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deathrage
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New guy questions

Hello people, im new to the forum.
Just so we dont get off on the wrong foot here a quick synopsis of how i got here.
I love music and was always fine with low end equipment untill a few years ago when i drunk ordered a pair of Klipsch custom 3 headphones. At first i thought i made a mistake but after i got them and couldnt return them, i grew to realy enjoy them. Fast forward to 2 weeks ago, my headphones got busted and on the same day my dad's early chrismas gift arives in the mail.....a whole new high end yamaha stereo system composed of:

Yamaha RX-A3000
Yamaha NS-C700
Yamaha NS-SW700
2x Yamaha NS-F700
4x Yamaha NS-B700

Now that is all out of the way, here are a couple questions from the new guy

1. I know that Yamaha is a "good" brand, but not the best. What can i do to make this system better without replacing any of the equipment?
2. I want to make my portable audio experiece better, what headphones and equipement would you sugest for a listener of clasic rock all the way up to heavy metal (more emphasis on the metal)?

deathrage
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I also wouldnt mind a

I also wouldnt mind a sugestion on speaker wire, as of right now i only know that 16 guage wire would work best (from what im told by a friend) and that cheep 5 dollar roll of cable would severely limit my system.

JIMV
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I have no idea of your

I have no idea of your budget, but...if you go the cables route, stick to one brand...I would also not spend more than $100 bucks a set with the gear you have. These folk have some great deals on used cable

http://www.usedcable.com/category.aspx?mid=6548

Kimber is reliable..

Next, add an outboard DAC...low bucks, try a V-Dac...Audio Advisor sells it at a good price ($299)

Finally, try a good contact cleaner like this

http://store.caig.com/s.nl/it.A/id.1538/.f?sc=2&category=292

Doing that you can make a pretty big sound improvement for under $500...especially the V-DAC

When you get around to replacing any gear, IMHO the weak point in your setup would be speakers.

deathrage
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Well when it comes to things

Well when it comes to things im passionate about i try not to limit my budget, ill set up a goal and save up for it....as long as it is within reason, spending 1k on cables would not not be within reason.

And how weak are my speakers in your opinion? When i got them, i did some research and they get pretty decent reviews.

deathrage
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I just got done looking at

I just got done looking at the V-DAC you recomended and it sounds great, the only qualm i have with it is that it looks like it is only used for one input from what i understood (sorry im still trying to get my bearings with all of this new equipment that i have never heard of), Is there anything similar that will work for everything i got, xbox, ps3, ipod exc...also one that is dual voltage (accepts 120v and 220v) would be nice since i am currently stationed in Germany (military) and dont want to have to hook up my equipment to a transformer.

JIMV
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There is nothing 'wrong' with

There is nothing 'wrong' with the speaker selection...I have never liked the house sound is all. They look like quality and I wish I could afford them. What are you using as a source?

JIMV
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Take a look at the Cambridge

Take a look at the Cambridge Audio Dac Magic

http://www.amazon.com/Cambridge-Audio-DacMagic-Digital-Converter/dp/B001...

There is something new (maybe a year or so old) for GREATLY improving the sound of an iPOD in a serious audio system, the Wadio iTransport 170 or 171...This thing serves as a charger and, more importantly, strips the actual digital signal from the iPOD (bypassing the iPODs poor DAC)and letting you route that signal to a separate DAC like the Dac Magic. Even a MP3 file from an iPOD sounds a LOT better and a lossless file like a WAV file sounds as good or better than the CD.

If you can afford a more serious DAC, look at Benchmark's DAC1 at around $1000...

I still believe the outboard DAC will make the biggest improvement in your system.

deathrage
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To be honest, my two main

To be honest, my two main sources would be my ipod and PS3 (for bluray purposes) I dont have a quality cd player nor do i have any quality CD's or anything to go with it, I have been "gathering" music and using my ipod for years and dropped the whole cd thing a long time ago. But now that i have "seen the light" so to speak, ill probobly start gathering some of my favorit albums.

deathrage
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Please forgive my

Please forgive my incompitence since it may seem like i am asking the same question over and over again. I do understand how the DAC works, i personaly work with long haul network equipment that uses that same concept to transmit data long distances. What i do not understand is after looking at the back of the benchmark DAC1 that you recomended (thanks by the way) how a device that seems to only output 2 chanels is going to help my whole system of 7 speakers and 1 woofer. Am i misunderstanding how the DAC is wired into the system?

JIMV
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How the DAC will help

In all of your sources, the iPOD and the gaming system, there is a digital to analogue converter. This is the (IMHO) device that has the biggest impact on all things digital. The digital signal on that CD or iPOD file is converted from a stream of ones and zero's into a signal your very nice receiver can use. Unless I am mistaken, the receiver also has a built in DAC...The dirty truth is that the DAC in most CD players and all iPODS is a lot less than state of the art, so what you have is front end, the iPOD, capable of holding files as detailed and musical as a CD, converting that file to an inferior (as in way less than the best) analogue signal which is fed to your receiver, which is also capable of playing far better sounding music.

What a DAC like the DAC Magic does is bypass the very modest DAC in the iPOD or gaming device. That new DAC now decodes the digital signal much more musically than the one in the device bypassed.

This is how it all ties together...The digital source, say the iPOD, sits in a Wadia iTransport which rips a digital stream from the iPOD and routes that signal to the new outboard DAC. That new DAC translates the digital signal into a musical analogue one and routes that to your receiver via analogue cables. Once in the receiver, the receiver directs the music to all the speakers and the subwoofer.

That is why the number of inputs on the new DAC is only important when you consider how many digital front ends you want to play with. If you use an iPOD and a gaming console as your sources, you only need a DAC that can accept two inputs as it will take the one you select and are using and will route is as music to the receiver who does all the hard work of moving the music to all those speakers.

Something else you might consider before you invest the big bucks...Buy a Wadia iTransport (under $350) and route the digital signal from that to your receivers digital input. That will let the DAC in the receiver convert digital to music. I suspect the DAC in the receiver is better than the one in either the gaming box or the iPOD (though that is not a guarantee. The one in my 3 year old receiver is no where near as good as the one in my very old outboard DAC)...You might be surprised how much better that iPOD sounds this way. The second biggest thing that will change the quality of the music in your setup is to record all future iPOD or PC files as lossless FLAC or WAV files. 99% of iPOD files are MP3 and as such, will sound a lot less 'musical' than a CD of the same music played through about anything.

greenelec
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Answers

To your first question I would advise you use either 14ga. or 12ga. speaker wiring. 16ga is still too small in my opinion. I have seen rolls of larger gauge speaker wire at Home Depot. You could also check out your local Audio, Home Theater dealer.

As to your second question, look at www.head-fi.org

That receiver you have seems to have every thing you could want. I think you would need to change that piece of equipment before you would realize any improvement from a different DAC. Just use the one that is built in.

deathrage
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Thanks for the lesson. Its

Thanks for the lesson. Its actualy quite easy to understand since the same concept applies when you are transmitting data long distances. You take the data which is currently in 1s and 0s and you turn it into an analog wave form for long transmissions since analog signals are less suseptible to picking up errors in such long transmisions, aqnd then is decoded at the end, this is called "modulation/demodulation" its acutaly what your internet modom does, but i deal with it on a much much larger scale stuff closer to 120gigs a second on a fiberoptic line (same concept as modulation execpt you are doing it with light instead of electrical signals)

deathrage
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Are you familiar with the

Are you familiar with the wiring on such a reciever? Im curious to if the IPOD dock that come with it is wired into the DAC, or if i should still go the Itransport rout and run it that way.

JIMV
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very good question...a few,

very good question...a few, very few receivers do exactly that...Teac makes two. I have no idea is yours does but the owners manual should tell you...I would bet, however, that it is simply an analogue input.

I just today got a catalogue from Music Direct offering a iTransport demo for $329...

deathrage
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Well upon your sugestions,

Well upon your sugestions, ill probobly get the Itransport and the Benchmark DAC1, and wire that to the reciever. Ill eventualy get rid of my Ipod as my main source once i accumulate some of my favorit albums and get a good CD player. Now i still need to make a decision as to what speaker wire i want to get, i was looking at audiquest, but im still up in the air about it.

JIMV
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With as many speakers as you

With as many speakers as you have, I would recommend simple heavy gage zip cord to start and use your money to buy decent interconnect and digital cables...

Reading the advertising for your receiver, it appears you have a wired iPOD dock model YDS-12

[img]http://data.yamaha.jp/sdb/local/products/images/16915/12073/16915_12001_...

The dock is separate but connected to the receiver with a single wire...this is an analogue dock, not digital so the Wadia option is a good one. The specs do list a built in DAC but are vague on the details making me think either a Dac Magic or better separate DAC will be much more musical.

deathrage
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what type of interconnects

what type of interconnects would you recomend? And brand?

drjoe00703
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Help !

Hi I need some help.
I currently own a Bose Acoustimass 15 (Yes I know everyone hates Bose) and would like to have 7.1 surround.
I purchased a Pioneer Elite SC-25. I want to purchase Dyneaudio Focus 104 and want to place them as my two center speakers and use my existing Bose as the remainder for the surround. This way if I want to listen to music the Dyneaudio will act as my stereo speakers.
Any help would be appreciated.
Thank You

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Now I am going to speak

Now I am going to speak sacrilege...I DO hear differences in my system when I use different interconnects. One of the differences in in the high end. My longest lasting system was tube based so I tended to lean toward cables that open up my high end. My last experience with Yamaha gear was the opposite. I found Yamaha gear to perhaps emphasize the highs as a tubed system emphasizes the mid range (all in my opinion and on the gear I have listed to). Avoiding cable coloration is often a matter of spending a LOT of money. So, I am going to tell you what I have had luck with at reasonable cost that I think might work well for you.

Kimber PBJ or Hero interconnects are a very good buy. They are very good in the midrange but do not seem to get in the way of the highs or lows. PBJ runs around $100 a set new. If you like the sound, I would stick with the brand for digital cables as well. Again, try the Cable Companies used cable store. One thing about cables is that they sound better with time so used is often a good idea unless you are going after the cutting edge.

I would replace the stock power cord for the receiver with a Shunyata Venom 3 ($95)...I would also do it as the last tweak as the effect, in my gear of power cable changes is subtle.

Speaker cable Kimber 8TC, cost by the length and termination.

I believe the changes/improvements that would make the biggest difference in your system for music would be the outboard DAC/iTransport combo, followed by the use of better interconnects, then speaker cable and then a power cable.

For info, I am running Transparet cables in my audio system. Those cables cost 3-5 times the Kimber price. and I am using basic PS audio power cables. The power cable I recommend for you is more expensive than any I own but you only need one.

A final note...all your gear will take time to burn in and sound its best, including the cables. Give the system a few moths of normal play before you rate its sound...

JIMV
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More sacrilege...My

More sacrilege...My experience with Bose is that they like a LOT of volume before they sound right. They are weak in low volume near field ability, which is how I listen.

C_Hoefer
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DAC for stereo only - not sure it's worth it

Hi there,

you've gotten some good advice here, but I'm not sure your question about the number of DAC channels has been answered properly. DACs like the DAC Magic or Benchmark are strictly stereo, that's why they only have two output channels! So, they won't be usable with your multi-channel (DVD or Blu-Ray) stuff. However, any CDs you play, or your iPod (if you get the Wadia digital dock mentioned, or the Onkyo equivalent which is half the price), can be put through an external DAC to good effect.

But I'm not sure the V-Dac or DAC Magic will be *that much* better than the built-in DAC in your Yamaha, which is after all a relatively expensive piece of kit for an AV-receiver, and which Yamaha claims has "high quality Burr-Brown DACs". I would suggest starting by just upgrading your cables, getting the contact cleaner recommended by JIMV, and making sure you send everything you can to the RX-A3000 in digital form.

The PS3 has digital output (Toslink I believe), so that's easy. Your digital files are trickier. The cheapest thing to try is to hook your computer directly to the RX-A3000 (if it has digital out, as Macs mostly do), or copy music onto a USB flash drive, and stick that into the Yamaha. (I noticed it's ready to read music files - WAV, MP3 or WMV only). See how much better it sounds than using the iPod's analog output - bet you'll be surprised! Next possibility is Yamaha's wireless digital transmitter accessory (YID-W10 - $150) - sends lossless digital from the iPod in your hand to a receiver unit that connects to the RX-A3000. Looks worth investigating. Finally, for a bit more (Onkyo) or quite a bit more (Wadia) you can get a digital dock that charges your iPod while extracting the bits from it - and, again, send those bits to one of the RX-A3000's digital inputs.

Good luck, enjoy the music!

CH

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There is an Onkyo version of

There is an Onkyo version of the iTransport? Do you have any details??

JIMV
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Quote:Yamaha claims has "high
Quote:

Yamaha claims has "high quality Burr-Brown DACs".

All manufacturers claim something like that, but 'how high quality' and how old a design?

I agree simply buying a transport and trying the DAC in th receiver, but I do not have a lot of faith in a DAC in a machine designed to do multi channel video well but in which 2 channel music is an afterthought.

deathrage
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Good stuff

There is some great info flying around and aprecieate all of it, sadly i cant get hands on with anything to see how it will work since i was sent TDY just a few days ago and never even had the chance to wire everything up and give it a test run.

Now to clarify i have never done the "high end" stereo thing in the past, to be honest this system is replacing an 3 year old sony theater in a box. But now that i have the capability to do so much better i figured id do it the right way.

Also i understand that this site is geared more toward the "sound" aspect of a stereo setup, but if anyone has a legitimate opinion as to the HDMI cable argument and if more expensive cables make a difference id apreciate an input/ sugestion.

deathrage
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ok more on speaker cables

alight so i am looking at those Kimber kables 8tc speaker cable and they sound amazing, but they do seem a bit...pricy. I know you get what you pay for, but do you know of any site that sells custom lenghts for cheeper, like closer to $20 or less per foot? Remember at some point if i want to do everything right i have 7 speakers to connect, and i need to make sure i have enough length that i dont have to buy a new cable when i move. Unless you think unsing a pair of kimber cables for just the fronts, and then some "decent" cable to the sourounds would suffice. Also can you recomend any other companys, maybe ones that offer a military discount?

tomjtx
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Blue Jeans Cables

Blue Jeans Cables make excellent cable at a fair price (cheap compared to other cos.)

Be aware that there are some audiophiles that spend 30,000.00 on speakers and buy Blue Jeans Cables.

IOW, cables are controversial. Spend as little on them as possible and put the money you save into more important things, like music :-)

Of course, there are people that would disagree with me :-)

C_Hoefer
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Oops - Onkyo dock not officially sold in U.S.

JIMV: My bad - I live in Europe, and usually what's available to us here is a proper subset of what is available in America - but not this time. The Onkyo ND-S1 (http://www.eu.onkyo.com/products/ND-S1.html) costs €159, whereas the Wadia costs €370, here in Spain at least. If you're adventurous you could try snagging one on the grey market (e.g. ebay); or hope that Onkyo soon sells this or an equivalent model in N. America. Although, come to think of it, deathrage (the OP) is in Germany, and would have no trouble getting himself the Onkyo, with full warranty.

Wadia's monopoly surely is coming to an end . . . already some new Maranz AV receivers (e.g. NR-1601) have a built-in USB ability to grab digital from the iPod. Too bad the OP's Yamaha doesn't.

CH

JIMV
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Teac also has a few machines

Teac also has a few machines that connect a digital signal...Wadia has a new transport out, the 171 but it is a couple of hundred more...

I cannot wait for a wireless device that does the same thing.

As to inexpensive speaker cables..some companies sell speaker cable by the roll.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?Edp...

deathrage
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PERFECT!

Those blue jeans cable's look great! Look like great performance for a fraction of the cost. Thanks for the sweet hookup! My wallet can breath a sigh of relief. I think i will run 12awg for all my speakers, my longest run may be about 35ft at most if i want to make things look nice.....man now that i know i can afford good speaker cable for everything i got i am antsy to get home and order this stuff to hook everything up.

deathrage
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which one

So im seriously interested in getting the wadia Itransport, but i dont know which one to get, being a "man" of course i want all the bells and whistles and what the 171 model, but its $200+ more than the 170. Do you see any reason to why i should spend the extra dough to get the 171?

Also does the Benchmark DAC1 accept more than one source for an input? I ask becuase when i eventualy go out and buy a nice CD player i want to run it through a DAC and if the Benchmark doesnt accept multiple inputs then i might want to find another that has good performance that accepts at least 2 inputs.

JIMV
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The Benchmark takes an RCA

The Benchmark takes an RCA input and a Toslink input (the DAC1)...

deathrage
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to make sure

Are you talking about the benchmark DAC1 HDR?

JIMV
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That does a lot you do not

That does a lot you do not need to do, IMHO. The straight DAC1 at $995 should provide all the capabilities you can use unless you are doing more with music than you have let on. Of course, take a look at what the HDR adds to the mix and ask yourself if you plan to go that way.

deathrage
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oops

deleted comment

deathrage
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what id like

list of what i "know" i want with what little knowledge i have.

1.) Performace
2.) Remote
3.) Accepts multiple inputs and can switch between them

JIMV
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The HDR has a remote but it

The HDR has a remote but it is designed as a preamp as well, something you do not need...

Perhaps you should consider a Dac Magic...

deathrage
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any other sugestions?

I am reading some reviews on the DAC magic, and even though it sounds like a bargain, the reviews that im reading are leaving a little bit to be desired. I do like the fact that it accepts 3 different dinputs and has agreat price, i dont like the fact that it doenst have a remote. I have a harmony 1100 remote that i use foreverything, and although its not a deal breaker if it doesnt have a remote, i would like some other recomendations for me to read up on, i was reading up on the wadia 151, but it does the same thing as the benchmark DAC1 HDR by being a pre amp.

JIMV
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Try this...a first rate DAC,

Try this...a first rate DAC, lots of inputs, an OPTIONAL remote..

http://www.bryston.com/bda1_m.html

BUT, much more expensive and I am doubtful it sounds any better than the Benchmark at $995.

This is one of the best 'affordable' DAC's out there..

But think about it..Your system is designed for video, not music, and designed to do video very well indeed. You are sounding like you want a music specific component that can produce results far beyond the rest of your system. I still believe a DAC magic or, say a PS Audio DAC III ($750 but no remote) would let you hear music through your system about as well as the rest of your system can play. Now think you can buy either for 1/3 the price or less of a Bryston or similar DAC.

I would love to own a Bryston, but I would know I would have to spend thousands to make the rest of my system perform so as to realize the capabilities of the Bryston.

Other folk might disagree...If anyone knows of other DAC's with lots of inputs and a remote, please chip in.

deathrage
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here we go

i understand the my system can do video very well, but i also would like it to music very well. The thing that made me realize just how much quality components matter in a system was listening to dream theaters "change of seasons" on a quality system right before i went TDY. My goal is to build a system that does everything "well". Maybe i sound spoiled i dont know, maybe its the military mentality of when you do something you do it right or not at all.

also i think you may have missed a digit in the price of the Bryton BDA-1, its closer to $2,150 at audio advisor and for some reason the romote is $375.

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Why DAC remote?

deathrage,

why does the DAC need to be remote controllable? All the DAC needs to do is convert to analog - no volume, balance, tone or anything else. So the only use for a DAC remote is to switch inputs. How often are you going to switch from listening to CD to some other digital input to your DAC? Once an hour or less? Not worth it to compromise sound quality or pay big bucks for remote control of input, I would say!

By the way, once everything is hooked up, tell us how it sounds :-)

CH

JIMV
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Bryston DAC
deathrage wrote:

i understand the my system can do video very well, but i also would like it to music very well. The thing that made me realize just how much quality components matter in a system was listening to dream theaters "change of seasons" on a quality system right before i went TDY. My goal is to build a system that does everything "well". Maybe i sound spoiled i dont know, maybe its the military mentality of when you do something you do it right or not at all.

also i think you may have missed a digit in the price of the Bryton BDA-1, its closer to $2,150 at audio advisor and for some reason the romote is $375.

AHHHH! You are right...I could never type. I did not wish to discourage you from the Bryston. I wish I could afford one. It would be the best audio component in your system by far (or in mine)

And yes, please tell us how it sounds...that is the biggest weakness of this forum. Folk come with questions or suggestions but we almost never hear how everything turned out.

deathrage
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you have a point

Thant is the exact thing that i was mulling over while getting ready for bed. Since it just needs to be an outboard DAC then the ability for a remote realy isnt as important as i was making it out to be. That being said, i think the DAC magic will perform just fine for the quality of system that i have. And of course ill let everyone know how it sounds when i get everything hooked up and broken in a little.

Here is another question, how does a good CD player help with better sound? Doesnt it take the digital data from the disk and output it as digital to something like a Reciever or an outboard DAC? I see all these CD playes from $300 bucks to at least $1300 (thats when i stoped looking).

JIMV
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Any decent CD player will

Any decent CD player will work well with an outboard DAC...You are bypassing the DAC in the CD player anyway...so..the money you save on the CD would pay for a decent DAC like a Dac Magic.

deathrage
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sweet

sweet maybe ill steal my dads old out of use 5 disk CD changer, i think it may be a sony or a yamaha...i dont know, i just know he has it.

deathrage
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looking a little bit harder

well i looked a little bit harder at the benchmark DAC1 and saw that it can accept up to 3 different inputs, and that it has a nice little toggle switch on the front of the unit. I just have to use a toslink cable when it comes to my CD player.

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Joined: May 31 2011 - 9:51pm
Pulled out over 1K of Tara

Pulled out over 1K of Tara Labs Pandora S Time and Space for Blue jeans single ended interconnect after using the balanced cables on my Professional equipment (Tube Mic)

Best change I have made on my always progressing reference system since 1993. This is my opinion and I stick by it. BlueJeans cables are the Bomb

 

Sat7

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