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Looking for advice regarding desktop audio setup with surround


Feb 2, 2022
I work from home, game, and listen to music in my cloffice, so the system has to fill a few roles.

I started out the year with a desktop setup consisting of the following -
Denon 4311ci (Toslink from PC)
Dynaudio Emit M10
Emotiva Sub
Klipsch HTIB Surrounds
AudioGD NFB 11.28 (USB from PC)
Audeze 2C

I decided it was time to upgrade my desktop speakers and the simplest move for me to make given that I enjoy Dynaudio in general was to move up to the Evoke 10s. Then I sort of spiraled out of control a bit... I bought a VTV 2 stereo Purifi amp to power the fronts and did an in home demo of the SVS SB 3000 Micro vs. the comparable REL sub. I wound up keeping the SVS due to some feedback I was getting on the REL.

This is where I started having some issues. The speaker noise floor was raised into the audible area with the Purifi amp and that was exacerbated when I tried to demo the AudioGD as a DAC source. Disconnecting the AudioGD and reworking some of the cabling got me to a reasonable level of noise floor, inaudible at the seated position.

I wanted to use a discrete DAC, so thinking I might be able to buy my way out of the problem, I ordered a Topping D90SE and A90D stack, hoping that would cure the feedback... it did not. There hasn't been a way to use the DAC as part of the signal path without introducing static, which is irritating at best, but extremely loud when gaming. Basically any other input into the receiver causes an audible hiss, which grows to static in games. I did a lot of troubleshooting like separating wires, grounding, ferrite modules on the cables, using different power circuits, disconnecting devices from the pc one by one, etc before giving up. The Denon AVR has at least 1 failed component (NIC), so it's possible it has something to do with that device.

So I decided to try cutting out the Denon AVR completely. This led me down the path of Dirac live to get a decent DSP filter set up while using the D90SE as a Preamp. I'm pretty impressed with Dirac compared to Audessey. The noise floor is 0, which is great in a desktop setup.

Here's where I am as of this post ($3,050) -
Topping D90SE -> XLR (splitter) -> Purifi & SVS Sub
Topping D90SE -> RCA -> A90D
Dirac Live
UMK mic on the way

I can say it does sound quite nice, even at lower volumes. Perhaps a bit clinical / bright at higher levels, but I still have some experimenting to do. The big issue is the lack of surround sound, which I already miss when gaming and watching streaming video.

All this resulted in spending $3,000 (I say snuck because the original plan was just to upgrade my main speakers) in electronics alone, but at least during the honeymoon period, I'm happy with the sound quality.

And now the question... Assuming a budget of roughly $3k, do I scrap the kinda odd Purifi / Topping stack and just buy something like the ARCAM AVR11 or NAD T 778 of Anthem MRX x40? It seems like overkill (funny adjective to use in context of this post) to buy a state of the art AVR and only have 1 optical input in use. Will I be giving up much in the way of 2.1 quality?

If you made it to the end, thank you!
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