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Sounds Great - inexpensive, no fancy computer or power supplies

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Of course, everything is relative, and in most cases you will get the best sound with a higher budget,

but i am curious if anyone is content with the way their relatively low cost system sounds and

without a fancy computer and power supplies?

 

If you think you have a decent sounding solution for under $3K excluding speakers and amp, please share it.

 

I personally would prefer something you can buy (vs DIY), but would consider DIY if could be done in a day with little skill and knowledge...but of course anyone is free to share.

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Of course I do - and I'm documenting how it's progressing, here,

 

You get everything but the source device for peanuts, and it turns out that a basic DVD player does a good enough job, so far, at driving it. How good is it? It impressed me from the very first moment I fired it up, and it only keeps getting better ... to put it into perspective, the last time I went to an ambitious high end store, @Audiophile Neuroscience knows the one I mean, 😜 - every rig I listened to there was a bit of a dud; having obvious issues with the sound; no matter how expensive it was.

 

This cheapy has no hit you in the face problems - what it lacks, so far, is the ability to throw up a very deep, fully filled soundstage when cold. So in the sense of having a system that I could live with without doing anything to it, this is pretty damn good for the money!


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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14 minutes ago, fas42 said:

Of course I do - and I'm documenting how it's progressing, here,

 

You get everything but the source device for peanuts, and it turns out that a basic DVD player does a good enough job, so far, at driving it. How good is it? It impressed me from the very first moment I fired it up, and it only keeps getting better ... to put it into perspective, the last time I went to an ambitious high end store, @Audiophile Neuroscience knows the one I mean, 😜 - every rig I listened to there was a bit of a dud; having obvious issues with the sound; no matter how expensive it was.

 

This cheapy has no hit you in the face problems - what it lacks, so far, is the ability to throw up a very deep, fully filled soundstage when cold. So in the sense of having a system that I could live with without doing anything to it, this is pretty damn good for the money!

 

I am confused, what is the front end you are using that you are happy with?

 

I have found MANY very inexpensive source solutions that have sounded far superior to most external dacs connected to my noisy pc via usb (even trying $2k solutions).  I am willing to spend up to 2-3K on a new front end system if it will give me even 10% more quality than what I currently get just playing native DSD files streamed to any one of several different marantz streamers I have used (currently using an SR6013).  I must have tried 20 different front ends, none of which I could confidently say sounded better than any of the cheap marantz or sony streamers I have tried...and they all sounded better than usb dacs (although the unison is very close if not equal).

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25 minutes ago, fas42 said:

You get everything but the source device for peanuts, and it turns out that a basic DVD player does a good enough job, so far, at driving it. How good is it? It impressed me from the very first moment I fired it up, and it only keeps getting better

 Frank

 You are deluding yourself if you believe that a basic DVD player does more than a basic job. They all use  an SMPS and their S/N is usually well below what can be achieved for audio with a higher quality player. Some years ago Silicon Chip magazine did a group test of several basic players where the measurements confirmed this, and worse still, if they were connected to a Power Amplifier which was earthed , quite often there was a low level background hum. 

 

Alex


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 28-06-2020

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24 minutes ago, sandyk said:

 Frank

 You are deluding yourself if you believe that a basic DVD player does more than a basic job. They all use  an SMPS and their S/N is usually well below what can be achieved for audio with a higher quality player. Some years ago Silicon Chip magazine did a group test of several basic players where the measurements confirmed this, and worse still, if they were connected to a Power Amplifier which was earthed ,

quite often there was a low level background hum. 

 

Alex

ok, i am not sure how i overlooked that he said a basic dvd player....i guess it depends on what he has had to compare it to.  I wouldn't knock it, depending on his budget...not everyone can afford "stuff".  I know I am on limited income and can't afford a lot of the higher end stuff.

 

My guess is that players i have used have all had used cheap smps power supplies as well, but they all beat external dacs i have connected to my noisy pc.  They actually have always sounded excellent, my last one being a marantz nd8006 and I have had some of their SACD players as well.

 

Whats nice about the players i have used, they all have supported playing DSD via DLNA.

 

I have yet to spend big bucks on an LPS to see if it would really give me a "wow" moment, mainly out of skepticism.

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I would be willing to spend $2-$3K on a front end (streamer & dac OR combo unit) if:::

 

1. I didn't have to do any DIY

2. i could return it easily if it didnt get a "wow" moment over my current front end

 

I also am in the market for some new towers. 

I sold my B&W 803s awhile ago (but still have some 805s paired with a velodyne sub)

Willing to spend up to 5K.

I want something full range that will sound good with both rock and jazz ballads.

Kind of spoiled right now with ATC SCM 19 for jazz....but they don't do much for rock.

 

Thinking i want to audition tekton but have heard mixed reviews.

 

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30 minutes ago, beerandmusic said:

My guess is that players i have used have all had used cheap smps power supplies as well, but they all beat external dacs i have connected to my noisy pc.  They actually have always sounded excellent, my last one being a marantz nd8006 and I have had some of their SACD players as well.

 Sheesh !

 That's far removed from what Frank is talking about. They weigh 17.6lbs and sell for US$1299 and almost double that in Au. :o


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 28-06-2020

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32 minutes ago, sandyk said:

 Frank

 You are deluding yourself if you believe that a basic DVD player does more than a basic job. They all use  an SMPS and their S/N is usually well below what can be achieved for audio with a higher quality player. Some years ago Silicon Chip magazine did a group test of several basic players where the measurements confirmed this, and worse still, if they were connected to a Power Amplifier which was earthed , quite often there was a low level background hum. 

 

Alex

 

Alex, you're missing that it's feeding the active speakers via optical; all the real work is happening inside the speakers; next, both are double insulated, nothing gets across via any earthing route; finally, a lot of effort has gone into heavy duty filtering of the completely separate, mains feed to both devices ... the only impact the DVD player has is in the quality of the waveform of the optical link.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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38 minutes ago, sandyk said:

 Sheesh !

 That's far removed from what Frank is talking about. They weigh 17.6lbs and sell for US$1299 and almost double that in Au. :o

 

That's why i say it is relative to what he compared it to....i believe that it is very likely that i would have been more impressed with expensive dacs if i had built a high end pc with a linear power supply, but i had no desire to do that.....I can see a cheapo used sony bluray player streaming dsd via dlna beating the crap out of a $2K usb dac connected to my "noisy" every day pc for example. 

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The hardest thing people find to do, as I see it, is to hang up their belief that adding expensive stuff to their rig will just automatically inject magic into the sound - "it works for cars, therefore, it must work for audio!" ... ummm, no ...

 

The magic works when subtraction takes place - subtracting the niggling issues that are the bottlenecks to SQ ... use some real smarts when doing this, and remarkably low cost gear can pull it off, 😉.

 

You see, Virginia, you don't have to be rich to enjoy the best of music; be part of a special club that those with less play money can't join - good music can be part of everyone's lives, if the understanding of what really matters takes hold ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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4 hours ago, fas42 said:

You see, Virginia, you don't have to be rich to enjoy the best of music; be part of a special club that those with less play money can't join

 

I can enjoy the best of music on a car radio. That doesn't make it the best sounding music.

 

Can tweaking Virginia's budget system make it sound like...

 

5 hours ago, fas42 said:

I've mentioned numerous times hearing the best Bryston monoblocks driving close to the best Dynaudio speakers, at the last Sydney show - this nailed the SQ, plus had usable SPL headroom well above what I work with ... if someone offered me that combo to play with, I would not have hesistated.


Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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43 minutes ago, Audiophile Neuroscience said:

 

Can tweaking Virginia's budget system make it sound like...

 

 

No ... but the only significant limitations would the the quality of the very low bass, and the maximum volume that would be possible - with the right material, and volumes, it should be close to impossible to pick which was which, in a blind test.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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9 hours ago, fas42 said:

 

Alex, you're missing that it's feeding the active speakers via optical; all the real work is happening inside the speakers; next, both are double insulated, nothing gets across via any earthing route; finally, a lot of effort has gone into heavy duty filtering of the completely separate, mains feed to both devices ... the only impact the DVD player has is in the quality of the waveform of the optical link.

 

According to you this (crazy) guy and thousands of others (equally crazy) ones searching for a good transport just don't have any idea...  

 

Battle Of Transports - Lampizator

 

Ok. 

(not that I have any problem with how you perceive it :))


What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well.
It helps men to rise above themselves.
 
  ―  Albert Camus, The Plague.

 

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1 hour ago, sphinxsix said:

 

According to you this (crazy) guy and thousands of others (equally crazy) ones searching for a good transport just don't have any idea...  

 

Battle Of Transports - Lampizator

 

Ok. 

(not that I have any problem with how you perceive it :))

 

Yes, the transport can have a very decided effect - it all depends upon how the rig is set up - and note that I said "the quality of the waveform of the optical link" matters - if what is being fed is highly sensitive to that quality, then of course choice of transport will impact.

 

How it's worked out so far, is that I just threw what I had around into the job - to see how it worked out. First off the rank was a Blu-ray machine; another cheapy. ... Nooot happy!! It didn't register some discs, and when it did play it managed to inject some nasty noises, now and again ... this was not workin' ... next available was an old Samsung DVD unit ... and, so far, it's done the job. Which means that I don't perceive it holding back the SQ, as yet. It definitely improved with added mains filtering - so, down the track further fiddling with transport options may help.

 

My general philosophy with doing what I do, is to persevere with whatever is currently working, until it becomes very clear that there is an intrinsic limit with its design, that can't be overcome with reasonable tweaking. Then, time to move on ...


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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26 minutes ago, fas42 said:

It definitely improved with added mains filtering

I'm not surprised, got a heavy black box behind my audio rack too.

 

26 minutes ago, fas42 said:

My general philosophy with doing what I do, is to persevere with whatever is currently working, until it becomes very clear that there is an intrinsic limit with its design, that can't be overcome with reasonable tweaking. Then, time to move on ...

I can understand that.

 


What’s true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well.
It helps men to rise above themselves.
 
  ―  Albert Camus, The Plague.

 

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14 hours ago, beerandmusic said:

Of course, everything is relative, and in most cases you will get the best sound with a higher budget,

but i am curious if anyone is content with the way their relatively low cost system sounds and

without a fancy computer and power supplies?

 

If you think you have a decent sounding solution for under $3K excluding speakers and amp, please share it.

 

I personally would prefer something you can buy (vs DIY), but would consider DIY if could be done in a day with little skill and knowledge...but of course anyone is free to share.

 

Hi Beer,

 

Your question is a good one. 

 

I don't participate in the forum that much anymore as I favour a more objective approach as propagated by Archimago and Amirm from Audio Science. If you are looking for good gear for less than US$3k then I strongly suggest you visit their sites (as well as Computer Style) to get a more "rounded" view that does not include the nonsense surrounding power supplies, cables and purpose built servers.

 

I have a variety of systems of varying expense. 

 

Interface:     Personally I find using either my iPhone or an iPad as a remote the most flexible and user friendly approach.

 

Streaming:   I stream Tidal incorporated in an Auralic Mini (I have 3 - US$400 each) using the free Lightning DS app or using Spotify Connect. In some systems I use the Mini's internal DAC and in others its digital out. I also use Chromecast Audio (I have 2 - $US30 each). These are both discontinued but you can find them second hand.... both are bit perfect.

 

DAC:           2 x Benchmark DAC2 second hand), a Topping 50Ds and an SMSL M8a

 

Amp:           Nord Hypex Ncore 500MP, Parasound Halo A21, Marantz PM 5006 (Integrated), Devialet 200

 

Speakers:   KEF LS50,  ATC SCM 40, ATOHM G1 with 2 x SVS SB2000 subs , B&W AM1 (outside), 

 

In my experience a combination that would sit within your budget (if you are OK with second hand gear) and provide excellent sound would be:

 

iPhone   >   Mini   >   Topping 50s  >  Hypex NC252mp   >   KEF LS 50   >   SVS SB 2000

 

You could easily swap out the Mini / Topping 50s for a Chrome-cast / Benchmark combination ... ignore the on-line comments about the jitter from the Chrome-cast as the Benchmark will handle it with ease. You could leave the Topping in and add a second sub to mitigate the room nodes.

 

As we are all aware the speakers and room acoustics will have the biggest bearing on sound quality and is where the majority of the money should be spent, however, If anyone has better suggestions for the streamer I would appreciate hearing about them.

 

Good luck,

 

Ajax

 


LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

OFFICE : Mac Mini - Audirvana - Benchmark DAC1HDR - ADAM A7 Active Monitors

TRAVEL : MacBook Air - Dragonfly V1.2 DAC - Sennheiser HD 650

BEACH : iPhone 6 - HRT iStreamer DAC - Akimate Micro + powered speakers

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7 minutes ago, Ajax said:

Hi Beer,

Your question is a good one. I don't participate in the forum that much anymore as I favour a more objective approach as propagated by Archimago and Amirm from Audio Science. If you are looking for good gear for less than US$3k then I strongly suggest you visit their sites (as well as Computer Style) to get a more "rounded" view that does not include the nonsense surrounding power supplies, cables and purpose built servers.

 

 

+1 AMEN - Given my left brained thinking, I usually follow the more objective approach (it usually is cheaper too-grin), but I am a loyalist here and always will be, but i do occasionally peruse other sites as well...just curious where you have landed?

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14 minutes ago, Ajax said:

Streaming:   I stream Tidal incorporated in an Auralic Mini (I have 3 - US$400 each) using the free Lightning DS app or using Spotify Connect. In some systems I use the Mini's internal DAC and in others its digital out. I also use Chromecast Audio (I have 2 - $US30 each). These are both discontinued but you can find them second hand.... both are bit perfect.

 

I am curious regarding streaming, have you ever "tried" any comparison of higher end streamers or the use of SOTM or ultras with power supplies? 

I am keeping my opinon open until I have at least tried and not willing to discount it "may" sound better...but what % better  and what cost.

 

I have tried a few different streaming methods, and given the same source, i haven't noticed any appreciable difference (it already sounds damn good)....but i will reserve the position that an SOTM or RENDU with fancy power supply "may" sound better until i actually try it....

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27 minutes ago, Ajax said:

 

 

 

In my experience a combination that would sit within your budget (if you are OK with second hand gear) and provide excellent sound would be:

 

iPhone   >   Mini   >   Topping 50s  >  Hypex NC252mp   >   KEF LS 50   >   SVS SB 2000

 

You could easily swap out the Mini / Topping 50s for a Chrome-cast / Benchmark combination ... ignore the on-line comments about the jitter from the Chrome-cast as the Benchmark will handle it with ease. You could leave the Topping in and add a second sub to mitigate the room nodes.

 

As we are all aware the speakers and room acoustics will have the biggest bearing on sound quality and is where the majority of the money should be spent, however, If anyone has better suggestions for the streamer I would appreciate hearing about them.

 

 

Thanks for your input.  Hypex is an interesting thought, one that i contemplated when talk first arose about them.  I actually have heard some class Ds that actually have sounded wonderful at shows.  I also have heard good things about the KEFs and heard them at shows as well...I can't get past the look of them though (grin).  I envy your SCM40s (i bought some used 12's recently), but the first pair i heard were 40's and absolutely fell in love with SCM150s. 

I will almost always buy used, so no problems there at all.  Thanks for sharing...agree with everything you have shared...and yes, eq and room accoustics can never be discounted.  I recently moved, and still have not done EQ or hooked up my subs.  One of my wifes and mine shared hobbies is buying/selling, which is actually how i first got into audio...I have probably auditioned 5000 different pieces of audio gear over the past 10 years.  Anyway your recommended chain sounds great and along the lines I consider...i will have to audition a class D some day.

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If I had to start from scratch, I'd go with a Naim Atom, can be found refurbed, demo or used for between $2-3K (new just over I believe). All you would need in one box. 


SERVER CLOSET (in office directly below living room stereo):NUC 7i5BNH with Roon ROCK and OWC external 2.5" HD (ZeroZone 12V on the NUC)>Cisco 2690L-16PS switch>Sonore opticalModule (HDPLEX 100)>LIVING ROOM:>Sonore opticalModule (Sonore Power Supply w/ SR Black fuse))>Ghent Audio JSSG Cat 6a cable>Sonore microRendu 1.4> (Uptone ) Uptone USPCB>Naim DAC V1>Witchhat DIN>Naim NAP 160 Bolt Down>Chord Rumor 2>Audio Physic Compact Classics.

OFFICE:Naim Unitiqute V1>NACA5>KEF Ls50's, Cisco 2960PD. BJC cabling for ethernet aside from the Ghent and Naim stock AC cables with Wattgate or HifiKing Plugs. 

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45 minutes ago, firedog said:

IMO, ethernet to USB streamers have one of the steepest curves of cost to SQ in audio. For very little you can get something very good sounding, and improvements from more expensive devices are small, and sometimes they don't exist.  If your DAC has a well isolated and designed USB input, this is especially true, IMO.

Thanks for sharing...have you actually tried enet->usb streamers? 

I haven't, but i have used much less expensive streamer solutions.

I believe that if you are using a general use non-optimized windows pc to a good dac, that you will likely get better SQ using a streamer.  I haven't tried enet->usb streamers, but realize these are mostly mom/pop type retailers, and am skeptical that they will sound "much better" (esp for the $) than other much less expensive enet solutions that don't claim you need a high dollar PS for better performance.

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16 minutes ago, charlesphoto said:

If I had to start from scratch, I'd go with a Naim Atom, can be found refurbished, demo or used for between $2-3K (new just over I believe). All you would need in one box. 

 

I am DEFINETELY in this camp.  I don't want spaghetti.  I want simplicity...i know manufacturing is moving in that direction, by the amount of them that keep popping up.  I actually have found the SR6013 (that i am using as preamp) that does it all, sounds as good I have heard(insert your own flavor amp for fronts), and am skeptical that something can beat it for less money.  Besides the SR6013 having built in DSD streamer, it also has AUDYSSEE eq and alexa capability (smile), and even Jriver can control it if you don't want to tell alexa what to do...i actually enjoy the ability to be able to tell it to turn on/off/mute/next track, etc...I usually start every day saying "computer, shuffle playlist" which will turn on my amp and start playing music...

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52 minutes ago, Ajax said:

 

Hi Beer,

 

Your question is a good one. 

 

I don't participate in the forum that much anymore as I favour a more objective approach as propagated by Archimago and Amirm from Audio Science. If you are looking for good gear for less than US$3k then I strongly suggest you visit their sites (as well as Computer Style) to get a more "rounded" view that does not include the nonsense surrounding power supplies, cables and purpose built servers.

 

I have a variety of systems of varying expense. 

 

Interface:     Personally I find using either my iPhone or an iPad as a remote the most flexible and user friendly approach.

 

Streaming:   I stream Tidal incorporated in an Auralic Mini (I have 3 - US$400 each) using the free Lightning DS app or using Spotify Connect. In some systems I use the Mini's internal DAC and in others its digital out. I also use Chromecast Audio (I have 2 - $US30 each). These are both discontinued but you can find them second hand.... both are bit perfect.

 

DAC:           2 x Benchmark DAC2 second hand), a Topping 50Ds and an SMSL M8a

 

Amp:           Nord Hypex Ncore 500MP, Parasound Halo A21, Marantz PM 5006 (Integrated), Devialet 200

 

Speakers:   KEF LS50,  ATC SCM 40, ATOHM G1 with 2 x SVS SB2000 subs , B&W AM1 (outside), 

 

In my experience a combination that would sit within your budget (if you are OK with second hand gear) and provide excellent sound would be:

 

iPhone   >   Mini   >   Topping 50s  >  Hypex NC252mp   >   KEF LS 50   >   SVS SB 2000

 

You could easily swap out the Mini / Topping 50s for a Chrome-cast / Benchmark combination ... ignore the on-line comments about the jitter from the Chrome-cast as the Benchmark will handle it with ease. You could leave the Topping in and add a second sub to mitigate the room nodes.

 

As we are all aware the speakers and room acoustics will have the biggest bearing on sound quality and is where the majority of the money should be spent, however, If anyone has better suggestions for the streamer I would appreciate hearing about them.

 

Good luck,

 

Ajax

 

 

Archimago doesn't host his own music forums does he?  I know he has his blog that i visit at least monthly and see his most recent blog is about this NC252 amp you speak of....I am not a DIY'er...is that available pre-built?  Looks nice!

Hypex%2BNC252MP%2BAssembled%2B-%2BGold.jpg

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