OT - audio equipment

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Submitted by spdrun on November 8, 2017 - 11:21am

I have an old Denon amplifier (guessing 1985-90 era) hooked up to an HTPC with a professional (ESI?) sound card that someone gave me a while back. 30 year old hardware sounds a lot better than the 2" TV speakers or a tinny little iDevice dock. But most people seem to use the latter to listen to music and think it's great. What gives? Sonos sounds decent, not much else.

Submitted by plm on November 8, 2017 - 11:37am.

Probably because people multitask all the time, just having music in the background. So the sound quality just doesn't matter anymore. I've stopped using my 5.1 system for music, just tell Alexa to play something on the echo instead. Just easier even it doesn't sound nearly as nice.

Submitted by spdrun on November 8, 2017 - 12:00pm.

I don't think Echo goes as far as optical or S/PDIF out, but it does have a 3.5" output to connect to a decent amp/speakers.

Submitted by plm on November 8, 2017 - 12:18pm.

Yes, the echo dot has the 3.5 mm output and I have one hooked up to my Yamaha 5.1 but I'm too lazy to use it. I'd have to issue another voice command: Alexa, trigger listen echo which turns on the Yamaha and sets the input to the echo dot. I have a problem with the echo dot and the echo in the same room so control was always an issue. Maybe I can get around this by changing the wake word of the dot to computer instead.

Submitted by spdrun on November 8, 2017 - 12:20pm.

What does two Echos in one room do for you anyway?

Submitted by plm on November 8, 2017 - 12:46pm.

One for the 5.1 stereo and one for normal use. Problem is you don't hear the echo dot responses if stereo isn't on. Usually I leave the echo dot disabled. But using two different wake words should be a much better solution.

Submitted by TeCKis300 on November 8, 2017 - 3:23pm.

I truly do believe we've taken a step back to true hifi listening.

When the general population is use to listening to "music" from tiny/tinny little speakers on their mobile device, a dock/soundbar/BT/Alexa all starts sounding good.

To me, as someone who considers himself an audiophile, I personally can't stand listening to these types of systems. Digitized, EQ'd and processed to the hilt, without significant air coupling (small drivers), practically no amp power, and no soundstage, let alone imaging from mono speakers, no thank you. And wireless music that's gone through how many DACs/ADC. Hrmph! It's a facade of real music.

Don't even get me started on 5.1 from sound processing via a sound bar. YUK! The masses in this digital generation don't know real music.

Yet for the audiophile, there is so much technology and products to serve that group if they seek it out. Hi-bit rate encodings and transports, super high quality DACs, clean amplification, big or exotic driver technology. At price points that are reachable by the average consumer (who are not drawn to the "processed sound" tech above). Marry the convenience of music from the cloud or blue-ray, back it up with a high quality external DAC, with real amplification and speakers...absolutely blissful!

I bet your audio setup sounds great...because it starts with clean (hopefully high bit-rate) digital source, decoded on a high quality DAC onboard the prof soundcard, to a solid analog receiver/amplifier with real power, to backup larger speakers that can ultimately move far more air to get legitimate linear stereo audio output.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on November 8, 2017 - 10:21pm.

Yes plm, multitasking and convenience.
I do have an amp connected my TV. If it didn’t automatically turn on, I wouldn’t use it although I took great care to wire it.

Read on iPad and YouTube cast to TV. Music is Youtube on TV also. Can’t be bothered by anything inconvenient.

Submitted by barnaby33 on November 8, 2017 - 10:33pm.

To me anyone who says audiophile and 5.1 in the same paragraph you suspect. Surround sound is for movies not music.

Submitted by moneymaker on November 9, 2017 - 8:31am.

I like to use bluetooth. Can play music from echo dot to my blockrocker or Sony 7.1 surround system. I remember being excited when I bought the 7.1 (it wasn't expensive) and then finding out that most movies don't even have 7.1 encoding, oh well! The ones that do sound great!

Submitted by Ribbles on November 9, 2017 - 2:03pm.

barnaby33 wrote:
To me anyone who says audiophile and 5.1 in the same paragraph you suspect. Surround sound is for movies not music.
I'm beginning to lean the same way. For my garage man cave, I have an 8 watt tube amp w/upgraded tubes hooked up to two Klipsch RP series floor standers and a powered 10" (I refuse to call it a sub). For music it is sublime, works well for movies, too. I think adding more channels would ruin it.

It's a bit jury rigged:
TV > optical to RCA converter > switch box > amp < switch box < bluetooth receiver < Spotify

Submitted by SK in CV on November 9, 2017 - 4:09pm.

Ribbles wrote:
I'm beginning to lean the same way. For my garage man cave, I have an 8 watt tube amp w/upgraded tubes hooked up to two Klipsch RP series floor standers and a powered 10" (I refuse to call it a sub). For music it is sublime, works well for movies, too. I think adding more channels would ruin it.

It's a bit jury rigged:
TV > optical to RCA converter > switch box > amp < switch box < bluetooth receiver < Spotify

You shouldn't have to think about if for long. Very little music is recorded (or at least produced) in more than 2 channels. It can't get any better than stereo (plus bass). Adding channels can't help, other than add more distortion.

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