The last year has brought a lot of changes. I ditched the sub. I found it muddied up the sound and the speakers by themselves just sounded more convincing. I moved away from the Google Chromecast Audio in favor of several different Raspberry Pi based solutions. I settled on a combination of Volumio software and Allo’s Digione board. It runs SPDIF into my Schiit Modi Multibit and sounds very good. It is also fun to play with and the platform is infinitely customizable in terms of software and hardware. I also upgraded my basic speaker wire to Analysis Plus Clear speaker wire. This change is too new to comment on, however it has seemed to open up the sound. It is just hard to do an A-B comparison.
I replaced my aging AVR with the Schitt Vidar and Saga combo. I also upgraded my streaming from the Echo Dot to a combination of the Google Chromecast Audio into the Schiit Modi Multibit. This was a great move. I tried integrating each component into my setup independently so I could here the results. I would have to say the DAC was the biggest single difference. If anyone is wondering the Vidar is one heavy beast for its size. It is built like a tank and has added some real punch to the sound. I also added the Schiit Mani to connect my record player.
I added a Schitt Saga preamp to the system. I moved the Sony receiver down the rack and it is itnow being used only as an amplifier in pass through mode with the volume set to max. The CD player and Echo run into the Saga and the Saga feeds the receiver. I replaced the interconnects with some nicer monster cable RCA's I found in my stash. I also removed the subwoofer as I feel like it actually muddied up the sound. These speakers are just too good on their own. I am also experimenting with bi-wiring. I only have 16 gauge monster cable but I would still like to find out if it makes a difference. At some point I will invest in some better speaker cabling.
I spun the room arrangement 90 degrees. This was more based on function than sound. I reposition the speakers using the Cardas square room calculations. I also upgraded my speakers to the Quad 21L's. What a difference. Crisper highs and much better base extension. The music sounds more full. I also built a rack for the equipment.
I added the ProJect Carbon Debut. The addition of vinyl to the mix was more fun than I expected. The sound is nostalgic and warm. It will never be my primary media. It is costly and time consuming. However the hunt for records is an experience in itself.
The system was moved to a dedicated room. The room was larger and I was able to place the speakers where I wanted instead of being limited by the desk they were sitting on. I purchased some Sanus steel stands and began to play with speaker location. I used the Master Set theory as well as the Cardas room setup and speaker placement guide. I also did the subwoofer crawl and the results were nothing short of amazing. The soundstage moved from the speakers to the center of the room. The bass tightened up. It made me want to listen more. The whole process was fun. Measure and move and listen and move and measure and listen and put down some tape. You can burn way to much time and eventually you have to stop and enjoy.
I added the SVS SB12-NSD subwoofer to the system and it changed my world. The sound no longer just came at you. Instead it filled the room. It started to feel like an experience and not just listening to music.
My long standing system was a pair of Paradigm Atom Monitor v.6 speakers coupled with a Sony STR-GA7ES audio visual receiver. The speakers were on a desktop pulled away from the walls in a very small room. I used the analog output from a laptop for digital content.