Monday, March 2, 2009

Hardware Question

Since you all listen to lots of music, and at least some of you are highly technological, I was hoping for some advice. The cd player in my hifi is slowly giving up the ghost - it currently requires at least ten minutes' warm-up before it will play anything without skipping - and so I'm contemplating replacement. Mrs Abahachi has been very impressed by the Bose Wave systems owned by a number of our friends, arguing that I'll probably have to replace my amp quite soon as well (it's twelve years old, though has never been driven very hard) and so it wouldn't be that much more expensive; I think she's also attracted by the size, as it would dominate the sitting room a bit less. My instinct, coming from the old-school 'separates are the only way to get a decent sound' position, is to be sceptical as to whether anything that small can produce acceptable sound quality.

Anyone any thoughts? Budget is £400 max, the cost of the Bose, and ideally less. Mainly playing jazz, as you know, never at very high volumes.

8 comments:

Mnemonic said...

My CD player in the hi-fi died about a year ago and, as all my CDs were already on computer, my solution was to buy a JBL hoop-shaped speaker for it. It won't cope with playing very loud music but has the advantage of having a slot for the iPod (where it can recharge while playing) and I can take it away on holiday with me.

I heard a Bose at a friend's house and I wasn't over impressed. Very overpriced - I think you could probably buy a better mini-system for the same money.

goneforeign said...

OK, so the CD player is giving up the ghost, CD players are cheap, or can be. I would guess that 90% of all those made sound about the same, which is very decent; the other 10% are high end specialty units which often run into thousands of dollars. I have a rich friend who's spent a literal fortune on his system, his CD player was over $2000 and though it sounds great it's not THAT great.
I might have spoken in haste, I just went to UK Amazon to check specifics and I can't believe the lack of decent gear there nor the prices for what I'd consider rubbish. I recently treated myself to a fairly high end Onkyo integrated amp and matching single play CD player, both totalled less than $800, ie about 550 quid; my old system, Harmon Kardon, has had extensive daily use for a dozen or more years and still sounds fine; there's two schools of thought re. electronic gear, leave it on all the time, or switch off after use, I switch off but I don't think electronics wear out.
OK, another thought, presumably you have or will one day need a DVD player, use that, plug it into your amp and it will play CD's perfectly well, I use one in my Harmon Kardon system.
I agree with your thought to stay with 'separates' so maybe keep an eye out for close out sales of quality name brands in these times of crisis; in my local town there's only one consumer electronics store left, 3-4 huge ones have closed within the last year. So although it's a subject I'm very interested in I don't think I've been of much help, I'm not a Bose fan but it might be an option to consider, it is small but let your ears be the judge and push the volume UP when you test it, any distortion will be amplified also.

TatankaYotanka said...

You don't mention what you've got at the moment, is it not worth getting it repaired? Otherwise, look at something like the CAMBRIDGE AUDIO AZUR 540C V2, solid for the money (£220?) .... depends on how high end your ears aspire to being.

Abahachi said...

Currently an old Sansui cd player, which was at the upper end of budget prices (if you see what I mean) when I bought it twelve years ago, so i don't think it's worth trying to get it fixed. There seem to be a lot of decent players around the £150-200 mark (Cambridge, Harman Kardon, Marantz), so that's increasingly my inclination, given that's two people unimpressed by Bose already.

CaroleBristol said...

I'd recommend the Cambridge Audio, that is what I have. Mine is the Azur 640C, which is a bit more pricey than the 540C but the quality of Cambridge Audio is high even at the bottom end of their ranges.

Here is Richer Sounds on them;

http://www.froogle.richersounds.com/showproduct.php?cda=showproduct&pid=CAMB-640C-V2-SIL

Shoey said...

I like the portable Bose for my iPod, but if your problem is a broken CD player, why not just buy another one?

glasshalfempty said...

I have a Bose Wave system, and its room filling sound, lack of distortion at high volume, and very good sound detail, have all amazed me. Like your wife, I heard it at a friends - in a large room used as a temporary art gallery, and could hardly believe that little box was the source. I also have the iPod attachment, so I can play my entire collection through it, with a remote control that works the iPod to boot (tho’ obviously mp3’s aren’t as good sound quality).

I bought my first wave system off ebay – they have plenty, but are rarely bargain basement prices, as they are hotly sought after. If you buy off ebay, make sure you get the CD player – there’s an almost identical looking system that’s just a radio!

I should add that years of gig going mean my hearing isn’t what it once was, so I may not be the best judge of sound quality. If your hearing is in good order, I suggest you hear a Bose first. If you go into a dealer, I suggest you take a CD of your own that you know well.

TonNL said...

Not recommending anything, just sharing the story: my cd player (connected to an excellent Yamaha A-S700 amplifier) is a vintage Technics SL-XP300 "portable" player, nearly 20 years old, exactly the size of 2 cd boxes, featuring an "8 times oversampling 16 bit digital filter" (whatever that means.....) Just love the sound of it, but the "portable" part is a joke, just looking at it means skipping about two and a half tracks....