[Poll] What % of Your $$$ Should Go for Records, and What % for Your System?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Cyclone Ranger, Nov 5, 2018.

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  1. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock Thread Starter

    Best Coast USA
    Just curious as to what ppl think. The percentage are overall and from scratch, i.e. total outlay/everything ever spent, and that will be spent going forward. And yes, 'records' = vinyl. Though I guess the CD-only/mainly guys and paid dl guys can chime in too. :)

    It's certainly a topic/strategy that can be debated. As in, "What's the point of having a godlike system if you've only got a modest library to play on it?", versus "What's the point of having a ginormous vinyl collection if your system can't play it back well enough to inspire or excite you?".


    Then of course, there's the 'beer budget' vs 'elite audiophile' angle. If you've got only $1500 for records plus system, total, how should you split it up, and if you've got $150,000, how should you split it up... and should the percentages be different between Joe Six-pack and Larry Learjet? Or should they remain 'bout the same?

    Just an interesting topic to me...

    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
  2. csgreene

    csgreene Forum Resident

    Idaho, USA
    Too bad there wasn't a 0% for records as I don't buy them anymore. Not the fan of vinyl like some here. Actually, that's not true, I occasionally buy records at thrifts, mostly for the album covers.
    audiomixer, Tim 2 and KT88 like this.
  3. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Perfection Through "Crystal Clear" Digital

    This is certainly an interesting question. I have actively been collecting records since 1970 and I must admit, "most" of my albums were mass produced. Later on in the game I did purchase some audiophile records, 180g vinyl, Telarc, and Reference Recordings records, and a few half speed masters. These records were the exception to say the least, and it was these recordings I seem to gravitate to in the last few years when playing vinyl on my $5,800.00 worth of analog record playing equipment.
    I know I felt compelled to purchase new, very expensive records, that were worthy of that VPI Prime Scout turntable with the Shure vintage V15 type V-MR cartridge and that new Parasound JC-3+ phono stage. I found that either I could not sustain spending $25-$50 per audiophile album to keep the records and the equipment on a somewhat even footing, or just did not want to. My record collection compiled since 1970 were not giving me that satisfied sonic feeling, as they simply were not recorded with great care and mastered accordingly, and unfortunately you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. So there I was, trying to extract great sound out of old technology in the 70's, 80's and 90's, has anyone out there ever felt the same way? So, while I voted for 30% of the money being spent on records, that might need to be changed to about 70% on audiophile records that will be worthy of the equipment we play them on that we pay outrageous prices for. I was never really able to match the sonics of my digital library with $5,800.00 worth of analog equipment, I'm sure I just did not spend enough, analog is very demanding on the wallet if you "really" want to do it right, right! :agree:
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  4. uberlyle

    uberlyle Forum Resident

    Portland, OR
    For myself, I prefer records over gear. That's not to say I don't fuss over gear, but since I've been pretty much dialed in on my system, my priority is the dig.
    Revolver and stuwee like this.
  5. Mike-48

    Mike-48 A shadow of my former self

    Portland, Oregon
    An interesting question. I buy recordings (CDs and downloads) at a steady pace, something most every week. On the other hand, I might not buy new equipment for years, but it's a bigger bill when it comes. So in a way, it's like comparing the cost of groceries to the cost of a furnishing a new kitchen. :)

    Estimating the average cost of the recordings at $8 and comparing to the cost of my current equipment, it comes out about 40% equipment, 60% recordings. But what about equipment bought and sold over 50 years? And if fixing up the listening room is a system expenditure, my ratio swings the other way.

    I think a young audiophile starting out would be well advised to spend more on recordings, less on equipment. As they get older, and there's more free cash, build up the system, but don't forget the music!
  6. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Forum Resident

    I went 90% records as you can always save up for your gear but once you have it you have it!

    If i see rare vintage stuff in top condition there is no way on earth i am not buying it as it is a rare opportunity in itself, it is often not that way with equipment especially new equipment.
  7. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock Thread Starter

    Best Coast USA
    Dang it, I knew I should’ve included a ‘Get off mah lawn, you damn vinyl kids!!’ option in the poll. :oops:

  8. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Syracuse NY
    I actually know a gentleman that has three different, what I would consider fairly expensive systems, in one house and about 30 records, a few dozen CDs, and a half dozen hi res downloads. One system is pretty much run by his wife who listens to Audible books and Apple Music over it. One is the most expensive two channel TV rig I’ve ever seen, and the one with his turntable he uses maybe once or twice a month or if someone comes over and they are going to listen to music. I’d say he’s got 25+ grand invested in them and the include a Jadis integrated, an MC240 and a C2300, and a Rega Elicit. He has also had a few pairs of speakers through his house in the last 2 years.

    Anyways I once asked him about it and why he has such great gear with hardly anything to listen to and he answered that he has always loved having a HiFi system and that he he listens to lots of music over and over again. Personally I just think he is a gear nut and it helps him relax and escape from a very stressful job.

    So 25 grand invested for maybe 1 grand of music and a subscription service and some audiobooks but he appears to get as much joy out his gear as I do mine. Weird but I think probably about half the people in this hobby are in it for the gear or it’s at least a 50/50 split.

    I voted 60% for records and 40% for system because that’s about the ratio I have at home. But I also spend a fair chunk of money on travel and live music.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
    Giacomo Belbo likes this.
  9. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
    I buy gear to listen to records. I went with 90% record, 10% gear. I do spend a good amount on gear. Even though I my speakers and amp were about $5000, they are about 7 years old, I don't expect to replace them for any time soon. My turntable is even older than the back end and there are no plans to replace it either. This year I spent $1300 upgrading the cartridge and phono stage, I've still spent a lot more on records. I'm probably at a steady state with gear for a long time, but I will continue to buy records.

    My record collection is in a good place where I rarely find much used unless I'm looking for those elusive white whales. The bargains just aren't there anymore. I bought up the used records I wanted in the before vinyl became more expensive about 10 years ago. So, I figure $20-30 for every record now and I'm well over 100 records this year.
    russk and The FRiNgE like this.
  10. Westerwick

    Westerwick Forum Resident

    I’m sorry to admit I have spent far too much on equipment despite having bought music for the last 45 years. Percentage wise let’s say 30 music, 70 equipment.
    The FRiNgE likes this.
  11. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Although I've collected thousands of records, I must be inspired by a great system, voted 30 records/70 equipment. I am enjoying my own (speaker) creation at the moment, a very modest near field setup for mastering, but man does it sound good! Funny though, I'm a hypocrite because this system has not cost me much at all. This in perspective.. I've had the luxury of listening to some of the highest of high end systems.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
  12. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Bristol, UK
    I don't really have a definitive answer, if I see a record I want and I have the money I'll buy it, if I see a collection of records I want and I have the money I'll buy them, gear generally takes more planning/saving and is a far less frequent process perhaps once every year or two, records are something I buy every week, I really have no idea how much I've spent on records and value wise, if not expenditure wise it makes the cost of the gear insignificant, I might well be 90%+ on records.

    I still see an awful lot of good record collections where the person has no system, a very poor system or low end at best, the people with crazy gear and just 20 audiophile LPs seem to be a lot less common these days, likewise the people with decent collections who think a Mark II Technics is high end seem to have declined. I think you need a balance with your system growing with your collection, I think that's what I've always done even if it wasn't a conscious process and for the last fifteen years or so it's been about slowly upgrading the front end and phono stages as I'm happy with my amps and speakers and couldn't afford to upgrade them anyway.
    GyroSE and Cyclone Ranger like this.
  13. missan

    missan Forum Resident

    For me there is no fixed ratio, it varies quite a bit. But I have seldom 1o records, and I have seldom 100000.

    The records I collect, and have a hard time parting with, aren´t that many. Others I can sell off at large numbers, just as I now and then buy large numbers.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
    Tim 2 likes this.
  14. Fishoutofwater

    Fishoutofwater Forum Resident

    I think its all about personal choice. Sorry i could not enter the poll. We are all different
    Strat-Mangler and Done A Ton like this.
  15. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    ahh c'mon, don't be a fish out of water :laugh: do the poll anyway! :nyah:
    Fishoutofwater likes this.
  16. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock Thread Starter

    Best Coast USA
    Yah, Fish should jump in... and here I thought the French were supposed to be opinionated! :)

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  17. Fishoutofwater

    Fishoutofwater Forum Resident

    I am not French. I am English. I say spend on whatever gets you through the night.:wave:
  18. RockAddict

    RockAddict Forum Resident

    Taking the mathematical principle of "governomics", I have concluded there is a ratio missing from the poll. The correct answer is 100% for music and 100% for the system(s) :).
  19. Wasabi

    Wasabi Forum Resident

    Lutz, FL
    Man that's a hard one to answer as I buy emotionally at times, especially with hobbies like audio. Yeah, I try to keep within a range but you never know what deals you will stumble upon. I went to some record stores this past weekend looking for a few and came back with a half dozen other different LPs for around $20. I never found the ones I was actually looking for (yet).
  20. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Iowa, USA
    Boy I don't think like that. I have never given thought to that. They are independent for me, although obviously related as they both tap from same budget. I didn't answer cause I don't know, and don't plan to make a decision here. Music is music, music playing equipment is another subject, related but independent. Hope to stop or severely slow equipment purchases, never stop music purchases until the day I cannot or am dead.
    Westerwick likes this.
  21. Jellis77

    Jellis77 Forum Resident

    I love records and I love hifi equipment too - but buying records has also been more fun. I voted 60-40 records to hifi and based on my current system / record collection thats about right (its more like 55/45). However, not sure how much I have spent in the past - I currently have around 3500 LPs and have probably sold off around 2000 over the years.
  22. robertk

    robertk Forum Resident

    In a similar scenario to yourself.

    Collecting and sending away for vinyl since 1975. But I figured out early on that the imports were better than the domestic pressings from America. So I was getting things from the start that way. And back then, it really was only a difference of a dollar or two. And shipping charges were not outrageous either. That dynamic sure changed 10 to 12 years ago. Very very costly to do what I did decades ago in today's world. Now I would get duds from French/Korean/and the occasional UK dud, but not often. But we are definitely talking about time and digging to source things.

    I started with high end equipment--or I thought so at the time, incorrectly---in 77. Crown/Klipsch/Thorens. Even with that you could hear the difference in pressings. A few years later all that was upgraded by a magnitude or three. But in 77 I didn't live anywhere close to high end audio stores. By 1980 I sure had and saw the flaws with my equipment. So I'd go and visit assorted stores and might drive all day on a Saturday to do it. I understood how they did things and pre-qualify you to get yourself in the expensive room to listen.

    One thing I always did was to buy a half speed master or 2 from them. Or a bunch of VRP inner sleeves. You know, some of those accessory things if I didn't buy an amp that day or anything. Probably spent like $50. So I supported the store and was appreciative of their time. And they'd know you quick enough anyway. It was a highlight for me to do that kind of thing. I'd go to look at say an Audio Research tube pre-amp, but not to purchase that day, but to think about it. And I'd have a short list of say Supertramp half speed masters or something absolute sound recommended
    & buy them.

    But 2200 albums now & am pretty much on your ratio----70/30 or 60/40 range. With most on equipment so you can hear everything on the record. That ratio would be a whole lot different if I had to acquire german pressings and so forth of all those albums. It'd be cheaper to fly over and visit record stores than attempting mail order, I'm afraid.
  23. Sane Man

    Sane Man Forum Resident

    Bethlehem, PA
    I catalog my records in discogs to keep track of what I have. If I use the median indicated collection value (hardly scientific I know), I can give an actual answer, which is roughly 85% records, 15% system. Looking at vintage McIntosh power amps right now, so that ratio may soon change :p
  24. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    I don't recognize this at all. I have plenty of mass produced pressings from the 60s and 70s, and while some are crap, I find that most are very very enjoyable on my modern audiophile gear. On a case by case basis, modern audiophile pressings are either a clear improvement on the original, or merely an interesting alternate sonic perspective. What's going wrong here? It's not like Robert Ludwig et al didn't know how to master a record.
  25. jon9091

    jon9091 Master Of Reality

    Well, since I’m in charge of the finances...
    100% of my budget goes to my system.
    50% of my wife’s budget goes to my record collection.

    56GoldTop, Tim 2, atoxique and 4 others like this.
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