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Audio Equipment

paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
edited August 2015 in The hub
Hi All

So I used to have a nice little separates set up for my audio listening. Cant remember all the bits and bobs but suffice to say they have probably rotted away in my friends barn since I have been in Canada.

My small one bed apartment in BC is pretty open plan and probably only needs one set up to provide me with access to music - I am currently limited to a set of portable speakers I link to my mp3/laptop.

I would like to get something that maybe doubles for TV/Movie sound (not surround particularly), can play wireless and bluetooth, probably not bothered with a CD player. Planning to upgrade my laptop soon - anything I should be thinking about in that regard with a view to music/video output?

Anyone got any info on what is currently good? Some kind of future proofing might be nice! At least a month!
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Posts

  • bob6397bob6397 Posts: 218
    When it comes to (home) sound systems, things don't really change that often..

    I would recommend anything these guys recommend though - http://www.whathifi.com/awards/2014

    I would be looking for a full separates system if you want it to play from multiple sources though - other systems just don't have the connectivity.

    In terms of wireless, if you find one that you like the look of but it lacks bluetooth, try one of these http://www.logitech.com/en-gb/product/bluetooth-audio-adapter - I got one on Amazon for £20 and it sounds decent streaming from my iPod Touch to my stereo.. Great retro-fit :)

    For your laptop, there isn't much difference between laptops in terms of sound quality - the main advantage will come from using an external soundcard. I use one of these (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Creative-Sound-Blaster-System-Preamp/dp/B00GMDWNJK/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1434480857&sr=8-7&keywords=creative+sound+blaster) from my laptop for day-to-day listening and it sounds great (Just as good as my Pro-spec recording interface that cost me just shy of £300 for output quality..)

    bob6397
    Boardman HT Team - Hardtail
    Rose Pro-SL 2000 - Roadie
  • oodboooodboo Posts: 2,171
    You can get sound bars and sound bases for enhancing the audio from TVs. I think these often have Bluetooth to play music from your phone or something. Might be something to look for if you're limited for space.

    I'm not much of an audiophile so I don't know much about these things, I just tend to buy something reasonably priced that suits my current needs. In the past when I've spent a lot on something it tends to be out of date before I feel like I've had my monies worth out of it.
    I love horses, best of all the animals. I love horses, they're my friends.

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  • paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    Yeah - my old separates kit had a tape deck and a cd unit, radio receiver and lasted me for about a decade but I got it second hand from a mate when he upgraded so as a whole it was about 15-20 years old, sounded great and never put a foot wrong.

    Now it needs to be able to communicate with so much other stuff and I have little enough knowledge of modern computing kit that I hardly know where to start.

    For example, THIS looks like it might do the trick although 30W output sounds a bit limp from memory of these things.

    TV sound bars and so on might be worth a look but the ones I have seen/heard before dont inspire me to use them with my tele let alone to play music.
    Closet jockey wheel pimp censored .
  • bob6397bob6397 Posts: 218
    That looks like a decent bit of kit - matched with some decent speakers that would sound awesome..

    30W does not sound much on the face of it - but with high-end kit they measure the power differently. 30W continuous = 60W program = 120W peak... which actually is quite a lot.

    The power output on these is the amount of power the amp can give out with (quoted from the website) 0.00THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) - many manufacturers will quote power at much higher THD to make it sound better (Bigger numbers = better right?).

    There are a lot of tricks out there to make products sound on paper like they are better than they actually are..

    I would match that to a decent pair speakers, invest in a pair of speaker stands if you haven't already and go for it :)

    bob6397

    (PS Decent speakers will be rated at continuous watts so you want a pair of 30W speakers unless otherwise stated)
    Boardman HT Team - Hardtail
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  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    I would be getting a zeplin of zeplin air.

    Might still get one as my HiFi is still in their boxes in the garage after the move.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
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  • paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    I would be getting a zeplin of zeplin air.

    Might still get one as my HiFi is still in their boxes in the garage after the move.

    Compatible with Apple and iOS = fail.
    Closet jockey wheel pimp censored .
  • bob6397bob6397 Posts: 218
    I run a 1amp fuse in line so they are limited to 8w continuous

    Erm.. could you explain how this works..?

    Since P=VxI, you are saying that having a 1A fuse stops the power exceeding 8W when you have a voltage of what? 0.125V? Not sure that's quite right...

    bob6397

    PS I'm genuinely curious - not being sarcastic ;)
    Boardman HT Team - Hardtail
    Rose Pro-SL 2000 - Roadie
  • bob6397bob6397 Posts: 218
    Sounds about right - knew there would be something else in there :)

    Although still struggling to see why..? Surely just buy an amp that matches your speakers in the first place? So it won't blow them up?

    8W is nothing - I use 380W (RMS) as my small system and 1000W (RMS) for my big one (that one is really big though - doesn't come out in the house lol) - Surely that amount of power can't fill ant sort of decent sized space properly?

    bob6397
    Boardman HT Team - Hardtail
    Rose Pro-SL 2000 - Roadie
  • Clockworkmark31Clockworkmark31 Posts: 1,053
    Wow, at having read some of the responses I am truly shocked.

    IMO a modern AV amp like a Sony STR-DN1060 or something of equivalent would be the best way of future proofing a audio system. You can use "purist" modes just for audio, if you change your mind for surround sound you would have the infrastructure already. An ample range of connections are covered, along with 1 and 2 zones audio and video outputs with independent control. Plus as technology changes you have the option to flash the firmware in order to support new changes.

    Getting back to power output of an amp this is going to be hard to explain without giving a very detailed explanation.

    But to break it down it is all to do with efficiency, how efficiently can you power a driver (speaker)? So you should be looking at the sensitivity of speakers and impedance matching them with a given amplifier.

    If I were to take my amplifier and speakers I know that the most I will ask from the amplifier is to supply 3.5v in to 8R speakers this means I am drawing 437mA that would equate to around 5W in power being supplied by the amplifier and I can tell you this is neighbor annoying. But it all depends on matching the sensitivity or impedance of speakers to your amplifier. If I were using speakers that were less sensitive/higher impedance I would be asking the amplifier to work harder to drive the speakers, at this point you run in to clipping of the amplifier.

    You will be amazed at how much power you are actually using, all these quotes supplied by manufactures are usually PMPO the maximum amount of power available for a given few milliseconds until the amplifier goes in to over voltage/current/thermal shutdown.

    As for sticking a 1 amp fuse in series with the amplifier and speaker, you will damage the amplifier way before the speaker blows. And I can't see the need for doing this at all. Given modern amplifiers are always monitoring the output for over current or over voltage or if they are getting too stressed they will limit the output also is FETs are getting too warm the will limit the output as the logic would dictate that the amplifier is being over driven.

    IMO no fuse between the speakers and amplifier is required unless you are scared your amplifier would develop a monumental failure and set your speakers on fire.

    Also for people who are saying I am using 380w you will be using no where near this amount of power. The power stated on an amplifier is the maximum it can produce per given time and not the amplifiers constant power output.
  • Clockworkmark31Clockworkmark31 Posts: 1,053
    I run a 1amp fuse in line so they are limited to 8w continuous

    Erm.. could you explain how this works..?

    Since P=VxI, you are saying that having a 1A fuse stops the power exceeding 8W when you have a voltage of what? 0.125V? Not sure that's quite right...

    bob6397

    PS I'm genuinely curious - not being sarcastic ;)
    Combining V=IR with P=IV you get P=I²R
    P=I²R so a current of 1amp through an impedence of 8 ohms will be dissipating 8watts of energy.
    Most home stereo speakers are 8 ohm.

    I am very confused by this.

    The fuse will not be dissipating anything. All a fuse does is blow/go OC a fuse is not a current limiting device.

    Also you cant combine formulas.

    To blow the fuse with you would need 8 amps flowing to the speaker in order for the fuse to blow, sorry but 8 amps to a domestic speaker will never happen.
  • Clockworkmark31Clockworkmark31 Posts: 1,053
    I run a 1amp fuse in line so they are limited to 8w continuous

    Erm.. could you explain how this works..?

    Since P=VxI, you are saying that having a 1A fuse stops the power exceeding 8W when you have a voltage of what? 0.125V? Not sure that's quite right...

    bob6397

    PS I'm genuinely curious - not being sarcastic ;)
    Combining V=IR with P=IV you get P=I²R
    P=I²R so a current of 1amp through an impedence of 8 ohms will be dissipating 8watts of energy.
    Most home stereo speakers are 8 ohm.

    I am very confused by this.

    The fuse will not be dissipating anything. All a fuse does is blow/go OC a fuse is not a current limiting device.

    Also you cant combine formulas.

    To blow the fuse with you would need 8 amps flowing to the speaker in order for the fuse to blow, sorry but 8 amps to a domestic speaker will never happen.

    To understand the true power output of the amplifier you need to monitor the voltage output in to the load (speaker).

    So at the DB that I think is neighbor complaining i am using 4.0vAC max in to an 8r load. This gives me 500mA of current flow or half an amp. So current squared times resistance equals 4 watts of power being used no where near what the label says.
  • bob6397bob6397 Posts: 218
    I run a 1amp fuse in line so they are limited to 8w continuous

    Erm.. could you explain how this works..?

    Since P=VxI, you are saying that having a 1A fuse stops the power exceeding 8W when you have a voltage of what? 0.125V? Not sure that's quite right...

    bob6397

    PS I'm genuinely curious - not being sarcastic ;)
    Combining V=IR with P=IV you get P=I²R
    P=I²R so a current of 1amp through an impedence of 8 ohms will be dissipating 8watts of energy.
    Most home stereo speakers are 8 ohm.

    I am very confused by this.

    The fuse will not be dissipating anything. All a fuse does is blow/go OC a fuse is not a current limiting device.

    Also you cant combine formulas.

    To blow the fuse with you would need 8 amps flowing to the speaker in order for the fuse to blow, sorry but 8 amps to a domestic speaker will never happen.

    I disagree completely.

    A 1A fuse will blow if a current higher than 1A goes through it - yes? (That's its entire purpose after all)

    You can combine formulae. End.. How else do physicists work? If you have current in one formula (represented by "I") and current in another formula (also represented by "I") when you are talking about the same circuit then the formulae P=VI and V=IR can combine to create P=IIR which is the same as P=I²R. Ask any physicist (or indeed anyone who did GCSE physics)

    I agree though that not much current will be required to drive a speaker (unless it is really big - some PA subs are rated at 4800W RMS which is almost unbelievable.. The amps required to drive them can draw 12A from the mains.. :) )

    Back to the main subject.. Why would you suggest the OP wants an AV receiver when he wants a stereo system with an output from his TV into it? Not the same thing and it will sound better for music if he buys the right kit for the job..

    bob6397
    Boardman HT Team - Hardtail
    Rose Pro-SL 2000 - Roadie
  • Clockworkmark31Clockworkmark31 Posts: 1,053
    I run a 1amp fuse in line so they are limited to 8w continuous

    Erm.. could you explain how this works..?

    Since P=VxI, you are saying that having a 1A fuse stops the power exceeding 8W when you have a voltage of what? 0.125V? Not sure that's quite right...

    bob6397

    PS I'm genuinely curious - not being sarcastic ;)
    Combining V=IR with P=IV you get P=I²R
    P=I²R so a current of 1amp through an impedence of 8 ohms will be dissipating 8watts of energy.
    Most home stereo speakers are 8 ohm.

    I am very confused by this.

    The fuse will not be dissipating anything. All a fuse does is blow/go OC a fuse is not a current limiting device.

    Also you cant combine formulas.

    To blow the fuse with you would need 8 amps flowing to the speaker in order for the fuse to blow, sorry but 8 amps to a domestic speaker will never happen.

    I disagree completely.

    A 1A fuse will blow if a current higher than 1A goes through it - yes? (That's its entire purpose after all)

    You can combine formulae. End.. How else do physicists work? If you have current in one formula (represented by "I") and current in another formula (also represented by "I") when you are talking about the same circuit then the formulae P=VI and V=IR can combine to create P=IIR which is the same as P=I²R. Ask any physicist (or indeed anyone who did GCSE physics)

    I agree though that not much current will be required to drive a speaker (unless it is really big - some PA subs are rated at 4800W RMS which is almost unbelievable.. The amps required to drive them can draw 12A from the mains.. :) )

    Back to the main subject.. Why would you suggest the OP wants an AV receiver when he wants a stereo system with an output from his TV into it? Not the same thing and it will sound better for music if he buys the right kit for the job..

    bob6397


    I think I have confused myself reading back what was written last night. Typing and a few peroni's don't mix too well.

    Regards to combining formulas, yes I know that you can but I was always taught to do it long hand. Don't know what I was thinking having re read what I wrote.

    I know that having fuses inline with speakers will protect the speakers from blowing if the current exceeds the fuse rating. But in a domestic situation really? You must have very forgiving neighbors.

    Right ok, why did I suggest an AV amp. Having read through the OPs criteria, for music use, hooking a TV up to it and apple compatible. It's the most logical choice IMO. Most good mid range (around £500) AV amps today are as good as entry level stereo amps around the £300 range. They allow you to deactivate the circuitry not in use, ie giving a more purist mode. Plus if the OP decides at a later stage he wants the benefits of surround and HDMI switching and internet radio and more inputs are needed, he will already have the infrastructure to do this. Also one of the reasons for suggesting the an AV amp is lip sync issues, having an AV amp would allow you to add a delay so you can match the lip sync.

    I used to have a separate x cans musical fidelity system and separate AV amp etc, but I was always messing around with both systems, one would offer what the other one wouldn't. Both systems were compromising each other, and in my instance the AV amp ticked most boxes so that is what I went for.

    Sky, Blu ray and TV all connected together and working harmoniously using just 3 HDMI cables PC connected via optical have the ability to tether from my phone or hook up an external HDD loaded with music.

    Think with modern AV amps they are simpler and more flexible to use whilst giving you a chance to expand in the future and sound is just as good. But sound is subjective. and it all depends on what your source will be. If all you will be doing is listening to MP3s recorded at low quality then you might as well use a sound-bar IMO.

    Also the OP is mentioning audio/video output and future proofing so flexibility and simplicity is needed whilst having good sound quality. I think something like the Sony AV amp I mentioned earlier would tick all the boxes just my opinion.
  • Angus YoungAngus Young Posts: 3,063
    All the above is meaningless unless we know what you want to spend.
    All the gear, no idea and loving the smell of jealousy in the morning.
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  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    I have use a Mission Cyrus amp with a 3 channel Yamaha surround processor/amp. This combo allows me to listen to an inline source for the best stereo sound reproduction, but also a basic surround set up from my DVD player. I only try to listen to uncompressed sources, no point getting a nice hifi amp and playing heavily compressed stuff.

    But all depends on the budget. 2nd hand Cyrus stuff can be got cheaply and sounds very, very good. Especially the 2/psx.

    Cyrus-Two-+-PSX.jpg

    Now that's a power source ;-)
  • Clockworkmark31Clockworkmark31 Posts: 1,053
    I have use a Mission Cyrus amp with a 3 channel Yamaha surround processor/amp. This combo allows me to listen to an inline source for the best stereo sound reproduction, but also a basic surround set up from my DVD player. I only try to listen to uncompressed sources, no point getting a nice hifi amp and playing heavily compressed stuff.

    But all depends on the budget. 2nd hand Cyrus stuff can be got cheaply and sounds very, very good. Especially the 2/psx.

    Cyrus-Two-+-PSX.jpg

    Now that's a power source ;-)

    Have to agree I used to use the musical fidelity XA50s with my Sony STR-DA1200es, but then experimented and stuck a x10d inline and got rid of the monoblocks. Then went to better source material and lost the X10D. AV receiver gives you a good all round platform and functionality plus you can use it only for processing and use the line outs for a amp you like the sound of.

    I used to have a 2 different systems in one room and then went down the line of the AV receiver it is a swiss army knife.
  • Clockworkmark31Clockworkmark31 Posts: 1,053
    I have use a Mission Cyrus amp with a 3 channel Yamaha surround processor/amp. This combo allows me to listen to an inline source for the best stereo sound reproduction, but also a basic surround set up from my DVD player. I only try to listen to uncompressed sources, no point getting a nice hifi amp and playing heavily compressed stuff.

    But all depends on the budget. 2nd hand Cyrus stuff can be got cheaply and sounds very, very good. Especially the 2/psx.

    Cyrus-Two-+-PSX.jpg

    Now that's a power source ;-)

    BTW sweet I have always been a fan of the Cyrus equipment. But for a power source maybe a couple of these

    http://www.stereophile.com/solidpoweramps/1208mf/
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Very nice, but at $10000 a pair I think I'll stick to what I have ;-). Not that it's lacking in power for your average home.
  • JaseHawkJaseHawk Posts: 13
    We do need to know budget for some solid advice.

    For example, a Naim CD555 would be amazing, paired with some B&W Nautilus.

    But I'd recommend two Sonos Play:1's. This will allow you stereo sound through the television, wireless music streaming, DAB radio, spotify streaming (premium subscribers only) and more. They're also portable, so you can move them room to room.

    Also it's all controlled through an App, using your phone/tablet.
  • paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    Budget would be not huge! 5-800 Canadian, maybe a 1000 if need be. I am not looking for perfect sound quality where I can hear a bum note played by 5th violin at the Albert Hall. I just want something that sounds decent, plays from a a decent number of current sources and the TV.
    Closet jockey wheel pimp censored .
  • ThewaylanderThewaylander Posts: 8,594
    Yup would go for a good AV receiver then with a decent set of speakers to start.

    You can then expand as far as you want! I personally just sold my 2 chan Arcam for a Marantz AV receiver(they a bit slimline so fit into the space I had). Got some older Kef Q55 speakers and matching centre and move my q15 to rear speaker duty. Sounds great!

    Just got to the point where the set up was being used for movies and tv more than music, though its still very capable for music duties. I personally love the input switching for my inputs which is so handy with the number of hdmi inputs that go into my display!
  • joelsimjoelsim Posts: 7,552
    Hi All

    So I used to have a nice little separates set up for my audio listening. Cant remember all the bits and bobs but suffice to say they have probably rotted away in my friends barn since I have been in Canada.

    My small one bed apartment in BC is pretty open plan and probably only needs one set up to provide me with access to music - I am currently limited to a set of portable speakers I link to my mp3/laptop.

    I would like to get something that maybe doubles for TV/Movie sound (not surround particularly), can play wireless and bluetooth, probably not bothered with a CD player. Planning to upgrade my laptop soon - anything I should be thinking about in that regard with a view to music/video output?

    Anyone got any info on what is currently good? Some kind of future proofing might be nice! At least a month!

    You do need yo give an idea of budget, but what I would say is this Paul.

    1) Definitely get speakers big enough for your room, if you have the space then get some floorstanders
    2) Don't rip or play Spotify etc at basic MP3 levels, it's poor and will be wasted on a decent system. Rip lossless/FLAC or use Spotify Premium or similar
    3) I used to use CDs all the time, now I don't, I stream 99% of the time (Spotify Premium). I don't bother with iTunes or ripping etc, Spotify Premium is very very nearly as good as a CD in the testing I have done myself
    4) I still have separates, but a music streamer and active speakers would work well, or as I prefer with a good amp too. It really depends on how much you want to get out of your music sound-quality wise as there is obviously a law of diminishing returns here

    Not saying this is the way to go, but what I do is:

    Unison Research CDE CD player with an upgraded DAC. This plays CDs and also has a digital in socket which means I can hook it up to an Airport Express. This means I can stream music through my main system from my phone/PC/tablet. The Spotify is then played through the DAC on my CD player for best quality.

    Leema Tucana II amp which wouldn't be out of place in an aircraft hangar, it goes somewhat loud and all at very high quality.

    Kudos Cardea C2 speakers/a selection of headphones.

    I've had this lot for a few years now and it satisfies my need for stunning quality and convenience. Often I just pop Ibiza Global or Radio 6 on the PC in the morning and it's on all day. (I switch it off when the cycling comes on of course).

    You can get the same sort of functionality simply by buying a wireless pair of speakers and using your tablet/phone - not the same quality but I do this in the kitchen and it's great.

    Examples of active speakers - Nocs NS2v2, Roth OliPOWA 5, Q-Acoustics do some too.
  • Hi All

    So I used to have a nice little separates set up for my audio listening. Cant remember all the bits and bobs but suffice to say they have probably rotted away in my friends barn since I have been in Canada.

    My small one bed apartment in BC is pretty open plan and probably only needs one set up to provide me with access to music - I am currently limited to a set of portable speakers I link to my mp3/laptop.

    I would like to get something that maybe doubles for TV/Movie sound (not surround particularly), can play wireless and bluetooth, probably not bothered with a CD player. Planning to upgrade my laptop soon - anything I should be thinking about in that regard with a view to music/video output?

    Anyone got any info on what is currently good? Some kind of future proofing might be nice! At least a month!
    The Spotify is then played through the DAC on my CD player for best quality.

    Why?

    Not meaning to sound patronizing, but why would you not have this direct to your amp? The purist way of point to point wiring.

    I agree with you on some points, streaming is going to be the future of music, so you need a good source for streaming. If not it will be a waste.

    Floorstanding speakers are open to debate, it depends on funds available. First ones I had were some Mission m33i's they had too much bass, next were some Kef IQ5se they lacked bass but for the money were so involving.

    Have since experimented with floorstanding speakers from B&W, Kef, Dali, AE etc and all of the times I have found standmount speakers with a sub to be the better option. But partnering is crucial.

    Depends on taste and look out for second hand bargains.

    I still think a decent AV receiver is the way to go matched with some good speakers.

    One of my old setups was a Sony STR-DA1200es AV amp with some Kef IQ5se speakers and a BK XLS300pr with a few musical fidelity X-10ds in line from source material, but then I did have all the equipment on separate BT mains conditioners. Good sounding yes but too complicated.

    As paul wants multi sources a good AV amp with some decent speakers is the best starting point.

    I will let you in on a secret I am using a modified (my original) Sony STR-DA1200es amp for my nocturnal stereo maneuvers.

    But you need to set a budget and decide what is priority 90% music 10% movies/TV go down the separates route.

    I am 50/50 for both but prefer AV amps for flexibility and if you chose well they handle music good too.

    Well I didn't I go on a tangent
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