Topic: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

I have put together the following system for hi-fi and casual listening for music, movies, and some gaming. I'm extremely pleased with it, however, I'm a bit of an upgrade junkie and enjoy improving it further just for the sake of doing so (and of course getting even better results).

This is what I have so far. I have gravitated towards good sounding pro gear like Adam and RME because I like powered speakers and feel pro gear that is regarded as very good is likely to be so, where the hi-fi world can be more nebulous and filled with subjective opinions of amateurs colored by elitism.

Anyway, here is my system: Adam A7X monitors connected to Adam Sub8, running RME ADI2 Dac. Cables are Audioquest Carbon USB, Red River XLR. I also have Isoacoustics isolation stands.

I'm looking for another upgrade that will result in at least a degree of sound quality improvement.


One option is Power. I've tried a Furman power conditioner but felt it sucked the energy out of the music and did not like it at all. Same with iFi solutions like their power supply and AC iPurifier.

So I'm not one to plug in a bunch of gadgets if they have a negative effect on sound.

Here is one product I'm looking at but am somewhat skeptical about: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0030 … YMVYN94S33


My budget is $1-200 for the upgrade... just looking for something fun to add that improves my sounds quality. I haven't done anything with power so far so I'm thinking that might be a place to start, but I'm not sure what to get. I'm open to room treatment but because this is a hi fi system I'm not sure I want a bunch of foam pieces hanging around on my walls.

Any suggestions?

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

If you don't have one already, get a measurement microphone and try your hand at room EQ.

The room measurements will also give you an idea of what kind and how much room treatment would benefit you.

For the budget you mentioned, you could get a calibrated miniDSP UMIK-1 (plugs into computer via USB) and a stable microphone stand with 3/8th thread.

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

I added a 1kVa (low capacitance) isolation transformer between my mains and audio gear. one outlet for Amp and one for DAC. you can find used models for around $400 USD and to my ears the background of my nearfield rig got darker. YMMV

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

I can't wait to read pros opinions about that... For me, power treatment (magic PSUs, AC "purifier", snakelike power cord etc.) is pure bullshit, and won't improve "sound quality". And it is for the best!!!
IMHO, unless you have very badly designed electonical devices or very low quality "Third World" power at home, no need to lose money on that: it will make ZERO difference in "sound quality".

ADI-2 DAC - Neumann KH 310 A monitors

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

jiw wrote:

If you don't have one already, get a measurement microphone and try your hand at room EQ.

The room measurements will also give you an idea of what kind and how much room treatment would benefit you.

For the budget you mentioned, you could get a calibrated miniDSP UMIK-1 (plugs into computer via USB) and a stable microphone stand with 3/8th thread.

Totally agree with that. Room is one of the most important part of an audio system...

ADI-2 DAC - Neumann KH 310 A monitors

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

N00b wrote:

I can't wait to read pros opinions about that... For me, power treatment (magic PSUs, AC "purifier", snakelike power cord etc.) is pure bullshit, and won't improve "sound quality". And it is for the best!!!
IMHO, unless you have very badly designed electonical devices or very low quality "Third World" power at home, no need to lose money on that: it will make ZERO difference in "sound quality".


You can check the ifi iusb3 nano  or macro .
Probably you can hear the differences .

7 (edited by N00b 2019-01-29 16:00:19)

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

nearhos wrote:

You can check the ifi iusb3 nano  or macro .
Probably you can hear the differences .

I really don't think so...
Cf here: USB works or doesn't. It does not change "sound quality".

ADI-2 DAC - Neumann KH 310 A monitors

8 (edited by nearhos 2019-01-29 16:49:02)

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

N00b wrote:
nearhos wrote:

You can check the ifi iusb3 nano  or macro .
Probably you can hear the differences .

I really don't think so...
Cf here: USB works or doesn't. It does not change "sound quality".


I believed the same, but when i tried this there was differences .
If you have the opportunity check it .
Also i tried a better power supply .

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

nearhos wrote:
N00b wrote:
nearhos wrote:

You can check the ifi iusb3 nano  or macro .
Probably you can hear the differences .

I really don't think so...
Cf here: USB works or doesn't. It does not change "sound quality".


I believed the same, but when i tried this there was differences .
If you have the opportunity check it .
Also i tried a better power supply .

Don't waste your money... wink
https://www.forum.rme-audio.de/viewtopic.php?id=27006

ADI-2 DAC - Neumann KH 310 A monitors

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

Robertm394 wrote:

Here is one product I'm looking at but am somewhat skeptical about: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0030 … YMVYN94S33

Snake oil.

Get room treatment. Learn.

An isolation transformer might help IF your net power is very, very dirty. But I wouldn't waste money on it.

Any decent gear is protected from 99,9% of the noise on the mains. The rest is so rare it's seldom a problem.

OTH a bad ground in your electrical system MIGHT result in some groundloop noise.

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

cyrano wrote:
Robertm394 wrote:

Here is one product I'm looking at but am somewhat skeptical about: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0030 … YMVYN94S33

Snake oil.

Get room treatment. Learn.

An isolation transformer might help IF your net power is very, very dirty. But I wouldn't waste money on it.

Any decent gear is protected from 99,9% of the noise on the mains. The rest is so rare it's seldom a problem.

OTH a bad ground in your electrical system MIGHT result in some groundloop noise.

I guess I should have prefaced my comment that I live in a 90 year old home with adequate, but noisy AC. my experience is positive and wouldn't label it snake oil

12 (edited by Rodney_Ferguson_75 2019-01-29 21:50:57)

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

Sonarworks 4

Total game changer : )

RME UCX + RME ADI-2 DAC
You can listen to a machine, but you won’t hear the music.

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

nearhos wrote:
N00b wrote:
nearhos wrote:

You can check the ifi iusb3 nano  or macro .
Probably you can hear the differences .

I really don't think so...
Cf here: USB works or doesn't. It does not change "sound quality".


I believed the same, but when i tried this there was differences .
If you have the opportunity check it .
Also i tried a better power supply .

I agree. I tried the iFi USB iPurifier 3 and it definitely changed the sound in my old system. Now, I did not like the change and felt it was a step backward with whatever they were doing to the signal, so I returned it. That was my experience with all iFi products which I wound up not being much a fan of.

14 (edited by Curt962 2019-01-29 23:57:10)

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

Robert,

Perhaps you could invest your Upgrade Budget into Household Wiring improvements?   Or...."Audio-Grade" Fire Extiguishers, with non-resonant quantum fire suppressants, packed in Cryo-Cylinders...

Any Fire Investigator would attest that 90yr old Electrical Wiring is a Disaster waiting to happen.

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

That's another poster who has the old wiring.

16 (edited by Curt962 2019-01-30 01:03:21)

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

Stupid me.   

For you Robert, close attention to basic system set-up, followed by some Room Analysis, and Acoustic Treatment will outperform Tenfold any "gadget" additions.

Few are the Studios that have not invested significant Time, and Money toward getting their Studio to SOUND right.

How so are Audiophile Listening Rooms exempt from such attention?   20db FR variations are commonplace, yet perfectly acceptable so long as the "Annointed" Cables, and other un-substantiated Tweaks are in place. 

Huh?   How can that work?

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

Focus on your Basic Set-Up, and your Room.  So much is possible!

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

Let me get you that pic of my setup I promised

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

Please Do!

Robert, You're a New Guy but PLEASE spit out the Audio Mystic Kool-Aid that someone fed you.   

Padlock your Wallet, and move forward with actual Measurement Data. 

All the Best!

Curt

20 (edited by N00b 2019-01-30 12:38:05)

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

Curt962 wrote:

Robert,

Perhaps you could invest your Upgrade Budget into Household Wiring improvements?   Or...."Audio-Grade" Fire Extiguishers, with non-resonant quantum fire suppressants, packed in Cryo-Cylinders...

Any Fire Investigator would attest that 90yr old Electrical Wiring is a Disaster waiting to happen.

Please contact Audioquest or iFi marketing office: they may have a job for you. big_smile

PS : audiophile fuses, they've done it... #facepalm
https://www.vhaudio.com/synergistic-research-sr20.html

ADI-2 DAC - Neumann KH 310 A monitors

21 (edited by Curt962 2019-01-31 02:35:46)

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

Well,

My Marketing Model for the Future will focus upon "Paradigm Shifting Upgrades" that ONLY the Registered Purchaser can hear.

Vast Soundstages, Chocolatey Vocals, Lingering Glissandos, etc, et al.

My Model is however under fire for being a form of DRM, but I attest that these these Secret Technologies will in fact allow the Listener to hear whatever they choose.

Now, One must understand that for the Best Audio Experience, and to ensure One's Privacy, I would need Banking Info, Credit Card Data, and Social Sec #
 
* i'm Kidding.

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

Hi Robertm394 and other audiophiles.

I felt like writing a somewhat different kind of response to you all after reading this thread.

You are communicating on the technical support forum of a professional audio company. The majority of people here are of a very different "school" than the (enthusiastic) audiophile looking for the best possible listening experience (that can be bought on Amazon) - and the kind of questions you are asking will trigger most professionals - even the staff .. so i offer you this:

I am a professional producer / audio-engineer, working 8 hours in a studio each and every day - like many other people here - and by sheer experience we have all come to know a common truth: it all comes down to room acoustics more than any other aspect .. end of story!

Acoustics are probably the least "sexy" thing to invest in; taking up space and involving careful construction that is hard to manage on your own. The idea of buying quality equipment - down to the very last power-cable - seems a lot more manageable than building corner-traps in your living room and putting up diffusers around the listening position.

But - and this is absolutely verifiable - *nothing* will have a bigger impact on the sound you perceive than acoustics! Granted - if we are talking about headphones, then it's a different conversation ..

~

Your ears are plastic - meaning that they don't sound the same day to day - or even minute to minute. A cup of coffee will change your hearing, as will the amount of sleep you had last night as well as the beers you drank two days ago; whether your body is stressed or at total peace with the universe matters.

On top of that you have the Fletcher Munson Curve, which, very simplified, is the "dynamic eq and compression" your ears and brain apply to whatever you hear - depending on volume!

So .. just to explain the vibe you are getting when venturing into this forum as a hopefully happy RME-customer looking to optimize your listening experience: it is all informed by hard science - since we all know our ears are an extremely unreliable source of reference and information!

Please - at least consider measuring what influence your room has on the carefully selected equipment you have purchased. An accessible tool for this, as mentioned prior in this thread, could be a SonarWorks product. This will measure with reasonable accuracy what issues are present in your room - and while promising to correct this, no professionals are actually using this for paid work (at least - they better not!) - we fix the acoustics instead! And i will wager my entire studio, that what you can achieve with a very modest amount of money spent on building materials for acoustic treatment will give you the most profound improvement in audio precision - and enjoyment - than any tweak will ever buy you for the rest of your life!

Just to inject some sense of scale into what i'm talking about, a pair of ruler-flat speakers (which btw doesn't exist!) playing in an otherwise untreated room, would probably have peaks and dips close to 6db and beyond .. which is way-way-waaaaay more than any other component in the audio-chain - like a power-supply or an interconnect cable - could ever account for! And on top of that, the room does not only affects frequency response but also the timing, since certain frequencies will sustain longer than others - and thus dramatically altering the timing and contents of the music .. mainly in the low end. This particular issue cannot be fixed in any other way than acoustics - seriously!! So please .. do measure whats going on - and i promise you, that with this knowledge in your hand, your next investment will be in acoustics and not a cable, power-supply, or some kind of gadget to put between usb-cables ..

All the best,
Rune
FishCorp / Copenhagen

~

This is just a thought, but since RME is now selling products crossing into audiophile territory, perhaps a well written chapter in the manual on room acoustics and its influence on sound observed is in order. I know that this is second nature to people working with audio for a living, but this could be yet another step in solidifying RME as a company of empirical science and excellence - and possibly take some weight of the forum as well <3 ..

Producer / Engineer / Composer @ FishCorp
RayDAT > 2 x ADI-8 QS | AES+SPDIF > ADI-2 Pro

23 (edited by Curt962 2019-02-01 01:19:31)

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

Basken,

Thanks for your Wonderfully Composed
Post!   Precisely On-Target!

I learned for myself years ago, that while Room Treatments themselves are quite Boring (No thick cables, or blinking lights), their Audible Benefits are quite substantial.

Until the Root Cause of Sound Quality matters has been addressed, (ie: Room Acoustic issues),  "System/Component Upgrades"  amount to little more than applying a heavy coat of VERY expensive Polish to a badly damaged Car.   

Curt

24 (edited by rpgroman 2019-02-01 02:26:53)

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

Well said, Basken!  However, some of us have our main systems in areas that, for various reasons, don't lend themselves to much in the way of room treatments.  I'm married to a painter/photographer/graphic designer for whom the visual is everything! Fortunately, she enjoys music, too and is willing to tolerate the presence of some rather large-ish but beautifully crafted speakers.  But that's as far as it goes.  I've even had to fight with her about how the toe-in looks (she prefers they not be angled as it offends her sensibilities)!

So, I've had to resort to absolute precision in speaker placement--using laser distance measuring distance devices, SPL meters, angle calculators and room/sound measurements to make sure that the room issues---which there are, of course---are the only remaining "problems".  As far as making any acoustic modifications to the room, that is completely out of the question, so my only recourse is to use PEQ to deal with some of the known problems.


Hardware-wise, I'm extremely happy with what I've got (no expensive cables, etc.) and the RME ADI-2 DAC FS was the last piece in completing what I consider to be a system that sounds as good as it can in our living room.  The ADI-2 DAC offered a feature set (including enough PEQ to do what I need to) and quality of engineering that included everything I needed to be able to adjust the sound to my tastes, the remote control, etc., etc.  The DAC was, to me--and much to my surprise (as I really bought it for the other features!)---a genuine step up in sound quality from my Benchmark DAC2.  That plus the ongoing upgrades and support from the owner/designer make this product superior in every way.

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

https://www.gikacoustics.com/product-ca … rt-panels/

Rpgroman,

These could help your Wife reconsider her position on Room Treatments.

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

Thank you, Curt962....very kind of you.  Very interesting products!  My wife is a pretty tough audience, but it's worth a try.....

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

I'll also shadow the "Room is King" sentiments - without question.

If you can't address the most influential factor towards great audio reproduction, the remainder of your efforts (and the $$,$$$ spent on gear) are greatly overshadowed by the room's heavy-handed contributions.  It's really odd how many audiophiles don't consider room treatments "essential" to great reproduction.  Having the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) is understood - but lack of attention to the room seems rampant in the audiophile community in general.

I love gear as well - but room is king (well - "the performance" is king on the engineering/production side IMNSHO - followed closely by the room the "Great Performance" is captured in tongue ) ...  For playback/reproduction - room room room...

cool

MADIface-XT+ARC / 3x HDSP MADI / ADI648
2x SSL Alphalink MADI AX
2x Multiface / 2x Digiface /2x ADI8

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

Thanks for the suggestions

Re: Where to go with my system from here? Power?

Basken wrote:

Hi Robertm394 and other audiophiles.

I felt like writing a somewhat different kind of response to you all after reading this thread.

You are communicating on the technical support forum of a professional audio company. The majority of people here are of a very different "school" than the (enthusiastic) audiophile looking for the best possible listening experience (that can be bought on Amazon) - and the kind of questions you are asking will trigger most professionals - even the staff .. so i offer you this:

I am a professional producer / audio-engineer, working 8 hours in a studio each and every day - like many other people here - and by sheer experience we have all come to know a common truth: it all comes down to room acoustics more than any other aspect .. end of story!

Acoustics are probably the least "sexy" thing to invest in; taking up space and involving careful construction that is hard to manage on your own. The idea of buying quality equipment - down to the very last power-cable - seems a lot more manageable than building corner-traps in your living room and putting up diffusers around the listening position.

But - and this is absolutely verifiable - *nothing* will have a bigger impact on the sound you perceive than acoustics! Granted - if we are talking about headphones, then it's a different conversation ..

~

Your ears are plastic - meaning that they don't sound the same day to day - or even minute to minute. A cup of coffee will change your hearing, as will the amount of sleep you had last night as well as the beers you drank two days ago; whether your body is stressed or at total peace with the universe matters.

On top of that you have the Fletcher Munson Curve, which, very simplified, is the "dynamic eq and compression" your ears and brain apply to whatever you hear - depending on volume!

So .. just to explain the vibe you are getting when venturing into this forum as a hopefully happy RME-customer looking to optimize your listening experience: it is all informed by hard science - since we all know our ears are an extremely unreliable source of reference and information!

Please - at least consider measuring what influence your room has on the carefully selected equipment you have purchased. An accessible tool for this, as mentioned prior in this thread, could be a SonarWorks product. This will measure with reasonable accuracy what issues are present in your room - and while promising to correct this, no professionals are actually using this for paid work (at least - they better not!) - we fix the acoustics instead! And i will wager my entire studio, that what you can achieve with a very modest amount of money spent on building materials for acoustic treatment will give you the most profound improvement in audio precision - and enjoyment - than any tweak will ever buy you for the rest of your life!

Just to inject some sense of scale into what i'm talking about, a pair of ruler-flat speakers (which btw doesn't exist!) playing in an otherwise untreated room, would probably have peaks and dips close to 6db and beyond .. which is way-way-waaaaay more than any other component in the audio-chain - like a power-supply or an interconnect cable - could ever account for! And on top of that, the room does not only affects frequency response but also the timing, since certain frequencies will sustain longer than others - and thus dramatically altering the timing and contents of the music .. mainly in the low end. This particular issue cannot be fixed in any other way than acoustics - seriously!! So please .. do measure whats going on - and i promise you, that with this knowledge in your hand, your next investment will be in acoustics and not a cable, power-supply, or some kind of gadget to put between usb-cables ..

All the best,
Rune
FishCorp / Copenhagen

~

This is just a thought, but since RME is now selling products crossing into audiophile territory, perhaps a well written chapter in the manual on room acoustics and its influence on sound observed is in order. I know that this is second nature to people working with audio for a living, but this could be yet another step in solidifying RME as a company of empirical science and excellence - and possibly take some weight of the forum as well <3 ..

Very interesting thanks.