PDA

View Full Version : Upgrade Advice



toaster75
2007-01-26, 14:57
Hi there,
I have had my SB for a few months and am very happy with it and it's functionality. However I have noticed that compared to my Marantz cd 52se the sound is a little bass light.

My system consists of an SB3 connected to a Audiolab 8000a using Van Den Hul 102mkIII, and a pair of mission 773e. Music filesare all encoded in FLAC using EAC. I listen to all sorts of music but a large proportion of bass heavy music!

Now admittedly my system has never been adept at playing the music i really like but with this new lack of low end grunt the situation has got to a point where iam prepared to do something about it. The only trouble is where do you folks think i should start?

Should i invest in a DAC, Amp or speakers....? Budget is flexible but no more than 500... Iam prepared to go secondhand.

Looking forward to your suggestions.
Thx

tomjtx
2007-01-26, 15:16
IMO the best upgrade would be a good DAC. The SB makes an excellent transport.
I had a LavryDAC10 which very close to the TP in sound quality It sells for 1,000.00 US

The Benchmark DAC is also excellent and is used on ebay or audiogon from time to time.

There are some good chinese dacs as well. The paradeseea gets a lot of raves

totoro
2007-01-26, 15:25
I usually agree with tomjtx, but not this time. If what you want is better bass, why not get a good subwoofer? Short of getting (probably pretty pricey) full-range speakers, this would seem your best option.

That will affect the sound a _lot_ more than a dac would. You could probably get a used rel strata for that price.

You can also set up digital eq using inguz http://www.inguzaudio.com

JJZolx
2007-01-26, 15:33
It all starts at the source. The lower end that you're now missing can never really be returned by the downstream components.

Either get a good DAC or have the SB3 modded, including a good power supply. I think the DAC would be the surer bet - certainly easier to change again if it doesn't suit your tastes.

totoro
2007-01-26, 15:48
I don't agree here. The OP seems to have a frequency response issue, and didn't like his original bass all that much. A new dac is _not_ going to make cheapish speakers suddenly able to give good bass. Simply won't happen. A good sub will, and if it's a really good one like the rel, it can stay in the system through many upgrades.

The power supply thing is certainly _not_ a magic bullet, in my experience. Got some elpacs cheap on ebay, stuck one in my system: neither I nor any of my friends can tell the difference. YMMV, of course.

Yes, there are dacs that sound better, even lots better. No, I don't think that would be a good place to start in this system. The sub _will_ give better bass, no question. And it can still be around later if/when the OP buys a lavry/benchmark/mytek/citypulse, whatever.

opaqueice
2007-01-26, 15:50
The frequency response of the SB has been measured and it's flat on the low end, so that's not the problem. I agree completely with Totoro - a subwoofer or new speakers will have a much, much bigger effect on bass and the overall sound than changing the source will.

Another possibility is equalization, either with DSP using the Inguz plugin or with a separate box.

tomjtx
2007-01-26, 15:51
Actually , totoro, I could agree with you as well. But I read the post a bit differently.
Since the op liked the bass with his cdp I thought the DAC might make more diff.

Thinking about your recommendation makes me wonder if the OP shouldn't audition a powered sub and a DAC and see which one gets him where he wants to go.
Of course, if he is a true audiofool like me he will buy both..........then room treatments .then psu :-) etc. etc. etc.

When he goes bankrupt he can sue us for leading him into insolvency.

toaster75
2007-01-26, 15:59
Heh... Appreciating your input here! Money is always the overriding factor!
I understand that my cd player was always renowned for have a rich tonal balance and the amp is much more neutral in it's response. I was thinking/hoping you would suggest changing the Amp...

Anybody agree?

totoro
2007-01-26, 16:04
Heh... Appreciating your input here! Money is always the overriding factor!
I understand that my cd player was always renowned for have a rich tonal balance and the amp is much more neutral in it's response. I was thinking/hoping you would suggest changing the Amp...

Anybody agree?

It's a decent amp. Doesn't seem like the weakest thing in the system to me. If you haven't heard a really good, music-oriented (as opposed to home-theater-oriented) sub, I think you'll probably be pretty amazed when you hear one.

I used to have triangle celius speakers, which don't have much bass. I added a cheapish sub, and it was better. A friend of mine got the rel to use with his, and the results were spectacular.

Antipodes
2007-01-26, 17:05
Perceived bass extension can be improved with a good linear regulated power supply. Further results are greater spaciousness and naturalness. There are those that disagree, sometimes based on experience, sometimes on ignorance and/or scepticism. But for some of us the effect is obvious - I am posting my opinion for you here and not looking for a debate with the naysayers. If you give this a try, just make sure you let the new power supply burn in first - until the caps form the sound will be worse. Whether you are looking for better quality bass, or you just want more quantity of the existing bass is something that's hard to tell - if its just more quantity you want then the sub may be the best suggestion, but that's not how I interpreted your post either.

totoro
2007-01-26, 17:09
Perceived bass extension can be improved with a good linear regulated power supply. Further results are greater spaciousness and naturalness. There are those that disagree, sometimes based on experience, sometimes on ignorance and/or scepticism. But for some of us the effect is obvious - I am posting my opinion for you here and not looking for a debate with the naysayers. If you give this a try, just make sure you let the new power supply burn in first - until the caps form the sound will be worse. Whether you are looking for better quality bass, or you just want more quantity of the existing bass is something that's hard to tell - if its just more quantity you want then the sub may be the best suggestion, but that's not how I interpreted your post either.

I'm not denying that the ps couldn't have an effect. But there is no way it can produce as much of an effect as a sub. Emprically, switching to a linear power supply did nothing for me.

And a _good_ sub will produce not just more bass, but good _clean_ _undistorted_ bass. Frankly, your comment about "oh, do you want more bass, I thought you wanted better bass" was, in addition to being off-point and factually incorrect, really nothing but empty snobbery.

I think a lot of audiophiles are down on subs because they associate them with home theater and crappy one-note bass. This isn't how good subs are. If you've never tried one, I'd bet you would be shocked how good they are. I know I was.

http://www.rel.net/index2.htm

Skunk
2007-01-26, 17:34
Actually , totoro, I could agree with you as well.

I agree with everyone. As Jim mentioned it's source first. He liked the speakers with the old source, but the Sb3 sounds different. Maybe the old source warmed the low end, or the Sb3 deals with bass transients better with a linear supply (as richidoo once theorized).

Whatever the case, a new sub *could* fix it- but OTOH a new DAC may well negate the need for the sub _and_ the power supply. The Sb3 could even mimic the warmed output of the cd player with digital equalization (but then you'd still need the power supply!).

tomjtx
2007-01-26, 18:10
I agree with everyone. As Jim mentioned it's source first. He liked the speakers with the old source, but the Sb3 sounds different. Maybe the old source warmed the low end, or the Sb3 deals with bass transients better with a linear supply (as richidoo once theorized).

Whatever the case, a new sub *could* fix it- but OTOH a new DAC may well negate the need for the sub _and_ the power supply. The Sb3 could even mimic the warmed output of the cd player with digital equalization (but then you'd still need the power supply!).

Skunk, I believe you have reached nirvana! As the Budhist said to the hot dog vendor: "make me one with everything"

Michael Amster
2007-01-26, 19:25
I would have to disagree too. I think that many of the entry level
audiophile products give the high end a run for its money. I think the
ONLY place to spend big money would be speakers. I have played with all
sorts of things in my source chain and they DO make a difference.
However, the big payoffs for me came when I spent serious time and
effort on speaker placement and then on upgrading my speakers. In the
last few years I have gone from Dynaudio Audience 70s (decent) to
Dynaudio Contour 3.0s (very good) to Linkwitz Orions (awesome). The
speakers are just very different and have had the most impact for me.
The next thing for me is looking at my room and possibly doing some room
correction (Inguz) or otherwise. I think that the room is much
important than the sources too. After speaker and room are good, go up
the chain.

-MA

JJZolx wrote:

>It all starts at the source. The lower end that you're now missing can
>never really be returned by the downstream components.
>
>Either get a good DAC or have the SB3 modded, including a good power
>supply. I think the DAC would be the surer bet - certainly easier to
>change again if it doesn't suit your tastes.
>
>
>
>

geraint smith
2007-01-27, 07:02
It's a decent amp. Doesn't seem like the weakest thing in the system to me. If you haven't heard a really good, music-oriented (as opposed to home-theater-oriented) sub, I think you'll probably be pretty amazed when you hear one.

I used to have triangle celius speakers, which don't have much bass. I added a cheapish sub, and it was better. A friend of mine got the rel to use with his, and the results were spectacular.

For years, I had a pair of Rogers LS3/5a (15 ohm variety) which were great, but simply did not have a bass (well, actually, when I measured them, they had a suprising amount, but that's not what it sounded like). I put them on a pair of first class stands, and positioned them properly. Bass improved significantly. Obviously, with 733s, the new stand is not an option. Adding a REL Strata 5: dramatic improvement - huge difference, the sort that leaves you wishing you'd done it years ago. This is all sorts of music, from Bach on a harpsichord to Wagner to Black Sabbath, Queen and Genesis. It can shake the room on the last four, but it's not just noise. It is wonderful, clear, bass which works particularly well with the little BBC monitors because they are so, so accurate in the mid/top rangeThe harpsichord (and human voices, and string quartets, and everything in between) sound much, much more natural. If you're in the room with a quartet, you can easily feel the cello. One can with this combination. One can also hear every nuance down low. One couldn't before.

Measurement (not particularly precise - compensated Radio Shack pressure meter plus tone bursts) showed the combined system was flat down to about 18Hz, well up into the normal LS3/5a's normal range. Previously, it had been flat down to about 50-60Hz, then tailed off.

You could audition both. I'd just buy the sub anyway if I were you. I'd go over budget if I needed to, to do it, if I were you. I'm not, of course, but I don't think you'd regret it, and you could always add a DAC in a year or two. (I'm sure you will anyway, if the bug has bitten!)

Geraint.

toaster75
2007-02-02, 14:28
Thanks for all your advice, much appreciated.
However managed to replace Audiolab with cyrus 7 off ebay. What a difference! So much more low end grunt... and upgrade options. Not sure if the latter is so good but hey iam a happy camper. So much so id rather stay in and listen to my music rather than go out, now thats sad!

Regards
Toby

P Floding
2007-02-02, 14:30
Thanks for all your advice, much appreciated.
However managed to replace Audiolab with cyrus 7 off ebay. What a difference! So much more low end grunt... and upgrade options. Not sure if the latter is so good but hey iam a happy camper. So much so id rather stay in and listen to my music rather than go out, now thats sad!

Regards
Toby

Didn't you know that all amps sound the same?
I hope you ABX:ed it so you didn't waste your money..
(Just kidding.)