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Bryan
Hagerty Employee

High time for a HiFi garage system?

You hear music with a boombox, but you listen to music with a high fidelity (HiFi) audio system. But let’s be clear, this isn’t elitist snobbery: the sheer volume of cheap electronics on the market ensures folks shall trash their old audio the moment it lacks a new feature. This means there’s a glut of perfectly serviceable 10-40(ish) year old HiFi audio systems whose only sin is not having HDMI inputs, 4k pass-throughs, or Bluetooth whatnots.

 

But they still sound wonderful in your garage, so save someone’s former glory from the scrap heap! And brace yourself, now it’s gonna get somewhat technical and colossally dorky. 

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com:

https://www.hagerty.com/media/maintenance-and-tech/high-time-for-a-hifi-garage-system/

23 REPLIES 23
tommykat1
Intermediate Driver

Great article! I heartily agree.

 

In my garage, I revel in my 1982 Hitachi HTA 3000 receiver coupled with my 1990 JBL Control SB5 speakers with subwoofer. These were stored away for a few years, and then I gave them to my son to take to college (he wasn't born before the receiver, and was an infant with the speakers). Off to medical school in 2013, he dumped them back in my lap. So, I did the logical thing: I put a classy stereo in my garage.

 

But here's the coolest part: using Google's Chromecast devices, I have all 10 of my old stereo systems and newer powered speakers linked together via wi-fi. So my ancient Hitachi system in the garage works alongside my Bose Revolve speakers in kitchen and hallway, my Bose Acoustimass sound cubes in the dining room, and my Denon Dolby 8 channel surround system in the family room. Then there are the powered speakers in my office, master bath, and exercise room, and the digital 5.1 Soundbar in the master bedroom-- all playing the same music.

 

Yeah!

tommykat1
Intermediate Driver

Oops! That's nine of the ten! The last group is a stereo pair of powered Kurzweil speakers in the living room on the piano. Ooh la la!

Sajeev
Community Manager

I just googled the Hitachi HTA 3000: I love it!  

 

The chromecast linking is very, very cool...did you just buy an USB/RCA convertor and it was plug and play from there? 

DrMindbender
New Driver

This is the ultimate! All the warmth and coolness of good old speakers and amps...crossed with the newest tech to integrate them all!

tommykat1
Intermediate Driver

@Sajeev , the Chromecast I use are the audio-only versions, much less expensive, but, unfortunately discontinued by Google. I bought the first six about two years ago, and found the four others new on eBay. You can also use the video version of chromecast and add a converter from HDMI to audio RCA jacks,  but that gets expensive, and the sound isn't as good. 

 

The alternative is Amazon's Alexa device  called "Input." This is pretty cool, too, as you can control the music and volume with the Alexa voice command. 

 

Keep on wrenchin' and rockin.'

Sajeev
Community Manager

@tommykat1 I just read up on the Chromecast Audio (the groovy one that looks like a record) and I am impressed: https://www.whathifi.com/us/google/chromecast-audio/review

 

You have inspired me to either buy that or one of the alternatives I see online.  I do not have many google services (aside from Gmail) and I am wondering if you can spend a little more (not NAIM money) for better sound quality.  This might become a new article when I am done with it! 

tommykat1
Intermediate Driver

@Sajeev @, the sound quality is as good as your sound system and the ability of your router to send a signal to the Chromecast or Alexa Input device. The Alexa Input is similarly shaped (a little bigger) and can also link to powered speaker via Bluetooth, as well as wired via the "Aux Input" on your old school system. You can run these devices from your phone or tablet, controlling both master volume and choice of music.

 

First thing I do in the morning before getting out of bed is turn on some classical. It is heaven to have it wafting throughout the house...and garage, of course! Best news is I've made use of all my old gear, plus portable powered speakers I've collected more recently

tommykat1
Intermediate Driver

@Sajeev, note that Chromecast runs from the Google Home app, and Alexa Input from the Amazon Alexa app, both free and not very invasive. I've set up both systems for myself and others, and prefer Chromecast, for various reasons. But, Unfortunately, you'll have to get them in the used market at this point.

 

The Alexa Input has its own advantages such as choice of bluetooth or aux input capability. Bluetooth means fewer wires, but the speakers get out of sync with each other, depending on the quality of your wifi router. Hard wiring from the devices offers seamless sound.

Sajeev
Community Manager

@tommykat1 honestly I am looking at some slightly pricer ones that aren't associated with major tech companies now. The Auris Blume HD looks interesting for $130-ish, and Yamaha certainly has a pretty one for $300-ish.
tommykat1
Intermediate Driver

@Sajeev, note that the Auris Blume is a high end (and expensive) Bluetooth transmitter. It's not wi-fi enabled, so it is good to broadcast from your phone to one stereo system via bluetooth. You'll need wi-fi to transmit to all your sound systems and powered speakers. Bluetooth won't do it, from my experience.

Sajeev
Community Manager

That's good to keep in mind.  I probably don't mind the bluetooth limitations since I am not dying to have a whole house streaming system. Or maybe I am.  Ugh, this is difficult! 

GrafZepplin
Passenger

You nailed the whole garage sound thing.  Mine, in a detached garage, is my 1971 Pioneer SX990 (bought with the $475 insurance settlement when my bugeye was stolen at college) along with a pair of 1980 ish ESS Model 10 speakers and a pair of correct receiver period Pioneer CS 99 speakers.  My wife is always telling me turn it down.

Sajeev
Community Manager

I am jealous of your setup! 

1960-x
Passenger

Enjoyed the article... I stumbled into some great bargains including a previously unknown Nakamichi AV Receiver, 100wpc thru (5) channels with pre-outs. Found Yamaha NSA speakers with a powered Onkyo sub and had comments from Neighbors. This system was in the restored tobacco barn and provided cover for clanging wrenches and occasional outbursts of colorful language. With such a big soundstage, learned a good bit about speakers being directional until the Yamahas. Humidity n dust are issues though.

Sajeev
Community Manager

yeah you have to commit to letting this stuff go bad in an un-air conditioned environment, but hey, it's better than rotting away in a garbage dump. 

drjim
Detailer

Yep. GOTTA have tunes while wrenching!

 

I'm using my old Onkyo Home Theater receiver and speakers in the garage. I have a laptop plugged into the "Aux In" connector, and can play CD's or stream audio besides listening to the local FM stations here.

 

Sorry, but no big screen TV. It would be far too much of a distraction, and I'd never get anything done out there!

 

- Jim

Sajeev
Community Manager

I can't stand seeing TVs in garages.  I know its good for some people's needs, but I am lucky that I don't need to leave the house to watch TV in peace. 

gathlock
Passenger

I need to update my security system in order to place HIFI system in my garage. I heard more than once about stolen by thieves hi-fi systems from a garage in my neighborhood. SecuringHome  - planning to buy something based on their reviews.  

couvguy
Pit Crew

Inspired by this article, I pulled my old stereo out of the cabinet where it had been stored since we moved 3 years ago. Yes, the Bose 301 speakers are kind of clunky by today's standards,  and the Sony 5 CD carousel player is obsolete. The Harmon Kardon Receiver dates to the early '90s. But with the speakers installed high on the wall and the components placed on the food storage shelf nestled next to my hot sauce stash, what's not to like? 

Sajeev
Community Manager

Absolutely nothing!  Love it! 

tommykat1
Intermediate Driver

(I moved this post)

petersalt
Detailer

I did this 40+ yrs ago with a console Hi-Fi found on the curb. Now I have 4 or 5 component systems around my garages/shops.. Glad folks are warming to the thought. (I DO have bigscreen TVs, old desktops and laptops scattered all around my shops, too; my apologies to non-multitaskers. 10-yr old bigscreen TVs and laptops are becoming dirt-cheap also .. they usually either work or don't, so easy to shop for.)

Sajeev
Community Manager

That's awesome!  I wish I had more shop space to have multiple stereos...still not sure about the TV thing just because my garage isn't nearly nice enough to wanna spend time there watching anything.