What to upgrade next?

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Hey everyone.

I have a pretty modest system that I've been listening to and enjoying a lot and I'm curious what everyone thinks would be the smartest next step for upgrading.

Stream from Spotify to a Wiim mini, using its built in DAC. Aux out to an Aiyima tube t2 pre-amp and from that to an Aiyima A07 amp.

Speakers depends on mood, lately Monitor 5b with 194 tweeters and stock crossovers. Also have the R200 and SDA1c that need work still.

I know without question what I have now is not going to impress most members of the forum, but it's been great value for the money in my opinion. I get some sound staging and imaging and I'm not sure exactly would be the lowest hanging fruit in my setup to improve that. Speaker mods and repair? DAC? Better amp and preamp? Is it more wise to look at room treatment? Scrap it all and start over?
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  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 12,663
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    Upgrade from Spotify to Tidal or Qobuz.
  • chrispyfur
    chrispyfur Posts: 170
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    We did use Tidal for a little bit and I'd say the difference was more subtle than I had expected. We still have Spotify because we liked their automatic playlists better.

    Maybe I should give Qobuz a try for a month or two though.
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 12,663
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    Streamer/DAC could be bottlenecking then, or bottlenecks elsewhere in the system.
  • chrispyfur
    chrispyfur Posts: 170
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    I feel like a separate DAC might be the next "big thing". I also have concerns that these inexpensive Chinese components in my setup are already taking me as far as they want to go. I'm just happy to get some other perspectives on the matter.
  • Clipdat
    Clipdat Posts: 12,663
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    Try taking the inexpensive tube pre out of the signal path and running the DAC's output directly into the Aiyima A07. It has it's own volume knob so it should be fine.

    That cheap tube pre is just a distortion generator and isn't doing you any favors, imo.
  • chrispyfur
    chrispyfur Posts: 170
    edited August 2023
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    I'll give it a shot. Giving Qobuz the free month starting 10 minutes ago.

    I got the tube pre-amp for Bluetooth before I bought the streamer.
  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 33,187
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    Clipdat wrote: »
    ...
    That cheap tube pre is just a distortion generator and isn't doing you any favors, imo.

    It is as he says. :#
  • chrispyfur
    chrispyfur Posts: 170
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    Its been taken out of the mix. The tone controls were nice to have, but I don't feel I was gaining much of anything with it.
  • rooftop59
    rooftop59 Posts: 8,002
    edited August 2023
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    Living Room 2.2: Usher BE-718 "tiny dancers"; Dual DIY Dayton audio RSS210HF-4 Subs with Dayton SPA-250 amps; Arcam SA30; Musical Fidelity A308; Sony UBP-x1000es; Squeezebox Touch with Bolder Power Supply
    Game Room 5.1.4:
    Denon AVR-X4200w; Sony UBP-x700; Definitive Technology Power Monitor 900 mains, CLR-3000 center, StudioMonitor 350 surrounds, ProMonitor 800 atmos x4; Sub - Monoprice Monolith 15in THX Ultra

    Bedroom 2.1
    Cambridge Azur 551r; Polk RT25i; ACI Titan Subwoofer
  • chrispyfur
    chrispyfur Posts: 170
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    rooftop59 wrote: »
    I know it's a big leap, but the bottleneck is your streamer/dac. To really upgrade, you're gonna have to pony up some $$$.

    I believe you're probably right, that's just one of those pills that's a lot easier to swallow if I had ever heard a system with some higher end gear. Unfortunately for me as of now the system I have is likely the best one I've ever heard!
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 18,481
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    Where do you live? You may have a member or two near you. Our local group that has members of this forum within it, meet all the time to listen to each other's rigs. We don't meet to brag or feel better about our respective systems, we do it because it's what we do. It's fun and we get to hear a lot of gear.....a lot of great systems and not so expensive systems too that in their own right, still sound great.

    Maybe think about attending LSAF, Capitol Audio fest or another audio show. I actually created an event 15 or 16 years ago that's still going on, even though I rarely attend it anymore. That's how I started my "real" audio journey.

    I don't know if we are doing a Polkfest this year (rumor has it, Troy may not be able to do it this year) but 1/2 the fun is listening to the gear that people bring and the system(s) there and the other 1/2 of the fun is the comradery of meeting the very folks that you speak with on the forum. Some of them will literally become "family".

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~
  • bcwsrt
    bcwsrt Posts: 1,651
    edited August 2023
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    I don't know what kind of budget you have, but that is probably the determining factor as to what's next.

    I've pretty much rebuilt my entire system around my RTA 15TLs since last November. It is hard to say which thing made the single largest difference because everything successfully built off of what I did before, but if I had to order the things that made the biggest difference in soundstage and imaging, it would probably be something like this:

    1) Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III integrated tube amp
    2) Speaker refresh
    3) GIK Acoustics room treatments

    I guess I’m out on an island here, but I think good, clean, high-current power is at the top of the list, speakers are next and taming room reflections follows those two. I haven’t found that source components, including upgrading to a newer DAC, brought the kind of step changes the things I listed did.

    YMMV.

    Do you plan on running the 1Cs with the same amp?

    Brian

    One-owner Polk Audio RTA 15TL speakers refreshed w/ Sonicap, Vishay/Mills and Cardas components by "pitdogg2," "xschop" billet tweeter plates and BH5 | Stereo REL Acoustics T/5x subwoofers w/ Bassline Blue cables | Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III integrated tube amp | Technics SL-1210G turntable w/ Ortofon 2M Black LVB 250 MM cart | Sony CDP-508ESD CD player (as a transport) | LampizatOr Baltic 4 tube DAC | Nordost & DH Labs cables/interconnects | APC H15 Power Conditioner | GIK Acoustics room treatments | Degritter RCM
  • chrispyfur
    chrispyfur Posts: 170
    edited August 2023
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    @treitz3 I'm in the western New York area, near Buffalo. I'd very much enjoy being able to make some friends who also share this hobby!

    @bcwsrt I like being able to swap speakers as the mood strikes, so yeah whatever system I have will often run the 1c's and whatever else I add to the collection.

    I've been keeping a close eye on Facebook marketplace for a deal for a more substantial amp. I'm not afraid to pick up something lightly used.

    As far as budget I'm fortunate enough to be dual income/no kids so if I fancy something enough to save for it that's not too much of an issue.
  • bcwsrt
    bcwsrt Posts: 1,651
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    chrispyfur wrote: »


    @bcwsrt I like being able to swap speakers as the mood strikes, so yeah whatever system I have will often run the 1c's and whatever else I add to the collection.


    Understand and that makes sense. I was specifically wondering if you intended to run the SDAs with the Aiyima A07 you have now were an amp to be further down on your list of next steps.


    Brian

    One-owner Polk Audio RTA 15TL speakers refreshed w/ Sonicap, Vishay/Mills and Cardas components by "pitdogg2," "xschop" billet tweeter plates and BH5 | Stereo REL Acoustics T/5x subwoofers w/ Bassline Blue cables | Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III integrated tube amp | Technics SL-1210G turntable w/ Ortofon 2M Black LVB 250 MM cart | Sony CDP-508ESD CD player (as a transport) | LampizatOr Baltic 4 tube DAC | Nordost & DH Labs cables/interconnects | APC H15 Power Conditioner | GIK Acoustics room treatments | Degritter RCM
  • chrispyfur
    chrispyfur Posts: 170
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    Yes I use the little Aiyima to run the SDAs. Well aware more power = more better. I suppose the point of my post is to gauge from others with more experience if going with the amp is the right next step or if something else would get me more of what I want.

    I don't have a large room so I don't necessarily need tons of power for volume purposes, however I do understand that's not really the point.
  • rooftop59
    rooftop59 Posts: 8,002
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    chrispyfur wrote: »
    rooftop59 wrote: »
    I know it's a big leap, but the bottleneck is your streamer/dac. To really upgrade, you're gonna have to pony up some $$$.

    I believe you're probably right, that's just one of those pills that's a lot easier to swallow if I had ever heard a system with some higher end gear. Unfortunately for me as of now the system I have is likely the best one I've ever heard!

    The Cambridge store on eBay offers free returns, shipping and all. I’ve taken advantage of that a couple times (and bought and kept several items - more than I’ve sent back!). Something to think about!
    Living Room 2.2: Usher BE-718 "tiny dancers"; Dual DIY Dayton audio RSS210HF-4 Subs with Dayton SPA-250 amps; Arcam SA30; Musical Fidelity A308; Sony UBP-x1000es; Squeezebox Touch with Bolder Power Supply
    Game Room 5.1.4:
    Denon AVR-X4200w; Sony UBP-x700; Definitive Technology Power Monitor 900 mains, CLR-3000 center, StudioMonitor 350 surrounds, ProMonitor 800 atmos x4; Sub - Monoprice Monolith 15in THX Ultra

    Bedroom 2.1
    Cambridge Azur 551r; Polk RT25i; ACI Titan Subwoofer
  • chrispyfur
    chrispyfur Posts: 170
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    @rooftop59 makes perfect sense when you're out of the $150 range and closing on the $1500+ range!
  • msg
    msg Posts: 9,599
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    chrispy, my friend, all I have to say is

    dsd0oxni5ape.png

    I disabled signatures.
  • chrispyfur
    chrispyfur Posts: 170
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    @msg oh no, you're not getting off the hook that easily! Tell me where to spend my money!
  • bcwsrt
    bcwsrt Posts: 1,651
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    I thought a picture of a rabbit hole would’ve been better, myself.

    Brian

    One-owner Polk Audio RTA 15TL speakers refreshed w/ Sonicap, Vishay/Mills and Cardas components by "pitdogg2," "xschop" billet tweeter plates and BH5 | Stereo REL Acoustics T/5x subwoofers w/ Bassline Blue cables | Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III integrated tube amp | Technics SL-1210G turntable w/ Ortofon 2M Black LVB 250 MM cart | Sony CDP-508ESD CD player (as a transport) | LampizatOr Baltic 4 tube DAC | Nordost & DH Labs cables/interconnects | APC H15 Power Conditioner | GIK Acoustics room treatments | Degritter RCM
  • chrispyfur
    chrispyfur Posts: 170
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    Come on guys, I gave up so many hobbies! Guns, motorcycles, cars... this one HAS to be less expensive than all of that, right?

    ...right!?!?!

    Who am I kidding?
  • msg
    msg Posts: 9,599
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    chrispyfur wrote: »
    I know without question what I have now is not going to impress most members of the forum, but it's been great value for the money in my opinion. I get some sound staging and imaging and I'm not sure exactly would be the lowest hanging fruit in my setup to improve that. Speaker mods and repair? DAC? Better amp and preamp? Is it more wise to look at room treatment? Scrap it all and start over?

    First of all, get that last paragraph outta your mind. I get where you're coming from, but don't dog your system or be afraid to ask questions here, because every single one of us has been where you are right now - enjoying getting into the hobby, obsessing, and deciding on what to do next. And for most of us, it never ends; it's relative. I will say that it's great that you're already experiencing relatively satisfying results. Doing way better than I was in my "first year".

    Also, for most of the people here who enjoy the hobby, it's not about beating out other members in gear; it's not a race or one-upmanship. It's about our own journeys, exploring, learning, and growing at our own respective paces. Again - all relative.

    You nailed the most sensible goal here with this stuff when you used the word "value". Unless you have limitless funds, value should always play into your plans, and, in fact, it can make the hobby more enjoyable, since it takes time to research, source, and find the right piece at the right price. This isn't to say be out there low-balling people, but yes - value; fair (even still, I almost always over-pay. I very rarely find the best deals, but, still way cheaper than new). Almost all of my stuff is second hand.

    Now, on to your questions. I haven't learned as much as I should have in my time, here, however, a few notes re: your goal to improve soundstage and imaging...

    I experienced profound imaging in three separate experiences, with three separate systems.

    There was one thing common to two of those three experiences, and that was speaker placement.
    Specifically, getting a lot of space around the speakers.

    In two of these setups, there was either no front wall, or it was 8ft away, with closest side walls similar distance. This is free to try. Tell your wife you're only experimenting, and that you'll move everything back, that you're just trying to learn - and to save money! Yes, this means lie to her. If it works out, you come up with the story to justify keeping it where it sounds best later on. And if you get caught, you blame @Clipdat, and you also say that routinely scours Craigslist ads for companionship, and actually scores. And then you say that you don't like him, but that you couldn't help but be swayed because he's really good at audio in spite of the other stuff.

    The next thing was two different integrated amplifiers. One was a Musical Fidelity A5, and the other is an older Harman Kardon HK990. Each of these was around $1200ea, used.

    I don't know much of anything about amplifier designs or which specs make for which performance characteristics. From general comparison between these two pieces and former pieces I enjoyed for sound quality but that did not present profound imaging, the specs that seem to stand out in common are peak to peak (or peak instantaneous) current, and damping factor. Driver control, impact, clean, articulate performance during fast, busy passages as opposed to a heavy messy congested presentation. These are some of the capabilities that translate to improvements in sound presentation.

    These integrateds are each dual mono designs with [relatively] high current power supplies, and high damping factor, and both offered significant improvements in stereo nuance over my previous favorites - various separates from Parasound and B&K, and the various combinations of each.

    Next, my streaming game is very modest compared to others. I use old Logitech Squeezebox Touch players, which connect to Logitech Media server on my main home computer. These SBTs are old and limited as far as quality goes, but whether it matters will depend some on your media and/or service.

    For services, I use Spotify, DI.FM, and local .flac rips, but almost exclusively Spotify and DI.FM (and its affiliate stations). Sometimes Pandora if I want to see if it can introduce anything new. So, as far as services go for me, nothing profoundly great. I tried Tidal several years ago. It was better, but didn't have the catalog. Later, I tried Qobuz, and it was very nice, too. I settled on Spotify again, just because of my history with it and, iirc at the time, maybe something to do with the mobile app? I could just be making that up. Which wouldn't be the first time I invented something.

    The SBT goes into a DAC, and for me, I enjoy the Schiit Modi or Bifrost models. They offer the multibit (a bit more $) and delta-sigma DAC chip'd options, which are more affordable. The delta-sigma offerings aren't bad at all, but the multibit ones do sound better. Hard to describe, but just a bit richer, more robust, and smoother. That is to say, very clean without edginess. Not that the Modi is edgy.

    I'm at the lower end of DACs here than most. These range from $120 - $300 for the Modi (mini). Looks like the Bifrost is only available in multibit now, and it's $800, but you could likely find an older Bifrost Multi for $400-$500 or so? There are lots of DAC options and a lot of guys don't care for the Schiit stuff. I happen to enjoy it. Synergy. Is there better for the money? Maybe? Likely? But I'm at a happy place here, and I've standardized on it across my other systems, as well.

    Lastly - one of my absolute FAVE setups is a piCorePlayer I built, which is a Raspberry Pi based streamer with a HiFi Berry DAC hat on it, built in a nice metal case. piCorePlayer software integrates with Logitech Media Server and syncs with other Squeeze Players. Maybe around $200 for every thing at the time I built it, but Raspberry Pis went scarce for a while, and wound up 4x the price or more for a bit. If you like to tinker, this is a fun project, and it saves money. Further, this is one of the setups that is really pleasing.

    The very first setup I used where I experienced nuanced imaging was with a SBT, Audioengine HD3 speakers and a modest musical sub. It was the first time I experienced speakers disappearing. Like, literally. I was listening to the music, surprised by the imaging, and when I looked to my left, directly at one of the Audioengine speakers, the sound was coming from elsewhere. It seemed like the speaker wasn't even there, wasn't the source of the sound. It was crazy. That was when I started trying to better my other systems.

    Unfortunately, I'm unable to remember now whether at the time I was running the SBT into a DAC or not. I may have been using its onboard DAC and running cheap RCA cables directly in to a Schiit Magni3 headphone amp that was I was using a preamp/volume control. If not, then I was using the cheaper Schiit Modi DAC ($100 or less used; delta-sigma chip). That setup would have looked like this:
    SBT > digital coax > Schiit Modi > RCA > Schiit Magni3 > RCA > Audioengine HD3s > RCA/coax preout to affordable Sunfire SDS-8 sub.

    All RCA cables in that original setup were cheap OE ones with red/white connectors (you know the type), except for one Audioquest Forest that I likely ran from the Magni3 to the Audioengines. In spite of the cheap cables, this was the only instance in which I've ever experienced speakers disappearing and beautiful imaging, able to locate the players, as well as some depth in the image.

    Again, this was a desktop system with essentially no hard boundaries.

    The Audioengine HD3 speakers were sitting on 2 sets each of Sound Addicted acoustic foam monitor pads from Amazon, angled upward a bit toward my ears.

    I've had best results with imaging with near field listening.

    Apologies for the typos and hope that's follow-able. Just a few ideas for you to consider (read: confuse you further)
    I disabled signatures.
  • msg
    msg Posts: 9,599
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    [Damn, hit a character limit. Ramble penalty.]

    For closer to one-shot deals, if you can bite the bullet, I'd go with some of the tried/true options the other guys have offered above instead of messing around with budget options and winding up spending the money later anyway. This was something an established forum member and mentor was gently trying to throw me toward in my first year, but I simply couldn't get my head around spending "that kind of money" on a "stereo" at the time. I had absolutely no clue what I was in for... :D
    I disabled signatures.
  • msg
    msg Posts: 9,599
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    chrispyfur wrote: »
    Come on guys, I gave up so many hobbies! Guns, motorcycles, cars... this one HAS to be less expensive than all of that, right?

    ...right!?!?!

    Who am I kidding?

    Oh, make no mistake - audio has the potential to EASILY surpass each of those hobbies. Many times over if you hoard collect your gear.
    To borrow a favorite meme source from @Clipdat ...
    6jhhuatwxfp4.png

    I disabled signatures.
  • chrispyfur
    chrispyfur Posts: 170
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    Man, I will remember to be more careful about egging you on to give out advice! ;)

    What you were talking about with having speakers completely disappear in your room is the experience I'd ultimately like the most.

    I'm not trying to trash my system at all, it's served me excellently for the spend of money and I've gotten hundreds of hours of listening time on it I'm sure, (but who's counting?) For me when it comes to value if I don't get at least an hour of use per dollar spent then it was bad value.

    What I'll say currently with the experience I have is that I have more clarity than any other stereo system I've owned without a doubt. I'm lucky the wife puts up with me constantly swapping speakers in and out of the mix, moving them around the room, moving furniture...

    She's out of town for a couple more days and I've set the room up the most optimally I've ever had it and the experience is truly something new and special. I have a WIDE sound stage but there's almost no depth. What kinda irks me about it is higher frequencies break the immersion. It'll sound really decent and then suddenly the speaker draws unwanted attention to itself via cymbals or a higher pitched voice. This is true for all my different speaker options.
  • tratliff
    tratliff Posts: 1,677
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    chrispyfur wrote: »
    Come on guys, I gave up so many hobbies! Guns, motorcycles, cars... this one HAS to be less expensive than all of that, right?

    ...right!?!?!

    Who am I kidding?

    Now that may be the best post of the week.
    2 Channel Rosso Fiorentino Volterra II, 2 REL Carbon Limited, Norma Revo IPA-140B, Lumin U2 Mini, VPI Prime w/SoundSmith Zephyr MIMC, Modwright PH 150, Denon DP-59l w/Denon DL-301MKII, WAY Silver 3 Ana+ Speaker Cables, WAY Silver 4+ Interconnect Cables, AudioQuest Niagara 7000 w/Dragon and Hurricane Power Cables
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 18,481
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    @chrispyfur - you had mentioned no depth. The following are notes I found a while back that I keep for when I get my new room. They may come in handy for you in addressing the depth aspect. Pay particular attention to #3.
    Here are four simple techniques that will make your speakers sound better than you thought possible—without costing you a dime.

    1) The relationship between the loudspeakers and the listener is of paramount importance.
    The listener and speakers should form an equilateral triangle; without this basic setup, you’ll never hear good soundstaging and imaging. The listener should sit exactly between the two speakers (called the “sweet spot”), at a distance away from each speaker that’s slightly greater than the distance between the speakers themselves. If you don’t have this fundamental relationship, you’ll never hear good soundstaging.

    Setting the distance between the speakers is a trade-off between a wide soundstage and a strong center or “phantom” image. The farther apart the loudspeakers (assuming the same listening position), the wider the soundstage. As the speakers are moved farther apart, however, the center image weakens, and can even disappear. If the speakers are too close together, the soundstage narrows.

    Speakers placed the optimal distance apart will produce a strong center image and a wide soundstage. A musical selection with a singer and sparse accompaniment is ideal for setting loudspeaker spacing and ensuring a strong center image. With the speakers fairly close together, listen for a tightly focused image of the singer exactly between the two speakers. Move the speakers a little farther apart and listen again. Repeat this move/listen procedure until you start to hear the central image become larger, more diffuse, and less focused, indicating that you’ve gone slightly beyond the maximum distance your speakers should be from each other for a given listening position.

    2) Proximity of loudspeakers to walls affects the amount of bass.
    The nearer the loudspeakers are to walls and corners, the louder the bass. You can reduce excessive bass by moving your speakers farther out into the room. How far into the room the speakers are positioned also affects the clarity of the bass because certain speaker locations don’t excite the room’s resonant modes as strongly. You can reduce these resonances by following the “rule of thirds” which states that, for the best bass response, the distance between the speakers and the wall behind them should be one-third the length of the room. This is often impractical, but one-fifth the room length is generally the next-best location.

    3) The farther out into the room the loudspeakers are, the better the soundstaging—particularly depth.
    Positioning loudspeakers close to the wall behind them can destroy the impression of a deep soundstage. Acoustically reflective objects such as a television or fireplace near the speakers can also degrade soundstaging. A deep, expansive soundstage is rarely developed with the loudspeakers near the front wall; pulling the speakers out a few feet can make the difference between poor and spectacular soundstaging.

    4) Toe-in affects tonal balance, soundstage width, and image focus.
    Toe-in is pointing a loudspeaker inward toward the listener rather than aiming it straight ahead. Toe-in is a powerful tool for dialing-in the soundstage and treble balance. There are no rules for toe-in; the optimal amount will vary greatly with the speaker and the room.

    Toe-in increases the amount of treble heard at the listening seat. You can fine-tune a speaker’s treble balance by adjusting the amount of toe-in in small increments and listening after each adjustment.

    Toe-in also increases soundstage focus and image specificity. When toed-in, many loudspeakers provide a more focused and sharply delineated soundstage. Images are more clearly defined, compact, and tight, rather than diffuse and lacking a specific spatial position. The optimal toe-in angle is often a trade-off between too much treble and a strong central image. With lots of toe-in, the soundstage snaps into focus, but the sound is often too bright. With no toe-in, the treble balance is smoother, but the imaging is more vague. You can find the best balance simply by listening and adjusting.

    Toe-in also affects the sound’s overall spaciousness. No toe-in produces a larger, more billowy, less precise soundstage. Instruments are less clearly delineated, but the sound is bigger and more expansive. Toeing-in the speakers shrinks the apparent size of the soundstage, but allows more precise image delineation. Finally, identical (and I mean identical) toe-in for both speakers is essential to realistic soundstaging. There’s no substitute for a listen-adjust-listen process to realize ideal speaker placement.

    To me, speaker placement is the single most important thing in a system. In fact, I have invested over a grand in highly specialized tools just to make sure that the speaker placement is as optimal as possible. That's how important speaker placement is to me.

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 18,481
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    chrispyfur wrote: »
    It'll sound really decent and then suddenly the speaker draws unwanted attention to itself via cymbals or a higher pitched voice. This is true for all my different speaker options.

    IME, this is caused by your source having unwanted noise. The more you clean up and address this, the less and less this will be the case. Having an optimal source, along with the cables and addressing any unwanted artifacts within said signal (electrically or jitter) will have a profound affect on what you are experiencing.

    One of my favorite phrases is that, "one can't make chicken soup out of chicken chit". In your case, you are amplifying it.....and that's why you are experiencing what you are.

    Tom

    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~
  • gudnoyez
    gudnoyez Posts: 8,078
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    All that money your saving not keeping up with the Gun hobby you should be able to afford that Cambridge pretty easily. I once thought the Audio rabbit hole is somewhat a burden on the wallet but the Gun rabbit hole is just as expensive. That Cambridge would be perfect for you.
    Home Theater
    Parasound Halo A 31 OnkyoTX-NR838 Sony XBR55X850B 55" 4K RtiA9 Fronts CsiA6 Center RtiA3 Rears FxiA6 Side Surrounds Dual Psw 111's Oppo 105D Signal Ultra Speaker Cables & IC's Signal Magic Power Cable Technics SL Q300 Panamax MR4300 Audioquest Chocolate HDMI Cables Audioquest Forest USB Cable

    2 Channel
    Adcom 555II Vincent SA-T1 Marantz SA 15S2 Denon DR-M11 Clearaudio Bluemotion SDA 2.3tl's (Z) edition MIT Terminator II Speaker Cables & IC's Adcom 545II Adcom Gtp-450 Marantz CD5004 Technics M245X SDA 2B's, SDA CRS+

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    Shower & Off the beaten path Rigs
    Polk Audio Boom Swimmer, Polk Audio Urchin B)
  • chrispyfur
    chrispyfur Posts: 170
    edited August 2023
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    Thank you very much to everyone for the great info!

    I'd like to give you all an update on what I've set up in the last couple days as a result of our conversation and just some brainstorming.

    I wanted to have an opportunity to try a different DAC in the system but I really didn't have another one to try. That is, until I remembered that I actually do. I have my receiver, Onkyo RZ50. Not sure why I never thought if this before but I hooked up the Wiim to the Onkyo via optical and set the receiver to "Pure Audio". I used the Wiim to test the DAC to see what it would support and that is up to 24 bit, 94kHz. I'm certain the DAC in a $1500 receiver is at least marginally better than in a $99 streamer!

    I set up the 1 month free trial of Qobuz and am enjoying that quite a bit. Using the Wiim app to run it as opposed to using spotify. I like being able to see the bit rate and knowing what I'm actually listening to in that regard.

    I've hooked the SDA1c back up to the Onkyo and started fiddling very deliberately with placement. Currently they're space 5 feet 9 inches apart (from edge of cabinet to the other, not centerline to centerline). My recliner is spaced at 5 feet 6 inches from the front of the speakers measured in a straight line to the point between them. They're pulled into the room exactly 2 feet from the front wall. This is more to get sound past my stand with my center channel/receiver/other components than anything else. No toe-in as everything I've read says not to with SDA speakers.

    I closed curtains as my windows in this room are on first side wall reflection point. I even draped a blanket over my wall mounted television to see if I could hear any difference, and I certainly could.

    Results? Holy S**t the bass out of these compared to what the Aiyima could do is no joke. I know, we've all had the discussion on my other thread about high current amplification and receivers aren't that, but it's definitely (and goes without saying) a lot more real power than the little amp.

    Soundstage is wiiiiiiiiiiide. A couple songs I've played have come from beyond the left wall in this room. With other stuff moved out of the way to each side of my seat the sound has so much more room to breathe and do its magic. Now, is the imaging point perfect? Absolutely not. I also still get certain frequencies that point directly to tweeter position. However, this new combination of setup and placement gives me a LOT to consider moving forward.

    Unfortunately for me, my setup has to be multipurpose as it is my living room/home theater setup. My lovely wife will be home today from her work trip, I'm sure she's going to want to also sit down in the room with me on occasion. So after I demonstrate the differences to her (which she will 100% be able to hear and appreciate actually) I'm going to concede that this isn't ideal for having people over and have to set all the furniture back up "the right way".

    Again a big thank you to all of you for giving me your advice and consideration, I'll be referring to this thread as I contemplate my next move going forward.

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    One last thing before I go, anyone got a spare 6511 driver I could buy? I know, like trying to find hen teeth these days, but can't hurt to ask!