I remember laying down in the perfect position with my head in front of a large Packard Bell Console with a brand-new vinyl Jimi Hendrix album to take in all the audio subtleties. The position was a bit awkward, but the audio was superb. I also noticed a slight degradation of audio quality with vinyl after only three plays. I was so lucky to see Hendrix “live” a few times including his Rainbow Maui visit with 300 other people. I also saw performances by the Beatles, Stones, Grateful Dead and a few other lesser known, groups but equally good. It is interesting these groups have a smaller but clear following of a younger audience too. Edward Bulwer Lytton once said, “Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies.”
To me a musical reproduction goal is to sound like the original live performance. Audio systems can run well past $100,000 but this does not guarantee you will like the results. Quality is important but some of my chosen music was never recorded in high quality, like Cat Stevens. Normal differences in recordings means you could adjust the audio settings for each song . . . the song itself is more important. I prefer diverse and well-crafted music by talented musicians. For example, the CC WiFi 3 Internet Radio makes it easy to search for African classic music compared to your cell phone.
The Wood Shop is a Perfect Place to Experiment
It has room, I can make a mess and the neighbors are somewhat distant. I will overlook the gory details of replacing all the components several times over many years and focus on the current system.
After hearing what I thought was live music at my brother’s wedding and realizing it was a recording, I settled on a set of JBL’s with 15” woofers and horns since this and was a common speaker used in live performances. One lucky day I spotted an old Kenwood 9600 at an estate sale for $400.00 with finicky switches and 160 watts to drive those big speakers. Accurate bass requires about 4x more power than tweeters for the same loudness.
I first mounted each JBL speakers high in opposite wall corners, so they are out of the way. The bass was remarkable in this location. This worked beautifully but one neighbor at several hundred feet away mentioned he liked the music, but his dishes were rattling on some bass notes. I then put the speakers in the opposite corners on the floor which worked out fine.
I still had a problem with muddy audio which my musician brother said was the resonant quality of the shop, so I played with a $400.00 equalizer with complex results. When the CC WiFi 3 prototypes finally came in I was eager to see how it would do. The WiFi signal was too weak and was buffering though we include an external antenna for longer range. I got set up with a Parabolic Power Kit and attached the SMA fitting to the back of the radio . . . perfect! The audio was good but still needed adjustment. My final audio quest experiment was to adjust the equalizer built into the CC WiFi 3. The built-in equalizer solved the audio problem! The CC WiFi 3 is now great for music with the speaker system and infinitely superior to many years of testing and trying. I received the same opinion of the equalizer from a radio friend Dale who has an expensive stereo system. I should mention the CC WiFi 3 is very good for “voice” clarity with no additional wizardry. My favorite Internet music station is KOZT out of Fort Bragg, Ca.
The adjustable equalizer on the CC WiFi 3 is centered on 105, 300, 850, 2,400 and 6,900Hz plus a preamp adjustment. It works on the Line Out and Headphone jack.
I think it is rare or perhaps never a person is fully satisfied with their sound system. The complexity of really learning about audio can take several lifetimes plus everyone’s ear is different. Since I am a bass fanatic I am thinking of adding an amplified 18” woofer one day for the really low notes. Did you know that a bass player often acts as the band leader. . .leading the way to the next part of a song for the other musicians? If you listen for this, you may have a new appreciation for some bass players.
JBL MPRO speaker with 15” woofer and horn:
Factory rubber ducky removed and Power Parabolic attached:
CC WiFi 3 on top of an equalizer, CD player and the Kenwood 9600. You can see the parabolic antenna in the upper right for WiFi reception:
Here is the non-powered parabolic hung on a nail pointing toward the router: