Following on to the vintage audio post: it's disappointing, but here is really all you need for quite good reproduced sound in a small to medium-sized room, assuming you a) are willing to forego nostalgia, b) are not a nut about stuff, and c) find yourself as yet unafflicted by audiophilia nervosa:
- Your usual i-device of choice as a source (iPod, iPhone, or iPad);
- A NuForce iDo or some other good iPod dock with a DAC in it (ye don't want to be stuck with the wee dackish thing in the iPod, Pilgrim, heed me);
- A pair of my fave baby speaks, the self-powered (i.e., amps on board) AudioEngine A5+. (They really do sound good, and I am picky.)
That will get some really good music out into the air. It will be better than 97% of anything you could find that's as small or as cheap or as handy. It really doesn't even leave a whole lot of space left over for angst 'n' agonizing. Music—no fuss, no muss, 21st-century style.
Note that the i-word doesn't mean you need to listen to MP3's necessarily. You can put AAC, Apple Lossless, WAV, or AIFF files on your iPhone or iPod too. Only up to CD res, but you'll be all right with that.
The speakers have their own volume control.
All you have to do is make sure you get a dock with the same connector as your phone or iPod. The NuForce iDo comes with a pigtail to connect to most earlier i-devices, and your latest iPhone 5 or whatever comes with a device-to-USB cable that you can use. The speakers come with all the wires you need.
And the NuForce is a great headphone amp too. Doth your cup runneth over?
Rejoice: you can spend much more money, much more time, and a great deal more effort and energy putting together a vintage or an audiophile stereo system, and I wouldn't want to discourage you from having so much fun. It's just that you don't have to.
Original contents copyright 2013 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
John King: "Good recommendation Mike. I can vouch for the fine audio quality from both those companies. I have the 50% less expensive models from three years ago (uDAC + Audioengine2) handling music files from my computer. They are musical, they don't fatigue the ears and they don't make me wish I was in the other room where the high end gear lives."
Bryan Willman: "For those who don't want to deal with an 'iSomething' you can get a similar excellent effect with: a) your windows machine of choice; b) a DAC1 pre with USB [the current product is the DAC1-HDR —Ed.]; and c) a pair of powered monitor speakers (mine happen to be KRKs). Good DAC, external volume that can't be hacked or stalled, speakers that are fine for where I actually listen."
Avi Joshi: "I purchased the A5+ based on your glowing review from a while back and have to say I'm absolutely thrilled. For non-audiophiles like me, hooking its two inputs to the TV/AppleTV and an airport express has meant blissful wireless convenience in my tiny apartment. One other thing I did was program a universal remote to control the TV/Cablebox/A5. I kept losing that little remote that came with the speakers."