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Help building a lasting ~$10k system with apartment limitations

waynel

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He's not going to be stuck in a corner near a doorway forever. Why not buy pieces that can migrate into a proper listening space down the track, rather than be hamstrung to a desktop system?
The OP could get a good desktop system for a fraction of his budget and get a living room system later when space allows. With working from home , my desktop system gets a lot of use.
 

Habu

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Maybe 3-ways Genelec in horizontal mode on their own isopode stand, maybe in white color like the wall
Precise model depending on space available on the hifi cabinet each side of the turntable

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Habu

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If you are serious, I apologize for the suspicion, we're been sustaining trolling assaults these past days, then you can do a lot in such a set up. There are so many choices...
I may not be able to spend all you money :D
Apparently FrantzM was suspicious for good reasons, the same unique post from the same guy on at least two forums :
 
OP
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Hey guys - sorry for the lack of response: got tied up with work and some other commitments. Understand the reasons for being suspicious, but not sure why somebody would go to the length of creating a detailed post for trolling. Indeed, I posted the same topic on 2 more websites at the same time - wasn't sure where it would get any traction and no offense was intended.

Thank you all for the responses - very helpful inputs and gave me a lot of food for thought (even started checking out alternative apartments)! I was also trying to do some research to come back with informed follow-ups (takes me a bit of time as I'm figuring things out).

One thing I should've probably highlighted in my OP is that I don't have the extra money burning my pocket. I started with a ~$5k budget and as I kept reading, it grew closer to $10k. But if the consensus is that a $10k system is not going to sound any different than a $5k system in my room, this is unfortunate, but then there's no need to spend that amount.

A desktop system is a valid suggestion, but I would ideally like to enjoy a bigger sound + connection to the TV.

I guess I underestimated the importance of the room before. On the forum that @Habu linked, it was suggested to check out Lyngdorf tdai-1120. From reviews and forum discussions, it seem to get positive feedback: specifically, that its room correction technology works well and is very intuitive (which is helpful to somebody like me). Is this something that might help in my case or is it a lost cause given the layout that I have? I realize that this is a fully digital amp, which will impact the sound, but seems like the room issues are more important.

For the speakers, saw a few recommendations for active speakers above. If I'm planning to buy an amp (or integrated with Lyngdorf), is there another reason why they would be a better solution for my placement? Genelec 8351B at $8k/pair, however, is, unfortunately, outside my budget, since I'd also like to buy a turntable.
I was actually looking at LS50 Meta at first (and really like the design), but then read that R3 would probably be better in most cases. Given that the speakers would be close to the wall (there's no elegant way to fit in speaker stands), would front-ported speakers perform better? I was advised to look at Sonus Faber Sonetto 2.
Also, the size of the speakers shouldn't be an issue, because I'm planning to re-mount the TV a bit higher (long story, but this is where it was supposed to be in the first place).

I also hadn't thought about a sub before. It seems they're best placed on the floor? Then I do get a bit worried about the neighbors. We have a pretty good sound isolation, but think this might get disturbing in the evenings?

If I end up going with Lyngdorf and given it's a fully digital amp, does an MC cartridge make sense at all? Or might as well buy P6 with MM and plug directly into Lyngdorf, which I believe has MM phono input?

Again, thank you all for the opinions! This just takes some time to digest, especially with my room complications.

P.S. If any of the questions are stupid/basic and you can think of any articles/threads that address them, I would appreciate the link.
 

kongwee

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Fruid Audio FX80, poor man coaxial DSP crossover active speaker. No room correction.
 

Habu

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Hi suited
What space is available on your TV Stand for speakers each part of your turntable ?
What about Neumann KH 310 with or without grilles (Dimensions (W x H x D) 15.1 x 10 x 11.5" / 383 x 253 x 292 mm)
With a Benchmark Dac2 HGC or Dac3 HGC with digital and analog inputs (They are located in Syracuse NY).

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OP
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Maybe a NAD M33? I think it even has MC input, so you don't need the Rega Fono MC. It's one box for amp, streamer, phono stage.
This might be another solution and if it can handle my room better than Lyngdorf, I guess it could still be within my budget if I don't buy the Rega Fono MC. One thing I'm a bit worried about is I think I saw that Dirac is more complicated to set up, than RoomPerfect, but hasn't had a chance to read up yet.

He's not going to be stuck in a corner near a doorway forever. Why not buy pieces that can migrate into a proper listening space down the track, rather than be hamstrung to a desktop system?
Spot on! Would be nice to have a balance between not overspending given the limitations, but then also not having to rebuild the whole system should I move apartments (which will happen one day or another).

What's your goal for this system? Gear collecting or sound quality?
At this stage, just sound quality. I can get into gear collection later in a more appropriate living situation.

I almost went on a rant about "colored vs sterile" but I won't...lol

Oh, and looking at the pic there, is there no other way for you to arrange the room? There's no wall available away from that cubby-hole corner?
Appreciate that lol, hence the disclaimer in the OP! No, unfortunately, this is pretty much the only way: my couch is across from the tv stand and I have a work desk on the right (where the chair is).

Honestly i would rather spend that money on hookers and drugs than get speakers to work in that space, sorry but that corner is just Awful.
I do not disagree. Just still trying to make it work, even if on, say, 70% of potential.

PS: Nice Aeron Herman Miller chair ( $2K seating system ) !
Ha - thanks! Figured it was a worthwhile investment with 80+ hours/week WFH - highly recommend!
 
OP
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Thanks @Habu - they should fit fine: there's 20" (50cm) on each side and I could put them vertically, since the TV is going up anyway

Then the digital setup would be: streamer -> Benchmark -> Neumanns?
Also, is there a specific reason why active speakers would work better in a "troubled" room?
 
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As for LP/Phono, you will not find much support here. Phono is an old , passé technology. It does not sound better than CD. It cannot. Physics (Science) are against such an outcome. Yes! you can find some samples where the LP is superior to the same performance/recording on CD. the differences lies in the mastering. Not, I repeat NOT, the intrinsic quality of the LP. Just better mastering.
Btw, I agree with that. To me, vinyl is more about the process and "warmth" of the sound
 

Habu

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Thanks @Habu - they should fit fine: there's 20" (50cm) on each side and I could put them vertically, since the TV is going up anyway
The Neumann KH 310 are horizontal speaker only, the intention was to keep the TV at the same height (Already high).
Genelec The Ones including 8341A can be placed horizontally
You can also shorten the feets of the TV Stand by removing the upper part.
 
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Habu

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Then the digital setup would be: streamer -> Benchmark -> Neumanns?
Also, is there a specific reason why active speakers would work better in a "troubled" room?
With all the inputs on the Benchmark Dac, every signal is passing through it, including the return signal from the TV.
Active speakers means simple setup in a limited space.

There is also a phono preamp with digital output in option, so you could feed the streamer with it.
 
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phoenixdogfan

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How about something completely different. You could get a turntable, Rega is fine, a good phono preamp for around $120,Amir has recommendations, and a A to D converter like a Motu M4 for $250, use an RPI4 for a streamer, and then do something really radical like buy a Smyth A16 Realizer which virtualizes speakers over headphones (it's $4k), then buy a pair of Sennheiser HD 800's for the headphone listening. You would still have enough money for a pair of Kef Wireless II's for when you wanted to listen to speakers. The Smyth unit would serve as your control center for the speaker's (it's also an analog preamp), headphone DAC/AMP, and virtualizer processor for realistically recreating the sound of the speakers over headphones. Could get it all done for around $10k. And if at some point you wanted to go multichannel, the Smyth will serves as preamp for as many as 16 channels, and fully decodes all surround formats including Dolby Atmos, and DTS-X.
 
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Aerith Gainsborough

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Should he? In an apartment? Neighbours...
As someone that uses a sub in an apartment: yes he should.
Not for sub 20Hz tactile bass, obviously, but for a clean and effortless answer down to 30Hz absolutely.

Proper room correction is mandatory though, last thing you want with a sub is an uncontrolled mode at 40Hz or so.
That's just asking for complaints.
 

Senior NEET Engineer

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At this stage, just sound quality. I can get into gear collection later in a more appropriate living situation.
If it were my money, I would consider LS50 Meta.

No need to spend so much in a room that is far from ideal. Integrated amp with room mode correction and subwoofer management can help, but no guarantees with constraints on where things can be placed.

Main weakness of LS50 is output capability especially bass. You mentioned you like music "pretty loud", but I assume "not that loud" given your current speakers. Shouldn't be an issue.

I wouldn't rule out subwoofers unless you listen to hip hop or similar. Most energy leakage seems to be around 100hz in my experience. If you do like hip hop, then maybe headphones can be a better experience.
 

JiiPee

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As some others have pointed out, I think your biggest challenge is the room acoustics. Consequently, some kind of dsp solution to that issue should be included in the system architecture.

Building your system around Genelec speakers and their GLM room correction is one alternative, but that requires AES (preferable), or XLR connections. Most systems that offer those are primarily designed for studio professionals, and therefore not necessarily the nicest looking pieces for Your listening room.

Seeing that You like the look of Cambridge Audio electronics, here's one alternative:
- Use the CXN for streaming, as You have planned.
- Instead of getting a CXA81 integrated amplifier, get Alva Duo and DacMagic200m. That gives You a phono preamp and a headphone amps for listening both vinyl records and streamed music.
- Both the Alva Duo and the DacMagic have outputs that You can connect to System Audio Stereo Hub. The Stereo Hub enables System Audio Room Correction app. and provides a high quality 96kHz/24bit wisa-standard wireless transmission to System Audio Legend 5.2 Silverback speakers.

If You don't need headphones, then You can leave the CXN and the DacMagic away, as the StereoHub already provides a streamer.

Here's a simple sketch drawing of the system:
prop_1.jpeg
 
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OP
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Thank you all for the advice! And @JiiPee - appreciate the sketch, very helpful!

As most have mentioned, the key issue is the room (and I attached below additional pictures in case helpful), and it seems that there are a few main options for room correction:
  • Integrated amps with room correction
  • Active speakers with room correction
  • Hub + Speakers systems like System Audio
What are the main pros and cons of these, given that I'm also looking to connect a turntable and a TV in addition to digital streaming? For example, the SA wireless solution is appealing, but I'm a bit worried about being locked in the WiSA standard.
It would be important for me that the room correction process / system is self-explanatory or "smart" and good enough without my involvement, as I think I'm yet to develop the judgment of how things should sound. How do Lyngdorf's RoomPerfect / Dirac (Live) / Genelec's / System Audio's / Other room correction systems compare on this?
I could also consider AVRs, but it seems it would further complicate the system? Happy to be wrong here. But I could sacrifice a bit of sound quality and customization for simplicity and user-friendliness.

I've also been reading about subs and would really like to get one but, although there's no clear rule of where to place it, I don't think there's any potential space that can work in my living room, unfortunately. Unless there's a small front-firing subwoofer that can work well on a bottom shelf of the TV stand (17.5" W x 10" H x 16" D).
So I guess, I'll need to shoot for speakers that can produce decent bass while being close to the wall (probably 4-5 inches away max). LS50 Metas were one of the first speakers I looked at (besides generally positive reviews, really like the design), but the bass ability is concerning if I'm unable to add a sub.
Btw, the max speaker height to fit under the TV is now 19" (48cm).

Have also given a thought to headphones and while I think I'll end up buying them down the road for more active listening, I think practically I'll likely be listening to speakers most of the time.

IMG_2426.JPG
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IMG_2428.JPG
 

Marc v E

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Thank you all for the advice! And @JiiPee - appreciate the sketch, very helpful!

As most have mentioned, the key issue is the room (and I attached below additional pictures in case helpful), and it seems that there are a few main options for room correction:
  • Integrated amps with room correction
  • Active speakers with room correction
  • Hub + Speakers systems like System Audio
What are the main pros and cons of these, given that I'm also looking to connect a turntable and a TV in addition to digital streaming? For example, the SA wireless solution is appealing, but I'm a bit worried about being locked in the WiSA standard.
It would be important for me that the room correction process / system is self-explanatory or "smart" and good enough without my involvement, as I think I'm yet to develop the judgment of how things should sound. How do Lyngdorf's RoomPerfect / Dirac (Live) / Genelec's / System Audio's / Other room correction systems compare on this?
I could also consider AVRs, but it seems it would further complicate the system? Happy to be wrong here. But I could sacrifice a bit of sound quality and customization for simplicity and user-friendliness.

I've also been reading about subs and would really like to get one but, although there's no clear rule of where to place it, I don't think there's any potential space that can work in my living room, unfortunately. Unless there's a small front-firing subwoofer that can work well on a bottom shelf of the TV stand (17.5" W x 10" H x 16" D).
So I guess, I'll need to shoot for speakers that can produce decent bass while being close to the wall (probably 4-5 inches away max). LS50 Metas were one of the first speakers I looked at (besides generally positive reviews, really like the design), but the bass ability is concerning if I'm unable to add a sub.
Btw, the max speaker height to fit under the TV is now 19" (48cm).

Have also given a thought to headphones and while I think I'll end up buying them down the road for more active listening, I think practically I'll likely be listening to speakers most of the time.

View attachment 186754View attachment 186755View attachment 186756
Looking at the last picture, if it was my appartement, I would place 1 speaker where the records and guitars are now. the other under the tv. i would buy a mount for the tv that could swivel it to the left when watching tv and back as it is now when it is off. And probably get a lock for the door to avoid accidents.
 
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@Marc v E great thought! This will get me to 9' between speakers and 10' to the couch. + my current mount does exactly that!

In this case, the System Audio wireless setup might come in particularly handy
 

Absolute

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Looking at the pictures I'd say a Sonos playbar is about the level I'd aim for. You'll struggle to get good sound out of anything unless you deal with the window behind the head in some way. Acoustic drapes, movable absorbent or something.

You could ceiling mount some Devialet Phantoms (reactors even) and get some good sound if you can live with the elevated soundstage, but I really think the Sonos stuff is rather excellent considering the price.

I would consider it more or less a waste of money to go down the audiophile path in this situation. It will be more expensive, but not much better.

Of course, if you can have some good near-field monitors on stands and place them close to the LP for serious listening, then some small Genelec/Neumann/Lsx/R3 etc might be nice. But I would really advise to not spend too much at random here.
 
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