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Underwhelmed with set-up. Whats the weak link?

dellroy

New member
Mar 1, 2009
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My current set up is shown in my signature. While it's ok, I am just underwhelmed with the sound produced, weather it's from the CD or streaming using the laptop. The instruments don't seem to be well seperated from one another and the base isn't that controlled.

I had a Denon Micro and Tannoy Mercury F1 speakers before this system, so dont get me wrong, its a great step up from that, but I am still left wanting that bit more. I am looking to purchase a new DAC right now to help with the streaming, maybe a HRT microstreamer, or a MF V90.

I am just after some help/opinions as to what may be restricting my system. I don't expect its the speakers as they are highly praised from all corners. I certainly can spend a little on ugrading if need be (£400 pluse money made from selling any bit of what i have now).

regards

Regards
 

Blackdawn

Well-known member
May 7, 2010
88
1
18,545
Hi,

If you don't already have some speaker stands they would be at the top of the list. You could always try filling them as well to reduce reverberations through the bottom of the stand. Also if the bass seems not so well controlled try moving the speaker away from the walls (corners and back) a bit. You may have less overall bass but it should sound more controlled.

Which is best sounding the laptop or the cd player? What volume do you normally play at ? low, med or high? Type of music? Size of room?

The Dali speakers take a while to sound their best and run in. Try leaving them to see if they improve with time. Mine did.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
493
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19,270
I full agree with blackdawn's suggestions. Give the speakers some time and, if you haven't already got some, invest in a pair of decent speaker stands. Also worth experimenting with the speaker position - those Dalis don't like being too close to rear or side walls so give them as much space as you can.

Usefully I have owned everything in your system at one time or another and rate each part of it highly. However, if you find the sound too ballsy, for want of a better word, I'd suggest looking to the speakers first. The Zensor 3s are superb in many ways, but they are on the slightly blustery side of neutral and won't suit all rooms and all listeners. If you can't achieve the right sound with the current set-up I would recommend getting a demo of the KEF Q100s. They are beautifully controlled and natural sounding speakers with excellent imaging and tonal reproduction and they sound glorious with the 720 series electronics. Don't be tempted by the bigger Q300s - the 100s are, IME, the better speaker in all but the biggest rooms. I think if any purchase is going to resolve your disappointment, the Q100s could be it.
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
You could probably do with a better amp than the one you're currently using (and some speaker stands too if you haven't already got some).

There are plenty of good amps with more power in the £300 - £400 price range. More power isn't just for more volume it will also give better control and sound quality at normal listening levels too. Try auditioning a few to see what works well with your speakers. Yamaha and Marantz are usually a good place to start with your budget.
 

dellroy

New member
Mar 1, 2009
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Thanks for your reply Blackdawn

I should have mentioned, I have Atacama Speaker stands that's are filled with Atabites. I have the speakers postponed about 30-40 cm from the wall in a row that is 12ft x 10ft. I like to listen to music quite loud. Too loud if I had neighbours but thankfully I live in a detached house. I also listend to it as background music when sitting with the wife or have friends round.

Music tastes are very varied, from REM, Dire Straites, Queen, to modern pop and Orchestra.

I have prob only run the speakers for total of 40 hours since purchasing. There isn't too much difference between streaming and the cd when I play the streaming through the Lindy DAC, but when played via iPad it's not as good as it connects directly to a usb on the front of the CD player.

Thanks again
 

dellroy

New member
Mar 1, 2009
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I could already be on the slippery road of upgrade-itis. matthewpiano you might have a point with the speakers. I may have them too close to the wall with them being rear ported. It's difficult with upgrades as I could only really compare once I buy them and set them up in my room
 

Blackdawn

Well-known member
May 7, 2010
88
1
18,545
Ok, I like some of the music you mentioned. I think the distance from the walls should be fine for the Dali's and good about the stands. Difficult to suggest anything which will not be expensive for you. IMO the right speakers are very important, so if you can find any that you prefer the sound of more, this may be the best way. Maybe you are expecting too much of an improvement from the Denon and Tannoys. A smaller, more controlled speaker maybe the way forward. Try to avoid any that are difficult to drive.
 

dellroy

New member
Mar 1, 2009
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matthewpiano said:
Why can't you audition? There must be a dealer near you with a demo room, surely...
there are dealers where I can audition. I guess what I really mean is that it's one thing going to a shop and sitting in a purpose built room to get an idea, but it's different once you get the kit home and put it in your own room. My current system seemed to sound a bit different when I did an audition.

Is it possible to rent equipment from any dealers for a home trial? That could save a lot of expense in the long run.
 

MakkaPakka

New member
May 25, 2013
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Too much 'sound' bouncing around in a small room. Bass decay times will be too long which makes everything else lack clarity.

Try damping the room with duvets/cushions/pillows, etc. before you start hurling money at the problem. A small amount of bass trapping is likely to tidy things up.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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I'm pretty old fashioned in many ways and contrary to common 'know how' there is no way that I would buy a budget system where the speakers are the most expensive item.

It is partly a matter of balance and partly of spending the money where it is most effective, at this price level it is the amplifier.

The very suggestion that your room requires 'treatment' is an admission that the system is out of control, smaller speakers, better amplifier is the way forward.
 

Native_bon

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2008
180
2
18,595
dellroy said:
matthewpiano said:
Why can't you audition? There must be a dealer near you with a demo room, surely...
there are dealers where I can audition. I guess what I really mean is that it's one thing going to a shop and sitting in a purpose built room to get an idea, but it's different once you get the kit home and put it in your own room. My current system seemed to sound a bit different when I did an audition.

Is it possible to rent equipment from any dealers for a home trial? That could save a lot of expense in the long run.
First I would advice you to be patient when putting a system together. If you rush you most likely to get it wrong. Secondly take advice from others & use it wisely. Dnt buy an item cause everyone says it sounds good. It has to sound good to your ears. e.g sales person or mag.

The other problem you mentioned is the same one I have talked abot alot on this forum. The ability to audition at home. I think this should be very much involved in the process of buying HIFI, cause we are dealing with acoustics & sound. Try & see if you can work with a good HIFI shop to let you demo at home. Not meaning to sound negative, but I know from experience most hifi shops only willing to loan products when buying expensive gear.

Having said that ther are still some good HIFI shops out there, just need to put in the hard work.

Do not get the system wrong then try to repair the problem with treating the room. Its much easier the other way round, getting the system right first for your listening room. Then you can treat if you really need to.

As per your system I will be looking to change the amp. I dnt like making suggestions cause it may not be to your liking. But if I have to within your budget I would recommend either Marantz or Arcam models or even second hand.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
493
325
19,270
There are dealers out there who will agree to home loan once you have focused on a particular product after an in-store audition. The sensible dealers will be far sighted enough to understand that if they help you to get things right now, you are likely to continue purchasing from them in the future. One-off customers aren't enough these days, particular in a smaller industry like hi-fi, so building the dealer/customer relationship is vital.
 

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