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Mini Vs. Individual Component Sound Systems..(7 posts)

Mini Vs. Individual Component Sound Systems..jrm
Jan 21, 2002 2:54 PM
i currently have a stereo system comprised of individual components. Its not the best system but its pretty cool and sounds good. but to bring it up to to speak im going to have to make a bit of an investment. So my Q is make the investment to the existing system or go mini. i set my fathers mini up this weekend. 6 speaker surround and prologic, 3 CD player, DVD. And it takes up almost no room either.
Upgrading your stereoBrian C.
Jan 21, 2002 4:15 PM
I used to be an exponent of components, the rationale being that if one of the units broke down you could take it in to be fixed and still have other units to work with. (Of course, if it was the amplifier that went, you'd have nothing.) But it in all the years of having a stereo never once did I have to take anything in.
So, I would say there's no shame in having an all-in-one system, mini or otherwise; if it sounds okay and fits with your home decor.
re: Mini Vs. Individual Component Sound Systems..Dutchy
Jan 21, 2002 4:29 PM
It all depends on how much room you have, and the type of system that suits your lifestyle.
I bought a Marantz component system in 1991, CD, amp, tape, tuner/receiver, pro-logic amp, with Bose speakers.
It has worked flawlessly since then through many LOUD parties, and has an incredible sound.
It is a wall system though, in that is takes up a whole wall with the 80cm TV in the middle.
If I want I can upgrade the amp to Dolby-digital and I I'll be set until technology dictates the next upgrade.
It cost a lot of money but I will never have to buy another system.

A shelf unit is very nice and tidy, they look quite good, and don't cost a fortune or take up too much space.
These systems don't have a lot of power though, so if you like big parties I would say get a
component system. They are probably adequate for surround sound, but in general the speakers
are too small to give any big impact. With speakers size does matter, a 10 inch woofer will give
so much more "depth" than a 4 inch woofer. A lot of shelf systems either don't support a sub-woofer
or they use the sub-woofer to give all the bass. This is OK for movies but no good for normal music.
A sub-woofer is so big they give too much bass for normal music, so it just doesn't sound right.
The bass is too overpowering. The best bet is to use the sub for movies and turn it off for music.

I bought my system with a view of having it set up for home cinema, and normal music also.
If you by a shelf system will it be adequate for your future needs?

I hope this helps some.

PS. If you live in an apartment, flat or unit go for the shelf system.

re: Mini Vs. Individual Component Sound Systems..mr_spin
Jan 21, 2002 4:42 PM
My feeling is that mini sound systems are great for home theater, but not for listening to music. Since I want to do both, I went for full size speakers for the front left and right, and got a matching center for timbre matching reasons. For my rears, I bought some low-cost bookshelf speakers. The rears are supposed to be diffuse, so might as well not drop a lot of cash on those.

As far as components, I replaced my whole system after nearly 15 years because I wanted a Dolby Digital system and optical connectors. The old components were still perfectly good, they were just out of date. If your components are reasonably new and support what you want to do, keep them. If you want to upgrade something, do the speakers. Those matter the most. Buy new fronts and keep your old speakers for rears.

If you replace all the components, consider buying new ones from the same manufacturer. It will cut down on the number of remote controls! I think I have eight remotes, but the receiver remote controls all the other components, so seven remotes are sitting in a box in my basement.

Also, optical connectors are the ultimate. Make sure your receiver has enough for all your components. I have a DVD, CD, MD, and DirectTV box that all go into the receiver optically. And don't buy the $40 Monster optical cables. What a scam that is! Hopefully your components will come with optical cables, but if not, buy el cheapo cables for $10-15. Unless you have miles between your components and the receiver, it won't matter a bit.
Mr. Spin...Crankist
Jan 27, 2002 11:52 AM
As much as I admire your thoughtful posts on matters bicylcle, I'm afraid your in a bit over your head here
regarding cables. Optical cables were thought, like early digital sound proponents, of offer that
"Perfect Sound Forever". Most, if not all careful listeners (and PLEASE, I am not being snobby) have come
to appreciate quality co-ax interconnects as far smoother and coherent than the best of optical. This is
I suppose purely subjective and open to discussion. But I do suggest auditioning a good system properly set-up using quality co-ax and see if your opinion changes. But note that the improvements may not be obvious
in a typical mini-system.
Mr. Spin...mr_spin
Jan 28, 2002 8:08 AM
You would have to have some very high end equipment to notice those subtle differences. And you would also have to have really sensitive hearing.

In any case, the problem with coax is that the signal is much more prone to interference from outside sources, and also subject to sign loss due to the resistance of the cable. Coax is supposed to be shielded and the the distance presumably is short enough that the collective resistance is insignificant, but....

What I like about optical is that signal loss is negligible and there is no possibility of interference. I believe it is the absolutely purest way to do interconnects.
Mr. Spin...Crankist
Jan 28, 2002 10:46 AM
Guilty yes of H.E equip. Agreed on interference; that is indisputable - but laying a careful cable path will eliminate most. And yes, loss due to resistance can be significant in some 12 ft. or longer co-ax, although that is becoming less of an issue given that many pre-amps now offer good sound AND are remote-controlled. We'll just remain in disagreement regarding purity of sound as the end result. I hope that your system brings
you closer to the music; THAT'S what its about for us all.
Have Fun, Mike