Buying a stereo with the Dropkick Murphys.

From The Boston Globe:

Buying a stereo with the Dropkick Murphys

By Doreen Iudica Vigue, Globe Correspondent | October 3, 2004

The bass should be in your face.

That's what Matt Kelly, of Boston's popular punk rock band Dropkick Murphys, thinks is the mark of a great stereo system. And he should know. Kelly, 29, is the drummer for the band that likes to think of itself as a bit of an Irish lucky charm for the Red Sox.

Their song ''Tessie," a remake of a 1903 ditty that fans sung the year the Sox won the first-ever World Series, has again become a rallying cry for the team. It pulses with trademark Dropkick energy and includes the line, ''We never doubt you."

Hard-rocking headbangers know what sounds good, so that's why we picked their brains on how to buy a stereo system. The tips are simple and follow the same rule of thumb as buying beer or wine -- or in their case, tattoos: Compare and contrast, ask what your friends have, go to a reputable dealer, don't skimp on price, and most of all, as Kelly puts it, buy ''what sounds best to you, what rocks you the hardest."

At Kelly's top-floor apartment in a South Boston triple-decker, there's no doubt that his stereo system could bust out a few windows if he cranked it all the way up.

Kelly's components are stored next to a 42-inch Toshiba plasma TV. He says the $1,900 system -- an Onkyo TX-SR602 receiver, Sony DVP-CX985V 400-disc player, Marantz DR4160 CD burner, Stanton STR 880 dual turntable, and Cambridge SoundWorks Newton Theater MC300.5 speaker system -- is the best he's ever had.

''My advice is, shell out the extra bucks and buy something that will last so you don't have to go through crappy systems your whole life like we did and just keep throwing them out," advised bandmate James Lynch, who found his first stereo at the Sturbridge dump when he was 9.

What about those all-in-one stereo systems a la boom boxes? Stereo specialists say they're good if you're on a budget, but using it daily for surround sound, for example, will shorten its life. These compact sets are made with plastic components that don't wear well.

In the 12 months ending in August, Americans spent $492 million on receivers, amplifiers, and tuners, and $731 million on speakers, according to NPD Group, a Port Washington, N.Y., market information company.

As aspiring rock stars know, not everyone has money to burn.

So Kelly said music lovers should splurge on their receiver, invest in great speakers, and pick up a turntable.

''You can have the best CD player, but if you have a crappy receiver, nothing will sound as good," he said.

If his receiver is the brain of his stereo system, where all components mingle, meet, and align to put out sound, then his turntable is its heart.

''Besides the nostalgia, there is a kind of warmth to music on vinyl you don't find with anything else," said Kelly, who still has his first album, ''Led Zeppelin II," preserved in a plastic sleeve alongside roughly 700 others.

''CD mixes clean up the sound," he added. ''On vinyl, it's raw and original."

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