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Ideal Incremental Improvements


jeffsang

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In building my system and trying to get the best sound possible, I'm looking for ideas on ideal incremental improvements that I can make. I run Media Monkey on my 3-4 year old Dell laptop. Generally, I try to listen to standard FLACs if possible. I have lots of MP3s though as well. The sound device on the device info listing on my computer when connected to my receiver via HDMI is “IDT High Definition Audio Codec.” I assume I have an integrated soundcard. My computer is then connected to a Yamaha RX-V667 receiver, which is in turn connected to a pair of Polk Audio RTiA7s.

 

Before reading through these forums, I assumed that by just having an HDMI connection from my computer to my receiver, I was getting a perfect digital signal. When I read through options for high end software, soundcards, connections, and DACs, I’m not so sure!

 

With the sound device, is my current default setting the best way to get the best sound or can I tweak the settings? What incremental changes to my system will have the most improvement to the sound? What would make the biggest impact? New software? A new soundcard (though not sure that’s possible with my laptop)? Other hardware? Or maybe none of it will matter unless I’m willing to upgrade to higher quality FLACs or other media.

 

Very happy to have found this forum. Your thoughts are appreciated!

 

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You setup is quite OK, and from what I read you are making the best out of it.

 

I don't think other software would matter at all, and as for a sound-card, the digital to analogue conversion is done by your receiver, so you won't need it.

 

The most important part is that you are content with your system's performance and enjoy listening to music on it. If that is the case, I would keep things as they are.

 

Keep in mind that improvements (as in buying better hardware) only makes sense if you can really HEAR the improvement; a new US$ 500 HDMI cable does not sound better because it costs US$ 450 more than the one you have now, for example.

 

Regards,

Peter

 

 

 

“We are the Audiodrones. Lower your skepticism and surrender your wallets. We will add your cash and savings to our own. Your mindset will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.” - (Quote from Star Trek: The Audiophile Generation)

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Jim Smith's book "Get Better Sound" has a lot of suggestions for getting small (and sometimes large) improvements in sound quality. Many of the suggestions cost little or no money.

 

Rascal

 

A: Mac Mini => Peachtree Nova => LFD Integrated Zero Mk.III => Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 | Musical Fidelity X-CAN V-8 => AKG K 701

B: Airport Express = > Benchmark DAC1 => Rega Brio-R => B&W DM 601 S2

C: Airport Express => AudioEngine A2

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I second the Jim Smith suggestion.

 

More than likely a minor investment into that book (or the dvds) will make a large difference in your sound. It deals with all kinds of things that cost little to nothing, aside from a little time. For instance among many other things, it will help determine the best way to set up your system in your room, which is particularly important.

 

-Chris

 

P.S. Oops I forgot the main reason I was posting. Just google Jim Smith in this forum, or on the general web; that should lead you to his site.

 

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Indeed. Though perhaps a bit less exciting than getting a shiny new piece of gear!

 

Just moving my audio rack from between my speakers to the side had a surprising improvement in sound. As does moving my wood coffee table (or covering it with a blanket). Oops! Am I giving away Smith secrets here?

 

But it's fun to buy stuff, isn't it?!?

 

Rascal

 

A: Mac Mini => Peachtree Nova => LFD Integrated Zero Mk.III => Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 | Musical Fidelity X-CAN V-8 => AKG K 701

B: Airport Express = > Benchmark DAC1 => Rega Brio-R => B&W DM 601 S2

C: Airport Express => AudioEngine A2

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The laser measure! I've gotta get me one of those! Thanks for reminding me. Now that's a shiny new toy!

 

Btw, not to hijack the thread, but is it the NHT SuperZero 2.0 Mini Monitors that you have? How do you like them? I was thinking about getting a pair & pairing it with a Dayens Ampino. Probably go for a listen this weekend.

 

Rascal

 

A: Mac Mini => Peachtree Nova => LFD Integrated Zero Mk.III => Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 | Musical Fidelity X-CAN V-8 => AKG K 701

B: Airport Express = > Benchmark DAC1 => Rega Brio-R => B&W DM 601 S2

C: Airport Express => AudioEngine A2

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Thank you all for your feedback. It's good to know that I'm on the right track with my system. And in response to Peter, yes, I've been extremely happy with my system. Going from an old HTiB system to my present speakers especially was some of the best money I've ever spent.

 

I have no problem no throwing down any money on any new toys right now. I'll make sure to check out Jim Smith's book. I'm sure it could teach me a lot. After my original post, I read through the FAQ section; I already knew a lot but learned a lot too. I'm looking forward to learning more.

 

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Make that three for Jim Smith's book. I have had great results from that, though I cheated and went with the DVD's.

 

Most of the software vendors offer trial versions. If you think software may help, try some of the trial versions. This is a way to try it before you buy it. Low risk.

 

Main / Office: Home built computer -> Roon Core (Tidal & FLAC) -> Wireless -> Matrix Audio Mini-i Pro 3 -> Dan Clark Audio AEON 2 Noire (On order)

Portable / Travel: iPhone 12 Pro Max -> ALAC or Tidal -> iFi Hip Dac -> Meze 99 Classics or Meze Rai Solo

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Hi Jeff (I assume :)),

 

It is good to hear you are happy with your system!

 

I second (or third or fourth) the suggestion of getting Jim Smith's book. I had it, but I have no clue where it is. It is excellent, and there are many ideas in it that will cost no money at all, or you can do yourself for little money!

 

Peter

 

“We are the Audiodrones. Lower your skepticism and surrender your wallets. We will add your cash and savings to our own. Your mindset will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.” - (Quote from Star Trek: The Audiophile Generation)

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