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The Computer Audiophile

The Best for the Least

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My first intention had been to throw in the RasPi3 with Hifiberry DAC pro + (ca. 120 Euro) as Streamer/DAC-Combo , which I choose to substitute an Olive Symphony + Musical Fidelity V90 DAC (MSP 1500 Euros at the time)  in my son's room.  I found it to sound far superior, even I choose the Kodi fork OSMC as media center and not Volumio, Moode or RuneAudio.

But it might not match the parameters provided, as it is close to a "least amount of money", it performes well on the Archimago test bench,  but how could it be considered "best" performer?
Herein lies the problem with the questions, as mansr allready indicated.
Minimal input (money) with maximal output (best performance) is a dream come true of every investor, maximum gain with minimal investment. I would be very doubtful on any offer from my bank that propagates this idea!
In addition, the formula "best" is really "tricky", would gear be compared only to gear on the same price level, giving it a price/quality ratio to compete on highre priced gear, or would it it compete against gear with higer price tags on the base of perfomance output?
And how to measure "best" quality (would it be the numbers (like the ones of Archimago) or the subjective impression of perfomance in a personal audio environment ?
I need to admit, the longer i  think about it, the more confused  ....
Good night 
Tom
 

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I would go for a 'standard issue'  tower PC (more rugged than a laptop, better value, and expandable), a Chord Mojo (way better than anything  anywhere near the price and I would put it up against the Ygdrasil any day, but  maybe not 'optimally convenient' for a fixed system), a Naim Supernait 2 (quite expensive compared to the rest but truly an excellent amp so can stay in a later superior system) and a pair of Monitor Audio Bronze 5 speakers (No need to go to their more expensive ranges - Monitor Audio speakers get more and more high pitched the further up you go so they stand out in the showroom.)

 

Other than the tower PC and the  Mojo, which I use in the car,  I don't own any of it so I'm not just saying  'my system is best'.

Total UK cost about £5,000 and all available in the 'high street'.

You could knock £2500 off of that by buying an Onkyo amp.

 

Active speakers or all in one systems?

Not a chance. If you want better speakers later on  you have wasted money on the internal amps and will have to buy a new  amp  or limit yourself to other active speakers.

 

And if you buy an 'all in one' you will have to change everything except the speakers later. And its internal DAC will become obsolete long before the rest of it does - there are hundreds of these things that  wouldn't do DSD (for example) when you bought them,    but not many did so you didn't think about it. Now the DAC  part is 'obsolete' but it's not obsolete in its other parts.

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2 minutes ago, Spacehound said:

And if you buy an 'all in one' you will have to change everything except the speakers later. And its internal DAC will become obsolete long before the rest of it does - there are hundreds of these things that  wouldn't do DSD (for example) when you bought them, but not many did so you didn't think about it. Now the DAC  part is 'obsolete' but it's not obsolete in its other parts.

Integrated components generally provide better value at the time of purchase. However, for chasing the latest developments in each area, they can end up costly. Finding the right balance isn't always easy.

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4 minutes ago, mansr said:

Integrated components generally provide better value at the time of purchase. However, for chasing the latest developments in each area, they can end up costly. Finding the right balance isn't always easy.

I've been tempted by the Naim Uniti Nova (approx. £4500) as this room is beginning to look like a mad scientist's lab and 'she' is getting irritated, which is fair enough. But it doesn't have a 'computer' USB port, the internal DAC is anyway inferior to my present one (I won't buy 'standard chip' DACs),  and the reasons I already stated concern me.

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Hmm. Depends on your standards. I could survive with an Aries mini/internal SSD, a NAD 316BEE integrated amp and the KEF LS50's, about $2K there in cost. Hard to think of a combination below that which would keep me interested in the music. I have or have had these all at some point ( the NAD was a purchase for my son)


Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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We will optimise two parameters that exhibit a somewhat inverse relationship by creating an indifference curve, not by arguing about a single point.

 

One point on the indiff. curve:

$6k Maggie 3.7i speakers

$2.4k Schiit Yggy DAC

$0.7k Schiit Vidar amp

- 0 -  your existing computer onto which you rip your existing CDs

$0.1k cables

--------------

call it $10k for a really fine system; toss in some DIY QRD and absorbers, bass traps if you want

 

...no it is not quite full range

 


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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ok, now we need a point or two to fill in the $1k to $10k space...


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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2 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I'd look at something from Schiit and Elac. 

 

 

a Joffett system...


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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New I could see a system with ELAC Debut B5 speakers for $230 and a NAD D 3020 for $350. But a pair of smaller Advents and an original NAD 3020 will beat the new system for sound quality even with a Schitt Modi. 

 

I've set up both systems for one of my staff back in DC and one for a client of my former CPA firm. I could live with either in my office happily but I prefer what is in it now. Only the Schitt BiFrost  DAC could be considered "stock" however.

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can people lay out the total system cost?

 

might help someone looking to buy


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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30 minutes ago, esldude said:

Hey speakers are the toughest part.  JBL LSR 305 LSR now in mk2 version are a touchstone of value and performance.  $300/pair and powered.  Add any number of good DAC pres for small money.  Connect whatever computer or tablet you have.  You are done. Smsl or Topping have some fine measuring low cost DAC preamps. Some have xlr outs for feeding the JBLs.  Not even $1000 required for the whole shebang.

 

Not the only choices of course, but very good for the money.

 

There’s no chance that these little plastic class D toy speakers  are any good.

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1 minute ago, GUTB said:

 

There’s no chance that these little plastic class D toy speakers  are any good.

 

Ummm, wrong - I've heard mic pickup of what they're producing, and they do do a remarkable job - vastly better than many over expensive efforts out there ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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4 minutes ago, GUTB said:

 

There’s no chance that these little plastic class D toy speakers  are any good.

If esldude thinks they are worthy of  consideration  they will be. And no lower limit has been set.

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$152.84 Supermicro X10SBA-L
https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B00F0YJC28

 

$70.28 Supermicro CSE-101S
http://www.wiredzone.com/supermicro-racks-kvm-chassis-power-server-chassis-mini-tower-cse-101s-10024456

 

$49.98 JRiver Media Center

https://rover.jriver.com/cgi-bin/buy.cgi?productid=76

 

$49.00 iFi iPower 12V Power Supply
https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B01LZD8SHJ

 

$900.00 Used Chord 2Qute (prices will continue to drop after the launch of Quetest)
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/fs-black-chord-2qute-sold.870262/

 

$695.00 to $3,195.00 Omega Monitor Speakers

https://omegaloudspeakers.com/collections/monitor-speakers
 

Just add stuff like cheap RAM and SSD, and then there's no need to activate Windows 10.

 

Supermicro X10SBA-L (chosen for the excellent Innuos ZENith SE Mk.II) is a fantastic motherboard for the money

 

http://hifipig.com/innuos-zenith-mk2/

Quote

“We had to go through a very detailed oscilloscope for measurements. We have literally tested dozens of system boards and the noise patterns you get vary wildly between them. Some are absolutely dreadful and should never be used for audio.

 

Hard to beat the transparency of the Chord + Omega combo since we don't even need an amplifier, volume control is handled by JRiver Media Center

 

https://www.computeraudiophile.com/forums/topic/24248-chord-2qute/?page=14

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An all-in-one class A/B is probably the best bang for the buck available. The ones from Hegel and Carry are probably decent.

 

Besides that, you guys will have to look towards AliExpress, China-HiFi, etc.

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1 minute ago, Fluffytime said:

 

You have no idea.

 

This juxtaposition of experience and knowledge vs belief is striking. What do you base your belief of small class D monitors with plastic baffles performance on besides they are mentioned a lot on the Internet?

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