Saturday, December 1

RV Gift Ideas So Good, We Just Bought One!

You know, we've had this blog of rv gift ideas for a long time - wouldntcha think family and friends would have caught on by now that we would like these gifts for our motorhome? Oh well...anyway...we bought ourselves our own gift last week...and we loved it so much, we had to share it.

Don't worry, it is amazingly affordable (under 50 bucks with shipping)'s our description and story to tell...

Many of us who live full-time in travel trailers, motorhomes, and 5th wheels, have fond memories of stereos of days gone by. The basic issue with getting good sound in an RV is of course, the space limitation. There's just no way that you can take a rectangular, small volume like the typical motorhome and fill it up with sound that is undistorted, that gives you good stereo imaging, that makes you feel like you're experiencing quality reproduction. I suppose I shouldn't say that there is no way – if money is not an issue, you can have a surround sound system installed that makes you feel like you're in a concert hall. But living frugally and sensibly involves accepting some limits, and one of those is in your sound system. Which brings me back to my original point about memories of stereos of the past.

At one time I was the proud owner of a pair of Magnapan MGIII planar speakers (6 feet tall and 1 inch thick), a 200 watt per side stereo power amp that weighed about 75 pounds, a high-end CD player with direct outputs and a passive volume control running straight into the amp, and cables to hook it all up that were about a half an inch thick and had gold-plated connectors. It sounded really good, to say the least. But one thing it needed besides a lot of power was a lot of space – a nice-sized listening room was necessary, or you just couldn't get the best out of the system. And that is something I simply don't have in my present living area – come to think of it, I never had it in the past because I never lived in a house big enough for it.

So, being musicians and music lovers, what Robin and I do now is to try to get the best sound we can in a small space. Our old Bounder has a cassette player and radio in the dash, and a couple of speakers mounted into the front side walls, but it's not usable. We have 2 computers, an MP3 player, a smartphone, and a portable DVD player, all of which have audio outputs that have nowhere to go in the old 12 volt system. So we looked around for portable speakers that would work with our gear and sound good – meaning no distortion, sufficient volume, clarity, and a balance of frequencies. Naturally, they also had to be inexpensive.

Looking on Amazon, we perused all of the reviews and settled on a 3-piece set with 2 small satellites and a subwoofer for the low frequencies. This system gives you the most bang for the buck and can sound pretty good for a desk-top stereo. We looked for good sound, but also features such as easy control, pleanty of input options, and placement flexibility. We got almost all of that in the Cyber Acoustics Subwoofer Satellite System (CA-3602)

This stereo sounds wonderful for its size and price, and that is definitely the most important feature. It doesn't try to do too much either – the loudest it will go is not ear-shattering, but it is completely undistorted and clear. The real winning aspect is the little control puck that connects everything. Wired to the cubical sub-woofer, the wheel has a bass level control, an overall volume control, and an auxiliary plug built in. This is in addition to the supplied cable that serves as the primary input. This means you can have your main sound source (let's say your MP3 player – you have one, right?) plugged into the main input with the cable hard-wired into the system. But you want to connect your DVD player to watch a movie in the living area. Plug the audio out into the input on the control wheel and it becomes the source, with no need to unplug and reconnect later.

I won't say that it sounds much like my old stereo set-up, but then again nothing really sounds like that, or can in these days of compressed audio and miniature speakers. But for the price and the small amount of space that it uses, it's hard to beat and makes a super gift for the RV owners on your list. We enjoy the music that comes from the system, and that's the main thing – to make each day as inspirational and enjoyable as possible. Life's too short to be moving those gigantic speakers around to get the best sound anyway.

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