Audiophiles . . .

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by SoonerAviator, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. SoonerAviator

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    I would assume there's a number of the pilot community who like to dabble in home theater systems and general HiFi stuff. Anyone have a setup they're proud of (or at least enjoy)?

    I'm in the process of upgrading the living room with some new drywall, behind which I intend to do some cable/wire runs for 7.1 sound. My receiver (older Pioneer) is a bit long in the tooth, and not 7.1 capable, speakers were cheap as well, so I'm basically starting from ground zero.

    I'm a bit torn on AVR choice, but will likely find something from Pioneer or Denon (Marantz) with a 7.2 and ARC HDMI capability. Probably won't do any ATMOS stuff, although is something to consider. I will probably stay sub-$1K for the AVR since it's not going to be a great room acoustically. Any recommendations?
     
  2. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

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    [​IMG]

    Spend the difference on Avgas. Music is mixed and mastered for these anyway.
     
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  3. airdale

    airdale Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Many moons ago as an undergraduate and grad (MSEE) student I was a broadcast and sometime-recording engineer. I have been laughing ever since at the high-end vendors with their bogus equipment "mods," ridiculous magic cables, etc. More recently it has been the return to tube electronics and vinyl, which they don't remember were abandoned because superior technology came along.

    One of life's little mysteries to me is why some enterprising state attorney general has not sued Monster Cable for consumer fraud and won a huge judgment..

    So, my setup is Klipsch LaScalas at the lake home where I have the space and Klipsch Fortes at home where I do not. I upgraded both receivers to Denon TX-NR525s a couple of years ago. This is a hard-wired internet receiver that lets me access streaming audio (radio stations, Pandora, etc.) as easily as any other source and there is a (somewhat klunky) Android app for control via WiFi. We don't watch TV, so I have no idea what those features are like. Both receivers are located out of sight, out of mind, and controlled with the Android remote and with the OEM remotes via IR repeaters. IIRC the receivers were a couple of hundred bucks each on good internet sales.

    Whatever you do, don't get sucked in by the hucksters who would sell you unnecessarily large speaker cables with claims of magical capabilities. Or wildly expensive phono-plug or HDMI-plug jumpers. 16 gauge zip cord is plenty good for all but the longest runs and all but ear-busting wattage levels. Other cables can come from monoprice.com with zero effect on audio or video quality. Ignore gold plating, too. In the world of serious electronics gold is used in sufficient thickness to protect connections from corrosion. In consumer electronics, its sole purpose is to defraud, as the thickness is adequate only to produce a gold-colored product.

    For sound quality, really the only thing that matters is the speakers. Take a CD or jump drive with music you are intimately familiar with and make the rounds of the higher-end specialist store listening rooms in your area. Do A/B tests until your ears fall off and buy the biggest and best-sounding speakers you can afford. Only physical size will get you low bass. There is no magic.
     
  4. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Pattern Altitude

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    Lol, well, the earbuds just don't do much for reproduction of movie soundtracks. If you don't feel an explosion seen on-screen, you're missing a part of the experience.

    This is separate from the flying budget anyway!


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  5. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Final Approach

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    Nothing real fancy, just a workhorse system. Yamaha RX-V477 AV receiver, Bose Accoustimass 7 front system, Accoustimass 3 rear system. Older non-AV Yamaha is in the garage, it powers my old JBL 4312 monitors. Makes for decent garage tunes.
     
  6. SoonerAviator

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    My father has a theater room with the stadium seating and Klipsch RF-series for the speakers. It does a great job, but the speakers are a bit harsh for my tastes up high (typical Klipsch horn tweeter complaint).

    I have always been a fan of Polk Audio for car audio, but honestly haven't been able to audition anything from their LSi or RTi lines which is something I'm considering.

    Tough to find the nicer brands (B&W, Wharfdale, etc.) without dealing with pretentious salesmen. Even tougher to find dealers in Oklahoma, lol.


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  7. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    1970s vintage Kenwood speakers driven by 1980s vintage Yamaha tuners. No surround, just Amps that can push the speakers to their limits without distortion.
     
  8. Mason

    Mason Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    If you still have vinyl, don't overlook the $110k Turntable.
     
  9. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

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    I still have my 40 year old Polk 7s that I bought new back in the age of dinosaurs. Sound great.
     
  10. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

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    Heh heh. Skin effect...
     
  11. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That is so true. I have fell victim to that. The overly priced cables have gone the ways of the junk piles when these days a Bluetooth is as good as the technology at either end at the time when I bought them.
     
  12. SoonerAviator

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    Lol, yeah the number of myths surrounding audiophile equipment is downright insane. Lots of talk about speakers "breaking in" after 100+ hours of reference-level use, zero-noise cables, line voltage rectifiers, and vudo wiring tricks!

    I don't plan on dropping more than $2K on the front 3 at most, then go with the matching bookshelf rears/surrounds for whatever brand I go with just for timbre-matching purposes. I figure I could put together a pretty durable system for $4K all-in.


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  13. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yup. I have a Sansui receiver I bought in Korea in '74, still looks great w/ the wood cabinet too. One like this, not mine 'cause I wouldn't be having Cowboy crap on the wall, maybe for target practice nailed up on a tree lol. Packers baby!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
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  14. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Whew! Sounds great, and I have a ton of mint vinyl. Little too rich for me though.
     
  15. SoonerAviator

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    My first stereo was a 70's model Marantz 105B tuner and 1030 amplifier my dad gave me when I was a young teen. It still works, although I think one of the channels has a short. I always have a soft spot for the Marantz stuff, even though it's just a rebadged Denon these days.


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  16. JimNtexas

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    Same for my 30 year old Polk SDA speakers!
     
  17. cowman

    cowman En-Route

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    I'm not an audiophile or musician but I know what sounds good to me, and to me nothing sounds better than a pair of big 3-way cabinet speakers with at least 12" woofers. They don't even have to be high end, just big speakers in a decent sized box. I bought 2 pairs of KLH cabinet speakers years ago for $75 a pair... cheap speakers but big. I've added a center channel speaker and hooked up my 4 cabinets as surrounds on a 5.1 receiver. The modern audiophile wisdom says this shouldn't work or it shouldn't sound good... but it does. It works great and I've got no need for a separate woofer cause I have 12" woofers in each surround.

    Yeah I've heard a few small speakers that sound good but it seems like you have to spend big bucks with these little 4" satellite speaker setups or the fancy ported tower things. Best bang for the buck in my world is always the biggest elements you can find in the biggest box you can find.


    *found the actual speakers I have, discontinued apparently
    https://www.amazon.com/KLH-1230SB-3-Way-Floorstanding-Speakers/dp/B000021YT9
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
  18. SoonerAviator

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    Was thinking something more along the lines of these RTiA7 models.

    [​IMG]


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  19. SoonerAviator

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    Yeah, I know what you mean. My father also has a set of 4-way KLH speakers with the 12" woofers, as well as a 3-way set of Technics. They have a full/warm sound with those large cabinets, which we use in the music room to play music tracks for use with the drum kit/guitars. However, when it comes to HT uses, they are generally "muddy" to my ears with regard to voice reproduction and tight bass hits.

    It really is hard to find a set of front towers that are well-suited for both HT and music, especially if your music tastes are varied. It's akin to picking an aircraft: sometimes you have to specify the mission and pick the setup that meets 80% of the needs, and make due with a bit lower expectations for the other 20%.


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  20. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I can get realistic renditions of some of the Jazz and Classical greats.
     
  21. SoonerAviator

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    Lol, Ron. I feel like putting a baby grand in the living room will likely cost as much as the entire HT system and then some. ;) Besides, I'm very much a novice on the keys, where I'm limited to about a dozen Christmas songs!
     
  22. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Final Approach

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    Note the box under the right end of the keyboard, his piano is autopilot equipped!
     
  23. SoonerAviator

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    It's a nose-dragger, too. I'm not sure why they decided to include pedals with it since none of the nose-dragger drivers know how to use them anyhow.
     
  24. jnmeade

    jnmeade Cleared for Takeoff

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    Sooner, I am in the same boat as you - starting a makeover and my room is pretty small. I'll be interested in what the on-topic replies suggest. Thanks for bringing it up. My old ears want good but don't need superb sound. Wife would like controls to a minimum. Would like to run menus through the TV. I was hoping to put everything on a server and let that be the source and control it thorugh one remote, but we still have satellite TV to integrate. I suppose at least two remotes (grrr!). And, I'm not an Apple fan. Oh, well.
     
  25. Art VanDelay

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    I kind of laugh at all this stuff. After almost 12 years in the military shooting guns and flying attack helicopters I have very little hearing left. And I always wore the yellow foamies. Now I sit in a 777 with a 500 mph wind blast about 17" away from my head. Spending money on high end audio is one thing I won't be doing.
     
  26. James_Dean

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    Nothing too special, but I love the "real" stuff from the 70's. My every day listening is a Marantz 2245 driving Klipsch Conrwall's.
     
  27. SoonerAviator

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    If you get one of the modern AVRs, make sure it has a few ARC-enabled HDMI slots. The ARC-version deals with a lot of handshake issues which allows the AVR to control whatever it's connected to (TV, Blue-Ray, etc). Most satellite provider remotes are able to learn 2-3 peripheral items (like the AVR). I know my parents use DirectTV remote to control the AVR volume and power. No need to have 2-3 remotes anymore. Now, if you are constantly fiddling with the AVR or TV menus, then using the satellite remote won't solve that, but if you just need to be able to turn everything on/off or change channels/adjust volume, the satellite remote should be able to handle that with ease. Worse come to worse, the Harmony universal remotes are pretty impressive and can learn a TON of items, and aren't too terribly expensive for the lower-end models.

    My room is going to be absolutely terrible for acoustics, but it is what it is. Room is roughly 25x20 with terrazzo tile, 2 walls are all rock and/or brick, and vaulted ceiling going up to around 15' or so. It's an echo chamber, lol. Hopefully the AVR autoEQ (MCACC or Audyssey XT) can adjust some of that out.
     
  28. SoonerAviator

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    The Cornwalls were a great speaker when they debuted. Many people still rave about them. I just wish Marantz had the same quality they used to with that 2245.
     
  29. James_Dean

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    I spent a couple hundred bucks a few years ago replacing the crossovers on the Klipsch and it really brought them back to life. I've still got a pair of KG 5.5's that I had in college and had to do the same for them as well. The Marantz 2245 weighs 35 lbs!

    I've always wanted to own a big McIntosh tube amp.
     
  30. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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  31. SoonerAviator

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    Yeah, if I was dealing with a purpose-built theater room, I'd be looking at going with separates instead of the all-in-one AVR. It's a lot easier to upgrade a Pre/Processor when all of your amplifiers are separate and isolated. I just don't have the space for an audio rack that will hold a couple-hundred pounds of audio equipment! The weight used to be a dead giveaway about the quality of the amplifier builds, but nowadays, the Class D amps are half the weight of their A/B predecessors, so it's not as easy to make that assumption. I remember that Marantz amp being fairly hefty as it was.

    Emotiva, Marantz, McIntosh, and Krell are still making some pretty stout AB amplifiers for those who simply think they need 200W+ continuous to every channel. Contrary to common belief, AVRs may say (100W x 7), but aren't generally capable of sending that much power to all channels simultaneously. Usually, it's just rated at 2 channels continuous, with much lesser wattage making of the remaining channels. All that said, unless you like listening at reference levels (almost deafening) and have dynamic speakers with low sensitivity (87db or less), there's little need to drive most channels with anything more than the AVR. If the stars aligned on some package deal, I would go with an AVR for the side/rear channels and processing, but use a 2 or 3-channel separate amp for the front channels. I doubt that happens though. :)
     
  32. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Only need it loud when I bring the air guitar out! :D
     
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  33. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Magnaplanar speakers.

    Analog audio, not digital. It's telling to hear what gets thrown away with MP-whatever audio formatting. Even the old .wav stuff throws some stuff away. But analog often has hiss, so you'll need to look at the noise floor.

    And tube amps typically have a "warmer" sound due to the non-linear characteristics (gain compression and/or clipping). Designers spend a lot of time dealing with those issues. Generally, tube and transistor amps tend to be comparable when they're run at lower gain levels (but this can cause a higher SNR). Bottom line: listen to a variety in-person, compare them using the same speakers, and buy what you like. Most folks won't be able to tell the difference.

    Remember that most recently-generated audio content goes through digital something before it reaches your ears, so there will be audio effects..... even the older stuff went through some form of audio processing before it got pressed into a disk, recorded on tape, or otherwise reached your ears.
     
  34. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The piano depicted above is a Yamaha DC5A, it's a really nice 6'7" grand piano with an integral player mechanism.
     
  35. SoonerAviator

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    Ah, so not a "baby grand" then. Sounds even more expensive!
     
  36. jnmeade

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    Yeah, I know what you mean. My interest is for my wife, who can hear the good sounds and deserves a nice set. So, I'm interested in the modern, easy to control comments that may arise.
     
  37. airdale

    airdale Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    @SoonerAviator have you listened critically to these in comparison to other candidates. You cannot tell anything useful about speakers by looking at them or by reading specifications. Only listening works.

    If you absolutely have to go "blind" I think you are relatively safe with the classic Klipsch designs, even the small Heresy. If you have the right kind of physical space and budget the Klipshorns are of course the dream machine. Belle Klipsch is less demanding of room geometry, LaScala if you're not too concerned about cosmetics, Cornwalls if you need smaller, etc. etc. There is some newer, smaller, more consumer-oriented Klipsch stuff that would probably suffice for your satellite speaker positions. But new Klipsch is a consumer electronics company serving non-audiophile markets, hence audio quality takes a back seat to styling and to designing to a price point.

    Personally, those ugly plastic feet on the RTiA7s would kick them off my list right away. It tells me that stylists rather than audio engineers made the final design decisions. But that's just me.
     
  38. Topper

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    Definitely not an audiophile and not sure I would use the word proud, but I do love my whole house sound system. I have a Niles mcr-6430 (actually two connected together). I have up to 6 different inputs (songs playing pandora, radio, tv, etc) that I can play in any combination on up to 12 zones. I started with 6 zones but was having so much fun with it that I added a few. I think I will end up at 10 or 11 zones. Great for parties, plus we seem to turn on more music and a little less tv - which I consider a good thing.

    Jim
     
  39. Matthew

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  40. airdale

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    Yes. Why there aren't more consumer fraud prosecutions is a mystery to me.

    There have been some published experiments where "audiophiles" could not tell hear a difference between high-end magic cables and soldered-together coat hangars. But the fraud goes on.