Low End Bliss

Since getting bitten by the hi-fi bug I have given thought (and posted some questions) about how to improve the system down at my cabin which was a Toshiba SA-2500 that I got in 1980 and some Bose 2.2 bookshelf speakers I got around 1990. 

Since getting my hi-fi system the 2.2s became increasingly less pleasant to listen to.

I first replaced the 18 awg speaker wires with 12 awg 100% copper low o2 wire. It made no difference. Then I got them off the floor onto shelves at a better right height  which helped but due to room issues couldn't get them at the right height.

Since I'm trying to do this on the cheap I researched my old SA-2500 and it has gotten glowing contemporary reviews (really low distortion measurements) and good reviews in its day even though it was a mid-fi unit at best. So I've decided to keep it for now. Plus, it is a pretty unit and fits the decor of the cabin okay.

Then I decided bookshelf speakers were not an option since positioning was so limited. So I looked for towers but they needed front or bottom facing bass ports due to required proximity to the back wall. I found a pair of Polk Audio Monitor 70 towers on Craig's list locally for $180 for the pair, in excellent condition. They were Polk's low end tower. Decent reviews. Around $500 new. Put good banana plugs on the 12 awg wire and made jumpers with same (just for the heck of it).

Got a $15 Toshiba CD player at a Goodwill shop. Headphone jack to RCA 'Y' cable for laptop input. When I upgrade the Schiit Modi 2 Uber in my homes system I will take it to the cabin.

Bottom line is that I'm thrilled with the SQ. Not hi-fi but also not critically wanting like the little Bose. There is actually a soundstage. Bass is not muddy but it is a little boomy. I will try putting some socks in the bass ports to see if I can tune that a little.  Highs are a bit bright. Some of this can also be attenuated with the bass and treble controls. They do quite well for low volume listening also. The overall SQ is obviously nowhere near my home system but still pleasing and a huge step up from before. 

The SA-2500 needs three bulbs replaced. A service manual is on the way and I will do that part myself and it should be restored to its prior glowing splendor.

Thanks to all at Audiogon far all advice received to date.

Photo of the setup (and Boon) is linked below. As you can see room setup is lacking but is as good as it can be:


Nice cabin. Nice dog too. :-)
Beautiful little cabin☺Polks tend to be a little bright.They are good for movies though with crisp dialog.Give your pupper a pat from me.Dogs and music are both #1 in my world☺Enjoy!
We said from the day we built the cabin that it would be dog and muddy boot friendly.

I do wish the Polks had the natural wood finish (vinyl wrap). They are a bit mod looking with the black finish and silver face but beggars (tight wads) can't be choosers.
Ask your lab. His/her hearing is far better than yours. Those dogs are so smart. I’ve had 5 my life and everyone of them amazes me. Really cool cabin. Sorry for the non-answer. 
Shows how much of a dog person I am!
Looked at your photo 3 times before I even noticed the dog!


Cats rule here, 2 Savannah, 2 Bengals and 2 rescue moggies.

Nice cabin for sure but located where? 
Gorgeous snug looking cabin and Boon is a handsome boy! Glad your getting closer to the sound you're after. And Uber lol cats rule here too a pair of 13 year old rescues Tigger and Trixie.
uberwaltz, it is in the South Carolina piedmont. Rolling hills. Farms. No incredible views but it has its own subtle beauty. Its on 250 acres and is one of the main reasons I don't have more cash for photography, cars and hi-fi. ;-)  

We built it from a kit and have had it almost 20 years. It has always been my music 'spot'. There is no TV, no cable, no internet, cell service is spotty so there is always music playing. But always on the low end system. Still low end but sounds way better now.

I may continue to build the system up a little but the cabin is too small for me to monopolize it as a primary listening space so no sense in going over the top. Plus I'm fairly attached to the old Toshiba. Will probably take a DAC down there sometime and maybe a better CDP but that's probably about all I'll do.......although I found a Toshiba SA-5000 at a vintage shop which is basically the same unit but with 50 wpc......$250....which is overpriced....

.....maybe some vintage speakers  one day........

Not a million miles away, I can make the Piedmont area in about 4.5 hours. 
Regular visitor to the triad area for work as well.

Enjoy the cabin!

Oh and Boon!
Just saying "Bose 2.2" makes my ears hurt! There are some fantastic bookshelf speakers on the market right now for under $500, Elac, Klipsch, Q-acoustics, etc. Read the reviews, find a pair in your price range and hook them up.
Then put the Bose in the fireplace to keep you warm while you listen to music as it's meant to be heard!
Nice cabin and even nicer dog. Four dogs and Two cats here. We have a Lab/Pit Mix (the vet thinks). She's bonkers, in a good way.  All members of the 'family' are from the local rescue shelter. 
@gratefuleric: There is just nowhere to position bookshelf speakers properly in the cabin. That's why I went with towers.

Anyway, when I read the part about putting the Bose in the fireplace I got a chuckle since that is where they are:


Not planning on burning them up, they were just sitting on the floor in my study and got shoved into the rarely used fireplace. I'll probably put them in my basement shop.

@gawdbless : Boon is a big, friendly, kind of doofy Lab. Probably not as smart as our previous one, Dash, but Dash was exceptional in that regard. Boon makes up for it in energy! Of course, we may be judging Boon a little early, he's only three so he _might_ get as smart as Dash was.

Tbh I quite often find myself listening to my " low end bliss rig" a heck of a lot as it is in a better position house wise than my main rig.

Probably $750 all in if I ignore the latest Technics sl10 tt acquisition which I truly did not need to enjoy.
It's my second system under my virtual systems page.

If you look at speaker positions you might think bloated and boom bass but could not be further from the truth. It is just solid kick ass bass from those towers that only have a small main woofer.

Just one of those full synergy things and I have no desire to change anything in it at all.

Just enjoy your bliss rig!
One of the things that has helped me gain some confidence with this hi-fi stuff was that I originally had my main system at the cabin.

One of the things I immediately noticed is that I could get to a sweet-(ish) spot with that system but is was very very small. Even a slight change in head/seat position caused a significant change in the size, shape and depth of the sound stage.

With this system it is exactly the same which proves two things to me: 1) What I was hearing was real and is reproducible and 2) Is more than likely a room dynamic which proves to an inexperienced audiophile that room dynamics are real. 

I have no intention of pursuing room dynamics at the cabin. It just is not a big enough issue with that system in that place, and my wife would not be happy......but it would be very interesting from an educational standpoint since there is a problem that I can hear and duplicate............which means that there would be testable solutions that I could apply.

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Down at the cabin now. Just finished soldering new tiny little bulbs into my old Toshiba SA-2500 and they all worked! The old unit looks like new again. 

My my wife is sitting beside me and we are listening to Mark Knopler’s Get Lucky on CD and I’m totally satisfied with the SQ from this low end system. Tomorrow we’ll listen to The Rock and Roll Beach show on WRBK FM radio. She likes beach music. Life is good.