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I admit I am a bit slow on the uptake, with these forums. I posted the question, "Can a chip amplifier sound as good as regular amp?" but I thought the thread was the Computer Audiophile on the Cheap thread--it was the DAC thread... ooops.

 

Anyhow, that drew a number of folks into a exchange of ideas, and at last count, 11 pages of responses.

 

I learned a lot from the experience. My $40 Nobsound Class D amp doesn't sound as good as the h/k 330i, so the answer is:

 

'No, not for $40.'

 

I did find another USA manufacturer  in Class D and read about a 699 GBPound unit from Britain. All in good fun.

 

On this thread, my goal is to talk about not how MUCH a good sounding stereo costs, but rather, how good of a sound can I get out of the stereo I have.  Not my original idea, I think it was expressed by folks at Schiit. I like their Modi 2 DAC for $99. That means anyone with a computer, an amplifier/receiver, and a pair of decent speakers can start hearing music differently.

 

Computer Audiophile on the Cheap is a lifestyle. Hugh Hefner popularized the Playboy mystique. We aren't that glamorous.

 

We talk about the iFi iPurifier2 with it's100x noise cancellation, stolen for civilian audiophiles from Military components used on fighters...I guess since they have a picture of a jet on the box.  At $109, it is rated as a a "MUST BUY" Accessory if a computer is part of the signal path.

 

Folks, you don't have to mortgage the children's future with a home stereo system. You can really enjoy music, knowing you did it on the Cheap...And it sounds better than you can ever recall hearing the music.

hk330i.jpg

Edited by bigbob
To correct grievous errors in spelling, punctuation and wandering thoughts

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Glad to see you started another CAotC thread @bigbob .. I'll be following for sure. The entry point for good sound these days makes our hobby much more accessible to anyone with even a passing interest in hifi. The more the merrier!

 

Just so we are clear, please list your current system components. Oh, and please ask Chris to change "Compuer" to "Computer" in the thread title :D.

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So I am unclear here what your goal is.  You really just looking for cheap sources for the H-K and speakers you have? If so is the budget $100?

 

The limits to how good a sound you can achieve is going to be the speakers.  So if you are saying keep what you have and get a good source that is one thing.  And we still need a target budget.  A list of components as Melvin said are needed.

 

Do you plan to play from a computer?  If it is a desktop a Xonar sound card might be cost effective. 

 

So I guess the question is, what are you keeping and what are you willing or able to change? Are we talking second hand as well as new.


And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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7 hours ago, Melvin said:

Glad to see you started another CAotC thread @bigbob .. I'll be following for sure. The entry point for good sound these days makes our hobby much more accessible to anyone with even a passing interest in hifi. The more the merrier!

 

Just so we are clear, please list your current system components. Oh, and please ask Chris to change "Compuer" to "Computer" in the thread title :D.

 

 

Thanks and Done!

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7 hours ago, esldude said:

Do you plan to play from a computer?  If it is a desktop a Xonar sound card might be cost effective. 

 

So I guess the question is, what are you keeping and what are you willing or able to change? Are we talking second hand as well as new.

 

Everything is computer based. The Schiit Modi 2 at $99 was a good choice, better than the iFi nano LE, in my opinion, unless you want a portable headphone amp built into your DAC.

 

At this point, I am interested in Amplifiers. The experiment with the Cheapest was a learning experience.

 

"Thank you for your interest in the ACA kit.

At the moment, we don't have an estimate date for when new stocks for the ACA kit arrive.

To get a notification for when the ACA kit becomes available, please click on the EMAIL ME WHEN AVAILABLE button."- diyAudioStore

 

 

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2 hours ago, esldude said:

If you were starting from scratch and with my opinion speakers are most important, I would tout yet again those JBL LSR305s.  Crazy good, and crazy cheap.  Powered speaker with active DSP crossovers built in for $260/pr or sometimes a bit less.  Add say your Modi 2 (assuming it is good haven't heard one) and you have quite a good sounding system.  Or say the 301 Teac DAC/pre/headphone unit or an Emotiva or similar.

 

You'll have seriously good sound for a relative pittance.  No it won't equal spending $2k or more, but it is better sound than ever before possible for this amount of money.  And super simple.  Pick a DAC, get the speakers, connect them and add a computer or tablet or phone or portable player.  Off you go with good music.

 

One of the drawbacks to the iFi nano LE was the amplification stage for headphones. The Schiit Modi 2, at $99 is a very-entry level external DAC, and it sounds better than the iFi, on my system.

I am using the Schiit SYS passive pre-amp for volume control, and my receiver is just pushing out it's 20w/channel turned up half. I have tried different variations--the SYS at half way, the receiver turned up full, the SYS at halfway and the receiver at half-way, which gives me good control as the recording levels vary from file to file. When I was using the nano LE, that put a third volume control in the signal path, and I rightly assumed that too many Pots spoiled the soup. With the nano, the sound was crispy, almost edgy.

 

I think the Modi 2 is a good pure external DAC for what I am doing. The next price point up is Schiit's Bifrost at $399, which is out of my financial reach.

Compared to my 'system', $2K would be a World away-- I figure I have invested a little more than $500, and that includes the Advents new in 1975 at $125 a pair and the re-foam in 1990.

 

Since my love of Music centered around the 24-bit/96hz Soundboard recordings of my beloved Grateful Dead, I did make one upgrade to the speaker screens--with a tee-shirt I bought a year ago at Hippie Fest.

 

DSC08753_v1.JPG

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That's the spirit. Good sounds that don't break the bank!

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I *really* like this thread, thank you.  In fact I hope that Chris opens a whole subforum dedicated to budget gear.  I've been getting lots of budget items recently as gifts, so I've been studying... and urge everybody to look around for reviews.  For example...

 

The Schiit "Mimby" (slang for "Modi Multiibit"), how did you miss this one?  At $250 new it's a monster, and by all accounts better than the base Bifrost.  I had the $600 Bimby and found it magnificent, way better than the very good base Bifrost Uber/USB2 which I upgraded (at $250) to multibit.

 

So I've been gotten several of these: 

 

Speakers: Micca B42X, passive, $90/pr.  Really outstanding, not much bass of course.

Eager to try the ELACs, a derivative of the Pioneers that Jud spoke of in the earlier thread.

Curious about the active Micca PB42s.  The JBL 305s get nothing but raves everywhere, using just little 40W class D amps inside.

 

Amps and receivers: $275 Parasound Zamp v.3: wonderful and strong; also $360 Teac AI301 DAC/receiver: Musical, versatile, nicely stout.  The latter is the new embodiment of receiver: has a DAC instead of a tuner, a strong, cool-running Class D amp, simple.  Even binding posts, you never used to see that on gear this inexpensive.

 

Schiit Saga preamp ($350): not unboxed yet, but reviews are glorious.  Going into a Zamp/Micca/Mimby system, *probably* replacing a Parasound Zpre preamp.

 

U-turn Orbit turntable.  $180 and very upgradable.

U-turn Pluto MM phono preamp, $90.

 

On 4/20/2017 at 7:11 PM, bigbob said:

 

One of the drawbacks to the iFi nano LE was the amplification stage for headphones. The Schiit Modi 2, at $99 is a very-entry level external DAC, and it sounds better than the iFi, on my system.

I am using the Schiit SYS passive pre-amp for volume control, and my receiver is just pushing out it's 20w/channel turned up half. I have tried different variations--the SYS at half way, the receiver turned up full, the SYS at halfway and the receiver at half-way, which gives me good control as the recording levels vary from file to file. When I was using the nano LE, that put a third volume control in the signal path, and I rightly assumed that too many Pots spoiled the soup. With the nano, the sound was crispy, almost edgy.

 

I think the Modi 2 is a good pure external DAC for what I am doing. The next price point up is Schiit's Bifrost at $399, which is out of my financial reach.

Compared to my 'system', $2K would be a World away-- I figure I have invested a little more than $500, and that includes the Advents new in 1975 at $125 a pair and the re-foam in 1990.

 

Since my love of Music centered around the 24-bit/96hz Soundboard recordings of my beloved Grateful Dead, I did make one upgrade to the speaker screens--with a tee-shirt I bought a year ago at Hippie Fest.

 

DSC08753_v1.JPG

 

 

 

Edited by Sam Lord

Mac Mini 2012 with 2.3 GHz i5 CPU and 16GB RAM running newest OS10.9x and Signalyst HQ Player software (occasionally JRMC), ethernet to Cisco SG100-08 GigE switch, ethernet to SOtM SMS100 Miniserver in audio room, sending via short 1/2 meter AQ Cinnamon USB to Oppo 105D, feeding balanced outputs to 2x Bel Canto S300 amps which vertically biamp ATC SCM20SL speakers, 2x Velodyne DD12+ subs. Each side is mounted vertically on 3-tiered Sound Anchor ADJ2 stands: ATC (top), amp (middle), sub (bottom), Mogami, Koala, Nordost, Mosaic cables, split at the preamp outputs with splitters. All transducers are thoroughly and lovingly time aligned for the listening position.

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11 hours ago, Sam Lord said:

In fact I hope that Chris opens a whole subforum dedicated to budget gear. 

 

+1

 

@The Computer Audiophile .. Chris, I think this would be a welcome addition here. I hope you consider it. 

Edited by Melvin

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11 hours ago, Sam Lord said:

I've been getting lots of budget items recently as gifts, so I've been studying... and urge everybody to look around for reviews.

 

Hey Sam .. I've been pleasantly surprised with the great sound I've been getting out of my 2 latest integrated amp acquisitions (Fleawatt TPA3116D2 and APPJ PA0901A). Amazing sound for so little cash! Thanks for sharing. Have fun. 

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I am glad to see that I am not the only person who enjoys the 'other' end of 'high end'. I will never begrudge anyone spending their money on the hobby, but those of us without those resources also can enjoy being Audiophiles.

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25 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

This is definitely a topic of interest for me. Some of us were discussing high prices and lack of value at Axpona this weekend. 

 

Maybe Chinese audiophiles are buying...  Rolex watches, wine and Scotch prices went crazy after until they entered the market...!

 

Roch

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14 hours ago, Sam Lord said:

I *really* like this thread, thank you.  In fact I hope that Chris opens a whole subforum dedicated to budget gear.  I've been getting lots of budget items recently as gifts, so I've been studying... and urge everybody to look around for reviews.  For example...

 

The Schiit "Mimby" (slang for "Modi Multiibit"), how did you miss this one?  At $250 new it's a monster, and by all accounts better than the base Bifrost.  I had the $600 Bimby and found it magnificent, way better than the very good base Bifrost Uber/USB2 which I upgraded (at $250) to multibit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I bought the Modi 2, I really didn't consider the Multibit because of the price. I was replacing a AQ Dragonfly v1.2, which I bought on close-out for $79. I guess I can plead ignorance of what "Multibit" meant at that time. But, I might consider it as an upgrade instead of the Bifrost...Thanks for the tip!

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40 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

This is definitely a topic of interest for me. Some of us were discussing high prices and lack of value at Axpona this weekend. 

 

I am glad I have touched upon an area of interest. The "CAotC" lifestyle is really about value vs. prestige.

 

Sure, the industry needs to only sell a few hundred items at the top-end of the line, and that is a marketplace it shares with names like Maserati and Bentley -- and those marques do the exact same thing as a Hyundi or a Honda. 

 

Many will cite the placebo effect-- that if you spend $250,000 on a pair of speakers, I am pretty sure they WILL sound better to you than another pair of less expensive speakers.

 

Now, is the great times for Stereo, in my opinion because of digital sources. Will vinyl be replaced? No, nor should that even be an argument. Two different issues.

 

For me the convenience of building a playlist from my library of files, and sitting back and listening sure beats getting up to turn over a LP. And who spends $2,300 on a device to remove dust and dirt from a vinyl pressing anyhow?

 

It is not "Us vs. Them" but that also means we need to be considerate that not everyone is an Audio Engineer or a Trust-funded Audiophile.

 

I am glad there is an interest in Affordable Audio, Vintage Electronics, Vintage speaker systems, and a common bond amongst us.

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If you're wanting some studio monitors on the cheap, I recently got these and they're amazing. Bang for the buck:

 

d2zzYAQ.jpg

So I was looking for some desktop speakers instead of having to be exclusively tied to headphones in the bedroom. I was considering some either monitors or regular speakers. After digging around online, I found these offered by Rockville (who I guess does car audio). They claimed great price, manufacturer direct buy, great component and quality control with a 90 day return warranty. Figured for the price, I couldn't really go wrong. $156 altogether with the pads. They have other options (including stands) for more expensive but I'll hold off on stands for now.

I had a choice between the 5" or the 6" models --- the 6" model was only $30 more. I asked my friend who's huge into speakers and he said I may as well go big or go home for $30. I COULD have got the 8" model but I felt that may have been overkill for my purposes. Plus I kind of wanted to keep these on the desktop.

Initial impressions: cymbals and guitars on these are amazing. They have a real presence and weight to them. Cymbals sound jaw dropping. They sound thiiiiick. The decay is amazing. Obviously, it depends on how well it was recorded, but if you're listening to the Eagles, it sounds incredibly realistic, like they're right inside your speaker 2 foot away. Guitars have a shimmering quality to them. Really solid and weighty. They're really nice sounding.

Vocals are very good - they sound really nice and natural. However, depending on the mix, vocals can be pushed a bit back for my liking. I actually EQ'd my music a bit to bring the vocals up in MusicBee. It's not that they're buried, but they're not as out front as I feel they should be. They're more in line with the instruments. Ex: Rush. But then you listen to something else like Drake/Ariana Grande and the vocals are fine. It's weird and it's very mix dependent and I honestly wish I could have a little more consistency. (probably should have gone for regular hi-fi speakers in that case?) These are not artificially tuned forward. These will display the music mix itself before the vocals (if the engineer seemed to have mixed it that way). It's actually slightly annoying, as I like my vocals forward sounding.

Bass is deep and tight. LOTS of it. I actually turned the bass down to the -4db setting (not a huge bass head) and it still sounds plentiful for my purposes.

I'm a little unclear on how I feel on the drums on these. I'm not sure if the drums I'm listening to just were recorded like ass [Moby Dick by Zeppelin], or if it's the speakers themselves. I've heard certain drums on certain songs sound really good on other equipment, but maybe that equipment was accentuating the drums. I don't know --- on some things, the drums sound amazing. On some they sound like cardboard. It seems to vary wildly by recording. I wish it was a bit more consistent. I'm still playing with it and breaking in the speakers, so that may change. I'm probably going to be experimenting with my other set in the living room [Wharfedale/Monitor Audio] to see if there's a difference. My guess is these speakers present exactly what's on the recording as it is, and don't massage it. (technically they're not supposed to, but coming from regular hi-fi speakers, slightly annoying)

Modern pop sounds really good on these. Clean, clear, detailed, punchy. Older recordings are a mixed bag. Electronic sounds glorious (Mitch Murder).

These have a very "hi-fi"-ish sound to me. These sound pretty rich with body. You may or may not like that in your studio monitors. I do.

Detail: TONS of detail. You can hear (and I'm not exaggerating) every single thing in the mixes. The clarity is stunning. You can hear front to back, straight through. The transparency is ear/eye watering. I was hearing some questionable mastering/recording choices on these that I wasn't even really hearing on headphones. (could have just been me paying attention though this time) These were keeping up and even out performing the detail level on my Senn 600s in some spots. They're champs.

Build quality: solid. Like really solid. They look really sharp too.I'm used to hearing Wharfedale, Monitor Audio, JBL, Mackie, Tannoy, Audio Engine, Bowers and Wilkins, Martin Logan, Klipsch, etc. These are really good for the price you're paying. Like, really really really good. My friend came over tonight and spent about 2 hours listening to different music, and he was speechless.

For anyone interested in the specs and information on how they build these and their hype page, you can visit it here: https://www.rockvilleaudio.com/apm6b/

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My bedroom gear include:

Speaker: China made powered Mingo 828 - bought 2002 - cost $30

Player: Pioneer DVD Player ($50-2002) - bought 2002 - cost $50

These have fulfilled my demand untill I bought Schiit Modi 2 Uber late 2015 - cost $180 (to door):)

The SQ is much better than what i expected but there is still something leakage. 

After digging on many local audio forums, I DIY AC power 1A supply to replace the origin 500mA (transformer picked at local used electric stuff store). It cost me $15 (finished).

Sometimes my work notebook Dell XPS turn to be Music Player as well.

Leonard Cohen, Allan Taylor, The Brother Fours, Wee Gee,...sing much better with my rgear.

Everything work perfectly. I am very happy with my sound chip now.

 

Edited by truongsontape
wrong type

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53 minutes ago, GUTB said:

 

Damn that video must have been scientifically engineered to trigger me!

Dear GUTB, I dont know what you really mean :). Video is directly recorded from my music gear by my Iphone

I just want to share my cheap bedroom gear (as the meaning of this thread) that i describe here:

1 hour ago, truongsontape said:

My bedroom gear include:

Speaker: China made powered Mingo 828 - bought 2002 - cost $30

Player: Pioneer DVD Player ($50-2002) - bought 2002 - cost $50

These have fulfilled my demand untill I bought Schiit Modi 2 Uber late 2015 - cost $180 (to door):)

The SQ is much better than what i expected but there is still something leakage. 

After digging on many local audio forums, I DIY AC power 1A supply to replace the origin 500mA (transformer picked at local used electric stuff store). It cost me $15 (finished).

Sometimes my work notebook Dell XPS turn to be Music Player as well.

Leonard Cohen, Allan Taylor, The Brother Fours, Wee Gee,...sing much better with my rgear.

Everything work perfectly. I am very happy with my sound chip now.

 

Thanks.

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12 hours ago, stuck limo said:

... but I'll hold off on stands for now. ...

 

I bought these stands + top adapters (for my JBL SLR305s), for a total of €38.50: Vonyx 180553 compact speaker stands (€29/pair, height 65-135cm, top diameter 35mm, max load 20kg) + 2 x DAP Audio 35mm Outer Adapter (€4.75/pc) If you don't mind the functional looks, this is great quality stuff, much cheaper and more stable than conventional stands:
 

180553_vonyx_compacte_speakerstandaards_-_set_van_2.jpg

180178_tophat-luidspreker-plateau.jpg

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