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How should I spend my money?

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Teddd's picture
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Joined: 12 Oct 2008
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I have just discovered good quality music, and so have just imported all my cd's using apple lossless (thanks fatboyslimfast and daveh75), and have taken some spare speakers and amp from the garage!  They're bose cubes, but I get the feeling they are not highly rated in the what hifi community.  Is that justified? or are they alright?  The amp is an old teac one, and it is not very good or expensive to be honest, but I suppose it does the job!  I want the speakers for the computer and the tv, but at the moment only have the pc connected via the headphone port (I don't know how to connect the tv!!)

First of all, do I need a DAC to connect the tv (it has a digital out)?  Would that also be a better way of connecting the pc (which also has optical out)?

Basically I want to spend as little money as possible, what would be the best way of spending the money?  Perhaps a Beresford DAC?  A new amp? or new speakers eg Audioengine A2's? Which would you choose if you could have only one out of the three?

Octopo's picture
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Joined: 29 Jun 2008
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Re: How should I spend my money?

Hmmm, toughy.

First of all you should connect your TV to your amp via RCA.

How much are you wanting to spend to get better audio quality? The Beresford is a great device but I would recommend spending money on amp and speakers before you invest in one. What is the model of your amp?

Teddd's picture
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Joined: 12 Oct 2008
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Re: How should I spend my money?

Thanks, i think i just found the RCA for audio out on the tv!  Well I would rather spend no money at all, but I was just interested to hear what people thought would be the best way to upgrade, bearing in mind I'm quite new to this kind of thing. I would rather buy things slowly than get everything at once, so which to buy first?

The amp is a teac mcd78 (don't laugh), I bought it when I was about 14/15, so 6 years ago.  But It's hard to know how much difference an amp makes as I don't really know what specs I need/want, or which ones are important.

Will the headphone port on the pc to RCA on the amp sound okay?

mcd0234's picture
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Joined: 15 Sep 2008
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Re: How should I spend my money?

This is actually a tough one, normally speakers can make the biggest difference but you (generally you, not you personally) need a good foundation in a basicÿintegratedÿamp. A DAC would be a good purchase, but not yet, down the road a little when you want to get better quality once you have the basics taken care of - but you are already doing the correct thing by ripping your music losslessly for when the time comes to get the most out of a DAC. You are also correct in that the Bose (well Bose anything to be honest) aren't thought of terribly well, they are just marketed very well and are a name the average person knows about. Those Bose cube's are meant to be used with one of their sub's, but even then they are not what you'd call neutral or accurate.ÿ

You can go the Audioengine A2 route as they are aparently very good computer speakers, you wouldn't have to worry about an amp as they plug straight into the mains so take care of power on their own and plug into the computer via a mini-jack. The only issue here is that they are a bit limiting, you will not be able to plug your tv at the same time, nor upgrade the sound with an amp etc. If your computer and tv are near each other, you could have a lead coming out of both and switch the speakers back and forth, so if cost is absolute, then this could be an idea as you've point out.ÿ

For more options and better sound quality going forward, I'd personally try to stretch to the entry level Cambridge Audio 340A integrated amp which can be had for about £170 new. A great little amp that gives you a solid foundation going forward, and you can have the TV and computer plugged in at the same time obviously, in addition to a CD, DVD player or what have you depending on your needs. I'd then, depending on funds, either get Monitor Audio BR2's if your budget can stretch to them (just under £200 new) or beg, borrow steal and try to get some used Monitor Audio B2's, KEF iQ3 or iQ1's or Wharfedale 9.1 which are all very good and very reasonably priced speakers (my preference would be in that order, but any of them will give you great 'bang for the buck'). You can perhaps also save some money by shopping for the amp used too, if you can't find the 340A used there is also the possibility of a used NAD or Rotel int. amp, but the 340A would be my first choice in this price range and its the more expensive amps that tend to come up for sale used. Just my opinion, hope it helps a little in your choices as it is always a little too easy to spend other peoples money. You could get all the above new for under £400 and a great system to get your foot in the door and show the fuss people make about high end hifi, you're hear realÿinstrumentsÿand voices that sound like real voices. If you have to keep it closer to £100, perhaps the speakers first and then swap out the Teac next year when you have another £150. Good luck with your choices, remember, its meant to be fun so don't stress too muchÿ

Teddd's picture
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Joined: 12 Oct 2008
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Re: How should I spend my money?

Okay well I now have the speakers working, and to be honest, am a little dissapointed!  I'm no expert (in fact I'm the opposite) but I get the impression the sound doesn't fill the room very well.  Perhaps this is partly the speakers (they're rather small) and the amp (old and cheap).  I do have a bose sub that goes with the satellites by the way.

So do the Audioengines not connect to the amp?  I think changing the cable every time would get on my nerves, so an amp to change them for me would be nice. However the tv and the pc are right next to each other, with the tv and monitor next to each other on the desk, not leaving much room.  I just measured it and the desk is about 140cm long, the tv is 65cm wide, and the monitor is about 55cm wide, leaving about 10cm each side where the speakers are at the moment.  So as you can see, I have a bit of a space issue!  This is why I thought the Audioengines would be a good idea.

welshboy's picture
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Joined: 25 Jul 2008
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Re: How should I spend my money?

Try replacing the speakers in your set-up with something else not rescued form the cold and damp garage. If the sound improves then a cheapish pair of speakers from Richer Sound or similar should have your set-up working OK for now.


Of course the improvement bug will then bite you - but that's life!!! Big Smile

Teddd's picture
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Joined: 12 Oct 2008
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Re: How should I spend my money?

WOW! I just swapped the bose speakers for some old bookshelf Celestion f1's we also had in the garage! ....Amazing what you can find in there... Anyway, they sound so much better!!!  I really am amazed!  I thought that you all had some unfair grudge against bose, but maybe you were right after all Stick out tongue.  I know I didn't have room for the bookshelf speakers, but after hearing how much better they were, I MADE room!

I think I just need to get some new wires for now (these ones aren't really long enough), and maybe get a new amp if I get bored or rich.

Ps are there any opinions on the f1's?  good or bad!

Thanks