Good home stereo

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losthighway
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Good home stereo

Post by losthighway » Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:08 am

In my revolving cast of room mates and home audio situations I have had many odd set ups. Right now everything in my house is on the lower end of mediocre.

I was curious if anyone had any recommendations for reasonably priced home speakers (and maybe receivers) for enjoying music, and maybe checking mixes out of the control room.

For some reason I am not interested in getting an audiophile hi-fi (probably because I would rather have more nice gear in the studio). I just want some solid affordable stuff.

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Post by vvv » Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:03 am

Last year I bought some Klipsch Synergy B3's and paired 'em with a pair of Yamaha 50 watt subs, mostly because I found 'em on sale at various times, prob'ly put under US$500 into the speakers. I strongly reco you get subs in pairs, BTW.

Coupled with a 150w. per side Yamaha receiver (US$150 on sale?), my teenage kid often says the stereo is too loud - I find it good enough to check mixes on, also.

After that, a used Sony single CD player ( a bitch to find now - they are all multi-disc) and I'm happy.
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Post by joel hamilton » Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:30 pm

I hardly know any engineers that have really nice home stereo setups.
I have a pair of bose computer speakers (without the sub) that I use at home.
I also have a tube scott combo preamp/amp thing that I used for a long time, but I just got tired of the clutter with wires everywhere and stuff.

Now I just use airtunes with a macbook through those very good sounding bose speakers via airport express. no wires. good sound. plenty to listen to at home in an apartment in NYC.
at the studio I can always just go in a half hour early and hurt myself with JBL 4412's with a sub, my ADAM's, or the NS10's...
Nothing like greeting a new client with ears already ringing at 10am....

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Post by nortstudio » Sun Mar 28, 2010 8:33 am

I bought a pair of Kef speakers a long time ago, for use checking mixes at home. They definitely reveal different things than my studio set-up, and the full tower versions (better bass response than the equivalent bookshelf version) were only about $450 at the time.

Obviously, best to go to a stereo store and check speakers the same way you would monitors, with CDs you know very well. I bugged the salesman on 3 separate occasions before I settled on the Kefs.
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Post by cgarges » Sun Mar 28, 2010 8:50 am

I have an older pair of Sony speakers that I really like. There's nothing audiophile about them, but they're just cool-sounding speakers. They came with the stereo my folks bought when I was in high shcool, but wouldn't fit on their bookshelf, so I commandeered them.

I had a roommate in college with a great-soudning stereo and he turned me on to the Yamaha amplifiers and receivers. I bought one a few years ago at a pawn shop. There are always a few of those things at pawn shops, but they sound totally great, seem to be built well, and have some cool features. The one that I got has two sets of speaker outputs that can be individually turned on or off, a million inputs, some goofy reverb-type presets and a pretty terrific-sounding high and low shelving EQ.

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Post by kingmetal » Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:26 pm

Half of my stereo came out of a dumpster and the rest came from eBay. Speakers are a pair of JBL L40s that were in great shape (including what appear to be the original 033 tweeters) that I found in a dumpster outside my old apartment. Hate the midrange on them so I bought some aesthetic-matched Bose bookshelfs (Series III I think) for $30 on craigslist and my amp is an old 70s vintage Pioneer because I hate how modern stereo gear looks.

I built three stereos last year in this way. Speakers from various places, amps from eBay. Just cruise around and look for stuff, buy things from the 70s and early 80s if possible and don't trip about it too much.

If you want really nice vintage speakers that are reasonably abundant I like KLH model 20s. Older Sony floorspeakers are nice and most anything JBL from back in the day should serve your just fine.

Just my style I guess, but modern stereo gear scares the shit out of me.

Logitech Z-2300s are awesome speakers if you don't mind that they're computer speakers.
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Post by Dave Stanley » Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:01 pm

I've had really good luck with the Onkyo home theatre packages. Good for TV and music.

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Post by centurymantra » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:48 am

You know, I hate to say this, but it really just makes me....sad, to hear a comment like Joel's that no audio engineers have good stereos. I have always been kind of an audiophile sort and, although I've left a most of my audiophile fixations behind, I couldn't imagine not having a nice listening rig at home. The immersive sonic bliss of kicking back in front of an awesome sounding stereo is a full-on musical drug-rush IMHO, and for a music fan (which includes, hopefully, most engineers) to just turn their back on that brings a little tear to my eye. Granted it is an unnecessary luxury as one can enjoy music on a couple of plastic computer speakers or a Best Buy purchased piece of crap-fi, but it's just not the same. It's like comparing a streaming Youtube vid on your cell phone to going to the theatre. Both can be enjoyable, yes - but not even comparable experiences. That being said, I know that the stereotypical "audiophile" does get ripped on (for good reason) for a variety of reasons that we don't need to get into, not the least of which is their fixation on gear over music, but there is a middle ground that I think is an admirable quest.

Anyway...no need to ramble on about that, but should note that you can get good stuff for not a lot of bucks if you're informed and careful about it. A pair of good speakers with one of those Yamaha receivers that were mentioned would be a good call. You can scope out Audiogon for good deals on used speakers. PSB make good, relatively inexpensive speakers. Monitor Audio is another good one to look for. Someone mentioned KEF and they have some pretty well regarded models as well. I've listened to (and owned) a few speakers by a not so well known UK company called Castle that are really, really nice for the money. Lack of name recognition in the US makes them pretty cheap on the used market at Audiogon, though they are also not too common. You really would do best to avoid Best Buy and similar retailers. A lot of the cheap consumer made stuff sold in that market is pretty questionable. Due to this, seeking out cheap used stuff from the '70s and '80s (as mentioned earlier) is seriously a pretty good call.

Good luck!
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Post by vvv » Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:06 am

Ha!

And I got my speakers and receiver at Bitch Buy ... (a store I hate, BTW, but is convenient to me).
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Post by cgarges » Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:53 am

centurymantra wrote:You know, I hate to say this, but it really just makes me....sad, to hear a comment like Joel's that no audio engineers have good stereos. I have always been kind of an audiophile sort and, although I've left a most of my audiophile fixations behind, I couldn't imagine not having a nice listening rig at home. The immersive sonic bliss of kicking back in front of an awesome sounding stereo is a full-on musical drug-rush IMHO, and for a music fan (which includes, hopefully, most engineers) to just turn their back on that brings a little tear to my eye. Granted it is an unnecessary luxury as one can enjoy music on a couple of plastic computer speakers or a Best Buy purchased piece of crap-fi, but it's just not the same. It's like comparing a streaming Youtube vid on your cell phone to going to the theatre. Both can be enjoyable, yes - but not even comparable experiences. That being said, I know that the stereotypical "audiophile" does get ripped on (for good reason) for a variety of reasons that we don't need to get into, not the least of which is their fixation on gear over music, but there is a middle ground that I think is an admirable quest.
Well, the way I see it, I do my "awesome listening" at the studio. I get to sessions early, I stay late. That's when I listen to stuff in that "kick back and enjoy" sort of way. If I'm listening to tunes at home, I usually either studying for a gig or hanging out with my wife and/or other friends. I rarely do any kind of real "sit down and listen" stuff at home any more, but I do plenty of it at the studio that's not job-related.

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Post by Jeff White » Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:19 pm

I have a 1968 Sansui Receiver and a 1976 Pioneer SX-650 that I paid a total of $60 or less combined for. They are from yard sales. My Sansui is in storage in my master bedroom closet and my Pioneer has been going strong since 2005 as my main stereo. Shit I've even been running movies through it. I have a pair of $99 Yamaha NS-6490s doing duty on the Pioneer right now (you can find them for under $50/pair on ebay). I used to have a pair of JBL J2050s ($40/pair ebay) hooked up to the Pioneer but I am now using them as remote monitors hooked up to my Hafler.

My Point? You can piece together a really nice vibey home stereo with nice speakers for under $100. If you want to go for under $400 go with a vintage receiver and add a pair of Axioms to it.

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centurymantra
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Post by centurymantra » Thu Apr 01, 2010 6:37 am

cgarges wrote:
centurymantra wrote:You know, I hate to say this, but it really just makes me....sad, to hear a comment like Joel's that no audio engineers have good stereos. I have always been kind of an audiophile sort and, although I've left a most of my audiophile fixations behind, I couldn't imagine not having a nice listening rig at home. The immersive sonic bliss of kicking back in front of an awesome sounding stereo is a full-on musical drug-rush IMHO, and for a music fan (which includes, hopefully, most engineers) to just turn their back on that brings a little tear to my eye. Granted it is an unnecessary luxury as one can enjoy music on a couple of plastic computer speakers or a Best Buy purchased piece of crap-fi, but it's just not the same. It's like comparing a streaming Youtube vid on your cell phone to going to the theatre. Both can be enjoyable, yes - but not even comparable experiences. That being said, I know that the stereotypical "audiophile" does get ripped on (for good reason) for a variety of reasons that we don't need to get into, not the least of which is their fixation on gear over music, but there is a middle ground that I think is an admirable quest.
Well, the way I see it, I do my "awesome listening" at the studio. I get to sessions early, I stay late. That's when I listen to stuff in that "kick back and enjoy" sort of way. If I'm listening to tunes at home, I usually either studying for a gig or hanging out with my wife and/or other friends. I rarely do any kind of real "sit down and listen" stuff at home any more, but I do plenty of it at the studio that's not job-related.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
Yes...that did occur to me and it totally makes sense. If you listen to music all day for a living, I can certainly see how you wouldn't want to immerse yourself in it outside of the studio. I just record a bit on the side, so this isn't a factor for myself. I'll have to admit, the stereo that gets the most listening is in the living room/kitchen area and a lot of it is "background" listening (with the occasional kick-back-on-the-recliner time), although I still think something at least kind of nice makes the room glow a little better even if the music is just background most of the time. I really noticed this when I set up nicer Harbeth speakers in that room. It can be at ambient level and remain a subtle-yet-pervasive coloration to the environment that doesn't intrude and just....sort of blends. Then...when you want to kick it out, it sounds awesome.

Anyway, I digress... I did want to add one more recommendation. I would say that one of THE good deals on decent sounding integrated amps for home stereo purchases is the NAD 315BEE and it is a good sounding and reliable piece. NAD has always had a good bang-for-the-buck reputation. I own one for use in that above mentioned system. It's pretty sweet...not dirt cheap, but totally reasonable - and you can find them used. Older NAD used gear would also prob. be a really good call. There's also some current model Onkyo int. amp that gets mentioned alongside the NAD 315BEE too.
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Post by JWL » Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:05 am

These days my home stereo is pretty much my computer (playing CDs, mp3s, movies, etc). If I was starting from scratch I'd just get some decent active monitors and call it good. As it is, I have a new Harmon Kardon 2channel receiver powering the DIY speakers I built years ago with Dynaudio drivers.

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Post by Poppatwang » Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:36 pm

For me, bang for the buck goes to the '70s vintage Tandberg 2080.

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