounds better. I don't know how to explain that except, perhaps, by assuming that aiming a little lower got me newer gear that benefits from advancements in the technology and that I've paid attention to the recommendations here on Audiogon, leading to some good choices.

When I made the decision to downgrade I consoled myself at first, telling myself it was an 'interim' system. (But, then, they all are, aren't they?) Instead, I'm really happy with how it's all worked out and I'm enjoying the music more, not less.
Yes, I think the process of simplification can be the solution to a general over-involvement with the gear. When your objective is reduced complexity, refinement is key to avoid compromises in any area. For me it cost more to get less, but the result was well worth it.

There is no denying the thrill of the chase for great audio equipment. But when you get to the point of "the minimum amount you have is the best you'll need", the value once held by audio magazines and dealer showrooms is gone. I enjoyed the journey and felt a little depressed when I arrived.
YES, but then I realize that my brother has gone through
4 cheapo all-in-1 units from best buy within the last
4 years. Each one was at least $140 min.
for a bedroom system they`re okay, but for a
music/home theater room like I have, I wouldn`t even
bother looking at them.
That's exactly what I have - A NAD C372/C542 combo, a pair of Monitor Audio Bronze B2's modified by Rick of Selah Audio, some VDH C5 IC & Audioquest Type 2 (double-run) speaker cables. A very simple kit that makes music enjoyable.
I've done that! I've used a high-end CD plyer w/ built in volume control connected directly to a pair of small mono-blocks (either solid-state or SET) powering a pair of monitors on lead/sand filled stands. Excellent sound in a moderate sized room, but only a single source component. Bang for the buck is VERY high!!

I also sometimes use a small tube integrated amp/ CD player setup.


I pay a lot of lip service to this idea as I cruise the web looking for More Audio Stuff. While my system may not represent Henry David Thoreau's ideal to any non-audiophile observer, I always try to focus on using the least to get the most. This hasn't extended to integrated amps and monitors, because I want things from my system that this approach doesn't provide. However, I have stuck to the notion of a single source, two channel, no bi-wiring, no subwoofers and no more electronics than are required to do the job.

I really identify with Rny's sense of depression when you realize you're all done. I'm practicing at reorienting my lust for the hunt onto music rather than gear, though. There's no prospect of being "all done" when it comes to fulfilling the real point of this hobby, and no music collection can ever be too complex IMO.
Yes, I have thought about a couple of low powered tube mono-bloc set amps with high efficency monitors. Although I don't think my system today is that complicated; amp/pre-amp, cd player and speakers. However; the speakers (thiel 3.6's) are rather large and dominate the room (18x24).
Yes,done just that!Woke up on the wrong side of the bed,looked at the audio rack and said your outta-here.Put together a small bedroom system with a big fat fleshed out mid-range that calms the soul,very happy,for now?JVC-XL1050Conrad-Johnson MV-45AMorel Monitors JPS Superconductor-2 Am I done,for now yes!!Good Luck,It can be done....
Keep it simple, but no simpler-I believe Albert Einstein said this or something like this.
Taking this concept to the extreme, I replaced some very well regarded tube and ss seperates with a 47 labs gain card which is about the size of a paperback book.
Interesting commentary. Sounds like we all struggle a little with the idea of simplicity. Obviously I still struggle with it. The one component I have not searched carefully for is speakers. Early on I ended up with some Tannoys and so far I've been happy with them. But at least I'd like to shop around and let my ears hear the options. I was considering a pair from the Tannoy Prestige line which is said to be a step up from the line I have. One speaker I'm looking at, the Yorkminster, weighs 135 lbs. each and are huge. The idea is appealling, but I wonder if I'll kick myself later for not getting something more manageable.

I can totally relate to what Rny said about reaching the end. I made a deal with my wife and so until October I can't change out any components. But there are so many I haven't tried yet! It's depressing. Sure, it's simpler not to be spending time demo'ing stuff, but my curiosity gets the best of me. I miss the journey.
Mine's already pretty simple, but I am an extreme minimalist...what would be the ideal for me would be 2 active monitors (PMC etc.) and just one GOOD dvd/cd/sacd player...oh...and a pint size room shaking sub. Just dont know if there would be drawbacks to active monitors.
oh...also...I'd need that combi player to have a volume control (dont know if those exist)...or do they?

2 channel home theater zen...ahhhhh