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Question Upgrade itis

Johnbigbooty

Standard Member
Hi all, noob to avforums here. Been reading and listening and now I have upgrade-itis :)
This is my office/computer system, mostly music but the occasional game or movie and I could use some help to make sure I'm looking in the right direction equipment-wise.
Edit: 95% of the time I'll listen to speakers, headphones not so much.
A few months ago I upgraded from a Logitech Z263 2.1 system ran off my pc soundcard to Edifier S350DB 2.1 speakers run off a Soundblaster X3. That was a big improvement so naturally now I want more :D
I gather the next step would be a dac/amp setup-- is that what you'd recommend? Also, thinking real hard about the Edifier S3000 Pro speakers. If I got them do you recommend still getting an amp? And dac-wise-- suggestions? The X3 actually does a decent job with the S350DBs so what's a worthwhile upgrade from that or should I just stick with the X3?
Another question is about the S350DB sub and how it would work with the S3000 Pros? Would I be able to make everything work together in a 4.1 configuration?
Thanks very much.
 
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Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Really depends on your budget. Are the speakers on your desk top and how big is the room.

something like the following would, probably the next step up -

Khadas Tone Board (plus case) £115
Adam T5V or Tannow Gold 5 - £270
BK Gemini sub woofer - £250

if the sub is out of price range then you can go up a size on the main speakers to the T7V or Gold 7 and then add a sub at a later date.

personally I also like to control the speaker volume manually with a passive attenuator, setting all Pc and app volumes to near max. I use a SMPro M-Patch which allows you to have 2 inputs and two outputs, one for sub and one for main speakers switchable. Or you can move up to a NVA20 or Tisbury Pre. The other alternative is a dac with variable output.

finally, if the speakers are on the desk it is worth getting some isolation pads, often thrown in with the speakers as bundles.

let us know your budget and there are many more options to choose from.
 
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Johnbigbooty

Standard Member
Thanks for the help!
The room is 5x6m and for a budget I was thinking around $1200 (US- in California, if that matters).
Regarding the AdamT5V or Tannow Gold 5-- those I will be looking at presently tyvm. I've been happy with these Edifiers and was leaning hard towards the S3000 Pros-- have you any thoughts on comparing them (Edifier/Tannow/Adam)?
And just to confirm, since you recommend the BK Gemini, does that mean I should scrap the idea of using the Edifier sub I already have?
Edit: the Khadas looks incredible. Never heard of it so double thanks for this
 
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Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Not heard the edifiers so sorry can’t comment. @Paul7777x may have some views.

For that size room I‘d be tempted to go to the 7” size, Should fill the room better.

For the sub, looks like the edifiers work by using the sub to do the crossover with the satellite speakers connecting to the sub. You may be able to connect the sub using the pc input port but it will be running full range which is not ideal, you could try it and see how it sounds. Subs like the BK and the Rel T5i allow you to cut the sub at different frequencies to suit your main speakers as well as control volume and phase.

Also worth a look is the Soncoz LAQXD1 dac, this is an updated version of the Khadas with volume control (built into the dac chip), balanced outputs and the ESS hump sorted. This also has rca outputs so you may be able to run a sub off these and the speakers of the xlr ports.

Worth noting that on some of the ess9038q2m dacs it is worth running separate power and data usb cables, the Sanskrit 10th is worth a look and has been shown to benefit from this, a good alternative to the Khadas.

Edit - also worth remembering that studio monitor speakers are often sold singly so check first as you may need to double the price - e.g. the Tannoy 7 seemed to be around $315 in US so $630 for a pair. If you went for the T7V then there is a matching t10s 10” active sub that would still be in budget with the Soncoz. Have a brows through B&H Sound website.

Amazon product

Amazon product
 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Hard to say what you really need sir.

If you just mean adding another stereo pair of speakers then that’s not worth the effort as it will be counter productive.

If you mean adding a pair of surround speakers from your soundcard, then it would be useful to use a pair of Edifiers to keep the all round sound, tonally, as close as possible

If you mean you want some kind of surround sound, home theatre thing for gaming then that’s easy enough.

I’d suggest the following.

Five of these JBLs


And this, used as a processor.


You’d need to save around $300 extra for a decent sub, but you’d get a bit of cash back from the Edifier sub sat system.

The JBLs, the Anthem and sub, all run through the ARC room correction, will be a noticeable upgrade on your current Edifier for stereo, and will be quite awesome for games and movies.
 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
And, if you’d rather just add some better speakers from Edifier to the sub you have, you then run the risk of outclassing the sub should you get stereo speakers with a good enough improvement to make it worthwhile spending the cash.
 

Johnbigbooty

Standard Member
This is great info thank you so much guys.
Going to take a look at the links and ponder the possibilities now.
 

Johnbigbooty

Standard Member
And, if you’d rather just add some better speakers from Edifier to the sub you have, you then run the risk of outclassing the sub should you get stereo speakers with a good enough improvement to make it worthwhile spending the cash.
Actually yeah this is more it. Better speakers and my [noob] thinking was I'd need to add a better dac than the SB X3 and probably an amp, foggy (er) on the amp part though. Goal is better stereo sound, mainly for music, at my pc. After that, surround would be nice but not a priority.
I think you answered the question about the Edifier S3000 Pros- they'd probably outclass the sub I have.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I see.

Then if you’re serious about music then I can very strongly recommend these.

I have a pair of the ‘house’ version (I’m listening to them now).

They are quite simply spectacular and all you will ever realistically need.

A bit above budget, but I’d forget that and rob your gran to get them.

 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Ps, I don’t drive them from your sound card for now. Then when your funds recover you could try the Soncoz Ugg linked too.

Or, alternatively...

 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Truly special stuff sir. :thumbsup:

A once in a decade buy.
 

Johnbigbooty

Standard Member
Reality hit and I passed on those Adam S2As :( I guess my upgrade-itis is not the full on extreme variety :)
I tentatively decided to move in baby steps. For the time being I'll keep these Edifiers and just invest in a nice DAC for the next purchase.
I read quite a few reviews about sketchy QC for Soncoz so I dug around some more and found a whole bunch of other ess9038q2m dacs. Since I'd like it to have bluetooth I'm using the Soncoz SGD1 as a comparison. Think I should be concerned about quality control with Soncoz? There must be dozens of similar options out there so my head is spinning.
Assuming I get one of the ess9038q2m DACs will the Edifier sub use it's own built in crossover? If not there's a whole nother can of worms :rotfl:

This Cambridge Audio DAC looks pretty attractive.
This Topping D50S looks pretty decent too.
This is the usb DAC I'm using now. It has some eq features and is pretty user friendly.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Topping d50s would be a good choice I think.

plug the topping into your pc via usb, topping rca outputs to the edifier sub the same as with your current sound card. Edifier sub then connects to the small main speakers. I think this is how it works.

note changing Dac typically gives you one of the least big changes in sound quality. IMO the order from biggest to smallest effect on sound quality is - Speakers/room acoustics - The squishy grey bit between your ears - pre-amp (or preamp section in integrated amp) - analogue sources - Power amp - digital sources - and way off in the distance cables.

therefore I would be tempted to upgrade the speakers before the dac.
 

Johnbigbooty

Standard Member
See that is really the answer to the question I was supposed to ask :rotfl: Speaker upgrade first.
You have it right in that my current DAC is connected to the pc via usb, then from the DAC to the Edifier sub via optical, then from the sub is an annoying hardwired cable to one speaker and another hardwired cable to the other. I like the sound a lot but should have researched a little better.
 

Johnbigbooty

Standard Member
As I was checking the back of the sub the idiotic proprietary connector to one of the speakers broke off. So now I have a sub and one speaker :mad::mad::mad:
I know companies have this stuff cheaply made to save money but jeezus a mouse could bump into it and break it. Now I need to wait for a new cable. Or new speakers. #$%@#$*&&**(^T
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
If you are connecting to the sub via optical from your dac, your dac is doing nothing except converting the usb digital signal to an optical signal with no change in data and you are using the dac inside the edifier sub to convert the digital signal to analogue, the bit that may make a sound difference! Try connecting the dac to the edifier on the rca line in ports (3.5mm stereo jack from x3 front port to rca pc or aux ports) you will be using the dac in the dac then.
 

Johnbigbooty

Standard Member
Unfortunately it's moot now because of that piece of crap connector. But thanks for the heads up. I am/was still able to take advantage of the X3 eq and software so at least I got that and it sounded many many times better than what i had before.
Ok the one sad solitary speaker (plus sub) is connected via 3.5mm/rca pair now. When the replacement pos cable comes in I'll report on the difference in SQ.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
If you get a new stereo dac at some point the you can install the APOEquilizer with the Peace gui front end which is a pretty good graphic equiliser to sort out any room reflection in the bass and add some boost/cut where you like it. Good I know with the cable, was it the one with the round 5 pins or the D type multi way? The round ones seem to be available.
 

Johnbigbooty

Standard Member
It's this 4 pin cable. I forgot all about APOE- I already have it :rotfl: Memory ain't what it used to be...
Asking myself now do I need a sub. It opens up a lot of options and makes wireless a real possibility with something like the Kef LSX or SVS Prime Wireless. And probably a whole bunch that I haven't heard of yet.
 
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Johnbigbooty

Standard Member
Adam Audio T8V are $600 for a pair. Bass down to 33 Hz. These are leading the pack now but man there's fierce competition in the $1000 price range.
 

Johnbigbooty

Standard Member
I'm going to buy something today dammit :laugh:
After slogging thru reviews and specs and whatnot it's down to only a few models but I'm still worrying over which to get. Short list:
Adam Audio T7V (or T8V)
Edifier S3000 Pro
Airpulse A300
Swan M3A
Kef LSX

Quick bottom line opinion so far but keep in mind I'm undecided and honestly a bit dizzy with specs and review opinions etc. A gentle push towards one or the other would be greatly appreciated:
Adam T7V/T8Vs are less expensive than these others so unfair to compare them however they came highly recommended, would sound great I'm sure but aren't as feature rich as the others- no remote and fewer input options, no wireless connectivity.
Edifier S3000 Pros have the connectivity, wireless and remote. Sound-wise probably gonna make me happy. $800 US.
Edifier Airpulse A300s check all the boxes but cost $1100 US.
Swan M3As also check all the boxes, are also about $1100. The less expensive version, MKII, is $900 US but not in stock and I wonder about the lower price tag because they say it'd due to new manufacturing methods. Hmm.
Kef LSXs- most expensive, I thru it in because they're popular but low end would likely be an issue and the whole app business seems unwieldy.
Any opinions on these few choices? Other speakers in this class I should be looking at? They should have wireless ability and low end that will make a sub unnecessary. Because of that I ruled out subs smaller than 150mm.
Edit: just found the Kef LS50 Meta. $1500 and available here. As if the water wasn't muddy enough.
 
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Johnbigbooty

Standard Member
I went with the Edifier S3000 Pros. Tough choice but knowing I can return them makes it ok. The Airpulse 300 is currently running in second place.
 

Johnbigbooty

Standard Member
$300 for the Emotiva S8 sub-- only 200mm but it takes the low frequencies out of the output if you go:
pc>>DAC>>sub>>powered speakers.
Know any other subs that do that? Ideally 250mm.
Edit: Adam Audio T10S also does it but at $450 US.
 
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Johnbigbooty

Standard Member
Using APOE with Peace interface is great. Strongly recommend you get it and donate 'cause it's worth it.
The SB350s are running from an SMSL M200 now and the sound is good and is beautifully adjustable. Really a pleasure to be able to watch a movie and quickly bump the dialog frequencies a bit, tone down too much bass a tiny bit etc etc.
The SMSL DAC sounds better than the Soundblaster X3 and the built in DAC in the speaker system. The Edifier DAC alone gives a pleasing flat response that could stand on it's own, especially with such a versatile tool as the APOE. The X3 improves the sound of the built-in DAC a tiny bit, not really significant except the X3 is fairly cheap and comes with nice software.
As far as the SMSL M200 goes-- really easy to get up and running. The menu system is a bit kludgy and the color profile options are limited to just 3 subtle options. APOE makes that part of the DAC kind of moot.
Next week the S3000 Pros arrive. The wait is killing me :rotfl:
 

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