Looks like a good amp and nice speakers. You probably just need to add a little "muscle" in that larger sized loft to retain good dynamics at higher volume.
If sound is good but dynamics lacking at higher volume, I would consider adding a pair of good powered subs. That's the easiest way to just throw some more power and air pressure at the problem. Crossing over to subs for low bass will also take load of the monitors and allow them to do better as well at higher volumes.
Do you use any room treatments for the acoustics?
That could possibly be the culprit?
With that said I must admit that I'm not familiar with your current speakers or integrated amp. Can you tell me more about them?
No doubt room acoustics in a loft can be tricky. Might wreck havoc on soundstage and clarity with perceived dynamics more the victim.
DEfinitely always a good idea to assess and get a handle on teh room acoustics before making a major change. That's often the biggest determining factor regarding what will or will not work. Good sound from gear heard elsewhere may not matter much.
The sub idea might still be the effective boost needed. Placement options with separate subs to compensate for room acoustics might be easier than just replacing with all self contained larger speakers. Corssed over correctly, existing amp should be able to perform more optimally as well at higher volumes with low bass offloaded.
Take a look at some of the audiokinesis Planetarium speaker systems that leverage up to 4 separate subs to help compensate for room acoustics. This might be a fantastic approach to consider in your case. I have not heard these but love the innovative approach and thought processes that go into Duke's stuff to wean out performance for reasonable cost.
having this much to upgrade, you can upgrade everything you have except DAC.
Thank you for the response.
Mapman - The dynamics seem to be ok at higher volume but the highs and midrange get a bit lost with no separation of instruments. I have given subs a thought. Just not sure how placement would work and not sure how one goes about connecting them. Any ideas of a sub that would match my system?
Lak - I have also thought about room acoustics and have researched but just have no idea of what I would need. Noted below is some additional information about the speakers and amp and room:
Daber Audio Monitor 3 daberaudio.com
8 inch Magnesium/Aluminum woofer
2 inch Aluminum dome midrange
Satin Nickel binding posts
Hand built crossovers using hand selected parts
150 watt RMS power handing
91 db efficiency
8 ohm nominal impedance
Rear facing port
32 pounds each
22" H X 9" W X 14" D
Portal Panache portalaudio.com
The Panache Integrated Amp by Portal Audio combines a completely transparent passive line stage with a high gain dual mono Class A/AB amplifier on one chassis.
100 w X 2 @ 8 ohms
200 w X 2 @ 4 ohms
One speaker is in a corner, Back wall, side wall, cabinet, the other is open on the left side, back wall, cabinet on the right side.
If bass levels and dynamics are good at higher volume, and all is well at lower volumes, then indeed likely room acoustics, possible treatments, speaker placement are the things to look at. Switching gear alone may accomplish little or nothing until these fundamentals are addressed.
To what extent have you played with what you have to get things optimized? Definitely do that first. Nothing wrong with what you have I could determine as described to prevent that.
Is there echo in the room when you speak? That's a good test to determince how lively room might be and how sound echoes within. A lively loft with lots of echo might be a difficult beast to tame fully unfortunately, but I'd be willing to bet playing around with things a bit might help significantly.
I read your speakers are rear ported.
First thing I would try is move both speakers 2-3 feet out away from walls minimum, more if possible and play around with different locations and see what that does, especially if rear ported. Bass may be affected negatively or not, but other current reported problem areas like detail and imaging/soundstage should improve. Adding subs if needed at that point might help.
Use a good mono recording and make sure speakers are close enough to produce a solid center image from your prime listening position or preferred sweet spot., not too far apart as to leave sound muddled and spread out with no center focus. Then try some stereo recordings and see what happens then.
You can also try toeing speakers in or out as well along with placement to help tune things. Might require a lot of experimentation to determine what sounds best at your preferred listening position.
I would try a position with speakers well out from nearby walls so that distance sound reflected of any nearby rear or side wall at each primary reflection point travels from speaker to your ears at your primary listening position or preferred sweet spot is at least twice that of sound that reaches you directly from speakers. This will help address timing issues between direct and reflected sound that will muddy the detail if not within certain tolerances.
If within the tolerances, as determined by relative distances direct and reflected sound travels to your ears, 3-D soundstaging and imaging and associated detail will improve. Try that first and tweak accordingly from there to fine tune.
There is a small echo if I raise my voice or clap.
I have moved the speakers around, Best location is about 6 ½ ft apart toed in.
Also moved them out from the wall as far as I could, about 2 ft. Interesting part is the further I moved the speaker in the corner out the bass became muddy/boomy.
Thanks for your response. I have the opportunity to upgrade my components, With the room restraints I am researching all the best possibilities to upgrade gear if needed and address room acoustics for optimum performance. I listen to about 80% cdp and computer streaming. The rest with the TT.
"Interesting part is the further I moved the speaker in the corner out the bass became muddy/boomy."
When you listen, is your focus on the speakers, or the sound in the room?
If the first, bass might be perceived as more muddy with speakers away from walls as imaging detaches from physical location of speakers somewhat, but may sound more like live music if your focus is more on how the room sounds with the speakers playing.
Also you could certainly be getting bass resonances in certain locations, but those probably would change somewhat as actual location changes, and not necessarily on relation to distance from wall.
If two much bass, try loosely obstructing the ports for comparision, using a very loosely rolled up low density fabric cloth, or maybe try foam port plugs as an option. loosely rolled up socks will even make a difference and might help.
Experimenting with ICs is another option that can make big differences in bass performance and a lot cheaper than switching main components. With my gear, I use MIT Terminator ICs for more bass when needed, but prefer DNM Reson ICs for good balance top to bottom with coherent midrange. Either can be had for not much, particularly if used.
Some very basic power conditioning like a simple monster power strip to source and maybe pre-amp (not power amp) is another tweak that can often help with cleaner bass.
Myself, I would not change any major gear until I had what I have dialed in first as best as possible. That helps to identify what might work best from there better if further changes are still needed.
Unfortunately, I have not heard your stuff, but on paper, the components seem of good quality and well matched in general for good performance. That's a very good place to be to start prior to experimenting with these kinds of easier and less expensive tweaks to get things really tuned in, which often makes all the difference in the world.
All good advice...I think Mapman will get you closer to better sonics, but I'll add that you need some sound absorbing material or panels (you can make your own).
I think you should better your speakers first then the DAC. I think your amp and preamp is fine.
I highly recommend going with the Vapor Nimbus and with the new B.M.C Dac. I think Ryan over at Vapor Audio might give you some discount off the B.M.C if you buy the speakers.
Great great speakers and very cool guy.
than you only need to allocate 75% to your amp/speaker while the rest can be optional.
Lowrider57 - Thanks for the information. Absorbing material or panels has crossed my mind just not sure where they should be placed.
There is a standard for placement of absorption panels...
2 vertical on front wall behind speakers, then on side walls at reflection points. That's to start with, then you may need bass traps, but with that open loft area, it's anybody's guess.
I can tell you that adding treatments gave my system more focus and better imaging.
Try doing some research in the archives.
Panels will usually help in a lively room. Panels should go at primary reflection points on wall based on speaker location and primary listening position. Distance from speaker to closest primary reflection point on the wall will dictate magnitude of the benefit, add one at a time, speaker closest to primary wall reflection point first for greatest benefit, wall can be side and/or rear. On side wall will generally reduce width of soundstage, rear wall reduce the depth. Particularly useful to reduce early reflections that smear detail if speakers are too close to the wall, usually less than a couple feet. Moving speakers further away from wall has same effect. I would determine the best speaker location first before applying any panels as needed from there because that and primary listening position or positions will determine the best locations to apply.
Just for fun I used some quilts (DONT TELL MY WIFE) in areas that I thought may need a little help with reflection and dampening. I know not the greatest of material but wanted to get an idea of what this may produce in sound. It did make a noticeable improvement however it's weak in the highs, Symbols don't shine, shimmer.
Thicker, more padded, household white items are easy and cheap tests to try just to see/hear if any difference at all before investing in panels. Good idea!
If effect is too much, try thinner quilt or reduce surface area covered as needed. Lots of easy household ways to absorb sound without specialized panels, as long as the wife approves. Relocating cushioned chairs or any soft asound absorbent item into the line of fire direct or reflected as well can also help "shape" the sound.
Re all of above. It is a question of balance. You lose highs if you have too much wall covered. Use a friend and mirrors to determine placement of modest size (2x2 ft) absorbent material at reflection points. What do you have for furniture in the room? Some "absorbent" (not leather)couches and chairs(lazy boys) can do wonders for bass. I would also look carefully at your support system for your equipment-especially the cd player to start. If you don't protect equipment from vibration then the sound will definitely suffer as volume increases. This is one of the big reasons the bigger better speakers have more mass as well as solid construction- to try to eliminate vibration from the drivers. I wouldn't spend a cent on equipment until your room and mechanical isolation are to your satisfaction. It will make a world of difference to what's bothering you- and is a great investment in your long term enjoyment. In this hobby you will be happier if you can appreciate getting good sound from a room is a necessary & educational process- that will also allow you to enhance your listening ear and get more enjoyment from the music. Hopefully helpful:)
MORE POWER...seperate's - go with a pre+amp comb of the same make. Sound will open up for sure :-)
ok, just a thought, The opening behind my listing position opens up to the rest of the house(I am in the upstairs loft)The back wall is about 3' high the opening is about 4' high and 15' wide. Would I benefit with some type of sound acoustics behind me?
I have never heard a problem with free space behind the listening position. I agree with Mapman that you should experiment improving the sound of your current system prior to upgrading. You will likely increase the return on upgrade dollars spent.
Materials for building ones own sound panels can be purchased from ATS acoustics.
When you will buy speakers which can give a deep and wide stage you need amps which can give you a deep and wide stage. So first you need to know all the different properties of all the brands and products you are interested in. In the world of highend audio 3-dimensional sound is the most thrilling part to the absolute sound. For me it is difficult to understand why you would choose for a 2-dimensional sound? These days I only sell 3-dimensional sound. Many amps like sources of Marantz will make the image less wide and deep when you use amps and speakers which can give a wide and deep image. You cannot connect any brand to a set to keep the 3-dimensional image. It Always depends of the properties of the source you bring in. Listen also to the Platinum speakers of Monitor Audio with an amp like Pass Labs. Monitor Audio can play at extreme high volumes with a 3-diensional image to die for. They use very good crossovers for a deep and wide stage. They also have one of the best responses in timing of the units they use compared to competitors. Inside they use pure silver cable, most other brands use simple and cheaper copper wiring inside. There high. freq ribbon tweeter goes even above 100.000 hz and also makes the image even bigger. There crossovers give a lot of depth and wide. But in many recordings it also can let you hear instruments in front of the speakers. The huge image is one of the most addictive images I ever heard in my life so far! Don't buy a cd player anymore. Go for a streamer.
I have been experimenting with room treatments and have notices some improvement however not as much as I would have liked. I am seriously considering subs. Does anyone have some input? thanks.
I have sold many Rel subwoofers in the past. To be honnest I never found them or other subwoofers good enough for stereo use. I thought many times about full stealth inegration with the speakers. I never thought that this would be possible. At the end Audyssey Pro ( used my way) and the PLW-15 from Monitor Audio gave the sound I dreamed of. Sometimes even dreams can come true!
Sorry for bumping an old thread, but if you still have them, how high are the speakers relative to your listening position? Ideally, your ears should be at or slightly above the midrange driver.