Home Rigs
Mar 2, 2006 at 8:08 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 26

Oistrakh

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After viewing some pictures of some people's home rigs here, I'm amazed at the amount of wires, electronics that goes into just listening through headphones. Can someone explain like what are the different parts of a basic home rig, and what are their functions? And whats a home receiver?
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 8:14 PM Post #2 of 26

Duggeh

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The most basic home rig would be a cd player with a headphone socket on it I suppose.

A reciever to the best of my know-how, is a multi-input_multi-channel amp.
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 8:16 PM Post #3 of 26

Jahn

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Sure, let me break down my Tower of Power for you-
IMG_00022.JPG

Home Rig (The "Tower of Power"): Lan-modded E-MU 0404 => This is the source. If it was a CD Player, you would also call it "The Transport" since it's only being used to generate the zeros and ones in a digital signal.

3-ft Dayton Glass Optical Digital Out => This is the cable that will transmit the digital signal to the DAC. It can be optical or coaxial. Mine is optical, and using glass fibers to do it.

Lan-modded Lite DAC-AH => This is the box that will convert the Digital information into an Analog signal that any normal amp can understand.

Headphile Blacksilver ICs => These are interconnects that terminate into RCA plugs. They transmit the analog signal. Mine are made of silver, but you can have them be copper too, or a mix, or whatever.

Melos SHA-Gold "Death Star" Reference Pre-Amp/Headphone Amp w/PCC88 Philips (Amperex) Heerlen Holland tubes with HAL-O 9 Damping Instruments => Here is my headphone amp, that doubles as a preamp. If it is just my headphone amp, this signal will go right to my cans. If it is as a preamp, it will send a juicier beefy analog signal out to another amp to really pump the signal.

PRE-AMP TO: Audioquest Diamondback ICs => These interconnects send my preamped analog signal to another amp. These are made of copper, for a warmer tone.

STAX SRM-1/MKII => This is the amp that receives the preamp signal. Now we're ready to blast the music!

STAX Lambda Pro Earspeakers - These are the cans that are being fed the amped analog signal. They are electrostatic cans, so the analog signal is converted into sound via some cool Electrostatic process i don't understand.

or HEADPHONE AMP TO: Headphile BlackSilver-recabled Grado HP-2 w/DT770 Headband & Headphile Zeta Port C-Pads ("Darth Grados") or Headphile BlackSilver-recabled & impedance-tweaked DT770/600 Ohm ("Darth Beyers" stolen by Sister) - These are all Dynamic can options to receive an amped signal directly from the Melos's amped headphone out jack. They convert the analog signal into sound waves via the magnet vibrating the diaphram in there somehow, i don't quite get how.

=> SR325...as endcaps on my Headphile Stand! - uh, this is my headphone stand.

I also have a preamp signal leaving the Melos which goes into a Marantz 2226 receiver, via another copper IC. The receiver gets the preamped signal, pumps it through its integrated Power Amp, and blasts that superduper signal to my Wharfedale speakers. A signal that has been beefed up by a power amp should NOT be sent directly to a can, or it will FRY it. Unless it's a K1000, or you have some kind of adapter cable. That's it, hope you enjoyed the journey thru the Tower of Power!
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 8:35 PM Post #4 of 26

stewtheking

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The "basic" rig consists of 4 main components.

1) The source. This is either a cd player, or a turntable for spinning records. To split this up further, a CD player can be split into 2 parts... a "transport" (spins the disc and gets the digital information) and a "DAC" (digital-analogue-converter) which converts the digital bits into an audio analogue signal. Some people use a DAC with their computer, streaming digital information out to the DAC, for better computer sound. A vinyl rig can also be split into component parts, as many people will have a "phono stage" or a "pre-amp", that amplifies the signal from a turntable before it reaches the next part of the chain.

2) Interconnects and cabling. These range from the absolute basic $2 cables that came with your CD player, to some drain-pipe sized monsters that probably cost more than your house. Their function is to transmit the electrical signals from your source to your amplifier. Different cables have different sonic characteristics, however over a certain level of quality (which I put at about £50 personally, though this is only my personal opinion) the differences in quality become extremely negligable in anything but the highest of high-end systems.

3) The amplifier. In simple terms this makes the volume from your source louder. Headphone amplifiers come in many different shapes and sizes, from the firestone "cute beyond", to the orpheus HEV90. Their main function is to make the sound louder, but also to impart their own sound characteristics on the sound, giving it richer bass, or higher top end. The amplifier in turn sends the signal out to the final piece of the puzzle, the headphones themselves.

4) Cans, 'phones, earspeakers... etc etc. There are many words for them, but these are the most important bit in the system. These convert the electrical signal into sound that you can hear. The main distinction is between "dynamic" and "electrostatic" headphones. Dynamic are by far the most common, and in basic terms they use coiled wire and magnets to move a small speaker cone near your ear and produce sound. These come in many shapes and sizes, and they are the object of lust and upgraditis in many people here. Electrostatic headphones use a clever arrangement of highly charged plates that move when current passed over them changes. These require a specialised electrostatic amplifier, and are often the most expensive. This category includes the much-talked-about HE90, often thought of as the best headphone ever created.

I hope this answers a few of your questions, and hope it doesn't give you too many wallet-hurting ideas...

Have fun in head-fi!!!
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 9:30 PM Post #6 of 26

swt61

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Oistrakh
And whats a home receiver?


A receiver is a combination of three units into one. It houses a Pre-Amplifier, a Power-Amplifier and a Tuner in one box.
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 10:15 PM Post #8 of 26

skyline889

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Oistrakh
please explain that term to me!
confused.gif



Muti-input means you can hook up multiple devices to your receiver like a dvd player, cd changer, phono, whatever and the Multi-Channel ouput means how many channels the receiver can handle, they range anywhere from 2-7.1 channels which means if you have a 7.1 receiver you can hook up seven speakers plus a subwoofer. Also most receivers have a line out so you send the signal to an amp if you want.

Jahn, what do the lan mods do? Price?
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 11:35 PM Post #9 of 26

Oistrakh

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I really don't think its justifiable to spend thousands of dolalrs on "interconnects and home receivers" when you can just use ipod, portable amp, and headphones. You can take those anywhere and not have to be like a couple feet away from your home rig if you want to listen from it, and unless you have really sensitive ears, I don't think spending thousands of dollars on all that equipment is really worth the sound you get.
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 11:42 PM Post #10 of 26

Duggeh

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My entire setup is worth perhaps £1200, I consider it worth every penny. After all, I cant play my LPs on my iPod, i cant use a headphone setup at a party and I love the fact that the entire assembly is open to expansion, say if i wanted a reel to reel tape machine, or to be just as retro and go down the SQ quad road.

Theres much more to music reproduction than simply music reproduction.

Besides i need my equipment to compliment my slowly increasing headphone collection too.
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 11:57 PM Post #12 of 26

max-9

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Oistrakh
I really don't think its justifiable to spend thousands of dolalrs on "interconnects and home receivers" when you can just use ipod, portable amp, and headphones. You can take those anywhere and not have to be like a couple feet away from your home rig if you want to listen from it, and unless you have really sensitive ears, I don't think spending thousands of dollars on all that equipment is really worth the sound you get.


A home system of good quality is an entirely different experience to a portable rig. Go into a local audio shop and experience a system . Not to mention you listen alone with a portable.
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 11:59 PM Post #13 of 26

saint.panda

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Oistrakh
I really don't think its justifiable to spend thousands of dolalrs on "interconnects and home receivers" when you can just use ipod, portable amp, and headphones. You can take those anywhere and not have to be like a couple feet away from your home rig if you want to listen from it, and unless you have really sensitive ears, I don't think spending thousands of dollars on all that equipment is really worth the sound you get.


Ever heard a good headphone or two channel setup costing thousands?
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 12:10 AM Post #14 of 26

Oistrakh

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Quote:

Originally Posted by max-9
A home system of good quality is an entirely different experience to a portable rig. Go into a local audio shop and experience a system . Not to mention you listen alone with a portable.


there aren't a lot of audio shops in the framingham/natick area of MA
 
Mar 3, 2006 at 1:36 AM Post #15 of 26

swt61

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Oistrakh
there aren't a lot of audio shops in the framingham/natick area of MA


It always amazes me how many musicians don't have high end systems. It says in your profile that you play Violin. I always thought that a musician would have a discerning ear. But i'm constantly seeing big name musicians that have cheap mid-fi one box systems. What gives?
 

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