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Improve music listening with around 200$ - Wharfedale diamond 12.1

EpoXi

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Hi everyone,

I'm setting up a new desktop system and have the Wharfedale diamond 12.1 speakers on order,
which I intend to drive with an old JVC amp, mostly for music listening.

Is spending around 200$ on a DAC or a DAC+new small AMP (Say the SMSL SA300) a good idea to improve my listening?
If so, would love to hear some recommendation.

Thanks,
Daniel
 

Joe Smith

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Depending on the aging of caps and other components in the JVC, answer is "probably yes"... There are so many good amp, dac, or amp+dac choices in the sub-$250 range right now. Your personal choice re aesthetics may be the main factor in whether to buy a combo unit or keep separate. I like generally to keep things separate, but there are some nice all in one units now. As you can tell from other comments on here, many good reviews and customer experiences with Aiyima, Topping, SMSL products. I love the Aiyima a07 amp, it's quite a value, and for me plenty loud with the standard 32v/5a power supply. My main DAC is still a Schiit Modi that pivots between headphone duty and going to amp/speakers.

The other option would be restoring the JVC if you like the sound and look, or another restored vintage integrated amp or receiver. I use a lot of both new and vintage equipment. My main restored components are a Marantz 2216 and Kenvood KA-3500, both "low end" power models of their time that, restored, punch way above average. That route depends a lot on your access to a really good tech, hard to find locally in many places.

Those 12.1s are very easy to drive to higher volume levels, so you'd have a lot of not expensive options for good sound!
 

dominikz

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IMHO one of the best ways to very significantly improve sound quality for not a lot of money is to buy a calibrated measurement microphone (e.g. UMIK-1 or similar) and start measuring.
Based on measurements you can then optimize your loudspeaker positioning (if needed) and also use REW + Equalizer APO to create correction filters for remaining room resonances.
Buying a measurement mic was possibly the best single HiFi purchase I did :)
 
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EpoXi

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Thanks Joe,

My idea was to first buy the speakers and slowly upgrading around them, and so amp was my next thought, until i found out that maybe a DAC can improve the overall quality the most.
I relate to the view of leaving things separate and looked at the Aiyima a07, and the Schiit modi 3 (which I cant seem to find in stock on Amazon atm) but before purchasing I thought its a good idea to get some real world recommendation.

I have also thought about adding a subwoofer in the future, and I'm not sure if I will be able to pair it to the Aiyima. Found out that there are multiple ways to do so and got a bit cofused.

About restoring my old JVC, its a very simple model, and im not sure its worth the effort. The model is RX-212.
I stuck with it because I like its simplicity and its never had any issue.

dominikz,
I would not have think about this option and will go ahead and do some reading, Thanks!
 

dominikz

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My idea was to first buy the speakers and slowly upgrading around them, and so amp was my next thought, until i found out that maybe a DAC can improve the overall quality the most.
Actually, these days DACs are really some of the most transparent audio devices available (unless really terrible, broken or severely misused).
May I suggest to have a look at this thread, with level-matched sound clips from a ~20$ vs a ~270$ DAC.

Good luck and have fun on your audio journey! :)

EDIT: Sorry, forgot to add the link above - fixed now!
 
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