"Music to Your Ears"
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Introducing the Essay portal, beta version. My take on "How to Save Radio Shack"
FAQ: So what sort of equipment do you have at home, Huw?
I have what most people would call "several" systems, each capable of generating their own content and sound. However, they are all tied in together in various ways so I can listen to whatever I want, and control most of the functions, anywhere in my building. I have a multitude of infrared remote repeaters and "basic" universal remotes for the Sony gear which allow pretty good flexibility and control.
I'll start off in the living room, since there are more wires there than anywhere else.
A Sony STR DA5ES surround receiver is at the heart of the system. Its speaker outputs, however, are sent to the speakers in the bathroom and dining room. I use its five preamplifier outputs to feed the living room amplifiers.
These source components are in the built in cabinet with the Sony receiver:
Video is handled by a big flat thing bolted to the wall over the C3+.
I have a little sixteen channel home studio set up in the back of the living room, where I amuse myself by recording songs I wrote. I have two "blackface" Alesis ADAT eight track digital tape recorders, controlled by the Alesis Big Remote Control. A few hundred (or so it seems) wires end up connected to an Alesis Studio 32 mixer where the meters bounce in a pretty fashion. The mixer output is fed to a SUNN SPL 7000 amplifier, which, through a three-speaker switchbox I built, lets me monitor my mixdowns using a pair of big speakers, medium speakers, or a pair of tiny home-theater-in-a-box type cube things, as necessary. There is also a mixer output sent to the main system tape switching box.
There is a Sony RCD-W7V CD recorder, which was destined for the living room to dub old cassette anthologies to CD. It ended up installed in the studio, where I use it as a mixdown recorder.
While this drifts off topic a bit, I have several guitars and stuff like that, too:
And I keep a TEAC 3340S quarter track tape machine around, mostly to access a few old demos I recorded once upon a time.
Video is handled by a medium sized flat thing bolted to the wall.
In the bathroom, another prime listening and viewing location, are a pair of demo HUMAN 81s and whatever I'm using this week for a center channel.
Video is made available via the smallest of my flat things bolted to the wall.
In the main Factory space there is an Adcom GFP-555 preamplifier, fed by an Adcom GCD-600 CD changer and a Strathclyde Transcription Developments 305M turntable with an Audioquest M1 cartridge in a Signet XK50 tone arm. There is also a tape monitor output from the living room coming into this system, so all day long the same radio station plays everywhere. Amplification is handled by yet another Adcom GFA-555 amplifier. I built a switchbox for up to ten sets of speakers out of an old PS Audio 100C case, since their old amplifiers aren't good for anything else.
I keep my Nitty Gritty record cleaner out here, where it can impress the easily impressed.
For demonstrations, these play through whatever needs to be heard, but for "music while I work" I have 8 speakers bolted to the Factory ceiling. They consist of old Small Advent cabinets, rebuilt EPI 120 woofers and Genesis I tweeters. There are four "lefts" and four "rights," wired in parallel/series. The way they are spaced, the two nearest speakers always work out to being a left and right. They are painted white, just because.
There is a very decrepit, but fully functional, pair of Genesis 11's bolted to the Devil's Workshop/Werehouse wall, hooked up to the Factory system.
In my office, the computer plays my TablEdit (this is a great program, by the way) files and whatever random beeps and squeaks come along through an old 35 w/ch Sansui 210 receiver and pair of HUMAN 61s built in some random old cabinets. The tape output of this receiver also winds its way through the tape switching box in the living room to an input of the Sony receiver. It runs through a car stereo "ground loop isolator" to eliminate a little hum I was getting.
I'm too mellow, and enjoy music too much, to be an audiophile - but I do have an accumulated assortment of moderately pricey interconnects and speaker wires, some from Audioquest and Straight Wire, and others unidentifiable. I'm not sure how much of a difference they make, but since I have them, I use the fanciest ones in the most critical places in my systems.
Here is an attempt at a schematic illustration of all the above equipment:
I also have vehicles that I drive, and as you can imagine, I listen to music in them too.
This is what was in my 1982 Audi Coupe:
Kenwood 959 something cassette radio
In June 2003 I put this stuff in my 1989 Audi 90 Quattro:
Nakamichi CD 400 CD/radio head unit
In December 2006 I outfitted my 1978 Chevy K20 with tunage:
The Pioneer CD player with built in amplifiers that came with the Audi 90
Prices can change and specifications will improve without notice