Are You More Comfortable As A Collector Or A Ladder Climber?

Discussion in 'Gear' started by Mister Pig, Jun 1, 2018.

  1. Mister Pig

    Mister Pig Active Member

    After a bit of introspection, I have decided that I get the most enjoyment from this hobby when I am a ladder climber rather than a collector. I have found that I enjoy mapping out and considering a strategy of how to improve my system with a specific purchase rather than finding gear that is different but in the end at the same level. Nor do I find enjoyment in owning multiple pieces of gear, but would rather have one great component rather than six versions of interesting but not as satisfying.

    This afternoon I moved a turntable out of the house, getting it in the hands of an online friend who was looking for quality analog playback. I showed him the table, then set his cartridge up on it, let him play music and see if it was to his liking. He left happy, and I was happy to have a neater and tidier audio room. This also helps accommodate the purchase of an Esoteric EO3 phono stage, that should be a formidable component. It allows for two table hook up, so it seems to be the logical choice, as I have two tables.

    I find that I am less happy when I buy a piece of audio gear that is not as good as what I own. It feels like a waste of money...although I am sure the wife thinks its all a waste of money! But I have to admit to not only being disappointed, but it irritates me to look at a piece that I won't use, have no intention of hooking up, and has no utility to me.

    So I guess I am a ladder climber.

    Mister Pig
    MikeT. and S0und Dragon like this.
  2. Celt

    Celt Peanut Head

    I guess I'm neither. Except for music...I collect records...too many to be exact!
    When it comes to gear, you guys are on a whole other level than me.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018
  3. John Frum

    John Frum Junior Member

    I would say that I'm a ladder climber, but I'm prone to making as many steps down or sideways as up.

    Chalk it up to my being broke, and to decreasing reinvestment of stereo sale proceeds into gear as I take on more responsibilities (being honest, it also has to do with giving my SO more control over finances).

    If I had back the best 10% of what I've sold over the years, I'd be a lot farther up the ladder from where I am now.
  4. guiller

    guiller Active Member

    Most of the time I make moves based on intuition or comments, as I don't have much time to research the matter. So I learn after I've made a purchase, and sometimes it is a up move and sometimes a down one. In the latter case, I sell the gear and keep going happily along my journey without many remorses. Life is short!
    Don C likes this.
  5. Redboy

    Redboy Knobophobe

    Thanks for posing the question, because I had to stop and think about this one...

    I'm a proponent of "Trading Up" but you might not think that if you visited, given the sheer number of audio oddities found 'round here. Look more closely though, and you'll see that there's not much duplication - the only thing I've really "collected" is a nice assortment of Decca ffss cartridges. I don't hang on to much that doesn't further the end goal of better sound, or truly spark interest. I like this:

    "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." -- William Morris​

    What I consider useful or beautiful has evolved, of course, along with my criteria for "better" sound. I am ever more intrigued by older and earlier audio design and I'm most interested in hearing it for myself, firsthand. My decision to keep something after that is informed by how I connect with it, and not solely by it's sonic merits... if that makes any sense.

    So maybe I'm climbing a different ladder? I dunno. Each of us probably has different end goals; climbing or collecting are just means to those ends.
    StevenZ, Fran604g, guiller and 2 others like this.
  6. Mister Pig

    Mister Pig Active Member

    The down side of not being a keeper of nice audio gear, is that sometimes you wonder if you did not construct an appropriate system for a given piece of audio gear. In the past I have sold some very nice components that others would highly value, and so did I to an extent. But not to the extent of keeping them. Yet there are times when you have constructed a system in a certain manner that you wonder "could this or that component have really shined here?" However, given my limited financial resources, I cannot afford to make that trade up and not have to sell a component to make that next step up.

    In some ways I could see this happening with the H2O Audio amp. There are several aspects of the sound that are very intriguing, and I hear potential. Yet I am getting the idea that I have to make some significant choices at the pre amp stage to get the amplifier to integrate well into the rest of the system. The other possibility is that its meant for a different type of speaker than I have, and that is an expensive proposition to explore. So what do I do? I haven't really decided yet, although I lean to finding an appropriate pre amp for it, and seeing what the end result of that combination is. Yet, that is not a cheap proposition either.

    The trials and tribulations of being a country pig of middling means.

    Mister Pig
    TubeHiFiNut and John Frum like this.
  7. JohnVF

    JohnVF Administrator Staff Member

    C: content listener.
  8. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    @Mister Pig - I also thank you for posing this question - definitely prompts thoughtful introspection.

    My primary goal ( very similar to @Redboy ) is to find components that best convey the emotion of the music, that connect me emotionally with the music, and then to assemble a synergistic system that exponentially increases that connection.

    I have been known to deploy radically different systems over the years, all of which met my criteria - all of them capable of bringing tears to my eyes when listening to music that I love. Each one of these systems could easily stand on its own as an end state system

    My current experements ( remember, this is SCIENCE ;) ) with various vintage horns ( again, like @Redboy , I have gravitated back to older technologies ) have been very satisfying - and a great deal of FUN. :)

    The Belles, with the Community horns in place of the stock Belle mid horn, driven by the Almarro A205a (or the CazTech SE845 or the Quicksilver SET300B) and the Schiit Saga (or the custom Quicksilver Dual Mono Line Stage Preamp) facilitate (for me) an incredibly deep and meaningful connection with the music I love.

    However there will come a day, God willing, that the Lowthers, Quad ESL-57s, M-L CLSs and JBL 4430s will all be rotated back in, driven with the appropriate electronics.

    The LS3/5a are small and they are never too far away when I need my LS3/5a "fix". :)

    What I am wrestling with right now is what to do with all of the other neat stuff I've accumulated over the last 45 years of seriously playing with audio.

    So am I a collector or a ladder climber?

    I guess I am kind of both and kind of neither - all at the same time.

    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018
  9. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Member

    I’m a ladder climber however I only need a four footer. So I’m good unles something just falls into my lap to try out.
    TubeHiFiNut likes this.
  10. airdronian

    airdronian Junior Member

    I'd say I'm not a collector. Not only did I ditch vinyl (heresy !) at one time, I even sold off a bunch of CD's that I didn't care for. Not really a ladder climber either, more "water treader" these days. ;)
  11. John Frum

    John Frum Junior Member

    I am NOT a collector.

    The presence in my basement of 3/4 of the '66 Sansui speaker lineup is almost purely due to happenstance, and is definitely temporary.
    MikeyFresh, TubeHiFiNut and Redboy like this.
  12. S0und Dragon

    S0und Dragon Junior Member

    I seem to vacillate between ladder climbing and just listening to the music. I reach plateaus of contentment that never seem to last too long before I start looking for the next rung.
  13. Try1256

    Try1256 Very Special Member

    My wife just thinks I am crazy. Which catagory does that fit into?
  14. Mister Pig

    Mister Pig Active Member

    Well if you are just plain crazy, thats not too big of a problem. If you have progressed to bat shit crazy, then that is a whole other level that could be a problem...

    So far I think you are fine, but then you are taking the word of a pig. But what they heck you are crazy, so why wouldn't you believe a talking pig?

    Mister Pig
    MikeyFresh likes this.
  15. JimPA

    JimPA Junior Member

    I wouldn't consider myself to really be either.

    I have collected replacement drivers and other drivers just to experiment with.
    I do have a collection of unfinished Fried transmission line enclosures.
    Basically I am a content listener.

    My son who is in the music industry has learned quite a bit in his career.
    He has given me a new perspective on many things.
    I am not a fan of rap or hip hop I like classic rock.
    He has pointed out to me that if the bass below 100hz is off key it's really noticeable with this type of music.
    When it comes to recording drums it does take some compression to get the playback to sound tonally correct.
    Without compression the tone is off completely.

    Sorry for the rant but it helps other understand my current perspective.
    Prime Minister likes this.
  16. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    Great post! :)
  17. JimPA

    JimPA Junior Member

    My wife says the same thing about my speaker building hobby.
  18. Mortsnets

    Mortsnets Junior Member

    I was a collector, especially of speakers. At one point I had 12 or 13 pairs unfortunately all in a 12 by 13 music room. Now I am down to 2 passive pairs and one powered desktop pair. I'm itchin' to get some new ones to try.
    John Frum and TubeHiFiNut like this.
  19. Don C

    Don C Active Member

    I have a few collector tendencies, but for the most part I'm a ladder climber, though the ladder isn't very tall.
    MikeT. and 4-2-7 like this.
  20. TubeHiFiNut

    TubeHiFiNut Administrator Staff Member

    I figure that as long as you're having fun, it's all good. :)
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