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Considerations, sell my amp, whole set-up etc?

gitaarwerk

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Hi all,

Browsering here for very long time and I always enjoy the very informative topics.

Some time ago, I bought a KEF Reference 1, perfect for my appartment back then, with a set of Exposure amps. I enjoyed it. When I moved a few years ago, it seemed that I lacked a bit of power to drive my speakers in a bigger room.

Later on, I sold the exposure amps and bought Devialet 440 Pro (dual mono set-up). I really do like the amps, but I know they get pretty bad reviews here. As well, their service sucks and with digital stuff, you know.. they age faster than analog electronics. However, digital audio does not really age that fast as other things, but still.. it made me wonder. A couple of considerations I'm having.

Disclaimer; as I recently uncovered that I have ADHD, which means that I'm very sensitive to stimuli. So I do enjoy music/sound a little more than another may. But in this forum, on this part, we're more like minded I guess :). Second of this, it seems I am also easy in big purchases, you can tell by buying a Devialet.

Now, I want to be a little more sensible... on the other hand, also perhaps is my impusliveness/boredom playing up and "feel the need to change". Perhaps I do need to think really well about this, and hopefully you can give me some insights. That's the disclaimer.


So, I've got a pair of Devialets. They look cool, they sound pretty good in my ears, and they have some ease of use, while streaming. I do use the standard Spotify, and I'm ok with it. I dont like to get my own library anymore, as it takes a lot of effort to collect good sounding files, maintain them, and have multiple levels of quality, volume, etc. Hence my choice. I know there's other services, but to be frank, I don't often hear those differences that well. Considering the ease of use for my Sonos system (they are for more generic stuff and my girlfriend can use them, do some automation stuff, and I usually get 50% off, which makes it a fair system for me to use other than listening to music).

I also got a set of Kef Reference 1.

My ideal listening set-up is when it's quiet, dark and when I'm alone. The part now where I'm struggling, that those times are often late. And neighbours and my gf sleeping. Also I need to find my time to do this on another moment. So basically, my window of listening is pretty limited (less than 10 hours a month... if not less). The living room is about 50m2, with 50% of it has a split level and has a ceiling of 3m80 high. The room is fairly rectangular and has concrete walls. Treating it will not have the girlfriends approval. So a lot needs to be done, and I'm in doubt if the KEFs, even with a more treated room, will be able to give a cozy blanket of sound (yhea, I'm Dutch...everything needs to be cozy around here :D, it's a thing. ).

As the Devialets are expensive... and hardly getting use, I am thinking of replacing them with say... a dual-mono Topping set-up? (they are reviewed well. Not sure how they would sound nor if they can drive them well. I haven't done extensive review yet). Basically, I want to get some money back and perhaps invest in a better headphone set-up. I got a HD650 now. Perhaps I would like to buy a Topping or a Schiit stack (30's topping, or Magni/Modi, Magni/Modius and buy a balanced cable.. or even.. a higher end headphones).

This brings me to a second thought... During the day, working from home, I could enjoy the headphones set-up more. Also in the evening. I do like intimate settings, and my personal joy comes from an overwhelming sound-stage and detail, a little more than feeling the music. For me this is where I feel safe and sound.

That brings me to a third thought... what if I would sell my whole speaker set-up instead, and from that money, buy a bit better sound bar, and some extra sonos speakers for just a generic sound-set which is good enough for when people are around, and watching some movies, etc. And have a little higher-end headphone set-up and put the rest of the money into savings or something else. I know it's not the same as listening to speakers.

Obviously, selling stuff is also loosing money, so that's a consideration. Also, may be the case that I will definitely miss some good audio.

What would you do in my case? (i know it's very personal, but I don't want to make rush decisions, but also not keeping things when they don't really work and degrade value over time, especially when hardly using...)
 

Marc v E

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Good question.
I would buy a set up I could listen to while I work and one for the living room.

For my desktop I have Genelec 8030 with a dac that I also use a preamp which gives me all the realism and detail I want. I have a topping dx7pro, but imo a minidsp flex would be a better buy in hindsight. Basically ime I need something that can eq the sound to the room. There are also speakers from Genelec that do this: their SAM models. If I would be able to spend more I would probably choose the "One" line of speakers.

For my main listening room/seating area I have full range speakers that suit me very well. I don't have much time to listen to music on them, hence my decision to integrate them in a tv setup.

If I were in your situation I would probably sell the devialets, assuming they kept their value. I would then invest that money in either a minidsp flex or a Avr receiver from Denon to include room compensation to your main system. Then I would see if I can add a poweramp like the one praised here from audiophonics or a diy build from Hypex if money was tight. Add a subwoofer and I would have marvellously performing system that could play moviesound as well as music for critical listening. From my experience this was the best decision in years concerning my hifi enjoyment.

Btw: I know I'm recommending a speaker setup for listening while working, but...if you would be interested in buying a great headphone...I happen to have the Sennheiser hd650 with new pads waiting for a new owner.

Btw2: I would not buy a sound bar. There is a huge difference in sound realism and enjoyment ime between a good hifi speaker and a sound bar. Headphones are very good, but can be annoying if you wear them for longer listening sessions and are very much a 1 person show. There is much more enjoyment when sharing imo, although some case could be made for headphone listening while working.
 
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Matias

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Been there too with wife and kids in the apartment and not being able to listen to music at night when everyone was sleeping.

I would not sell your main system as it is losing money and there is always pleasure in listening it once in a while. I would even high pass the Ref 1s and add a pair of small subs! The problem here is being able to listen more, selling the system is not a good solution, better yet is to add another system indeed.

Headphones would be the natural suggestion. And right now we are living in a golden age of excellent and affordable electronics and headphones.

But also I would suggest not to ignore IEMs. I have ignored them for many years thinking they were never able to be truly great sounding like high end headphones. But there are indeed excellent entry level priced IEMs and even the high end ones are not as expensive as speakers and headphones systems. If you are willing, this a whole new world worth exploring in my experience.

In the end, when everyone is asleep and the speakers' volume must go down, no problem anymore: just switch systems and listen all night long. Including carrying around the setup (cell phone + dongle + IEM) to other places in the house/apartment.

I suggest something like a Moondrop Blessing 2 or Kato + Dawn dongle and you would be fine.
 
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gitaarwerk

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Thanks both! :)

As I'm work, just keeping my reply short;
I've already gotten a HD650. I could just add a Schitt Hersey & Modi for easy listenings. If I decide to need more money to spend on a higher-end set-up I can upgrade later. See if I use it more first. It "only" sets me back about 340 euros. Upgrade later to a dps + more elabore set-up. FIY; I already bought 2x sets of magni/modi and sold it again.. so that sais something...

Im not unhappy with my Devialet & Kef refs, just afraid with so few use, it's a waste to let them be unused at have technical degradation instead of investing the return value into a higher end headset + a movie set-up downstairs. I agree that soundbars are not great for listening to music, tho... for casual background music, I'm certainly not unhappy with the Sonos set. But yes, not careful listening.

I thought about IEMs, as you mention, they should not be overlooked. However, I don't like to have things in my ears. I am looking for comfort, and some "feeling of security", a big headphones makes my head drown in sound and feel comfortable to sit in the corner and just be quiet and listen. That's what in every set-up I am looking for.
 

Eetu

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For your headphone setup: if you happen to use an Android phone as source, download Wavelet and use the Auto EQ settings available for your HD650.

You mentioned soundstage, you could switch to something like the HD800 or some of the Hifimans that would offer an impressively wide sound.

Perhaps you could sell the Devialets and get something cheaper? Perhaps one of the recommended amps here on ASR? Then you wouldn't have that feeling the Devialets are there gathering dust and losing value if you don't have the chance to listen often.
 

Marc v E

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Thanks both! :)

As I'm work, just keeping my reply short;
I've already gotten a HD650. I could just add a Schitt Hersey & Modi for easy listenings. If I decide to need more money to spend on a higher-end set-up I can upgrade later. See if I use it more first. It "only" sets me back about 340 euros. Upgrade later to a dps + more elabore set-up. FIY; I already bought 2x sets of magni/modi and sold it again.. so that sais something...

Im not unhappy with my Devialet & Kef refs, just afraid with so few use, it's a waste to let them be unused at have technical degradation instead of investing the return value into a higher end headset + a movie set-up downstairs. I agree that soundbars are not great for listening to music, tho... for casual background music, I'm certainly not unhappy with the Sonos set. But yes, not careful listening.

I thought about IEMs, as you mention, they should not be overlooked. However, I don't like to have things in my ears. I am looking for comfort, and some "feeling of security", a big headphones makes my head drown in sound and feel comfortable to sit in the corner and just be quiet and listen. That's what in every set-up I am looking for.
If I understand you correctly you lean towards a main system solution and a 2nd system consisting of a hd650 (and possibly a headphone upgrade). In this case I would recommend a RME adi dac/headphone amp for a desktop. Iirc this one is trouble free and can be used with practically all headphones, also planar. (You could also choose any other brand that tested well on this site.)

For your main system I would still recommend what I did in an earlier post.
 
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gitaarwerk

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Not entirely. The replacement system is more of a video system and casual background music, so I wouldn’t put a serious system out. In that sense, I like the Sonos system. I know of the limitations, and measurements, ovviously. But they serve some ecosystem that works for me (tv, home automation, etc). Including long term support and an aquitance of mine in Sonos engineering.

That said, I told my girlfriend today and she was shocked, haha.

So I am listening now again on low volumes and I do say,.. I think I would miss the gentle rumbling contrabass from Pat Metheny if I would give this up.

This means, If I keep this, I would still have an Sen HD650. And then is the question if I should get a stack pile of schiit; aet me back 300/400, or go for something else. Topping is good too ovviously (altho not sure which one). And then, should I perhaps go for HD800 instead? I love a good soundstage,.. But i read sometimes that people prefer a hd650. Now this is a matter of personal preference in some areas.

So let’s say; I kee the devialet, kefs and hd650 for now. I may want the HD800 in the future (or alternative brand). I am willing now to spend a few hundred bucks to get a headphone amp and small dac. Should I ho for one that van drive the 800 later on? it does “feel” a little weird to get a budget stack to drive 1800 euro cans. So I was thinking either schiit or topping, but don’t want to upgrade again later so just have one good set that I can improve on a headphones on instead later on,.. (always pivoting towards Sennheiser for that familiair sound). In the latter case; what would you suggest for stack? (I cant try them out really). Also, these review give a lot of information, but I am not sure how relative the qualities are in comparison to eachother. I somehow feel they are relative to budgets as well.

This is perhaps the bias of me wanting the best and few like I have to spend a lot (which is certainly untrue), I wish there was a top 10 list .


Oh and how i listen is usually either via usb (mac) or bluetooth (iphone).

I was also thinking; I could just get an apple usb-c inline convertor, as they scored well, for a few bucks (or just use macs headphone out into a higher quality headphone amp), and leave the dac for later.

I can totally get the suggested RME. I’ve had a couple of units before. Also their drivers are top notch. I now got a Universal Audio dac for the music workstation, but its a different set-up, different place. The only thing i have “against” rme, is, don’t laugh,…. the looks.
I like a sober set-up that doesn’t distract me. I also wonder if the RME. could drive the 800 later on. One of my ideas was to get a balanced set-up with a schiit magnius first (or topping), and switch cable for the hd650, or take the lesser quality for the time being on the 1/4 commector.

A simple solution to the RME looks issue is to just simply hide the box too, haha. Or build a nice enclose around it. Add an audio receiver (not sure which one yet,.. (raspberry pi/hifi berry, chromecast audio, bluetooth receiver). Also, for me, there’s a strange separation of pro audio vs consumer,.. I’ve used to own a crane song solaris as the master dac for my DAW, but as a hobby musician, it went a little too far. It was an amazing piece, but untreated rooms just do not help an expensive DAC and ok speakers to sound well. I made money selling it, so no regrets. A single UA Apollo X6 now covers all my needs. That said, its not my listening dac.

Sorry, my questions and considerations are running wild. Adhd doesnt help here, and cant use my meds too late. Sorry ^^.
 
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Andretti60

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if the only reason NOT to sell an old system is losing money, that is a wrong one. See it as an investment, there is no reason to save money if you end up enjoying more the new system, especially because you will listen to it more. In my life I moved many times, I changed audio systems many times, and I never regret it.

Point is, a sound system should be a pleasure and to listen to, and convenient. And we need more than one, depending on the situation.

At home I use a pc soundbar when I work at the computer desk (just background music from YouTube), I tried more expensive setup but they too much of a distraction, they pay me to write software not to listen to Mozart. In the living room I have a stereo system (Dali speakers, Yamaha amply). In the bedroom iPad + closed headphones (ATH m50x), so I don't disturb the DW when I watch action movies or listen to Frank Zappa. Now let's talk about the kitchen. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, because I love to cook (I am Italian, am I not) and because I give cooking my full attention (because it is also a dangerous activity, in my life I had my share of burns, cuts and bruises) I cannot pay also full attention to the music at the same time. For that reason I was using my iPad, but then I realized that I could spend just a bit more for an upgrade, so I bought an internet radio, a Bose SoundTouch 20 to be precise, with enough power (and bass) to serve the whole kitchen. It was still expensive, and of course the sound quality is the one of a small speaker with a lot of DSP processing in the inside, but it is one of my favorite buying, I use it for at least a couple of hours per day, and the power is enough that I can use it even when I wash the dishes. Of course the family complained at the beginning, but they stopped after I said that they were always free to cook for themself ;) go in the kitchen and turn off the radio...
 
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gitaarwerk

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if the only reason NOT to sell an old system is losing money, that is a wrong one. See it as an investment, there is no reason to save money if you end up enjoying more the new system, especially because you will listen to it more. In my life I moved many times, I changed audio systems many times, and I never regret it.

Point is, a sound system should be a pleasure and to listen to, and convenient. And we need more than one, depending on the situation.

At home I use a pc soundbar when I work at the computer desk (just background music from YouTube), I tried more expensive setup but they too much of a distraction, they pay me to write software not to listen to Mozart. In the living room I have a stereo system (Dali speakers, Yamaha amply). In the bedroom iPad + closed headphones (ATH m50x), so I don't disturb the DW when I watch action movies or listen to Frank Zappa. Now let's talk about the kitchen. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, because I love to cook (I am Italian, am I not) and because I give cooking my full attention (because it is also a dangerous activity, in my life I had my share of burns, cuts and bruises) I cannot pay also full attention to the music at the same time. For that reason I was using my iPad, but then I realized that I could spend just a bit more for an upgrade, so I bought an internet radio, a Bose SoundTouch 20 to be precise, with enough power (and bass) to serve the whole kitchen. It was still expensive, and of course the sound quality is the one of a small speaker with a lot of DSP processing in the inside, but it is one of my favorite buying, I use it for at least a couple of hours per day, and the power is enough that I can use it even when I wash the dishes. Of course the family complained at the beginning, but they stopped after I said that they were always free to cook for themself ;) go in the kitchen and turn off the radio...
Your comment on having a good system for work to be a distraction is an excellent point; I can totally get that. Too much nuance will be distracting. I could just give it a shot, borrow a nice amp (Whammy DIY from a friend), and just listen to it for a few days and see if I like to listen to it during work. I also don't want to have listening fatigue.

Ha, I totally get the music in the kitchen thing. I sometes do this, but my focus is solely on cooking. My sonos system is spread around the house, mostly every room got a few, including the kitchen, work space, and a mobile one for when i do DIY work outside (not sawing, but minor construction stuff), even with cleaning, but then I play mostly some AC/DC or something. I totally get this :D

I think, I just leave the system where it is. I can still enjoy it very very much; and calms me every time. I am just going to try how listening more on the headphone will suit me at other times, and then see if its worthwhile to upgrade to an 800S (including some DSP/EQ).

Cheers all <3 I hope to update you later on.
 
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gitaarwerk

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Just bumping this topic, as I have one final question. I was thinking of upgrading to the KEF Ref3 Meta from the Ref1 "normal". The big upgrade is of course the bass. I have to say, I'm not too unhappy of current bass, but it doesn't go -too- low, obviously. I was thinking... as base is easier to position elsewhere, is it perhaps better to just add a subwoofer instead and add that to the system? Cheaper as well, I would think than trading in and get something newer (I have to sell off the Devialets, and I know the controversy around it, but I still like them for what they are. Getting something likewise powerful and integrated may just cost me more in the end anyways... )
 

Digby

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If you're putting them on stands anyway and want more bass, then consider floorstanders.
 
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gitaarwerk

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If you're putting them on stands anyway and want more bass, then consider floorstanders.
I am, but the difference in price is more than just adding a sub :)) so would wanna check if its fruitful to save up, or just get a sub and be done with it (ofc have to measure crossover)
 
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