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Stereo In General

I've been sick for a few days - and just caught up on mail.  Some of 
my "catching up" posts will appear before this one...

Some comments about stereo and our approaches to it...we clearly have 
a widely disparate set of priorities about money and sound quality 
when it comes to stereo.  We have many folks who are on the top end, 
some in the middle, and maybe even some who would be happy with 
speakers stuck to the C-pillars by their magnets!

The arguments seem (to me) to occur when those who have differing 
approaches and priorities try to design systems.  Personally, I 
have lots of things to do with my money.  The most money I have ever 
put into a car system was $450 in cash money, plus trading for some 
speakers.  Sure, I'd love to have $1500 or $2000 for a big-time 
stereo, but it's not worth it to me.  (Cost/benefit = No Go.)  So I 
got a factory refurbished head unit with 6-disc hardwired remote CD 
changer, bought a decent amp (for the rear speakers) at a police 
auction for $39, put 2 new spekers and 2 traded-for speakers in the 
car, and I'm done.  (Here I'm referring to my 280ZX, not to the 
ongoing saga of my Audi stereo.)  Although from the description, it 
seems like this system should sound like two tin cans being 
banged together, the sound is really not bad, friends!

With almost 30 years in radio and TV production, I CAN hear the 
difference between a few-hundred-dollar system and a couple-of-
thousand-dollar system....especially if they're side by side.

But when they're NOT side by side, I can be happy with the less 
expensive system, as long as it sounds pleasing and performs as I ask 
it to do.  Fact is, 80% of my listening is to AM talk radio, so I 
place high value on AM reception!  Go figure - I'm a dinosaur!  I 
want reasonable, clean sound within a "cheap" budget, which is 
possible if one chooses carefully.  In the Audi, if Crutchfield 
doesn't make that rackafratzin adapter sound GREAT for me, I will 
bypass the Bose amps in my car and run the speakers directly from the 
Sony head unit I'm putting in.  And that's no cost except some 14 
gauge wire (nothing exotic in wire, please - why pay?) and my labor.

Linus Toy spoke well: "If I want really good stereo, I sit at home in 
my living room."  If some on this list demand that quality on the 
road, more power to 'em.  Many do not.

And remember that regardless of the quality of the system's 
electronic components, there are intervening factors:

1)  The speakers used in the system;  we really haven't discussed 
this, but no matter what the components are, the sound won't be better 
than the speakers used to reproduce it.

2)  How well the owner actually hears!  Many adult males are 
(due to misspent "yute's" in noisy environments) somewhat short-
changed on ability to hear high frequency sounds.  I tend to 
question how much money it's worth them paying for frequency 
response past 15khz (limit of FM radio) when they may not even be 
able to hear it.  (Of course, this is not the case for many...)

3)  The listener's preferences and perceptions.  Some listeners 
really don't care if their systems have 8% THD vs 5% THD and won't 
notice the difference, especially in an automobile at road speed.  
They also may not care whether their CD changer is an FM modulated 
unit vs. a direct-wire to head unit, especially if they don't 
often listen to the higher-cost option.

I admire a truly fine stereo system.  I also need a bench vise, a new 
cordless drill to replace the one which just died, four tires for my 
280ZX, a new roof on the house, three new panels of T-111 siding on 
the house to replace the ones which are rotting in our TX climate, a 
computer for the kids, and come to think of it, some $$ for a whole 
week's vacation this year would be super!

I enjoy my list friends on this group, respect your opinions on 
mechanics, stereos, and even movies, and understand that you have 
differing priorities and values as regards stereos and other things.  
Just because those priorities differ does not mean that any of them 
are wrong....because we can all tolerate the foibles of our list-
friends as long as they keep the Audi faith. 

Al Powell                           Voice:  409/845-2807
Ag Communications                   Fax:    409/862-1202
107 Reed McDonald Bldg.             Email:  a-powell1@tamu.edu 
College Station, TX  77843-2112
W3 page - http://agcomwww.tamu.edu/agcom/satellit/rpe/alpage.htm