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Home office audio system

RHO

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I’m planning on building a nice audio system for my home office. (9m², listening distance ~1m)
I’m mainly looking for nearfield speakers (+subwoofer?) and a DAC + pre-amp/HP-amp.
I have some wiggle room in the budget. Mainly depending on if I find certain parameter-improvements worth the extra cost and total cost in general.
I’ve assembled a set just to give an idea in what budget region I’m looking. This is most likely not optimal, so that’s where you people can chime in and give advice.

DAC: Gustard X16
pre-amp/HP-amp: Gustard H16
Speakers: Adam Audio T5V
Subwoofer: Adam Audio T10S

Gustard X16: (€479)
+ Very good objective performance
+ connectivity options (including BT, balanced)
+ Looks like a good quality build
+ aesthetics
- price

Gustard H16 (€369)
+ Matches nicely with the X16
+ Looks like a good build quality
+ power output (HP)
+ Works as a pre-amp too (I need this!)
- price
- less impressive objective performance than the X16 companion (but still very OK)

Adam Audio T5V (€145 each)
+ Quite nice objective performance
+ price
+ size
+ aesthetics
- treble bump

Adam Audio T10S (€362)
+ specifically developed to work with the T5V
+ price
- Do I need it?

To me the budget seems out of proportion. The DAC + pre-amp is more expensive than the speakers with sub.
An integrated DAC/pre-amp/HP-amp would be nicer than a stack of separates. Would the Topping EX5 be just as good? I need some power for my DCA Aeon RT closed, but 1W should suffice, I guess. (other headphones: AKG K371, Sennheiser HD6XX, Hifiman Sundara )

Alternatives for the speakers I was looking at: (price each)
  • Kali IN-5 (€349)
  • Focal Alpha 65 Evo (€349)
  • Focal Alpha 50 Evo (€279)
  • KRK Rokit RP5 G4 (€149) + S10 G4 (€399)
  • Kali LP-6 (€155)
  • Kali WS 12 => big subwoofer => expensive => overkill? (€645)
 
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RHO

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RME ADI-2 DAC fs > Genelec 8020D, add a sub later as budget allows.
Genelec 8020DPM = €429 each
RME ADI-2 DAC fs = €966

I can see why you like these. Those Genelec speakers measure very nicely. The RME has nice features and good performance.
But I can see disadvantages too. And those are quite important to me.
Very small woofer: bass performance is weak. I could add a subwoofer later, but until then I think I would really miss the bass.
The RME has no BT connectivity.
I can EQ via the source (Equalizer APO). It's quite expensive if you compare it to other DAC/amp combo's or stacks if you ignore the EQ.
The integrated EQ would allow for EQ on all sources which is nice.
 

raistlin65

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acbarn

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Genelec 8020DPM = €429 each
RME ADI-2 DAC fs = €966

I can see why you like these. Those Genelec speakers measure very nicely. The RME has nice features and good performance.
But I can see disadvantages too. And those are quite important to me.
Very small woofer: bass performance is weak. I could add a subwoofer later, but until then I think I would really miss the bass.
The RME has no BT connectivity.
I can EQ via the source (Equalizer APO). It's quite expensive if you compare it to other DAC/amp combo's or stacks if you ignore the EQ.
The integrated EQ would allow for EQ on all sources which is nice.
The RME+Genelec combo is time tested with zero BS engineering involved, which can’t be said about many of the competing products. Always trade-offs…
 

acbarn

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PS - The RME is a very good DAC and headphone amp, plus full featured DSP, in one compact box. It’s unique in that regard. The price is actually pretty reasonable when compared to separates.
 
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RHO

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You could also get a Tempotec Sonata HD Pro or HIDISZ S8, and hide it behind the headphone amp. That's what I do with the Sonata and my THX 789. Got rid of my Topping D50S when I found them to sound the same.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...sonata-hd-pro-review-headphone-adapter.22625/
I need optical and coaxial inputs and BT (I know, BT can be done trough the laptop/pc).
The RME+Genelec combo is time tested with zero BS engineering involved, which can’t be said about many of the competing products. Always trade-offs…
Yes, the Genelec + RME combo is top notch.
I'm considering it. Maybe I can hold off moving my current DAC + amp to the other set and use that for a time while saving for the RME.
The integrated PEQ is a very nice feature.
I'm a little worried about ground loops with the current DAC + amp (all SE connections). I've had issues with that in the past, moving audio gear into the room I'll be using as an home office. That's one of the reasons I want to switch to balanced connections between DAC + pre-amp + speakers.

Does anyone know where to find measurements on the Focal Alpha 65 Evo and Alpha 50 Evo?
I've found Erins measurements and review on the Kali IN-5. Very promising.

I was looking at the Genelec 8030CP (€539). But I don't know if I will be missing some bass with those. I'm quite sure I will miss it with the 8020DPM.
I could start with the 8030 + my current DAC+amp and later get the RME.
... I'm thinking that starting with my current DAC + pre/HP amp will be the best choice. Let's first concentrate on the speakers.

Still... I won't use them for mixing or producing. Just for listening nearfield.
Will I miss anything when I go for the T5V + T10s or Kali IN-5 compared to the Genelecs?
 

khark

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You can get iLoud MTMs instead of a T5v/T10s combo (much less space needed and much more appropriate for your listening distance, easy placement, calibration etc.). Stretching the budget to a Singxer SA-1 might also be worthwhile for your stack.
 
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RHO

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You can get iLoud MTMs instead of a T5v/T10s combo (much less space needed and much more appropriate for your listening distance, easy placement, calibration etc.). Stretching the budget to a Singxer SA-1 might also be worthwhile for your stack.
I was already planning on getting the RME after I get the right speakers. The integrated PEQ looks more and more appealing to me.
The iLoud MTM are nice little speakers. But the calibration looks more like a gimmick if I read Amir's comments correct.
Easy placement is a positive.
 

khark

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It is absolutely not a gimmick and a major plus in my book.

There is a lot written here in the site about Adam speakers and how they are not for everyone, because of their AMT tweeters.
 
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RHO

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It is absolutely not a gimmick and a major plus in my book.

There is a lot written here in the site about Adam speakers and how they are not for everyone, because of their AMT tweeters.
I've read some of the comments. I think I need to put the Adam audio's a bit lower on my list.

At the top of my list for now (price taken into account): Focal Alpha 50 Evo, Kali IN-5
 

Haruko

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I would stay away from genelec 8020 as they simply won't deliver (in terms of soundstage and tonality they are perfect tho)... only reasonable starting point is 8030 and those are much more pricier... i heard t5v and they are simply superb for their price... there is stuff missing from them but for casual listening they sound "pretty", low end is kind of bloated tho + i heard them with t10s which removes muddiness and extends low range *duh*... with t7v (i have not heard them mind u) you could get possibly better mid range resulting in fuller voice
 
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Berwhale

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I'm very happy with Topping EX5 -> Presonus Sub8 -> iLoud MTM. My study is roughly 2 x 3m and the listening distance is under 1m (80-90cm).

MTM's are high passed at 80Hz via the Sub8 and sound better for it. It's also a very compact and simple system. The DSP in the MTMs is much more than a gimick for me. The left monitor is 10cm in front of the rear wall and the right one sits infront of a bay window, about 1m away from the glass. So the ability to automatically EQ the monitors individually was very attractive.
 
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RHO

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So both of you (@Haruko , @Berwhale ) went for a smaller monitor assitesd by a subwoofer.

Where did you place the sub? Somewhere in the room or under the desk? (I think I'll have to place it under the desk => I want a fairly big desk in a small room)
 

Vict0r

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I was in the same situation. Nearfield, small room (mine is about 9m2 as well), DAC/headphone amp combo, desktop speakers. I ended up with the Motu M4 interface, a Sennheisher HD600 and a pair of iLoud MTM's. Covered the window with some heavy drapes, put some thick carpet on the floor, treated the first and second reflection points of the speakers with acoustic panels and calibrated the iLouds using ARC. I am very satisfied with how it sounds. They go low enough for me to skip the idea of adding a sub. :)

Picture, because why not.

WhatsApp Image 2021-09-22 at 09.32.29.jpeg
 

Haruko

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I heard about trick, putting the speaker in the position of your head then moving your head around the place where you want to place the speaker... The place where you can hear the most low end notes is where you place the speaker... Not sure if it works for sub but in theory it should work
 

soundwave76

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ADI-2 and Genelec combo here as well. End game setup (especially with 8331) which will take away the upgrade itch for a loooooooong time.
 
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RHO

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Why not get the 8330 or 8340 and then you don't even need a DAC
How does that work with my headphone amp? Do these have analog outputs too?
And I need S/PDIF to connect a CD player too. And I would like to have BT connectivity too, but that would be just a nice option (can connect phone to laptop -> USB -> DAC)
 
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