Informal Poll

Informal polls are probably the distant cousins of Tracey's "nosy surveys."

I might have mentioned a while back that my stereo is on its way out. First, the tape decks went, which really sucks because I have a ton of tapes, many of which were made by my late friend J when we were in high school and college. (Yes, at some point I will be getting a digital converter but that's a ways off.) Then, the remote conked out. A lot of the good functions--CD shuffle, sleep, I can't even remember the rest anymore--were on the remote, so they were lost. Basically, to operate it I have to open the TV stand door, and leave it open. And then bump into the door a million times because it's glass. . . or shoo the cat out of the stand. So warm and cavernous.

It's been at the top of my wish list to replace the stereo. There was an impromptu training for my side job this morning, and I noticed on my way that I was passing by the electronics store where my parents bought their TV (and mine). On the way home, I stopped in to check out the audio.

Did I ever luck out--the first salesperson to say hi to me turned out to be a huge audiophile. Thousands of dollars of audio equipment in his collection, including a top-of-the-line turntable. This guy was serious about music. So I told him my predicament, and that in light of the fact that there aren't many mini-systems with tape decks and/or with the capacity to play more than one CD, or even mini-systems in general, I was contemplating building my own system. He showed me some options.

Definitely I will get what I want if I build my own system. But at what cost?

Receiver--this one, I think, he showed me on the computer. $250.

CD carousel--6 discs--I currently have 3. $220.

Cassette decks--there's only one--surprise! $200.

I can use my current speakers--saves money, I guess. He told me that if a receiver's good, it can make even junky speakers sound amazing. Mine, believe it or not, aren't too junky.

The setback is that he had every component except the receiver in stock. I took his business card and said I had some thinking to do.

I didn't mention I had polling to do. So. . . about $700 when all is said and done. What do you think?

I know I fret about money, but I'll have some money left from my tax refund(s) after paying for my new brakes, and I've been stashing away some of the money from singing. These pieces are good quality and should last. I take good care of my stuff. I've had my Phillips minisystem for about eight years now (well, seven good ones, anyway) so these could go the same or longer. There really aren't that many options out there.

Should I do it?

Or should I keep looking, even though there aren't that many places left to look?


Anonymous said…
I'd go for it since there are many other places to look. I try to remind myself when I want to go on some sort of great adventure that my time and my gas costs money too.
I'm good by the way. Enjoying the perks of private school education...Easter break!
Happy Easter Kate!
WV: catori...I go to school with a guy with that last name!
Annie Coe said…
I don't know what to tell you as I just have a little boom box and it is okay by me. I have had this boom box for 15 years, eight years does not sound long enough for a system to last! Good luck.
Cullen said…
$700 sounds like a lot for components. Don't get locked into Onkyo ... For example, I'm looking on New Egg right now and there's a Yamaha (a better brand name IMHO) 5.1 channel home receiver for $150. New Egg carries that same Onyo model for $170. Here's a stereo model from a company called Sherwood for $110. Not a well-known brand, but most home audio magazines give them great reviews.

New Egg has a Sherwood 5-disc CD player for $135, and they have a Sony cassette deck for $90.

By me estimation, that'd be about $410 buck after shipping if you decided to get these products. But I'm not saying to get these specifically, I'm just saying to shop around a bit. New Egg is a great site, Deal News is another, even Amazon has great deals.

The thing about buying components is to not get stuck thinking you have to buy all the same brand. Yeah, Onkyo makes pretty good stuff, but so does almost everyone these days. I disagree somewhat with your salseman. While the receiver is the heart of your system, the quality of your speakers means a lot. A receiver is only going to do so much. Your perception of sound has a lot to do with sound pressure levels and your speakers' sensitivity directly impacts that.

My suggestion is to shop around. That Sherwood receiver I linked to is a good deal, but there are plenty of others out there. Whatever you do, I think using your current speakers is probably the way to go, especially if they aren't too junky. Though, if you find yourself wanting to upgrade in the future there are some great discount speakers out there.

For me, what I found works best for my situation, I bought a Yamaha sound bar that has a separate subwoofer. The bar has a built-in decoder. It's hooked up to my TV and computer. So, it runs all the audio when I'm watching movies and I play all my music from my primary desktop. It'll never be quite as good of fidelity as separates, but it is very good and is so much simpler than trying to run all those speakers that I used to.

Anyway, that's my $0.02. Good luck.
Mr. Bingley said…
to agree 100% what cullen said: shop around. just peruse amazon and you'll see you can do a lot better, and it might give you some ideas about what you should get. for example, you might want to look at a receiver that will also double as a home theater receiver when you upgrade that tv...

even if you decide that you want to support a local store you'll be better prepared and informed.
Kate P said…
Very interesting comments from all of you!

One thing I will tell you: no refurbished products for me. I have not had luck with those in the past. So that's one thing I'll be looking out for on New Egg and elsewhere. I generally find Amazon frustrating to shop, especially for non-book items. But I'll look anyway. That's actually where I got my current last-gasp stereo.
Cullen said…
Bad luck on refubs, huh? I have the opposite attitude (and luck, apparently). A refurb gets far more care and inpspection put into it than a brand-new product. I do stay away from refurbs with no warranty though.

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