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I lurked here for a year, then upgraded my whole system. My thoughts, aimed at other lurkers and casuals

psperl

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#1
I love what this forum provides. I'm an engineer, so I believe in measurements. I can't read traditional audio reviews and publications where audio gear is described like wine with flowery language. I started lurking here because I was ready to buy new gear to last me a lifetime, but I didn't want to spend the huge sums asked by many high-end audio companies.

I quickly decided to buy a separate DSP/DAC and Class D power based amp on the conversation here. An affordable amp that measures well, is physically small, runs cool, and sips power? SIGN ME UP. The problem is that I was stuck in analysis paralysis. I didn't want to buy ICEpower after seeing the Hypex results. Then Purifi came about and I didn't want to buy Hypex. Forget the DSP situation where every day another one would post good results. I waited and waited. Eventually I bought a miniDSP and a stereo Purifi amp from one of the better regarded manufacturers that doesn't do any questionable stuff with the input buffer. Anyway, here's what I ended up with:

Before: Nvidia Shield -> Yamaha RX-V1800 -> KEF T305 (2 T301s on each R/L channel, plus the T2 sub)
After: Nvidia Shield -> miniDSP SHD -> Purifi Amp -> Ohm Walsh Tall 2000s + Rythmik E15HP2 (1000W Sealed 15" sub)

I replaced the speakers first - and it was the biggest improvement. I love the Walsh speakers, but the moral for me is that speaker selection is a much bigger part of the pie than amp or DSP selection, and probably deserves more research and proportion of budget. The Rythmik sub is awesome for its size, although I feel like I literally never push the thing to its limits.

I added the miniDSP SHD next. It's whisper quiet and I can't hear any hiss at max volume. That said, I couldn't hear any sound quality improvement from the DAC itself relative to the Yamaha, but Dirac is a game changer. I don't think I can listen to non-room-corrected bass anymore. Night and day. I now consider it a requirement.

I then replaced the Yamaha completely with the Purifi amp. It's perfect. It's tiny, quiet, and cool. No hiss even at max volume. I literally believe that I will never buy another amplifier again. Why would I need to? That said, I am unable to hear an audible difference compared to the Yamaha other than MAYBE at absolutely ear-splitting volumes.

Why am I saying this? Because I researched for MONTHS and agonized over these decisions, but In the end I can't hear any difference from the DSP + Purifi amp in regular listening over the big Yamaha. Maybe other people can, my ears aren't particularly sensitive, I'm just passing on my experience. I would buy both again because of Dirac and the amazing value class D amps can provide, but I also think I would have had the same experience with a cheaper Hypex amp. Not to mention I could have saved months of internal debate.

I have a lot of respect for the old Yammie. I don't know if it measures as poorly as the new ones or not, but it sounded great and lasted me a decade.

TL;DR - Dirac good. Don't stress so much about the having the very best measurements, you probably won't be able to tell anyway. Buy good speakers.
 
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Sgt. Ear Ache

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#2
I think it's a misconception that many of us "stress" about having the best measurements. There's lots and lots of info on this site about the limits of audibility and most of us are well aware that beyond a certain point there's no real audible gain to be had even though the measurements might be better. Usually, it comes down to features and extras like remotes and so forth. You won't find many around here claiming there are audible differences between amps unless one of them is pretty crappy...

We value measurements because they are more reliable guides to good gear, not because we think it's always necessary to buy the equipment that has the best measurements. I have bought a couple things just because they measured better even though I knew I wouldn't hear an audible benefit though but that was mostly only because the item was also really inexpensive as well and it was more or less an "ah why the hell not?" type of decision.
 
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psperl

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Thread Starter #3
I think it's a misconception that many of us "stress" about having the best measurements. There's lots and lots of info on this site about the limits of audibility and most of us are well aware that beyond a certain point there's no real audible gain to be had even though the measurements might be better. Usually, it comes down to features and extras like remotes and so forth. You won't find many around here claiming there are audible differences between amps unless one of them is pretty crappy...

We value measurements because they are more reliable guides to good gear, not because we think it's always necessary to buy the equipment that has the best measurements. I have bought a couple things just because they measured better even though I knew I wouldn't hear an audible benefit though but that was mostly only because the item was also really inexpensive as well and it was more or less an "ah why the hell not?" type of decision.
I agree 100%. Many times I read posts on ASR making this point, and I don't think I've ever seen anyone claim they could hear a 3db difference. I'm just pointing this out because technical people like myself can get lost in the numbers regardless.
 
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