Paulssurround

How Do You Decide What Your Next Upgrade Or Tweak Will Be?

Recommended Posts

I have been doing upgrades and tweaks to my system for a long time, and as soon as I upgrade or tweak something, I find myself  already looking forward, trying to prioritize what the next change will be.

My next upgrade will almost certainly be a new set of bass traps that will complement what I already have.

Having borrowed a stack of Vicoustic Extreme Bass traps in my listening room, I found a significant improvement in sound quality. However, I am holding back at the moment, having put too much money into my system already.  ;-) It will also give me something to look forward to this fall.

The Katalyst upgrade for my Magic Exaktbox I is also on the radar, and I know that the Linn 10% promotion is ending soon.

I have covered all the low hanging fruit,  with countless "free" upgrades and tweaks, right through to moderate cost items and the more expensive component and speaker upgrades.

I have looked at everything I can think of, with Space Optimization, room acoustic treatment, vibration control, cleaner electrical supply and reducing EMI as much as possible. I have even subscribed to the torque setting gurus.

What's your approach , and what's next on your radar?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Like you, an upgrade to Majikurate Katalyst Exaktbox-i. Gunstigs. And ... if I found a well priced set of 212's I could be tempted....

Edited by Jail4CEOs2
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Paulssurround said:

What's your approach , and what's next on your radar?

My approach is to decide what I need to upgrade/improve first, as opposed to just want. EG. I needed your input into Space :)

I only went for the 140 upgrade stands when it became apparent I'd be sticking with them for a bit, and others said it's a "must".

The Katalyst upgrade was like Everest. It was there, so when the bank balance allowed it I climbed it! Also thanks to other people saying it's a "must".

I perhaps put too much trust in other people's opinions. But both the above have been excellent.

Here is an example of my current thinking/approach and what is next on my radar.

Sometimes I go to my dealer and see what he suggests. Lately it's been AEDSM to KEDSM/KSH. Cost is one issue there, also lack of inputs I currently need. Ironically, if I were to do that now and have the Surround module installed, the paucity of inputs wouldn't be an issue, as long as I had another Exaktbox to power surrounds with the surround pass-through. The latter has been a development that has opened a whole new load of possibilities. So it has changed my thinking in regard to that pathway. So the approach there is to be flexible enough to take technical advances/changes into account and be open to pathways they could open up.

But first comes the 140 to Kudos change. This was on my mind when I wanted to go from Majik EBox-i to Akurate EBox (reason being the Kat in the future and the obvious upgrade that Majik level to Akurate would bring). Of course that meant 8 channels of amps - more things and more boxes. Hmm. I'm sure you remember the discussions I had on the old forum - getting others' input to help decide is always a good idea. As I loved the Kudos after an audition it was really quite hard to come to the conclusion to stick with the 140s - cost of course was the main factor there, but at least it didn't close off the possibility in the future.

So that is my current radar - Kudos when I can. Then it'll be a question of whether to get a 4200 to power them or stick with my 6100, or get a AEBox6(Kat). I have also considered keeping the 10 for surround at a later date - or perhaps a change to AEBox-i(Kat) would be better.  At that point it comes down to cost and what I can rationally (which is hard!) justify to myself.

Tweaks and lesser upgrades I tend to decide on when I feel it would bring a +ve benefit/cost ratio. Once the Kudos happens I'll look into Blacks to Silvers, and probably even speaker cable. Being mostly Sottish though, I hate the idea of things like that going to waste, both financially and physically. There may be a market for the Blacks (they'd be 3rd hand by then), but I doubt it for the speaker cables.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Usually I simply go by the source first principle, so that means a Klimax Radikal or maybe Ekos SE will most likely be my next upgrade. Sometimes a very good deal comes along, like when I upgraded from 242's Mk 1 to Akubariks, and I couldn't resist that. Neither could I, when a complete set of active cards for Akubariks appeared second-hand for around € 230,-

Sometimes I like to throw in a small, not so costly upgrade: I'm currently thinking about an improved power supply for my Qnap.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I address the weakest link of my chain first… or what I believe is the weakest link. When I feel I have a balanced system and still wish to improve then I would apply the source first rule. I must however admit that in the case of my speaker cables I was not aware how bad my old ones were and only when I was trying a new amp in a home demo ( I thought my Twins were maybe subject to replacement) with Nordost coming along it turned out what the bottleneck really was. Shit happens or let's say that's life. So my approach is as subjective as any other one and you can never be sure. Heuristics don't necessarily deliver an absolute maximum. I learned that long time ago at the university and although it is true the good thing about it is you stay with a feeling that there might be something left to do. And then the story continues….:D

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great posts. Thank you.

I started my Linn journey with a Movie Classik and a pair of Ninkas, to a Undisk SC, to Magik DS, Akurate DS, and now AEDSM. Somewhere along the line was a pair of Majik Isobariks, Akubariks Aktiv, Akubariks Exakted and now Katalyst Akubariks.

But the upgrades for going full surround was also a very interesting journey indeed., with TriKans, Kans, Katans, 112’s, 109’s, 212’s and a 225 centre channel, that included Majik 5100’s, 6100’s and now 4200’s with Exaktboxes.

Upgrades and tweaks has  been a fascinating journey of discovery for me.

It all started when I phoned a Linn dealer outside of Vancouver to enquire about a price on a new Linn component.

The owner asked me if I had installed a hospital grade electrical outlet to plug my HiFi system into. After I installed a new hospital grade outlet, and  heard an improvement, he recommended a better mains cord. Next thing you know I am replacing all my mains cords. Over time, I have continued to replace my current mains cords with even higher priced higher performance mains cords, which lead me into exploring the world of power conditioners. I am now on my 5th power conditioning upgrade. Heresy you say, but in my system it all worked, with clearly audible improvements.

When I visited a Linn dealer in Seattle, I was given a demo for Still Points to improve vibration control, and ultimately purchased a set of Still Points. These components are expensive, and I had a lot of boxes to try to improve vibration control. I decided to try placing my electronic components on different materials to see if I could get similar benefits to the Still Points for a fraction of the cost. That lead me in a journey for Aurelex Sub Dudes, String Suspension Concepts, Aptitlig bamboo butcher blocks, felt pads, silicon, rubber and Gunstigs.

I never expected playing around with Space Optimisation would give me such great results, and always surprised when new releases of Konfig sometimes resulted in dramatic improvements in sound quality. I certainly never expected to do road trips to other people’s Linn systems to try to improve their sound quality with SO. With every system that I worked on, I was able to apply lessons learned to my own system and enjoy improvements in sound quality, making many friends along the way.   😊

In my many conversations with Briain, he mentioned the effects of EMI on sound quality and its interference with getting the best out of my sound system. He also suggested the improvements that may be gained by improving the cleanliness of the power supply to the switch, the NAS and other components that feed my system. Isolation of my TV, HD box and other video components from the audio side of my system was another revelation. The wave form correction devices he recommended trying have been a great source of pride and discovery.

If changing mains cords and speaker cables can bring about an improvement in sound quality, what about Ethernet cables?  Well we know where that journey went. Patiently waiting for the release of Cat9 cables.    😉

And then there is my exploration with room acoustic treatment, which I am focused at the moment. The cost to benefit ratio of sound quality improvements with room acoustic treatment is one of great satisfaction.

So it appears that at this point, I am cycling through each of the above categories to improve the sound quality through upgrades to all these different parameters that improve sound.

Cheers

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apart from needing a new handheld device (on which I have started a separate thread and which comes more into the category of maintenance rather than upgrade), my  next significant purchase is likely to be a record cleaning machine; joint ownership with a friend is a possible option. Next week, I hope to see a demonstration of the latest Keith Monks machine, which is actually manufactured locally (though, ironically, there is no dealer within easy reach).

Otherwise, the big event for me this autumn will be the launch of Space Optimisation version 2 for Exakt. Will it match Paul's version 1 work, nearly two years ago now and still as good as ever?

David

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, DavidHB said:

Otherwise, the big event for me this autumn will be the launch of Space Optimisation version 2 for Exakt. Will it match Paul's version 1 work, nearly two years ago now and still as good as ever?

David

Nope, I don't think I pure algorithm can replace experience and a tuned ear, however I'm sure it will be significant improvement over S01. Just had Paul tune my space on Tuesday, improvements were significant to say the least, write up to follow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This morning I attended a Nordost and Moon event at my local Linn dealership - just for a listen you understand -  the credit cards were left at home O.o

I listened to three different systems with Moon electronics, Nordost cables/accessories and either Dynaudio or Fyne speakers.  It was a very interesting couple of hours but I have no intention of changing any of my existing Linn gear.  Just before I left I was offered a home demo of both Nordost power cables and speaker cables, I just have to wait for them to come into the dealership.  Watch this space.......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Wammer
1 hour ago, ae111sr said:

This morning I attended a Nordost and Moon event at my local Linn dealership - just for a listen you understand -  the credit cards were left at home O.o

I listened to three different systems with Moon electronics, Nordost cables/accessories and either Dynaudio or Fyne speakers.  It was a very interesting couple of hours but I have no intention of changing any of my existing Linn gear.  Just before I left I was offered a home demo of both Nordost power cables and speaker cables, I just have to wait for them to come into the dealership.  Watch this space.......

Was that at Ceritech?  I’ve been to a few of their demo days but couldn’t make this one.  

I have been a bit wary of Nordost since someone posted a video allegedly showing them tweaking the volume on a cable demo. Either that or they had a CD where each track was a bit louder than the previous one.  Funny how cable demos never start with the best/most expensive and then switch down the range - although Chord once did that, from Sarum down to their entry model. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Nopiano said:

Was that at Ceritech?  I’ve been to a few of their demo days but couldn’t make this one.  

I have been a bit wary of Nordost since someone posted a video allegedly showing them tweaking the volume on a cable demo. Either that or they had a CD where each track was a bit louder than the previous one.  Funny how cable demos never start with the best/most expensive and then switch down the range - although Chord once did that, from Sarum down to their entry model. 

Yes it was.  This was more of a Moon electronics demo, no swapping of cables to show the differences.

In the order I listened to them the three systems were

System 1 in the main showroom - Moon Neo Ace + Dynaudio Evoke 30

System 2 in the main demo room - Moon 780D v2 Streaming DAC / Moon 740P Preamplifier / Moon 860A v2 Power Amplifier + Dynaudio Confidence 30

System 3 in the small demo room at the back of the store - Moon 390 Network Player - Preamplifier / 330A Power Amplifier + Fyne Audio F703

I found the 'mid priced' System 3 the least involving  and least listenable but that might have had something to do with the small room size, I thought the Fyne F703 were too big for the space.  The big surprise for me was how good the 'budget priced' System 1 sounded in the big showroom.  The big price tag System 2 was easily the best system on dem on the day it sounded superb; big soundstage, holographic imaging, delicate in the quiet passages, hugely dynamic in the loud passages, tuneful, musical and so much more.  Did I say I liked this system?? I had goosebumps when listening to every track that was played, I loved it but with a £40k price tag for the system I'll be sticking with my Linn system.  Doesn't stop me playing with the ancillaries  though:)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find what works for me is trying the cheap or diy things you can do first before splashing out on more expensive things.  I've just recently has ny naca5 cables re-soldered by a Naim dealer and these were the SA8 amp plugs which i couldn't do with any sort of expertize.  The soldering was cheap enough but the SQ upgrade was superb, a defenite improvement here.  At the same time igrounded my tv, my freesat player and my amp all through the phono sockets to casework or external grounding pin of an Olsen pdu.  This was a superb improvement in PQ  and SQ whether through my freesat player or ps4.  I also just installed the M Fidelity V90 dac which gives superb sound whatever source is connected to it.  And i also have an IFI power supply for the dac which i havent used yet so i've got that to improve the sound as well.  I also just bfitted missing link clear silver plated plugs to a RA classic powerkord i use for my tv which has a wattgate iec for which i swapped to a furutech copper one,  Even standard DVD PQ is much better now and gaming and ps 4 PQ is much improved.  My next improvement will be in isolation/vibration damping and de-coupling which shouldn't be too expensive.   I don't think i can get much more out of my system so am looking to buy some new speakers for around 500 uk pounds.  I'm prob getting the Bowers 606 which shpuld give an good upgrade on my current 20 year ols speakers.  Do what you can sensibly but don't go overboard unless you've won the lottery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our re-entry to linn started summer last year with all s/h gear. Sony blu Ray to a pioneer integrated amp to a pair of (new to me) mint keilidhs. The seller sent me 16’ of nordost flat copper cables for free

We immediately realized that inspite of having nice speakers it all sounded bad. I found a gentleman in NYC who sold me a non dynamic C3200 and for a few $$ more threw in a pair of 12’ k20’s ..... things sounded much better via a chrome cast to the 3200’s for volume control and streaming.

Another gentleman in NYC then sold me a Unidisc SC which came with a 9’ pair of k400’s..... now the music even in single wire passive was so satisfying until I read about aktiv.

Meanwhile a few months passed, due to a stupid mistake I blew the left speaker woofers and they were put aside till I could find matching pairs of mid/bass units. I switched back to our B&W bookshelves and that’s when the wife said can we stop using these &$@& bookshelves and find some linn speakers again.

We found some Kabers that we’re not selling as the seller was only offering a local pick up. We grabbed them and within a few weeks also found replacement drivers for the keilidhs. What do I do with 2 pairs of speakers now? I also managed to pick up a non dynamic 5100 in that month thinking it would be perfect to drive my keilidhs bi Aktiv.

My brother took my keilidhs and we drove the Kabers aktiv with the 3200/5100

I managed to find a mdsm/1 and decided to buy that and the Unidisk SC started getting used only for cd music. (Don’t hate me for saying this but I think the preamp in the unidisk sounded nicer to me than a linn Kinos. It might even out do the mdsm)

We just bought an Akurate 4200/1 so as to take full aktiv amplification to Akurate level. Believe me you can hear a major difference between Majik and Akurate level of amplification.

I would have thought i’d have been happy with just the keilidhs ($350 shipped from NC to NYC) as I used to have a pair in the early 90’s with just a Majik-I and was sure that this would not turn into an expensive addiction. Luckily my wife loves the journey of improvements in sound and hence keeps pushing me to find the next upgrade deal.

My new amp hasn’t even reached me as yet and I’ve already started thinking what next? I think and exaktbox would be hard as my mdsm has no exakt and since I’ve started to realize how important source is I guess a nice ADSM/1 or 2 maybe the answer.

Somewhere along this journey I managed to move from all blacks to silvers and also found a mint pair of k600 cables with original factory soldered linn Aluminium plugs. It’s 19’ each side though however i’ll wait till I can find the right person to bring them down (cut and most importantly correctly solder) to 10’ each side.

Am I correct in thinking that an ADSM/1 or 2 would be the next upgrade. I love the Kabers and feel that if I stay with individual amplifiers i’d find Nirvana in a pair of 242’s but i’d want to hear them first.

I will say that now I need to change the asset value on my renters insurance. I’m also sure I’m not suffering from an addiction to upgradetitis

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you seem to want Exakt, so make sure a /1 has Exakt outs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, zee9 said:

Am I correct in thinking that an ADSM/1 or 2 would be the next upgrade.

Yes to either, although the /2 has a HDMI2.0 board if that's on your radar at all. If not, a decent /1, then upgrade to Katalyst and you'll get a /3 anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.