How To Get The Proper Home Audio Set Up

Above (clockwise): Bowers & Wilkins 685 speakers, Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC turnstable and the Peachtree Audio Nova

There are many reasons we wax nostalgically of the days gone by – simpler times, simpler problems?  We love the not so distant past not just for the early modern design but because they had sound systems with heart. It’s time to discover music outside your iPod and its cold, compressed sound. It’s time to reclaim the hi-fi life – enter the analog space.  But there is a secret to re-creating the perfect hi-fi set up in your abode. Just follow this audiophile mantra my grandfather swore by: start with the speakers and work your way in. It’s just that simple. Just stick to this easy formula: speakers + amplifier + music source = sweet sounds to woo her or kick ass tunes to impress your buddies. Here is the rundown.

Get Real Speakers

This is the most important step. You need start with a pair of ‘passive’ speakers; this means that they need to be powered by a separate amplifier. These Bowers & Wilkins 685 speakers will give you deep and taut bass yet the sound is clear an agile. These are great mid-priced speakers. If you want to take it up a level, try the CM Series from BW.

Get Amped

If you are following the simple formula, then you know that part two of your system is a proper amplifier. An amp acts as the bridge, or messenger, between the speakers and the source of the sound: a turntable, or CD player, or your computer (if you must). Think of the amplifier as your sound system’s engine. And just like with automobiles, it’s not all about raw power; you don’t want your home to sound like one of those supped up muscles cars with terrible bass. You need to consider the quality of that power; it’s all about how the amp receives and sends sound.  And you need to be aware of which components your amp works best with – you want them to get along well. The Arcam FMJ A19 can produce a natural, lifelike sound that fills the room in an authoritative fashion.

The Turntable

That’s right, we are suggesting you listen to your music on those out-dated things called records. We know life is much easier with your iPod and iPod dock but you are missing out. There’s a beauty to turntables that goes beyond that first crackle as you lower the needle onto the record; the sounds are warmer, the silences stronger. A record player forces you to re-discover music as something that deserves time and attention. A great starter turntable is the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC.

The CD Player

If you still prefer the ease of digital music, you should be aware that CDs actually bring out more depth of sound than MP3s. The reason is simple: they hold more data. And more data means more detail and better sound.

If You Insist On Sticking To MP3s, Warm ‘Em Up

If you are the type of person who insists on storing all his music in digital formats on his desktop, there’s still hope for you. Consider the Peachtree Audio Nova. The Nova is both an amplifier and a digital-to-analog converter; the Nova processes your digital files in a more complex manner than your computer’s soundcard ever could. It even goes a bit further by augmenting the music with an actual tube that adds a touch of warmth to your digital music.

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