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Where do I go from here with my new hobby?


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I have another thread going called "Today I am a Man" about my recent purchase of an entry level HIFI but that seems to have gotten a little ugly for some reason so I thought, since this is a different topic, I would start a new thread.

 

I currently have:

 

Marantz PM5005 integrated amp

KEF Q300 speakers (on 24" stands)

A TEAC UD301 (going back to the store sadly for financial reasons. Will re-purchase later)

An ARCAM rPAC (will be filling in as my DAC for a few months. Then I will sell it)

PSB Subseries (325??) Subwoofer (It's not very good but I got it for chump change)

A SUPRA USB 2.0 cable for PC>>DAC

An AudioQuest Evergreen RCA>RCA for DAC>>AMP

Some brand of 18AWG speaker cable I've never heard of. I couldn't afford good stuff. I have the speakers bi-wired.

 

And the following computer, which is FAR from ideal:

 

Antec P100 ATX case

ASRock Z97 Anniversary ATX mobo

2X2GB G skill DDR3 1600 Cas 9 1.5V

Pentium G3258 CPU

EVGA B500 (A horrible little PSU with pretty high ripple apparently)

 

This is all currently plugged into a MONSTER "Clean Power" power bar which is plugged into a regular 15 amp socket.

I have a Corsair CX500 that I could swap into this computer if that would make any kind of SQ improvement. It's not a problem.

 

I want to get the most out of this system by buying the best components I can afford. I do plan to upgrade my speakers (and possibly my integrated amp) later down the road.

 

I was told my next step should be cleaner power and to buy a high quality wall power socket and a high quality all copper power cord with a certain brand of ends on it for at least my AMP.

 

When I have a hobby I tend to dump a lot of money (well, a lot to ME. To many of you it may seem like a comically small amount of money but I digress) into it.

 

What upgrades can I make to my system from here going forward? I am not a "cables make no difference" person. I think they make a massive difference and I have heard it myself. Sadly. Very sadly actually... room treatments, carpets, acoustic dampening, bass traps, and etc are out of the question. My significant other has forbidden such things.

 

I do know that I need a fully passive computer with no moving parts ideally with paul pang memory and maybe a paul pang motherboard and a high quality USB card. And a linear power supply for said computer. And that it should have Windows Server 2012 on it... but that's going to cost a few bucks... If someone could throw together an example parts list for such a computer I'd be interested in looking at it. This isn't the kind of question I can ask over on Tom's Hardware, after all.

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You seem a lot like me :) impatient... Learn your system my friend. You won't know what will be a true improvement until you know your baseline and this involves weeks and months of getting to know it. Sadly your best ROI comes from room improvements but since that's forbidden, you'll already be behind the 8 ball IMO. Silence and neutral listening spaces will make the biggest differences you're going to find AND that setting makes it so much easier to ascertain differences. If I were in your position I'd buy a CAPS and be done with it. Silencing my PC and my room made a the biggest difference so far.

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> iFi Zen Stream NAA

Holo May KTE, Benchmark LA4 preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dynaudio Confidence C2 Platinum speakers

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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There are quite a few articles here that detail the steps involved to create a caps machine but they can actually be purchased from smallgreencomputer.com if you want a rough idea of cost. you mentioned paul pang earlier and one of his sata cables will cost more than the sub you just got. its up to you to measure the value of such an exercise.

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> iFi Zen Stream NAA

Holo May KTE, Benchmark LA4 preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dynaudio Confidence C2 Platinum speakers

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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For reference I looked into doing my own CAPS and once I located and priced all the parts I was only slightly lower than what Small Green Computer sells them for. Offset the labor and experience (how many CPUs have you glued cooling piping onto lately?) and it became a no-brainer - I purchased the CAPS v3 in a Micro Zuma case.

Analog: Koetsu Rosewood > VPI Aries 3 w/SDS > EAR 834P > EAR 834L: Audiodesk cleaner

Digital Fun: DAS > CAPS v3 w/LPS (JRMC) SOtM USB > Lynx Hilo > EAR 834L

Digital Serious: DAS > CAPS v3 w/LPS (HQPlayer) Ethernet > SMS-100 NAA > Lampi DSD L4 G5 > EAR 834L

Digital Disc: Oppo BDP 95 > EAR 834L

Output: EAR 834L > Xilica XP4080 DSP > Odessey Stratos Mono Extreme > Legacy Aeris

Phones: EAR 834L > Little Dot Mk ii > Senheiser HD 800

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If you're not familiar with Linux, I'd be inclined to stick to the CAPs from those guys with windows 7/8. Much easier in general to resolve issues in that OS.

 

All the Paul Pang kit isn't going to do squat to your SQ. Best sorting the source and seeing where your missus is willing to make compromises. Such as GIK acoustic art panels maybe over their plain acoustic panels for room treatment. You can do a lot there and honestly, you'll more than likely get more out of the room treatment than dicking around with tiny, tiny incremental changes to a PC hardware configuration imo.

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As I have mentioned already, I am not allowed to do any kind of room treatments. So saith the wife.

 

No room treatments, then you need to go down the room correction road

 

You need to decide whether you want to do it in a PC or a stand alone box, such as MiniDSP

Sound Test, Monaco

Consultant to Sound Galleries Monaco, and Taiko Audio Holland

e-mail [email protected]

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No room treatments, then you need to go down the room correction road

 

You need to decide whether you want to do it in a PC or a stand alone box, such as MiniDSP

 

What is MiniDSP? Just pretend I'm a total noob who knows almost nothing lol. (which is true).

 

Keep in mind guys that when I mention outlandish upgrades like a better power socket, better power cables, better speaker cables... a better PC... These are not my end game speakers, nor possibly my end game amp. I will be upgrading to better stuff within a year or two no doubt. That's just the way I am with hobbies.

 

I went from a 5 gallon with a total all in cost of $50 to a 90 gallon with an all in cost of $3000 when I was doing aquariums. No doubt I'll be getting bigger "sound fish" as well hehe.

 

To give you an idea of the kind of guy I am, when I had a 55 gallon freshwater tank I was running 2 Aquaclear 300s and an Eheim 2215 and a Tetra 20i. And a ground probe. And two digital thermometers. And two heaters. I'm just like that. If I started a band it would be called "Urge for overkill"...

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I went from a 5 gallon with a total all in cost of $50 to a 90 gallon with an all in cost of $3000 when I was doing aquariums.

 

I finally got rid of the 100 gallon reef tank.

 

If you still have an aquarium, the best sonic upgrade you can possibly make would be to get rid of it, or move it to a different building.

 

A large aquarium, once stable, is much easier to maintain.

 

A more expensive audio system is harder to justify until you spend some quality time with your current one. You are at the point currently where you might benefit most form investing in some music.

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I finally got rid of the 100 gallon reef tank.

 

If you still have an aquarium, the best sonic upgrade you can possibly make would be to get rid of it, or move it to a different building.

 

A large aquarium, once stable, is much easier to maintain.

 

A more expensive audio system is harder to justify until you spend some quality time with your current one. You are at the point currently where you might benefit most form investing in some music.

 

Ah yes a reef tank. Those are some of the most impressive setups. I was a freshwater guy. I could never justify the cost of a reef tank to myself. Even if I could justify it I never would have been able to afford it.

 

My favorite fish are freshwater anyways. My all time favorites that I had were my angels. I got really nice ones.

 

AF11_zps2bcbfdf8.jpg

 

But I dont want to change the subject. Just wanted to share that picture.

 

I sent you a PM about aquarium stuff...

 

EDIT: Nope I didn't It appears you have PM disabled :P

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Keep in mind guys that when I mention outlandish upgrades like a better power socket, better power cables, better speaker cables... a better PC... These are not my end game speakers, nor possibly my end game amp. I will be upgrading to better stuff within a year or two no doubt. That's just the way I am with hobbies.

 

Replacing your wall socket, your power cables, your speaker cables will not make meaningful, or even audible, improvements just because these are simple things to waste small amounts of money on. Either save your money for big-ticket upgrades, like speakers, DAC, amps, or spend it on better masterings of your favorite music, where you can find them.

 

As far as the spouse issues are concerned, have you considered a good pair of headphones?

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Thanks dude.

 

I looked it up MiniDSP 2x4 | MiniDSP

 

I still don't understand what it is. Maybe somebody else can fill me in on what it can do for me.

 

Cheers folks!

 

It's digital room correction. You use the device, software, a microphone and PC to measure the acoustics of your room. You then add the device to your hi fi setup and when you play music, it "corrects" the signal to compensate for acoustic problems in your room - your get proper "flat" playback, even if your room isn't flat.

If you still don't understand that, Google "digital room correction" or DRC and do some reading

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Path: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Cayin iDAC6 MKII (tube mode) (XLR)>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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As I have mentioned already, I am not allowed to do any kind of room treatments. So saith the wife.

 

Too bad, you will be missing out on the most important thing even prior to listening to your gear. Room correction by DSP is next in line, sure, but will not be as good. I would only use DSP after I have done physical and analogue room treatment first and if there were some stubborn peaks or troughs remaining. Still, perhaps less costly than changing wife. :P

Dedicated Line DSD/DXD | Audirvana+ | iFi iDSD Nano | SET Tube Amp | Totem Mites

Surround: VLC | M-Audio FastTrack Pro | Mac Opt | Panasonic SA-HE100 | Logitech Z623

DIY: SET Tube Amp | Low-Noise Linear Regulated Power Supply | USB, Power, Speaker Cables | Speaker Stands | Acoustic Panels

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As I have mentioned already, I am not allowed to do any kind of room treatments. So saith the wife.

 

I saw that comment but have you investigated what you can do with the art panels? If you have actually looked at these, I'll say no more.

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