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What are you missing in your chain?  

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@bobfa

"I am trying to think of the best way to help you.  

I had suggested that you start a thread on the forum here for just that purpose.  

That does a couple of things.  It keeps my work in one place. It shows others what I do while directly helping you.

I am willing to try to give limited time help for free on the forum.  

My main worry is that your system does what you want it do.

 I do not make assumptions about things like the microrendu.  If powered properly it is a good tool.

There may be better ways to build your system for you!

What I need is a system diagram.  

What computing you are using how things are connected, how they are powered.  

 

Then how to you get your music.  Is it streamed locally stored, etc.?  

How big is your library?  

Do you have CDs to rip?

How do you like to listen?  

What kind of music?  

I think you have tube gear, how does that feel/sound to you?

What are you missing?  

 

Take some time and work this out.  Create a new post with the summary and the questions you have."

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I much appreciate your response! 

Please take a look at my "ABOUT ME" section in my profile, thank you. To give you a basic insight into my character.

I appreciate any time you are able to assist me, and am thankful for whatever you can bring to the table?

Kind Regards.

Take Care!

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HP Pavilion G6 - 2382sa D0Y14EA ABU (Web Controller)

snology ds218+

singxer SU-1

Sonore microrendu 1.4

FMC's (2x) TP-Link MC200CM

VMG3925-B10B_1.00 router

LKS 004 DAC.

'ONT'.

 

I also have a DIY PC "On the shelf".

 

MY HTPC:

 

MSI Z370i GAMING PRO CARBON AC mini-ITX + Intel® HD Integrated Graphics 630. 

Intel Core i7 Coffee Lake 8700 SE Gen.8 2.9GHz LGA1151 TDP 35W CPU. 

Pink Faun i2s Bridge PCI-e (expansion/riser) Card. 

Samsung (250GB) 960 M.2 (2280) Evo PCIe 3.0 (x4) NVMe 3D V-NAND SSD MZ-V6E250BW (x1). 

Patriot Viper 4 16GB Dual Ch. DDR4 3000MHz PC4-24000 DIMM PV416G300C6K. 

Streacom st-fc9b-opt-alpha PC Fanless Chassis. 

Seasonic Prime Ultra ’80+’ Titanium 650 Watt ATX M-PSU. 

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the music is stored on a dedicated SSD in the NAS.

I have 200-300 albums.

I do rip CD's on the laptop.

I like to listen through stereo speakers w/sub, mostly. Occasional headphones.

prog rock mostly. Anything except country & opera.

The tube amp is fantastic, won't go back to solid state.

 

What am I missing. Well I think the NAS is the problem? It maybe under powered for this operation.?

I accidentally connected to the laptop with a music memory stick/USB plugged in to it, and this domestic general purpose laptop sounded better than with the dedicated synology/SOtM NAS W/LPSU! A lot more to my liking and personal taste!

PeterST said: it needs to be big and powerful with lots of memory, cores and hard drive space.......

.....so I was thinking of a Xeon Server with 48 GB RAM & 2x 2.66ghz hex CPU's.

 

Many Thanks!  

 

PS: Please ignore snide remarks from uastinpop & others who appear to be hell bent on character assassination due to my disability, try to turn a blind eye and ignore them if you possibly can?

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Paul,

 

There are several places we can explore here.  First, what software are you using for music playback?   I normally use Roon so I have more data about that as a core.

 

In your system design I see some places for some simple things to play with.  Power supplies are big in my world.  The MicroRendu works even better with a Linear Power Supply.  You can also use a LPS on your Fiber Optic Media converter.  

 

You had mentioned improving your USB cabling.  I would consider a mid-price range USB cable to help that or a USB regenerator such as the ISORegen.  

 

I do not know what you are using for AC power cabling and filtering.

 

You mentioned the Home Theater PC.  It might be interesting to see that could also come into play.

 

 

IF you have time go study the Innous servers.

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Roon trial is a path that doesn't require a lot of change to start off, low effort/low risk. ... 30 days to decide if you like, $115 per year if you do. Give it a test by copying some of your favorite/least favorite music to the laptop  This should give you better mids and low bass integrity, all of which tube amplification can grab on to and excel with.

 

    You should hear a positive improvement from having your music locally on the Roon server where it can use RAAT with the MR roon client vs playing the same music

from the DS218 where standard UPNP is used. Pay particular attention to the track volume chart when playing some of the tracks you dislike... I was surprised at how much

pop music is cut too close to volume limit and distorts at the DAC.  Roon DSP offers a handy  3db reduction feature that salvages this so that  good music  mastered

too hot is prevented from  causing the DAC to distort.

 

 

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17 hours ago, bobfa said:

There are several places we can explore here.  First, what software are you using for music playback?   I normally use Roon so I have more data about that as a core.

In your system design I see some places for some simple things to play with.  Power supplies are big in my world.  The MicroRendu works even better with a Linear Power Supply.  You can also use a LPS on your Fiber Optic Media converter.  

You had mentioned improving your USB cabling.  I would consider a mid-price range USB cable to help that or a USB regenerator such as the ISORegen.  

I do not know what you are using for AC power cabling and filtering.

You mentioned the Home Theater PC.  It might be interesting to see that could also come into play.

IF you have time go study the Innous servers.

Thank you for your comments.

 

I tried roon but didn't think it was anything special, considering it's not even free! Trial ended.

Software would now be squeezelite + LMS. DMS 6.2.1. on the NAS. MS windows 10 pro/64 O/S on the laptop and foobar.

Please note: just underneath my diagram 'above', I wrote: "....all LPSU driven". (i.e. everything with LPSU's).

I am thinking of getting a QED Reference USB A-B Cable . Also some IBRA ethernet cables based on advice from the Roon Forum thread: https://community.roonlabs.com/t/validity-of-audiophile-ethernet-cables/30251 ?

How much use would a Iso-Regen be in my current setup 'see above diagram', where would it fit in please?

 

Cable and Filtering:

The Missing Link Ultra-Pure System ~ EPS-100 ~Audiophile Silver Un-switched Double Wall Socket +

APC ‘SurgeArrest’ Surge protector - PM1W-UK (Schneider), + AG1500P Power Inspired mains – ‘pure sine wave’ re-generator.

Interconnects: Chord Odyssey 2 speaker cable, QED Reference Audio 1 RCA/Phono (red), QED HDMI 2.0 Reference cable (graphite), Audioquest Neutrik Speakon flx-slip 14-4 subwoofer cable (for BK). Meterware ViaBlue x25 silver power cables + Martin Kaiser 10a C14 IEC Male mains cable connectors silver, + MCRU SILVER IEC C13/14 fe/male mains power connectors, + silver plated ‘UK mains plug’ MK 655 audio grade (3 pin) with Bussmann Gold fuses.

 

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll certainly have a look at the Innous gear, but if it's expensive, then it will be a big no no! Also I would like a server to be just a server ONLY. I don't need to pay for 'services' like on line radio, Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, Apple, Deezer etc. I only play local files. I don't need a server to multitask.

 

HTPC could play a part somewhere, somehow(?), either in place of the NAS, or a one box solution in place of the NAS/RENDU?

 

Many thanks for your valuable suggestions for which I am most grateful.

 

....and contrary to my detractors unfounded beliefs, I won't demand replies, it's entirely up to you? I won't swear at you or threaten you in any way! Why should I? I will be straight talking though, it's my personality. Thank you again for what you have brought to the table so far. Please take your time and answer whenever you feel like it? I DO NOT think that my needs come before anyone else's, and I don't think I am more important than anyone else either. Those who say this are character assassinators, please ignore them.

 

Take Care!

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16 hours ago, davide256 said:

Roon trial is a path that doesn't require a lot of change to start off, low effort/low risk. ... 30 days to decide if you like, $115 per year if you do. Give it a test by copying some of your favorite/least favorite music to the laptop  This should give you better mids and low bass integrity, all of which tube amplification can grab on to and excel with.

 

    You should hear a positive improvement from having your music locally on the Roon server where it can use RAAT with the MR roon client vs playing the same music

from the DS218 where standard UPNP is used. Pay particular attention to the track volume chart when playing some of the tracks you dislike... I was surprised at how much

pop music is cut too close to volume limit and distorts at the DAC.  Roon DSP offers a handy  3db reduction feature that salvages this so that  good music  mastered

too hot is prevented from  causing the DAC to distort.

many thanks for your comments.

 

I didn't like Roon, nothing extra for the price. Trial ended. Now using squeezelite + LMS (again).

 

Ironically, the first thing I did was to plug the laptop into the DAC via a COAX converter (M2TECH) and it sounded very nice indeed! But I wanted to know if there was MORE to be had, and started to explore at that point. Box upon box was bought and sold, over and over again sometimes. The only thing I haven't had a go at is 'clocks'; it appears to be very expensive route to follow and from what I've read certainly doesn't offer the biggest bang for the buck? (i.e. diminishing returns!).

I did have ROON on the NAS? (& laptop).

Yes, I agree that volume is often set to high on the bar when mastering in some cases, and it absolutely destroys the quality of the sound.

I never got round to using the Roon DSP function. (LOL).

 

This NUC thing has to be a consideration I suppose (that they are all making a big song and a dance about currently)? (LOL) - I would be ultra critical in that experiment and I doubt if it would yield any extra benefits either as a server or endpoint? We shall see, and in due course deliver my findings here. I could be about to blow this dream out of the water once and for all.

 

I am thinking of a server like this: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dell-Poweredge-R610-1U-Server-2-x-Intel-Xeon-Quad-Core-X5570-2-93GHz-96GB-Ram/382826224500?hash=item5922389b74:g:gR0AAOSwEp5cUaya, in place of the NAS. Is there any reason why not,  that you are aware of please?

 

Take Care & Thank you!

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The two weakest links in your system would appear to be the NAS and the microrendu.  While that server you are linking to might be interesting for a data center I would not put it in my home. You will hear the fans screaming next door!

 

It sounds like you have a lot of money in th stuff around the audio system.  Do you have a budget in mind for your upgrades?

 

As you may have read there is a lot of experimenting on the digital chain using AudioLinux.  That can be a bit of work with BIOS setup, burning flash drives, and Linux command line.

 

I think you might be getting an idea of how hard remote help is.  This is slow and it is not always to best way to work.

 

I am not familiar with the LMS stuff as I have not used it.  Here is a potential idea you can research.

 

Using something like a Sonic Transporter from Small Green Computer as your server to an UltraRendu or maybe an Optial Rendu in the system might be interesting.

 

You could also test with one of the fancy audio switches in the network next to the Rendu

 

..

 

I

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I have found in my systems work that there are things that move the needle further.  The Sonic Transporter moved the needle.  The UltraRendu moved the needle.  The TLS switch moved the needle.  Linear Power Supplies on the devices moved things.  These are bigger moves.   USB re-generation was not as big of a move but it helped.  Gaia speaker stands made a big difference.  These are all things that just about anyone can do.  

 

If I still worked in a store selling gear I do not think I could sell and support a NUC running AudioLinux yet.  

 

You still have to pick a $ budget you are willing to work with.  I would avoid some of the “tweaks” for now.  I do not have a lot of experience in them to help.  

 

I cannot support you from here.  You have to be able to support yourself.  I do not want to have you fail.

 

When I built my server I did it on the principal that if it did not work I could throw away that money and move on.  I think that is a very important decision point here.  

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Quick thought:

 

Although many say NAS isn't powerful enough for this audio business, my NAS has a 2.5Ghz CPU + 6GB RAM and even roon help said this was enough resources?

On the NAS resource monitor I noted when music plays that the memory usage is only 10%, and the CPU usage between 7- (28 bursting) %. So it looks like it can cope on paper, but maybe I'm missing something here?

 

thanks in advance for ideas and suggestions (if there are any?).

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1 hour ago, bobfa said:

The two weakest links in your system would appear to be the NAS and the microrendu.  While that server you are linking to might be interesting for a data center I would not put it in my home. You will hear the fans screaming next door!

 

It sounds like you have a lot of money in th stuff around the audio system.  Do you have a budget in mind for your upgrades?

 

As you may have read there is a lot of experimenting on the digital chain using AudioLinux.  That can be a bit of work with BIOS setup, burning flash drives, and Linux command line.

 

I think you might be getting an idea of how hard remote help is.  This is slow and it is not always to best way to work.

 

I am not familiar with the LMS stuff as I have not used it.  Here is a potential idea you can research.

 

Using something like a Sonic Transporter from Small Green Computer as your server to an UltraRendu or maybe an Optial Rendu in the system might be interesting.

 

You could also test with one of the fancy audio switches in the network next to the Rendu

 

..

 

I

Hope you are having a nice day so far?

Argh yes! - the NAS fan could be a problem I suppose. I have upgraded the fan to the latest offerings from noctura with a slow speed resistor, it has extremely efficienct air flow and is practically mechanically noise free, barely a whisper! On the electromagnet side of the fan I have fitted a SOtM fan filter. Both SSD's have SOtM sata filters. Also see 'above', quick thought.

Yes it does sound like I have quite a bit invested in the setup, but then again I try to get used/shop soiled/ B grade stuff or things that need an easy fix, and I often have a part exchange as well, I am very thrifty, I practically always wait till somethings drops into my price range. I don't really have a budget to discuss on an open forum but the rule of thumb would invariably 'cheap'! (LOL).

Yes the audiolinux could be a bit of work but i've read your NUC/AL/RAM page and it doesn't sound too difficult on the SW side and I'm usually OK with the HW side anyway.

Yes remote help can be slowish, but never mind, I not going anywhere (LOL), Just take your time, no rush!

LMS (logitech media server for the NAS) pretty straight forward really, not that difficult to handle. 

I'm not familiar with apple/mac, I have not used it.

I'll check up on sonic transporter as a server, thanks!

My microrendu is the 1.4 precursor to the ultrarendu (i.e. practically the same infact!). Don't know if the optical Rendu is out yet, could be expensive and there won't be any secondhand ones yet?

Fancy audio switch?

 

Kind regards,

take care.

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Paul,

 

Take some time and JUST look at that “Massive SQ” thread.  REALLY JUST READ IT.   Do not comment do not ask questions, READ.  It will take you a couple of days of part time reading.   There are thousands of hours of experiments, rat-holes, discoveries and pain!  WE just do not know all the effects.  Why does a NUC using AudioLinux sound better than a very well crafted UltraRendu?  I have some ideas I cannot point to a component on the board and say THAT IS IT!.    What we think is that the OS has lower latency and it improves the sound.  OR not.  Some have said it does not for them.   I cannot explain why the modified network switch I put in my system improves the sound quality.  IT just does.    When I install AudioLinux on my Sonic Transporter it sounds better.  Do any one of the other “audio” distros work or sound better?  Who is going to test that?  

 

Your NAS is probably a weak point due to the software and the hardware it is running.  “PROBABLY”  I built an overpowered server that sounds better than the commercial server I already own.  What we think is going on is latency in the OS and in the hardware.  We experiment and listen. This is art mixed in with alchemy and science.

 

Your microrendu is also a potential weak point. 

 

 

This research is a big time and money experiment.  Some people are betting their business on it and I hope they advance the art.  I have several thousand USD on this myself that I might one day just toss out the door.  That is part of what I do.  I tinker.  What I am building I do not think I could sell and support today.  I will not tell you that my path should be your path.  IT SHOULD NOT BE.

 

There is some commercial gear out there that is superior to what we are doing.  Write a check to DCS and you will have some of the best money can buy.  You will get superior sound quality and great support.  Is that where you want to spend time and money?  You do not have to go that far up the chain for better sound this is just an illustration.

 

 

NOTE:

Commercial data center servers that you pointed out before are unacceptable for home use because of the LOUD fans.  Your ears hurt loud!  I have one of those servers standing in the corner.  Something we used to use in a data center.  I would NEVER run it in my home the family would kick me to the curb.

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50 minutes ago, bobfa said:

I have found in my systems work that there are things that move the needle further.  The Sonic Transporter moved the needle.  The UltraRendu moved the needle.  The TLS switch moved the needle.  Linear Power Supplies on the devices moved things.  These are bigger moves.   USB re-generation was not as big of a move but it helped.  Gaia speaker stands made a big difference.  These are all things that just about anyone can do.  

 

If I still worked in a store selling gear I do not think I could sell and support a NUC running AudioLinux yet.  

 

You still have to pick a $ budget you are willing to work with.  I would avoid some of the “tweaks” for now.  I do not have a lot of experience in them to help.  

 

I cannot support you from here.  You have to be able to support yourself.  I do not want to have you fail.

 

When I built my server I did it on the principal that if it did not work I could throw away that money and move on.  I think that is a very important decision point here.  

hi bob,

regarding moving the needle:

sonic transporter will be investigated.

Tried microrendu 1.4 (AKA ultrarendu) which isn't quite as good as my one box DIY PC was.

TLS switch is unknown to me at the moment.

I have LPSU's on everything now.

Don't trust USB toys in general (regens).

My speakers are on granite plinths that I had custom made. (w/spikes).

Is NUC/AL doubtful in your opinion?

My budget is as cheap as I can get "period" (LOL).

Please don't worry if you are inexperienced with tweeks, nobody can no everything! It's perfectly OK. Just relax, take a breath and calm down!

We all fail sometimes it's part of life, it's part of life's learning experience. Failing helps us succeed at a later date! AND - if I fail I won't blame you in anyway, OK? I know you are only trying to help me and I am very grateful. OK?

If you feel that you cannot support me any further, that is fine with me! I am grateful for your input this far! You don't have to write anymore if you don't feel comfortable? I wish you all the best in your hifi journey, good luck.

He all take chances with these purchases and sometimes we win and sometimes we lose (it's not a win/win situation); unfortunately! (LOL).

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acoustics and source material upgrades are likely to garner much more than anything above, depending on where you are at already

 

I missed what speakers you have(?)

 

if the above is not done, you may want to wait for an optical setup

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1 hour ago, Ralf11 said:

acoustics and source material upgrades are likely to garner much more than anything above, depending on where you are at already.

I missed what speakers you have(?)

if the above is not done, you may want to wait for an optical setup

hi ralf,

 

please forgive me if I misunderstand you but do you mean room acoustics please?

and I'm not quite sure what you mean by "source material"?

the speakers are in my profile, audio system section: https://audiophilestyle.com/profile/32749-the_doc735/?tab=field_core_pfield_3

 

"wait for an optical setup"? ....the only optical thing I am using is the FMC's (and a while ago I used the optical output on a PC motherboard > to DAC input).

 

Very grateful for your input, hope you're having a nice day?

Cheers!

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4 hours ago, bobfa said:

Look for posts on the forum about the TLS audio switch and the SOTM gigabit switch.  

Thanks for pointing this out, I will check it out soon!

many thanks!

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4 hours ago, bobfa said:

Paul,

 

Take some time and JUST look at that “Massive SQ” thread.  REALLY JUST READ IT.   Do not comment do not ask questions, READ.  It will take you a couple of days of part time reading.   There are thousands of hours of experiments, rat-holes, discoveries and pain!  WE just do not know all the effects.  Why does a NUC using AudioLinux sound better than a very well crafted UltraRendu?  I have some ideas I cannot point to a component on the board and say THAT IS IT!.    What we think is that the OS has lower latency and it improves the sound.  OR not.  Some have said it does not for them.   I cannot explain why the modified network switch I put in my system improves the sound quality.  IT just does.    When I install AudioLinux on my Sonic Transporter it sounds better.  Do any one of the other “audio” distros work or sound better?  Who is going to test that?  

 

Your NAS is probably a weak point due to the software and the hardware it is running.  “PROBABLY”  I built an overpowered server that sounds better than the commercial server I already own.  What we think is going on is latency in the OS and in the hardware.  We experiment and listen. This is art mixed in with alchemy and science.

 

Your microrendu is also a potential weak point. 

 

 

This research is a big time and money experiment.  Some people are betting their business on it and I hope they advance the art.  I have several thousand USD on this myself that I might one day just toss out the door.  That is part of what I do.  I tinker.  What I am building I do not think I could sell and support today.  I will not tell you that my path should be your path.  IT SHOULD NOT BE.

 

There is some commercial gear out there that is superior to what we are doing.  Write a check to DCS and you will have some of the best money can buy.  You will get superior sound quality and great support.  Is that where you want to spend time and money?  You do not have to go that far up the chain for better sound this is just an illustration.

 

 

NOTE:

Commercial data center servers that you pointed out before are unacceptable for home use because of the LOUD fans.  Your ears hurt loud!  I have one of those servers standing in the corner.  Something we used to use in a data center.  I would NEVER run it in my home the family would kick me to the curb.

hi bob,

 

still winning?

 

do you mean this thread: https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/30376-a-novel-way-to-massively-improve-the-sq-of-computer-audio-streaming/?tab=comments#comment-613370

....if yes(?)  .... I have been on and off that thread all the way through for quite some time now. Unfortunately though I did ask questions and like you now suggest - I wish I had just READ like you say in hindsight it would have been better that way infact! But too late now, I've already made that mistake, sorry!

I know that dCS are expensive items, like £20,000 per box? Out of my league and out of my reach, prohibitively expensive!

I must have spent around £10.000 over the last four years or so and lost out on re-sale prices!

I take your point about the data centre's LOUD NOISE! (LOL). Read and understood, that's out the door then, straightaway (LOL).

I agree with everything else you said in "this" message, SPOT ON!

 

Have a peaceful evening and a good sleep!

Cheers! 

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10 hours ago, the_doc735 said:

many thanks for your comments.

 

I didn't like Roon, nothing extra for the price. Trial ended. Now using squeezelite + LMS (again).

 

Ironically, the first thing I did was to plug the laptop into the DAC via a COAX converter (M2TECH) and it sounded very nice indeed! But I wanted to know if there was MORE to be had, and started to explore at that point. Box upon box was bought and sold, over and over again sometimes. The only thing I haven't had a go at is 'clocks'; it appears to be very expensive route to follow and from what I've read certainly doesn't offer the biggest bang for the buck? (i.e. diminishing returns!).

I did have ROON on the NAS? (& laptop).

Yes, I agree that volume is often set to high on the bar when mastering in some cases, and it absolutely destroys the quality of the sound.

I never got round to using the Roon DSP function. (LOL).

 

This NUC thing has to be a consideration I suppose (that they are all making a big song and a dance about currently)? (LOL) - I would be ultra critical in that experiment and I doubt if it would yield any extra benefits either as a server or endpoint? We shall see, and in due course deliver my findings here. I could be about to blow this dream out of the water once and for all.

 

I am thinking of a server like this: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Dell-Poweredge-R610-1U-Server-2-x-Intel-Xeon-Quad-Core-X5570-2-93GHz-96GB-Ram/382826224500?hash=item5922389b74:g:gR0AAOSwEp5cUaya, in place of the NAS. Is there any reason why not,  that you are aware of please?

 

Take Care & Thank you!

 given what you have said so far, I am suspecting you may be in a hole caused by preamp or lack thereof.  Its one of those things that can make or break your system.

What is your preamp?

 

 

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yes, room acoustics 

 

some optical tweek devices are coming down the pike - no idea if they improve SQ

 

agree re pre-amp's importance (I use an ARC LS25 Mk II)

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