Thanks for posting this
AlmaataKZ, that was a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting read, awesome looking system! When I'm driving round an old shed in a couple of years time because I spent all the money I was saving for a new car on my dream system I'll blame you and
... or just get a car with an awesome system inside!
Jax, cannot catch you online. So, an offline toast (small glass of port) to Jax, who contributed inspiration for the system upgrade: may you enjoy years and years of music and hifi in all possible forms and shapes. Good luck with all your hifi and non-hifi projects and may you be happy for years to come!
Separate thank you to all forum members who helped me over the year to navigate through today's kit, switches, amps, knobs, codecs, bitrates, hardware, software, computer based music and what not! May your posts always encounter positive and helpful responses - and never the anger of Mr E.
Long live hifi (and all other hobbies)!
This has been one of the best threads since I've been on the forum. Thanks Almatakz and Jax. I raise my glass of bitter and twisted to you guys!
Yep, great thread and a great set-up. Wonderful stuff and a fine read. Enjoy!
My remote is being fixed at the mo (hopefully!) so I am having a go at reprogramming it for the new system on the computer. I am trying to make it realy easy for my gf to use the system so she does not have to know what is happening and only needs to press one button and it is all automatic. as the remote is away I can actually have some time to think it through properly before jumping into loading stuff on to it so I even drew the 'logic tree' of how it is supposed to work. it turne dout wrong in many ways of cause as I am a novice in this but still was very useful as it makes it really visual and easy to spot where to improve.
good old st.peters ale helps with the creative thinking process!
Been cranking up the volume today with Deep Purple Live at Montreuax. Very energetic stuff!
Quote from another thread:
Inspired by you getting your dream sysytem I've decided to do the same in 2011 and, like you, have decided to go down the computer / active route. Alas, my budget doesn't stretch to ATCs, so I will be getting the ADM 9 Ts plus sub. I was wondering if you had any reflections on making the switch now that you've had your system for some time.
Having the system for several months now I can post some reflections: I am very happy!
- Sound is excellent
- I can play up to 24/96 music
- the speakers are really special
- I also got bluray video and sound, freeview HD including recording, the sub is really strong
- I also have the option to use the macmini as a computer in the living room for any normal computer task.
The "not so goods":
- The part that is a bit awkward is the "HT bypass" connections. But it is OK as all the on/off switching, input selection and vol pre-setting is done by the remote using macros, so it is not a problem. (Still waiting for my Marantz RC5200 to be fixed, though).
- Also, it is about time iTunes/MacOS did sample rate switching automatically! And play FLAC natively (I have to convert now).
Would I do anything differently if I was doing it today?
Because things move on. E.g. Linn introduced native(?) ALAC support recently, there are new Olive models, new Linn DS, new Naims and new streamers from other makers, new DACs like e.g. Wyred4Sound so who knows what I would have ended up with if I started today. Sources and/or DAC might have been different. But I think the speakers, the sub and the receiver would have still been the same today. I could have had a look at the new AVI ADM40, though, who knows .. Or maybe I could have gotten ATC 150s classics (i.e. not towers and no sub) and put them on custom stands, the stands also designed and serving as a small hifi racks and housing the mac and the dac. Oh, maybe one day.!
So, if anyone is thinking of system overhaul these days I definitely recommend not to buy anything until you have a good look at:
- computer based sources or streamers
- standalone DACs or anything having good DACs built in
- hi rez playback and network capabilities
- active speakers / crossovers
- I would not bother about wireless as in my experience it was by far not reliable enough
- spend more on speakers. Sources will get 'old' quicker.
Thanks for the response - I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying your system. It really would be difficult to top those speakers.
Actually, it was precisely because I wanted to avoid 'upgraditis' that I took your advice and went for the best I can afford rather than making lots of sideways moves to my current humble system. Once I put it all together I can't really envisage making any substantial changes for the next 5 years or so - and those that are made, as you suggest, will probably be at the source as the technology gets better.
the news about the ADM40s was posted on HDD audio
Thanks again for your time
Some updates. Few steps forward. Quite a few steps back!
1. Tidied up some cables recently.
I had a bunch of cables going from the main rack to the right side of the room, comprising:
- main power
- ethernet to MacMini
- ethernet to Humax Freeview HD box
- switched power to sub
- signal to sub (2 x phono, screened)
- signal rear speakers (2x stereo phono)
The total of 8 cables all different shapes and colours - looking rather untidy.
So I got a plastic mesh sleeve from ebay for a couple of quid, pinched the bunch of cables tightly together (temporarily) with a plastic tie and pulled the bunch through. The result is looking like that:
2. The broken Marantz RC5200 remote is back from repair. Happy with it being back I was just finishing updating its new configuration for the new system when, 1 week after the repair, it failed again. Same symptoms so I think the same fault. I actually think it was not repaired but was just reset using special access software. the repairer offered to look at it again and if it is the same fault to fix it for free. but (especially if they just reset it again) I am thinking one day it will probably fail again so was thinking of a replacement... so,
3. Thinking of a tsf9400 and knowing how expensive the modern (and just discontinued) Prontos are I decided to check what's on the second hand market. the very first ebay search came up with a brand new Pronto 9400 with only 2 bids and ending in 3 hours (and very late in the night). I thought this is a good opportunity and should not be missed so decided to bid and by 1 am I ended up winning the new Pronto at half today's retail price!
I did think about ipod or ipad based control but they are still developing, not as advanced and flexible as pronto at least for now and lack hard buttons, so a dedicated remote is still the way to go for me as of today. I also looked at logitech harmonies but impression I got was they are not as flexible as prontos either.
Fingers crossed if and when the new remote arrives I am starting a bit of a learning curve as the editor Pronto Edit Pro v2 is a bit different to the software I am used to and has completely new functionality like two-way wifi communication, script plugins etc. Heck, some programming hours on these dark cold snowy evenings is not too bad. A bit of StPeters ale should help, shouldn't it?
So the new remote is on the way but as you do not need the remote itself to program it (you do it on a PC using Pronto Edit Pro v2) I already started to set it up. Theoretically, the whole set-up can be done without the remote so you just need to load the set-up on the remote and off you go, but in reality it will definatley need some testing and fine tuning.
I think I am about half-way in programmming it. the most difficult part will be setting it up for wifi and getting it work with iTunes in two-way mode i.e. show playlists, track info, album artwork etc. as I am not familiar with this part of set-up.
The editing program, PEP v2 is very good. Much better than the one with the old Marantz - more intuitive and flexible interface so despite the fact that it is more advanced than the Marantz it is actually easier to use. Some early screenshots...
I sent the Benchmark away for firmware update so connected the source computer to the digital input on the Marantz (and then pre-outs to speakers) so I can listen to music while the Benchmark is away. The sound was completely different this way - there is more bass and it is 'boomy'. I did not expect that much of a difference! so the DAC (edit: or more likely the DSP) in the Marantz must be producing a bit of different output compared to Benchmark's dac - in a bassy way...
Now I see why - in my normal setup when Benchmark is fed from marantz (in HT bypass mode: bluray-marantz-benchmark-speakers) - when I watch movies the bass output of the system is significantly higher than with music system (music: mac-benchmark-speakers), so I have to dial the sub down by 2-3 clicks when I watch movies.
AlmaataKZ, love the cord hider. That really tidy's up that mess of cables. Looks wonderful. I need to try that for my computer desk. That's even worse than hifi gear!
You've definately taken your system to the ultimate level. Well done. When can I come over and watch a movie with you? My wife and I are planning a UK visit once our boys are a bit older...that would be a blast.
Oh, just let me know when you are travelling and you will be welcome! But I need some notice - I will need some time to put a demo playlist together, you know...
So we can have a real drink together. Not that virtual nonsense!
It's a date m8.
- put together a shortlist of in-ear headphones with ipod controls and multiple balanced drivers. the list of models with ipod contorls is short but growing. the challenge will be getting to listen to those before buying...
- wait what apple releases this year as updates for ipod touch and iphone (my current one is more than 3 y old now and the battery is not so good any more). I want a big one - so I can put more lossless music on it. 128 Gig would be good but I think chances of apple releasing a 128 gig touch are only abt 50% adn iphone at abt 30%.
WOW what a system! I've just read this whole thread from beggining to end for the first time and what an interesting read it was. Thanks AlmanntaKZ for all the photos and updates you've added over the months.
To What Hifi - It would be nice to see an edited version of this thread printed in the magazine, I think alot of people would enjoy reading it as much as I did.