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Achieving High Fidelity Sound

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Ash View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jun 2021 at 11:04pm
I've been listening to music all day today. Finally put my Alpair 11MS in a couple of spare cardboard boxes and have been listening to them for a few hours.





Compared to the sound quality I am used to from my headphones, the speakers sound good but not great. Started with sealed cardboard boxes then tried opening them on the inner sides to reduce pressure loading on the drivers. The spatial qualities are great and the bass and treble are not lacking at all. The frequency response is not as even/flat as what I would like and would ideally need some DSP or EQ manipulation in the upper bass and lower mids to make it flatter. I have concluded that the impulse response of speakers in general absolutely suck compared to my headphones; they just don't have the immediacy. Guess I have been spoiled for so long that nothing but the very best impresses me anymore. Not really motivated to continue with speakers and will soon connect the cans back up.
Pink Faun S/PDIF PCIe card>Lautus coaxial>Majestic DAC>Lautus-R3>2xProprius>load-adjusted MySphere 3.1
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Ash View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jun 2021 at 10:06pm
So I decided to stop being so impatient and leave the speakers set up for the foreseeable future, to see how I get on with them. Well, they seem to have improved further with use and I have converted the cardboard boxes to open baffles, as shown.



The spatial qualities of the Alpair 11MS are fantastic, much better than with my headphones. Due to true binaural perception, you get proper phantom imaging. I much prefer the nearfield open baffle sound, with drivers lifted closer to ear height and with spacing and toe-in as pictured. Pulling the drivers further away from the back wall helps to keep the direct sound as dominant as possible and I really like it. I just need to get a parametric EQ to these drivers, to flatten the response. I will use MySphere as a guide to help me judge what frequencies to alter. If I can match the sound balance of MySphere, these will be better. I tried the virtual barber shop recording with these speakers and it sounds amazing. The positioning of everything is more directional with a larger soundstage size and it really makes your hairs stand up on end.

Now for how to EQ. I was originally looking at the miniDSP 2x4 but it is analogue input only and I don't wish to use any DAC in my system other than the Majestic. I also wish for there to be only one D-A conversion in the signal chain so I would prefer for any digital signal processing to be done right at the start, straight from the output of my Pink Faun soundcard. The Nano Digi looks like the product to go for and it is 5V, so I can power both the Pink Faun card and the sound processor with Graham's DAK linear power supply. The Nano Digi has four separate coaxial outputs, so I can connect it straight into the Majestic DAC and onto the Proprius. For a single driver per channel setup, my current system is fine. If I wanted to create a two-way speaker system, with a pair of helper woofers with their own digital EQ to support the 11MS in deep bass reproduction, I would need a second Majestic and two more Proprius to control them separately. This option is cheaper than trying to speaker-fy MySphere or K1000 with a sound processor like the Smyth Realiser A16 but is still expensive. I will see how I get on with EQ'ing the single pair of 11MS to start with but these are quite exciting times.

When I can substitute my PC motherboard for a Hackboard 2 SBC hopefully in August and add a linear power supply, source fidelity may improve further. So many things to try but at least I have some trustworthy direction.
Pink Faun S/PDIF PCIe card>Lautus coaxial>Majestic DAC>Lautus-R3>2xProprius>load-adjusted MySphere 3.1
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Aussie Mick View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aussie Mick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jun 2021 at 5:51am
Hi Ash
   What distance from the drivers is your near-field position? Does greater distance away give you a better tonal balance?
Also, you’ve got two extraordinary pairs of headphones, so I’m absolutely not surprised that speakers come up short. 
Cheers 
Mick.
Rega RP8 - Apheta 2 - Accession MC Enigma PS -Solo ULDE (Focal Utopia) - Proprius - PMC Twenty5.22
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote discrete badger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jun 2021 at 6:45am
You already have a device in the signal chain capable of doing the DSP for EQ, with no SQ loss. The PC. 

An additional DSP box between the PCI card and the majestic will lower the SQ, since there's at least one extra clock (and hence jitter) to worry about. 
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Ash View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jun 2021 at 7:40am
I try to stay on the centerline between the two speaker drivers and each ear will be less than half a metre (<50cm) from its respective driver. I set the Proprius to 9'clock so that low level hiss is inaudible. I hear some slight PC power supply noises through the speakers sometimes when no music is playing but I will address this at a later time. This type of listening is the transition point between headphone and speaker imaging; you get the best of both. Less room interaction, proximity effect bass extention and expansive 3D stereo imaging. The tonal balance alters if I am too far forward on the midline, between the two speakers, the image becomes disjointed with loss of treble level. Once I move backwards to the point where the centerlines of each speaker dust cap just "miss" the outer edges of my ear pinnae, I get a frontal panoramic image, now with very musical sound. It just needs some adjustments. These drivers have a very shallow cone profile with negative camber outer edge so the dispersion characteristic is ultra-wide and there is a big "sweet spot" to move in.

Something like the Nano Digi can be changed in real time and is set-and-forget so can be "programmed" with presets for whatever other coaxial or Toslink digital devices I want to connect. No USB sound input, the USB port is just for "programming" although a USB to S/PDIF converter like the Bitzie could be used to add USB input if I really wanted to.


Edited by Ash - 13 Jun 2021 at 7:48am
Pink Faun S/PDIF PCIe card>Lautus coaxial>Majestic DAC>Lautus-R3>2xProprius>load-adjusted MySphere 3.1
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Ash View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jun 2021 at 8:27am
Just putting this here so I don't lose it.

Pink Faun S/PDIF PCIe card>Lautus coaxial>Majestic DAC>Lautus-R3>2xProprius>load-adjusted MySphere 3.1
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