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  1. #21
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    Is your friend actually dissatisfied with the sound he's getting? Or is this another case of upgraditis - wondering if improvements can be made?

    If he genuinely wants better sound:
    1. Stop talking to HiFi dealers, especially high-end ones who sell boutique gear.
    2. In terms of raw sound quality, pretty much all competently designed solid state electronics these days has capabilities that exceed the limits of human hearing. Streamers, DACs, amplifiers, they are all pretty much commodity items. (NB. I'm not including operational functionality here; obviously different systems behave in their own ways. And of course some devices just look & feel nice, which is a perfectly acceptable reason to prefer one over another).
    3. The B&W CM9's are good speakers, for sure, but they are hardly state of the art. Genuine improvements will come from getting better speakers. It might cost a lot of money, but you have to face reality. Changing electronics is cheaper, but achieves virtually nothing.

    FWIW, I was cured of HiFi upgraditis once I bought a pair of speakers that did everything I could ask of them and my system started playing music instead of audio.
    Until recently: Transporter -> ATC SCM100A, now sold :-(
    House move forced change to: piCorePlayer(RPi2/HiFiBerry DIGI2 Pro) -> Meridian 218 -> Meridian M6

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveb View Post
    Is your friend actually dissatisfied with the sound he's getting? Or is this another case of upgraditis - wondering if improvements can be made?

    If he genuinely wants better sound:
    1. Stop talking to HiFi dealers, especially high-end ones who sell boutique gear.
    2. In terms of raw sound quality, pretty much all competently designed solid state electronics these days has capabilities that exceed the limits of human hearing. Streamers, DACs, amplifiers, they are all pretty much commodity items. (NB. I'm not including operational functionality here; obviously different systems behave in their own ways. And of course some devices just look & feel nice, which is a perfectly acceptable reason to prefer one over another).
    3. The B&W CM9's are good speakers, for sure, but they are hardly state of the art. Genuine improvements will come from getting better speakers. It might cost a lot of money, but you have to face reality. Changing electronics is cheaper, but achieves virtually nothing.

    FWIW, I was cured of HiFi upgraditis once I bought a pair of speakers that did everything I could ask of them and my system started playing music instead of audio.
    Are you mad? Quite clearly he needs to replace his cables!

    Seriously
    RPi USB out to a well made DAC works perfectly. I have my latest RPi4 pCP build using USB out to a Khalas Tone Board (both in WAF cases) and it sounds very nice.
    Jim
    https://jukeradio.double6.net


    VB2.4 storage QNAP TS419p (NFS)
    Living Room Joggler & Pi4/Khadas -> Onkyo TXNR686 -> Celestion F20s
    Office Joggler & Pi3 -> Denon RCD N8 -> Celestion F10s
    Dining Room SB Radio
    Bedroom (Bedside) Pi Zero+DAC ->ToppingTP21 ->AKG Headphones
    Bedroom (TV) & Bathroom SB Touch ->Denon AVR ->Mordaunt Short M10s + Kef ceiling speakers
    Guest Room Joggler > Topping Amp -> Wharfedale Modus Cubes

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveb View Post
    FWIW, I was cured of HiFi upgraditis once I bought a pair of speakers that did everything I could ask of them and my system started playing music instead of audio.
    Amen.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveb View Post
    FWIW, I was cured of HiFi upgraditis once I bought a pair of speakers that did everything I could ask of them and my system started playing music instead of audio.
    No one is cured of it.

    If you're happy with your system, don't listen to something better.

    You obviously haven't heard anything better yet. When you do, you'll commence your journey on the slippery slope once more.


    Genuine improvements will come from getting better speakers. It might cost a lot of money, but you have to face reality. Changing electronics is cheaper, but achieves virtually nothing.
    And better again - will be spending some effort on the room. Treatment and placement as two key areas that affect performance more than anything else. (but of course that takes time, effort, research and knowledge - it is by no means as easy as handing someone some of your $$$ and walking off with a grin).

    1. Stop talking to HiFi dealers, especially high-end ones who sell boutique gear.
    Hi-fi shops can (that's can, not "do") give invaluable advice. And boutique gear can be absolutely fantastic! BUT: You've got to have enough knowledge to separate the BS. When we're talking about computers, a Pi board serves exactly the same purpose as a Pi board in a 20kg polished billet box with a 6kg toroidal power supply and silver wiring.

    If you do your banking on a Pi versus a supercomputer with silver wiring and audiophile USB cables, I assure your balance will be the same at the end of it. No different for audio data.
    Last edited by amey01; 2020-12-03 at 18:30.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by amey01 View Post
    And better again - will be spending some effort on the room. Treatment and placement as two key areas that affect performance more than anything else. (but of course that takes time, effort, research and knowledge - it is by no means as easy as handing someone some of your $$$ and walking off with a grin).
    Agreed - room treatments can yield good results.

    Quote Originally Posted by amey01 View Post
    Hi-fi shops can (that's can, not "do") give invaluable advice. And boutique gear can be absolutely fantastic!
    I'm having a hard time thinking of any boutique gear that performs well and is value for money. Any suggestions?
    Until recently: Transporter -> ATC SCM100A, now sold :-(
    House move forced change to: piCorePlayer(RPi2/HiFiBerry DIGI2 Pro) -> Meridian 218 -> Meridian M6

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveb View Post


    I'm having a hard time thinking of any boutique gear that performs well and is value for money. Any suggestions?
    Where do I start?
    It does depend on how small or high end you call “boutique” though.
    To save an argument on “competently designed electronics” (your previous post), I’ll concentrate on speakers - is that okay?

    I’ve heard all these and they sound mind-snappingly good.

    1. Sanders Sound (Innersound) 10c electrostatics
    2. Lansche Audio Corona
    3. Avantgarde Trio G1
    4. Apogee Scintilla refurbished by Graz
    5. Quad ESL 57s in original condition (maybe not boutique back in the day, but certainly are now)
    Last edited by amey01; 2020-12-04 at 17:09.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by amey01 View Post
    Where do I start?
    It does depend on how small or high end you call “boutique” though.
    To save an argument on “competently designed electronics” (your previous post), I’ll concentrate on speakers - is that okay?
    I’ve heard all these and they sound mind-snappingly good.

    1. Sanders Sound (Innersound) 10c electrostatics
    2. Lansche Audio Corona
    3. Avantgarde Trio G1
    4. Apogee Scintilla refurbished by Graz
    5. Quad ESL 57s in original condition (maybe not boutique back in the day, but certainly are now)
    When I mentioned "boutique" gear I was primarily thinking of electronics. There are some weird and wonderful DACs and amplifiers out there that cost a fortune and perform no better than mainstream stuff at 1/10th the price.

    Speakers are a very personal thing. They all have their own character and will dominate the sound of a system. That's why I said in my original post that the only way to get any meaningful improvement is to change the speakers, and that it might cost a lot of money. (Then you pointed out that room treatment is another avenue to explore, and of course you are correct).

    The point I was trying to make is that changing electronics these days isn't going to achieve anything of significance.

    (As for the speakers you mention, I've only heard the Apogee and ESL57. Both sounded great in their own way).
    Until recently: Transporter -> ATC SCM100A, now sold :-(
    House move forced change to: piCorePlayer(RPi2/HiFiBerry DIGI2 Pro) -> Meridian 218 -> Meridian M6

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveb View Post
    When I mentioned "boutique" gear I was primarily thinking of electronics. There are some weird and wonderful DACs and amplifiers out there that cost a fortune and perform no better than mainstream stuff at 1/10th the price.
    Maybe - but by the sound of your previous post:

    Quote Originally Posted by cliveb
    pretty much all competently designed solid state electronics these days has capabilities
    You've already made your mind up.

    I tend to disagree. Sure, changing amplifiers will not yield the same "in-your-face" difference a speaker might, but I challenge anyone to find a "cheap-amplified" system that sounds anywhere near what a competently designed systems sounds like (speakers being the same).

    If you have a pair of B&W 802D up front, and are driving them with a little Schiit integrated and DAC, you're not going to have the same sounding system as someone who has them with a Ypsilon SET100 or Technical Brain TBP-Zero. (there's a couple of boutique amplifiers which sound wonderful).

    I've only heard the Apogee and ESL57. Both sounded great in their own way).
    The Quads are cool - they are about the best speakers I've heard (in one or two ways); and lacking in many others. But a very interesting "second-system" speaker.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by amey01 View Post
    If you have a pair of B&W 802D up front, and are driving them with a little Schiit integrated and DAC, you're not going to have the same sounding system as someone who has them with a Ypsilon SET100 or Technical Brain TBP-Zero. (there's a couple of boutique amplifiers which sound wonderful).
    This is a wind-up, right?
    You can't possibly think anyone will take you seriously when you start wittering on about $200k tube amps.
    Maybe you are just having a laugh and your sense of humour isn't coming across. If not, I won't engage with you again.
    Until recently: Transporter -> ATC SCM100A, now sold :-(
    House move forced change to: piCorePlayer(RPi2/HiFiBerry DIGI2 Pro) -> Meridian 218 -> Meridian M6

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveb View Post
    This is a wind-up, right?
    You can't possibly think anyone will take you seriously when you start wittering on about $200k tube amps.
    Maybe you are just having a laugh and your sense of humour isn't coming across. If not, I won't engage with you again.
    I am not having a wind-up. But you can disagree - that's okay. We are very lucky we are spoilt for choice - and differences of opinion are exactly why we have such a vast selection of equipment to choose from. That's a good thing. Far more people have a mobile phone than high-end audio systems, yet in the former case the world can only support two operating systems. We are very lucky to have the choice.

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