I’m in the market for an upgrade on digital transport. Right now I’m running Roon on a regular nuc I5, USB connected to a Primare DAC30. The sound is pretty good but I suspect it can get better. So shoot… digital transport w/wo DAC and w/wo upgrade on Ethernet cable.
If you have Roon you have a great transport. Get a better system.
So another core and/or DAC, would not make a difference? A network bridge would not improve SQ? That’s good for the wallet but a little disappointing if there is no way of improving SQ😳
There is a good way to improve sound quality and that’s get a great balanced set up. Roon delivers bit perfect audio to your endpoint. This is where the quality will be defined. Then it’s up to your system to deliver.
I have a Meridian 218 and DSP5200SE speakers. I don’t feel any need to upgrade anything as things just sound right for me. It’s the Meridian kit that makes the difference. Quality DSP handling. Quality build. MQA done expertly (if that’s your thing) EBA (Enhanced Bass Alignment)
It all matters, but it’s built and designed as a system so no amp matching or fancy cables required.
Other manufacturers systems may sound as good or better for the price but this is where I spend my money.
What’s the rest of your setup?
What are your missing - or: what do you want to achieve?
Primare Pre32+ Primare A34.2 amps.
System Audio Pandion 50 speakers.
Studio Connection/ Abbey Road Studio Reference speaker cables and interconnects.
Chord USB cable, round 50€
Oh, what am I missing? My sound is very revealing and detailed but also a bit bright and a little “ digital”. Suppose I like a bit more grunt and darkness. Classic rock isn’t my systems favorite genre.
I haven’t heard any of the components of your system - but from what you state and what I find on the net I believe it’s a very revealing, detailed system. For sure it sounds great - maybe just “to good” for more rock oriented music, where it’s not about the ultimate perfection in resolution, detail and air. I’m not sure if a network player / bridge will change the sound in the way you want it. It’s a tough question, what could make that change… Would you be open / willing to look into other options, like DAC or pre or cables?
Have you tried PEQ in Roon’s DSP to take the edge off your sound and make it a bit warmer?
You could also try up-sampling using a smooth minimum-phase filter in the ‘sample rate conversion’ section of the DSP. I use ‘Max-PCM rate’ with my system. This reduced a slight ‘brittleness’ that I heard with standard def recordings, especially hard rock.
I have KEF LS50W and while the clarity and sound-staging are excellent on them, I personally find them a touch ‘forward’ and ‘edgy’ sounding when run flat.
I use PEQ and reduce 1khz by 2dB and 3khz by 3db, both with a Q of 1.0.
I also use a low shelf filter to boost bass below 80hz by 3dB.
I now have a lovely smooth warm system.
These are tweaks that Roon allows you to try out for free! It’s worth a go. If you don’t like it you can just turn off the DSP and go back to ‘flat’.
Sounds ” too good” is a good description of my system. I’m absolutely open to other solutions.
Thanks Dan. I’ve tried PEQ. Using “ low threshold” filter right now. It improves things. Upsampling with “soft minimal phase” is also used. Maybe I should try and reduce some treble…
Only two places to look…DAC and speakers.
For starters get a R2R DAC into the current chain to compare. Suspect that’ll put paid to the “digital” and possibly the brightness too.
Buy a umik-1 and a mic stand for about 100 and keep the rest of the 3k in your bank.
Read/Learn a bit about room acoustics and measurements and try and get a set of measurements of your room. Then you actually know at least a big part of what you’re tying to fix rather than guessing.
This is meant with very good intention from someone - like many of us - who learnt the hard way. Just buying new kit is money down the drain in many senses (which is of course your prerogative).
‘Digital’ could literally mean anything. But combined with your comment about too much treble that could well be the primary issue (but it could also be too much bass) - but just ‘eyeballing’ PEQs isn’t always as obvious as you think and you often need to treat LR separately to get a good sounding result. Then there are of course passive room treatments if you’re lucky enough to have a room you can put them in.
But the first place to start is REW/measurements and you’ll have the kit for life. It’s harder than buying new kit which is of course very satisfying, but it’s better for you in the long run.
Agree with this 100%.
That is the proper way to do room eq.
I’m going to sit down and do mine properly one day. I’m expecting great results.
The sooner you do it properly, the sooner you will get and enjoy great results. Before moving to the UK I had a dedicated, acoustically treated listening space. Chalk and cheese from the same kit in the same room prior to treatment and a SQ improvement no amount of gear switching could even hope to begin to approximate. Audiophools worry about cables and other audio jewellery, those in the know treat their rooms before meddling at the periphery.
I’m totally in agreement @evand. When I was at university many years ago, I had a good budget hi-fi. Due to various circumstances, I moved house 7 times in 5 years. The difference in sound in the different rooms was substantial.
Same equipment… different rooms… massive difference.
It is funny because I have a similar dilemma and, a similar budget (in GBP). However, if I were to consider that sort of outlay it would need to be able to replace about four boxes, say a DAC, preamp, streaming box and perhaps linear PSU. I wouldn’t actually be looking for an improvement, just equivalence with what I have at a much reduced box count.
Rooms and Alan Parsons
Funny thing is that I moved my system from living room to a room in the basement. The living room had really bad acoustics. Echo and very hard to get good soundstage. So the move to the basement was a very good upgrade acousticswise. But maybe not enough. I’m gonna look in to REW.
Another thing is that I wrote on a Swedish HiFi forum last night almost an identical question. A majority of replies was about my Rel sub not being up to standard. It’s an older model equivalent to the T7i and I omitted it in my initial post. With my last floorstanders (System Audio Explorer Master) I had the volume at about 09.30 on the sub and now I have it at 13.00 and it just doesn’t deliver the way it did with previous speakers. My new pair give more and lower bass. Maybe the sub ( 800€) is not good enough for the Pandion 50 ( 14000€).