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thecoffeegent

ADVICE - Improving my current 2.1 setup with a new DAC or Integrated stereo.

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Hey All!

 

I've been out of the loop for a few years now but finally getting some free time to enjoy movies/gaming/music again and want to improve on my current 2.1 audio setup to match a recent 4kTV upgrade. 

 

My current setup is:

 

Visual

Sony X85G 4k HDR TV

Sources

CA Azure 751BD Bluray/Cd Player

Foxtel iQ4

PS4 Pro

iPhone11pro

Audio

Rotel RA-06SE Integrated Stereo Amp

B&W 685 Speaker Pair

B&W PV1 Subwoofer

A $50 Jaycar DAC that's handling the optical audio output from the TV to my stereo amp while i'm working out which path to go down...

 

For simplification purposes I now basically stream everything movie/TV related via all the streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ etc or watch sport and premiere movies on Foxtel. And, if i'm being honest, I probably stream music way more just from my iPhone these days than a CD. I'm basically embracing super fast broadband, improved streaming quality and convenience.

 

So anyways, i guess I'm looking for advice on where i can add/improve on my current setup to better suit my new way of consuming media.

 

Now a couple of notes:

 

  1. I have no plans to update the speakers/sub anytime soon. I'm happy with them.
  2. I have no plans to grow my physical movie/music library. I'm embracing the ease of streaming services.
  3. My audio focus is more towards being immersed in a movie/tv show and less so on music, which is more for in the background when cooking, entertaining etc.
  4. My total upgrade budget is around $1k - $1.5k for new component/s... but certainly no more than $2k.
  5. A decent DAC to handle the PCM optical outs from my TV and Foxtel is an obvious solution, but: 
    • I want this upgrade to be a family friendly integration - not a symphony of remote shuffling.
    •  I'd like the option of a sub line out as well as stereo out.
    • I'd like the option to stream music from my iPhone sometimes.
  6. A new integrated stereo amp is the other solution to handle the digital audio outputs from TV/Foxtel/ps4 and drive my speakers.
    • Downside is i'm left with the RA-06SE which i do still like. But, if i can get an option that is better in audio quality as well as handling my digital inputs within my budget than it's A-ok.
    • I want this upgrade to be a family friendly integration - not a symphony of remote shuffling.
    • I'd like the option of a sub line out as well as stereo out.
    • I'd like the option to stream music direct from my iPhone sometimes.

 

So i guess the advice i need, taking into account how i watch/listen to stuff and what equipment i already have is:

 

Recommendations/brands on where to start on the new DAC Path?

Recommendations/brands on where to start on the new integrated stereo path?

Recommendations on another path that I've missed?

 

Thanks in advance.

TCG

Edited by thecoffeegent

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Hi TCG, just enjoying a coffee myself right now. If you after sound for home entertainment rather than critical music listening, have you considered a good AVR. I have a Marantz AVR which has a very capable DAC section, combined with the ability to run various streaming services plus a proprietary multi room system such as HEOS. 2 sub outs, pre out that would allow you to intergrate your existing amp if you want to or just use the outputs from the AVR. This would connect well with your Cambridge 751. (You could even buy my 752 if you like, I haven't listed it but would could consider selling it. It has excellent DACS).

AVRs have so many features for the price and are often underrated I think. If you look for an end of model life deal she can get very good value.

Enjoy the search!

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Short answer  - Primare I25 Prisma. 

Image result for primare i25 prisma

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5 hours ago, Godot said:

Hi TCG, just enjoying a coffee myself right now. If you after sound for home entertainment rather than critical music listening, have you considered a good AVR. I have a Marantz AVR which has a very capable DAC section, combined with the ability to run various streaming services plus a proprietary multi room system such as HEOS. 2 sub outs, pre out that would allow you to intergrate your existing amp if you want to or just use the outputs from the AVR. This would connect well with your Cambridge 751. (You could even buy my 752 if you like, I haven't listed it but would could consider selling it. It has excellent DACS).

AVRs have so many features for the price and are often underrated I think. If you look for an end of model life deal she can get very good value.

Enjoy the search!

Thanks mate, not a bad option. Although, because I’m only interested in 2.1 audio I thought a multichannel AVR might not provide the best value if I’m paying for extras that I’m not in need of. Happy to be convinced though ;)... also PM your selling price for the 752, a quick search sees that it does have several big advantages over my 751.

 

Thanks and enjoy the coffee!

TCG

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1 hour ago, Irek said:

Short answer  - Primare I25 Prisma. 

Image result for primare i25 prisma

Ohh that would be nice and ticks most of my boxes except it’s well over budget unfortunately :(

 

Thanks for the suggestion though!

TCG

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Well, $2k is not going to give you the upgrade you're looking for. Waste of money me think. I would wait and try to save around $5k. There are other options from Naim, Hegel, Devialet. 

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If it’s movie immersion you want then an AVR and extra speakers would be the go, plenty of good ones sell cheap in the classifieds

 

recommend the nad t758 as it’s a great avr that is meant to be good for music too, plus it has BluOS which is the same software as the bluesound music streamers.

 

as far as movie streaming goes you can’t beat an Apple TV I use mine everyday.

 

if you need extra funds maybe sell the BD751 and buy a cheaper bd transport 

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I’m biased in that I’m an extremely happy customer, however bias apart, you’re well placed to contact Clay Gieseler ( www.gieseleraudio.com ) in Southport. He designs and builds some brilliant DACs, starting with his Klein III. Suggest you check out his website. He’s also extremely approachable in terms of advice.

 

Cheers, Dave 

Edited by lenticularis
Clarification on local manufacture

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16 hours ago, lenticularis said:

I’m biased in that I’m an extremely happy customer, however bias apart, you’re well placed to contact Clay Gieseler ( www.gieseleraudio.com ) in Southport. He designs and builds some brilliant DACs, starting with his Klein III. Suggest you check out his website. He’s also extremely approachable in terms of advice.

 

Cheers, Dave 

Thank's Dave, i will contact him now and seek his advice/recommendations. 

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1 hour ago, thecoffeegent said:

Thank's Dave, i will contact him now and seek his advice/recommendations. 

bang for buck you can't beat them!

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late to the party, but you can go cheap and investigate the khadas tone board as a stand alone link  in your chain

 

for the $ you will enjoy a remarkable thing

 

and for 10% of your minimum budget (plus post + gst and conversion to $aud)  😬

 

okay, for 1/6 of your budget 😎

 

and you'll be limited to a single source...

 

 

maybe the topping d50s  ?

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-new-topping-d50s-dac.7914/

 

$250 us with enough inputs and great review

Edited by scruffy1

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22 hours ago, scruffy1 said:

late to the party, but you can go cheap and investigate the khadas tone board as a stand alone link  in your chain

 

for the $ you will enjoy a remarkable thing

 

and for 10% of your minimum budget (plus post + gst and conversion to $aud)  😬

 

okay, for 1/6 of your budget 😎

 

and you'll be limited to a single source...

 

 

maybe the topping d50s  ?

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-new-topping-d50s-dac.7914/

 

$250 us with enough inputs and great review

Thanks mate, certainly thinking a Topping could be a great solution if i don't go down the AVR route.

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Would the NAD C 510 be a suitable option? 

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looks like it's got the right stuff, but they are keeping a low profile on the what drives the conversions in its guts

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Might be worth investigating an amp like the Cambridge CXA-80.  It ticks several of your boxes, price, built in DAC, sub and pre-outs. 

I would definitely be trying one out with your speakers before pulling the trigger on one though.

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8 hours ago, Cafad said:

Might be worth investigating an amp like the Cambridge CXA-80.  It ticks several of your boxes, price, built in DAC, sub and pre-outs. 

I would definitely be trying one out with your speakers before pulling the trigger on one though.

Hey Mate, yes the CXA-80 is certainly on my shortlist. I’m hoping to trial the NAD C510 but I think the CXA-80 may be a better all round purchase. Just not sure how it plays with my B&W’s.

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if you are going that path then a nad d3020 would fit the bill too

 

the v2 has phono input as well, for those inclined

 

personally, the onboard dac is okay, but the khadas as dedicated digital in (for music and theatre from the htpc is quite obviously better for my taste in output

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Other than vinyl I solved a similar need with this.

 

https://www.gieseler.com.au/product-page/m16d-klein-dac-iii and got the S/PDIF input which can plug both optical and coax in at the same time. Heaps of reviews on here. 

 

My set up differs in that I take ARC to my Oppo Bluray player then coax to the DAC and use optical for a streamer. 

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Hey All,

 

Thanks heaps for the Advice.


I ended up going the Yamaha WXC-50 Pre/Streamer/DAC.
 

At only $375 I was very impressed with it’s sound using its onboard ESS Sabre9006AS DAC and my existing Rotel Amp/ B&W 685 combo. It also has subwoofer out and makes integration of my PV1 sub easy as in my 2.1 setup.

 

The MusicCast app is great for the family too, easy to use, generally reliable and streaming Tidal FLAC is awesome. It also has Bluetooth transmission onboard so streams directly to my B&W PX’s (AptX HD transmission would have been a nice bonus but can’t complain too much since the PX’s do a decent job of upsampling internally lower quality BT) 

 

Anyways, the WXC-50 has allowed my legacy setup to move into a more digital world and it’s allowed new enjoyment and convenience to consuming both music and film mediums via streaming services (Tidal/Disney+ etc)

 

I’ve certainly got the HiFi bug again and this small $375 investment will tide me over for now while I plan a more significant total system Upgrade over the coming months.

 

Thanks again,

TCG

 

Edited by thecoffeegent

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Great result. Say what you want about streaming, but it makes it heaps easier to listen to music, and not just for you but the household too. I also find myself listening to heaps of new stuff due to the algorithms of the streaming services out there.

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I'm not sure what exactly you are trying to achieve here. I've read the intro 3 times and from what I can ascertain, you want a better experience for movies and tv, less important is music? I'm not sure a new dac or amp will do this for you.

 

It may improve sound quality for music however I'm not sure the money will be wisely spent for movies/tv. As said I think 5.1 would improve things. Also moving to a bigger floorstander and more powerful amp could do similar. I found floorstanders give more presence for movies and tv.

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