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Higher end audio

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by stevemc, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. stevemc


    Mar 1, 2009
    Hello GT,

    Back in the day, a friend had a Marantz stereo with gigantic speakers that his dad bought for him. That sound had an instant effect on us. While working out with my son, I was listening to "Home at Last" and Gaslighting Abbie" by the Dan, with high end headphones and was reminded how much I miss that sound. I have gotten to the point where I have a little money to use to get decent equipment. Just wondering if anyone here has a setup they really enjoy or could recommend checking out.

  2. 2@low8


    Sep 18, 2009
    If you have the cash, Mark Levinson pre-amp, amp & cd transport. Wilson Audio speakers and Stax headphones. Like I said, if you have the cash.

  3. Kurly


    Jun 27, 2006
    Wow, that's some SERIOUS cash! I'd love to have a rig like that but most likely would have a tube front and solid state amp.

    For right now I have a Cary SLI-30 integrated running a pair of Meadowlark Shearwaters (Hot Rodded). Sounds glorious.

    To the OP, look on audiogon and do some research at 6moons audio, Good Sound, EnjoytheMusic, etc. You can find equipment that's 3-4 years old that sounds absolutely amazing for a fraction of what it used to cost. And remember, it's often more about synergy of components than any one thing in audio.
  4. Batesmotel


    Apr 5, 2007
    Start looking for upper end classic gear.

    My sons got into stereos a few years ago and I started looking at used gear for them. What I discovered is there is a glut of fantastic gear out there for pennies on the dollar. Many people are dumping great gear for modern mini systems for iPod, BluRay and HDMI.

    This leaves some old systems up for grabs. Learn how to clean the pots and switches. Many amps are dumped because they have developed a crackle in the outputs. This can often be fixed by spraying the contacts with electronic contact cleaner.

    The biggest problem with speakers is the foam surrounds on the woofers have rotted out. This is an easy fix. Get a reform kit to fit the woofer and just rebuild it. Replacement mids, tweeters and crossovers are also available.

    Simply speakers

    All great resources. Watch the videos on re-foaming speakers. Super easy and search for info on refurbing amps, CD players Etc.

    In my opinion a surround sound amp through tiny speakers and a sub-woofer can't compare to a big amp with enough power to properly drive classic big box speakers.

    Edit. I am talking about just pure music listening. Not a system for the TV. Two different animals.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013


    Dec 16, 2012
    My home audio system is an antique, and man I LOVE this thing!!! <3

    They just don't make them like they used to these days.

    I'm probably 1 of 100 people in the world with this system, and probably 1 of 25-30 people with one that still works perfectly.

    When it debuted in 1986, the MSRP was around $1600 plus tax.

    I'm sure you can imagine just how amazing it sounds :)

    That being said - I couldn't tell ya what to go with today.

    I would recommend one of these, but you cant find them anymore.

    My parents bought this for me when I was 14 years old from a nightclub that was going out of business..

    I've taken great care of it over the years, so I've never needed to buy a new home system.

    However, anything by Bose is definitely a great choice.

    I'd start looking at anything by them.

    My car is outfitted with Bose and that sounds awesome.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
  6. sputnik767


    Nov 1, 2007
    :rofl: Anything Bose is by far the worst choice. I always say that people who buy Bose have more money than brains. Plenty of information on the internet as to why Bose is subpar, but in a nutshell, Bose is sold at big box stores such as Wal Mart. Otherwise, from what I've seen, they use full-range speakers and never list the actual frequency responses of their speakers. Full range speaker means there is one speaker tasked with providing both the highs, mids, and lows. Problem is, they can only do the mids well and everything else suffers. This is fine if you're watching a movie, but not ideal for music. But they do heavily advertise the "engineering" that goes into their product. From what I've seen some time ago, their engineering involves paper speaker cones mounted in a plastic housing. The 3rd party testing that I've seen on Bose speakers, their frequency response tops out at around 13 Khz, which is pathetic if true. It cuts the highs completely off. It should be noted that Bose is certainly a step up from what most people have, so it's not terrible. Just extremely overpriced for what you get.

    My setup:
    Onkyo 5.1 Channel receiver
    Polk TSi 300 tower speakers 35Hz-25KHz frequency response (left and right channels)
    Polk CS10 center channel
    Polk PSW111 8" powered subwoofer
    Polk Monitor 35B left and right surround speakers

    I built this piece by piece over time, when I could find special deals on the components. Total cost is under $1000, and sounds amazing. All of the speakers except for the sub have separate woofers and tweeters with crossovers to direct the proper frequency to each speaker (component speakers, not full-range speakers). These are considered mid-range components and certainly not audiophile quality, but far better than what you get with Bose at a similar price range. Even Bose at a much higher price IMO. Point is, don't go for a Home Theater in a Box type deal and skip the dinky soundbars and tiny speakers. You can build a much better system from scratch, and probably save money doing it.

    In my truck, I am running Polk component speakers powered by a 720 watt Kenwood Amp outputting 60 watts per channel, as well as a 10" sub. The only distortion that is produced is my truck vibrating at high volumes. Polk makes excellent speakers IMO.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013


    Dec 16, 2012
    Eh... my Bose system in my car is top of the line, and I've installed both home & car audio for years - just out of love for music & electronics.

    Yes, there ARE some cheaper stuff by them - but the same can be said about ANY manufacturer, including the ones you posted.

    Either way, everyone has their own personal preferences. No point arguing about them. lol
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
  8. sputnik767


    Nov 1, 2007
    No arguing on my part. Just pointing out that any company that deliberately doesn't disclose the specs of their speakers is trying to hide something. That even goes for their top of the line stuff. Not saying their stuff is bad, just saying that there are better things out there for less money.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
  9. platform


    Sep 15, 2007
    try to find heavy 50+ pounds old amps.
    or if you are into DIY try building one of the new D-amps using
    the kits like here
    The require basic soldering skiills only -- or you can get them pre-assembled.

    If you are into woodwokring -- then speaker building can be right up your alley
    Otherwise you will have to spend money on the speakers

    Probably -- the most important and expensive part of the whole setup.

    Cables do make a difference (I do not have 8,000$ cables -- but I can easily hear
    the difference between my old 16 gauge generic cable and my new )

    Listening experience should be effortless and 'concentrated'
    Just like good food -- it has to be pleasant and not 'in passing'

    It is meant to be an immerisive experience where you can appreciate
    the thought that went into creation of the art form (from an artist or a chef)

    you audio setup is good if
    a) you can discern easily the music even at the lowest volumes

    b) when it is at standard 'loudness' -- you should be able to discern where
    instruments are located relative to your position (when listening to live band recordings)

    (furniture and overall room geometry are important as well)
  10. Black&TAN

    Black&TAN Senior Member

    Jun 13, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    Look into Integra receivers. It's Onkyo's commercial line, and can't be beat for the money IMO.

    Suggest also educate yourself about power conditioning, it's not just about surge suppression. Components offered by companies like Panamax will filter home current. If you wonder what I'm referring to, with system on, no music playing, turn up the volume on your receiver. The white noise heard in your speakers is also present in your signal, and can be effectively removed for noticeably improved audio quality.

    Some good info about speakers in this thread. As mentioned, try to stay clear of Bose, they are overpriced and underbuilt. Instead, consider Paradigm or B&W (Bowers & Wilkins).

    sent via Tapatalk
  11. Batesmotel


    Apr 5, 2007
    No highs, No lows? It must be Bose.
  12. stevemc


    Mar 1, 2009
    This is a great idea. I made a few things from the old Heathkit factory, but didn't know this was still an option. Right on, thanks for the response.
    I have a couple 15" Toa speakers new in the box that I picked up for $75. Looked into speaker building either for the guitar or stereo and found it is an art in itself.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2013
  13. belial


    Mar 4, 2001
    South Dakota
  14. I'm still using big 1980's Marantz speakers. Got them for $50 at a thrift store a few years ago.
  15. HollowHead

    HollowHead Firm member

    May 16, 2005
    Where the buffalo roam
    That may now be the case, but Bose was a fantastic product in the late seventies. I still have the 901s I got for HS graduation in '78 and they are absolutely stellar. HH
  16. gTWO


    Jun 3, 2008

    My brother bought 901's in the late '70's, too.
    The height of audio fakery at that time.

    I've called him Bozo ever since.

    My yamaha 670's had better highs and lows, and were much smoother. For 1/3rd the price.

    I've been running Carver Amazing Platinums for the last 15 years.