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Useless-But-Fun AV Equipment

skherbeck

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#1
Recently I had a flashback to a time about 25 years ago in late high school/early college... a time when all my friends and I competed for the best component stereo systems; a time when The DAK Catalog was read and re-read; a time when many a night was spent in my best friend's smoke-filled bedroom listening to Pink Floyd's "Echoes" and contemplating life... Anyway, I hadn't thought about any of this for many years, but it brought back a memory of one of his pieces of AV equipment. It was very small, had no effect on the sound, but I spent many late nights staring at this item with envy in my heart and a munchie in my hand. I decided to see if one could still be had, and thanks to Ebay, it became one of my favorite parts of my system: my BSR Spectrum Analyzer. It's completely useless and niether my wife nor my kids can understand why I love it so much, but its always on whether I'm listening to music, watching television, or watching a movie... and its tiny blue lights dancing to the sounds always bring a smile to my face!

I was wondering if others might have a piece of equipment incorporated into their systems that serves no useful purpose other than to simply make you happy. If so, what is it?

Here's Mine:
BSR spectrum analyzer.jpg
 

leevitalone1

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#4
Recently I had a flashback to a time about 25 years ago in late high school/early college... a time when all my friends and I competed for the best component stereo systems; a time when The DAK Catalog was read and re-read; a time when many a night was spent in my best friend's smoke-filled bedroom listening to Pink Floyd's "Echoes" and contemplating life... Anyway, I hadn't thought about any of this for many years, but it brought back a memory of one of his pieces of AV equipment. It was very small, had no effect on the sound, but I spent many late nights staring at this item with envy in my heart and a munchie in my hand. I decided to see if one could still be had, and thanks to Ebay, it became one of my favorite parts of my system: my BSR Spectrum Analyzer. It's completely useless and niether my wife nor my kids can understand why I love it so much, but its always on whether I'm listening to music, watching television, or watching a movie... and its tiny blue lights dancing to the sounds always bring a smile to my face!

I was wondering if others might have a piece of equipment incorporated into their systems that serves no useful purpose other than to simply make you happy. If so, what is it?

Here's Mine:
View attachment 19127
That.s the ting to make people think you have a great setup, they see it go oooooo! What a cool thing, (then you add some bullshit to it) and use technical terms to further baffle, and dazzle. But the dam lights are so dam cool!
 

skherbeck

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#5
That.s the ting to make people think you have a great setup, they see it go oooooo! What a cool thing, (then you add some bullshit to it) and use technical terms to further baffle, and dazzle. But the dam lights are so dam cool!
I NEEDED something to make my system look cool... 'cause it's not a great system! (I love it, though!) Maybe I'll add a plasma sphere next...
 

jdmack

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#8
The writers for the DAK catalogs were masters! Every items they sold was described in a way that made me drool. The only thing I ever bought was a condenser microphone for $19.95 which the ad told me fooled an experienced audio engineer who thought that surely the sound was being produced by a much more expensive microphone. It sounded like crap for almost everything, with the exception of the one time I was short of microphones and used it to mic a hi-hat out of desperation. That actually sounded OK.
 

sjcorne

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#12
I recently added this ancient Dolby pro-logic (not PLII...just pro-logic...it puts out LCR and a mono rear channel) decoder back into my system as it has this neat VU meter display on the front. Does a nice job on the old Dolby cds, such as Spies and the various tomita releases. Model number is AudioSource SS-3.

I love a good visualization...my foobar has the waveform monitor and VU meter plugins set up and they're a lot of fun

Been trying to track down an SH-3433 scope for ages but the price is never right...maybe someday. I'm honestly surprised no one's invented a plugin for foobar or another program that replicates its display.
 

Simon A

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#13
If you like "watching" music, nothing beats an oscilloscope. I had one a friend lent to me back in the day, until it crapped out. Really psychedelic, but a real picture of the actual sound waves. Nothing looked cooler than an extended bass note.
I like the idea but having a tendency to go to extremes, I wouldn't be truly happy until I had 5 of these units; one for each of my 5.0 channels. That would look wicked in the dark whilst the music played.
 

LuvMyQuad

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#15
The writers for the DAK catalogs were masters! Every items they sold was described in a way that made me drool. The only thing I ever bought was a condenser microphone for $19.95 which the ad told me fooled an experienced audio engineer who thought that surely the sound was being produced by a much more expensive microphone. It sounded like crap for almost everything, with the exception of the one time I was short of microphones and used it to mic a hi-hat out of desperation. That actually sounded OK.
I loved some of that DAK stuff. And those DAK ads were the absolute best audio propaganda snake oil anyone's ever written. You could read those ads and come away thinking that those components weren't going to just play audio, they were going to be revolutionary!. Those ads probably took food off Quad Linda's table in terms of lost sales back when she was selling audio equipment.

I had top end equipment during the golden stereo age... Audio Research, Magnepan, Dahlquist, Martin-Logan, Threshold.... That was for serious listening.

But the DAK stuff.... that was for playing around.

I bought a digital delay unit made by ADC (IIRC) and sold by DAK. That thing was way cool. You could connect it to a set of pre-outs so it didn't pollute the front mains (it's a purist kinda thing). It produced a stereo rear signal that was blended, delayed and frequency shaped, most of which was adjustable. I ceiling mounted small Definitive Technology Bipolar satellites behind the sweet spot to use with it. You could play music and have it sound like it was bouncing off a mountain. It could produce serious echo... echo you would never use while playing music, but it could impress anyone who heard it. At lower levels of delay and volume it did a remarkable job of creating ambience, and I often used it while listening to the main system. Not was not discreet in any way. And if you could tell you had it on, you had it playing too loud. But if you shut the rears down, it was the oft quoted "night and day" (which oddly enough, I just quoted again). :D In a world without quad, that's as close as I could get to a satisfying experience from stereo. It was an early digital product, and the resolution was pretty poor, and you wouldn't want to have to listen to the rear channels isolated. But set properly with the delay bouncing around the cathedral ceiling from a set of mini bipoles, it was audio heaven for a while.

I also bought a stereo graphic equalizer/spectrum analyzer that was badged as BSR and sold by DAK. It was the twin to an identical ADC badged unit they had previously sold (I believe BSR had purchased ADC around that the time). It had an LCD display that could be adjusted for response time and set to hold peaks. If you plugged the "calibrated condenser" microphone in and adjusted the equalizer to give flat response based in the spectrum analyzer, you got a terribly bright unnatural sound. But used more judiciously, it did clean up some pretty sad sounding rock records of the day, and in that respect, it earned its keep in the rack.

That DAK gear was way, way cool.
 
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