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

Joe Smith

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I agree with the thought above. It's just a problematic room for sure.

If it were me: 1) I'd get a soundbar for the TV setup and 2) run stereo speakers to the corner positions on either side of the modular sofa, firing back into the main room. Weird reflections likely because of the walls, but at lower listening levels, might be decent. And that way, you would not need to run cables above the doorway over by the TV to get the speakers further apart for a decent soundstage. 3) I would not use a sub but get smaller speakers that can still provide good bass to about 40hz.
 

hitek

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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.
As soon as I saw the first photo that showed how long that wall the TV is on I had the same thought about speaker placement!
 

anotherhobby

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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.
This was also what I thought when I saw the photo, including the speaker placements. In both my current and last house, I put the TV on a swing arm where it's "being watched" position is different than it's "being stored" position, and it works great.

As for the audio system, I'd go with some high quality bookshelf shelf speakers, something like the new miniDSP Flex with Dirac room correction, a decent small amp like the Topping PA5, and two small sealed subs. I also see plenty of open wall space for some room treatments. I'd go with a mix of straight up absorption with some of GIK's Alpha series or similar. This is basically just me repeating what I'm running in my desktop office system, but it would translate very well to this space, and I dropped well under $5k total.

My office system has the same "don't piss off the neighbor" constraints as an apartment because my wife works from home also, directly across the hall. Small subs at low volume can sound fantastic without transmitting the same amount of energy as big subs. The downside is they also can't transmit the same energy as big subs, but who cares if you don't want/need that. It's surprising how good of sound you can get at low volumes from a system like this when you have acoustic treatments, good placement, and room correction, and I think you have an opportunity to do all of that, even if the space is somewhat compromised.

Don't make perfect the enemy of good, which is to say just because you can't win an audiophile award in your space doesn't mean it's a fruitless endeavor.
 

Matias

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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
Here is another idea: move the computer desk to where the TV is (dead corner). Put the TV on the rack and move it to the wall where the computer was. And finally move the couch to face the TV. Now you have lots of space for the TV and speakers. Priorities! :)
 

Somafunk

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  • Use: 70% - lossless digital streaming (due to everyday convenience), 25% - vinyl records, 5% - TV (not a priority, but want to have an option)
  • Sound: detailed but engaging (slightly colored would be better than sterile)
  • Ease of setup/use: would try to avoid components sensitive to fine-tuning that might sound subpar otherwise
  • Aesthetics matter: willing to make a marginal sacrifice in sound quality / pay a bit extra if the system looks appealing
  • Music that I listen to: all sorts of rock (Muse, Queen, Metallica, etc.), some pop (Pink), some acoustic/orchestra concerts; no blues or jazz
  • Live in an apartment but like to listen to music pretty loud

Cambridge Audio CNV-V2 and Dutch & Dutch 8c fits with 75% of your wish list and the 8c can use their electronic wizardry to sort out problematic room acoustics, meanwhile start saving for a turntable.

Dutch & Dutch 8c here
 

cochlea

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That monitor tho’
19497B21-A815-4C0A-BB40-4EF9192311CF.jpeg
 

mightycicadalord

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A sub in an apartment is a great idea if you want to make life shit for every other tent near your unit.

Will never live in an apartment again because of people with subs.
 
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Digby

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I agree, if you have a sub in an apartment (especially modern, paper-thin wall apartments), then you should get be told to lose the sub or get evicted for nuisance.
 

CoupeDeBoulder

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I understand the situation. I'm in a condo. Luckily, I only have to worry about my downstairs neighbor. We've seem to come to an understanding where I only play loud 1/2 album a night. The rest of the time I'm on headphones (hd-8xx, focal Elex, fostex tr-x00 ebony, massdrop thx-789), or at TV volume.

In my bedroom, smsl SU-8/SH-8, he-4xx.

I just recently placed an order with benchmark for an Ahb2, Hpa4, Dac3, and cables/speaker wires (ordered Mar 20).

Last night, placed an order for a Hifi Rose rs250. Depending on how it sounds, I might return the Dac3 and order a second Ahb2.

My speakers are Goldenear Triton 7 and I have an older NHT SW-2 sub, but due to the downstairs neighbor, I don't use it much (the Triton 7 actually has reasonable bass, IMHO).

I'm getting closer to retirement and won't be in this condo past that, so I'll wait until then for new speakers.

My thought process is that I can enjoy the new equipment for now. While I realize that in a couple of years, I could replace the benchmark units for 10x less, I'll still be able to enjoy them until then. Plus I won't wonder if I'm missing something. Or what it is that I'm missing.

I listen to a lot of vinyl. Not because it's better, it's just the way my brain is wired. When I play vinyl, I just listen to the album. When I play digital, I'm always jumping around. I'm thinking "that sounds good, what about x,y, and z". And I switch to x,y,z. I don't listen the same way I do with vinyl. I guess I need to retrain my brain...

I've 2 TTs, a Planar 3 with Elys 2 and a VPI Prime, zu dl-103 mark 2, grade 1. I have a Puffin on the P3, a parasound jc-3 jr on the VPI. I'll connect to the Hpa4 balanced out from jc3jr.

The benchmark will replace a marantz sr6012. I gave up with room correction from the sr6012, as it always sounded worse. I have a Goldenear Super Center, and 4 Goldenear SuperSat-30.

So I say go for it. Get the best you can for now, and realize you have limitations. I'd recommend the benchmark units as at least you'll know that you are SOTA. And it fits with your budget.

I love the massdrop hpa, but am really looking forward to have remote volume for the phones. I spend a lot of time adjusting volume by hand (can't reach it from my listening position). It's possibly the best exercise I get.

Long time reader and supporter of ASR. I know I wouldn't have bought the sr6012 if I knew what I know now.

-mike
 
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