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James1195's picture
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: Feb 8 2021 - 1:39am
Upgrading my beginner setup

Dear all,
I started delving into the audiophile world about a year ago, first with headphones, and now with speakers.

I initially bought an old pair of technics (SB-X300) and a topping MX3 for amplification. I feel like it was a nice intro, but with a slightly larger budget, I've since upgraded. My current setup is as follows:

Topping E30 Dac -> Emotiva BasX 300 -> Genesis Subwoofer (high level in) -> KEF LS50 (high level out)

I've also tried plugging in my Schiit Asgard 2 in between the DAC and the Power Amplifier. It makes the signal stronger, and perhaps a tiny bit more crisp, but I can't dicern any significant difference in sound quality.

I would like to gradually upgrade each discrete component. I curently stream either through chromecast on my TV (Optical), or on my destop (USB). I have my eyes on the following components:

Network Streamer:
Cambridge Audio CXN v2 (1076$)
Bluesound Node 2i (630$)

Schiit Bifrost (767$)
Topping D90 (940$)

Schiit Freya+ (1118$)

Schiit Vidar (950$)
Schiit Aegir (1050$)

Integrated Amplifiers
Naim NAIT XS 2 Integrated Amplifier (1500$)
Schiit Ragnarok (1850$)

I listed the landed price I would pay in my country (Switzerland) to simplify any comparison between components.
Getting a streamer would make my setup much more comfortable, but I'm concerned it wouldn't add much value in terms of ugrading the sound. The Cambridge Audio I expect to have a better DAC than the bluesound node, given the pricetag, else I don't see the true value of the device, since I could spend the extra money on an external DAC if I get the bluesound.

My understanding is that upgrading my amplifier would make the biggest difference, but to me it's the least exciting upgrade in terms of gear.

I would greatly appreciate the following recommendations:
-What would you buy first, if anything, in my shoes to:
-Maximize the sound quality
-Increase convenience
-The KEF, at 85db, are fundamentally inefficient, and I worry that amplifiers running under 100 watts rms will feel underpowered.
-Is the Vidar a significant upgrade on the BasX 300?
-Would running the Aegir alone for a year be enough power, until I can afford a second one?
-Would you instead opt for a more feature rich solution and get the Naim or the Ragnarok?

I realise my post is very lenghty and contains multiple questions, so I'd like to thank you for taking the time to just read it, and would greatly appreciate any kind of information.

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