My Stereo System

Originally written June 2022. Last updated July 2022.

I like to listen to music, so over the course of the past couple of years I’ve been piecing together a modest hi-fi system made up of second-hand components.

It’s still and always will be a work in progress. At the moment all that’s missing is a turntable, but right now I haven’t got anywhere to put one. Once I have more space and can add a turntable, the system will be complete in terms of the functionality I want, but I’ll always be on the lookout for components that I can use to upgrade it.

Putting the system together over such a long period of time has allowed me to do it on a very low budget, without compromising on quality. For all of the components that make up my current stereo system, I’ve spent roughly $64 in total. I got my circa 1970s Sears speakers for $4 each, my cassette deck and CD changer for $10 each, all at Value Village, my Technics receiver for $20 at an estate sale, and some speaker wire off Amazon for about $16 (and I still have a bunch of that left).


The system as of 2022-06-10:

Going forward, I’ll continue to upgrade the system as I find equipment ‘in the wild’, but I’m no longer actively searching for stereo equipment since I finally found a receiver on 2022-06-09. Once I have more space, I’ll look for a nice turntable, either new or second-hand, and a nice cabinet to put everything in.

Eventually I’d like to have a higher-power system with bigger speakers and a more powerful amp. I’m considering attempting to build a set of speakers - if I do that I’ll put pictures of the process and result on this site.

2022-06-27: Bluetooth Receiver

I just added another component to my system: A Logitech Bluetooth receiver. I have it connected to one of the VCR inputs on the amp where I used to plug my phone in, and to one of the amp’s switched outlets for power. It ran me a hefty ~$40 on Amazon, but it’s something I’ve wanted for a while, and I can justify it because of how cheap the rest of the system has been.

It connects fast and sounds great, and since it’s on a switched outlet, it turns off and on with the amp. Now my system can play CDs, cassettes, and streamed/downloaded music (mostly downloaded because I don’t use any streaming services, save YouTube, if that counts).

All that’s left is a nice turntable, but as of writing this I don’t know where I would put one. Down the line, once I get more space, I’d like to get a nice turntable, and also potentially add some neat extras like a reel-to-reel machine, a graphic equalizer, VU meters, and cool stuff like that. I’m also thinking of building some speakers.

2022-07-19: Surround Speakers

Two days ago on 2022-07-17, I went to Value Village and found two Realistic Minimus-7 bookshelf speakers which look to be from the early 1990s (the model was made from the mid-70s through most of the 90s, and mine look like they’re later models).

They’re very hefty metal speakers, and they sounded good when I tested them with the amp. They even have a mounting bracket on the back, so I decided to wire them up as surround speakers and put them on the wall behind my bed.

My Technics receiver can do first-generation Dolby Pro Logic surround sound, which is 4.0 (left, center, right, and a mono rear channel that gets sent to two speakers). It doesn’t have terminals for a center speaker, and instead has an RCA jack to plug a center speaker into; I assume the idea is to use your TV as a center speaker. Luckily, the receiver has a phantom center option.

I’m not a movie guy, but I’ve been testing it out and it’s nice to have surround, even if it’s more primitive than 5.1. I have a collection of cult comedies from the early 2000s on DVD that I look forward to watching with surround sound. I plan to make a page for those sometime.