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I'm at crossroads.. All in one or separate ?

ubiq

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Hi to all,

Like many of you, probably, I've been wandering through ASR for quite a time without posting, being no engineer nor pure audiophile. Hours and hours of reading :p, and now i need your advice !
But first of all, I would like to thank all the people around, Amir being the first, obviously. Even if i don't understand everything you guys say (so few women here... but the why is a whole other topic, albeit a very good one imo :) ), the knowledge and opinions I've found on ASR are priceless. And this, when you dig into the "audiophile world", becomes literal...

Anyway, here is my first (very long) post, so time for a little introduction, some of my requirements and questions :

The expected goals :
- to be able to listen to music from my laptop and iTunes through a wired connection and, sometimes through Airplay
- to be able to listen to music from my iPhone through Airplay
- to be able to watch videos/movies from a TV box, my laptop, a Blu-Ray Player (so at least 3 HDMI inputs + 1 out).
- to be able to listen to music at average level, and, sometimes, to be able to throw a party for 30-40 people
- ease of use
- good looking devices :p

1.
I'm a male, 50, European, white, (sorry, enough), and I'm lucky to have the opportunity to design my own house, so, as you can imagine, there's a lot to think and plan. My future HiFi setup is one of these tasks, and I'm starting from scratch. My budget is 11K € (12K $). It's a very nice budget, but, still, a lot of money (for me), so i don't want to screw this. I said in the title that I'm at "a crossroad" because i soon will have to finalize the setup (at least in the principles, as the construction process will soon begin), and i stand before two different paths: all in one or separate setup.

2. Like some of you, I'm a 50% music/50% video guy (I know, that sucks), and I've decided not to have a dedicated room for HT (see point 4).

3. I'm not an audiophile but consider myself as a "serious" music lover; I'm listening a lot to all kind of music, and the 80.000+ songs of my library are mostly 256 AAC or 320 MP3 (don't smile : they come from an not so ancient time when i digitized my entire cds collection and got ride of it because of lack of space and ease of use; maybe i will one day embark for the "high rez" world, but a lot of albums i got aren't available on streaming platforms, so for now it's a no go. And to be honest, i almost don't hear the differences (I know, THAT sucks big time, maybe because I'm old, or because I've currently a sh***y AVR and 5.1 Bose speakers :facepalm:, but I'm one of those who now believes it depends mostly on the master quality. Ok, poor argument, but...). What I mean is : even if subscribing to a streaming platform, I'll be totally fine with 16/44.1 files.

4. I go very often to theaters, I don't watch TV often (don't have any) but TV shows and sometimes sports from a tv box, movies from laptop or Blu-ray player, all through a video projector. So, on the video side, i don't care of a 15.8.2 solution or whatever new will come; I don't need huge subwoofers for shattering walls blockbusters movies. For this, i consider myself lucky to be able to go to an actual theater. So, a 4.2 setup would be more than enough for me. I will probably start at 2.2 or even 2.1. At the end you could tell me your opinion about that. The sub(s) will be mostly for the musical part (See point 7)

5. I want the Airplay 1.0 feature, as i'm in the Apple ecosystem

6. I'm convinced of the importance of this different parameters, in the following order : Speakers, Room, Amp, Dac, so i plan to adjust my budget accordingly.

7. In October 2021, i went to the Paris Audio Show and fell in love with the Diptyque DP 107. For me, it was an instant feeling of immersive and precise sound, different from all I've already heard. It's quite expensive, but I think it's worth it (see point 9). I've heard them a second time in a store, and I got the same feeling.

8. The Naked Room: as you can see, that's an almost square room (length 6.2m X width 5.8M, not very good ratio) with a big opening towards the kitchen; side walls are brick walls, front and rear are plaster, 4 windows (2 big ones on the rear, but they all will have roller shades), and the wooden slates ceiling has a double slope with a horizontal part in the middle (highest point : 3.6m).
I probably will need a Room Correction Software to get the most of it.

Plan-empty.jpg

section.jpg

PRO-B-R3-SALON-02y.jpg

PRO-B-R3-SALON-01z.jpg


8. Below, the living room with furniture and a dirty simulation of the DP 107: as you can see, we've decided to go the Phantom Center's Way for HT. The screen will be above the opening. Due to the room setup, i will need looooong cables from amp to speakers and subs (around 8 meters); i plan to have them in the concrete slab through a tube, and have them out by a plate "strategically" placed in the wood floor.

Plan-setup.jpg

PRO-B-R3-SALON-01x-DP107.jpg


9. Pre AV Amps are ridiculously expensive to me, and in budget AV Amps seem to be a little underpowered for my room and my needs, so I think I'll go with the following setup:
Speakers : Diptyque DP107---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------6.500€
AV Amp as Pre Amp : Anthem MRX 540-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2.000€
*Front & Right output ---> RCA to XLR ---> AMP Boxem ARTHUR PURIFI 4215/E2 with gain setting adjusted ---> Speakers -----------------------1.700€
*Sub(s) output ---> RCA to XLR adaptor ---> XLR cable ---> 2X Monoprice Monolith 10'--------------------------------------------------------------1.200€
Cables: generic, basics -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------400€ ?
Dac USB for wired connection; Lossless/HiRes: MacBook--->USB--->TOPPING D10S DAC --->SPDIF optical--->Anthem MRX 540 --------------------100€

TOTAL ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------11.400€

Overall, I'm quite in budget, but any cheaper suggestion is welcome (but the speakers); I'm not looking for SOTA devices, but very good ones.
Links:
Diptyque DP107 : https://diptyqueaudio.com/en/products/hifi/dp107
Boxem ARTHUR PURIFI 4215/E2 : https://boxem-audio.eu/en/stereo-amplifiers/10-arthur-4215e2.html
Anthem MRX 540 : https://www.anthemav.com/products-current/type=av-receiver/model=mrx-540/page=specs

And at last but not least, questions for you !!!!!

A
: Do you see anything f****d up in this setup? (I'm concerned by the rca-xlr connection; what do I loose, if I loose anything, especially regarding the power?)

B : I ruled out an all-in-one solution, e.g an Anthem MRX 740 or Denon AVR-X6700H (both 140W), cause I thought it would be short of power regarding my room size and my requirements. Correct?

C : I ruled out Denon x3700 as pre amp, because it seems all the channels have to be filled to be used indeed like a pre amp: correct?

D : ARC seems a little better than Audyssey : correct?

E : Use of an AVR as a preamp (allowing me to upgrade for Surround Speakers later) or miniDSP SHD+HDMI switch+ Boxem ARTHUR (more or less the same price, but HDMI switch is a pain, and ARC seems a little more friendly than DIRAC) ?

F : One or two subs, for a total budget of 1.200€? I want to cover the 20-25Hz/80-100Hz zone to unload the Arthur and expand the DP 107 Bandwidth. I'm concerned by a long cable connection from the RCA output of the Anthem 540; I don't want wireless connection with sub.

F' : Based on my requirements and profile, do I even need a sub (the speakers are very good down to 40Hz)? Do you think it's really a gamer changer ?

I know there's a lot to unpack, but feel free to comment or help me, any opinion welcome ! Cheers. ASR rules.
 
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charleski

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I wouldn't call myself an expert on this sort of system, but since no-one else has replied:
B : I ruled out an all-in-one solution, e.g an Anthem MRX 740 or Denon AVR-X6700H (both 140W), cause I thought it would be short of power regarding my room size and my requirements. Correct?
The Boxem is 210W. The difference between that and 140W is 1.8dB. Which is not very much at all, both will be able to put out over 90dB at your listening distance of 4m. I wouldn't rule out all-in-one just because of power.

F : One or two subs, for a total budget of 1.200€? I want to cover the 20-25Hz/80-100Hz zone to unload the Arthur and expand the DP 107 Bandwidth. I'm concerned by a long cable connection from the RCA output of the Anthem 540; I don't want wireless connection with sub.

F' : Based on my requirements and profile, do I even need a sub (the speakers are very good down to 40Hz)? Do you think it's really a gamer changer ?
Definitely yes to subs for a system like this. They say 40Hz in the specs, but that doesn't really mean anything without a proper measurement. Flat panel speakers generally roll off pretty fast in the bass. Two subs will make it easier to integrate them with the main speakers and get a flattish bass across the listening area. Your room is reasonably large, and two subs will obviously make it easier to get a decent bass level. The RCA cables will end up being 10m long which shouldn't be a problem as long as they're properly screened and you don't have ground loops.
 

dlaloum

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Hi,

Most of what you want should be achievable with a full function decent quality AV Receiver (all in one solution!)

BUT

As another lover of panel speakers...(listened to many different Electrostatics, Planars, owned several Quad Electrostatics... never liked the distinctive sound of "boxes" ) - panels are often relatively difficult loads - sometimes looking at the amps used to demonstrate them, will give a hint as to what is required... - Given that the speaker is an "exotic" - it may have unusual power and / or current requirements (may have an "interesting" impedance curve, dropping to very low impedance at some frequencies)
They are demonstrated at audio shows with the Merrill Thor amplifiers - 200W/8ohm, 400W/4ohm - sadly no information as to how well they handle 2 ohm (which would be the telling factor for difficult loads) - however the Merrill website specifically states "Will drive speakers down to 1 ohm."

Why do I highlight this? - First review of the speakers indicate that they like a reasonably powerfull amplifier (150W suggested...) - and the makers choice of amplifier also implies you should aim for something with high current / low impedance capability.

Typically the onboard AVR amplifiers are not ideal in this kind of situation....
Having said that - I have speakers that are a similarly difficult load, and have run them with excellent results on a 140W/[email protected] AVR (measured at over 170wrms/ch when driving only 2 ch) - even though the AVR is rated for only 4 ohm and over (speakers drop to 1.6 ohm).
But, the speakers sounded better (not massively better, but noticeably better) when driven with a Crown XLS2500.... providing 440w/ch @ 8ohm, and rated at 1200W/ch @ 2 ohm (!!!).

My suggestion would be to go for an upper end AVR with rated power of at least 120W/ch @ 8ohm - as a starting point... make sure that it has all the pre-outs that you need, so the option is there for an external power amp later on. (hence the Denon X6700 would be suitable... as would the MRX740)
One of the reasons to go for the higher end AVR's is that typically they have larger power supplies as well as more powerful amps - so can supply the current needed for difficult loads. (typically they will also have all the decoder standards, room EQ software etc...)
If you find that you need external amping - most of that requirement will be the front L/R (and C if you go that way) - and you would then have enough power to drive the rears using the AVR.
In terms of SPL power needs... at 86db/w you don't need more power than provided by these AVR's.... but if they are a difficult load, the speakers may need more current than an AVR can provide...
The Boxem Amps, using Hypex NCore are 2ohm capable.... but at 2ohm they provide barely more W's than at 8ohm.... so effectively the equivalence would be 1/4 the 2ohm power rating when driving such difficult loads (as a rule of thumb) - so 450w/4 - it is circa a 110W amp into difficult loads. - this is very similar to the Thor that they use to demo them - so should be fine.

Another suggestion:
if your room / layout / plan allows it - use a center speaker
I have repeatedly tried phantom speaker setups (4.1/4.2) but ultimately returned to center speaker as being the best option.
Perhaps the smaller DP77 for center?
Major constraints here will be what sort of screen you are using (Direct or projected...) - and room/house layout construction possibilities etc... (acoustically transparent screen with room behind it for a speaker?.... enough room for a dipole panel?...)

The X3700 AVR would be fine, especially if you are using external amp for the front speakers... (measures very well!)

Audyssey with the new adjustability provided by the App, has made up ground - and seems competitive with ARC (although I would have put ARC ahead, before the app was released) - another consideration might be one of the AVR's with DIRAC Live - reviews of that Room EQ system are very positive. (having said that, few and far between are the reviews of room EQ systems with dipole / panel speakers...)
Recent reviews of DIRAC Live v3 with its phone and PC apps, seem to indicate that ease of use is good... (I have yet to try it, and am waiting for the new generation Onkyo/Integra with Dirac)

Subs:
1) I never could get a sub that sounded "right" with my Quad electrostatics - panel speakers can be difficult that way!
2) I would suggest smaller subs - maybe down to 6" - less SPL granted, but they tend to be "faster" - and match better with panel type speakers... focused mainly on music... a single 6" sub may sound too light for movie effects
3) For movies - bigger sub is probably better - Sub integration for more than one sub can be tricky, and is only available integrated into the AVR in upper end models... - yes you will want one or more subs for home theatre use... (in a perfect world, I would have 4 x 6"subs run via an appropriate RoomEQ system eg: Dirac DLBC )

Hope that helps & good luck
 
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ubiq

ubiq

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Hi,

Definitely yes to subs for a system like this.
Yes!
I would suggest smaller subs - maybe down to 6" - less SPL granted, but they tend to be "faster" - and match better with panel type speakers... focused mainly on music... a single 6" sub may sound too light for movie effects
The Diptyques' manufacturer said the same : "fast" subs. But what is a "fast" sub ? :D

My suggestion would be to go for an upper end AVR with rated power of at least 120W/ch @ 8ohm - as a starting point... make sure that it has all the pre-outs that you need, so the option is there for an external power amp later on. (hence the Denon X6700 would be suitable... as would the MRX740)
I've read that the amp's power should be around 1,5x the handling power of the speaker. Do everyone agree with that?
But yeah, I could start with the MRX740 for example.
So, both have the same power (140W/8ohm), the 6700 is a bit cheaper, and it comes down to Audissey or ARC. Any opinion ?

Another suggestion:
if your room / layout / plan allows it - use a center speaker
I have repeatedly tried phantom speaker setups (4.1/4.2) but ultimately returned to center speaker as being the best option.
Unfortunately, it's impossible in my room, as it would stand right in the middle the opening, or above the screen, but it's very high and I think it would produce an unwanted effect.

The RCA cables will end up being 10m long which shouldn't be a problem as long as they're properly screened and you don't have ground loops.
Yes, that's my concern. Any other advice?

Thank you to both of you.
 

FrantzM

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Hi

Welcome to ASR. Are you all set on the Diptyque?

Because. these days, there are IMO, IME and objectively better speakers,
Looking at their website, I could not find any measurements... They might be somewhere on the website but the "stories", "exclusive" and hand-made abound. No metrics, no measurements. And they are not cheap. They seem to appeal to , yes, audiophiles. They don't go for objective measurable performance in their marketing but audiophile, made by hand, special knowledge of a given person-kind of things. Color me unconvinced, skeptical, even :)

IMO, you can do better with that budget. Much better.
12,000 Euros with a bit of creativity and guidance, gives you all you need and sublime performance... And, Yes! from listening at low volume (60 dB) to shaking the entire house with all 50 people jumping and screaming. Or watching a movie with all effects around you... This budget could even include a OLED TV and full surround (5 channels) plus subwoofers (plural) system , although you're not asking for such.

From Bach to Beyoncé no problem :D

Let me (us) know, . We can proceed from there.

Peace
 

dlaloum

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Hi,


Yes!

The Diptyques' manufacturer said the same : "fast" subs. But what is a "fast" sub ? :D
Typically one that has very low mass, and very pistonic motion... large diameters are more prone to flex of the cone, resulting in slight delay and smearing.

It is particularly noticeable to those of us who have spent years with stats...

In any case, that is why I suggest smaller subs... also preferably, sealed designs, rather than ported ones.
I've read that the amp's power should be around 1,5x the handling power of the speaker. Do everyone agree with that?
No. Not at all. My Gallo Nucleus Reference 3.2 speakers, are rated at 150w. Yet their designer used to demo them at audio shows with a 500 w ( 8 ohm ) amp.

You are less likely to damage most speakers with more power , than with less. A 50w amp clipping will do a lot more damage than 300 clean watts!.

Yes there are exceptions... ESL57's are prone to self destruct if fed too much power... which I know all too well !!
So, both have the same power (140W/8ohm), the 6700 is a bit cheaper, and it comes down to Audissey or ARC. Any opinion ?
With the new audissey app, or the optional multeq-x software, I would go Audissey. Without those, ARC.
( but personally, I have ordered an Integra DRX 3.4, so i can try Dirac, with external lcr amps)
 

Gorgonzola

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Have I misread something in the OP's post? Seems to me he wants a stereo system yet is looking a AVR as preamp. Allowing that he wants room correction, I still don't see that point. (Handsome premises by the way.)

I would suggest, perhaps, the NAD M33 to replace the Anthem AVR and Boxem Arthur. The NAD M33 includes Dirac Live and BluOS streaming, (he doesn't mention wanting off-air FM radio). Or if he like Anthem and Boxem so much, then simple get an Anthem STR preamp that includes Anthem's room correction.

If our OP insists on the Diptyque DP107 planar speakers, then I would suggest some sort of room treatment, perhaps a sound diffusers behind them. Personally I'd be looking at Revel Studio2 in that space, or Revel F208 for less cash.

nad-m33.png
 
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charleski

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The Diptyques' manufacturer said the same : "fast" subs. But what is a "fast" sub ? :D
Yeah, this terminology is meaningless. Although we don't have measurements, the DP107s are dipole speakers and will behave much the same as other dipoles in the bass. For an example, take a look at the FR of a typical Magnepan:
Mag16fig2.jpg

There's a peak corresponding with (speed of sound)/(2 x width of baffle) and below that it drops off at 18dB/octave (12 from the speaker, 6 from the open baffle). Now a ported sub will also produce a peak in the midbass (the exact location will depend on the size of the cabinet and port as well as the driver), so now you're juggling two midbass peaks that need to be compensated with positioning and EQ. A sealed sub doesn't produce this peak and rolls off more slowly, and I think you'll find that makes it easier to integrate with your main dipole speakers. Sealed subs are supposed to have better 'transient response' (though I'm really not sure what that means) which is probably where the 'fast sub' notion comes from.
 

dlaloum

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Have I misread something in the OP's post? Seems to me he wants a stereo system yet is looking a AVR as preamp. Allowing that he wants room correction, I still don't see that point. (Handsome premises by the way.)
You missed his intent to set up a 4.1 system dedicated to 50% home theatre...

I would suggest, perhaps, the NAD M33
The NAD alternative has merit... but not stereo given the goals... perhaps the T778.

It has hypex based class d amps... similar tech to the boxems albeit lower power.

It also comes with DIRAC and I believe may have the option of DLBC... ( not sure on DLBC)

If the two sub outputs are independent then Dirac can also optimise 2 subs.

My concern with the NAD(s ?) Is they didn't measure all that well here at ASR.

On the other hand they get plenty of rave reviews, and my past experiences with NAD products have all been positive.
 

Gorgonzola

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You missed his intent to set up a 4.1 system dedicated to 50% home theatre...


The NAD alternative has merit... but not stereo given the goals... perhaps the T778.

It has hypex based class d amps... similar tech to the boxems albeit lower power.

It also comes with DIRAC and I believe may have the option of DLBC... ( not sure on DLBC)

If the two sub outputs are independent then Dirac can also optimise 2 subs.

My concern with the NAD(s ?) Is they didn't measure all that well here at ASR.

On the other hand they get plenty of rave reviews, and my past experiences with NAD products have all been positive.
Yes, missed about the OP's desired 4.1 system: my apologies to all.

The NAD M33 uses Purifi, nor Hypex, modules. It has been pretty well reviewed here at ASR.
 
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ubiq

ubiq

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Have I misread something in the OP's post? Seems to me he wants a stereo system yet is looking a AVR as preamp. Allowing that he wants room correction, I still don't see that point. (Handsome premises by the way.)

I would suggest, perhaps, the NAD M33 to replace the Anthem AVR and Boxem Arthur. The NAD M33 includes Dirac Live and BluOS streaming, (he doesn't mention wanting off-air FM radio). Or if he like Anthem and Boxem so much, then simple get an Anthem STR preamp that includes Anthem's room correction.

If our OP insists on the Diptyque DP107 planar speakers, then I would suggest some sort of room treatment, perhaps a sound diffusers behind them. Personally I'd be looking at Revel Studio2 in that space, or Revel F208 for less cash.

nad-m33.png
Hi,
Funny you think of the m33, it was the first amp on my mind. But I ruled it out because of the budget!!!! it's 5.500€. Dead.
And I would have to add a usb DAC and a HDMI switch (I just read their optional modules aren't even compatible when you want both... what a mess:facepalm:)
 
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Karu

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Are you set on 4.1? If you have the chance to run the cables hidden now, why not run cables for 7.4.4 and start with 5.2.4 setup. Base it on KEF R3.
 
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ubiq

ubiq

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@charleski
Thx. Yes I guess the matching will be the most difficult part

 
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ubiq

ubiq

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Are you set on 4.1? If you have the chance to run the cables hidden now, why not run cables for 7.4.4 and start with 5.2.4 setup. Base it on KEF R3.
To be honest, I don't need multi channels, as it's mostly for music. Maybe I will add surround speakers in the future, but I have to stay in budget and wanted to focus on the quality of the two main speakers.
 
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ubiq

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Hi

Welcome to ASR. Are you all set on the Diptyque?

Because. these days, there are IMO, IME and objectively better speakers,
Looking at their website, I could not find any measurements... They might be somewhere on the website but the "stories", "exclusive" and hand-made abound. No metrics, no measurements. And they are not cheap. They seem to appeal to , yes, audiophiles. They don't go for objective measurable performance in their marketing but audiophile, made by hand, special knowledge of a given person-kind of things. Color me unconvinced, skeptical, even :)

IMO, you can do better with that budget. Much better.
12,000 Euros with a bit of creativity and guidance, gives you all you need and sublime performance... And, Yes! from listening at low volume (60 dB) to shaking the entire house with all 50 people jumping and screaming. Or watching a movie with all effects around you... This budget could even include a OLED TV and full surround (5 channels) plus subwoofers (plural) system , although you're not asking for such.

From Bach to Beyoncé no problem :D

Let me (us) know, . We can proceed from there.

Peace
You're right, but there's also something important, as you have those speakers all day long right under your nose : the design.
The objective fades into the subjective world....
I ruled out the PMC twenty5.24i (too expensive) and the Q acoustics 500 (both in white).
I've listened to several speakers, and these Diptyque were über convincing compared to regular boxes (for my ears, of course). It's the kind of "immersive sound" that bought me...
 
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ubiq

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Hi ubiq,
Welcome to ASR !
Just a question, are you affiliated with Diptique Audio or french audio business ?
You are ready to spend 10000€ in French products only, not common even for french peoples.
You are going to spend 11000€ or 12000€ in order to integrate these 6000€ speakers without any measurements.
You could buy some of the best active monitors on the market.
And I can’t understand the use of so many rca-xlr adaptors for connecting products you don’t already have.
Habu
:D:D:D:D
Ahem...Not at all... Boxem is a luxemburgish brand and Topping is a chinese one :p.
Regarding the expensive speakers, it's totally true that i have no measurement. Nichts. Nada. But I heard them; yes, hours of ASR reading have taught me not to trust my brain, but I pick them after a blind test. It's not for a monitoring purpose. And, as I said, it's a tough compromise between aesthetics and performances. If you could advise me some active speakers, it would be nice.
I didn't even consider Martin Logan speakers 'cause i find them ugly (sorry) and ruled out Magnepan because of their sizes.
The multi RCA-XLR stuff comes as a consequence of some choices regarding the different devices (i've to match different outputs/inputs). For sure, a all in one solution will be the best regarding cables management !
 
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FrantzM

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You're right, but there's also something important, as you have those speakers all day long right under your nose : the design.
The objective fades into the subjective world....
I ruled out the PMC twenty5.24i (too expensive) and the Q acoustics 500 (both in white).
I've listened to several speakers, and these Diptyque were über convincing compared to regular boxes (for my ears, of course). It's the kind of "immersive sound" that bought me...
Well if you are convinced .. then not much anyone can add.
I would however stress that there re alternatives. The notion of "box" sound has no correlation to actual measurements.
As for design .. beauty in the eyes of ... etc

I maintain that for much less you could get much more if you were to opt for a different speaker or system ... In the here and now, ESL and ribbon speakers have not shown any superiority to other designs.
What you are contemplating is in the line of more traditional approach.. That of an Audio shrine. Amp + preamp + Speakers.

Out for now. Not much I can bring to the table.

peace
 
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ubiq

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I see what you mean. The fact is, I was surprised to like the sound of these panels, because i had absolutely no expectations. I shouldn't have say "box", but maybe "directive"?
The Audio Shrine is perfect until you want to add some videos features.... Then you begin to make compromises, starting with the budget...
Regarding the Diptyques, the "buy" button is not ready yet (I have to wait for the house to be build !), and maybe some "serious" reviews will pop up soon !
 

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