Lowest (not highest!) box-count systems please!

AlmaataKZ

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High box count in hifi and av can be a nuisance. So how do the low-box-count sytems look these days? in theory and in practice? If one is looking for less clutter, what are the options? If somebody has already gone this route, how low is parcital 'low box count' in reality?

Differeces of cause are to be expected for stereo/music and multichannel av (and for different functionality) so can we see how to achieve lowest box count these days in the following categories:

Music A (cd source):
Playback cd in stereo.

Music b (hard disc based):
Import, manage and playback in stereo music stored on a hard drive.

Movies:
Playback bluray video in 1080p with 5.1 sound.

So, for each category, what is the lowest box count system you can come up with (virtually (i.e. using knwon products available today) or as actually implemented by you in pactice). Stated functionality, including control and management, msut be achived.

e.g, for "music B' I have:

store/manage/rip/playback - computer, 1 box
backup - external HD, 1 box
dac/preamp - 1 box
amp/speakers - active stereo speakers, 2 boxes
control/manage - keyboard, mouse, screen, ipod touch, 4 boxes (IR remote optional)
total box count = 9 (10 with IR remote)

not so low...
 

tino

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For (B) ...

computer (media player / storage / user interface) + active speakers, or

hard disk media streamer (media player / storage) + TV/monitor (as user interface) + active speakers, or

portable media player (media player / storage / user interface) + Bluetooth speakers (or headphones)

PS I don't count remotes, or backup devices as boxes in the same way I don't count CD racks as part of you hifi box count (although, yes they do take up space). You can always backup your music in the cloud, or nearer to earth .. in the loft ;)
 

Cpt.Issues

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Aside from all-in-one active speaker systems, I'd imagine the lowest you could get for both A and B would perhaps would be something like a DAC / CD player / Pre-Amp combined + power amp + speakers.

Ones that immediately spring to mind would be things like the Wadia 151 Power DAC, Audiolab CDQ or AVI ADM9T active speakers for minimal box count in your scenarios for A and B I guess?

For the hard drive option and CD playback (Music A & B) I have Computer > DAC/Pre-Amp > Intergrated Amp > Speakers.
 

AlmaataKZ

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John Duncan said:
I'm not sure I understand the question.

what is the lowest box count system you can put together from products available now to each of the functionalities A, B and C. Better still if you actually have such a system and can show how neat it looks.

How low "low box count" is in reality?
 

AlmaataKZ

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For example, the lowest box count for C (5.1 bluray movies) is

- speakers + sub = 6 boxes

- bluray/preamp/amp (Denon Cara) = 1 box

- TV = 1 box

- remote = 1 (the Denon's remote can control TV)

Total = 9

Quite neat! Probably cannot be beaten.

EL_1_dg_av_S5BD_D.jpg
 

AlmaataKZ

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For A:

a micro-Cd system (plenty of choice here) = 1

speakers = 2 boxes

remote =1

total = 4

I think this is the lowest achievable (single-box systems with built-in speakers aside).
 

chebby

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Audio: One Marantz box and two speakers, one iPhone (not a box), an iMac (wirelessly) from an adjoining room. (Doesn't really count as it was already there long before the present set-up arrived and can't be seen from the living room.)

Bluray/iPlayer: Sony S370 connected with digital optical audio cable to Marantz.

A television.
 

AlmaataKZ

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For B (hard disc music) it gets a bit more complicated as a) you need a comupter to manage the music and b) there are plenty of variations here. So, what can be lower than these?

store/backup: Nas = 1 box

Play, amp: Naim UnitiQute = 1 box

Speakers = 2

Manage: Computer, screen, keyboard, mouse = 4

Remote = 1

total = 9

Another system:

Nas or HDD = 1

Squeezebox Touch = 1

Active speakers = 2

Computer as above + remote from SBT= 5

Total = 9
 

AlmaataKZ

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chebby said:
Audio: One Marantz box and two speakers, one iPhone (not a box), an iMac (wirelessly) from an adjoining room. (Doesn't really count as it was already there long before the present set-up arrived and can't be seen from the living room.)

Bluray/iPlayer: Sony S370 connected with digital optical audio cable to Marantz.

A television.

Yes, but let's be realistic and count all devices that have to be powered on to achieve full functionality, including managing the music and controlling playback from the listening position.
 

chebby

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AlmaataKZ said:
Yes, but let's be realistic and count all devices that have to be powered on to achieve full functionality, including managing the music and controlling playback from the listening position.

I have. It's all in my sig. (And as I said, I don't count the iMac and iPhone because I had both before the M-CR603 and AirPlay came along.
 

chebby

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AlmaataKZ said:
Manage: Computer, screen, keyboard, mouse = 4

Remote = 1

A laptop reduces that count by 3 (and a PC/mac doesnt count all if it is already a household fixture and isn't dedicated to your audio system.)

That's why I wouldn't count my iPhone or iMac as 'box-count' because i'd have them anyway, hifi or no hifi.
 

AlmaataKZ

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ok, so for "B" it is (counting based on 'powered on', not on 'have to buy' approach):

- store/manage: laptop = 1 box

- play: Marantz 603 = 1 box

- control: iphone = 1box (assuming you power the Marantz on manually, i.e. no second remote)

- speakers = 2 boxes

Total = 5

Lowest so far. Only thing missing is backup (+1 box)

Neat.
 

chebby

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You don't need a backup powered on when using a computer (or an application on a computer) as part of an audio system. In fact it's not a great idea to leave backup drives plugged in at all except when backing up.)

Mine are tucked away in a desk drawer and one is kept at work.

By the logic of ''powered on', not on 'have to buy'', you should also be counting the modem/router for any internet streaming.
 

John Duncan

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AlmaataKZ said:
John Duncan said:
I'm not sure I understand the question.

what is the lowest box count system you can put together from products available now to each of the functionalities A, B and C. Better still if you actually have such a system and can show how neat it looks.

How low "low box count" is in reality?

OK gotcha, was being a bit slow.

A: NaimUniti/PMC DB1i. Add either the Naim remote or iPhone/iPad control.

B: Music server with hard disk built in, active speakers, remote. Naim HDX; Cocktail X10 fit the bill. No backup though now that the HDX has moved to single TB disk rather than a mirrored pair of 400GB ones.

C: Cambridge Audio 751BD, Yamaha Receiver, N speakers (where N is however many you want to have up to 7.1, I have 4.0), Remote. This actually happens to cover A and B as well since the 751 is both a great CD player and a DLNA server (though no internal storage so add one box for music server; NAS or Mac).
 

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