Saturday, 29 December 2007

For my viewing (and listening) pleasure


Some months ago, my CD player went kaput. Something is whirring inside and will not play CDs, nor will it stop when I select the tuner or auxiliary port in the fully integrated stereo unit.

After a while of putting up with this whirring noise while I played music from MP3, I decided that 'enough was enough'. Not only was the noise annoying, but I had no means of playing CDs, except through my existing DVD player, which was not connected to an amplifier. (OK, so I know that such a lack is somewhat archaic, but . . .)

The obvious solution was to upgrade my complete system. Replace my stereo system with a surround sound system that will play CDs and DVDs and why not throw in a new TV while I'm at it?

It's amazing how much you can learn in a couple of hours. JB Hi Fi was useful to gain an overview of all the options. Fully integrated surround sound units with DVD & speakers start at around $300. Or you can buy an amplifier with surround sound speakers - just add DVD player/recorder. Or you can by a separate amplifier and a set of surround sound speakers. Or you can buy everything separately -- including speakers -- and spend a fortune!

The problem with surround sound, I've decided, is that you either get small cheap speakers that sound crap but don't dominate your room, or you get large cheap speakers that sound marginally better but completely take over your living room, or you get high-quality speakers, large or small, that cost you a fortune!!

With this dilemma in mind, we wandered into retravision, a few stores down the road. Here, we were lucky to be approached by an 'audio specialist', who demonstrated the sound of high-quality speakers and talked me out of surround sound all together. To be honest, it wasn't very hard. I perfectly comprehend the logic that it's far better to have two high-quality speakers than five crap ones! (And the thought of not having to run all that speaker cable or find homes for the speakers . . .)

So now, courtesy of the Boxing Day sales, I have a new fancy amplifier (with the capability for surround sound), two new speakers (pending), and a new 32-inch LCD TV! The sound (even with my old speakers) is fantastic and I now have yet another reason to avoid writing at present . . . The next item on the purchase agenda is probably a DVD recorder, but that's definitely for another day.

And, of course, I can now play CDs again!! (Currently listening to Sara Storer)

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