"The poor man always pays twice"

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
This is merely for discussion.

So there's this proverb "The poor man always pays twice"

I've somehow never seen, nor read, nor heard this saying until today. And I love it, because I think it perfectly sums up my journey in audio. This isn't to say that i consider myself to be poor. I figure I'm middle class and since I am not raising kids, unless my Scottish Terrier or artist-wife count, and so I have some disposable income. BUT, for much of my journey I spent like a poor person, thinking (or being told) that i would get rich-man results. I never did.

The poor man always pays twice. Once for the score. And again for the thing he wanted in the first place, because the score either didn't live up to the hype, it broke, or proved to be just as expensive in the long run as the better thing ended up being.

I certainly paid twice. Once for my vast collection of giant killers. And again for the actual giants. Kill the the giant-killers didn't. Except for themselves, sometimes.

Just my opinion but I wish there was more of a popular opinion in audio that said to save money, don't buy on what's cheapest but instead get exactly what you want in the first place, and stop playing the score game because nobody who matters in your listening-life is going to be impressed anyway. I know I played the score game for the better part of a decade and man do I wish I have even a fraction of the money back that I wasted on that pile of mediocrity...money that I would rather have invested in really good stuff, even if it meant trading 10 things for 1.
 

DC

Active Member
Consider me a charter member of this club, if I knew then what I know now I could retire on the wasted "high end" audio purchases...
Maybe that's the catch. I had to buy all the junk to understand what wasn't junk.
I think it's about the education - you don't know what you don't know until you know it, or something like that.

I don't regret some years of low-to-mid-fi thrifting - I got to try a *lot* of gear without spending a *lot* of money to do so. And now I have a better understanding of where I am now because I know all the more clearly where I was. But that is to say, I've also made strong efforts to know where I could also go (if I could afford it) - high end shows, seeking out shops and friend's systems, etc. and I'd likely have less appreciation for the actual good stuff had I not wallowed around in not good stuff first.

Consider the socio-economic perspective of a certain so-called leader of the free world here for a referential analogy - you can't fully appreciate being rich if you weren't ever poor. Or you can't fully appreciate the value of hard work if you were only every given everything. You get the idea.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Basically, I look at all this non-giant-killing Giant Killer gear and think damn, I could have had Harbeth Monitor 40.2s instead SHL-5s with what I have in all of it.
 

DC

Active Member
Basically, I look at all this non-giant-killing Giant Killer gear and think damn, I could have had Harbeth Monitor 40.2s instead SHL-5s with what I have in all of it.
Fair enough, but would (or could?) you fully appreciate the nirvana of the 40s without having lived with the S-100s, C7s, SHL5s, etc. on the way to the 40s?

(And I get the frustration with the "Giant Killers" emphasis on frugality over actual sound.)
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Fair enough, but would (or could?) you fully appreciate the nirvana of the 40s without having lived with the S-100s, C7s, SHL5s, etc. on the way to the 40s?

(And I get the frustration with the "Giant Killers" emphasis on frugality over actual sound.)
The S-100s were definitely in the poor man pays twice camp. Not bad speakers but they were, by what I had read, a cheap way to get Monitor 40 sound. And they completely failed at that, despite being ok for what they were.

I could have done without all the Large Advents, KLHs, Dahlquists, etc etc. Add all that up and man, it adds up. That's my own fault, though. Got caught up!
 

DC

Active Member
Just my opinion but I wish there was more of a popular opinion in audio that said to save money, don't buy on what's cheapest but instead get exactly what you want in the first place, and stop playing the score game because nobody who matters in your listening-life is going to be impressed anyway. I know I played the score game for the better part of a decade and man do I wish I have even a fraction of the money back that I wasted on that pile of mediocrity...money that I would rather have invested in really good stuff, even if it meant trading 10 things for 1.
I will add there there are numerous places where there is a much more popular opinion to avoid the junk and go right up to the best that you can afford. But those places are also rife with competitive one-upmanship and tend to drip with arrogance and condescension. Perhaps you chose the path you did based on your awareness or perception of that reality?

For me, I had very limited means and enough skills with a soldering iron to be able to DIY-it a bit along the way, and fell in easily with that crowd. But my interest in that has waned recently, even in light of good friends who have gone totally the opposite way, and I'm more apt to just buy something better than what I can build (or repair) and just enjoy the music. I just don't try to superimpose my enjoyment on them and they return the favor.

I know I played the score game for the better part of a decade and man do I wish I have even a fraction of the money back that I wasted on that pile of mediocrity...money that I would rather have invested in really good stuff, even if it meant trading 10 things for 1.
Not to be too creepy, but I recall reading recently that you have like 9 turntables around. I can only share that when I decided to just sell all the ancillary gear, no matter how much I thought I liked it (or wanted to), and concentrate on only 1 system, my frustration went way down and my perception of my enjoyment went way up. I think I'm happier - for me, less was more. But I wonder if I would have realized that without first having had more.
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
I could have done without 90% of my audio disappointments. And still learned plenty.

I think we ascribe a level of expertise to internet posters that we really shouldn't. Too often people compare something they have and like, or can afford, to something they really haven't heard or spent time with. Or they can't afford.

The search for the giant killer is usually a bad idea. I've really yet to find any. And I'm often better off just buying the giant in the first place, then buying ten different killers of it.
 

DC

Active Member
I could have done without 90% of my audio disappointments. And still learned plenty.

I think we ascribe a level of expertise to internet posters that we really shouldn't. Too often people compare something they have and like, or can afford, to something they really haven't heard or spent time with. Or they can't afford.

The search for the giant killer is usually a bad idea. I've really yet to find any. And I'm often better off just buying the giant in the first place, then buying ten different killers of it.
My apologies, I drifted away from giant killers that don't and got too myopic.

While I don't disagree with any of this, and I agree that we probably give too much credence to Joe Average on the other end of the internet, I still think that our appreciation of the giants is compounded by those disappointments along the way.

An artist, it is said, must suffer.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Not to be too creepy, but I recall reading recently that you have like 9 turntables around. I can only share that when I decided to just sell all the ancillary gear, no matter how much I thought I liked it (or wanted to), and concentrate on only 1 system, my frustration went way down and my perception of my enjoyment went way up. I think I'm happier - for me, less was more. But I wonder if I would have realized that without first having had more.

Yeeeeeah. I have been able to resist turntables about as well as I have been able to resist petite pale brunettes. Luckily I have found both a turntable and petite pale brunette that are better than all the others. At least with the brunettes, I don't have the previous ones stacked in the closet...
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
Maybe that's the catch. I had to buy all the junk to understand what wasn't junk.
This is the part that is hard to get past. It is essentially paying for first hand experience in a way that is hard to come by otherwise. That experience gained is actually worth at least some of the investment in both time and money in the longer run.

Yes, there can be far too many extended side-trips through the weeds that might have been better avoided, but some of those end up illuminating a path that is desirable. I have personally been fortunate in that most of my poor-man's trips (where I'm still at, given that as a classical musician I still to a degree fit the description) were down some really enjoyable paths. Whether I've been lucky or have a bit of intuition (or something) I've had precious few wrong turns over the years in what I've acquired; whether audio, photographic, musical instrument, real estate.... something I'm grateful for.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Really what I think the maxim applies to is....Buy the thing you want in the first place. If you don't, you'll end up spending as much, or double, in the long run trying to get it anyway. And that's my point. I don't necessarily mean this as a larger critique of anything in the hobby. Just...I think its really good advice to buy what you want in the first place. Stop trying to kill the giant. Just buy the giant.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
Yeeeeeah. I have been able to resist turntables about as well as I have been able to resist petite pale brunettes. Luckily I have found both a turntable and petite pale brunette that are better than all the others. At least with the brunettes, I don't have the previous ones stacked in the closet...
That and you don't have to feed the turntables...
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
Really what I think the maxim applies to is....Buy the thing you want in the first place. If you don't, you'll end up spending as much, or double, in the long run trying to get it anyway. And that's my point. I don't necessarily mean this as a larger critique of anything in the hobby. Just...I think its really good advice to buy what you want in the first place. Stop trying to kill the giant. Just buy the giant.
Yes, once you have the knowledge and experience to know what the Giant really is. There are many Giants and....
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
That and you don't have to feed the turntables...
I do spend a good deal of time fiddling about with them, though. I currently trying to fix up two Empire 208s, a Lenco L70...

I did get rid of my Pioneer PL-570 so there's SOME progress.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
I have an Empire 598II sitting next to me, wagging its tail and trying to get my attention to put it on the bench. I think the fiddling can be good for the mental health if you're at all the sort of person with a bit of a mechanical bent. We have to fiddle with something...
 

TubeHiFiNut

Administrator
I pretty much skipped mid-fi and went straight from my Quadrophonic system to the Marantz 7C, McIntosh MC275 and Altec Barcelonas.

I could still be perfectly happy with that system today..

My audio journey has been a blast. Even the components that did not make the cut taught me something about connecting with the music.

So, I've probably paid several times. Mostly really nice gear. Still have a bunch of it.

But always willing to learn something new - hello Harbeths. :)
 
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