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Newbie advice - complementing KLH Model 5

rasher

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Hey there,

I have lurked on this forum quite a bit, but have a couple questions I haven't been able to answer for myself. If there are good resources anyone can point me to, that would be great. Most of the recommended reading sources are ... a bit dense :)

Current Setup
- Google TV w/ Chromecast [primary sources for music are streaming from Spotify and my local Plex server] -> Monoprice HDMI Breakout [analog out] -> NAD C355bee -> KLH Model 5
- We chose these speakers primarily for aesthetic purposes [auditioned LS50meta, Klipsch Heresy, B&W 702.5 in the same space, and these sounded and looked the best to our ears, keeping equipment constant]- they look great in the room - but they also sound nice.
- Used for music + TV/movies. I'd prioritize music quality over movies if required.
- The room is very large - it's a combination living room / dining room / kitchen great room, and is about ~600sqft [red Xs are speakers, furniture layout is close but not precise]

Annotation 2022-01-31 120612.png


This sounds nice so far! However, wondering about a few other sources of potential:
  • Room treatment is not really an option (primarily for aesthetic reasons). It's all hardwood, but we have several large carpets, tables, plants, paintings etc where we can. Would room correcting EQ like DIRAC help out here?
  • I am not completely sure if the NAD C355bee is sufficient amplification. It's rated for 80W per channel at 8ohm, and the speakers are supposedly 87.5dB/2.83V/m at 6ohm. The manufacturer recommends 20-200w amplification which is quite a range. Primary listening distance is ~3m. Would I notice any benefit from a higher quality and higher wattage amplifier, like the Hypex Ncore or Purifi systems? There's a new NAD product coming out that combines DIRAC and Hypex NCore , the C399. Budget isn't really an issue but if the changes would be pretty minimal, don't want to waste the money if it wouldn't be audible
  • If the room correction is a worthwhile upgrade but amplification isn't, is a minDSP SHD product a good fit?
  • I'm guessing the DAC on the mono price blackbird HDMI switch is low quality, but I'm also guessing this wouldn't make a huge difference
Appreciate the input in advance. Lots of interesting discussions happening here, but it can be intimidating to be new and separate audiophile nonsense from reality!
 

EdTice

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
353
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166
Hey there,

I have lurked on this forum quite a bit, but have a couple questions I haven't been able to answer for myself. If there are good resources anyone can point me to, that would be great. Most of the recommended reading sources are ... a bit dense :)

Current Setup
- Google TV w/ Chromecast [primary sources for music are streaming from Spotify and my local Plex server] -> Monoprice HDMI Breakout [analog out] -> NAD C355bee -> KLH Model 5
- We chose these speakers primarily for aesthetic purposes [auditioned LS50meta, Klipsch Heresy, B&W 702.5 in the same space, and these sounded and looked the best to our ears, keeping equipment constant]- they look great in the room - but they also sound nice.
- Used for music + TV/movies. I'd prioritize music quality over movies if required.
- The room is very large - it's a combination living room / dining room / kitchen great room, and is about ~600sqft [red Xs are speakers, furniture layout is close but not precise]

View attachment 183381

This sounds nice so far! However, wondering about a few other sources of potential:
  • Room treatment is not really an option (primarily for aesthetic reasons). It's all hardwood, but we have several large carpets, tables, plants, paintings etc where we can. Would room correcting EQ like DIRAC help out here?
  • I am not completely sure if the NAD C355bee is sufficient amplification. It's rated for 80W per channel at 8ohm, and the speakers are supposedly 87.5dB/2.83V/m at 6ohm. The manufacturer recommends 20-200w amplification which is quite a range. Primary listening distance is ~3m. Would I notice any benefit from a higher quality and higher wattage amplifier, like the Hypex Ncore or Purifi systems? There's a new NAD product coming out that combines DIRAC and Hypex NCore , the C399. Budget isn't really an issue but if the changes would be pretty minimal, don't want to waste the money if it wouldn't be audible
  • If the room correction is a worthwhile upgrade but amplification isn't, is a minDSP SHD product a good fit?
  • I'm guessing the DAC on the mono price blackbird HDMI switch is low quality, but I'm also guessing this wouldn't make a huge difference
Appreciate the input in advance. Lots of interesting discussions happening here, but it can be intimidating to be new and separate audiophile nonsense from reality!
Let's go in reverse order. The quality of the DAC is probably the first thing to address. If you start with a bad signal and then you amplify it, well, you now exacerbate the problem. The two most important things in your setup will the the DAC because it's at the beginning of the chain the speakers because they are the highest source of distortion in a system

I know nothing about the speakers you've purchased but the designers seem to have at least made a pretty honest attempt. I'm partial to acoustic suspension speakers.

Unless you are playing at near maximum volume, more power is very unlikely to make much of a difference. At your listening position, I can't imagine that you are anywhere near the top of the dial. Are you trying to blast all the way into the kitchen or just hear well in the seating positions?

The miniDSP SHD would be a good fit from an audio perspective but it doesn't have HDMI input, I don't believe. Very few dedicated DACs have that. And if you like streaming via Chromecast (which I find to be convenient and enjoyable), for the same price you could have the highly reviewed Denon AVR X3700H which comes with Audyssey room correction.

Using an AVR hooked up to your TV will be a much more pleasant experience. You should be able to control everything with one remote. You'll get automatic input switching and the other convenience features that mean you spend more time enjoying and less time fumbling with controls.

The NAD amp you have is good but probably you will be fine with the amp built into the AVR for the short term and that's one less box and one less mess of wires.
 

EdTice

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
353
Likes
166
Hey there,

I have lurked on this forum quite a bit, but have a couple questions I haven't been able to answer for myself. If there are good resources anyone can point me to, that would be great. Most of the recommended reading sources are ... a bit dense :)

Current Setup
- Google TV w/ Chromecast [primary sources for music are streaming from Spotify and my local Plex server] -> Monoprice HDMI Breakout [analog out] -> NAD C355bee -> KLH Model 5
- We chose these speakers primarily for aesthetic purposes [auditioned LS50meta, Klipsch Heresy, B&W 702.5 in the same space, and these sounded and looked the best to our ears, keeping equipment constant]- they look great in the room - but they also sound nice.
- Used for music + TV/movies. I'd prioritize music quality over movies if required.
- The room is very large - it's a combination living room / dining room / kitchen great room, and is about ~600sqft [red Xs are speakers, furniture layout is close but not precise]

View attachment 183381

This sounds nice so far! However, wondering about a few other sources of potential:
  • Room treatment is not really an option (primarily for aesthetic reasons). It's all hardwood, but we have several large carpets, tables, plants, paintings etc where we can. Would room correcting EQ like DIRAC help out here?
  • I am not completely sure if the NAD C355bee is sufficient amplification. It's rated for 80W per channel at 8ohm, and the speakers are supposedly 87.5dB/2.83V/m at 6ohm. The manufacturer recommends 20-200w amplification which is quite a range. Primary listening distance is ~3m. Would I notice any benefit from a higher quality and higher wattage amplifier, like the Hypex Ncore or Purifi systems? There's a new NAD product coming out that combines DIRAC and Hypex NCore , the C399. Budget isn't really an issue but if the changes would be pretty minimal, don't want to waste the money if it wouldn't be audible
  • If the room correction is a worthwhile upgrade but amplification isn't, is a minDSP SHD product a good fit?
  • I'm guessing the DAC on the mono price blackbird HDMI switch is low quality, but I'm also guessing this wouldn't make a huge difference
Appreciate the input in advance. Lots of interesting discussions happening here, but it can be intimidating to be new and separate audiophile nonsense from reality!
Also feel free to send a KLH Model 5 to Amir for testing! You could fit a subwoofer (wireless if needed) in the corner on the lower-right if for some reason you aren't satisfied after my earlier suggestions. If Amir doesn't know what to do with the KLH Model 5 when he's done with it, he can send it to me, and I'll be glad to try it out as a center channel! :)
 
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rasher

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Thanks for the ideas! This does seem like it could be a good option - I did a little reading about their room correction stuff and it seems to be very well reviewed.

My only hesitation is that I have to a desire to purchase an amplifier once and purchase it for life (or at least, a very long time) - since they are constantly upgrading video specs, this thing may end up becoming obsolete. Maybe that is a foolish goal, and this price is really attractive.
 

EdTice

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Thanks for the ideas! This does seem like it could be a good option - I did a little reading about their room correction stuff and it seems to be very well reviewed.

My only hesitation is that I have to a desire to purchase an amplifier once and purchase it for life (or at least, a very long time) - since they are constantly upgrading video specs, this thing may end up becoming obsolete. Maybe that is a foolish goal, and this price is really attractive.

The video processing in AVRs isn't really relevant these days. Or at least not for most people. Hook up your video sources to your TV. Then send the audio to the AVR via HDMI ARC. The TV remote should be able to control everything. If video standards change or you upgrade your TV, the AVR still does its job of outputting the audio. Most people now use "smart" TVs and the only devices they have are the TV and AVR. As far as how long an amplifier lasts, most are good for 10-20 years. Longer or shorter depending on luck. Resistors and capacitors fail unfortunately and it's often cheaper to replace than repair.
 
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rasher

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That makes sense - you would have me think of this as a $1500 integrated amp (with room correction) that happens to have a few other convenience features.

Unfortunately my TV is mounted above the speakers over the fireplace, and the electronics are in the console in the lower right wall [with an HDMI cable buried in the wall], so I need some sort of HDMI switch in the console. The denon should fit the bill based on what I am reading though.
 

EdTice

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That makes sense - you would have me think of this as a $1500 integrated amp (with room correction) that happens to have a few other convenience features.

Unfortunately my TV is mounted above the speakers over the fireplace, and the electronics are in the console in the lower right wall [with an HDMI cable buried in the wall], so I need some sort of HDMI switch in the console. The denon should fit the bill based on what I am reading though.

What electronics do you have? You can use the AVR the way you describe for now. Most wall channels can fit multiple HDMI cables so unless you have more than two or three devices you can, in the future, hook them all up to the TV by feeding multiple HDMI cables if you have to.
 
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rasher

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I think this is really good advice - thank you - and I'm going to pursue this option, but the HDMI situation is a little annoying. I'd prefer to just use the AVR as the HDMI switch (fewer devices, and the switch is HDMI 2.0 - I think it will just be more convenient). Buuut, the presence of 1 HDMI 2.1 port on the X3700H is a little annoying, given that I can't easily run devices to the TV direct. Is it stupid to assume Denon is going to release a newer model this year with more future-proof HDMI? I'm not really in a rush.
 

EdTice

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Joined
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I think this is really good advice - thank you - and I'm going to pursue this option, but the HDMI situation is a little annoying. I'd prefer to just use the AVR as the HDMI switch (fewer devices, and the switch is HDMI 2.0 - I think it will just be more convenient). Buuut, the presence of 1 HDMI 2.1 port on the X3700H is a little annoying, given that I can't easily run devices to the TV direct. Is it stupid to assume Denon is going to release a newer model this year with more future-proof HDMI? I'm not really in a rush.
This is a question to which nobody has an answer. And not just because none of us work for Denon. All new devices are *called* HDMI 2.1 but that doesn't mean that they actually have the HDMI 2.1 features.


Even if Denon does come out with devices labeled HDMI 2.1, they might not have the features you want. You could get a bunch of HDMI "2.1" ports where only one supports eARC, UHD, et cetera. I'm not saying that Denon will do this, but HDMI 2.1 has basically said caveat emptor and you had better read the spec sheets well even if the device is labeled as having multiple HDMI 2.1 ports.

Denon makes an HDMI switch that looks pretty good. I don't know what TV you have. In theory, with Denon's CEC support, you should be able to select input devices from the TV remote if your TV is also fully compliant. The AVR should enumerate the devices attached to the switch and pass the device information to the TV so they all show up in a list just as if they were connected directly to the AVR. But what should happen and what does happen often diverge and I don't own the device.


This is beyond a beginner question because unraveling the mess that is HDMI 2.1 is an unnecessarily complicated and advanced topic!
 
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