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alex
alex Dork
12/29/09 6:31 p.m.

I know we have a fair amount of audio geeks on here, and I'm looking for a little advice (I'm a reformed a/v gear nerd myself).

With the new house, and new room, and new listening habits, I'm thinking of a new stereo system. I'd like something capable of pumping some serious sound occasionally, for time that I'm hosting an event that call for such shenanigans, or for times when I feel like screaming along with Tom Waits or wailing along with Freddy Mercury. However, I'd also like something capable of a little nuance and warmth, because 9/10ths of the time, I'll be listening to jazz records while I putz around here or putter around the kitchen.

Let me say now that I'm not opposed to two systems, and that I've been thinking of buying/building/restoring an old tube system for turntable use.

I should also point out that this won't be for TV/movie/surround work. That's a separate system in a separate room (and likely a separate thread here down the road).

I'm giving serious thought to conscripting a smallish PA system for the Big Sound requirements. Something with a powered head, maybe 200-400w, 2 mains, and maybe a sub capability. Nothing fancy, will likely run me <$500, and it'd be multi-use if I ever found myself in need of a PA outside the band, should the odd instance arise. Aside from less-than-stellar cosmetics (unless you like tolex), why is this a bad idea?

How about other outside-the-box ideas for home audio capable of big power?

mndsm
mndsm Reader
12/29/09 6:48 p.m.

Cheap car amps from the pawn shop, inverters, and there ya go. Will destroy most powered home units at a fraction of the cost! And you can hide em in the floor for that stealthy sound.

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 SuperDork
12/29/09 7:07 p.m.

Ehhhh...... But it'll sound like butthole.

Are we doing this from scratch?

For the loud ( you won't get both systems in one) you want Cerwin Vegas. Big ones. Start looking on Craigslist for them.

To drive them, you want an old Adcom amp or an Onkyo M-series amp. (Craigslist.) And whatever preamp. Adcom will probably be cheap. Any GTP-series will be fine. Again, Craigslist or Ebay.

Then cd player of your choice. You'll bust your eardrums if you want to. Cerwin Vegas are some of the loudest speakers on the planet, even if they don't sound that great.

I have less than $1000 in my rig, but it's been in development for years.

paul
paul New Reader
12/29/09 7:14 p.m.

My audio setup is around $470 total:

-Onkyo TX-8555 receiver http://www.onkyousa.com/model.cfm?class=Receiver&m=TX-8555

-Onkyo SKW 204 subwoofer http://www.onkyousa.com/model.cfm?m=SKW-204&p=i&class=Speaker

-Sony SS B3000 speakers http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&productId=8198552921665191300

If I had to do it over I'd get another sub, but the receiver & speakers are unbeatable for their respective prices.

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 SuperDork
1/13/10 4:19 p.m.

You ever find anything?

alex
alex Dork
1/13/10 5:01 p.m.

I'm still shopping. I actually may piece together a small component PA rackmount-based PA, just cause that'll come in handy in the future anyway. If I do that, I'm sure I'll wind up either piecing together a vintage tube Hi-Fi setup, or building one from a kit just for the halibut.

But I appreciate your suggestions - that stuff all looks highly appropriate for my needs, if I decide to go that way. Any more suggestions you have, I'm all ears.

aussiesmg
aussiesmg SuperDork
1/13/10 7:06 p.m.

Just one thing to say "Bose"

mtn
mtn SuperDork
1/13/10 7:13 p.m.

Look for a high-end audio place around you, and see if they have used stuff. We have 3 pretty good sounding systems in our house that were all put together that way.

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo Reader
1/13/10 7:49 p.m.

Haha at Bose. Dont like highs, dont like lows, buy Bose!

If you want loud more than you want quality, a PA system is the way to go.

For outdoors or loud inside parties (multi-room house parties) I have a set of 18" Soundtech subwoofers in ported cabinets powered off a BGW amp, and a set of Peaveys with 15" Black Widow drivers powered off of a Peavey amp. Peavey pre-amp. It wails! But its huge, ugly, heavy, and a pain to move.\

Unfortunately since I moved out of my party house in Platteville and into my beautiful house in a nice neighborhood, its mainly good at collecting dust in my storage room. But once in a while I break them out for an outside party, and it rocks the socks off most stereos.

zomby woof
zomby woof Reader
1/13/10 9:26 p.m.

If you don't mind doing a little work, and have access to a table saw, build your own speakers.

You can build real (actual) high end stuff at box store speaker prices, or even less. The parts have never been so good, and the prices have never been so reasonable. It's so easy to build really good sounding speakers these days, it's hardly challenging anymore.

Check out these sites, and look at some of the projects. You can't buy stuff like this at many times the price.

http://techtalk.parts-express.com/index.php

http://www.zaphaudio.com/

If you're really energetic, build one of these Marchand amps. I've built a few, and they sound far better then their price would indicate. If you sweet talk him, he'll give you a great deal on a set of assembled boards.

http://www.marchandelec.com/

Grtechguy
Grtechguy SuperDork
1/14/10 8:07 a.m.
aussiesmg wrote: Just one thing to say "Bose"

I love mine.....got 6 speakers when a retail outlet closed in the Mall for $100 that plus a $100 Sony 10" sub, and a $10 Craigslist special JBL center.

sounds pretty damn good

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 SuperDork
1/14/10 9:20 a.m.

"Blose"

Buy Our E36 M3ty Electronics

The closest thing that Bose ever got to making a decent sounding ANYTHING was the 901. And even then, they just sounded... STRANGE.

zomby woof
zomby woof Reader
1/14/10 9:28 a.m.

Audio is subjective, and if you're happy with it, that's all that matters, but Bose is the Fram of audio.

They're not an audio company, but a marketing company.

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 SuperDork
1/14/10 9:36 a.m.
zomby woof wrote: Audio is subjective, and if you're happy with it, that's all that matters, but Bose is the Fram of audio. They're not an audio company, but a marketing company.

Yep. Bose and Monster are separated at birth.

alex
alex Dork
1/14/10 12:11 p.m.
zomby woof wrote: Check out these sites, and look at some of the projects. You can't buy stuff like this at many times the price. http://techtalk.parts-express.com/index.php http://www.zaphaudio.com/ If you're really energetic, build one of these Marchand amps. I've built a few, and they sound far better then their price would indicate. If you sweet talk him, he'll give you a great deal on a set of assembled boards. http://www.marchandelec.com/

For some reason, it hadn't occurred to me to build the speakers. Sounds like a fun project, and I could do them to match custom shelves I'm building that speakers will be going on. Great idea!

xci_ed6
xci_ed6 HalfDork
1/14/10 1:07 p.m.

I built two pair of speakers quite a few years ago, and you really can do much better than you can buy them. For example, I used 3/4" MDF, most other 4" driver speakers will have 1/2" or smaller, and often LDF/particle board. Once done I had a set of speakers that actually has people asking "where did you hide the subwoofer?"

alex
alex Dork
1/14/10 1:20 p.m.

Nice. How much power do you need for a pair of 4" drivers (and I'm assuming tweeters)?

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 SuperDork
1/14/10 1:28 p.m.
alex wrote: Nice. How much power do you need for a pair of 4" drivers (and I'm assuming tweeters)?

There's no real answer to that...

Depends on cabinet volume, driver type, crossover design, etc....

And then there's that whole thing that the power rating isn't really what matters, either... I could make your ears bleed with 8 watts without distortion with the right combination.

But i know about the "where's the sub?" question... I have a pair of Paradigm Esprits, just a little 2-way tower with 6.5" mids, and the low end extension on them is flat out amazing.

Granted, they're being pushed with a freak of an Onkyo amp, but that's just part of the equation.

alex
alex Dork
1/14/10 1:30 p.m.

Okay, it looks like I'm getting in over my head. I like that. Is there a "... For Dummies" resource for this kind of thing?

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 SuperDork
1/14/10 1:35 p.m.
alex wrote: Okay, it looks like I'm getting in over my head. I like that. Is there a "... For Dummies" resource for this kind of thing?

Hahah, my main point was..."Don't worry about power." Build the speakers you want, THEN find an amp suitable.

There's a lot of info on the Parts Express forums if you've decided that you want to build your own. There's also a few DIYaudio forums. (one of them may be called just that, i think)

But i'm a little lost right now... are we still looking for head banging speakers? Or are we now looking at 2-channel quality sounds?

I haven't built speakers, or really anything audio for that matter, but i've been doing this for awhile, and i've had a metric E36 M3 ton of gear pass through my hands. If you want to get me on AIM if that's your thing, or through some other medium, let me know. I'm on my way home now, and i'll check it again after the girlfriend leaves for work, and i'll answer anything i can.

zomby woof
zomby woof Reader
1/14/10 1:36 p.m.

Yes, it's that techtalk forum.

If there was a GRM forum for audio, that would be it. No attitude, just people having fun doing what they like, and a lot of them doing it on a budget.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim HalfDork
1/14/10 2:02 p.m.
mtn wrote: Look for a high-end audio place around you, and see if they have used stuff. We have 3 pretty good sounding systems in our house that were all put together that way.

+1. That's how I got my two "systems" (plus some ebaying). The Mac I'm sitting on plays through a Cyrus I amp with JBL Control One monitors (less than GBP100 for all of it) and down stairs I've got a Cyrus 3 amp with a Cyrus whatever CD player that owes me about GBP400. OK, so they're not party-type loud but they're loud enough and sound superb.

alex
alex Dork
1/14/10 3:58 p.m.
93celicaGT2 wrote: But i'm a little lost right now... are we still looking for head banging speakers? Or are we now looking at 2-channel quality sounds?

Yes.

Really, I'm just starting to explore my options for quality components, and I have a couple different needs, so a couple different definitions of quality, in this case.

And thanks for the offer of private tutelage. When I get into this a little more seriously, I'll probably take you up on your offer for help.

xci_ed6
xci_ed6 HalfDork
1/14/10 4:06 p.m.
alex wrote: Nice. How much power do you need for a pair of 4" drivers (and I'm assuming tweeters)?

I'm using a 50w Technics stereo receiver from the early 80's. I've never touched 20% on the volume slider.

I used Audax kevlar cone woofers (which don't seem to be available anymore) and Vifa 3/4" silk dome tweeters. All parts were sourced from http://www.partsexpress.com

digdug18
digdug18 Reader
1/14/10 4:48 p.m.

Yeah, parts express does have some excellent deals, especially in the car audio end, but their quality of products isn't the highest. But I'm fine with that when my $100 pair of speakers, with matched box, ports and crossovers sounds better then the $500 Klipsch speakers.

Sign up for their emails though, so you can get the deals quick, before they sell out, which happens occasionally.

parts express also, with every quarterly catalog, sends out a speaker that you can put together using parts from their catalog. All the parts come as a kit that you can build yourself.

Andrew

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