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Sound system advice

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by PHV, Oct 12, 2004.

  1. PHV

    PHV Senior member

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    Hi, I need a new sound system. I find that I like MP3s alot since you can customize what you listen to...

    Are there any systems (not an mp3 player) that incorporate MP3s into the system? I have tons of CDs, but I convert them onto my computer for ease of use... changing a disc for 1 track is just kinda lame.

    I've also considered getting one of those 400 disc players... do they let you make playlists so that you can play a list of tracks from a whole bunch of different CDs?

    besides that I'm fine. I have various Bang and Olufsen speakers and a B&W woofer which I get wonderful sound from. I'm just wondering what my options are. thanks.
     
  2. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

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    If you answer the following questions, it will make recommendations alot easier:

    What exactly are you trying to buy, a receiver with MP3 capability? Do you have a CD player already, or do you need that as well? Also, do you have amplification? Is this going to be for home theater as well as music?

    I used to write reviews for various audiophile magazines, so I can give you a good amount of feedback if I knew your exact needs.
     
  3. PHV

    PHV Senior member

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    I don't have a CD player anymore. I wasn't able to bring my B&O with me, my brother got it. Fortunately I got to bring all of my speakers.

    I want a machine that can play CD but can also organize MP3s and has a very intuitive GUI. Ideally I would be able to put my CD collection on this machine digitally and be able to make various playlists organized by genre. (Early classic, romantic, hard rock, brit rock) etc....

    Keep in mind it doesnt have to be of the B&O price category, but I'll take any suggestions.
     
  4. ken

    ken Banned by Request

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    Didn't Microsoft release some kind of media-oriented Windows thingamajig? I remember seeing a demo of it. You can organize whatever the hell you want and control it all w/a remote control.
    A cheap computer w/a huge hard drive is probably your best bet for storing music digitally. But I wouldn't. You might as well be listening through a ghetto blaster if you're using Mp3s.
    Some of those big disc changers do have editable playlists. I'd go that route.
     
  5. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

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    PHV: It would be easier if you listed EVERY stereo component that you have currently (tuner, amplifier, receiver, speakers, etc.)

    Are you only going to listen to music, or is this going to be part of a home theater system also?
     
  6. norcaltransplant

    norcaltransplant Senior member

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    I think Drizz makes the right suggestion when he asks for a complete listing of equipment. A budget, even though you stated some flexibility would be in order. I know that there has been a small push in the niche audiophile market where high-end 24/36?-bit soundcards have been developed with optical outputs. I'm personally more of a purist with redbook playback and prefer a 2-channel setup.

    My initial advice would be to purchase a G4/G5 Apple depending on your needs (for aesthetic as well as functional reasons since this CPU will probably be sitting next to an entertainment center/audio rack), an upgraded HD, and a mid-fi external DAC to feed into your pre-amp/receiver. Unfortunately my little plan will cost upwards of 2-2.5k. Option B, would be to buy a small desktop with an expanded HD, video card with video out capabilities, and an upgraded soundcard and run the GUI through the TV. This option is undoubtedly cheaper.

    DACs vary a lot in price and quality. MSB and Parasound both nice models in the less than 1.5k range.
     
  7. faustian bargain

    faustian bargain Senior member

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    a nice DAC would be overkill if you're listening to mp3's or any lossy compression format. consider using lossless compression. i strongly recommend visiting Exact Audio Copy for your CD ripping. for the best quality mp3's, if you must use them, follow the standards at Chris Myden's page. lastly, if you're going to use a PC for audio playback, a major limiting factor is going to be the quality of the sound card. i don't have any research on this, as i don't use a PC as a source. /andrew
     
  8. PHV

    PHV Senior member

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    Uhh, I have 2 Bang and Olufsen beo lab 9000s, and a B&W subwoofer.

    Would it be best to get an ipod or something to just go through the system? Budget I'm not really sure.

    All I can tell you is, I don't want complicated. I'm not an audiophile. I enjoy music, not the gimmicks and doohickies that facilitate the playing of music. So, one machine would be spectacular if possible.
     
  9. faustian bargain

    faustian bargain Senior member

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    if by 'system' you mean a 'receiver', i.e. an integrated preamp/input selector/amplifier, then that may indeed be a very simple way to go. personally i recommend the iRiver 'H' series. same storage capacity as the iPod, arguably better sound, it has digital output AND input, it's cheaper, and the battery lasts longer. there's another good portable, Creative Nomad Jukebox 3, which has a wireless remote. check out this device: The Squeezebox. and then check out this one - it has a high SAF (Spousal Acceptance Factor): Roku Soundbridge. that ought to be enough to chew on... [​IMG] /andrew
     
  10. DSKent

    DSKent Well-Known Member

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  11. AJL

    AJL Senior member

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    I've got this--it works well. Speaking of a simple system, I run a pair of Paradigm A-40 speakers, with a Monarchy Audio DAC as the controller. Since the speakers have built-in bi-amplification, no need for external amps/additional interconnects etc. I muck things up a little by adding a Hsu sub-woofer & amp, although for such a compact package, the A40's really pack a pretty nice low end wallop on their own. I believe they stopped making them a couple of years ago, probably because they don't accomodate the audiophile's need to constantly rotate different gear in & out of their system. Obviously, the amplification is pretty well matched and integrated with the speakers, but you have to like the sound, cause you're pretty much stuck with it as is. At a cost (at the time, when new) of approx $2,200. US, they also represent an excellent value, since you are paying for reasonably high-quality speakers AND amplifiers. Sorry for going a bit OT...
     
  12. PHV

    PHV Senior member

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    (DSKent @ 12 Oct. 2004, 8:39) If you want simple and inexpensive and don't want to have to transfer your MP3s from your computer onto another device, then what you want is this: http://www.apple.com/airportexpress/airtunes.html
    I've got this--it works well. Speaking of a simple system, I run a pair of Paradigm A-40 speakers, with a Monarchy Audio DAC as the controller. Since the speakers have built-in bi-amplification, no need for external amps/additional interconnects etc. I muck things up a little by adding a Hsu sub-woofer & amp, although for such a compact package, the A40's really pack a pretty nice low end wallop on their own. I believe they stopped making them a couple of years ago, probably because they don't accomodate the audiophile's need to constantly rotate different gear in & out of their system. Obviously, the amplification is pretty well matched and integrated with the speakers, but you have to like the sound, cause you're pretty much stuck with it as is. At a cost (at the time, when new) of approx $2,200. US, they also represent an excellent value, since you are paying for reasonably high-quality speakers AND amplifiers. Sorry for going a bit OT...
    Ok so a multiple CD thing by like Sony or whatever isnt a good option? My big thing is wanting to be able to make playlists... that's a big must for me. So I guess I gotta buy an MP3 player and put it through speakers? I heard there's this one MP3 for audipphiles that's like 300 bucks... best one for sound quality.
     
  13. PHV

    PHV Senior member

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    Hmm, what worries me is that my laptop, though very expensive, probably doesnt have a top of the line sound card... since laptops dont usually have as much choice in components.

    Are there seriously no actually MP3 players that aren't all small and portable? There is NO company that has made an MP3 player like a stereo? Kinda weird to me...
     
  14. drizzt3117

    drizzt3117 Senior member

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    There are, but they usually have speakers, Phillips makes a fairly nice one that was reviewed in the latest issue of Cargo, but it comes with speakers, and since you already have them...
     
  15. DSKent

    DSKent Well-Known Member

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    PHV: Why not go with AirTunes? You would make the playlists in iTunes on your PC (which is 1,000 times easier than doing it on some small LCD on a standalone unit) and you could have it wirelessly connected to a stereo anywhere else in your house. Also, I don't think it relies on your soundcard since I believe (although I may be wrong) that it connects to your computer through USB (not line out) and then to your stereo through its aux input. It's very cost-effective and convenient.
     

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