need an audio system/stereo

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    Aug 18, 2013 5:50 PM GMT
    I'm so out of it with audio systems I don't even know what to call it.

    For the last many years I've been listening to music with headphones but I need a real system. I have no idea what to look at; what are good brands, good criteria, etc.

    Please help me! Your suggestions are welcomed.
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    Aug 18, 2013 7:04 PM GMT
    I come from the Bose camp for speakers. Find a good salesman that will tell you about the future of sound, re: bluetooth, streaming, fiber optic, etc. It all depends on what you want to do, like throw parties, piss off your neighbors, big screen TV surround sound, or take a bubble bath.
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    Aug 18, 2013 7:22 PM GMT
    Depends on how much of an audiophile you are.

    Bose makes a wide range of affordable home products that function with your gadgets. Brands that will be more audiophile impressive will involve mix and matching receivers and speakers from brands like Denon, Cambridge Audio, Maratntz, or Onkyo.
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    Aug 18, 2013 7:25 PM GMT
    I just moved to a new apartment and I had a company wire up the whole place with ethernet, HDMI, and coax. I've got these new speakers that are in the wall and the whole wall is going to be covered with a fabric so you won't see the speakers. They also put this thing called a "Sonos System" that lets me control everything from my iPhone. Things have gotten really advanced since 10 years ago when I last had this company put my "system" together at the old apartment.
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    Aug 18, 2013 9:01 PM GMT
    When it comes to an amplifier or mixer (basically a machine that will play you ipod or CD's although I hope you've moved to the ipod generation) I would look into Harmon Kardon or Bang and Olufsen cause the sound quality is amazing. If your budget is a little lower Sony or Bose has some great music players. If you're looking into getting large or medium sized speakers I have never been disappointed with JBL, or even Pioneer has some great speakers.
  • Destinharbor

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    Aug 18, 2013 9:15 PM GMT
    This could be anything from $1,000 to $50,000. Can you give us a price range?
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    Aug 18, 2013 9:23 PM GMT
    I'm probably the only one to advise against Bose speakers. If you don't mind bass heavy overprocessed music, that is.

    But I do agree with the others. We need to know about your intended usage and price range.
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    Aug 19, 2013 1:30 AM GMT
    Destinharbor saidThis could be anything from $1,000 to $50,000. Can you give us a price range?

    $10,000 would probably be the upper end, but since I haven't looked I have no idea what that would get me. I have money saved up for buying a car but decided I really don't want one. My hearing isn't great (some tinnitus in the right ear) so high end audio quality would probably be wasted on me.
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    Aug 19, 2013 1:44 AM GMT
    xrichx saidI'm probably the only one to advise against Bose speakers. If you don't mind bass heavy overprocessed music, that is.

    But I do agree with the others. We need to know about your intended usage and price range.

    I tend to agree about Bose.

    It'll probably mainly be for background music. I have a weekly meeting with friends at my place and I was using a pair of retired computer speakers plugged into my phone. Did the job but that's about it.

    Last week someone brought a cd so I switched to using the PS3 that's plugged into my tv and using the tv's speakers. That's better than the computer speakers and phone but probably not much. But I'm bothered by the wasted juice from the tv screen being on.

    Some sort of media center thing might be nice. I'm surprised that I can't find a music player for my phone that allows me to group and lock tracks together; for example when playing classical I'd like to be able to play the albums randomly but play the tracks on an album in order. And some classical pieces are multiple cds. It's possible the Power Amp player can do that and I haven't figured out how, but I have other problems with it. Sometimes there are multiple pieces on a cd; e.g., tracks 1-6 are one piece and 7-11 are another, so I'd like to be able to have more control than just by cd. And on some cds every track is a separate piece/song (e.g., classical guitar).
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    Aug 19, 2013 4:10 AM GMT
    Lumpynose said
    xrichx saidI'm probably the only one to advise against Bose speakers. If you don't mind bass heavy overprocessed music, that is.

    But I do agree with the others. We need to know about your intended usage and price range.

    I tend to agree about Bose.

    It'll probably mainly be for background music. I have a weekly meeting with friends at my place and I was using a pair of retired computer speakers plugged into my phone. Did the job but that's about it.

    Last week someone brought a cd so I switched to using the PS3 that's plugged into my tv and using the tv's speakers. That's better than the computer speakers and phone but probably not much. But I'm bothered by the wasted juice from the tv screen being on.

    Some sort of media center thing might be nice. I'm surprised that I can't find a music player for my phone that allows me to group and lock tracks together; for example when playing classical I'd like to be able to play the albums randomly but play the tracks on an album in order. And some classical pieces are multiple cds. It's possible the Power Amp player can do that and I haven't figured out how, but I have other problems with it. Sometimes there are multiple pieces on a cd; e.g., tracks 1-6 are one piece and 7-11 are another, so I'd like to be able to have more control than just by cd. And on some cds every track is a separate piece/song (e.g., classical guitar).
    I haven't been able to find a decent music app for my phone. I used Winamp for a while. Although I love the desktop version, the Android version just sucks. I've been using the Google Music app, and it's ok. But not quite what I really want. I wish Sony would offer a Walkman app. I think their MP3 players have a pretty decent user interface.

    Anyways, I'm not an audiophile so my recommendations will be on the low end. Some modern receivers have internet connectivity so that you can stream music from Pandora, Rhapsody, etc. Expect to spend between $300 - $400 for a decent one. I'd suggest Onkyo, Denon, or Sony. You can probably find some deals on Sony receivers at Fry's or on Amazon. For speakers, I'd suggest something from JBL or Polk.

    Or if you don't need anything complicated or want to lose any living space to audio equipment, then look into get a micro shelf system from Onkyo or Denon. Really pricey, considering you can a full featured receiver and speakers for the same price. But you're paying for the miniaturization.
  • Destinharbor

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    Aug 19, 2013 3:08 PM GMT
    OK. For $10,000 or a little less, you can get a good system. I, too, have tinnitus (from one stupid day of shooting skeet without earplugs- how dumb is that?) and yes, you will know the difference in sound and love having a good system. It sounds like you listen to a lot of acoustical music so do not go the Bose route. Bose have pretty good high end and a LOT of very low end but absolutely no speakers to play everything in between. Works for electronic music but not symphony, guitar, woodwinds, etc. Try Bowers and Wilkins speakers (usually called B&W). You can't get them at the big box stores; you have to go to a stereo store. Get a full surround group, two front plus center, two back, and a subwoofer. Add to that a mid-range "Receiver" like Marantz or Onkyo but don't go over the top because for $10 grand, you're better off putting your money into speakers. The mid-range stuff is good. If you want to go up a bit, I have Rotel which I love but that is true component with separate amp, pre-amp, radio and power washer.

    Music delivery system is trickier. You can get a good CD player but most DVD players can also play CD's so you might as well do that. You won't be able to pre-program certain tracks and multiple DVD players generally break and aren't designed for sound quality. The only way you can get the control over song selection you describe is by going digital. There are some pretty good digital boxes you can buy for not much that you download to, either from your phone or the net or your laptop, but the problem with all of that is all those devices compress the music and the playback, while fine for earbuds, just doesn't have the quality or distinction you get from CD's. Which is why you want a good system to begin with.

    So I'd recommend both a digital playback box, a DVD player (Blu-ray, of course), a mid-price receiver, and put 2/3 of your cash into the speakers. I like B&W but there are others. It is a matter of personal taste so do this: Pick out your favorite acoustical CD, maybe a concerto, and spend a couple of week-ends going around to good sterio stores. Make them play you YOUR CD, not their stuff which is specifically engineered to sound good on their system. And then just listen. Don't be shy about time or volume. Make them leave you alone to listen. Then see what sound shapes you like best. Compare by using the same CD for them all. You'll find what you like. Oh, and the good stores will bargain a bit for a complete set of speakers. Have fun! I spent two years looking at stuff before I bought.
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    Aug 19, 2013 6:34 PM GMT
    I googled for media center and one of the items was XMBC which I'd noticed once but forgot about.

    http://xbmc.org/about/

    I've been looking for an excuse to buy a BeagleBone; setting up an XMBC system could be it.

    http://beagleboard.org/Products/BeagleBone

    Something like the following for storage:

    http://goo.gl/wnMqQ4

    Setting that up would be something to keep me off the streets at night.