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  1. #1

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    Default Let's Play "The Weakest Link"

    No I don't mean the BBC show with the witchy woman, which actually was a cool social experiment about discrimination (age, gender, race) and game theory (when three players remained the strongest player always seemed to get voted off because the last player remaining won the money).

    I mean 2 CH. setups. I am going to put mine together in the next week or so and will be looking for advice to improve my sound. The weakest link in the audio system seems to reduce the sound quality of every other component so posting everything from source, interconnect, receiver/preamp, interconnect, amplifier, speaker wire, speaker and subwoofer. List anything in the audio chain and hopefully some of the more experienced members here can help you/me get better sound, often times it doesn't have to break the bank (changing speaker position in the room can make a big difference in sound quality).

    I mean this to be geared more toward beginner/intermediate and don't want to start arguments about cables etc. Just want to help people identify the limiting factor that might help them out.
    HT Setup: Onkyo 706; Lsi9's; Csi A6; Fxi3's eD A2-300

    2 CH: Squeezebox Touch; Dared SL-2000a; Lsi9's; Carver M1.5T; Velodyne DLS-3750R; Music Hall DAC 25.2

  2. #2

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    My weakest link at the moment is lack of room treatments. I just moved into a hew house and over the Summer I'll be getting things dialed in via room treatments.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  3. #3

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    I suspect that if I upped my game on my source (CEC/Benchmark), to the level that the DAC could depart my system, benefits could be reaped; but such a source would likely be in the $3500 and up price bracket---more than I'm willing to pay. I also think I could benefit from a better amp--but again I'd need to be in the $2500 and up bracket; and even then, gains will be subtle.

    At this point, I'm just enjoying the hell out of my system, and have no real motivation to change anything.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
    DAC/Preamp: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75

  4. #4

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    Im considering a new preamp.Got it down between a Dared Mc-7p Tube preamp w phono or the Sl-2000a Pure Tube preamp, us limited ed, 2011 model.Thats if I decide to try tubes.
    However Im also interested in the WFS preamp too.

    This would replace my monarchy M-10 pre.
    SDA-2BTL with custom IC
    Adcom 565 monoblocks--Monarchy Audio M-10 preamp
    Theta Data Basic Transport--Camelot Arthur DAC--Camelot Dragon Pro2 MK III
    Harman Kardon T-55c TT
    DH Labs Q-10 Signature Speaker Cables With Furez silver plated copper bananas
    Prophecy Cryo-Silver Reference AES/EBU
    Prophecy Cryo-Silver i2s digital cable
    4 Furutech FP-314Ag with FI-11cu Plugs/FI-11AG IECs--- Power Cords
    DH LABS REVELATIONS ICs-amps
    Revelation Audio Labs Paradise cryo-silver ICs-Source to pre

  5. #5

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    With every rig I have heard, the room has always been the weakest link. It plays a larger role than one may think.
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by treitz3 View Post
    With every rig I have heard, the room has always been the weakest link. It plays a larger role than one may think.
    Ditto x100~
    TNRabbit
    NO Polk Audio Equipment
    Sunfire TG-IV
    Ashly 1001 Active Crossover
    Rane PEQ-15 Parametric Equalizers x 2
    Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature Seven
    Carver AL-III Speakers
    Klipsch RT-12d Subwoofer

  7. #7

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    It doesn't matter, no matter how good your gear is, there will always be a piece you perceive to be the weekest link.
    Trick is, getting the most out of what you have to work with.

  8. #8

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    .....and no matter what it is you have, there is always something "better". To whom? Eh, to someone else.
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction.

  9. #9

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    I have to agree about room treatments being the weakest link in any rig. Funny though,my brother and sister-in-law were over the other day and wanted to listen to my setup and my brother commented that he thought my room acoustics were great. I told him it was the sda effect.
    "They're always talking about my drinking, but never mention my thirst" Oscar Wilde


    Pre-Amp: Anthem AVM 20
    Amp: Carver TFM-35
    Amp: Rotel RB-870BX
    Fronts : SDA 1B w/ RDO-194s
    T.V.:Plasma TC-P54G25
    Bluray: Oppo BDP-93
    Speaker Cables: MIT Terminater
    Interconnect Cables:DH Labs Silver Sonic BL-1isonic

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by treitz3 View Post
    With every rig I have heard, the room has always been the weakest link. It plays a larger role than one may think.
    It's always the weakest link. I have been setting up 2 ch systems for over a decade and every single time it's the room. People want nice higher end system but decide to put them in the worst rooms possible.
    So my strongest advice is to have a good room. If you have a poor room , don't waste your money on higher end gear , cables , etc as you will not benefit from it.
    Next is proper placement. Manufactures have optimal positions in most of their manuals. Follow these instructions to the letter and find your system sound better you will.
    As far as the actual system goes , balance is always key.
    1) Start off with a pair of speakers you fall in love with.
    2) Now find an amp that matches them well, has enough power to drive to correctly and full
    3) Get a matching preamp. I have found matching works best.
    4) Your sources should be of the same caliber as the amp and pre. Most of the time you can get a matching CD player like Cambridge, Bryston , Krell , Mark Levinson , etc does.
    5) Cables. This is always a tuff question and usually an argument but there is no question having proper cables for the given system is just as important as anything else. If you decide to cheap out here , you may be hindering your system to perform to it's fullest potential.
    6) Power , a good surge line conditioner is a great way to protect your system while suppling it with good quality power. Make sure the conditioner you select and supply your amp with full power. 15 or 20 amp protectors will work best like Panamax , APC and Richard Grey. Read reviews and learn as much as you can as some of them are not that good like Monster cables models. I have seen so many of them fail.
    7) The layout of your gear in a rack. Magnetic fields are generated by some gear and power cables. I have not heard to much difference here but some Audiophiles I have met over the years swear by this. Using Granite , ISO products to keep everything motion free. Enter at your own risk but learn everything you can about this topic. It's interesting to say the least.

    So there is a pretty good list of things to follow when building a 2 channel system. Music is a passion and good money is spent to listen to it. Spend wisely and you will benefit. Keep an open mind and ear. Find as many HI FI shops to visit as you can and really learn from the pro's. Take everything with a grain of salt and see how many times the same opinion or stated fact is true. There is many bad products out there that don't perform as well as they should. Then you find some Gems.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  11. #11

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    Unfortunately for me my two weakest links are mounted on the sides of my head. No Joke

  12. #12

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    The most important componet is your listening room. It will ALWAYS make or break the performance & the musical impact of your system.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "
    Panny 65" 3D Plasma
    Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3010 AVR
    D>SONIC M2-600M mono's / mains
    Rotel RMB-1095 / 5 channel amp
    Rotel RMB-1075 / 5 channel amp
    TEAC UD - 501 DAC
    Oppo BDP-93
    SONOS System
    KEF Q900 / mains
    KEF Q600 / center
    KEF Q800 / surrounds
    KEF Q100 / rear surr.
    Def Tech ProMonitor 1000 / front & rear presence
    Velodyne SPL-1200R subs / dual pair
    DSPeaker Anti-Mode 8033 sub EQ
    Equitech Balanced Power Son of Q 1.5R
    Extensive room treatments

  13. #13

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    My room has to be the weakest link.
    Amps- Nakamichi PA 7 & PA 5.
    P Amp- Classie Audio. Nakamichi CA 5
    Tape- Tandberg 3014A.
    Tape- Nakamichi 600.
    CD Calif Audio Tercet 3.
    CD-Rotel 1078.
    Spkrs- Polk Audio RTI 150 Towers.
    Spkrs- ADS L1290 Towers.
    Spkrs- Yamaha- NS 670,NS 500m,NS 200m, NS 200ma
    NS 200ma hybrids.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by treitz3 View Post
    With every rig I have heard, the room has always been the weakest link. It plays a larger role than one may think.
    Mine too. I have way too much in my listening environment right now. Now having too many speakers in said space, does help to dampen the reflections ALOT.

    I'm still working on this weak link when I'm not working on my long mental priority list.
    Most people just listen to music and watch movies . I am glad to be a part of a select group that tries to take our auditory and visual senses to a higher level: we EXPERIENCE them.... GOT SDA?...GOT SUNFIRE? ...GOT Maggies?

  15. #15

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    Source material. I'm always looking for more quality source be it vinyl, cd, tape, whatever the format.
    Some of my favorite music is on lousy source and I'm always trying to find better recordings.

  16. #16

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    Horrible listening room here as well.

    My parents have a nice big house with high ceilings and great acoustics. I've always thought of loading up all of my gear just to hear it in a nice room for once.

  17. #17

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    Current 2CH setup:

    Source-Computer(WMA Lossless/FLAC)
    DAC- Pop Pulse 1796
    IC- Blue Jeans LC-1
    Preamp- Adcom GTP-450
    IC- Monoprice Stereo IC's
    Amp- Carver 1.5T
    Speaker Cable- Belden Pure AV with Bananas
    Speakers- Lsi9's
    Subwoofer- Velodyne DLS3750R (used sometimes)

    I am very happy with this setup right now. I have tried it in two different rooms, the point that the weakest link is always the room was true in my case, I got better sound in a small bedroom than a living room where they normally reside(used for Fronts in HT also). After playing around with positioning a little I was able to improve the 2 channel sound in the living room. Maybe someday I can setup a dedicated 2 channel system.

    To improve this system for now I will get another pair of Blue Jeans IC's for the connection from preamp to power amp. The construction of the Blue Jeans cables is very good and I don't want to get too involved with high end IC's.

    The question is, what is the next move to make that would take me to a higher level? I feel like I have established a solid system at this point so any move I make would have to be drastic to really sound better.

    Any advice is appreciated, I will continue to play around with speaker positioning and room treatments.
    Last edited by cdn5003; 09-28-2011 at 06:04 PM.
    HT Setup: Onkyo 706; Lsi9's; Csi A6; Fxi3's eD A2-300

    2 CH: Squeezebox Touch; Dared SL-2000a; Lsi9's; Carver M1.5T; Velodyne DLS-3750R; Music Hall DAC 25.2

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdn5003 View Post
    ...so any move I make would have to be drastic to really sound better.
    I'm not sure I really understand this. Trust me, a lot of small changes can add up.

    How is your computer connected to your DAC? USB? What media player are you using? Are you running whatever media player you're using in ASIO, WASAPI, or another bit-perfect playback mode? Where are your FLAC's coming from? Do you rip them yourself? Do you use EAC in accurate mode, or another bit perfect ripping software?

    I'd say that if you like the sound of your speakers, then the speakers and your amp are your strongest links. This leaves your source, DAC, and preamp.

    Source: If you're set on using your computer as a source, then make sure you're getting the files out as well as possible with some of the above-noted techniques.

    DAC: There are better DAC's out there, as well as better USB devices. One option is to use a separate USB to SPDIF converter so that you can use any number of non-USB capable DAC's.

    Preamp: Adcom was never really known for their preamps, with the exception if the GFP-750. Lots of choices out there. Are you interested in tubes?


    Bottom line: there is always something you can upgrade... always. If you love the way it sounds, then great! If there is a specific sonic deficiency that you want to improve, then seek it out, but be as specific as possible.
    Last edited by falconcry72; 09-28-2011 at 06:33 PM.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  19. #19

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    I guess what I mean by a drastic change is component change. Anything else being more of just an adjustment. A significant improvement out of a Pre or DAC might be my best option if it can be done without spending excessively.

    I ripped all of my CD's into Windows Media Lossless format and play them from windows media player or winamp. I might be able to make an adjustment here that could help out.

    As far as a DAC, I wish I could demo some other units. My Pop Pulse is clearly better than any other DAC I have used. Anyone want to let me borrow their Cambridge DAC Magic?

    My Preamp seems to be where I should look next. That Adcom GFP-750 looks really nice and has HT Bypass which would be a nice feature. Also the Parasound 2100 is in that ballpark of SS preamps. HT bypass isn't a dealbreaker though.

    The question you asked "Are you interested in Tubes?"

    I think the answer has to be yes considering I haven't heard a Tube system before, another wish I could demo scenario. How about the Dared SL2000A? The guys in the Holy Grail thread seem to be having a lot of fun with that unit. It would certainly shake up my system, maybe for the better. Any thoughts?
    HT Setup: Onkyo 706; Lsi9's; Csi A6; Fxi3's eD A2-300

    2 CH: Squeezebox Touch; Dared SL-2000a; Lsi9's; Carver M1.5T; Velodyne DLS-3750R; Music Hall DAC 25.2

  20. #20

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    I'm soooo bummed, my room is my strongest link and now I have to move . I'm sure my new place will be horrible and I'll have to start all this crap all over again, GRRRRRRRRR!!
    Huh? Wot?? Dig it :tongue:

    Where can I get me some??

  21. #21

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    Properly placed room treatments can make a bad room sound better..
    No Way But The Hard Way, So Get Used To It!!!

  22. #22

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    I could use some help with placing some 2ft.X2ft.X6" bass traps in the back of my listening room. one corner I might be able to put it up (pretty tight fit though). The other corner on the other hand causes the bass trap to hang too low and/or is too tight of a fit because of doors, etc. I will take a picture and show you all what I am talking about (Probably tomorrow though as it's too late tonight ). I could use some advice on how to put it up. I cannot think of a way of doing it without the bass trap being in the way of my head and /or doors, etc. Pictures comming soon .

    Greg
    Taken from a recent Audioholics reply regarding "Club Polk" and Polk speakers:

    "I'm yet to hear a Polk speaker that merits more than a sentence and 60 seconds discussion."

    "Green leaves reveal the heart spoken Khatru"- Jon Anderson

    "Have A Little Faith! And Everything You'll Face, Will Jump From Out Right On Into Place! Yeah! Take A Little Time! And Everything You'll Find, Will Move From Gloom Right On Into Shine!"- Arthur Lee

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdn5003 View Post
    I ripped all of my CD's into Windows Media Lossless format...
    Look into EAC. It's the only way to ensure accurate ripping, even if you used a lossless format before.

    ...and play them from windows media player or winamp.
    No. Bad. Look into the "bitperfect" or "bitransparent" playback modes I mentioned in my original post:

    - ASIO

    - WASAPI

    - Kernal Streaming

    Get your source playback done right before you start looking into new components.

    My Pop Pulse is clearly better than any other DAC I have used.
    You can do better.

    Anyone want to let me borrow their Cambridge DAC Magic?
    You can still do better.

    My Preamp seems to be where I should look next. That Adcom GFP-750 looks really nice and has HT Bypass which would be a nice feature. Also the Parasound 2100 is in that ballpark of SS preamps. HT bypass isn't a dealbreaker though.
    The GFA-750 is a special unit from Adcom. Adcom is not known for their preamps, with the exception of that unit. Parasound is not known for their preamps either, and in that range you could do better.

    What's your estimated preamp budget? We need to know to make recommendations.

    The question you asked "Are you interested in Tubes?"

    I think the answer has to be yes considering I haven't heard a Tube system before, another wish I could demo scenario. How about the Dared SL2000A? The guys in the Holy Grail thread seem to be having a lot of fun with that unit. It would certainly shake up my system, maybe for the better. Any thoughts?
    Try some tubes. People like that Dared unit. I've never heard it. Again, a budget would be useful.


    You keep mentioning that you wish you could demo products:

    Look for good deals on the used market. Buy. Listen. If you don't like, sell at no loss, and move one to the next piece.


    Good luck in your journey.


    Ben
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  24. #24

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    My system is currently suffering a significant weak link;


    Old-time Stereophile
    Denon PMA 2000IVR
    Denon DCD-815
    Music Fidelity V-DAC with Pyramid PS3KX Power Supply
    Music Fidelity V-Link
    Polk LSi9s sitting on VTI VSP Series 24 Stands
    SVS 20-39PC Plus
    Monster Studio Pro Speaker Cables
    Monster USB Cable
    Better Cables ICs

  25. #25

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    Canonshooter, use caution when taking pics of reflective surfaces in your underware

    Wlecome to Club Polk btw
    Huh? Wot?? Dig it :tongue:

    Where can I get me some??

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by gimpod View Post
    Unfortunately for me my two weakest links are mounted on the sides of my head. No Joke
    Im afraid, because of age, medicines i take and injury/abuse over the years, im slowly climbing into same boat.
    humpty dumpty was pushed

  27. #27

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    Even though I don't have a 2 channel rig, upgrades are always good.
    The weaker link in my modest system is my Onkyo 608. Even though it has plenty of power to drive RTI 4's, it sounds muffled to me. I have owned H-K before and liked the sound much better. The H-K I had sounded more open than this receiver. It has good processing and options for playback but I might sell it if I get the chance to get a H-K or Marantz.

    My hearing is the weakest link but I can work with it, I have too.

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOOLFORLIFEFAN View Post
    Properly placed room treatments can make a bad room sound better..
    It looks like most everybody agrees that the room is a make-or-break piece of the system, but does anybody have some information or a link to discussion of how to improve your room acoustics? I mean I for one don't even know where I should start on room treatments and such.

    Somebody please educate me.

    Thanks,
    ~Matt
    -----------------My System------------------
    Front L/R: Definitive BP10Bs
    Surrounds -Polk Audio Monitor 4As
    Preamp: B&K Reference 20
    CD: Jolida JD100a
    L/R Amp: Carver TFM-24
    Turntable: Pioneer PL-516 W/ Shure M97xe
    TV: Sony 52" XBR9

  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paden501 View Post
    It looks like most everybody agrees that the room is a make-or-break piece of the system, but does anybody have some information or a link to discussion of how to improve your room acoustics? I mean I for one don't even know where I should start on room treatments and such.

    Somebody please educate me.

    Thanks,
    There are several long threads about this. I might dig some up and provide links... or I might just drink my beer and continue listening to some new music. hmm. I think you're on your own this time.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  30. #30

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    Here's some pics of what I got goin' on...

    Brands to research would be GIK, ATS, Realtraps etc...

    Mine are ATS 2' x 4' x 4". I have 12 of them, and they made a big difference, but picking the right room will make more of a difference than treating the wrong room will.
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    Last edited by falconcry72; 10-01-2011 at 10:30 PM.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

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