Ultimate Question

I was wondering how you all felt about your systems and how much better is attainable?..... What I am really getting at...have most of you wrung out every last piece of potential out of your system or do you believe that more can be attained? Is there better to be bought but finances will not allow or is it a constant wait/search as new products become available and trying them? I'd be real interested to hear from those who have spent a long time building a system since this seems to me be the ultimate question.....how much can a system actually reproduce?...I know we have differring tastes on how this is done and that ultimately it is everchanging but what are the opinions on the best available..oh and be civil to each other..please.. Ben
I have spent about 10 years building my system. I have enjoyed upgrading piece by piece, and primarily with used equipment purchased through Audiogon, Audioshopper, etc. I have no doubt that I can attain better sound. However, I am convinced that my listening room will always limit the sound I can achieve, and that is not such an easy upgrade. I will continue to upgrade, tweek my room, and lust after new and better equipment -- isn't that why we are called "Audiophile"?
I like questions that give us multiple choices: You know A.B. C. That is the best thing about voting. Worst thing about voting?? Waiting for the recounts.I'll be wrung out before my system is wrung out.
I've been working on my system since I was 15 years old (16 years now). There is always more to be taken from a system ... however domestic bliss is often an obstacle. I've found that striking the balance in our house is difficult. Room tunes, giant cables and stands don't blend well with Ethan Allen furniture!!! I take solace in the future ... a dedicated listeing room is part of our overall plan for our home makeover!! Ask me again in a year how much more I've wrung out of my system.
Until I can reach the point and listen to live, well-produced, music and say to myself "hey, that sounds and feels and moves me just like my system", there's more work to do on the system. The interesting thing about audio is that every time I make an improvement to my system, I wonder how it can sound better. And sooner or later, an idea comes along, I make some change and yes indeed, the system does sound better. Some of the changes cost big bucks (e.g., better equipment). Some came for free (e.g., moving speakers to more optimal position).
Because of space considerations I have never done much regarding placement of speakers, components furniture and furnishings. I will be moving in the summer to a house with double the space, so I plan on doing it right (or close to it) in my new place.
Surgarbrie: I recently had the opportunity to work with a "blank slate" in our spare bedroom with our second mini system. It sounded a lot better than than I could have ever imagined and was set up so that I could lie on the bed with my head elevated. Since then the room has seen some use from guests and has undergone further "decorating" that mucked up my speaker placement. It was great while it lasted. The next step will be to get a pair of taller 30" stands and do a near field setup aimed at the computer station chair. This with the addition of a low wattage tube amp in the chain was plan B anyway.
I think everyone has a different approach to system building. My wife has been extremely tolerant with me over the last 10 years as I have changed out equipment every 2 - 4 years, and have used various rooms in the house for music listening (two years ago I had an addition built dedicated to music and HT). Yes, the equipment was better each time and enhanced my listening pleasure. In retrospect I should have been more patient and taken bigger steps when upgading. About 2 years ago I started to reach a point where it was less assured that spending what money I had budgeted would result in appreciable improvements. I already had attained very good sound, and would have to start spending crazy money to make worthwhile improvements. Last year I bought a second hand pair of speakers that I would never have been able to afford new. These have become the cornerstone around which I will continue to build and improve my system, although at a much slower pace, and with each change more carefully considered as a long term commitment. In the meantime I'll enjoy what I have.
Just think 10-15 years ago, the cd was born. 50 years ago they were litening to tube radios. The 8 track is now dead. Many advances are still comming. Keep optimistic.