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

OP
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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.
I can't justify €700 for what I understand to be a very complex EQ with crossover capabilities. I'll get that in the Wiim Amp app. 35% of my budget is a lot to spend, and I'll likely be making other compromises on component quality that I may not be able to forgive myself for.

There's a lot to absorb, and I just don't know if I'll be able to get value out of such an investment - I want to be a grown-up audiophile, but in reality, I just entered the foray mid-December. MiniDSP sounds like something for later.

Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not being stubborn. Bewildered is more accurate.
 

poxymoron

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I can't justify €700 for what I understand to be a very complex EQ with crossover capabilities. I'll get that in the Wiim Amp app. 35% of my budget is a lot to spend, and I'll likely be making other compromises on component quality that I may not be able to forgive myself for.

There's a lot to absorb, and I just don't know if I'll be able to get value out of such an investment - I want to be a grown-up audiophile, but in reality, I just entered the foray mid-December. MiniDSP sounds like something for later.

Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not being stubborn. Bewildered is more accurate.
I get that. For me, room EQ is the single biggest improvement I've ever made to my system, no matter what room I have it in, but particularly in my very small office. Nothing else has ever come close. But it's a step by step process, best of luck.
 

JeremyFife

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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 hear you!!
However, this is genuinely the tool to have in your system. You'll use it infrequently; initial setup and then with any system change, or just tweaking.
It's quite hard to add this into an established system, difficult to justify as you will be replacing kit that's perfectly good.
Starting off with good DSP capability sets you off with a very good base for the future.
Read a bit, think a bit and go with what makes sense to you
Enjoy the music :)
 

VMAT4

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Just my 2¢, but you should forget about the ELAC Debut Reference DBR 62 speakers and look into near field monitors. For about $700 you could get a pair of powered Genelec 8010A moniors.
 

JeremyFife

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I can't justify €700 for what I understand to be a very complex EQ with crossover capabilities. I'll get that in the Wiim Amp app. 35% of my budget is a lot to spend, and I'll likely be making other compromises on component quality that I may not be able to forgive myself for.

There's a lot to absorb, and I just don't know if I'll be able to get value out of such an investment - I want to be a grown-up audiophile, but in reality, I just entered the foray mid-December. MiniDSP sounds like something for later.

Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not being stubborn. Bewildered is more accurate.
FWIW ... something like the WiiM Amp, which has 4 band PEQ and some subwoofer integration features is a pretty good start too
 

ZolaIII

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I can't justify €700 for what I understand to be a very complex EQ with crossover capabilities. I'll get that in the Wiim Amp app. 35% of my budget is a lot to spend, and I'll likely be making other compromises on component quality that I may not be able to forgive myself for.

There's a lot to absorb, and I just don't know if I'll be able to get value out of such an investment - I want to be a grown-up audiophile, but in reality, I just entered the foray mid-December. MiniDSP sounds like something for later.

Maybe I'm wrong. I'm not being stubborn. Bewildered is more accurate.
I really, wanted to enable you to have budget for a good DSP but you chose to ignore me. Second hand A-S 700, MiniDSP Flex and UMIK 1, Elac DBR62 and 2x Wharfedale WH-D10. If you try to give a little more effort in finding it cheap you can have spare change left for WiiM mini and cables along with silicone "Egg seaters" to put between sub's/speakers and under sub's and that's full 25 to 20000 Hz system with a lot of dynamic headroom made from separates that would serve you for a very long and easy to upgrade and possible to adjust to almost any source and space (with a little learning). It's without turnable but I don't think anyone hire would object for whot you get.
 

OJAUSSIE

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Oh, you'll fit right in here. ;)



A streamer is a just a small computer. If you can source a Raspberry Pi 4 or 5, these work very well for the purpose, but other cheap, small form-factor computers work just as well. Even a phone can be used for the purpose. Studio monitors have the amp built in to the speakers, and some can accept a USB audio connection, so you can connect them directly to a streamer.
I replace genuine original dying Macbook Pro batteries with brand new ones. I love the smell of Acetone and 2 hours spudging and then get to see the owner's look of delight when they see full charge capacity now equals design capacity! I do this service for free as a service for people who "Think different".
 
OP
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I really, wanted to enable you to have budget for a good DSP but you chose to ignore me. Second hand A-S 700, MiniDSP Flex and UMIK 1, Elac DBR62 and 2x Wharfedale WH-D10. If you try to give a little more effort in finding it cheap you can have spare change left for WiiM mini and cables along with silicone "Egg seaters" to put between sub's/speakers and under sub's and that's full 25 to 20000 Hz system with a lot of dynamic headroom made from separates that would serve you for a very long and easy to upgrade and possible to adjust to almost any source and space (with a little learning). It's without turnable but I don't think anyone hire would object for whot you get.
I'm not ignoring you. I'm trying to find my way through the complexities of the HiFi world for what is right for me. You made what you like loud and clear, but frankly, what you like doesn't match very well. A MiniDSP is appealing for its EQ capabilities and ADC/DAC, but budget-restrictive - if it had streaming capabilities or a phono stage...or was integrated into an amplifier....maybe. I could get reasonable EQ capability from the WiiM amp or WiiM Pro Plus and give myself more budget space for other components, or have the freedom to add a sub.

The only way a MiniDSP is possible is if I go with the following set-up, and frankly, I am not very excited about the restrictions on speakers and amp:
  • Turntable ~500EUR (likely the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO)
  • Phono Stage ~200EUR (Ifi Zen)
  • Streamer ~100EUR (likely the WiiM Mini)
  • MiniDSP Flex ~700EUR
  • Amp (restricted in budget...likely the Yamaha A-670) ~270EUR
  • Speakers (restricted in budget...likely the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 or 12.0) ~220 to 250EUR
 

ZolaIII

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I'm not ignoring you. I'm trying to find my way through the complexities of the HiFi world for what is right for me. You made what you like loud and clear, but frankly, what you like doesn't match very well. A MiniDSP is appealing for its EQ capabilities and ADC/DAC, but budget-restrictive - if it had streaming capabilities or a phono stage...or was integrated into an amplifier....maybe. I could get reasonable EQ capability from the WiiM amp or WiiM Pro Plus and give myself more budget space for other components, or have the freedom to add a sub.

The only way a MiniDSP is possible is if I go with the following set-up, and frankly, I am not very excited about the restrictions on speakers and amp:
  • Turntable ~500EUR (likely the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO)
  • Phono Stage ~200EUR (Ifi Zen)
  • Streamer ~100EUR (likely the WiiM Mini)
  • MiniDSP Flex ~700EUR
  • Amp (restricted in budget...likely the Yamaha A-670) ~270EUR
  • Speakers (restricted in budget...likely the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 or 12.0) ~220 to 250EUR
Then try to catch that Yamaha A-S 700 if it's really in such a good condition in Dublin for 220~230€ and you have budget for MiniDSP and if you drop turnable and go for a pair of mentioned sub's you have a great full range and very dynamic system (with a little work of course). A-S700 is much better power amplifier than anything anyone else mentioned to you before on this thread. Don't step down from Elac DBR62's they are really great (their cabinet is to say it more accurate) as when you cross them with each it's own sub at 120 Hz you will have great waterfal plots and RT60 decay times. System will be able to do 86~88 dB program on up to 4~5 m without theoretical peek (106~108 dB) compression easy.
 
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VMAT4

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I'm giving you my two cents again. You need these and this. You may add a 7040 APM subwoofer later (it has built in bass management). Please look into it!
 
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HarmonicTHD

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I'm not ignoring you. I'm trying to find my way through the complexities of the HiFi world for what is right for me. You made what you like loud and clear, but frankly, what you like doesn't match very well. A MiniDSP is appealing for its EQ capabilities and ADC/DAC, but budget-restrictive - if it had streaming capabilities or a phono stage...or was integrated into an amplifier....maybe. I could get reasonable EQ capability from the WiiM amp or WiiM Pro Plus and give myself more budget space for other components, or have the freedom to add a sub.

The only way a MiniDSP is possible is if I go with the following set-up, and frankly, I am not very excited about the restrictions on speakers and amp:
  • Turntable ~500EUR (likely the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO)
  • Phono Stage ~200EUR (Ifi Zen)
  • Streamer ~100EUR (likely the WiiM Mini)
  • MiniDSP Flex ~700EUR
  • Amp (restricted in budget...likely the Yamaha A-670) ~270EUR
  • Speakers (restricted in budget...likely the Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 or 12.0) ~220 to 250EUR
Your budget is very “electronics” heavy. Try to spent the majority on speakers, because these will (next to EQ) effect the sound by orders of magnitude more than every other piece of equipment.
 
OP
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Your budget is very “electronics” heavy. Try to spent the majority on speakers, because these will (next to EQ) effect the sound by orders of magnitude more than every other piece of equipment.
Yeah, I'm aware (and more accepting) of that. On EQ, it's going to be through WiiM products (Pro Plus, or Amp), insofar as speakers, for the space that I have (200cm x 287cm), I don't need to spend too much. I'm deciding between the following:
I may decide on a sub-woofer, too, but haven't even started looking at those.
 

VMAT4

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Those links lead to nowhere, unfortunately.
Those links were intended to lead to Genelec 8010 AP powered monitors and the RME ADI-2 DAC. but at this point I would suggest that you wait for the Kali Audio LP-UNF to be reviewed on Erin's Audio Corner YouTube channel. But, your office is about as big as a walk-in closet. You need nearfield monitors for that room. You may want to look at the Neumann KH 80 also.

You would be better off building this system bit by bit over time than purchasing a complete system all at once IMHO.
 

Zapper

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TLDR; spend your money on a self-powered pro near-field monitor system, buy a turntable with built-in phono stage, save money by skipping the phono preamp and integrated amp.

Others have mentioned prioritizing speakers, especially pro monitors. I also recommend self-powered professional monitor speaker systems, which are designed for close-up listening, and have switches to adjust the frequency response based on distance to walls and desktop surfaces. And they eliminate the need for a power amp. Genelec and Neumann are two of the top brands, and Kali is a step down but much more attractively priced. I use the Genelec 8010A speakers with a Genelec 7040A sub in my small home office. The sound is fantastic in near field (<2 meters away). They sound great farther away too if the room acoustics are good, which they aren't in my home office.

I bought a direct drive manual turntable because the belts on my old Dual are shot and the auto mechanism is sticky, and I wanted a turntable free of those liabilities. Someday I'll get around to fixing the Dual but I have too many projects in the queue now. I also wanted a built-in phono preamp for neater installation. I bought the AT-LP120XBT-USB because it has no belts or auto mechanism. The specs are mediocre so I'm not recommending it on an audiophile basis, although it sounds fine to me. I would go with the Technics SL1500C if I were to upgrade. I will say the AT-VM95E cartridge, when upgraded with the microline VM95ML stylus, became the best cartridge I've used. All my previous cartridges showed audible distortion on the inner tracks, and the VM95ML just doesn't. The microline shape on the stylus matches the shape of the groove walls much better than the more common eliptical styli, and that makes it track better. It is probably the biggest improvement for the money that I've experienced in audio.

You will see a bunch of reviews saying "the built-in phono preamp of this turntable is fine, but when I connected it to this $1000 boutique phono preamp, the sound really came alive, with subtle inner detail and precise rhythmic pacing." That's all b.s. Those reviewers are paid to make that stuff up to encourage you to spend more money on audio gear.

My streaming music source is a WiiM mini, feeding into the Genelec speaker system. I connect the AT turntable into the WiiM by Bluetooth, because the turntable is on the other side of the room and I'm a bad audiophile. Some people with acute hearing can distinguish Bluetooth from a wired connection in a blind test, but I'm not one of them.

The next step for me is room acoustic treatment, which is almost necessary for good sound in a small room.
 
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JustJones

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OP
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TLDR; spend your money on a self-powered pro near-field monitor system, buy a turntable with built-in phono stage, save money by skipping the phono preamp and integrated amp.

Others have mentioned prioritizing speakers, especially pro monitors. I also recommend self-powered professional monitor speaker systems, which are designed for close-up listening, and have switches to adjust the frequency response based on distance to walls and desktop surfaces. And they eliminate the need for a power amp. Genelec and Neumann are two of the top brands, and Kali is a step down but much more attractively priced. I use the Genelec 8010A speakers with a Genelec 7040A sub in my small home office. The sound is fantastic in near field (<2 meters away). They sound great farther away too if the room acoustics are good, which they aren't in my home office.

I bought a direct drive manual turntable because the belts on my old Dual are shot and the auto mechanism is sticky, and I wanted a turntable free of those liabilities. Someday I'll get around to fixing the Dual but I have too many projects in the queue now. I also wanted a built-in phono preamp for neater installation. I bought the AT-LP120XBT-USB because it has no belts or auto mechanism. The specs are mediocre so I'm not recommending it on an audiophile basis, although it sounds fine to me. I would go with the Technics SL1500C if I were to upgrade. I will say the AT-VM95E cartridge, when upgraded with the microline VM95ML stylus, became the best cartridge I've used. All my previous cartridges showed audible distortion on the inner tracks, and the VM95ML just doesn't. The microline shape on the stylus matches the shape of the groove walls much better than the more common eliptical styli, and that makes it track better. It is probably the biggest improvement for the money that I've experienced in audio.

You will see a bunch of reviews saying "the built-in phono preamp of this turntable is fine, but when I connected it to this $1000 boutique phono preamp, the sound really came alive, with subtle inner detail and precise rhythmic pacing." That's all b.s. Those reviewers are paid to make that stuff up to encourage you to spend more money on audio gear.

My streaming music source is a WiiM mini, feeding into the Genelec speaker system. I connect the AT turntable into the WiiM by Bluetooth, because the turntable is on the other side of the room and I'm a bad audiophile. Some people with acute hearing can distinguish Bluetooth from a wired connection in a blind test, but I'm not one of them.

The next step for me is room acoustic treatment, which is almost necessary for good sound in a small room.
Thanks very much for this detailed response. Powered studio monitors are intriguing. I'm specifically looking at the KRK Rokit RP7 G4 because there's DSP/EQ functionality (and the RP5 passed the Amir voodoo analysis stuff which I still don't understand completely)...EDIT: KRK haven't updated the app for Android so I can't use it. Bummer.

...but I'm concerned that eliminating the phono stage and amp, and moving away from passive speakers makes my setup restrictive. I can't scale or upgrade very easily - what I buy will be only for a small office space, and I'll need to buy an entirely different set of equipment.

I'm also concerned about monitors versus speakers insofar as listening enjoyment. Everything I read says "monitors are for accuracy and purposely sound bad as a result, and speakers sacrifice accuracy for listening enjoyment". I'm no audiophile (yet), so I'm concerned the monitors will sound like shit to my rookie ears.

Lastly, it looks like my volume control will be on the back of each monitor, meaning I need to adjust each independently?
 
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JeremyFife

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Thanks very much for this detailed response. Powered studio monitors are intriguing. I'm specifically looking at the KRK Rokit RP7 G4 because there's DSP/EQ functionality (and the RP5 passed the Amir voodoo analysis stuff which I still don't understand completely)...EDIT: KRK haven't updated the app for Android so I can't use it. Bummer.

...but I'm concerned that eliminating the phono stage and amp, and moving away from passive speakers makes my setup restrictive. I can't scale or upgrade very easily - what I buy will be only for a small office space, and I'll need to buy an entirely different set of equipment.

I'm also concerned about monitors versus speakers insofar as listening enjoyment. Everything I read says "monitors are for accuracy and purposely sound bad as a result, and speakers sacrifice accuracy for listening enjoyment". I'm no audiophile (yet), so I'm concerned the monitors will sound like shit to my rookie ears.

Lastly, it looks like my volume control will be on the back of each monitor, meaning I need to adjust each independently?
All depends on your preferred upgrade strategy really. If you think that you'll install a first system and then broadly just leave it alone (for a few years anyway) then it doesn't matter much. Otherwise you're still looking at Adding a Sub, or replacing your speakers or a TT Cartridge (probably in that order)

Speakers are speakers are speakers :) Good active monitors are good, and so are good passives - poor ones are poor regardless. Remember that you're looking for as flat a response as is affordable, along with the ability to put out your desired SPL with minimised distortion. The idea that "monitors are for accuracy ... " which is somehow bad is, frankly, nonsense :)

Loads of good choice if you can make the mental leap to Active. Amplification is not an important element of your system (enough power, broadly frequency independent etc) and moving to an active crossover is a much more efficient design.

You probably still want to Steam music, and integrate your TT, and a volume control is essential. Trying not to sound like a stuck record, but;
  • the miniDSP Flex + WiiM mini will do that
  • So will WiiM Pro Plus (you need the Plus for its good ADC to let you add the TT)
Where you don't have a physical volume (WiiM Pro Plus) you should get used to the very sensible start-up routine of turning on the pre-amp (WiiM) and checking the volume BEFORE you turn on the power amp (your speakers). That's just good practice anyway

Well worth considering
 
OP
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All depends on your preferred upgrade strategy really. If you think that you'll install a first system and then broadly just leave it alone (for a few years anyway) then it doesn't matter much. Otherwise you're still looking at Adding a Sub, or replacing your speakers or a TT Cartridge (probably in that order)

Speakers are speakers are speakers :) Good active monitors are good, and so are good passives - poor ones are poor regardless. Remember that you're looking for as flat a response as is affordable, along with the ability to put out your desired SPL with minimised distortion. The idea that "monitors are for accuracy ... " which is somehow bad is, frankly, nonsense :)

Loads of good choice if you can make the mental leap to Active. Amplification is not an important element of your system (enough power, broadly frequency independent etc) and moving to an active crossover is a much more efficient design.

You probably still want to Steam music, and integrate your TT, and a volume control is essential. Trying not to sound like a stuck record, but;
  • the miniDSP Flex + WiiM mini will do that
  • So will WiiM Pro Plus (you need the Plus for its good ADC to let you add the TT)
Where you don't have a physical volume (WiiM Pro Plus) you should get used to the very sensible start-up routine of turning on the pre-amp (WiiM) and checking the volume BEFORE you turn on the power amp (your speakers). That's just good practice anyway

Well worth considering
I am really thankful for your (and everybody else's) patience. I am trying to learn as fast as possible and not be a nuisance.

Here's what I am thinking/hearing so far:
  1. Bypass an amplifier all together and put the money into the MiniDSP Flex
  2. Grab a TT with integrated phono stage, and push the TT into the WiiM Pro Plus. The WiiM will then push to the MiniDSP Flex
  3. Go from the MiniDSP Flex to (good) powered studio monitors or other active speakers
I would control volume for everything through the WiiM Pro Plus, in addition to "set it and forget it" volume levels on each of the active speakers/monitors. That about right?

Why would I STILL need a MiniDSP Flex if I have EQ controls through the WiiM though? Or (if I am lucky) if the active monitors/speakers I end up with have EQ/DSP-like functions themself? Is it because I am misunderstanding, and you're actually saying (1) MiniDSP Flex + WiiM Mini OR (2) WiiM Pro Plus with no MiniDSP Flex?
 

Zapper

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Thanks very much for this detailed response. Powered studio monitors are intriguing. I'm specifically looking at the KRK Rokit RP7 G4 because there's DSP/EQ functionality (and the RP5 passed the Amir voodoo analysis stuff which I still don't understand completely)...EDIT: KRK haven't updated the app for Android so I can't use it. Bummer.

...but I'm concerned that eliminating the phono stage and amp, and moving away from passive speakers makes my setup restrictive. I can't scale or upgrade very easily - what I buy will be only for a small office space, and I'll need to buy an entirely different set of equipment.
One can add an external phono preamp to most turntables with built in preamps, like the AT and Technics, because there is a switch to bypass the internal preamp.

You are right about the amp, but if you get a good monitor it already has an optimum amp for the speaker.
I'm also concerned about monitors versus speakers insofar as listening enjoyment. Everything I read says "monitors are for accuracy and purposely sound bad as a result, and speakers sacrifice accuracy for listening enjoyment". I'm no audiophile (yet), so I'm concerned the monitors will sound like shit to my rookie ears.
That's just an excuse for bad speakers! Good monitors and good home stereo speakers test and sound pretty much the same - very accurate without distortions.

That's the goal of hifi - to listen to music as it was recorded, not as rendered by the random ragged frequency response and distortions of a poorly designed speaker. Now "listening enjoyment" is subjective, but it is also trainable, and part of being a hifi hobbyist is learning to distinguish good sound from bad sound. So do yourself a favor and start with good sound, not somebody's idea of entertaing bad sound!
Lastly, it looks like my volume control will be on the back of each monitor, meaning I need to adjust each independently?
You will need something for volume control in the chain. In my case the WiiM provides that, because it fills the role of the preamp, providing volume, source switching, and EQ. I also have a passive "monitor controller" that the retailer bundled with my monitors. It's a passive volume control with a mute and mono switch. I have it between the WiiM and the speakers.
 
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