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Music system ideas?


Guest Gladstone
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Guest Gladstone

I think this is a "Music Discussion" but forgive me if I'm in the wrong forum...

Anyway - I'm looking for ideas for a music system in my house. Not a ridiculous wiring the whole house up to a centralised music system kind of thing. Just a way of playing CDs / stored music in my living room, my kitchen and my bedroom (not all at the same time).

At the moment we've got a couple of ipod docking stations. 1 is quite good but it doesn't recognise my new ipod so that's quite shit - it only plays my old ipod and the other one was quite cheap and is shit - it sounds like listening to music through baked beans tin or something.

We also have a pretty old JVC hi-fi thingy - not one with separates - just an all-in-one cd player (3 disc changer) with a double cassette deck. It's pretty good but the volume control is fucked so it sometimes turns itself up to 50 when nobody's looking and scares the shit out of everyone. That's in the living room but we normally only use it to plug an ipod in through the aux socket because the changer jammed the last time I tried to use it. We've got a shitty little CD player in the kitchen, which is okay for just having some background music on, but not amazing.

So - basically, we're trying to decide what to upgrade and what to use. Thinking about buying a good CD player, or a good ipod docking station or maybe something that can store my entire collection on it that has a decent set of speakers on it. Or maybe a combination of all 3, as we have 3 rooms that I'd like to hook up.

All ideas welcome - not looking to spend a fortune, but fire anything in you can think of and I'll just discard anything out of the budget (don't have a budget exactly because I have no idea how much this stuff could cost because I've only ever looked at fairly cheap options). Something that plays the radio would be good too actually.

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Vita Audio R4i or Bose Wave CD system are both small enough to move around rooms and have iPod docks (an external add-on with the Bose system) and CD players. There is also the Brennan CD/Hard Drive wich has an inbuilt amp (so you can connect speakers to the actual system) or audio outs so you can connect it to a more powerful amp if required.

http://www.vitaaudio.com/products/r4i

http://www.brennan.co.uk/

http://www.bose.co.uk/GB/en/home-and-personal-audio/wave-systems/wave-music-systems/

I have heard and used all of the above and can say that i was very impressed with all 3 and don't think there's much else on the market that does what those three do better at that sort of price (they aren't ridiculously expensive either).

Hope that helps.

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Depends on how much you wanna spend. Philkaline's suggestions are quite probably mega good, but they will cost a few bob. If they are out of your price range, then looking at some decent separates isn't a bad idea. Getting yourself a reasonable amp and speakers along with a separate CD deck won't set you back too much. The amp will no doubt have an AUX input if you want to plug in your iPod, instead of getting a separate docking station for it.

Ebay is good. Lots of folk flogging amps, speakers and CD decks for good prices.

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Depends on how much you wanna spend. Philkaline's suggestions are quite probably mega good, but they will cost a few bob. If they are out of your price range, then looking at some decent separates isn't a bad idea. Getting yourself a reasonable amp and speakers along with a separate CD deck won't set you back too much. The amp will no doubt have an AUX input if you want to plug in your iPod, instead of getting a separate docking station for it.

Ebay is good. Lots of folk flogging amps, speakers and CD decks for good prices.

Yeah, you can pick up some good seperates second hand if you know what you're looking for/at and an iPod cradle that plugs into an aux input would be a good addition.

The sytems i suggested were aimed at great sound whilst maintaining an element of portabilty which seperates wouldn't give but seperates are still worth considering both new and second-hand in my opinion.

The only down-side is you can't try-out second-hand seperates as easily, certainly with ebay etc and sound partnering with seperates is a major consideration (well for me it would be).

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get a cheap ass 2.1 surround sound kit from asda and just plug your ipod into it. pick em up for £15 the creative ones are actually pretty decent.

Or failing that maplins sell active monitors for £30 a set just plug your ipod into that ive got both and i actually use the £30 monitors in my studio as the shitty speaker test, the results are good actually they arent that shit.

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get a cheap ass 2.1 surround sound kit from asda and just plug your ipod into it. pick em up for £15 the creative ones are actually pretty decent.

Or failing that maplins sell active monitors for £30 a set just plug your ipod into that ive got both and i actually use the £30 monitors in my studio as the shitty speaker test, the results are good actually they arent that shit.

No, don't. In my many years of exposure to all sorts of brands and price brackets of audio and visual equipment i can categorically say you generally get what you pay for. It's all subjective to what your requirements are of course.

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If you are looking for a good 2.1 system I have these hooked up to my TV and use them for music too (comes with a long and sturdy audio cable which makes it easy to switch between TV and ipod). Pricey but they are mega good.

http://www.ebuyer.com/106173-acoustic-energy-aego-m-black-2-1-speakers-ae26-06b-uk

Not the most portable though so definitely leave them in one room. The satellite speakers are actually really small but the subwoofer is huge.

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Guest Gladstone

Cheers muchly. Will have a look at these ideas. We went a bit mental and bought a mac mini on the cheap off ebay on Saturday night. So I'm going to hopefully wire that through the speakers in the living room and see how that sounds. That was very much an impulse buy, but hopefully it's good! I was checking out the Bose portable soundock at the weekend as well - that looks pretty ace, but something that plays CDs would be good - otherwise I'd have to consider selling my 100s of CDs because they never get used anymore. I do love putting on a CD though.

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Guest Gladstone

So - I've had a wee look at the suggestions and I think they are probably too expensive. Having looked at a few different things, I think the Bose portable soundock at about £350 is about as much as I'll look to spend.

Anything within that bracket that you could recommend Phil? You're the man in the know, which is why I'm looking at you...

I really love the portability of the Bose soundock, but I'm still missing out on the ability to play CDs through. I could maybe look at getting the JVC hi-fi sorted. I'm just a bit scared to put a CD in there now given the last one got a bit chewed.

How much would a good CD player separate set me back on it's own? I could wire the bugger into the existing speakers I have, which are pretty good, and I could hopefully find a way of wiring in the mac mini as well. I'm sure there will be a way. And if that's not all too much, I could maybe look into getting a portable sounddock as well for the kitchen/bedroom/outside/anywhere I want... That may all add up to be a bit too pricey though.

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Cheers muchly. Will have a look at these ideas. We went a bit mental and bought a mac mini on the cheap off ebay on Saturday night. So I'm going to hopefully wire that through the speakers in the living room and see how that sounds. That was very much an impulse buy, but hopefully it's good! I was checking out the Bose portable soundock at the weekend as well - that looks pretty ace, but something that plays CDs would be good - otherwise I'd have to consider selling my 100s of CDs because they never get used anymore. I do love putting on a CD though.

How much did you pay for it, if you don't mind me asking? What model is it? I'm planning on doing the same, but will probably wait until the new year. The newest model doesn't have a CD/DVD drive which is a massive mistake IMO, so will have to get one of the older ones, eBay probably being the best option.

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Guest Gladstone

Okay - another question.

As you can see, I'm a total noob here as I've always just bought cheapo audio equipment...

There looks to be shitloads of CD player separates on ebay for pretty good prices. Any brands/models that are highly recommended and on the opposite end of the scale should be avoided?

Also - I'm assuming that if I was to buy a separate I could easily hook it up to the speakers I have, which connect to the hi-fi system with those little red and black clippy things at the back - any CD player I've ever seen with separate speakers has those clips on the back, so I'm assuming/hoping it's the same for separates? I've only ever buggered about with one separates system once in my life and it's an ancient one that my in-laws have - it has the same clippy things on the back of the CD player.

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You can't really go too far wrong with a separate CD deck of a brand you've probably heard of (Sony, Yamaha etc). As long as it looks in good nick and has the right outputs for connecting up. A separate CD deck will more than likely need to be connected to a separate amplifier too, and the speakers will connect to the amp.

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As Soda Jerk says you'll need an amp with your CD player. If you're keen on the Bose Sounddock it is worth bearing in mind that it has an audio-in on it which would allow you to take the red and white (black on some models) output of the CD player into the 3.5mm headphone jack-sized audio-in on the Sounddock thus negating the need for a seperate amp.

You would ultimately get a better sound quality out of an Amp-CD player-Speakers seperates set up but buying second hand can be risky. As Soda Jerk also said, stick to well known manufacturers (you generally can't go wrong with Sony/NAD/Pioneer/Yamaha etc but do a bit of research online into specific models or feel free to post on here what you're looking at).

Dispose of the JVC hifi (responsibly) if it's "chewing" CDs as it's likely that the alignment of the drive is out of whack or the mechanism is just fucked which would not be economical to replace.

If it was me i'd save up a bit more and get something that will do exactly what you want that's brand new with a warranty but everyone's circumstances and priorities are different.

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Guest Gladstone

Cheers again for the advice.

I think I understand now. The hi-fi separates CD player at my in-laws must have had an amp that was connected to the speakers. I was being a bit thick and just thinking of "amp" as in a similar thing to a guitar amp or bass amp or whatever... :dunce:

My JVC speakers will work with a separates CD player/amp combo though right?

I've got a separates CD player and tuner lined up for free from our good friend Adam 10EW, so all I need is an amp and that's the CD player side of things sorted... If I can get an amp at a decent price, I'll probably still be able to get the bose sounddock, because the portability of that thing is ace.

Here's another question... will a separates amp (or CD player - just so long as one of them does!) have an aux input that I could plug the mac mini directly into?

EDIT: and by "responsibly" you mean throw it out of the back of my car on the way to work one day, right?

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How much did you pay for it, if you don't mind me asking? What model is it? I'm planning on doing the same, but will probably wait until the new year. The newest model doesn't have a CD/DVD drive which is a massive mistake IMO, so will have to get one of the older ones, eBay probably being the best option.

They've done the same with laptops, getting rid of the lower end macbook and replacing it with a higher spec Air, which has no cd drive. so silly.

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Cheers again for the advice.

I think I understand now. The hi-fi separates CD player at my in-laws must have had an amp that was connected to the speakers. I was being a bit thick and just thinking of "amp" as in a similar thing to a guitar amp or bass amp or whatever... :dunce:

My JVC speakers will work with a separates CD player/amp combo though right?

I've got a separates CD player and tuner lined up for free from our good friend Adam 10EW, so all I need is an amp and that's the CD player side of things sorted... If I can get an amp at a decent price, I'll probably still be able to get the bose sounddock, because the portability of that thing is ace.

Here's another question... will a separates amp (or CD player - just so long as one of them does!) have an aux input that I could plug the mac mini directly into?

EDIT: and by "responsibly" you mean throw it out of the back of my car on the way to work one day, right?

Depending on the Watt rating of the speakers against the output of the amplifier (also in Watts) and the impedance of both matching they may be ok, however you may be better using them in the meantime and saving up for something a bit better quality speakers-wise.

Yes, the amp should have several inputs (may be named tuner, cd player, tape etc) The only one that wouldn't work would be an input labeled "phono" which may be attached to an internal phono stage designed for boosting a turntable's output and using that would possibly fuck your speakers and amp (tends to be on older amps though as most turntables either have one built in themselves or encourage you to use a seperate external phono stage).

Yes.

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Gladstone

Right - I've orderded the Bose Portable Sounddock - it's on its way in the post...

That's downstairs music sorted...

I've been looking out for freebies/cheap separates. Managed to get a free CD player and tuner a while ago, but spotted on Freecycle a guy giving away a Kenwood hifi system with 5 surround speakers etc etc. Reason being that the control center wasn't working. I went for it, thinking I could at least make use of some of it (and it was free to a good home). And at the very worst, I think I'll get use of the speakers - which are fucking massive.

However, not having a fucking clue about any of this, I thought that I might be able to use the amp to plug in the CD player/tuner that I've already got or plug in the CD player that came with the Kenwood system, but it seems that I was incorrect. The control center is paramount to any of the Kenwood separates working.

Are all amps like this one? I.e. it's got a cable connecting the amp to the control center, but nothing else connects to the amp. Everything connects to the control center and from the control center to the speakers.

Do most amps act as "control centers" as well? Meaning if I can get an amp with all those connections at the back, potentially if all those Kenwood bits and pieces work, they would all work through this alternative amp and I could have a full hifi separates system?

Or am I basically where I was before, with a CD player and a tuner, but now with the added bonus that I have some speakers? (And the Kenwood stuff will all be useless without a working control center?)

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Guest Gladstone

For info - this is the Kenwood system (or a picture of the same kind):

4d24355b60712_1.jpg

That's a CD player, cassette deck, amp and control center.

No idea - if that makes any difference, but thought I should post it anyway.

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I got an old 1970's hi-fi off freecycle. The guy that was punting it was all i-poddy. The dick didnae realise what the phono/aux imputs could do. For shame. Sounds great though. massive sound.

I play cd's though- mp3/aac/etc sound shit at home.

Chin-up though Gladstone- freecycle is a bit funny sometimes....have you tried e-bay to pick up the "control centre" bit of the set-up? might be worth a custom search/alert...

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Right - I've orderded the Bose Portable Sounddock - it's on its way in the post...

That's downstairs music sorted...

I've been looking out for freebies/cheap separates. Managed to get a free CD player and tuner a while ago, but spotted on Freecycle a guy giving away a Kenwood hifi system with 5 surround speakers etc etc. Reason being that the control center wasn't working. I went for it, thinking I could at least make use of some of it (and it was free to a good home). And at the very worst, I think I'll get use of the speakers - which are fucking massive.

However, not having a fucking clue about any of this, I thought that I might be able to use the amp to plug in the CD player/tuner that I've already got or plug in the CD player that came with the Kenwood system, but it seems that I was incorrect. The control center is paramount to any of the Kenwood separates working.

Are all amps like this one? I.e. it's got a cable connecting the amp to the control center, but nothing else connects to the amp. Everything connects to the control center and from the control center to the speakers.

Do most amps act as "control centers" as well? Meaning if I can get an amp with all those connections at the back, potentially if all those Kenwood bits and pieces work, they would all work through this alternative amp and I could have a full hifi separates system?

Or am I basically where I was before, with a CD player and a tuner, but now with the added bonus that I have some speakers? (And the Kenwood stuff will all be useless without a working control center?)

Quite a few older systems require bespoke connections where power is run from teh amp to the other units or they have ribbon cables sending "control" information.

Just buy an amp and some normal speakers.

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If I was you I would invest a few quid in a copy of What HiFi and look at the section with all the separates options at different prices. After you recover from discovering folk will spend 50 grand+ on a turntable alone you may find it is worth saving some pennies for a few quality budget separates. That's pretty much what I did.

I saved up a bit of cash about 12 years ago and bought a separates system and it all still works fine and dandy, accomodating all my various music formats. Project turntable, Yamaha tapedeck, Marantz CD player and Marantz amp. Probably all hideously outdated now but they were all pretty top-notch for the budget limit I had at that time. I rarely use the system now, sitting in the room where the computer is that I also never use because I just use my laptop. Need to get the room tidied up though, loads of ace vinyl in there not being listened to.

Perhaps technology has changed since I bought mine but the essential element was the amp with all the auxiliaries (turntable, tape deck, CD player, speakers) plugging into that. Not sure why you need a 'control centre'. Probably just to connect even more up to date technological gubbins that a bog-standard amp couldn't cope with.

I never bought a tuner because I don't listen to the radio. I used to also zap my old mini-disc player through it via the auxiliary input and used to record onto it as well using the outputs. Separate systems are ace.

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