Calling all audiophiles

So, in the next year or so I intend to cough up huge money on a complete entertainment system. I’d like everyone who jones on sounds like me to contribute their dream/favorite/current system. Include brands, specs, and any upgrades you would need to make. What items should I be cautious of from a reliablity standpoint, or a technology that will soon be obsolete.

Heres my current shopping list:

Sony’s newest model (they’ll likely have a new one out by the time I buy) of the 5-disc CD/DVD changer with a built-in dolby digital decoder:

A dobly digital ready reciever, this is what I’m unsure about from a brand and power standpoint.

For Rear channel surround and Subwoofer:
Bose Acoustimass® 5 Series III speaker system

Not sure what brand front channel speakers to get, but I’m planning on a minimum of 100 Watts per channel.

Sony Wega
32” FD Trinitron® Wega™ Stereo
Color TV

I’d love to get a Phillips flat wall TV, but I just can’t afford that, I don’t know many who can, and I’ll likey buy a new TV when the Theaterwide aspect ratio TVs are more afforable and reasonably sized.

So, lets talk sounds, and give me some feed back on my choices. The DVD thread got me itching to buy this stuff, and it sounds like there are alot of audiophiles in our little group so please chime in.

Sorry, now that I think about it this may be better suited for MPSIMS, so feel free to place it in the correct forum if it seems appropriate.

I would suggest posting this question at the Home Theater Forum

Just don’t mention Bose overthere. Most folks consider them WAY overpriced!!

Bose overpriced? Because they’re Bose-os? Or because they emit too many Bose-ons?

(Particle physics humor! Ha! I kill me.)

There is only one kind of monitor. ( Speaker ). IMF’s. There was, for years, a series of Home Monitors… P-3’s, I think. amazing, clean, even. Find em, buy em.

Irving M. Fried from Philly designed them…along with the most remarkable Sound Mixing Studio monitors ever made.

Ortofon cartridges.

Typer :slight_smile:

You guys are no fun what so ever!

I don’t have the money to be a true audiophile, but here’s what I bought a couple of months ago (it still blows me away every time I turn it on):

Harmon Kardon AVR45 dolby digital receiver (tons o’ power)

(2) Accoustic Research 310 HO Speakers (ungodly)

(2) Accoustic Research 215 PS Rear Channels (WAY more than I needed - you could cut some $$$ by downgrading your rear speakers)

CV Center channel (more than sufficient)

Panasonic DVD player - my only complaint is that it cuts off the first second of every regular audio CD I play, so

I still primarily use a very old Sony CD player, but plan to upgrade soon (Sony bites). Any suggestions?

I just have cheap speakers. When there’s only two loudspeakers in each, it gives a balanced sound. It’ way more difficult to match three loudspeakers in a box and for it to come out right.So they cost a lot more, the good ones.

I’d have to recommend that you stay away from Bose. The acoustimass 5 system doesn’t even include a subwoofer. Just a ‘bass unit’ which is just an unpowered woofer.

BTW, when you talk about an ‘audiophile’ system you’re generally not talking about stuff like Sony, Bose, etc. There are audiophiles who spend more money on their cables than what a Sony/Bose stereo will cost.

How much money are you willing to spend? For speakers, I’d recommend you look at Paradigm if you are on a bit of a budget. They are perhaps the best bang-for-the-buck speakers out there. My home theatre uses Paradigm Titans in the back, and Radio Shack (don’t laugh) LX-5 speakers in the front, along with a D-Box David 300 subwoofer, and a Polk Audio Center channel speaker. I think the whole speaker package was around $1500 Canadian, or about $1000 US.

Since most of my music listening pleasure is attained from loud guitars, I just get a cheap stereo and rock out.

My financial situation has nothing to do with it. Honest… (Yeah, right!)

Yer pal,

d. I never claimed that I was a true audiophile. Money isn’t the top concern for me, but as with everything its a factor. This is going to be my first true system, since i’m just getting away from being a poor college student and a high school kid living with mom and dad. Since its my first, I really want to get the ideal components so that I don’t have to upgrade of change brands in the near future. I know people still using recivers from 20 years ago that sound great. The main reason I want to get Sony DVD is its the only company that makes a 5-disc changer model, so I can combine my CD/DVD systems into one. Everything else is up for grabs.

Would this be an apartment situation? Maybe you don’t want to subwoof into your neighbor’s area.Townhouses allow a little more volume.
just go for the top of the line at a regular folks store.The stereophiles are nuts.

A stereo system is only as good as its weakest link/component. For most people, this will be the speakers. It is better to have great speakers with ‘average’ other components, than to have a great power source and barely adequate speakers.

What you want to get for your money is a system where you can actually hear what it is you paid for. (I’m only addressing audio here; don’t know too much about the new video technology). I doubt you could tell the difference between most of the CD players out there based on listening. With speakers you certainly can.

So, get a good pair of speakers. I have Klipsch, which I like very much. Polk is also good, as are several others.

Use the best connectors (wires, cables, patches) you can. Don’t skimp here!

For a power source, sometimes you end up paying for a lot of bells and whistles, especially with the ‘Circuit City’ brands. It would be better to pay for good clean power. My power source is a Nakamichi, which I highly recommend.

Have fun shopping around! Be sure to visit several ‘audiophile’ retailers. They are always more than happy to show off their neat stuff. Their markups are large enough so that you can wheel and deal a little bit. I have never met one yet where I couldn’t get a better deal than what was advertised. For example, I got my center channel speaker thrown in free when I bought my amp and surround speakers.

Sony Wega
32” FD Trinitron® Wega™ Stereo
Color TV

Got this one…great tv…heavy as hell though…be sure to get some help moving it.

I have always been fond of Technics brand

I have a 60 CD changer, and a separate dvd player…think it’s Phillips-magnavox…Not sure…Also have a stereo VCR. I still rent vhs movies more than DVD movies, so it comes in hands. I’ll be getting a new reciever soon, as mine isn’t digital ready. My speakers are my weak point. Have a set of BOSE 301 for the front set, and some cruddy Fisher for the rear…still working on that part. I’ll second the motion about the cables. Go for the good ones…even if they seem expensive…makes the sound sooooo much better.

I haven’t lost my mind, I have a tape backup around somewhere.

I fully agree that the most important part of the audio system are the speakers. But I like the pure sound from horns, and there is nothing better than the Heritage Klipsch speakers:

Can’t afford them though! So I stay with AKG pro headphones.

The rest of the system…I am dreaming about a completely computerized system such as:

You can take all CDs and rip them to MP3s and store them on massive hard disks. Or play through some CD and DVD jukes hooked up to the PC. This, togather with a high quality sound card such as the Turtle Beach should reproduce clean sounds like you never heard before. You can become a closet DJ. Nearly any amplifier of the appropriate strength will do, since nowadays, the response curve of even a cheap one will be flatter than any speaker. You might invest in a graphic equalizer with a calibrated mic to tune the system to your room though, just to get that last ounce of flat response. The computer hardware is so cheap nowadays, there is no reason not to make full use of them. This should be the next new wave.

The digital technology is really neat, and it’s great for DJ’s on the road, but don’t confuse it with audiophile equipment. The MP3 format involves a lossy compression method which is audible at the compression rates most commonly used (192 and 128 kbps). A Turtle Beach sound card may sound great compared to other PC audio cards, but it doesn’t really compare to something like a good quality standalone audio amp. For one thing, PC audio cards operate in a very noisy environment, and typically have S/N ratios that aren’t all that great.

And it doesn’t matter if the slew rate of the amp is faster than the speakers - if it’s not fast enough to keep up with the source material it can introduce distortion which is audible, even though the speakers may be even slower.

I fully agree that there are many factors in a “perfect” audio system that will affect that actual sound coming out, on a technical basis. If that is what is called for, then I would say that there are many things that one has to look out for. Perhaps you should even take the system to an acoustic lab and measure the results in an anechoic chamber.

I am merely trying to point out that in real life, the only things that bothers me about sound reproduction comes from:

  1. speakers that resonate (peak) at a frequency that is annoying to MY ears (may not bother you), such as often happens with ducted port speakers.

  2. hiss from bad components or connectors

  3. hum from bad grounding

  4. distortion from overdriven inputs (not usually happen with a good system)

Nothing else ever seem to bother me much, not cross-talk, slew rates, etc., but that would be only a personal reaction. I have been playing MP3 files for quite a while now and I know the technical “deficiencies”. But you can’t tell that by me. They always sounded great, whether classical or rock! Microsoft now has an even newer compression that may sound even better technically. Of course, if MP3 is a problem, you can try not compressing it! 18GB hard disks are only $500 or so. Or play the CDs direct. I just like “playing” with the computer controls of all this!

MP3’s sound great to me too. But then, I’m not an ‘audiophile’. We’re talking about guys who spend $500 on a set of speaker cables, because the $250 ones just don’t sound good enough.

Back in the LP days, these were the guys that would spend $5000 on a freaking turntable (no stylus). To them, the idea of MP3 as a valid music source is laughable.

If you ask me, they’re nuts.

What exactly causes this? How do I correct it? (I have a setup with a center channel speaker, supposedly a shielded model, that usually has an annoying hum. I’ve tried switching it with other speakers, and the hum remains. What am I doing wrong?)

Hum is usually the 60Hz frequency of the power line. The most common cause that can easily be checked is the grounding of the chasis in the amplifier. While I am not an electrical engineer, whenever I get hum when setting up a PA system or something, I try making sure that all the component chasis are grounded to each other, and if need be, grounded to the ground prong of the electrical outlet. Works most of the time. I think poor grounding causes some electrical “float”, some AC leakage to the chasis which causes the equipment to pick up the 60Hz humming. The other possibility is that the center channel amp has a bad power supply such as inadequate filtering from failing capacitors. Or just plain poor design. I will defer to the engineers here for further insight.