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About DrSK

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  1. Precursor to the Soliloquy according to Mr Metaxas.
  2. Many of us have gone through this dilemma. I started with Yamaha 2030 and 5.1 then bought higher end fronts but realised I could get much more out of them. Tried using the AVR preout to a high end power amp but wasnt a better result and parked it for a year as life got in the way. Things got interesting when I found my 10 year old plus Panasonic flagship Blu-ray player's decoded 5.1 analogue outs feeding a stack of old NAD 1980s integrated amps (etc $100 off Gumtree) smashed the modern $2.5k AVR for movies and music. Then got unlucky with the old amps I had being unreliable. Realised that the issue is an AVR is too compromised packing so much into one box at a price point under $3k. It is basically multiple integrated amps and DACs all for a low price compared to components. And that the old flagship Panasonic gear was quite good as it was made before many people had AVRs to decode stuff. Pulled out the power amp (early Metaxas Soliloquy) again and paired for the fronts with a borrowed Denon Heos as a preamp and the down mixed to stereo output off the Blu-ray to see what happened and was blown away compared to the AVR for music and surprisingly it was a lot better for movies too. Then sold the AVR and 5.1 speakers and ran stereo for a while and went for an Oppo 205 Blu-ray to handle decoding and down mixing a digital stereo output and sent the digital to a Klein Konverter DAC/Pre amp and then the power amp. High end stereo is vastly better than my previous 3.1 or 5.1 for a single user in the sweet spot as centre speakers and subs are redundant for now in a full range system that can reproduce stereo imaging through 180 degrees around you. The Klein is many levels above the stereo anlagoue out of the Oppo which was again many levels above the Heos. I have since added in rears to match the front speakers and for my budget a carefully selected $100 integrated from the late 1970s early 1980s and taking the rear analogue out from the Oppo. So now running a quirky 4.0 set up with full range fronts receiving the full LFE and prefer it over the movies or any shop HT demo setup. And music is superb in 2.0. Lossless audio on some Blu-ray movies is rediculous. And I occasionally run the rears in 2.0 (rears role off below 50Hz) for music if listening to some pop genre where the base is over done for the iPod market using the second analogue out from the Klein to the integrated amp. When I need a bigger sweet spot I may fill in a bit with a centre speaker if I can afford to match the speakers and amplification or near enough for family viewing. The Oppo does not decode Atmos but outputs it via HDMI. At some point I may try hacking a soundbar etc to extract a decoded signal I can use or perhaps if the audio is not critical something basic may fill in OK. It will depend on if latency is an issue. Latency was the reason I couldn't even use the AVR to run the rears.
  3. This is the trade off that surprised me given a few other limitations. And after much trial and error caused me to rotate my room. The improved side wall and speaker spacing for me gave me better overall results than when I had massive rear wall distances (4m etc). Got the low frequency sorted well enough with less rear wall distance (1.4m or so) with very careful placement 15cm at a time shifts of couch to rear wall and seperate speaker to front wall adjustment to smooth out the low frequency. Think perhaps the lower directivity of the low end output means the dips weren't as bad as I'd expected. And the direct and rear wall reflected path differences are such that all the imaging from direct arrival is clear. Only gets audibly stuffed front to rear when I get closer to the rear wall when the reflection creates the feeling of standing in a room mode. Dave, can you provide an recommendations for practical diffusers? How much over what theoretical range makes a useful difference? Easy to have a good feel for absorption but diffusers are not so commonly found or measured. My RTs are not bad. Easy to model and predict I'd benefit in my room, but really thinking I need to just build some stuff to get a subjective feel. In a position where more absorption in the right place improves imaging but deaden the room too.
  4. Beyond what others have said the key thing is making sure your doors and trafficable areas are located so they don't get in the way of the space you need behind and beside speakers and for cabling. Same for having enough space between the listening chair and the rear wall. All rooms will have issues which can be tuned by speaker and listening position placement. Just don't make the mistake of badly distributed absorption or dimensions that are multiples with the worst case being a square. Better to start with a bare room and add treatment where you need for tuning. Larger rooms are generally good but delays from reflections become noticeable in lengths of around 5 to 7m and above. Need to ideally resolve with diffusion. PS Audio's test room shows how to do diffusion well. In a 4.5m by 7m room set up long ways rear wall reflections are audible without treatment as a delay with seating 1/3 from speakers to front wall, low frequency works well but side walls are close and speaker spacing is limited (I find about 3m is best for my system but to tight long ways). Set up width ways the now side wall reflections without treatment are noticeable as image ghosting (previously when long ways the delay times were too short to do this) without treatment and speaker position from the front wall and seat position from the rear wall are more critical to manage low frequency. I always avoid seating in the middle of a dimension (other than my other living space where a first order mode perfectly balances up some small bookshelves at the bottom end in the frequency domain at least). With the limitations by existing doors, trafficable areas etc, spacing between speakers my room works best set up width ways. Meant many hours of rewiring.
  5. True but need to be careful as rooms get bigger when set up across the room. The delay time between direct and side wall reflections gets too large and you lose clarity. Sensed like a small reverb issue but not. I'm in need of treatment and had to mitigate this by increasing speaker spacing to bring them closer to the side walls than ideal to reduce the delay time and then add a bit of toe in as I was getting too far off axis. As it is the side walls create a little ghosting in the imaging and the sweet spot is narrower than I'd like. Mates holding up some batts pulled from under the house on the reflection points snapped the imaging tighter but my RTs are already not bad so want to use diffusion when time allows. Length ways was problematic for me with doors in three corners making speaker positioning and cabling impractical with them in good locations. In an untreated room long ways was actually worse than what I have now as rear wall reflections were so delayed they were audible as a discreet flutter at the buzz/ring end of flutter. 7m length room by 4.5m. Seat was about 1/3 to 1/4 from front wall. To control rear reflection etc in the across ways set up I brought the seating position to about 1/3 room width from the rear wall. Close to the rear wall you boost low frequency and lose imaging as the direct and reflected time delay is close. Your ears feel 'filled' and you can't pick direction like being in a room mode when a tone is played. It's imperative for imaging that your brain knows what is the direct signal, it can deal with other stuff once it has locked that in which is why diffusion works so well. At 1/3 distance the sound from the rear wall has had to travel twice as far (further actually as the speakers are out from the front wall) to get to you than the direct signal and will have dispersed further and be at a lower level. I tend to think in terms of image sources as a starting point as you can recreate any regular physical room using image sources. While tuning rear wall distance this I also played with distance of the speakers from the rear wall since they will couple across the room as well then retuned the seating position. Speaker width also changed the coupling at the lower end in the room. I'd recommend playing around a whole lot. I tuned by ear all the positioning to within 10cm and was surprised how good it got without any treatment. I then modeled it which confirmed what I could hear.
  6. I went down this path and ended up not getting an AVR at all. But focus more on stereo and don't have Atmos speakers running but may hack Atmos at some point by destroying a cheap sound bar set up and a spare audio only output Hdmi port on my system. At the time it was a $5k AVR pre or a $2k player with analogue and digital out with trimming and delay settings. I'm glad I didn't get the AVR. I ended up running an Oppo 205 as a pre/Pro and making use of my HT bypass on my stereo DAC/Pre for the fronts for a while. The Oppo 205 is good for movies and had the hype of being as good as a $5k CD player for music. However it still was no where near as good as my stereo DAC/pre for music and the stereo DAC/pre is still noticeably better in movies upfront but fine elsewhere. I ended up using the 2 channel digital out which runs by default off the Oppo coax output and fed it into my DAC/pre and still use the Oppo analogue out for the other channels. For now I ditched the centre speaker as my stereo DAC/Pre and power amp combo out class what I can afford with a centre channel and the imaging makes needing a centre speaker pointless until it's more than just me in room. People often compliment me on the quality of my centre speaker and then get really confused when they notice it's not plugged in. I'm about to try trimming in the centre speaker at a level where it isn't noticeably audible to see if it boosts the width of the sweet spot. At some point I will build some room diffusion which should help too. The only trick at the moment is to remember the offsets between the stereo volume control and the Oppo/amps driving the rest. The 205 is probably the pinnacle for stock Oppos. But I repeated the same system in another room with a second hand Oppo bought for $300 on Gumtree with a good stereo DAC and integrated amp for the fronts which are reference level book shelfs. The lower spec Oppos are still good for rears etc as they are less critical. I'm running Lenehan speakers, upfront is a Klein Konverter DAC/Pre with Metaxas A3 power amp (early Soliloquy), Oppo 205 and integrateds for other channels.
  7. Oled for best picture quality. Or Qled 80 series and above for good picture quality but deals with bright rooms better.
  8. One thing which is kind of obvious but left me embarrassed for a while. When thinking about going the pre and power combo make sure the interconnects are up to it. Mine weren't and I was scratching my head about why the high end power amp didn't sound it and was worse than the integrated. It will be the most critical cable in the system. For me some Lenehan interconnects solved it and together with the power amp peeled yet another wet blanket off the front of my speakers compared to the integrated.
  9. Thanks but I'm not sure this does what I need? This appears to be another DAC or Oppo(minus the disc tray and AV capability) type device. I'm looking for a streamer to connect via USB with my current DAC ($4000 Konverter DAC/Pre built by Gieseler Audio and well reviewed here) which I'm more than happy with.
  10. Thanks everyone! It gave me all the info I needed to run through things. Sorry Dave, I threw you on the FLAC at 44.1kHz. I was also A/B testing Kodi via the laptop with FLAC via USB and Oppo 205 with FLAC via coax to the DAC and late at night must have thought I was listening to the USB and Kodi when instead connected to the Oppo via coax on one occasion. I set the same albums on both running at the same time during some of my tests. Thanks Satanica. The main issue was me being a newbie to using a laptop via USB and under Windows. Kodi was running DirectSound which was resampling all to 48kHz including some 96kHz files I tried today. I changed to WASAPI and that sorted the CD rips back to 44.1kHz. I then also found the advanced settings in Kodi which by default limited output to a max of 48kHz, I upped to 384kHz and then my 96kHz files ran at full rate. Happier now with the FLAC running at the correct bit rate on Kodi but had been hoping for something better from the USB (my understanding is the Konverter was optimised around USB), was at least a good match with the Oppo 205 coax driving the Konverter. I was running from a Win10 Surface Pro 5 on battery without mains connection. USB seemed to be noisy/cross talk (?), at first I couldn't figure out why it would only output low volume but the Surface was actually sending the music to muted onboard speakers, even so the Konverter was picking up enough background signal on the USB to have low level audio played out my Lenehans. Got full range once I jumped into the Win10 Sound settings and changed the output to the USB and Konverter. Note I wasn't playing the Oppo at the same time when this happened. I will probably look at trying one of the USB streamers, SOtM SMS-200 or Micro Rendu?
  11. Also there are comments in here about how to boost STC performance. However for music this is often a bad thing. STC is simply a measure of speech noise reduction before room effects are considered (room effects reduce the room to room performance) and is a dated approach still used by the USA. Most places now at least use Rw which better accounts for problems in a panel for SPEECH noise reduction. Where lower frequencies are an issue Rw+Ctr is often used where Ctr is a correction that in effect derates the Rw value and instead uses a standardised traffic noise spectrum instead of speech. It just happens that traffic has more low frequency content, so the traffic noise reduction rating Rw+Ctr is often a rough proxy where there is more low frequency. However for music there is low frequency at a level well below traffic noise and so none of these ratings are much use. In any situation with any wall or ceiling material mid to highs are always knocked out more anyway leaving low frequency issues. Many approaches to improve STC or Rw reduce low frequency performance making them worse for music (3 points better STC/Rw and 15dB worse at lower frequency, you can even stuff the benefits of a masonry wall by how you hang gyrpock on or near it). The only way to design is using the full frequency transmission loss curves which most material suppliers at best have to chase from the original lab report or they do not have it. In homes there are also often other constraints that will significantly reduce performance or work arounds that differ from the lay up tested in a lab. You also need to know how to take into account hot spots from speakers and angle of incidence effects which alter the reduction rating of a material. All test data is for random incidence and should be adjusted for the direct field component of room noise levels. I’ve seen a $15million build fail where the consultant didn’t take this into account when I did the compliance for the council.
  12. I’d recommend just hiring a professional acoustic engineer. Everything you are trying to design for noise control is basic bread and butter that can be completed by a recent grad with some guidance and basic software for a room. There are also plenty of traps with using cavities in wall and ceiling construction etc that can make matters worse if they are not tuned correctly you should be aware of. They can most easily be predicted with software now. In terms of budget, I just designed an entire 200 seat school performance space and function rooms, music teaching spaces etc to meet environmental criteria at a residence 50m away as well as the stage design and internal acoustics for around the $14k mark. I reckon you could get your room sorted including environmental measurements for under $3k. Less if you just want to do the best you can with the space you have rather than meeting set targets and use the volume control to please the rest of the family and neighbours. For internal acoustics and music don’t make the mistake of a dead room. Most people have too much absorption that is unevenly distributed and unbalanced for the room response. Start sparse as it is far easier and cheaper to add more than remove carpet etc. RTs are normally reasonably short anyway (say 4.5m by 7m room) and it is far more important to have good speaker positioning and control of reflections in terms of magnitude and time delay. PS Audio’s test room is a good lesson, small space packed with diffusers and book shelves for more diffusion.
  13. Hi all, hope this is a dumb question. For the first time I have tried ripping my CDs and selected uncompressed FLAC in dBpoweramps cd ripper. I then downloaded Kodi for playback. On purchased FLAC my DAC (Konverter, USB) displays 44.1kHz on FLAC with that rate. However on the ripped CDs it displays 48kHz? This should not be so for an audio CD? Not sure if it is technical paranoia or not but something seems to sound slightly different on some tracks. I'm not the best with software but can't seem to find any settings on the cd ripper that would be resampling to 48kHz or on Kodi that may be doing the same. I'm guessing there is something easy/obvious that I am missing? I didn't pick the ripper or Kodi for any reason in particular other than they seem to be one of the three that gets mentioned a lot on here. Thanks, Simon
  14. I got lucky, my wife hated how complex the TV was to operate in the lounge via an older AV amp to swap between sources. And our old bluray didn’t work with most newer hard drives. So, simple solution to make it easier for her was all sources plugged to TV, Klein III, a good integrated stereo amp plus a new Oppo connected to Klein via coax.
  15. Not sure if anyone has answered you or whether my comments will help. The only DAC remotely close to those on your list I have is an Oppo 205 player which was well reviewed for it’s audio performance and has doubled in price since it was discontinued. It took all of 3 seconds for me to hear that my Konverter (Clays DAC/Pre) was in every way better than the 205. Far more natural, harshess was gone but no loss in clarity (better actually), vocals far clearer and proper space between items on the sound stage, sound has a natural richness, music just flows better, transients like a drum hit are far more real. The 205 now only runs the front via coax to the Konverter and analogue out to the rears. I now have a Klein III for my second system with S/PDIF taking optical off the TV and coax off an Oppo 103. Sound again leaves the 205 for dead. Haven’t done a back to back of the Konverter and Klein III. I suspect the Klein III with upgraded power supply would be ahead. The Konverter on here shows people rating it close to similar as a DAC to PS Audio Directstream. Clay may use the same chips as others but a key aspect, as I understand, is the analogue stage to get things to line level etc. Plus the usually talked about clock and supply voltage. This would appear to be what sets many DACs apart and where companies offer upgrades on products like the 205. Clay knows his stuff in getting this right.
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