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Value in adding HPF to KEF R3 in 2.1?

dvno42

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Apr 25, 2023
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Hey All,

I've been trying to do my due diligence in building a new system geared towards music and video games. I'm having a ton of enjoyment in the process thanks to this forum.

I'm hoping someone can give me some input on the design and specifically, if there would be noticeable value in adding a HPF.

Background: I have a 2288 ft3 space that opens into the kitchen (not included in measurement). Space is tight and I prob won't get ideal placement for a sub.

Design:

PC---DAC Topping D10 (USB) ---- XLR ---- Preamp Schiit Freya S ---- XLR ---- Amp 2ch Buckeye Hypex NC502MP ----- Speakers: KEF R3
_______________________________________ Preamp Schiit Freya S ---- RCA --- Subwoofer HSU ULS-15 mkII

I have not yet purchased the subwoofer.

Few questions:

  • Will adding a HPF between the preamp and poweramp make a noticeable difference with these three way bookshelf speakers?
  • Is there any reason why I shouldn't do HPF passively with something like this HSU HPF? If so.. any recommended reading to figure out what xover values to select?
  • Everyone rants/raves about MiniDSP + EQL software - Are there big gains to be had for a 2.1 system like this even though the R3s are passive three way speakers?

IF SO and I use software instead of the analog HP/LPF:

Anecdotes and maybe data seem to indicate the Topping DACs are, by the numbers, better than the DACs inside the MiniDSP line. To that end, I'm considering: Topping D10---nanodigi---2x D30s (one for mains and second for sub) but this seems ridiculous... If there's reasonable value in this, is the miniDSP Flex the current gen equivalent to the nanodigi? Hell of a price jump from the nanodigi.

Good or bad, I'd love some feedback on all of this or ideas on alternative configurations.


Also, as to why on the Schiit Freya? I want that analog volume control... It's a *me* thing and may not make real sense. A future LP too maybe =D.

Thanks again all, I really appreciate any feedback!
 
Welcome to ASR as a registered member!
  • Will adding a HPF between the preamp and poweramp make a noticeable difference with these three way bookshelf speakers?
Depends on how much low bass content there is in the music/video games and how loud you play. The more and louder the low bass, the bigger the difference.
  • Is there any reason why I shouldn't do HPF passively with something like this HSU HPF? If so.. any recommended reading to figure out what xover values to select?
The HSU high pass filter should work fine. With the miniDSP, you'll have more flexibility. The miniDSP will let you freely adjust the cross-over frequency and cross-over slope. The HSU filter has a fixed slope of 12 dB/octave, which should be adequate. The miniDSP also allows you to integrate more than 1 subs, and each sub can have its own independent EQ and delay. The standard cross-over frequency of 80 Hz should work well for the R3.
Without the miniDSP, you'll have to apply EQ using your PC, which probably won't work too well when you get your vinyl.
  • Everyone rants/raves about MiniDSP + EQL software - Are there big gains to be had for a 2.1 system like this even though the R3s are passive three way speakers?!
It really depends on whether the R3 can deliver the quantity of bass to your satisfaction. Have you tried room EQ using your PC and with the R3's alone? If not, try without the sub first.
 
Hey NTK, thanks for the kind words and your in depth responses!

I'm still waiting on the poweramp to arrive but I think I'll start with PC based EQ and see where I land from there and possibly add a passive HPF first and see how it sounds to me. If I want to do more, it sounds like miniDSP will be the direction to go.

Thanks!
 
Whatever DACs you choose to use make no audible difference. Stop worrying about it.
Easiest solution would be to ditch all the separates and get a decent AVR with room correction and bass management such as Denon 3800.

As for do you need subwoofer with the KEFs: I have almost excactly same size room as you and I'm using the R5s. I have recently A/B:d between running them by themselves and with 2x KF92s.

There is very significant difference in the sound with the subs. I'm not sure if the difference is subjectively as big. You can hear the difference in most music where the lower bass notes have more weight to them and of course you get the occassional sub-bass rumbles you would totally miss without subs.

If money is no object then you should of course get a couple of subs. But depending on your preferences the improvement might not be that huge. So, if you are not OK spending couple thousand for objectively improved sound that might not be so important to you, you just need to try a sub in your room.
 
Even for my two Reference 3 the two KF92s add significantly plus one can better mitigate the room modes with sub(s). Confirmed by REW. (BTW: I use a Denon X3700 in pre-amp only mode feeding low SINAD poweramps). As other posters said, the bit SINAD difference on the DAC side won’t make a difference and having an AVR simplifies things immensely.
 
As always, I appreciate the info and while that may be true about the AVR being more simple, I'm primarily interested in music on a 2.1 (maybe 2.2) system with a single video feed for the occasional PC video game going straight into a TV (not to mention my limited equipment space). All of these AVRs seem to be packed full of features and inputs I'll never use (with the exception of room correction) and geared towards home theater best I can tell.

Also, if I should add this is all for fun and an excuse to learn :), I'm looking forward to playing with things like REW, Audiolense, and similar once I get some kind of DSP in place.

Thanks again
 
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