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post #1 of 11 Old 08-10-2012, 11:05 PM - Thread Starter
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My current system:
Focal Electra speakers
Paradigm Sub12
Pass XA30.5 amp
Anthem MRX as pre/pro
AppleTV streaming

Upgrade Option 1
New Benchmark DAC1 HDR (preamp + DAC)

Upgrade Option 2
Used Electrocompaniet ECD-1 upsampling DAC
Used Pass XP-10 pre

Obviously option 2 is twice more costly but presumably better quality both in pre section and DAC. Plus I get home theatre by-pass with Pass pre for more convenient integration with Anthem that runs HT. I also read Pass pre can handle sub as well.

Is it worth it? Will the added cost be justified by improved sound quality?
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-11-2012, 01:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kzhtoo View Post

My current system:
Focal Electra speakers
Paradigm Sub12
Pass XA30.5 amp
Anthem MRX as pre/pro
AppleTV streaming
Upgrade Option 1
New Benchmark DAC1 HDR (preamp + DAC)
Upgrade Option 2
Used Electrocompaniet ECD-1 upsampling DAC
Used Pass XP-10 pre
Obviously option 2 is twice more costly but presumably better quality both in pre section and DAC. Plus I get home theatre by-pass with Pass pre for more convenient integration with Anthem that runs HT. I also read Pass pre can handle sub as well.
Is it worth it? Will the added cost be justified by improved sound quality?

Your equipment is fine enough that further significant sound quality improvements are likely to be obtained with room treatments and better interfacing of the system to the room (equalization).
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-11-2012, 06:41 AM
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I would say that the Anthem is the weaker link in the chain there.

The Pass unit should be a noticeable improvement IMO.

Another one you might consider is the Conrad-Johnson Classic preamp, which runs $2000 new.

For a DAC, you might want to look into the Musical Fidelity M-1A DAC, which is excellent.
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-11-2012, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kzhtoo View Post

My current system:
Focal Electra speakers
Paradigm Sub12
Pass XA30.5 amp
Anthem MRX as pre/pro
AppleTV streaming
Upgrade Option 1
New Benchmark DAC1 HDR (preamp + DAC)
Upgrade Option 2
Used Electrocompaniet ECD-1 upsampling DAC
Used Pass XP-10 pre
Obviously option 2 is twice more costly but presumably better quality both in pre section and DAC. Plus I get home theatre by-pass with Pass pre for more convenient integration with Anthem that runs HT. I also read Pass pre can handle sub as well.
Is it worth it? Will the added cost be justified by improved sound quality?


I guess it depends on how often you watch movies and how critically you focus on pure music. I like the idea of option 2 but it wouldn't make sense if the XP-10 is getting bypassed all the time. On the other hand, you probably care a great deal about sound quality and not convinced everything's the same or you wouldn't have the XA30.5 (congrats!).

BTW, you started a thread (DAC suggestion) asking for similar help and all you got was a train wreck. Were you hoping for something different this time around?
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-11-2012, 09:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by kzhtoo View Post

My current system:
Focal Electra speakers
Paradigm Sub12
Pass XA30.5 amp
Anthem MRX as pre/pro
AppleTV streaming
Upgrade Option 1
New Benchmark DAC1 HDR (preamp + DAC)
Upgrade Option 2
Used Electrocompaniet ECD-1 upsampling DAC
Used Pass XP-10 pre
Obviously option 2 is twice more costly but presumably better quality both in pre section and DAC. Plus I get home theatre by-pass with Pass pre for more convenient integration with Anthem that runs HT. I also read Pass pre can handle sub as well.
Is it worth it? Will the added cost be justified by improved sound quality?

Your equipment is fine enough that further significant sound quality improvements are likely to be obtained with room treatments and better interfacing of the system to the room (equalization).

Thanks. Anthem does have ARC room correction. But I only hear subtle differences with ARC on and off. I don't prefer adding physical room treatments at this time as the room is a multi-purpose room. I do have 3 area rugs in the room though.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-11-2012, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

I would say that the Anthem is the weaker link in the chain there.

The Pass unit should be a noticeable improvement IMO.

Another one you might consider is the Conrad-Johnson Classic preamp, which runs $2000 new.

For a DAC, you might want to look into the Musical Fidelity M-1A DAC, which is excellent.

Agree with Anthem being weak compared to the rest. Also thought about going up to Anthem AVM50v or D2v but I feel adding a matching/quality pre should return more in 2ch music. Thanks for CJ and MF suggestions, I'll definitely look into them.
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-11-2012, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talos4 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by kzhtoo View Post

My current system:
Focal Electra speakers
Paradigm Sub12
Pass XA30.5 amp
Anthem MRX as pre/pro
AppleTV streaming
Upgrade Option 1
New Benchmark DAC1 HDR (preamp + DAC)
Upgrade Option 2
Used Electrocompaniet ECD-1 upsampling DAC
Used Pass XP-10 pre
Obviously option 2 is twice more costly but presumably better quality both in pre section and DAC. Plus I get home theatre by-pass with Pass pre for more convenient integration with Anthem that runs HT. I also read Pass pre can handle sub as well.
Is it worth it? Will the added cost be justified by improved sound quality?


I guess it depends on how often you watch movies and how critically you focus on pure music. I like the idea of option 2 but it wouldn't make sense if the XP-10 is getting bypassed all the time. On the other hand, you probably care a great deal about sound quality and not convinced everything's the same or you wouldn't have the XA30.5 (congrats!).

BTW, you started a thread (DAC suggestion) asking for similar help and all you got was a train wreck. Were you hoping for something different this time around?

I'd say it's about 70 music 30 movie/tv/games. The next upgrade I'm thinking after this is adding in-wall speakers for the surrounds, so I feel HT by-pass is a nice option to have as movie watching might increase later. But yes, music is the utmost importance.

I also have Bryston 4B SST2 that I'm trying to sell right now. IMO amps do make significant difference (in my limited experience it's not as big as changing from Integra to Anthem receiver). In my case the difference between Bryston and Pass is listening to music 30 minutes or hours deep into the night without fatigue. I came to believe the importance of having good synergy between speakers and amp from this experience.

Yes the DAC thread was a disaster. So this time, I'm trying out doing some research myself and mentioning the specific equipments I'm interested in buying.
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-17-2012, 11:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Finally did it smile.gif
Pass XA30.5 amp + Pass XP-10 pre + Electrocompaniet ECD-1 DAC

62cf8074-2fd0-4de8.jpg
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-20-2012, 01:31 PM
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Beautiful system, I only wish that I could afford it!!!
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-22-2012, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. It set me back a tad but hope it's worth it.
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post #11 of 11 Old 10-09-2012, 08:46 PM
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It is a beautiful system! Now that some time has passed, any comments you'd like to share?
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