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Low volume listening (Read 4686 times)
HockessinKid
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Posts: 580
Re: Low volume listening
Reply #50 - 08/13/20 at 14:40:29
 
Alan,

Enjoy your new speakers. As Tony The Tiger once said, "they're great".

HK
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Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 cart + Modwright PH 9.0X phono pre OR Modwright modded Cambridge CNX V2 streamer/DAC > CSP3-25th mods preamp > ZMA-25th mods amp > PI Audio UberBUSS > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Lii15 speakers > various cables & tweaks.
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AlanS
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Posts: 37
Re: Low volume listening
Reply #51 - 08/21/20 at 01:55:38
 
So, I am not sure this is the correct place for this post... But I will ask anyway.

My current set up is a Triode Labs SET 2A3 amp with a Triode Labs Au Pré preamp and a Bluesound Node 2i as source. I am loving the sound but, as always, wondering about next steps.

Should I upgrade my Dac/Streamer?
I have never fussed with cables too much?
Decware amp?

Suggestions welcomed.

Thanks
Alan
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ArtMan
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Posts: 90
Re: Low volume listening
Reply #52 - 08/21/20 at 18:36:57
 
Alan,

These are my thoughts:

1. Should I upgrade my Dac/Streamer?
     
No matter what upgrades you make to your system, your speakers will make it easy to hear the changes. Reading reviews of you present Dac/Streamer, this is the one upgrade that would make the bigger difference in sound.

2. I have never fussed with cables too much?

Cables make a difference in the sound. Below are some quotes from Steve in his tiny radial speakers topic:

Interesting observation...  I replaced the speaker cables, a thinner gauge version of the ZSTYX, with some test leads that were nice and flexible, something the ZSTYX are not, especially when they are only 1 meter long as is the case here.  So the test leads were the same length.

To put this in context, the test leads are copper stranded, super thin strands in a fat silicon jacket.  The smaller version of the ZSTYX is first of all about 10 gauge rather than 18 gauge like the test leads.  Also it is silver coated copper and the jacket is Teflon.

Anyway, for about well, all day, I have been listening to these speakers waiting for them to sound good.  How can something that looks this good sound bad?  The wood was super light compared to normal exotics, and maybe it just sucks?  I kept waiting, and waiting... why is it so lean, so dry, to etched, so mid-fi?

A sense of dread started to build as I began to accept something is actually wrong here... these really don't sound good.  This is the first pair that I didn't like.

Then I remembered the speaker wire... test leads... that has to be the problem.  SO I put back the good ZSTYX 10 AWG clones (ZSTYX are 8 AWG about twice as thick) and bang, there we are.  The density is back.  The liquidity is back.  The dryness is gone.  The image is 3 times the size.  Not even the same speaker.  Seriously.  

So this is a reality check.  Since it is the only speaker wire I ever use (for a reason) it is all too easy to forget how the speakers might sound in another system without good speaker wire.

I can tell you that using the test leads, which are similar to regular cheap speaker cable, made these speakers sound like a con job.  Seriously.  It's scary.  Don't treat Tiny Radials like toys.  That is the lesson.  

I have enjoyed the sound more in the last hour since I changed the wire, than I have in the past 24 hours with the wrong cables.

Learn from my mistakes.  No doubt someone with Tiny Radials hasn't heard them yet.  The difference was on a scale of 1 to 10 like comparing a 4 to an 8.5

Of course the EXACT same thing happens in the listening room with big speakers.  I believe cables are as important as the speakers themselves, in fact they are probably the biggest choke point in audiophile's homes world wide so far as I can see.

It's another discussion better placed elsewhere, but surface it to say, good speaker cables are not an option.  Zip cord is not acceptable.  In fact most speaker cables are not acceptable.  You have to go outside the playground to find the right stuff.  Silver plated copper, heavy gauge, Teflon jacket.  Simple. Get one wire for each polarity.  

I've said it over 60,000 times so far, and that is that you only hear your system rise to the weakest link in the chain.  In the hi-resolution work of single-end triodes with zero feedback, you can't and don't want to use regular speaker wire.  It is a filter.  You don't want a filter.


Here's a closing hypothetical example...  Person buys a Decware amplifier, a great DAC, perhaps even a power conditioner, really awesome speakers, and left over speaker cables from a mainstream hifi system.  Left wanting, he sends the amp back in for anniversary mods.  After getting it back , he hears a 10% improvement and is happy.   Now, had he been running proper speaker cable, the improvement would have been in this case 40%.  That means that with the right cable he was 30% ahead of where he ended up after spending money on anniversary mods.  So following this line of thought a bit further, had he had the right cables to begin with, he would have been 40% better than he was with the wrong cables, and then after doing the anniversary mods his money would have bought him another 40% improvement over where he was, totaling 80%, not 10%.


https://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1582567152/250#250

I have Decware's silver interconnects, speaker cable and power cables. They are excellent and an outstanding value for the money.

3.Decware amp?

I would recommend upgrading your DAC and cables before changing amps. Without a better front end and cables, you will never know how good your present amp sounds with your speakers. For perspective, Decware amps do not sound like typical SET amps. They are very neutral sounding and fast amps due to the high bandwidth transformers and video tubes used as output tubes. Replacing the output tubes (6P15P - via Decware $22 each) will be a fraction of what it costs to replace your 2A3 tubes. I am running my speakers with the SE84UFO amp and it is an outstanding combination.

I hope this helps.
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AlanS
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Posts: 37
Re: Low volume listening
Reply #53 - 08/22/20 at 01:17:57
 
Artman, I sincerely thank you for taking the time to write such a fantastic reply! Seriously, thank you for your advice!

I do suspect that my source is likely the best way to upgrade because my amp/preamp are special pieces and the Lii15 baffles that Randy at Caintuck built for me are amazing too. The interconnection cables and speaker cables are both from WireWorld and are decent cables but there may be some gain there too.

In terms of sources, what is the common concensus on Streamer and DAC Vs. Files ripped and stored on a local drive and DAC? Currently the Bluesound Node 2i is Streamer and DAC.

Thanks
Alan
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ArtMan
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Posts: 90
Re: Low volume listening
Reply #54 - 08/24/20 at 15:02:57
 
If you want more information related to digital front ends, I suggest you read and/or start a new thread in the Digital topic. There are likely to be many options discussed there.

As for me, I am very happy with my Denafrips Pontus DAC and recommend it highly. A really thoughtful review is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HM2ZsPBaOpo.
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