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Ohm Walsh system build guidance

Mark F

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Greetings ASR community!
My wife and I are starting our first ‘real’ build, centered around a pair of Ohm Walsh 3XO’s that we recently purchased. We would love to get some objective guidance!

Physical Environment:
The 3XO’s will be placed in the corners of our living room (basically square, 320 sq ft, LVP floor) to Ohm’s recommendations. Our apartment was built in the 90’s (USA) and is typical stick/sheetrock residential construction with no special sound-isolation provisions. We can add acoustic treatment to the room as necessary but can’t modify the apartment’s structure.

Listening habits:
We typically listen at an SPL where we can still hold conversation without substantially raising our voices. We both work from home and are constantly moving around the living room or attached dining/kitchen area while listening. Our objective here is to mimic the ambience of a live performer in the room, minus the high SPL. We very rarely do any “sweet spot” critical listening.
Source material is going to be a mix of streaming services, CD’s, and digital files. No vinyl for the foreseeable future.
Music styles include combo, power, & vocal jazz, folk instrumental, singer/songwriter, 60’s-80’s rock & R&B, blues/blues rock. Some classical, progressive metal. FYI, we have a different audio setup for gaming and watching movies.

Misc:
No real physical size constraints for the components.
We don’t need remote control of anything.
Both she and I have no hearing damage.
We don’t care about aesthetics AT ALL. It’s all about the aural experience for us with this build.
We don’t care about brand or trying to look a certain way. Pretentious gear need not apply (we couldn’t afford it anyway).

Budget:
We are trying to hit the apex intersection of low price/high performance (AKA bang for the buck) before that line drops off into the abyss of diminishing returns, considering the limitations of our source material, listening environment, and speaker choice. We are totally fine with buying used gear, and we would like to stay under $1K for the build (excluding the speakers).

What’s been on my radar:
I’ve considered everything from SE, PP, or OTL glass (my close friend is a lifelong tube amp builder) to silver & blue face SS Marantz/Pioneer to some of the highly-rated & budget-friendly latest Class D stuff. Again, “our objective here is to mimic the ambience of a live performer in the room, minus the high SPL.”

Suggestion time!
If you could please explain in objective terms what will be gained or lost with a certain type of gear or a certain piece of gear, that will be extremely helpful. Thank you in advance!
 

MarkS

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All solid-state electronics sound exactly the same. (Tubes can sound different, and are essentially very expensive tone controls; don't buy any.) Buy the cheapest solid-state stuff that offers the inputs and user interface that you need/want, with enough power for your speakers. Ask Ohm how much power you need for your room and speakers.

Note that most people here are engineering geeks who like to have stuff with the best possible measurements and impressive build quality. This has nothing to do with the sound you hear though. If what you care about sound, then the electronic equipment is irrelevant.

The next step up is room treatment, and then DSP room equalization, but I'm assuming you don't want to go there yet (or ever).
 

Doodski

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If you could please explain in objective terms what will be gained or lost with a certain type of gear or a certain piece of gear, that will be extremely helpful.
Being in a wood frame construction building the bass will need to be controlled. A EQ/PEQ is a excellent way of dialing that in so that you don't get complaints or at the least minimize them. I recommend that you use a notebook/desktop PC for a source and install Equalizer APO and Peace Equalizer and then use REW with a microphone to calibrate the system to your environment. The difference/improvement will be very noticeable from having no EQ/PEQ. It is the biggest single improvement you can make to your system and what I suggest is all free software but the mic will cost USD ~$79.00 Alternatively if you want to go another route the miniDSP 2x4 is a excellent way to get PEQ too.
 
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Godataloss

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All solid-state electronics sound exactly the same.
That is not remotely true.

To the OP's question- The Ohms are listed at 90db and 6 ohm. I think that may be a bit optimistic based on their reputation. I've owned quite a bit of tube gear, and those speakers would not be on my recommended list to use with tubes. Also I can't say that I'd recommend a vintage receiver with your budget. Finding one and getting it properly serviced to employ as a daily driver is not worth the effort IMHO (I've done it multiple times). I recently purchased a Hypex amp from Buckeye Amps and I'm really enjoying the simplicity and performance. I would suggest the higher wattage stereo version which would run $649 delivered. Buy a dac with volume control and use it as a preamp and add a laptop or dongle for digital sources. I also like the use of something like a Chromecast TV dongle connected to a TV for app and online content connected to your DAC via toslink from the television. There is a wealth of great content on Youtube, that is simply not available on other streaming services and likely won't ever be.
 

Jim Matthews

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I would take up your friend on his offer.
Choose the amp that has commonly obtainable tubes.

In my opinion the superior presentation of contemporary Class D amplifiers will be available at ever falling prices, but a personal connection to your hobby is a rare thing.
 

Godataloss

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Of course you have cnfirmed this with blind, level-matched listening tests, correct?
Yawn. I'm 100% confident I could pick out a germanium transistor early Fisher solid state over a modern Class D near 100% of the time. ABX is swell and all, and I think what you say is substantially true under the conditions of the test I most often see, but the part of the tests that most often gets ignored is the novelty factor. Just because you listened to ten minutes of an individual and often unknown amp among many, on often unfamiliar speakers, and cannot learn to distinguish it, does not mean that there is no difference in sound. Our ears will trick us into all kinds of novel perceptions. I think given time, a person could train themselves to hear differences in different amp topologies with an ABX rig at their disposal. If such an attempt has been made, I would love to read about it.

In any event, to issue a blanket statement like that, especially with vintage gear in the equation as is the case here, is simply untrue. After all, implicit in your argument is that tube gear sounds different. There is a ton of solid state gear (especially the early stuff) that sounds more tube-y than many (especially modern) tube topologies.
 

youpassbutter

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Of course you have cnfirmed this with blind, level-matched listening tests, correct?
Of course you have tested all solid-state electronics with blind, level-matched listening tests, correct?
 
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