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Seeking 'Lifestyle' Speaker Recommendations for a Parent's House

BlackTalon

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I apologize in advance for this thread. My 80 year old mother just moved into a smaller house and has downsized a bit. She enjoys having music on in the background -- both local classical and country stations as well as CDs. But in the new place, there is no room in the family room for her 30+ year old Bose 301s.

She wants to continue listening to radio stations and playing CDs. She has a Sony receiver that's only a couple years old, and it has Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities. But she is in need of a pair of wireless speakers that are about half the size of the 301s (think 12"H x 6"W x 6" deep (300 x 150 x 150 for those on SI)). Wireless because she needs to be able to move them around to try multiple locations and realistically cannot route speaker wires all around the room. There will likely be nothing like stereo sound -- I'm 99% certain the speakers will be placed on opposite corners of the room. Think Muzak in the dentist's office... Electrical outlets should not be a problem -- routing AC cords will be much easier then running speaker cables multiple times.

The one complication is she cannot/ will not use a phone, laptop, etc. to operate. Ideally the speakers would be paired (or linked via wi-fi) during setup. And maybe they would need to be relinked after power outages. The receiver can be connected to the TV via HDMI (she has a small TV she watches once in a blue moon) if that helps with redoing the wifi connection or BT pairing.

Budget is pretty low. A few hundred $ USD. I'll probably buy them for her, so ultimately I do not need to stick with that budget.

One thing do not know about with respect to wireless speakers is volume control. If using BT or wifi connections can the receiver be used as, essentially, a wireless volume control for the speakers? If she has to do anything more than load a CD into the player and turn the volume knob on the receiver she'll probably punt the whole thing and get a boombox that has a CD player. I'd hate for her to have to plumb those depths... Also, the speakers will likely go on the floor behind some chairs, so accessing a speaker-mounted volume control would be an issue.

She lives >90 minutes away, so I will not be able to just pop over and help her when she has a problem or issue. And talking her through anything tech related over the phone is rough on both of us.

Any recommendations or advice are appreciated. We're in the US. And she's closer to Crutchfield then to me.

Thanks in advance.
 
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BlackTalon

BlackTalon

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Just fit in 301's. You're making wayyy too difficult.
Sadly I'm not the one making it difficult. The 301s have already been ejected. I haven't been to the house yet but I've seen a couple photos of the room -- there is almost no space. Enough on one side of the fireplace to squeeze in a narrow rack to hold the CD player/ tuner and TV. Other then that it's chairs and sofas against the walls, or door openings. Very little space in between items.

It doesn't help that she's a quasi interior decorator, and does not believe rooms should be organized so people can watch TVs or listen to music. It's about appearances and not practicality.
 
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BlackTalon

BlackTalon

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You should ditch the receiver and get a couple of Apple HomePods. Once you set it up on Apple Music, everything is voice controlled.

You might be able to control it remotely, but I'm not sure.
Thanks. Home pods work without needing to use a computer or phone app? I'm guessing the answer is no because you indicate ditching the receiver.

It's very possible what I am seeking is not something that is currently available. That's why I am asking on ASR.
 

antcollinet

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If you are using TV, you should probably forget wifi. I suspect latency will be too long - resulting in lip-sync problems.

How about a couple of bluetooth speakers that can cooperate to play stereo.
 

SIY

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I use Vanatoo T-0 for something just like this. Bluetooth.
 

Apesbrain

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Connect a BT transmitter to a line out on the Sony. Wirelessly link a BT speaker or stereo pair such as the AudioEngine A2+.

P.S. If not for the need to play CDs, I agree with posters above recommending a modern "home assistant" product. I have an older Google Home speaker that sounds fine with casual music. The contemporary equivalent would be the Google Nest Audio:
 
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Barrelhouse Solly

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Hoo boy. I feel your pain. I'm a retired programmer. My dad worked till he was 80. In his 70s he got a computer for work. I think it was running Win 3.1. I was his support person. His requirements were simple. He wanted the computer to do whatever he wanted it to do without having to learn anything about computers. One of my favorite childhood memories was hearing my mom, who was mechanical, trying to explain to him how an old school faucet with washers worked.

I'm thinking that Bluetooth speakers could be a support nightmare because of pairing. Power failures and spontaneous connection dropping will be a problem. Pairing with an amp using the front panel display requires a lot from a non-technical user. I don't have any good suggestions, especially because of the no mobile devices requirement. One thing that would work for volume with wireless/Bluetooth speakers would be setting them at an arbitrary volume level and using the amp as a volume control.
 
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BlackTalon

BlackTalon

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I bought my mother-in-law a Bose Wave radio, she loved it.
Thanks. From what I have found Bose stopped making this a handful of years ago, and only used/ reconditioned are on the market. And it looks like it's >$600 for a reconditioned unit. I'll leave this in the pocket as a last resort.
If you are using TV, you should probably forget wifi. I suspect latency will be too long - resulting in lip-sync problems.

How about a couple of bluetooth speakers that can cooperate to play stereo.
Thanks. She has no desire to play the TV sound through the speakers. The only reason to hook the receiver to the TV is if it helps to perform the speaker setup. Basically a one-and-done In a dream world)
I use Vanatoo T-0 for something just like this. Bluetooth.
Thanks. They appear to be out of stock (at least on Amazon). It looks like there is one active and one passive, so they need to be connected. That probably kills them as an option.
Connect a BT transmitter to a line out on the Sony. Wirelessly link a BT speaker or stereo pair such as the AudioEngine A2+.

P.S. If not for the need to play CDs, I agree with posters above recommending a modern "home assistant" product. I have an older Google Home speaker that sounds fine with casual music. The contemporary equivalent would be the Google Nest Audio:
Yeah, the CDs, and lack of streaming, are the complication in all of this. Looks like the AEs have the same active/ passive configuration as the Vanatoos SIY cited.
Hoo boy. I feel your pain. I'm a retired programmer. My dad worked till he was 80. In his 70s he got a computer for work. I think it was running Win 3.1. I was his support person. His requirements were simple. He wanted the computer to do whatever he wanted it to do without having to learn anything about computers. One of my favorite childhood memories was hearing my mom, who was mechanical, trying to explain to him how an old school faucet with washers worked.

I'm thinking that Bluetooth speakers could be a support nightmare because of pairing. Power failures and spontaneous connection dropping will be a problem. Pairing with an amp using the front panel display requires a lot from a non-technical user. I don't have any good suggestions, especially because of the no mobile devices requirement. One thing that would work for volume with wireless/Bluetooth speakers would be setting them at an arbitrary volume level and using the amp as a volume control.
My mom is easy compared to my dad (they divorced decades ago, but I am the closest child to both of them so I'm always the go-to person). My dad has a love of Apple products that he never gets any benefit from. Top of the line phone every 2 years, and he never uses apps or goes online with it. He cannot even set up contact info. And he had a new generation Apple laptop sitting unused for 6 months recently because he did not know his account info and therefore could not transfer data over from the older Apple laptop. It took several weeks for us to get the Apple ID stuff sorted. I imagine in another 25 years my son will be bitching about me and my wife having no clue about technology stuff. But at least at that point streaming controls will be embedded in our forearms and bone-vibrating 'speakers' in our heads so he will not have to help us with music-related things.
 

sdrichard

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Home pods work without needing to use a computer or phone app?
You need a phone to set it up. But I think once you set it up, you don't need a phone nor a computer. Of course, you can use any smart speakers from Amazon or Google too. I just thought HomePods probably sound better. One of our local retirement homes has Alexa smart speaker in every room so the elders can just say 'play Beethoven' and enjoy the music. No computer or phone needed.
 

Apesbrain

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Yeah, the CDs, and lack of streaming, are the complication in all of this. Looks like the AEs have the same active/ passive configuration as the Vanatoos SIY cited.
If your mom has an Amazon Prime subscription, she already has access to some streaming tracks.

Sony, Bose, and others offer quality "stereo" BT speakers in a single-box format. You'd probably need to be there to do the initial configuration, but all should work reliably after that. Just need to keep it charged.
 

Ken1951

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A couple of years ago our son bought a couple of Alexas for his now soon to be 94 year old grandmother. They have worked out great, all she has to do is ask Alexa to play whatever music she want to hear and there it is. Also gets weather whenever she wishes. Son also setup an Amazon music account for her - unbeknownst to her. It's basically magic and works great for her.
 

antcollinet

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Thanks. She has no desire to play the TV sound through the speakers. The only reason to hook the receiver to the TV is if it helps to perform the speaker setup. Basically a one-and-done In a dream world)
Ah - OK - wifi will be fine then.

Except how are you going to send to wifi speakers. You say the reciever has wifi capabilities, but that is normally to .... receive. I doubt it can send to wifi speakers.
 
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BlackTalon

BlackTalon

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Ah - OK - wifi will be fine then.

Except how are you going to send to wifi speakers. You say the reciever has wifi capabilities, but that is normally to .... receive. I doubt it can send to wifi speakers.
This is definitely an area I am unfamiliar with. I wasn't sure if there are active speakers that can get IP addresses on a wifi network that can communicate with a stereo receiver via wifi and receive a digital stream from the receiver that way.

I'm still pretty new to wireless audio, so I'm a bit down on the learning curve. My Oppo can pull from ripped CDs from my desktop using wifi, although those are stored digital files versus an actively spinning disk.

Maybe if I add some M'pingo disks to the Sony receiver and switch to Synergistic Research fuses in the active speakers it would then work?
 

Timcognito

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Not an expert but many choices here with comparison tables. FYI
 

Battlebeast

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I apologize in advance for this thread. My 80 year old mother just moved into a smaller house and has downsized a bit. She enjoys having music on in the background -- both local classical and country stations as well as CDs. But in the new place, there is no room in the family room for her 30+ year old Bose 301s.

She wants to continue listening to radio stations and playing CDs. She has a Sony receiver that's only a couple years old, and it has Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities. But she is in need of a pair of wireless speakers that are about half the size of the 301s (think 12"H x 6"W x 6" deep (300 x 150 x 150 for those on SI)). Wireless because she needs to be able to move them around to try multiple locations and realistically cannot route speaker wires all around the room. There will likely be nothing like stereo sound -- I'm 99% certain the speakers will be placed on opposite corners of the room. Think Muzak in the dentist's office... Electrical outlets should not be a problem -- routing AC cords will be much easier then running speaker cables multiple times.

The one complication is she cannot/ will not use a phone, laptop, etc. to operate. Ideally the speakers would be paired (or linked via wi-fi) during setup. And maybe they would need to be relinked after power outages. The receiver can be connected to the TV via HDMI (she has a small TV she watches once in a blue moon) if that helps with redoing the wifi connection or BT pairing.

Budget is pretty low. A few hundred $ USD. I'll probably buy them for her, so ultimately I do not need to stick with that budget.

One thing do not know about with respect to wireless speakers is volume control. If using BT or wifi connections can the receiver be used as, essentially, a wireless volume control for the speakers? If she has to do anything more than load a CD into the player and turn the volume knob on the receiver she'll probably punt the whole thing and get a boombox that has a CD player. I'd hate for her to have to plumb those depths... Also, the speakers will likely go on the floor behind some chairs, so accessing a speaker-mounted volume control would be an issue.

She lives >90 minutes away, so I will not be able to just pop over and help her when she has a problem or issue. And talking her through anything tech related over the phone is rough on both of us.

Any recommendations or advice are appreciated. We're in the US. And she's closer to Crutchfield then to me.

Thanks in advance.
 

Power Pop 23

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Another 'out of production' option is the Cambridge Soundworks Model 88CD AM/FM/CD player - similar in size and function to the Bose option
 
OP
BlackTalon

BlackTalon

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Not an expert but many choices here with comparison tables. FYI
Lots to unpack there. I have started sifting though it.
Thought there was a contender. One active and one passive, though. This may be the biggest one to overcome, at the speakers will likely be at opposite corners of the room.

I really appreciate all of the suggestions!
 
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