Speakers - I know nothing.

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Old 10-24-14, 06:45 AM
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Speakers - I know nothing.

Hi All,

I want to listen to music in my garage/basement and am lost as to where to start. I've tried googling for recommendations for speaker placement and components but everything seems oriented towards home theater or listening from a fixed position. I just want to be able to rock out with friends and have the music sound more or less the same in every part of the room.

I'd really appreciate any suggestions you guys could give me based on that goal and the following details
  • The garage/basement (no cars in here) is aprox 5 x 20 m and looks like this Name:  IMG_5809.jpg
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    The beams you can see aren't entirely structural, they're mostly plaster hiding a much smaller support, in other words, there is a lot of hollow space to run wires or even possibly install speakers.
  • I don't have any CD's or 8tracks or other antique forms of music storage so I need to be able to play music from it's home on my network. Which is a WD MyBook Live network drive which works as an itunes server.
  • iTunes is just what I have now, if there is a better software solution I could go for that as well.
  • There is an apple airport extreme router in the garage which is set up as a wifi access point and connected to the network.

My budget is not unlimited and I'm hoping to buy as much as I can used. I realize that with audio there is basically no limit to what you can spend. I want to have good sound but the goal is to provide music, not listen to lossless reproductions of a symphony orchestra. :P

I really know nothing about hi fi, what do i need here?
 
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Old 10-24-14, 06:55 AM
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Personally I think speaker towers (speakers in free standing boxes) provide the best sound for the money. They can be moved around until you find the best sound for your room and can be moved if you rearrange things in the future. The drawback is that they take up space and many women, my wife included, don't like the look of them.

In wall or ceiling speakers are out of the way and are largely unseen. I have not found any that can rival the sound quality of towers and have found that you need to get rather expensive to approach the sound quality of mid level towers. They can be totally hidden though with wires in the walls so you retain all the floor space in your room. They can be harder to orient to get even sound throughout the room but there is always the shotgun approach of simply installing more speakers.

What are you going to do with the floor? I see a lot of hard, flat surfaces already including tile on the wall.
 
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Old 10-24-14, 07:35 AM
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What am I doing with the floor? Do I need to do something with the floor? Like I said, I don't know anything.

As for speaker towers, I'd much rather hang the speakers on the wall or from the ceiling,

How many speakers do I need, 4? more? I had kind of assumed that a speaker in each corner + a subwoofer would be the ideal set up.

I kind of get the difference between passive and active speakers, but why in the world are amps so expensive? It seems like a much better deal to get the self amplified speakers right?
 
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Old 10-24-14, 08:40 AM
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A hard, smooth concrete floor and tiled and smooth walls are going to let the sound keep bouncing around in the room. Generally not a good situation for audio quality. More speakers can help distribute the sound but you have sound from speakers at the far end of the room arriving at your ears later than sound from closer speakers. Then there is the sound from all of them bouncing around the room muddying things. Carpet on the floor, curtains on the walls, acoustic tile in the ceiling, big poofy furniture and other things that absorb sound can help quite a bit.

Why are amps expensive? You get what you pay for. Better stuff generally sounds better and a cheap amp sounds like a cheap amp and will distort more as you drive it harder. You can't say anything broadly like self amplified speakers are better. I generally consider them inferior but like everything in the world there are good and bad. Speakers with built in amplifiers will need access to power in addition to an audio signal, either wired or wireless so they can be more limiting where you place them.
 
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Old 10-24-14, 10:09 AM
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Ok, don't take this the wrong way because I really appreciate the response, but I'm obviously not going to carpet the garage floor which is driven over by cars and walked on by dirty shoes and dirtier dogs and being in a basement will occasionally flood. I accept that this means I will have less than ideal sound quality.

Just like I'm sure that a quality amp + passive speakers will produce much better sound. However I'm not really trying to turn a concrete basement in to the perfect listening space rather I'm trying for an economical alternative to hanging a ghetto blaster from the ceiling.

Working within the constraints of an acoustic nightmare such as a concrete basement Id like to try and efficiently apply the modest budget Ive alloted this project.

Doing a little more research it seems that active speakers like these Gecid.com Ukrainian IT-portal: Edifier R1280T multimedia speaker review and testing

Are available for decent prices second hand. Are these any good? The idea that came to me would be to buy two sets of these and some how hook them up to an airport express to have a ip controlled sound for less than $150. Is this a good idea, bad idea? If they're powered by an internal amp I assume that using a Y splitter to seperate the 3.5mm output from the airport express in to two and then two 3.5 to rca Y splitters wouldn't really have that much of a negative effect, or would it?

Thoughts on this setup?
 
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Old 10-24-14, 10:56 AM
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Don't laugh but part of my equipment garage is carpeted. I have a cheapo area rug on which my Gator usually parks. If you've ever gotten down on your knees on concrete you'll love working on something when there's carpet down. Rainwater and snow evaporate away and a vacuuming once in a while does surprisingly well at keeping it clean.

Also, if you will be using the area as a garage everything in the room will help break up the sound. I recently emptied and painted my equipment garage. With everything out it had a horrible echo but the tools, tractors and shelves of misc. stuff do a good job of absorbing and breaking up the reflections and really improve the sound of my really, really old stereo that I use in there. I think it's a Craig system from the mid-1970's complete with a record player on top and 8 track in the front.
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A Ukranian website. Are you in Ukraine? I was last in Odessa and Yalta before the recent fighting.

I have never heard of that brand of speaker but you should be able to split the audio cable like you mentioned. It's probably the easiest way to get the audio to both channels.
 
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