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Looking to get more analog sound out of my system ...

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi,
I have a few questions, maybe someone can help me make some order in my head?
I'm looking to get more analog sound out of my system, I tough to add a pre-amplifier, but I understand that they are usually processors, and I have good one, so maybe add a power-amp and boost the front speakers.
If I add a power-amp, what capacity should it be? The Receiver output is 7*140W, the JBL speakers are 250W…

My Equipment:
Speakers: JBL TL 260 – Front, Paradign – Center + Back
Receiver: Yamaha RX V3800
DAC: Hegel HD2 DAC
Player: Computer – FLAC files, mostly 24bit

Thanks in advance, Peled ….
post #2 of 13
What do you mean by "analog?"
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
I mean more realistic sound less digital, without the Hegel everything sounds very compressed, The Hegel helps a lot, but its not there yet....
post #4 of 13
What does "analog" or "digital" has to do with SQ ?
Analog usually has more deficiencies (noise, distortion, separation etc.), due to the way it works because the transport medium influences the contents whilst "digital" isolates these a lot more from each other.
post #5 of 13
Dare I say it's in your head. I can't imagine that the DAC in the Hegel is converting your digital to audio any worse than a CD player would, and with FLAC files you are essentially dealing with CD-quality audio.

If you want truly analog sound, you'll have to buy a turntable. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
post #6 of 13
Speakers and room acoustics have the most effect on the quality of the sound you hear. Electronics are a distant third, although room equalization software like YPAO can make significant improvements when the acoustic environment isn't ideal.

Since you've mentioned reasonably good speakers and electronics, you need to consider improving the acoustics in your listening room. e.g. absorbers and diffusers at first reflection points, bass traps, etc.

Using a DAC to get audio from your computer to your receiver introduces its own problems. YPAO can only operate on digital audio. Either you connect to the receiver's multi-channel analog input, which is not digitized, thus preventing the use of YPAO, or you connect to an analog stereo input where YPAO can be used, but which introduces an additional analog-to-digital conversion.

In other words, to take advantage of the audio improvements that YPAO can provide, you should consider using a direct digital connection between your computer and your receiver: either S/PDIF (optical or coax) for two channel audio, or HDMI for multichannel audio.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by pby View Post

Hi,
I have a few questions, maybe someone can help me make some order in my head?
I'm looking to get more analog sound out of my system, I tough to add a pre-amplifier, but I understand that they are usually processors, and I have good one, so maybe add a power-amp and boost the front speakers.
If I add a power-amp, what capacity should it be? The Receiver output is 7*140W, the JBL speakers are 250W…

My Equipment:
Speakers: JBL TL 260 – Front, Paradign – Center + Back
Receiver: Yamaha RX V3800
DAC: Hegel HD2 DAC
Player: Computer – FLAC files, mostly 24bit

Thanks in advance, Peled ….

I have a feeling you haven't run YPAO on the Yamaha yet. Doing so will set your very capable speakers to movie reference level so it will be just as loud as you would hear it at your local cinema, i.e. at 0 dB Master Volume setting you will have an SPL (Sound Pressure Level) of 105 dBs in your room. If that isn't enough "analog sound" for you then I don't know what is. smile.gif

BTW, you either don't have a subwoofer or you just didn't mention it, but for a complete Home Theater system it's highly recommended to have one (or 2). smile.gif
post #8 of 13
Hey guys,

Peled is playing FLAC files, which means he's looking at improving his 2 channel audio. If he can hear the difference in sound quality between the Hegel DAC and the Burr-Browns DAC in the Yamaha, that means that he's probably using the "Pure Direct" option of the Yamaha to run the audio straight into the pre-amplifer and power-amplifier sections of the Yamaha and completely by-passing any of the digital processing stages. This also means that Peled is one of the few audiophile type people who can hear subtle differences between pieces of equipment.

The Burr-Brown DACS are very popular DACS and they can be good, if used in the proper way. What is probably happening here is that the "audio output buffere stage" between the Burr-Brown DACS and the pre-amp section of the Yamaha is not as good as the audio output buffer stage in the Hegel DAC. The Hegel could also be handling digital timing gitter better than the Yamaha DAC stage. It's impossible to tell, but Peled can hear a difference so there is one.

YPAO won't really help him in this case, since it's mostly targeted at setting up levels of all 5/7 speakers for home theater purposes. The PEQ part of YPAO may improve things here, but then again we are removing the benefit of the Hegel DAC because the Yamaha has to convert the analog audio from the DAC back to digital for YPAO processing, then again to analog to send to the amplifer part of the Yamaha.

In this situation, Peled is correct in looking for a separate power amp to drive the main left/right speakers. However, we are getting into an area of diminishing returns where you have to spend a lot more to get smaller amounts of improvement. Also, there are many different types of power amps and they all have different sound signatures (some that Peled may or may not like). If Peled is after a more natural/realistic sound, I like recommending these Channel Islands amps:

http://www.ciaudio.com/products/D100B

The are 100 watt monoblocks. They use a unique Class-D amp design and have implemented Class D in the proper way (which many others have not). They are a little bit expensive ($1800 US). But you'd have to spend $8k or more to get something that sounds as natural or good. I would not be concerned about the 100 watts as I have seen these amps drive 6' tall Focal towers with 15" woofers without any problem. The JBL speakers are also an efficient speaker, so I would say the amount power is not an issue. The quality of power is what needs to be focused on. You can buy 200 watt Channel Islands, but you're looking at $2500! Sometimes you can find these things used on Audiogon/Ebay, but it's rare.

I have compared these directly to the Pass Labs 2-channel solid states amps ($7k+) and while I would say Pass Labs are about as good as you're going to get with a solid state amp, the Channel Islands just sound more "real" and natural. The Pass sound a little bit harsh compared to the Channel Islands, but compare them to any other SS amp (B&K, Bryston, etc.) and they are still better. I would dare say these would be a significant improvement over the amp section in the Yamaha.
post #9 of 13
To take full use of the fidelity of the Channel Islands, I like to recommend solid-core silver interconnects. "Solid Core" means it is a single solid wire in the cable (and not a stranded wire). Also, silver is a much better conductor than copper and will carry more detail in the sound. You should look for 20-21 gauge -- anything smaller and you start compressing/restricting the sound. Good RCA connectors are a must as well. You can research different types of used solid-core silver cables (such as Kimber) that are readily available on Audiogon. There isn't any concern with buying used cables, unless they are bent/broken or have a broken connection in the connector. They really don't wear out and should be fine if properly cared for (which most people do). If you can't find a good choice, these guys can build you a 1-meter cable for about $500 (still expensive).

http://www.tempoelectric.com/cables.htm#bigtwist

Parts Connexion has the DH Labs BL-Ag (which is an excellent cable if you want to build your own) at $10 per foot. Make sure you use both 23-gauge internal wires for the signal wire (essentially to make a 20.5 gauge wire).
http://www.partsconnexion.com/wire_interc_connex.html

Don't try to look for silver-coated copper interconnects. Pure silver is what you want.

For speaker cable, I have found that the Audison "Silver 212" or "SL 212" speaker cable is really the best bang for the buck. It is not pure silver, but silver-plated copper. Audison is actual a high-end car audio amplifier manufacturer, but they also do this speaker cable. Hunt down a local high-end stereo shop that sells Audison and they will probably sell you this cable for about $3-4 per foot. Don't get the more expensive "S 212" or "Sonus 212" cable. It actually sounds a little softer than the SL 212 because it's a mixture of pure-copper and silver-coated-copper. The cheaper SL 212 will sound much better in this situation. If the JBL's have dual binding posts, you can buy twice as much Audison cable and run separate cables to the upper/lower speaker connectors, this gets you close to a 9-gauge cable size.

http://www.connection.eu/products/cables/sl_212.htm

I have compared these directly with much more expensive audiophile cables (in the less than $1,000 area) and these still sound better and much more detailed in this situation. Please be aware that silver interconnects and speaker cable may make some systems sound too bright, but in the case with the Channel Islands, it's really the best solution. I haven't compared to other silver-plated speaker cables, so I can't say if it is this specific cable or just any silver-plated cable. I do know that this Audison cable is super-cheap for what it is.
Edited by Aaron Inami - 3/15/13 at 11:36pm
post #10 of 13
Wait until the popcorn is popped!wink.gif
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi gurkey,
I probably misused the term analog  it is mostly used to describe a more FAT sound like sin-wave in music synthesis …
I am of course only interested in pure clean sound ….
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Aaron,

You are right, as for movies I get good sound (I forgot to mention I have also a Sub), I am indeed interested in boosting the stereo channels, I will check your recommendation if I can find the CIaudio apm here in Israel…
Can you tell me how the Watt's are being calculated and how I connect a power amp to my Yamaha?
Do you calculate the power like, 140w (Yamaha) + 100w (power amp) = 240w good for speaker that are 250w ?

Thanks,
Peled
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Just to round up,
I purchased a Hagel stereo amp and chained it to the Yamaha, it sounds amazing.
From this discussion I learned that I should change the stereo amp instead of powering the Yamaha with a higher quality power amp.

Thank you all,
Peled
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