Thanks to this forum for providing valuable information. After months of research, I have finally built my stereo system. The performance is simply mind blowing!! Never before did I experience this kind of immersive audio. Below are some details, my reflections and areas of further exploration.
Speakers: Focal Sopra 2 speakers - left and right channel
Subwoofer: HSU ULS-15 MK2
Integrated amp: NAD M32 with BluOS streaming module
Sources: All streaming including Youtube streaming of TV content, music videos, Spotify Hifi at 320 Kbps, Tidal Hifi, Amazon Prime for movies
Comments and questions
1. Performance is simply awesome. Incredible detail in mids and highs. Extremely punchy base.
2. The hardware looks great, very easy to integrate in main living spaces.
3. I had read great reviews of NAD M32 and Focal Sopra 2. I think HSU deserves more praise on the forums. It is such a great product, amazing value and strong customer service. Can benefit from more brand awareness
4. It may be surprising to many. Youtube videos and Spotify (320 kbps) are not really audiophile grade sources. I use them quite a lot. And they sound awesome. I also signed up for Tidal subscription. It sounds incrementally better but not day and night difference. As an example, listen to these on your system and see what you feel. Some of these videos are 10+ years old, where Youtube sound quality was even lower than the current max of 192 kbps
- Patricia Barber "Use Me"
- Patricia Barber "you don't know me"
- Diana Krall - The Look Of Love (Official Video)
5. Youtube has so many “audiophile” videos. I wonder how that works when Youtube doesn’t have super high audio bitrates.
6. Movies sound incredibly realistic in this 2.1 setup. I don’t miss the center channel at all. Subwooffer adds so much punch and can really dig low
7. While I am highly impressed with the sound quality, it has stoked the “curious” side to look for additional improvements.
8. Frequency response – I would love to measure the performance. One of the metric being frequency response. Are there some compact home kits to measure? What other metrics are pertinent?
9. Crossover – Subwoofer is so capable that I set at 100 Hz crossover. Since the main speakers are quite capable, I have configured them to operate at 50 Hz to Full range. So, 50-100 hz range is being double-played by both speakers and sub. Is this ok or can create artificial peaks?
10. Room correction – I simply plugged in the speakers and subwoofer to the amp. Amp doesn’t have any room correction software. Are there some easy ways to tune the system? I have paid some attention to keeping the speakers far away (some constraints keep them close to the corners), seating position near an equilateral triangle.
11. Dual subwoofer – just for kicks I am exploring whether I should get another sub. Usually I like punchy sound. As of now, it is already quite punchy in the main listening area. So not sure the additional value of a 2nd sub, besides filling in non-listening areas equally with SPL. And ability to play 6 db louder – right now the system can already play far too loud for my needs.
12. Receiver power and loudness – after setting the crossover, I feel that the receiver sounds very strong. Even at -30 volume level, the system is quite strong. I guess this proves again that most of the receiver power goes to produce low frequencies. With a powerful sub, receiver consumes much less power which has the added benefit of improving headroom
13. NAD amp uses BlouOS 2i for streaming, which in turn uses Airplay2. Sometimes I notice jitter/drop during streaming over Wifi network. I wonder whether I need a modern router, faster.. Would appreciate some pointers.