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post #1 of 38 Old 09-12-2019, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Please recommend upgrades to my system

My current setup...

Spotify thru PC connected to processor via HDMI
Emotiva UMC-200 Preamp/Processor
Emotiva RPA-2 amp
Leagcy Audio Focus speakers
PS Audio Power Plant Premier

What would you replace or add to get a noticeable increase in SQ?

Not interested in CDs or vinyl.

thanks...
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post #2 of 38 Old 09-12-2019, 12:00 PM
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Nothing IMO.
What do you think requires an "upgrade" for a noticeable improvement to SQ?
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post #3 of 38 Old 09-12-2019, 12:02 PM
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What don't you like about the way it sounds now? Without knowing that I'd say maybe look at Tidal HiFi or Qobuz for CD (and-above) quality streaming. Since you have a complete system it also might be time to start looking at room treatment.
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post #4 of 38 Old 09-12-2019, 12:04 PM
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Maybe mini dsp, to have perfect bass.
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post #5 of 38 Old 09-12-2019, 01:40 PM
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Subs

Room treatments

I sometimes use a center and surround speakers even for 2-channel audio content. Not usually though, but I certainly use them for TV and movie content and for me my 2-ch audio system is also my video system.
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post #6 of 38 Old 09-12-2019, 02:39 PM
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The only thing I'd recommend is using a USB cable instead of an HDMI. It's completely possible that you could get a better bit depth and sample rate that way. Both of which are capped by HDMI which may also have some lossy encoding that you're not aware of. I'm not aware of HDMI doing lossless broadcasting but I could be wrong there.

You'll, of course, have to do some settings editing on the computer. I presume your using Win10 which doesn't make it easy to find the place where bit depth and sample rate are controlled. If you know where they are great! If not do some exploring with both the right and left mouse buttons on things and you'll eventually find it.

I hope this helped you out.
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post #7 of 38 Old 09-12-2019, 02:43 PM
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Agreed with Room treatments- probably the best upgrade that a lot of people don’t do. You can get custom art panels that blend Into living areas for fairly reasonable cost from the likes of GIK Acoustics or ATS Acoustics

Also consider a streamer like Bluesound or Sonos Connect (Now Sonos Port) - especially if you switch to Tidal for ease of selecting and controlling your music from your phone. With Spotify (and Spotify Connect) you should be good already.
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post #8 of 38 Old 09-12-2019, 03:18 PM
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If he was "there" he probably never would've asked the question, as I see it.
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post #9 of 38 Old 09-12-2019, 03:20 PM
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He doesn't know he's there.
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Save your money.
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post #10 of 38 Old 09-12-2019, 06:08 PM
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From my recent experiment how DAC/amp can improve the final result, I'm guessing you're currently not hearing your speakers full potentials.

Setup #1: GoldenEar Triton Reference --> Parasound Halo Integrated --> Allo DigiOne Signature, LG OLED C7P 65
Setup #2: Elac Debut B6.2 --> Akitika GT-102 --> ??

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post #11 of 38 Old 09-13-2019, 05:20 AM
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Thumbs up

I would add Tidal or Qobuz for better quality streaming services. Also either a Topping D-70 DAC or the RME-ADI-2 DAC. Both have excellent in depth reviews in Audio Science Review.
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post #12 of 38 Old 09-13-2019, 09:05 AM
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Upgrade interconnects and/or speaker wire? System should be good enough to hear differences if you are still using basic cables and speaker wire. Could experiment with lower cost cables from popular brands like Wire World, Audio Quest and Nordost.
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post #13 of 38 Old 09-13-2019, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Nothing IMO.
What do you think requires an "upgrade" for a noticeable improvement to SQ?
don't know...that's my question
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post #14 of 38 Old 09-13-2019, 09:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by qirex View Post
What don't you like about the way it sounds now? Without knowing that I'd say maybe look at Tidal HiFi or Qobuz for CD (and-above) quality streaming. Since you have a complete system it also might be time to start looking at room treatment.
some songs are harsh at high volumes...thanks will look into Tidal and Qobuz
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post #15 of 38 Old 09-13-2019, 09:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan Loiselle View Post
The only thing I'd recommend is using a USB cable instead of an HDMI. It's completely possible that you could get a better bit depth and sample rate that way. Both of which are capped by HDMI which may also have some lossy encoding that you're not aware of. I'm not aware of HDMI doing lossless broadcasting but I could be wrong there.

You'll, of course, have to do some settings editing on the computer. I presume your using Win10 which doesn't make it easy to find the place where bit depth and sample rate are controlled. If you know where they are great! If not do some exploring with both the right and left mouse buttons on things and you'll eventually find it.

I hope this helped you out.
thanks!
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post #16 of 38 Old 09-13-2019, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Class A View Post
I would add Tidal or Qobuz for better quality streaming services. Also either a Topping D-70 DAC or the RME-ADI-2 DAC. Both have excellent in depth reviews in Audio Science Review.
Audio Science Review....thank you so much...tons of info there
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post #17 of 38 Old 09-13-2019, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktm125 View Post
some songs are harsh at high volumes
That sounds like a text book description of exceeding either the limits of your speakers or your amplifiers (you are "clipping" them on the louder parts). Investing in amps with power output meters or at the very least clip lights might be in order.

Hearing itself also gets into trouble (sounds distorted) at very high levels [dangerously loud, that is, such that extended listening at this level can cause tinnitus or even permanent NIHL, noise induced hearing loss] . Just ask rockers like Phil Collins or Pete Townsend who ruined their hearing by not following OSHA safety guidelines..

John Enwhistle, also of the Who, once came into my audio store decades ago and his "hearing aid" was his wife/g-friend who would repeat every question we asked him into his ear quite loudly as she draped herself on his arm so her mouth was just inches away from his ear.

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post #18 of 38 Old 09-13-2019, 10:52 AM
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Or... just poor source material and/or internet speed and/or router settings users and/or poor Wifi… etc.
Try a Steely Dan CD. If it sounds good at desired volumes compared to a "streaming service", your equipment may not be to blame.
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post #19 of 38 Old 09-14-2019, 06:56 PM
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You have some fairly high end components in your system, but you’re feeding them pretty low end source material. Cheapest upgrade you can do is to get rid of Spotify and use something like Tidal or Quboz. After that I’d stop using your pc and get a dedicated streamer, something like the Bluesound Node 2i at the very least.
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post #20 of 38 Old 09-15-2019, 12:40 PM
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post #21 of 38 Old 09-15-2019, 03:32 PM
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What pre-pro would you recommend?


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post #22 of 38 Old 09-15-2019, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
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from "TAPAS" the RMAF thread...

"It boggled my mind thinking of the level of performance any music lover could enjoy today with a pair of Tekton MOAB speakers and a Parasound 200 Integrated amp for a modest investment of $5,695.

All that you need is a monthly premium subscription to Tidal ($19.99) or Qobuz ($24.99), connect your laptop to the Parasound 200 Pre via USB and stream all the high resolution 192kHz/24-Bit audio files to your heart’s content.

The Parasound comes with Burr-Brown DACs supporting USB, Coaxial and Optical Inputs.

This is the simplest and cleanest idiot proof setup you could ever assemble.

This is unreal. This is audio magic. This system shattered my frame of reference."

I'm looking into this setup.
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post #23 of 38 Old 09-16-2019, 05:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktm125 View Post
from "TAPAS" the RMAF thread...

"It boggled my mind thinking of the level of performance any music lover could enjoy today with a pair of Tekton MOAB speakers and a Parasound 200 Integrated amp for a modest investment of $5,695.

All that you need is a monthly premium subscription to Tidal ($19.99) or Qobuz ($24.99), connect your laptop to the Parasound 200 Pre via USB and stream all the high resolution 192kHz/24-Bit audio files to your heart’s content.

The Parasound comes with Burr-Brown DACs supporting USB, Coaxial and Optical Inputs.

This is the simplest and cleanest idiot proof setup you could ever assemble.

This is unreal. This is audio magic. This system shattered my frame of reference."

I'm looking into this setup.
To my mind, there's nothing particularly 'modest' about a $5,695 investment.

One can get a good TI Burr-Brown PCM5122 DAC, and streaming of 24/192 Tidal (with full MQA unfold, if that matters) or Qobuz with a very slick interface with any Bluesound streamer and spend under $500.
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post #24 of 38 Old 09-16-2019, 08:11 AM - Thread Starter
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To my mind, there's nothing particularly 'modest' about a $5,695 investment.

One can get a good TI Burr-Brown PCM5122 DAC, and streaming of 24/192 Tidal (with full MQA unfold, if that matters) or Qobuz with a very slick interface with any Bluesound streamer and spend under $500.
Would you recommend any other streamers over the Bluesound?
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post #25 of 38 Old 09-16-2019, 08:39 AM
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Would you recommend any other streamers over the Bluesound?
There are better, but none other than other Lenbrook Group products NAD and Bluesound (plus speaker companies PSB and Dali) have the BluOS interface that affords running it via any Android, IOS, or Windows mobile or desktop device.

Depending upon budget, there are a LOT of other choices but you may have to figure out the best app to run each. Elac, Naim, etc.

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post #26 of 38 Old 09-16-2019, 09:49 AM
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There are certainly better streamers than the Node, but at a price. Look at brands like Aurender, Auralic, Cocktail Audio.
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post #27 of 38 Old 09-16-2019, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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There are certainly better streamers than the Node, but at a price. Look at brands like Aurender, Auralic, Cocktail Audio.
Whats your best pick for SQ and PC interface not taking cost into consideration?
The streamer will connect to my DAC.

Last edited by ktm125; 09-16-2019 at 10:21 AM.
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post #28 of 38 Old 09-16-2019, 10:42 AM
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Very Sweet system, though I'm not exactly sure of the components related to Streaming. For example, if the Computer you are using dedicated to your Stereo System?

I would suggest you get a dedicated Streaming Device like Bluesound, Cambridge, or one of many others depending on your budget. That would integrate into your system very nicely, and could be controlled with a Smart Phone or Pad/Tablet.

That would also give you access to Hi-Res Streaming Services like - Dezeer, Qobuz, and the most popular TIDAL. Though it would also work well with Spotify.

Now based on your list of equipment, very nice equipment. However, that doesn't mean you necessarily like what you hear. If that is true, then we would need to explore specifically how the system was letting you down and focus on how to improve that specific aspect.

I agree with others that Room Treatments might help improve the sound. An open bare room can have a lot of echo that are not really noticeable because of the short delay times, but they will still cause the music to smear and blur.

While I'm sure HDMI will and does work, for music, as others have suggested, if this is audio only, I would consider USB. However, if it is Audio and Video then HDMI might be the better choice. Though be aware, you can probably have both.

I think you would benefit from the convenience of a dedicated Streaming Device. For example, the Bluesound NODE-2i is only about $500, and is very fast and responsive, and has a decent interface.

I think it depends on whether the Computer in question is dedicated to the System, or whether it is a general purpose personal computer.

Just a few thoughts.

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post #29 of 38 Old 09-16-2019, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
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Whats your best pick for SQ and PC interface not taking cost into consideration?
The streamer will connect to my DAC.
Are you referring to the built-in DAC on your Emotiva pre? If so, I’d wager that the built in DAC on the Node is as good, or better. If you’re looking at streamers that cost several thousand dollars you’d best be looking at a DAC upgrade, or look at a streamer with a good built-in DAC. With a brand such as Auralic, their dedicated streamers (sans DAC) are $2.5K and $4K, while their streamers with DACs run $3.7k and $6K. It really comes down to budget. I wouldn’t make a jump into territory like this unless you’re also planning to upgrade the rest of your front end components. If you’re planning on staying with the Emotiva gear I wouldn’t go any higher than the Node 2i for a streamer.

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post #30 of 38 Old 09-16-2019, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
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Would you recommend any other streamers over the Bluesound?
Here's a list of Tidal supported devices: https://tidal.com/supported-devices
As you do your research, you will see the prices are all over the place. Budget will help to determine what is right for you. Personally, I'm a Bluesound guy. I've been happy with the available streaming services, SQ and build.

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