I have an obsession with ultra-cheap audio equipment. This post to the ‘Stereophile’ forums is one of my forays into that world.
With the missus off chaperoning a trip to Disney in Orlando, it was time to get some audio stuff done – namely, seeing if my ‘spend no money’ system could be listened to.
This one’s for my son, whose tastes run heavily to hip-hop but who also has Monk on his iTunes playlist.
I have some more mainstream equipment set aside for him, but wanted to know just how cheap I could get and still make something satisfactory for a loved one.
Answer: lesson learned.
The speakers are the Insignias alluded to on page 1 of the thread, the NS-B2111s. They are impressive, to say the least, when you take em’ out of the box. Big, solid, good posts, nice fit n’ finish. I got returns to Best Buy for about $50.
The amp is one of my T amp toys – this was bought off ebay a couple weeks back for $40. It uses the same chip as the Trends Audio amp.
I forgot to bring my PS-1 home from the office, and substituted for the weekend an Oppo 980H.
First impression: on compressed pop and hip hop, not bad. As everyone else has noted, these things have a better than you’d expect soundstage, and more detail than I anticipated. Nice highs.
The amp gave me trouble though; sometimes it just wouldn’t put out sound, though after a day of using it the problem seems to have gone away.
The limits come up pretty fast when you listen to something with less compression, more space in it – like ‘Kind Of Blue.’ “So What” just didn’t sound right, though again I caught a surprising amount of detail.
Here’s my favorite part: I could make it sound better than all the above, give it a much more satisfactory quality by just doing one thing…
Hooking up the Magnum-Dynalab tuner. It’s the cheapest MD ever made as far as I know, and I don’t get great fm reception. Still, the combination of a very good tuner, already compressed fm and the rest of the system is a winner.
So I now have the world’s most ungainly clock radio, minus the clock.