• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Seeking system upgrade advice (WiiM Amp?)

flashandy3

New Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2023
Messages
3
Likes
3
Hello. I would really appreciate some guidance from the ASR community on my planned low budget sound system upgrade...

Current setup
- Pro-ject Primary E turntable
- Elac Debut B5.2 bookshelf speakers
- Pioneer A-109 stereo amp
- Andover Audio Songbird streamer

Context & needs
I've been running the above for a couple of years in my 150 sq ft square living room. The amp is second hand from Ebay. Happy with speakers which are first decent pair I've ever owned - went for them due to front port as shelf they sit on is not very deep. Turntable has never sounded great (a little fuzzy) but I've put that down to the amp. I find the Songbird quite fiddly and app buggy. Cables all good/new.

I have a collection of 50 odd records (rock, folk, shoegaze, electronic, experimental, ambient) and regularly use Spotify, Soundcloud & YouTube. I like the option to play music loudly but have neighbours and young family so mainly listen at more moderate levels.

My current plan is to replace both the amp and streamer. Would also be nice to hook up my Panasonic TV for the occasional movie and video game.

Planned setup
- Pro-ject Primary E turntable
- Elac Debut B5.2 bookshelf speakers
- [New] WiiM Amp
- [New] Rega Fono Mini A2D MK2 phono preamp

I'm leaning towards the WiiM Amp because:
- great reviews (eg darko), flexibility and pricepoint vs equivalent amp/streamers like Powernode or CXN
- more power than my current amp
- apparently good app
- hdmi arc for tv

For the phono stage (a component I've never owned before) I read good things about the Rega which I hope will bring my turntable to life (it's unlikely I'll ever transition from MM to MC).

Budget
£500 max

Questions for ASR
- does my upgrade make sense and focus on the right areas?
- is the equipment well suited?
- is there a component type or product I haven't thought of that I should be considering?

THANKS SO MUCH TO ANYONE WHO BOTHERS TO READ THE ABOVE AND EVEN REPLY! Please be as brutally honest as you like!
 
Last edited:

daverosenthal

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 5, 2020
Messages
40
Likes
102
The WiiM amp seems like a great choice. It hasn’t been measured here yet, but other recent WiiM products have done well. The new amp is using a TI 3255 amplifier chip which is well regarded for budget amps. Assuming WiiM has done a good job integrating the components, I think it’s a relatively safe bet that the WiiM amp is going to be fantastic value.

I don’t have personal experience, but instead of the Rega one, the Schiit Mani looks like a pretty attractive option. It both measures well and is inexpensive. As for whether or not it will solve your “little bit fuzzy” aspect of the turntable, you’ll have to keep us posted.
 
OP
flashandy3

flashandy3

New Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2023
Messages
3
Likes
3
Thanks @daverosenthal for your helpful response - agreed that the WiiM amp looks great value, feature rich & ought to be a safe bet.

Am curious to get your opinion on something else ... unlike my current Pioneer, the WiiM Amp will convert analog input from my turntable to digital, process it (e.g. volume), and then convert it back to analog. Do you think this conversion within the playback chain will impact SQ (noticeably) vs running through a pure analog setup? This is my only lingering concern before swapping out my current amp.

Thanks also for the Schiit Mani recco ... looks great and is on the list.

Have also decided to upgrade to Ortofon OM10 Stylus in attempt to address the TT's fuzz.
 

kemmler3D

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 25, 2022
Messages
3,286
Likes
6,548
Location
San Francisco
Do you think this conversion within the playback chain will impact SQ (noticeably) vs running through a pure analog setup?
I don't think I've seen measurements of the WiiM amp but it's extremely unlikely to hurt sound quality audibly.

It's very easy to lose perspective of how quiet -60dB is, let alone -80dB or more. Any artifacts from the ADC + DAC are going to be 80-90dB below the signal or better, way less than the distortion that's inherent to vinyl, so not something to worry about.

Anecdotally, I have a turntable going through a Schiit Mani into a WiiM Pro (not plus) and it sounds clearer than I've ever heard my turntable sound. I'm quite happy with the setup and it's very affordable for what you get. I'm not a serious vinyl guy so it's more than good enough for me. I have it running wirelessly to my KEF LS60s. My wife said it actually sounded TOO clean, so that it almost didn't sound like vinyl to her anymore. So I guess that's an endorsement and also a stereotypical audiophile subjective statement, but there you have it.

Amir has reviewed the Mani and it has good numbers. There are not many phono boxes in the sub-$200 (any?) that can beat it.

Previously I was running it through whatever phono stage my '90s HK receiver had. In all likelihood the Mani blows it out of the water. I think upgrading the phono stage is quite possibly an audible upgrade, ADC -> DAC will not be an audible downgrade unless something goes terribly wrong.

Overall I think your upgrade plan is fine, but I'll give you the standard ASR recommendation to look into a sub or two, and a UMIK for measuring your room response. Judiciously applied EQ is one of the biggest sound quality upgrades you can make, right after adding a sub if you can swing it. The WiiM amp will have PEQ built in so you're already ahead of the game there.

Also, welcome to ASR!
 
Last edited:

daverosenthal

Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 5, 2020
Messages
40
Likes
102
Agree with @kemmler3D on the assessment--I don't think you'll have any real sound quality regrets running the vinyl through the WiiM's analog inputs. Just make sure you don't have too much gain before running in into the WiiM or you could clip things.
 
OP
flashandy3

flashandy3

New Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2023
Messages
3
Likes
3
Thanks @kemmler3D for the welcome and sharing such detailed feedback / your own experience. V helpful.

Seems I won't be sacrificing noticeable SQ running vinyl through the wiim amp which is great. Thanks @daverosenthal also - the Mani's gain control will be useful.

Will begin research into a sub (suggestions welcome!) and UMIK (not something I'd considered before).

Thanks again for your help :cool:
will let you know how I get on
 
Top Bottom