Need a few ideas and thoughts on system sound improvement...

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Kutusov

Well-known member
Sep 13, 2021
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I've tried my other two dacs and it's a no go (Topping D10 and Zen Dac MkI). The Ares is such a big improvement that I'm left scratching my head whenever I hear people saying Dacs sound all the same. Even the Zen and the Topping are completely different from one another .

So here's my "battle plan"... I'm going to try to add a couple more rugs to the room. The floor is no only tiles but vitrified tiles at that. It's something I should do anyway, regardless of next moves.

I need to put something on the walls. Framed paintings or posters might have glass in them and that won't help, but what about those cheaper frames with plastic instead of glass? Is that stuff also very reflective? I didn't want to hang rugs on the walls and have a room looking like some Kamchatka hut...

I need a better amp anyway, so that will probably be next. And then we'll see where that lands me with these speakers. Reselling floorstanders is a pain, no way I'm going to ship these monstrosities. And I'm yet to sell my previous bookshelves (not all that nice active Edifiers S1000), so we'll see where that goes.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
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I've tried my other two dacs and it's a no go (Topping D10 and Zen Dac MkI). The Ares is such a big improvement that I'm left scratching my head whenever I hear people saying Dacs sound all the same. Even the Zen and the Topping are completely different from one another .

So here's my "battle plan"... I'm going to try to add a couple more rugs to the room. The floor is no only tiles but vitrified tiles at that. It's something I should do anyway, regardless of next moves.

I need to put something on the walls. Framed paintings or posters might have glass in them and that won't help, but what about those cheaper frames with plastic instead of glass? Is that stuff also very reflective? I didn't want to hang rugs on the walls and have a room looking like some Kamchatka hut...

I need a better amp anyway, so that will probably be next. And then we'll see where that lands me with these speakers. Reselling floorstanders is a pain, no way I'm going to ship these monstrosities. And I'm yet to sell my previous bookshelves (not all that nice active Edifiers S1000), so we'll see where that goes.
Sounds like a good, nice and cheap plan. To be fair, the room isn't that problematic because of what's on the walls. The carpet is in the right position, and walls are irregular (paintings on side-walls might actually be a downgrade from the bookshelves - which, thanks to the books, provide an irregular shape that helps against nasty reflections). What might help is actually some panels right behind the speakers, on the back wall (at tweeter height) and, if there's nothing on the sidewall - the same, right parallell with the tweeter. Foam is really cheap, the one that looks like small pyramids.

On selling the Denafrips subject, I know it's very well regarded and is very highly praised, but that doesn't mean everyone likes it. I remember now you had a Zen, and obviously you prefer the Denafrips, so that rules this out. But someone might've discovered they actually liked the worse dac, since it's all subjective.

On selling the speakers, if you didn't throw the boxes away, it should be easy if you have local private delivery services. You just get a quote to assess the cost, then they pick it up from your doorstep - no effort involved. That is if you still have the original boxes :) If not, it might be a bit of trouble, but perhaps worth it. Again, no matter what amp you get, if the speakers are wrong for the room, it can only help to a certain extent.

Good luck!
 
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Kutusov

Well-known member
Sep 13, 2021
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Sounds like a good, nice and cheap plan. To be fair, the room isn't that problematic because of what's on the walls. The carpet is in the right position, and walls are irregular (paintings on side-walls might actually be a downgrade from the bookshelves - which, thanks to the books, provide an irregular shape that helps against nasty reflections). What might help is actually some panels right behind the speakers, on the back wall (at tweeter height) and, if there's nothing on the sidewall - the same, right parallell with the tweeter. Foam is really cheap, the one that looks like small pyramids.

On selling the Denafrips subject, I know it's very well regarded and is very highly praised, but that doesn't mean everyone likes it. I remember now you had a Zen, and obviously you prefer the Denafrips, so that rules this out. But someone might've discovered they actually liked the worse dac, since it's all subjective.

On selling the speakers, if you didn't throw the boxes away, it should be easy if you have local private delivery services. You just get a quote to assess the cost, then they pick it up from your doorstep - no effort involved. That is if you still have the original boxes :) If not, it might be a bit of trouble, but perhaps worth it. Again, no matter what amp you get, if the speakers are wrong for the room, it can only help to a certain extent.

Good luck!
Thank you for the detailed points and sorry to reply so late, was away for a couple of days...

Those piramide foam panels are the real cheap ones one can buy from Amazon?

Yeah... didn't kept the boxes :( Maybe DHL can handle the packaging, I only recently start using them and the guy that comes picking up things always ends up putting the item in one of their boxes anyway...

But I'm convinced the Qs are good enough for me, I really like their sound at low levels (again reflections would make sense because of less energy at low levels). The Rega has an annoying channel imbalance that is deemed normal at whisper level but just for that I'm willing to replace the amp. I'll wait until a store has some nice deal or a demo unit or something though.
 

Edbostan

Well-known member
Aug 5, 2021
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Thanks so far, guys! Oh, and happy Jubilee to the UK folks :)

@davidf you are probably right about the speakers, I though about that quite a lot. These are my first towers and I went with them because at the time the price difference between the 3030i with stands and the 3050i was almost the same. I thought bigger would be better as I listen mostly at low volumes and bigger speaker moves more air easily (don't know if I'm right but it was my though process). I grew up with a pair of big Pioneer floor standers from the 80s which had probably an 8 inch woofer and front ports. Not towers, that form factor of the Whaferdale Lintons. Had some matching Pioneer amp and a smaller room than I have now but I remember that sound as being great. I think I'm still chasing that easy, effortless sound because I had nothing "better" sounding since then.

As to auditioning speaker/amp combos, I can forget about that. I would have to take a day off to go to Porto or Lisbon and that's if they even have the gear I want to audition available... But you are right, that should be the way to go.

@leemccann1 @rainsoothe So I feed the DAC with FLAC files, 95% of my library is FLAC. The other 5% are Wav or MP3s from the first time I ripped my collection and then lent/lost the CD, s I couldn't rip it again.

So about my room... I was taking measures and here's where I'm at... View attachment 3609

And to have a better reference, here's a photo from the listening chair (it was taking using the wide lens, it's closer than it looks at about 2.3/2.4m - 7.5ft

View attachment 3610


Oh, another thing. I remembered yesterday why I suspected something is up with either the midrange or bass. Palying equalization, this one seems to make an important difference.

View attachment 3611

I don't know how much one can trust in these things but I get the same effect through Foobar (I use Musicbee). Bass gets really tight and the sense of things not under control goes away dramatically. Bass is very well controlled by the speakers controlled and there's no boom or crazy reverb. Music was on shuffle and Prodigy's Colours came up and everything was shaking :ROFLMAO: It's too much for me

What goes away is the sense of hollowness and the midrange gets a lot quieter to the point that volume seems to get down. With a lot of Dinah Washington tracks, her voice is in front of the instruments but with the EQ, it moves back and into among them.

I don't know what to think of this... is my problem just the midrange? Because this makes me think there's no problem with the bass at all. That EQ is a bass booster and it doesn't make the problem worst on that department.
That back wall acts as a baffle and enhances the bass.
 
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Kutusov

Well-known member
Sep 13, 2021
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Can you guys point me to a good resource on acoustic panels etc?

And btw, anyone with experience with Keyhelm?
 

Kutusov

Well-known member
Sep 13, 2021
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Thank you! :giggle:

I was playing with placement yet again and... let's just say I'm feeling like a 🍆:flushed:. I'm not even sure what I did but it's enough to go back to square 1 and reassess everything. Sound changed radically. Still a few issues but now they are much less pronounced and something else is going on.

Thanks for your patience guys, at least it got me thinking and trying things out, which I guess is what I was asking to beguine with. :blush:
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
830
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19,270
Thank you! :giggle:

I was playing with placement yet again and... let's just say I'm feeling like a 🍆:flushed:. I'm not even sure what I did but it's enough to go back to square 1 and reassess everything. Sound changed radically. Still a few issues but now they are much less pronounced and something else is going on.

Thanks for your patience guys, at least it got me thinking and trying things out, which I guess is what I was asking to beguine with. :blush:
Glad you got it sorted. For the record, yes, GIK Acoustics are great, but imo they're targeted at a higher level - price-wise. I was just suggesting getting some cheap foam panels, like some of the stuff you can find on thomann.de

If I remember right, you live somewhere in South America? In which case it would be much cheaper to find some local stuff. Just search for "acoustic foam panels" or something like that - should look like this: https://www.thomann.de/ro/the_takustik_hilon40.htm

You place them right behind the speakers, at tweeter height (the one I linked measures 100 x 50 cm, so you could just cut one in half and use the two 50x50 squares. It won't solve all your issues, but will absorb some of the high frequencies that get reflected, which should, in turn, make your system sound "fuller". In any case, these are cheap, so no harm done in trying.
 
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Kutusov

Well-known member
Sep 13, 2021
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Hi! No, I'm from Portugal. I found a place in Poland with some nice stuff for not much money. It's inside the EU and shipping cost is low. They have 100x50cm panels of fiber wool, 11cm thick (so about 39x19.5x4.3). They look nice too.

I'll give them a try after the carpet. Having a hard time finding something that covers the floor but keeps the one I have in place. It's a Lego/Tretis game I'm about to lose but that rug was a gift from the other half and I might cease communication if I discard it , if you know what I mean :ROFLMAO:

Regarding rugs, does it make it any substantial difference between, say, a 0.5inch like the one I have, or a shaggy 1.6/2inches? I live in the Algarve and it gets real hot out here...
 
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