oxymoron

First journey into music discovery and a first system build [Advice needed!]

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1 minute ago, MF 1000 said:

Over the years the quality gap has narrowed and I see this in streaming ......highly convenient but to me compromised on sound quality.

For context, have you tried lossless streaming rather than Spotify?

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Super Wammer

I have Martin ....but it was a few years back.  We compared The Race by Yello on 180gm vinyl, cd & FLAC.  On that day FLAC came in 3rd but I'd be interested to repay the cd/stream test using today's kit etc 

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Kef LS50W is a top shout. Everything you need in one handy package. :-)

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4 minutes ago, MF 1000 said:

I have Martin ....but it was a few years back.  We compared The Race by Yello on 180gm vinyl, cd & FLAC.  On that day FLAC came in 3rd but I'd be interested to repay the cd/stream test using today's kit etc 

I was watching Yello's Live in Berlin Blu-ray last night actually, which ends with The Race 🙂.

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Super Wammer

So you have had some great suggestions .. and yes we are a friendly bunch mostly who just want to help.

One thing that shouts out from your room diagram is there is not going to be the possibility of having a lot of space behind the loudspeakers.  So in your choices make sure that whatever you get will work well sited close up to the wall (no rear firing ports etc.).

Take your time - listen to others - get to the Wam Show and listen there and get an idea for what floats your boat.

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Thanks all for the replies, all sensible comments.

I appreciate not being flamed :)

I do have a big Sonos Speaker 2015 model come back with the shipping. I think what is sensible for me to do is stick with my modest headphone system and setup the Sonos and just experience music and see where it goes.

I will keep researching and ask some Wammers if I can hear there kit over the near future. I do very much agree with some comments here I do want this to be about music and an escape from daily grind rather than it become a tech hobby, I have enough of those! :)

Edited by oxymoron
grammar

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1 hour ago, oxymoron said:

Thanks all for the replies, all sensible comments.

I appreciate not being flamed :)

I do have a big Sonos Speaker 2015 model come back with the shipping. I think what is sensible for me to do is stick with my modest headphone system and setup the Sonos and just experience music and see where it goes.

I will keep researching and ask some Wammers if I can hear there kit over the near future. I do very much agree with some comments here I do want this to be about music and an escape from daily grind rather than it become a tech hobby, I have enough of those! :)

Good choice - that's the right way to go IMO.  No need to hurry.  There is a thread on some forums something along the lines of "what are some great vinyl recordings?" where people look for albums that are pressed and cut superbly.  That's bonkers to me because it's them wanting to listen to their system rather than a piece of music.

And there is a thread somewhere on one of the forums about someone spending a large amount of money on their system and being greatly dissatisfied with the result.   And the amount they stated was large.   Ferrari large.   They go on to say that their best memory of hifi and music was some bodged together student system running a PA amp through a 4x12 guitar cab.  A complete paradox right there......

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4 minutes ago, eatapeach said:

Good choice - that's the right way to go IMO.  No need to hurry.  There is a thread on some forums something along the lines of "what are some great vinyl recordings?" where people look for albums that are pressed and cut superbly.  That's bonkers to me because it's them wanting to listen to their system rather than a piece of music.

And there is a thread somewhere on one of the forums about someone spending a large amount of money on their system and being greatly dissatisfied with the result.   And the amount they stated was large.   Ferrari large.   They go on to say that their best memory of hifi and music was some bodged together student system running a PA amp through a 4x12 guitar cab.  A complete paradox right there......

Thanks for your help on my dumb threads so far.

Just one question what resource describes what audiophile terms actually mean?

Words like - warm, bright, tight, boomy, V-shaped, neutral, mid-forward and forward are used, some I can guess but is there a good book, forum post or youtube video that breaks all this down?

One thing that would put me off going into a proper hifi shop is not knowing what am talking about in the sense of not being able to describe the sound i like or dislike.

Sorry for another stupid question!

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29 minutes ago, oxymoron said:

Thanks for your help on my dumb threads so far.

Just one question what resource describes what audiophile terms actually mean?

Words like - warm, bright, tight, boomy, V-shaped, neutral, mid-forward and forward are used, some I can guess but is there a good book, forum post or youtube video that breaks all this down?

One thing that would put me off going into a proper hifi shop is not knowing what am talking about in the sense of not being able to describe the sound i like or dislike.

Sorry for another stupid question!

All you really need to worry about is if you like what you hear.

I have no idea what V-shaped means in audio terms!

Bright means the high frequencies are too dominant. I wouldn't get too caught up in the rest.

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2 minutes ago, MartinC said:

All you really need to worry about is if you like what you hear.

I have no idea what V-shaped means in audio terms!

Bright means the high frequencies are too dominant. I wouldn't get too caught up in the rest.

yes don't get too caught up in the rest - and you already have a Sonos and a Raspberry pi so you already know as much as anyone!  

You know what the Sonos sounds like, so reference stuff you hear from that.  

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Super Wammer
On 19/02/2020 at 17:39, oxymoron said:

Firstly I don't know what I am talking about at all here. I have took inspiration from Zero Fidelity channel on youtube with these questions and answers below.

I'm hoping people here can provide advice on things to consider on a first system and what DAC or Integrated AMPs and speaker manufactures I should research more and go demo.

1. Is this system just for you, or will others listen as well?

It will be just for me to listen to 99% of the time, sitting in the lounge opposite it. However, will likely turn it on when cooking, eating or chors like ironing.

2. What kind of room will this system be in?

49557210601_934925a9f4_o.pngSpeaker Layout by Dean Beamish, on Flickr

carpetted flooring, 1990s build UK house, plaster internal walls. Some canvas pictures hang from walls. Speakers would be near foot traffic from hallway, through the lounge into the Kitchen/Diner. Not many other options for placement. Will need to be placed close to wall and can't be pulled into the room much as this will impede traffic into the kitchen.

3. Go over aesthetic preferences (if you have any)

None as such, I am open minded. As you can see from the drawing I live in a typical UK house so not looking for anything overpowering or dominating physically. I like the thought of Larsen speakers which can be placed directly against the wall.

I think realisitically the room lends it self to bookshelf speakers or small compact floorstands?

4. Talk about general listening habits

At the moment its just PC > Topping D50 DAC > Schiit Modi 3 headphone amp > Hifiman massdrop headphones.

I am kind new to music and still discovering genres I like the drilling into Artists and "like other artists" on Tidal/Spotify.

The trouble is I easily get distracted and either artist skip a lot or end up on youtube or with 50 web browser tabs open and not truely listening.

I am looking for this to be relaxing and not a techie bent hobby. I have enough of that with work and photography / gaming outside work.

I am looking at this to be about music discovery and enjoyment rather than system specs and stats measurements.

5. Talk about the kind of music that you like

I was a teenage in the 1990s and grew up with Oasis, Blur, Stereophonics, Manic Street Preachers, bands like that and from 2000s into things like Arcade Fire and Arctic Monkeys, Rival Sons, Dirty Honey, Richard Ashcroft, The Arcs, The Black Keys, Slaves, The Temperance Movement, Wolfmother.

I am very much on a journey of discovery, certainly not an audiophile. This is the level I am at - I recently discovered Led Zeppling and loved it more than my Indie/Britpop stuff, they were amazing. In my search for similar Artists I am now working through Rush, AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top (love these bands) and will then look at Pink Floyd.

I have found a lot modern and classic electirc blues artists like Kingfish, Howlin Wolf, Fantastic Negrito, Guitar Pete, Joe Bonamassa and Stevie Ray Vaughan as a few examples.

Will I like - Jazz, Folk Classical? I don't know yet as I need to discover these genres..

This is where I am at, I am totally new!

6. Features. What do you need to connect?

I have a raspberry Pi3 and a HifiBerry Digi+ pro I need to digout and will use that as the source for my first system.

I have been buying CDs from charity shops and converting them to FLAC using Exact Audio Copy.

Will look to subscribe to Qobuz. At this stage I think I am happy with CD quality material. Would want the ability to decode 24/192. MQA I could take or leave if the DAC/AMP sounds 'great' that is paramount.

CD Transport - not sure I need it, happy to manually convert on PC and store on my synology box.

7. Talk about your preference in sound (if you know it).

I don't really know as my experience is incredibly

limited. If I was pushed now I would use words like fullness, smoothness, naturalness.

I want some detail and clarity but for it to be fun, enjoyable and not shrill and headache enducing or boomy at the bottom end.

8. Lastly, mention your budget.

Happy to go used, particulry buying from seasoned people on the classifieds here.

Would consider passive or active solutions.

Budget up to £2 -3k max, obviously if it can be done used for under £1000 then brilliant, I don't have to spend £2 - 3k.

Is this too much considering I know little about music and never had a proper system before?

Keep it simple for now..you have no idea as yet as to a systems capabilities till you've heard a lot.!!!!

You wont do serious listening all the time sat in the sweet spot ..so the speakers can stay where they are..then shut the door and move the speakers forward and sideways for the cool times..

Heard the rega all in one at Brisol..

£999..not much wrong for a nice first system ..keep if for a while ..

As said before ..contact wammers in your local area...

Kindest regards Julian 

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Hi oxy  :)

A big and warm welcome to the Wam.

Since you are new here, Iam not sure if you are aware that we also have a sales section here of used gear from the members. Posting a link below :

https://hifiwigwam.com/forum/forum/11-private-hifi-classifieds/

Since I only want to recommend from my own experience, there is a pair of PMC twenty 21 on sale for 700 pounds. They are great speakers for rock and EDM.  And most importantly can be placed close to a rear wall, as the transmission line terminus opens in the front.

 I would be lost suggesting amps to drive them, as I couldn't see anything in the classifieds that I've used before. If you do decide to go with these speakers. Iam sure others can drop in with amp recommendations.

You can continue using the present topping dac till you feel the urge to upgrade. All the best :)

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All you really need to worry about is if you like what you hear.
I have no idea what V-shaped means in audio terms!
Bright means the high frequencies are too dominant. I wouldn't get too caught up in the rest.
V shaped referred to the frequency curve ie recessed mids. I've generally always preferred a slightly recessed midrange but recently I've started to like a more prominent mid as I've found a bit of information was being missed, eg guitars and vocals become a little more prominent.

I think the thing that's driven this is that my speakers have become progressively better/more expensive eg Kef Reference and Usher. I used to find the mids a bit shouty on budget speakers. Plus my tastes have matured a little from the boom and tizz of my youth I'm sure
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Our living room is of similar shape/dimensions to your own. You’ve had some good advice above and I wouldn’t rush into doing anything, especially anything expensive! 
As an alternative to the Kef LS50 wireless that’s been suggested, I would also grab a listen to more conventional active speakers (power amps built in). We use a pair of stand mount Acoustic Energy AE1 active that retail at approx £1000. They sound great and are amazing value for money. If you google them and read the reviews, you’ll find much to like and little otherwise.
I would also go with suggestions about having your speakers sit either side of your TV.

Finally, don’t worry about lacking knowledge of Hi Fi; just trust your ears and the ears of other trusted family and friends. Be careful of any sound that grabs your attention immediately, though; sometimes these systems convey exciting music in exciting ways (good) but then convey ALL music in exciting (ie fatiguing) ways (not so good)!

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Super Wammer

Also for your budget you are unlikely to make a big mistake and I wouldn’t spend too much time agonising about it. If you are into watching videos on this subject there is a guy called John Darko on YouTube and he talks in a down to earth manner and may even have something to say at this price point. 

Many people on here have recommended active speakers. This is absolutely the way to go these days and on your budget. Have a look at a proaudio shop like gear4music and you will find a load of active monitors at cheap prices that sound great. I personally like Adam as you can listen for hours even though they are detailed/very clear. You just add a streamer with built in DAC.

For not having to think about anything at all though the Naim Muso is fit and forget. A lot of people on here like to start and then upgrade. You should consider this aspect of your purchase as you don’t want to buy to them sell again.

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