Something is wrong with my first setup - NHT SuperOne 2.1 + Rotel RA960BX + Allo Boss

Join HiFiMART Telegram Channel for offers & deals

adakadavuley

New Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
24
Points
3
Location
Chennai
This is the stereo setup I put together. I bought all of them blind from different sources

Bookshelf speakers - NHT SuperOne 2.1 (86dB @ 8ohms)
Integrated Amp - Rotel RA 960BX (Continuous power: 60 watts per channel into 8 ohms)
DAC/Streamer - Allo Boss 1.2 + Raspberry Pi + Nirvana SMPS
Cables - DAC RAC interconnects, Klotz speaker cable, Banana Plugs

Both Amp and Raspberry Pi are connected to a V-Guard Digi 200 stabilizer. I used to hear a hissing sound from the left channel before connecting the amp to the stabilizer. Now it is quiet.

I picked NHT because it said it was a sealed speaker and position wouldn't affect the bass response.

I have been listening to the setup and there is no 'Wow' moment. It sounds a little flat. I enjoy the same track more on my earphones via my phone. Also songs with lot of instruments sounds a little congested. There is no separation and the bass is lacking. I play songs via Tidal.

I suspect that the issue is with the source. Should I get a CD player to see if it sounds better?

The speakers are not placed on any stand. I have placed it directly on the console table. Should I try getting a stand? Will that have a significant effect on the sound?

I have to turn up the volume more than half way/nearly 75% to hear at a decent volume. Does it meant that the amp is not powering the speakers enough?

Am I expecting too much from bookshelf speakers?

Sorry I have posted too many questions. I don't know where to start to improve the sound from this system. Thank you!
 

amit11

Active Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Messages
499
Points
43
Location
Pune
As you have mentioned that you enjoy listening from mobile earphone more, i would say to investigate further with this as the starting point.

If you have a decent cable to connect mobile out to rca of amp, try with that first.
 

Prodigy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2018
Messages
565
Points
93
Location
Bangalore
Here are my observations.

You have good amp and speakers but I think it may not be matching properly because of the following reasons. Don’t get me wrong it’s just what I am thinking.

The NHT Superone is a monitor, So from what I have seen it requires a lot of power to drive sealed speaker to give you that punch you are looking for.
The Rotel PA is excellent but since it’s rated at 60W I am guessing it’s not able to drive the NHT to your liking.

A sealed bookshelf will be difficult to drive IMO because In sealed cabinets the amp power required is 60% for the same Volume.

I am not sure if adding a CD player would make a difference but before spending on it , you could try connecting a BT receiver or youdirectly connect your phone to Rotel using a 3.5mm to RCA and play with the phones eq to see if it makes a difference and if it did then may be you could look at adding a A Pre with a good DAC.

I used to connect my iPad to the SPA and worked really well for me.

Try the the 1st option and see if it makes a difference.

Regards,
 

raghupb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
2,774
Points
113
Location
Bengaluru
<snip>
I suspect that the issue is with the source. Should I get a CD player to see if it sounds better?
<snip>
Borrow a CD player and try it out. You should get a fair idea about the source and amp/speaker match.
Then decide how to tweak the Allo Digione.

Cheers,
Raghu
 

adakadavuley

New Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
24
Points
3
Location
Chennai
Thanks all for your replies.

I sat in front of the speakers to pay close attention to the sound. I removed the speaker grills and to my horror found that the woofer on the left side speaker is not moving at all. I changed the channel and the woofer continued to remain dead. Only sound from the left tweeter. No wonder it was feeling off. Sending it back to the seller for repair.
 

raghupb

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
2,774
Points
113
Location
Bengaluru
Thanks all for your replies.

I sat in front of the speakers to pay close attention to the sound. I removed the speaker grills and to my horror found that the woofer on the left side speaker is not moving at all. I changed the channel and the woofer continued to remain dead. Only sound from the left tweeter. No wonder it was feeling off. Sending it back to the seller for repair.
Oh!! Bummer. Sorry that you have to tackle this.
Good luck.

Ada kadavuley!!! you should consider changing your handle.
Means "By God or My God" or something correct?
Maybe its by design. Possibly conveys the information overload for a newcomer on HFV.

Cheers,
Raghu
 

arunkvivek

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2015
Messages
742
Points
93
Location
Bangalore
Oh!! Bummer. Sorry that you have to tackle this.
Good luck.


Means "By God or My God" or something correct?
Maybe its by design. Possibly conveys the information overload for a newcomer on HFV.

Cheers,
Raghu
You are right..it's OMG
 

adakadavuley

New Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
24
Points
3
Location
Chennai
Ada kadavuley!!! you should consider changing your handle.
Haha maybe I should :D

Oh!! Bummer. Sorry that you have to tackle this.
Yeah it sucks. It was a showroom piece. I got the pair for 21K. Seller is saying I can ship it back to them and they will get it serviced at my expense. I contacted NHT email support because their website mentioned that passive speakers are user serviceable. They were helpful. Asked me to remove the driver from the cabinet and check. One more disappointment as I found the magnet completely detached from the voice coil. The magnet also had lot of scratches and dents. Can a magnet have scratches and dents if the speaker has not been opened? I don't know if this piece has been serviced locally before selling. Have asked NHT for an estimate for the new driver.

Meanwhile have sent it to a local speaker repair person who seems knowledgeable. He says damage has happened during transit and magnet has slipped off the frame. Voice coil is also damaged and needs to be replaced and I won't get 100% same performance as before :/

I thought he changed it after he found the speaker problem;)
No I had it from before but it seems very suitable now :/
 

adakadavuley

New Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
24
Points
3
Location
Chennai
Update to this thread:

I got the speaker serviced locally. The service person fixed the magnet back. The system sounds much better now with two speakers playing (obviously)

I tried playing music on mono from my iPhone on Aux and switching between L and R..there is definitely a difference in volume between both speakers. The left speaker is a little soft. But overall when I play both together in stereo, it sounds much better than before and I am able to get the center imaging on vocals of some tracks. Considering my earlier situation, I will take this :)

Now coming back to my original question, I am not able to put my finger on it but I feel the speakers sound much better when connected directly to my iPhone SE via Aux compared to the Allo Boss. The sound from the Allo is somehow not satisfactory. I am using the Nirvana SMPS and there is no background noise. There are no technical problems like hissing or crackling. In fact it is tough to notice that the system is switched on when not playing. I read some posts about the Allo Boss requiring some burn-in time and I left it streaming flac from a web radio station for little over two days continuously. But I am not hearing much improvement. I am missing some punch.

Is there any way I can change the source to match or be better than the iPhone? What would be my options?

I am considering getting an old mac mini connected to a USB DAC like Topping D10S. But that would cost me another 20k easily.

Since I already have a rPi, another option is to replace the Boss with the DigiOne (~4.6k) and connect it to a DAC with Coaxial/BNC input (Any suggestions for a budget around 10k?). But considering my experience with Allo, I am a little wary of trying it.

Should I try a different software other than Volumio? I have already paid for Volumio Virtuoso because I wanted Tidal support.

I considered CD player but with all the streaming options, I figured I'll end up not using it that much.

Thanks!
 

Mayank Shah

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 22, 2015
Messages
797
Points
93
Location
Madras
Hi. Before you touch any of your gear, would it be possible to borrow any other pair of BS from a friend or someone and check?
 

adakadavuley

New Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
24
Points
3
Location
Chennai
No unfortunately I am new to this city (Pune) and don't know anyone here :|

But I do think the speakers sound better when connected directly from the phone.

I have a chromecast audio. I have ordered an optical cable with optical mini converter. Will try connecting to a DAC AMP I already have (XDuuo XD-05)

Will compare the sound of both using headphones. I think that should give me an idea about the quality of the source.
 

premoddev

Active Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
318
Points
43
Location
Bangalore
Have you tried Chromecast with your setup? How was it compares Allo Boss?
Hope you have found the culprit in the chain.
 

sudhirdamerla

Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2018
Messages
53
Points
18
Location
Visakhapatnam / Bangalore
The problem could be your room. Try a near field listening experiment. Sit with the speakers 3 feet away in a rough triangle the floor. Speakers on a pair of stools / books stacked with the baffles flush against the face of the "stand". The idea is the woofer shouldn't "see" the surface the speaker is sitting on. A thick carpet or a rug on the floor. Now use blankets to make a bounty wall around you with some sticks and try listening again. Preferably with the lights out.

Problem with bookshelf speakers is their limited bass response. That coupled with a bright room, especially rooms with tiled floor and smooth putty walls is a surefire way to kill the music listening experience. You might have a huge gains in the upper frequency response of upto 20db or more which further effects how we perceive the bass making everything sound thin and lifeless.

Sealed speakers will benefit from boundary loading. Moving them closer to the wall will increase the bass response. The RA 960 is a clean sounding but an extremely lifeless amp. I have the power amp version of that. I have no idea how the allo DAC sounds, but if your phone sounds good, that means your chain is benefiting from some colouration. I had a very similar setup as a stopgap and could never get it to sound right.
 

naj

Active Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Messages
117
Points
28
Location
N Israel/Pune
No unfortunately I am new to this city (Pune) and don't know anyone here :|

But I do think the speakers sound better when connected directly from the phone.

I have a chromecast audio. I have ordered an optical cable with optical mini converter. Will try connecting to a DAC AMP I already have (XDuuo XD-05)

Will compare the sound of both using headphones. I think that should give me an idea about the quality of the source.
Hello ,
There is no further update on the thread. However , If you may like to rig your gear to floor standers , you may pls PM me . Glad to assist if in Pune .
Thanks -
 

sandeepmohan

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 17, 2009
Messages
841
Points
93
Location
Wellington
Now coming back to my original question, I am not able to put my finger on it but I feel the speakers sound much better when connected directly to my iPhone SE via Aux compared to the Allo Boss.
I think you should stop right here, now that you find that playing direct from the phone sounds better than everything else in between.
Pi devices are not exactly purpose built to excel in audio. They are designed to do many things so while it may get you some kind of decoding and processing, don't expect it to wow you.

Digital audio is funny business. Devices across the budget end of the spectrum make little to no difference from my experience. Its only when you spend serious money, you start noticing a change in sound. Once again, this gets noticed with a trained ear. The average joe may not even be able to tell the difference. In your case, considering you seem to have attained a sweet spot, I'd just stay there. Don't put questions and doubts back into your head which leads you to spend on little things that will not make much of a difference. You seem to have a nice set up. Perhaps a better amplifier is all you need so try some before putting down any money.

Don't over complicate the set up. Sometimes a more direct approach gets you better sound. Apple may not be the sound champs but they do know a thing or two about how to get good sound out of their devices.

Might be worthwhile to check your speaker polarity.
 
Top