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Sound Equipment Without BS Bias


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Hello All,

Growing up in Glasgow in the 80s most people that cared had good/reasonable stereos, turntables were the source and you bought what you could get new or used with the aim for better sound.

Now in Australia building a simple system, finding a lot of conflicting information re components and matching, the usual expensive and unhelpful bias from dealers and websites.

At the moment listening goes

 

  • PC with Tidal
  • Chord Qutest
  • Cambridge CXA 80 (used as pre amp)
  • Cambridge CXC for CD
  • PS Audio Stellar S300 power amp
  • B&W 703 S2
  • Boston Acoustics PV900 Sub

 

Just cant get the detail and sound quality that I want with the above

 

Acquired a Bluesound Node 2i that I will set up this week with aim to improve Tidal sound via MQA

Looking at JL D110 sub or REL T9i

Looking at new preamp ie Primaluna Evo 100

 

Interested in anyone's view that has similar setup and experience with these components.

 

Stuart

 

 

 

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Wish u well. 

I doubt MQA will do anything for you.

I don't run a PC but I imagine reclocking (with quiet DC power) prior to the Qutest might not hurt. 

Have you auditioned  many speaker alternatives?

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Thanks.

It was suggested that MQA decoding would improve the sound quality as the Qutest wont decode MQA .......will see when iinet puts the in VDSL2 in 2 days?

 

Not quite sure what you mean by reclocking (with quiet DC Power). I built the PC 8 months ago and has a Corsair HX750 power supply, Ryzen 9 3900X CPU, in a BeQuiet case.

I may be missing a step?

 

Was hoping not to replace the speakers just yet, also find it hard to audition in the shop with other gear and its going to sound different again in my office.

 

Office is two converted (by me) 20ft high cube (6m x 2.5m wide x 2.9m high) shipping containers (New)                             

Picture two containers positioned side by side, slide them 2m away from each other, cut out the internal skin between the two forming a 4mx5m wide open area, fit windows, sliding doors behind the container doors, frame out the internal walls and ceiling with structural pine, plumb and install electrics, insulate and line with plasterboard, air conditioning...

 

Hard to locate the speakers to achieve best sound

 

Stuart 

 

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37 minutes ago, fcc said:

Hard to locate the speakers to achieve best sound

 

Do you have a drawing of your office space with the existing setup - or share some photographs?

 

4mx5m is a good space to work with - though it seems like you have some constraints going on. Some pics or a drawing will help get a perspective and make suitable recommendations

 

What are you missing in your music now with the current setup?

 

Edited by anandpkumar
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Hey,

See images below of space and setup.

 

Missing...

The sound quality that I get from Tidal is good but CD quality or slightly better, the detail isn't there.

Spoke with local HIFI shop re options and they suggested I try a streamer with MQA ie Bluesound Node 2i, so I went that way. If I can get more detail from the MQA unpacking then its worth the $900. I'm told it wont completely unpack the format but should sound much better. 

 

Also realise that there are limits to what you can achieve with said products.

 

Stuart 

 

 

 

 

_DSC8290.thumb.jpg.355d3eb7eb9bd4a25d6a881b445a3dd0.jpg_DSC8287.thumb.jpg.2cc5e2b1681970e0712800b34ef3172c.jpg_DSC8283.thumb.jpg.bd387431259b8cf7cb682cd8f32f9b0f.jpg_DSC8291.thumb.jpg.63fa97be6431ceb1f32c1c1b0d9ece6d.jpg

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58 minutes ago, fcc said:

 

Spoke with local HIFI shop re options and they suggested I try a streamer with MQA ie Bluesound Node 2i, so I went that way. If I can get more detail from the MQA unpacking then its worth the $900. I'm told it wont completely unpack the format but should sound much better. 

 

 

A MQA compliant device is only useful if you listen to MQA-encoded music. Otherwise, you've got a buzzword-complaint device playing normal files (which isn't necessarily a bad thing!).

 

3 hours ago, fcc said:

 

Office is two converted (by me) 20ft high cube (6m x 2.5m wide x 2.9m high) shipping containers (New)                             

Picture two containers positioned side by side, slide them 2m away from each other, cut out the internal skin between the two forming a 4mx5m wide open area, fit windows, sliding doors behind the container doors, frame out the internal walls and ceiling with structural pine, plumb and install electrics, insulate and line with plasterboard, air conditioning...

 

Hard to locate the speakers to achieve best sound

 

 

 

To be honest, I'm not sure that upgrading your speakers will yield the best results at this stage.  There are some inherent comprises given the space you are working with (which is a cool space BTW!) but I'd play around with system setup/speaker positioning and room treatments first - especially as your photos show lots of hard, reflective surfaces. 

 

Which seating position are you listening from? If you are sitting on the stool, your ears will be well above the height of the tweeters, and I suspect this would be resulting in some off-axis high-frequency roll-off. 

 

If you are listening from the low chair off to the side, the same issue regarding off-axis response will apply, along with improper stereo imaging.

 

Is there much scope to bring the speakers out into the room little bit by little bit, and away from the side wall. to see what this does to the sound quality? If not, that side wall is a prime candidate for treatment, along with the roof and the rear wall behind your computer.

 

Edited by pete_mac
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Thanks Pete, I have been considering putting in some type of sound treatment, just not sure as to what.

There are a lot of hard surfaces, I did hang a few curtains/materials up and noticed a difference.

 

I have moved this room around that many times, and brought the speakers forward, in, out....

As you suggested I will go with sound treatment....Any suggestions?

 

Thanks for the compliment on the space, it was intended to be located on a rural block of land and be able to be fully locked up...Land isn't that easy to find when you start looking and considering travel times...

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As a Glaswegian you should be used to conflict, like deciding what to drink before 8pm and after 3am :D

 

Welcome to SNA, hope you find the result you are looking for :thumb:

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That choice is easy, anything with alcohol from 1pm onwards, sleep/pass out, wake up at 11am

Also not wearing anything blue or green when walking in the city after an old firm game

Actually not wearing blue or green at anytime walking through the city unless your really angry, full of meth and carrying a Stanley knife

Grew up by Hampden Park, find football boring as and the neds even more so, but do enjoy the architecture in Glasgow 

Thanks

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On 23/02/2021 at 3:18 PM, fcc said:

Thanks.

It was suggested that MQA decoding would improve the sound quality as the Qutest wont decode MQA .......will see when iinet puts the in VDSL2 in 2 days?

 

Not quite sure what you mean by reclocking (with quiet DC Power). I built the PC 8 months ago and has a Corsair HX750 power supply, Ryzen 9 3900X CPU, in a BeQuiet case.

I may be missing a step?

 

 

PC's are noisy/jitter filled things. Reclockers are an entire class of equipment (made by many audio gear suppliers), which reconstruct the digital signal using a precision clock but, just as importantly IMO they provide an entry point for quiet DC power* (I use linear power supply units but apparently you can get audiophile SMPS units these days). USB interfaces pretty much achieve the same thing while converting from USB to coaxial. You dac will do its best to clean up the signal but my system leapt forward with reclocking. 

I am not an expert on this forum, just a punter like you, but there are many genuine experts here.

Also, keep going with the room treatment considerations, its always important.

Trip.

 

*You will hear many debates about reconstructed AC power for analogue devices (personally I doubt there's merit in it) but quiet DC for the digital stages are an absolute no brainer if your equipment has reached beyond entry level.

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On 23/02/2021 at 7:33 PM, fcc said:

Thanks Pete, I have been considering putting in some type of sound treatment, just not sure as to what.

There are a lot of hard surfaces, I did hang a few curtains/materials up and noticed a difference.

 

I have moved this room around that many times, and brought the speakers forward, in, out....

As you suggested I will go with sound treatment....Any suggestions?

 

Thanks for the compliment on the space, it was intended to be located on a rural block of land and be able to be fully locked up...Land isn't that easy to find when you start looking and considering travel times...

 

No problem.

 

Subject to what you can get your hands on, you can always do some tests with items such large cushions, pillows, blankets, doonas, mattresses etc. It can be tricky to get them into position temporarily, but it can give you an idea of any changes to the sound resulting from adding soft furnishings and basic room treatments.  If you do some googling regarding 'first reflection points' there's lots of info e.g. http://arqen.com/acoustics-101/reflection-free-zone/

 

If you find you are I'm a fan of Martini CSR Polymax Absorb XHD 50mm for easy DIY panels as it is quite stiff and self-supporting, but you can make your own panels too if you're handy with a saw and can source the necessarily filling. An example is below, noting that you can source suitable poly-based (non-fibreglass) internals to use to eliminate nasty itchy fibres from your living space:

 

 

 

 

There are also a wide variety of ready-made products at various price points.

 

Swamp stocks a variety of affordable products, although I've not personally used them:

 

https://www.swamp.net.au/4x-fibreglass-acoustic-treatment-panel-black-colour-120cm-x-60cm

 

(I don't think these would have the itch factor due to how they are manufactured, but it could be worth asking the question)

 

https://www.swamp.net.au/recording/acoustic-treatment/fibreglass-panels/

 

There are also foam options, which don't tend to work across as wide a frequency range as a good fibreglass or poly style panel, but are better than nothing and can look pretty neat e.g.:

 

https://www.swamp.net.au/acoustic-foam-sound-block

 

Proper treatment is quite a deep rabbit-hole to go down (and there are people on here who are very knowledgeable in this area) but in my experience it's certainly worth exploring - even if you take a 'trial and error' approach to it, as opposed to a full measurement-based approach.

Edited by pete_mac
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Thanks, I will go and see the guys at swamp next week, didnt know they were around.

Good information on the links.

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Hi fcc..... how much flexibility have you with the speaker placement ? ....... to my view, your speakers seem a bit "  boxed in "  in front of the bed area ...... is there any chance of moving them so they are in front of your whiteboards, still leaving you enough room to use the whiteboards.?  I suppose it all depends on where you sit to MAJORITY of the time to enjoy your music ..... if you listen whilst you work at your desk for most of the time , then maybe you are stuck with your speaker placement  ( yet as said above tweeter height may need adjusting ) .............. or maybe you do your enjoyment/ critical listening later when you leave the desk and could sit in a comfortable chair in that great space in front of the sink ( it really is an amazing space ) with a nice old scotch.   Maybe during the day your music is low as you work at your desk and not that critical to be perfect,  whilst at night you can turn it up and enjoy it to its potential.......   your system is easily good enough to sound damn fine. If it's possible, have a go at this before buying anything.  Ahhhhh, so many audio choices ........ so little time( or money ).

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Hello mff, I have tried speakers in front of the whiteboards then moved them back then moved them in front of the white boards and moved them back.

Still im open to rip thing out like the kitchen sink and reposition, trying to avoid time consuming moves until I have tried multiple options

Went to SWAMP today and picked up $900 of sound treatment panels/bass traps and speaker isolation pads...only just started placing them around in and can hear reasonable improvements already.

There should be a new preamp turn Wednesday, PrimaLuna EVO 100, keen to have the space sorted beforehand.

Yes, too many choices.

Easier to dwell over the choices then spend money on the choices than do the work.

 

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Have to agree with you.........  dwelling on the choices is easier, but you are in the doing mode now so that's great to see..........    all the best with it; I'm sure the end result will be fantastic.

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