I am so mid-tier but…

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by Grattle, Nov 17, 2022.

  1. Grattle

    Grattle Friend

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    My chain is: iPhone 13 > cck > Bifrost 2 > EC ZDT Jr. > Elear.


    It sounds great to me right now. Probably the best chain I have owned.

    <rant>
    I still FEEL mid-fi. It is so frustrating that the marketing and constant product updates can have this effect on me even when I am aware of it.

    I think it makes people give up and check out.
    </rant>

    What I really think is that i should FEEL more thankful for what I have now.

    (Sorry too long for a profile post…)
     
  2. Wilewarer

    Wilewarer Almost "Made"

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    Something that's helped me a bit here is the idea that the people who design this stuff, if they're really good, had something specific in mind aesthetically when making it, some artistic impulse, as opposed to just "make a DAC I guess" or "make some headphones that cost 200 bucks". Even if they had to color within certain lines to turn it into a product.

    At that point, sure better and worse exist, but you can like what you have because of that sonic aesthetic it has, and not because it scores an 8/10 on some metric and the thing you sold to buy it was a mere 7.25. You don't have to feel any-fi then.
     
  3. joch

    joch Friend

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    10 years ago that would probably be qualified as “hi-fi”

    25 years ago, probably “summit-fi”

    And probably sounds better than other people’s $$$ gear that’s lacking soul or synergy.

    I think you’re already ahead of most people
     
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  4. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

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    A few years ago I had a Stratus, ZDS and Yggdrasil. I never listened to music less. Now I listen to grados from an old iPhone 4 and I am totally satisfied

    You will probably never be satisfied moving up (or sideways) but there is a possibility of being satisfied by learning to stay where you are or moving down.
     
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  5. Pancakes

    Pancakes Friend

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    Many years ago I stopped listening to music because it wasn't "fun" anymore. After some soul searching I realized it's because I was focusing on the gear instead of enjoying the music. That was a good lesson. Now, even though I have a few pieces of expensive gear, I don't really think about it too much. I'm perfectly satisfied with KSC75 directly out of my phone if that's what I happen to have in hand.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2022
  6. supertransformingdhruv

    supertransformingdhruv Almost "Made"

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    One of my favorite parts of going to audio shows is to take a gander at all the hi-fi/summit-fi gear, comparing it to my unabashedly mid-fi setup. Just getting my eyes and ears on the shiniest new stuff does a lot to counteract the marketing and hype. I feel like most of everything falls into one of three categories:
    1. Bad with marketing $$$,
    2. Just a different flavor of mid-fi, and
    3. That's buy-a-house money
    which makes it really easy to stay positive about my personalized mid-fi experience that I've curated for myself as I click through all the forum threads about everyone else's favorite mid-fi experiences.

    There's still some curiosity and fomo, but maybe less in the way of inadequacy? I dunno, somehow this matters to me.
     
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  7. Lyander

    Lyander Official SBAF Equitable Empathizer

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    Honestly, it's been apparent that the building of a system and purchasing new toys is a wholly different hobby from enjoying music that you love. I'll be the first to admit that I have a propensity for overextending myself at times when faced with pretty good deals, but even going back to when I was down to an AKG K550 powered by a smartphone a few years ago, the only thing that's really stopped me from having fun with music and such has been mood.

    Granted, being able to immerse oneself more deeply via gear is a thrill (got to hear a Focal Utopia out of a Modius > ZDT Jr. system yesterday and even considering the upstream, I was having trouble taking the headphones off-- I was sat there giddy for _hours_), but don't fall into the trap of wanting to upgrade just because marketing folk are earning their keep and people who've dunked unconscionable amounts of money into their toys feel the need to have their life decisions affirmed.

    Speaking as someone who used to work in marketing, a lot of what you hear is only tangentially related to the truth :p That said, don't let it deter you from picking up things that may be interesting to play with, as long as it doesn't ruin your life.
     
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  8. caute

    caute Lana Del Gayer than you

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    My sources costed more than my amp and headphones combined, and my sources costed $1430 bc I was impatient and overpaid. I’m in the bracket of mid-to-hifi and I could stay here forever, only to get my lcd-x turned into a rd-x. Surely, a Yggdrasil would sound better than my gungnir, and a DNA or EC amp with tons of current might sound better than my LAuX, but I really don’t care to save up to buy any new gear… the musicality of my setup is mind blowing each and every time I sit down to listen, and it sounds like you’ve got some synergy going too, so why fuss with what’s working, even if decidedly not “summit fi”?
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2022
  9. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    What is "feeling mid-fi"? Is it a feeling that you are unsatisfied with what you have? Is it envy in knowing there is "better" gear out there than what you have?

    I have a very limited budget for audio gear at the moment. For a while I had some gear that, while not necessarily summit-fi, would surely be in the true hi-fi category. Had to sell that stuff when things got lean. Now I use a lot of gear that would be considered mid fi or even entry level. My speakers are budget speakers, my power amp nothing special, my headphone amp is a used Vali 1. And yet, having had to scale back and rebuild my system with a keen eye on price to performance ratio, I've actually got a system now that I enjoy more than when I had the higher end stuff. I would not go back to what I had before, even though what I had before sounded very good. I've shifted my preferences from "higher performance" to "maximum enjoyment".

    And when I'm not in my home office where my main system is, I'm listening off a Fulla e or AirPods Pro 2. I still have a great time with those.
     
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  10. RestoredSparda

    RestoredSparda Friend

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    Totally agree that mood is more important than the value of your gear.

    My listening habits have not changed when I had $100 budget compared to now. I work towards a system that lets me hear more of the music I already love, and slowly explore new music.

    Hearing things for the first time in an old album is a thrill, but I'm mainly on the gear upgrade train at times to get rid of some sin of commission I can't suddenly get over.

    I think finding a happy place with my gear to the point I no longer worry about what I'm listening with is important to me.
     
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  11. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    "I am so mid-fi"

    But, to toss some philosophy hole junk into this: What are you becoming?

    We're all becoming something. It's just that most of us don't know what we want to become. Sure, we all like music, but do you want to become something XXXX with how you experience music? Do you want to experience old records newly? do you want to have a concert-like experience on your couch? Do you just want to be more engaged? Or do you just want to not be distracted by music while working?

    If you can answer that question (what does my experience with music want to become?) this whole mid-fi-for-lyfe "problem" will drop off the map. Find your purpose first.
     
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  12. GuySmiley'sMonkey

    GuySmiley'sMonkey Almost "Made"

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    Do you remember the magic of owning your first piece of audio gear? For me it was a $30 Walkman as a 13 year old in the mid 80's. I'd lie on my bed, press "play", close my eyes and be totally lost in the experience. Pride of ownership, a growing sense of identity and total appreciation of the music and musicians, all coming from a cheap piece of plastic that I'd now consider worthless junk.

    I've spent 35 years trying to recapture this, working my way up the food chain, cycling between pleasure and dissatisfaction. I just need to accept that I can't fully recapture that moment of magic by spending money. But every now and then, without rhyme or reason, I get lost in the music and I'm that 13 year old boy again. You can't buy these moments or force them. They just happen. We need to enjoy them and be content.

    Discontent is the enemy of enjoyment and often comes from looking at what other people have that you don't.

    * Taken from a post I made on the Steve Hoffman Music Forums a few months ago. I'm a hypocrite though and spend money on gear when I can afford it, without neglecting the more important things such as family, security, space and food.
     
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  13. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: E.T.A Headphones

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    I see more folks head bobbing and jamming out wearing throwaway Bluetooth on-ears on the NYC subway than I've ever seen at a headphone meet or CamJam event. Just sayin.

    As a side note there's always that one guy at every public headphone meet listening to 'audiophile reference tracks' on a TOTL FOTM setup at 110dB+ with a totally unenthused demeanor. I'm glad I'm not that guy.

    Another side note - I met up with Tyll after RMAF a few years back right before he officially retired. He said after all the years of headphone-ing, he was retiring with a pair of Beats Solos as his main set 'because they have great Bluetooth range'. I think about that a lot, even though I like what I like and don't see myself going that route soon ;)
     
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    Last edited: Nov 18, 2022
  14. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    Three statements I think few would disagree with:
    1. Enjoying the music is the point.
    2. Researching and getting new gear is fun!
    3. Audio FOMO sucks.
    So the key to a healthy relationship with the hobby is to enjoy the first two and minimize the third. Audio self knowledge helps since most gear, even highly regarded gear, will not match your preferences.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 18, 2022
  15. CEE TEE

    CEE TEE MOT: NITSCH

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    Hey! ZDT Jr. That is a sweet little amp! |\/|
     
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  16. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Years after the family Radiogram (1940s I guess) finally died I got a mono record player. Guess what: I pressured my poor dad to pay as much as I could get out of him. Dynatron: it was a slightly posh make in 1960s Britain. And yes, I loved it.

    My first all-my-own stereo setup, amp, record deck, cassette deck, speakers, came a long time later, and after the experience of no-doubt superior systems belonging to others. But if it metamorphosed in my room right now, I'd probably be more than happy to listen to it. Even though I know that upgrades over the following years were better.

    If it wasn't for, back then, magazines, and, in last couple of decades, internet, many of us would quite possibly be living with our initial purchases as long as they still worked. But then, there would be much less of an industry.

    Or would there? Back in 80s, 90s, we weren't upgrading every few months: we were keeping stuff for years. I'm guessing the hifi industry was healthier then. But hey, economics: lots and lots of reasons for stuff.
     
  17. HotRatSalad

    HotRatSalad Friend

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    I feel I'm firmly planted in mid fi but for my taste in audio I think I have huge bang for the buck. Used market etc helps tremendously there as I probably wouldn't buy a new gungnir cuz that's a lot of cash for me on a DAC. Same with dual Aegirs. Do to an awesome community I can punch through the mid fi place in audio and reach a bit higher and have gotten fantastic results.

    It does require trial and error and being able to hear amps, dacs, headphones you'll never afford to make you appreciate the things you have and how close you can actually get to more summit fi. If you can do that it really helps quell that desire to fomo or constantly side grade and all that fun stuff. Also the journey is just as fun so remember to enjoy the music !
     
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  18. LetMeBeFrank

    LetMeBeFrank Won't tell anyone my name is actually Francis

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    There is some great insight in this thread!

    Sometimes I miss laying in bed as a teen, listening to my Sony discman with my koss headphones, spacing out and enjoying every note.

    The majority of my music listening is now done on speakers, and I think I've got my endgame with the Cornwalls. Maybe in the future I'll look into better amplification, but I doubt I'll ever go with a dedicated DAC again. Integrated receivers are just so convenient, and honestly my Sony sounds great driving the Klipsch.
     
  19. ecline56

    ecline56 Almost "Made"

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    I am very satisfied with mid-fi in this day and age. I like the inexpensive MP planar headphones with a little modding (thanks garage 1217) and the Senn 58x You can buy seriously good sound for not much money.

    I have a Sunrise 3 (thanks SBAF) which is so musical with a good 5670// 2C51 and the MP M1060. I have an older basic M^3 that is just excellent with OPA 627's .... and I have a M^3 with upgrades I picked up for $200 recently with 4627-1 op amps that is maybe even better. Throw in a Whammy and I want for nothing in sound quality.. Because I rotate the amps they always sound fresh and engaging. A Liquid Spark I have is doing preamp duty on my radio setup., If needed, the Spark sounds excellent with all my current headphones. The cost of all these head amps (used) is a third of the cost of a ZD or DNA amp.

    What is nice is if I try something that it is inexpensive I can always sell or gift the purchase to someone when I have satisfied my curiosity .... or like the above keep them.

    I still have a more expensive DIY 6L6 SE/ Transformer coupled amp I never use.. I always liked tubes especially the old Single Power PPX3 and a modded Supra best. But I do not miss them much if any at all anymore. The Planar's like SS. I listen now more than I have in years.

    I have to say along with the amps my choice of dac has improved things noticeably.I have a Modi MB x 2 and a couple cheap Chinese RTR dac's that really improved my enjoyment. Learned that here too.... thanks again SBAF.
     
  20. Slade01

    Slade01 Almost "Made"

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    I am so mid-tier but....I have learned to be perfectly ok with being mid-tier.

    I am fortunate enough thanks to a lot of wisdom and impressions here on SBAF to be able to have own/owned "mid-tier" level or priced items that punch a great deal above their price point.

    Pairing a MCTH amp with an LPS thanks to Atomicbob's measurements/findings was one of my early starting points here, and such brilliant results for a modest entry price point. Amps like the Bottlehead Crack/Speedball, SW51 that can compete with many many amps at 2-2.5 times its price point, incredible value. I didn't understand it obviously in the beginning. "You only know what you know". And I too for a long time, felt mid-tier, and always had FOMO as they hype of new gear coming out always creates a buzz. It's always in the back of your mind if you can just get a little better, moar of this or that.

    However, part of my audio goals was to experience even a little bit of higher priced items (1500-2000) range, and saved up since really starting this path 3 years ago. Of note, I was fortunate to be able to try an Yggdrasil GS and A2. I was impressed with the Yggdrasil GS, but didn't work well with my sound preferences (and rest of my chain). I loved the A2, but comparing it back to a Bifrost 2, it was closer than I expected. For me personally, the difference in costs between BF2 and Yggdrasil A2 was not justified in relation to the sound I was going for, and now the BF2 is firmly entrenched in my setup. The BF2 is enough to hit the sweet spot, and I still have cash in hand to continue on with the journey (or now...buying xmas presents for the family. lol)

    It was a hard pill to swallow at first, but I came to the realization that expensive gear does not automatically mean it will sound leagues better and further, and that I will immediately love it. And more importantly, I started to validate some of those claims of "mid tier item" approaching 80-90% of a "high tier" item - that some of the hype is true and possible. All this is hindsight of course, but nonetheless, it is an exciting aspect to discover. For me all of this breaks the stigma of high level gear, and once again reinforces the principle of attaining the right synergy, no matter what gear, no matter what price points - as long as I can enjoy the music, and achieve those milestones I have set out for myself on this audiophile adventure.
     
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