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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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.

I went last month and go every 2-3 months because I get more ear wax than average and the doctors told me never to use ear buds!
 
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MarkusBarkus

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Feb 7, 2021
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...so your hearing is too sensitive! Stop cleaning them and...problem solved!? But seriously, this hearing subtle spatial and phase/timing differences is very subtle stuff.
 

Sampajanna

Well-Known Member
Apr 1, 2021
223
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Beautiful room and system!
 

Sampajanna

Well-Known Member
Apr 1, 2021
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I also have the asymmetry blues :) I put a panel up on the wall side to absorb a bit and it helped a lot to balance with the other, open side.
 

abeidrov

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Dec 17, 2015
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Moscow
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.
I would certainly try an Aurender N20 or N30SE, if you have a chance. In my case I was not prepared for a difference I heard between my former servers and Aurender N20. And it’s not just a hardware issue, software also matters a lot. All I can say is that the difference in streamers was easier to spot, than the difference between my Lampi GG2 and MSB Reference with 2 power supplies and top clock, which I also had in my room for a couple of weeks..
 
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b345t

Member
May 10, 2020
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Beautiful room and system!
Thanks! Its nice, but wish I could play around in a different room! Oh well, soon I guess. Your system looks killer.. How is the Innuos Statement? Would you recommend it in 2022? Cheers
 

b345t

Member
May 10, 2020
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I actually just read they have an updated power supply coming to the statement that was revealed in Axpona. Existing Statement users can upgrade.


Hmm
 

AMR / iFi audio

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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.
You can try with plywood. It's gonna be around 25 pounds at your nearest hardware store including cutting. That will change the tonality of speakers a bit. Maybe that will be a direction you'll like?
A projection screen isn't that bad actually. It doesn't reflect that much.
 

b345t

Member
May 10, 2020
57
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You can try with plywood. It's gonna be around 25 pounds at your nearest hardware store including cutting. That will change the tonality of speakers a bit. Maybe that will be a direction you'll like?
A projection screen isn't that bad actually. It doesn't reflect that much.

The screen itself no, but the mount it is in that is and its 'case' does very frequently when the volume gets serious..
 

AMR / iFi audio

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The screen itself no, but the mount it is in that is and its 'case' does very frequently when the volume gets serious..
The case is plastic or sheet metal, isn't it? Sticking some car audio body damping material can help. Those self-adhesive rubber mats. It's not the prettiest, but it works. Or maybe just some screws got loose and need retightening?
 
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b345t

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May 10, 2020
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The case is plastic or sheet metal, isn't it? Sticking some car audio body damping material can help. Those self-adhesive rubber mats. It's not the prettiest, but it works. Or maybe just some screws got loose and need retightening?
It is sheet metal I believe. Interesting idea, how will I apply the material? Just around the case? I feel like I want to add O-rings as I did on my guitar amplifier to stop the tubes from rattling.. But they would have to be much bigger.
 

AMR / iFi audio

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It is sheet metal I believe. Interesting idea, how will I apply the material? Just around the case? I feel like I want to add O-rings as I did on my guitar amplifier to stop the tubes from rattling.. But they would have to be much bigger.
It's sold in sheets with adhesive on one side. Clean the surface of the enclosure with rubbing alcohol and stick that.
 
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gds7368

VIP/Donor
Jan 9, 2015
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great looking system!

as much as I've learned on this website ... an audiophile good friend 15 years ago told me that the single biggest change in sound is always your speakers.

Focals are great speakers (sound wonderful in Boulder's listening room, and they use stock cables "if you like our products here you'll love it at home") but if you're yearning for anything different maybe demo some other speakers?

looks like you are in Europe? I have an Aurender W20SE (8 TB HD) just sitting in a box (will eventually sell it, just lazy) that I'd be glad to lend you to try the Aurender sound if you were anywhere near Columbus, Ohio ....

or add vinyl. I'm 80% vinyl/20% digital since I added a turntable (didn't see one in your system but maybe I missed it?)
 

ACHiPo

Well-Known Member
Feb 22, 2015
346
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Pleasanton, CA
I would certainly try an Aurender N20 or N30SE, if you have a chance. In my case I was not prepared for a difference I heard between my former servers and Aurender N20. And it’s not just a hardware issue, software also matters a lot. All I can say is that the difference in streamers was easier to spot, than the difference between my Lampi GG2 and MSB Reference with 2 power supplies and top clock, which I also had in my room for a couple of weeks..
I was skeptical how much difference the server makes, but after hearing the Taiko Extreme I was convinced it will be my next upgrade. I suspect the Aurender N30SE would provide comparable improvement. Unfortunately that’s $25k not $15k. A Lampi Pacific is on my list as well, but alas yet another $25k.
 
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b345t

Member
May 10, 2020
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great looking system!

as much as I've learned on this website ... an audiophile good friend 15 years ago told me that the single biggest change in sound is always your speakers.

Focals are great speakers (sound wonderful in Boulder's listening room, and they use stock cables "if you like our products here you'll love it at home") but if you're yearning for anything different maybe demo some other speakers?

looks like you are in Europe? I have an Aurender W20SE (8 TB HD) just sitting in a box (will eventually sell it, just lazy) that I'd be glad to lend you to try the Aurender sound if you were anywhere near Columbus, Ohio ....

or add vinyl. I'm 80% vinyl/20% digital since I added a turntable (didn't see one in your system but maybe I missed it?)

Wow that is incredibly kind of you to offer thank you so much, but I live in Athens, Greece; so it is not possible.

Regarding the speakers, the only thing that at times I feel like I get from the Focal is a 'hardness' in the midrange. It is obviously extremely detailed with the beryllium tweeter, and I'm not talking about high frequency/transient 'glare' or 'harshness' some people describe. It is in the tonality. Not always, but with some singers, I feel like sometimes I can hear the 'metal' from the tweeter if that makes sense. It's not bad, but I know that in this aspect, it can be improved. Maybe further up the line with say a Maestro they have improved on this, or maybe not? I would love to add vinyl at some point, I just haven't done my due diligence regarding the fundamentals of operating and owning a vinyl system. I keep getting the feeling that since 99% of music recorded today is in the digital domain, is meant to be reproduced that way.

I was skeptical how much difference the server makes, but after hearing the Taiko Extreme I was convinced it will be my next upgrade. I suspect the Aurender N30SE would provide comparable improvement. Unfortunately that’s $25k not $15k. A Lampi Pacific is on my list as well, but alas yet another $25k.

You have both an Aurender N10 and a May! Interesting. Maybe you could share what you hear comparing them? -(Taiko vs Aurender I mean) Did you hear the Taiko in your system? All these are end-game gear you mention and would love to hear them too.


I have almost decided that I need to go to the Munich show this year as a learning experience and to get real-world experience listening to different manufacturers and what they offer.
 
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ACHiPo

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Feb 22, 2015
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Wow that is incredibly kind of you to offer thank you so much, but I live in Athens, Greece; so it is not possible.

Regarding the speakers, the only thing that at times I feel like I get from the Focal is a 'hardness' in the midrange. It is obviously extremely detailed with the beryllium tweeter, and I'm not talking about high frequency/transient 'glare' or 'harshness' some people describe. It is in the tonality. Not always, but with some singers, I feel like sometimes I can hear the 'metal' from the tweeter if that makes sense. It's not bad, but I know that in this aspect, it can be improved. Maybe further up the line with say a Maestro they have improved on this, or maybe not? I would love to add vinyl at some point, I just haven't done my due diligence regarding the fundamentals of operating and owning a vinyl system. I keep getting the feeling that since 99% of music recorded today is in the digital domain, is meant to be reproduced that way.



You have both an Aurender N10 and a May! Interesting. Maybe you could share what you hear comparing them? Did you hear the Taiko in your system? All these are end-game gear you mention and would love to hear them too.


I have almost decided that I need to go to the Munich show this year as a learning experience and to get real-world experience listening to different manufacturers and what they offer.
I have an Aurender S10 and a Holo Audio May KTE. The Taiko/Lampizator/Alieno/Alsyvox I heard at Taiko is a whole other level. I’m not sure how much to attribute to the Taiko Extreme, but it certainly added to the experience.
 
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b345t

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I have an Aurender S10 and a Holo Audio May KTE. The Taiko/Lampizator/Alieno/Alsyvox I heard at Taiko is a whole other level. I’m not sure how much to attribute to the Taiko Extreme, but it certainly added to the experience.

Have you maybe had any experience comparing other servers to the Aurender? Like Innuos statement? I don't like roon's sound so I am contemplating what I should go with. . .
 

AMR / iFi audio

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Aug 21, 2019
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Wow that is incredibly kind of you to offer thank you so much, but I live in Athens, Greece; so it is not possible.

Regarding the speakers, the only thing that at times I feel like I get from the Focal is a 'hardness' in the midrange. It is obviously extremely detailed with the beryllium tweeter, and I'm not talking about high frequency/transient 'glare' or 'harshness' some people describe. It is in the tonality. Not always, but with some singers, I feel like sometimes I can hear the 'metal' from the tweeter if that makes sense. It's not bad, but I know that in this aspect, it can be improved. Maybe further up the line with say a Maestro they have improved on this, or maybe not? I would love to add vinyl at some point, I just haven't done my due diligence regarding the fundamentals of operating and owning a vinyl system. I keep getting the feeling that since 99% of music recorded today is in the digital domain, is meant to be reproduced that way.



You have both an Aurender N10 and a May! Interesting. Maybe you could share what you hear comparing them? -(Taiko vs Aurender I mean) Did you hear the Taiko in your system? All these are end-game gear you mention and would love to hear them too.


I have almost decided that I need to go to the Munich show this year as a learning experience and to get real-world experience listening to different manufacturers and what they offer.
You have mentioned that you get a bit of harshness in midrange sometimes. Introducing tubes to your system might be also a good idea. I've always liked mixing Focals with tubes somewhere in the system. They really compliment each other.
 

ACHiPo

Well-Known Member
Feb 22, 2015
346
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Pleasanton, CA
Have you maybe had any experience comparing other servers to the Aurender? Like Innuos statement? I don't like roon's sound so I am contemplating what I should go with. . .
No comparisons sorry. I bought the Aurender used and have been happy with it for the past 8 years. It is getting old, so I'm preparing to replace it, which is why I listened to the Taiko Extreme.
 

oldhvymec

VIP/Donor
Mar 25, 2022
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Maybe I'm backwards. The biggest single change in my system was the ROOM. It had very little to do with equipment either.

That room and the way the equipment and subs are NOT decoupled would make make a huge difference. I don't see any changes in gear needed at ALL. Just the room being tuned. Save your money.. Helmholtz adjustable traps. Two more subs and move the subs away from the gear.
ADD Air bags, pods or springs for the racks, main speakers and of course the subs..

Cost 2-3k, improvement 50+ % in what I see alone. Gear swaps would be sideways at best.. Same with speakers. Tune with the traps, add a floor to ceiling drape on the huge reflective glass (left) and decouple. No spikes or any of that mess they don't work in every direction.. That is a problem, it adds a timing issue for the lower octave from the sub speakers and room vs the floor. The floors response is quicker than the room response. (smear). If you have bottom firing subs, do yourself a favor and look for anything but that, unless they are slot loaded with a butt plate and can be decoupled..

Regards
 

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