Author Topic: Home Audio - Looking for guidance  (Read 19112 times)

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Offline FunkyZero

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Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« on: August 15, 2016, 08:56:38 AM »
Ok, well I was an audio addict a few decades ago and I have the hearing loss to prove it. After spending way too much money on the hobby, marriage and kids finally broke me of the habit. I've resorted to listening to a factory stereo in my car.. ack.
Fast forward 25 years... I was digitizing my entire media collection, movies, CD's and stumbled across a stack of my old DCC and MFSL discs. That's all it took; now I have the bug again.
My problem is I don't even know where to begin with home audio gear.
So, I thought I'd throw something out there and see if anyone has pointers on gear. I'm unwilling to post on the audiophile forums, they are mostly a pretentious bunch and get too hung up on the "purity" of their hobby. Most of them are quite arrogant too so I'm not comfortable I'll get good advice that won't have a 10,000+ dollar price tag attached.
My total budget will be around 1500 bucks, so I have to be willing to make compromises, but I obviously want the best I can get for the buck. I would rather buy used gear and get more mileage out of my money so...
I'm starting my hunt trying to figure out a decent amplifier/loudspeaker combination. I won't be doing any video or anything like that, ever. Initially, I will be using all digital sources, CD and digital media, then eventually, as time and patience allow, get back into vinyl a little bit too.

I'm in a 12 x 16 room with a low dropped (grid and tiles) ceiling, 6 1/2ft. Heavy carpeting and the walls are pretty busy with framed items, doors, etc. It is my basement office so there is a lot of furniture and things too, very little open space.

Anyway, I don't even know if I want to do 4 channels, or 3 with a modest sub so I'd really like to hear suggestions from people who have experience with any particular gear that they were impressed with. I'd like to keep the amp/speaker combination as close to 1,000 as I can so that's sort of my target. I like pretty warm sound, but decent tube amps are past my budget threshold right now. Due to hearing loss, I also usually need loudspeakers that are slightly brighter than what most people prefer; I have trouble picking up high frequency.

It would be great to hear from any closet hobbyists here. Thanks for reading!

Offline ExGeeEye

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2016, 02:37:57 PM »
The following will be of absolutely no help to you except perhaps as a source of amusement or feelings of smug superiority.  if you need neither...skip it :)

I was raised in a household that began with a monaural record player similar to what you may be old enough to remember from the AV department of your elementary school-- a box, a lid, a thing that spins at various speeds and a tone-arm with a 95-cent "needle". 

We graduated to a GE Wildcat STEREO! in 1970... which served until 1982 when it was replaced with a SEARS! stereo that needed its own shelf and floor space for the detached speakers and don't play it so LOUD!  That one is still in operation.

So what do I use myself?

I have a little record player with tinny speakers whose primary function is to convert the records played on it into MP3s, which I then listen to on my phone or with a car stereo attachment.  I can also plug them in on a thumbdrive to my RCA 5.1 "home theater" setup (which my wife and I call "the stereo").

Also, CDs...played on the computer (ripped to MP3) or on the blu-ray player through "the stereo."

Spending $1500 in order to listen to music...hmmm...nope, got other priorities :)

Good luck!
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Offline FunkyZero

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2016, 03:13:51 PM »
The following will be of absolutely no help to you except perhaps as a source of amusement or feelings of smug superiority.  if you need neither...skip it :)

I was raised in a household that began with a monaural record player similar to what you may be old enough to remember from the AV department of your elementary school-- a box, a lid, a thing that spins at various speeds and a tone-arm with a 95-cent "needle". 

We graduated to a GE Wildcat STEREO! in 1970... which served until 1982 when it was replaced with a SEARS! stereo that needed its own shelf and floor space for the detached speakers and don't play it so LOUD!  That one is still in operation.

So what do I use myself?

I have a little record player with tinny speakers whose primary function is to convert the records played on it into MP3s, which I then listen to on my phone or with a car stereo attachment.  I can also plug them in on a thumbdrive to my RCA 5.1 "home theater" setup (which my wife and I call "the stereo").

Also, CDs...played on the computer (ripped to MP3) or on the blu-ray player through "the stereo."

Spending $1500 in order to listen to music...hmmm...nope, got other priorities :)

Good luck!

Maybe it's my obsessive tendencies kicking in, but you would do yourself a lot more justice if you got a decent turntable with a high-end cartridge for doing your conversions. Nothing (seriously) sounds better than properly ripped vinyl copies. Depending on the recording, I generally prefer the vinyl rips. You could probably setup such a rig via USB for under 200 bucks and if your discs are in good shape, you could preserve that forever.

Offline catsmtrods

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2016, 05:22:46 PM »
Just cause, I recently stumbled onto a pristine set of JBL L100's How cool? I am looking for a vintage Marantz to accompany them.
"Liberalism is an essentially feminine, submissive world view. Perhaps a better adjective than feminine is infantile. It is the world view of men who do not have the moral toughness, the spiritual strength to stand up and do single combat with life, who cannot adjust to the reality that the world is not a huge, pink-and-blue, padded nursery in which the lions lie down with the lambs and everyone lives happily ever after."


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Offline ExGeeEye

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2016, 03:07:13 AM »
Maybe it's my obsessive tendencies kicking in, but you would do yourself a lot more justice if you got a decent turntable with a high-end cartridge for doing your conversions. Nothing (seriously) sounds better than properly ripped vinyl copies. Depending on the recording, I generally prefer the vinyl rips. You could probably setup such a rig via USB for under 200 bucks and if your discs are in good shape, you could preserve that forever.


See, here's where it all breaks down; I read that and my first, last and only thought is-- "but I already have stuff that works!  I could use $200 for something I don't have."
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Offline Eupher

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2016, 03:10:29 AM »
As a musician, I have a vested interest in sound, but dayummmm.

No way could I ever even hope to keep up with the technology. Stopped trying to do that 30 years ago...used to be Dolby B, C, whatever. I have no idea these days what's even out there, but I did buy an inexpensive receiver about a year ago. No idea what's on that either.  :p

Yeah...factory radio in a moving vehicle. That's audiophile stuff.  :lmao:

I threw out all my old cassette tapes (had probably 500 or so, all of them taped off LPs, which I also threw out). Got tired of schlepping that stuff around.

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Offline RayRaytheSBS

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2016, 04:06:34 AM »
If you are looking for information, check this website. They helped me to get my system started. 


http://www.audioholics.com/how-to-shop/turntable-buying-guideline


I find they have good advice without being snake oil salesman or pretentious. With that being said, what are you looking at primarily for your setup? 2-channel for listening to records?  Or do you want a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound experience? I can give you some recommendations based off that.
“Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms”

“The best things in life are beyond money; their price is agony and sweat and devotion ... and the price demanded for the most precious of all things in life is life itself - ultimate cost for perfect value.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline FunkyZero

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2016, 09:42:05 AM »
If you are looking for information, check this website. They helped me to get my system started. 


http://www.audioholics.com/how-to-shop/turntable-buying-guideline


I find they have good advice without being snake oil salesman or pretentious. With that being said, what are you looking at primarily for your setup? 2-channel for listening to records?  Or do you want a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound experience? I can give you some recommendations based off that.

I guess I could give it a shot, I'm not new to this game by any stretch, but it's been many years so I assume to start at level zero again and learn my way up... especially with home audio gear, I know practically nothing about it. Many of these guys always just simply answer "this has been asked before, read the forums"... which I have been doing for weeks and information overload has set in at this point. That's why I'm hesitant to post in those forums. they aren't the most helpful bunch most times.
I'm not interested at all in surround or video... I was hoping to get a decent 4 channel amplifier and start out just using 2 channels to keep the cost under control. As you probably know, this is a progressive hobby (no not that kind of progressive) so as time goes by, I assume I'll keep upping the ante as deals present themselves and I learn more.
I'll be sticking with digital sources for now, a simple consumer grade CD/DAC, a digital source for my FLAC collection, an affordable preamp and plant most of the money on a reasonable pair of loudspeakers. Vinyl comes later, that's an art form in itself and right now vinyl is outrageously expensive. I'll wait until the fad years pass.

I did just find a Sony TA-N330ES and I think I'm going to buy it. It's only 2 channels, but the price is definitely right and it'll get me started. Enough relatively clean power to drive a decent set of loudspeakers... I still have time to change my mind, but I think it is a good power source for a starter. The money is right so if I pitch it in a year, I'm only out 100 bucks at least.
Now I start my hunt for a loudspeakers... the most difficult part for me. What to pair with  this amp

Offline FunkyZero

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2016, 09:45:19 AM »
Just cause, I recently stumbled onto a pristine set of JBL L100's How cool? I am looking for a vintage Marantz to accompany them.
Those are absolutely terrible speakers, people will make fun of you for having them... therefor you should just sell them to me for 100 bucks. I'm willing to do this just to help you out man... it's the kind of nice guy I am.

Offline catsmtrods

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2016, 03:36:01 PM »
Those are absolutely terrible speakers, people will make fun of you for having them... therefor you should just sell them to me for 100 bucks. I'm willing to do this just to help you out man... it's the kind of nice guy I am.
Hellofaguy you are! I even got the original angle stands with them! I did have to replace the foam fronts. That set me back $150 so I'm not yet willing to accept your kind offer.
"Liberalism is an essentially feminine, submissive world view. Perhaps a better adjective than feminine is infantile. It is the world view of men who do not have the moral toughness, the spiritual strength to stand up and do single combat with life, who cannot adjust to the reality that the world is not a huge, pink-and-blue, padded nursery in which the lions lie down with the lambs and everyone lives happily ever after."


~ Dr. William Pierce


 

"How many more times are we going to cower under tables and chairs, whimpering like mindless dogs, thinking that someone else has the responsibility to save and protect us?"

Offline RayRaytheSBS

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2016, 06:58:17 PM »
Check out this manufacturer.  They have a good reputation for affordable audio: https://emotiva.com

If you wanr a good amplifier,  check out their xpa line. It's a lot of wattage per channelfor a reasonable price.

SVS  makes some good speakers and subwoofers:

  http://www.svsound.com/pages/speakers?gclid=Cj0KEQjw88q9BRDB5qLcwLXr7_sBEiQAZsGja8UiUw6VNnUmu6Dlnh2lnf-uqFNRz1ukMxm5it3Ae0UaAlT58P8HAQ

They offer 45 day in-home trial period.  You can return anything, no questions asked.

If you want a good two channel starter amp, Harman Kardon makes a nice one for a low price:

http://www.harmankardon.com/stereo-amplifiers

I hope this helps. 
“Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms”

“The best things in life are beyond money; their price is agony and sweat and devotion ... and the price demanded for the most precious of all things in life is life itself - ultimate cost for perfect value.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline FunkyZero

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2016, 09:05:20 PM »
Check out this manufacturer.  They have a good reputation for affordable audio: https://emotiva.com

If you wanr a good amplifier,  check out their xpa line. It's a lot of wattage per channelfor a reasonable price.

SVS  makes some good speakers and subwoofers:

  http://www.svsound.com/pages/speakers?gclid=Cj0KEQjw88q9BRDB5qLcwLXr7_sBEiQAZsGja8UiUw6VNnUmu6Dlnh2lnf-uqFNRz1ukMxm5it3Ae0UaAlT58P8HAQ

They offer 45 day in-home trial period.  You can return anything, no questions asked.

If you want a good two channel starter amp, Harman Kardon makes a nice one for a low price:

http://www.harmankardon.com/stereo-amplifiers

I hope this helps.

I've actually been scoping out the SVS towers... it's on the high end of my price range so I'm trying to decide if a pair of them they will do the job without a sub.

Offline RayRaytheSBS

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2016, 05:05:33 AM »
I've actually been scoping out the SVS towers... it's on the high end of my price range so I'm trying to decide if a pair of them they will do the job without a sub.

I've gotten one of their subs and a center channel for my surround sound setup. (7.1) their products reproduce the source very well. I'm been extremely satisfied with their products,  especially considering the price. The in-home trial period is a great feature as well. 
“Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms”

“The best things in life are beyond money; their price is agony and sweat and devotion ... and the price demanded for the most precious of all things in life is life itself - ultimate cost for perfect value.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Offline Wineslob

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2016, 12:22:35 PM »
I would post pics of my system, now stored away, but Photobucket is so un-responsive it won't load.

I was into High End for close to 30 years.
Last system:

Apogee Duetta II's
Bedini 150/150 MK II Amp
Lux C 35 tube Pre-amp/Lux C 02 SS pre.
Marantz 8002 CD player
 etc.. etc...
“The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced, if the nation doesn't want to go bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.”

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"Practice random violence and senseless acts of brutality"

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Offline FunkyZero

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2016, 06:53:13 AM »
I would post pics of my system, now stored away, but Photobucket is so un-responsive it won't load.

I was into High End for close to 30 years.
Last system:

Apogee Duetta II's
Bedini 150/150 MK II Amp
Lux C 35 tube Pre-amp/Lux C 02 SS pre.
Marantz 8002 CD player
 etc.. etc...

I kinda fell off this project for the short term, my GTI got totaled and I've been swimming in an insurance fight and car shopping for several weeks. It's maddening, I hate car shopping because I'm so damned indecisive. Finally got that wrapped up yesterday. Now I'm back on this, but with less money than before.
I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to do for loudspeakers now. I'm going to try building a pair of the Fusions 12 Tempest. They get nothing but raves so I'm thinking it's an excellent starting point for a skin-flint like myself.

http://www.diysoundgroup.com/waveguide-speaker-kits/fusion-12/fusion12-kit.html

Offline Eupher

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2016, 01:48:21 PM »
Ugh on the accident. Sounds like everybody came through unscathed!
Adams E2 Euphonium (built in 2017)
Boosey & Co. Imperial Euphonium (built in 1941)
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Bach Stradivarius 42OG tenor trombone
Kanstul 33-T BBb tuba
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Offline FunkyZero

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2016, 04:06:36 PM »
only my car and pride were injured.
On a brighter note, I ended up getting a new Focus ST... along with a brand new payment

Offline Wineslob

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2016, 01:27:23 PM »
“The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced, if the nation doesn't want to go bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.”

        -- Marcus Tullius Cicero, 55 BC (106-43 BC)

The unobtainable is unknown at Zombo.com



"Practice random violence and senseless acts of brutality"

If you want a gender neutral bathroom, go pee in the forest.

Offline FunkyZero

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2016, 06:43:36 AM »
I had looked at that kit before, but a lot were saying they are pretty power hungry. I only have 25W per channel, push/pull tube amps to work with so I was reluctant...

Offline Wineslob

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2016, 01:13:28 PM »
Ahh, you are in the "horn" area. Not my cup of tea.
“The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced, if the nation doesn't want to go bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.”

        -- Marcus Tullius Cicero, 55 BC (106-43 BC)

The unobtainable is unknown at Zombo.com



"Practice random violence and senseless acts of brutality"

If you want a gender neutral bathroom, go pee in the forest.

Offline FunkyZero

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2016, 02:34:46 PM »
"Horn area" ?
You lost me there...

Offline Wineslob

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Re: Home Audio - Looking for guidance
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2016, 12:53:06 PM »
Think older JBL, Electrovoice, Klipsch, etc...   Most are in the 90+ db/watt range. Loud with little wattage.


“The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced, if the nation doesn't want to go bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.”

        -- Marcus Tullius Cicero, 55 BC (106-43 BC)

The unobtainable is unknown at Zombo.com



"Practice random violence and senseless acts of brutality"

If you want a gender neutral bathroom, go pee in the forest.