Hawthorne Stereo
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about 3 years ago
I'm a big fan of these guys. I was shopping for some speakers and an amp, and went to a couple of stores, and was mostly told "No, that's not what you want", and the presented with all of these wacky ideas (like ceiling-mounted speakers, or recessed wall speakers covered by a mesh cloth). I went to Hawthorne and they hooked up a system just like I wanted. They answered a ton of questions, helped recommend other vendors I needed, and the gear I ended up with sounds amazing. "A pretty nice place" indeed.
Liz Pearce What did you end up getting?
  • about 3 years ago
Tom Laramee My original ask was pretty simple: can i get two wall-mounted speakers, a subwoofer, an amplifier, and a non-Apple product to hook into my LAN, over which I'd like to stream music. I ended up with these Kef satellite speakers, which are ridiculously thin (like 1"), and come with wall mounts. They have a companion subwoofer. The amplifier is made by a company called Marantz, and the LAN device is a Sonos Port. It sounds really, really great... and the Sonos is way better than my Airport Express (i'm trying to deprecate my Airport Expresses). They also took the time to make sure I understood what kind of wires to run through my walls, and which connectors to use... as it turns out, audio is kind of complicated, and i knew very little about it when i began, but in the end, i feel really good about knowing what to ask of my electrician when i ask him to run speaker wire and RCA cable through my walls.
  • about 3 years ago
Adam Doppelt I've been through this before in various problematic and unsatisfying ways. Biggest issue was always the wires. Do you have to tear open all your walls? Did you consider just using Sonos/wifi for everything?
  • about 3 years ago
Tom Laramee Oh, this could be fun. I thought my disdain for wireless technology was the stuff of legend. I'm not using wireless for anything I don't have to, and this includes the Sonos (and the Airport Expresses). They all run over cat6. Since the wall where the speakers are going was torn down, it made sense to me to run some in-wall 16g speaker wire. I also wanted to isolate the amp and the Sonos from the speakers and sub for security purposes. (FWIW The very 1st thing I did with the Sonos after I wired it up was configure "Wireless=Off").
  • about 3 years ago
Adam Doppelt Ah, I see. It helps to have a fully wired house, or an open wall. We have some jacks here but they were documented poorly. When I want to light one up it degenerates into comedy. Another common problem in my house - kids fighting over music. We've had various devices in the kitchen but the kids always seem to come to blows over the music. This is unrelated to tech, of course. BTW, do you have a link to your speakers and amp?
  • about 3 years ago
Tom Laramee The wall mounted speakers are pretty amazing: us.kef.com/t301-ultrathin-s...
  • about 3 years ago
Adam Doppelt Yes, but where are you getting the mp3s? I have all my old music ripped from the CDs, but the kids are mostly interested in top 40. All spotify.
  • about 3 years ago
Tom Laramee To solve the kids fighting problem, I bought them both tiny SanDisk mp3 players (SanDisk 16GB Clip Sport Plus MP3 Player), to carry around, each a set of Kanto K2 speakers, to put in their rooms, each a set of puffy headphones (for when they're in the house), and each a set of Skullcandy In-Ear headphones, for when we're say, riding bikes on the Burke. That way, they have control of their own little musical ecosystem. If we can't agree on what to listen to together, i just tell them "Well, then dad decides..." and they quickly come to consensus.
  • about 3 years ago
Tom Laramee The amp needs to be exchanged. While it is a very nice piece of gear, it lacks a dedicated subwoofer port... so i'm running the sub off of a set of 4 speaker outputs (with a $60 converter between those wires and the sub). This would be fine if I only ever had one pair of passive speakers ... but if i got two pairs, I wouldn't be able to power them. Interestingly, Hawthorne apologized for the oversight and will be giving me full price credit towards an amp with the requisite ports. Here's the amp: us.marantz.com/en-US/shop/h...
  • about 3 years ago
Adam Doppelt Ah! Next question - how do you get music onto the mp3 player? I stopped buying tracks ages ago. This is becoming increasingly problematic due to all the issues mentioned above.
  • about 3 years ago
Tom Laramee So this is what i absolutely love about those little SanDisks ..you plug them in over USB and they appear as a drive. The filesystem has a folder called "Music". You drag your mp3s into the folder and wait for them to copy. That's all there is to it. They're also radio-capable, which my kids use all the time. No drivers, no software, no non-standard cables.
  • about 3 years ago
Tom Laramee It's worth noting that I'm ditching my Apple Airport Expresses because the Sonos gear is a lot nicer, in terms of the audio signal it provides to your amp. They also have a lot more features (e.g.: you can [allegedly] aim your Sonos Port at you network storage appliance and it will index all of your music and allow you to play it without having any mp3s on your laptop or phone ... i haven't set that up yet but i like it). Plus, the Sonos Port speaks Airplay, so it appears in both iTunes and in Apple's audio section of it's system preferences: sonos.com/en-us/shop/port.html
  • about 3 years ago
Tom Laramee My mp3s come from all over the place. (1) I ripped a huge set of my own CDs (2) i get music a couple of times/year from a recording studio that's owned by a friend of mine (3) i buy digital downloads from bandcamp (usually indies from this area) and (4) most of my 90s hip hop was purchased from amazon music.
  • about 3 years ago
Tom Laramee What would you like to discuss next?
  • about 3 years ago

About Hawthorne Stereo


Tuesday - Sunday: 12pm - 5pm
Mondays: CLOSED

Online Order Pickups
No appointment necessary. Once you have notification that your order is ready for pickup, come during store hours, knock on the door, and they will bring your order out. Please bring a photo ID.

For Listening
By appointment only.
Tuesday - Sunday: 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm

Appointments preferred.

If you have an item that needs repair, or want to pick up a completed repair, you may come by any time.

Please check their Service page or call/email them if you're not sure what they can and can't repair.


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