What's your current home audio system?

The place to sound off on all things related to audio, from sound cards to speakers.

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What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:37 pm

LukeCWM and I started commenting back and forth about home audio. He suggested we start a thread to talk about our aural-pleasure systems. I'll start with what's in my home:

My main listening environment is my living room. I have a 50" Panasonic plasma hooked up to a HTPC/light-gaming rig. My audio equipment is:

Receiver: NAD T 757 A/V Surround Sound Receiver + I bought this receiver based on it's stereo performance. It is a little stripped down (I call it purpose built) compared to others; there really isn't much for bells and whistles. Yet, for the money I think I have very good 5.1 and stereo performance.

Center: Paradigm Center 3 I have this mounted just below my TV. I'm thinking of angling it a bit to get them firing straight to the face.

Fronts: Paradigm Studio 40v2 I bought these from a friend that was upgrading to some Totem Sttaf columns. These are on stands that put the tweeter just at ear level. Sound great in stereo and pair up well with the center for surround duty.

Rear: NHT SuperOne I bought these for my PC a long time ago. I've since switched to using headphones exclusively at my desktop, so these got re-purposed.

Subwoofer: Klipsch Sub-12HG Nothing too fancy, but it gets the job done.

I am using a NuForce uDAC-2 paired with NuForce HP-800 headphones at my desktop. I've read a lot of hi-fi guys poo-poo all over the DAC, but it gets the job done and really does sound much better than the on-board audio. The headphones are quite nice for the money. I considered going with the Schiit Modi/Magni combo, but the price was right on the NuForce gear. I still may go that route if I buy better phones.
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:04 pm

Sources:

Harman/Kardon T35 turntable sporting a Signet cartridge (Rega P6 upgrade scheduled but not budgeted yet)
Denon DRM-44HX tape deck (not much use lately, but a full set of rubber bits in spares box)
NAD C525 BEE CD player (eh, it's a CD player and it was cheap at Audio Advisor)
Denon TU-720 tuner (analog tuner and the one piece I'll never let go due to sound quality and analog tuning)

Pre-Amp:

Parasound P/HP 850 (could stand an upgrade)

Amp:

Carver M-400t, yes, the Carver Cube Amp. (Way past time for an upgrade)

Speakers:

Polk Audio Monitor 10B (Really want some Vandersteen 2s)

Old school? You bet. Dropping the stylus and listening is the evening's relaxation. If it isn't analog, it isn't really music, and it's only music if it's two-channel. What emanates from the computer's 5.1 setup is not music.
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:47 pm

My setup is aging noticably.

Onboard Realtek ALC800-something, piped to Logitech Z-680.

Recently updated via TR BBQ to:

Creative X-Fi Titanium piped to Z-680.

Someone is probably planning to LART me as we speak. I just don't hear the difference!
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:59 pm

Disclaimer: I am not an audiophile, this is for a home theatre set up.

Receiver: Yamaha Aventage RX-A720 - bought last year when old Onkyo failed

Speakers and sub: 7.1 Onkyo set that came in a home theatre in a box set 5 years ago. I was pleasantly surpised how good they were.

Next time I can afford a pricy upgrade new speakers are in order, I know.
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:12 pm

Main setup:

Stereo: HT Omega Claro -> Virtue Audio Sensation 901 (amplifier)
Home Theater -> Radeon HDMI out -> Denon AVR (889)
Speakers for both: Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1 across the front (L/C/R) with NRT tweeters. (I used to have an old pair of paradigm bookshelves set up as rears, and an older paradigm subwoofer, but they are currently not set up).

Computer Audio: USB -> Audio-gd NFB-10 DAC/Headphone Amp -> Virtue Audio "TWO" amplifier -> Audioengine P4s (speakers). (Sennheiser HD 650s out of the headphone amp)


Captain Ned wrote: If it isn't analog, it isn't really music


My only response to this is that I find it interesting that there is really no vintage "videofiles" to speak of that claim that CRT TVs and film/tapes offer truer fidelity (or whatever you wan to call it) than Blu-Ray and the latest HDTVs, etc. On the most fundamental level, why would digital be better for visual mediums, but not audio?
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:17 pm

Nothing exotic, but I needed a receiver that would let me create 'scene' (pair audio / video inputs) for one zone and mainly allow for HDMI switching and support multiple HDMI outputs.
So I opted for a Yamaha RX-A800

I'm using some salvaged Boss speakers for surround, and a klipch subwoofer. They all seem to work well with a pair of yamaha ns-555
My only wish is that I had upgraded the center speaker (currently a yamaha ns-c310)

I'm happy I went all digital, I'm hum & scratch free :)
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:18 pm

cynan wrote:On the most fundamental level, why would digital be better for visual mediums, but not audio?

22.05 KHz, a/k/a the Nyquist Frequency of the CD standard sampling rate, and the associated brick-wall filters.
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:29 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
cynan wrote:On the most fundamental level, why would digital be better for visual mediums, but not audio?

22.05 KHz, a/k/a the Nyquist Frequency of the CD standard sampling rate, and the associated brick-wall filters.


I won't argue the perceptible impact of these filters, etc, because I don't really have much experience.

That said, does it not stand to reason that once the max sampling frequency gets high enough, the impact of these transition filters on what is actually perceptible will diminish exponentially..

So are you actually admitting that analog audio's days are numbered? :o That when higher sampling frequencies than 44.1 kHz become de facto, which you could argue is the direction things are heading (ie, 96 or 192 kHz - and even 384 kHz is beginning to crop up), then there will be no more (academic) argument for preferring analog over digital?
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:53 pm

Receiver: Denon AVR-2313CI, bought 2 months ago when I got sick of my old Onkyo getting worse and worse with HDMI sync (to the point of failing once a day, requiring a 15min unplug)
Speakers: 7x Klipsch Quintet (three behind the screen) + Sunfire TrueSubwoofer Junior (these have served me well since 2001)
Sources: TiVo, NUC, PS3, and an old Panasonic BluRay player (that's Cinavia-free!!)
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:48 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
cynan wrote:On the most fundamental level, why would digital be better for visual mediums, but not audio?

22.05 KHz, a/k/a the Nyquist Frequency of the CD standard sampling rate, and the associated brick-wall filters.


"there is simply no scientific evidence that frequencies beyond the 22 kHz limit of CD audio are audible to any known group of people, or that such frequencies affect anyone's perception of the audible range"

The top issue seem to be with signal production, might it be analog or digital.

But the truth, today you have way more negative issues with vinyl then digital. Analog is now in the real of nostalgia VS true audiophile perfection (accurate signal reproduction)
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:58 pm

Captain Ned wrote:Denon TU-720 tuner (analog tuner and the one piece I'll never let go due to sound quality and analog tuning)

That's a pretty nice unit. They don't make them like that anymore. Digital tuning is frustrating.

Captain Ned wrote:Carver M-400t, yes, the Carver Cube Amp. (Way past time for an upgrade)

How do you like it? Why do you want to upgrade?
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:54 pm

cynan wrote:[So are you actually admitting that analog audio's days are numbered? :o That when higher sampling frequencies than 44.1 kHz become de facto, which you could argue is the direction things are heading (ie, 96 or 192 kHz - and even 384 kHz is beginning to crop up), then there will be no more (academic) argument for preferring analog over digital?

Not at all. Analog v. Digital was never an academic argument to begin with. I can't explain why, nor can I ground it in any rational system, but music played through my ancient turntable sounds more instantly "real" than 44.1/16 digital. I've currently got no way to get 24/192 files to the stereo so I've yet to have a basis for comparison.

In light of my advancing age, there's also the comforting ritual involved in playing vinyl. Gently remove it from the sleeve, apply 3 drops of fluid to the DiscWasher brush, clean the record, and gently drop the stylus. Copying music in my college years was a much more time-consuming process than today as it had to run in real time.
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:00 pm

gigafinger wrote:
Captain Ned wrote:Denon TU-720 tuner (analog tuner and the one piece I'll never let go due to sound quality and analog tuning)
That's a pretty nice unit. They don't make them like that anymore. Digital tuning is frustrating.

The store I bought it from back in the late 1980s told me it would be my last tuner based on sound quality and tuning ability. They were right.

gigafinger wrote:
Captain Ned wrote:Carver M-400t, yes, the Carver Cube Amp. (Way past time for an upgrade)
How do you like it? Why do you want to upgrade?

More capacitance for more power reserves, plus better connection options. It's been a steadfast partner for about 25 years but it's time for some new iron. I'd really like to score a decently-priced 10YO Krell or Levinson off Audiogon, though an Acurus or Aragon might catch my fancy as well.
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:32 pm

NeelyCam wrote:Receiver: Denon AVR-2313CI, bought 2 months ago when I got sick of my old Onkyo getting worse and worse with HDMI sync (to the point of failing once a day, requiring a 15min unplug)


You do know it is repairable? I chose not to but the defect is (if I remember right) some capacitors wearing out.
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:16 pm

Sources: Optical Audio + HDMI Video from HTPC, HDMI A/V from basic Sony BRD player

Display: Insignia 39" 1080P LCD

Receiver: Yamaha RX-V473

Speakers: Infinity Beta 50 Mains, C360 center, Beta 20 surrounds, CSW-10 Subwoofer

The speakers are being DIY converted, however. A from-scratch pair of mains were completed earlier this summer (click for larger):

Image
Image

A center-channel is in progress, and a pair of dipole rear surrounds are in the early planning stages.
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:22 pm

I'll play along, but this is a college house so not the best quality. Also not currently home to specs specific model numbers, but close too.
HT:
Yamaha 4" book shelves in stereo (Older made in USA type)
5.1 Sony 3D Receiver
Polk PSW10

Party Music/Noise:
2x Community DND 15 PA
1x Cerwin Vega JE36c Folded Horn
1x Behringer EP4000
1x Behringer XYENX 802
1x Behringer Super Pro CX 4300

This is all inside our living room off campus. I know we also need more power to the system, hopefully a suggestion post will be coming soon TR forums.
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:35 pm

Captain Ned wrote:If it isn't analog, it isn't really music, and it's only music if it's two-channel. What emanates from the computer's 5.1 setup is not music.


Audiophilia nervosa, or just "Get off my lawn"? :P

As for mine: just what you see in my signature. Sennheiser 151s and a Xonar DX.
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:44 pm

Display: 50" plasma
Receiver: Denon 2808
Amp: Adcom 7607
Fronts: Paradigm Monitor 11.6
Center: PSB Monitor 15 (something 15 at least)
Rears: Pardigm surrounds (smallest ones) v.6
Sub: dead (was Polk Micro-something 2000)

Yeah, I need a "real" center and another sub. The 11's do a great job with bass in music and the center is a better solution thant the typical,cheap MTM setup (from an imaging perspective). It's mostly used for music and NFL games, hence the laziness in saving up for good replacements. The 11's bi-amped are amazing!
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:48 pm

Speakers : Polk Audio 2.3TL
Amp : Carver TFM-42
Pre amp : Emotiva USP-1
Turntable : Pro-ject Debut
CD Player : Marantz DV6600
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:03 pm

Oldies but goodies Krell PAM5 preamp, Denon power amps, Thiels 2s, VIP Jr. turntable, Denon CD player (CD player is mostly retired)

Plus Xoner Essence, Grado 325s and Swan M1s on the PC.
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:30 pm

Right now my only audio setup is my onboard chip hooked up to a pair of old school Cambridge SoundWorks 2.1 speakers. Ironically, these things aged much better than my Klipsch v2-400 4.1 setup. The Klipsch no longer work due to the sub cones getting dried out and torn with age, but the CSW 2.1's keep chuggin' away.
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:13 am

I'm jelly over the gear on display.

I run a pair of Monitor Audio RX1
Rega Brio R
Arcam Rdac

But the crown in my setup for me is a nice set of Stax Headphones and Amp. Ill probably never sell those.

Been thinking of starting over with some Magnepans and the little sub panel they make but its an expensive gamble here in Aus. I'm also not a huge fan of 2.1 setups.

Paradigm doesn't seem to make as much of an impact over here.
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:39 am

TV audio is going through the TV speakers (!) and computer audio is going through a 15-year old Yamaha receiver to 2 Klipsch ProMedia's (the sub/amp went wonky when I moved...last year). Needless to say, I've been shopping for a new setup, for over a year now. Every time I decide to pull the trigger, I remember I'm having a baby this winter and suddenly, spending a grand on speakers seems a lot less relevant. And trying to audition speakers is frustrating.
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:45 am

Captain Ned wrote:I'd really like to score a decently-priced 10YO Krell or Levinson off Audiogon, though an Acurus or Aragon might catch my fancy as well.

The Levinson product line looks amazing.

Audiogon has turned into eBay. Too many vendors selling new/refurb items. I liked it better when it was just people auctioning off old equipment.

CityEater wrote:But the crown in my setup for me is a nice set of Stax Headphones and Amp. Ill probably never sell those.

Those look interesting. How do they sound?
hans wrote:TV audio is going through the TV speakers (!) and computer audio is going through a 15-year old Yamaha receiver to 2 Klipsch ProMedia's (the sub/amp went wonky when I moved...last year). Needless to say, I've been shopping for a new setup, for over a year now. Every time I decide to pull the trigger, I remember I'm having a baby this winter and suddenly, spending a grand on speakers seems a lot less relevant. And trying to audition speakers is frustrating.

Have you looked at any sound bar systems? They aren't the greatest for sound quality, but they'll get you a whole lot for little money. Definitely not for music listening though.
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:00 am

Obviously most people have fixed views on analogue versus digital, along with confirmation biases which preclude them from ever seeing "the other side".

Anyway, here's some worthwhile reading on why rates/bit-depths above 44.1/16 are not necessary: http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
Last edited by Anomymous Gerbil on Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:01 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:00 am

Whoa! I take a half-sick-day and this giant thread appears out of nowhere! :o

You guys have some really nice gear! It's nice to find out there are some people on this site who appreciate quality music reproduction. :D
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:09 am

LukeCWM wrote:Whoa! I take a half-sick-day and this giant thread appears out of nowhere! :o

You guys have some really nice gear! It's nice to find out there are some people on this site who appreciate quality music reproduction. :D

You asked for it! Now post your kit :wink:
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:28 am

I don't have anything terribly fancy. A Philips bookshelf stereo with way exaggerated bass in the living room - and that's with the bass boost turned off! :o

My PC is in a somewhat acoustically-treated room, with an Auralex kit I got from Sweetwater (above and behind the monitors, to the left and right of my listening position, and some on the back wall), through some KRK Rokit 8s connected to an Avix Mbox Mini. The Auralex is nice because it cuts way down on room sound when recording with the condenser, and it seems to cut down on echo when listening to music.
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:20 am

Simple bookshelf system in a small den. A pair of JPW P1s. NAD C320BEE stereo amp, analog inputs and feeds throughout. Although it has a remote, I prefer the large dials and clicky buttons on the amp. Music source used to be some old Sony CD player but nowadays I just run a cable to it from either an iPad or Nano on jukebox duty. Lovely if slightly boomy sound, not too revealing of recording flaws so it's also great for mp3s. For anything better I use a big headphone, the Goldring DR100.

For quiet use of the bedroom PC I have a SuperLux HD688B headphone with detachable cord, keeps me and wife sane. I use a small Toshiba HDTV with the desktop outside, it has an integrated 20W soundbar which is surprisingly good.
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Re: What's your current home audio system?

Postposted on Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:44 am

My headphone kit is easy to describe: my DAC is the Audio GD Fun, headphone amp is the Heed CanAmp, and my cans are the AKG k702.

My primary listening system is less easy to describe. I've got a pair of two-way bookshelf speakers with curved backs and 6.5" woofers. I built them with a friend in his woodworking shop. I really like the sound, but I wouldn't describe them as the be-all, end-all speakers. About $600 in parts, and they'd probably hold their own in a shootout of ~$1,200/pr bookshelf speakers. I'm currently driving those with a Sansui integrated amplifier built sometime in the 90's. It's cheap and not a revelation of high fidelity. A couple of months ago, I finished building a preamp with the Audio Society of Minnesota based on Nelson Pass's design that I think is called the Burning Amp 3. We juiced it up with a decent phono preamp, a remote kit, and a mono-stereo knob. However, I can't use it in my system until I build or buy a power amp. I didn't know about the Audio Society 2-3 years ago when they built their Nelson Pass power amps. I've got 90% of the parts to build an F5 amplifier, but I haven't begun yet. I need to collaborate with a couple of guys that have done it so they can show me how. :D

I believe in subwoofers, and I believe they should come in pairs. (At this point, my ideal system would be 2.0 stereo sound with two speakers that are completely full range, but since that's really difficult to do, I'll settle for 2.2 with stereo subwoofers.) I want good subs to give power and weight to a kick drum, tonality to low bass, and to be able to reproduce the lowest notes on the pipe organ. I want all the bass notes in the range to be reproduced with equal loudness. One-note bass is disgusting. :) I'm not a bass head, I only want it a little louder than would be ruler flat. But that is very different from saying I wouldn't miss subwoofers.

I accidentally came into a pair of Polk PSW10 subs. What a joke, haha. They are so dreadful. They add maybe an octave below cheap bookshelf speakers playing music at a moderate volume or lower. I was saving for a pair of Hsu Research ULS-15 subs. They're not the final word in low frequency, but they're very powerful, very deep, very musical, and cost effective compared to better subs. But just because they are good value for the money doesn't mean I can afford them. =] Recently, I found someone selling a pair of ACI Titan subwoofers for very cheap: $150 each! They are "hi-fi" subs, sealed 12" downfiring. They're old, perhaps from the late 90's, and rather beat up. But they sound good! Especially for the money! I ended up buying them because they are 1/7th the price of the Hsu subs I wanted. Even though the ACI subs can't reproduce the lowest organ notes how I want, they do everything else nicely.

I'm in the process of preparing and treating my listening room with acoustic treatment, but it's very slow going when I never make the time! I have most of the materials for it as a DIY project, but I've been wrapped up in other projects. And some dates too. :wink: I really should get on that.
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