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post #1 of 44 Old 06-07-2014, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Greetings

 

I'm in the market for a 2.1 system for use with my computer. I'm a programmer by day so spend far too much time at my desk in front of the computer listening to music.

 

I recently ordered and then returned the brand new Polk Hamden computer speakers. I absolutely adored their sound but was not impressed with the lack of low frequency and air shake. They absolutely should have a sub, but there is no way to connect one. Thus, back they went.

 

This is what i was considering:

- 2x LSiM703 (Cherry)
- 1x Emotiva Stealth DC-1 • http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/...s/stealth-dc-2
- 1x Emotiva XPA-200 • http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/...roducts/xpa200

- 1x Some sort of Sub

 

Questions:

- Are the LSiM's overkill for my needs? Would i be better off with RTiA3's and a sub?

- Can you recommend a solid ready-made solution that would be of similar quality to Polk?

    (Klipsch tends to be a bit bright for me)

 

 

My requirements are follows:

- Non floor-standing, Needs to fit reasonably on my desk.

- At least 2 digital in, USB / Toslink.

- Physical volume knob easily accessible.
    Years ago i had a set of Logitech's that had a giant knob: http://puu.sh/9hB4h/e944b0e6a8.png
    Trying to find something similar. Is just easy to get to if keyboard controls are out of the question.
    (I think they would be on all digital connections, I use a Mac)

- Lows that cause air shake not wall shake if that makes sense.
- For use at a computer desk. Mainly music, occasionally movies / tv / games.

- Most of my music is from iTunes / Pandora @ 320k

 

I hope i've provided enough information and asked my questions clearly.

Please let me know if not.

 

Thank you!

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post #2 of 44 Old 06-07-2014, 11:44 PM
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The LSi703s actually have a terrific axial response. I wouldn't call it overkill. The XPA-200 amplifier is definitely overkill though. If you like Emotiva, the mini-X would easily be enough juice far almost any speaker at that listening distance. One thing I always recommend for a desktop setup is to place the speakers on stands above the desk. Look up desktop speaker stands. The further you can get the speakers away from boudary surfaces, the better they will sound. You can see how this is done in professional studio mixing consoles, note how the speakers are kept away from the desktop. As far as subs go, if you need something is on the smaller side, take a look at the SVS SB2000. If you can afford something bigger and better, check out the Hsu ULS-15. The SVS SB13 Ultra and Rythmik F15HP are also worth looking at, for a bit more.

Other speakers worth looking at in your price range are the Ascend Sierra 2s, Wharefedale Jade series, Adam A7X, JBL LSR4328s, Mackie HR824 mk2s, and KEF LS50s. The nice thing about the LS50s is they won't be as badly affected by boundary reflections as the others. The JBLs have an advantage of a built in EQ correction, so they won't be as badly affected by desktop reflections either.

One more thing, I recommend using a lower than normal crossover setting for the subwoofer. Normally people crossover to their subs at 80 hz, but for desktop setups I have dealt with, the bass always feels detached unless its a bit lower. I would try a 60 Hz crossover, maybe 70. If you need a way of dealing with the crossover with precision, this Hsu high pass filter would be a solid solution. An SPL meter would also come in handy to see how the sound can be improved or to identify any problems.
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post #3 of 44 Old 06-08-2014, 08:48 AM
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I have a pair of the Audioengine A2 speakers, connected to the analog audio out jack of my computer.

I just use the computer to control the variations in volume; no problem.

They give me very good sound for this nearfield setup (speakers to either side of my 23" monitor).

My big system sounds a bit better, but then it cost an extra $25,000. biggrin.gif

I have a subwoofer under the computer table. It is easy to connect to the Audioengine speakers RCA output jacks, which they provide for that purpose.

You really need a subwoofer, but it does not need to be very powerful for the volume involved.

I use a Sony 2500, which only cost around $100.

I listen to WCRB Boston streamed online a lot, which is very nice for Classical music, plus I play CDs I have stored on the computer.

I don't need a DAC, but if you need one the Audioengine D1 DAC is excellent for $169, and it has an output level control on the front.
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post #4 of 44 Old 06-08-2014, 09:07 AM
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http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00AMAJG94?pc_redir=1402114098&robot_redir=1

Plus they have a remote. You can get the red ones for $20 less.
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post #5 of 44 Old 06-08-2014, 09:47 AM
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Off the top of my head I can't think of any 2.1 systems having all of the items you want, but a few with one (or more) that might be worth considering are:


If you take yourself too seriously expect me to do the exact opposite
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post #6 of 44 Old 06-08-2014, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

The LSi703s actually have a terrific axial response. I wouldn't call it overkill. The XPA-200 amplifier is definitely overkill though. If you like Emotiva, the mini-X would easily be enough juice far almost any speaker at that listening distance. One thing I always recommend for a desktop setup is to place the speakers on stands above the desk. Look up desktop speaker stands. The further you can get the speakers away from boudary surfaces, the better they will sound. You can see how this is done in professional studio mixing consoles, note how the speakers are kept away from the desktop. As far as subs go, if you need something is on the smaller side, take a look at the SVS SB2000. If you can afford something bigger and better, check out the Hsu ULS-15. The SVS SB13 Ultra and Rythmik F15HP are also worth looking at, for a bit more.

Other speakers worth looking at in your price range are the Ascend Sierra 2s, Wharefedale Jade series, Adam A7X, JBL LSR4328s, Mackie HR824 mk2s, and KEF LS50s. The nice thing about the LS50s is they won't be as badly affected by boundary reflections as the others. The JBLs have an advantage of a built in EQ correction, so they won't be as badly affected by desktop reflections either.

One more thing, I recommend using a lower than normal crossover setting for the subwoofer. Normally people crossover to their subs at 80 hz, but for desktop setups I have dealt with, the bass always feels detached unless its a bit lower. I would try a 60 Hz crossover, maybe 70. If you need a way of dealing with the crossover with precision, this Hsu high pass filter would be a solid solution. An SPL meter would also come in handy to see how the sound can be improved or to identify any problems.

 

Hey, Thanks for getting back to me!

 

You mentioned the XPA-200 would be overkill. I read that these speakers were rated up to 200 watt.
 

This of course though is for home theater use, not in your face on a desktop.

 

My concern was that underpowering them might cause some sort of damage.

 

- Is it possible to damage them by not supplying enough power?

- Is sound quality lesser with an "underpowered" amp at low volumes versus the correctly spec'd one at the same volume?

 

- You also mentioned a speaker stand. Did you mean something like a tripod to elevate the speakers 1+ feet?

Or something to simply tily them upward? I've seen both styles.

 

Will check out those other speakers you recomended. Would you say any of them sound better than the Polk's? Or are they just other options in that price range? I think i'm sold on Polk sound quality, thats why i ask. If you suggest though i'll try to seek out a demo on the other sets.

 

I'll def take your advice on the crossover setting on a sub. This is a good reference and you gave solid information.

 

I'll have to do some research into the high pass filter and its use. I've never heard of one before. Same with SPL meter. Very new to all this.

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post #7 of 44 Old 06-08-2014, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Jorah View Post

You mentioned the XPA-200 would be overkill. I read that these speakers were rated up to 200 watt.

 This of course though is for home theater use, not in your face on a desktop

My concern was that underpowering them might cause some sort of damage.

- Is it possible to damage them by not supplying enough power?
- Is sound quality lesser with an "underpowered" amp at low volumes versus the correctly spec'd one at the same volume?
Lol, no, underpowering them will not cause damage. If that was true, the speakers would die everytime you turned the amp off. You absolutely do not need 200 watts for those in a desktop situation. The sound quality will not be affected as long as the amplifier isn't driven to clip. You are not likely to do that at the distance you are sitting, so you don't have to worry about that.
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Originally Posted by Jorah View Post

- You also mentioned a speaker stand. Did you mean something like a tripod to elevate the speakers 1+ feet?
Or something to simply tily them upward? I've seen both styles.
The stand that lists the speakers off the desk would be best. The tilting ones might help a little bit but they won't be enormously effective. It might even be best to have the speakers flipped upside down so the tweeters are at ear level, for the best sound.
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Originally Posted by Jorah View Post

Will check out those other speakers you recomended. Would you say any of them sound better than the Polk's? Or are they just other options in that price range? I think i'm sold on Polk sound quality, thats why i ask. If you suggest though i'll try to seek out a demo on the other sets.

I'll def take your advice on the crossover setting on a sub. This is a good reference and you gave solid information.

I'll have to do some research into the high pass filter and its use. I've never heard of one before. Same with SPL meter. Very new to all this.

As for as those speakers being better than the Polk LSi speakers, I can't say, that is a matter of personal preference. I can't imagine that you would be displeased with any of them. I definitely would not step down in Polk from the LSis, I don't think the RTis would be good enough for near-field listening, and the Monitor and TSi speakers are horrid to my ears. Another speaker that sounds real nice in that price range is the Sonist Audio Recital 2, but the availability isn't that widespread and they have a pretty narrow sweet spot, but they do sound just terrific, an outstanding soundstage. It might be worth emailing Sonist Audio about those.

As for the high pass filter, a quick explanation: it sends a signal to the speakers minus the low frequency sound, so that the speaker is not burdened with trying to playback the lowest octaves. The sub does a way better job of that. When the speaker tried to do it, it just drives the woofer into distortion, and it hurts the sound. Let the sub deal with deep bass and not the speakers.

As for the SPL meter, it just measures loudness. What it is good for is making sure the response is neutral, so that when you playback sound, everything sounds like it was intended to rather than your speakers/room acoustics/audio settings twisting the sound and having some frequencies playing too loud and others too softly.
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post #8 of 44 Old 06-08-2014, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, so much information, Thank you!!!

 

I'm in a toss up between the Polk, KEF and JBL. Doing some research.

 

I think i'd like to go with that Emotiva XPA-200 regardless because it's the lowest wattage model that takes a digital signal from a DAC.

 

How would you recommend i connect a sub to it?

 

It's only got 2 channel out though, Left and Right. Do i use a splitter? How should the wiring be set up?

 

I'd read its better to connect the speakers and sub to the amp separately and directly versus everything running through the sub.

Amp > Speakers, Amp > Sub

vs

Amp > Sub > Speakers (Daisy Chain)

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post #9 of 44 Old 06-08-2014, 08:03 PM
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The XPA 200 does not take a digital signal. You will need a DAC for that one. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have the extra power, it just won't do you any good either. I would save the money on that and put it toward the sub where the returns on investment for sound quality do not diminish nearly as quickly.

As for connections, you can daisy chain AMP>sub>speakers, but you do not get to high pass the speakers that way. I would use a splitter after the source or DAC, with one cable going to the filter and then Amp and the other cable to the sub. So, DAC>splitter and then splitter>filter>amp and splitter>sub.

There happens to be comparable measurements of the Polk and KEF speakers. Both sets are very good, with responses well above average on either. The Polk has a flatter response, and flatter axial response out to over 9 kHz.The LS50 has a more inert cabinet. I think, in a desktop situation, I would go with the KEF, as its vertical axial response is just terrific, which might be a big help for acoustic reflections in a near-field desktop setup. I would still try to get something like a desktop speaker stand so you can get the most out of your speaker investment, but I think the KEFs won't need them nearly as much as the Polks. The JBL's may be able to simply EQ out any desktop reflections, which can be an effective solution but not a perfect one. As far as I am concerned, any one of these is a winner. It will be interesting to see what sub you choose to complement the speakers. How large can the sub be? One more thing, what sound interface are you using for the computer? Motherboard digital audio? A separate sound card? There may be better solutions for you than a outboard DAC there.
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post #10 of 44 Old 06-08-2014, 08:44 PM - Thread Starter
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The XPA 200 does not take a digital signal. You will need a DAC for that one. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have the extra power, it just won't do you any good either. I would save the money on that and put it toward the sub where the returns on investment for sound quality do not diminish nearly as quickly.

As for connections, you can daisy chain AMP>sub>speakers, but you do not get to high pass the speakers that way. I would use a splitter after the source or DAC, with one cable going to the filter and then Amp and the other cable to the sub. So, DAC>splitter and then splitter>filter>amp and splitter>sub.

There happens to be comparable measurements of the Polk and KEF speakers. Both sets are very good, with responses well above average on either. The Polk has a flatter response, and flatter axial response out to over 9 kHz.The LS50 has a more inert cabinet. I think, in a desktop situation, I would go with the KEF, as its vertical axial response is just terrific, which might be a big help for acoustic reflections in a near-field desktop setup. I would still try to get something like a desktop speaker stand so you can get the most out of your speaker investment, but I think the KEFs won't need them nearly as much as the Polks. The JBL's may be able to simply EQ out any desktop reflections, which can be an effective solution but not a perfect one. As far as I am concerned, any one of these is a winner. It will be interesting to see what sub you choose to complement the speakers. How large can the sub be? One more thing, what sound interface are you using for the computer? Motherboard digital audio? A separate sound card? There may be better solutions for you than a outboard DAC there.

 

You're right. It doesn't take a digital signal, my mistake. Rather it can take in a balanced signal from a source (in my case, DAC). From what i understand a balanced signal is less noisy than an unbalanced one? (It has the options for both)

 

I’m still heavily considering the Polks mainly due to them being available in Cherry and quite attractive. While i KNOW this is not the case, The KEF’s look plasticky and don’t match anything else on my desk or on this room. This is completely vain reasoning though, please excuse it!

 

This is the DAC i'm looking to get:
http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/processors/products/stealth-dc-2

 

Planned to connect my Mac to it via USB completely bypassing the internal one. The thing is i also need TOSLINK occasionally for my gaming PC and Xbox. The Emotiva seemed to fit the bill on all fronts. At least out of everything i've seen so far.

 

Reading through the manual on the DC-1 i noticed the following:
“Note: Both unbalanced and balanced outputs are active at the same time and are governed by the same Volume setting.”

 

- So i wonder if in this case i’d even need a splitter?

- Is it OK to have the mains driven by the balanced input and the sub by the unbalanced?

DAC > unBalanced L and R > Sub

DAC > Balanced > Filter > AMP > Speakers

 

As far as the sub... I'm not sure. I'm not looking to ruin any pictures or annoy neighbors, just want something to give that little bit of rumble under my feet. The movement of the air and feeling it in my chest is more important than vibrations and rattling of shelves. I don’t think it would need to be all that powerful. But i’d like it to not be muddy or distorted. Quality is more important than volume if that makes sense.

 

I can’t thank you enough for all your with this. Been a bit lost. Is so nice to have someone to answer my questions and teach me stuff!

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post #11 of 44 Old 06-09-2014, 12:22 AM
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You're right. It doesn't take a digital signal, my mistake. Rather it can take in a balanced signal from a source (in my case, DAC). From what I understand a balanced signal is less noisy than an unbalanced one? (It has the options for both)
Balanced can help in a electromagnetically noisy environment or for longer runs. You wouldn't notice any difference otherwise. I wouldn't get hung up on that, especially in a desktop setup.
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Originally Posted by Jorah View Post

This is the DAC i'm looking to get:
http://shop.emotiva.com/collections/processors/products/stealth-dc-2

Planned to connect my Mac to it via USB completely bypassing the internal one. The thing is i also need TOSLINK occasionally for my gaming PC and Xbox. The Emotiva seemed to fit the bill on all fronts. At least out of everything i've seen so far.

Reading through the manual on the DC-1 i noticed the following:

“Note: Both unbalanced and balanced outputs are active at the same time and are governed by the same Volume setting.”

- So i wonder if in this case i’d even need a splitter?
- Is it OK to have the mains driven by the balanced input and the sub by the unbalanced?
DAC > unBalanced L and R > Sub
DAC > Balanced > Filter > AMP > Speakers

As far as the sub... I'm not sure. I'm not looking to ruin any pictures or annoy neighbors, just want something to give that little bit of rumble under my feet. The movement of the air and feeling it in my chest is more important than vibrations and rattling of shelves. I don’t think it would need to be all that powerful. But i’d like it to not be muddy or distorted. Quality is more important than volume if that makes sense.

I can’t thank you enough for all your with this. Been a bit lost. Is so nice to have someone to answer my questions and teach me stuff!

The Emotiva looks like it would work well, and yes, you do not need a splitter with it, and you could hook it up like you have described. Another DAC to consider is the new and equally priced Denon 300USB. It doesn't have balanced outputs but it does have two toslink inputs. It also has a bunch of other stuff, including the ability to decode DSD files which isn't normally available at that price point. It will also save desktop space, as it can be used vertically. The Emotiva is nice in that it doesn't need a Y-splitter for a sub, but the use of a Y-splitter won't hurt the sound. Either one is a winner.

As for subs, you can not have the visceral bass you want without air pressure rattling things and vibrating shelves. I would try to go for a 15" sub like the ones I mentioned above, unless neighbors are a real concern. If neighbors are a serious factor, I would just go with the SVS SB2000. If not, go for the Hsu ULS-15, Rythmik F15HP, or SVS SB13 Ultra, they will all be much higher performers and will be a lot more fun. What's nice about the SB2000 is it does have a high passed output, however the filter is fixed at 80 Hz. All of these subs will have very good sound quality. The new Reaction PS215X looks like it could be very good as well. One more thing, I would not cross the Polks over lower than 50 Hz, but it does look like they will handle a 50 Hz crossover if you wanted. I would try for a 60 Hz crossover on them.
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post #12 of 44 Old 06-09-2014, 04:29 AM
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I would strongly consider going with a home theater receiver. It offers you more inputs, room EQ, a DAC, bass management, and wraps up everything into one single unit. There will be no difference in sound quality compared to the Emotiva gear, and you will be able to spend more money elsewhere, like on a better sub which will make a difference in sound quality. I would go with something like the Denon AVR-X1000, it has everything you will need, and the second best version of Audyssey to fine tune everything and more importantly, EQ your sub.

Those Polk should sound great, I really liked their former flagship line, the LSi series, so these should continue that reputation. ShadyJ mentioned some good subs, the SB-2000 is a great choice, and is compact so you can tuck it under your desk.

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post #13 of 44 Old 06-09-2014, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
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I would strongly consider going with a home theater receiver. It offers you more inputs, room EQ, a DAC, bass management, and wraps up everything into one single unit. There will be no difference in sound quality compared to the Emotiva gear, and you will be able to spend more money elsewhere, like on a better sub which will make a difference in sound quality. I would go with something like the Denon AVR-X1000, it has everything you will need, and the second best version of Audyssey to fine tune everything and more importantly, EQ your sub.

Those Polk should sound great, I really liked their former flagship line, the LSi series, so these should continue that reputation. ShadyJ mentioned some good subs, the SB-2000 is a great choice, and is compact so you can tuck it under your desk.

This is a very interesting idea. I never considered an AV receiver. Looking into this now.

 

- You mentioned being able to EQ the sub. Does this mean implement a high pass filter for it (only send it low signals)? Or just adjust the volume?

Isn't this possible with the adjustment on the sub itself?

 

- If AVR's pack so much into them, why do standalone DAC's exist for higher cost?

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post #14 of 44 Old 06-09-2014, 07:45 AM
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This is a very interesting idea. I never considered an AV receiver. Looking into this now.

- You mentioned being able to EQ the sub. Does this mean implement a high pass filter for it (only send it low signals)? Or just adjust the volume?
Isn't this possible with the adjustment on the sub itself?

- If AVR's pack so much into them, why do standalone DAC's exist for higher cost?

Some receivers have room correction software, this Denon in particular comes with Audyssey which is regarded by many as the best of the lot (I agree as well). Audyssey does more than apply a high pass filter, it will attempt to smooth the frequency response leading to a more balanced and accurate sound. This is especially necessary for sub woofers where room effects play a much bigger role in sound quality. You will not be able perform these adjustments with the sub alone, and buying your own MiniDSP and using a mic/REW takes a lot of time and know-how.

AVRs are such good value because of economics, they are produced in much larger quantities, and therefore save money on parts and shipping and storage, etc. You can buy very expensive receivers as well, but you have to look at the point of diminishing returns. DACs have an objective goal, and spending money on changes that are inaudible is not worthwhile.

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post #15 of 44 Old 06-09-2014, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Some receivers have room correction software, this Denon in particular comes with Audyssey which is regarded by many as the best of the lot (I agree as well). Audyssey does more than apply a high pass filter, it will attempt to smooth the frequency response leading to a more balanced and accurate sound. This is especially necessary for sub woofers where room effects play a much bigger role in sound quality. You will not be able perform these adjustments with the sub alone, and buying your own MiniDSP and using a mic/REW takes a lot of time and know-how.

AVRs are such good value because of economics, they are produced in much larger quantities, and therefore save money on parts and shipping and storage, etc. You can buy very expensive receivers as well, but you have to look at the point of diminishing returns. DACs have an objective goal, and spending money on changes that are inaudible is not worthwhile.

Understood, Great explanation, Thank you!

 

- Can you think of anything that has Audyssey but isn't physically as large as an AVR?

- What i liked about the DAC's is that they're small but are obviously missing all the EQ features you mentioned.

 

http://www.minidsp.com/products/minidsp-in-a-box/minidsp-2x4

I think this is a device like what you mentioned right? It looks like (from my understanding) that it's sort of like a programable high/low pass filter. I'd really need to know what im doing versus the AVR solution which does it automaticly.

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post #16 of 44 Old 06-09-2014, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post


Balanced can help in a electromagnetically noisy environment or for longer runs. You wouldn't notice any difference otherwise. I wouldn't get hung up on that, especially in a desktop setup.
The Emotiva looks like it would work well, and yes, you do not need a splitter with it, and you could hook it up like you have described. Another DAC to consider is the new and equally priced Denon 300USB. It doesn't have balanced outputs but it does have two toslink inputs. It also has a bunch of other stuff, including the ability to decode DSD files which isn't normally available at that price point. It will also save desktop space, as it can be used vertically. The Emotiva is nice in that it doesn't need a Y-splitter for a sub, but the use of a Y-splitter won't hurt the sound. Either one is a winner.

As for subs, you can not have the visceral bass you want without air pressure rattling things and vibrating shelves. I would try to go for a 15" sub like the ones I mentioned above, unless neighbors are a real concern. If neighbors are a serious factor, I would just go with the SVS SB2000. If not, go for the Hsu ULS-15, Rythmik F15HP, or SVS SB13 Ultra, they will all be much higher performers and will be a lot more fun. What's nice about the SB2000 is it does have a high passed output, however the filter is fixed at 80 Hz. All of these subs will have very good sound quality. The new Reaction PS215X looks like it could be very good as well. One more thing, I would not cross the Polks over lower than 50 Hz, but it does look like they will handle a 50 Hz crossover if you wanted. I would try for a 60 Hz crossover on them.

Wow, i really like the Denon DAC, Had no idea about it. The two optical in is great.

 

I'm reading through this review:

http://andreweverard.com/2014/03/19/review-denon-da-300usb-dac/

 

One of the things that concerns me is that the audio out is fixed volume when using the optical ports.

Seems like you're meant to use this with an amp that has a volume control on it.

I can look at a different amp but that means having a giant box in my work area (since KB volume controls are out for digital signals).

I honestly don't think i need DSD anyway. Everything i watch or listen to pretty standard and plays on anything. FLAC, 320K MP3, MKV, etc.

 

I'm really liking those subs by SVS. I think i would go for the smaller one though. Less clutter under the desk and reading reviews it seems like a monster. The room isn't that large and i'll be quite close to it. Basically on top of it. Just wish it came in Cherry... (/vain :P)

 

Lets hypothetically i didn’t go with the AVR due to it's size and i went with the Emotiva DAC + XPA-200. How would i handle the filtering?

 

Is the filter by HSU Research good enough? Should i be running two filters? One for removing the lows from the main, and the other removing the highs form the sub?

 

Am i correct in thinking that the MiniDSP Transmaniacon mentioned is simply a programmable filter? Is it a tremendous journey of time and cost to learn how to use it properly to get a result like what Audyssey would provide?

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post #17 of 44 Old 06-09-2014, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Jorah View Post

Understood, Great explanation, Thank you!

- Can you think of anything that has Audyssey but isn't physically as large as an AVR?
- What i liked about the DAC's is that they're small but are obviously missing all the EQ features you mentioned.

http://www.minidsp.com/products/minidsp-in-a-box/minidsp-2x4
I think this is a device like what you mentioned right? It looks like (from my understanding) that it's sort of like a programable high/low pass filter. I'd really need to know what im doing versus the AVR solution which does it automaticly.

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/marnr1403/marantz-nr1403-slimline-5.1-av-receiver/1.html#!more

This is about as compact as it gets for an AV receiver. It's about the same size as the Emotiva amp you were looking at. There are also more powerful versions of this if you want something stronger.

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post #18 of 44 Old 06-09-2014, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post


http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/marnr1403/marantz-nr1403-slimline-5.1-av-receiver/1.html#!more

This is about as compact as it gets for an AV receiver. It's about the same size as the Emotiva amp you were looking at. There are also more powerful versions of this if you want something stronger.

I'm reading up on Audyssey and it seems there are 4 different versions of it available.

Each Denon receiver has it's assigned "level" / advancedness of it. The X1000 has Bronze while the x4000 has Platinum.

 

Since i'm only using 2 mains and a sub, do i really need Audyssey?

Most of what im reading mentions multiple seating positions, X feet away from each speaker, home theatery stuff, room shape and dynamics, etc.

Won't i be close enough to the speakers (having them on my desk) that it wont matter as much?

Is there no simple way to make things work just as well without a full AVR with Audyssey?

Is the Bronze edition simple enough to where i could replicate it someo ther way?

 

I hope these aren't annoying questions, i'm just reading a lot of conflicting info on weather it's really needed.

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post #19 of 44 Old 06-09-2014, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Jorah View Post

Wow, i really like the Denon DAC, Had no idea about it. The two optical in is great.

I'm reading through this review:
http://andreweverard.com/2014/03/19/review-denon-da-300usb-dac/

One of the things that concerns me is that the audio out is fixed volume when using the optical ports.
Seems like you're meant to use this with an amp that has a volume control on it.
I can look at a different amp but that means having a giant box in my work area (since KB volume controls are out for digital signals).
I honestly don't think i need DSD anyway. Everything i watch or listen to pretty standard and plays on anything. FLAC, 320K MP3, MKV, etc.

I'm really liking those subs by SVS. I think i would go for the smaller one though. Less clutter under the desk and reading reviews it seems like a monster. The room isn't that large and i'll be quite close to it. Basically on top of it. Just wish it came in Cherry... (/vain :P)

Lets hypothetically i didn’t go with the AVR due to it's size and i went with the Emotiva DAC + XPA-200. How would i handle the filtering?

Is the filter by HSU Research good enough? Should i be running two filters? One for removing the lows from the main, and the other removing the highs form the sub?

Am i correct in thinking that the MiniDSP Transmaniacon mentioned is simply a programmable filter? Is it a tremendous journey of time and cost to learn how to use it properly to get a result like what Audyssey would provide?

The filtering in a Emotiva DAC and XPA200 would occur between the amp and the DAC. You would use Y-splitters on the outputs of the DAC, and the filtered output goes to the amp, with the unfiltered output going to the subwoofer. The Hsu filter would be more than good enough. There are less expensive in-line filters, but they screw up the resistance of the signal and can adversely affect the sound quality.

The mini DSP is not really a filter, it is an equalizer. It will shape the response of the subwoofer or speakers, so you get a neutral response in your room. It might be worth considering depending on how much of a perfectionist you are, but it is a little involved to use. Here is a nice guide for the miniDSP. Audyssey would be a lot simpler, but MiniDSP will give you better results, especially if you get multiple subs. There are some serious sound quality advantages to getting multiple subs, by the way, it is not just about getting louder.
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post #20 of 44 Old 06-09-2014, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Jorah View Post

I'm reading up on Audyssey and it seems there are 4 different versions of it available.
Each Denon receiver has it's assigned "level" / advancedness of it. The X1000 has Bronze while the x4000 has Platinum.

Since i'm only using 2 mains and a sub, do i really need Audyssey?
Most of what im reading mentions multiple seating positions, X feet away from each speaker, home theatery stuff, room shape and dynamics, etc.
Won't i be close enough to the speakers (having them on my desk) that it wont matter as much?
Is there no simple way to make things work just as well without a full AVR with Audyssey?
Is the Bronze edition simple enough to where i could replicate it someo ther way?

I hope these aren't annoying questions, i'm just reading a lot of conflicting info on weather it's really needed.

I would say here, in a desktop setting with the Polk speakers, Audyssey would be a big benefit due to the acoustic reflection you will inevitably get off the desktop. This can create a big spike in the upper bass which can be obnoxious. The JBL LSR 4328 speakers discussed earlier would not need audyssey since they have their own room correction equalization. They are also powered, so you won't need a separate amplifier either. If you really want something special, and can afford to splurge a little, check out the JBL LSR6328 monitors. They are about $1500 each, so a pair would cost $3k. They are THX pm3 certified, meaning they are of such high quality that they can be used to create, not just playback, THX mixes. They have a very powerful amp onboard, plus some very good room correction. No AVR is needed. The response will be ruler flat, so extremely neutral. Very powerful and extremely high quality. JBL is owned by Harman, which has one of the largest, most respected, and most advanced audio R&D depts in the world. JBL actually helped to develop the THX spec.
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post #21 of 44 Old 06-10-2014, 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Jorah View Post

I'm reading up on Audyssey and it seems there are 4 different versions of it available.
Each Denon receiver has it's assigned "level" / advancedness of it. The X1000 has Bronze while the x4000 has Platinum.

Since i'm only using 2 mains and a sub, do i really need Audyssey?
Most of what im reading mentions multiple seating positions, X feet away from each speaker, home theatery stuff, room shape and dynamics, etc.
Won't i be close enough to the speakers (having them on my desk) that it wont matter as much?
Is there no simple way to make things work just as well without a full AVR with Audyssey?
Is the Bronze edition simple enough to where i could replicate it someo ther way?

I hope these aren't annoying questions, i'm just reading a lot of conflicting info on weather it's really needed.

The X1000 comes with Audyssey MultEQ XT, which should make it silver rated. But the biggest advantage of Audyssey is the EQ on the sub. Sub woofers generally need the most help in that regard because their performance is so dependent on room variables. And as mentioned, you will likely have reflections off your desk that Audyssey will attempt to correct. You won't be able to manually do what Audyssey does unless you buy your own and follow the guide Shady posted. An AVR is just a great way to have an all-in-one unit at an affordable price. And down the road if you ever want to expand beyond 2.1, you have that option.

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Have either of you ever dealt with the IsoAcoustics monitor stands? Supposedly they greatly reduce reflections and interference with the surface the speakers are sitting on. Do you think something like this would help at the Polks? (I think i’m kind of stuck on them because they match everything in the room and look quite nice.)

 

If i were to go with an AVR, do i need a the high pass filter? Or is that built in?

 

If i were to go with a MiniDSP, would i connect BOTH the speakers and sub for it? Or is it mainly for sub management? (Assuming the mains didn’t suffer immensely from distortion)

 

@shadyJ, You mentioned a spike in upper bass. I think i’ve heard this before and know what you mean. it is obnoxious. Do you think those stands would help a bit?

 

I’m seeing the benefits to the AVR, but the issue i have is that it’s going to take up significant room on my desk. It’l need to be somewhat close for easy volume adjustment. That was my main reason for wanting the DAC. 

 

It does though seem like the AVR is a better idea in terms of cost, but… I almost feel like having a smaller unit means more to me. I hate to say it. Wish there was a USB knob you could just plug into it.

 

It looks like Denon AVR’s support a network control protocol. I wonder if i could write a volume management application to enable keyboard control for volume on my Mac? On the other hand this would be a significant amount of work. Again, time versus cost.

 

Literally don’t care about anything else other than changing the volume. If i had to get up and walk across the room to set a different input i wouldn’t care. it’s just volume.

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I think the IsoAcoustics stands would help, although I have never dealt with that brand specifically. You will not need a high pass filter with an AVR, the AVR will take care of bass management. With an AVR, I wouldn't bother with miniDSP unless you get into a multiple subwoofer setup.

As far as changing the volume easily, the AVR will come with a handy dandy remote control, so I wouldn't worry about that too much. By the way, if you needed two toslink inputs, the brand new AVR-X Denons come with dual toslink inputs - and HDMI 2.0. AND Audyssey MultiEQ XT. The new Denons look very good. You can connect your Mac to the Denon via USB if you want. Many of the newer AVRs have applications that lets you use tablets and iPads as remote controls for the AVR. I think the Denons have this feature. It has network capability so you might be able to run other things with that DLNA feature, but I haven't used this feature before. Anyway the point is you do not need to be near the AVR to control the volume, lol.
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post #24 of 44 Old 06-11-2014, 04:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorah View Post

Have either of you ever dealt with the IsoAcoustics monitor stands? Supposedly they greatly reduce reflections and interference with the surface the speakers are sitting on. Do you think something like this would help at the Polks? (I think i’m kind of stuck on them because they match everything in the room and look quite nice.)

If i were to go with an AVR, do i need a the high pass filter? Or is that built in?

If i were to go with a MiniDSP, would i connect BOTH the speakers and sub for it? Or is it mainly for sub management? (Assuming the mains didn’t suffer immensely from distortion)

I haven't heard of those pads, but they should probably work fine. When I had studio monitors on my desk, I used Auralex MoPads and they worked well. The biggest thing is getting them angled towards your ears, this helps with reflections and properly aligns the tweeter. I eventually switched to stands at ear level behind my desk and there was a big improvement in imaging and bass control, so if you have the space this is something I would consider.

No the receiver will handle all the bass management, it's an all in one unit. As for the MiniDSP, you have to check and see what the limitations of each model are. There should be guides out there, but this is definitely a more advanced process and something I would recommend for later on.

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post #25 of 44 Old 06-11-2014, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you both very much for keeping up with me on this! Fantastic info and advice.
@shadyJ , A remote! Yes, completely forgot about one of those. I feel like a tard. I think i'm sold on the AVR. I'll get one of the new Denon's when they come out. Release date isn't until end of month though.

@Everyone , I did a comparison between the three new models:
http://usa.denon.com/us/Product/Page...x1100w(denonna)

These are the main differences:
• Main Zone Pre-Amp Outputs: 7.2 vs LFE x 2
• Audyssey Pro Calibration Ready (only on 3100)
• High Pass Filter for Multi-Zone Outputs (only on 3100)
​• Audyssey Dynamic Surround Expansion (DSX) Processing (only on 3100)

- Do i care about any of this for a 2.1 setup?
- Am i OK going with the AVR-X1100W versus the 3100?
- Is the SVS SB-200 the minimum you guys would recommend for what i'm aiming for? I ask because $700 on the sub might be a bit much. It also could be a bit overpowered then again you guys are more familiar with the gear than i am so maybe not.

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post #26 of 44 Old 06-11-2014, 09:18 PM
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Pre-amps are very nice, the more the merrier, if you ask me. It lends your system a lot more flexibility. The other features won't make a difference for a 2.1 setup. I think you will be OK going with the X1100W. The SB2000 is the minimum sub I would go with in your situation. Whether it is over-powered is a matter of your own expectations. If you just need some bass to shore up the bass guitar on your jazz records, it will be more than enough. If you like to blaze some dubstep or hip hop sometimes and want to feel the bass, you will want something more formidable.
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post #27 of 44 Old 06-11-2014, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post
Pre-amps are very nice, the more the merrier, if you ask me. It lends your system a lot more flexibility. The other features won't make a difference for a 2.1 setup. I think you will be OK going with the X1100W. The SB2000 is the minimum sub I would go with in your situation. Whether it is over-powered is a matter of your own expectations. If you just need some bass to shore up the bass guitar on your jazz records, it will be more than enough. If you like to blaze some dubstep or hip hop sometimes and want to feel the bass, you will want something more formidable.
Alright, great!

So, This is what i'm going to order:
- Denon AVR-X1100 (Will preorder it)
- 2x Polk LSIM 703 (Cherry)
- Emotiva XPA-200 Amp
- SVS SB200 Sub

I can get the Amp and 703's now and borrow a receiver from my brother. At Least get something going.

The sub might need to wait a bit also simply due to cost. Maybe til late next month.

As far as connections go, i should set things up something like this, correct?
AVR > Speaker Outputs > Amp Inputs > Amp Outputs > Speakers

Would you mind if i keep updating this thread and asking questions as things come in / get set up? Don't want to be annoying but it so wonderful having help!
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post #28 of 44 Old 06-12-2014, 12:04 PM
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Whoa whao I hope you didn't order yet. The AVE-X1100 does not have the kind of pre-outs you need. You will not be able to connect that amplifier to them. Furthermore, you will not need an amplifier if you get the AVR. The AVR will have more than enough juice for the LSim speakers, believe me. There will not be any qualitative advantages to the Emotiva amp either, just a loudness advantage. According to the SPL calculator, the Denon AVR and Polk speaker will be capable of 112 continuous dB at 3 ft. I would save the money on the amplifier and either buy the sub now or buy a better sub later. At least get the AVR first and then determine if you need a separate amp; I think you will end up feeling it isn't necessary.

The order in which you would connect things with an amplifier is AVR pre-outs>amplifier line inputs>amp speaker outputs> speakers. I would urge you to make it simple, save money and desktop space and just use the AVR. And yes, feel free to ask any questions here if you want.
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post #29 of 44 Old 06-12-2014, 12:16 PM
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Save money on the Amp - get a good receiver - it should work fine.

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post #30 of 44 Old 06-12-2014, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Whoa whao I hope you didn't order yet. The AVE-X1100 does not have the kind of pre-outs you need. You will not be able to connect that amplifier to them. Furthermore, you will not need an amplifier if you get the AVR. The AVR will have more than enough juice for the LSim speakers, believe me. There will not be any qualitative advantages to the Emotiva amp either, just a loudness advantage. According to the SPL calculator, the Denon AVR and Polk speaker will be capable of 112 continuous dB at 3 ft. I would save the money on the amplifier and either buy the sub now or buy a better sub later. At least get the AVR first and then determine if you need a separate amp; I think you will end up feeling it isn't necessary.

The order in which you would connect things with an amplifier is AVR pre-outs>amplifier line inputs>amp speaker outputs> speakers. I would urge you to make it simple, save money and desktop space and just use the AVR. And yes, feel free to ask any questions here if you want.
Ohh! Ok, Understood.

- What would happen if i connected the speaker-out's to the line in on an amp? Does it do damage because the power is being multiplied?

- Lets say i went with the X3100 (HYPOTHETICALLY) which DOES have pre-outs. What do these actually do?

I'm reading that pre outs are supposed to have an un-amplified signal coming out which is then amp'd by a dedicated amp. If this is the case, how is volume controlled if the AVR is sending out a flat, unregulated signal? Do you then control volume from the amp directly?

- You mentioned clipping a few posts back. Is there any risk of this happening with the AVR-X1100 listening at around 85-90db? Do you know if i can limit the dbAVRs volume control to a specific % so i can avoid this at all costs?

- Lastly, i noticed that no one anywhere has recommended the Polk subs. I assume there is good reason for this, i'm just curious what it is? Are the SB2000 simply better and more powerful?
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