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Two and a half systems later... What did I learn?



Addicted to Fun and Learning
Dec 30, 2020
San Francisco Bay Area
Even thought the difference is tiny, those of us looking for that extra 5% better sound will often pay a lot for it. Just saying, a tiny difference means more to certain people than others.
Doubtful you will get a 5% difference between two quality-built DACs.

That said, people do pay for theoretical improvements, which I think is fair.

I agree with much of the OP but I think the process is even simpler than that.
True if you don't mind flipping switches or having multiple remotes or remembering which volume you are changing.

With a Roon Ready streaming amplifier, there is only one volume. With my Pi/X16/AX-505 setup, there are at least three ways to change volume in the signal chain: Roon DSP volume, X16 digital volume, AX-505 analog volume. (I try to only use the analog volume.)

Sorry, but you are wrong.

EQ does not fix room acoustics. If you have not fixed the room, you are leaving far more than 5% on the table.
EQ does fix some room acoustics. More advanced room correction algorithms can do a bit more. However, physically optimizing the room is usually not financially or politically feasible.

Since the LS50W is Roon-ready, one could get those and not bother with the bluesound.
True. Not any cheaper though. I would still have to run a lot of cables (ethernet, HDMI).

Good summary Curiouspeter.! :)

I would add:
Think about whether Hifi fits aesthetically in a combined listening, living room. Are those speakers that meesure so well a good fit with the rest of the furniture. In addition, WAF
Yes! My wife wanted a white entertainment cabinet. So I got white LS50s and a white Bluesound as well. :D

I wish the buttons on the Powernode were on the front of the unit though. It is placed inside a cubby. I can reach the top buttons but it is not ergonomic.


Major Contributor
Oct 10, 2020
Pretty good summary. I would put the top item as: speakers. Reasonable budget/performance decisions on the electronics and source are relatively easy. Speaker decisions are harder. Budget generously for the speakers and make the rest work would be my advice.
Sure, but you feed in compressed music into the Hifi fi solution, there is compressed music coming out of the speakers. The best speakers in the world can do nothing about that.

An old CD player and older CDs. What if it's what's most crucial to getting the best sound? I'm exaggerating but still ...

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