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Floor-standing under $3k?

thefsb

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#82
You might want to consider what the circle of confusion is. You seem to be stuck in it.

EDIT: My apologies this comes off too harsh, impolite and condescending. Not my intent. I do mean it just not the way it might read as ill mannered.

If you have speakers of good fidelity and well behaved, you have a reference point from which to work. Even recordings that might sound worse over a speaker of high fidelity can be shaped with DSP as needed. If your speakers are badly colored you start in a hole, and with some issues that can't successfully be adjusted to work well.
I really need to thank you for this comment. I no longer feel that the audiophile curse will always defeat me. I see a way out of all that misdirection, marketing and psychosales.
 

thefsb

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#83
Accessories4less has deals on the Focal 948 and 936.
Yes, thanks.

I have decided to delay buying new boxes. Thanks to this thread and other stuff learned here I decided to tackle the rest of the system first. That involves negotiating return of the MS3i integrated amp I just bought so that needs to happen soon.
 

North_Sky

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#84
For three grands, let see...one option ...
https://www.accessories4less.com/ma...ni-monitor-high-gloss-piano-black-pair/1.html

Plus a pair of these (on sale right now...$400 each) ...
https://www.svsound.com/collections/nsd-series/products/sb12-nsd

You still have roughly $1,500 for amplification, preamplification with Dirac Live 2-channel stereo. Even the source...Sony X800M2 Universal SACD/DVD-Audio/DSD 11.2MHZ/Wi☆Fi/Bluetooth/3D-4K Blu-ray player ($200).

You have the full range universe for three grands.
 

echopraxia

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#85
If you really think your money is best spent with a 50/50 split between amplification and speakers, I would love to sell you some ‘audiophile AC power cables’ as well. In fact, maybe I can convince you to mortgage your house for them.

It’s not that amplification doesn’t matter. It’s just that for every dollar you spend, spending on speakers and subwoofers will get you 10-100x the “return on investment“ (in terms of sound quality/enjoyment) vs spending that same money on better amplification for your passive speakers — so long as your amplification is already sufficiently powerful. And if your amplification is not sufficiently powerful for some reason, you can solve that for a few hundred dollars at most before you start reaching seriously diminishing returns that you probably can’t even reliably distinguish in a blind test.

I do agree that subwoofers are important, though I advise you stay away from SVS and especially their lower priced options. I tried the SVS PB12 and ended up sending them back they sounded so awful. I tried SVS’s flagship sealed sub and also found it to be an embarrassing underperformer in terms of sound quality vs my JL Audio subwoofer at the time.

I now have Rythmik servo subwoofers, and they beat JL Audio in both total power output and sound quality, while costing a fraction of the price. I’ve never heard a cleaner, more accurate sounding subwoofer. And I’ve not seen even a single report of anyone buying a Rythmik and being disappointed in any way.

As for speakers, I’ve heard quite a few and my favorite towers I’ve heard so far are my Ascend Sierra RAAL Towers ($2900 retail price), and my Revel F206 tower ($3500 MSRP, but rumor has it some dealers may be able to discount them under $3k).

Subjectively to my ears (and in my room), I find that the Ascends overall sound better than the Revels (once bass differences are normalized). That said, the Revels are still amazing speakers, and I am very pleased wirh them. IMO you can’t go wrong with either.

Personally, I much prefer both Ascend and Revel to many other towers I’ve heard costing $10-$30k (by different brands: KEF, Focal, Sonus Faber, Martin Logan, Bowers and Wilkins, etc.)
 
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thefsb

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#86
And if your amplification is not sufficiently powerful for some reason, you can solve that for a few hundred dollars at most before you start reaching seriously diminishing returns that you probably can’t even reliably distinguish in a blind test.
What for example?

I ask because I'm inclined to order two Hypex NCore NC400 Mono Kits. They appeal to me because I can then forget about amplification for the rest of my life (assuming they last). I'll never have speakers they can't make the most of. $1200 seems like a fair price to remove that question/problem from the overall system for ever.

I now have Rythmik servo subwoofers, and they beat JL Audio in both total power output and sound quality, while costing a fraction of the price. I’ve never heard a cleaner, more accurate sounding subwoofer. And I’ve not seen even a single report of anyone buying a Rythmik and being disappointed in any way.
When I started this thread I asked about full-range floor-standers hoping to keep questions of subs and bass management and so on out of my life. But now I feel ready and able to tackle that with MiniDSP Dirac Live stuff. Two channel into four (two mains into two subs) now seems something I can cope with in reasonable technical approach.

So now we're looking at a project like this:
  • MiniDSP SHD
  • Phono preamp. Other sources connect directly to the SHD
  • Powered subs (maybe Rythmik L12)
  • Power amp (e.g. 2x NC400 as I mentioned or maybe you have a suggestion)
  • Use our current bookshelf speakers for now and delay choosing upgraded speakers
  • Learn to use the MiniDSP in our environment and maybe treat the room
  • Develop more specific requirements for upgraded speakers
Thanks to the generosity of people here with their time and expertise, I no longer dread the challenge of choosing speakers.

I look forward to it.

There are some really attractive options I've learned about here including Salk, Ascend, Revel, KEF. I'd like to test Magnepan's story about line-drive being good for listening throughout the room since that would be a real boon for our lifestyle. But that's all fun for some time further down the road as we finish this project.
 

VMAT4

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#87
So now we're looking at a project like this:
  • MiniDSP SHD
  • Phono preamp. Other sources connect directly to the SHD
  • Powered subs (maybe Rythmik L12)
  • Power amp (e.g. 2x NC400 as I mentioned or maybe you have a suggestion)
  • Use our current bookshelf speakers for now and delay choosing upgraded speakers
  • Learn to use the MiniDSP in our environment and maybe treat the room
  • Develop more specific requirements for upgraded speakers
Thanks to the generosity of people here with their time and expertise, I no longer dread the challenge of choosing speakers.

I look forward to it.
Best of Luck to You, Go For It!
 

echopraxia

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#88
What for example?

I ask because I'm inclined to order two Hypex NCore NC400 Mono Kits. They appeal to me because I can then forget about amplification for the rest of my life (assuming they last). I'll never have speakers they can't make the most of. $1200 seems like a fair price to remove that question/problem from the overall system for ever.
IMO there is nothing wrong with that, so long as you accept that you’re likely going to want to spend more than the remaining $1800 on speakers and subwoofers at some point in your future.

My point is simply aimed to people with a total long term budget constraint in this range: If you have $3k - $5k to spend, you will achieve vastly better sounding system if you put almost every dollar you possibly can towards the best speakers and subwoofers you can find. This is not particularly controversial as far as I know.

But I totally understand if you’re going for an “endgame” setup, that it does makes sense to build out your system starting with DAC, then Amp, etc. Just know that you’re either going to spend more than you otherwise would for marginal improvements and that peace of mind (which is fine), or you’re going to spend so much on DAC or Amp that you’ll have to downgrade your speaker purchase choice (which is not fine).

All I hope to do here is recommend against the latter: don’t let your choice of DAC and Amp cause your to buy an inferior speaker. You will NOT get a system that sounds better this way, unless you later upgrade the speakers (in which case your temporary speakers will have wasted even more money, and probably instead you could have bought even better speakers!)

Just remember, your speakers are the most important component by far (nothing else even comes close to having as much impact on the sound, aside from maybe EQ but that’s relatively cheap and prevalent). As long as you understand that, and you want to start building your system from the DAC, Amp, and up, them absolutely go for it! :)
 

ahofer

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#89
I wonder what the crowd thinks of this deal: Used Thiel CS 3.6.
I used those from 1993 to 2018. Loved them. You need a beast of an amplifier, though. I switched to the Harbeth SHL5+ (AE) after moving to an apartment last year. I have really enjoyed the Harbeths as well. The Thiels have a slightly larger but thinner sound (I say, subjectively).
 

ahofer

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#90
Great speakers, but make sure parts are still available. The company was run under after Jim Thiel died. I know one of them employees bought the stock of parts and services them, but don’t know the status of what Is available. I believe Thiel used all custom drivers.
There’s a former employee doing repairs, Rob Gillum. Great guy.

[email protected]
 

Snarfie

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#91
If you go to audiocircle, the Salk forum has a list of owners for demo. Salk also will return them if you don’t like them, but I think you cover the shipping in that case.

Regarding vandersteen. I’ve owned 3 pairs, 2c, 1c, and 3a Signatures. They are wonderful when set up correctly. The downsides I have found are 1) the listening window is very small, and 2) the mids on the 3 ways never fully integrate with the woofer and tweeter. The Salks have neither issue, but don’t have that warm mid bass and lower midrange I traditionally prefer (but they are also flat in the treble, something I have never traditionally liked as I found it bright, but they are open without being bright). Jim Salk is clear that he aims for dead neutral, so it is not a shortcoming, it meets his design goals. I have also had the Revel F36. They don’t have the utter transparency of the Salks, but do have a bit more warmth. Even though Revel sold through traditional retailers, I felt the F36 was a good value at the $2k pricepoint.

Also, while not asked by you, set up and some room treatment as needed are very important. The room has a huge effect on the sound as does the proper setup of the speakers and listening position. GIK Acoustics has some great information on their site i suggest reading/watching, have reasonable prices, and will make suggestions if you send them information about your room. The $800 of so I spent treating my main room made massive improvements.
Did you ever used or considerd roomcorrection software. I did some treathment regarding first reflections incombination with Mathaudio room eq white outstanding results imo.
 

thefsb

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#92
Did you ever used or considerd roomcorrection software. I did some treathment regarding first reflections incombination with Mathaudio room eq white outstanding results imo.
Yes. Please see my post from about 11 hours ago. I want room correction software (using microphone measurements) that can provide presets for different listening modes. How and when to add it in the overall upgrade project is a question. I'll post about this below.
 

Snarfie

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#93
Yes. Please see my post from about 11 hours ago. I want room correction software (using microphone measurements) that can provide presets for different listening modes. How and when to add it in the overall upgrade project is a question. I'll post about this below.
Yes i Read that you are planning to use roomcorrection by considering a minidsp. I was wonderig if CDMC did consider or used roomcorrection software. Using roomcorrection software is much easier to use instead of placing strategicly acoustics pannels. Is there a (big) difference between acoustics pannels and or software only? . Also i can't find a test/ review between roomcorrection software like between REW, Mathaudio and others.
 
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thefsb

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#94
IMO there is nothing wrong with that, so long as you accept that you’re likely going to want to spend more than the remaining $1800 on speakers and subwoofers at some point in your future. ...
Thanks for the input. I completely agree. We can choose a different sequence for the upgrades and start with speakers and subs. Here's the system topology as it stands today.

Screenshot_2019-11-30 2019-11-30-07-51-55 pdf.png


Adding subs is easy but we rely on their EQ and gain control so we won't be able to switch between different presets for different listening modes (positions, loudness, activities, social context). We'll have only one setting and I don't know yet how to determine it but I expect there's some software I can use with a microphone that might help.

Or we can go with the original plan and replace the mains with full-range floor-standers. In which case there's even less control and it's all acoustical, e.g. socks in the bass port, speaker positioning (very limited in our case), carefully placed Rockwool, ...

There's no easy way to use a 2-into-4 DSP with software like the Dirac Live with this MS3i integrated amp. That does rather annoy me and I suspect this annoyance will not easily go away. Using equipment you regret buying every time you look at it is not ideal. I only recently bought it and I think I can find a way to return it for store credit.

Hence the plan set out above yesterday. But yes, it will end up costing well over the 3k that I budgeted for speakers. Depends a bit how much I can get back on the MS3i.

I have a drawing of the room here https://photos.app.goo.gl/Q12422oLgCEC9KFk8

And I have photos of the room. PM me for a URL to the album.
 

CDMC

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#95
Yes i Read that you are planning to use roomcorrection by considering a minidsp. I was wonderig if CDMC did consider or used roomcorrection software. Using roomcorrection software is much easier to use instead of placing strategicly acoustics pannels. Is there a (big) difference between acoustics pannels and or software only? . Also i can't find a test/ review between roomcorrection software like between REW, Mathaudio and others.
I am not a big fan of room correction for higher frequencies. Room correction cannot address decay times and first reflection points, which can only be addressed with treatment. I do use room correction in the bass and midbass to knock down mode peaks at the listening position for my desktop system. I don't use it on my main system, as the room is large and the one large peak I have in the bass is dealt with by the single band parametric in my subwoofer.

If you spend some time reading about room treatment from the perspective of mixing rooms (where good rooms are measured and treated accordingly), room treatment is normally performed first with software corrections used minimally and only when things cannot be addressed it the analog domain.

I recommend reading and watching the videos on GIK Acoustics. They are a wonderful source of free information about room treatment and correction:

https://www.gikacoustics.com/articles/
 

ahofer

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#96
I've been reading @Floyd Toole 's book, and I must say it has marginally increased my ambivalence about room treatments above the transition frequency. The evidence of our ability to adapt to, and even expect, normal reflection patterns is extraordinary. There is, of course a whole thread on it, and I recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it. A mountain of evidence you never heard from an audio salesperson, and contradicting much of what you did hear.
 
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thefsb

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#97
Update: We ordered a pair of Ascend Sierra Tower with the ribbon upgrade. Will keep the rest of the system as it is (diagram above) for the time being. Consideration of subs, DSPs and room treatments can wait.
 

thefsb

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#98
Update: We ordered a pair of Ascend Sierra Tower with the ribbon upgrade. Will keep the rest of the system as it is (diagram above) for the time being. Consideration of subs, DSPs and room treatments can wait.
UPDATE: They arrived yesterday, installed easily since we were prepared, fairly late so we didn't have much listening time.

Unfortunately, owing to the strict ASR rules on measurement of subjective opinion, we can't tell you that they are any improvement over the old boxes. The difference could be all in our minds. I can give a photo if you like.
 

dkinric

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#99
I don't believe this thinking applies to speakers. Speakers definitely sound different, and subjective opinions will vary depending on lots of variables. The purpose of upstream components is to give the speakers the cleanest signal possible, then choose speakers and perhaps room correction accounting for taste and room environment.
I have the Ascend Sierra 2s running with 2 DSP controlled subs, and my opinion is that my system sounds absolutely stunning. I hope you enjoy your Ascends as much as I have, I think they are brilliant speakers and a great value for the money.
 

thefsb

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Well, alright then.

There's more low end than we've ever had in a home stereo—that's plainly obvious. Also, I wanna say, more detail, less coloration and distortion? Idk if that's the difference we're hearing but it has the expected pros and cons.

Surprisingly enough the bass was first revealed in vocals. First song we put on was Swamp Cabbage Tallahassee from the Honk album. The drama here was the voice. Goosebumps. Some voices have a surprisingly low lowest first format and I guess we had been missing that. And the cons were evident too: love it as we both do, the song got tiring. The guitar and cymbals in the latter third of the song are intense and ... yikes.

We watch movies and TV with the same system and the boxes did something remarkable with the typically annoying dramatic soundtrack dynamics directors of "epic" TV seem to prefer since The Wire and Breaking Bad. Normally as it gets later in the evening I feel the need to turn the volume down when the dramatic music or sound effects swell dramatically because I had to turn it up so we could understand the dramatically quiet dialog. Now we can listen to the dramatic dynamics of the Man in the High Castle without having to touch the remote. Either the speakers' quality makes for more intelligible dialog at low SPL, or the relative absence of distortion/coloration in the loud parts makes them seem not so loud, or both. Either way, it's nice.

Just for a start.
 
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