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Taking the leap of (non)faith ... and thank you

JeremyFife

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I have finally upgraded (reconfigured, downsized?) my hifi on evidence-based rationale. It was strangely emotional and difficult to do ... I thought it was worth sharing. (I'll need some help with measurements later...)

I've always loved music and gravitated towards "hi-fi" early on (1980's ... ouch). I never went audiophile-crazy but had mid-range Musical Fidelity pre/mono-power amplifiers and a vinyl based 2.0 stereo. That got lost in family life and I started to pick up this hobby again recently. I believed in interconnects, in 10% of a system budget for cable. I believed the hi-fi reviews. I wanted Tubes!

My foot in the door again was a budget system (vinyl, stereo again) with a Rega Io integrated amp - and with an upgrade path all mapped out ... I was happy!

Then I found the ASR review of my 5* amp ... fecking devastated, pi$$ed off ... then intrigued. Then I read and then I learned. I have a science background (chemistry) and an understanding of blind testing (wine tasting, as well as pharmaceutical trials) so it made sense ... made a lot of sense.

DSP and room EQ / treatment just blew my mind.

Out went the Io, out went the cables I'd kept hold of, out went the upgrade path.

In came iFi Zen Phono (balanced output to help with noise), Bluesound Node as streaming transport (needed to stream Amazon Ultra... that's a family issue, don't judge) miniDSP Flex balanced for DAC, preamp and processing, Topping PA5. Musicians TRS interconnects and a little rack made from monitor stands.
The whole lot cost nothing, and it's tiny!

Here's the thing ... all the new kit sat unused for almost a month. I couldn't bring myself to switch. What if it didn't sound as good? what if it was 'cold', 'clinical' ... what if I couldn't suspend my years of learned bias?

I read and thought about this, until I felt sufficiently foolish :)

Plugged in today and music sounds utterly brilliant; vinyl and streamed. No mystical night/day nonsense, just lovely detailled music full of emotion and everything that should be there - what a relief!!

I can't believe how hard it was to let go of old habits and beliefs. Massive thanks to everyone here for stamping out the BS and for keeping the music to the fore, that's what it's all about. I couldn't have listened if you were just 'SINAD first' - there's sound, balanced advice here.

I also took my first measurements with REW today. That's a whole new post - I'll redo them a few times to make sure I'm on the right track before I ask for help! Mic placement was wrong, but I wanted to get started. My room is far from optimal, to put it mildly, I'll need help!

Happy again, thanks for the leg-up
 

Astoneroad

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I have finally upgraded (reconfigured, downsized?) my hifi on evidence-based rationale. It was strangely emotional and difficult to do ... I thought it was worth sharing. (I'll need some help with measurements later...)

I've always loved music and gravitated towards "hi-fi" early on (1980's ... ouch). I never went audiophile-crazy but had mid-range Musical Fidelity pre/mono-power amplifiers and a vinyl based 2.0 stereo. That got lost in family life and I started to pick up this hobby again recently. I believed in interconnects, in 10% of a system budget for cable. I believed the hi-fi reviews. I wanted Tubes!

My foot in the door again was a budget system (vinyl, stereo again) with a Rega Io integrated amp - and with an upgrade path all mapped out ... I was happy!

Then I found the ASR review of my 5* amp ... fecking devastated, pi$$ed off ... then intrigued. Then I read and then I learned. I have a science background (chemistry) and an understanding of blind testing (wine tasting, as well as pharmaceutical trials) so it made sense ... made a lot of sense.

DSP and room EQ / treatment just blew my mind.

Out went the Io, out went the cables I'd kept hold of, out went the upgrade path.

In came iFi Zen Phono (balanced output to help with noise), Bluesound Node as streaming transport (needed to stream Amazon Ultra... that's a family issue, don't judge) miniDSP Flex balanced for DAC, preamp and processing, Topping PA5. Musicians TRS interconnects and a little rack made from monitor stands.
The whole lot cost nothing, and it's tiny!

Here's the thing ... all the new kit sat unused for almost a month. I couldn't bring myself to switch. What if it didn't sound as good? what if it was 'cold', 'clinical' ... what if I couldn't suspend my years of learned bias?

I read and thought about this, until I felt sufficiently foolish :)

Plugged in today and music sounds utterly brilliant; vinyl and streamed. No mystical night/day nonsense, just lovely detailled music full of emotion and everything that should be there - what a relief!!

I can't believe how hard it was to let go of old habits and beliefs. Massive thanks to everyone here for stamping out the BS and for keeping the music to the fore, that's what it's all about. I couldn't have listened if you were just 'SINAD first' - there's sound, balanced advice here.

I also took my first measurements with REW today. That's a whole new post - I'll redo them a few times to make sure I'm on the right track before I ask for help! Mic placement was wrong, but I wanted to get started. My room is far from optimal, to put it mildly, I'll need help!

Happy again, thanks for the leg-up
Do you mean that "The veil was lifted"?... lol:oops:
 

luft262

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I have finally upgraded (reconfigured, downsized?) my hifi on evidence-based rationale. It was strangely emotional and difficult to do ... I thought it was worth sharing. (I'll need some help with measurements later...)

I've always loved music and gravitated towards "hi-fi" early on (1980's ... ouch). I never went audiophile-crazy but had mid-range Musical Fidelity pre/mono-power amplifiers and a vinyl based 2.0 stereo. That got lost in family life and I started to pick up this hobby again recently. I believed in interconnects, in 10% of a system budget for cable. I believed the hi-fi reviews. I wanted Tubes!

My foot in the door again was a budget system (vinyl, stereo again) with a Rega Io integrated amp - and with an upgrade path all mapped out ... I was happy!

Then I found the ASR review of my 5* amp ... fecking devastated, pi$$ed off ... then intrigued. Then I read and then I learned. I have a science background (chemistry) and an understanding of blind testing (wine tasting, as well as pharmaceutical trials) so it made sense ... made a lot of sense.

DSP and room EQ / treatment just blew my mind.

Out went the Io, out went the cables I'd kept hold of, out went the upgrade path.

In came iFi Zen Phono (balanced output to help with noise), Bluesound Node as streaming transport (needed to stream Amazon Ultra... that's a family issue, don't judge) miniDSP Flex balanced for DAC, preamp and processing, Topping PA5. Musicians TRS interconnects and a little rack made from monitor stands.
The whole lot cost nothing, and it's tiny!

Here's the thing ... all the new kit sat unused for almost a month. I couldn't bring myself to switch. What if it didn't sound as good? what if it was 'cold', 'clinical' ... what if I couldn't suspend my years of learned bias?

I read and thought about this, until I felt sufficiently foolish :)

Plugged in today and music sounds utterly brilliant; vinyl and streamed. No mystical night/day nonsense, just lovely detailled music full of emotion and everything that should be there - what a relief!!

I can't believe how hard it was to let go of old habits and beliefs. Massive thanks to everyone here for stamping out the BS and for keeping the music to the fore, that's what it's all about. I couldn't have listened if you were just 'SINAD first' - there's sound, balanced advice here.

I also took my first measurements with REW today. That's a whole new post - I'll redo them a few times to make sure I'm on the right track before I ask for help! Mic placement was wrong, but I wanted to get started. My room is far from optimal, to put it mildly, I'll need help!

Happy again, thanks for the leg-up
I'm glad you like your new system! Where can we see the REW results!
 

Robin L

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ASR - putting the sanity back into music, one lost soul at a time. :D

Nice post, congrats on your journey, and glad it all worked out.

Fortunatly I was saved from my Rega Brio purchase by that review. I'd already put a deposit down.
ASR - A 12-step program for recovering audiophiles.
 

voodooless

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Congratulations on the setup! Sounds like a sensible choice! And thanks for sharing your story. Very inspiring!

Did you also go the Dirac route? Or is that next on the list?
 
OP
JeremyFife

JeremyFife

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Congratulations on the setup! Sounds like a sensible choice! And thanks for sharing your story. Very inspiring!

Did you also go the Dirac route? Or is that next on the list?
Cheers! Decided to hold back on Dirac to try to understand the measurements myself first. My room's a bit of a nightmare so it should be interesting
 
OP
JeremyFife

JeremyFife

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I'm glad you like your new system! Where can we see the REW results!
Thanks, it's nice! Measurements will be a bit later: finding time to do anything with this hobby is tricky. This first set was more about getting the mic and REW to work, muting channels so I could measure the speakers separately etc (mic was perched on the back of the sofa - not at my listening position as I didn't have time to set up properly)
I'll post them here first though (because I *will* need help)!
 

Vacceo

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Do your electronics take less space? Do they consume less power? Do they give you the same or more enjoyment? If all the previous are a yes, you did just great.

If you have room savings, add a subwoofer the size of a washing machine and let Ragnarok start!
 
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JeremyFife

JeremyFife

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Do your electronics take less space? Do they consume less power? Do they give you the same or more enjoyment? If all the previous are a yes, you did just great.

If you have room savings, add a subwoofer the size of a washing machine and let Ragnarok start!
Yes, yes and yes! And I now get to puzzle out room EQ settings which will keep me entertained for a while!
I've room for an 8" sub, perhaps 10" and that's the next step :)
 

BlackTalon

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Great post. I dipped my toe in the ASR waters when building systems for my son and my wife last year. These days I keep eyeing my system, wondering if I should ditch most of it for much more neutral components and adding equalization. I probably wouldn't be out of pocket all that much. Thankfully I never really bit on the $$$ interconnects, power cords and speaker cables.

...well, I do have Monster Cable speaker cables, which are ~30 years old now.
 

Vacceo

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Yes, yes and yes! And I now get to puzzle out room EQ settings which will keep me entertained for a while!
I've room for an 8" sub, perhaps 10" and that's the next step :)
Hardcore audiophiles sometimes detest subwoofers. For me, they are the gift of the audiogods. Even something as little as a KEF KC62 can make sound rumble. Plus, if you have found you like adjusting and playing with eq and speaker positioning, you´ll love what you can do with a subwoofer.

Be careful, though. You may find yourself building a 7.2.4 to play Doom Eternal at indecent decibels... :cool:
 
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roog

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I have finally upgraded (reconfigured, downsized?) my hifi on evidence-based rationale. It was strangely emotional and difficult to do ... I thought it was worth sharing. (I'll need some help with measurements later...)

I've always loved music and gravitated towards "hi-fi" early on (1980's ... ouch). I never went audiophile-crazy but had mid-range Musical Fidelity pre/mono-power amplifiers and a vinyl based 2.0 stereo. That got lost in family life and I started to pick up this hobby again recently. I believed in interconnects, in 10% of a system budget for cable. I believed the hi-fi reviews. I wanted Tubes!

My foot in the door again was a budget system (vinyl, stereo again) with a Rega Io integrated amp - and with an upgrade path all mapped out ... I was happy!

Then I found the ASR review of my 5* amp ... fecking devastated, pi$$ed off ... then intrigued. Then I read and then I learned. I have a science background (chemistry) and an understanding of blind testing (wine tasting, as well as pharmaceutical trials) so it made sense ... made a lot of sense.

DSP and room EQ / treatment just blew my mind.

Out went the Io, out went the cables I'd kept hold of, out went the upgrade path.

In came iFi Zen Phono (balanced output to help with noise), Bluesound Node as streaming transport (needed to stream Amazon Ultra... that's a family issue, don't judge) miniDSP Flex balanced for DAC, preamp and processing, Topping PA5. Musicians TRS interconnects and a little rack made from monitor stands.
The whole lot cost nothing, and it's tiny!

Here's the thing ... all the new kit sat unused for almost a month. I couldn't bring myself to switch. What if it didn't sound as good? what if it was 'cold', 'clinical' ... what if I couldn't suspend my years of learned bias?

I read and thought about this, until I felt sufficiently foolish :)

Plugged in today and music sounds utterly brilliant; vinyl and streamed. No mystical night/day nonsense, just lovely detailled music full of emotion and everything that should be there - what a relief!!

I can't believe how hard it was to let go of old habits and beliefs. Massive thanks to everyone here for stamping out the BS and for keeping the music to the fore, that's what it's all about. I couldn't have listened if you were just 'SINAD first' - there's sound, balanced advice here.

I also took my first measurements with REW today. That's a whole new post - I'll redo them a few times to make sure I'm on the right track before I ask for help! Mic placement was wrong, but I wanted to get started. My room is far from optimal, to put it mildly, I'll need help!

Happy again, thanks for the leg-up

Thank you very much for your post @JeremyFife I am in much the same position as you were, and I still cling to a very expensive amplifier which I strongly suspect is far from great. Despite changing the front end of my system streamer and DAC to sensibly priced products which perform well in tests here and which i enjoy using, I can't seem to sell on my amplifier. l think it is because I feel a sense of stupidity/failure for getting suckered in by marketing hype and to sell it would be an admission of failure, also what if the alternative isn't as pleasing to me, how will I feel then?

I know that i have to move on or I will perpetuate these feelings, your post has given me a prod in the right direction. Thank you.
 
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JeremyFife

JeremyFife

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Thank you very much for your post @JeremyFife I am in much the same position as you were, and I still cling to a very expensive amplifier which I strongly suspect is far from great. Despite changing the front end of my system streamer and DAC to sensibly priced products which perform well in tests here and which i enjoy using, I can't seem to sell on my amplifier. l think it is because I feel a sense of stupidity/failure for getting suckered in by marketing hype and to sell it would be an admission of failure, also what if the alternative isn't as pleasing to me, how will I feel then?

I know that i have to move on or I will perpetuate these feelings, your post has given me a prod in the right direction. Thank you.
Jump :)

Having said that ... I made the move because my old amp was demonstrated (by measurements) to be poor and because I wanted a way to get measurements and EQ into my system. It helped that the cost of change was very low for me - so I could roll back anything if I didn't like it (although I do like it!). Life is again in my way so I haven't got very far with measurements and EQ yet but that's still me next step.

Don't ditch your amp just based on a suspicion, you will hear that a lot here. Many non SOTA amps are still fine as the measured improvements of the new stuff is basically inaudible. Plenty of people here will give better advice than I can on an objective assessment of your electronics.

Before you do any of that though, get a measurement mic and REW. Actually measure and see what your system is doing. Remember that the biggest impact on your sound comes from your Speakers and your Room. The first changes to make are EQ, Speakers and room treatment (if that's feasible for you) - but only after you've measured.

You'll get loads of help and advice here, my advice is to be happy about the changes that you are going to make. If you have reservations about anything then that affects your thinking (adds bias) and certainly really messed with my head. Take your time, read. I'm much better now btw :D
 

melvinjames

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I can't believe how hard it was to let go of old habits and beliefs.
I can relate.

I've been in the game for decades and would say my audio pursuit has been pretty typical of most audiophiles. I've shelled out a lot of hard earned cash over the years upgrading and changing direction, always hopeful of course. I value the experience for the knowledge gained but, looking back, it was too haphazard. When ASR came onto the scene my subjectivist self was largely annoyed by it, even laughed at it, yet I continued to lurk. Something resonated with me. Finally, after purchasing one of those inexpensive @amirm recommended great-measuring DACs (SMSL SU-6), my perspective changed. I still own and enjoy the gear I held on over the years, including tubes, but my perception of it has evolved. I'm grateful and always open to learn.

While there's still plenty of push back from the audiophile community at large I think many are starting to embrace Amir's approach. Both he and @Archimago are doing the community a great service.
 

Plcamp

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One observation about ASR (for me) is that it opens the mind to more possibilities than I can keep up with, so I end up not making any decisions about what to actually do next.

I did buy a DAC. So there’s that.
 

Waxx

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I did not really change minds, it more or less confirmed what i already knew, i like coloured sound for hifi. But you got good coloured and bad coloured and for studio purpose i also know that neutral clean sound is what is needed and that does not have to cost a fortune. And some pieces like DAC's need to be as clean and neutral as possible for me, also in hifi.

What ASR gave to me was objective data to confirm what i already thought, and easy to find info on what i have to look for when selecting pieces (for myself or others) to get the right thing for the subjective preference of the listener. I don't always agree with the preferences of the majority here, but i surely agree with the need for more objective info and the need to put pressure on designers of audio equipment to make better stuff and deliver devices that do what they claim.
 
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