Now, I had everything I needed, except a plan. How the heck does all this stuff go together? I have a Yamaha amp and tape deck, a Marantz single disk CD player, a phonograph (yes, a phonograph...Doc loves his old LP's), a Sony Play Station, a Go Video dual deck VCR, a set of 4 foot Fisher speakers (Doc's) and a set of 2 foot Polk speakers (mine). At one time, these pieces all worked together in loving harmony to provide me with music, movies and video games in stereophonic bliss. Hmmm....how did I do it?
I know! I'll call my Dad. He is a certified audiophile from way back when. He's what you'd call an "early adapter". Whenever some new technology came out to give him better sound, he grabbed at it. To his credit, though, he is discriminating. I don't recall him investing much in 8-track tapes, for example, though he did have a player. I think we had three altoghether: Muppet Christmas with John Denver, Gold Coast (my Uncle Mike's band), and Jim Croce. He taught me everything I needed to know with regard to music, stereo equipment, what's cool and what's not, and how to maximize your equipment to get the best sound. Also, he usually helps me set this stuff up whenever I find myself in a new place.
I chatted with him on the phone a bit. I couldn't figure out how, in the past, I was able to run the TV through the stereo. My TV, a wedding gift from my parents nearly nine years ago, only has one RCA jack in the back and it's an input jack! I can't take the audio from the TV to the amp without an RCA output jack. I scratched my head, wondering what I was missing. Dad said that all I really needed was a splitter box and he had an extra one, if i wanted it (of course he has one!). I agreed to try that but I was still bothered. I didn't have a splitter doo-dad the last time I had this all set up.
The last time I had this stereo set up was in 2002, if you were wondering if my memory was so bad that I couldn't remember the arrangement of wires, cables and components from a mear two months ago. We never bothered to set it up at our last house. I'm not sure why. I think I ended up buying a Magnivox "home theater" system shortly after we moved in and it trumped my old component system. So, it stayed in a closet in the basement for the duration of our time at that house.
Well, the Magnivox bit the dust within a year of using it and we were hobbling together different components to meet our A/V needs. It was highly unsatisfying. I don't know why I didn't stick with old faithful. I also don't know why I bought a combination set up. It is a principal I hold dear (thanks to Dad) that components are superior to combos. If a component stops working, you just replace that one piece. If a combo unit flakes out, like say, the DVD player quits on you, you have to replace the whole daggone thing, because fixing it is nearly imposible. By the time the Magnivox quit, we were planning to sell the house and the components were buried behind boxes. So in the basement it stayed.
I decided not to worry about the TV sound going through the stereo (I'd let Edwina handle that one), and went about setting up the stereo. It went along pretty smoothly and very soon I had all of the pieces hooked up together. The Play Station was hooked into the RCA jacks in the TV and was working well. I put on Wallace and Grommit's Curse of the Wererabbit for the kids and looked forward to playing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as soon as the wee ones were asleep. I bought the game in February and haven't even cracked the seal. Come to think of it, though, I'm not really sure where it is. Doc probably knows...
Anyway, I turned to the idea of setting up the VCR. At first I wasn't sure I'd bother with it, what with all those new DVD's out there. And then I remembered The Pact. Crap. We have enough VHS tapes to get us through at least a year and a half of at one tape a day. So I went back to the utility room and took a good look at the VCR. Hmm...two RCA jacks, one in back and one in front. And a coax jack. That's when Edwina nudged me. There's a coax out jack in the back of the VCR! I could hook the cable directly into the VCR and then use the coax out jack to hook the VCR to the TV! Then I could attach the Play Station, which doubles as a DVD player, to the front RCA jacks and then everything could play through our four speakers! I am so delighted!
Take a look:
So, now, our new house is on the way to being a home. Sure, we're still living out of boxes, but at least we have some of the comforts of being settled for the first time in about nine months. Let's hope we can make this work. Besides, we have a kick-ass back yard with a great table that was a birthday gift. Check it out:
Edited to add: You might wonder why it's "my" entertainment center. I bought it with pain and suffering money after being rear-ended, maybe 15 years ago. It's all still there, except for the 5-Disk CD player, also by Yamaha. It bit the dust in maybe a year, too many moving parts.