Old school where to start – Let us start with your listening room. Because this is the very first place. Even before thinking about filling your room with equipment.
What is your room size? Maybe long and narrow, or, maybe an irregular shape, Maybe it is very high or very low? Is the room full of windows or does it have many doors? Does the room have carpets on the floor or on the wall (as some do)? And, does the room have curtains. Are there pictures or plants covering the walls. Sometimes we have to look very carefully to decide what we want and also what we might have to do in order to make our Listening room ready for sound.
There is a very simple way to get your system to sound good and it has taken me many years to find this very simple trick!
- Place your speakers just a few inches from the wall and then move your speakers so that the centre of each speaker is about 2.9 – 3.0 meters apart.
- Next, you place your listening chair about 3 meters in the front so you have formed a nearly perfect triangle and this is where you start.
- By doing some “fine-tuning,” you can achieve a really great sound.
Over the years, I have had many systems and so could have filled a very large shop. I have learned that you are far better off to buy your system second hand. This is because in audio there is something called “burn-in”. And, every piece of equipment needs many hours to “burn-in” to make it sounds correct.
The same with anything that is electronic. if you buy something that in a few years old it will always sound much better than something new. And, In most cases, it is better to look at what. Old school where to start?
The first thing to ask is what to use for the source. A beautiful old Vinyl transport or maybe a CD transport or even an audio streamer. What is the price you want to pay for your source machine? You have to start with a figure and keep to it. Because it is very easy to get distracted by a smooth-talking salesperson. And, you could end up paying far too much for something that you really do not want. Let us say you have decided to use Vinyl. Because, Vinyl is regarded as the best, giving a beautiful rich analogue sound. A turntable can be a fixed roller drive or can be driven by a belt. But, you have to do some research to decide which you prefer. And, personally, I prefer a belt drive.
Maybe you decide that Vinyl is too much hassle. Looking after, and caring for vinyl does take time and effort. Maybe, you have said well I think CD is better for me. A CD player fits into a smaller space. The CD’s are smaller and also you can get much more playing time on a CD than vinyl. Also, the sound produced by a well-recorded CD today is very close to vinyl. Old school where to start?
The Audio streamer is the latest item appearing in the audiophile world. And, there have been so many advances in this technology. A streamer is and requires a very small space. The sound is very good if you use a Hi-end DAC (digital to Analogue converter).
The beautiful look, of a pair of warm glowing glass tubes in the evening, just sets up the feel for good listening. A good tube amplifier does have a quality of sound that is unmistakable. Also, a small tube amplifier can give you such good sound. If you have a very large room you will have to look at something with about 12 – 18 watts of power.
An “old school” amplifier is just brilliant because it really gives such excellent value for money. Temperature is something else to consider because on the larger models the tubes become too hot to handle. And, great care must be taken to put the amplifier in a place that out of reach of the children and pets.
The solid look of a well-engineered piece of audio equipment is something that also rings a bell in many audiophiles heart. The unit can be in a range of colours and also comes in a range of sizes. Some are thin and compact and others are very large with a power and passion that is a look unto its own.
We are also blessed with the “Old school” style amplifier with their glowing coloured indication dials. And a range of very heavy selector switches and thick inviting control knobs. They have the ability to provide a lot of power for a very large listening room. And, many are fitted with tone controls, so you are able to fine-tune the sound to offset room acoustic deficiencies.
Another amplifier in the world of amplification is the Hybrid amplifier. Which, is not used very much in the audio world. A Hybrid combines the best of the solid-state and tube technologies plus an energy-efficient “green” design.
An amplifier having the smooth and organic sound that only tubes can provide combined with the dynamics and slam of the solid-state. Well, that is a Hybrid amplifier and has advantages and disadvantages. Another choice, to buy a stereo amplifier or buy two separate mono-block amplifiers. But, then you will need a control unit or pre-amplifier to join the mono-blocks together.
And this is another expense. But, all depends on what you are really looking for. If space, is not a concern, then this is an excellent solution. Because mono-block amplifiers represent excellent value for money.
The loudspeakers are the last link in the chain. But, the correct size loudspeaker can make or break the system. You are looking for a cabinet with a driver, with high efficiency. Somewhere above 90db is acceptable. But, if you are able to find a bit more 92/93/95 is ideal.
You can find many of the “old school” cabinets around for a very reasonable price. Every country has it’s own small secondhand shops. Offering, a multitude of old amplifiers tuners, CD players, and turntables. You may think, they are old fashioned and just rubbish. But, that is where you are so wrong. Because most of these really “old school” units can actually sound better than modern-day counterparts.
These are a very important part of the audio system. And, is what joins everything together. It is only in recent years, that people have come to realize the cables really do make a difference. And, can make, the sound of the audio system sound better. The cost of good cabling must also be added, to the cost of the system. A good power cord is essential. And, the first thing to consider when using any piece of audio equipment. A good quality power cord can, and will, improve the quality of sound from your components. A stock power cord coats about 10 – 20 USD. But, if you replace it with a power cord costing 500 USD you will hear a tremendous difference.
The Interconnect is very important and it is the very first thing to transfer information from the Turntable, CD player or other source machines to the amplifier and again a stock set of Interconnects is about 20 USD. If you replace them with an interconnect that costs 100USD will you hear a difference yes you will a small but noticeable difference but if you replace them with a pair of Interconnects that cost 200USD you will hear a very big difference. Old school where to start?
The stock cables, supplied with loudspeakers are really, not good. And, better to use a piece of reading light flex. But, if you replace with a 350USD speaker cable, you will hear a difference. However, if you replace that with a 700USD speaker cable, you will hear a very big difference. There are many different cable companies today, offering a very wide range of cables. But, always ask their cables have a money-back guarantee. And, this is because the cables may not suit your audio system.
ConclusionOld school where to start?
Please understand, everything has to balance. And, the sound will only be as good as the weakest link. Never think a 1000USD speaker cable will make your system sound better. Because that is just not the case and a waste of money.
You might be interested to read about one of my experiences with a power cord
If you enjoyed ‘Old school where to start?’, please share with friends – thank you.
Perkune – Best Value Cables Online