New to Hi-Fi, would really love some advice and guidance

Mercurei

Novice Member
Hi all,

I'd like to open by saying to anyone reading this, I sincerely appreciate your time. I am new to Hi-Fi and new to these forums, and after spending a couple of hours reading posts I can see there is an incredible amount of knowledgeable and kind people on here.

The background

My wife and I recently inherited a large and amazing vinyl collection from my father-in-law, and wanting to give it a home that it deserves, I've started putting together a Hi-Fi setup in our living room:

  • I had a pair of Yamaha HS50M Active Studio Monitors that I bought from a friend years ago intending to use them as PC speakers. After I realised that it wasn't that simple (and I'd need an external audio interface to run them) they've been sitting in a cupboard for the last 10 years.
  • My brother gave me an Audio Technica turntable (an AT-LP60) that he was no longer using.

After reading up on the HS50M's, I figured they were too good to not use. And knowing that I wanted to add wireless speakers to the mix down the track (and having read a few positive reviews of the Yamaha MusicCast systems) I bought a Yamaha WXC-50 and a decent set of XLR to RCA cables to connect it to the monitors.

Now here is where it all starts to go a bit pear-shaped and I began to realise I was completely out of my depth...


As someone who has never had a decent sound system, I was really surprised at how clear and precise the sound is. But I immediately noticed is that the bass and low range was really lacking.

Next, my wife has specifically requested for me to add a CD player to the setup (so we can dig out the tubs of CD's we have in storage as well).

So tonight I started looking at standalone CD players. My first thought was "Far out these are a lot more expensive than I thought". My second thought was that as the WXC-50 only has a single RCA input, to avoid having to use an RCA switch I'd need to get a CD player with a digital/optical out. But then I started reading about DAC and how most modern CD players have this built in, and that an optical output bypasses the inbuilt DCA. And then I started thinking am I better off getting a turntable with a digital/optical out? And then I started reading about subs to improve the bass output of the setup. Five hours later and I find myself down a rabbit hole, wondering if building the setup around the HS50M's was the wrong way to go...

Needless to say I am a little lost, which in turn has led me to here and to this post.


So my main question for the members of this forum is: are the components in my existing setup good enough to build upon, or do I need to re-think this from the ground up?

If I can build upon what I have:

1.) What component should I turn my focus to next? Am I going to get the biggest immediate benefit by investing in a decent CD player and a cheaper sub, or vice versa?
2.) Does the inbuilt DCA in a CD player really matter? Is the DCA built into the WXC-50 comparable? Should I even be worried about DCA at my level?

If I am better off re-thinking this:

3.) What components from my current setup could I/should I keep, and what would a possible better setup look like?


Being able to run wireless speakers is a definite must - we don't have the ability to run speaker wire outside to outdoor speakers, so we want to be able to take a wireless speaker outside with us.

It is also worth noting that space is a factor. This setup is currently sitting on top of a 2 cube high, 4 cube long IKEA Kallax bookcase (see attached photo), which ideally we'd like to have as clutter-free as possible.

If you have read this far, you have my genuine thanks, and any help or guidance that you can provide will be sincerely appreciated.

Thanks heaps,
Merc
 

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Ugg10

Distinguished Member
My initial thoughts are -

You can use any CD player, blue ray or DVD player if you have one spare lying around (or buy second hand, pioneer stable platter are a good starting point) that has an optical output into the optical input on the wxc50 which leaves the analogue rca input for the turntable.

Next make sure the turntable is set to line out (not phono) on the small switch on the rear.

As for subwoofer, the HS50’s definitely need one imo as the are small cone speakers. Adding a BK Gemini (they are direct seller and often sell b stock on eBay) would do the job nicely and I think you can set the crossover frequency in the wxc50. As they are a direct seller they are very good value for money.

Finally, if possible get some speaker stands and put them outside the unit, Getting them at ear height when sitting and giving them a little space around them will help a lot.

hope that helps a little.
 

John7

Well-known Member
My advice is to either move the turntable to a different location away from the speakers or move the speakers out of that unit.

The sound vibration from the speakers will be transferred to the unit and then into the turntable, affecting sound quality. A CD player may also be affected (albeit to a small degree) by the vibrations as well. It's always best to keep speakers away from microphonic components which can compromise sound.

When I had a turntable (before I went completely digital) I had to place it on a wall mounted isolation shelf - if not, it would pick up footsteps from the suspended wooden floor and blast them through the speakers!
 

Nico72

Active Member
Definitely I would put the speakers at ear height, which may well improve the bass response as well. Ideally on stands either side of the unit. If you cannot do that, invest £15 in a pair of speaker isolation pads like those linked below (just make sure they are the right size for your speakers). The pads will provide some degree of isolation between speakers and turntable. They also allow you to tilt the speakers up towards the listener if your unit is lower than your ears when sitting.

Finally I agree with was said above about the CD. Any CD, DVD or blu ray player with optical out into the wxc-50 will do a decent job.
Dedicated CD players may be a bit faster to load and potentially quieter. I would recommend a second hand compact CD player like the denon DCD -F100 linked below. Solid build, small foot print and better looking than most cheap DVD players.

If you still want more bass, adding the BK Gemini II is a really good option.


Amazon product
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Getting those speakers out of the cupboard will immediately improve your audio, especially if you put them on stands as mentioned above.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
One more thing. The WXC-50 is a top class bargain. Both the dac and preamp are very good.

But it needs a few things turned off.

Everything eco. Simply turn it off. It’s a horrible parody.

‘Enhancer’ and ‘bass extension’ also off.

Set the ‘equaliser’ to ‘bypass’.

And speaker type, to ‘floorstander’. You could experiment with the’bookshelf’ setting. But I’d suspect it simply blurs more than anything else, but it’s possible it may be useful for the Yamaha speakers.
 

Mercurei

Novice Member
Thank you so much everyone for the replies, some really great advice for me in there
My initial thoughts are -

You can use any CD player, blue ray or DVD player if you have one spare lying around (or buy second hand, pioneer stable platter are a good starting point) that has an optical output into the optical input on the wxc50 which leaves the analogue rca input for the turntable.

Next make sure the turntable is set to line out (not phono) on the small switch on the rear.

As for subwoofer, the HS50’s definitely need one imo as the are small cone speakers. Adding a BK Gemini (they are direct seller and often sell b stock on eBay) would do the job nicely and I think you can set the crossover frequency in the wxc50. As they are a direct seller they are very good value for money.

Finally, if possible get some speaker stands and put them outside the unit, Getting them at ear height when sitting and giving them a little space around them will help a lot.

hope that helps a little.
Thanks heaps for the advice Ugg, really appreciate it.

I do actually have blu ray player that I am not using, which does have an optical output, so I can start with that.

And thanks for the sub recommendation as well as the speaker locations too.
 

Mercurei

Novice Member
My advice is to either move the turntable to a different location away from the speakers or move the speakers out of that unit.

The sound vibration from the speakers will be transferred to the unit and then into the turntable, affecting sound quality. A CD player may also be affected (albeit to a small degree) by the vibrations as well. It's always best to keep speakers away from microphonic components which can compromise sound.

When I had a turntable (before I went completely digital) I had to place it on a wall mounted isolation shelf - if not, it would pick up footsteps from the suspended wooden floor and blast them through the speakers!
Thanks John. I admittedly didn't even think about the turntable location and the vibration that the speakers would cause. I could easily mount a suspended shelf on the wall directly behind the unit. Thankfully the flooring in this area is a suspended concrete slab, so hopefully very little vibration will travel up the wall from the floor.
 

Mercurei

Novice Member
Definitely I would put the speakers at ear height, which may well improve the bass response as well. Ideally on stands either side of the unit. If you cannot do that, invest £15 in a pair of speaker isolation pads like those linked below (just make sure they are the right size for your speakers). The pads will provide some degree of isolation between speakers and turntable. They also allow you to tilt the speakers up towards the listener if your unit is lower than your ears when sitting.

Finally I agree with was said above about the CD. Any CD, DVD or blu ray player with optical out into the wxc-50 will do a decent job.
Dedicated CD players may be a bit faster to load and potentially quieter. I would recommend a second hand compact CD player like the denon DCD -F100 linked below. Solid build, small foot print and better looking than most cheap DVD players.

If you still want more bass, adding the BK Gemini II is a really good option.


Amazon product
Thanks heaps Nico, yeah I will definitely be looking at some speaker stands. To be honest I was a little paranoid anyway about them being in the bookshelf that low as I have a 3 year old son that is likely to put a hot wheels car through the cone.

I'll have a look at the BK Gemini II as well.
 

Mercurei

Novice Member
Getting those speakers out of the cupboard will immediately improve your audio, especially if you put them on stands as mentioned above.
Thanks Gibbsy. Yeah as I mentioned above, I didn't even consider this. Very much appreciate you taking the time to read and respond.
 

Mercurei

Novice Member
One more thing. The WXC-50 is a top class bargain. Both the dac and preamp are very good.

But it needs a few things turned off.

Everything eco. Simply turn it off. It’s a horrible parody.

‘Enhancer’ and ‘bass extension’ also off.

Set the ‘equaliser’ to ‘bypass’.

And speaker type, to ‘floorstander’. You could experiment with the’bookshelf’ setting. But I’d suspect it simply blurs more than anything else, but it’s possible it may be useful for the Yamaha speakers.
Thanks Paul, yeah I was really lucky on the pickup too, bought from a guy on eBay who had bought it, opened it and realised he needed the WXA-50, so brand new but $100 cheaper than retail.

Thanks for the pointers on it also, I haven't changed any settling on it since setting it up, so I will definitely have a look at that tonight.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Just realised you are in AUS, so BK may not be the most economical choice but worth dropping them a line to see how much shipping and import taxes etc. are. The Rel T5i is often recommended on here as good for music. Or you could trade up your HS50's to some actives with a larger woofer that will need a sub less, something like the Adam T7v/T8v or the Tannoy Gold 7/8 mich be worth a look or the bargain M-Audio BX8.
 

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member
To be honest I was a little paranoid anyway about them being in the bookshelf that low as I have a 3 year old son that is likely to put a hot wheels car through the cone.

Now you will have the issue of him wanting to climb them, get behind them, bumping or seeing how far they can lean over. And I'm talking from experience :(:D
 

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