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Help with an upgrade path for small office streamer/TT setup?

AlphaSorel

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Hi, I'm looking to take the small TT setup in my office and expand it into a dual TT/streaming space for near field listening. I've been pouring over the reviews here and on other sites, and the more I read into things, the less clear my upgrade path becomes. I quite frankly don't know what I'm looking for in terms of technical/scientific/objective measurements, I only know that what I have isn't exactly cutting it.

My home office is a 12'x12'x8' room in a newer house. It has some cheap acoustic treatment for the occasional amateur hour VO work with a dynamic mic, but it's not a "hifi" space. My current equipment, listed below, works as long as I don't crank the volume up too much. Much beyond 70db or so it starts to get harsh and sibilant.

Current equipment:

-Audio Technica LP120XUSB w/ VM95ML cart
-Pro-Ject Phono Box S2 phono preamp
-Schiit Magni 3+ Amp/Headphone amp
-A pair of Samson Resolv RXA6 active studio monitors

This is kind of an amalgamation of random equipment. Nothing really goes together or was purchased with this specific setup in mind, except the phono pre and the TT were paired. You might also realize I have no real option for wireless music/streaming. Right now I'm unplugging the input on the Magni and plugging in a portable bluetooth adapter with a 3.5mm to RCA splitter so I can stream from my phone. Not ideal.

While the audio from this sounds *fine* at low volumes, it's nothing special. The studio monitors obviously weren't designed to be used as hifi speakers. While they provide a relatively flat response and do ok in the treble dept (maybe due to the ribbon tweeters?), I do feel they lack a bit in the soundstage, the bass isn't particularly tight, and the amp hiss is noticeable. There's also no remote control for...anything. Not even volume control. Though I guess that's not a deal breaker, it would be nice to have.

What I enjoy is detailed listening at lower volumes. I listen to a lot of different genres, but primarily I enjoy rock/metal, jazz, classical, and movie soundtracks. Being able to hear minute detail in a busy mix is something I strive for.

The one thing I don't want though is a heavy bass response. My home office is directly above a bedroom, while the current equipment does not pose a problem, adding a subwoofer or anything super bass heavy is a nonstarter. I generally listen to the existing setup at around 60-65db, which is quiet enough it does not disturb anyone downstairs.

I'd like to get this to a point where I can use the setup for both vinyl and high quality streaming audio. What needs replacing, what can stay, do I keep going with active speakers or invest in an amplifier and passive speakers instead? What kind of budget should I even be targeting? I would say budget itself is not a strict limitation, but I don't want to spend anything too crazy. I think $800-1000 is a nice starting point, but I could go as high as $2,000 if it made a significant difference in the listening experience.

A couple of options I've been considering:

-Upgrade the speakers to another active set, such as Klipsch The Fives/Sevens, or KEF LSX II LT's which offer a bluetooth connection built in. Probably around an $800-1200 upgrade

-Ditch the existing phono pre and amp, and buy an integrated amplifier of some sort, but it needs to be compact/half width. I've had several recommended to me in the past, including the NAD D3020, Mission 778X, Rega Brio, etc. I would then need passive speakers too, which I don't have any ideas for at the moment. I'm guessing $1000-1500 for this, minimum.

-Switch entirely to a headphone listening setup. I don't think this is necessarily a good idea? I wouldn't even know what to look for if I did want to go that route.

-Somehow find a way to fit a full size AVR with room correction like a used Denon X3500H. Again I'd need to buy some passive speakers for this and I have no idea what would be comparable/better to my current ones. Probably $1000 for the AVR + speakers.

Please help a noob that's hopelessly in over his head figure out what to do, or at least where to start? I don't even know where my speakers sit in terms of accuracy & response curve as they seem to have been overshadowed by Samson's other Resolv lineups and thus were not widely reviewed, so it's difficult to know if any given speaker is an "upgrade" or a "downgrade"

EDIT: I'm also seeing an option for a standalone room correction module through something like a MiniDSP. Are these worth it instead of pursuing a different amp entirely?
 
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AlphaSorel

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I guess I'll rephrase and ask a direct question. Would the following upgrades be worth it for my use case and acoustic environment?

- Klipsch LSX ~$500 used for a pair, replacing Samson Resolv RXA6
- miniDSP DDRC-24 - $450 new, added to chain before (replacing?) Schiit Magni 3+

I see the LSX speakers are reviewed and recommended here. I just have no reference to how they'd compare to the 6" active speakers I already have. Really that's the biggest unknown here as I can't seem to find any real measurements on how my current speakers compare. I do know when I bought them they were $250 apiece and were "recommended" for entry level audio mixing with a "flat" frequency response, but that's about it.

Alternatively I could just buy the miniDSP and see how they far with the existing equipment, maybe they will improve the sound noticeably on its own. This would also provide me with a UMIK-1 mic which I could use to measure the speakers I currently have and evaluate whether they should be replaced or kept, using this helpful guide. I could keep the miniDSP even if I decide to later go with passives and an amp, as it would allow me to just purchase any quality amplifier rather than worry about whether or not it has decent room correction built in.
 

BDWoody

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Glad you bumped this back up! Hopefully you will get a few to respond.

Backing up a bit, what is your budget for this next step up?

Starting with the premise that speakers are going to matter most, and being a big fan of powered monitors myself, looking into some of the JBL, Neumann or Genelec options might give you a great starting point.

These are a remarkable value:

I'm not familiar with your speakers, but found this thread from a while back:

 
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AlphaSorel

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Glad you bumped this back up! Hopefully you will get a few to respond.

Backing up a bit, what is your budget for this next step up?

Starting with the premise that speakers are going to matter most, and being a big fan of powered monitors myself, looking into some of the JBL, Neumann or Genelec options might give you a great starting point.

These are a remarkable value:

I'm not familiar with your speakers, but found this thread from a while back:

Hi, thanks for the response.

Budget isn't really a strong limitation in that I don't have a strict maximum, but I do not want to go spending money where it's not necessary. Just going by what I have, I feel like a $1000-1500 upgrade is probably the limit without replacing everything else already in my chain. That's why I'm wondering if it's a good idea to add something like the miniDSP to the chain now, as it gives me access to tools for measuring my existing speakers & correcting for room noise, and gives me a baseline for later comparison. I can then add better speakers or a better amp after I have that baseline established.

JBL 308p looks like the same price range as what I have, so without a comparison I could just be doing a lateral "upgrade" or even a downgrade going to something that? I don't know, and that's kind of my dilemma.

This is the only information I can find on the RXA6 speakers, straight from the manual:

1714928265270.png


I can't even find a generic spec frequency response curve anywhere. All I ever see are relatively short reviews that claim they perform "better than their price class," whatever that means.

Re: SE6 topic, the SE6 speakers are a different design so they wouldn't be comparable. They use a completely different type of tweeter and I'm not sure the woofer drivers are the same either (woven carbon fiber for the SE6's vs copolymer w butyl surround fort he RXA6's), as well as they have a different crossover design.
 
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AlphaSorel

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I think I keep getting auto-flagged by the spam filters when I edit my posts, so I'm going to just add here instead of editing my last. I could potentially go with something like the Neumann KH120 II active monitors with DSP. That eliminates the need to buy a separate DSP module, and I have a pair listed locally at a pro audio store for $1600 open box.

I've been reviewing and these seem pretty good. They're recommended here by amir, and the $400 discount on the pair makes it seem like it'd be difficult to get a better deal elsewhere? They are designed for near field listening too so they should suit my listening distance of 3-4ft well.

Would I be making a mistake by buying those?
 
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AlphaSorel

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Here's one possibility @ $600 ($300 + $300).

Kali LP-UNF - Erin's speaker review ($300)

WiiM amp/streamer with RCA turntable input ($300)

There are, of course, incremental upgrades in the Kali line as well.
I've seen good things about the WiiM streamer, but from my understanding it doesn't support Apple Music natively? That's pretty much all I use these days for music streaming. Actually now that I'm looking there's not a lot that does...I may want to pivot to something with an HDMI audio input so I can just hook up to the Apple TV or something.

Regarding the speakers, I think I'd prefer something in a higher price class. The higher end Kali line didn't seem to get a very good review from amir. Even though they are "recommended" in the index the actual review text points out multiple problems and he seems unhappy with the results. They also seem to have issues with my use case, so I think I'll pass on those.
 
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ShadowBoxer

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When the requirements change often the recommendations change with them.
 
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AlphaSorel

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When the requirements change often the recommendations change with them.
Such is the nature of asking for help when you don't know what you don't know. Sorry if I don't know exactly what nuanced requirements might exist, my basic assumption is a "streaming" device supports "streaming" software, and would run on something like an android app with play store access. It's only after I looked at the specific one you listed I saw it was something proprietary. I was originally just going to go with a bluetooth/airplay option anyway ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
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AlphaSorel

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I did ultimately get the Wiim Pro Plus and the Neumann KH 120 II's. Local store had only a single open box unit but they still honored the $1600 price for a pair. Sounded really good especially with the DSP room correction active so it should be a nice upgrade. I listened to some genelec and JBL actives while I was there but they didn't sound as good to my ear.

Afaik the Wiim Pro Plus supports airplay 2, so I'll be able to cast apple music to it no problem. Had to grab that on Amazon though.

Thanks for the help on this, especially with the Wiim line. I'd never heard of it before but I think it'll be perfect for my needs!
 
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