What trueisms have you learned over the years about HiFi?

Everything matters

Trust your ears

All stereo equipment needs to be broken-in, including cabling

You can’t spend enough time dialing in your room, speakers, and listening position

You never really know what a piece of gear or cabling sounds like until it’s been in your system and you’ve lived with it for a period of time

  1. I’m never satisfied for long.
  2. “Long” is ever variable.

Great thread!

My first one is:
Don’t relate everything you try to your current setup except it’s out of any doubt. Many things just shine extremely when other quirks are eliminated. Try cluster changes, too.

Cables matter, vinyl sounds better



Hotter sounds better.

1 Like

A sub (or more of them) is essential.

When you listen for differences, play close to live music levels (well better not in case of Rock :wink: )

1 Like

The fundamentals matter, verify them before making changes.
Make one change at a time and live with it for a while prior to considering or introducing another change.
Synergy matters.


Don’t invest in better components without having heard your setup with the best cabling you could afford in comparison.

1 Like

Agree on both points. One thing I try to stay away from is listening to a good turntable setup. Last time I did that I had a hard time listening to CD’s for quite some time afterwards.

1 Like

There is always a better system out there—just ask Al!


It’s the room, dude!

Before you start spending a bunch of money on a warmer sounding wiring loom, or expensive footers to clean up your low frequencies, etc:

  • Make certain you’ve optimized loudspeaker and listening position within the space.
  • Address problematic early reflections, overlong reverberation times, and low frequency SBIR and modal misbehavior with appropriate passive room treatments.

Some things I have found to be important:

  1. If you don’t have a good mastering, you won’t get great sound
  2. Burn in is real and usually lasts 100 hours
  3. Speaker placement is one of the most important things
  4. Not all amplifiers sound the same
  5. System magnetism is real. Removing it greatly improves sound quality.
1 Like

. Learning to live with what you have helps you enjoy your system, music, and surroundings.
. To avert remorse, resist the itch for change as far and as long as you can.
. Never buy audio gear on credit. Chances are your system would be outdated by the time you repay your debt.
. Grass is not always greener on the other side. It could be an illusion, delusion, mirage, or marketing :wink:


Always be happy with your system, otherwise you will spend all your time listening to its faults rather than listening to music.

Go to lots of concerts to remind yourself that home audio is only ever a poor substitute and not worth losing sleep over.

Just because something is cheap, it doesn’t mean it’s no good. Products may be cheap because they are brilliantly designed and efficiently manufactured, and expensive because of poor design, overpriced components and bespoke manufacturing.

Customers are usually right. Products that are popular are usually good. Products that are “rare” usually means no one bought them.

One of the best guides to how good a product is can be found as the ratio: used price / new price.

The best cabling is as little as possible.

Bass is over-rated.

HD audio is even more over-rated.

If you want to know if a new format (HD PCM, DSD, MQA, etc.) will have any traction beyond a few audiophiles, don’t ask an audiophile, ask the check-out person next time you are at a grocery store.

Component audio systems are just as much a lifestyle choice as single box systems.

Get your wife involved in big hifi decisions. She will never complain again. Getting her into the audio store was the tricky bit, it’s been plane sailing ever since.


Bass’ influence on most everything is underrated.


Agreed, @jazznut. (I wrote the following as a one paragraph rant, but then realized it could be broken out into separate corrolaries of the Bass Question)

Truly good bottom-octave bass is very hard to achieve.

Good bass is not only very equipment dependent (drivers, amps, cabinets, time and phase coordination), but massively room-dependent in ways that are much harder to mitigate than HF information.

Most room/woofer arrangements completely mangle even the best subs and full-range speakers.

Can you live without really good bottom octave? Sure.

Is the role of bottom-octave response in a great system overrated? No.

One very rarely hears good, well-integrated bass. One typically hears very large quantities of badly integrated bass.


I agree with the truisms in the original post. And haven’t found truth within a number of those within subsequent posts. Which just means our experiences are what is important, and what we learn from them can differ. And all learning lives matter.


Yes and it’s important to see the relevance of bass in its quality, not amount of it. Ok, the better it gets, the more you can dial in without noticing any “too much” and just have damn fun.

But the main point is, good full range bass strongly influences emotional perception of music, fun when listening, prat, ambiance, room acoustic problems (strongly reducing) and the whole midrange and therefore proper richness and overall trouble free tonality in most of the spectrum as well as the fact that it makes much more recordings perfectly listenable that we’re problematic in the one or other direction before. That’s why there’s nothing as important as good, flat bass imo. Nearly everything else is built on that foundation.

However no deep bass can be much more preferable than bad deep bass.


Yes - remarkable how much it informs everything above it, even when you “can’t tell if it’s on”.

If you were to listen to, for example a pair of three-way speakers, and one of the same FR L/R pairs of drivers was obviously louder than the others, you would wonder what the heck the designer was thinking. But it is not unusual to hear subs that are clearly louder than the mains, are coming from a different location, are behind or forward in time, etc.