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Help find the missing link

Joined
Nov 21, 2007
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#1
Here's my modest system built over the past few years.



1. Panny PV8
2. Airtel DTH STB
3. Oppo 981H
4. Marantz PM8003 (Amplifier)
5. Onkyo TX DS 474 (Receiver)
6. Amp Switcher - Thanks to venkatcr!
7. Buffalo 1TB HD
8. WDTV
9. Monitor Audio RS1

Additional: DIY RCA cables using Belden 1694A & Neutrik connectors. QED Silver XT speaker wire. MX Skipeguard, with RF filter.

The problem: Most of my use is Music (70%) - Jazz, 70's rock, Indian fusion/classial. I'm pretty happy with my system except I feel there are certain things the music dosen't have - Soundstage, attack & some amount of detail. Some of you guys can guess what I'm getting at....

The solution: ...Yes a decent DAC to complete the system.

The question: What? How much? Where from? I can spend up to Rs 20K - 25K

The contenders: TP Buffalo, Beresford, CA DACMagic, Hongkong based DIY from ebay.

I request senior members to help me on this one. I'm open to some basic DIY with some help. Thanks guys!
 
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odyssey

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#2
Hi Saikat
You have an entry level speaker from MA, in addition you have them placed quite close to the backwall. Can you invest in some decent quality stands and move them up front a bit? The 981 is a decent CDP, I wouldnt waste 25K on a DAC at this point. That money is better spent on the speaker upgrade itself. At these price points the speaker upgrade will get you the best bang for buck.

cheers
sridhar
 

gobble

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#3
I noticed a much improved attack by putting my speakers on spikes. Also (combined with spikes) buy a pair of ankle weight straps with sand/lead in them from a sports shop and leave them on the speaker to weight them down if they are the light weight boxy types.

Edit: Actually - try stitching two jute pouches and fill them with sand ...

Putting my amp/CDP on spikes also tremendously improved attack. I felt some smearing effect and incoherence without.

HTH

PS: I love the way you have numbered the equipment. What tool/package did you use to make that?
 
Last edited:
Joined
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#4
@ Sridhar ..The MA RS1 may be a basic speaker compared to really hi-end stuff, but I feel it is quite good for what it is...whatsmore, i feel it is apt for me. Reason is, I have a relatively small listening area and FS don't make sense, besides taking up too much space. Can't use stands for the same reason. The distance between rear port & wall is 6-8 inches...should it be more?

@gobble... I think isolation pads make sense as the spikes would go into the wood veneer (and in turn pierce my heart). As far as the jute bag filled with sand goes...not very WAF friendly, whatsay?

The 981H is usually used to play movies.... rarely for music. Most of my music collection is ripped to FLAC & played through the WDTV. Currently use the in-built DAC in the WDTV, which is not known to be of very good quality.
 

gobble

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#5
@ Sridhar
@gobble... I think isolation pads make sense as the spikes would go into the wood veneer (and in turn pierce my heart). As far as the jute bag filled with sand goes...not very WAF friendly, whatsay?
Its a cheap experiment you may try and discard if you think it does not work. If you like the effect you can stitch a fine velvet "moneybag" that looks enticing and fill it with sand.

The spikes I use are not pinpoint sharp like a weapon to make holes into wood. Welding a steel ball bearing at the bottom will be a good idea.

Cheers
 

odyssey

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#6
Hi Saikat
my point is simply this - if you are going to spend 25K, IMO spending it on the speaker would make that most difference in your setup. try bringing it forward 3 ft and try it out for yourself - you may not be able to keep it that way but this will tell you about soundstage and how much you can gain.

cheers
 

gobble

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#7
@ Sridhar The distance between rear port & wall is 6-8 inches...should it be more?
I definitely hear a problem with a slight lack of low end bass resolution and perceive unwanted "enhancements" (standing waves?) to the sound because my speakers have the same 6-8 inch short distance at the back wall . Its not something I can correct though until I move out to a bigger place.

Speaker stands placed a little forward might be a good idea.

Regards
 
Joined
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#8
because my speakers have the same 6-8 inch short distance at the back wall . Its not something I can correct though until I move out to a bigger place.

Speaker stands placed a little forward might be a good idea.

Regards
I'm in the same situation as you are as far as the need for a bigger space goes. What I try & do is move the speaker up in front as far as possible to increase distance. Putting them on stands mean the speaker will be just a few feet from my ears.
 

Asit

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#10
Hi Saikat,

You have quite a decent amp in the Marantz 8003. I have not heard it, but if it is an upgrade over the 8001 (which used to be marketed only in the US, same as the 7001 KI elsewhere), then it is really a good one.

Obviously you need good source and good speakers.

With all due respect to the MA RS1's, I think the amp can take even better speakers quite easily. If you are not planning to upgrade your speakers rightaway, that's fine, but this is one point you may keep in mind.

Sridhar and Gobble have made a very good point of speaker positioning and placements. I agree with them, and please keep this in mind too, although it may not be possible immediately.

I would actually consider the upgradation of your source also as a very important area, as already identified by you. I think you can do a lot better than the Oppo 981 with that amp, and even with those speakers. The Oppo 981 is not known for its audio quality while its cousins the 980 and the 983 are. Even the 980 and 983 would be beaten narrowly by budget dedicated CDPs (as the indications are from the recent shootout in Chennai and other related posts).

Now other people can advise you on the possible choices of a DAC. The obvious and the most easily available one is the CA Dacmagic, but I wouldn't buy it. I have auditioned it during my Cayin A-88T amp audition (detailed in my long amp thread) and it just did not gel at all. There was some discussion on a MF V-DAC. Dinyaar apprently liked it when he heard it at his friend's place. I think (I may be wrong) Cranky uses or at some point had a Buffalo. No idea about Beresford, but think you can do better.

I would also look at your QED Silver Anniversary XT speaker cables. I was bent on buying those a few years ago. Then was very disappointed. At the price they go for in India, I think there are better choices. I use a TDK (made by Hitachi) PCOCC pure copper speaker cable, not much more expensive than your QED, and they are super VFM.

BTW, your system looks quite great with the Oak finish furniture and and darkish background.

Regards.
 
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Joined
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#11
@Asit...Thank you Asit, for your insights. Greatly appreciated.Yes I will definitely try out various speaker positions to optimize sound quality. I will upgrade to better speakers as & when space/finances permit. One step at a time. The PM8003 was a step forward for me. As rightly pointed out The 8003 is the latest version of the 7001 KI (with the Torrodial transformer). I was initially on the lookout for the 7001KI, but it was out of production and poorly stocked.

I've got to try those Hitachi speaker cables... any idea where in Bombay I could get hold of them?

Thanks Asit.

The picture seems to have disappeared, so i'm linking it again....

 

thevortex

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#12
I agree with Rem. If possible, pulling the rack forward by at least a feet would probably better the performance of the RS1 throughout the audio spectrum.

The RS1 is definitely a good speaker. I dont know about it being entry level:)
 

Asit

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#13
I've got to try those Hitachi speaker cables... any idea where in Bombay I could get hold of them?
Saikat,

Look at page #37 of http://www.hifivision.com/amplifiers/3200-amp-upgrade-canton-speakers-feasibility-study.html. You shall find all the details of this.

But I would concentrate on the other items first, for example, what Rem suggested, i.e., see if you can move the cabinet forward by a foot and see if that makes a significant difference to the SQ. Then perhaps the source etc. I personally have always regarded things like cables as secondary, but having this cable made me realize that I always under-cabled my system all these years, and that's why I suggested this cable to you.

Regards.
 

heliumflight

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#14
I noticed a much improved attack by putting my speakers on spikes. Also (combined with spikes)
Putting my amp/CDP on spikes also tremendously improved attack. I felt some smearing effect and incoherence without.

Gobble could you suggest where I could get brass spikes.

--
Bryston + B&W
 

dinyaar

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#15
Here's my modest system built over the past few years.



1. Panny PV8
2. Airtel DTH STB
3. Oppo 981H
4. Marantz PM8003 (Amplifier)
5. Onkyo TX DS 474 (Receiver)
6. Amp Switcher - Thanks to venkatcr!
7. Buffalo 1TB HD
8. WDTV
9. Monitor Audio RS1

Additional: DIY RCA cables using Belden 1694A & Neutrik connectors. QED Silver XT speaker wire. MX Skipeguard, with RF filter.

The problem: Most of my use is Music (70%) - Jazz, 70's rock, Indian fusion/classial. I'm pretty happy with my system except I feel there are certain things the music dosen't have - Soundstage, attack & some amount of detail. Some of you guys can guess what I'm getting at....

The solution: ...Yes a decent DAC to complete the system.

The question: What? How much? Where from? I can spend up to Rs 20K - 25K

The contenders: TP Buffalo, Beresford, CA DACMagic, Hongkong based DIY from ebay.

I request senior members to help me on this one. I'm open to some basic DIY with some help. Thanks guys!
Borrow a friends dedicated cdp and see the diff in sound. Then go down the DAC route. Cant comment on the Oppo as i cant remember the model i heard and that too was average at audio reproduction.
6/8 inches for rear ported speakers is too little saikat. I know we are all tight on space but that is the reason the set up sounds not upto your expectations IMO
Soundstage, attack, detail hmmmmmm. In the current scenario i doubt a DAC is the magic that will solve all the problems. I find it hard to understand why u dont get detail. What do u exactly mean by attack? Dynamics are lacking?
See its such a tiny speaker, surely cant expect depth or impact.
Rgds
 

gobble

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#16
I noticed a much improved attack by putting my speakers on spikes. Also (combined with spikes)
Putting my amp/CDP on spikes also tremendously improved attack. I felt some smearing effect and incoherence without.

Gobble could you suggest where I could get brass spikes.

--
Bryston + B&W
Mine are brass and they look really lovely on my black speakers. I got them from Mr. Murthy in Bangalore.

Cheers
 
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