oxymoron

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

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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?

Edited by oxymoron
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A good place to start will be seeing if any warmers in your area could have you round for listen so you get an idea of what sound you are after

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Super Wammer

Active speakers,  assuming you have sockets on the wall to power them. Your music serving device/streamer/ Chromecast can sit between them and be fed music by Wi-fi from your network/phone.

No need to go above £1K and probably a lot less given you positioning constraints. Would easily put music into the kitchen. There are Wammers who have far more knowledge of active systems than I do. If I were starting out it would be with BIG actives

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2 hours ago, oxymoron said:

49557210601_934925a9f4_o.png

One thought just from your diagram is whether you might have any interest at all in improving sound for TV/movies? I'm asking as I'd be thinking about wanting the speakers either side of the TV it it were my lounge...

As for everything else you really need to go out and listen to some equipment. But as one suggestion of something to make an effort to listen to I'd suggest the Kef LS50 wireless 'speakers'. They could be your entire solution in one purchase.

Edited by MartinC
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23 minutes ago, MartinC said:

One thought just from your diagram is whether you might have any interest at all in improving sound for TV/movies? I'm asking as I'd be thinking about wanting the speakers either side of the TV it it were my lounge...

As for everything else you really need to go out and listen to some equipment. But as one suggestion of something to make an effort to listen to I'd suggest the Kef LS50 wireless 'speakers'. They could be your entire solution in one purchase.

Yes I would like that, I used to have a 5.1 system with Monitor Audio Bronze speakers B5 floorstands on the front and B2 Bokoshelfs on the back, sold it all last year for my ill-fated emigration to OZ, back home in Blighty now!

I'll check out the LS50W system and see what else there is the active world.

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That’s a great suggestion from Martin, speakers either side of the TV looks a much better position and should allow you to pull away from the front wall. This will give you more options both on speaker type ( not just close to wall) and positioning to make sure they sound good in the room.

I also think you should consider a CD player, this may encourage you to stop flipping between tracks and listen to whole albums, at least some of the time.

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Super Wammer

I am moving from a top of the range Marantz amp and Harbeth SHL5s to a Naim Muso gen 2 as our only system in the lounge. It’s £1,200 and you really don’t need to think about anything else. Really worth thinking about in smaller rooms and it will fit under the TV. 

If you wanted something more conventional I would use the same wall as the TV. I visited a Wammers house recently and his lounge was similar to yours and his system worked well like that. The Kefs are a good choice (used to have passive version) but they might need some space. 

There are a few small speaker threads on here and I recently recommended Audio Note Ax1s. They sound great and would work well in most systems. 

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Super Wammer

As it is your first foray .. and the weird shape of room you have to contend with .. it might be worth getting a listen to a Boss Acoustimas system.

There is no doubt that for pure stereo listening that better sound can be had .. but taking your room constraints into account it is an option you should get your ears around.   The speakers are small - there is a bass sub you can hide away to plumb the depths .. and for TV you can exploit surround sound as well .. New a system 10 is £899 ( https://www.electricshop.com/bose-acoustimass-10-series-v-home-cinema-speaker-system-in-black?  ......Here is the same for just over £200 on ebay   https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Bose-Acoustimass-10-Series-IV-Surround-Sound-System/333518430810?epid=85144642&hash=item4da73f625a:g:uQIAAOSwYDZeQEWK )      You could then spend the rest on a decent DAC/ Streamer (Bluesound? https://www.bluesound.com/products/node/) .. and whatever other kit (amp preamp cd player etc) 

Having heard the above and decided if that is for you - or whether you want to go the more hifi route .. then we can make some recommendations .. there are a lot of magical small loudspeakers out there but will require careful placement and stands etc.  all of which you have to fit in your lounge somewhere.

In the meantime as suggested get yer arse around local wammers to listen to their systems and make a nuisance of yourself at local dealers to have a good listen and explore.

Edited by uzzy

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Certainly take advantage of the kindness of strangers.  Go and listen to systems in real houses.  But take cake!

Here's an idea, try a pair of fullrange speakers (Mark Audio drivers spring to mind) with a valve amp.  Fun and simple, buy used and you can move them on with little or no loss.  Pick a source to suit, and it would encourage you to try new music, IMO. 

Left field idea, but hey, that's the fun of it.

Edited by awkwardbydesign

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Martin’s suggestion of the KEF LS50w is great. Throw in a small sub and off you go. I got the LS50 for my bedroom, sounds good.

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Super Wammer

Being proactive and asking wammers near you fir a listen to their setup will be the biggest help as will 'ignoring' magazine reviews ...lol.  As Awkwardbydesign said take cake/biscuits etc and apart from hearing kit it will expand your music tastes too.

After reading this thread one big thing struck me guys .........

no one abused/flamed/criticised a newbie   fantastic 😀

Edited by MF 1000

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Super Wammer

It shows how we've moved on so much and all for the better 

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As has been suggested, speakers either side of the TV are a good idea.

An off the wall (literally) suggestion might be a pair of Elipson Planet Ms and matching subwoofer or a Cabasse Eole 4 system. You could go down a traditional stereo or AV route for your amplification.

Or alternatively smart wireless speakers are getting pretty good these days. You could look at Kef LSX, Naim Muso, Technics Ottava SC50 stereo pair etc. Oh, btw, there are a pair of Edifier active speakers for sale in the WAM classifieds

Edited by t1no

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Can I turn this on it's head a bit and offer some different advice?  As well as going to listen to other people's systems, also go and listen to more music?  I'm not being skitty - hifi means a lot of different things to different people.  To me it's a way to listen to music...streaming has revolutionised access to music and I listen to a much wider range of stuff than I ever used to.  Yes I like the techie parts of this hobby but at a point that stops and it's about the music.

On here, AoS and pinkfish there are some good music forums and I've found some good stuff that way.

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Super Wammer

I do a lot of listening to various genres of music on cd, Spotify ( Spotify mainly in hotels & planes as I travel extensively with my job) and live gigs of all sizes.  To me the physical media or streaming debate is a replica of the cd vs vinyl debate of the late 80's onwards.  At its inception cd was obviously far more accessible etc but in sound quality terms was definitely inferior to vinyl ( some on here would argue it still is).  Over the years the quality gap has narrowed and I see this in streaming ......highly convenient but to me compromised on sound quality.

My use of Spotify has led me to find new bands & solo artists but as much as possible I've then purchased physical media etc.

The more gigs I've attended the more I've developed my system to attempt to replicate that live gig sound with the feel of the bass hitting you etc.  Not possible to everyone's lifestyle/rooms/house etc but once you start to hear/feel extra details on an album nit becomes addictive.

i think that subconsciously we all develop our systems to reproduce the genres we favour.

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