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Advice/Help to Improve this setup: RPi4, KEF LS50W + Velodyne 12" Sub

vertias

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Jan 28, 2022
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Hi Everyone! First time poster here !

I am thinking of upgrading my DAC with my setup but as I am new to all this, I find it challenging to process the amount of information out there and hoping to engage this friendly community for some advice / guidance.

Current Setup:
  • Environment: Typical small sized family living room
  • Streamer: Raspberry Pi 4 - Hifiberry DAC+ (RCA) with dual boot (Kodi and Volumio)
  • Speakers: KEF LS50W
  • Subwoofer: Veloydne EQ-Max 12
  • Controls: Smartphone/tablet with Yatse / Volumio & KEF's app (very disappointingly buggy)
  • Use case: Movie/Show watching, Spotify and a FLAC Library (Broad genre collection)

Desired Outcome:
Improving loseless music playback as priority over movie/shows.

Upgrade Proposal:
After a few sessions of "light" reading across audiophile forums and watching a few product reviews like Darko, The Audiophile Man, Z Reviews etc I am thinking of replacing the Hifiberry DAC+ RCA with these two following DACs:
  • Topping D10s
  • Topping E30
  • Topping D50s
Cabling configuration would be: RPI4-USB -> DAC -> KEF-Optical.
Budget is +-20% of the Topping D50 retail price point (I am in New Zealand, everything is expensive here!)

Advice/Guidance:
  1. Am I on the right path with the DAC as the next logical upgrade (from the Hifiberry)?
  2. Is the above cabling configuration logical? If so, is it optimal?
  3. Other DACs recommended based on my setup? Maybe upgrade to an Allo Digione instead? Schiit Audio?
  4. Other components suggestions to improve this further?

PS: As I am a newbie, my level of understanding is very elementary at this stage but I will try to learn as much as I can. I look forward to be part of this community and your feedback :)
 
Last edited:

EdTice

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
351
Likes
162
Hi Everyone! First time poster here !

I am thinking of upgrading my DAC with my setup but as I am new to all this, I find it challenging to process the amount of information out there and hoping to engage this friendly community for some advice / guidance.

Current Setup:
  • Environment: Typical small sized family living room
  • Streamer: Raspberry Pi 4 - Hifiberry DAC+ (RCA) with dual boot (Kodi and Volumio)
  • Speakers: KEF LS50W
  • Subwoofer: Veloydne EQ-Max 12
  • Controls: Smartphone/tablet with Yatse / Volumio & KEF's app (very disappointingly buggy)
  • Use case: Movie/Show watching, Spotify and a FLAC Library (Broad genre collection)

Desired Outcome:
Improving loseless music playback as priority over movie/shows.

Upgrade Proposal:
After a few sessions of "light" reading across audiophile forums and watching a few product reviews like Darko, The Audiophile Man, Z Reviews etc I am thinking of replacing the Hifiberry DAC+ RCA with these two following DACs:
  • Topping D10s
  • Topping E30
  • Topping D50s
Cabling configuration would be: RPI4-USB -> DAC -> KEF-Optical.
Budget is +-20% of the Topping D50 retail price point (I am in New Zealand, everything is expensive here!)

Advice/Guidance:
  1. Am I on the right path with the DAC as the next logical upgrade (from the Hifiberry)?
  2. Is the above cabling configuration logical? If so, is it optimal?
  3. Other DACs recommended based on my setup? Maybe upgrade to an Allo Digione instead? Schiit Audio?
  4. Other components suggestions to improve this further?

PS: As I am a newbie, my level of understanding is very elementary at this stage but I will try to learn as much as I can. I look forward to be part of this community and your feedback :)
If you are feeding the KEF via Optical, the DAC is irrelevant since the DAC is just being used as a streaming device and not a DAC. Optical is a digital format and the conversion to analog is happening inside of the speakers. Given that the actual audio quality of the KEF LS50W is unknown (but the design makes them look very promising) and since its not clear that they process analog input directly (as opposed to first converting to digital), it's not clear that there really is anything to upgrade. Are you unhappy with audio quality? Assuming the KEFs work as well as one would estimate based on the really cool coaxial design, it's a great system that you should just keep enjoying! If you replace the streaming components it would be just for a more enjoyable experience with the software. Not an audio change.
 

Cbdb2

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Sep 8, 2019
Messages
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Location
Vancouver
Agreed that a new dac will probably make no difference. I would make sure your sub is implemented properly, EQ for your room and possibly improve your room acoustics, these things will make a difference. But they will take some learning.
 

radix

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2021
Messages
484
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You could get the HiFiBerry Digi2 Pro ($50 usd) and go optical straight from the RPi to the KEF. Get rid of the middle-man. This assumes you are using digital volume control on your source.

HiFi berry also has a DSP you can put on there, but I've not used it yet.
 
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