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Advice Needed: 2nd Hand High-End Speaker Upgrade

SonicSleuth

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Joined
Apr 7, 2023
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Hello fellow music enthusiasts,

While I'm not a certified audiophile, I am passionate about music and hifi equipment and continually seek ways to improve my listening experience. Lately, I've been contemplating some speaker upgrades, specifically looking at 2nd hand high-end speakers that offer great value. I would greatly appreciate your input and advice.

Here's a quick summary of my current setup:

- Source: Wiim Pro Streamer (RCA out, direct into amp)
- Speakers: IMF Super Compact Mk2
- Amplifier: AudioLab 8000A, Behringer A500 (used separately)
- Cables: Four core Canare cables 3m each side

My listening room has quite lively acoustics in the treble (non expert opinion) which presents its own unique set of and challenges. Rugs curtains and drapes are slowly helping as is having some soft defusion behind my head, as the sofa is up against the wall.

I recently came across a post on the ASR forum suggesting that the Wiim Pro Streamer might have subpar distortion figures when using RCA out. If this is indeed accurate, I'm considering this a potential weak link in my system and would be open to suggestions for an upgrade. I'd say its hard to actually HEAR that distortion, perhaps I've never experienced truely revealing speakers worthy of 24 bit audio?

My IMF Super Compact Mk2 speakers have had their mids, tweeters, and capacitors replaced and are situated about a foot from the wall. However, one speaker cabinet does emit a slight buzz at certain frequencies, usually mid piano and vocals. While it's not overly bothersome, I do notice it, so it's got me thinking about the potential of finding a high-quality used pair that could offer an upgrade.

Regarding amplification, I switch between an AudioLab 8000A and a Behringer A500. I've found that the IMF speakers, when paired with the A500, can sound a bit too bright and fatiguing. However, with the recently purchased AudioLab 8000A, the sound is smoother and more enjoyable.

Spotify is my go-to for music, largely due to its expansive library and user-friendly interface for discovering new music. For albums that I particularly enjoy, I make a point to download them in CD quality or better, though 24bit seems pointless given the DAC in the Wiim Pro.

To fund potential speaker upgrades, I recently sold my KEF 104.2 speakers, which I had upgraded the crossovers, fixed the foam rot, which I did a good job of. I'm keen on finding a used high-end bargain that was originally in a higher price range. Models like the Linn Keilidh and Monitor Audio RX6 have caught my attention, but I'm wondering if there are other models I should consider given my amplification.

My main goal is to make meaningful upgrades. I'm not interested in changes for the sake of change; I want to make investments that will genuinely enhance my listening experience.

Lastly, I've noticed that my current system sometimes lacks depth on some tracks, I sit there expectantly listening trying to put my finger on it, but it surprises with its bass output on others. Any advice on achieving a more balanced, consistent sound would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your insights and recommendations. I'm eagerly awaiting your responses.

Best,
Tim
 
Audiolab 8000A seems to have limited continous power output and I would look into relatively easier to drive speaker brands like Klipsch, Heco, Canton. I don't know your budget but you could like a used Dali Helicon 400 Mk2 or Focal Electra 1028BE.
 
Not knowing the size of your room and budget, I would anyway recommend second hand Elac speakers with AMT tweeter like FS 247, FS 287, FS 249, FS 407, FS 408 or FS 409. If you are in Germany, there's a huge second hand market of those with plenty of good offers.

As to your Wiim Pro, you can buy some transparent low cost DAC from Topping or SMSL.
 
I recently came across a post on the ASR forum suggesting that the Wiim Pro Streamer might have subpar distortion figures when using RCA out. If this is indeed accurate, I'm considering this a potential weak link in my system and would be open to suggestions for an upgrade.
Get a DAC that measures better and use digital out from the Wiim.


JSmith
 
Not knowing the size of your room and budget, I would anyway recommend second hand Elac speakers with AMT tweeter like FS 247, FS 287, FS 249, FS 407, FS 408 or FS 409. If you are in Germany, there's a huge second hand market of those with plenty of good offers.

As to your Wiim Pro, you can buy some transparent low cost DAC from Topping or SMSL.
4.5m x5.5m (roughly) so fairly small, lots of window glass, big TV etc..

Thanks for your advice and your speaker suggestions, I'm in the UK though but ill check them out.

As for DAC I would need one with at least one optical IN for the TV sound. Would rather not use a cheap dac box for the tv in addition, I like to keep it simple :)
 
Audiolab 8000A seems to have limited continous power output and I would look into relatively easier to drive speaker brands like Klipsch, Heco, Canton. I don't know your budget but you could like a used Dali Helicon 400 Mk2 or Focal Electra 1028BE.
Budget for which ever upgrade would be around £500 UK. I think the 8000A is alright volume wise with these speakers at 9-11oclock its about as much as I can bare in this room, and the neighbours (appartment). I have the A500 if more power is needed, I bought both to try, im not attached to either, but I have to say I enjoy the sound of the 8000A more, at least today.

I had a look at your suggestions and they're gorgeous looking but the price is above my limit, very nice speakers though thank you.
 
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4.5m x5.5m (roughly) so fairly small, lots of window glass, big TV etc..

Thanks for your advice and your speaker suggestions, I'm in the UK though but ill check them out.

As for DAC I would need one with at least one optical IN for the TV sound. Would rather not use a cheap dac box for the tv in addition, I like to keep it simple :)
I have a Wiim Mini Player connected to an SMSL D0100 via optical in one of my music systems and the combination works like a charm (transparency wise a more expensive isn't really necessary; long term reliability of Chinese DACs is another question). In your case I would suggest to find a DAC with a remote and two optical inputs to connect both your telly and Wiim device.
 
Budget for which ever upgrade would be around £500 UK. I think the 8000A is alright volume wise with these speakers at 9-11oclock its about as much as I can bare in this room, and the neighbours (appartment). I have the A500 if more power is needed, I bought both to try, im not attached to either, but I have to say I enjoy the sound of the 8000A more, at least today.

I had a look at your suggestions and they're gorgeous looking but the price is above my limit, very nice speakers though thank you.
It's not only about volume. I had a 50W Naim amp that worked just fine with KEF spekaers. After upgrade to less sensitive lower impedance Quadral speakers, the Naim could still go pretty loud, but the sound became shrill and unpleasant.
 
It's not only about volume. I had a 50W Naim amp that worked just fine with KEF spekaers. After upgrade to less sensitive lower impedance Quadral speakers, the Naim could still go pretty loud, but the sound became shrill and unpleasant.
well that complicates matters somewhat haha
 
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