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Richard10002

Music on your boat - how?

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To date I’ve always had a car stereo head unit, and 2 or 4 Kef Egg speakers. The source has been wired MP3 player of some kind, or Bluetooth from phone, with Streaming services coming to the fore over the past few months.

 

Currently thinking of doing away with the head unit, and getting a “hi res” Bluetooth receiver, (I know Bluetooth remains lossy and can’t be hi res, but.... ), and connecting it to a 4 channel car audio amp.

 

Or I might get a hi res headunit, like the Pioneer DEH-80PRS, perhaps still getting a hi res Bluetooth receiver.

 

What do others do to get reasonable quality sound from phone or web to speakers?

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3 minutes ago, Richard10002 said:

To date I’ve always had a car stereo head unit, and 2 or 4 Kef Egg speakers. The source has been wired MP3 player of some kind, or Bluetooth from phone, with Streaming services coming to the fore over the past few months.

 

Currently thinking of doing away with the head unit, and getting a “hi res” Bluetooth receiver, (I know Bluetooth remains lossy and can’t be hi res, but.... ), and connecting it to a 4 channel car audio amp.

 

Or I might get a hi res headunit, like the Pioneer DEH-80PRS, perhaps still getting a hi res Bluetooth receiver.

 

What do others do to get reasonable quality sound from phone or web to speakers?

A lot depends on the quality of your hearing.

 

We are OK with Spotify streamed via the phone to a LG Bluetooth speaker. Or if we are not on mains a rechargeable cheapo Chinese no name rechargeable thing.

 

'Reasonable quality' is very subjective.

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Until very recently Trojan hasda very handsome wall-mounted Grundig combined radio, cassette  and CD player. Unfortunately, last year the CD part went kaput and I guess that repair will not be economical - it's not that old (bought new in 2000) but technology seems to move very fast these days. So we're looking for a replacement, though we'd no longer need the cassette element, I'll be watching suggestions in this thread.

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1 minute ago, Athy said:

Until very recently Trojan hasda very handsome wall-mounted Grundig combined radio, cassette  and CD player. Unfortunately, last year the CD part went kaput and I guess that repair will not be economical - it's not that old (bought new in 2000) but technology seems to move very fast these days. So we're looking for a replacement, though we'd no longer need the cassette element, I'll be watching suggestions in this thread.

A 20 year old CD player would be considered to have had a very very good innings. But Grundig were a very good make ........ back then.........

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A typical narrowboat is not the best acoustic environment so its not worth going for really top spec hifi.

The car radio head unit is almost a thing of the past.

Mobile phone/ipad or laptop to bluetooth speakers looks like the future.

Kef Eggs get good reviews, its amazing what small speakers can now do, but the Ruark MR1s are even better. The newer Bluetooth links now get pretty close to hifi, not like the early stuff that sounded crap, and if you get a paid Spotify you can go for higher bit rates that overcome most MP3 limitations (MP3 sounds not so good at lower bit rates). I use Spotify on a laptop with an optical link to the MR1's (Mk2) but can't really hear a difference between that and the iPhone linking via Bluetooth.

 

..........Dave

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1 hour ago, The Happy Nomad said:

A lot depends on the quality of your hearing.

 

We are OK with Spotify streamed via the phone to a LG Bluetooth speaker. Or if we are not on mains a rechargeable cheapo Chinese no name rechargeable thing.

 

'Reasonable quality' is very subjective.

I'm probably a bit manic when it comes to sound.

 

Bose Soundlink Mini II for portable bluetooth stuff.... improves laptop sound no end, and good on deck when travelling. Used it for the TV for years until:

 

Sony Bluetooth Soundbar, which turned out to be 24V DC, so powered via a 12V to 24V adapter, rather than the 240V brick that came with it. This provides TV sound via HDMI, and can provide music via bluetooth, but the sound isnt great for music. It's very good for TV - I quite often find myself looking through the window to see what's going on outside, only to find it was on the TV.

 

Kef Eggs via the car headunit, as above, for radio and music. The Kefs provide the best music sound, and have done for a bit more than a decade, hence my desire to keep them, and find a wireless route from phone/router to the speakers. My phone is a Samsung, so has LDAC, but not Aptx HD, so makes sense to try for an LDAC bluetooth receiver, although, like dmr, I'm not convinced I will be able to hear the difference between the various Bluetooth codecs, aptx, aptx HD, and LDAC.

Edited by Richard10002

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Kef LSX active speakers. Mostly Bluetooth from phone or laptop for streaming music, 3.5mm jack to portable CD player, optical cable to TV. 

 

Nice compact speakers without need for any extra boxes, sit nicely either side of the TV on wall mounts, and to my ears sound lovely. 

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1 hour ago, Richard10002 said:

I'm probably a bit manic when it comes to sound.

 

 

 

I too am fussy about sound quality.

 

That is why I never use MP3 as a source and stick to a radio (and its own speaker) on the boat.

 

I can't even approach hi-fi quality in a 7' steel tube.

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Since COVID-19, there are many freelance musicians who are out of work as they cannot perform as indoor concerts are banned. Add one to your circle and you can have live music on your boat at a reasonable cost! Pick one whose usual instrument you are happy to listen to all the time. Don't pick a wind instrument player who can't wear a mask while performing. Violinist, or guitarist yes. Tuba, or kettle drum player, perhaps not. 😀

 

My own boat has either an FM radio on batteries, or a computer feeding a home made amp to speakers. Used for MP3, films, DVD's and so on. Not the most cutting edge these days, but still works.

Jen

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8 hours ago, The Happy Nomad said:

A 20 year old CD player would be considered to have had a very very good innings. But Grundig were a very good make ........ back then.........

Well yes, but for its last 13 years it was on the boat, so used a maximum of a couple of weeks and a few weekends per year, so it did not experience heavy wear and tear.

Has the quality of Grundig products declined? I've always thought of German = well-engineered and reliable, perhaps my view is as out-of-date as the CD player!

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1 minute ago, Athy said:

Well yes, but for its last 13 years it was on the boat, so used a maximum of a couple of weeks and a few weekends per year, so it did not experience heavy wear and tear.

Has the quality of Grundig products declined? I've always thought of German = well-engineered and reliable, perhaps my view is as out-of-date as the CD player!

I might be wrong but although their origins are in Germany they now exist in name only and their products like many other companies are produced all over the place like Turkey and Eastern Europe and probably China too.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, The Happy Nomad said:

I might be wrong but although their origins are in Germany they now exist in name only and their products like many other companies are produced all over the place like Turkey and Eastern Europe and probably China too.

 

 

Thank you. Rather like Goodman's, then (yes, I know they aren't German, but...): my old mobile disco speakers are 15" Goodman's and have given excellent service since the late 1970s, but I do recall the name appearing on some cheap and not particularly cheerful rigs in later years. That said, we're pleased with the Goodman's Oxford portable radio which has been on the boat for the last year or so. It's not hi-fi but it does the job and sounds O.K.

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34 minutes ago, Athy said:

Well yes, but for its last 13 years it was on the boat, so used a maximum of a couple of weeks and a few weekends per year, so it did not experience heavy wear and tear.

Has the quality of Grundig products declined? I've always thought of German = well-engineered and reliable, perhaps my view is as out-of-date as the CD player!

Grundig were a top quality German manufacturer - back in the '70s.   Philips bought them out in or around the '80s, but it was sold off in the late '90s after which it was just a name on cheaply made junk electronics and white goods.

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As others have said, it isn't possible to get really high quality sound on a boat.

 

For general listening I use my phone with high resolution 360mbps MP3's fed into the aux input of a car stereo.

 

For higher quality listening I use lossless files on an MP3 player with Etymotic noise isolating ER2 earphones, but obviously then others can't listen to the music. Not so much of a problem as Mrs Hound doesn't like much of my music anyway. 😁

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35 minutes ago, dor said:

Grundig were a top quality German manufacturer - back in the '70s.   Philips bought them out in or around the '80s, but it was sold off in the late '90s after which it was just a name on cheaply made junk electronics and white goods.

A somewhat jaundiced view, according to what I can discover on the internet. Philips did indeed control the company for a few years in the '90s; it then became independent again. It's now Turkish-owned (same people as the fridgemakers Beko, for example) but still has its H.Q. in Germany. As far as I could make out, all its products are made in Europe. It appears to be far more than "just a name".

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Smartphone bluetoothed to a decent portable speaker system.  The sound quality is pretty darn good.  A proper hifi system wouldn't sound noticeably better because of the confined space of a boat cabin, too many reflective surfaces.  Keep it simple.  My speakers are usually left plugged in but will run off their internal batteries for about 20 hours.

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1 hour ago, Athy said:

Well yes, but for its last 13 years it was on the boat, so used a maximum of a couple of weeks and a few weekends per year, so it did not experience heavy wear and tear.

Has the quality of Grundig products declined? I've always thought of German = well-engineered and reliable, perhaps my view is as out-of-date as the CD player!

It's actually done very well then. 

 

A boat is quite a hostile environment for things like CD players and DVD players, especially if you have a stove.

 

Combined with long periods of not being used of course, this again not being ideal.

 

I hope it's being given a dignified send off?

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13 minutes ago, The Happy Nomad said:

It's actually done very well then. 

 

A boat is quite a hostile environment for things like CD players and DVD players, especially if you have a stove.

 

Combined with long periods of not being used of course, this again not being ideal.

 

I hope it's being given a dignified send off?

Surely the less it's used, the longer it should last? We do have a stove, but rarely light it.

Send-off? Well, it's taken up residence in the storage space underneath one of our saloon benches. All that's wrong with it that the window that's supposed to open to accept a CD, doesn't open. Still pondering whether to have it repaired or replace it.

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9 hours ago, Richard10002 said:

I'm probably a bit manic when it comes to sound.

 

Bose Soundlink Mini II for portable bluetooth stuff.... improves laptop sound no end, and good on deck when travelling. Used it for the TV for years until:

 

Sony Bluetooth Soundbar, which turned out to be 24V DC, so powered via a 12V to 24V adapter, rather than the 240V brick that came with it. This provides TV sound via HDMI, and can provide music via bluetooth, but the sound isnt great for music. It's very good for TV - I quite often find myself looking through the window to see what's going on outside, only to find it was on the TV.

 

Kef Eggs via the car headunit, as above, for radio and music. The Kefs provide the best music sound, and have done for a bit more than a decade, hence my desire to keep them, and find a wireless route from phone/router to the speakers. My phone is a Samsung, so has LDAC, but not Aptx HD, so makes sense to try for an LDAC bluetooth receiver, although, like dmr, I'm not convinced I will be able to hear the difference between the various Bluetooth codecs, aptx, aptx HD, and LDAC.

We also have the Bose Soundlink,  I use it if Im working in the back cabin/engine room, its good but I find it a bit wearing at higher volumes. Bose do claim to have a "dramatic" rather than hifi sound. I think they rather overdo the trick of boosting the high bass to disguise the absence of lower bass, and its so small its pretty close to mono. It was the Bose shortcomings that tempted me to spend biggish money on the Ruarks and they really are so much better, almost proper hifi speakers. The plan was to get a sub woofer but I don't think its needed.

I use USB to a cheap ADC then optical to the Ruarks to avoid ground noise problems, and its instant, whilst bluetooth has messing about connection issues if you have multiple devices. My wife prefers bluetooth and it sounds just as good but she has Apple stuff and they have good bluetooth audio technology.

I have loads of CDs copied to a hard disk in WAV format but confess I just use Spotify these days, and let Spotify choose the music for me, have discovered a lot of good new stuff. Ferocious dog in a current favorite, especially the fiddle bits..

 

..............Dave

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8 minutes ago, Athy said:

Surely the less it's used, the longer it should last? We do have a stove, but rarely light it.

Send-off? Well, it's taken up residence in the storage space underneath one of our saloon benches. All that's wrong with it that the window that's supposed to open to accept a CD, doesn't open. Still pondering whether to have it repaired or replace it.

It could be an easy fix. The problem is finding somebody who will look at it. In today's throw away culture people tend to just dump things and buy new and as a result such places that fix such things are rare. The Shop on our High Street that would at least have a look at repairs like this closed a few years ago as did the one in an adjacent town.

 

Lack of use allows things to seize/stiffen up and ultimately break not helped by dust contamination. Regular use does of course cause wear and tear but it's not always a given that not using something promotes longevity. We had a Technics Hi-fi, generally well regarded but shortly after getting it I also got a phone dock to play music through it and the CD got little or no use for months. Then when I finally decided to play a CD on it the drawer opened but simply jammed open and would not close.

 

It went to the tip because no body could fix it.

Edited by The Happy Nomad

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7 minutes ago, The Happy Nomad said:

 

Lack of use allows things to seize/stiffen up and ultimately break not helped by dust contamination. Regular use does of course cause wear and tear but it's not always a given that not using something promotes longevity.

So, if you use it, it wears out, and if you don't use it, it seizes up? A lose-lose situation. Maybe I ought to have given it blasts of WD40, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

There is a good radio repair shop in Wisbech - they fixed my lovely Roberts R900 a couple of years ago - so I'll perhaps give them a try. Perhaps they'll get my Rock-Ola 403 going again as well....

Edited by Athy

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I'll be interested in the answers - as Juno is gradually refurbished I'm looking for a music system that doesn't clutter up surfaces so I'm guessing that even if it's not a car player it needs to be installed like one.

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It strikes me that if anyone wants high quality sound reproduction, they are never going to get it inside a narrowboat. You can do whatever you want with the recorded medium, the amplification and the loudspeakers, but you can't get the nice "live" acoustic space you need. That's simple physics.

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10 minutes ago, magpie patrick said:

I'll be interested in the answers - as Juno is gradually refurbished I'm looking for a music system that doesn't clutter up surfaces

Horizontal or vertical? If just the former, a wall-mounted system would probably suit you.

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10 minutes ago, Athy said:

Horizontal or vertical? If just the former, a wall-mounted system would probably suit you.

There's not much of either! But yes, wall mounted would work. Every flat surface has to be used for several purposes so I found the portable CD player was being moved more often than it was being used! I'm guessing the next system won't be CD at all, but it still needs to be placed somewhere

 

I have no aspirations to play vinyl on board - that's staying at home :D 

 

 

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