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robert_kc

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  1. Congrats! Please post your listening impressions.
  2. In my basement system, the RF-7II that I use as a center channel is laying on its side on a shelf. The advantage is that it is a perfect match with the main front L&R RF-7II. The disadvantage is that the high frequency driver of the RF-7II isn't centered when laying in its side. I have no experience with the RC-64III used with RF-7III. (As I said earlier, I use my recently acquired RC-64III with Palladium towers, and thus far I'm very pleased.) The RF-7III and RC-64III were designed to work together, and use the same high frequency driver, and based on everything I've read they would work great together. As long as you have tone controls at your disposal to "salt and pepper to taste" (e.g., sometimes I dial back the high frequency a bit), I highly recommend adding two RF-7III for main L&R, plus an RC-64III center. I would NOT use RC-64III for the main L&R.
  3. OP: What genre(s) of music and/or movies do you listen to? In general, I agree with Ceptorman: two RF-7III for front L&R, plus a RC-64III for center channel. Or, if you can fit them, 3 RF-7III across the front. My point of reference: Basement: Front, center, and left speakers are Klipsch RF-7 II. A single rear speaker is a Klipsch RF-7. Subwoofers: SVS SB16-Ultra, Klipsch R-115SW. TV room: Stereo speakers are Klipsch Palladium P-37F. Center: Klipsch RC-64III. Single rear: RP-502S. Subwoofer: Klipsch P-312W. Have you read this thread?
  4. @TipRingSleeve Congrats on taking your system up a notch! I just installed a RC-64III center channel speaker in my TV room. My Palladium P-37F are only 5 feet apart, and I decided on the RC-64III because it fit the space, and the HF driver is centered. (In my basement system, my main RF-7II are spaced 12 feet apart, and the fact that the center RF-7II is on its side – and the HF horn therefore isn’t centered – isn’t a major factor.) I’m still fine tuning – so far so good with the RC-64III.
  5. Cory, Congrats on the beautiful space. On one hand I wish I lived closer and could visit. On the other hand, I’d probably spend way too many hours listening to all of your systems, and you’d quickly tire of my classical music. 🙂 BTW, thanks for the great service and fast shipping on the RC-64III center channel speaker, and the surround speakers. It took me a few days to reconfigure my TV room system, and I’ve started the process of fine tuning the system by ear. So far so good – I'll probably post a pic and description sometime.
  6. Have you tried contacting Oppo with your question? Even though they've stopped manufacturing new products, I believe they're still proving some level of support.
  7. Operatic sopranos, mezzo-sopranos, and contraltos are female vocalists. Three of the five recordings I recommended include performances by female vocalists. And the OP requested recordings that "offer a full range of reproduction". (I've asked for clarification regarding what that means.) That's why I suggested that operatic singers, and classical music, often involves greater dynamic range and frequency range compared with popular music. (Particularly hi-res recordings.) As I said earlier, I respect the fact that different people like different music. What one person views as a "niche", is another person's favorite genre. If the OP doesn't find my comments useful, c'est la vie, perhaps someone else will. Or not ... 🙂
  8. Sometimes I prefer watching the female singers. Here's pics of Anna Netrebko and Elīna Garanča:
  9. OP: Please explain further what you are seeking advice about: Recordings that have wide dynamic range? Recordings that have wide frequency range? Recordings that are a good test for high fidelity reproduction? Recordings that are fun to “crank up”? Recordings that feature female voice, and are high-quality, and have significant dynamic range and frequency range? Recommendations for EDM (presumably, electronic dance music)? At the outset, I’ll disclose that I’m a fan of classical music and opera. I’m not knocking your taste in music – I respect the fact that music is deeply personal, and different people like different music. With that said – and in light of the fact that it’s snowing and I’m looking for an excuse to delay shoveling the driveway and sidewalks – I’ll offer some opinions. Before I get into specific recommendations, I’ll point out an elephant in the room. It’s a highly controversial elephant. The Redbook CD (16bit/44.1kHz) was introduced to the marketplace almost 40 years ago. CD is not state-of-the-art technology. This is controversial because some people will cite Nyquist Theorem as an argument that CD is “all you need” … or CD “exceeds human hearing capability”. (As though music can be reduced to frequency range and dynamic range.) I won’t debate that here. Rather I’ll offer my opinion, based on many years of experience: My goal is for music reproduced in my home to remind me of my experiences in the symphony hall and opera house, and I find that modern hi-re recordings are usually the best at creating that illusion. Now – for some specific recommendations: Recordings that have wide dynamic range. Hi-res recordings of modern performances (last 15 years or so) of classical music typically are not compressed, and can include significant dynamic range. (OTOH, a lot of pop music is highly compressed, resulting in less dynamic range and less demand on a recording, and less demand on an amp and speakers. In other words, with some pop recordings you can listen at a lower volume level and hear everything, because there are not soft and loud passages in the same composition or song.) Modern hi-res consumer deliverables like Blu-ray, 24bit/192kHz download, and SACD are capable of delivering to the consumer the tremendous dynamic range of modern hi-res recordings of large-scale classical music. Provenance of the recording is extremely important. You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. For decades-old recordings, the quality of the original recording is the ultimate limiting factor. A decades-old recording will not have state-of-the-art audio quality – even if it has been remastered. Anyone who has heard large-scale orchestral music performed live by a world-class orchestra in a world-class symphony hall (i.e., no sound reinforcement system) can relate to the tremendous dynamic range of some compositions. For example, in Mahler Symphony 2, the 4th movement starts by a mezzo-soprano (or contralto) singing softly, and the 5th movement starts with the full orchestra (which might be 200+ musicians) playing fff. Here’s an excellent Blu-ray of Mahler Symphony 2: IMO this Blu-ray recording of Mahler 2 is very enjoyable, and is an excellent overall test of a hi-fi system. Recordings that have wide frequency range. As others have pointed out, a large-scale pipe organ can have tremendous frequency range. A composition that combines a large orchestra with pipe organ represents a significant challenge for high-fidelity reproduction. I recommend Saint Saens Symphony No. 3 (Organ Symphony) as an example of a composition with wide frequency range. Here’s an excellent recording that is available as 24bit/176kHz FLAC download from hdtracks.com. (I think the SACD has a problem with too much bass – i.e., I think the SACD has defective mastering.) Recordings that are a good test for high fidelity reproduction. Each consumer must decide their goals for their hi-fi system. One consumer may have a goal for their home hi-fi system to faithfully reproduce the natural timbre and dynamic range of an orchestra. Another consumer may have a goal for their home hi-fi system to rattle the windows with thumping bass. Another consumer may have a goal for their home hi-fi system to reproduce rock-concert sound-pressure-levels that will cause hearing damage. Another consumer may have a goal for their home hi-fi system to play unobtrusively in the background. As I said earlier, my goal is for music reproduced in my home to remind me of my experiences in the symphony hall and opera house. Both recordings that I recommended above involve natural orchestral instruments, and are therefore well suited for evaluating high-fidelity reproduction. Here’s a Blu-ray box set that features excellent performances, and excellent audio and video quality, and is also an excellent value: Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos Danish NSO Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1–9 Joaquín Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 Richard Strauss: Eine Alpensinfonie (An Alpine Symphony), Op. 64, TrV 233 People who regularly attend live performances of classical music in its intended venue (i.e., no sound reinforcement system is used), know the natural sound of orchestral instruments such as a violin, oboe, trumpet, timpani, etc. (Recognizing that there is some variance in sound due to hall acoustics, and the listener’s seating position in the hall.) Large-scale orchestral music involves a variety of instruments whose timbre must be reproduced faithfully. And when the sound of many orchestral instruments is blended together by the symphony hall's natural acoustics, the sound becomes very complex, which I think presents a challenge for reproduction of the music. While my memory isn’t perfect, I have a pretty good idea how an orchestra sounds, and a pretty good idea how a string quartet sounds, and a pretty good idea how opera sounds, based on my regularly attending classical concerts. (For the 2019-2020 season, I will attend more than 30 live classical concerts.) Classical music lovers therefore have a clear benchmark for how their music SHOULD sound – i.e., the live performance. This is not the case for SOME pop music for which there never was a live performance. Rather, for some (not all) pop music, various sources of sounds (some natural, some electronic) were cobbled together by producers and engineers using electronic tools, and unless the consumer was in the recording booth, or has the same speakers and amp that the engineers used when they created the recording, the consumer has no clear reference for how the music “should” sound. How “should” a synthesizer sound? How “should” deliberately distorted music sound? (I understand that some people know the sound of various electric guitar/amp combinations, and I don’t discount that.) IME recordings of small-scale folk music or jazz (e.g., Eva Cassidy, who I like) place far less demand on a music reproduction system (including the recording and home playback equipment) compared with large-scale orchestral music and large-scale opera. With that said, I think that for folk and jazz that involves natural instruments, the concept of high-fidelity reproduction is relevant – if a sound reinforcement system wasn’t used during the live performance. OTOH, I question how relevant the concept of high-fidelity reproduction is to genres like electronic dance music, and rap. I’m not criticizing these genres - I’m just asking this question: How does the consumer know how such music SHOULD sound? How do you know if the reproduced music is faithful to the original performance, if there never was a live performance? Therefore, how relevant is the concept of “high fidelity reproduction” for pop music that was created electronically? Recordings that are fun to “crank up”. Who doesn’t like Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565? (Ok, there are probably some people who don’t like this organ composition – but many people who don’t usually like classical music like this.) This 24bit/96kHz FLAC download is excellent. (Available from hdtracks.com) If you want to have some fun “cranking it up”, IMO this is a good choice. Recordings that feature female voice, and are high-quality, and have significant dynamic range and frequency range. Listen to Anna Netrebko’s performance of Casta Diva on this Blu-ray for an example of the power (and beauty) of the operatic soprano voice. An operatic soprano’s voice is generally more difficult to reproduce faithfully – at live concert levels – than a female folk singer’s voice. (On this Blu-ray recording, if you find yourself cringing during loud passages, the problem is with your hi-fi system, not the recording.) Elīna Garanča has a beautiful mezzo-soprano voice. IMO, her performance of Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix is gorgeous. There are many beautiful performances of opera snippets in this concert, and this Blu-ray disc has excellent audio and video quality. Recommendations for EDM. I can’t offer any advice. I don’t listen to this genre.
  10. My basement system: Front, center, and left speakers are Klipsch RF-7 II. A single rear speaker is a Klipsch RF-7. (I listen to classical music, and there’s not much rear channel content.) Subwoofers: SVS SB16-Ultra, Klipsch R-115SW. Source: Oppo UDP-205 for playing Blu-ray and SACDs, and a USB hard drive containing high-res FLAC recordings. Amps: Scott 272, Inspire “Fire Bottle” SE Stereo Tube Amplifier HO, Scott 222C, McIntosh MX110Z tuner/preamp, Fisher KX-200, Scott 296, Pilot SA-260, Scott LK150. A patch panel allows me to connect the speakers to whichever amp I want, and F/F RCA cables enable me to connect an amp to the Oppo, and a power amp to the MX110Z. Chromecast Audio is connected via TOSLINK to the UDP-205 for internet radio. I’ve never owned a center channel speaker, so I can’t offer a comparison. My RF-7II that is functioning as a center channel is sitting on its side in a shelf, which is less than ideal because the high-frequency driver isn’t centered. Nonetheless, this system does a great job of creating the illusion that I’m in the symphony hall. I think that whether you use an RC-64 III Center Channel Speaker or use an RF-7III in the center position depends on which can be accommodated due to room layout, and/or what you already own. I started out owning a single RF-7II, plus a single RF-7. When the RF-7II were available for 50% off I bought an additional pair of RF-7II to create my 4.2 configuration in my basement. Similarly, until recently, I had a single Klipsch WF-35 in my bedroom mono system. I recently bought a matching pair of WF-35 locally. Front, center, and left speakers are now Klipsch WF-35. (No rear speakers.) Source is an Oppo BDP-105 for playing Pure Audio Blu-ray and SACDs, and a USB hard drive containing high-res FLAC recordings. Fisher 500C drives the left & right speakers. Fisher TA 500 (AM/FM mono receiver) drives the center speaker. Chromecast Audio is connected via TOSLINK to the BDP-105 for internet radio. I’m thinking about adding an RC-64 III Center Channel Speaker (and a single small rear channel speaker) to my TV room system. My TV room system has Klipsch Palladium P-37F in a 2.1 configuration, i.e., stereo with a Klipsch P-312W subwoofer. The source is an Oppo UDP-205 for playing Blu-ray and SACDs, and a USB hard drive containing high-res FLAC recordings. The amps are Scott 399, McIntosh MC225, Kenwood KR-9050, Fisher 800B, Fisher X-1000, Scott 299C, McIntosh MC240, and an NAD C375BEE. The tube amps are for music. The solid-state amps are for movies. A patch panel (banana plugs) allows me to connect the speakers to whichever amp I want, and Niles AXP-1 RCA selector switches connect the Oppo to the amp. HDTV is connected via TOSLINK to the UDP-205 to play audio from broadcast TV via the hi-fi. Chromecast Audio is connected via analog audio to the NAD C375BEE for internet radio. The P-37F in my TV room are only 5 feet apart, so I don’t know if there would be a benefit to a center channel – particularly in this small room (12’ x 13’). This system is used for classical music, and movies. It currently sounds great. (With this system, I currently listen to the stereo track of Blu-ray and SACD discs, so I’m not missing any content.) This system has ample acoustic power in this small room, so I’m not sure if I’d gain much my adding an RC-64 III Center Channel Speaker. And, of course, the RC-64 III isn’t an exact match with the Palladium. Nonetheless, I’m thinking about experimenting. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
  11. robert_kc

    5.1 set up

    Welcome! What genres of music do you listen to? How loud do you listen? I’m not familiar with your existing Wharfedale Diamond series tower speakers – but based on a quick search – apparently they’re nice speakers. What do you like and dislike about your current speakers? If you get bookshelf speakers, where would they be installed? (If speakers are in a bookshelf, the bookshelf cavity can resonate, coloring the sound.) Do you currently have a subwoofer? If not, do you have a spot where a sub could be installed? If you off-load the low frequencies from your main amp and speakers, you will realize greater overall dynamics. Stated differently, with a good subwoofer, you might be satisfied with smaller main speakers. (With that said, if you want uncompromised dynamics for large-scale music and movies, then I suggest getting the largest speaker from a manufacturer’s product line that your room and budget can accommodate. For relatively narrow tower speakers, for Klipsch that’s the RF-7 III.) Is your primary goal to get smaller speakers. Or, better sound quality? How do you define “better sound quality”? I believe that before a person makes changes, they must have goals. Each person must define their unique goals for their hi-fi system (and/or home theater system). Once goals are defined, then a person can start making decisions about what equipment they use to play recorded music and movies in their home, and how to optimize the audio quality of their home hi-fi system. Some people want to impress their friends by being able to “rattle the windows”. Some want to reproduce the rumbling of a buffalo stampede. Some people want their hi-fi system to sound good – to their ears. (I met a guy whose priority is for the sound to “sparkle”.) Some people want to reproduce the natural timbre of orchestral instruments such as a violin, and clarinet, trumpet, timpani, etc. Some people want to play rock music at “ear-bleed” live concert levels. Each consumer has different preferences, and chooses how to spend their money, and how to configure and tune their hi-fi system. There’s no right or wrong goal. The more information you share, the more likely someone can provide useful advice. You can probably learn from existing threads. I suggest that you try some google searches based on the following format: <topic> site:https://community.klipsch.com For example: RP-600M site:https://community.klipsch.com RP 6000F site:https://community.klipsch.com RP 8000F site:https://community.klipsch.com RF-7 III site:https://community.klipsch.com
  12. I have no experience with this HDMI DAC: https://www.essenceelectrostatic.com/product/evolve-ii-4k-hdmi-v2-0-7-1-channel-dac/ Would it meet your needs?
  13. OP: What genre(s) of music do you listen to? When you attend live performances of the music you like, do you experience pinpoint localization of each musician? Is “imaging” or “3D” an attribute of a live performance of the music you listen to? What types of recordings do you play (e.g., LP, CD, DVD-Audio, SACD, Pure Audio Blu-ray, Blu-ray, Ultra HD Blu-ray, 24bit/192kHz download, DSD download, etc.)? Have you achieved the imaging that you want via a different home hi-fi system?
  14. Hello Vivek, Most SACD discs are “hybrid SACD”, meaning that they contain 2 layers: a Redbook CD layer, and an SACD layer. (A very few older SACDs have only an SACD layer.) The SACD layer has copy protection features. As a result, you cannot play the SACD layer on a PC, or copy the SACD layer. (You can play the CD layer of a hybrid SACD on a PC, and you can copy the CD layer.) Almost all disc players have copy protection features that affect playing SACDs via outboard DACs. Moreover, there are sometimes bandwidth limitations associated with a disc player connecting an outboard DAC. For example, following is an excerpt from the User Manual of my Oppo UDP-205 universal player: Due to bandwidth limitations, high resolution audio formats such as Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD High Resolution and DTS-HD Master Audio cannot be sent through the coaxial or optical digital audio output. A reduced resolution version of the same audio track will be output instead. To listen to high resolution audio formats in their best quality, please use the HDMI connection if you have a receiver that handles HDMI audio (see page 12) or use the multi-channel analog outputs if you do not (see page 15). Due to copyright restrictions, SACD audio cannot be sent through the coaxial or optical digital audio output. To listen to SACDs, please use the HDMI or analog audio connections. Due to copyright restrictions and bandwidth limitations, full resolution audio from DVD-Audio discs cannot be sent through the coaxial or optical digital audio output. To listen to DVDAudio in full resolution, please use the HDMI or analog audio connections. The important takeaway is the difference in the capabilities of an HDMI interface vs. TOSLINK and coax. My understanding (bearing in mind that I’m not an expert) is that if you want a universal disc player, and an outboard stand-alone DAC, and you want to play SACD and Blu-ray, you’ll need a DAC with an HDMI interface. (McIntosh has a proprietary solution for their products.) Examples of HDMI DACs that I’m aware of include the Essence Evolve II-4K, which is a HDMI v2.0a Multi-Channel Audio DAC. And, the Bryston BDA-3 External DAC, which includes an HDMI input – but only supports stereo. (I have no experience with these DACs, and I’m not certain of the formats they support. And I have no experience with their sound quality. There are undoubtedly other choices.) (There are a few stereo HDMI “network receivers“ (aka “stereo AVR”) – but they are probably not what you’re looking for, considering that you didn’t like the AVR you had: Onkyo TX-8270, Pioneer SX-S30, Denon DRA-800H, Marantz NR1200. FWIW, Marantz solid-state amps sometimes have a reputation for a more musical sound compared with Onkyo – but I have no personal experience.) OTOH, over the last few years I’ve chosen universal players with built-on “audiophile-grade” DACs (for reasons I’ll discuss below) because I enjoy modern hi-res classical recordings. The relevance of hi-res audio formats (e.g., SACD, Pure Audio Blu-ray, DVD-Audio, 24bit/192kHz download), and audio/video formats (e.g., Blu-ray, Ultra HD Blu-ray) depends on the genre of music. That’s why I suggested that “Step 1” should be to shop for recordings. For the classical music that I love, all of the state-of-the-art hi-res audio, and audio/video formats are relevant, because there are modern performances of most classical compositions. And modern performances (i.e., in the last 15 years or so) were almost always captured and mastered in hi-res (i.e., 24bit/192kHz PCM, or DSD). Moreover, most modern classical recordings are made available to the consumer in a hi-res format. Many of my favorite classical recordings feature audio/video and surround-sound, and are only available on a disc (i.e., not available via streaming or download). IME/IMO the experience provided by Blu-ray is vastly superior to the experience of listening to a CD. Blu-ray audio/video is indispensable for visual art forms such as opera and ballet, and IMO very enjoyable for orchestral music - i.e., watching the conductor and musicians, and seeing the symphony hall. Blu-ray excels at conveying the beauty of this concert hall: https://www.musikverein.at/en/der-grosse-musikvereinssaal (And believe it or not, there are classical musicians who are enjoyable to watch. I suggest watching a YouTube video of Khatia Buniatishvili playing piano., and Elīna Garanča and Anna Netrebko sing. Now imagine that in Blu-ray quality.) There have been a lot of advances since the CD became available 37 years ago. Each audiophile must decide whether these advances are relevant to the music they love. For me the decision is clear: I want Blu-ray or Ultra HD Blu-ray recordings of the music I love. My second choices are Pure Audio Blu-ray and SACD that feature surround-sound. My third choice is hi-res (e.g., 24bit/192kHz) stereo download. IMO a classical music lover would be foolish to buy a player that only plays the 30+ year-old Redbook CD format, given the wealth of modern hi-res recordings available (including audio/video and multi-channel recordings). I listen to an entire symphony or opera at a time, so “convenient access” and “random shuffle” aren’t important features for me. (I don’t listen to the first movement of Beethoven Symphony 2, followed by the fourth movement of Mahler Symphony 9, followed by …) Loading a disc into the tray once every hour or so is not an inconvenience for me. The process of dropping a disc into the tray is simple, and reliable, and hassle-free (e.g., no apps freezing). Therefore, I require a “universal player” that will play ALL audio and audio/video formats: Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, Pure Audio Blu-ray, SACD, 24bit/192kHz download, DVD, and CD. The Oppo UDP-205 has top-of-the-line DACs built-in, and I’m happy with its performance. IME/IMO, top-quality modern hi-res classical recordings played via my Oppo UDP-205 (and BDP-105 and BDP-95) sound fabulous when played via my tube amps and Klipsch speakers. Because the Oppo UDP-205 is connected to an HDTV, during playback useful information is displayed on the screen, such as volume level, track #, etc. (And when playing an opera on Blu-ray, the libretto can be displayed on the screen, which is extremely useful.) The HDTV screen can easily be “blanked” (i.e., black) via the “Pure Audio” button on the Oppo’s remote control. (I think of this feature like a “video mute” button.) And the UDP-205 has a parameter for volume setting upon power-on (i.e., either a user specified fixed value, or the last value). This feature eliminates the possibility of accidentally having the volume set extremely loud when the unit is turned on. (This is important if you alternate between classical and pop recordings, because pop recordings are typically mastered MUCH louder than the average volume level in classical recordings.) And there is a parameter setting for the maximum volume level. The UDP-205’s implementation of volume control is more convenient IMO than trying to guess from the listening chair where the volume control is set on a pre-amp. And IMO being able to see information about the recording (e.g., track #) on the HDTV screen is easier than trying to see the small display on a CD player. Because I enjoy classical orchestral music, opera, and ballet Blu-ray audio/video recordings, I see no distinction between a “hi-fi system” and a “home theater system”. The Oppo units provide capabilities that are essential to me: analog audio connections (stereo, 2.1, 5.1, 7.1) for my vintage tube amps and subwoofers, and the Oppo units provide variable audio output. And ultra HD video. Maybe someday all classical recordings will be available via streaming and download, including hi-res video and surround-sound audio. And maybe someday streaming and download services will provide the best available quality. Today, Blu-ray discs, and the Oppo UDP-205, suit my needs best. However, I recognize that my tastes in music, and my audio/video requirements are unique. Some people listen exclusively to vintage audio-only recordings. For music that was recorded decades ago, the audio quality is limited by decades-old recording technology. In some cases, a high-quality analog master tape from decades ago has been digitized at hi-res with good results, and made available as an SACD, or hi-res download. Similarly, some older movies were recorded on large-format film, and can be digitized and delivered on Blu-ray with good results. OTOH, early digital recordings (audio and video) might not benefit as much from re-mastering – but that’s a generalization – and I’m not an expert on mastering recordings. My experience is that modern recordings (audio and video) generally have the best audio and video quality. If all of the music you like is available as a download in the best available audio quality (whether that’s 16bit/44.1kHz or 24bit/192kHz or DSD), then you may not need a disc player. I suggest that you search HDTracks. com for downloads. Some HDTracks downloads are “CD quality” (16bit/44.1kHz), and some are higher resolution (e.g., 24bit/96kHz or 24bit/192kHz). Provenance of the recording is important – garbage-in/garbage-out - you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear – in other words a poor-quality recording can’t be magically transformed just by delivering it in a hi-res container. (If you pour a gallon of milk into a 55-gallon drum, it’s still only a gallon of milk.) Some people employ “hacking” to get around the copy protections on SACDs. You can google this topic for details. (As far as I’m concerned, this is a somewhat complex process that appeals to PC hobbyists.) Reportedly the process to copy Blu-ray discs is not as complex. Copying all disc types (CD, SACD, Blu-ray) requires an investment of time and money by the audiophile. Some think the effort is worth it, some don’t. (Some people like to choose individual songs, and build playlists, and don’t want to load a different disc for each 3-minute song, and value having all music on NAS.) My understanding – but I have no experience - is that once hi-res files are loaded on NAS (via download or copying discs), then an appropriate DAC can play any hi-res format. That DAC can be stand-alone, or built into another appliance, such as a disc player, pre-amp, or integrated amp. (Some like a stand-alone DAC for upgrade flexibility, some like all-in-one approach with a DAC built into an integrated amp or receiver, thereby minimizing the number of components, and interconnect cables, and associated integration efforts.) I recognize that people enjoy the hobby of hi-fi differently. I respect the fact that some people enjoy the process of “hacking” software, and copying discs, and building a system based on NAS storage. However, this is not how I choose to spend my time. To each their own. As I said earlier, I suggest these steps: Shop for recordings, and determine which formats for consumer deliverables are relevant to the music that you like. (The audio quality of your hi-fi system will be limited by the quality of the recordings, so I suggest that you focus a lot of your effort on seeking the best quality recordings for the music you like.) Once you know which recording formats must be supported, then you can decide on a compatible player(s). (For example, you might want a turntable for LPs, a universal disc player, and a way to play internet radio and Spotify Premium.) Once you’ve selected a player(s), then you can decide on an amp that is a good match for the player(s). Because your Klipsch Forte III are relatively sensitive (99dB), you won’t need a lot of power. Different audiophiles will reach different conclusions based on the music they like, their budget, and their preferences: The Oppo UDP-205 universal player is the best solution for me. I also own BDP-105 and BDP-95, which are good products that play all disc types except Ultra HD Blu-ray. (Unfortunately, Oppo no longer manufactures products. If you can buy a used UDP-205, BDP-105 or BDP-95 for a reasonable price, that’s something you might consider.) Another audiophile who wants a universal disc player, and needs analog audio connections for stereo (i.e., 2 channel) only, might choose a Sony ES UBP-X1100ES player (or older and cheaper UBP-X1000ES). (I have no experience with this player, but have read positive comments on another forum about its audio quality. Given that you aren’t interested in multi-channel, the Sony ES UBP-X1100ES may be a good choice, if you want the most flexibility in choosing disc formats. You’d need a pre-amp (or integrated amp) for a volume control, subwoofer connection, and tone controls.) Another audiophile might build a solution around the Essence Evolve II-4K, which is a HDMI v2.0a Multi-Channel Audio DAC. Or, the Bryston BDA-3 External DAC, which includes an HDMI input, but is stereo only. I don't know if there are other stand-alone DACs that support HDMI. (I have no experience with these DACs, and I’m not certain of the formats they support. And I have no experience with their sound quality.) Another audiophile who only wants to play CDs (no SACD or Blu-ray), plus stream hi-res files from NAS, and support services like Spotify Premium, might choose something like the Marantz ND8006 CD player / music streamer, and employ its variable analog audio output to directly drive a power amp. This player also has (2) optical inputs, plus coaxial and USB type B digital inputs. (I have no experience with this player.) Another audiophile who only wants to stream from NAS and services like Spotify Premium, might choose something like Bluesound Node 2i, or Bluesound Vault 2i which provides a CD ripper and 2TB of storage. These units have a mono RCA subwoofer output. (I have no experience with this player.) John Q. Public (and some audiophiles) will choose an AVR, whether stereo or multi-channel, that has HDMI inputs, and can support all formats. I’m certain there are many other types of solutions. The options can be bewildering. Regarding amps, if you get a Luxman CL-38uC pre-amp, or LX-380 integrated amp, I’ll be jealous. I’ve never owned any of the Luxman tube gear. (I collect US tube amps.) IMO these Luxman units are very handsome, and have a good reputation. FWIW, I also think the McIntosh C22 and C70 are very handsome pre-amps that could be paired with an MC275. Is McIntosh gear available in India? Any of these products would be an investment that is “heirloom quality”, and be a great complement to your Klipsch Forte III. (Both manufacturers also offer solid-state amps.) FWIW, following are links to a few of my other posts that might be relevant for someone who is new to this discussion: I’ll stop rambling for now. Tonight, I’m attending the first performance of my local symphony’s 2019/2020 season, and I need to prepare to attend dinner with family and friends, and then the concert. I’m looking forward to it. I hope this helps, rather than confuses. Hopefully others will join the conversation, and share their experience. Some people are far more knowledgeable than me about stand-alone DACs, and NAS-based solutions.
  15. Hello Vivek, Of course, the most important thing is the music. As I mentioned in one of your other threads, I suggest that you first shop for recordings, and determine which formats for consumer deliverables are relevant to the music that you like: LP? Downloaded hi-res PCM (e.g., 24bit/192kHz or 24bit/96kHz FLAC from HDTracks.com, or prestomusic.com/classical/formats/download, etc.)? Downloaded hi-res DSD (e.g., nativedsd.com, or acousticsounds.com/superhirez, etc.)? CD? DVD (e.g., concert videos)? DVD-Audio (i.e., older "better-than-CD-quality" audio recordings)? SACD (newer hi-res recordings)? Pure Audio Blu-ray (i.e., newer hi-res audio-only disc – i.e., no video)? Blu-ray (e.g., concert videos)? Ultra HD Blu-ray (e.g., state-of-the-art concert videos)? Will you play music directly from the disc (e.g., CD, SACD, Pure Audio Blu-ray), or will you copy all music to network-attached-storage ("NAS"), and play music files from NAS? (Copying the SACD layer of a hybrid SACD reportedly requires arcane “hacking” procedures. Copying Blu-ray reportedly can be done with the right hardware and software.) Spotify Premium, Tidal HiFi, Qobuz, etc.? Support for MQA? Other? Here’s my earlier long ramble about whether various formats are relevant for a given genre: https://community.klipsch.com/index.php?/topic/186021-klipsch-rf-7-iii-vs-forte-iii/&do=findComment&comment=2414963 If you’re not interested in video (e.g., concert videos), or surround-sound, or LPs, then your needs are simpler. Is all of the music you like available via streaming (e.g., Spotify Premium, Tidal HiFi, Qobuz), and/or hi-res downloads (e.g., HDTracks)? Or, are some recordings that you like only available on discs (e.g., CD or SACD or Blu-ray or LP)? If some recordings are only available on discs, are you willing to copy the discs to NAS, or will you want to drop a disc into a tray and hit the PLAY button? Once you know which recording formats must be supported, then you can decide on a compatible player. For example: A universal disc player (i.e., an appliance that plays discs including Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, Pure Audio Blu-ray, SACD, DVD-Audio, DVD, CD, etc.), or “CD only” player, and/or Network streamer that can play hi-res files from NAS (e.g., downloaded hi-res files), and play Spotify Premium, Tidal HiFi, Qobuz, etc. Are you keeping your R-115 SW subwoofer? If so, you will want a player, or pre-amp, or integrated amp that has a configurable subwoofer crossover, and analog line-level RCA subwoofer output. Once you’ve selected a player, then you can decide on an amp that is a good match for the player. For example, does the player have good quality built-in DACs? An external (i.e., outboard) DAC with coax and TOSLINK interfaces probably can’t play the SACD layer of a hybrid SACD disc, and might not be able to play uncompromised audio quality from a Pure Audio Blu-ray discs without downgrading the audio bit rate – assuming that you’re playing directly from the disc. (OTOH, if you first copy such discs to NAS, you might be able to play all formats from the NAS across ethernet to a DAC – however I have no experience with this type of implementation.) Does the player have built-in volume control, in which case you might be able to connect it directly to a power amp? What interfaces does the player provide (e.g., analog, HDMI, TOSLINK, coax, etc.)? A player whose built-in DACs are available to other sources (e.g., equipped with a TOSLINK and/or coax and/or HDMI input) can be useful. (For example, for one of my hi-fi systems, I connect my HDTV via TOSLINK to an input on my Oppo UDP-205 universal player, so that I can play the audio from TV programs on my hi-fi system. In another system, I connect a Chromecast Audio via TOSLINK to an input on my Oppo UDP-205 universal player in order to play internet radio such as kusc.org.) As I’ve mentioned before, I suggest that you consider a solution that includes tone controls, so that you can fine-tune your Forte III to your room, and your preferences. (I.e., “salt and pepper to taste” – in other words, adjust bass and treble to suit your preferences.) If an amp that you’re interested in doesn’t have tone controls, can you buy a Schiit Loki in India? (Many modern tube integrated amps such as Primaluna, Cary Audio, Line Magnetic, Rogue Audio, and Quicksilver don’t have tone controls. I have no experience with modern tube amps – rather, my experience is with made-in-the-USA vintage tube amps.) I recently obtained a Schiit Loki in order to tame high frequencies when driving my Klipsch Palladium via my Oppo UDP-205 directly connected to my McIntosh MC240 power amp (i.e., no preamp). The Loki was MUCH less expensive than buying a McIntosh preamp (just to get a treble control). I like the fact that the Loki does not digitize the audio. Which brands of players and amps have service centers in Chandigarh? Are there technicians in Chandigarh who can work on tube amps? I think serviceability should be a consideration when choosing electronics. I’m a fan of vintage tube amps, however, to be honest they can require maintenance. A modern tube amp would probably only need tubes replaced periodically (perhaps every few years), which the consumer can do. A solid-state amp will likely require the least maintenance. If you want a tube amp, a few designs can accommodate several different output tubes, e.g., EL34, KT88, and 6L6GC. Each different output tube would provide different sound quality, and provide you the opportunity to “tube roll” in order to optimize the audio quality to suit your taste. Perhaps if you provide more information about the following, forum members might be able to offer specific advice: What recording formats are you interested in supporting? What types of players are you considering (e.g., universal disc player, or “CD only” player, or network streamer, etc.)? What players and amps are sold and serviced in India? You’ve obviously given this careful thought. I’ll be interested in learning from your experience. I hope that your new Forte III arrive safely from Hope, Arkansas, USA. I’m looking forward to pictures of your Forte III when you have them installed. Please keep us posted. Robert
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