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Help me upgrade my budget system

Galliardist

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If you can listen for six hours a day with that setup in that environment, I wouldn't spend too much money on it right now.
In bad environments, you can find that "improving" the system just exacerbates room problems.

What changes you do try, be sure you can reverse them. You can't go too wrong with changing EQ, blocking ports and changing the position of the speakers, because all can be easily reversed, so give it a go.
 

Webninja

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I have two nearfield systems, one with Neumann KH80 and one with JBL 305s.

Unless the volume is high enough or I’m really listening carefully, I’d be hard pressed to pick one over the other.

If you have the urge to upgrade, as others have suggested, I’d upgrade the speakers and I’d go active.
 
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aerochrome2

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If you can listen for six hours a day with that setup in that environment, I wouldn't spend too much money on it right now.
In bad environments, you can find that "improving" the system just exacerbates room problems.

What changes you do try, be sure you can reverse them. You can't go too wrong with changing EQ, blocking ports and changing the position of the speakers, because all can be easily reversed, so give it a go.
Thanks, I'm going to try the sealed configuration and re-run the ARC room correction first and see how it goes.

My only question is whether to bother with an extra miniDSP to add a high pass crossover the speakers.
 
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aerochrome2

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I have two nearfield systems, one with Neumann KH80 and one with JBL 305s.

Unless the volume is high enough or I’m really listening carefully, I’d be hard pressed to pick one over the other.

If you have the urge to upgrade, as others have suggested, I’d upgrade the speakers and I’d go active.
Interesting, thanks. The urge to upgrade is strong, but I think I will hold on for now.
 
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aerochrome2

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ZolaIII

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Any thoughts on using something like this: https://www.hlabs.com/products/crossovers/index.htm (https://www.parts-express.com/FMOD-Crossover-Pair-100-Hz-High-Pass-266-274) instead of buying a miniDSP to add a high pass filter to my speakers?

I found the link in another thread here but I can't find anything else about people using it. Seems like an ideal solution if I need a simple 100hz high pass without adding an extra ADC layer with a mediocre DAC in my chain.
Seams interesting and cheap enough that you won't have much regrets even if you figure out you can get without it but keep it one step at the time first try siled than consider those. As much as I can see they are out of stock currently anyway.
 

Chromatischism

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Option 1: Add a Second SVS SB-1000 PRO with the goal of flattening the curve on my low frequencies (not for extra bass). Unfortunately, the room is tight and I could only add the second sub about 2 feet to the right of my existing sub (i.e., also under my desk, but to the other side). I wouldn't have much if any room to experiment with positioning since the rest of the room has furniture, etc. for other uses, and I worry about the potential dual-sub benefit with them being so close together. (Cost = approx. $500 - $600).
Because you can't spread them out, this is not worth it for your use case of listening to music at 75 dB or lower. They will just act like one sub with double the output.

Option 2: Replace Emotiva BasX with something focused on SINAD like the Topping LA90, or a prebuilt Hypex NC252MP or Hypex NC502MP from Buckeye or another company. (Cost = $600 - $1,000 depending on model, minus return from sale of existing amp).
You won't take advantage of the amps unless you're pushing your speakers beyond 85, even 95 dB. You will not even notice this upgrade.

Option 5: something I haven't considered. (Cost/Budget = $1,000 - $1,750) - I am not inclined to upgrade the turntable right now as it was my grandfather's and has sentimental value. I also can't do much with room treatment since it is a shared space.
My suggestion: you need loudness control due to your listening levels. Basically, we need the bass and treble to be perked up a bit to account for our higher sensitivity to midrange frequencies and lower sensitivity to low and high frequencies at low volumes. Your electronics should be the source of this. If you can't achieve this, then I would suggest...

Option 3: Replace the KEF Q150s with another passive speaker (perhaps the LS50 Meta). (Cost/Budget = $1,000 - $1,500 depending on model, minus return from sale of existing speakers).
Your speakers actually need a curved response rather than a flat one at 75 dB. I suggest looking at the Paradigm Founder Series 40B bookshelf. They are well-engineered with a slight curve at the bottom and top of the range. These will likely be a revelation to you, and the only real audible hardware upgrade of your choices here. The only reason I haven't bought them yet is because my system sees 85 dB and 95 dB on occasion, so I'm afraid I need a flat-measuring speaker. Bass and treble tilts become too strong at high levels. That's also why I use dynamic loudness, so that the adjustments come into play at lower levels, but go away at high levels.

 

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ZolaIII

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@Chromatischism sumerised it would be Yamaha R-N803 (al do it's not exactly a great thing with speakers that deap to 3 Ohm's like this KEF's but it will work with switch to 4 Ohm's without any problems) if you can find one but;
Q150 will improve when sealed, when cut under 100 Hz equal loudness normalization will have less impact (at least regarding them) and actually as mesured at 85 dB I think they are perfectly in line at 75 dB (-2 dB per 10~12 dB). As he uses mostly fixed output rate to 75 dB (which is hard to believe by me as mine really depends on the mood, hearing state, material, depending if it's background or critical listening, for how long I do it... so it varies a lot) the room correction software will already do all what it needs to be done.
My suggestion for you is to give EBU R128 a try on source when you can (if you don't use it already, I use both. It will cost you a bit of power amplifier output of course).
I don't know my try is to save him from spending money he doesn't have to and get there as much as he can all together.
I mean Q150 aren't bad speakers and sub seams more than deacent, amplifier is a bit filmsy and lose (as you need to wait for it to warm up but it's performance and power output are then perfectly fine for such speakers and desired loudness level's).
Best regards.
 
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aerochrome2

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Seams interesting and cheap enough that you won't have much regrets even if you figure out you can get without it but keep it one step at the time first try siled than consider those. As much as I can see they are out of stock currently anyway.
Found in stock on Amazon. Will report back.
 
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aerochrome2

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@Chromatischism sumerised it would be Yamaha R-N803 (al do it's not exactly a great thing with speakers that deap to 3 Ohm's like this KEF's but it will work with switch to 4 Ohm's without any problems) if you can find one but;
Q150 will improve when sealed, when cut under 100 Hz equal loudness normalization will have less impact (at least regarding them) and actually as mesured at 85 dB I think they are perfectly in line at 75 dB (-2 dB per 10~12 dB). As he uses mostly fixed output rate to 75 dB (which is hard to believe by me as mine really depends on the mood, hearing state, material, depending if it's background or critical listening, for how long I do it... so it varies a lot) the room correction software will already do all what it needs to be done.
My suggestion for you is to give EBU R128 a try on source when you can (if you don't use it already, I use both. It will cost you a bit of power amplifier output of course).
I don't know my try is to save him from spending money he doesn't have to and get there as much as he can all together.
I mean Q150 aren't bad speakers and sub seams more than deacent, amplifier is a bit filmsy and lose (as you need to wait for it to warm up but it's performance and power output are then perfectly fine for such speakers and desired loudness level's).
Best regards.
Thanks, I so rarely use my computer as a source because it is a work computer where I can't download external software. I could bring up an old laptop and mess around, though likely not a permanent solution.

The warmup on the amp doesn't bother me. I generally leave it on and if it's off, it's not a big deal to get a cup of coffee before I start playing something.
 

ZolaIII

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I ment embedded software in Unison unit. I use older Pentium J laptop (as it works hum less) as deticated network DLNA server (on WiFi) and DSP with similar Yamaha unit (R-N402D). I do it for flexibility and with JRiver as player and on Windows while most folks hire will advise you a Pi bord for such and streamer in generally. Anyway that's of topic for now.
 
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Chromatischism

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@Chromatischism sumerised it would be Yamaha R-N803 (al do it's not exactly a great thing with speakers that deap to 3 Ohm's like this KEF's but it will work with switch to 4 Ohm's without any problems) if you can find one but;
Q150 will improve when sealed, when cut under 100 Hz equal loudness normalization will have less impact (at least regarding them) and actually as mesured at 85 dB I think they are perfectly in line at 75 dB (-2 dB per 10~12 dB). As he uses mostly fixed output rate to 75 dB (which is hard to believe by me as mine really depends on the mood, hearing state, material, depending if it's background or critical listening, for how long I do it... so it varies a lot) the room correction software will already do all what it needs to be done.
My suggestion for you is to give EBU R128 a try on source when you can (if you don't use it already, I use both. It will cost you a bit of power amplifier output of course).
I don't know my try is to save him from spending money he doesn't have to and get there as much as he can all together.
I mean Q150 aren't bad speakers and sub seams more than deacent, amplifier is a bit filmsy and lose (as you need to wait for it to warm up but it's performance and power output are then perfectly fine for such speakers and desired loudness level's).
Best regards.
He stated a budget of $1500 or $1750 and his other options listed will hardly make any noticeable difference to him for his stated goal of better sound quality at low levels (or just better sound quality all around). Also Paradigm speakers are sold by dealers and therefore you can buy for less than the stated MSRP online.

What I'm seeing suggested here is to basically turn the Q150's into LS50's by sealing and cutting their bass, which could be considered a budget mod but ultimately won't get you that far.
 

ZolaIII

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@Chromatischism yes and then you need two 250W monoblok amplifiers and for 2500$ you get a couple of litigation's from neighbours as a reward for using a down ported big floor stand speakers in a apartment. Nicely done indeed!
What he needs more than anything are hanging (removable) acoustic panels and thick curtains over the window's (as much as he can).
 

Chromatischism

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@Chromatischism yes and then you need two 250W monoblok amplifiers and for 2500$ you get a couple of litigation's from neighbours as a reward for using a down ported big floor stand speakers in a apartment. Nicely done indeed!
What? I suggested a bookshelf speaker. I assume he already has stands?
 
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aerochrome2

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Thanks again for everyone's help. I did find half of the KEFs port plugs, so while I wait for KEF to send the replacements, I set everything up with the half plug in (the middle donut piece is missing for some reason). I also added a high pass to the speakers using the 100Hz 'FMOD' that I referenced in a previous post (although per another thread -- https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/fmod-high-pass-filters.18190/) -- I understand the values may be off on the FMOD).

SUBJECTIVELY, I am very very pleased with the difference. I think it is a major upgrade. I know that is all that counts, but I wanted to see if there was anything that could be further tweaked or improved based on the measurements.

As such I ran a quick measurement comparison with my ARC (room correction software) to see the difference between using the FMOD high pass filter vs. no filter at all. For the two "quick measurements", I turned off the sub, so it is just the KEFs. .

I am also uploading my final ARC curves when I add the subwoofer back in with a 110Hz low pass on the SVS. As you can see, my room is awful, but I as I mentioned earlier in the thread, I don't have any real ability to add room treatment. I am also uploading my ARC curve from a few months ago with the KEFs fully in ported / bass reflex configuration and the SVS low pass down at 65Hz.
 

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  • Quick Measure with FMODs 100Hz.pdf
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  • Quick Measure no high pass.pdf
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  • ARC Genesis 9.9.22.pdf
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  • Arc Curve 7.12.22.pdf
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aerochrome2

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Thanks again for everyone's help. I did find half of the KEFs port plugs, so while I wait for KEF to send the replacements, I set everything up with the half plug in (the middle donut piece is missing for some reason). I also added a high pass to the speakers using the 100Hz 'FMOD' that I referenced in a previous post (although per another thread -- https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/fmod-high-pass-filters.18190/) -- I understand the values may be off on the FMOD).

SUBJECTIVELY, I am very very pleased with the difference. I think it is a major upgrade. I know that is all that counts, but I wanted to see if there was anything that could be further tweaked or improved based on the measurements.

As such I ran a quick measurement comparison with my ARC (room correction software) to see the difference between using the FMOD high pass filter vs. no filter at all. For the two "quick measurements", I turned off the sub, so it is just the KEFs. .

I am also uploading my final ARC curves when I add the subwoofer back in with a 110Hz low pass on the SVS. As you can see, my room is awful, but I as I mentioned earlier in the thread, I don't have any real ability to add room treatment. I am also uploading my ARC curve from a few months ago with the KEFs fully in ported / bass reflex configuration and the SVS low pass down at 65Hz.
I realized I had been running the new ARC calibrations in this room with an active PEQ on my SVS Sub. Duh.

I turned it off and re-ran the calibration (attached). As expected, the peak from 50 to 100 dropped a few DBs.
 

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  • ARC Genesis 9.10.22 PM (SVS PEQ disabled).pdf
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aerochrome2

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Since the thread was bumped anyway, I'll add as an update that I got rid of some of the nulls shown in my ARC measurements by moving my sub to the front left corner and pushing the KEFs closer to the back wall.

I am also going to add some corner bass traps since I can do that unobtrusively. I'll give some before and after measurements when they are in, in case anyone is interested.
 
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