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Micca RB42 Challenges, think I need Amp recommendations

JPsDeskSet

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Hi All! First post.

I am trying to get the best out of a set of Micca RB42's I have on my desk. They are exactly the right fit for the limited space I have. I have been dealing with using a simple portable BT speaker for my work desk for a while and decided it was time to finally invest in something I will enjoy.

When I first got the RB42s, I plugged them into a Pioneer sx-780 I stole from another room and my jaw dropped at how good these were even crammed on my desk. Simple headphone to RCA cable with the loudness switch on and these things were AWESOME.

Unfortunately, the Pioneer isn't an option for my office so I bought a Loxjie A30. Sounds ok, but some constant sibilance I notice while listening to DefTones and other really busy rock/punk tracks. The best example I have been able to isolate the issue is with female vocals (Adele - Hello on the "h" of hello and "s" on outside while she belts the chorus). No issue from the Pioneer, but the Loxjie a30 (via USB and RCA) and now Aiyima a07 (RCA) have both let me down. Seeing that I am using RCA just like the Pioneer, I am ruling out it was a DAC issue or source issue.

I can get over the relatively flat sound of a cheaper amp but this harsh sibilance gives me a headache in my small office.

Does anyone have recommendations for a good, cheap DAC/Amp combo or all-in-one unit specifically to pair well with the RB42?

I am looking at an old NAD 7140, pairing with a cheap DAC, but thought you awesome people might have better insight to what's going on.
 

JayGilb

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Welcome to the forum, glad you found us.

I don't personally have any amp recommendations, but here's a link to all of the amp/dac reviews: ASR Reviews. Click on the "Audio Electronics" button to get to the DAC/Amplifier reviews.
Maybe someone will chime in and offer their recommendation.
 

Curvature

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Hi & welcome.

The issue is not with the amp but with the Micca RB42 speakers. I'm not surprised you are hearing those problems.

IMO there is no reason to buy small passive speakers and separate amps when there are so many good small active speakers on the market. The only extra problems actives have are audible hiss, heavily depending on listening distance (the shorter, the more likely it is you'll hear it), and the need for a separate interface, ideally with balanced outputs to prevent ground loops.

However if you don't want to give them up, try the Audioengine DS2 desktop stands (or any similar product) so that your Miccas tilt up and hopefully point more towards your ears. This will address their directivity, which makes off axis listening unforgiving.

The other thing to do is to download and install a program like Equalizer APO with the Peace interface, or use a PEQ plugin in your media player, and EQ them to taste. This will alleviate, but not solve, some of the issues you are hearing.
 

PatentLawyer

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In a desktop environment with a generally fixed location, Dirac can work wonders even on speakers with DI issues. Keep your amp and try Dirac first (14 day free trial).
 

Curvature

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In a desktop environment with a generally fixed location, Dirac can work wonders even on speakers with DI issues. Keep your amp and try Dirac first (14 day free trial).
Disagree with "work wonders", but still worth trying, as you say.
 

Jeromeof

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I have similarly 'bright' small bookshelves and use the basic tone controls to lower the treble on the Aiyima T9 works pretty well in my small 'office' workspace.
 

PatentLawyer

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Disagree with "work wonders", but still worth trying, as you say.
Sorry that you didn't have a great outcome in your situation. I've got full range 3" drivers on my desktop, which I figured would be nearly a worst-case scenario given their DI issues. But it worked out amazingly well.
 
OP
J

JPsDeskSet

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So much help, so quickly! Thank you all.

@Curvature - I was narrowing down to the audio engine A2s vs trying to build something with RB42s. Wanted to try the RB42s to have the potential of mixing, growing swamping down the road. I honestly forgot that the A2s were a decent contender. If I can't solve the problem, might go back to that. Also, I have some foam stands helping with directionality.

In terms of tone controls, this is helping, a lot. Silly newbie... I thought tone controls increase/decrease the volume of the sound, but bringing down the treble to -3dB on the loxjie has gotten rid of 80% of the sibilance issue. I'll start messing around with software equalizers next to see where that gets me.

Thank you all!!!

I'll post a follow with my progress.
 

Steven Holt

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I told myself that I would not post/comment till I donated to ASR, but I couldn't resist your post. I own the RB42's myself and while they have their problems, they are a very good bookshelf speaker overall IMO. I am running them with the Topping PA3s and a Topping D30 DAC. I recommend this combination to you. The desktop stands that Curvature speaks of may help, with a slight amount of toe - in. People on ASR are not crazy about it, but the Schitt Loki may be of benefit -- it's simple and easy to use. Finally, focus in on the benefits of this neat little speaker, how it can dig down deep, how good it is in nearfield below -10dB.
 
OP
J

JPsDeskSet

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Final update. I returned the RB42's. Considering how many people like them, I am convinced I got a bad pair. The peaking/sibilance was just too much, even at lower volumes, near field, foam isolation pads, angled up from the desk towards me. I ran them on everything from Aiyima, Loxjie, and SMSL under $200 and even a NAD C 326BEE. By the time the treble was turned down enough to mask it, the vocals sounded veiled and cheap. So many harsh peaks when playing direct. Reminded me of listening to badly compressed MP3's from back in the day. Maybe it was a bad cross over, or something with on of the tweeters, but I couldn't isolate it.

Running some Paradigm Atom SE's I borrowed from my garage, while I wait on a few more options to come in and try desktop again.

The good news, I now own my first NAD amp and got to play around with several low cost class D amps.
 

Curvature

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Final update. I returned the RB42's. Considering how many people like them, I am convinced I got a bad pair. The peaking/sibilance was just too much, even at lower volumes, near field, foam isolation pads, angled up from the desk towards me. I ran them on everything from Aiyima, Loxjie, and SMSL under $200 and even a NAD C 326BEE. By the time the treble was turned down enough to mask it, the vocals sounded veiled and cheap. So many harsh peaks when playing direct. Reminded me of listening to badly compressed MP3's from back in the day. Maybe it was a bad cross over, or something with on of the tweeters, but I couldn't isolate it.

Running some Paradigm Atom SE's I borrowed from my garage, while I wait on a few more options to come in and try desktop again.

The good news, I now own my first NAD amp and got to play around with several low cost class D amps.
I doubt the speakers you had were broken. That peaky, ugly sound you describe came through in the measurements here. Makes you wonder about the ears some reviewers have.
 
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