February is often seen as a romantic month with loved-up people the world over spending exorbitant amounts of money on Valentines Day flowers, cards, dinners out and gifts for their significant other. For many audiophiles though, the love of their life is not made of flesh and blood but has an aircraft-grade aluminium chassis, a nice set of beryllium tweeters and carbon fibre curves…one thing they do have in common with a human love, is they certainly get plenty of cash lavished on them.
The relationship that we have with our hifi is very much like a long-term romance and just like any committed relationship, there are ups and there are downs.
Teenage Kicks
Your first hifi is the equivalent of a teenage romance, starry-eyed you may have fallen for something that you wouldn’t look twice at now, or perhaps your teen romance endured for quite some time. You might have played the field a bit, getting fresh with several different brands, trying floorstanders and standmount speakers, dipping your toe into a vinyl system or tinkering with tubes. You may never forget that first true love and, even if it is now obsolete and outdated, hanker after that first system from back in the day.

Wedding Bells
While it is true that some people never grow up, many do settle down with their one true love eventually. You know when you have reached the matrimonial stage with your hifi when you are completely happy with the way everything sounds and looks. Rather than gadding about at hifi shows, checking out other options, you just want to stay in your love-nest with your sweetheart and make beautiful music together. You probably invest in little gifts for your hifi, a new cartridge here, some new isolation feet there…small but thoughtful tokens of your undying affection to show your love how much you care.

Bad Romance
But of course not everything in the garden is always rosy. The foibles and habits that you found endearing at the start may begin to grate. The thirty minutes spent coaxing your high end DAC to play nicely seems like an eternity, the CD transport’s flat refusal to return the disc to you causes a flouncing huff, you begin to question your devotion…’its not you, its me’ you think to yourself, but one more jumping LP tips you over the edge, ‘its not me, its YOU’. As Tammy Wynette sang, its time for D.I.V.O.R.C.E.

Mid Life Crisis
So, with the bed of roses becoming more than a little thorny, you start to cast a roving eye over younger models. Head-turning stunners at hifi shows catch your attention, it shouldn’t be very difficult to find a new love, should it? But while you have been cosseted in marital bliss, the playing field has changed somewhat. Everything seems new and admittedly pretty scary, you haven’t got a clue what ‘Roon Ready’ means or what MQA is. If you manage to snare the bright young thing that you thought you needed, will you even know what to do with them? Perhaps you need to act a bit younger? A flurry of headfi gear will show the world that you are still youthful and hip, or will it? You have a go at online ‘dating’ and new boxes begin to arrive. They are bright and shiny and you are tempted by their pretty visages, but deep down you yearn for days gone by and your one true love.

Falling In Love Again
You finally come to the realisation that the vinyl wasn’t in better condition on the other side, you’ve made a terrible mistake, you want your old love back. Will they still want you? Can they forgive you? Fortunately getting your old system out of storage is a lot more simple than a once divorced couple getting married again. But what if you really took the plunge and sold all of your system, what will you do now, how can you get back what you once had? The cold hard truth will have you poring over ebay, stalking down a second chance with what you now realise was your perfect mate.

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