Discuss Your Gaming Environments and AV Setups
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Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

by marurun Sat Sep 17, 2016 2:06 pm

I have a pre-Marantz merger Denon 5.1 AV home theater setup that I'll be using in the game room (as a 3.1 system). For some reason the composite video connections are non-functional, the the S-Video pathways are still in perfect shape. Between that and a component switch box most of my systems will hook up to the limited TV inputs just fine (Wii, PS2, DVD on component; DC, Saturn, GC, & SNES on S-video) but I may need a composite AV switch for the NES and Genesis.
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Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

by Ziggy587 Sat Sep 17, 2016 2:34 pm

marurun wrote:I have a pre-Marantz merger Denon 5.1 AV home theater setup that I'll be using in the game room (as a 3.1 system). For some reason the composite video connections are non-functional, the the S-Video pathways are still in perfect shape. Between that and a component switch box most of my systems will hook up to the limited TV inputs just fine (Wii, PS2, DVD on component; DC, Saturn, GC, & SNES on S-video) but I may need a composite AV switch for the NES and Genesis.


For the Genesis, check out these component cables. They take the RGB output from the console and convert it to component video.

I wish there was an easy option for the NES, but there isn't. There's two great mods (analog, digital), but they're not exactly cheap. Especially if you need to pay someone to do the install. But at least if the NES and Genesis are the only two that you need composite for, if you get the HD Retrovision cables for the Genesis then you wont need a composite switch box.
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Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

by jp1 Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:13 pm

marurun wrote:I have a pre-Marantz merger Denon 5.1 AV home theater setup that I'll be using in the game room (as a 3.1 system). For some reason the composite video connections are non-functional, the the S-Video pathways are still in perfect shape. Between that and a component switch box most of my systems will hook up to the limited TV inputs just fine (Wii, PS2, DVD on component; DC, Saturn, GC, & SNES on S-video) but I may need a composite AV switch for the NES and Genesis.


A lot of these Denon units will offer assignable video sources that differ from the audio inputs. If you haven't already you may want to check that these video inputs aren't simply being disregarded and the setting is for an audio only source or a mixed audio+video (svideo, component, etc..) setup.
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Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

by isiolia Mon Sep 19, 2016 8:54 am

I think I have/had that same model tape deck. My dad appropriated it for his setup at one point, which was fine with me since I think I might have one retail cassette. We recorded CDs to tapes, or made mix takes for the car for a while, but for me, a CD burner in my computer and a CD player in my car happened in a similar enough timeframe that it kind of made cassettes a moot point. :lol:


Definitely would double check to see if the inputs have been assigned to different sources, though I also wouldn't rule out problems with the jacks. My Denon in the living room has a problem with one of the RCA audio jacks, despite everything else working fine.
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Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

by Ziggy587 Mon Sep 19, 2016 12:29 pm

isiolia wrote:I think I have/had that same model tape deck. My dad appropriated it for his setup at one point, which was fine with me since I think I might have one retail cassette. We recorded CDs to tapes, or made mix takes for the car for a while, but for me, a CD burner in my computer and a CD player in my car happened in a similar enough timeframe that it kind of made cassettes a moot point. :lol:


Of course, only AFTER I bought the deck I started reading about how you should look for a single deck without auto reverse. :lol:

The reasoning being that later units that aren't dual decks are made better, and the auto reverse can cause the head to go out of alignment. I guess I'll fall into the dontgiveaphile category for now. I was reading, head alignment can be a pain in the ass but is fixable. Maybe if I get into cassettes more, down the road I'll upgrade. I'd be cool to have Dolby-S, but I'm not too concerned right now.

Speaking of Dolby Noise Reduction, that YouTube video I linked a page back, I never actually knew how it worked. I've seen the Dolby NR on/off button on stereos before, and I always thought, "Why would you ever wanna turn it off?" Little did I know that if you have it on while playing a tape without Dolby NR it'll actually make it sound worse! Dolby C is supposed to be a massive improvement over B, that's why I wanted to make sure I got a player that had it. All the store bought tapes I have that have Dolby NR are only B, but it'll be nice to record with C when I make mixed tapes. Dolby S would be even better, but I'm not willing to plop down the money for a deck with Dolby S just yet.

I already knew about cleaning the heads, but I another thing I found out is that the heads can become slightly magnetized over time. A lot of people say don't worry about it too much, but if buying a used deck you have no idea the condition it's in. I picked up a demagnetizing tool off Amazon for $20. I figured I can get my money's worth out of it since I have enough stuff I can demagnetize.

The seller shipped my deck with some slow ass FedEx service. I checked the tracking, the estimated delivery date is Friday. Ugh!
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Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

by Ziggy587 Fri Sep 23, 2016 5:08 pm

jp1 wrote:I also put Rockbox on an old sansa mp3 player, so it now plays flac. This was free for me, but would be a really cheap option to get lossless audio on the go for cheap. The firmware is really awesome and full featured.


I know this was posted a while back, but I missed it back then, so...

How do you like the Rockbox firmware? Years ago, I put it on my Sansa as well. I don't use my Sansa much these days (or even once in the past two years) but I would switch back and forth between Rockbox and the stock firmware. I like how they allowed you to do that. On the Sansa, you just hold down one of the direction keys (it was left or right I think) when turning on the device to boot the stock firmware. Rockbox had some features that I really wanted to use, but honestly, I much prefer the look on the stock firmware. It's easy to see, and easier to navigate in my opinion.

I have an older Sansa that came out right on the verge of SDHC, so mine only supports up to 2GB SD cards. SanDisk stated that they couldn't offer SDHC in a firmware update (perhaps because it requires different licensing?) so I was stoked when I found out that Rockbox would give my Sansa SDHC support.

I was interested in the FLAC capabilities, but I never bothered to convert my whole library to FLAC. Some people point out that FLAC only matters so much, and the device's DAC matters a whole lot too. The DAC in my Sansa has always seemed pretty good to me. I've never had any issues using it with earbuds. I never used it a whole lot in the car, but I used it for parties a few times when I plugged it into my PA system. I thought the mp3s sounded pretty good, even when turned up loud. I never blasted FLAC through my PA though, so I have no idea what kind of improvement that might offer.

One thing I was really excited, probably MOST excited for was MONO operation. Most of the time I used my Sansa was when I worked in a supermarket. I would use only one earbud so I could hear announcements, customers, etc with my free ear. This has obvious problems for stereo music. The thing that sucked though was the mono setting didn't seem to work at all. At least, it didn't on my device.

More recently, I made a nifty little stereo-to-mono adapter for my PC at work, since I still use only one earbud. Works great! If I was still using my Sansa I would make another, only a little smaller with a thinner gauge wire, and maybe some smaller right angle connectors, so it would be more comfortable to use with an mp3 player.

The Sansa (at least my model) has an FM tuner, and I can't remember if Rockbox had that feature implemented or not. I definitely remember the record function wasn't implemented though, and that was a real bummer for me. You could record off the radio, which was kind of a neat feature, but also voice clips. I used the voice clip recording function to capture guitar riffs I'd write so I wouldn't forget them. These days I just have an app on my phone, but that little Sansa made some decent recordings!
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Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

by Ziggy587 Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:57 am

My tape deck came in yesterday!

I hooked it up to the AUX input on my AVR so I could try it out right away. I played through a couple of songs at a medium volume. Pre-recorded music with Dolby B Noise Reduction is definitely VERY listenable. Maybe if I blasted the volume it would be a different story, but the only noticeable hiss is in between songs when there's dead silence. I even listened through a song wearing headphones and it sounded very good.

That YouTube video I linked really set me straight. Most of the tapes I listened to back in the day where recorded by me without Dolby NR, and ignorance wasn't bliss. Dolby B sounds fantastic! I can't wait to make some mixed tapes from CD and digital sources using Dolby C, which is almost double the noise reduction over Dolby B (15dB versus 9dB).

The deck itself seems great! It's in near mint condition, very clean. Everything (that I've tried so far) works perfectly. The full logic control is nice. The unit feels very well built, although closing the door feels a little clunky. The head engaging/disengaging/reversing is also terribly loud. It's definitely the loudest tape mechanism I've ever heard. Maybe down the road I'll get a more high end single deck unit, but this one is perfect for now.

The digital display looks amazing. I was worried as sometimes they can be very cluttered and hard to read at a quick glance, but this one is very nicely laid out. And there's no partial illumination of characters that are supposed to be off, which can be very annoying on low end gear. The dB meter looks wonderful when listening to music.

To nit pick, I can't understand why they put a headphones jack on the unit. Plugging in headphones does NOT cut off the main output, and there's no volume control for the headphones on the unit (you would need to use headphones with a built in volume slider or otherwise listen to music at full volume all the time). Granted, I rarely use headphones when listening to music at home, and if I ever really want to, I can just plug into the receiver instead. I just wonder what the point of it is. It's more useful as a front AUX output, and works as such, but labeled for headphone use LOL.
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Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

by jp1 Sat Sep 24, 2016 4:07 pm

Ziggy587 wrote:
jp1 wrote:I also put Rockbox on an old sansa mp3 player, so it now plays flac. This was free for me, but would be a really cheap option to get lossless audio on the go for cheap. The firmware is really awesome and full featured.


I know this was posted a while back, but I missed it back then, so...

How do you like the Rockbox firmware?


I really like it, it adds a ton of functionality and even some little time killer games can go on there. Playing Doom on a Sansa MP3 player is an experience. All the added audio format support, parametric eq, recording as you mentioned, etc... It places the player in league with much more expensive devices. I have had several of these players but the e200 is my favorite. Dual booting is nice as well, since as you mentioned the original firmware is nice, did you know there were some hacks to the original firmware for skinning as well?

Ziggy587 wrote:My tape deck came in yesterday!

I hooked it up to the AUX input on my AVR so I could try it out right away. I played through a couple of songs at a medium volume. Pre-recorded music with Dolby B Noise Reduction is definitely VERY listenable. Maybe if I blasted the volume it would be a different story, but the only noticeable hiss is in between songs when there's dead silence. I even listened through a song wearing headphones and it sounded very good.

That YouTube video I linked really set me straight. Most of the tapes I listened to back in the day where recorded by me without Dolby NR, and ignorance wasn't bliss. Dolby B sounds fantastic! I can't wait to make some mixed tapes from CD and digital sources using Dolby C, which is almost double the noise reduction over Dolby B (15dB versus 9dB).


I have to admit I was skeptical about the technical advantage of cassettes before watching the video. I would have only considered them for nostalgia value, but given the availability of very nice cassette decks, the cheap media, and the things I know after watching the video...my interest has increased substantially.

I have the opportunity to grab a Nakamichi (sp?) deck very cheap, so I might just check it out, if it includes the better versions of noise reduction.

Anyway, glad you are enjoying the new addition. Have you checked out some budget speaker offerings lately? There is a lot of great stuff out there.

I may also add a MD component at some point, just for the hell of it. :mrgreen:
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Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

by Ziggy587 Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:40 am

jp1 wrote: e200 is my favorite


I have the e250. I love everything about it. It's super small, but the design is great so it's easy to use. It's extremely sturdy. I clocked many hours using it in my pocket at work, when I was doing manual labor, so I can only imagine how much it got knocked around. I never even got a proper case for it, I just used the fabric sleeve that it came with. It looks as good as the day I bought it. The battery lasts FOREVER. I would use it for 8 hours straight at work, and I could do that for several days before I had to recharge it. And it always sounded great, whether using earbuds, blasting it in my car, or blasting it through my PA system.

jp1 wrote:I have to admit I was skeptical about the technical advantage of cassettes before watching the video. I would have only considered them for nostalgia value, but given the availability of very nice cassette decks, the cheap media, and the things I know after watching the video...my interest has increased substantially.


Yes, they truly are "better than you don't remember." And since cassettes dominated the market from 1970-1999, there's a TON of them out there for dirt cheap.

jp1 wrote:I have the opportunity to grab a Nakamichi (sp?) deck very cheap, so I might just check it out, if it includes the better versions of noise reduction.


I say go for it! My deck is near mint, mid tear (but newer so it's got lots of features) and it was only $50 shipped! If you set a budget of $100, there's a huge selection of some really awesome looking decks on eBay. Like this Kenwood, those analog VU meters are so awesome! Even with a budget of around $50, you can still find some cool stuff (as I did).

Something noteworthy about the different versions of Dolby NR though... I think it's extremely rare to find a pre-recorded cassette with anything other than Dolby-B. A deck with Dolby-S is gonna be very pricey, so I just let it go. Dolby-C is only going to be useful for you if you're recording to tape from a better source. If you're only interested in playing back pre-recorded tapes, then I wouldn't worry about getting a deck with Dolby-C at all.

I haven't tried out Dolby-C yet (I think I'm gonna wait to get some Type-II tapes since I only have blank Type-I right now) but I've been very impressed with Dolby-B. There's a lot of awesome decks that came out before Dolby-C, and I don't think you should overlook them. If you happen upon a killer looking deck from the 70's with only Dolby-B, go for it!

jp1 wrote:Anyway, glad you are enjoying the new addition. Have you checked out some budget speaker offerings lately? There is a lot of great stuff out there.


I don't think I'm gonna get speakers. I came up with an idea how to set everything up in my man cave. It's gonna be a little nutty, but I think everyone would appreciate it. In short, I think I'm gonna send the audio gear to my PA system. I have a Yamaha EMX212s powered mixer, and a pair of Peavey loudspeakers. They're lower-end, for these brands, but they sound decent. Using my Sansa e250, I've rocked the house at a few parties. I've pushed the limits for sure when used outdoors, but for a medium size room the 200w per channel is way overkill. It's gonna be slightly convoluted, but it's gonna be a killer looking setup!

jp1 wrote:I may also add a MD component at some point, just for the hell of it. :mrgreen:


MiniDisc?
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Re: Audiophile, Budgetphile, and Dontgiveaphile thread.

by Ziggy587 Mon Sep 26, 2016 9:36 am

I decided to add an EQ to the stack, a BSR EQ-3000

Not my exact unit, but same model:

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