What should I upgrade next?

Which component shall I upgrade next?

  • Dac

    Votes: 5 45.5%
  • Streamer

    Votes: 1 9.1%
  • Integrated Amplifier

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Speakers

    Votes: 1 9.1%
  • Cables

    Votes: 2 18.2%
  • Power

    Votes: 2 18.2%

  • Total voters
    11

b345t

Member
May 10, 2020
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Hello!

It's been a while since I really thought about updating anything in the rig. In the last month or so, I have been noticing that my bass was a little too heavy and played around with the subwoofers' eq. That sparked my interest again and got me thinking about what change I should make next. To be honest, although moderately treated, the room is less than ideal and I hear vibrations from the projector screen unit, as well as the metal inside the gypsum construction. The thick curtain on the left window to the balcony helps, but obviously, that is a room issue. I said to myself about a year ago, until I move into my own house and fixing a dedicated room, there is no point taking this further here.

So what I am missing these days are a more 'natural' sound and soundstage depth. I am getting a lot of awesome detail and accuracy in the imaging/staging; the overall balance of the sound is good (especially after the last subwoofer fix), speakers disappear, and have quite a textured/tangible/rich sound. I am not getting the beryllium tweeter attack that I have heard on some Focal systems. Top end is pretty smooth, rarely do I get any sibilance.

Sometimes I feel like I am not getting coherence in the song; as in there are distinct and clear separations of instruments but it is not playing as one in some cases. Other times I find myself being deeply involved in the music and very satisfied with what I am hearing. I am attaching pictures so you all can see the rig, as well as a flow diagram below of components. Let me know what you guys think I should do.

Dedicated line from the electrical mains box ----> Furutech e-TP80E ----> Innuos Zen mk3 streamer (PC: Furutech S55n with fi50ncf) ---Sablon 2020 USB (evo coming tomorrow) ---> Holo Audio May KTE (PC: stock) --- Zenwave DSR XLR --> T+A PA 3100HV integrated (PC: Zenwave PCR 11) ---- Silversmith Fidelium ----> Focal Sopra 2 . I am also using 2x Velodyne dd12+ .

l'll also mention that I don't have much experience listening to great systems and hearing the next level. Most dealerships I go to and listen to more expensive gear, my system is just better to me. The distance from the back wall to the front woofers of the sopra: 110 cm/43 inches.

Let me know what you all think, any tips are more than welcome!

Cheers!
 

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AMR / iFi audio

Industry Expert
Aug 21, 2019
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ifi-audio.com
Hello!

It's been a while since I really thought about updating anything in the rig. In the last month or so, I have been noticing that my bass was a little too heavy and played around with the subwoofers' eq. That sparked my interest again and got me thinking about what change I should make next. To be honest, although moderately treated, the room is less than ideal and I hear vibrations from the projector screen unit, as well as the metal inside the gypsum construction. The thick curtain on the left window to the balcony helps, but obviously, that is a room issue. I said to myself about a year ago, until I move into my own house and fixing a dedicated room, there is no point taking this further here.

So what I am missing these days are a more 'natural' sound and soundstage depth. I am getting a lot of awesome detail and accuracy in the imaging/staging; the overall balance of the sound is good (especially after the last subwoofer fix), speakers disappear, and have quite a textured/tangible/rich sound. I am not getting the beryllium tweeter attack that I have heard on some Focal systems. Top end is pretty smooth, rarely do I get any sibilance.

Sometimes I feel like I am not getting coherence in the song; as in there are distinct and clear separations of instruments but it is not playing as one in some cases. Other times I find myself being deeply involved in the music and very satisfied with what I am hearing. I am attaching pictures so you all can see the rig, as well as a flow diagram below of components. Let me know what you guys think I should do.

Dedicated line from the electrical mains box ----> Furutech e-TP80E ----> Innuos Zen mk3 streamer (PC: Furutech S55n with fi50ncf) ---Sablon 2020 USB (evo coming tomorrow) ---> Holo Audio May KTE (PC: stock) --- Zenwave DSR XLR --> T+A PA 3100HV integrated (PC: Zenwave PCR 11) ---- Silversmith Fidelium ----> Focal Sopra 2 . I am also using 2x Velodyne dd12+ .

l'll also mention that I don't have much experience listening to great systems and hearing the next level. Most dealerships I go to and listen to more expensive gear, my system is just better to me. The distance from the back wall to the front woofers of the sopra: 110 cm/43 inches.

Let me know what you all think, any tips are more than welcome!

Cheers!
I don't see anything restricting in your setup. The biggest offender I see is a lack of an acoustic panel over the fireplace. Right in front of you. If you put there something like those 3D panels that are hanging higher, on the black wall, the difference should be noticeable. Also, if you find your system lacking in coherence, then perhaps you should use more damping in your room.
 
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b345t

Member
May 10, 2020
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Hi, thanks for the advice. I actually had three GIK absorbers there, one on the top side placed horizontally, and two down connected together, to form a T shape. After upgrading the dac from the Chord TT2 to the May, I noticed it created a more 'boxy' sound and was restricting the midrange to open up. Maybe more diffusion there? Here is an older photo of how it used to be, as well as another showing the whole room:
 

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MarkusBarkus

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Feb 7, 2021
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...it looks like you have thought a good deal about what you're doing in the room. It looks very nice and probably sounds very
nice too.

That said, based on your comments, a couple of things come to mind:

Have you experimented with listening *without* that large table in front of the couch? It's a massive reflective surface. Perhaps an aesthetic no-go, but worth the experiment. For me, I want nothing between the speakers and my chair.

I'm sure you have already done so, but you might also revisit the toe-angle both with and without the low table in place. Sometimes it's not always what the books and manufacturers say it should be. They aren't in your room. Good Luck!
 
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b345t

Member
May 10, 2020
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Hi Markus,

Thanks for your input. Yes I have heard without the large table, but sadly this is the living room coffee table and stopped doing too many experiments with it because it is a permanent part of the setup.. Rarely, I move it off the to the side, but the carpet makes it hard to drag because it is heavy. I might invest in some platform for it with wheels to roll it easily, but don't want to make it a circus in here ;P

So far there are 2 votes for the dac upgrade and 1 for the speakers. Any suggestions?
 

MarkusBarkus

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Feb 7, 2021
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...they make sliders that work very well on carpet, but moving furniture to listen is a bother.

Speakers look to be about 8.5 feet C to C...how far are they from your listening position? Hard to tell dimensions from photos.

Some of what you describe as missing at times, reads to me like speaker placement tweaks.

I really like my Taiko Extreme server and MSB Reference dac, but those are spendy upgrades. Either would up the game, IMO.

BTW: adding a runner or thick-ish covering over the table while listening might be a middle path?

If pressed, I'd say dac...but would tweak speakers first.
 
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b345t

Member
May 10, 2020
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...they make sliders that work very well on carpet, but moving furniture to listen is a bother.

Speakers look to be about 8.5 feet C to C...how far are they from your listening position? Hard to tell dimensions from photos.

Some of what you describe as missing at times, reads to me like speaker placement tweaks.

I really like my Taiko Extreme server and MSB Reference dac, but those are spendy upgrades. Either would up the game, IMO.

BTW: adding a runner or thick-ish covering over the table while listening might be a middle path?

If pressed, I'd say dac...but would tweak speakers first.

I've measured the position so that I sit exactly at the golden triangle 'tip'. The speakers are 2m75 apart, so 9 feet. I received the Sablon Evo usb three days ago and that has made a significant impact on both pushing the soundstage further back and making the music sound more 'connected' and emotional, really great. That's a really good idea regarding a thick cover over the table, never thought about it! So let's say you had a budget of around 15k to upgrade this system, you would spend it on a dac rather than the speakers? That's interesting. The dac cost me just over 5k euro, and the speakers around 12k.
 

MarkusBarkus

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Feb 7, 2021
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...Focal speakers are nice IMO. I have heard a couple of models in situ in homes, and they always seemed very musical, smooth. And I mean that as a genuine plus, not a "sarcy" comment.

I haven't enough time with them to form an opinion re: imaging strength across long sessions, etc. But they sounded very nice.

I have the Magico A5s, and IMO they image very nicely and have a lot of detail. I went from Revel Studio2s and it was a very different profile.

Based on your numbers for speakers, I wonder what you would get from 12K to 15K delta re: sound. Unless you found something pricier, but used, for example.

For dacs, maybe a consideration is what you could demo for your money. Where I am, a could demo Chord stuff (which I did), but other upper-level gear was not really around to try.

You have a very nice system and room, and have an idea what you're looking for, so I think a demo would be mandatory.

65 miles away, MSB was available to me, so I tried a couple of models, and settled on the Reference. I would have liked to have tried something from Lampi.

The Dave gives a lot of detail, but many folks seem to like it with MScaler. I had the Dave/HMS and liked it, so I added a SJ DC4 and a Denefrips Gaia, and that was very nice indeed, but a lot of messing around to extract all the juice from Dave. I kept this as a very nice headphone system.

Does your system do headphones? If so, that takes away the room and maybe gives some insight into how your components image, etc. when you "remove" the speakers.
 

b345t

Member
May 10, 2020
57
18
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...Focal speakers are nice IMO. I have heard a couple of models in situ in homes, and they always seemed very musical, smooth. And I mean that as a genuine plus, not a "sarcy" comment.

I haven't enough time with them to form an opinion re: imaging strength across long sessions, etc. But they sounded very nice.

I have the Magico A5s, and IMO they image very nicely and have a lot of detail. I went from Revel Studio2s and it was a very different profile.

Based on your numbers for speakers, I wonder what you would get from 12K to 15K delta re: sound. Unless you found something pricier, but used, for example.

For dacs, maybe a consideration is what you could demo for your money. Where I am, a could demo Chord stuff (which I did), but other upper-level gear was not really around to try.

You have a very nice system and room, and have an idea what you're looking for, so I think a demo would be mandatory.

65 miles away, MSB was available to me, so I tried a couple of models, and settled on the Reference. I would have liked to have tried something from Lampi.

The Dave gives a lot of detail, but many folks seem to like it with MScaler. I had the Dave/HMS and liked it, so I added a SJ DC4 and a Denefrips Gaia, and that was very nice indeed, but a lot of messing around to extract all the juice from Dave. I kept this as a very nice headphone system.

Does your system do headphones? If so, that takes away the room and maybe gives some insight into how your components image, etc. when you "remove" the speakers.

Thanks for your input again, the T+A does have a headphone output, but I have never used it. I don't have headphones good enough that are at the level to discern system changes. I have a home recording studio, and quite a few studio headphones, but not really suitable for hifi.

When you say " get from 12K to 15K delta re: sound " what does that mean? Generally, I need very high detailed speakers. I don't like to feel the high-frequency roll-off or something too 'smooth'. For example, I can enjoy but I would not like to live with Burmester electronics.

I really liked the chord TT2 when it was in the system, but after hearing a good R2R like the May, there was no turning back for me. All the detail like TT2 the but with such a more realistic tone, texture, and body. A reviewer on Youtube A/B'd the May and MSB Discrete with the USB Module and 1 power supply I believe (maybe 2) and felt like the May could have been made by MSB, very similar sound. But gave the one up to the MSB overall.
 

MarkusBarkus

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Feb 7, 2021
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@b345t I was thinking: the difference between 12K speakers vs. 15K speakers, but it would be more with a trade, etc. so perhaps you would be looking at 20-25K speakers? I was thinking differently/incorrectly.

Currently, the MSBs except Select come with a single ps, IIRC. The Discreet with the ProISL/USB device was excellent, but in the end, it sounded close (but different) to the Dave/DC4/Gaia, so it didn't make sense for me.

Now the Reference, was better, to me. But $$$$. I had both MSB dacs for three weeks, each, so plenty of time. After 3 + 3 weeks, I put Dave back in...and then you could really tell the difference.

And, BTW, I am with you on the R2R dac sound. The Dave is very seductive. Very seductive. But the MSB has a fuller sound, but still with excellent detail to me.

I don't think I was any help at all! So, what do you think you're leaning toward? Cheers...
 

skids929

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Dec 31, 2020
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Switch, network switch dedicated feeding your awesome server and awesome DAC. I like mine so much I bought two and layered. One where all the network equipment is located, and one at my hifi rig. Maybe you already have one and I missed, if so apologies.
 
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ecwl

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Mar 20, 2021
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Hmmm... Been debating what to say. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss?
It's great that you (b345t) love your setup compared to most store demos. And why shouldn't you, you have amazing gear.
But I've found that most audiophiles love their own setups because they've tuned their ears to what their systems do best and would keep enhancing the sound through upgrades but at the same time, they've trained their ears to tune out the weakness in their system. So when they go listen to another stereo system, they would focus on the qualities of their own system that they value the most. I've done this myself many, many times (and probably still do).

The two things that really jumped out at me about your system are the coffee table in front of you (which you can easily cover with a thick blanket if you want to do more serious listening) and the asymmetric setup (with the left speakers so close to the corner of the room). Basically we can't change the laws of physics so unless you're willing to completely turn your setup upside down (which I wouldn't as I have an asymmetric setup myself), the asymmetric setup would always create lots of left-right image shifts that you've probably been mentally tuning out for a very long time. And often because you've been mentally tuning this aspect out, just plugging in headphones to listen through the T+A to compare the left-right soundstage issues don't work because you'll hear what you like about your speakers through your headphones and tune out the soundstage issue quite easily.

I would say addressing the sonic artifacts coming about from the asymmetric setup would give you the biggest bang for the buck.
Sadly, the only other way to really address this is through digital room correction. And it looks like you probably have a Denon/Sony receiver/processor for your Dolby Atmos setup so at best you have tried a so-so Audyssey room correction that is very likely underwhelming, not to mention the Denon/Sony DAC chip implementation sound would pale compared to Holo Spring.

So one radical option is to completely abandon your Holo Spring and Denon/Sony processor/receiver and switch to a Lyngdorf MP-60 processor with RoomPerfect digital room correction. And you may eventually switch to a different amp than T+A integrated too. You may think that the cheap chip DAC in the Lyngdorf would pale compared to your Holo Spring May for stereo but since everything is about system synergy and the DAC/preamp circuit in Lyngdorf is quite a bit better than what you get from Denon/Marantz/Sony products, I think you'd be quite surprised. Obviously, you should at least find a store demo for Lyngdorf to try or even better, see if you can get a home demo. Given the expense, if you don't like the sound, don't get it. Unfortunately, there is no way to integrate Lyngdorf with your Holo Spring May. But if you find the Lyngdorf sound not warm enough for you, you can always switch to a tube amplifier or a Class A amplifier to warm up the sound.

If you're set on preserving your Holo Spring May setup, the alternative is to do digital signal processing (DSP) room correction filter on your Innuos source music . You can either develop appropriate room correction convolution filters and then convolute every single music file you have on the Innuos server. Or if you use Roon with your Innuos, you can just load the digital room correction filters into Roon and let Innuos play the music for you into Holo Spring May. I think most people who do this use the latter solution.

But you would still have to figure out how to get the digital room correction in Roon. You can do it yourself and use parametric EQ. You can do it yourself using more sophisticated software like Acourate but the learning curve can be steep and you may or may not like what you hear because the more parameters you can set, the more ways you can screw up. Or you can hire somebody to do it for you, e.g. https://accuratesound.ca/services.html

To me, you're slowly reaching the limits of your listening environment. Sure, it's still fun upgrading various aspects of your system, e.g. cables, power, source, DAC, amp, speakers, subwoofer crossover/EQ. But since you're unlikely to completely change your setup/listening room, I strongly suspect some sort of digital room correction is your best bang for the buck and would lead to the most sonic upgrade. But it would completely change your upgrade direction and can potentially generate a steep learning curve because doing digital signal processing is not what most audiophiles do. Moreover, ultimately, no digital room filter algorithm can correct all sonic artifacts coming from the room. So you'll have to calibrate your expectations that way too.
 
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marty

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b345t, you are in a position many of us have experienced. You have nice system and are willing to invest in upgrading it's performance but aren't sure of what the best bang for a buck upgrade might be. I can support the suggestion that one path could be to focus on the digital side with a new DAC. But the recommendations made would not be my suggestion because I think that the musicality and tone you seek would be better served by a tube DAC in an otherwise SS system. I would consider the new Lampizator Baltic (8K) or a used Golden Gate (12K). My 2 cents. Good luck.
 

b345t

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May 10, 2020
57
18
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42
Thanks for all the input and feedback. Now to address some questions raised:

@b345t I was thinking: the difference between 12K speakers vs. 15K speakers, but it would be more with a trade, etc. so perhaps you would be looking at 20-25K speakers? I was thinking differently/incorrectly.

Currently, the MSBs except Select come with a single ps, IIRC. The Discreet with the ProISL/USB device was excellent, but in the end, it sounded close (but different) to the Dave/DC4/Gaia, so it didn't make sense for me.

Now the Reference, was better, to me. But $$$$. I had both MSB dacs for three weeks, each, so plenty of time. After 3 + 3 weeks, I put Dave back in...and then you could really tell the difference.

And, BTW, I am with you on the R2R dac sound. The Dave is very seductive. Very seductive. But the MSB has a fuller sound, but still with excellent detail to me.

I don't think I was any help at all! So, what do you think you're leaning toward? Cheers...

At this point, I am not really sure. System price wise, I think probably speakers or streamer. Prices: speakers:12k, amp:15k, dac:5k, streamer:2k. But then I am thinking if I go for a streamer, what shall I try? An Aurender? I hear such great things about the Taiko that I sometimes think I should save up and go straight there. But then it doesn't make so much sense to me to have a source costing over 25k and speakers that are 12k..!

Switch, network switch dedicated feeding your awesome server and awesome DAC. I like mine so much I bought two and layered. One where all the network equipment is located, and one at my hifi rig. Maybe you already have one and I missed, if so apologies.
I do not have one in place, mainly because I like the sound more when the file is played from the internal hard drive of the innuos than streaming. I am however in a very annoying place of having reached the limit and find myself deleting albums that I rarely listen to make space for new music. I have everything backed up on an external hard drive, so when I change to a server with a bigger HD, I will be able to store everything.

Hmmm... Been debating what to say. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss?
It's great that you (b345t) love your setup compared to most store demos. And why shouldn't you, you have amazing gear.
But I've found that most audiophiles love their own setups because they've tuned their ears to what their systems do best and would keep enhancing the sound through upgrades but at the same time, they've trained their ears to tune out the weakness in their system. So when they go listen to another stereo system, they would focus on the qualities of their own system that they value the most. I've done this myself many, many times (and probably still do).
Thanks for such detailed and thoughtful feedback. I have thought about the exact thing you are mentioning when listening at a dealer. Am I focusing on just comparing the sound to my own system or listening freely? Lately, whenever I get the chance, I actively say to myself that I need to listen to different 'flavors' and possibly find something in the presentation that I do not get in mine, and seek it out. I don't have any friends who are anywhere near my 'level' with audio systems and would love it if I could get a few unbiased people in here with much more experience than me to listen, without trying to sell me something! I live in Athens, Greece, so it's tougher to organize. Maybe some of you have arranged holidays this summer and are stopping by Athens? :D
The two things that really jumped out at me about your system are the coffee table in front of you (which you can easily cover with a thick blanket if you want to do more serious listening) and the asymmetric setup (with the left speakers so close to the corner of the room). Basically we can't change the laws of physics so unless you're willing to completely turn your setup upside down (which I wouldn't as I have an asymmetric setup myself), the asymmetric setup would always create lots of left-right image shifts that you've probably been mentally tuning out for a very long time. And often because you've been mentally tuning this aspect out, just plugging in headphones to listen through the T+A to compare the left-right soundstage issues don't work because you'll hear what you like about your speakers through your headphones and tune out the soundstage issue quite easily.

I would say addressing the sonic artifacts coming about from the asymmetric setup would give you the biggest bang for the buck.
Sadly, the only other way to really address this is through digital room correction. And it looks like you probably have a Denon/Sony receiver/processor for your Dolby Atmos setup so at best you have tried a so-so Audyssey room correction that is very likely underwhelming, not to mention the Denon/Sony DAC chip implementation sound would pale compared to Holo Spring.

Yes, I agree with you 100%, the asymmetric setup is holding back the delivery the most. That is why I said to myself about a year ago, there is no point in taking this further here. But it looks like I will probably be staying in this apartment for another couple of years so... The itch for an upgrade came back after tweaking the bass and that resulted in clearing up the midrange..! I will be honest with you and tell you that I am not so inclined to go with the room correction route. I haven't heard it implemented correctly as you mentioned, I just feel like it is unnatural. I feel like it would be taking a step back in the sound I am looking for.

Regarding the atmos setup, I basically just bought a cheapish Denon that has all the inputs needed and don't really care so much for great sound quality when watching movies etc. The difference in the dacs is extreme comparing the Denon to the Holo May.

If you're set on preserving your Holo Spring May setup, the alternative is to do digital signal processing (DSP) room correction filter on your Innuos source music . You can either develop appropriate room correction convolution filters and then convolute every single music file you have on the Innuos server. Or if you use Roon with your Innuos, you can just load the digital room correction filters into Roon and let Innuos play the music for you into Holo Spring May. I think most people who do this use the latter solution.

I love the thought process, really great, to alter all the files with the filters. Genius! But honestly, I wouldn't go through the process.. My heart just sinks thinking about all that altercation to the original file, as well as the time needed.
b345t, you are in a position many of us have experienced. You have nice system and are willing to invest in upgrading it's performance but aren't sure of what the best bang for a buck upgrade might be. I can support the suggestion that one path could be to focus on the digital side with a new DAC. But the recommendations made would not be my suggestion because I think that the musicality and tone you seek would be better served by a tube DAC in an otherwise SS system. I would consider the new Lampizator Baltic (8K) or a used Golden Gate (12K). My 2 cents. Good luck.

Thanks for the Lampizator recommendation, I have read a lot of great things too. Regarding the upgrade for me it is not only about the best bang for the buck, it is also about what is correct, system-wise. What I mean is let's say I upgrade speakers, for example to the next focal range, utopia Scala or Maestro; is the T+A going to be able to drive them properly? Or will that result in an immediate need to spend another 20k to upgrade the amplification simultaneously? I've added a screenshot of the T+A specs. I find myself playing music a lot of the time in the 70-80/100 volume. On DSD files, many times I push it to 85, sometimes 90! So I am worried about how it would be with bigger speakers. I want to be able to grow into the next 'level' rather than feel like the gear I have is a bottleneck. Maybe I'm thinking about things the wrong way though.
 

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AMR / iFi audio

Industry Expert
Aug 21, 2019
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Thanks for all the input and feedback. Now to address some questions raised:



At this point, I am not really sure. System price wise, I think probably speakers or streamer. Prices: speakers:12k, amp:15k, dac:5k, streamer:2k. But then I am thinking if I go for a streamer, what shall I try? An Aurender? I hear such great things about the Taiko that I sometimes think I should save up and go straight there. But then it doesn't make so much sense to me to have a source costing over 25k and speakers that are 12k..!


I do not have one in place, mainly because I like the sound more when the file is played from the internal hard drive of the innuos than streaming. I am however in a very annoying place of having reached the limit and find myself deleting albums that I rarely listen to make space for new music. I have everything backed up on an external hard drive, so when I change to a server with a bigger HD, I will be able to store everything.


Thanks for such detailed and thoughtful feedback. I have thought about the exact thing you are mentioning when listening at a dealer. Am I focusing on just comparing the sound to my own system or listening freely? Lately, whenever I get the chance, I actively say to myself that I need to listen to different 'flavors' and possibly find something in the presentation that I do not get in mine, and seek it out. I don't have any friends who are anywhere near my 'level' with audio systems and would love it if I could get a few unbiased people in here with much more experience than me to listen, without trying to sell me something! I live in Athens, Greece, so it's tougher to organize. Maybe some of you have arranged holidays this summer and are stopping by Athens? :D


Yes, I agree with you 100%, the asymmetric setup is holding back the delivery the most. That is why I said to myself about a year ago, there is no point in taking this further here. But it looks like I will probably be staying in this apartment for another couple of years so... The itch for an upgrade came back after tweaking the bass and that resulted in clearing up the midrange..! I will be honest with you and tell you that I am not so inclined to go with the room correction route. I haven't heard it implemented correctly as you mentioned, I just feel like it is unnatural. I feel like it would be taking a step back in the sound I am looking for.

Regarding the atmos setup, I basically just bought a cheapish Denon that has all the inputs needed and don't really care so much for great sound quality when watching movies etc. The difference in the dacs is extreme comparing the Denon to the Holo May.



I love the thought process, really great, to alter all the files with the filters. Genius! But honestly, I wouldn't go through the process.. My heart just sinks thinking about all that altercation to the original file, as well as the time needed.


Thanks for the Lampizator recommendation, I have read a lot of great things too. Regarding the upgrade for me it is not only about the best bang for the buck, it is also about what is correct, system-wise. What I mean is let's say I upgrade speakers, for example to the next focal range, utopia Scala or Maestro; is the T+A going to be able to drive them properly? Or will that result in an immediate need to spend another 20k to upgrade the amplification simultaneously? I've added a screenshot of the T+A specs. I find myself playing music a lot of the time in the 70-80/100 volume. On DSD files, many times I push it to 85, sometimes 90! So I am worried about how it would be with bigger speakers. I want to be able to grow into the next 'level' rather than feel like the gear I have is a bottleneck. Maybe I'm thinking about things the wrong way though.
If you have found the absorbing panels to suck the life out of the music, then diffusion should work better there. I wouldn't leave that central space blank.
Knowing both Focal and T+A for their transparency, maybe a tube DAC is a good idea? It would add some fullness and body to the sound if that sounds tempting to you. Lampizator and Audio Note come to mind.
 

b345t

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May 10, 2020
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If you have found the absorbing panels to suck the life out of the music, then diffusion should work better there. I wouldn't leave that central space blank.
Knowing both Focal and T+A for their transparency, maybe a tube DAC is a good idea? It would add some fullness and body to the sound if that sounds tempting to you. Lampizator and Audio Note come to mind.
Thanks for the recommendations, regarding diffusion; what kind do you believe works the best? I am pretty confused regarding this subject. For best results, does the room need to be measured and a suitable diffusor built for the specific room? What type does the best job, quadratic well diffusion? Any brand you can recommend?
 

AMR / iFi audio

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Aug 21, 2019
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Thanks for the recommendations, regarding diffusion; what kind do you believe works the best? I am pretty confused regarding this subject. For best results, does the room need to be measured and a suitable diffusor built for the specific room? What type does the best job, quadratic well diffusion? Any brand you can recommend?
You're welcome. At this point, I believe that measurements performed by an acoustics expert are the way to go. There is only so much we can do ourselves. Personally, I would do that before considering any upgrades in the gear.
As you are an advanced user, I also recommend taking a look at some so called audio voodoo. Stuff like vibration control, lifting your speaker cables off the ground (they are ribbons, so it shouldn't matter that much, but it's a good practice anyway). Are the squares underneath the speakers ceramic or stone? Those have a tendency to dry out the sound a bit.
 
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b345t

Member
May 10, 2020
57
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You're welcome. At this point, I believe that measurements performed by an acoustics expert are the way to go. There is only so much we can do ourselves. Personally, I would do that before considering any upgrades in the gear.
As you are an advanced user, I also recommend taking a look at some audio voodoo per se. Stuff like vibration control, lifting your speaker cables off the ground (they are ribbons, so it shouldn't matter that much, but it's a good practice anyway). Are the squares underneath the speakers ceramic or stone? Those have a tendency to dry out the sound a bit.
Vibration control is neccessary but dont really know what to do with the projector screen for example. I'm paying rent in this place so I don't want to go all out breaking walls and adding thicker insulation etc. The squares are granite/marble blocks. I just get them made because I felt like the speakers can't sound that good if they are sitting with the isoacoustic gaia feet on a carpet that has soft pads underneath it.
 

rubinken

Active Member
Jan 15, 2020
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Hello!

It's been a while since I really thought about updating anything in the rig. In the last month or so, I have been noticing that my bass was a little too heavy and played around with the subwoofers' eq. That sparked my interest again and got me thinking about what change I should make next. To be honest, although moderately treated, the room is less than ideal and I hear vibrations from the projector screen unit, as well as the metal inside the gypsum construction. The thick curtain on the left window to the balcony helps, but obviously, that is a room issue. I said to myself about a year ago, until I move into my own house and fixing a dedicated room, there is no point taking this further here.

So what I am missing these days are a more 'natural' sound and soundstage depth. I am getting a lot of awesome detail and accuracy in the imaging/staging; the overall balance of the sound is good (especially after the last subwoofer fix), speakers disappear, and have quite a textured/tangible/rich sound. I am not getting the beryllium tweeter attack that I have heard on some Focal systems. Top end is pretty smooth, rarely do I get any sibilance.

Sometimes I feel like I am not getting coherence in the song; as in there are distinct and clear separations of instruments but it is not playing as one in some cases. Other times I find myself being deeply involved in the music and very satisfied with what I am hearing. I am attaching pictures so you all can see the rig, as well as a flow diagram below of components. Let me know what you guys think I should do.

Dedicated line from the electrical mains box ----> Furutech e-TP80E ----> Innuos Zen mk3 streamer (PC: Furutech S55n with fi50ncf) ---Sablon 2020 USB (evo coming tomorrow) ---> Holo Audio May KTE (PC: stock) --- Zenwave DSR XLR --> T+A PA 3100HV integrated (PC: Zenwave PCR 11) ---- Silversmith Fidelium ----> Focal Sopra 2 . I am also using 2x Velodyne dd12+ .

l'll also mention that I don't have much experience listening to great systems and hearing the next level. Most dealerships I go to and listen to more expensive gear, my system is just better to me. The distance from the back wall to the front woofers of the sopra: 110 cm/43 inches.

Let me know what you all think, any tips are more than welcome!

Cheers!
This may sound silly, but I'm 100% serious. Your first upgrade should be getting your ears professionally cleaned. If you haven't done this, you'll be surprised. With clean ears your steps forward might be clearer to you.
 
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skids929

Active Member
Dec 31, 2020
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This may sound silly, but I'm 100% serious. Your first upgrade should be getting your ears professionally cleaned. If you haven't done this, you'll be surprised. With clean ears your steps forward might be clearer to you.

Ha! I didn't even know that was a thing.
 

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