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What is the deciding factor when you are considering a purchase of some audio gear?

As usual, I will begin....

I pick my equipment based on a variety of factors.

Will it do what I want? Features, power, ease of use...all important to me.
Does it look cool? It just needs to look cool to me, not everyone else.
Cost. I am not wealthy. Is it a reasonable price?

I spent most of my money on the pre-amp and the speakers. I believe those two things are responsible for most of the flavor of the sound, and so they received a disproportionate amount of the budget.

Next was the CD player. I chose a multi-format player that was highly regarded. It was the workhorse of the system until I started streaming.

The other stuff fell in line according to my perception of importance and sonic contributions.

I will just examine the pre-amp purchase.



Firstly, I love the way it looks. I love that it is red and I love seeing the tubes. So the visual aesthetics were the "hook" that got me interested in it. It had a phono pre-amp built into it so that was a plus. It had plenty of inputs and was only lacking a headphone jack. It also got some very good reviews in the glossy publications. But, it was more money than I wanted to spend.

I weighed all these things and decided that seeing it everyday would bring me such pleasure that it would justify the additional expense for me.

It has. I have never regretted the purchase and I think this will be my forever pre-amp. :D

What are some of the factors you consider before a purchase? What weight do you assign them? How do you make your decision?

Thanks!

Mike
 

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The maker's reliability history is important to me. Pretty equipment is of no use if it is broken often. Thankfully, most gear is very reliable now.

Other than that, the number of inputs is important - to allow system expansion. Then, of course, price and performance. Listening is very important when selecting speakers and headphones; less important when selecting electronics. Some will argue that last point, saying that there is audible difference between amplifiers. I am old enough and my ears have lost some of their "finesse" so that is not much of a concern to me as long as the equipment is operated within its design limits.
 

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I believe tube equipment is a different animal than Solid State, and if you want equipment that can change the sound by tweeking you can hear a difference. If I wanted to get back into swapping cables, tip toes, different platforms for pieces of equipment, etc... I would look at a tube preamp. Just my 2 cents.:T
 

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Your decision criteria seem reasonable to me. A big one for me is the reputation of the brand. I also 'have a thing' for certain engineers. One whom I greatly admire is Kevin Hayes, so I purchased a VAC amplifier that is a bit out of my league. On the other hand, I had the cash in hand and, like you, I thought about how gazing upon it each time I listened to the big rig would make me feel. How one feels affects how one experiences - things sound better when one feels better.:)

This is the one component of my system which is somewhat disproportionately priced. My projector is too, but I got it from my dealer for about 1/4 of retail (and it had only been in his demo room for about 6 months). Anyway, I don't have any regrets either. I can vouch for the exemplary support provided by VAC. I'm quite sure it's my forever amp. It sounds great and is built like a tank. It's fantastically ergonomic and I think it's rather pretty.

IMG_8605s.jpg

BTW, Cary was on my short list. That's a terrific preamp. I agree that it looks great too.
 

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Functionality and ease of use are high on my list as is sound quality (speakers) and build quality.
You do not need to break the bank to get a very good system as long as you ask the right questions and know what your looking for. Do your homework before you buy and never let pressure sales get the best of you.
There are some great deals to be found in used equipment and even the odd find that's free.
 

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When I first looked into replacing my old HiFi electronics with "modern" technology there were so many problems with HDMI compatibility that I bailed out and waited another three years.
Even then HDMI issues were at the top of the forum topics around the internet.
I chose Pioneer for the AVR almost entirely because there were significantly less problems being reported compared to the other brands.
Working as advertized is a major element for me with electronics.
For speakers I have to listen and decide what I am willing to spend.
 

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Good Point, working as advertised.

I guess I need to go in knowing the quality is there, it has to work good for a long time and it has to do what I want it to do, functionally and sonically. The 30 return period is a blessing to be sure.
It does have to look good as I see the equipment every day and most stuff today looks pretty good. I remember when Hafler was releasing stuff, it was so plain, but it worked well.
It has to be in a proper price range as dictated by Mr. Wallet and that is about it I would guess.

I have had 2 or 3 pairs of really good speakers that my wife hated and after awhile nixed them and let me get different ones. I still own one of those and she still hates them so they sit along the wall for now until I get the nerve to sell them. :blink:
 
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