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New Set-Up for Small Room - Does This Make Sense?

Steve Dallas

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That could work, paired with a NAD CS1 streamer? I'm spooked by audio quality degradation through Bluetooth now, and Spotify will likely be my audio source for a majority of music I will choose not to purchase on vinyl. I guess I could also drop to the 338 to give me budget space so I can still buy a quality turntable.

Also, will that amp play nice with the ELACs considering they're rated at 6Ω, and the amp is 4 or 8? Do I need to match the impedance exactly?

Solid analog chops from what I can tell. Thanks for the recommendation.

Here is what you need to know about using Bluetooth as a source:



I had the CXNv2 and a CXA60 for several years and really liked them in my home office.
 
OP
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Here is what you need to know about using Bluetooth as a source:



I had the CXNv2 and a CXA60 for several years and really liked them in my home office.
You sent me links to read when I barely know the alphabet. I'll dig deep and get an understanding of what I'm looking at, and then I'll reread those links. More research and learning for me to do in this wonderful community I stumbled upon. Thanks for helping me out.
 

Alice of Old Vincennes

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That pretty much seals the deal on the Arcam 5 then, as I believe it has all the things: DAC, Bluetooth, a phono pre-amp. Thanks for being so helpful. Now I just need to resolve speaker and turntable questions.

One of the best parts of this... "journey"... before actually spending money on anything is the research and learning. Considering I knew literally nothing a couple of weeks ago, if I never pull the trigger at all, I'll still have learned something.
You will pull the trigger. May want to stay on this site for a couple months first.
 

diddley

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And the combo cxa81 cxn v2 works perfectly you could go with its smaller brother, but with bias i am very satisfied.
 

nerdemoji

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you are going to want to invest more money into speakers (the most important part of any system, the biggest determiner of sound quality)
Given the small room desktop setup with an analog source sometimes, you will probably want coaxial speakers, which offer more forgiving vertical directivity(so you can move around a little bit up an down. I personally got the KEF Q150, but your budget allows for the LS50 Metas (when on sale for $1000 for a pair) which are quite good.

the remaining things should be able to be had for the remaining budget
 

Alice of Old Vincennes

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Seriously. Stay on site for awhile. You will go back and forth on ultimate selection. I enjoy discourse and learning with and from so many enthusiasts from all over the world. Amir lifted the veil from grossly overpriced nonsense.
 
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Hey folks! I am getting close! Would you mind critiquing my two options? I really appreciate everybody's help. Part of making a burgeoning audiophile community strong is the welcome you offer to newbies...I am very thankful to everybody for their engagement so far. I am loving my journey.

Set-Up #1 (Higher-End Turntable as a source, sacrificing investment in middle components)
Set-Up #2 (Higher-End, More Versatile Amp, sacrificing source investment)
 

JeremyFife

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This is the fun part :)

Set-up #1 looks brilliant ... but ... seriously, drop down your TT to the Carbon EVO / Planar 2 level and add a better cartridge (Audio Technica VM540ML or Ortofon Blue as maximum price guides ... but the Audio Technica VM95E is fantastic value). Do make sure your TT is properly set up; level, correct tracking weight and cartridge properly aligned. Fiddly, but not complicated. Don't stress about turntables after that.

Enjoy :)
 

Steve Dallas

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Hey folks! I am getting close! Would you mind critiquing my two options? I really appreciate everybody's help. Part of making a burgeoning audiophile community strong is the welcome you offer to newbies...I am very thankful to everybody for their engagement so far. I am loving my journey.

Set-Up #1 (Higher-End Turntable as a source, sacrificing investment in middle components)
Set-Up #2 (Higher-End, More Versatile Amp, sacrificing source investment)

I am not a vinyl guy, so I cannot comment on that.

Keep in mind that the speakers and the room are the two most important aspects of good sound reproduction, and the majority of your budget should go there. Here is a handy list of good performers by price range. (Note the entries from Ascend dominate from <$1000 through $4000 per pair.


The front ports being better for placement against a wall is largely a myth. I will have to look for the files, but I tested this extensively a few years ago. I found that there is no difference as long as the rear ports are placed at least 2x the port diameter from the front wall. Closer than that and the wall becomes an extension of the port and changes the tuning. Another consideration is that rear ports help mask any port noise by directing it away from you. The exception to the above is if you are placing the speakers in an actual bookshelf, in which case you do want front ports.
 
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This is the fun part :)

Set-up #1 looks brilliant ... but ... seriously, drop down your TT to the Carbon EVO / Planar 2 level and add a better cartridge (Audio Technica VM540ML or Ortofon Blue as maximum price guides ... but the Audio Technica VM95E is fantastic value). Do make sure your TT is properly set up; level, correct tracking weight and cartridge properly aligned. Fiddly, but not complicated. Don't stress about turntables after that.

Enjoy :)
I guess going with option 2 would be better, then....or 1 with a reallocation of funds to better speakers. I likely won't upgrade cartridges until I give the preinstalled ones a good taste first, anyway.
 

JeremyFife

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I guess going with option 2 would be better, then....or 1 with a reallocation of funds to better speakers. I likely won't upgrade cartridges until I give the preinstalled ones a good taste first, anyway.
For me, option 1 with the cheaper TT and upgraded speakers (or just funds held back for a potential upgrade as those Elac's are pretty good). Either way, enjoy the experience
 
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Hello, friends....new guy here again. Here's where my internet research spiraling has led me to so far. I really appreciate everybody's helpful feedback. I am leaning toward #1 or #2 right now, but in all honesty, I am in info overload and paralysis mode. I'll bet I never buy anything and I'll just continue nerding out on reviews and specs forever...

Option 1 - Bias Toward Turntable Quality & Scale
PROS: my analog source is high quality and scalable (X1B can go to balanced connections with MC cartridges as an example) and I will be happy with any of these turntables for at least the next 5-15 years. I really feel like I am going to go deep on vinyl.
CONS: Although easier to accept than the budget imbalance in #3, I am spending ~50% of my budget on my turntable. The Wiim is not scalable if I move to larger spaces, and I can't use it as a preamp to something better/larger.

Option 2 - Direct Drive Convenience & Build, Bias Toward Speaker Investment
  • Turntable: Technics SL-1500C (built-in phono stage)
  • DAC/Amp/Streamer: Wiim Amp
  • Speakers: ELAC Debut Reference DBR62 or, because I would bypass a phono stage, I could pour an additional +200EUR over the 500EUR price into something more refined for small rooms with better sound quality. Or I could buy stands. Or a sub, not because I need more bass, but for the benefit of letting the speakers focus on mid/high frequencies. Likely I don't know what I'm talking about.
PROS: With the other options, I may be severely underestimating how important auto-stop convenience and direct drive speed accuracy is. The turntable's built-in phono stage allows me to pour more money into better speakers or stands as my budget breakout would be 50% turntable, 15% DAC/amp/streamer, and 35% speakers/stands
CONS: The Wiim is not scalable if I move to larger spaces, and I can't use it as a preamp to something better/larger. I wonder if I am doubling down too much on punchy, dynamic sonics with a class D, as well as Technics TT, instead of matching more warm and full sonics from other TTs to offset that dynamic.

Option 3 - Bias Toward DAC/Amp Quality & Scale
PROS: The Stereo 70S is likely a DAC/streamer/amp solution I can grow into, for home theater, gaming, and expansion into larger spaces with a stupid amount of input and output connections
CONS: I am spending ~50% of my budget on the Stereo 70S, and 25% on turntable and speakers each.
 
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Steve Dallas

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I don't know anything about turntables, but...

Spend the bulk of the budget on the best speakers you can afford. The DAC and amp matter much less. Those Elacs are good speakers for the price, but there are many better speakers available. If the plan is to start with those and upgrade later, by all means carry on.

I use a full size Denon 4800 AVR as a source (HEOS), DAC, and preamp in my system, and it works well. The Marantz you are looking at is the 2 channel version of this, and it may suffer from flawed design. You may want to research this more before buying.

 

JeremyFife

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Take your thinking back to basics: the biggest impact on good sound (by far) are your speakers and the room you put them in.

Source and electronics come a long way after. You want a turntable, so that's cool, but don't ignore the fundamentals.

Practically speaking then: put your budget into the speakers.
Room treatment is expensive, and difficult to do (I find it complex anyway). Do make sure your room has soft furniture in it; rugs, sofas/chairs, bookcases and watch out for hard, reflective surfaces. If you have space to experiment with speaker placement then that's great.

What you can do is add DSP which allows sophisticated EQ and some room correction. That's probably the biggest improvement you can make.
The miniDSP Flex does that and is a good preamp with very good DAC and analogue input for your TT. This allows you to upgrade with integrated subwoofers later if you want.

Amplification needs to give enough power, reasonably low noise and broadly frequency independent.

A phono stage needs a decent riaa filter. Unless you really want to spend big money, no need to cater for MC cartridges - I've yet to see any evidence that they are worth it. Great threads in here on cartridge measurements.

Where does that take you;
miniDSP Flex is about 700 EUR (not cheap but does a lot)
Elac DBR62 around 500 EUR (decent speakers and probably a sensible compromise)
800 EUR for TT and amplifier will get you there if you are careful. Basic cartridge to start with. Built in (but able to bypass) phono stage for now, or around 100 EUR on a zen phono or similar.
One of the well measuring Ayima/Fossi type class D power amps.

Takes care of room and speaker EQ , allows subwoofer integration later.
Good platform to upgrade from - speakers, or subs, or TT cartridge.
It'll be a long time before you need more amplification.

See what you think.
 
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I don't know anything about turntables, but...

Spend the bulk of the budget on the best speakers you can afford. The DAC and amp matter much less. Those Elacs are good speakers for the price, but there are many better speakers available. If the plan is to start with those and upgrade later, by all means carry on.

I use a full size Denon 4800 AVR as a source (HEOS), DAC, and preamp in my system, and it works well. The Marantz you are looking at is the 2 channel version of this, and it may suffer from flawed design. You may want to research this more before buying.

Wow. I don't understand a lot of the technical aspects of the reviews but the general gist was enough to distance me (at the very least) from spending 50% on a DAC/streamer/integrated amp.

Almost completely certain I'm doing the ELACs, but still sniffing around. Based on your post, #3 is most definitely out. #2 is preferred, and #1 is second.
 
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Take your thinking back to basics: the biggest impact on good sound (by far) are your speakers and the room you put them in.

Source and electronics come a long way after. You want a turntable, so that's cool, but don't ignore the fundamentals.

Practically speaking then: put your budget into the speakers.
Room treatment is expensive, and difficult to do (I find it complex anyway). Do make sure your room has soft furniture in it; rugs, sofas/chairs, bookcases and watch out for hard, reflective surfaces. If you have space to experiment with speaker placement then that's great.

What you can do is add DSP which allows sophisticated EQ and some room correction. That's probably the biggest improvement you can make.
The miniDSP Flex does that and is a good preamp with very good DAC and analogue input for your TT. This allows you to upgrade with integrated subwoofers later if you want.

Amplification needs to give enough power, reasonably low noise and broadly frequency independent.

A phono stage needs a decent riaa filter. Unless you really want to spend big money, no need to cater for MC cartridges - I've yet to see any evidence that they are worth it. Great threads in here on cartridge measurements.

Where does that take you;
miniDSP Flex is about 700 EUR (not cheap but does a lot)
Elac DBR62 around 500 EUR (decent speakers and probably a sensible compromise)
800 EUR for TT and amplifier will get you there if you are careful. Basic cartridge to start with. Built in (but able to bypass) phono stage for now, or around 100 EUR on a zen phono or similar.
One of the well measuring Ayima/Fossi type class D power amps.

Takes care of room and speaker EQ , allows subwoofer integration later.
Good platform to upgrade from - speakers, or subs, or TT cartridge.
It'll be a long time before you need more amplification.

See what you think.
I started reading about DSP and I got spooked and overwhelmed. It feels like something I would use only once, and I would likely not know the difference in my little home office. I'll keep reading.
 

poxymoron

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I started reading about DSP and I got spooked and overwhelmed. It feels like something I would use only once, and I would likely not know the difference in my little home office. I'll keep reading.
I'm using minidsp Flex with Dirac in a 2.1 setup in a very small office and it is a night and day difference, an enormous improvement.
 
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