Currently have Thiel CS 2.3s driven by Krell KAV-300iL with Audioquest CV-8 speaker cables. Front end is Oppo BDP-103 used as transport, PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC and Bridge II, working on converting cds to NAS, running Roon and Tidal. PS Audio UPC-200 for power, AC cord for Krell is an Audioquest NRG 3 with 20 amp plug, converted to IES with Black Voodoo converter. Silnote Morpheus XLR cables. Room is 11.5' x 22' x 8.5', no treatments yet.
Loving this system so far, have greatly enjoyed each improvement. However, I am looking to improve highs which sometimes lack crystal clear clarity, especially when the music gets complex. Also would like to improve the vocal/midranges, make these warmer and deeper. What should my next upgrade be? I am thinking that a significant improvement is going to cost $2000-$3000, in the meantime I was going to try some DIY room treatments.
Background - dove into two channel hifi at the beginning of 2018, goal was to put together a decent sounding system in a dedicated listening room using used, discounted, even vintage equipment, all for less than $5000. Geoff Poor at Glenn Poor's Audio and Video in Champaign IL demonstrated the magic of time and phase aligned speakers and after some research I Ianded on the CS 2.3s. I had been using my brother's old Maggies and had already purchased a Krell integrated amp for these along with Audioquest cables, also had an Oppo universal player from an old HT set-up, so that's where I started.
I’ve heard a system nearly identical to yours, which had me starting on the path to sonic bliss many years ago. My friend had tube pre-amp into his Krell amp and out to his Thiel’s. The tubes really gave it a warm holographic body that l fell in love with. I think the pairing of solid-state amps and tube pre-amps are magic. I’m no acoustic engineer but I’d bet a shag rug in your room might improve the SQ. Your system seems dialed in so now it’s all about tending to the details.
Thanks last_lemming - I started with the speakers further apart, but when I was researching how to improve room acoustics, I came across an article by cardas covering speaker placement, golden rectangles etc. I followed those directions and voila! Instant improvement, one of the more dramatic improvements I have heard in my first year in this hobby. They are about 6.5 feet apart, leaving 2.5 ft to the sidewall. I sit about 7.5 feet away. I think I have some serious room challenges so maybe that’s why it made such a huge difference.
FR - actually, that's what I tried first and it didn't work as well, neither for sound nor for comfort. If I had another 1-2 feet I think it would work beautifully. So room treatments are a must, work in progress, but thanks! 1-2x per week I do scoot everything forward for more of a nearfield sound which is fun, but not conducive to anything else.
Thanks for the kind comments and ideas! amvm73 - I am putting room treatments on the asap list; I have a daughter studying design who might get a commission or two out of this. Pierre, I appreciate the comments on the DAC as well, I honestly never did much in the way of listening tests for this component, just dove right in with PS Audio.
Very nice system. I am quite familiar with Krell 300 and Oppo 103 and indeed these are very "budget minded" good choices. You might want to try another DAC though. The PS audio perfeçt is actually quite dry in my opinion with not so much details. In the same price range I'd suggest you listen to McIntosh D100 or D150.
My goodness, what a lovely system, already! Your mention of slightly garbled highs suggest there are too many reflective surfaces in your listening area. That's been an ongoing challenge ever since my CF-4s and I moved from a large open plan house into a more confined condo.
I think some tasteful room treatments might be your most cost-effective route.