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Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

Posted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:01 am
by jp1
I've touched on this in a couple threads. I would like to chat about audio setups. This thread is for everyone that loves audio gear (from Dual to Sonus Faber and beyond). Please, no elitist bullshit or ragging on anyone else's preferences. I think in order to understand your audio choices better it may help to discuss what you use your setup for in order of importance to you.

I am hoarding a great too many pieces of equipment at the moment but I'll list my sets that are in rotation. Many of these were thrift shop or craigslist finds, some started with a single speaker or set which I then completed via ebay. No pics yet, sorry.

Living room:
Boston Acoustics CR85 (Front), CR75 (Surround), CRC (Center), Infinity 12" 300 watt subwoofer (unsure on model number), running on a Pioneer 822-k, sounds come from multiple sources but mainly Asus Chromebox (Openelec), and Sony BDP-S5100

I just moved these Bostons into the living room and they have amazing sound for the price. Even if I had purchased them retail when they were still out I would be happy. They are lower end Boston stuff but they don't sound like it at all. I get really full and detailed sound with no listener's fatigue. Many people aren't a fan of the Kortec tweeters, and I have heard better without a doubt, at three times the price. They have a sweet and delicate high end but it lacks a little resolution. The line makes up for this with the fullness of the mid-range, excellent imaging and staging, adequate bass (should you need it), and nice build quality.

The weakest link in this set is the center channel. It is really tiny and although admirable for it's size and price, it isn't up to the task of a proper center channel. I'll be replacing it with a third CR-85, assuming I ever find a single.

B&W LM1 x5, and a Deftech Prosub 8" + Energy 8" 200 watt sub, all running on a Denon receiver (Model escapes me at the moment, mid-range, older when they first introduced hdmi in these, does have audyssey multi eq & hd audio support)

These LM1s are great, if they could dig 10hz deeper on the mid-bass they would be nearly perfect in my opinion. Since they have to be crossed at 90hz a bit of the bass from the subs is directional. Otherwise, these have amazing clarity from 90hz all the way to 20k, they are efficient, handle power well, the all metal cabinet means very little resonance so imaging is excellent. They have a highly forward sound without causing fatigue, and are sharp and revealing (bad for bad quality sources). They have a unique look, and built in stands/mounts. For their size and price they punch well above their weight class.

My order of importance when selecting and setting up my equipment is like this:

1. Music (Lossless digital and CD makes up the bulk, no LPs and not sure I'm up for a proper investment to move to LPs any time soon.

2. Movies (Bluray if possible)

3. Games

4. Television

I listen to almost everything except Country so I need a well rounded speaker that can serve double duty.

Other stuff I have (not currently in use)
Sonos SP100 set
Infinity Reference One set
Marantz Imperial 6 set
Sansui SP2500 set
Polk RTi 5 piece surround set
Boston Acoustics Micro 80x 5 piece surround set
Aiwa 8" Powered Sub (No idea what this is, it provides ok output to about 32hz at low volume)
Polk PSW10 (I hate this thing)
Polk R150 set (SO harsh)
Polk RT5 (Surprisingly nice sound on these, one woofer is out though)
Sony STR-K660p (10% distortion into an 8-ohm load, does push a passive sub though)
KLH 911b set
Bic Venturi DV52si set
KLH Bassbite II

I'm hoping to move a lot of this to help with the purchase of the stuff below and make some space, it is hard to get a fair price in my area though.

Stuff I am looking at getting (once I have saved $1500-2000 expendable cash):
Axiom M22 V3
SVS or HSU sub (something to hit 20hz with some authority and definition)
Carver, Nad, Rotel, or something similar to push the M22s in a stereo only setup.
Possibly forgo the amp and axioms and get a set of Behringer Truth B2031A

So, anyone else care to share? What have you got? Why do you love it? What do you hope to have in the future? I'm interested even if it is a favorite old bookshelf setup from the 90's. I like to hear about gear other people enjoy. It's backwards I know but my car has a much better setup than my house gear, I think that is another discussion altogether though.

Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

Posted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:43 am
by 8bit
Damn, nice setup. Don't know if I will ever have much to contribute to this thread but here it is...

My two primary setups have be arranged around having a small apartment or game room to fill up and then being gifted some awesome legacy Infinity Kappa hardware.

Living Room
- 2012 Pioneer VSX-521K 5.1 Reciever (4 HDMI, 2 Component, 2 Composite | 80w per channel)
- 2x Infinity Kappa 6.1 Floor Standing Speakers (Circa 1992-1994)
- Infinity Kappa Center
- 12" Infinity Kappa Sub
- Hooked up to DirectTV, Apple TV, PS4, XboxOne

Rock can occasionally sound "soul-less" but a good jazz or blues recording will make you sit and smile. In listening, it's clear these speakers were built with jazz or classical music in mind. The midrange comes through as light and accurate, occasionally making rock sound washed over. The 6.1 needs a sub to help deliver the deep low frequencies, and the speakers can sound a touch boomy, especially if placed incorrectly. Overall, one of the best sounding low price speakers I've heard, but not without it's flaws.

Game Room
- Sony HT-CT100 Sound Bar System (3 HDMI, Stereo/Aux, Optical Inputs)
- Hooked up to my PS4, Xbox360, WiiU and classic consoles.

The Sony is certainly well-suited for smaller dens and bedrooms, and it easily trumps rival soundbar/subwoofer models, including the Yamaha YAS-70 and Boston Acoustics TVee Model Two, delivering better sound and more features than both for less money. As such, the HT-CT100 is an easy pick for the best sub-$300 soundbar/subwoofer system we've heard to date.

Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

Posted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 2:03 am
by Cronozilla
My audio receivers are fairly outdated.
They can't process HD audio, for instance. It gets down-sampled.

They're both Yamaha Receivers, though, and are excellent, and were extremely cheap. They ended up producing better sounding audio than a guy I knew at the time who snagged a $900 Sony Receiver on clearance.

I don't recall the model numbers it's like a HR 5930 or something, and the other is an older version of that same model.

One room has some stock satellite speakers and the Yamaha sub that came with a speaker bundle, it's not very good.

Downstairs, though, I have a couple of floor speakers made by Fisher. They have 2 10" woofers in each and sound incredible. It handles all the ranges that I need. The rooms aren't particularly well made for sound, so it just gets the job done. I found the pair for $25 at a goodwill a long time ago.

I also have some old Advent speakers, but they're just garbage now, completely worn down.

Has anyone gave more than a glancing thought at building their own speaker systems? It's something I've heavily considered.

As for what's hooked up where. Soon, the secondary system will have everything I own hooked up to it. The only thing that'll be downstairs is a bluray player and fiberTV.

Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

Posted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:52 am
by jp1
Sounds awesome guys. Infinity Kappa is a set I've looked at closely, I've damn near pulled the trigger on a Primus setup. If I had a chance to audition them I probably would have by now. 8bit, do those Kappa have the Emit tweeters? My little reference one set use acoustic suspension and have a polycell tweeter, they don't look like much, but they have kept me interested in Infinity's offerings because they sound pretty great (they are refoamed). By the way, do you get a surround feel from the soundbar? I know they have some sort of virtual surround mode, I've often wondered how effective it is.

Crono, I think some of the older stuff was built better. Have you thought about doing a refurb job on the Advents? There are tons of tutorials online and they are highly respected speakers, I've not had the opportunity to hear them myself. I did change out the caps and resistors on my Marantz set and it made a world of difference. By the way, if you pass from your Bluray player down mixed uncompressed pcm 5.1 or 7.1 it is essentially the same thing as HD audio, I don't know if you are aware of that since you said your receivers down-sample everything. You can send it over optical or coax and get nearly the same sound quality since the Blu player just does the decoding. Some media center PC setups can do the same (over spdif or regular optical). I haven't heard any Fisher stuff before, do they have a midrange or are they a two way with 2 10" woofers? The Marantz set I mentioned pushes the midrange somewhere between the 10" woofer and the "fried egg" tweeter, it's a strange combo but it works well.

Thanks for sharing guys. Nice gear! :D

Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

Posted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 11:13 am
by samsonlonghair
This thread is in desperate need of pics.

At the radio station, we use TASCAM CD-01U CD players, Crown D-75A Stereo Power Amplifiers, Audioarts Engineering R-60 analog mixing boards, JBL 4410A Studio Monitors, and classic Electrovoice RE20 microphones. Each of the jocks has his own headphones; My favorite pair of cans is the KOSS KO-727b.


Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

Posted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 11:40 am
by Ziggy587
Is the word "Budgetphile" a real thing? Cause I've long been in that group of people that appreciate quality audio while not ever having (or willing) the money to spend on super high end gear.

As I always say, my AV setup is split into two rooms: HDTV upstairs, with newer consoles. SDTV in the basement cave, with retro consoles.

For the HDTV setup, I have an Onkyo TX-NR414. My front left and right speakers are some old Fisher floor standings that I got from a relative years ago. My center and surround left and right channel speakers are from an old Pioneer 5.1 package. They're wood and not plastic, so that's good. They'll sound just OK. They really lack a warmth to them, but they're never really shrill sounding. But maybe that's better since they cut through the mix more? I've thought about upgrading the center channel speaker to something better, but I never wanna spend the money on it. I don't think I'll ever upgrade the surround channel speakers though.

My sub is a powered JVC that was originally from another surround sound package. I got it in a pawn shop for like $8. It was an upgrade from a passive sub that I was more than happy to disconnect from my setup. It doesn't have an auto on feature, so I have to unplug it to turn it off. I just keep it off. I get plenty bass out of the floor standings. The sub only adds that low end movie theater "boom" that I don't need with normal TV watching and low volume music listening. I keep the sub set to off on my AVR, that way no frequencies get cut for the floor standings, which can handle some low end. Occasionally, I'll turn the sub on if I wanna listen to a movie real loud. But that's a rare occasion. I've thought about upgrading to a sub with an auto on feature so I can use it all the time, but I've become accustomed to not using it. Also, most of my TV watching is late night, so I'd end up leaving the sub off on my AVR all the time anyway.

I use my DVD player as a CD player with this setup. I also have a turntable that's hooked up to the AVR via a shitty preamp. What I'd really like to have is a separate receiver for just listening to music. One that has a dedicated phono input, and I'd get a dedicated CD player. But I can't find a good way to share my floor standing between two receivers, and I don't have the room for more speakers (nor would I wanna spend the money on them!). So this is just the way it has to be.

The SDTV setup has pretty much nothing to speak about as far as audio goes. I've just been using the TV speakers. I've had this idea for a while though, but I've yet to do it. The room is also the "band room" with all my gear down there. Guitar and bass amps, drums, PA system, etc. I have these two modest 12" loud speakers (the woofer is 12", they're quite large). I've thought about putting one on each side of the TV, then running audio through the mixer. It would sound awesome, but I'd have to move some stuff around to make it work. And any time I wanna jam with friends (which is rare these days) I'd have to move them back to their proper positions.

In my car, I have a mid 00's Sony Xplod CD deck. I'm not big on Xplog stuff, but I'm really fond of this deck. As far as decks go, this is the best sounding one I've heard (no I haven't heard any really really expensive decks). In my current car, for a while I just had the shitty stock speakers. But when the rear speakers failed, I decided to upgrade all four. I went with Pioneers. I have 6x9's in the back, and they can really pump, even with just the deck. I've long thought about installing an amp, but I really want to avoid having a sub. Right now, the setup sounds OK. I can get it loud enough without distorting.

I have a couple of mp3 CDs I keep in the car. I have two that have ~150 tracks on them each. It's real convenient. I have a few more by artist. Like one Incubus CD that contains all their albums, another for Rage. But I've been trying to listen to better quality. Lately when I burn a copy of a CD (I like to bring burns in the car and keep the originals in good condition) I'll make a 1:1 copy of it. What I use to do is rip it to my computer, usually in mp3 (although I always set it to 320 Kbps). Now I'm using ImgBurn to make an exact copy of the disc. Not only is this better quality, but it retains the way songs flow into each other. An album could have some tracks then end with a few seconds of silence before the next track, and then some that flow right into the next song. I hate burned CDs that fuck that up.

samsonlonghair wrote:This thread is in desperate need of pics.

Yes, I agree! When I have more time I'll have to snap some pics and get into my pro audio gear more.

Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

Posted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:01 pm
by jp1
I don't know if "Budgetphile" is considered a real thing. To me, it is. Audiophile usually stipulates a tremendous investment, often with interconnects that cost as much or more than my entire setup. I don't aspire to that, but I do enjoy good sound.

I have heard a lot of good things about Koss headphones Samson, I don't regularly use headphones, but those look nice. The gear you described looks surprisingly affordable for a professional setting. How does it sound?

Ziggy, I know just what you mean, personally although I have put a little money into what I've got many people wouldn't consider it to be anything special. I try to keep an eye out for bargains and so a lot of my purchases (aside from the LM1s and Boston CRs) came at a significant discount. The Sonos SP100, BIC Venturi, KLH stuff ($9.99 each set), I picked up most of my polk stuff at a significant price drop from market value, I don't really enjoy them these days though, and although I dropped a little coin on my hooked up sets ($500 total for the LM1 setup) and ($300 or so for the Boston setup) not counting receivers, that is pittance compared to what some will spend on a single set of speakers. I do feel they represent a good performance to price ratio which is important to me, and I am satisfied with them currently for all the multitasking they do. I want a bit higher end stuff for a standalone music only setup. That is where the Axiom or Behringer set would come in, still not exactly high end, but extremely well reviewed and if those reviews are to be believed they have characteristics I'm looking for.

EDIT: We definitely need pics in this thread. I'm working on that, it's a camera issue for me at the moment.

Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

Posted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:27 pm
by samsonlonghair
jp1 wrote:I have heard a lot of good things about Koss headphones Samson, I don't regularly use headphones, but those look nice. The gear you described looks surprisingly affordable for a professional setting. How does it sound?

I like KOSS because they last a long time. How many headphones have you thrown away because you lost sound in one ear? Any Koss headphones that retail for more than fifty bucks will last you years and years. In fact, the pair that I use are older than I am, and they still work great. I think a newer pair of headphones would sound better and be more comfortable, but I like how durable these headphones are. If I was buying a new pair of KOSS headphones, I would buy myself a pair of PRO4AAs or consider a pair of R80s if I'm on a budget.

A lot of pro gear is like that. It's more about durability and repairability than pleasing audiophiles. For instance, we use AIRCorp Pro Announcer mic compressors. We don't use these because they sound the best; we use them because they last a lifetime. Likewise, these R-60 mixing boards are older than Methuselah, but they are so easy to fix that any engineer worth his salt can keep them running ad infinitum. It's getting hard to find analog VUs these days, but you can still get the rest of the parts easily enough.

That said, in terms of sound, we can get LOUD when we really want to. One of these Crown D-75A power supplies can drive enough power to the jbl 4410A speakers to shake the walls, and there's still no distortion.

Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

Posted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:34 pm
by Ziggy587
jp1 wrote:I don't know if "Budgetphile" is considered a real thing. To me, it is. Audiophile usually stipulates a tremendous investment, often with interconnects that cost as much or more than my entire setup. I don't aspire to that, but I do enjoy good sound.

If budgetphile isn't a real thing, it is now. We're coining it! For years, I've felt trap in this world between audiophile and every thing else. I don't want my gear to totally suck, but I don't want it to cost more than my car. That puts you in no man's land, a very baron purgatory-like place.

It's funny that you mention interconnects as that is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. I'm finding it harder and harder to buy good cabling. Anything from simple RCA cables to multi conductor AV cables. Most of the time, you either have to buy cheap shit that might (probably will) break down or spend a tremendous amount of money for something of "quality". I don't need my cables to be all oxygen free gold plated super happy time bedazzled, I just need them to not fucking break! The worst part about it is cables are being sold with all these terms and high price tags, even the shitty ones!

I have a USB audio interface for recording audio to the computer. It has two 1/4" and two XLR inputs. I got away with recording NES samples, since it's mono, with just using adapters I had on hand (RCA from NES > RCA-1/8" adapter, 1/8"-1/4" adapter). But I wanted to record some stereo samples from consoles, so I needed a stereo cable that could have female RCA on one end and male 1/4" plugs on the other. I spent hours searching for something that wasn't cheap garbage and didn't cost a million dollars. Even tried to find adapters. I came up with nothing. What I ended up doing was making my own cable. I bought a standard RCA stereo cable and put 1/4" plugs on one end and got a (hard) male to female adapter for the other end. The funny thing is that I couldn't even find decent standard RCA cables. Sorting through the cheap garbage and expensive Monster shit, I settled with a 6' cable that was about $15. When I cut off one end to solder on 1/4" plugs, I wasn't at all impressed with the internals of the cable. You wanna stay away from really thin cables, but thicker cables could just mean thick jacket and not necessarily a thicker gauge wire.

Another recent example is 1/4" patch cables. One of my current projects is to finally have a decent pedal board set up (for guitar effects). You need small (about 6") patch cables between pedals. The options are to buy 6 or 12 in a pack at an affordable price, or spend like $6 each on something that still doesn't look like amazing quality, or spend an arm and a leg on high end shit. My solution was to just buy a decent 20' instrument cable, and a bunch of 1/4" connectors, and make my own patch cables. I understand the labor involved in making these cables, since they're hand solder, it's the same amount of labor to make a 50' cable that it is to make a 6" cable. But still, I don't want my patch cables to total hundreds of dollars!

I slowly got there, but I opt to just make my own cables whenever possible these days. You can often get what you need for less money, or at least the same amount of money, and end up with much better quality.


Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

Posted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:37 pm
2ch stereo or bust