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1 hour ago, d3ft said:

Given a DAC has a known "perfect" result (if you prefer a distorted signal that's fine but you shouldn't be using a DAC to achieve this), yes I trust measurements corroborated by multiple sources on the internet using sophisticated testing gear. I don't have the time or inclination to be purchasing multiple DACs and performing an unscientific listening test. I'd rather start with as close to perfect measured performance as my budget will allow and adjust the sound to my liking via a digital EQ - at least I know I won't be fighting my equipment.

I don't have anything against measurements but you said "The difference in sound between a well made (Topping, SMSL) low-end DAC and a high-end one is minimal (and objective measurements prove this) so don't get carried away there. Just pick one with the inputs you need. Also, do not get talked into high-end USB/RCA cables. Whatever comes in the box is fine. As long as they aren't made out of spaghetti they all sound the same (again plenty of measurements out there to prove this)."

 

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1 minute ago, Irek said:

I don't have anything against measurements but you said "The difference in sound between a well made (Topping, SMSL) low-end DAC and a high-end one is minimal (and objective measurements prove this) so don't get carried away there. Just pick one with the inputs you need. Also, do not get talked into high-end USB/RCA cables. Whatever comes in the box is fine. As long as they aren't made out of spaghetti they all sound the same (again plenty of measurements out there to prove this)."

 

Differences are minimal in that a well built DAC at almost any price point these days can approach measurable perfection - the analog signal being output is a perfect reproduction of the digital sigal it is being fed.

 

Any difference in sound will be from the DAC colouring the output and would be seen in the measurements. I'd rather get my souce components as neutral as possible and introduce a preferred sound signature using either digital EQ or potentially the speakers.

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1 hour ago, russell66 said:

You say a beginner question but in reality this is the same problem we all tend to have for years, hear something somewhere, take it home and it sounds different, how do i get it back to what i heard before? can't do it, it must be the equipment, spend more, change it, upgrade etc etc.

 

Heres a few things...

 

First of all when building a system, these days we have an advantage, CD players use to be hit and miss and i have seldom heard any that sound Audiophile under $1500, so for me thats where it starts. Turntables are even harder to get right as a source, but now heres the good news

 

Use a PC almost any PC the quieter the better but seldom are they noisy enough to hear and ruin musical enjoyment.

 

Get a Topping TD10 it is cheap and exceptional. PC to Topping, Topping to Amp.

 

Spotify works and is cheap, Tidal is much better and a 3 month trial is about $4 at the moment, Roon is good but to me Audirvana is cheaper and sounds better. You'll need this to start to insure you have Audiophile level sound out put. All free trials so thats good.

 

Now you have a front end that will compete with pretty much anything, at any price. So that eliminates one issue, the troublesome front end, i have never heard a system this did not match.

 

Someone may argue with me, but the truth is this is what i use and my system sounds as good as any 100K system.

 

The major point here is even if you want to argue the semantics of how good it is, and what is better, it is still way good enough to know this is not the problem.

 

So buy the topping, find a laptop or cheap PC and you are sorted at the front end level, later you can experiment and try different things, this is better that is better etc, but you'll be hanging your ear out to hear a difference, so whats the point?

 

Then all the other advice is relevant.

 

Position is everything, micro movements of speakers and patients over time, trial and error, very frustrating, but if you have heard and enjoyed the tone of the speakers you are ahead of the game.

 

If could be synergy between speaker and amp as well, beg steel and borrow to experiment and save money where you can.

 

Find my system thread and scroll through to find my cheap isolation solution for you amp and possibly use the pads you see there under the speakers as well, i promise you these are as good as the stupid priced isolation you see.

 

Magic - With HI FI you have to believe in magic, over the years as you experiment more you will get better at making the system sound better. I do what seems to be the same thing i did 10 years ago, but somehow it seems to sound better. Maybe my hearing skill has got better maybe it's a micro change who knows, the point is here I think all Audiophiles have experienced this at some level, thats partly why there is so much debate in HI FI. This is what i call Magic and is a term audiophiles need to adopt.

 

Next every rule I have ever created in HI FI over the years, I have seen broken somewhere else, at another time, try everything no matter what anyone says, you'll hit the spot.

 

So Topping Tidal $4 trial, Audirvana free Trial to start. 

 

Hope that helps, Have a Great Day

 

 

thank you, that helps so much. Ill definitely look into the TD10. Thanks so much, very helpful!

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1 hour ago, d3ft said:

Differences are minimal in that a well built DAC at almost any price point these days can approach measurable perfection - the analog signal being output is a perfect reproduction of the digital sigal it is being fed.

 

Any difference in sound will be from the DAC colouring the output and would be seen in the measurements. I'd rather get my souce components as neutral as possible and introduce a preferred sound signature using either digital EQ or potentially the speakers.

Fair enough when it comes to DACs and personal preferences.

What about "Also, do not get talked into high-end USB/RCA cables. Whatever comes in the box is fine. "

Are you sure about it?

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33 minutes ago, Irek said:

Fair enough when it comes to DACs and personal preferences.

What about "Also, do not get talked into high-end USB/RCA cables. Whatever comes in the box is fine. "

Are you sure about it?

Yes. Unless they are damaged or you're doing an insanely long cable run, the only difference between a cheap and expensive cable is aesthetics and durability - especially when carrying a digital signal. 

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1 hour ago, d3ft said:

Yes. Unless they are damaged or you're doing an insanely long cable run, the only difference between a cheap and expensive cable is aesthetics and durability - especially when carrying a digital signal. 

 

Each to their own on this one... many people's experience does not align with this opinion, and there have been countless cable threads started and closed on this forum and others over the years, with plenty of war-stories to tell and battle-scars on both sides of the divide.

 

However, I'd certainly suggest that at the entry-level/budget end of the spectrum (which is the theme of this thread), money is better spent on upgraded components rather than investing too much in cables.

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@Ollie_H_. Seriously the best bang for buck you can get right now is a pack of these from Bunnings

5a783afb-1c59-41a5-97dd-fc1259ff2d09.png

I'd suggest these placed under each corner of each speaker will give you a better result than building stands or fancy cables. The idea is to isolate the speakers from the cabinet they are placed on rather than couple it as spikes would. I've got some of the Isoacoustic desktop stands others have mentioned, and they are awesome, but they are over 50% of what you paid for the speakers themselves. I've just bought some of these Whites pads to go under my office subwoofer... they work

 

Yes a good budget DAC will also help greatly but don't get too carried away with new gear. Get you fundamentals right first.

 

 

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Reviews suggest the E30 sounds a lot better with clean power. Either a iPhone charger or phone power bank is a noticeable step up from the USBs on the PC or Laptop. Cheap

to try. 

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55 minutes ago, blybo said:

@Ollie_H_. Seriously the best bang for buck you can get right now is a pack of these from Bunnings

5a783afb-1c59-41a5-97dd-fc1259ff2d09.png

I'd suggest these placed under each corner of each speaker will give you a better result than building stands or fancy cables. The idea is to isolate the speakers from the cabinet they are placed on rather than couple it as spikes would. I've got some of the Isoacoustic desktop stands others have mentioned, and they are awesome, but they are over 50% of what you paid for the speakers themselves. I've just bought some of these Whites pads to go under my office subwoofer... they work

 

Yes a good budget DAC will also help greatly but don't get too carried away with new gear. Get you fundamentals right first.

 

 

Oh wow, thanks so much. Ill look into getting some. They actually increase sound quality???

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14 minutes ago, naggots said:

Reviews suggest the E30 sounds a lot better with clean power. Either a iPhone charger or phone power bank is a noticeable step up from the USBs on the PC or Laptop. Cheap

to try. 

lol ive never heard of this. Ive got an android. You can use a phone power bank as a DAC? or am i reading this wrong and being dumb

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Yo Ollie,

 

Welcome to the forum. I just read thru these 4 pages of (helpful) information, experience and opinions. My (limited) experience tells me your speakers are too small to fill that Room with sound, but as someone above stated that a sweet spot of aural bliss is to be had by triangulating. Definitely gotta get those speakers away from the wall! Grab a bunch of sturdy boxes to make very temporary speaker stands (like whisky boxes from Dan Marphy) and build 2 speaker stands away from that rear wall. Put a chopping board or chunk of wood on the top of the boxes to stabilize and then set your speakers on that. I imagine height could be 1 metre (or higher), maybe shoulder high. This can give you a template of what you need to find/construct for best listening. 

  

As to your music source, make it as simple and direct as possible. MP3 will not be as "rich" musically as FLAC or Lossless or CD (or Vinyl), so your dac search may help in that department. Also a 3.5mm to RCA cable feeding your Amp will be cleaner pathway that your current one, as also another wise person above stated. Come to think of it get a cheap CD player or borrow one and play that thru your system to test it. 

 

I subscribe to the "school of pure source" in that if you can "Do your best" to insure your music makes it to the Amp, then you are 1/3 of the way there. (This is to paraphrase @georgehifi quoting Ivor Tiefenbrun)

 

Good luck, have fun, AND enjoy the journey.

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17 minutes ago, akjono said:

Yo Ollie,

 

Welcome to the forum. I just read thru these 4 pages of (helpful) information, experience and opinions. My (limited) experience tells me your speakers are too small to fill that Room with sound, but as someone above stated that a sweet spot of aural bliss is to be had by triangulating. Definitely gotta get those speakers away from the wall! Grab a bunch of sturdy boxes to make very temporary speaker stands (like whisky boxes from Dan Marphy) and build 2 speaker stands away from that rear wall. Put a chopping board or chunk of wood on the top of the boxes to stabilize and then set your speakers on that. I imagine height could be 1 metre (or higher), maybe shoulder high. This can give you a template of what you need to find/construct for best listening. 

  

As to your music source, make it as simple and direct as possible. MP3 will not be as "rich" musically as FLAC or Lossless or CD (or Vinyl), so your dac search may help in that department. Also a 3.5mm to RCA cable feeding your Amp will be cleaner pathway that your current one, as also another wise person above stated. Come to think of it get a cheap CD player or borrow one and play that thru your system to test it. 

 

I subscribe to the "school of pure source" in that if you can "Do your best" to insure your music makes it to the Amp, then you are 1/3 of the way there. (This is to paraphrase @georgehifi quoting Ivor Tiefenbrun)

 

Good luck, have fun, AND enjoy the journey.

thanks so much! The bookshelves may be a bit small for my room but i dont have the space to spring for big floor standers. Im going to add in a sub to get a richer, lower more consistent sound out of my system down the track. Currently using an rca to aux plugged into my computer! And thankfully ive also got a triangular listening set up. So in think im building a reasonable foundation (I hope) thanks to yourself and everyone else's advice. Appreciate it!

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3 hours ago, Ollie_H_ said:

lol ive never heard of this. Ive got an android. You can use a phone power bank as a DAC? or am i reading this wrong and being dumb

No, the phone charger or power bank can supply the power to the E30 dac as its designed to run from USB. The USB power from the laptop or PC is noticeably noisy so the E30 sounds a lot better from the independent power...... the reviewers commented. 

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3 hours ago, naggots said:

Reviews suggest the E30 sounds a lot better with clean power. Either a iPhone charger or phone power bank is a noticeable step up from the USBs on the PC or Laptop. Cheap

to try. 

I'm guessing you mean 'smartphone' charger including Android rather than Apple specific product ?

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25 minutes ago, naggots said:

No, the phone charger or power bank can supply the power to the E30 dac as its designed to run from USB. The USB power from the laptop or PC is noticeably noisy so the E30 sounds a lot better from the independent power...... the reviewers commented. 

hahaha okay yeah that actually makes sense. I was so confused lmao. Cheers

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Posted (edited)

If you do end up grabbing a DAC, you can get close to 'measurably acoustically transparent' DAC's for a few hundred bucks. The info is all on Audio Science Review Reviews and Measurements Index, but for the cheapest options, look at:

  • Grace SDAC
  • Topping D10
  • Schiit Modi 3
  • JDS Labs Atom DAC

Also, don't be afraid to post in the 'WTB' section. Unused DAC's at this cost might not be worth selling unless someone asks ;) 

 

Good luck!

 

Edit: I should add that I have the Earman Donald DAC on my desktop setup and I think it's great. Supports MQA also. :)

Edited by nedrum

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Ollie_H_ said:

Oh wow, thanks so much. Ill look into getting some. They actually increase sound quality???

Yes, more than worrying about $50 differences in DACs. If any speaker has to be put on a desk or entertainment/storage unit you want to isolate the speaker's vibration from the unit. I'd also suggest having the speakers as far forward as possible on the unit, as wide as possible (unless up against a wall), and aiming 1m behind your ears in your main seating position.

Edited by blybo

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3 minutes ago, blybo said:

Yes, more than worrying about $50 differences in DACs. If any speaker has to be put on a desk or entertainment you want to isolate the speaker's vibration from the unit. I'd also suggest having the speakers as far forward as possible on the unit, as wide as possible (unless up against a wall), and aiming 1m behind your ears in your main seating position.

agree with this 100%

 

 Dacs and cables are a matter for debate but I think most people would agree that you should get speaker position right before exploring pretty much anything else

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7 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

most people would agree that you should get speaker position right before exploring pretty much anything else

Right after settling the issue of gold vs rhodium vs silver plated connectors, that is 😆

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

agree with this 100%

 

 Dacs and cables are a matter for debate but I think most people would agree that you should get speaker position right before exploring pretty much anything else

Once you've sorted out speaker isolation and position, I'd just put up a WTB add here for a budget DAC @ $100 and see what gets offered.

 

After that I'd go to your nearest Ikea and grab one (or 3)of these for putting under your amp (and maybe between isolation pads and speakers if you feel they aren't stable enough). Bamboo is a great material for stopping vibration transference. I've got 1 under my amp with some Sorbothane pads between it and my entertainment unit. My speakers have Isaccoustic feet on them.

 

https://www.ikea.com/au/en/p/aptitlig-butchers-block-bamboo-60233431/

 

aptitlig-butcher-s-block__0711717_PE7284

Edited by blybo

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11 minutes ago, blybo said:

After that I'd go to your nearest Ikea and grab one (or 3)of these for putting under your amp (and maybe between isolation pads and speakers if you feel they aren't stable enough). Bamboo is a great material for stopping vibration transference.

I've got two in a sandwich. One day I'm going to crack out my accelerometer and measure these things... they're awesome.

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+1 for Sorbothane over the Bunnings vibration pads. I found the Bunnings pads too dense/solid to properly isolate. Better for washing machines than speakers maybe.

 

These were what I went for: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/4pc-Sorbothane-Hemispheres-25mm-1-inch-Domes-Isolation-Bumpers-Mount-50-Duro/283359568666?hash=item41f98be31a:g:uTUAAOSw8bpcUlor

 

But have a look on this table to see roughly what duro and diameter is best for your components

 

https://www.qtasystems.co.uk/articles/how-to-use-sorbothane-hemispheres.htm

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13 minutes ago, BlackCoffee said:

+1 for Sorbothane over the Bunnings vibration pads.

I agree if going under a bamboo board. If going directly under a speaker, I'd go the Whites. I'm about to put some Whites pads under 2 different subs, 1 in my family room and one in the office as both are on floating interlocking floorboards.

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, blybo said:

I agree if going under a bamboo board. If going directly under a speaker, I'd go the Whites. I'm about to put some Whites pads under 2 different subs, 1 in my family room and one in the office as both are on floating interlocking floorboards.

Do you place them directly under the speakers or under a board that the speakers sit on?

Edited by sir sanders zingmore

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

Do you place them directly under the speakers or under a board that the speakers sit on?

In my case I now have Isoacoustics Gaia feet under my speakers but the Whites pads are a quick, cheap and simple proof of how isolation works. However, when I had floor standing speakers with a smaller footprint I placed Sorbothane hemispheres rounded side to the floor, then a Bamboo chopping board on top of them and speakers coupled to the board with their supplied spikes.

 

People should also be aware that lower softness rating (Duro) Sorbothane has a greasy finish which could stain some surfaces, so keep the plastic film on if using 30 Duro Sorbothane, which is better suited for lighter components.

Edited by blybo

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