advice for what’s next


July 11, 2020 - 3:09pm


jboy's picture


Last seen: 3 days 23 hours ago

Joined: Jul 11 2020 - 3:04pm

Lead Me

So hello to all From a newbie. I’ll ask what’s no doubt been asked in one variety or another a thousand plus times here: What next for my system? So i’ve a Rotel A-14 integrated (80w per) driving pair of B&W 603 (2019). I stream 24 bit Tidal from an iMac over usb connector to the Rotel and Apple Music vía a Sonos Connect toslinked to the Rotel. I’m not looking for home theatre but as high a quality 2 channel sound as I. can manage in my 12 x 18 listening area of my loft. Given what i’m working with, recommendations ? how’s the Rotel DAC? Time to leave the integrated scene? Cable investment? Power conditioning? Room modification? All ideas appreciated and the time in submitting them. thanks for the help. oh and to the extent that you want to know my budget, the answer is im open. That’s not to say that I have an unlimited budget but I am willing to consider higher ticket items that I’ll simply have to spend some time putting away for if it’s believed those are substantially more important then getting a more instantly attainable switch to the system.

Quick thoughts:

  1. Determine what it is about your current system that you find lacking.
  2. Use that big room to experiment with loudspeaker position, lots of potential improvement there.
  3. The Rotel may be the weak link in the system, I suspect a Schitt Ragnarok 2 integrated amp (with the optional phono and DAC modules) for $1800 would deliver a substantial boost in sound quality.
  4. Use Audirvana instead of Apple Music
  5. Concentrate more on the music you love and less on your system, don’t let yourself get pulled down the rabbit hole of endless upgrades.

That’s my free advice, and it’s worth exactly what it cost you! :stuck_out_tongue:


Leave the integrated, room treatments, you’re speakers are probably positioned wrong :wink:

But, even if your speakers are positioned right, a calibrated USB microphone and REW will help you determine if your room treatments are taking you in the right direction.

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Thx much. On the Apple Music recommendation, the reason that I use it is because I have three HomePods largely owing to an Apple HomeKit run smart home and also admittedly, because the two that I have stereo paired in my kitchen are probably as fine as sounding speaker set up for size that Ive Owned. That said, HomePod only play Apple Music natively. You can airplay to them but AirPlay is restricted down to 16 bit like Apple Music so at the end of the day my question is, is your recommendation of audirvana based on anything related to bit quality because if so it’ll leave me in the same conundrum with the HomePods. Also as I mentioned I’ve Tidal For the Hi-Rez stuff is your recommendation to sub audirvana in favor of it as well? Thanks much again!

My recommendations are built on a solid foundation of ignorance, lightly seasoned with personal experience! I find Audirvana to offer substantially better sound than iTunes/Apple Music, that’s pretty much the extent of my knowledge. Similarly, I’ve always considered Rotel in the same category as NAD, great stuff for the money but not the last word in sound quality. But that’s a purely subjective generalization on my part.

I 2nd (or is it 3rd now?) Audirvana over iTunes :+1:
Play with speaker positioning if you haven’t already done so. Huge gains can be had for free.

What sort of madness is this?


After good basic setup
Have a think about power regen.
Consider your current power draw and be mindful of possible future current requirements.
Class D amplification which uses less power have made great strides in SQ.
I would expect given the climate change future equipment will have to have lower power consumption.
Power regen has a positive and fundamental improvement to SQ
Power regen IMO is not just an upgrade but a fundamental consideration in system building.
I would not consider any power conditioning.
The OP states that "high a quality 2 channel " is their aim, hence my suggestion.
I hope this helps you on your journey to better SQ