Silencing the Audio Angst


After all my whining about my audio problem and how all new technology solutions are still wrong, I went ahead and made the decision to just put together the best thing I could with what was available.  After all, it will be Betsy’s birthday soon and she did ask me to set this whole thing up two years ago.  I guess I’m on top of it now, at least for a procrastinating, indecisive techno-goober like myself.  Some things just take their own sweet time to get right, and as Dirk Gently would have stated, “I was two years late but moving fast.”


 


I decided to buy the shelf-top mini-stereo that I found at Fry’s last week.  Maybe it was my tech addiction, yearning, calling me back to the dealer.  I don’t know.  The thing is, that stereo had oodles of line-inputs and outputs; just what I so desperately needed, and what is so hard to find in a shelf-system. It’s not like there weren’t many excellent systems to choose from.  It’s just that I have this vision for what it will eventually become, so I did not want to get trapped with some single purpose device.  I wanted something I could blend into my digital home when all the pieces started falling into place.  I knew that right now it would only just be a simple stereo, not the fulcrum of my digital music utopia.  But I was determined to buy it anyway, come hell or high-water.


 


Yet, when I got to the store, and after I stood in awe of its majesty one more time, I discovered that Fry’s did have a wireless music solution in the aisle with all the routers and access points.  It was the Netgear Wireless Digital Music Player, one of the models I had been previously researching.  It did not seem too costly, actually cheaper than I had priced it for online, and since I was getting the stereo anyway I decided to throw it in my cart and give it a try. I’m sure the Fry’s marketing/research group would love to know that a wireless network product was an impulse buy.  “Look, we'll just line up these boxes by the check-out stand; Nail clippers, Juicy fruit, and Netgear.”


 


The real shocker, however, was that I was still not done.  That should have been the limit of my shopping, the climax of my high-tech sojourn.  Yet, somehow more pieces kept falling into that same cart.  Excluding a few toys and a glowing crystal necklace for Charlie, I was about to find what I needed to put the final touches on my audio phonic masterpiece.


 


The wireless speakers, there they were down the aisle with audio cables and what not.  I was looking for a y-adapter, and instead I got ya-ya-googly eyes.   These were the newer model RCA wireless speakers.  The ones I already had were the older model and they sucked.  The reception was bad, lots of low-level static and popping even at close range, and the lack of bass was infuriating.  In fact, the fact that the older speakers were so bad was my primary motivator to find a better solution through digital wireless.  The newer models promised a greater range and auto-channel synching.  That meant no more praying to the tiny god of wheels and widgets to help position the potentiometer in order to tune in the tunes.  I swear, getting that bit right was like trying to tweak the shower knob to find the right balance between scalding hot and icy cold.  Anyway, because the older ones were so bad, I had simply dismissed the newer ones as most certainly junk to the nth degree.  But now, with the advent of my new impulsiveness, I was all the more daring.  It was a new, kindler, gentler, more positive version of me that was willing to give it a try.  So I hefted a few of those into my cart as well.  I figured, if they sucked I’d just bring them back.  If the didn’t, then I’d have my ultimate audio.


 


To keep a long story short, they did not suck.  They sound rather good.  They’ve got better bass and they don’t snap, crackle and pop.  The stereo is now set up, the wireless speakers are tuned in and the Netgear music player is sucking down digital tracks off my PC jukebox.  The music is playing throughout the house. 


 


Best of all, Betsy is smiling.  It was worth the wait.


 


Matt

Comments (4)

  1. Joku says:

    Shouldn’t be too long until the wireless is integrated with some home-mini/micro-stereos, already saw some with ethernet or usb jacks.

    I could use a compact box near TV that can receive video from digital cable/antenna/sat,PC and also send the video unencrypted from c/a/s to PC for storing uncompressed/compressed. It would have wlan naturally. So obvious there’s market for this, why it isn’t done?

  2. Jim Salem says:

    I had a similar desire: play great sounding music off the hard drive in the basement onto speakers in the bedroom. I had already wired the bedroom with speaker wires so I didn’t need the wireless speakres.

    I tried several digital audio receivers. The biggest problem with all of them (looks like the Netgear has it too) was that the display was too small and we couldn’t set it up so we could both easily change the music from our bed.

    That all changed when I bought the Creative Sound Blaster Wireless Music. The controls AND the display are all on the remote. I bought a Russound DPA-1.2 for the amp (the best, cheapest power amp I could find that was autosensing.)

    We love it. Best tech for me since I bought my Tivo.

    — Jim

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