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Old 6th March 2012, 11:30 PM   #1
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Near Falkirk, Scotland.
Default Dac or Dual-Mono Amps?

Hi,

I am currently running a pair of single wired 104/2's with replacement kef hf units. An Audiolab 8000s and a Philips cd723

I am looking to either build a pair of Dual Mono Power Amps to run with the pre power on the 8000s, (think the kefs will handle up to 200w), or.....a DAC to feed from the spdif or I2S from the 723 transport

I had considered the chipamp dual mono amps, Or the dddac 1543 mkII.

On a slightly limited budget just now, would either of these be a good match to my current setup?

Would welcome some advice, or thoughts.
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Old 8th March 2012, 11:53 AM   #2
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Md
My first change is something you did not mention. Sound control. A few hundred worth of DIY can do more for imaging and resolution than all the money in the world in electronics. Of course, after some treatments, you will want the electronics even more!

The 104's were fantastic for their time: 30 years ago. I would go for much newer speakers. A lot more real sound is available as driver technology has progressed and cabinet materials has gotten better. ( MDF over PB) Of course, this is the most expensive option. You say "replacement" HF units. Which ones and what did you do to voice the crossover. Half the sound is the crossover. In my attempts at speaker building, a $50 tweeter properly used will beat a $300 tweeter less optimally used.

Next a DAC. I was surprised how good a buck-50 Chinese DAC was. Better than my top end Rotel and Denon CD's. Not what is possible by a PS, Cambridge, MF etc, but a lot less money.

Lastly amps. I have not heard the Audiolab as we don't get it here. From the WEB site, I would guess it is the least of your problems. I have found every chipamp I have heard to be dead sounding, like a cheap receiver. I have not heard the Rowland. You can do far better on e-bay like a 9xx series Rotel ( personal favorite) or HCA series Parasound, Acrus, Aragon, Adcom etc.

The above is my highly biased personal view. I grantee someone else has different ideas.
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Old 9th March 2012, 12:38 AM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Near Falkirk, Scotland.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrgeek View Post
My first change is something you did not mention. Sound control. A few hundred worth of DIY can do more for imaging and resolution than all the money in the world in electronics. Of course, after some treatments, you will want the electronics even more!

The 104's were fantastic for their time: 30 years ago. I would go for much newer speakers. A lot more real sound is available as driver technology has progressed and cabinet materials has gotten better. ( MDF over PB) Of course, this is the most expensive option. You say "replacement" HF units. Which ones and what did you do to voice the crossover. Half the sound is the crossover. In my attempts at speaker building, a $50 tweeter properly used will beat a $300 tweeter less optimally used.

Next a DAC. I was surprised how good a buck-50 Chinese DAC was. Better than my top end Rotel and Denon CD's. Not what is possible by a PS, Cambridge, MF etc, but a lot less money.

Lastly amps. I have not heard the Audiolab as we don't get it here. From the WEB site, I would guess it is the least of your problems. I have found every chipamp I have heard to be dead sounding, like a cheap receiver. I have not heard the Rowland. You can do far better on e-bay like a 9xx series Rotel ( personal favorite) or HCA series Parasound, Acrus, Aragon, Adcom etc.

The above is my highly biased personal view. I grantee someone else has different ideas.
The tweeter replacements were direct from kef, and were recommended by them as suitable replacements for the original t33 Ferro fluid tweets that had gone very dull and lifeless. What a difference after replacing them, i sat and listened to all my cd's again and was astonished by the improvements in the stereo image and overall detail.

I would love a new set of speakers, but as you say, rather an expensive option. Set of Focal Grande Utopia EM's would be nice

Must admit, i am kinda Leaning towards the DAC at this point. There look to be some pretty decent diy dacs about for not an awful lot of money. I had spotted a cambridge dacmagic for a fairy reasonable 200, but I do fancy having a go at building one. And yes i think the amp is the least of my worries just now, but there is always some room for some upgrades at some point.
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