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Suggest a Dac to a newbie please :)


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First off, hello everyone. This is my first post in the forums :)

 

 

So, for starters let me give you a little bit of a background:

 

I have never really been into very high end audio. On my computer I have a 5.1 surround system by Logitech, which generally sounds "good", packs a punch and does the surround effect pretty well. But I do have a very picky ear and I can tell subtle differences.

 

Now, lately I've been hearing a couple of studio monitors more and more and whenever I go back to my Logitech system, it feels really bad. I mean, on the studio monitors, I can pick up each and every sound, every instrument is so distinct... Also, the bass.... While the woofer on my surround system is pretty much stronger, I can't help but feel that it's probably missing out on like half the frequencies. On the studio monitors, while it's not as "toned", I can tell the different bass notes being played. Everything is simply crystal clear and I think I am now officially spoiled. The speakers in question are the Yamaha HS8 (the previous model).

 

So, here I am decided to dump my surround system for a proper studio monitor stereo setup. But here's where I need a little help from you guys:

 

 

  1. For a room that is 2,85 x 2,95 meters (approx. 9.35 x 9.68 ft), would a pair of two HS8 be too much? Should I look at the HS7 instead? Any other brands you would recommend?
  2. I would very much like to be able to adjust the EQ of my audio whenever I want. After looking around, it seems my choices for a reasonably priced DAC that can adjust "Bass/Trebble" are very limited, if any at all. Everyone recommends software EQ. My question is, can you suggest a DAC that allows for that? My friend's DAC connects through USB and doesn't allow any tweaking from within the Operating system. Any suggestions?
  3. Finally, would it be a good idea to pick a separate woofer unit to pair with two full range studio monitors? Would it be overkill?

 

Those were my noob questions :) Feel free to correct me wherever I'm wrong or on whatever I have misunderstood. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

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  1. For a room that is 2,85 x 2,95 meters (approx. 9.35 x 9.68 ft), would a pair of two HS8 be too much? Should I look at the HS7 instead? Any other brands you would recommend?
  2. I would very much like to be able to adjust the EQ of my audio whenever I want. After looking around, it seems my choices for a reasonably priced DAC that can adjust "Bass/Trebble" are very limited, if any at all. Everyone recommends software EQ. My question is, can you suggest a DAC that allows for that? My friend's DAC connects through USB and doesn't allow any tweaking from within the Operating system. Any suggestions?
  3. Finally, would it be a good idea to pick a separate woofer unit to pair with two full range studio monitors? Would it be overkill?

 

1. On a budget I can recommend the Pioneer FS-52-LR (Andrew Jones designed) if you can get the floor room to fit them

 

2. Are you sure the USB dac doesn't allow EQ? It should be able to do so from the player software, e.g. foobar or jriver. I haven't come across one that wouldn't but I may be wrong. Again, on a budget I would have you try the http://hifimediy.com/Sabre-9018-DAC

 

3. Whether you want a subwoofer would depend on your budget and listening needs. The Pioneer say roll off of 40Hz. and Yamaha H8s from 38-54 Hz depending on size. Low E on a bass is 41 Hz. For HT/Action movies full of explosions where you want to shake the walls you would want a sub.

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You can always start without the sub and add it in if you feel you need more bass.

As far as EQ, it definitely should be possible through software. Some players, like JRiver, have it built in if you want it.

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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On the DAC side, you could do worse than pick up a Cambridge Audio DACMagic off e-bay. They are common, cheap as chips, and still sound surprisingly good.

 

A software player like Amarra should give you the EQ you need, with a few presets thrown in for good measure.

Front End: Neet Airstream

Digital Processing: Chord Hugo M-Scaler

DAC: Chord Dave

Amplification: Cyrus Mono x300 Signatures

Speakers: Kudos Titan T88

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Thank you everyone for taking the time to reply to my thread.

 

1. On a budget I can recommend the Pioneer FS-52-LR (Andrew Jones designed) if you can get the floor room to fit them

 

2. Are you sure the USB dac doesn't allow EQ? It should be able to do so from the player software, e.g. foobar or jriver. I haven't come across one that wouldn't but I may be wrong. Again, on a budget I would have you try the HiFime Sabre 9018 USB DAC

 

3. Whether you want a subwoofer would depend on your budget and listening needs. The Pioneer say roll off of 40Hz. and Yamaha H8s from 38-54 Hz depending on size. Low E on a bass is 41 Hz. For HT/Action movies full of explosions where you want to shake the walls you would want a sub.

 

1. Looks nice and at a good price, though I'm pretty limited to the "smaller" form factors as I want to put them on top of a desk.

 

2. Any EQ options from within Windows were missing for the specific playback device. I tried a program called "APO" something which I've heard success stories with but it didn't work. The in-player, built-in EQ like for example in iTunes should probably work, but that's kind of irrelevant to me as I don't stick with a specific player.

 

3. I'm pretty sure I don't "need" one. After listening to the studio monitors for a while, sometimes it left me wanting. Not because it couldn't produce good enough bass, but because I couldn't tone it up a bit (hence why I want an EQ). So I thought perhaps leaving everything flat but adding a woofer could help, but perhaps it's a waste of money.

 

You can always start without the sub and add it in if you feel you need more bass.

As far as EQ, it definitely should be possible through software. Some players, like JRiver, have it built in if you want it.

 

True that, but then again I already feel like I want to tone it up a little on certain occasions. Not always, but sometimes I really do. Like I said above, I'm looking for a more "universal" solution across my operating system, something not tied to a specific player.

 

On the DAC side, you could do worse than pick up a Cambridge Audio DACMagic off e-bay. They are common, cheap as chips, and still sound surprisingly good.

 

A software player like Amarra should give you the EQ you need, with a few presets thrown in for good measure.

 

Thanks, will check that DAC out.

 

 

 

So... apart from using the EQ that comes with the player itself, there is no other way to make this work? I even think it didn't work for couple players that had it, but that sounds too weird so I'll have to double check. Still though, I would just like everything to "obey" to my EQ settings, not just the music being played from a specific player, but everything, even error sounds from the OS.

 

Am I out of luck?

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So... apart from using the EQ that comes with the player itself, there is no other way to make this work?

 

 

I don't know of any DAC that allows you to change EQ.

 

If you need EQ, why not just stick to a single player, like Amarra:

http://rekkerd.org/img/201412/soundstudio_Amarra_sQ.jpg

 

I've got different players (JRiver, Audirvana, iTunes, Amarra), if I want EQ or DSP then I just use those which have it.

Front End: Neet Airstream

Digital Processing: Chord Hugo M-Scaler

DAC: Chord Dave

Amplification: Cyrus Mono x300 Signatures

Speakers: Kudos Titan T88

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