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Looking for enty level end game system.


rimfir

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Hello good folk and fellow music lovers. This is my first post here but I've been reading this forum for a few weeks and still remain unsure in which equipment will be best for my situation.

I'm recently retired and spend most of my time in a 33 ft. travel trailer. It's really not a bad thing as I'm single and the fridge is never more than just a few steps away. My rig has a rear living room layout giving me a nice cozy 6 x 8 ft area for my desk, lounge chair, pc's and music equipment. This small area is at the end of a 16 x 10 ft room that also has the kitchen along one wall and across from the kitchen a 14ft slide out that holds a couch and a dinning room table etc. It is carpeted and most of the walls are covered with heavy curtains. The ceiling is about 6 1/2 feet high.

 

My current set up is a 6 yr old dedicated Windows 7 pc running Musicbee audio player connected to a Schiit Modi 2 (non uber) and Magni 2 Uber. From there the music travels to a pair of Sennheizer HD598's or to a set of Klipsch ProMeadia 2.1 active speakers. Most of my music is mp3 320 with just a couple of dozen flacs. I listen to Ambient (Steve Roach, Robert Rich), downtempo/chill (Sounds From the Ground, Solar Fields), lounge, and some New Age & Smooth Jazz.

 

I would like to purchase a new set up in the next couple of weeks. I need recomendations on what you think would work best for me, or better yet for you, if you lived in my rig. Start from scratch, everything new from source to ears (No headphones needed yet). I have a $5,000.00 budget and most likely this will be my end game system.

 

I would also like to try doing what Geoffrey Armstrong wrote about in his blog "Lossless Streaming Services". Streaming high quality music through a DSD capable dac sounds very interesting. Lossless Streaming Services - Blogs - Computer Audiophile

One last thought: With the Promedia 2.1's I have the volumn to the sub turned way down, just enough to hear the bass. I would rather have it clear and crisp, not full and booming which sounds fake with my current system. I wonder if a better set of 2.1's would give me a more neutral or flat sound. I think I would prefer occasionally tweaking the EQ to get to the sound I like rather than be stuck with some manufacturers colorizations.

 

I hope someone has some ideas and thanks for any and all suggestions.

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I'm going to open with a response bound to stir the pot but you'll have lots of cash left over. This will not fill your urge for DSD streaming (I think PCM flac source files sounds acceptable). A 7 yr old windows laptop needs to be replaced for sanity, go with your own choice here. Active speakers don't get a lot of love but simplify things and work well in your environment.

Now for music hardware.

-Emotiva Pro Stealth DC-1 DAC - sounds great, review well, and punches way above price mark $499

-Emotiva Airmotiv 4s - active speakers - $299 (review in Stereophile Mag 2015-04)

-bigger speaker budget? Maybe KEF X300A's

-connect DAC->speakers with balanced xlr cables from monoprice.com (~$6/pr)

-new laptop -> DAC use USB2 or my isolated favorite... S/PDIF (Toslink) Digital Optical-MiniToslink (~$3)

Emotiva has a generous try at home program, so try it to see if the above products suit your music needs.

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Thanks for your time and advice TomG. The Emotiva Pro Stealth DC-1 DAC looks very interesting. How does it compare to the Shiit Gungnir or Teac's UD-501? I would probably want to add the AX-501 to the 503 ( I really like the dual analog meters lol). AX-501 | TEAC I was thing along with the Gungnir I'd get the Mjolnir headphone amp as well Schiit Audio, Headphone amps and DACs made in USA.. Have you any experience with these Teac or Schiit combos?

 

I'm thinking the Emotiva Airmotiv 4s may be a bit small. What about the Emotiva Airmotiv 5s or even the 6s?

 

The way I have my 6 x 8 ft area set up is with my chair against the wall facing the wall that's 8ft away. This gives me about 3ft behind my desk. I could have larger speakers 2 1/2 to 4ft away from my ears.

 

How hard would it be to attach a sub to the Emotiva Airmotiv 5s or 6s?

 

Thanks again.

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WADR, unless you move up from mp3 to at least redbook resolution, upgrading your hardware is pretty much a waste of money. You have an outstanding, high-value-for-money headphone rig, and you can upgrade your headphones (try the 600 and 650 and see which you like better) without out-growing the Magni/Modi stack. If you do choose to upgrade your Schiit stack, Valhalla 2 is the best choice for use with 300 ohm Senns (it's even good with the 800).

Office: MacBook Pro - Audirvana Plus - Resonessence Concero - Cavailli Liquid Carbon - Sennheiser HD 800.

Travel/Portable: iPhone 7 or iPad Pro - AudioQuest Dragonfly Red - Audeze SINE or Noble Savant

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Thanks for your time and advice TomG. The Emotiva Pro Stealth DC-1 DAC looks very interesting. How does it compare to the Shiit Gungnir or Teac's UD-501? I would probably want to add the AX-501 to the 503 ( I really like the dual analog meters lol). AX-501 | TEAC I was thing along with the Gungnir I'd get the Mjolnir headphone amp as well Schiit Audio, Headphone amps and DACs made in USA.. Have you any experience with these Teac or Schiit combos?

 

I'm thinking the Emotiva Airmotiv 4s may be a bit small. What about the Emotiva Airmotiv 5s or even the 6s?

 

The way I have my 6 x 8 ft area set up is with my chair against the wall facing the wall that's 8ft away. This gives me about 3ft behind my desk. I could have larger speakers 2 1/2 to 4ft away from my ears.

 

How hard would it be to attach a sub to the Emotiva Airmotiv 5s or 6s?

 

Thanks again.

In a close field experience, I don't believe you are going to require a sub to be satisfied. You don't want the low end muddy and lets face it, you might experience problems with wall resonance/freq-alterations in your particular home's wall construction method. I suggested a type of powered speaker because for their size, they seem to provide decent frequency balance (amp matched to speaker's freq abilities).

I have owned the Stealth DC-1 and in all the ≤$1k price range competition, this DAC does amazingly well. You'd need to spend ≥$2k to get a noticeable improvement. The DC-1's standard balanced outputs and remote controlled preamp abilities are a blessing for an active speaker setup.

I have not heard the Airmotiv line-up, but Stereophile looks favorably on them for close in monitor usage. I do have a set of passive KEF LS50 speakers that I use on a secondary system (they sound GREAT) and if the KEF X300a are anywhere close in sound quality, you might consider demoing these if you want bigger speakers than the Airmotive 4s. Good luck in your quest!

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Well, I think this would suit your needs perfectly, if you have enough space for it. Not only that, but it will hook up to almost any computer and handle *any* format you can throw at it, as well as support some dynamite headphones. (Living in a travel trailer is cool, at least for a little while. But occasionally, you wind up someplace next to noisy neighbors, and a set of headphones can be the best homicide prevention solution in the world... :))

 

$1999 - just add a cable to your PC. ;)

 

iFi Retro Stereo System at Music Direct

 

WIFIRTS50LS35.jpg

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Well, I think this would suit your needs perfectly, if you have enough space for it. Not only that, but it will hook up to almost any computer and handle *any* format you can throw at it, as well as support some dynamite headphones. (Living in a travel trailer is cool, at least for a little while. But occasionally, you wind up someplace next to noisy neighbors, and a set of headphones can be the best homicide prevention solution in the world... :))

 

$1999 - just add a cable to your PC. ;)

 

iFi Retro Stereo System at Music Direct

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]18100[/ATTACH]

 

That's very intriguing set up for a small space!. I'm a huge fan of EL84 amps. That little tube is very sweet sounding! Given ifi's reputation for outstanding dacs, if the speakers are halfway decent (I really like silk dome tweeters in a smallish area) that could be a killer set up. And it's literally plug and play! The OP could do that and spend the rest of his time and money modernizing his PC and his music sources.

Family Room: Panny TCP65S2, Panny BDP-55, DTV HR-24, SB Touch, Schiit Bifrost Multibit, Yamaha RX-V3900, Emotiva XPA-3, Rocket NM 550's, Rocket 150's, X-CS, UFW-10, Harmony 700.

 

Computer Room: Dell laptop, Uptone Regen Amber, Schiit Bifrost Multibit, Decware SE84C+, Zu Omen, ALO National, Mr.Speakers Mad Dog headphones

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That's very intriguing set up for a small space!. I'm a huge fan of EL84 amps. That little tube is very sweet sounding! Given ifi's reputation for outstanding dacs, if the speakers are halfway decent (I really like silk dome tweeters in a smallish area) that could be a killer set up. And it's literally plug and play! The OP could do that and spend the rest of his time and money modernizing his PC and his music sources.

 

Those are LS3.5 speakers, with the 28mm silk dome tweeter. (grin) Those are modeled on the LS3/5As, with iFi putting their own twist on 'em. Bamboo too. :)

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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WADR, unless you move up from mp3 to at least redbook resolution, upgrading your hardware is pretty much a waste of money. You have an outstanding, high-value-for-money headphone rig, and you can upgrade your headphones (try the 600 and 650 and see which you like better) without out-growing the Magni/Modi stack. If you do choose to upgrade your Schiit stack, Valhalla 2 is the best choice for use with 300 ohm Senns (it's even good with the 800).

 

 

I thought about the possibility of my mp3's not being of good enough quality for a $5k setup so I've set some money aside for upgrading and expanding my music library. I've already started buying 24 Bit Studio Masters of a few of my essential albums at Bandcamp.com. I'm not sure how many labels are selling them there but Spotted Peccary and Ultimae Records do. Even on my current setup I think I can hear a difference between mp3's and 24 bit. Maybe not, but I think if I think I can that's good enough to justify lol. I've been reading reviews on the HD800's. No one has said anything but good stuff about them. I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around their price tag. Have you any experience with the HD700?

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Well, I think this would suit your needs perfectly, if you have enough space for it. Not only that, but it will hook up to almost any computer and handle *any* format you can throw at it, as well as support some dynamite headphones. (Living in a travel trailer is cool, at least for a little while. But occasionally, you wind up someplace next to noisy neighbors, and a set of headphones can be the best homicide prevention solution in the world... :))

 

$1999 - just add a cable to your PC. ;)

 

iFi Retro Stereo System at Music Direct

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]18100[/ATTACH]

 

 

I really like the retro look and the specs are impressive. Have you heard this system or read any user reviews? This guy seems to like it. iFi Audio STEREO 50 + LS3.5 - Integrated amplifier/DAC + loudspeakers I'll spend some time researching this. Thanks Paul.

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That's very intriguing set up for a small space!. I'm a huge fan of EL84 amps. That little tube is very sweet sounding! Given ifi's reputation for outstanding dacs, if the speakers are halfway decent (I really like silk dome tweeters in a smallish area) that could be a killer set up. And it's literally plug and play! The OP could do that and spend the rest of his time and money modernizing his PC and his music sources.

 

 

I could even get the HD800's lol. From what I've read you can buy this with or without the speakers. I wonder how the Orca Mini's with matching sub would sound with it?

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I thought about the possibility of my mp3's not being of good enough quality for a $5k setup so I've set some money aside for upgrading and expanding my music library. I've already started buying 24 Bit Studio Masters of a few of my essential albums at Bandcamp.com. I'm not sure how many labels are selling them there but Spotted Peccary and Ultimae Records do. Even on my current setup I think I can hear a difference between mp3's and 24 bit. Maybe not, but I think if I think I can that's good enough to justify lol. I've been reading reviews on the HD800's. No one has said anything but good stuff about them. I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around their price tag. Have you any experience with the HD700?

 

I've had my 800 since before the 700 was introduced, so I've never spent more than about three minutes with the 700. My impression was that they weren't as bad as their detractors made them out to be, but they also weren't two-thirds of the 800 at two-thirds the price. If the 700 was the flagship of the Senn line, I would probably have the 600.

 

Also keep in mind that if you can tolerate IEMs, there are some great values from Noble and Westone at around the price of the 700. A set of Noble 4 customs might be right up your alley.

Office: MacBook Pro - Audirvana Plus - Resonessence Concero - Cavailli Liquid Carbon - Sennheiser HD 800.

Travel/Portable: iPhone 7 or iPad Pro - AudioQuest Dragonfly Red - Audeze SINE or Noble Savant

Link to comment
I really like the retro look and the specs are impressive. Have you heard this system or read any user reviews? This guy seems to like it. iFi Audio STEREO 50 + LS3.5 - Integrated amplifier/DAC + loudspeakers I'll spend some time researching this. Thanks Paul.

 

It is impressive, though I gave not heard it at home yet. I plan to order one, despite being allergic to tubes.;)

 

Can't go wrong with that 30 day no questions return policy either!

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

Link to comment
That's very intriguing set up for a small space!. I'm a huge fan of EL84 amps. That little tube is very sweet sounding! Given ifi's reputation for outstanding dacs, if the speakers are halfway decent (I really like silk dome tweeters in a smallish area) that could be a killer set up. And it's literally plug and play! The OP could do that and spend the rest of his time and money modernizing his PC and his music sources.

 

Btw it also has built in aptX, Bluetooth Dongle to the Laptop to stream music wireless (fine for MP3 and CD standard) or wired via USB on retro stereo 50 makes fun times :-)

 

Heard this play a while back during a demo, was impressed.

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