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weitn
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Epos Epic 1 and Creek Evolution 2 - Good combination?

Is Epos Epic 1 speaker and Creek Evolution 2 integrated amp a good combination? I am planning to place them on my desk listening to music while I am working. I listened to mostly R&B, pop, sould and dance genres. Thanks for the advice.

jackfish
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Listen to them together and you tell us.

Epos Epic 1 would not be my choice in bookshelves at that price point. I find them more in your face and lacking in detail than I like. You might like them though. Perhaps Focal Chorus 705V and 706V, Totem Mite, PSB Image B6, Paradigm Mini Monitor, Ascend CBM-170 SE, LSA .5, Monitor Audio RX1, and Peachtree D4 should get a listen. You could also look into some high end powered monitors (well designed for nearfield listening) and forego the integrated amp.

The Creek Evolution 2 is a sound amp and well regarded.

weitn
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PSB Imagine B and Creek Evolution 2?

Thank for the input. I did more research by reading lots of reviews especially on those products which recommended by stereophile and products which got award by hifi choice. I can't find store here which can audition those products, so I will just have to depends on recommendations and reviews. At last, I have decided to go for PSB Imagine B speakers and Creek Evolution 2. Are they a good match?

jackfish
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Should be...

The Creek Evolution 2 integrated amplifier should make those PSB Imagine Bs sing. Enjoy and let us know how it turns out for you.

If you are indeed spending $1000 for speakers then the Ascend Sierra 1s should get a listen. They are purchased direct and if you don't like them you can send them back within 30 days and only be out the return shipping.

weitn
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Dynaudio Excite X12 and Creek Evolution 2?

Thank you for the input again. I did more research and found out about Dynaudio Excite X12 and it cost only $100 more than PSB Imagine B. Stereophile recommended it and categorize the Excite X12 in class B (Restricted LF) while the PSB Imagine B in class C (Restricted LF). From reading both speakers reviews below, it looks like Excite X12 has better review than PSB Imagine B. Luckily for me there is a store at Hawaii which carry Dynaudio. I'll drop by for an audition.

Dynaudio Excite X12: http://www.stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/dynaudio_excite_x12_loudspeaker

PSB Imagine B: http://www.stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/psb_imagine_b_loudspeaker/index.html

I am going for bookshelf/small speaker because I have to travel or move from time to time. I can just pack up the speakers and amp and ship it or even place them in my big luggage bag and check it in at the airport.

jackfish
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I think you will like the Excite X12.

Let us know what you think of them.

weitn
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Audition DynAudio Xeo 3 and Totem The One

I went to the audio store yesterday. The store doesn’t have any DynAudio Excite X12 demo unit or new unit in stock. The store has to order it If I want one. However, I did get to audition the DynAudio Xeo 3. It was quite good but I wasn't impressed. I was told the Xeo 3 is the X12 with built-in amp. It sounded very details. Singer voice especially female singer sounded sweet. The soundstage was not impressive. It lack of bass impact and slight lack of bass extension. I put on Maroon 5 Moves Like Jagger to test the bass. I know the bass very well in this song. On some songs, it sounded balance. On some songs, it sounded bright. I am using alac files in my iPhone. Below is the setup.
 

iPhone 4s (alac files) (LOD output) -> FiiO L10 Line Out Dock (LOD) Cable -> (AUX input) Xeo Transmitter -> Wireless -> Xeo 3 speakers
 

Then, the owner of the store put on a pair of Totem The One (demo unit which is for sale $2.4k). That’s when I was blown away when he cranked up the volume. The whole room becomes alive. It sounded awesome and it filled the whole room with ease (I think maybe that the wide and deep soundstage effect). The vinyl was playing a song by woman singing in an opera (I think) in a language which I don’t understand. The setup is definitely way better than the setup for Xeo 3. Below is the setup.

LP/Vinyl -> Preamp -> Rega Brio-R amp -> Totem The One
 

After listening to the Totem The One, now I am thinking whether I should get the Totem The One or Totem Model 1 Signature instead of the X12. The Totem The One (demo unit) and Totem Model 1 Signature is double the price of X12. I can afford the Totem but it is hard to justify the price. Even if I decided to get the Totem, which one should I get. Even though I don’t get to listen to the X12, I think X12 will/should sound nearly as good as the Totem The One if it is powered by the same setup which is powering the Totem in the audition.
 

Does X12 sound nearly as good as the Totem The One if it is powered by the same setup above? Should I get the demo unit Totem The One?

jackfish
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Don't know.

New the Totem The One is three times the price of the Dynaudio Excite X12. Not that price is an absolute indicator of sound quality, but, based on that alone I would expect the Totem The One to sound better than the Dynaudio Excite X12. I've only heard the Totem Mite and Rainmaker, and the Dynaudio Excite X12, and like them all very much. The Totem Rainmaker is comparable in price to the Dynaudio Excite X12 and you could do worse than choose either. But I am not going to make a recommendation, as I don't have your ears or room. It would be hard for me to buy anything I couldn't listen to first.

weitn
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Going for Totem Model-1 Signature

It looks like my budget is creeping upward. Since I am getting a pair of speakers and amp, I might as well get something better and something that I want. Since I already heard the Totem The One, there is no way going back. I think I will be getting the Totem Model-1 Signature as a new The One is no longer available. I don't think I'll be buying the demo unit in the store.

I read it in Audiogon forum thatTotem Model-1 Sig is hard to drive. Thus, I am thinking of getting a better amp like Creek 5350 instead of the Creek Evolution 2. Will the Creek 5350 too powerful for Totem Model-1 Sig? Are they a good combination?

roadster
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hard to drive

The Evolution2 is rated at 85 watts...this should be plenty enough power to push the Totems.

I auditioned both the Evo 2 and 5350 driving the same speakers (85 dB sensitivity). At volumes of around 70 - 90 dB I preferred the Evo 2 (for the type of music I play). At volumes beyond that go for the 5350.

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Speaker Choices

Hi Jackfish:

I was interested in your response to weitn about bookshelf speakers.  I am in the process of choosing a bookshelf speaker myself, and several of your suggested items have been on my radar screen.  I have had a chance to hear the Focal 705 and the Paradigm Mini Monitors, but not at the same store.  They both sound good, but it is quite difficult to compare when you are listening to the different speakers on a different days, with a different set-up.  Despite not having the chance to do head-to-head comparisons, I find myself leaning toward the Focals based on my perception of better clarity in the highs from the Focals.  Does your experience with Focals and Paradigms align with mine?  I'm not too worried about bass performance from whichever speakers I choose because a sub will be used.  I listen mostly to classical and jazz, and clear highs are important to me (for example, B&W 685s were nixed because they were too soft at the high end).  I have also heard the Martin Logan Motion 4 at a Magnolia shop in a BestBuy, and they also sounded very clear in the highs.  Are some of the other brands you mention (Totem, PSB, Monitor Audio) worth seeking out in this $500-600 range?  It would be a bit of a drive for me to get to one of their dealers, but if you feel I'd be missing out if I didn't audition those guys, I would find a way to do it.  Any guidance you can share would be greatly appreciated!

jackfish
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I was disappointed in the Paradigm Mini Monitors, but think the

Focals are pretty good. The Dreamcatcher is the only Totem you can touch for that price and it is very good. You should listen to them if you can. http://www.stereophile.com/content/totem-dreamcatcher-loudspeaker

Another possibility is a 30-day home trial of the Ascend CMT-340 Mini-Tower. At 21" high they are not that much taller than many bookshelf speakers, and shorter than some. You would only be out $80 from and to shipping to find out how wonderful they are, so you probably wouldn't be out the shipping because you wouldn't be sending them back. http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/reviews/aa2007-04.pdf  http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/reviews/HTS340Ascend.pdf

weitn
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Audition Aracraft Tedius AL 100ND, DynAudio Focus 160 and Totem

I did more research online and read many good reviews about Focus 160. I dropped by at the audio store again yesterday and auditioned the Aracraft Tedius AL 100ND, Focus 160 and Totem The One. I have already auditioned The One the other day but I just want to compare it again with the Focus 160. I was impressed by the Aracraft Tedius. For such a small speaker, it sounded beautiful with wide, deep soundstage and impressive smooth mid and treble. It sounded slightly better than Totem The One in term of mid and treble. Totem The One has more extended bass. On the other hand, the Focus 160 doesn’t sound as good as the other two speakers. I would say Aracraft Tedius is equals/slightly better than Totem The One and both of these speakers is better than Focus 160. Below is the setup in the store.

LP/Vinyl -> big preamp -> big tubes amp -> fancy speaker cable -> Aracraft Tedius / Focus 160 / Totem The One
 

At the end of the audition, I bought the demo unit Totem The One with discounted price and full warranty. I took it back home with a loaned (my silver color Creek Evo 2 is still on delivery) Rega Brior R integrated amp and set it up on my living room (size 12x21x9 feet). I place them on a solid wood side table, about 7 feet apart and 1 foot from the back wall and no toe in. It sounded almost as good when I auditioned it in the store. My wife was impressed and loved the sound coming out from these speakers. On some recording, the sound stage goes very wide and the speakers magically disappeared. Amazing. Then I moved them to my other small room (12x12x9 feet) and placed them on my desk about 3 feet apart and half foot from the back wall. They sounded quite good but does not sound as spacious/good as when they in the living room. They need bigger space and placed further apart in order to shine. For now, they will stay on my desk but I have a feeling that these speakers will move back to the living room soon. Later, I will try out bi-wiring and single wiring with 4 different combinations on the 4 terminals. Below is my setup.

Laptop (flac) -> AudioQuest Forest USB cable -> Schiit Bifrost DAC -> Better Cables RCA cables -> Rega Brio-R amp -> Monster Cable XP speaker cables -> Totem The One

weitn
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Type of Music
roadster wrote:

The Evolution2 is rated at 85 watts...this should be plenty enough power to push the Totems.

I auditioned both the Evo 2 and 5350 driving the same speakers (85 dB sensitivity). At volumes of around 70 - 90 dB I preferred the Evo 2 (for the type of music I play). At volumes beyond that go for the 5350.

May I know what type of music are you playing? I listened to mostly R&B, pop, soul and dance genres. I think (not sure) more power is required/better for pop and dance genre. However, I have concern that 5350 is too powerful for R&B and soul genre.

jackfish
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I don't believe there is such a thing as too powerful...

...there is always the volume control. The Creek 5350 delivers 200 wpc into 4 Ohms. That is appropriate for the Totem The One. Many reviewers used amps with more power than that.

weitn
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Get Better Amp

Thanks for the reply. Appreciate it. It is good know. Since I am still waiting for the Creek Evo 2 which is taking a long time, I am thinking of changing the order to Creek 5350 or Creek Destiny 2. 5350 and Destiny 2 comes with output for 2 sets of speakers (A+B) which I can use it for bi-wiring with Totem The One which should improve the sound quality. I can afford the Destiny 2 and I think I should get that. I can use it for a long long time without having that feeling of upgrading the amp.

weitn
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Getting the Creek Destiny 2

Below is the excerpt from Stereophile review on Creek Destiny (older model of Destiny 2). Sound awesome to me. Creek Destiny 2 should be at least slightly better than Creek Destiny. I have changed my order to Creek Destiny 2.

"I can't comment on the timbral characteristics of the Creek Destiny because, across the entire frequency spectrum, I heard not a single deviation from neutrality—this is the least colored component I've ever reviewed. Here are its strengths:
• pristine, extended, and detailed high frequencies with no trace of hardness, and a purity and delicacy that reminded me more of the pricier Jeff Rowland Design Group products than of older Creek designs; appearing in my listening notes many times: "Clean! Clean! Clean!"

• an organic rendering of low-level dynamic articulation and subtleties that reminded me of expensive tubed gear, and a powerful sense of high-level dynamic slam that, with the right recordings, could be startling

• superb rendition of inner detail across the frequency spectrum, combined with abilities to render hall sound, image specificity, and ambience that rivaled much more expensive separates"

weitn
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Received the Creek Destiny 2

After a long wait, I have received my Creek Destiny 2 last Friday and it was heavy for such a slim box. I guess the extra weight must be from the transformer, heatsink and casing. Set it up on my desk and connected it bi-wiring with Totem The One. The upper terminals on the speaker are connected to the output A of the amp using Monster XP speaker cable. The lower terminals on the speaker are connected to the output B of the amp also using Monster XP speaker cable. Initial impressions, bass is boomy and mid is recessed as if an equalizer has been set to V shape. Not impressed with the initial sound. No comment on the soundstage as current the amp and speakers are placed on top of my desk and the speakers are only 3 feet apart. I will give it 1 to 2 weeks of proper burn in before listening to it again. I have it running about 10 hours daily on low to medium volume. I’ll move them to my living room this weekend and have a listen again. Not sure whether the Monster XP cable affected the sound or not but I’ll upgrade to a better cable in the future.

weitn
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After about 90 hours of

After about 90 hours of burning in the Destiny 2, the sound is now much more balanced, neutral, smooth, detailed, dynamic and musical. The bass now is punchy and precise. The treble is extended without any hissing.
 

However, something still not sounded right. Probably the amplifier is so neutral that singer voices sounded thin, bright (lack of warm side). Adele voice sounded thin, bright and unimpressive. Adele sounded much better with my Nissan Sentra’s audio system. Nissan Sentra’s audio system is a very warm system (V shaped sound) but I have adjusted the bass setting to -5 (lowest setting) and treble to -2 to make it sound balance.
 

I’ll continue to let it burn in. Let’s see if there is any sound improvement after 200 hours.

weitn
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After more than 200 hours

After more than 200 hours of break-in, the midrange has opened up and singer voices sounded natural now. I am definitely keeping this amp. What I like most about this amp is the combination of the smoothness, dynamic and musical that makes it very enjoying and satisfying. Overall, the sounds are very details, punchy and precise bass, dynamic, smooth, balance and musical.

I also found out that the bi-wiring to the speakers causes the balance to tilt slightly to the bright side and the extended treble are fatiguing after few hours of listening. I changed the bi-wiring to single wiring connecting the wires to the lower terminals of the speakers and it sounded balance now. The treble is less extended but no longer fatiguing.

weitn
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Photos

Some photos of my system.

Laptop (flac) -> AudioQuest Forest USB cable -> Schiit Bifrost DAC -> Better Cables RCA cables -> Destiny 2 -> Monster Cable XP speaker cables (single-wiring) -> Totem The One speakers.

Placing the system on my small corner-type table definitely does not do justice for the Totem The One speakers. For near field listening, I placed the Totem The One beside the Destiny 2 rather than placing them at the edge of the small table. It sounds better when the speakers are located slightly in front of my ears. For serious listening, I moved the system to the living room placing the Totem 8 feet apart.
Sometimes I connect my iPhone directly to the system for background music listening. iPhone -> Fiio L3 LOD cable -> Radio Shack Gold-Plated Inline 1/8" Mini-Jack Coupler -> Mediabridge 3.5mm Male To 2 RCA Stereo Audio Cable -> Aux 2 inputs of Destiny 2. Sounds quality wise - definitely not as good (significantly) compared to when I played music from my laptop. Too many connector/adapter/cable in between the iPhone and the Destiny 2. To increase the sound quality, I could replace the L3 cable, Radio Shack coupler and Mediabridge cable with a single high quality LOD to RCA cable. However, I will be eligible to upgrade to iPhone 5 soon. The iPhone 5 is using the new Lightning connector and an external DAC adapter is required to convert the digital sound to analog. Will see if there is any other better solution/cable available when I upgrade.

I used either my laptop (online iHeart Radio) or iPhone (iHeart Radio App) for radio solution. There is no need for another separate FM tuner box.

Totem The One with the speaker grill off.

 

weitn
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Kimber Kable 8TC

Finally after a lot of research, I have replaced the Monster Cable XP speaker cables with a pair of 10 feet Kimber Kable 8TC bi-wiring with PM25 spades. On the speaker end for both cables, I ordered a custom bi-wiring. 3 conductors are connected to a PM25 and 5 conductors are connected to a PM25. The PM25 with the 3 conductors will connected to my upper speaker terminals (treble) and the PM25 with the 5 conductors will be connected to the lower speaker terminals (mid and bass).

Kimber Kable 8TC is listed in the Stereophile Recommended Component for 2012. The Absolute Sound magazine rated Kimber Kable 8TC as the best cable in ’08. Hi-Fi Choice awarded the “Editor Choice” award to 8TC in '03. It also has many good comments at Audiogon’s forum. I guess I could not go wrong with Kimber 8TC. I emailed Kimber Kable for advice on which cable should I get, giving them the information of my speakers and the amplifier. Below is the excerpt of the email which is helpful.

“Thank you very much for your email. For your system as you described below, we have to suggestions. Either the VS series speaker cable or the TC series. The VS tends to be a bit on the smoother side, giving it a bit more of a warm perception, where the TC is extremely accurate. Both come in the three sizes being 4, 8, 12. You can also make any of them into a bi-wire cable. Our top suggestion would be a 12TC configured for internal bi-wire. If you are really worried about your system being bright, go with the 12TC. (new product that hasn't been updated on our website, but we make it and sell it)

An 8VS or 8TC would also be perfectly suitable and sound awesome. 12TC and VS may be slightly overkill, but if you ever switch to a larger speaker, you'll never have to worry about changing cables. Any of these options can easily be re-terminated if you decide to later go with singe runs rather than bi-wire.”

The cable comes with the PM25 spades (1/4”) on the amplified end which is a mistake (my mistake). The PM25 spades could not fit into the terminals on the Destiny 2 amplifier. The PM25 is too small, probably the bigger PM33 spades will fit. I then send another email to the seller and got reply that it will cost about $40 (not including the price for connectors and might not include shipping cost) to get the cable re-terminate again. Wow. It is not cheap just to get the cable re-terminate. I decided not to send it back for re-termination because I don’t even know whether I would like the bi-wiring setup or not. If I ended up going with single-wiring, I have send it back for re-termination again. I guess I could even re-terminate the cable myself. So I widen up the PM25 spades slightly using a set of pliers. The PM25 spade (made of ultra-pure copper) is quite soft that it is easily widen up.

After break-in more than 200 hours, the Kimber 8TC is definitely a significant upgrade from Monster XP. Midrange opened up even more. Female voices sounded even sweeter. There are more dynamics and details with bigger and wider soundstage. It also sounded airy and hifi. It seems like the cable just let everything which should pass through, pass through.

At the end, I ended up with single-wiring. It sounded balance with single-wiring. I had the similar issue when I was using the Monster XP cable in bi-wiring setup. With Monster XP bi-wiring, the balance tilt to the bright side and the extended treble are fatiguing after few hours of listening. With 8TC bi-wiring, the balance tilt to the bright side too but far less fatiguing.

I read (audiogon forum) about sound improvement when using Kimber Select Jumper cable with single-wiring. In my case, I believe I don’t need the jumper cable as Totem The One speaker comes with high quality Signature WBT-0730.12 Platinum finish terminals with the WBT-0725Ag silver Power Bridge.

jackfish
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Looks very nice!

Congratulations!

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aracraft tedius speakers

hello im from hawaii also,

i am new to hi fi audio...i started off with purchasing the audio engine a5+ from tom at audio lab...since then i have been lurking around his shop listening to the different speakers he has...i also was blown away with the aracraft speakers, and Tom even said that those little guys could very well be the best overall speaker that he has heard or had in his shop to date....so i went online to do some research on them and found a pair on audiogon.com.....these speakers i think sell for $3500 but the guy on audiogon was selling a brand new pair in a factory sealed box for $1900, i offered him $1500 plus shipping and he accepted.....

my set-up consist of:

cambridge azur 551r - av/receiver

cambridge azur 751bd blu ray player

aracraft tedius al100nd

audioengine s8 sub

I am really impressed with these speakers and was wondering why you chose the totem speakers over the aracraft?

I also find that the low end does not have much weight to them compared to some of the others he had in the shop, but at the same time the speakers have a really balanced sound..I listen to music with just the aracraft and kick in the sub when watching movies...

I am looking at upgrading my sub....any recommendations? Tom from audio lab said that he was having a hard time recommending a sub that would do these speakers justice....

Have you been to his store recently? I bought the cambridge av/receiver on his recommendation....he swears by this receiver saying that he would put it up against his $30,000 system. I find that interesting being that the cambridge only puts out 90w per channel in stereo, and 60w per channel into 7.1 system..

aloha,

zfreiman
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Playback

Just curious, what program are you using for music playback on your lab top?

mail4u
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Speaker stands

Speaker stands make a world of difference as to how a speaker presents.  IMHO get them off the table and do justice to them.

 

weitn
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Sorry for the late reply. I

Sorry for the late reply. I got swayed off and ventured into photography for a while. My job required me to travel from time to time. Thus, it is a second nature to pick up photography. Last December during Christmas sales, I finally upgraded my camera a Nikon full frame DSLR and have been busy with photography.

As for your question, "why you chose the totem speakers over the aracraft?". Although the Aracraft sounded slightly better than Totem The One, Totem has more extended bass. Totem frequency response can go down slight below 50Hz. The ARACRAFT can go down to 60Hz. The extended bass is important to me cause I listened to R&B, pop, soul and dance genres most of the time. Those genres always have beats or drums in the recordings. I was trying to avoid using a sub. So far, I don't feel the need to add a sub.

I don't use any sub. Thus, I can't recommend any good sub. You can refer to the Stereophile 2012 Recommended Components. Depending on your the budget, you can't go wrong with any sub recommended there.

http://www.stereophile.com/content/2012-recommended-components-subwoofers

I have not been to his store since end of last year. The last time I was there, Tom let me audition that cambridge av. I think it is good amp. The output watts is not so important. You will only need a big output watts amp if your room is big. I think the most important is the sound quality that the amp output. I am currently using a Creek Destiny 2 amp which has an output of more 180 watts (for 4 ohm). It was too powerful when placed in my small room (12x12x9 feet) (on my small corner desk). The dynamics are just too powerful even though I was listening from 6 feets away. The powerful dynamics are tiring for long hours listening. What I did was, I set the master volume output on my laptop to 10% and set the volume output on the music player application to 10%. The lower volume output actually lower down the dynamics and it sounded as if it is coming out from 50 or 75 watts amp.

weitn
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iTunes, foobar and Winamp

I use iTunes, foobar and Winamp player. I use iTunes for alac. I use foobar and winamp for flac. You can read more about flac players here.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/593752/best-flac-player-for-pc

weitn
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Thanks for the advice,

Thanks for the advice, mail4u. For now I don't have a dedicated room for musics and I have kids in house. The speakers are safer on the table. Someday, they will definitely have their justice.

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