Interview with Steve of Decibel Audio, Chicago
Recording date: 20 Apr 2017
We're here at Decibel Audio, and we're visiting with Steve. Decibel is one of my favorite places, you can buy sell or trade gear so you could walk in here and buy a fantastic vintage system, component system or our favorite a wireless audio system, and we were gonna ask Steve about some of the latest developments in Wi-Fi wireless active systems
Yes sure and thank you for having me, but we're like he said we're at Decibel Audio Moore store that's been in the Wicker Park years or, so I've been in this location we've watched the evolution of wireless speakers and one of those speakers' technology kind of come to actually be a thing, and so we've been having a kind of cherry-pick and I think that we were talking earlier about the kind of unique business model that we have here that allows us to do what we want and kind of stuff what you know where you can cherry-pick our lines.
Welcome back to rate your sound we're here talking with Steve from Decibel Audio in historic Bucktown we're going to talk a little more about Bluetooth wireless Wi-Fi speakers and what their advantages are. You were talking to me over breakfast about what you thought was important in pulling this all together and making it work.
Sure, and I think that one of the most interesting aspects of wireless speaker technology nowadays at least is that the speaker manufacturers are really doing an excellent job pairing up the amps that they're putting in to these speakers with the speaker's themselves with the cabinets they're accounting for the space that's taken up by the amps and the heat sinks and everything that goes along with that you're also seeing more manufacturers like KEF who are putting two amps into you know a single wireless speaker you know one for the tweeter one for the the mid-range and that really makes the difference as well and you're basically buying an out of the box pre-assembled amplified speaker package and that's something that's come a long way since the beginning of powered speakers.
Welcome back to rate your sound will receive a Decibel Audio and historic Bucktown we're talking a bit about wireless and Bluetooth speakers and one of the things I was wondering about is if you bought for example a pair of KEF LS 50's how are they for living room film gaming my vinyl turntable CD player sure and that's what really is starting to separate a lot of the wireless speaker options and offerings that we see nowadays is you look at something like the wireless though they you know are wireless they offer really a plethora of connectivity options you know whether its digital inputs via optical or coaxial doing you know direct streaming with Bluetooth USB connectivity Wi-Fi a lot of these companies you know are hooking up with and he was like so Spotify hooking up with these are gonna put title to offer that direct connectivity right to the speaker itself and that's that's pretty powerful so it does allow you to kind of purchase the speaker system and then it's a little future proof in that regard you can kind of adapt it to whatever environment you kind of need to and so they do work great as a living room system they work great to hook your TV into and that's that's the beauty of these is the connectivity and the adaptability thanks Steve.
So we're here in Bucktown today visiting Decibel Audio one of the best places to buy sell or trade systems and also one of the best place places to look for wireless audio systems it seems to me that the key component these days is almost the control lamp so when you buy a pair of caps or you buy Phantom Devialet what's your take on all these control amps and then the Associated music amps is it confusing I think what I've noticed is that a lot of consumers are ready to adopt or understand going into it that there's going to be some kind of remote there's going to be some kind of control center that they'll have to adapt to at least in some sense and companies like so knows Devialet with their Phantom system and then KEF with a nice job at making that sort of app that sort of remote-control sort of thing a very approachable you know in a lot of ways it's simpler than the remote that controls a lot of TVs right now you just pick your source and pick what you want to listen to and you know at least with some of us that's all there is to it just plays and the other advantages it's a touch device exactly so it's you know it allows the that user interface to be continuously adapted to suit the market demand and what people are looking for and what people find comfortable to use at home you know name is doing that right now as well with their Muso system, and they're just kind of starting to jump into that but I think we're seeing more and more that almost every higher end audio manufacturer is getting into the wireless scene at least a little and they're all starting to offer this kind of dedicated control apps through your iPhone Thanks,
Hi welcome back to Rateyoursound. We're in historic Bucktown at Decibel Audio talking to Steve and I wanted to ask him about so no systems particularly pairing or making a stereo pair out of Sonos play five, and we were wondering is that audiophile quality is that high-end how good is that system absolutely and I'm glad you asked that because I think what separates pairing these Sonos pieces together specifically with the play 5s is I tell people all the time when they come in to look at Sonos that there's not a better system there's not a better pair of speakers better sounding pair of speakers much less a better system that I could sell somebody for a thousand dollars that will sound better what you get with song is easy to set up very easy to set up you know everything is very intuitive it takes a couple of clicks going through your app you know in the same way that you could order dinner or get an Uber you know you could have a stereo pair so those play fives going in a couple of minutes and that's what separates it and it really does sound good can you tell us about the tuning system built-in yeah and it's actually it's kind of neat because I've used it both in here to tune are so those pieces that we show for demo to the store and I've used it at home as well for instance give you an example I have a play one in my bathroom and what you're able to do is tell the speaker that you want you know that you want to adapt it to the room you're in and it emits a series of test tones and you know you kind of take your phone around a little like your sage in the place and what it does is it listens to what the speaker is emitting and then adapts the EQ for that so you know that's that's pretty powerful in that you can adapt it to someplace like a bathroom as I did
which normally you know that's a room that'll have a lot of natural reflection in it and not necessarily always sound as good as so it really does allow you to adjust for inconsistencies in the room and that's pretty powerful Thanks
Welcome back we're here at Decibel Audio talking to Steve about setting up a wireless system and one of the questions I wanted to ask you was again with the pairing of the Sonos is it pairing both speakers meaning when you set up a stereo pair yeah, so they basically will pair together and form one stereo pair and that's you know kind of equivalent in a lot of way as to what you would get in a traditional stereo system where you have you know two speakers left channel on the right channel that are hooked into a power amp you essentially get that same the same effect with the Sonos stuff with the exception that each speaker has a narrative right into it gotcha just keep it rolling Simon okay start it okay
Hello rate your sound here at Decibel Audio in historic Bucktown and I want to ask Steve one last question among the wireless systems fastest easiest to get going somebody wants to do it all themselves what would be the top three systems you'd recommend?
Oh I wholeheartedly recommend Sonos as far as being a closed platform something that is just a start to finish the solution for people whether it's integration with an existing two-channel stereo setup or doing an entire house wirelessly you know they really have kind of in some ways thought of everything and given you everything you need to be you know successful in doing that around its stable it's easy to set up and if you do run into issues I mean they're there tech support it's pretty crazy almost to a creepy level they can take control of your computer and pretty much set it up for you if you need them to, so I would recommend Sonos wholeheartedly and then I mean I think KEF has shown not only with wireless speaker but with their wireless comprehensive future-proof solution for somebody who is looking to either replace an entire system or add a system to their home and then I would say you know for the more casual listener for somebody who just wants to listen to music and is fine streaming with Bluetooth or keeping an aux cord nearby you know the audio engine stuff is great, and they offer a lot of different options in terms of wireless power active speakers that allow you to just very easily you know have the sound system in your hand in your home.
Back at Decibel Audio in Chicago we're talking to Steve about wireless audio systems and I have one last question for Steve, “If I bought one of these wireless systems I'm I do with all the components at the house I don't want any oh well you can always you know you can always trade them in where you could trade them in right here at decibel if you want all we asked is that you know shoot us an email or give us a call ahead of time and let us know like what you want to trade in, and we'll always make it work we will find a way to make something work for you and we'll get you into what you are looking for
We're back at Decibel Audio visiting with Steve talking about wireless systems and I had a question about tubes okay you and I both like the warm final sound shake how does digital compare one of these wireless systems oh well you know there's there's so much that goes into that that kind of warmth of analog versus digital you know you have people who will tell you that digital sounds very sterile and maybe that's true the fact of the matter for me is that you know digital can be perfect in a way that analog never will be or never could be and why I think that's interesting is because I think that we have adapted you know a certain nostalgia for that for those imperfections for the distortion for the fuzz and the warmth and all of that and I think that you know a lot of people associate that with nostalgia with time's going by only because you know you look at the recording formats of the day and these smaller and larger format tapes and a lot of the microphones and the tubes in there and in those preamps and then to play it back with that sort of system as well it overall takes on that very kind of warm analog tone and what I think is most interesting is that to me represents something that sonically can be just as enjoyable as you know what you did the clarity and the detail that you get in a digital system because like I said you know a CD well it is never gonna have that surface noise but you know if you've come to associate you know that bit of surface noise with your favorite albums over the years then it can be hard to detach from that but I you know there's I think there are benefits to each side
We're in historic Bucktown we're talking to Steve a Decibel Audio, and we spent a lot of time talking about wireless audio as it relates to building a home music system but one thing we know about Steve is he has a band he's a musician, and he's putting out some tracks and I wanted to let him talk about that for a minute Steve well I do appreciate that I play in a local band here from Chicago called wild it's spelled like Oscar Wilde oh so you have the e on the end, but we're about to put out a couple of singles here and in May, and we'll be on the radio so you can catch our interview there and what's this on Spotify we're going to be on WZRD, and then we have a couple of shows coming up soon after that but you can find us on Spotify iTunes all those streaming services and listen to them sounds great we'll make sure to let our fans know thank you again for your time today as fantastic