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cutpurse
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Help flesh out my first system, please!

Hello,

I'm relatively new to this--I've been trying to absorb as much as possible for the last few weeks, but I'm sure that getting some expert advice would really help. Origionally I wanted to build a system that I could use as a home theater system and listen to music through... but after some quick research I felt that if I really care about audio quality, then I should scrap the HT aspect and focus on a nice little audio system.

What I'm thinking is:

A pair of bookshelf speakers--with the Dynaudio Excite X12s standing out (I origionally had been looking at the PSB Imagine Bs)

An integrated amp--after looking at the rec components here on stereophile I liked the Exposure 2010S (although when I looked, it seems that Exposure has moved on to the 2010S2--I haven't really found something comparing the 2010s to the S2... any info on this would be most welcome!)

I will probably be playing most of my music through my computer / digital storage, so I'm guessing I should get a DAC... but I'm really not sure about how to match a DAC to an AMP/speakers...

My room is about 12x20 and my budget is $2-3Kish (its somewhat fungable, with my fiancee prefering the low end, but if it's going to make a marked difference then I could go towards the high end--I'm also aware that the X12's and the 2010S/S2 already are well into this range...

Basically, I would love any insight into 1) Am I going in the right direction, or am I really overlooking some obvious choices and 2) I really am not as clear on the DACs...

Finally, I'm in the Washington DC metro Area and I will certainly be trying to audition whatever I can once I have an ideal about a set up/a few different set ups to look at.

Thank you all in advance for the time and thoughts!

jackfish
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Sounds like a good start to me.

Matching a DAC to system might have more to do with what computer you have than the amp and speakers.

You gotta go see these guys: http://www.unitedhomeproducts.com/

cutpurse
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Do you mean in terms of the

Do you mean in terms of the outputs or the operating sys/hardware capabilities?

For outputs I have usb, headphone jack, display port (not hdmi), vga, and an express card slot...

Also, thanks for the link, I'll check these guys out!

jackfish
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USB DAC it is then, there's a bunch of good ones.

What part of your budget is left for a USB DAC?

I hope your digital music library is lossless of at least 16-bit, 44.1 kHz. Check out ASIO/WASAPI for bitperfect playback in WIndows.

cutpurse
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Well... w/ speakers/amp

Well... w/ speakers/amp above, it would be in the $5-600 range... which is part of my unsaid question--For that amount, will I be seriously bottlenecking the amp/speakers, i.e. I should reallocate so that I spend more on the DAC and less on the speakers/amp? Also, any recomendations for DACs?

I'll look into those, thanks again!

commsysman
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AMPLIFIER

For an amplifier, I suggest that you look at the Music Hall A70.2, which Music Direct is selling for $1499. IMO that is the best-sounding amp you can get for under $2000, although the Musical Fidelity M3i is also excellent for the same price.

Actually, the Music Hall A15.2 is also a very good amplifier; the best for under $1000 in my opinion, and Music Direct has it down to $499 right now, which is a steal.

I don't care much for the sound quality of current Exposure models.

The Dynaudio Excite X12 speakers are excellent, but a little bit lacking in the bass.

My first choice, if no subwoofer is going to be used, would be the Monitor Audio Silver RX-2 speakers, which have an 8-inch bass driver and go down to 40 Hz. Those are excellent-sounding speakers, and go for around $1000.

The Cambridge Audio DAC-Magic and DAC-Magic Plus is where I would look for the DAC.

 

 

 

 

cutpurse wrote:

Well... w/ speakers/amp above, it would be in the $5-600 range... which is part of my unsaid question--For that amount, will I be seriously bottlenecking the amp/speakers, i.e. I should reallocate so that I spend more on the DAC and less on the speakers/amp? Also, any recomendations for DACs?

I'll look into those, thanks again!

cutpurse
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First, sorry about the (erroneous) reply

Secondly,

Thanks for pointing out the Music Hall--I'll definitely take a look at those. Re: the DAC, in my recent looking, I've seen a lot of good things about the Schiit Bifrost--can you or anyone speak to that?

Thanks!

jackfish
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I just happen to live with the Schiit Bifrost USB DAC and

have been very happy with it. Here is my system:

13.3" MacBook Air, 4GB RAM, 256GB SSD, iTunes/BitPerfect
MacBook Air SuperDrive
Western Digital My Book Essential 2TB USB HD
Schiit Bifrost USB DAC
Emotiva USP-1, ERC-1 and two UPA-1s
Pro-Ject Xpression III and AT440MLa
AKAI AT-2600 and Harman Kardon TD4400
Grado SR80i
Magnepan MMG Magnestands
Rythmik Audio F12

I wouldn't shy away from the Dynaudio Excite X12 because they are a little weak in the bass. From my experience they do a good job with most music. I think Bob Reina agrees with me.

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