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Old 14th July 2008, 09:20 PM   #1
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Default Please Critique/Improve My "System"

I possess an extremely modest audio/stereo-only system. I was wondering what I might do to improve my sound quality. I listen to .mp3s encoded at 320 or so, and to CDs. I suspect an outboard "soundcard" like the SoundBlaster Live 24-Bit External Sound Card may improve what I hear, or even a new/used CD or DVD player. My last decent CD player was a Cal Ikon II, and my last DVD player was a throwaway Sony that sounded horrible (when playing CDs).

I enjoy modifying gear, so perhaps replacing some caps in the amp might be a good idea, too.

Any other ideas? Thanks!

Front End: Thinkpad X61 + Memorex 3202-3244 External USB DVD/CD Drive or Pioneer F-90 Tuner
Preamp: TCC TC-754
Power Amp: Sonic Impact Super Amp-T
Loudspeakers: Madisound BK-16 Kit with Fostex FE166E Drivers
Speaker Wire: Magnet Wire
Interconnects: Generic Radio Shack Gold-plated
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Old 15th July 2008, 03:06 PM   #2
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Sheesh! Hopeless, huh?
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Old 15th July 2008, 03:14 PM   #3
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Hi,

First thing I would do is to build a set of speakers with a woofer and a tweeter, not just a midrange. The FE166 can be used as your mid but the easiest and best way to update a system is start with the speakers. Nothing will do more to change the character of a system than a set of speakers. Then all the other mods are up to you.

Cheers.
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Old 15th July 2008, 04:56 PM   #4
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Get a USB DAC. Until you improve your source you'd never even hear other upgrades because computer audio output is generally so poor.

DIY kits and premade units are available.
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Old 15th July 2008, 07:38 PM   #5
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Thanks to the both of you. First I will look into the possibility of a DIY USB DAC, but I'm confused about the comment about my driver being just a midrange--I was under the impression it was an, albeit limited, full-range speaker.
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Old 15th July 2008, 07:49 PM   #6
adason is offline adason  United States
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Cal is being little harsh on FE166E, it is a fullrange....but....as any fullrange, it is a compromise. I would put it on open baffle with good supertweeter on top of the subwoofer....and you got yourself high end speaker you can live with for quite some time. Than you will have to replace the rest of your system to keep up with it.

http://store.hifiauthority.com/olsherkits.html
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Old 15th July 2008, 08:07 PM   #7
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Yes, I was a little harsh.

I agree with everything adason has said. That's precisely what I would do. OB mids are like nothing else.
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Old 15th July 2008, 08:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by AdamThorne
Get a USB DAC.
I think that is a good idea. Source can make a big difference.

Quote:
[i]Until you improve your source you'd never even hear other upgrades [/B]
I strongly disagree. The DAC is a great idea but there is nothing more important than the speakers. Nothing even close.

IMHO of course.
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Old 15th July 2008, 08:30 PM   #9
adason is offline adason  United States
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Quote:
there is nothing more important than the speakers
I double that! It's the speakers which make the sound after all.
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Old 15th July 2008, 09:29 PM   #10
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I dunno.. I've heard big cheap KLHs sound decidedly OK with solid electronics to push 'em around. On the other hand, if the headphone out of your laptop makes computer buzzy noises whenever accessing the HDD and response falls off above 10k and below 80hz then it'll be hard for a fine pair of speakers to sound good.

The weak link is always where to put your effort. In this case, the source.
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