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plantluvver
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Newbie wanting to learn....?

Hi,
I am new here, and also new to stereo equipment, so I am not a stereophile yet.

If you can direct me to some elemenary articles for beginners, I would greatly appreciate it!

One goal of mine is to incorporate more music into my life.
Since I plan on replacing my furnishings, I may as well make them music frendly.

I won't bore you with extensive details now, because I don't know what exactly is pertinent.

My house is from 1942, and is a small starter type home. I also have a semi-finished attic and unfinished basement that could be put to use. I will say that my living room floor is hardwood, so I have much flexibility in choosing how much sound absorbing materials to incorporate in my room. My stereo is a Pioneer system purchased from a discount store in the early 80's. My speakers are from Garrard. I do not have a working turntable. I do not wish to spend much, however, I love prowling thrift store and garage sales.

I must admit that I have thus far been an uncritical listener of music. Even now, I mostly listen to music while doing chores around the house, and I am not playing my instruments at all. (Guitar, a $300 keyboard, and vocal)

My favorite genre of music are old folk songs, at least this is what I sing mostly. The heaviest music I listen to is Led Zeppelin. As far as instrumental music, when I hear the twang of a classical guitar, I feel as if my heart has escaped from from my chest, and is quivering. This is not metaphor, but a physical sensation. I am also highly interested in listening to female vocalists, to help with my own singing.

I am a poor musician, and I am sure that much of this can be attributed to my insensitive ears. I have difficulties with discriminating pitch.

Don't pick on me too much, I wish to learn. But I just don't know how to listen and what to listen for. However, I feel that if I am listening to crummy sound to begin with, that certainly contributes to the problem.

However, in my favor, I am highly intelligent, with a B.A. in math and science,and I have taken a few music classes at the local community college, so I am experienced with learning new jargon and technical matters.

Anyway, I hope that there are a few members here who enjoy audio so much, that they will discuss it even with a raw beginner, like me.

Mary

Buddha
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Re: Newbie wanting to learn....?

Hi, welcome.

I don't know where to start!

I guess the first question would be if you want to play records or not.

Then, with computers and iPods being so capable, if you even want to buy CD's or just set up a system based on an iPod or your computer as the source of your tunes.

There are a million ways to go, so I'll just start the festivities by asking for more info from you:

What will be the "source" of your music? LP, CD, MP3, whatever.

Any answer or combination of answers will be fine. Then we can help you start narrowing down the number of decisions to make.

Also think about how intrusive you would be willing to be with regard to gear, especially speakers: Big ones that require their own floor space, or smaller ones that require a bit less room.

Some of us love to help shop for used gear, so no problems there, but some ballpark for budget would help us. Get ready for lots of fun choices to make.

Cheers!

CECE
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Re: Newbie wanting to learn....?

If your chest "quivers" when hearing acoustic guitar, you might be ALLERGIC. Perhaps a Antihistimine, or if it persists, XANAX....it does a body good. I know when i hear hip-hop crap, I get really angry, annoyed, and usually get pissed, that some RETARD who barely can speak ENGLISH is making money off the garbage, XANAX or ZOLOFT takes the bite out of hip-hop junk, yours may be acoustic guitar...try some electric guitar, Stevie Ray Vaughan, or Gary Moore, or buddy Guy, to cure that allergy. Or is may be mold growing on something

CECE
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Re: Newbie wanting to learn....?

Firstly get some gooood speakers www.legacyaudio.com

Monty
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Re: Newbie wanting to learn....?

Hi Mary.

Fortunately, good sound has never been more affordable than it is now and unless you have substantially damaged your hearing, I would be willling to bet that the only thing keeping you from hearing pitch definition is the equipment you have been exposed to.

If you will click on the "Features" tab at the top of the Stereophile page, you will find links to numerous articles about stereo stuff. A brief glance at the options would likely start you off to the races.

I would only suggest that you stay out of the "Best Buy" and "Circuit City" type of stores and try to visit a real stereo shop for your purchases. Too many people get seduced by the low prices offered by the big box stores without ever hearing what real hi fi sounds like.

I would look for high value gear as a first step into good sound. Names like NAD, Cambridge Audio and Jolida immediately come to mind for electronics and names like PSB, Paradigm, Wharfedale and Tannoy come to mind for speakers.

All total, you should be able to put together something quite nice for around $1200 if you don't like to make the walls shake.

Welcome aboard.

ohfourohnine
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Re: Newbie wanting to learn....?

Well you've hit upon that which motivates most of us here when you say you want to incorporate more music into your life. That said, we should assume the attic and basement will be put to other uses and concentrate on bringing music into the living room. What are its dimensions? You don't want to spend much. How much, roughly? What are your current music sources - FM, CD, downloads? Will incorporating a computer into your music systems be a part of your plan?

You have, in a sense, an enviable situation. You're starting from scratch in a new house (new to you, at least) and are willing to let your music system choices drive some of the other interior design considerations. Many of us have spent years going through music systems at every conceivable price point and in every possible room arrangement. Give us a few more details, and someone here is bound to come up with something that will sound right to you.

Welcome Aboard !

plantluvver
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What a relief!

Dr. DUP,

Thank you for the reassuring diagnosis. I am very happy to learn that I am only allergic, not DEAF from Grand Funk Railroad concerts and too many listenings of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida in my teens.

I spend enough of my time feeling like Harrison Bergeron already. And I am already being medicated with the psychoactive drugs, Welbutrin and Paxil. Besides, if I want to hear screeching, I can turn off the music, and listen to my neighbor yell at her kids.

Mary

JoeE SP9
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Re: Newbie wanting to learn....?

What Buddha said.

plantluvver
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Some Details;

Thanks everyone,

I think this thread will also force me to organize my thinking a little bit, as well as get valuable input from others. It is comforting that I don't have to try and learn everything all on my own, but that you are all willing to share your knowledge with me. Here are a few details:

ROOM DIMENSIONS: 12 (East to West) by 16 (North to South). I am considering removing part of the south wall, to convert the living room and kitchen into a great room. This would open up about 1/3 to 1/2 of one of the shorter walls, adding perhaps 10 feet, making the room 26 feet at it's maximum length. I am also thinking of replacing the current window in the northwall with a patio door, and building a deck or patio in the front and side yards (Dependant on building codes.). With Portland's mild climate, I would love to expand my outdoor living space. The house currently has poor access to the yard. To reach the backyard, you walk through the kitchen and garage.

CURRENT EQUIPMENT:

Cassette recorder: AKAI CSMO1A
Speakers:Garrard GSS 825
CD player (Laserdisc): Pioneer CLD 1030
Amp: SA 1290
Equalizer: No model on front
Tuner: TX-1090Z

These Last 3 components were part of a system package, including a turntable. However, the turntable was missing the cartridge, and I didn't know how to find a replacement.

Video Equipment: GE Hi-Fi VHS player, an old Sony TV with only Coaxial input, DVD player died a couple of weeks ago.

I am going to post now, before the forum software gets impatient with me.

Mary

JoeE SP9
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Re: Some Details;

Tell us want you want to do and we'll try to help.

plantluvver
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Re: Some Details;

Life trajectory:

If things go as I hope, I would like to obtain a roommate (or two) in about a year, and then save money to buy a boat. I hope to then start long distance cruising on a sailboat in about five years time. Space will become a prime consideration, as well as international formats (though I don't know if this matters in audio). If I spent more than $500 on equipment, I would want to be able to recover the money from my stereo.

I don't know if I would keep or sell my house once I bought a boat.

My PC:
OOPS, I forgot my PC. I run a Linux system. I've been too lazy to learn much about it, and I don't even have speakers on it now. Although I haven't programmed in years, I am philosophically committed to open-source code. I don't want my data files to become useless if a corporation abandons my product. I do not have a CD or DVD recorder yet.

Media:

LPs: My library doesn't list these in its catalog anymore, so probably not. I own about 20 that have been boxed up for the past 12 years or so. If I did build a collection, I would want to convert these to another media when I move to a boat.

CDs: All my current purchases are CDs.

Cassettes:There are only five I listen to currently. I own a few hundred of these. I've bought entire bags for a few dollars at rummage sales. The problem with these is that I don't have convenient access to them. I am also unsure where to store them. I am concerned about the lifetime of these, so I prefer optical media, but I'm reading that optical media is not permanent either.

MP3s/WAV: I don't use these. How much quality is lost compared to a CD?

Now, I'd better say bye. There is a big Salsa festival downtown. I haven't listened to this music much, but I think it will be fun!

Mary

nastir
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Answer is Media Server, FLAC, Squeezebox

From my perspective, ripping all your CD's to FLAC files (using Exact Audio Copy, or similar) or alternatively ripping to Apple Lossless (using iTunes), and storing on hard disc (computer, or peripherally), is the best solution. You can then use a Slimdevices Squeezebox (or alternatively Apple Airport Express) to stream from hard disc directly to your amp/stereo. Since ALL your music will end up compactly stored on a portable hard disc, it will be easily transportable to your boat, played back with powered speakers, or compact components. Slimserver (the software brains for the Squeezebox) also runs on Linux. More info at slimdevices.com

JoeE SP9
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Re: Some Details;

One of my PC's here is running Linux. The other Wintel PC's are all running Open Office. This is a great replacement for Microsoft Office. It's part of the Linux open source world. That's how I found out about it. It reads and writes Office files is a full fledged suite, runs faster and has a smaller footprint. The best part is it's totally free! You can download it from www.openoffice.org

Lamont Sanford
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Re: Some Details;

I have one machine that is totally Linux. The amount and variety of open source software for the Linux platform is almost unbelievable.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Some Details;

I'm not sure if I made this clear or not. There is also a Windows version of Open Office. Although I am a owner of Microsoft Office Professional I have switched all my PC's to Open Office.

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