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System upgrade (PMA 720AE, Yamaha NS-B330)

Zagorski

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Hi folks,
I'd say that I'm no longer satisfied with the sound I have, it feels "flat" or maybe not "deep" thus I'm looking for starting point to improve. Unfortunately only one thing at a time (I guess it's speakers but feel free to add your options).
My current setup is the following (room is 10-12 square meters):
Denon PMA 720AE
Audio-Technica AT-LP 120
Topping DX3 Pro+ (fits for my needs and seems a good one according to forum's feedbacks/measurements)
Yamaha NS-B330
The use cases are: 80% is Apple Music + DAC via bluetooth /via USB ~15%, ~LP 5%.
The budget is pretty limited, I see some used B330 in my region is about 200$ so at max I can afford to double this amount.

I'd appreciate any suggestions.
Thank you.
 

Golf

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I'd say that I'm no longer satisfied with the sound I have

So there has been a time in the past when you very well were satisfied? What happened since then to make you feel unsatisfied today? Maybe the character of that development could point at what to change now?
 

JeremyFife

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Hi, and welcome

Can I suggest a period of reflection. The problem that you state is quite subjective ('flat', 'not deep ') and it would be easy to spend money without fixing anything.

Measurements, to get to a more objective understanding of the issues is the best thing to do. That's normally a umic-1 mic and the free REW software. Your budget is limited though (same!) and that's a big chunk.
I seem to remember a cheap alternative mic being mentioned on this site - see if you can find it.

You are right to look at speaker changes. Meanwhile, you could try some room changes - can you change speaker position (further from or closer to walls) or is there any large furniture change you can try?

Ignoring what I just said... Kali LP8 or JBL 308P speakers (second hand) should be in budget and are pretty good.
Do try to measure first though.

A subwoofer is an interesting thought ... but can be difficult to integrate if you can't measure.

Good luck :)
 

JeremyFife

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Update, that cheaper mic is the Daytonaudio iMM-6. Worth a look
 
OP
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Zagorski

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Thanks for reply @staticV3, @JeremyFife

Unfortunately in EU those subwoofers have a much higher price.
Even though the room is a mid-size I have a limited space for the equipment not sure I can fit 2.1 setup... ideally 2.0.
Unfortunately can't do much with furniture/room except maybe moving speakers out of the wall for additional 10cm :rolleyes:
Hmm didn't even consider measure option... Let me see if I can rent umic-1 and do this exercise.
 
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Zagorski

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@ZolaIII in PL.
@Golf , I'd say it's a natural process. Denon + NS-B330 was my first pair of amp and speakers (for ~5 years) and it was a huge step after using built in laptop speakers, etc. Now I ready to spend some additional money (reasonable for me) to get better quality. Actually there was a change I've get pair of HiFiMAN HE-400se + DAC and they satisfy me for now, but now when I use speakers I want a better sound (I don't compare speakers and headphones directly but I think you got the idea).
 
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Golf

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Regarding your amp:

I also had a Denon PMA-720AE for a while before I switched to Denon PMA-1600NE some two years ago. I won’t try to tell you that speaking of listening enjoyment that truly was like entering another world, but speaking of listening enjoyment that truly was like entering another world ;)

The follower Denon PMA-1700NE seems to be even better, but you may have luck to find some remaining 1600s for very reasonable prices.
 

ZolaIII

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Well actives like both JBL 308P and Kali LP 6 V2's are both just a bit more than what you are willing to give right now. So far I found JBL 308P Mkii for 1090 zł each. So question is are you wiling to sell amplifier and speakers you already have or you are willing to spare a bit more.
Pasives as Elac DBR62 will cost you similar but not the same as 8" active/pasive and I don't know if that Denon power amp will have enough output to drive them properly.
Then you could also go for WiiM Pro Plus which will cost you about the same as one speaker and finally find a second hand ARC USB measurement microphone for 20~30 € and that would be enough (for beginning with basic room mode correction and enough for the room size regarding bass extension and DR/SPL).
Best I could think of anyway.

Anyway dig in and try to find something better (you and anyone else).
 
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Zagorski

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@ZolaIII thank you for the ideas.
I do like the idea with measurements to get some objective data. So as an action item for me I'll try to find/rent a mic umik-1 / Daytonaudio iMM-6 (according to suggestions) before spending my limited budget and share results here to have more targeted discussion.
@Golf, I got it about amp...maybe someday...

Meanwhile, if anyone has anything to add you're always welcome.
 
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ZolaIII

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@Zagorski how long is the room in term how you plan to put speakers on?
You can download REW and play with it's room simulator (without the mic) and it will show you where approximately the room mode will be and what would be a optimal placement (towards your possibility to place them). That's free and fun to do! You probably can find a cheap second hand measurement mic and half deacent one without calibration file will do just fine up to 5~7 KHz and that's probably better than renting as you will need it from time to time (changing position of; you, speakers, furniture and so on).
 
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Zagorski

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This is how it looks like approximately, but not sure it gives a picture because the actual room isn't a rectangular.
1.png
 
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ZolaIII

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This is how it looks like approximately, but not sure it gives a picture because the actual room isn't a rectangular.
View attachment 361990
OK that doesn't look bad, goal is to play with it and see if you can improve things future more with placement that's acceptable to you. It shows you where first peak would be and it's harmonics 2nd and 3rd and when you deel with them using PEQ's on let's say WiiM you have done most of the work and can enjoy really good sound.
Edit: when you scroll down speaker control section you will get to speakers parameters settings like low frequency extension at - 3 dB and enclosure type and filling those helps it make more accurate predictions. In your case even length is not big wide is so first room refraction is in the useful area (36~37 Hz) to extend and reinforce low bass when controled.
 
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Zagorski

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Actually I see pair of Elac DBR62 at a pretty good price in my region (~400$) so considering to take them and see how they'll play with Denon (probably I'll replace him, as usually running out of budget...) so this thread might end up in choosing the amp :)
 
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Zagorski

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Just got the pair of Elac DBR62...what can I say. Even with my Denon (have to use ~75% of volume control) the difference is so huge. It's just what I was looking for. Thinking of upgrading my Denon to let speakers shine and monitoring the market for some used Yamaha A-s701/801 (about 550$ in PL). I'd appreciate any suggestions.
 
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Talisman

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I think you can happily save that money, it is highly unlikely that you will hear a difference, they are both well implemented ab class designs, so essentially transparent.
Unless you really need those extra watts, otherwise you can keep the Denon without worries
 
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Zagorski

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I think you can happily save that money, it is highly unlikely that you will hear a difference, they are both well implemented ab class designs, so essentially transparent.
Unless you really need those extra watts, otherwise you can keep the Denon without worries
Thank you for the comment. Glad to hear that honestly :) Any other options (used integrated amp) for extra 150-200$? Just in case of a good deal :)?
 

Scrivs

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I just picked up two (brand new) Sabaj A5 for $212 USD (Amazon). As they come, they’re set in stereo mode (SE)- 40 or so Watts at 4 ohms per channel. Gain’s a bit too high, but otherwise they sound great. I’ve converted both modules into btl “mode” (desoldered/resoldered one jumper achieves this). Plan is to run them both in btl in a single A5 case, driven directly via xlr into a simple, unity gain ”preamp” (INA1650), directly into both 50asx2btl. *should* be good for about 120ish Watts per channel for each module (4R, btl). So, Less than a dollar/Watt, and as a bonus, 2 unexpectedly high quality, CNC’d alu enclosures from Sabaj that are almost worth the price of admittance alone. These cases are gorgeous, and make the Fosi, Ayima, et. al cases truly look like toys. Kind of like the case my $26 spot welder came in.

So, to sum up, $212 gets you two ice modules that are easily bridgeable, and easily fit in a single jewel of an enclosure. The quality of the case is what surprised me most. I’m normally pretty hard to impress, but Sabaj has it it out of the park in this regard. Only cons (for me) are the font on the front, as well as the oddly proportioned power switch. At least the switch isn’t situated on the rear a la Schiit

Anyone have a Sabaj A8 they’re willing to part with? No, really!
 
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