Hi all, I'm relatively new to the serious audiophile world for speakers. I've been into audio since I was a kid (getting nice car stereos and headphones etc), but I just recently got my first house so decided to try getting a nice 2.1 system for my living room. I've been blown away by how much more I can enjoy the music as opposed to headphones (even with very nice headphones like my Audezee LCD-3's and Woo amp). But now I have fallen into the trap that many have. I am constantly wondering what I can tweek or change out to make the sound even *better*. So I'd like to solicit thoughts from the community on two questions:
1. How do you deal with the temptation to wonder how much better things could get?
2. Help feed my addiction ;) What should I *fix* next. (Gear list below)
Source: TIDAL -> Roon Roon Core: Gaming PC in another room Roon Endpoint: Surface Book Laptop (tuned to make sure the fan stays off) Surface is connected via Transparent USB Performance cable to Anthem STR Integrated (my newest toy) Anthem STR is running ARC I use Transparent Wave Speaker Cable to connect from the STR to my B&W 704 S2's I use the Tuneful Audio Cables for jumping between the two posts on the P&W's instead of the brackets they provide. For power I use a APC H10 and connect everything to it.
Trying to find a pair of speakers you like is like trying to find a long-term girlfriend. She needs to make you feel good and not be too fussy. I'm also not rich and can't afford to sample the different flavors of speakers out there. I research all I can and try to pick one that I will like. Again kind of like those foreign dating sites that show you a lot of options but you don't have the luxury of flying back and forth and date several to find the perfect one. Again its like going to a brick and mortar establishment. You get to hear a variety of speakers but you have to decide on one. And just like online dating they will sound much different (better or worse)when you get them home and meet them in person. Ok and if things aren't working out, you don't want a costly divorce. Again you and your speaker go to therapy here at Audiogon. You research and ask members how you can get along with your speakers. Placement, room treatment, cables, listening position and you try to work things out. If it just won't workout then you have to find another. Again for most audiophiles a very expensive venture. I like my speakers now. I didn't at first but did some things mentioned above and I'm happy now. Is it a perfect match? No. I know there is trade offs with speakers. You might get one thats lively and dynamic as heck but 1 hour you are tired of listening. I didn't mean this response as funny or disrespectful. Just an analogy that has been going around in my head for a couple of years.
@blueranger thanks for the analogy! Pretty insightful. I completly agree on the process of finding the right system. If only there was a magical store you could go to and try all the different gear and hear exactly how it would sound in your room!
Thanks. Your welcome. I might bring a used speaker into the flock one day. One that doesn't cost too much just for a different presentation to change tbings up. Rotate in and out now and then. But nothing too expensive.
You asked: "1. How do you deal with the temptation to wonder how much better things could get?
2. Help feed my addiction ;) What should I *fix* next. (Gear list below)"
Question 1: Ah, the "slippery slope." I’ve been on it seriously since 1971, off and on and in a dedicated manner since 1997. One thing I have learned along the way is that you do not have to spend a ton to get satisfying results. But the key is to find the speakers you really like for the long haul and augment your system around them. If you are happy with your B&Ws then perhaps try room treatment as suggested above. The room is one half of the sound in my opinion.
Question 2: I don’t see anything amiss. Do you listen to CDs at all? Are you curious about vinyl? What do you wish you had more of, less of?
@erik_squires Do you think the “natural” room fixes will improve the sound over the ARC? I’m just worried that I’m going to get the Gik stuff, re-run ARC and it sound the same just with less correction.
@stevecham Honestly i can’t be bothered to walk across the room and change a CD/Record. I also can’t stand to finish a song. I bounce from song to song so streaming is for me! Mellinieal through and through!
The best way to stop having to wonder how much better things can get is to actually go out and listen to various live music performances in various venues and various systems that attempt to nail it. Even if the cost is out of reach, then you still know where the bullseye is and there are many ways to do very well targeting it for lower cost. Knowledge, focus, and experience is your friend. Try to go to an audio show if ever one you might attend near where you live. Capital Audiofest was this past weekend in DC and no better place to hear many good sounding setups all in one place and learn what makes each one tick
Nothing wrong with any of your stuff on paper.
What is "broken" with the sound of your system that you want to "fix"? How bad? How much of teh problem is the room itself? Best to understand your room acoustics before making any major costly changes. Might inexpensive (example adding a rug on floor in front of speakers) or even free tweaks like playing with speaker placement help? I would work to feel comfortable that you have done what you can to optimize what you have before changing a thing if not already the case.
@mapman I will have to see if I can find a show here in Seattle. If not maybe I'll make a trip to RMAS one year. Do you have suggestions on where to go for good sounding concerts that aren't classical music? Most concerts I've been to sound like garbage.
As far as what is wrong... Well it's hard to say since it is so hard to say since I don't have a good reference point (hence my desire to try and hear the best). One major issue I have is I can't get my speakers to an ideal equilateral triangle. The layout of the room is such that the speakers are only about 6' apart yet I sit 15' away. Perhaps I should move it all to a different dedicated listening room to get the speakers set right but then I'd need another audio setup in the room my speakers are currently in because my speakers play double duty between music and TV/Movies.
As an extra side note I tried playing with toe-in, and pushing the speakers around in the few feet area they have but didn't see any dramatic changes to the plot from ARC quick measure (only 1-2 db)
Do you think the designers at GIK can learn enough about what is needed just from pictures/sketches with measurements? Or Do you think (as I have seen suggested before) that they are simply throwing darts at a board hoping to hit something? Should I have someone come out to take measurements and make recommendations (I'm assuming such a service even exists)
OP: Go visit their web site. Their help is pretty comprehensive and experienced. I believe they even have a free 3D room designer/simulator now.
Your alternative is of course to hire a professional acoustician and if you can afford it, I highly recommend you do so. If you think about the scale we are on, from "I read crap on the internet" to "Professional acoustician" the service GIK provides online is a lot closer to the latter than the former.
Another thing to consider is Audio Shops in your area go listen to other systems, also inquire about audio clubs. for example I'm just north of you across the boarder and we have a group that regularly meets ( we meet every Sunday) to chat about music and equipment that's a great way to meet like minded audio nuts and discover new music.
After the LCD-3s and B&W 704's I suspect not a lot better. Your next improvement will probably be your last. After that it becomes purely a matter of taste. There is no clear best loudspeaker in the world, and apparently they all suffer gross amounts of distortion in comparison to rest of the audio chain.
So I'd also suggest getting out there and trying to listen to as many designs as possible. Try sealed boxes, ported boxes, open baffles, planars, transmission lines/horns etc just to get an idea of what each design can and can't do.
I've listened to say the 702 s2's and the difference was there but nothing to go crazy over. Especially when I use a sub to supplement the 704 s2's low end. If you were recommending something what would you recommend?
mattlathrop You are already off to an excellent start. The STR is a very fine and powerful integrated amp. Transparent cabling is very fine as well. The last ingredient- loudspeakers. If you enjoy the B&W sound, look no further than the 805 model (D, N or S generation). Once you have your speakers secure, you can go up the Transparent Audio chain of cabling (believe me you will want to do this in the future). If you do not like the B&W speakers, then, go out to the dealers/retailers and listen, listen, listen to the competition. Have fun as this is a great hobby and addiction. Happy Listening!
There are a bunch ways to enhance your system upgrade the Xover parts in your speaker almost allways parts are maybe average at best . Putting in quality name brand capacitors , inductors and resistors , and wiring , ifyou can’t maybe a friend, same goes for electronics I had a $5000mcintosh amp , and Ayon integrated amp both weredramatically improved with better resistors and capacitors. For inexpensive tweaks Ifi Audio has AC purifiers just pluginto wall sockets and on power strip 2-3 and a noticable improvement , fordigital their. USB -3 purifier regenerates the signal as well asremoves a lot of noise and theseareonky $100-$130, with 39 dayor so money back guarantee, just verify . From store. Orgy direct through Amazon .