• 12-12-2004, 04:07 PM
    ronning
    Stereo Receiver for Parents
    This is a long one, so if you don't feel like reading skip down to the "BASIC INFO" section!

    My parents have an **oooold*** stereo cabinet which is finally dying. It's a custom unit with a cabinet which hides everything and has an outward appearance of a victorian-era antique (no, not the giant coffee-table 70's things.. i'm talking *older*). Over the years I've replaced the broken turntable with a 5-disc changer and it has a fairly decent 80's tape deck. The amp is still the original as well as the internal speakers. Now the amp (and/or possible internal speakers?) are dying. Sound output is unreliable and unbalanced.

    So I want to put a new stereo receiver in, but it has to be *small* because space in the cabinet is limited (my Dad *loves* the cabinet and refuses to get rid of it). I also need to somehow fit new speakers in there - probably raw drivers.

    There's more. The speakers need to be replaced but could possibly be replaced by external ones. There are already a new pair of JBL bookshelf's that I installed within the columns of the living room on the opposite end from the cabinet for "surround sound" which my dad loves especially since the speakers are hidden in the columns. (Are you getting the general idea?)

    In total, there's a pair of speakers in the columns, a pair in the cabinet, a pair wired to the kitchen, and a pair wired to their bedroom. I have these all wired into a splitter box which allows them to pick and choose where the sound comes out (and given their vague understanding of stereo technology they probably have at times turned all them which ma be cause for the death of the amp).

    Phew! Sorry for the long story but the details are needed.

    BASIC INFO:

    So I'm looking for

    - A stereo receiver with
    > 2-3 stereo inputs
    > AM/FM Tuner
    > Multiple speaker outputs? (more than 2 pair?)
    > and/or low-impedance capability for splitting the signal
    > VERY user-friendly interface

    - A pair of speakers with
    > Probably 2-way system
    > Slim profile for sneaking into the cabint behind the cloth grills or somewhere else in the room

    My parents are *not* audio fanatics. As long as it can play Mozart at reasonable volume with reasonable clarity that's GOOD ENOUGH. In fact, any more might be intimidating to them. So I don't need to spend a fortune.

    Budget:
    $100-$200 for the receiver
    $100-$200 for the speakers

    Thanks!
  • 12-13-2004, 08:30 AM
    Wireworm5
    Your parents are like mine only I didn't have to fight with them over a old stereo cabinet. You don't need anything elaborate. I was thinking along your lines but I quickly realized that going with seperate components was unnecassary. All you need is a mini-boom box system from Sony or the like for $200-$400. The simpler it is to use the better. I tried picking out one that was very user friendly, but even this was almost too hard for my dad to figure out. But I sat down with him and showed him how everything works.
    Whatever you chose user friendly is the most important thing here. If they are intimidated by the technology they won't use it. They may resist the upgrade but will be very appreciative when everything is up and running. Be sure to buy them some cd's of music they like so they can enjoy their techno jump right away.
  • 12-13-2004, 10:01 AM
    M-D
    What kind of speaker is in the cabinet now? Perhaps a single, full range driver. If so, you could go with a round, two way, flush mounted speaker. Niles, Sonance, Speakercraft, JBL, Audio Source, Speco, ADS, BIC, Monster Cable, NXG, all offer several round speakers. Could be an easy swap.

    If you're going to drive four pairs of speakers, I would suggest a speaker selector box.

    M.
  • 12-13-2004, 11:37 AM
    topspeed
    For raw drivers, go to partsexpress.com

    For a receiver, I'd seriously consider buying a vintage unit like a Marantz 2275b or older Pioneer, Sansui, or Fisher. These things are easy to use, built like Mack trucks, and sound better than today's disposable units. You should be able to find one quite easily on e-bay at any given time.

    Hope this helps.
  • 12-13-2004, 01:06 PM
    markw
    You say it has to be "small"? How small?
    Modern receiver s are not very user friendly to anyone who is not comfortable with digital tuning and all the new fangled gadgetry that is the norm today. IOW, the days of simply connecting a pair of speakers and a turntable and turning it on are gone.

    A vintage analog receiver would be ideal but that "small" thing might be an issue. A lot od old analog receivers were not "small" Dimensions would have helped.

    About the only relatively "small" things I can think of would be a Dynaco PAT-5 tuner and a martching PAT-4 or PAT-5 preamp with one of their stereo power amps. An alternative would be a Dynaco SCA-80 integrated amp instead of a separate preamp/power amp. Likewise, Fisher SS receivers from the 60's were relatively small but again, that's relative.

    But, locating a decent set might be an issue and the prices might be out of your range.

    Speakers probably could be worked around if you offered some internal dimensions to work with were also.
  • 12-13-2004, 01:42 PM
    piece-it pete
    Hello Ronning!

    I'm on board with the vintage thing, too, prolly 'cause that what I'm familiar with.

    The Marantz 1060 is smaller than average, and is inexpensive, well built, and very easy to use as well.

    Regardless, take a look at the components in the old console before tossing them! If it's tubed, the amp/preamp might be wanted, and the drivers *could* be valuable - I found an old Fisher with the Jensen PR10s (P10Rs?) "hot dogs", that alone would pay for a very nice NEW receiver.

    Pete
  • 12-13-2004, 01:43 PM
    ronning
    I stopped by my parents house and measured the cabinet. Here's the specs:

    Receiver space: 5-1/4" high x 16-7/16" wide x 11-3/4" deep. It can go deeper by just hanging out the back (the cabinet sits in a corner of the room and has an exposed back).
    If I remove a wood facia piece (a bit tricky) I can squeeze another 3/4" on the height.

    The speakers are basically wood frames on the sides with fancy cloth grills. They are 2-ways with what looks like an 8" (possibly 10"?) woofer and a 4" tweeter. They are mounted to a board in a free air suspension (the wall facing the back of the cabinet is open). The dimensions of the speaker "cabinets" are:
    22" high x 14" wide x 5" deep. (not very deep!)

    I could either put raw drivers or possibly in-wall speakers or possibly smaller bookshelf speakers back there. Again, whatever works and is least expensive.

    I definitely don't want to get a boombox unit as they are usually horrible quality, extremely complicated to use, and usually very ugly. My parents already have a nice 5-disc cd changer and dual tape deck anyway.

    Thanks!
  • 12-13-2004, 02:24 PM
    ronning
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by piece-it pete
    Hello Ronning!

    I'm on board with the vintage thing, too, prolly 'cause that what I'm familiar with.

    The Marantz 1060 is smaller than average, and is inexpensive, well built, and very easy to use as well.

    Regardless, take a look at the components in the old console before tossing them! If it's tubed, the amp/preamp might be wanted, and the drivers *could* be valuable - I found an old Fisher with the Jensen PR10s (P10Rs?) "hot dogs", that alone would pay for a very nice NEW receiver.

    Pete

    I checked the components. I didn't see any vacuum tubes, it looks all solid state. Apparently the unit is from the early 70's and the cabinet just looks older than it really is (actually, the cabinet looks like it's from the early 1900's and is not made to look anything like a stereo). It's an old Magnavox and the sparse solid-state electronics are just bolted straight into a wood panel in the cabinet. I don't think it's really anything worth saving.

    The speakers look pretty lame, too. I'll take a closer look at them when i pull them out.
  • 12-14-2004, 10:18 AM
    piece-it pete
    I ordinarily don't use words like "ubiquitous" but it sure applies to Magnavox consoles!

    You are right, the components are pretty much useless, with the possible exception of the tweeters. If they are horns they should be black with a green cap. If so check them out. They are probably Jensens, not terribly valuable ($20?) unless they are RP-109s', in which case you might get $100-150 or more depending.

    The 15" woofers are great for decorating your stereo room :) . No kidding :D ! Hang'em off the ceiling.

    Pete
  • 12-14-2004, 11:32 AM
    ronning
    My biggest limit seems to be the dimensions. However, I think I may be limiting myself unecessarily as that the is space for the "faceplate" of the magnavox receiver. It has a wooden trim all around which make the width and height smaller than the actual interior space of the cabinet. For example, the regular "full-size" (17" wide) 5-disc changer and tape deck fit below in the open area of the cabinet. I can either take out the tape cassette case (which they really don't use anyway) and move the speaker selector box somewhere else and put the receiver in that space.
    Maybe I could put the selector box where the current receiver is?
    Anyway, I guess I"m just thinking outloud here.

    As far as the Marantz 1060 goes, that's very nice.. but it doesn't seem to have a tuner?
    It really needs to have an AM/FM tuner.

    I'd also rather get something "new" as it is a christmas gift and it just has a little bit more charm if it's NIB.

    I'm also toying with the idea of one of these "home theater in a box" ideas. This way i could get small speakers, a receiver, and possibly another set of small speakers to run out to listen to in their library (which my dad was hinting about) all in one package. Quality, i realize, is lessened with this. But budget-wise and bang-for-buck it seems pretty cool. Here's one set:

    http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTE...eater_HTSeries

    Obviously the dolby surround sound options are meaningless in this case. However, if something like this had a 5-channel stereo mode... ??
  • 12-14-2004, 11:53 AM
    markw
    So, from the above post I guess the "user friendly" requirement has been dropped?
    some people are not used to the new generation of digital receivers. Perhaps your folks are more adventerous (sp?) than most but you might want to see how they react to the new technology first.
  • 12-15-2004, 03:41 PM
    ronning
    true...

    my parents are very technology shy.

    However, they essentially only use input select and volume. If i can find a new system which has simple controls for these, then they should be fine. I'll just set everything else and leave it. They also probably will not be using the remote.

    An older system would be more readily understandable, but i think a simpler newer system would be doable.
  • 12-15-2004, 04:38 PM
    markw
    a "simpler, newer" system is a bit of an oxymoron.
    Seriously, check out what's out there yourself and put yourself in your folk's place. I went through this with my mom and it ain't too easy to teach an old dog new tricks. Of course, your situation might be different but check out what's out there and let me/us know what you consider "simple".

    I still think a NICE used vintage stereo might be the trick. nothing simpler than a good old analog tuner and no logic controlled anything. Beautiful and simple as a ball bearing. One of the many reasons I still love and use my 30 year old Marantz 2270.

    Call Randy at http://www.saturdayaudio.com and see what he would recommend from the "used" section. good place to buy from. Fair prices, honest dealings.

    FWIW, you might want to check out the web site yourself first.
  • 12-16-2004, 09:14 PM
    ronning
    Good suggestions - thanks.

    If I can I'd like to get a "new" unit so that I have warranty, box, manual, etc.

    With some scrounging around on the internet I found this model:

    http://www.jr.com/JRProductPage.proc...feed.TEA+AG370

    Opinions?

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by markw
    Seriously, check out what's out there yourself and put yourself in your folk's place. I went through this with my mom and it ain't too easy to teach an old dog new tricks. Of course, your situation might be different but check out what's out there and let me/us know what you consider "simple".

    I still think a NICE used vintage stereo might be the trick. nothing simpler than a good old analog tuner and no logic controlled anything. Beautiful and simple as a ball bearing. One of the many reasons I still love and use my 30 year old Marantz 2270.

    Call Randy at http://www.saturdayaudio.com and see what he would recommend from the "used" section. good place to buy from. Fair prices, honest dealings.

    FWIW, you might want to check out the web site yourself first.

  • 12-17-2004, 06:16 AM
    markw
    Should be simple enough.
    I had a Teac receiver similar to this about 15 years ago. IT was in our bedroom system. Not too bad for the price. The ex took it when we split.

    Basically, it handled like an analog unit, save for the tuning and you should be able to talk 'em through that or even set it up for them. 24 stations seems more than adequate for almost any market..

    It doesn't seem to use a remote control. If this is important, you might want to upgrade to the next model model in that line. Still won't cost a fortune.
  • 12-17-2004, 12:24 PM
    ronning
    I think a lack of remote may actually be a bonus in this case. The components sit in a cabinet with an opaque door which is usually closed. Also the cabinet sits in the corner of the room with most of the chairs in the room facing away from it. They've *never* used the remote for their CD player. Also I think the higher-end model with the remote has a slightly more complicated front panel.

    Are there any similar stereos on the market?

    Thanks

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by markw
    I had a Teac receiver similar to this about 15 years ago. IT was in our bedroom system. Not too bad for the price. The ex took it when we split.

    Basically, it handled like an analog unit, save for the tuning and you should be able to talk 'em through that or even set it up for them. 24 stations seems more than adequate for almost any market..

    It doesn't seem to use a remote control. If this is important, you might want to upgrade to the next model model in that line. Still won't cost a fortune.

  • 12-20-2004, 01:21 PM
    ronning
    I've done a little more research and found these models:

    Denon DRA 295 $250
    Oknyo TX-8211 $180
    Sony sTR-DE197 $140

    I think the Onkyo looks the best bang for the buck plus it has the simplest UI by far.

    The TEAC looks good, but is difficult to find anywhere and Christmas is only days away!

    Any opinions welcome.

    Thanks!
  • 12-20-2004, 05:58 PM
    ronning
    Looks like circuit city and fry's are having a sale on the older TX-8011 model. It's a green display, seems to not come with a remote, and has no phono input. None of which are a problem.

    It's only $135 and is available for in-store pickup.


    Anybody have any negative opinions on this receiver? Otherwise I think it might be the best bang for the buck.

    Thanks