[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. stuwee

    stuwee Forum Resident

    Tucson AZ

    Although that changes like everything else in life, I haven't spent anything in months.
  2. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Meet me at the Green Dragon for an ale

    San Diego, CA, USA
    I don't understand the poll.

    Is this for initial investment for a first system? In which case it would be all equipment, then a slow accumulation of records over time, and possibly surpassing equipment cost.
    tin ears and Roycer like this.
  3. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock Thread Starter

    Best Coast USA
    See post #1 in thread. :thumbsup:

    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
  4. Subagent

    Subagent All I know is What I Read in the Liner Notes

    Arlington, VA
    It's like a slider. Right now, it hovers about 1/2 way between vinyl and gear (per Discogs "collection value" numbers): V<------------X------------>G

    But the slider will continue to inch towards more value in the vinyl. Then I'll buy a new piece of gear, and zzzzzp, it will move in the other direction.

    I should point out that nearly all of my vinyl was acquired over the past 20 years. It's really my second, and much more complete, collection. In August 1982, when I moved from NJ to GA for graduate school, all of my records (about a crate's worth) were warped beyond salvation while sitting in the back of my un-air conditioned car. By the time I was gainfully employed again, vinyl was on the way out. Of course, I have my wife's modest collection but they are pretty well shot from years of teenage neglect (I was going to say "teenage abuse," as that's really more accurate, but it sounds vaguely sinister).
    All Down The Line likes this.
  5. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SUDACA ROÑOSO

    Whatever floats your boat.
    patient_ot likes this.
  6. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    In an ideal world it would be 50/50 for me. As it stands I have spent far more on music vs. equipment. That said much of the music was acquired over a period of 20+ years and for most of that time I didn't care about equipment at all.
  7. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SUDACA ROÑOSO

    How come ?!:confused:
  8. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Very simple: money, space, and putting music first and foremost. If I were a teenager today with a tight budget I would set up a headphone/DAC based system. When I was young the choice was mainly crappy portable cassette and CD players and sub-$50 headphones.
    The Pinhead likes this.
  9. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SUDACA ROÑOSO

    I see you. I didn't have much interest in music as a teenager, so no walkman, no cassettes, just a huge, wooden multiband valvular radio my parents didn't want anymore. It started when I was 18 actually, and the audiophilia bug bit at the very same time. And since I'd already gotten my first job.......
  10. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock Thread Starter

    Best Coast USA
    The median vote right now is 60/40 records/system. Might change as more votes come in..
  11. Hendertuckie

    Hendertuckie Forum Resident

    Henderson, Nevada
    Hardware is about 20%. My system is maintenance at this point and the only additions are new cartridges. Software gets 80% because I'm in it for the music!
    tin ears and All Down The Line like this.
  12. Giacomo Belbo

    Giacomo Belbo Journalist for Rolling Stone 1976-1979

    Gear should be a fraction of the records but I have also come across the sad case of the “audiophile” with 50 albums (George Michael 80s type of music - no offense) and thousands worth of gear. I guess it’s consumerism at its best. I also spent on gear much more than I should.

  13. punkmusick

    punkmusick Formerly 4011021

    In the ideal world with unlimited money I would spend 0.01% in gear and 99.99% in records.

    I would build an absolutely amazing system spending as much money as needed/wanted. At some point I would have a nearly perfect system with two or three different turntables, a few phono cartridges, phono stages, amplifiers and speakers. Then it would be over.

    I would still have infinite money left to buy all the records I wanted, and since records are still being released I would never stop buying them, so getting closer to 100% every time I bought another record.
  14. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident

    Bingo! I was trying to imagine a scenario where the question was relevant-- someone with no records and no equipment whatsoever. And is then faced with the prospect of buying both the gear and the music to play on it. I had records as a kid, to play on my parents' not so good compact stereo, until I got my first hi-fi system. So, it is almost unimaginable to me that one would start with zero.
    Building a record collection is a long term proposition. I never felt any real pain buying records during the heyday of vinyl or in the immediate aftermath of its "death"- and even for expensive old pressings as I got more discriminating, it might have been an expensive record as things go, but still not a big bite in the larger scheme of things.
    A good system can cost an arm and a few legs these days--not saying you can't do it on the cheap, buy used, vintage, DIY, etc., but whatever way you go, depending on your budget, it is still going to be an outlay. And you'll probably be better served if you have a good system without any obvious weak links to play your music on.
    I'm sure people still upgrade gear incrementally to build a system, but there's a baseline- at whatever price point you may be at-- to get decent stuff, good speakers, amp, front end. (I'd tend to put the wires and other tweaks into secondary importance since you can get good performing wire on the cheap or DIY). So, I agree with you. Put the money into a good system and gradually build up a record collection (whatever format).
    At this point, I'd say that my record collection (vinyl LPs) probably exceeds the value of my system(s). But, those records were acquired, for the most part, over decades, one, two, a half-dozen at a time. Writing the check for some of the gear was something that required, if not more deliberation, then at least a recognition that it would have more impact on my bank account.
  15. Dhreview16

    Dhreview16 Forum Resident

    London UK
    I voted 50/50. I have a reasonably nice system (it does me) but there’s a diminishing return to albums - only so many I can play or get time to play and listen at the level I want to, or space to store. I’ve just culled my collection. Not stuff I don’t like but stuff collected over the years I just won’t get round to anymore. But I’ve still refreshed my gear. It’s quality as well as quantity, perhaps more so. But each to their own. If you prefer a different ratio, whatever floats your boat. Same with TV (size)/AV/BluRay/4K technology/number of discs (or not).
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  16. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    Hate to be a party pooper, but I really can't stand such "percentage questions" as they are never really practical. They just can't be used universally for everyone. And in this case, they don't make any sense at all. I mean, the system could theoretically be bought at once, whereas a record collection takes time to acquire and you can't know its final size. So what I am suggesting is that the numbers will change in every person's case, so why would you further complicate things to say that it might apply to everyone? If you get any real meaningful responses, it'll be from those who are done, that way they know what they ended up with...
    Kyhl and Bill Hart like this.
  17. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    Add me to the "0%" for records tally - assuming by "records" you mean "vinyl."

    However if you mean record in the broader sense (like a "library of content") then, without even doing a rough back-of-the-envelope calculation based on my own situation, I could state that, over time, "content" will ultimately dwarf, expense-wise, the cost of the gear necessary to play it at a quality level sufficient to thoroughly enjoy it.

    However, again in my experience, content acquisition tends to progress at a reasonably constant rate, with some minor variations in that rate at times. Whereas gear costs tend to be a series of stochastic bumps, separated by long intervals of inactivity, one of which I am currently in, and plan to remain in, for a long time to come.

  18. toddfan

    toddfan Forum Resident

    Overland Park, KS
    If you don't spend 90% on the music...(or certainly, even more over time) then what good is the equipment?
    Hendertuckie likes this.
  19. DyersEve726

    DyersEve726 Schmo Diggy

    Michigan, USA
    It's hard to quantify. You might drop a large sum of money on gear at first, but once you're happy, you can spend the rest of your life acquiring music. The scales will inevitably tip towards gear until the years pass and slowly work their way the other direction. Once your system gives you all the feels, just sit tight and buy music.
  20. floweringtoilet

    floweringtoilet Forum Resident

    It's very hard for me to answer this in any meaningful way. I started collecting records at around 12 years of age and I'm 49 now. I have no idea how much I've spent over that time on records (I'm not sure I WANT to know either). I can't really say there is some ideal ratio out there. Mine is probably 90/1o in favor of records, but that's mainly a byproduct of the extraordinary amount of records I've bought over time. Others might be happier with a much smaller collection focusing on a set of classic albums, or a single genre. If somebody wants to spend $300K on equipment to listen to the MFSL DSOTM over and over again, I can't say that's the wrong approach if it makes them happy. Likewise many people can be happy with relatively modest gear and many, many records.

    One piece of advice I'd give to anyone is this: Don't buy records as some kind of "investment". Records are a terrible investment. Most go down in value over time, and even ones that go up in value are not particularly fungible. If you want to invest money talk to an investment banker who has a good track record and knows what they're doing. Buy records to enjoy and use. There are much easier ways to make money than buying and selling records.
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  21. Mmmark

    Mmmark Forum Resident

    This is interesting!
    Speaking personally, I have a modest system (good, but likely not 'audiophile' by the standards of this forum) which I listen to almost daily. I only buy specific records that a) are albums I like enough to want to listen to fairly often, b) Are recorded/mastered well, and c) I can get either new or in pristine condition. I play streamed music non-stop in the background as I go about my daily routine, but if I want to relax at the end of the day with a drink, I enjoy settling in and playing a record that I can listen to closely. Accordingly, I spent enough on my system that I feel that I am getting good enough sound that I have hit a point of diminishing returns, and I only spend money on albums that I know I am going to really enjoy time and again. Tangential to the question, I would say that I am far more likely to spend money on more albums from now on rather than upgrading my system, although I did see a great deal on a new TT the other day....
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  22. MusicNBeer

    MusicNBeer Forum Resident

    Get the best system you can afford. Then you'll buy the most records. Then you'll be broke and divorced.
    Litejazz53 and Cyclone Ranger like this.
  23. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock Thread Starter

    Best Coast USA
    Marriage is overrated anyway. ;)
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
  24. For me this is more of a "where are you in your life" kind of question.
    If you are young, with little money and even less private space, your system and record collection should be designed around your current, and near future, living conditions more than available discretionary cash.
    Most of us move a few times, have a few different room mates, and go to some kind of school before we set out on a somewhat decided path.
    If you spend a lot on expensive gear it often gets damaged in some manner.

    Once you are past most of that you can venture into a more dedicated system. Soon you may have a pretty nice system that does what you want and you can live with for a while...a few yeas anyway.
    This is where the record purchases can be the bigger chunk of audio spending.

    Of course there will be the occasional upgrades, for whatever reason, and they will consume plenty of the audio budget, but primarily the system becomes a fixture rather than a revolving pallet of audio gear. Then the record collection grows as opportunities arise and desires dictate.
    Even if you purchase a lot, say 20 records each month, for five years straight (that's 1200 records) you usually don't get into THAT much expense because records are not that terribly expensive...Especially if you purchase excellent used records.

    By the way, let "records" = any media just for ease of explanation.

    While I have always had to watch my spending I have never set a percentage limit for records. Sometimes opportunity allows me to buy a lot, sometimes not much, and often I go long periods of time without purchasing anything. In the end it equals a moderately small percentage of my discretionary spending.

    Sometimes you get lucky and are given a collection of things, and that helps greatly too. I recently was gifted about 50 LP's. I offered to purchase them but they refused. Opportunities!
  25. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I am beginning to have very similar feelings.

    I have one last thing to do with my vintage vinyl, some of which do sound really good, but that is the exception, rather than the rule.

    That is to build one more system which would be a true vintage system that would be dedicated to playing back vintage vinyl.
    All Down The Line likes this.
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