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I've wanted a nice PC stereo setup for awhile but I'm so busy with life plus don't have any local sources that I know of to query or be able to listen to any setups and components. I've been looking online at the Benchmark DAC 3 HGC with Genelac 8030C 5 inch near-field powered speakers. The question is am I making a mistake with a 2 channel setup or should I think about an integrated amp/dac setup? Or different components? I'm a casual music listener and a novice. Suggestions greatly appreciated. 

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Hi Kev, the Benchmark / Genelec setup could be very nice and is a very elegant solution. Tons of people around here have Benchmark gear. @DigiPeteis a big fan of Genelec as well and can likely offer you some advice based on his lengthy experience. 

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Sounds like a fantastic setup to me. Just to be sure, maybe you can find a Genelec dealer and audition the speakers or a similar model. Lots of Pro-audio dealers sell them.

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 Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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1 minute ago, firedog said:

Sounds like a fantastic setup to me. Just to be sure, maybe you can find a Genelec dealer and audition the speakers or a similar model. Lots of Pro-audio dealers sell them. Or order from a place with a good return policy, just in case.

 

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 Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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If sound quality is important, mount speakers to speaker stands e.g. model 8000-409B and nothing should be placed between two speakers. Never place loudspeakers directly on the desktop! Distance from the walls is also important for holographic stereo sound imaging, at least 1m is needed. Please refer 8030 quick setup guide page 1 and “How To Place Your Monitors” article of Genelec website.

 

 

 

Sunday programmer since 1985

Developer of PlayPcmWin

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I agree completely with what's already been posted.  Your equipment choices are excellent.  But if I understand you correctly, you also asked if you're making a mistake with 2 channels.  I strongly suggest that you use your budget for a really good 2 channel system and get used to fine sound in stereo before considering MC.  Multichannel audio is really fine and really fun, but I would not compromise SQ to get more channels.  With the latest crop of MC "integrators" (e.g. the MiniDSP UDIO8) and DACs (e.g. the ESI Gigaport), you can easily add more channels of equal quality when you're ready.

 

On the other hand, if you're already on the fence about stereo vs MC, you could start with a UDIO8, a pair of less expensive but still very good 2 channel DACs (e.g. Topping, SMSL, iFi etc), and 4 8030s for about the same total outlay as the Benchmark + 2 Genelecs. 

 

A third MC alternative with fine SQ at lower cost is an ESI Gigaport eX and 4 Genelecs.  The Benchmark 3 is a 192k device as I recall, and it "only" does DSD64.  So you're not losing much with the ESI, which is also a 24/192 device but does not do DSD64.  I haven't compared the Benchmark with the ESI for SQ and suspect that the ESI's a tiny bit behind - but probably not by much.

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Re. Genelec
Sorry I missed the post.

I recently needed I setup for my boat - so I went with a Genelec entry system: 2 x 8010 + 7040 Sub and a Motu M4 Dac.
It's very good bang for the buck and plays beautifully if you can place the sub in line with the monitors.
I ordered 8010 in white for estetics, even if a little more expensive . . .

All in all a highly recommended entry system!!!

The 8010/7040 combination only costs slightly more than a set of 8030's and plays down to 30hz with authority.

Motu M2 and M4 are great little DAC's sporting the same ESS Sabre32 Ultra™ DAC Technology found in Motu's bigger audio interfaces. Powerful balanced outputs as well as RCA. PCM only. Unreasonably cheap!!!!
I only chose the M4 over M2 to get an extra line in on the back, but not really needed.

I assume you are in the US, so Sweetwater puts this brilliant little setup at $1,665
In Europe, Thomann would charge you €1325

Make sure you order the correct balanced cables also available.
So balanced Jack to XLR for M2/M4 to sub, XLR to XLR for sub to Monitor

You later regret and want to go 5.1 or even 7.1 surround?
Add more 8010's and a Motu 828es ($995/€1055)
All you lost is the extra M2/M4
And the 828es will even give you some DSP room compensation.

Not affiliated, but these are good places.

Limitations:
Small / medium size rooms only, depending on expected sound pressure!
DIP switches for compensating for desk or wall placement, but no DSP room correction.

Find my blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile” at http://www.computeraudiophile.com/blogs/digipete

ALAC 16/44 - 24/192 stereo/surround on Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB -> Thunderbolt -> MacBook Pro 2,2Ghz Core i7 120GB SSD 16GB RAM

iTunes / Pure Music / Amarra HiFi / Bit Perfect / Audirvana + / Decibel / VLC

-> Firewire -> Weiss AFI-1 DDC -> AES/EBU -> Genelec 3 x 8260A + 2 x 8250A + 7271A sub

DragonFly / iPhone 6 -> Sennheiser Amperior / Etymotic RE-4PT

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I went ahead and ordered the components I mentioned. The dac is on it's way from Benchmark but the Genelec will take to mid December to arrive. I think starting with a stereo system is good advice. The sound will be a little compromised due to speaker distance from wall (not optimal distance). Nevertheless I'm sure I will be delighted. 

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