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Dynaudio Owner's Thread - Page 633

post #18961 of 21660
If I can get a b-stock focus 160 (with the dynaudio 5 year warranty) or a used contour s1.4 (is warranty transferable?) for the same price, which one should I go after (assuming I have proper equipment and room set up for each)

my brain tells me the focus to be on the safe side, but I have read about the s1.4 being superior

any advice ?
post #18962 of 21660
Not that I am a dynaudio owner, I have been in the market to replace my Epos M5 bookshelf speakers. I have been demoing a lot of well reviewed speakers (Neat, PMC, Spendor, Naim, Dyns) just have not hit the pair that will stay yet. I did try a couple of pairs of Dynaudios, the x12 and x16's. I wasn't all that impressed with the 16s to me they weren't all that balanced. The 12s were nice but my room is on the large size so they were a little lost. I heard from my dealer the other day that he has a trade-in pair of 160s coming in and my name is on them to demo. I am really exicted and looking forward to getting them home.

They will be powered by Naim UQ, NAP250 through NACA5.
Edited by Hudsy - 4/4/13 at 3:43pm
post #18963 of 21660
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudsy View Post

No that I am a dynaudio owner, I have been in the market to replace my Epos M5 bookshelf speakers. I have been demoing a lot of well reviewed speakers (Neat, PMC, Spendor, Naim, Dyns) just have not hit the pair that will stay yet. I did try a couple of pairs of Dynaudios, the x12 and x16's. I wasn't all that impressed with the 16s to me they weren't all that balanced. The 12s were nice but my room is on the large size so they were a little lost. I heard from my dealer the other day that he has a trade-in pair of 160s coming in and my name is on them to demo. I am really exicted and looking forward to getting them home.

They will be powered by Naim UQ, NAP250 through NACA5.

I had that exact same setup (Qute/250/NACA5) which I played with a pair of Dynaudio Contour S1.4s. It was a fantastic setup.

I still have the custom built Transparent cable to make the Qute/250 connection.
post #18964 of 21660
Quote:
Originally Posted by RaceTripper View Post

I had that exact same setup (Qute/250/NACA5) which I played with a pair of Dynaudio Contour S1.4s. It was a fantastic setup.

I still have the custom built Transparent cable to make the Qute/250 connection.

I am hoping that the 160s will be the ones. I like the sound of my setup but am looking for more in the low end presence.

What did you go to after?

I am using an original black SNAIC custom terminated with a Naim XLR connector to make the connection. Makes me wonder if there could be a better cable to use to make this connection.
post #18965 of 21660
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudsy View Post

I am hoping that the 160s will be the ones. I like the sound of my setup but am looking for more in the low end presence.

What did you go to after?

I am using an original black SNAIC custom terminated with a Naim XLR connector to make the connection. Makes me wonder if there could be a better cable to use to make this connection.
I paid a little more to have Transparent Cable make me one up (2xRCA to XLR). PM me if you are interested in it.

My progression over the last year...
1) Qute + NAP 250-2
2) Added NAC 202/Hicap2/NAPSC
3) Traded in Qute for ND5 XS
4) Upgraded Contour S1.4 to Contour S3.4
4) Upgraded NAC202 to NAC282 (last month)
post #18966 of 21660
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudsy View Post

I am hoping that the 160s will be the ones. I like the sound of my setup but am looking for more in the low end presence.

Hudsy, I'm always curious about a point of reference. You say both that the Excites weren't "balanced" enough for you; but also that you're looking for more of a low-end presence. So...does that mean, you thought the Excites tilted a bit mid-to-high?

Is this against other speakers...or your Epos M5? What has impressed you most so far? Thanks
post #18967 of 21660
I liked the 12s. I found them well balanced, just not large enough for the room that I am trying to fill with music. Also the only pair that my dealer had that he would make a clear out deal on was piano black, which is not what I wanted.

As far as the 16s go I found that with my setup they weren't quite balanced, the mid bass a little recessed. My dealer thought the same thing when he had played them. Another customer though tried the 16s and with his gear they were balanced and sounded great and he picked them up.

My epos have great mid and upper ranges, not bright at all. Detailed and musical just don't go deep. They have a 60hz cutoff. No real punch to them. But sound good and I have enjoyed them for a number of years.

As many say speakers are a very individual decision. There are so many variables that go into what the end result sounds like.
post #18968 of 21660
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudsy View Post

I liked the 12s. I found them well balanced, just not large enough for the room that I am trying to fill with music. Also the only pair that my dealer had that he would make a clear out deal on was piano black, which is not what I wanted.

As far as the 16s go I found that with my setup they weren't quite balanced, the mid bass a little recessed. My dealer thought the same thing when he had played them. Another customer though tried the 16s and with his gear they were balanced and sounded great and he picked them up.

My epos have great mid and upper ranges, not bright at all. Detailed and musical just don't go deep. They have a 60hz cutoff. No real punch to them. But sound good and I have enjoyed them for a number of years.

As many say speakers are a very individual decision. There are so many variables that go into what the end result sounds like.

Mind if I ask what PMC you tried; and what your thoughts were?
post #18969 of 21660
I'd like to hear those 160s as well. Lots of really good feedback on them. I had the original 220s and they were quite nice. I bet the latest favors are excellent. When are the trade-ins coming in? Good Luck

Rick
Edited by Mr.SoftDome - 4/4/13 at 9:04pm
post #18970 of 21660
Quote:
Originally Posted by mac336 View Post

If I can get a b-stock focus 160 (with the dynaudio 5 year warranty) or a used contour s1.4 (is warranty transferable?) for the same price, which one should I go after (assuming I have proper equipment and room set up for each)

my brain tells me the focus to be on the safe side, but I have read about the s1.4 being superior

any advice ?
they are really similar, but voiced differently. the 1.4s are a little darker sounding imo, and the 160s are a little more aggressive. i had the choice and went 160s. listen to them both and decide what you like most.
post #18971 of 21660
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudsy View Post

I liked the 12s. I found them well balanced, just not large enough for the room that I am trying to fill with music. Also the only pair that my dealer had that he would make a clear out deal on was piano black, which is not what I wanted.

As far as the 16s go I found that with my setup they weren't quite balanced, the mid bass a little recessed. My dealer thought the same thing when he had played them. Another customer though tried the 16s and with his gear they were balanced and sounded great and he picked them up.

My epos have great mid and upper ranges, not bright at all. Detailed and musical just don't go deep. They have a 60hz cutoff. No real punch to them. But sound good and I have enjoyed them for a number of years.

As many say speakers are a very individual decision. There are so many variables that go into what the end result sounds like.
I used to have the 16s and i thought they were great speakers, they lacked the ultimate bass weight the 160s produce, but the designs are very different. I never found them out of balance with my nait 5i... but to each his own as they say. The 160s have punch. I just compared the 160s to a pair of Sonus Fabers Concertino Domus and while both very good speakers, the bass of the 160s way outshined the SFs.
post #18972 of 21660
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDLehner View Post

Mind if I ask what PMC you tried; and what your thoughts were?

I tried the FB1i's. Room filling sound, good balance but in my scenario found that they weren't engaging. I found I kept falling asleep on the couch while listening (bored). I had a couple of friends who are into high end audio (one is an ex-naim dealer) and we all agreed. But this was in my scenario and my setup.
Quote:
Originally Posted by callas01 View Post

The 160s have punch. I just compared the 160s to a pair of Sonus Fabers Concertino Domus and while both very good speakers, the bass of the 160s way outshined the SFs.

Glad to hear that.
post #18973 of 21660
Y'all are making me regret not picking up those 160s a few days ago for $1725 frown.gif

I still think the better move for me right now is to improve stands/placement of my X16s and amplification.

If I am convinced of the Naim Nait XS2...the question then becomes: what DAC (between $500-$1000) to pair it with?

Assume my audio sources are primarily digital:

-Lossless audio from HTPC (via USB)
-Pandora from HTPC (via USB) / Panasonic Vierra App (via SPDIF)
-Panasonic Blu-Ray (via SPDIF or Digital Coaxial)


I really need to determine that best way to digitally transfer lossless audio from say a HTPC to a DAC. I assume USB is the best method? (A different thread entirely.)
Edited by GTaudiophile - 4/5/13 at 8:58am
post #18974 of 21660
Quote:
Originally Posted by callas01 View Post

they are really similar, but voiced differently. the 1.4s are a little darker sounding imo, and the 160s are a little more aggressive. i had the choice and went 160s. listen to them both and decide what you like most.

thanks

there are no dynaudio dealers anywhere near me, so I have to resort to impressions from you guys.

would you mind elaborating a bit more on your contour s1.4/focus 160 comparison ?

specifically in the bass and overall soundstage department.
post #18975 of 21660
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTaudiophile View Post

Y'all are making me regret not picking up those 160s a few days ago for $1725 frown.gif

I still think the better move for me right now is to improve stands/placement of my X16s and amplification.

If I am convinced of the Naim Nait XS2...the question then becomes: what DAC (between $500-$1000) to pair it with?

Assume my audio sources are primarily digital:

-Lossless audio from HTPC (via USB)
-Pandora from HTPC (via USB) / Panasonic Vierra App (via SPDIF)
-Panasonic Blu-Ray (via SPDIF or Digital Coaxial)


I really need to determine that best way to digitally transfer lossless audio from say a HTPC to a DAC. I assume USB is the best method? (A different thread entirely.)

I would be interested in knowing which stands and amplification will make a bigger improvement than speakers.
post #18976 of 21660
Quote:
Originally Posted by MUDCAT45 View Post

I would be interested in knowing which stands and amplification will make a bigger improvement than speakers.

Well...I'm sure you'd agree: placement is important...and free. Perhaps the stands are more superfluous to his argument.

I think GTA is simply trying to say...rather than throw money at "better" speakers; he might try to first, "max-out" what he's got. It's not the worst approach...do you think?
post #18977 of 21660
Exactly!

I know that streaming from Amazon Cloud (compressed audio) via a PC connected to my HDTV via HDMI which is connected to my HK 3490 via SPDIF is probably not the most ideal way to get sound to the speakers! Am I right?

Placement at the moment is totally not ideal.

Once I refine these two aspects then I will upgrade to the 160s.

I was listening to the X16s quite a bit tonight and I suppose I keep coming to the same conclusion. On some tracks, they are just bang on in every respect. For their size, they never cease to impress in terms of how they can dig in and dig deep in terms of bass. They can be bang on with a variety of music, from classical to techno and from female vocals to male vocals. But then on other (digital) tracks the sound takes more of a "V" shape where I wish I could dial back the treble (highs/brightness) a bit in favor of stronger mids and a little more warmth. It really depends on the individual track at times. Throw in a source like Andrew Bird's "Break It Yourself" CD (played via a Blu-Ray player) and jump to track 13, "Hole in the Ocean" and you can truly reach a level of audio nirvana.

For those that question why I may fault the HK 3490, I think some of the responses to this review are correct:
Quote:
I owned one for a few months as a bedroom unit trying to stay low budget. The sound was grainy and harsh on the upper end. Made the Infinities I had in there feel like the audio equivalent of icepicks. I bypassed the preamp and tried an older Mark Levinson I was selling. That cleaned it up dramatically, but definitely not a balanced sounding amplifier. Dry mids and still ringy high end. I sold the 3490 as well. Its worth exactly what you pay for it.

The HK 3490 looks good on paper in terms of WPC per Dollar, but I've always known it would be a short-term, stop-gap solution until I felt ready to invest in something else.

At this point I am still certain that if there is a weak link at all in the setup, the X16s aren't it!
post #18978 of 21660
GTA while youre right, that it could be your source components, it could be your source material.
post #18979 of 21660
well gents... im a new dynaudio owner... i picked up a pair of DM2/6s, these will ultimately be used as surrounds, but right now i have them as fronts and they sound really good. much more bass and a larger soundstage then I expected.
post #18980 of 21660
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTaudiophile View Post

Exactly!

I know that streaming from Amazon Cloud (compressed audio) via a PC connected to my HDTV via HDMI which is connected to my HK 3490 via SPDIF is probably not the most ideal way to get sound to the speakers! Am I right?

Placement at the moment is totally not ideal.

Once I refine these two aspects then I will upgrade to the 160s.

I was listening to the X16s quite a bit tonight and I suppose I keep coming to the same conclusion. On some tracks, they are just bang on in every respect. For their size, they never cease to impress in terms of how they can dig in and dig deep in terms of bass. They can be bang on with a variety of music, from classical to techno and from female vocals to male vocals. But then on other (digital) tracks the sound takes more of a "V" shape where I wish I could dial back the treble (highs/brightness) a bit in favor of stronger mids and a little more warmth. It really depends on the individual track at times. Throw in a source like Andrew Bird's "Break It Yourself" CD (played via a Blu-Ray player) and jump to track 13, "Hole in the Ocean" and you can truly reach a level of audio nirvana.

For those that question why I may fault the HK 3490, I think some of the responses to this review are correct:
The HK 3490 looks good on paper in terms of WPC per Dollar, but I've always known it would be a short-term, stop-gap solution until I felt ready to invest in something else.

At this point I am still certain that if there is a weak link at all in the setup, the X16s aren't it!

This is probably the biggest source of your treble issues.
post #18981 of 21660
^^^ GTA, let me weigh-in on this. I think everyone has a valid point here. Jam is right; to a certain extent...there's no getting around the GIGO principle.

That being said...I listen to a lot of perfectly ripped, completely lossless FLACs; and a lot of streaming services like MOG, Pandora, Linn Radio, etc. IMO, one of the areas that a good DAC does help things along; is putting lipstick on the pigs. Again...it's not full-proof; you can't get blood from a stone. But a good DAC, does smooth out some of the rough edges, with less than stellar material (whereas...if you start with a great recording; it can still sound great, with an average DAC)

It looks to me, like you've done a lot within your budget. However...if you're ready to spend some money, to theoretically take that "next step"; let's take a balanced look at your system.

I think your source needs to be looked at. You say "PC connected to my HDTV via HDMI which is connected to my HK 3490 via SPDIF". Digital audio is near and dear to me; and there's a lot more to it...despite what some think...than plugging a digital cable into a PC, and moving some 1s and 0s. So can I ask you candidly: is this "just" your garden-variety PC, or have you taken any steps...into consideration, that this is now your music-player?

PCs are built for Offices; for Word, and running Excel spreadsheets. If you want one to be an effective music player, you need to bend it; re-purpose it, IMO. All that other sh*t it does...actually hurts its ability, to be a good music player. Also...it sounds like you're using it for video as well; and not to be a fanatic, but that's kind of a no-no too.

Let's start with the good: I think your X16s are fine for now. You yourself, say under the right circumstances...they give you a sound you're quite happy with. Now let's work on getting that happening, more often than not. I understand it's convenient as all hell...and cheap; to just have a garden-variety PC, hooked up at command central...and have it do all. Stream video, surf the web...and oh yeah, play music. But I think, if you really want to take that "next step"...you have to re-think that approach. Are you familiar with Computer Audiophile, and the C.A.P.S. builds? (http://www.computeraudiophile.com/section/c-p-s-489/) These are DIY, PC builds...that do one thing, and one thing only; the bare minimum...to stream music, and focus entirely on good output. They can range from as little as ~$350 up to ~$2k (and higher I suppose). You might not even need to completely scrap what you have, and build one of these things from scratch. You might be able to re-purpose what you already have; or even just borrow some tips, tricks, and good practices...from what goes into a good, music-only box (for example...I shudder to think about your power supply, and how much noise it probably introduces into the audio chain. Again...unless I'm wrong, and you haven't just taken your average PC and are streaming through it).

The only thing(s) about these builds: they can be a bit "technical" (that being a wholly subjective word); and while there's great support at that forum and others...you should expect some time, reading, asking questions, and tweaking (that is...if you've never done anything like this before. Though...by and large...once you get things dialed-in, it is pretty much set-it and forget-it). Another route...that I might actually suggest, depending on your feedback...is an appliance like the Squeezebox. You could take your existing HTPC, make it video-only...or have it handle everything but music. Leave that to an appliance like the SB (yes, they have been "discontinued"; that means they're not making it anymore...or not making it, until Logitech replaces it with something else; or someone else picks up the SB mantle. Even if that never happens...SB is developed and robust enough to carry on for a while; and it always had more forum support, than 800-number variety anyway...so take that for what it's worth).

The thing I like about an SB for you, is it's pretty easy...has a good, built-in DAC; and it's king for streaming services, like you seem to need. Food for thought...for now (and I can elaborate, or answer questions. Which I'm happy to do in private, if we'd be boring the group...or in public, if they want to keep me honest; give you a different perspective...lol). If you want an external DAC, or different amp; sure...those can help (and there's no denying...the heart wants what the heart wants). But IMO, it's putting the cart before the horse; which speaks to Jam's point.

I agree with him: in general...there's a strong argument to be made, more money on speakers, give you the most sonic change...impact. But he would also probably agree; even C4s probably won't make compressed audio from Amazon Cloud, through a garden-variety PC...sound very good.
post #18982 of 21660
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTaudiophile View Post

Exactly!

I know that streaming from Amazon Cloud (compressed audio) via a PC connected to my HDTV via HDMI which is connected to my HK 3490 via SPDIF is probably not the most ideal way to get sound to the speakers! Am I right?

Placement at the moment is totally not ideal.

Once I refine these two aspects then I will upgrade to the 160s.

I was listening to the X16s quite a bit tonight and I suppose I keep coming to the same conclusion. On some tracks, they are just bang on in every respect. For their size, they never cease to impress in terms of how they can dig in and dig deep in terms of bass. They can be bang on with a variety of music, from classical to techno and from female vocals to male vocals. But then on other (digital) tracks the sound takes more of a "V" shape where I wish I could dial back the treble (highs/brightness) a bit in favor of stronger mids and a little more warmth. It really depends on the individual track at times. Throw in a source like Andrew Bird's "Break It Yourself" CD (played via a Blu-Ray player) and jump to track 13, "Hole in the Ocean" and you can truly reach a level of audio nirvana.

For those that question why I may fault the HK 3490, I think some of the responses to this review are correct:
The HK 3490 looks good on paper in terms of WPC per Dollar, but I've always known it would be a short-term, stop-gap solution until I felt ready to invest in something else.

At this point I am still certain that if there is a weak link at all in the setup, the X16s aren't it!

GTa, I would concur that the speakers are likely not the weak link, if the problem is grainy treble or poor imaging. Those are high quality speakers and should be capable of excellent sound. I also would not make any evaluation of very high frequencies based on streamed audio unless you are streaming lossless flac files.

Placement is, of course critical with respect to room reflections and bass response, but I also think amplification and cables are important to great sound. Some of the incremental improvements in sound quality that I have achieved in my system resulted from the addition of several components:

McCormack DNA-1 Deluxe power amp(replaced a Sherbourn 1500/A five channel amp)--the DNA-1 is just so detailed and yet musical

Morrow SP-2 speaker cables--I don't know how it works, but the imaging, clarity, and soundstage is much improved over the Goertz MI-2 Veracity I was using before.

High Fidelity CT-1 interconnect between Onkyo TX-NR809 receiver and McCormack amp--pricey, but these are simply revelatory in the presentation of all aspects of the music.

With each of these additions, my sound just got better and better, and I can't get over how good my system sounds just using a receiver as pre-pro and my aging Legacy Audio Signature II speakers. I don't know much about the HK 3490, but I am quite impressed with the sound from this Onkyo, which replaced a Yamaha RX-V1800. The Onkyo made an immediate improvement in both music and movies over the Yamaha, in terms of clarity and dynamics. The decoders seem to be quite good, and it also sounds great on SACD and DVD-Audio via HDMI from my Oppo BDP-83.

Before the additions I mentioned above, I had become quite unimpressed with my sound and was starting to fish around and look for new speakers as the solution. Of course, these comments are primarily with respect to my front Left/Right speakers only, since the amp and cables only affect those channels. But since so much of the sound quality in movies comes from those channels, my sound quality in movies is improved as well.
Edited by mtrot - 4/6/13 at 7:17am
post #18983 of 21660
Well things went well today....the person who was trading the 160s in for c1s brought them in and now the 160s are playing in my living room.

WOW! I like the sound of these.

Now have to play with placement a bit to tweak them but so far enjoying them. Diana Krall sounds great.
post #18984 of 21660
biggrin.gif So the Audio Pro powered speakers/subwoofer that have served me well for 30 years have reached a point of functioning part time on the best of days (I rebuilt the woofers years ago and they never sounded the same). Recently, I've been hearing really good things about Dynaudio's newest speakers, the XEO 5 wireless speakers. I found a dealer in Bethesda MD - JS Audio - who carried them, so I went for an audition today. WOW, was I knocked out by what I heard. These are small floor speakers for a medium sized room - a perfect fit for my listening area. The proprietary wireless format broadcasts at 2.4 Ghz with a 16 bit 48 kHz sample rate. The interface accepts HD digital signals but translates them to the CD format. Some of you would not accept this limitation, but since I have 1000+ CDs, it's a limitation I can live with.

I've always been a big fan of powered loudspeakers - perfect matching of power to speaker, no amps or speaker cable needed, and in this case, no wiring needed at all. At JS, they used the Meridian Sooloos Control 15 as a front end. The sound from these speakers is amazing - full, rich, detailed with a wide soundstage. I get them next weekend and will follow up this post with an update.

Nope, didn't spend $20,000, but I can argue that I'll soon have sound in my listening area worth $20,000. WooHoo.

BTW, Steve and Joe were terrific at JS - thanks guys. JS has lots of expensive toys for us nutcases. I demoed the new Sony 4K projector - nice picture, but you all know how I feel about Sony.

PS: I posted this also in the $20,000+ forum because that's where I typically hang
post #18985 of 21660
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudsy View Post

Well things went well today....the person who was trading the 160s in for c1s brought them in and now the 160s are playing in my living room.

WOW! I like the sound of these.

Now have to play with placement a bit to tweak them but so far enjoying them. Diana Krall sounds great.

Awesome, the 160s are a great speaker if I do say so myself
post #18986 of 21660
CDLehner & mtrot: thanks for your advice!

I have been building my own PCs for over 15 years, so I think I could put together something dedicated towards audio with the proper research.
post #18987 of 21660
Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Mike Ferrara View Post

biggrin.gif So the Audio Pro powered speakers/subwoofer that have served me well for 30 years have reached a point of functioning part time on the best of days (I rebuilt the woofers years ago and they never sounded the same). Recently, I've been hearing really good things about Dynaudio's newest speakers, the XEO 5 wireless speakers. I found a dealer in Bethesda MD - JS Audio - who carried them, so I went for an audition today. WOW, was I knocked out by what I heard. These are small floor speakers for a medium sized room - a perfect fit for my listening area. The proprietary wireless format broadcasts at 2.4 Ghz with a 16 bit 48 kHz sample rate. The interface accepts HD digital signals but translates them to the CD format. Some of you would not accept this limitation, but since I have 1000+ CDs, it's a limitation I can live with.

I've always been a big fan of powered loudspeakers - perfect matching of power to speaker, no amps or speaker cable needed, and in this case, no wiring needed at all. At JS, they used the Meridian Sooloos Control 15 as a front end. The sound from these speakers is amazing - full, rich, detailed with a wide soundstage. I get them next weekend and will follow up this post with an update.

Nope, didn't spend $20,000, but I can argue that I'll soon have sound in my listening area worth $20,000. WooHoo.

BTW, Steve and Joe were terrific at JS - thanks guys. JS has lots of expensive toys for us nutcases. I demoed the new Sony 4K projector - nice picture, but you all know how I feel about Sony.

PS: I posted this also in the $20,000+ forum because that's where I typically hang


I bought my X16s from JS. They are great to work with.

I'd be curious to compare the Xeo5 with the Focus 160 paired with a good amp.
post #18988 of 21660
Since the Squeezebox is defunct, what DACs (with the appropriate inputs) do you recommend below $1000? Below $500?

What about stands? I'd love to find a used pair of Dynaudio Stand 4 but I am not sure if I can justify $900 for a new pair!!!
post #18989 of 21660
i use these stands, i cant justify the cost of the dyn stands to my wife, so these have been great!!!!



http://www.standsandmounts.com/vtiufseriescastiron29inchspeakerstandsuf29blackorsilveruf29.aspx
post #18990 of 21660
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTaudiophile View Post

CDLehner & mtrot: thanks for your advice!

I have been building my own PCs for over 15 years, so I think I could put together something dedicated towards audio with the proper research.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTaudiophile View Post

Since the Squeezebox is defunct, what DACs (with the appropriate inputs) do you recommend below $1000? Below $500?

What about stands? I'd love to find a used pair of Dynaudio Stand 4 but I am not sure if I can justify $900 for a new pair!!!

GTA, that's encouraging news...that you know your way around a PC. I am with you; I would start with research, research, research. CA is a great place to start...and really, you need never leave there. While most follow Chris Connaker's designs to the letter...mostly it's because they don't really know what they're doing; to decide to do this or that instead (plus..."stock" designs are easier to support, because everyone can predict the theoretical functionality of them. In other words...if you can't get your build to work, and someone else has exactly the same build...they can help).

You might find a way to just modify your design; but I kind of doubt it. As I said before...the key with a music-only machine, is minimal, minimal, minimal. That starts with the MoBo. Most of Chris' current designs, start with this little guy http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/motherboards/desktop-motherboards/desktop-board-dn2800mt.html (all except the ~$1600 Zuma build...which is built, for those that opt to include video and music in one box). That board requires very little power...no cooling (fans add noise to the listening room), etc; you also typically want no optical drive (won't need it...adds noise, etc). Starting to see the theme here?

CA is a great forum...but I can also help; seeing as I've been through it...and you can talk to me "one-on-one" (plus, I know at least one other member here...who's been through it; at my urging...lol). Now, that being said...I still think the SB is a viable option for you. It has a couple of "advantages": a) no building it b) it's cheaper c) you don't need an outboard DAC; the one in the SB...depending on what model you get...is pretty good, on its own. Quite honestly...I think it would beat the pants off of your current set-up. Another option is the ATV; especially if you're going to an external DAC. It's really cheap, and gets the 1s and 0s from here to there...with a decent interface (I'm told. The thing ATV has going for it...cheap, cheap, cheap. But...there are reports of some high jitter on the output, so I would say careful DAC matching is important; and...while the UI is decent, and maybe as good as say SB; reports are that a C.A.P.S. build...with JRiver and JRemote, beat it...and ALL comers...to hell biggrin.gif)

As for DACs...whether to pair with a C.A.P.S. build, SB, or ATV; that's a whole discussion. One I'm always happy to have...just to share what I've tried myself, my impressions...and what I may have heard or read about a lot of others. But let's do that in PM; the group thinks I post too much as it is...they certainly don't want to hear my DAC talk wink.gif

Oh, BTW...I still have a pair of Stand4s, that are just sitting there. When I sold the C1 Sigs, I held back the stands...just in case, there was another pair of stand-mount Dyns in my future. Truth is...I've been entertaining the idea of trying a pair of S1.4s again; but it's been a tough call. I typically don't believe in going "backwards"...and I'm really liking my current set-up right now, so I don't see much need to monkey with it. Just a matter of...with the great, new DAC; and digging both IAs, and the introduction to tube amps...I am curious, how S1.4s might sound with this set-up.

Point is...if I dig deep down, and decide to pass; I should probably go ahead and give the Stand4s a good home. Though I'm kind of with Callas on this. The Stand4s are great stands; but in my opinion, they're absolutely de rigueur for stand-mount S1.4s and C1s. Perhaps a bit overkill, for X16s. I use the stands Callas recommends, in my Office system.
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