Best Sound System for the Home

The sound system that you have in your home should be a quality system, however money often dictates what you can and can’t afford. In this article I break down my own sound system that only cost $2,500.

Subwoofer – Rythmik LV12R – Price: $600

Subwoofers never look like anything special, and that’s because it’s what they do (not what they look like) that makes them a requirement. But out of everything I list today, if you’re tight on cash, then the subwoofer is the last piece of equipment you require for your own system.

My subwoofer of choice after testing 12 of them in a number of stores is the Rhythmik LV12R. It has a 12-inch driver with an oversized box/cabinet in black ash complete with a 300W RMS Amplifier that is able to handle the base speaker comfortably. The improvement of the entire sound system is remarkable and well worth the additional $200 spend, compared to other brands.

AV Receiver: Denon AVR-S700W – Price: $500

Denon has taken receiver building to a new level, but at the same time has not forgot to keep the price reasonable. It’s packed with speck including:

HDMI 2.0 wireless
Bluetooth
Airplay Audyssey MultEQ
DEQ
DVolume 7 x 120w 1kHz
0.7%THD
6ohms

I have also been impressed with the display screen software. It’s easy to set up, easy to use and has extended options for the more advanced users requirements.

Speakers – 4 x NHT Absolute Zeroes + one Absolute Center – Price total $950

Each speaker is $190 each. That seems a little pricey for a home system, but you can tell where the additional money has been spent. These are a two-way design as standard for a home speaker with a 5.25-inch woofer and an aluminum tweeter.  Combined, these produce a 86dB per unit and work well with the Rythmik subwoofer.

The NHT’s Absolute Zero has a quality sound with matching good looks, ideal for any modern home. I have tested the speakers connected to an amplifier for pure sound and the base to mid is exceptional for drum and base tracks. Even without the subwoofer, you may need to adjust the treble depending on personal preference.

Cables: Monoprice – Price: $20

I personally don’t like to spend big money on speaker cables. This is mainly because I have tested cheap versus expensive cables using the same equipment in the past and the difference is minimal, if any (just my opinion). If you believe differently please feel free to buy more expensive cables.

Cables: Monoprice

For the money, Monoprice offers a good value cable and from my own testing, the cables do last as long as you’re not messing with them every week!

Surge Protection – Panamax SP8-AV – Price: $90

The Panamax provides good value at a low cost compared to other more well-established brands. I have the SP*-AV, which protects my computer equipment and sound system. The device is 1125 joules with protection for eight outlets and noise rejection as a bonus feature. This is $90 well spent to protect your $2,500 system.

Final Words

I have been using this system for a little over four months. For the money you can’t go wrong. I spent two months researching/testing so you can be assured excellent value for your money.

Top Ten Largest Music Festivals In the World

I’ve been lucky enough to travel around the world on a number of occasions, and even though I do enjoy the normal tourist activities, when I travel I love to visit music festivals. My first-ever music festival was at Glastonbury, England. I don’t remember any of the bands, singers or artists that performed — mainly because I was too young to understand — but I do remember having the best time ever.

Electric Daisy Carniva

Below are the Top 10 music festivals by audience size:

10. EXIT (Novi Sad, Serbia)

Average attendance 200,000 people

In 2014 Exit was named the best major European festival and over the years it has had 2.5 million people participate. Not bad considering it was started as a student demonstration against the Serbian government.
Artists include: the prodigy, moby, Guns N’ Roses, Wu-tang and underworld

9.  Paleo (Nyon, Switzerland)

Average attendance 230,000 people

Established in 1976 and promoted as a “folk festival,” the Paleo festival is a popular event for the young and old. Over 6 million people have attended since its inception and the event is always sold out.
Artists include:  Elton John, James Blunt, placebo and Seasick Steve

8. Ultra (Miami, USA)

Average attendance 320,000 people

Dance music, or EDM as it’s called in the U.S., is fast growing and the Ultra festival is growing just as fast. The biggest DJs in the world spin the tunes in the heat of Miami, but Ultra has expanded not just the original! It’s now in Japan and South Africa.
Artists include:  Carl Cox, Axwell, Hardwell, Martin Garrix and Ingrosso to name a few.

7. Sziget (Budapest, Hungry)

Average attendance 380,000 people

Established in 1993 bang in the middle of Budapest, this festival really is a non-stop party from start to finish. The mixture of music styles brings a mixture of people from around the world.
Artists include: Blur, Chase and Status, Dizzee Rascal, Dub fx, and Mika

6. Electric Daisy Carniva (Las Vegas, USA)

Average attendance 400,000 people

Established in 1993 this festival is like a traveling circus with all credit given to the people who organize the EDC festivals. Now in Mexico, Orlando and Puerto Rico, one word — outstanding.
Artists include: Avicii, Knife Party, Hardwell, Afrojack and U2

5. Przystanek Woodstock (Kostrzyn Nad Odra, Poland)

Average attendance 550,000 people

This event is FREE. Yes, I said FREE. All you have to do is turn up. It’s a fundraiser for The Great Orchestra. The festival now receives massive sponsorship and attracts people from all over the world.
Artists include: Airbourne, The Prodigy, Anti Flag, Volbeat and Dog Eat Dog

4. Coachella (California, USA)

Average attendance 670,000 people

This festival was created for indie and alternative music styles, but has become more commercial over the years and is probably known more for hip hop than anything else.
Artists include: Outkast, Muse, Skrillex, Lorde, Calvin Harris and Duck Sauce

3. Summerfest (Wisconsin, USA)

Average attendance 900,000 people

If you like huge festivals, this is one to attend. It boasts over 800 acts over 11 days. I am not sure how you would see them all, but you’re spoilt for choice.
Artists include: Artic Monkeys, Nas, Ludacris, the chainsmokers and Robert DeLong

2. Mawazine (Rabat, Morocco)

Average attendance: 2.3 million people

Although this festival only began in 2001, it has already begun attracting huge numbers of people. This festival is made to bring people together with the love of music.
Artists include: Maroon 5, Justin Timberlake, Ne-yo, Ricky Martin and Alicia Keys

1. Donauinselfest (Cienna, Austria)

Average attendance: 3.1 million people

The biggest music festival in the world with over 2,000 acts over three days, it’s big and it’s getting bigger every year.
Artists include: Macy Gray, Rita Ora and the commandos to name a few.

Promoting Your Music & Gaining More Fans

Building a fan base is one of the most important aspects of establishing yourself as a music artist. Every pop star, band, hip hop artist and musician is nothing without people who enjoy listening to their music, buying albums, merchandise or a ticket to their next gig.

People often ask me, “What can I do to get more fans?” “How do I promote my music to more people?” “Where should I upload my music?” Unfortunately every situation is unique and there is no exact answer to these questions, because every artist or act is at a different stage of their career. However, there are some basics you can be doing to build a following, no matter what stage of your career. Here is my advice:

get more twitter fans

Get more Twitter fans

Gaining More Fans with Twitter

Twitter can give you a huge following, but it can be tricky to get started. Follow this set of instructions to build a dedicated following quickly.

1. Sign up to Twitter (it’s free) with your artist or band name as the username. Be sure to make the profile as attractive as possible. For example, use a unique header, fill in the “about” section and link to your website.

2. Sign up to Hootsuite.com (it’s free) and add your Twitter account. This lets you schedule tweets. You should tweet links to your website, music, videos and anything else you have online that people may want to listen to or watch. Schedule three posts a day: morning, noon and evening for one month. Also include tweets about yourself or the band. I would also suggest tweeting about other similar artists, news, photos and videos that are closely related to your style of music.

When creating tweets it’s also important to include hashtags (#). These tags are how people are going to find your Twitter account or tweets, as people search Twitter with hashtags. See an example below:

twitter hashtags

3. Sign up to Tweepi.com (it’s free), add your Twitter account and use this site to control your Twitter followers. You can find other Twitter users that like the music you create by following similar artists’ followers, or search by hashtags for words related to your music. For example, house music fans would be using words like: house, house music, dance music, DJsneak.

Every day you can follow around 70 to 100 people. Don’t follow more than this or your account will get banned. You can also use Tweepi to remove people who don’t follow you back again.

4. After two weeks you should have around 200 new followers, but more importantly these followers will be into the music you are producing. As a result, these fans are more likely to:

Re-tweet your tweets
Like your tweets
Comment on your tweets
Follow your links
Share your links on other social networks like facebook and G+

Over the next four months your Twitter account will start to grow in many other ways, making the process much easier and you should reach 2,000 dedicated followers in this time frame.

You are now armed with an audience of people who love what you do. Not everyone will interact with your account, but this doesn’t mean they are not paying attention to you and music. The best thing about this process is feedback on what your are producing. Music fans will give you feedback on your work — sometimes good and sometimes bad — but this is how you can connect with your audience and become a better artist.

Listening to Music for Increased Athletic Performance

You’d be hard pressed to find a runner or gym-goer without headphones in their ears these days.

More and more athletes are turning to music during training and ahead of competitive events not just for enjoyment, but to try and get a mental edge and improve their athletic performance. Have a think about your own training – have you noticed when you’re listening to a strong and upbeat song that it somehow gives you extra motivation to work that little bit harder? Can you imagine enduring a high-intensity cardio gym class without music?

Whether you’re a competitive athlete or a dedicated gym bunny, getting out the iPod or MP3 could be the best thing to happen to your training. And the research backs up it.

Sport psychologist Dr Costas Karageorghis from Brunel University in West London is a leading researcher into the field of music and athletic performance. He’s found that music can increase energy efficiency and endurance in athletes through:

  • helping improve focus
  • increasing positive feelings
  • encourage rhythmic movements in training

Think of it as synchronization between the rhythm of the music and the rhythm of your training – if you’re lifting weights, listening to music with a set beat and motivating lyrics can help with your timing to ensure the full range of movement and increased focus.

Music may also make you feel less fatigued, feel less pain and may even be able to increase your work capacity. I personally notice these benefits every time I play paintball with my son (his favorite hobby). Earbuds have now found a permanent place in my bag of paintball gear, right next to my highly recommended Tippmann A-5.

And you’re in good company if you use sounds to get you going. Some of the word’s top athletes and Olympians have over the years revealed their playlists to get in the zone. The music is wide and varied, from hip-hop to rap, to pop or even Christmas tunes – showing there’s no single melody or genre to suit all sports and sportspeople.

So how do you choose the right music to enhance your performance?

Researchers say there’s an optimal number of beats per minute a song should have – 120. This can be raised and lowered depending on the intensity of your training. To make things easy for you there are even websites that can tell you exactly how many beats per minute are in a song.

Song BPM is about as easy as it gets – you enter the artist and the song title and it does all the work for you. There are even sites to help you create a playlist based around the beats per minute you wish to train to such as Jog Tunes – just enter the bpm at the top and it’ll generate a list of songs to suit.

As part of Dr Karageorghis’ studies, he joined up with Spotify to analyze million of songs to create the ultimate fitness soundtrack, based on popular tracks, their beats per minute, style and lyrics.

For mental preparation, among the mix is Katy Perry’s Roar with 92 bpm, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ Can’t Hold Us was deemed a great choice for very high intensity cardio training at 147 bpm, while the likes of John Newman’s Love Me Again at 126 bpm was ideal for strength training.

And lets not forget your cool-down. Listening to the right mix at the end of the workout can help you hold those deep stretches for longer to cool down the muscles and relax.

So if you haven’t got your sounds packed in your gym bag yet, be sure to do so before your next workout and see – and feel – the difference.