miniDSP with separates or Arcam SA30 or NAD C658 plus beefy power amp?


I'm new to this and would like to incrementally start a separates system initially on top of my Yamaha A2080 AVR with combined music movies system.

My goal is to enter hi-fi territory for 2 channel music and get Dirac into my system.

miniDSP opens up lots of component options but is it too much trouble when I can just get something like the C658 or Arcam SA30 when it comes out this fall?

Right now my system is KEF R3 L/R, Dual Rythmik F12SE's, and a Yamaha A2080 AVR.  Running Tidal Hi-Fi and occasionally some hi-res FLAC from a USB stick.

Thx :-)


C5e66e22 1b2b 4f27 9b75 93b379f260c8ataraxia
miniDSP has a lot of great little "swiss army knife" type products to help fix elements in current systems.  However, it's likely going to degrade some sound quality unless you buy a linear power supply for the miniDSP unit.  The switching wal-wart power supplies just aren't good enough.   That being said, it's much better to buy a really good NAD or Arcam that has the room correction included.  That way, you're not sending the audio through another device that will need to do an analog-to-digital conversion, process, and then a digital-to-analog conversion.
Thanks auxinput. Makes sense. 
miniDSP does not have Dolby or DTS decoding. Sadly.
erik_squires,

I'm mainly trying to get a Dirac capable 2.0 or 2.2  channel system going. I have thought about just getting a Dirac AVR like Arcam or NAD but I'm really trying to upgrade my 2 channel electronics for a fairly significant future 2 channel speaker upgrade.

In the mean time it seems it would be nice to have an integrated with HT bypass atop my AVR.  Right now it seems NAD C658 with good power amp or Arcam SA30 with their P429 in bridged mode.  However, I don't believe the C658 has HT bypass.

It seems like the Arcam SA30 with the P429 amp would be a great set of electronics for a next step 6-10K speaker upgrade a few years down the road. 

I'm mainly trying to get a Dirac capable 2.0 or 2.2 channel system going.


Sorry I misunderstood!


Concerning the P429 amp, it is never a good idea to buy a multi-channel amp just to bridge it.  For one thing, it reduces the ability for the amp to handle lower impedances on speakers.  When bridged, you need to make sure your speaker is 8 ohms and does not drop down low.  Many speakers nowadays will drop down to 3 ohm impedance in certain frequency areas even though the speaker is listed as an "8 ohm speaker".  Second, you are compromising the design of the amp and forcing it to execute in a "work around" mode.    You're much better off looking for a higher power stereo amp instead.

I'm hoping you realize the Arcam is an integrated amp, so you don't necessarily need an external power amp for it.

Another thing to be aware - the HT bypass modes will typically bypass ALL PROCESSING in the preamp/integrated, including any Dirac room correction.
I'm running the 658 into a Wyred For Sound St500 MkII. Couldn't be happier. I can recommend the 658 without reservation.
I have a minidsp 4x10 HD in my system.

A minidsp is a great device that is completely quiet and as far as I can tell with no audible degradation. It will give you a much greater array of ways to improve your system's sound than you will ever get from room corection in an integrated device. Having the ability to tweak a midrange band by +2 db or to null out a peak will make a much bigger difference in performance than the pretty well inaudible effects of another A/D D/A step.
@auxinput:

Concerning the P429 amp, it is never a good idea to buy a multi-channel amp just to bridge it... 

Thanks for the insight.  The reason I thought the P249 would be best is because it is also Arcam for pre-power sensitivity matching purposes, and it's the only one I see other than the other multi channel HT amp they have.  The P429 is intended for HT also. I'm not sure why they don't have a current 2-channel oriented amp for critical listening.  Does that mean they don;t think you need more thsn the 90 watts the SA20 has?  Or the 120 watts the SA30 is suppose to have?  I'm not against matching it with another manufacturers power amp.  The reason for more power is in my limited reasearch I've tentatively decided it proabably does help (especially with my KEF R3's which dip to 3.2 ohms at about 70 and 110 hz) to bring ou the best in clarity and transients with a solid amount of current available and the headroom a better amp could provide. 

I'm hoping you realize the Arcam is an integrated amp, so you don't necessarily need an external power amp for it.
I know.  I'm just a little hung up on getting more power and current from my reasoning above.  I'll run it without the external amp initially anyway.  The other reason for the outboard amp is I'm trying to upgrade my electronics for a future speaker upgrade to something in the KEF R1 range.

Another thing to be aware - the HT bypass modes will typically bypass ALL PROCESSING in the preamp/integrated, including any Dirac room correction.
Understood.  Although I'd like Dirac in my HT, I'm mainly wanting to implement it into my 2 channel listening system.  Actually, I'm kicking around the idea of just getting an Arcam AVR (or NAD AVR) with Dirac to keep everything simple but *most* of what I read opines a good integrated will perform better than a top line AVR for 2 channel listening.  In an ideal situation I'd separate my 2 channel and HT systems.    
@donst100

I'm running the 658 into a Wyred For Sound St500 MkII. Couldn't be happier. I can recommend the 658 without reservation.

Thanks!  I've been reading the C658 owners thread and people are just getting Dirac running after the recent release of it and they are liking the results. I'm still leaning Arcam but... Not completely sure yet.  I like the idea of the flexibility of choosing a big outboard amp to the C658.  :)
@phomchick

I have a minidsp 4x10 HD in my system.A minidsp is a great device that is completely quiet and as far as I can tell with no audible degradation. It will give you a much greater array of ways to improve your system's sound than you will ever get from room corection in an integrated device. Having the ability to tweak a midrange band by +2 db or to null out a peak will make a much bigger difference in performance than the pretty well inaudible effects of another A/D D/A step
.
Thanks.  The miniDSP option is still on my radar.  I actually just got a UMIK-1 and am starting to learn REW for preparation to understand how to implement Dirac when I do get it...
I would recommend a miniDSP SHD Studio which operators entirely in the digital domain and has an excellent selection of inputs and outputs for high-fidelity digital signal transmission.

Then you can take advantage of Dirac or other DSP and routing features while matching it with whatever other gear you want.

We carry miniDSP specifically for the SHD and SHD Studio products to support more complicated setups with Dirac. Learning REW is unnecessary for Dirac, but is still a good skill to have and can be helpful for things like subwoofer integration which 2-channel Dirac can't entirely address on its own.
I would recommend a miniDSP SHD Studio which operators entirely in the digital domain and has an excellent selection of inputs and outputs for high-fidelity digital signal transmission.

Then you can take advantage of Dirac or other DSP and routing features while matching it with whatever other gear you want.

We carry miniDSP specifically for the SHD and SHD Studio products to support more complicated setups with Dirac. Learning REW is unnecessary for Dirac, but is still a good skill to have and can be helpful for things like subwoofer integration which 2-channel Dirac can’t entirely address on its own.
@nekoaudio

Thanks. I keep going back and forth with this. I was looking at the miniDSP SHD and Studio. At the moment I feel like just using an integrated with Dirac. But... :)
@ataraxia if you have any questions about how you might be able to integrate an SHD unit into your system, feel free to reach out. I've set them up for simple 2-channel Dirac all the way to more complex bass management and channel routing.
@auxinput

miniDSP has a lot of great little "swiss army knife" type products to help fix elements in current systems. However, it’s likely going to degrade some sound quality unless you buy a linear power supply for the miniDSP unit. The switching wal-wart power supplies just aren’t good enough. That being said, it’s much better to buy a really good NAD or Arcam that has the room correction included. That way, you’re not sending the audio through another device that will need to do an analog-to-digital conversion, process, and then a digital-to-analog conversion.

If I went the miniDSP SHD plus linear power supply route would this one be a good choice? A power conditioner is another component on my upgrade list. Even If I end up with an integrated amp or separates.

https://www.audioquest.com/ac-power/ac-power-conditioners/niagara-series/niagara-1200

Any other good ones that are lower cost?
@nekoaudio

@ataraxia if you have any questions about how you might be able to integrate an SHD unit into your system, feel free to reach out. I've set them up for simple 2-channel Dirac all the way to more complex bass management and channel routing.

Thanks. Still in research mode. I’m considering the SHD plus a Yamaha integrated like the A-S2100 because I like the Yamaha sound signature and am afraid I might not like something else as much. I would also really like to keep my box count low so still leaning towards an integrated with Dirac. However this could change. I am curious about Arcam, Hegel, and others.