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First Hi-Fi System

ash87

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Hi,

After several months of meticulously navigating the world of online hifi, I've come up with the following system:
  • Paradigm700F floorstanders - $1700
  • Hypex UCD180 - 180W kit from Madisound - $549
  • Schitt Modius DAC - $200
  • Raspberry Pi with Volumnio and Roon - ~$70
  • Schitt Freya S pre-amp - $600
  • Set up on a 57 North Plank 42" walnut media console - $1130
    • Mostly solid walnut with some veneer
    • Cabinet for locking up mostly power supply / surge protector, but also open shelving to keep gear like the amp cool
  • Cables from Straight Wire via Schitt - ~$100
  • Speaker cables from (not sure yet) ~$100-200
Total system cost: $3419 ($2819 with no preamp)
With furniture: $4549 ($3949)
+ tax/shipping

My main guiding criteria was to avoid any brands that gutted their local production (and jobs) and moved production to cheaper overseas facilities. Not sure if Hypex fits this, but steered away from brands like Polk, JBL, etc. I also prefer western owned companies, and western production where labor laws and environmental practices have to follow higher standards.

Some close contenders are Schitt Aegir, Bottlehead DIY preamp, JDS El Dac II+, Topping Pre90

I mainly considered the Topping Pre90 for it's ability to set a volume ceiling. I have kids and if they get to twist a knob they will twist a knob. The Bottlehead was appealing because I can also use a pointed volume knob and then set a screw where I want to cap the volume. Plus I still want to explore the tube sound and would enjoy a little DIY action. Still not sure how to keep that kids from the Freya S. I was thinking to lock it in the cabinet and then hack the IR remote sensor (desolder/solder and new longer wire that peeks out of the media cabinet).

One thought was to skip the preamp and just use digital volume control via Volumnio. I will have my TV optical line into the DAC then the Pi into the DAC via USB. I would just use the DAC as a digital preamp of sorts (sans physical volume control).

Other constraining factors, WAF rules out standmounts, so only floor standers. Otherwise I would was narrowing in on the Focal 906.

I would love and appreciate any feedback or comments about this set-up (sans any petty arguments like "what's wrong with Chinese stuff, your toilet seat comes from China and you still poop on it.")

Thanks for taking the time to read.

- Alex
 

rwortman

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If you will only use one source (your DAC) forget the preamp and buy a DAC with a volume control.
It’s your money to spend but cheaper overseas manufacturing usually means more for your money. Where was your phone/computer/television made?
 
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ash87

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If you will only use one source (your DAC) forget the preamp and buy a DAC with a volume control.
It’s your money to spend but cheaper overseas manufacturing usually means more for your money. Where was your phone/computer/television made?
What's the difference between a DAC with volume control and one without if I just use the volume on my tv or volumnio app? If anything, I suppose I could use the DAC volume to set the max volume and then lock that away in the cabinet and use volumnio and my tv for the regular volume. At least the speakers are protected from too much power, and my kids ears.
 

BDWoody

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What's the difference between a DAC with volume control and one without if I just use the volume on my tv or volumnio app? If anything, I suppose I could use the DAC volume to set the max volume and then lock that away in the cabinet and use volumnio and my tv for the regular volume. At least the speakers are protected from too much power, and my kids ears.

A powerful system without a physical volume knob is a little spooky for me.

I had a 'bad experience' sitting in the middle of 5 speakers in a near field 5 channel test setup, (each speaker has 2x250w amps, so 2500w total) when I pushed a button on my screen I shouldn't have and was assaulted by my full reference test signal.

My hands flew to my ears, my cats flew across the house, and I felt like an idiot trying to frantically turn off the power supply switch with my foot so my hands could stay on my head.

I should have been more careful, but it definitely made an impression.
 

tomtoo

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A powerful system without a physical volume knob is a little spooky for me.

I had a 'bad experience' sitting in the middle of 5 speakers in a near field 5 channel test setup, (each speaker has 2x250w amps, so 2500w total) when I pushed a button on my screen I shouldn't have and was assaulted by my full reference test signal.

My hands flew to my ears, my cats flew across the house, and I felt like an idiot trying to frantically turn off the power supply switch with my foot so my hands could stay on my head.

I should have been more careful, but it definitely made an impression.

2.5kw? Thats not nothing. ;)
 

BDWoody

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2.5kw? Thats not nothing. ;)

It was 3xJBL 708's and 2x705's. About 18" from the front three and about 3' from the back two.

It isn't something I want to experience again. Like a tidal wave of sound energy.

I was trying out the minidsp udio8 , and just went straight into the AES input on each speaker. What could go wrong?!
 

tomtoo

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It was 3xJBL 708's and 2x705's. About 18" from the front three and about 3' from the back two.

It isn't something I want to experience again. Like a tidal wave of sound energy.

I was trying out the minidsp udio8 , and just went straight into the AES input on each speaker. What could go wrong?!

I dont know the signal, but if it was the right, i can imagine the shock.
 

BDWoody

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I dont know the signal, but if it was the right, i can imagine the shock.

Some kind of wideband, but can't remember specifically. It wasn't a single tone sinewave. It was no joke. Unplugged that hateful little box and put it away for a while.
 

tomtoo

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Some kind of wideband, but can't remember specifically. It wasn't a single tone sinewave. It was no joke. Unplugged that hateful little box and put it away for a while.

Some kinde of pink or white noise?


I hate it when its louder. White noise is horrible for me.
 

rwortman

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What's the difference between a DAC with volume control and one without if I just use the volume on my tv or volumnio app? If anything, I suppose I could use the DAC volume to set the max volume and then lock that away in the cabinet and use volumnio and my tv for the regular volume. At least the speakers are protected from too much power, and my kids ears.
I think the digital output on most tv’s is not volume controlled. Even if it is digital volume controls reduce performance at low settings. I prefer a “real” volume control.
 

FrantzM

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Hi

Looks good to me... but
If you are willing to include non-western then I suggest :
  • Paradigm700F floorstanders - $1700
  • miniDSP SHD Power - $1600
  • Set up on a 57 North Plank 42" walnut media console - $1130
    • Mostly solid walnut with some veneer
    • Cabinet for locking up mostly power supply / surge protector, but also open shelving to keep gear like the amp cool
  • IC and Speaker Cables from Amazon or Blue Jeans ~$200
Total system cost: $3500
With furniture: $4630
+ tax/shipping

The miniDSP Power has Volumio built-in and Dirac for Digital Room Correction.

Peace
 

BDWoody

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Some kinde of pink or white noise?


I hate it when its louder. White noise is horrible for me.

I believe it was white noise based on what I was doing. It was as bad as you are imagining. ;)
 
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ash87

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A powerful system without a physical volume knob is a little spooky for me.

I had a 'bad experience' sitting in the middle of 5 speakers in a near field 5 channel test setup, (each speaker has 2x250w amps, so 2500w total) when I pushed a button on my screen I shouldn't have and was assaulted by my full reference test signal.

My hands flew to my ears, my cats flew across the house, and I felt like an idiot trying to frantically turn off the power supply switch with my foot so my hands could stay on my head.

I should have been more careful, but it definitely made an impression.
Thanks for the illustration. I just imagined my wife and kids going through a similar situation while I'm not home, frantically trying to log on to a phone app. At least you had a volume knob to kick at with your foot. Volume knob required.
 
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ash87

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I think the digital output on most tv’s is not volume controlled. Even if it is digital volume controls reduce performance at low settings. I prefer a “real” volume control.
That's a good point. It makes sense since most optical outputs are to a receiver that controls the volume. I'll look into that.
 
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ash87

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Hi

Looks good to me... but
If you are willing to include non-western then I suggest :
  • Paradigm700F floorstanders - $1700
  • miniDSP SHD Power - $1600
  • Set up on a 57 North Plank 42" walnut media console - $1130
    • Mostly solid walnut with some veneer
    • Cabinet for locking up mostly power supply / surge protector, but also open shelving to keep gear like the amp cool
  • IC and Speaker Cables from Amazon or Blue Jeans ~$200
Total system cost: $3500
With furniture: $4630
+ tax/shipping

The miniDSP Power has Volumio built-in and Dirac for Digital Room Correction.

Peace
The SHD power looks really slick, consolidating 4 boxes to one, plus you get the correction software at around the same price. Amir reviewed this and basically gave the amp a "meh". I'm thinking the Hypex amp will have more to offer.

I had my eye on the DSP flex for $750 which would would replace the DAC and preamp and come out to the same price as a Freya/Modius combo, but with Dirac. Amir reviewed this too and it got a golphing panther.
 

escape2

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How big is the room?

Depending on size, you might benefit from a sub or two.
 

rwortman

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https://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=CADM200M
The SHD power looks really slick, consolidating 4 boxes to one, plus you get the correction software at around the same price. Amir reviewed this and basically gave the amp a "meh". I'm thinking the Hypex amp will have more to offer.

I had my eye on the DSP flex for $750 which would would replace the DAC and preamp and come out to the same price as a Freya/Modius combo, but with Dirac. Amir reviewed this too and it got a golphing panther.
If it was me, I’d just get something like this. 145wpc, DAC, streamer, bluetooth, airplay, phono input, room correction, and you get AM/FM tuning. I have its little brother in a garage system and it works great.

Yamaha R N803 receiver.
 

Chrispy

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If anything, sounds like you're overspending on wire and furniture, but whatever works for ya. Enjoy!
 

ThatM1key

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I always recommend a physical outside pre-amp than a digital pre-amp in a DAC. When the pre-amp in my Sansui 2000a went Mono, I initially wanted to use the Topping E30 as a pre-amp. The problem was it sounded worse in the pre-amp mode(Others experienced this) and every 1 hour, I would hear a loud pop, similar to hearing a gunshot near you, I nearly lost my hearing! I thought I lost hope and but I remembered my Topping L30. Much Much better as a preamp, no pops but it had channel imbalance at low volumes, at least it was better than the gunshot mode of my Topping E30. I think it sounded clear than my Sanusi 2000A's.
 
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