Welcome!!This page will serve as an introduction to various types of equipment for music & video purposes.I am not an expert in a technological sense, but my opinions come from buying equipment, reading, and a great deal of 'window shopping'.
AUDIO / VIDEO EQUIPMENT
Recievers are basically an amplifier & tuner in one package, but many people still prefer separate components, which is cool.This unit serves as the 'main hub' of your stereo system, so make sure you invest wisely.Right now, there are many types of recievers to choose from, but if you plan to use digital video sources (DVD, Digital TVs, etc.), get one that has a digital processor built in (for about $400.00).Some recievers are 'digital ready', and that means a separate processor can be added on (for about $300.00!!), so you do the math!! Anyway, it doesn't hurt to wait if you aren't sure, but make sure you know what you 'need' in a reciever.
Well, here are more important decisions to make!! Speakers come in many shapes & sizes, but you need to evaluate how they will be used.There are SO MANY brands to choose from (Infinity, Bose, Polk,...), and you can expect good results if your speakers 'match' your stereo.With 'matching', I am refering to having speakers that can handle the power from your receiver in order to perform.If you want 'surround sound' (or similar) results, count on investing in at least 5 or 6 speakers, and try to get the same brand name (don't mix & match brands!!) for the best experience!! Again, choose wisely!!
Many people still have vinyl Lp collections, and these 'record players' are a rarity these days, but you can get one for about $100.00, and if you have albums in mint condition, they will sound good.You can always transfer your vinyl to either CDs or MDs, so there are a few options to think about.Keep your turntable!!
No matter what you hear, cassette tapes are still popular, and this is still a good component to have in your system.If you still enjoy tapes, try to invest in a deck with Dolby & Auto tape select.You can get a good deck for about $150.00, and don't concern yourself with too many fancy features, because you will probably use this unit less than a Cd player!!
This is probably the most popular component in everyone's stereo today, and it makes sense to get a 5 Disc changer, which can be had for as little as $150.00.Those 'jumbo juke box' 250 Disc units are nice, but who sits in one place long enough to hear all of that music ??
Well, everyone knew that this was coming, and it's a cool idea, but if I were you, I would wait before spending about $500.00.This idea of making your own Cds at home is nice, but the industry isn't set on a 'real standard'.To keep this brief, you can make your own Cds at home, BUT you aren't guarranteed the abilty to play them on EVERY cd player you come across.Give them a few years to staighten this out!!
DAT (Digital Audio Tape)
This is mainly used by studio professionals & musicians to record their live tracks.If you really want one, prepare yourself to spend about $500.00.
MD (Mini Disc)
This combines the best features of Cds & cassettes!! With this component, you can record over 2 hours of music on a 3.5 inch disc, and the editing features (like track titling) are cool.This is slowly catching on today, and you can get a home unit for about $250.00.
Everyone has a VCR at home!!This piece of equipment varies in quality, and prepare to get what you pay for.For example, don't spend $75.00 at K-Mart on a VCR and expect 'theater Surround Sound'!! It would be a good idea to invest in a nice $200.00 four head Hi-Fi VCR that will give you that experience.If you want even more from a VCR, prepare to spend about $300.00 on a Super VHS unit (S-VHS) that gives the best picture & sound for a VCR.
Well, I have been convinced with DVDs, and I got a decent unit for less than $200.00, but the main problem is the price of the DVDs themselves.Some discs can cost between $25-$40!! My advice is to go to a nice auction site like WWW.EBAY.COM, and find good movies at a reasonable price.Your stereo will get a great work out, and you will enjoy the 'bonus feature' that DVDs may provide!! Avoid brands like RCA, Symphonic, or anything that K-Mart may sell.Invest in a unit made by Sony, Panosonic, Phillips, or any quality brand.Enjoy!!
This unit plays movies from 12 inch discs (DVDs on steroids!!) that provide great sound & quality, but who cares ?? You can get a DVD player for less money and trouble.With a laserdisc player (costs about $500.00), movies are on 2 sides of the disc, so it has to be turned over in most instances.Laserdisc units are rarely displayed in stores, so that means goodbye!!
Video game systems have come a long way!! Remember your old Atari 2600 ?? Well, forget about it!! This unit, which costs about $130.00, provides tight graphics & sound that jumps out of your stereo (provided you have the right equipment!).These games offer so many features, and I hate to say it, they are addictive!! The Playstation console will also play your regular CDs with a 'screensaver' feature available on '98 models.Sony is busy planning the newer Playstation for late '99 or early 2000.This new unit will do everything the previous Playstation did plus more.One new feature on the 'new Playstation' will be the ability to play DVDs!! So you have another reason to wait before buying a DVD player!!
Another popular item!! These cameras are cool if you have a PC at home and you take a lot of pictures.The price is as low as $500.00, and more features will be available soon.Right now, a regular computer floppy disc is used as the 'film', and you can download images onto your computer.Say goodbye to film developing!! Other features that will be common in the future include sound recording & movie recording.Don't rush into anything yet!! The technology is evolving so fast, and you might regret your initial investment!!