My Squeezebox Touch Based System
So after owning a Hi Fi setup, selling for AV with house move and now back to Hi Fi setup again. Why back to Hi Fi? A little history if interested and then pics on next post. Started with wanting to keep my AV Amp Arcam AVR 280 & Marantz DVD player and replacing B&W MT-20 with stereo speakers. 1st audition I failed with Dynaudio dm2/6 having wanted to love them (nothing stood out as spectacular, perhaps other components to blame), B&W CM1 which had some best female vocals heard to date and bass was weighty which was surprising. Lastly Monitor Audio RX1 which with a warmer, fuller sound with bags of timing and punch seemed a good bet. However at the time I was only intending to use speakers on sideboard as I have a young child (now nearly 3). The size of RX1 and positioning I could see bass being an issue. I then decided to give a dealer I had not been to before a go in Ipswich who sell generally expensive gear and have good reputation, which I agree with (although they are a little forgetful at times but eccentrics being part of charm). After extensive demo with AVR 280, Marantz and dacmagic 1, it was clear the amp was a problem and strangling the sound. Tried Rega RS1, ATC SCM7 (trade in pair) and neat Motive 3. The first time hearing the Motives were quite exciting as the delivery is quite different to other speakers I have heard. Full of bounce, enthusiasm and fun and covering full range from top to bottom, no mean feat for such and diminutive speaker. Tried the Rega Mira 3 with RS1 due to budget and started to make nice music. Home demo followed and the RS1 / Mira 3 combo was pretty good. Fast and detailed but felt vocals were too recessed / quiet in the soundstage, not sure why? I like vocals really forward. Back to dealer as not completely happy with sound we tried the Nait 5i-2 with RS1 and Motive 3s. Ah Ha!! Now with the Nait 5i what a difference it made. I tried and home and even on sideboard was much happier with sound. Note I listen at low volumes mostly, which the Neats truly excel at, especially with Nait 5i. Managed to get Motives as Ex Demo and a Nait 5i-2 trade in from another customer, really lucky indeed as no way could afford these. Had to sell everything else I had. Got Squeezebox Touch next and in the last year been experimenting with all sorts of things. Added Rega Dac, moved from sideboard onto stands which was waaaaay better. Got Partington Super dreadnoughts, Wireworld Matrix + Stratus 52 mains, Linear PSU for touch, experimented with Soundcheck mods (currently running without), using stands unique carbon fibre isolators on stands, bluetac and combination of both. Hard wiring to SBT (a must for best SQ), network switch between router and SBT (is an improvement believe it or not). Also, decoding FLAC on PC rather than SBT. Speaker placement made great improvement to imaging and soundstage. Lots of RCA cables with Chord Chameleon being my favourite. I have at last stopped tweaking (apart from stand isolation as like both bluetac and isolators for different reasons) and settled on what I have. How would I describe sound? Well balanced, enough bottom end presence, fast with wonderful expressive mid range and clean treble without being ear bashing. The Wireworld made a good improvement here to listenability. Vocals and acoustics sound sublime. Imaging is excellent and there is a soundstage present with space around instruments. Vocals project in the room like listening to it live rather than a recording and really demand your attention (WOW!) plus acoustic guitar very realistic. A great sense of timing and music is conveyed with plenty of dynamics. Ok not a unusual (exotic) system but having invested a lot of time in getting mains noise under control, and with the fantastic Super Dread stands, along with careful decoupling (bluetac & isolators) have a great system with good transparency and ability to hear a lot into a recording. Final Comments Best tweaks / config:- Matrix Mains block – DAC, Ethernet Switch & Linear PSU Wall socket – AMP Stands and isolation (absolutely critical for best focus and transparency) Hard wiring Ethernet to SBT (via switch) Thanks for help from forum members and for pushing the SBT, this has saved money and given great convenience to access music, along with ability to upgrade DAC, PSU etc as money available. Downside is I have to setup speakers/stands in evening to listen to music as no way I can leave speakers out with 3 year old in the house. I am considering some cheapish small speakers that could be used for more casual listening and placed on TV unit. Any ideas for this £100ish that have solid metal grill? Maybe active speakers even? Used is fine.