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By far, the best sounding powered speaker I've ever heard is the Mackie HR824 Powered Studio Monitor. Ran across them in several studios --
they are both incredibly accurate and incredibly musical. They are actually
bi-amped! They are bookshelf type speakers, but they have two separate amps on them. They can be used nearfield or if you spread them and sit back, they throw a wide three dimensional image. I could not believe all of the sound coming out of these things! Hey -- also -- can you explain your set-up? Sounds intriguing.
Rsbeck, I currently have two systems in my house. I have a dedicated two channel system in my office (NAD electronics and B&W 201i speakers), which is where my computer is. My computer is connected to a wireless network in our house using Microsoft network adapters.
I have a 5.1 system in the living room (Integra receiver and PSB speakers). This receiver also powers a second zone in the kitchen with a pair of Paradigm Atoms on top of the cabinets. I have a Creative Soundblaster wireless music receiver (c. US$250) connected to the Integra receiver. This lets me play mp3s from my computer over the wireless network. It connects to the Integra using regular RCA cables. I could also use a digital cable and the Integra's DACs, which would probably sound a bit better, but the Integra won't run two zones with a digital input for some reason. Now, the quality isn't all that great, but it's fine for when I'm working in the kitchen or something. And most of the serious listening happens upstairs on my two-channel system anyway. But it saves from having to shuffle CDs all over the house, because I can access everything over the network.
The trouble is that the system is too complicated for my girlfriend to use. She used to listen to music while she cooked, but she told me yesterday that she finds this system too complicated. So I'm thinking of a simple little system for the kitchen...just a Creative Soundblaster wireless receiver and a pair of powered speakers.
Good lord, I'm long winded this morning! :-)
You're not being long-winded. I am interested in doing something similar at some point. I have a dedicated listening room and a dedicated home theatre room, but I also like to have background music in the rest of the house. I have much of my music collection ripped to a hard drive. I am ripping my CD's using AIFF, uncompressed. I also have wireless internet via apple's AIRPORT. At some point, I would like to have the hard drive -- drive a central music system that could be controlled from any of several computers networked together. So, I am curious as to how you achieved your results,
how it sounds, any particluar problems, etc.
Sounds like we have similar situations. The Soundblaster system has trouble with files that are ripped at high bitrates; it just won't play them. This is discussed on their website, where I think they recommended a bitrate no higher than 192. Also, I think the files have to be mp3 or windows media. So for this system, you have to sacrifice some audio quality. However, as I use it just for background music while doing dishes and whatnot, I find it acceptable.
Actually I like the system quite a bit. It's great to be able to access your entire collection. Also, the remote control is radio frequency, which means I can control the unit, which is in the living room, from the kitchen or wherever else I happen to be. The remote also has volume control, which is handy. We're doing lots of work around the house these days (painting, etc), and it's been great for that.
But it's definitely not an audiophile system. For serious listening, I use my dedicated two channel system.
I think there are other solutions, such as using the Turtle Beach system with a wireless bridge, but I don't know much about them.
I'm happy to answer any other questions that you may have.
I've got a bunch of mp3s ripped to a central server and Turtle Beach audiotrons hooked up to my main stereo, the bedroom Nakamichi clock radio, the Kloss Model 2 in the garage, and the stereo in the pool room. Mine is running over ethernet, not a wireless network. Works pretty well for background music--frankly, its easy and fairly reliable. It takes a long time after a power outage for the Audiotrons to catalog the 12K mp3s on the server, but that doesn't happen all that often.
I believe, however, the TB folks do not recommend wireless networks for WAV files because the transmission speed can't keep up... Might be the same for AIFFs. Frankly, I'm not even sure the audiotrons will do AIFFs. You should investigate that before spending too much time ripping and encoding if that is the route you intend to go.