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Audiophilia: Headphones, Amps, DAPs, and Empty Wallets

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  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    edited January 12
    Hahnsoo1 wrote: »
    Drovek wrote: »
    Hey guys. So I am looking for some bone conduction headphones/earbuds/whatever(consider they don't actually go in ear). Looking to not spend to crazy an amount, they will be just for working out and doing some running. I'm leaning towards bone conduction to have open ear and be able to hear stuff going on around me if needed for the sake of safety. I am also wondering that they are safer in the sense of not having the thing in my ear to maybe get stuck(?) and also to not directly expose the eardrums to sound. I am new to this aspect, and by no means an audio expert. Any advice on something that'd be on amazon as far as links, brands, etc.

    Thanks for the input guys.

    I got the missus some Aeropex last year and she's been using them religiously. They're really interesting (in the "someone is piping sound directly into my skull" way.) Possibly one of the strangest sensations ever is plugging your ears and hearing things louder.

    Now for one of your points: You can still damage your hearing with these. You're not directly stimulating the eardrum, but it's still working out.

    You're going to be missing out on bass, a lot.

    On the plus side, they're also amazing for calls and podcasts. And for exterior working out, specially for not feeling isolated/safety, they're perfect.

    Ok. Now what about the air conduction alternatives? Also you mean missing bass, how so? They just don't have bass or...?
    They still have bass frequencies, but greatly attenuated compared to earbuds, IEMs, headphones, etc. Driving a bass audio signal through conduction can be unpleasant and fatiguing, and probably would require a tighter connection on the contact point. That being said, the bass is better on the newest models from the usual companies (Aftershokz, primarily). I can highly recommend any Aftershokz model (I've owned three of them, including a wired non-Bluetooth version). There's also a bone conduction... pod, for lack of a better term, that you can put under a swim cap that sits at the base of your skull (but obviously, this is mostly used for swimmers and not general above-water athletics).

    For the audiophile experience, they are terrible. But you would never wear a bone conduction headset for an audiophile experience. They are perfectly cromulent for everyday listening, exercising, etc. Also, be aware that they bleed audio... less than a pair of open back headphones, but certainly more than most cans or earbuds.

    Bleed audio? Meaning that people can hear the music or that I hear stuff other than the music?

    If it's me hearing other stuff as well, that is the point sort of. I want to make sure I can hear stuff like on coming cars while jogging. If it means other people can hear it, how? I thought it was conducting via the bone?

    Again, I am by no means any sort of expert. Thanks for the help.
    It could be either (it's a very loose term), but in this case, it means that other people around you may be able to hear your audio if it's loud enough, and they are close enough. There is no "seal" in the skin/driver connection on a bone conduction headset, so audio may leak out loud enough to bother nearby people (although it's really faint at normal listening level). It's definitely lower than the audio that leaks out of open back headphones, but more audio than leaks out of, say, earbuds or IEMs or closed back headphones with a good seal.

    And yes, you can definitely hear other things going on with bone conduction headsets, so it's great for area awareness and safety.

    Hahnsoo1 on
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  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    I have a pair of cheap soundcore ear buds, $40 I think? They aren't amazing or anything, but they pair up perfectly each time, and a real nice feature is you can use the right earpiece independently of the left, so you can have an ear open. That is about 90% of how I use them. They do great for podcasts and stuff, ok for music. Certainly not quality audio but great for wanting to be able to listen to stuff while having an ear open.

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  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    Headphones just showed up! Ooooh they are nice and sound amazing.

    3fc9n2mcg07i.jpg
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  • The Escape GoatThe Escape Goat incorrigible ruminant they/themRegistered User regular
    Ayo y'all, lookin' for some advice for speakers because I don't really know where to start looking. My use case is pretty small: just something I can have sitting under one of my monitors that works better than my monitor speakers, and if I can hook up my phone to it to play music while I'm doing chores that's a bonus. Audio quality would be nice but really it's about not sounding bad (tinny, static-y, what have you), and I don't need the features most bluetooth speakers are billed for (portability, ruggedness, loudness, etc).

    Price is flexible but I'd be side-eyeing anything over like... two hundred dollars, probably? My setup also doesn't lend itself well to proper stereo, so one that's good standalone would be good.

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  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    Ayo y'all, lookin' for some advice for speakers because I don't really know where to start looking. My use case is pretty small: just something I can have sitting under one of my monitors that works better than my monitor speakers, and if I can hook up my phone to it to play music while I'm doing chores that's a bonus. Audio quality would be nice but really it's about not sounding bad (tinny, static-y, what have you), and I don't need the features most bluetooth speakers are billed for (portability, ruggedness, loudness, etc).

    Price is flexible but I'd be side-eyeing anything over like... two hundred dollars, probably? My setup also doesn't lend itself well to proper stereo, so one that's good standalone would be good.

    How wide is your monitor, and how much vertical space is between it and the desk?

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  • The Escape GoatThe Escape Goat incorrigible ruminant they/themRegistered User regular
    webguy20 wrote: »
    Ayo y'all, lookin' for some advice for speakers because I don't really know where to start looking. My use case is pretty small: just something I can have sitting under one of my monitors that works better than my monitor speakers, and if I can hook up my phone to it to play music while I'm doing chores that's a bonus. Audio quality would be nice but really it's about not sounding bad (tinny, static-y, what have you), and I don't need the features most bluetooth speakers are billed for (portability, ruggedness, loudness, etc).

    Price is flexible but I'd be side-eyeing anything over like... two hundred dollars, probably? My setup also doesn't lend itself well to proper stereo, so one that's good standalone would be good.

    How wide is your monitor, and how much vertical space is between it and the desk?

    27 inch monitor, about 9-10 inches off the desk. Size isn't a total dealbreaker—if there's a very good option that's bigger I'm sure I could find space for it somewhere—but it being short would be helpful.

    9uiytxaqj2j0.jpg
  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    edited January 24
    webguy20 wrote: »
    Ayo y'all, lookin' for some advice for speakers because I don't really know where to start looking. My use case is pretty small: just something I can have sitting under one of my monitors that works better than my monitor speakers, and if I can hook up my phone to it to play music while I'm doing chores that's a bonus. Audio quality would be nice but really it's about not sounding bad (tinny, static-y, what have you), and I don't need the features most bluetooth speakers are billed for (portability, ruggedness, loudness, etc).

    Price is flexible but I'd be side-eyeing anything over like... two hundred dollars, probably? My setup also doesn't lend itself well to proper stereo, so one that's good standalone would be good.

    How wide is your monitor, and how much vertical space is between it and the desk?

    27 inch monitor, about 9-10 inches off the desk. Size isn't a total dealbreaker—if there's a very good option that's bigger I'm sure I could find space for it somewhere—but it being short would be helpful.

    Looks like if you are going to stick with PC speakers then from this article the Logitech Z407 (looks like the speakers can lay sidesways) or the Creative T100s would both be great upgrades to your computer monitor speakers while giving you the connectivity you want, the size you need and all for under $100.

    webguy20 on
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  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    This is a stretch, but you could get an Anker Bluetooth speaker as well. They have a 3.5mm input jack for connecting to your computer. Only issue is you'd be fighting with rechargeable batteries so you may not want to leave it on all the time.


    Also friends, I got my Schiit stack plugged in and going. It's great stuff and I enjoy it! Can't say it's a huge upgrade from the Fiio I was using but I'm still happy with the purchase.

    webguy20Trajan45
  • JarsJars Registered User regular
    edited February 3
    I'm looking for new computer speakers and trying to make sense of all this arcane wizardry that they call speaker specs. It looks like this is what I'm looking for?

    lower THD value
    higher sensitivity
    larger woofers = deeper bass but not so much that it takes up a lot more space
    3 way speakers are better than 2
    crossover frequency is good

    and things I don't necessarily need are SPL and amp class since I don't need things to be LOUD as I'm super noise sensitive. are there any other specs I should be looking at? is wireless vs wired a thing? because I don't mind having wired if it performs a little better

    Jars on
  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    edited February 3
    Jars wrote: »
    I'm looking for new computer speakers and trying to make sense of all this arcane wizardry that they call speaker specs. It looks like this is what I'm looking for?

    lower THD value
    higher sensitivity
    larger woofers = deeper bass but not so much that it takes up a lot more space
    3 way speakers are better than 2
    crossover frequency is good

    and things I don't necessarily need are SPL and amp class since I don't need things to be LOUD as I'm super noise sensitive. are there any other specs I should be looking at? is wireless vs wired a thing? because I don't mind having wired if it performs a little better

    Are you looking at speakers and an amp you can use with your computer, or are you looking for "computer speakers". because for the latter you're going to see the same 2" drivers in the satellite speakers with a floor based subwoofer, just in different configurations of quality, cost and speaker count if you go 2.1, 3.1 or 5.1.

    If you are looking for a nice stereo setup that you can use with your computer, well that really opens it up. One thing to keep in mind with a good AMP/DAC is that its not necessarily to make things loud, but to greatly improve clarity and response. My Grado headphones sound completely different driven through my PC versus my amp/dac combo, even at the same volume, and they are like 32 ohm that can be easily driven by a PC!

    Also what is your price range.

    webguy20 on
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  • JarsJars Registered User regular
    edited February 4
    the former, I want speakers I can connect to my computer

    range is pretty good, I can go over $100

    Jars on
  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    edited February 7
    Hey, so it's 2021 now, yeah? And I have a series x and a new 4k TV.

    Is anyone making hdmi 2.1 av receivers yet? Are any of them working? I'm having a Heck of a hard time figuring out if the issues are still present, it looks like, yes, they still don't work?

    Does anyone know av receivers release window for 2021? Are any of the manufacturers talking about fixing the issues?

    I'm literally googling a hundred things and finding no answers

    Edit: I know a bit about the eARC work around, but my current receiver doesn't have eARC and I think I'd rather wait to get a receiver with working parts instead of a new $600 receiver with a required work around. If they are actually coming out this year? Hopefully?

    Burtletoy on
  • CampyCampy Registered User regular
    Burtletoy wrote: »
    Hey, so it's 2021 now, yeah? And I have a series x and a new 4k TV.

    Is anyone making hdmi 2.1 av receivers yet? Are any of them working? I'm having a Heck of a hard time figuring out if the issues are still present, it looks like, yes, they still don't work?

    Does anyone know av receivers release window for 2021? Are any of the manufacturers talking about fixing the issues?

    I'm literally googling a hundred things and finding no answers

    Edit: I know a bit about the eARC work around, but my current receiver doesn't have eARC and I think I'd rather wait to get a receiver with working parts instead of a new $600 receiver with a required work around. If they are actually coming out this year? Hopefully?

    As someone who has an AV receiver and is quite likely to be getting a 4K tv in the next year or so, what's the issue that you're experiencing?

    Naphtali
  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    No one makes working hdmi 2.1 receivers, is the issue. Or maybe they only don't work with series x/s?

    I'm not sure, which is why I was hoping someone else would know more

    There are dozens of sources with this information, but nothing that I can find for if they're making new models or fixing issues or what.

    https://www.flatpanelshd.com/news.php?subaction=showfull&id=1603697838

    I guess the Ps5 works, according to this video, but not the series x?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=cwqMLjXtLyY

  • KamarKamar Registered User regular
    Are Koss SportaPros still the gold standard for cheap portable headphones that sound like much better headphones?

    Debating whether to replace the worn-off pads on mine or buy something a bit more comfortable, wondering if they have any competition in that arena.

    Earbuds are a no-go for a few reasons.

  • useruser Registered User regular
    Burtletoy wrote: »
    No one makes working hdmi 2.1 receivers, is the issue. Or maybe they only don't work with series x/s?

    I'm not sure, which is why I was hoping someone else would know more

    There are dozens of sources with this information, but nothing that I can find for if they're making new models or fixing issues or what.

    https://www.flatpanelshd.com/news.php?subaction=showfull&id=1603697838

    I guess the Ps5 works, according to this video, but not the series x?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=cwqMLjXtLyY

    Why not just run your components to your TV and then run audio to your receiver?

  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    Because my current receiver does not support eARC and I'd rather wait to get a working receiver than upgrading to a new $600 receiver and still needing a workaround to make it work.

    I'd rather wait until they fix their issues then spending a ton on a faulty product

  • useruser Registered User regular
    FWIW even with a new receiver you're better off doing as I described because the receiver adds some latency to your gaming.

  • useruser Registered User regular
    Burtletoy wrote: »
    No one makes working hdmi 2.1 receivers, is the issue. Or maybe they only don't work with series x/s?

    I'm not sure, which is why I was hoping someone else would know more

    There are dozens of sources with this information, but nothing that I can find for if they're making new models or fixing issues or what.

    https://www.flatpanelshd.com/news.php?subaction=showfull&id=1603697838

    I guess the Ps5 works, according to this video, but not the series x?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=cwqMLjXtLyY

    I looked into it a bit, I guess the main manufacturer for the HDMI 2.1 chips supplied to receiver makers just kinda dropped the ball on making sure that they implemented the spec in a way that would work with the way XBOX X/S do it. So whoops, unfortunately by the time this came to light most manufacturers had already bought and made their receivers. Could be there's no working implementations on receivers until later this year when the 2022 model receivers come out.

  • NaphtaliNaphtali Null Registered User regular
    Kamar wrote: »
    Are Koss SportaPros still the gold standard for cheap portable headphones that sound like much better headphones?

    Debating whether to replace the worn-off pads on mine or buy something a bit more comfortable, wondering if they have any competition in that arena.

    Earbuds are a no-go for a few reasons.

    I mean, they're $22 on amazon so if you like them replacing them doesn't seem like much of an investment. I don't know if I've ever seen/heard that particular headphone described as a gold standard, but I wouldn't know what to suggest really as an alternative. Depends on what you're looking for and quality and budget, closed back/open back/etc. I guess for over-ears like those Koss, maybe consider the Grado sr60e?

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  • KamarKamar Registered User regular
    edited February 9
    Naphtali wrote: »
    Kamar wrote: »
    Are Koss SportaPros still the gold standard for cheap portable headphones that sound like much better headphones?

    Debating whether to replace the worn-off pads on mine or buy something a bit more comfortable, wondering if they have any competition in that arena.

    Earbuds are a no-go for a few reasons.

    I mean, they're $22 on amazon so if you like them replacing them doesn't seem like much of an investment. I don't know if I've ever seen/heard that particular headphone described as a gold standard, but I wouldn't know what to suggest really as an alternative. Depends on what you're looking for and quality and budget, closed back/open back/etc. I guess for over-ears like those Koss, maybe consider the Grado sr60e?

    The SportaPros have the same drivers in them as the Porta Pros, so they're pretty good bang for the buck. When I bought them (2014) they were widely suggested as the cheapest decent headphones you could buy.

    Kamar on
  • ButtersButters A glass of some milks Registered User regular
    Made a big mistake going to a high end audio store with my dad last weekend and I can't stop arguing with myself in my head over increasing my previously set home theater budget. Apparently boomer wannabe audiophiles are insane and will drop thousands on speakers only to trade them in (at a terrible value) for an upgrade in 6 months. If I increase my budget by couple grand, I can get barely used tower speakers that retailed for $4k for like $1200.

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  • Trajan45Trajan45 Registered User regular
    Kamar wrote: »
    Are Koss SportaPros still the gold standard for cheap portable headphones that sound like much better headphones?

    Debating whether to replace the worn-off pads on mine or buy something a bit more comfortable, wondering if they have any competition in that arena.

    Earbuds are a no-go for a few reasons.

    For the type that they are, I'm not sure there's much better. By type, I mean no earbuds or over the head with cups.

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  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    Anyone got suggestions for an entry level turntable maybe like $300?

    My receiver has a phono in so I don't think I need one with a pre-amp right?

    I am in the business of saving lives.
  • InfidelInfidel Heretic Registered User regular
    MegaMan001 wrote: »
    Anyone got suggestions for an entry level turntable maybe like $300?

    My receiver has a phono in so I don't think I need one with a pre-amp right?

    If your receiver has a phono in it has a built-in preamp, yeah. You'll want to use phono out and make sure it's on "thru" or whatever switch if your turntable also ends up with a built-in preamp.

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  • BobbleBobble Registered User regular
    Doing birthday shopping and your guys' expertise is likely overkill, but I'm looking for a nice stereo for my girlfriend's living room. Previous homeowner installed some nice wall-mounted speakers in the upstairs area, but her old stereo that's connected to them doesn't have bluetooth and running Pandora/Spotify from her phone is the preferred method of getting music going. Looks like there are plenty of options out there even if I just run to Target or Bestbuy or something, but thought I'd see if there are recommendations for a nice, easy-to-use, system. Reliable brands, brands to avoid, etc. Just a little context so I can avoid getting a clunker would be nice.

  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    Do you have a price range in mind?

  • BobbleBobble Registered User regular
    Burtletoy wrote: »
    Do you have a price range in mind?

    I was thinking I'd be somewhere around 200ish, not really sure if that's too limiting but it really doesn't need to do much. Bluetooth and connect to speakers (and not explode, that'd be cool).

  • BlackDragon480BlackDragon480 Bluster Kerfuffle Master of Windy ImportRegistered User regular
    Bobble wrote: »
    Burtletoy wrote: »
    Do you have a price range in mind?

    I was thinking I'd be somewhere around 200ish, not really sure if that's too limiting but it really doesn't need to do much. Bluetooth and connect to speakers (and not explode, that'd be cool).

    But would you want it to do so if a 80's glam rock vampire got connected to it by a crossbow bolt?

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  • Trajan45Trajan45 Registered User regular
    Bobble wrote: »
    Doing birthday shopping and your guys' expertise is likely overkill, but I'm looking for a nice stereo for my girlfriend's living room. Previous homeowner installed some nice wall-mounted speakers in the upstairs area, but her old stereo that's connected to them doesn't have bluetooth and running Pandora/Spotify from her phone is the preferred method of getting music going. Looks like there are plenty of options out there even if I just run to Target or Bestbuy or something, but thought I'd see if there are recommendations for a nice, easy-to-use, system. Reliable brands, brands to avoid, etc. Just a little context so I can avoid getting a clunker would be nice.

    I have friends that are really happy with Sonos as a brand.

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  • BlackDragon480BlackDragon480 Bluster Kerfuffle Master of Windy ImportRegistered User regular
    Trajan45 wrote: »
    Bobble wrote: »
    Doing birthday shopping and your guys' expertise is likely overkill, but I'm looking for a nice stereo for my girlfriend's living room. Previous homeowner installed some nice wall-mounted speakers in the upstairs area, but her old stereo that's connected to them doesn't have bluetooth and running Pandora/Spotify from her phone is the preferred method of getting music going. Looks like there are plenty of options out there even if I just run to Target or Bestbuy or something, but thought I'd see if there are recommendations for a nice, easy-to-use, system. Reliable brands, brands to avoid, etc. Just a little context so I can avoid getting a clunker would be nice.

    I have friends that are really happy with Sonos as a brand.

    Sonos is in a very nice place quality wise right now, but would be looking round $100-150 more than they were looking to spend (decent Sonos reciever/amps start round $350 on sale). Given the use case and budget I'd be more inclined to point Bobble toward a mid-range JBL or Yamaha reciever. Both of them are rocksolid for bluetooth connection stability and will drive the speakers quite well in the $150-$200 range. The Yamaha R-S202 would be a place to start if it's just 2 speakers you're needing to drive.


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  • NaphtaliNaphtali Null Registered User regular
    Well, my eight year old Onkyo receiver is on it's way out. Lately it takes 3-4 power cycles before it displays video/audio correctly (usually comes up and either stays black, or runs scrambled junk instead), and tonight it can't even detect audio on any HDMI device but the video works, eventually.

    Is there a good source for reviews for receivers thing these days? My current setup is just 5.1 surround, but honestly I wonder if downsizing makes more sense - going to some kind of HDMI splitter & get a sound bar to go with my existing subwoofer. I don't have 4K (nor am I in a rush to upgrade the TV), and the primary use of the setup is just watching stuff on my Fire stick, PS4/Switch for games and blu-rays. I'd just as well keep using the current speakers and just move everything over to a new receiver if I did replace it, but looking on reviews of some of the ones I've seen rated well on random review sites doesn't fill me with tons of hope on not getting a dud.

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  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    A bunch of sound bars comes with their own subwoofers (some have wireless rear speakers, as well). I ended up just pulling the trigger on a sound bar, because I couldn't wait for a new receiver that mightsupport hdmi 2.1 in... June.

    It's a Samsung HW-Q70T and it has a sub and that does support 2.1, and then once new av receivers come out I can replace my old onkyo and move the sound bar to my bedroom TV, I guess?

  • ButtersButters A glass of some milks Registered User regular
    edited February 26
    Wirecutter has a decent and recently updated breakdown of moderately priced units.

    https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-receiver/

    I'm sad to find out 2.1 isn't available in receivers yet. I thought Yamaha, Denon, and Marantz had 2.1 support ready but I guess there's an issue in their boards that may or may not be fixable with a firmware update?

    Butters on
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  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    I think they work with Ps5, but they don't work with series x. Not sure about any other sources or if they have issues

  • ButtersButters A glass of some milks Registered User regular
    There are also hardware workarounds if you aren't using all the HDMI ports.

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  • NaphtaliNaphtali Null Registered User regular
    I guess for now I'll try to see if I can at least get the receiver working as an audio-out only through optical out from the TV, and move the HDMI stuff into my TV.

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  • ButtersButters A glass of some milks Registered User regular
    I ended up doing the same thing with my home theater once I discovered it wasn't compatible with HDR.

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    Bullhead
  • NaphtaliNaphtali Null Registered User regular
    Yeah, seems like something in the sound portion of it is just dead. Passthrough from optical from the TV doesn't work, and even the self-testing mode isn't outputting audio to the speakers (receiver only), or audio out of the front audio headphones jack even.

    Hmm. Fuck.

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  • ButtersButters A glass of some milks Registered User regular
    Yeah sounds like the amplifier or a DC power source died inside. That sucks, man.

    Have you checked out Facebook marketplace or Craigslist in your area? A lot of people upgraded their home theaters during the pandemic so the used market might give you an option that you're satisfied with.

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