Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Oh My, I'm Hi-Fi

As you may or may not know, I love music and am something of an accumulator. (OK, I'll assume you probably did know that already.)  Back in the day I boasted over 600 vinyl albums, of which I still can lay hold of about 300 or so. I've lost count of the CD's I own, though it is somewhere north of 1500. There is nothing record breaking about those numbers, but it is fair to say I'm ankle deep in music at the best (or worst, depending upon your point of view) of times. 
However, like a lot of people, I drifted away from my stereo. My first set up I got as a Christmas present in 1982 and was comprised of a receiver (35w per channel), a turntable, a cassette deck, and two 3-way speakers. I played the ever living crap put of it. In 1987 I added a $99 Sharp CD player (the DX-600) with money earned from my first real job. 
Over time the cassette player died, was replaced by a newer model which also died, and was replaced by a CD burning deck which took over full time CD playing duties after the DX-600 finally spun its last. (The player drawer on the old Sharp broke down, but I got around that by drilling a hole in the top of the unit which allowed me to use a pen or pencil to pop open the drawer. That's just what you do when you are a broke-ass grad student.) Oh, at some point there was a 5-disc CD player that held sway briefly until I decided I really didn't like it very much and sold it. While all this was going on my original turntable finally succumbed sometime in the late 1990's. As I wasn't playing much vinyl I didn't attempt to replace it.
Next to go was the venerable MCS receiver which died in 2002 after twenty years of loyal service. Luckily I was able to inherit a different model MCS receiver (an MCS 3246 @ 45w per channel) that my parents had stopped using sometime in the early 1990's and was just collecting dust in their basement, so that was a bit of a wash. Shortly after this the CD burner unceremoniously died on me, leaving me to play my CDs on whatever DVD player I happened to be using. 
Eventually, I even had to retire the 3-way MCS speakers, which was a bit of a shame as they were actually pretty nice sounding, but years of wear and tear had taken a toll. Anyway, they didn't really work in the space I had once the wife and I bought our current town home in 2006. They now reside in a closet waiting for the day I have more room to work with and the money to invest in refurbishing them.
The net effect of these changes has been to slowly degrade my ability to even claim to have a dedicated stereo system. 
That is going to change. Actually, it already has begun to change. It really started with the speakers I chose to replace the large 3-ways back in 2011. I invested in a pair of Bose 201 Series V bookshelf speakers and they now reside on top of the armoire that presently houses our A/V equipment. In one sense the Bose really cannot reproduce the sound of the larger speakers, but they work great in my space. I'm sure I could have spent twice the amount for true audiophile level speakers, but I gotta believe the improvement wouldn't have been worth the extra cash to my ears.  
Yesterday, I added the newest member of my newly revitalized stereo system as the Onkyo C-7030 arrived. This is a single disc dedicated CD player and it is light years better than the various DVD players I'd been using for years now. It is also the first dedicated single disc player I've purchased since 1987. (I just say that to make myself feel old.)
Did I mention it looks awesome?
From here my path forward seems pretty clear. Sometime in the next year I will purchase a new turntable and a piece of furniture to house my entire honest-to-goodness stereo system
Of course, that won't be the end of it. The 80's vintage MCS receiver is fine for what it is, but I may decide to upgrade from the old hand-me-down. But that is all the future. For the present I'm enjoying the sounds again.

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