• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Just fired up my first ever Hifi set-up. It's OK?

tonycollinet

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 4, 2021
Messages
3,221
Likes
4,780
Location
UK/Cheshire
I was not talking about the brightness there,I was talking about the evident electrical problems he hears (static,crackles,etc)
I'd say that is more likely to be ground loop noise. Which would also explain why removing the preamp helped:

Only one, instead of two sets of analogue interconnect to develop the noise. Question to OP - are you using fully balanced interconnect throughout?
 

Mart68

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 22, 2021
Messages
1,246
Likes
2,177
Location
England
What i see is a dip between 1-4KHz,that's not brightness,and the peak up to 14KHz,is insignificant,takes a few degrees to eliminate it.
I think there must be another kind of problem there,something electric,mains maybe?

If he lives in a country where he can put the plug either way you want believe what I have seen in analyzer,mains harmonic going up to 60db if put the wrong way.
Peak circled. Will be even more obvious due to the broadband dip right before it:



The peak much higher up (c. 15Khz) won't be an issue I agree.

The static/crackles thing is a totally different issue. Maybe it is the plugs, I don't know anything about that. There's only one possible way to plug things in in the UK.
 

Sokel

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 8, 2021
Messages
1,675
Likes
1,220
1663492597187.png
And for better view


1663492641397.png


That's not even mains plugged wrong,that's a (strange) device inserted in the grid.
We are blind without an analyzer,we're lucky @pkane offers us that so generously.

Edit:The red graph is with the strange device put in a different socket in the house,the green one is just the dac as sits in the rack.
All else identical.
 
Last edited:

DSJR

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 27, 2020
Messages
1,931
Likes
2,476
Location
Suffolk Coastal, UK
Different untreated rooms can do all manner of things to how one perceives a speaker. I had a pair of Rogers 'BBC' LS5/9's for some years and these were designed specifically to push the upper hundred Hz band back in level by 3 - 4dB or so, to help hard listening programme editors over several hours. I heard these speakers in several different rooms and the perceived balance varied from a slightly stark sound with 'wonderful' depth of soundstage, to a thuddy muddy dull sound with 'tinsel' on the top (that tweeter isn't the most extended or 'delicate' and can sound 'one note cymbals' all too easily.

The Chora range fits in at a slightly difficult price point. making them measure dead flat (until the tweeter takes off) may well cause listener fatigue with the audiophiles who buy them with all manner of iffy partnering equipment, so having the dip there may help - I heard them once and didn't find the sound 'dull' or unpleasant (I haven't been able to hear 13k and over for many years but until fairly recently, 10kHz was just possible ;) The Revels may well measure superbly, but used with inappropriate 'domestic grade' sources and amps, might sound a bit 'cold' if you get it wrong I'd suggest, but then, they'd probably sound so 'clean' it wouldn't matter at all...
 

Triliza

Active Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2021
Messages
262
Likes
305
Location
Europe
I think is covered multiple times,with graphs too,I'm surprised none has come to that.
There's only one right way to plug a device and apart from "sound" there are safety issues too sometimes,some devices have their fuse on the Live line for example and if you connect them the wrong way it's the Neutral that goes there.
I don't have my measring stuff connected now,but I have measured probably a thousand times my house and friends houses the last month and the difference with the plug the wrong way is more than 20db on the mains distortion (where it exists).

Generally,the right way is this:

View attachment 231694

It's easy to test with a tester with a lot of caution of course.

Edit:I have seen and I owned devices that indicate the right way with a little light for example,usually at the back,right next to the plug.
We use the 2 round pronged outlets in Europe (type c I think), so I suppose the above doesn't matter in our case?
 

Sokel

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 8, 2021
Messages
1,675
Likes
1,220
We use the 2 round pronged outlets in Europe (type c I think), so I suppose the above doesn't matter in our case?
If you can plug it both ways it matters,and it matters a lot!Even if you can plug it only in one way there multiple occasions (specailly in older houses) that the wall plug is not correctly wired.
I always check,wherever I am.
 

Matthias McCready

Active Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2021
Messages
201
Likes
248
If you can plug it both ways it matters,and it matters a lot!Even if you can plug it only in one way there multiple occasions (specailly in older houses) that the wall plug is not correctly wired.
I always check,wherever I am.
Wiring mistakes are quite common, and if you test you will find them in lots of homes and venues. I would be more worried about gear releasing "blue smoke" due to a bad wiring job than extra noise. When I was early on in my path of audio a friend convinced me to start carrying a multi-meter on me to test outlets, only takes 10-20 seconds to test an outlet. If the outlet doesn't give me what I am expecting I don't plug in, so I haven't experienced a lot of "noise."

---

I do remember being at a friends house that had lots of audible electrical noise (hum, hiss, and more); his house was extremely old and I had the idea that the grounds were not working at all; which is not safe to say the least, electricity is no joke. So it certainly is possible due to bad wiring.

---

I have found that "dirty power" or "noisy power" also has a lot to do with what devices might be plugged in on the same circuit as well; ie fridges or other kitchen/commercial appliances such as blenders, toasters, or microwaves can have some interesting interactions; also really cheap devices (Ebay special $10 LED's or some such thing) tend to output noise as well, you know the type of product that is so cheap it is probably isn't UL tested/listed.

Moral of the story long as you aren't on the same circuit as your kitchen, don't have absurdly cheap devices on the same circuit, and your wiring checks out you should be fine, and should not have any electrical noise.

---

To the OP:

1) If you don't enjoy these speakers, find something that you do. The speakers are the biggest factor in the chain by far (well outside of the microphone used on the front end, which is out of your control). Keep in mind your room impacts how your speakers translate. Once you get into a certain level of loudspeaker, they may not flatter certain records or mixes. My "listening system" is some fairly inexpensive vintage British bookshelf speakers that I quite enjoy, there is nothing flat about them, but they are quite pleasing to listen to. My mixing rig is comparatively extremely expensive pair of active monitors. With out a doubt the monitoring rig is more high-end, but it will pull apart a poorly mixed album in a way my other system won't. I enjoy listening to music on them both.

2) Your ears are unique to you, and they are biological, how we hear is a little different every-day. How we hear changes based on if we have had a cold, and what kind of noise exposure we have had etc. You may also find that you need to "train them." For more on this see my next point. :)

3) With respect, do you know what you are listening for? Doing a little listening and learning could be helpful for you (Harmon How To Listen, Train My Ears etc). Or hanging with someone who can listen to the same thing in the same room, and show you what they love listening to, and why. To the point I had an "audiophile" friend who complained what a rubbish recording Vince Gauraldi Trio's Charlie Brown Christmas album was, I had to explain that the "white noise" he was hearing was actually the drummer using brushes and that this is a common technique utilized by jazz drummers. :) You don't know until you know I suppose!
 
Last edited:

Mnyb

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Messages
1,594
Likes
2,116
Location
Sweden, Västerås
To simplify you seem to have transparent enough electronics, that should not have impact on the sound ( unless that crackle is something broken ? ).

Don’t bother with cables or mains filters and other woo.

So it’s all down to speaker room interaction.

Try other speakers, get room eq capability and tone controls. Room eq to fix the room tone controls to fix the music ( it’s not always produced well or to your taste ).

To be sure that your amp and DAC is not broken , try line out from your pc to some borrowed or spare amp you got.
Line out from pc may be noisy compared to a good DAC , but tonality should be ok.

Try the same speaker in different rooms and locations?
 

DanielT

Major Contributor
Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
3,493
Likes
3,019
Location
Sweden - Слава Україні
The 826 don't measure so well in terms of FR




Suck out from1.5-4Khz may account for the 'dullness', then the peak right after for the discomfort.

Have you experimented with speaker position and angle and what is the room acoustic like?

You may need better speakers to get properly blown away. Most of the sound is speakers and room acoustic. If they are not good then changing anything else will not fix it.

To this day it puzzles me how DIY speaker FRs are often better than expensive commercial speakers. Cmon people. It just isn't that tough!
The question is not the FR itself. It is of course free and up to each loudspeaker manufacturer to manufacture whatever type of loudspeaker with whatever FR they want. The question is whether the manufacturer's given spec is correct or not:

20220918_133833257.jpeg


+/- 3dB, 48Hz - 28kHz?:
Capture.jpg



 
Last edited:

Sokel

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 8, 2021
Messages
1,675
Likes
1,220
To the OP:
My "listening system" is some fairly inexpensive vintage British bookshelf speakers that I quite enjoy, there is nothing flat about them, but they are quite pleasing to listen to. My mixing rig is comparatively extremely expensive pair of active monitors. With out a doubt the monitoring rig is more high-end, but it will pull apart a poorly mixed album in a way my other system won't. I enjoy listening to music on them both.
So one of the factors about choosing a system must include music gender/quality of recordings/purpose (home listening,mastering,etc) anf of course room (the big speaker) if I understand it right.
 

Ported

Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2022
Messages
38
Likes
25
If you are getting crackling and hiss then I would suggest you find the reason for that as a priority (unless of course it's vinyl ). Such a system should be pretty much dead silent .. stinks a bit of some sort of clock confusion to me which can appear to play ok but the struggle to do so makes the hf hard and bright. If you try a different source .. maybe optical out of the TV or something and it still gives some hiss and crackle your DAC -> amp chain needs lookimg at . If it stops and sounds generally better then your pi is not talking to your DAC as it should I think.
 

fpitas

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
2,031
Likes
2,302
Location
Northern Virginia, USA
Why not just try the FusionDSP plugin for Volumio? I will let you try out various EQ options easily, and it’s totally free.
EQing that peak at 4.5kHz might make a big difference. Filling in the trough might help, too.
 

Tom C

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 16, 2019
Messages
1,107
Likes
966
Location
USA
Do you have a pair of headphones you like that you can try listening through? If so, do the problems go away when you use them?
 
OP
A

ash87

Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2022
Messages
31
Likes
9
I think is covered multiple times,with graphs too,I'm surprised none has come to that.
There's only one right way to plug a device and apart from "sound" there are safety issues too sometimes,some devices have their fuse on the Live line for example and if you connect them the wrong way it's the Neutral that goes there.
I don't have my measring stuff connected now,but I have measured probably a thousand times my house and friends houses the last month and the difference with the plug the wrong way is more than 20db on the mains distortion (where it exists).

Generally,the right way is this:

View attachment 231694

It's easy to test with a tester with a lot of caution of course.

Edit:I have seen and I owned devices that indicate the right way with a little light for example,usually at the back,right next to the plug.
I checked the polarity of the wall recepticle as well as all three power cords (DAC, Preamp, Amp). The preamp (Toping Pre90) power cord is reversed polarity.
 
OP
A

ash87

Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2022
Messages
31
Likes
9
I think the FR does indicate brightness, there is a peak of 2.5dB at around 4Khz, a 3dB peak would be twice the loudness of the surrounding frequencies, so 2.5dB - that's going to be audible. If the room is not well-damped that won't help either.

I also use Focal but a much older and more expensive model, they are explicit but there is no brightness since they don't have that peak in the presence band like the 826. Also my room is treated for HF absorption/diffusion.
For lack of better language, the "brightness" is almost more felt than heard.
you could try the speakers on the short wall, put a bit more distance between you and them. Also don't angle them in towards you, have then facing straight ahead.

On the wall behind you use something soft - curtain, cushions, whatever, to absorb high frequency bounce,

If none of that works then change the speakers. Don't expect it to burn in or for you to get used to it, that won't happen. Accept it isn't working and change it.

Both the Revel and JBL look good in measurements (although the F208 is better than the F206 if you can find the extra).

On a sorted system the vast majority of recordings will sound good and showcase recordings should blow you away. Don't settle for less!
I figured that would be the most appropriate set up but it just doesn't work for the family dynamic and the play/dance space (3.5 and 5 y.o kiddos).

The salesman from the distributor I bought the Chora's from swears by burn in, but I really don't know. He said running the speakers with tubes would probably help, like a Vincent hybrid or Primaluna. Just going from what I glean here and there, the rule of thumb is to spend most of your budget on the speakers and less on electronics. He said he job is to avoid a return, so he was focusing on electronics (at least being honest). He was also suggesting a Naim. Their bread and butter is Primaluna with Focal(Aria and up)/Tannoy/Klipsch.

I'm eyeing Ascend Acoustics as a speaker replacement, they're just 30 mins down the freeway. Might even just audition first to get some idea what a proper system sounds like.

I can suggest a Topping D30 pro (has volume control) and Genelec 8050. You won’t likely need a sub. If you can stretch the budget the Genelec 8340 or 50. The GLM is worth the extra. I think your source is fine.
Originally was heading Genelec route but my wife thinks standmounts look like droid robots. Her words were, "I feel like I'm going to wake up and that thing is going to be in the bedroom staring at me" (shrug emoji)
My ears always hurt when listening to music as well and then I got a giant pair of 1965 bozak Symphonies and it was never a problem again. I used to use a tube amp and now I use an aiyima a07
This is awesome and hilarious thinking about having a killer system with an $80 amp and 57 year old speakers.
I'd say that is more likely to be ground loop noise. Which would also explain why removing the preamp helped:

Only one, instead of two sets of analogue interconnect to develop the noise. Question to OP - are you using fully balanced interconnect throughout?
Yes. The noise isn't really an issue. It was just when I first switched things up on one song.
Wiring mistakes are quite common, and if you test you will find them in lots of homes and venues. I would be more worried about gear releasing "blue smoke" due to a bad wiring job than extra noise. When I was early on in my path of audio a friend convinced me to start carrying a multi-meter on me to test outlets, only takes 10-20 seconds to test an outlet. If the outlet doesn't give me what I am expecting I don't plug in, so I haven't experienced a lot of "noise."

---

I do remember being at a friends house that had lots of audible electrical noise (hum, hiss, and more); his house was extremely old and I had the idea that the grounds were not working at all; which is not safe to say the least, electricity is no joke. So it certainly is possible due to bad wiring.

---

I have found that "dirty power" or "noisy power" also has a lot to do with what devices might be plugged in on the same circuit as well; ie fridges or other kitchen/commercial appliances such as blenders, toasters, or microwaves can have some interesting interactions; also really cheap devices (Ebay special $10 LED's or some such thing) tend to output noise as well, you know the type of product that is so cheap it is probably isn't UL tested/listed.

Moral of the story long as you aren't on the same circuit as your kitchen, don't have absurdly cheap devices on the same circuit, and your wiring checks out you should be fine, and should not have any electrical noise.

---

To the OP:

1) If you don't enjoy these speakers, find something that you do. The speakers are the biggest factor in the chain by far (well outside of the microphone used on the front end, which is out of your control). Keep in mind your room impacts how your speakers translate. Once you get into a certain level of loudspeaker, they may not flatter certain records or mixes. My "listening system" is some fairly inexpensive vintage British bookshelf speakers that I quite enjoy, there is nothing flat about them, but they are quite pleasing to listen to. My mixing rig is comparatively extremely expensive pair of active monitors. With out a doubt the monitoring rig is more high-end, but it will pull apart a poorly mixed album in a way my other system won't. I enjoy listening to music on them both.

2) Your ears are unique to you, and they are biological, how we hear is a little different every-day. How we hear changes based on if we have had a cold, and what kind of noise exposure we have had etc. You may also find that you need to "train them." For more on this see my next point. :)

3) With respect, do you know what you are listening for? Doing a little listening and learning could be helpful for you (Harmon How To Listen, Train My Ears etc). Or hanging with someone who can listen to the same thing in the same room, and show you what they love listening to, and why. To the point I had an "audiophile" friend who complained what a rubbish recording Vince Gauraldi Trio's Charlie Brown Christmas album was, I had to explain that the "white noise" he was hearing was actually the drummer using brushes and that this is a common technique utilized by jazz drummers. :) You don't know until you know I suppose!
Not sure what I'm listening for TBH. Like I said earlier, it was simply a matter of "I don't want to listen anymore because it's physically uncomfortable.
To simplify you seem to have transparent enough electronics, that should not have impact on the sound ( unless that crackle is something broken ? ).

Don’t bother with cables or mains filters and other woo.

So it’s all down to speaker room interaction.

Try other speakers, get room eq capability and tone controls. Room eq to fix the room tone controls to fix the music ( it’s not always produced well or to your taste ).

To be sure that your amp and DAC is not broken , try line out from your pc to some borrowed or spare amp you got.
Line out from pc may be noisy compared to a good DAC , but tonality should be ok.

Try the same speaker in different rooms and locations?

There's really not much crackle. I think we can disregard the crackle issue for now. It was on an older track for the first time I took out the preamp. Most music sounds fine with respect to static, crackle, background noise. I'm going to pin up some fabrics behind my couch and see how that affects things. There's a floor carpet between me and the speakers and we have some tapestries various walls, so there is a bit of mix of absorptive/reflective, just not so much on the back listening wall.
Why not just try the FusionDSP plugin for Volumio? I will let you try out various EQ options easily, and it’s totally free.
Thanks for the tip, I was going to look into Volumio dsp options next.
Do you have a pair of headphones you like that you can try listening through? If so, do the problems go away when you use them?
I wish. I also don't have a headphone amp in the system.

Can you put it the other way around?Does your country's plugs allow it?
No, everything can only be one way. It may be that Topping want's it that way? The preamp is working. Again, I don't think the noise is really an issue.

_______________________

Thank you all for the effort at helping me out! :) I really appreciate it. Gonna try a little room treatment on the back wall and play with speaker pleacement more. I think the best thing I can do is see about an audition at Ascend Acoustics just to know what a good system should sound like. Possibly ordering a miniDSP flex just to see how that changes things. Playing with some DSP in Volumio. Learning a bit more about speaker placement (McGowan's book). Letting the speakers run as much as possible as a superstition about "break-in" or "ear training". Ultimately getting another pair of speakers in here as a comparison would likely give me the most peace of mind.
 

Sokel

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 8, 2021
Messages
1,675
Likes
1,220
No, everything can only be one way. It may be that Topping want's it that way? The preamp is working. Again, I don't think the noise is really an issue.

_______________________
Now wait...
I don't know anything about countries code of electricity but if you're about to import something in a country with specific code you have to follow it,right?
That can't be right.
If someone else knows better can inform us and also inform the owners at the Pre90 thread to take care of it if needed.
 
Top Bottom