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  • Power, Network, Connection, Which one matters the most to you?

    Hi guys,

    When it comes to sound quality, I've realized there're freaking many factors could affect it, some say the DAC is the paramount thing to be taken care of; some say the speakers are the real crucial part, given that you hear all the sounds from them, there's no certain right or wrong here I'd say, after all, " Sound Quality " is absolutely subjective...

    I'd like to know which section would you invest more? cuz I read that some power cables are more expensive than speakers, I was pretty impressed by that though, I'm sure the know-how must be real high-class, or some people even rearrange the wire management in the households, or even spend tons of money on router or network switch!

    For me, I might invest more on the " Power " part though, I mean, let's face it, all electronic gears require power signals, not just audio system, it's like bloodstream to them, so if the power source is stable & strong enough, I imagine that the high-end audio gears would have better performance(? that's why people use external linear power supply rather than a simple power adaptor hahaha.

    Share your insights or your experiences below, I'd be grateful to learn, or telling me what you're looking for to upgrade your system is cool too.

    Best,

  • #2

    From my point of view, one of the most important and often neglected factors is the sound optimization of the room. You can spend thousands of dollars and your sound system will sound bad if the room doesn't allow for it. And surprisingly, this factor is not present in your list either.

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    • #3

      Second...(also just my humble opinion) Nobody needs the extremely expensive cables. It may be that the magnetic fields that a cable builds up around itself have a slight effect. So make sure that your cables have reasonable shielding. Furthermore, use reasonable plugs! 25 years ago, when I was also infected by the cable virus, Isoda was highly praised and of course I had to have Isoda cables. my wife always teased me that she wanted the washing machine to be Isoda wired so that our laundry would be cleaner...๐Ÿ˜€

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      • #4
        Third.... Set up the devices, especially the speakers, sensibly! Do not stack the devices on top of each other, because large toroidal transformers also form magnetic fields, but give them "air" and protect them from impact noise (especially the turntable). Get the speakers out of the corners and place them sensibly. All these things may sound banal, but they are too often neglected. How often do you see pictures of high-quality systems on the Internet where the loudspeakers are clamped in the corners. So before you spend a lot of money on equipment or cables, make sure the basics are right. Otherwise none of this makes sense. As I said.... just my two cents!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mariner View Post
          From my point of view, one of the most important and often neglected factors is the sound optimization of the room. You can spend thousands of dollars and your sound system will sound bad if the room doesn't allow for it. And surprisingly, this factor is not present in your list either.
          To be fair, I don't think preston8452 wrote that the factors he asked about amongst the "many" were intended to be an exhaustive list.

          To me, as I think you agree, loudspeaker, room, and an amplifier that will drive the loudspeakers to their complete capability are at the top of my list of important factors. After that the way I enjoy the hobby is to ensure the rest is up to a good modern standard - not necessarily right at the state of the art but I have my standards for "good enough". Then I can enjoy the music part of the hobby.

          However others do have their own ways of enjoying the hobby. Their priorities are different (just as I assume you agree, from your posts).

          I hesitate to actually comment on the OP's question because of the different way I pursue the hobby. But there is one principle I have that's relevant and that's that to me a digital network has no business doing anything other than transporting the audio data I select to the DAC of my choice. Bit perfect if I so select (I do sometimes want the data processed such as being re-sampled to a rate the DAC will accept - but I insist that can be turned off if I choose). And with low enough noise on the digital interface to the DAC that the DAC will let nothing audible from that noise through to the audio output. I don't think that needs anything "audiophile" or unduly expensive in the network - just good basic quality.

          With the above there's no good reason in my mind for a functional digital network running - in the wide scheme of things - a rather low data rate, to have any sonic signature. If someone wants to experiment, though, and see if they like something in particular then it's a perfectly fine way to enjoy the hobby.

          I have the "disadvantage" of having a professional engineering background and that certainly colours the way I pursue the hobby, perhaps in a way others may not appreciate, but it is my way.
          Last edited by jophill; 02-24-2022, 09:11 AM.

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          • #6
            jophill am i dreaming or have you deleted your post?

            Maybe I misunderstood Preston8452's question. English is not my mother tongue. I thought he had asked about the things that, from our point of view, are important in our concept of building a hi-fi system. Certainly times have changed and today streaming is the focus for most. However, the principles described also apply here, at least for me. I think the questions about...is this or that DAC the better one, or this or that cable, can actually hardly be answered as long as a certain manufacturing quality is achieved, also as described above. Ultimately, personal taste decides. I play concert guitar. That there is a similar discussion about the quality of the guitars. Here, too, it is the case that the guitars sound different from a certain quality, but the personal perception of the sound subjectively decides whether it is good or bad. And so everyone in hifi has personal preferences as far as the sound is concerned. One sees more of the technical possibilities, the other just wants sound. I have been in this hobby for more than 40 years now and for me the most important factor is to sit relaxed in front of my system and enjoy the music. And that WITHOUT a doubt whether this or that could still be improved. If this satisfaction is not achieved, in my opinion, one is too caught up in the technology. From my point of view, listening to music is an emotional process. I can remember the times when the sound was the ultimate thing for me, I bought CDs and looked at the sound ratings in the hifi magazines beforehand. That's where the perversion begins. Maybe some of you here in the forum know that too. I had the most impressive sound experience in a VW Beetle with small spherical loudspeakers, but in the LSD intoxication. For me the proof listening to music is a personal emotional process. However, not necessarily recommended for imitation!๐Ÿ˜€ it's been ages!

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            • #7
              What I wrote may have temporarily disappeared as I did some editing for English clarity and now it seems t be awaiting a moderator's approval.

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              • #8
                Same happens to me some time ago...
                But from time to time the โ€œ Restore Buttonโ€œ helps.

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