Sound systems

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Sound systems

Post  Kim on Tue Aug 19, 2008 6:22 pm

When Denis left St. Louis we largely replicated the sound system he was using for the Monday night group:

--an iPod and some variant on an iHome.

This suits our smallish room in a recreational center and our group which ranges from a dozen to two dozen. It is not high tech or audiophillic, but it suits. I can envision improvements (see below) but I think the basic concept is solid.

The iPod (or, conceivably, a designated lap top with iTunes or--and Denis had looked at these a couple of years ago--various DJ programs) makes an entire collection readily available, searchable, and convenient. The leader/programmer can set a program up in advance while still able to adjust the order or respond to requests on the fly. Again it suits our rather homogeneous group which has its roots in a class. This system also allows the programmer/leader to dance and attend to the group's needs on the dance floor. I think this element of the system is the major advance.

The iHome variant works. It is loud enough to fill a room and serves to motivate dancing. It has the huge advantage of being extremely portable. While I can't hear differences in mp3 vs. FLAC vs other lossless formats, I would welcome, if they were portable and convenient, a speaker system that allowed some more oomph, range of tone, and separation. But, again, not at the expense, as it would seem to require now, more heavier equipment and cost.

Again, it suits our recreational group.

Are there other nifty gadgets out there? Developments in the technology we should know about?

What does your group use?

Kim

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Re: Sound systems

Post  Sonia on Wed Aug 20, 2008 1:09 pm

Your iPod + iHome system sounds great!

My group is using a Mac laptop running iTunes and an Airport Express to connect wirelessly to my receiver and stereo speakers. This works really well since we're dancing in my living room. A miracle of the modern age, all the music for a folk dance group in something I can carry under one arm!

Another group I dance with uses a laptop, WinAmp DJ program, and Bose Acoustic Wave. Heavier and more expensive than an iHome, but has good sound in the larger gym we dance in, and has a CD player backup for when something isn't on the computer yet, or the computer malfunctions.

I've eyed the smaller, slightly less expensive Wave Music System but so far it hasn't made sense to make the investment.

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Ihome

Post  denismurf on Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:20 am

OK, I'll bite. What's an Ihome?

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iHomes

Post  Kim on Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:52 am

I use the term as a generic term for a small one piece (like a boombox, clock radio, etc) sound system that has a cradle for an iPod (itself I suppose a generic term for a portable personal mp3 player) that makes the iPod's music audible more widely than through the individual ear phones.

As a one piece sound system there are limits to sound separation, speaker size, stereophonic effect, etc.

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Fender Passport

Post  yaronsh on Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:05 pm

A number of groups have successfully used one of the Fender Passport portable sound systems. The Tuesday Night Revival group in Boston - an advanced group that meets once a month on a, er, Friday or Saturday - has recently started using one. They dance in a small-ish church social hall.
- Yaron

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So long, Ipod.

Post  denismurf on Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:10 pm

Both our Ipods have become erratic, seizing up for no apparent reason and not restartable until their batteries die. A new one that would fit our Ipod boombox costs $250 and has way more capacity than I need. So, old Ipods go to trash, and Ipod boombox goes to Craigslist.

For my class tonight I hooked up my laptop computer to a big thumping boombox (not the Ipod box). It all worked just fine, except for a little loss of fidelity at high frequencies. A line out instead of a headphone jack would improve things a lot, but few laptops have that feature. My class occupies a former gym with a fantastic floor. We partially seal off half the room with dividers on wheels and thus retain some sound that would otherwise trail off into the far end. I also have a big Akai amp/mixer and Ev speakers that would sound great, but not enough to justify lugging them around.

I did a "test drive" of Fender Passports 7 or 8 years ago. Only the largest one produced enough good sound, and it was just too big to wrestle around. Sure is convenient, though, and may have improved the sound quality-to-size ratio over the years.

I'm still open to anything that delivers whopping fidelity and volume from a small package.

-- Denis

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ipods

Post  Sonia on Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:45 am

Sorry to hear about the ipod problems! Have other people had problems with them dying? I was just thinking that I might finally jump on the bandwagon and buy one...

I've most often seen the Bose Wave Music System recommended for small package with big sound. They're expensive though, and unusable without the remote (yes, someone forgot the remote one day), and I recently talked to someone who was having problems with his. On the upside, they have a built in CD player for backup, and they really do sound good.

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