Computer and Audioengine A2 $199 pair active speakers are just fine for a background music in the kitchen.
It's garbadge, of course, but it's OK.
It's garbadge, of course, but it's OK.
I have assembled inexpensive systems many times in the past and was amazed with the sound too. I think partially because I was not expecting much from the system and I just relaxed and enjoyed the music instead of being analytical about it. Also, those inexpensive systems suffer from sins of omission while much of the new equipment is forward and bright with more detail than a live event making system matching difficult while causing listener fatigue.
I have been enjoying a second setup in my bedroom recently which cost me about one tenth of my main system. It is a headphone system which consists of a Yamamoto HA-02 headphone amp with both Sennheiser HD800 or Audio Technica ATH-W5000 headphones connected to my MacBook Pro or Sony SCD XA-5400ES CD player via Wireworld Silver Eclipse 6 and BJC-LC1 cables. The sound is exceptional!
The secondary and tertiary systems' impressiveness wears off quite quickly when I sit down in front of the main rig. These others only seem impressive when allowance is given for their shortcomings, the operative phrase being, "... pretty good for a ________________________________________________ (fill in the blank)."
I highly recommend that any serious audiophile have at least one low cost secondary system. It just helps to keep things in perspective. The low cost system won't sound as good as the main system, but it will demonstrate the law of diminishing returns. If you want exceptional sound you'll have to pay big dollars. Good sound can be had for as low as a few hundred.
One of the systems I have in my house consists of a Radiocraftsmen 10 tuner (from 1952, purchased by me about 20 years ago for $25), an H. H. Scott 299C integrated amplifer (from about 1961, purchased by me about 20 years ago for $10 plus what I had to pay for one replacement tube), and a pair of ADS L300 minispeakers (purchased new in 1978 for around $350 iirc).
No, it can't hold a candle to my main system in terms of traditional audiophile performance standards, but it produces rich, lush, gorgeous sound that on better stations is a pleasure to listen to. I usually don't even miss the lack of stereo, which the tuner pre-dates.
My bedroom system is Glow Amp One, Merrill Zigmahornets, old MacBook Pro, and whatever tuner I'm not using in my main rig. It's easily 90% of my max. I completely agree with Onhwy61 - it helps keep things in perspective.
To Inna: my bathroom system is a Zenith knockoff of the Bose Wave Radio, purchased years ago and still sounding great. It has aux input for when I need to use the iPod. Showers are way more fun with music or NPR!
I enjoy my low cost system a ton but don't regret the money spent on my high cost one a bit.
I have less than a 1000 invested in the low cost one. It's a pair of Altec Valencia cabinets with JBL/Dynaudio insides, driven by a vintage Marantz receiver (2270,18 or 19 depending on the month).
I love it for what it is and sounds and as a bonus it makes me really appreciate the big system for what it is.
I do not think I would be happy with a sub 1000 Best Buy system though. What I have learned over the years is "how" to put together a system.
yup, I'm this category too - enjoy my bedroom system a lot. It's not as cheap as I would have liked it to be but much cheaper than my main rig. Yields fantastic sound & unlike Doug Schroeder the sonics do not wear on me. it does not come close to my main rig but it makes mighty fine music & for me that't what matters most - technology serving music (as Ken Stevens puts it).
Like Onemug I have not regrets spending all that I did on my main rig (I'd do it again, if needed) but the paltry amount (in comparison) spent on the bedroom rig is every bit worth it to me. FWIW.
I have really enjoyed the bedroom system I have put together with some HornShoppe Horns and a MiniWatt amp. Really nice combo and the advantage of the single driver design of the Hornshoppe is that it sounds quite nice and still reveals a good deal of detail at low volume.
Other thoughts for a successful second system is to get one that has different strengths or a different type of sound than you find in your main rig. That way you are more able to appreciate what the second system does and highlights rather than thinking of it as just an inferior version of the main rig.
I like Roscoeiii's comment about the systems' having differing strengths.
Also, low cost is a relative thing. If you're fortunate enough to have a $200,000k plus main system, your low cost system could be $20-30k. Even if you eliminate cost from the equation I think it's a good thing for audiophiles to have more than one better quality system.
I do enjoy my second system and it delicacies, ( Red Rose Music R3 speakers, Jadis tube integrated, Jadis Ref3 CD player ) that resides at our summer spot. But by the time the weekend is over I'm quite ready to get reacquainted with my main system and it's full sound. The second music maker is in a very large room with a 12' vaulted ceiling and many windows so the room is less than ideal for two way speakers. I have tried a number of quality subs but they seemed to cause as many problems as they solve.
Inna , I have a friend with an elaborate bathroom/ensuite system, just upgraded from two 15"sub's to two 18's. I should mention the bathroom is huge and sports a 12 man hot tub , big screen and mini bar.
I recently bought a Linn Classic Music, the newer one with Chakra amp in it. Sounds great. Looking to replace my Proacs and I heard a pair of used Katans for sale at my local dealer. How do you like them? I liked them a lot, they were very musical. They were a little bright sounding though. Maybe it was the NAD electronics running them? Not sure. I will try them again this week and also the newer Majik 109's.
BTW, to answer your question, I prefer the old Audiogon. Not liking this new version very much.
To answer this thread, I prefer low $ systems. There is a lot variety out there and I can afford to change around and try out lots of gear this way. Some of the most enjoyable systems I heard were affordable ones. I especially like British integrated amps. Tons of them out there.