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Simple HiRes setup?

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jweaksnc

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What is the budget? Always start with speakers and work backwards.

Budget is $1200. Could go $1500 if I'm convinced it would make a difference. I thought I had settled on the speakers, but I'm revisiting that now. It's overwhelming. Too many choices.
 
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jweaksnc

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Yeah, there are a mind boggling number of choices. Have you heard the Triangle speakers and like them? I might suggest some powered JBL LSR 308 speakers (reviewed and measured here on ASR). A little more money for them than the Triangles, but you don't need a power amp. Then a DAC/preamp would do. Do you have any music sources other than streaming or off a computer you want to use?



Hmmm... you may have sold me on those speakers, and would save big bucks on not needed an amp.

Still mainly interested in streaming, but I do have other sources... boxes of CDs put away, some FLACS I had ripped once upon a time. I used to care more about having/owning the music but streaming changed everything. I run PLEX server for TV, but don't use it for music.

Thanks for the help.
 

charleski

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if I had $1200 to spend, I would put most of it into the speakers. What about this:
  • Genelec 8030c
  • Pi 3 or 4 with some nice streamer-centric distro
  • Balanced Hat or USB DAC
  • Some basic cables
The problem with that is finding a Raspberry Pi you can actually buy :(. I was very very lucky to find one back in March (in stock for about an hour and I ordered fast), but the latest update indicates that there's no sign things are going to get any better.

A cheap phone may be a better option for the foreseeable future.
 

NiagaraPete

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sarumbear

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Phones and tablets tend to have barriers due to resampling their output or locking it to 48khz.
Not true. When used with an external DAC and iPhone or an iPad has no limits.
 

NiagaraPete

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sarumbear

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NiagaraPete

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The problem with that is finding a Raspberry Pi you can actually buy :(. I was very very lucky to find one back in March (in stock for about an hour and I ordered fast), but the latest update indicates that there's no sign things are going to get any better.

A cheap phone may be a better option for the foreseeable future.
Another PI type option is the Nano. A Nano 3 with case runs about 50 CDN. It has 1G Ethernet, 2 G ram
 
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Open Mind Audio

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Thinking of simplicity, would you consider an all-in-one solution (active speaker + DAC + streamer), such as KEF's LSX Wireless ($1400 retail) or KEF LS50 Wireless (as low as $2K at Accessories for Less, so above your initial budget)? If I were going for the simplest implementation, I'd look strongly at the LS50s, since that gets you a great speaker for the long term with amplification, DSP, DAC and streaming. ELAC's streaming speakers may also be an option -- I just am not familiar with them.

If you prefer to use a few more components -- for flexibility or your particular set up -- I'd focus on the passive speakers first, as others have suggested, then get a Chromecast Audio dongle off eBay and run it to one of the lower-cost but high measuring DACs reviewed here, from SMSL or Topping, choosing one with volume control. Then I'd run that DAC/digital Preamp to whatever decent amp you can find, either something reviewed here or a used one bought locally ... many people have old amps they can even offer. The amp will depend on the speakers you go for (in turn dependent on your room and listening interests), and you'll get good amp advice here once you have speakers selected.

And if you want components but simpler still, look at a Denon or NAD integrated amp that has streaming and ethernet connections. This would be my last choice (having done it), because the DAC won't measure as well as the separates route, but it will still offer great sound -- and it will be easy -- just add speakers and you're set. But if you go this route, be sure the integrated amp a) has network connections and b) can use streaming software that's decent, such as Roon. I'd recommend Yamaha except they do NOT give you access to good streaming software, and you're locked into their crappy Musiccast interface.

Final thought: Speakers first, yes, but music interface is also really important. You'll spend a lot of time with the interface: Roon, JRiver, Sonos, Heos, etc. You want to invest in something that's a joy to use. Roon is great -- and I strongly suggest you pursue a solution that allows you to use Roon, or at a minimum your preferred streaming services (Amazon, Qobuz, Spotify etc.).
 
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HarmonicTHD

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I would second that.
Me too.

And might add the Neumann KH80.


They come with built in DSP too, for room correction. Although a Pi can give you room correction too eg with Moode and CamillaDSP, but they are still excellently measuring (small) speakers (as are the Genelecs). So more choices. ;-)
 

Beershaun

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Thinking of simplicity, would you consider an all-in-one solution (active speaker + DAC + streamer), such as KEF's LSX Wireless ($1400 retail) or KEF LS50 Wireless (as low as $2K at Accessories for Less, so above your initial budget)? If I were going for the simplest implementation, I'd look strongly at the LS50s, since that gets you a great speaker for the long term with amplification, DSP, DAC and streaming. ELAC's streaming speakers may also be an option -- I just am not familiar with them.

If you prefer to use a few more components -- for flexibility or your particular set up -- I'd focus on the passive speakers first, as others have suggested, then get a Chromecast Audio dongle off eBay and run it to one of the lower-cost but high measuring DACs reviewed here, from SMSL or Topping, choosing one with volume control. Then I'd run that DAC/digital Preamp to whatever decent amp you can find, either something reviewed here or a used one bought locally ... many people have old amps they can even offer. The amp will depend on the speakers you go for (in turn dependent on your room and listening interests), and you'll get good amp advice here once you have speakers selected.

And if you want components but simpler still, look at a Denon or NAD integrated amp that has streaming and ethernet connections. This would be my last choice (having done it), because the DAC won't measure as well as the separates route, but it will still offer great sound -- and it will be easy -- just add speakers and you're set. But if you go this route, be sure the integrated amp a) has network connections and b) can use streaming software that's decent, such as Roon. I'd recommend Yamaha except they do NOT give you access to good streaming software, and you're locked into their crappy Musiccast interface.

Final thought: Speakers first, yes, but music interface is also really important. You'll spend a lot of time with the interface: Roon, JRiver, Sonos, Heos, etc. You want to invest in something that's a joy to use. Roon is great -- and I strongly suggest you pursue a solution that allows you to use Roon, or at a minimum your preferred streaming services (Amazon, Qobuz, Spotify etc.).
I do agree with this. The simplest setup is streaming directly to active speakers and KEF has the best all around setup for doing that from your streaming service of choice. Some ls50 wireless 2 and their kc62 Subwoofer would be a great setup. Or if you have the budget a pair of LS60s. :)
 

krabapple

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Understood. The usual MP3 quality stuff I'm listening to (Spotify) just isn't getting it for me when I'm home and I want something better.

Deficits you are hearing from Spotify streaming may not be due to "MP3 quality" i.e., lossy data compression itself, but rather to processing Spotify does to its streams.

I'm not really interested in sources other than streaming. It's fair to say I'm not pursuing the overall "best quality" just the best I can reasonably get from a HiRes streaming source and a simple $1200 system.

Spend the bulk of it on good loudspeakers + subwoofer and don't worry much about the rest.
 

Bamyasi

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Note, no Amazon Music streaming with RPi. Also, no Chromecast Audio support. RPi is the best solution for playing local files served from a DLNA server (e.g. NAS) though. But WiiM Mini can do UPnP/DLNA too, albeit a bit less reliably compared to renderers available on RPi platform.
 
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jweaksnc

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My head hurts. LOL. I've learned a lot. I have to absorb the info above. Certainly I will put the biggest part of my budget into the speakers. I haven't made any decision but I'm looking hard at going with the powered speaker options.
 
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jweaksnc

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For the time being, I have decided to get:

Streamer: WiiM Mini
DAC: SMSL DO100

And connect to some speakers I already have. I'll keep looking for the speakers and try to catch some really good ones on sale between now and Christmas. Those KEFs look amazing!

Thanks for the help!
 

Hifinewb

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Why two PA5?
The MiniDSP Flex is also a Xover and DSP. It separates the HF from LF for me so that I can bi-amp the speakers. I did what others suggested here and bought the speakers I wanted first. The ones I bought really benefit from sending separate signals for the HF and LF and also from some DSP as well. I haven't set it up yet as I need to do some work to reduce echo in the room but soon I will be running DIRAC to tune the system to the room that it is in.
 

sarumbear

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The MiniDSP Flex is also a Xover and DSP. It separates the HF from LF for me so that I can bi-amp the speakers. I did what others suggested here and bought the speakers I wanted first. The ones I bought really benefit from sending separate signals for the HF and LF and also from some DSP as well. I haven't set it up yet as I need to do some work to reduce echo in the room but soon I will be running DIRAC to tune the system to the room that it is in.
You are expected to send the same signal to both drivers, hence the term bi-amp. Active crossover is used when there is no passive crossover in the speaker, which unless you buy them as a complete set of crossover, amplifier and speaker or DIY that is almost never the case.
 

Hifinewb

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You are expected to send the same signal to both drivers, hence the term bi-amp. Active crossover is used when there is no passive crossover in the speaker, which unless you buy them as a complete set of crossover, amplifier and speaker or DIY that is almost never the case.
I guess I left out some details so as not to hijack the OP's thread. The speakers that I bought are Emerald Physics CS2.7's and they do not have a Xover between the LF and the HF. When they were new they shipped with an active Xover but that was lost by the time I bought these speakers. So I use the MiniDSP Flex as an active Xover, DSP, and eventually DIRAC as well.
 
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