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Overwhelmed with amp/Dirac choices for Lintons

Whatnow

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Dear all,

First of all thank you so much for providing all this helpful information in this forum! I feel like I already read tons of threads bit the more I read the more I get confused which way to go ... So I really would need some help what to do.

My room: L shaped room (living room + dining, kitchen around the corner), windows on one side, about 50 m in total.

Current setup: I got a almost new pair of Wharfdale Lintons for 650 € which I fell in love with and added a SVS SB 2000 Classic. Sources are Spotify connect via Streamer and TV. I am not interested in surround sound, 2.1 or 2.2 will be enough for movies. Main focus is music.

I ordered a Wiim Amp and love the simplicity of this little thing. I am just not sure if an amp with power would be much better regarding the sound quality. In addition I read about dirac and am asking myself how much difference spending another 1000€ would make.

Right now I am looking at these options:

1. Buy a MiniDSP Flex (unbalanced?), add a Wiim Ultra when it comes out and a Fosi ZA3 amp, possibly later an NCore power amp from audiophonics. About 1300 €

2. Just keep the Wiim Amp , dont look back. 350 € and done.

3. Buy a DDRC 24 (used), Wiim Ultra, Audiophonics 2 x 250 NCore power amp. About 1200 €.

4. Totally different approach: Buy an Onkyo 7100 (which has Dirac and streamer included) as preamp and add a power amp to the front pre-outs if needed. Can get a demo model for 750 €, add a Fosi ZA3 (or even a 2 x 250 NCore) and I would be set at 900 € (or 1200€), including the benefit that I could easily add more speakers and have Dirac for everything.

But how much would any of these upgrades improve? And which would be best? Or is there an option 5 I don't see?

Thank you so much for any input!
 

delta76

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I'd go with 4, but with Onkyo TX-RZ50. You don't even have to add another amp, and you can expand to a full home theatre setup later
 

ZolaIII

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Are you that Brit YouTube bloke?
Do your self a favor and first buy the measurement microphone preferably UMIK-1 and see what you are getting (measure using REW). Try hard to optimise received response by optimal acceptable placement and only then think about amplifier and DSP. If you are lucky WiiM amp might be enough for all you need.
 
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Whatnow

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I'd go with 4, but with Onkyo TX-RZ50. You don't even have to add another amp, and you can expand to a full home theatre setup later
Thank you very much but the RZ50 would be double the cost so even more than 7100 + NCore Power amp ...
 
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Whatnow

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Are you that Brit YouTube bloke?
Do your self a favor and first buy the measurement microphone preferably UMIK-1 and see what you are getting (measure using REW). Try hard to optimise received response by optimal acceptable placement and only then think about amplifier and DSP. If you are lucky WiiM amp might be enough for all you need.
Me? No, I'm not on YouTube and from Germany. :)

As I do not have a clue about all this measurement stuff I hoped Dirac would simplify that for me. Regarding speaker placement I already read some guides and followed them so the Lintons should hopefully be positioned well. Regarding the sub I have to go with a corner as my misses won't be happy having that big box somewhere else. And making here happy is more important. :)

Regarding power: Would more power provided to the Lintons mean better sound even on low volumes? Or just when hearing loud?
 

dominikz

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I'd probably also go with an AVR and just use the built-in amps. It is unlikely there would be much if any audible difference compared to a separate high-performance amp, and having the whole system in one box makes it very convenient to use and remote-control - which I personally find very important :)
Perhaps Denon AVR-X3800H/AVC-X3800H is worth a look as well (thought with that one you'd need to buy the DL license extra).
 

ZolaIII

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You need 2x W for +3 dB and it's not all that simple, the higher you cut Linton's they need less power. Ideal is 80 Hz for them and like that it can pass with one sub. SVS "classic" do have fixed high pass (80 Hz) when used trough RCA I/O. I don't really know if WiiM amp has a high pass if it does then great. Dirac won't help you regarding placement, unfortunately neither will REW room simulator in L shaped room. It's easy to setup mic and REW and plenty videos about it. Goal is that you by placement achieve to have as less nulls (deeps, hole's) and not too much or prominent peeks and no Dirac can't do that for you, you have to do it yourself. Corner is anyhow probably best place for a sub. If you are lucky and play it well with placement maybe 4 PEQ's on WiiM will be enough. Good luck and have a nice time.
 

JeremyFife

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You have a WiiM Amp coming: plug it in and see what it sounds like!

Being able to high/low pass the mains and sub will take some strain off the amp anyway so it should give enough power - but try it.
 

delta76

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Thank you very much but the RZ50 would be double the cost so even more than 7100 + NCore Power amp ...
wasn't aware it was that expensive in Germany
is Dirac that important to you? If not, x3800h should fit in your budget, and x4800h on a sale (goes under 1400 from time to time)
I'd say Audyssey XT32 is just as good
 
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Whatnow

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Wow, thank you for all the responses, all very helpful and I hope I don't forget to answer some of them.

Denon X3800: I already looked at it but unfortunately it is way more expensive right now, especially with Dirac. But maybe I would wait until it gets cheaper.

AVR vs. Separates: I often read that amps should sound much better than AVR, which is why I am not sure if I could do way better by using stereo amps. But inthougt combining it with a power amp would make the Onkyo something kike the Flex but with much more options at the same price.

Crossover: the Wiim Amp allows to set a crossover. I wasn't aware that this means that I could get away with less power. Thank you very much, I will give this a try!

Is Dirac important to me? Well, I always read that it is a game changer especially with a difficult untreated room - which I have. So I thought it would be great for me to have. I am not settled on it.

In general my problem is that Wiim Amp does not alow upgrades (no outs) so I would not have a possibility to try if Dirac could do some magic. That is why I was thinking about implementing it. That said: Is the DDRC24 much worse in quality than a Flex RCA? If there is audibly no difference maybe this would be a cheap way to try out (buy used and resell it if not needed)? If the Flex will sound much better I can skip this idea.
 

dominikz

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AVR vs. Separates: I often read that amps should sound much better than AVR, which is why I am not sure if I could do way better by using stereo amps. But inthougt combining it with a power amp would make the Onkyo something kike the Flex but with much more options at the same price.
People often say this, but I can only advise you to be skeptical to such statements. Based on my experience, unless there is audible hiss/hum/noise or something is really broken or overdriven, I'd be quite surprised if anyone could pass a level-matched blind test between an AVR-integrated amplifier and an AVR driving a separate high-performance amplifier. And I'd say the same for the Wiim Amp.
Crossover: the Wiim Amp allows to set a crossover. I wasn't aware that this means that I could get away with less power. Thank you very much, I will give this a try!
Likewise, Wiim Amp will probably sound just fine if you don't push it to levels it can't handle (which might be quite louder than you need - that depends on the size of your room and listening distance). If you cross over to a sub you get a bit more headroom because most content has the most energy in low frequencies.
Is Dirac important to me? Well, I always read that it is a game changer especially with a difficult untreated room - which I have. So I thought it would be great for me to have. I am not settled on it.
Any room EQ is IMHO a game changer for audio quality - even if it is manually calculated PEQ filters (which you can implement with Wiim Amp even). Main benefit of Dirac is that it largely automates/simplifies the process for the end user. I've extensively tested many such room EQ tools (see the link in my signature) and in the end I just use simple PEQ correction calculated with REW in both of my systems.
In general my problem is that Wiim Amp does not alow upgrades (no outs) so I would not have a possibility to try if Dirac could do some magic. That is why I was thinking about implementing it.
You can also test Dirac for free by using the 14 day free trial on a PC; you would just need to connect the PC to your Wiim Amp (you need a measurement microphone though!).
You could also use the trial to compare Dirac correction with a manual PEQ correction (calculated with REW and implemented in EAPO or in Wiim PEQ) - just be careful to only use one type of correction (either Dirac or PEQ) at a time.
In case it helps, I wrote here a bit about loudspeaker and subwoofer placement guidelines (this is important to get right so you have a good baseline for EQ).
And here you can find short instructions how to do MMM with REW (and how to calculate bass response correction filters with REW).
That said: Is the DDRC24 much worse in quality than a Flex RCA? If there is audibly no difference maybe this would be a cheap way to try out (buy used and resell it if not needed)? If the Flex will sound much better I can skip this idea.
There would IMHO be no audible difference in sound quality, but Flex has additional features that you might find useful. Again, I'd suggest to first test the free trial of Dirac Live with a PC.
 

dominikz

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Any room EQ is IMHO a game changer for audio quality - even if it is manually calculated PEQ filters (which you can implement with Wiim Amp even). Main benefit of Dirac is that it largely automates/simplifies the process for the end user. I've extensively tested many such room EQ tools (see the link in my signature) and in the end I just use simple PEQ correction calculated with REW in both of my systems.
Perhaps I should add that I never tested the newer Dirac Live Bass Control (DLBC) or Active Room Treatment (ART) features - so can't really comment on those. But I believe those are not even available on many devices running 'basic' Dirac Live.
 

delta76

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Wow, thank you for all the responses, all very helpful and I hope I don't forget to answer some of them.

Denon X3800: I already looked at it but unfortunately it is way more expensive right now, especially with Dirac. But maybe I would wait until it gets cheaper.

AVR vs. Separates: I often read that amps should sound much better than AVR, which is why I am not sure if I could do way better by using stereo amps. But inthougt combining it with a power amp would make the Onkyo something kike the Flex but with much more options at the same price.

Crossover: the Wiim Amp allows to set a crossover. I wasn't aware that this means that I could get away with less power. Thank you very much, I will give this a try!

Is Dirac important to me? Well, I always read that it is a game changer especially with a difficult untreated room - which I have. So I thought it would be great for me to have. I am not settled on it.

In general my problem is that Wiim Amp does not alow upgrades (no outs) so I would not have a possibility to try if Dirac could do some magic. That is why I was thinking about implementing it. That said: Is the DDRC24 much worse in quality than a Flex RCA? If there is audibly no difference maybe this would be a cheap way to try out (buy used and resell it if not needed)? If the Flex will sound much better I can skip this idea.
x3800h is around 900 EUR, and you can spend around 300 eur for Dirac Live. Admittedly not the full package, but it's same as you get Onkyo
I think more people claim that Dirac is easier to use, but with 20$ for the MultiQ app you can match it with Audyssey. I really doubt Dirac is objectively better in calibration result
 
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ZolaIII

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If you want good cheap amplifier try to find second hand (not old or much used) Yamaha A-S700 (250 or less €), pair it with MiniDSP Flex (or Flex HT) and UMIK-1. Play with REW it really isn't that hard to learn cuple basic filters and you don't need Dirac. In worst case you can buy Dirac later if it doesn't work for you with PEQ. But first get a UMIK-1 and play with measuring the response and finding optimal placement and with WiiM amp that you already bought.
 

ViperDom

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Is there an option 5 I don't see?

5. Purchase a UMIK for $100. Measure the frequency response of desired listening potions in room with REW(free). Post these and include a basic layout of your room including speaker & listening positions.

Nice speaker/sub choice BTW. We can most likely get em sounding better with the above info and more confidently make recommendations on gear.
 
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Whatnow

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Dominikz: Wow, thank you very much for taking the time to provide all this info. It is not easy to tell how much of a difference AVR/amp makes. Some say you won't hear it, some swear that the worst stereo amp is way better than the best AVR. Thank you for the hint to the free trial. I will check it with the Wiim Amp. As far as I know this amp has some EQ options so a good direct comparison with and without should be possible. I really hope this thing will sound good, it would be an amazing, small, good looking option for cheap. Regarding Dirac I only have the basic version in mind, the upgrades are way too expensive for me.

X3800H: A very interesting option. I was comparing prices with Dirac which would make the Denon way more expensive. But having different options and even Dirac upgrade options is certainly a good thing. In addition if a power amp wont be needed and XZ32+app is good enough, it will actually be cheaper. I will have an eye on it and maybe give it a try when it is on sale. If Wiim Amp is not end game for me already. I'll check this first with the new information. :)

Yamaha A S700: I was already looking at the Yamaha options (A/R-S 700 and 701) but read they wouldn't be best with the Lintons due to their dips below 4 Ohms. And I thought if only used as power amp it might be better directly to a dedicated power amp.

So now I will go with option 5 and order a Umik-1 for measurements. I hope it works, I have no clue what I am doing. :)

Thank you so much for all your quick help! Option 5 was not on my list but will be the best one. And now I have a feeling that the result could be my end game setup. :)
 

ZolaIII

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@Whatnow yup that whose probably me, old A-B class Yamahas aren't made exactly for low impedance loads but they will work fine even without setting switch to 4 Ohms (which actually lowers the voltage and output with it). I mentioned it as best standalone integrated that you can get cheap and use it as solo amplifier so that you have enough money to invest in best ADC-DSP-DAC (and preamp) of what we know (from measurements). I still say play with REW and see how that goes.
Plenty of videos there to help you get started and deacent folk's hire who will help you later on.
 
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