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Hi Fi and Home theater set ups


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26 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

I let two consoles, one tube mono and one solid-state stereo, go when I emptied my parents house.  I didn't have any place to put them.  They were nice pieces of furniture too.  Regrettable.

These are solid state circa 1976, amp (MC2125), preamp (C27), and Tuner.  Turntable is a 1976 Dual 1245.

Also, our dining room looks like a disaster area right now because we are turning it into an office and a few things were moved from the living room to make way for the console.  But it's helping us get more use out of another room eventually.  So there's that.

Edited by dcbc
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54 minutes ago, dcbc said:

Just brought this home.  It belonged to my parents.  Under my breath, I call it the "Beautiful Monster."  It's an early 1960s Heath & Brown Chinoiserie credenza, modified to house a hifi system.  It's 9' 4" in length and weighs (if I had to guess) between 350 and 400 pounds empty (the speakers weigh 60 lbs each).  The components and speakers are out temporarily (amp is being repaired, speakers need new surrounds, turntable needs a new belt and cartridge just because).  I'll have my other stereo, turntable and speakers in it until everything is ready to put back in.  But I'm looking forward to having a dedicated stereo system in the living room.  
 

More pictures to follow as it comes together.

1fe4b8bbb845a0248f4a58fe27862c7e.jpgb037778c4b401e916dc440db20056ca6.jpg

 

MCITOSH.jpg

That’s an incredible piece.

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15 minutes ago, hobbes2702 said:

That’s an incredible piece.

Thanks.  I think so, too.  Kind of amazed every time I see it.  I've been fiddling with that stereo in that cabinet since I was a kid.  Crazy to have it in my house now.

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18 hours ago, dcbc said:

Just brought this home.  It belonged to my parents.  Under my breath, I call it the "Beautiful Monster."  It's an early 1960s Heath & Brown Chinoiserie credenza, modified to house a hifi system.  It's 9' 4" in length and weighs (if I had to guess) between 350 and 400 pounds empty (the speakers weigh 60 lbs each).  The components and speakers are out temporarily (amp is being repaired, speakers need new surrounds, turntable needs a new belt and cartridge just because).  I'll have my other stereo, turntable and speakers in it until everything is ready to put back in.  But I'm looking forward to having a dedicated stereo system in the living room.  
 

More pictures to follow as it comes together.

1fe4b8bbb845a0248f4a58fe27862c7e.jpgb037778c4b401e916dc440db20056ca6.jpg

 

MCITOSH.jpg

This is outstanding.  My Grandpa had something much cheaper, but it was a beautiful piece of furniture.  He always threatened to play his Bob Wills records on it and I would cringe.  I was a dipshit.

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7 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

That's really cool.  The speakers are probably the only dated performers, the rest should be top shelf.

My recollection is that they always sounded pretty good.  Probably worth getting the surrounds replaced. 

At the moment, I've got some older Sony short towers in there and am not overwhelmed with them.  But they're doing the trick with a modest Sony turntable and an old Pioneer integrated home theater type amp.  Just nice to have some music coming out of it. 

The replacement cartridge I ordered for the Dual turntable turned out to be just a stylus, and it didn't fit.  So I returned it and have a another stylus on order.  Got the doors opening and closing a little bit better.

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Yeah, the thing with speakers is that technology has come a LONG way in 50 years.  I'm not suggesting they don't sound good or at least nostalgic, but you might be able to get better sound out of smaller boxes from the modern era.

That said, the original speakers obviously have a ton of history to them and I wouldn't blink at using them, either.

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Just now, jimmyjazz said:

Yeah, the thing with speakers is that technology has come a LONG way in 50 years.  I'm not suggesting they don't sound good or at least nostalgic, but you might be able to get better sound out of smaller boxes from the modern era.

That said, the original speakers obviously have a ton of history to them and I wouldn't blink at using them, either.

As an engineer, what kind of technologies have changed?  The materials, mostly?  Crossovers are still about the same as they ever were, right?

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29 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

Yeah, the thing with speakers is that technology has come a LONG way in 50 years.  I'm not suggesting they don't sound good or at least nostalgic, but you might be able to get better sound out of smaller boxes from the modern era.

That said, the original speakers obviously have a ton of history to them and I wouldn't blink at using them, either.

Yeah, definitely paper cones.  Don't know what kind of magnets, but they are substantial, whatever they are.  But apart from that, they seem to be as overengineered as can be.  And nostalgia is going to carry them a bit, particularly since I already have them here.  Easy enough to replace if they don't perform.  Like I said, apart from new foam and getting the caps in the crossovers checked, they are in fine shape.  So I don't expect to spend much to get them in shape.

Edited by dcbc
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26 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

As an engineer, what kind of technologies have changed?  The materials, mostly?  Crossovers are still about the same as they ever were, right?

Big advancements in magnet strength, cooling (thus power handling), driver rigidity and suppression of breakup modes, radiation response, and even how the crossover affects radiation response.  I'm sure I left some out.

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Apparently, if I run a McIntosh eq with these, they will get down to 20 hz.  MQ104 seems like it will work for less than the price of an inexpensive sub and keep with the self-contained look of the setup.  Will just see how they sound once I get them back up and running first .  Not going to dump much more money into this setup before I can listen to it as is. 

Edited by dcbc
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Ok... so I want a to build a stereo for the basement. Turn table tape decks and cd changer speaker all of it. Don’t want to break the bank but honestly not even sure where to start. Is everything Bluetooth now? Also can I play my phone through the receiver? Been buying old tapes off eBay and have a ton of my parents old records. What do I need to get?

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I'm going to be looking for a bluetooth something or other to plug into my old preamp at some point just so I can have the option of streaming music from my phone.  Doesn't seem like it should be too expensive to get something that can handshake with my phone and has RCA hookups. 

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17 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

The vast majority of equipment should hook up hard wired via RCA cables to a basic receiver.  The wild card would be making sure your phone/tablet/whatever can communicate over Bluetooth, etc.

I assume you want one turntable, one tape deck, and a (built-in) FM tuner?

Yup if they hook up together with RCA is fine but id definitely like Bluetooth capability so I can play my phone through the receiver if I’m lazy. How much should I budget?

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6 hours ago, dcbc said:

I'm going to be looking for a bluetooth something or other to plug into my old preamp at some point just so I can have the option of streaming music from my phone.  Doesn't seem like it should be too expensive to get something that can handshake with my phone and has RCA hookups. 

 

34 minutes ago, Bogeywon said:

Yup if they hook up together with RCA is fine but id definitely like Bluetooth capability so I can play my phone through the receiver if I’m lazy. How much should I budget?

I understand that Bluetooth protocols are pretty decent for audio these days, if less than audiophile quality.  YMMV.  Earlier iterations sucked shit through a straw and had BTs limited range.

There is a discrete component these days known as a "streamer" or network audio player that has its own high-quality DACs that permit using digital streaming and Bluetooth.  I assume that those connect to an amplifier via the usual L/R RCA jacks, but can't say for sure.

https://www.whathifi.com/best-buys/streaming/best-music-streamers

These are probably what you want.  Most of those are pretty primo, you can find some cheaper ones.  These generally permit use of internet streamed audio, which is a better source than say mp3 via bluetooth.  Good DACs can make up for crappy lossy sources though.

 

Edited by TwiceHorn
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6 minutes ago, CooterBrown said:

Any recent receiver will have Bluetooth built in. You’d have to go out of your way to buy one without it.

Those were just proposed because presumably those two are content with their amps.  At those costs, though, it becomes worthwhile to consider buying an entire network-capable receiver, though.

As I think cheeseweasel mentioned, a bit of the cost of those is probably licensing fees to be able to advertise "Spotify" and whatnot.  Even if they aren't licensing all the HT stuff.

Edited by TwiceHorn
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3 hours ago, TwiceHorn said:

 

I understand that Bluetooth protocols are pretty decent for audio these days, if less than audiophile quality.  YMMV.  Earlier iterations sucked shit through a straw and had BTs limited range.

There is a discrete component these days known as a "streamer" or network audio player that has its own high-quality DACs that permit using digital streaming and Bluetooth.  I assume that those connect to an amplifier via the usual L/R RCA jacks, but can't say for sure.

https://www.whathifi.com/best-buys/streaming/best-music-streamers

These are probably what you want.  Most of those are pretty primo, you can find some cheaper ones.  These generally permit use of internet streamed audio, which is a better source than say mp3 via bluetooth.  Good DACs can make up for crappy lossy sources though.

 

I grabbed one earlier today for about $30.  If it sucks, I can return it. It's BT 5.0 with Aptx low latency.  100 ft of range.  RCA/3.5mm out.  Seems like it will be fine.

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On 1/29/2021 at 6:45 PM, dcbc said:

Just brought this home. 

Don't change anything there. Vintage Mac is as classic as it gets. Could it sound 'better?' Probably. Will it be better? No way. Do a fusion of the newest posts and hide a little Bluetooth APTx receiver behind it so you get modern streaming from phone or digital source. And then just enjoy that as-is.

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2 hours ago, Sam Lin said:

Don't change anything there. Vintage Mac is as classic as it gets. Could it sound 'better?' Probably. Will it be better? No way. Do a fusion of the newest posts and hide a little Bluetooth APTx receiver behind it so you get modern streaming from phone or digital source. And then just enjoy that as-is.

That's the plan.  I'm just running modern components until I can get the McIntosh stuff serviced as needed.  Plus, it already fits the rack spaces.  I grew up with this stereo and taught myself to work it by the time I was six.  It's not going anywhere but back in its place in the console.

 

BT APTx en route. 

Edited by dcbc
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I will be interested to see if you find the Bluetooth adequate.  I suppose people use it with phones and headphones all the time.  But headphones and noisy environment.  I think a good amp and speakers are more likely to expose the quality of the source and its initial transmission bandwidth.

My early experiences with it put me off.  I am satisfied with higher bandwidth internet streaming through a good DAC, though.  

More critical listeners like jimmyjazz have expressed dissatisfaction with that, but I'm not sure how good his DAC was/is.

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1 hour ago, TwiceHorn said:

I will be interested to see if you find the Bluetooth adequate.  I suppose people use it with phones and headphones all the time.  But headphones and noisy environment.  I think a good amp and speakers are more likely to expose the quality of the source and its initial transmission bandwidth.

My early experiences with it put me off.  I am satisfied with higher bandwidth internet streaming through a good DAC, though.  

More critical listeners like jimmyjazz have expressed dissatisfaction with that, but I'm not sure how good his DAC was/is.

We'll see.  I'm not shooting .flac and .shn files at it.  Just planning to hit it with my streaming library from time to time.  If it's no good, I'll return it and may try to find an older Chromecast Audio with the 3.5mm out jack since our whole house is set up for Google/Pixel/Chromebook anyway.  I'm pumping enough money into this thing as is.  So a higher end DAC isn't in the cards right now.  The primary purpose of this setup for me is to play vinyl and look cool.  I'll probably hook a CD player up to it, but my CDs are in a couple of boxes in the closet.  I'd like to rectify that situation though. 

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Ok... so I want a to build a stereo for the basement. Turn table tape decks and cd changer speaker all of it. Don’t want to break the bank but honestly not even sure where to start. Is everything Bluetooth now? Also can I play my phone through the receiver? Been buying old tapes off eBay and have a ton of my parents old records. What do I need to get?

If you get a new receiver be aware that many don’t come with a phono preamp needed for a turntable anymore.


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I will be interested to see if you find the Bluetooth adequate.  I suppose people use it with phones and headphones all the time.  But headphones and noisy environment.  I think a good amp and speakers are more likely to expose the quality of the source and its initial transmission bandwidth.
My early experiences with it put me off.  I am satisfied with higher bandwidth internet streaming through a good DAC, though.  
More critical listeners like jimmyjazz have expressed dissatisfaction with that, but I'm not sure how good his DAC was/is.

My audiophile type friends are using Aris BluMe or iFi Zen blue on their existing systems. The ones I heard sound pretty good.

I will stream if listening to background music but not when “serious” listening.


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4 hours ago, TexPx said:


If you get a new receiver be aware that many don’t come with a phono preamp needed for a turntable anymore.


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I’m gonna call my Sweetwater guy and see what he can build me, not looking to spend a ton yet want to see if I use it enough. Is like 600-700 not enough to build a system?

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I’m gonna call my Sweetwater guy and see what he can build me, not looking to spend a ton yet want to see if I use it enough. Is like 600-700 not enough to build a system?

You talking about,
Receiver/amp
Turntable/cartridge
Phono Preamp
Tape deck, cassette?
Speakers
Cables
?
Might be tough if you want good quality.

I would consider used stuff. Audio nuts are constantly upgrading and selling their “old” stuff.

I have three quality two channel systems and only have one piece I bought new.


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28 minutes ago, TexPx said:


You talking about,
Receiver/amp
Turntable/cartridge
Phono Preamp
Tape deck, cassette?
Speakers
Cables
?
Might be tough if you want good quality.

I would consider used stuff. Audio nuts are constantly upgrading and selling their “old” stuff.

I have three quality two channel systems and only have one piece I bought new.


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I’m not afraid of used. What kinda budget should I have if I go used or new? I don’t want garbage but I don’t need to power a club ya know

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What's the best resource for finding quality used audio equipment?

I’m pretty much set so I haven’t been in buying/trading mode in a while.
In the past I’ve used
Craigslist
Facebook marketplace
US Audio mart
Audiogon
Audiokarma
eBay
EstateSales


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Audiogon is probably the most reliable in terms of not getting screwed over.  It's a pretty focused and small community.

That said, 5-10 years ago I made a bunch of money buying on craigslist or eBay and selling on Audiogon, simply because Audiogon has a "Blue Book" and most people abide by that pricing.  So, if you can wrangle deals some 30-50 percent below Bluebook elsewhere, which wasn't typically difficult, you could sell on Audiogon for a profit.  It was a bit of a beating, I either needed to scale up or quit, so I did the latter.

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20 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

Audiogon is probably the most reliable in terms of not getting screwed over.  It's a pretty focused and small community.

That said, 5-10 years ago I made a bunch of money buying on craigslist or eBay and selling on Audiogon, simply because Audiogon has a "Blue Book" and most people abide by that pricing.  So, if you can wrangle deals some 30-50 percent below Bluebook elsewhere, which wasn't typically difficult, you could sell on Audiogon for a profit.  It was a bit of a beating, I either needed to scale up or quit, so I did the latter.

About 20 years ago (gah!) I put together my system on a budget this way.  There was an article in Rolling Stone about how to get used audiophile stuff at different price points.  I researched a bunch of decent stuff on a budget and I've used the same system that was mostly 20 years old then, for another 20 years.  It's probably time for me to upgrade, though I think my hearing is getting worse, not better, so I'm not sure what the increase in utility would actually be.  I went to the local audiophile shop to pick up some cables and saw my Amp/pre-Amp in their in house "museum."  Yeah, I'll be watching this thread closely.  

 

Edited by Chad Fuck
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Audiogon is probably the most reliable in terms of not getting screwed over.  It's a pretty focused and small community.
That said, 5-10 years ago I made a bunch of money buying on craigslist or eBay and selling on Audiogon, simply because Audiogon has a "Blue Book" and most people abide by that pricing.  So, if you can wrangle deals some 30-50 percent below Bluebook elsewhere, which wasn't typically difficult, you could sell on Audiogon for a profit.  It was a bit of a beating, I either needed to scale up or quit, so I did the latter.

abbfbeda8a1194b48353c6765a17f450.jpg
Bought this Aragon preamp from Audiogon for my main system. My power amp needs a low impedance output and they can be hard to find. Also has basic remote functions, which is all I need.

I preferred Audiokarma because there were more enthusiasts an fewer flippers.


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22 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

Audiogon is probably the most reliable in terms of not getting screwed over.  It's a pretty focused and small community.

That said, 5-10 years ago I made a bunch of money buying on craigslist or eBay and selling on Audiogon, simply because Audiogon has a "Blue Book" and most people abide by that pricing.  So, if you can wrangle deals some 30-50 percent below Bluebook elsewhere, which wasn't typically difficult, you could sell on Audiogon for a profit.  It was a bit of a beating, I either needed to scale up or quit, so I did the latter.

Seconded on Audiogon.

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9 minutes ago, TexPx said:


abbfbeda8a1194b48353c6765a17f450.jpg

I preferred Audiokarma because there were more enthusiasts an fewer flippers.


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Nice rig!  I sold a gorgeous, nearly-new Aragon power amp to a guy overseas.  I think shipping was 30% of the cost.  He really wanted it, so OK.

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Little late to the BT streaming discussion but I’ve found slinging to an AppleTV (airplay) with an optical output to my reciever/amp that had a built in DAC (for the optical input) produces incredible results.  It cost me the price of an optical cord and I get the benefit of the appleTV interface showing Spotify on my TV. It’s a really elegant solution tbqh.

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33 minutes ago, troph said:

Little late to the BT streaming discussion but I’ve found slinging to an AppleTV (airplay) with an optical output to my reciever/amp that had a built in DAC (for the optical input) produces incredible results.  It cost me the price of an optical cord and I get the benefit of the appleTV interface showing Spotify on my TV. It’s a really elegant solution tbqh.

Yeah, I do chromecast to tv and optical out to 15 year old receiver.  I have to have the tv on, and muted, although for "home theater," leaving it on works pretty well.  But if it's on, I get the Spotify or whatever graphics.  VLC has chromecast built in, so I can use my phone or PC if I want to.

Edited by TwiceHorn
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On 2/4/2021 at 3:09 PM, Chad Fuck said:

About 20 years ago (gah!) I put together my system on a budget this way.  There was an article in Rolling Stone about how to get used audiophile stuff at different price points.  I researched a bunch of decent stuff on a budget and I've used the same system that was mostly 20 years old then, for another 20 years.  It's probably time for me to upgrade, though I think my hearing is getting worse, not better, so I'm not sure what the increase in utility would actually be.  I went to the local audiophile shop to pick up some cables and saw my Amp/pre-Amp in their in house "museum."  Yeah, I'll be watching this thread closely.  

 

Man, unless you want new connectivity, I'm not sure there's much advantage to upgrading.  You can get different stuff for the heck of getting different stuff, or just improve it across the board, but analog stuff probably hasn't changed all that much.

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14 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

Man, unless you want new connectivity, I'm not sure there's much advantage to upgrading.  You can get different stuff for the heck of getting different stuff, or just improve it across the board, but analog stuff probably hasn't changed all that much.

The only "breakthrough" I can think of in analog gear is Class D amplifier circuitry, and frankly, I'm not sure it sounds any better.  It's just smaller and runs cooler, so if that's a thing, a modern power amp might make a difference.

D/A converters are "better" but probably not perceptibly so.

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27 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

Yeah, I do chromecast to tv and optical out to 15 year old receiver.  I have to have the tv on, and muted, although for "home theater," leaving it on works pretty well.  But if it's on, I get the Spotify or whatever graphics.  VLC has chromecast built in, so I can use my phone or PC if I want to.

Where’s the DAC in that set up?  Mine is built into the receiver/amp. 

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10 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

The only "breakthrough" I can think of in analog gear is Class D amplifier circuitry, and frankly, I'm not sure it sounds any better.  It's just smaller and runs cooler, so if that's a thing, a modern power amp might make a difference.

D/A converters are "better" but probably not perceptibly so.

I defer to your expertise.  I kind of count DAC as a connectivity issue.  Since he didn't gripe about not being able to use streaming sources, I figured that wasn't a big issue.

And, if you want that, you can just get a discrete streamer, and DAC if you're really fancy, and not have to mess with your other components.

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