You are here

Log in or register to post comments
Master36
Master36's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Jul 23 2007 - 2:32pm
Advice needed for dorm

Hey all, I have been a long time fan of the site but this is my first post. I am a college student up in Michigan which means during the winter months I have nothing to do except listen to music all the time while i study. Its an alright setup. I have a current setup with 4 cabinet speakers (they include 12" sub, mid and high) with an low end reciever. I dont have a lot of money to spend on upgrading, at least while I am still in school. I do appreciate good quality of sound and I am willing to invest as much as I can into it. Two of the cabinets need replacing and I dont know weather to replace the guts or buy new units. I listen to a lot of rock music, and the setup I have is just a two channel setup with 4 speakers. I understand that this I am a little out of my leauge but I would appreciate it if anyone could give me any advice. Good speakers that are manageable on a college budget? I dont want to upgrade to a theather setup yet (I just dont have the money). Thanks in advance for any help!

bobedaone
bobedaone's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 19 hours ago
Joined: Feb 1 2007 - 12:27am
Re: Advice needed for dorm

I like the Paradigm Atoms ($250) a lot. They don't have true bass depth (the lower end is tipped up a bit to give the illusion of bass heft), but have a great midrange and good treble. You might consider pairing them with a small subwoofer later on.

Stephen Meijas, our moderator, would probably pick the PSB Alpha B1 as his favorite in this price range ($280). I cannot confirm his enthusiasm, but I take his word for it. After all, Paradigm was founded by guys who left PSB, so PSB knows a thing or two about the affordable speaker game.

When you're ready to attack amplification, check out NAD. The C325BEE comes close to my Rega Brio3 for less than 2/3 the price. It also has more features, and would be easy to use as the hub of a full A/V system later on.

Good luck! If you're a Wolverine, look me up in the Fall! It's always nice to connect with other enthusiasts. My shop in Ann Arbor is Overture Audio on Main Street. I recommend them highly. It's very low-pressure, and you're not looked down on for being a broke student. They also have some great gear and are happy to audition it!

Regards,

smejias
smejias's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 9 months ago
Joined: Aug 25 2005 - 10:29am
Re: Advice needed for dorm


Quote:
Stephen Meijas, our moderator, would probably pick the PSB Alpha B1 as his favorite in this price range ($280).

This is true, but I haven't heard the Paradigms yet. Wes Phillips' review of the Atoms will appear in our September issue.

bobedaone
bobedaone's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 19 hours ago
Joined: Feb 1 2007 - 12:27am
Re: Advice needed for dorm

Excellent! I'm looking forward to it.

ohfourohnine
ohfourohnine's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 7:41pm
Re: Advice needed for dorm

Quote>>" ...listen to music all the time while i study..... I do appreciate good quality of sound......"

Considering the above and your stated budget limitations, you might want to go for a pair of quality headphones. Probably the best way to combine quality sound and low price. Might even cut down on complaints from others who don't share your musical tastes.

bobedaone
bobedaone's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 19 hours ago
Joined: Feb 1 2007 - 12:27am
Re: Advice needed for dorm

You know, you have a point, Clay. I'll be moving my full system into my apartment this year, and can only hope I have understanding neighbors. I could also keep the volume really low and develop my listening skills. It's amazing the stuff I miss when my goal is impressive macrodynamics. Sometimes, the best music lies underneath. Anyway, I digress. The headphone suggestion is an excellent one.

Monty
Monty's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: Advice needed for dorm

The Grado SR-60 is probably the most ridiculously good sounding bargain in all of audio. They aren't all that comfy, but for genuine hi fidelity at a giveaway price they can't be beat. I don't even like headphones and still have a pair those things.

bobedaone
bobedaone's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 19 hours ago
Joined: Feb 1 2007 - 12:27am
Re: Advice needed for dorm

So I've heard. My dealer sells Grado, so they would be easy to audition. I don't have a headphone amp, though. That Rega Brio is a real stripped-down hot rod. If I didn't start with a fine pair of speakers, I may have gone the head-fi route.

Master36
Master36's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Jul 23 2007 - 2:32pm
Re: Advice needed for dorm

Thanks all for the advice. I am definitly going to look into some of the speakers. I have thought about the headphone game and I do appreciate the advice. So im kinda hearing that its not worth it to rebuild my 80's model cabinet speakers with new components, I should just invest in new pieces.

p.s. I am a spartan, but I have been known to venture to the duece once in a while

ohfourohnine
ohfourohnine's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 7:41pm
Re: Advice needed for dorm

You're right, Batmaster, that rebuilding idea wasn't your best. Let us know what you decide to do.

My case for good headphones (and the Grados recommended are an excellent example) boils down to this: really cheap speakers will probably be junked as your budget gets better, the same investment in headphones is likely to be around giving you pleasure for a long time. Old fashioned as that logic is, it might be worth considering.

Best of luck,

Master36
Master36's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Jul 23 2007 - 2:32pm
Re: Advice needed for dorm

Thanks for the advice.
I think im gonna upgrade my headphone/earbud experience. I like the shure e3's for two main reasons over traditional headphone : isolation from outside noise, easy of storing during classes. Im a young college guy and want to get something to pack in my bag when i arrive to class.
I am open to suggestions,comments, or someone telling me they agree with me.

another thing, whats the deal with the headphone amps you can use for mp3's? i can listen to a song on my home stereo in vinyl, cd and mp3 and notice the difference and im wondering if a headphone amp ( like the hornet or something??) would expand my mp3's to sound a little better. (gotta love ipods right?) i have a pioneer reciever and speakers so maybe im not high end enough to make a difference but i can notice crappy compression.

bobedaone
bobedaone's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 19 hours ago
Joined: Feb 1 2007 - 12:27am
Re: Advice needed for dorm

I have a pair of E2c's and love them. Avoid using Shures in the winter, though, as the wire insulation is prone to splitting in colder temperatures. There might be a way to lubricate them, but I haven't tried it. At any rate, Shure has a 2-year warranty and it's painless to send for a replacement (You'll just be without music for a couple weeks).

If you can notice crappy compression, I doubt a headphone amplifier will enhance your life at all, at least if you use it with lossy MP3's. Save your money for books or vinyl.

ohfourohnine
ohfourohnine's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 7:41pm
Re: Advice needed for dorm

Sure you can notice crappy compression. Unfortunately switching amps won't make it any different. If the only music source you're taking to school with you is your iPod and all it contains is MP3 stuff you're stuck. Maybe I misunderstood you. If not, why not put some music on it in lossless or AIF? Given that, a decent headphone amp will make a difference with your Shure 3's. Hard to beat them for isolation - no doubt about that. Improve the format on your iPod and something like Headroom's little battery powered Total Airhead will give your music pretty good treatment and would support some phones like the Grados when isolation isn't an issue.

Master36
Master36's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Jul 23 2007 - 2:32pm
Re: Advice needed for dorm

If not, why not put some music on it in lossless or AIF?

im not sure what this means. i mean i have my music on cd's that i put on my computer in mp3 form. Is there another way to put them on my ipod? something that doesnt compress it as much? Ive heard of wave files but is that different as well?

bobedaone
bobedaone's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 19 hours ago
Joined: Feb 1 2007 - 12:27am
Re: Advice needed for dorm

.WAV and .AIFF are uncompressed formats, meaning all of the raw CD data are retained. .FLAC and Apple Lossless utilize lossless compression, which essentially stores the file like a zip, but plays it back bit-for-bit.

The software you use for importing probably allows you to select the format. If you use iTunes, go to preferences>>advanced>>importing to change the import format.

The iPod will play both Apple Lossless and AIFF files. My recommendation is to use iTunes for importing and select Apple Lossless. There is no difference in quality between lossless and uncompressed files, but lossless will save you about half the space.

Master36
Master36's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Jul 23 2007 - 2:32pm
Re: Advice needed for dorm

thanks! can i convert my already converted mp3's to lossless? i have like 15 gigs of mp3s and i dunno if i have all the originals to change em

Elk
Elk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 1 week ago
Joined: Dec 26 2006 - 6:32am
Re: Advice needed for dorm


Quote:
thanks! can i convert my already converted mp3's to lossless?i have like 15 gigs of mp3s and i dunno if i have all the originals to change em


There is no benefit in doing so. Once the music has been saved as an MP3 the sound quality that has been lost cannot be restored to the file. To get the best sound you will need to re-rip from the original CD and encode the files.

Speaking as your conscience, if you don't have the original CD's you have no right to MP3 copies unless they were purchased as MP3s from iTunes or the like. [/lecture mode]

ohfourohnine
ohfourohnine's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 7:41pm
Re: Advice needed for dorm

Unfortunately, if the only copy of a piece of music you have now is the one in MP3 format, you're stuck with it - you can't reverse the process you used to compress the file. Where you have the originals, start over. It will be worth the effort. Too bad you weren't aware of your options when you started building your iPod files, but that's how all of us usually learn. We really don't learn much, comparatively, from stuff we do right the first time.

Elk
Elk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 1 week ago
Joined: Dec 26 2006 - 6:32am
Re: Advice needed for dorm


Quote:
We really don't learn much, comparatively, from stuff we do right the first time.


A good observation - and sadly too true.

It is hard to really understand MP3s unless you put some serious effort into it as the MP3 format is presented as being CD quality by so many. It is frustrating to learn that this isn't the case.

Master36
Master36's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Jul 23 2007 - 2:32pm
Re: Advice needed for dorm

ahh, Elk you speak the truth from my inner ear. To clarify slightly, i have been building my library from home and school onto my computer and dont have my entire hard copy collection in one place, but you speak the truth of the internet fishery.

Elk
Elk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 1 week ago
Joined: Dec 26 2006 - 6:32am
Re: Advice needed for dorm

Very fair, BatMaster!

A doubly frustrating problem for you; you need to re-rip for best sound and you can't get easily get your paws on your original CDs. ARGH!

Master36
Master36's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Jul 23 2007 - 2:32pm
Re: Advice needed for dorm

Hey Elk, or anyone else, have you heard anything about Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3 Studio earbuds? they seem to be the answer to shure's e2 and e3 models. I would like the e3 but they may be out of my price range. does anyone have any experience in comparing the e2 and e3 from shure, or the Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3 Studio for that matter?

bobedaone
bobedaone's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 19 hours ago
Joined: Feb 1 2007 - 12:27am
Re: Advice needed for dorm

The Ultimate Ears Super.Fi 3 Studio is priced the same as the Shure E2c ($99). Unless they've changed their pricing since I was shopping around, you can afford a pair. I had narrowed my choices down to the Studio and the Shure E2c, ultimately deciding on the Shures. They have a longer cable (good for computer use), and are a stealthy black as opposed to the "thief magnet" white. I also like the way they fit in your ear, which is nice for lying around or sleeping.

The two models are technologically comparable, and both should be satisfying. Guitar Center sells a clear Studio, which I think looks really cool.

I never compared the E3 to the E2, as I had resolved to spend less than $100.

Thor
Thor's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Jul 28 2007 - 5:33pm
Re: Advice needed for dorm

use eac to make the best mp3's

Master36
Master36's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Jul 23 2007 - 2:32pm
Re: Advice needed for dorm

Update

I havent been unable to buy new stereo speakers yet ( $$$$ ), but I did decide to purchase the Shure SCL2 earbuds (sound isolating model that is replacing the E2 series). They are in the mail and I cant wait for them to get here ! Thanks for all the advice, im sure well all talk again

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading