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How-to Tip: A Great Sounding Stereo System for Under $300

By Howard Charles Best, June 23, 2001


Picture showing the stereo system

The $90 stereo system is sitting on top of the $160 subwoofer.

A good stereo system for only US$89.99? That’s what I paid last year at K-Mart for a White-Westinghouse Model WX-101 which is much more than I expected to get at this low, low price. Later on, I noticed that it was on sale for $79.99.

It has:

1. An “Aux” input, so you can connect it to a DVD player, an MP3 player, or to the audio output of your computer.

2. A timer, so you can go to sleep listening to the radio, a cassette tape, or a CD, and have it turn off automatically.

3. An alarm clock, so you can wake up to the radio, a cassette tape, or a CD.

4. 30 FM presets and 15 AM presets.

5. A three CD changer.

6. A CD player with complete programmability.

7. Dual cassette drives with high speed duplication so copying a cassette is very fast and easy.

8. A remote control, so you can control everything without getting out of your easy chair!

9. Extremely quiet electronics - no hiss or hum, even when listening on high quality headphones with the volume turned up!

The only thing that I didn’t like about the WX-101 was the lack of bass. I fixed this problem by ordering an “AudioSource ‘SW Ten’ Powered Subwoofer” from Buy.com (http://www.us.buy.com/retail/electronics/product.asp?sku=90044254&loc=13668) for US$159.99 plus shipping. I mounted the WX-101 speakers on the wall, and placed the subwoofer on the floor. The stereo system fits perfectly on the subwoofer (see picture above). What a difference the subwoofer makes!

Important SW Ten subwoofer features for total system integration:

1. Automatic power on/off with absolutely no clicks or pops.

2. Plugging headphones into the stereo system disconnects all speakers, including the subwoofer.

3. Volume level and crossover frequency is adjustable.

4. Crossover frequency can be set as high as 180Hz (Some competing brands only go as high as 120Hz.)

Now, for less than $300, I have a stereo system which sounds like it costs much, much more!

Plans for the Future

I mainly use my stereo system for TV sound and for playing MP3 files on my computer. However, I hope to someday purchase a DVD drive for my computer. My present system is fine for what I use it for now, but for DVD surround music and sound effects it’s not so hot.

Therefore, I hope to someday replace my present sound system with one that has Dolby 5.1 channel sound, has better treble, and has even better bass than the one I have now. Something like the following would probably do the trick:

1. AudioSource “SW Fifteen” Powered Subwoofer - US$214.99 ( http://www.us.buy.com/retail/electronics/product.asp?loc=13668&sku=90044253&PageFormat=5#product - Reviews: http://www.audioreview.com/reviews/Subwoofer/product_6813.shtml)

2. Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Theater 5.1 - US$198.95 ( http://www.us.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku=10207201&loc=14577 - Reviews: http://www.audioreview.com/reviews/Speaker/product_7000.shtml)

A good time to purchase the above two items would be when Buy.com offers one of their periodical free shipping deals. Since I am on their email list, I’m hoping that they will let me know when such an event occurs.

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