Neet Airstream - long term review

MajorFubar

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Mar 3, 2010
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Probably not amazingly long...only a few months, but hey some folks round these parts have changed their hifis twice-over in that time :-D

You may recall I bought one of these for my sons to use in their bedroom with a pair of Alesis Elevate 5 powered speakers, with the idea that this basically would constitue the business-end of a hifi with their phone used as a source, typically playing Apple Music, or lossless from my NAS should they ever fancy a session of 'dad music'.

In terms of sound quality I can only report great things about the Airstream. The sound from its Wolfson DAC is excellent, and while I'm unable to do an A-B, I really don't think it sounds much different to the HRT II+ DAC I spent £300 on some five years ago (and sold in 2016). But that's what happens when you buy into the hype. Even I'm gullible now and again. Anyhow, if you're looking for an Airplay receiver for much less than the overpriced AEX, you can't go wrong with this. Such a pity it isn't BT as well, but you can't have everything I guess.

The story behind the £109 Alesis Elevate 5's is not particularly great. After a month, the tweeter failed in the master unit, Maplin's did not have a replacement pair in stock and couldn't get another. Of course we now know why...this was shortly before they announced their receivership. We agreed instead to a refund. In place of the Elevate 5's I managed to source a used pair of M1 Active 520's, from Gumtree for £120, just like the pair in my room. These are far better sounding than the Elevate 5's and were in excellent near-mint shape.

The sound the boys get from this set-up is lightyears ahead of the Akai midi system I had at their age, which cost my parents £350 for my 16th birthday. Anyone who doesn't agree we haven't had it so good with respect to the sound quality of budget audio is probably not old enough to remember the bad old days.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
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MajorFubar said:
The sound the boys get from this set-up is lightyears ahead of the Akai midi system I had at their age, which cost my parents £350 for my 16th birthday. Anyone who doesn't agree we haven't had it so good with respect to the sound quality of budget audio is probably not old enough to remember the bad old days.
It can’t be said enough times to counter the ‘golden era’ pedlars on here who perpetuate the myth that we all had Linn/Creek/Mission systems (or similar) as kids and teens!
 

DougK

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Dec 8, 2013
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chebby said:
MajorFubar said:
The sound the boys get from this set-up is lightyears ahead of the Akai midi system I had at their age, which cost my parents £350 for my 16th birthday. Anyone who doesn't agree we haven't had it so good with respect to the sound quality of budget audio is probably not old enough to remember the bad old days.
It can’t be said enough times to counter the ‘golden era’ pedlars on here who perpetuate the myth that we all had Linn/Creek/Mission systems (or similar) as kids and teens!
No we certainly didn't, and I'm 60, so appear to be of the generation before you guys. But £350 was a damned lot of cash for a 16th birthday present in the mid 80's... Oh hang on a minute that was the era of loadsa money *dirol* I was out at work, trying to pay a mortgage and freshly divorced at the time, hifi was the last thing on mind.
 

MajorFubar

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Mar 3, 2010
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DougK said:
No we certainly didn't, and I'm 60, so appear to be of the generation before you guys. But £350 was a damned lot of cash for a 16th birthday present in the mid 80's... Oh hang on a minute that was the era of loadsa money *dirol* I was out at work, trying to pay a mortgage and freshly divorced at the time, hifi was the last thing on mind.
Yep I was extremely fortunate they were able to do this for me. For £350 you got a cassette, amp, tuner, turntable and speakers. Speakers and turntable got the worst end of the deal. Tuner was ok, amp was ok, cassette was actually surprisingly good after I'd gone inside to tweak the bias. As nearly always with cheaper decks of the day, it over-biased the tapes, with the result that all its recordings had a curtailed top end.
 

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