DirectStream Sr obsolete? In the world of DSP activities (Genelec "the ones"/Ki 3)

So… hooked up my DS SR to the Elac Navis.

Not blow away.

Moved to more of a nearfield position and getting a much better sound. Navis about 4 feet from listening position.

Thinking of returning thre Navis and getting Genelec 8341 + the Genelec 7360 Sub.

Heard the DSP is astonishing.

The issue is the analog from the DS SR get converted again in the Genelecs… does this defeat the purpose.

analogue inputs are digitized to PCM192kHz

I am convinced that DSP is about to go mainstream big time with active speakers. The nice thing about the Navis is they are analog and therefore the DS SR would seem like a great match.

However from my understanding the Genelecs destroy the Navis and are also quite a bit more expensive. Zeos the youtube reviewer loved the Genelecs but hated the Navis.

Problem is I am wondering if the DS SR is completely wasted with the Genelecs using their GLM room correction DSP.

Darko said he noticed a difference with the Genelec hooked to DS SR… but I dont trust that guy… he is a shill(gets his gear from mfg)… Zeos is not(gets his gear from fans).

Anyone here have any experience with this setup?

It would seem actives with DSP and internal DAC are better served with a streamer/preamp combo than a streamer/dac/preamp combo.

any opinions paul?

this is a brave new world and where the mass market of hifi is going.

I can believe it will sound different but different doesn’t mean objectively better… I don’t understand how double D-to-A can be better - as you say, you can’t by-pass the DSP speaker’s internal D-to-A.

I’ve already expressed interest in a PS Audio active speaker with DSP crossover and D-to-A handled by @tedsmith

I guess Paul is busy trying to get his currently planned speakers out and maybe later he will get Ted involved in DSP speakers.

There’s also Kii3 as you mentioned in your title, Dutch & Dutch 8C, Devialet Phantoms and even B&W are now in the active world.

Meridian DSP speakers have been around for decades of course but at a higher price than those mentioned above.

The Genelec 8341 has AES/EBU digital inputs, which would eliminate the additional D/A and A/D conversion, but requires AES/EBU inputs (more prevalent in professional gear and is limited to 24/192 PCM). Volume would have to be controlled at the server via software (not considered the best sound quality option) unless you add a AES/EBU digital volume control (digital preamp). With internal DSP and class D amps conversion could be occurring in each amp (three per monitor) to avoid another possible D/A conversion. So it all looks simple on the outside, but gets to be very complex inside.

The ideal solution for speaker/room performance is near/mid-field setup away from walls, an ideally shaped room of decent size, and effective treatments. DSP/EQ should only be used as icing on the cake and then carefully applied. Note that trying to correct for a 20 dB narrow dip in frequency response would push the amp to produce 100 times the power (thanks to the logarithmic relationship between dB and watts) which could clip the amp and burn out the voice coils in the drivers of your speakers.

BTW DSP can be added via other means: software or built into preamps. MiniDSP SHD offers such a preamp for $1200 that includes a calibrated USB microphone (that all DSP room corrections should have). For software the most popular is REW (Room Eq Wizard, which is powerful and free) and Dirac Live (which is user friendlier but isn’t free). Keep in mind that the speaker or preamp routes can apply correction for all sources (including analog) while the software can only serve the digital source.

Genelec subs are very expensive, recommend trying without to start with. If a sub or subs (better yet 3 or 4 smaller subs to better control in-room peaks/dips) is desired, look for less powerful/expensive ones.

Fascinating analysis and I am also intrigued that you believe John Darko is a “shill” because he gets his gear from manufacturers and this YouTube fellow’s not because he gets it elsewhere. I am curious enough by these statements that I want to ask you what
you suspect Darko’s motivations are and the same question for the Zeos fellow? We typically don’t do things without motivations and the whole subject just intrigues me.

As to your question of wasted because the analog is reconverted back to digital in the active speakers. I get the thought process but I don’t think it’s accurate. If the question had been asked of an all analog turntable setup then we’d narrow
it down to a simple, is it good or bad the speaker’s signal gets digitized or not. That’s really the issue.

This is because whatever process DS goes through to reach its analog output determines in large part how the eventual signal sounds. It is the conversion to analog that matters. If we keep everything in the digital domain we lose a certain amount
of SQ we’ve come to love.

So, no, I think the bigger question is your comfort level of the signal being reconverted to digital after having been analog in the first place (regardless of what analog we’re discussing).


Active and DSP has been around for ever.

Active has been around longer and is fantastic.

DSP doesn’t work for me. My hearing acuity must be such that I prefer only the original reference audio from the speakers despite room modal issues. I can distinguish the two. If anything some limited peak suppression with DSP under 150Hz is OK but I draw the line there. Unfortunately DSP can’t fix nulls.

It may be that I am particularly sensitive to phase distortion and audible ringing - phase distortion/ringing is what you get with the kind of high Q filters used in DSP.

The best sound is still to get the best speakers you can and a good room and no DSP.

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Agree 100%. There IS NO FREE LUNCH! By that I mean the “magical shit” DSP does generally comes at a cost in terms of the things mentioned. You are CHANGING THE PROGRAM MATERIAL coming out of your speakers to “fix” something that is not right or is inconvenient. In this neck of the woods, that is bass-ackwards. There are many other great applications for DSP in music and music production, but I’m still not into it for audiophile reproduction, “room correction”/“speaker correction” (both misnomers), with the possible exception of HT.

As for Genelecs for home listening, I have owned them for decades and still use them for monitors for work. I have tried using them for listening for pleasure, and they are not satisfying. They are a tool. Similarly I have tried using monitor-like speakers like my Harbeths for monitoring, and it mostly doesn’t work in the other direction either.

Start with the best speakers you can afford, and don’t necessarily tie yourself to a powered speaker. For a bit more, I would suggest auditioning P3ESR’s. You will never sell them.

Another vote for avoiding DSP. I have heard many demonstrations of various types of DSP, replete with exclamations as to why I should love it. Every time it is switched in I want to run out of the room.

Yes, it may measure well given the tools people are using, but the sound does not even approach that of a competent system in a properly treated good room.

I’ve heard DSP sound good and bad.

I think DSP is at its best when it is correcting deficiencies due to budget. The best example of this is Vanatoo’s speakers. I absolutely love their speakers and have enjoyed them every time I’ve heard them. With that said, Vanatoo brings room treatment to shows and still pulls them far into the room. They’re abiding by basic setup principles, not using DSP to ‘fix’ poor setup and treatment.

On the flip side, I’ve heard DSP in Legacy speakers and the Kii Threes and found it usually to be not to my liking. With Legacy it was particularly stark since we had the chance to try the DSP’d Aries vs the Focus SE with our electronics. I preferred the Focus SEs.

I think DSP and active speakers are awesome. It’s great seeing manufacturers push boundaries and develop new ways to create great sound. I think the technology will continue to improve, and that’s a wonderful thing. Someday I’ll gladly sell my separates and buy speakers that have all the hardware inside. We’re just not there. Yet.

I too am a simpleton. No dsp … no reconverting analog to digital. No fixing the signal to match the room. I still believe in fixing a room with treatments vs having a signal changed to fix a room. I can understand others seeing it differently. I am just old school that way. And… I don’t want an all in one speaker. I think that comes with a bunch of possible compromises.

In my case, I’m not talking demos. I’m talking about living with many systems of increasing cost and complexity and making it do the “amazing” things that it can do. Then every time I took it out after a period of feeling undefined dissatisfaction, it was immediately, “Oh, That’s Better!”.

I am in no way opposed to the idea that it will be (or even currently is now) being sorted out. Particularly if some sort of temporal-spatial nuttiness can be incorporated. And I use it in one form or another every day. The ability to emulate mics, mic pres and rooms is pretty darn cool, I gotta say. But I would also say that the long-term experience has been being initially Wowed/blown away/impressed/happy that it Fixed X, and so on…then later I thought…“What was I thinking/hearing?” Didn’t hold up over time, particularly in the area of modifying a finished piece of music as it comes out of the speakers.

Interested to hear the response on John Darko’s motivation… :wink: As a subscriber to John’s YouTube site i always find him insightful, thought provoking and highly entertaining as he tells the common man, “this is what I hear, you may hear something different”.


Darko is typical Aussie/Brit polite… he will not take a goddamn point of view.

Think about it. If you are dependant on getting your gear from MFGs are you going to trash them? Nope… so he never offers up a true opinion… its all warm and fuzzy bullshit.

Whereas Zeos even though some of his tests may need more set up (I think his Elac Navis bash was unfair as these speakers are not doing DSP like the Kef wireless and require more thoughtful set up)… at least he expresses a real opinion.

I enjoy both and they both have their strengths and weaknesses.

How quick is paul going to send you gear to test on your channel if you just took a giant dump on his latest creation??? think about it.

NO we are there… it just costs a lot to have the proper set up… Genelec is the leader… This chaps overview on his experience with 8341 + Genelec Subs destroying the Ki 3s is quite intriguing also some good insight to DARKO:

" I was in similar circumstances, vacillating between the Kii 3 and Genelec “1”. In the process, I extensively read reviews and auditioned both systems.

First, those highly coveted speakers/monitors are true gems. All the gripes discussed below should be put in that context.

Off the gate, comparing the Genlec 8341/8451 to Kii 3 is “apples to oranges”; the latter can go down to 20HZ, whereas the former drop barely to 38hz/32hz respectively.

However, add a pair of subwoofers to the Genelec monitors and it’s whole different ballgame. Honestly, I immediately preferred that arrangement over Kii. Not only was the deep bass and coaxial emanation beguiling, but the benefits of the GLM were also very persuasive. In that regard, both systems sport DSP, but Genelec’s is more advanced and tunable, which is not surprising given the company’s robust R&D and its considerable resources.

Incidentally, I ran into a German forum with a surfeit of posts comparing the two. Most preferred Genetec, despite being “unpatriotic” in doing so . If I find the translated compendium, I’ll post it later.

As for Mr. Darko, I tend to view his opinions through a dubious lens. Like many other industry insiders, his interests aren’t necessary aligned with ours. Note that he purchased the Genelec out-of-pocket, while the Kii 3 were either a loan or a gift from the manufacturer. In fact, so tight is he with Kii, that their CEO gave an interview from Mr. Darko’s apartment. For me, it’s naïve not to suspect any bias. Of course, it’s totally great to have Darko around. I love his clips and writeups.

At days’s end, you should listen to both systems and form your own option. Ignore the salesperson and professional reviews. Many times, they have other agenda than yours. Ignore mine too…LOL

Personally, I purchased 8341 x 2 + 7360 x 2 and never looked back. Saved $4,000 along the way…"


I am beginning to question though how something like the direct stream can fit into such a digital system and make a big SQ difference.

seriously considering ordering the identical system and testing it with the directstream as the streamer.

Darko is brilliant. Anyone who thinks he is some kind of shill just because he gets his gear from the manufacturers needs to reconsider what being a shill means.

I’ve never seen him produce advertorial type videos - he always gives his opinion even though it might not be as strong or as black and white as some others may like it. To be honest I would be just as suspicious of someone who claims to get their gear from other sources - how do you know they aren’t also being paid to give favourable reviews?

The answer is you don’t, all you can do is evaluate people on the basis of what they say and then see if it is consistent with your own personal experience.

If it isn’t move on and find somebody else because whether they are shill or not their opinion is not going to be useful to you.

Ultimately your own ears are the only opinion that counts, reviews should only be used to find things to try out for yourself.


@badbeef If you ever get a chance to interject Anthem’s ARC (Anthem Room Correction) into your system, I recommend you give it a spin.

IME, I have yet to compile and deploy a set of kit in my system, or accomplish a room/speaker set up (including treatments) that did not benefit from ARC’s DSP.

Whenever I make what I believe to be significant change to the system (e.g., , speaker placement, room treatments or new kit) I run with the Anthem AVM 50v Pre/Pro’s ARC (a/k/a “room EQ”) disengaged for a while. Then I run the ARC set up (taking measurements in various locations per the software instructions) and run it with the new ARC correction settings for a while. Then its easy enough to turn ARC on and off to do quick and not so quick comparisons.

I have been through two (and about to try a third) such iterations since adding the AVM 50v to my system and, so far, my 2.1 system has always benefitted from/sounded better with ARC engaged. I just did some major rearranging of rack, speaker and subwoofer locations. Here’s hoping that I am taking another step forward this go-round (with or without ARC).



Curious as to whether there are other ARC aficionados lurking here…

@drarifakhtar: DARKO is one of my favorite reviewers as well. He is pretty detailed and does a great job of actually describing what he hears and likes and doesn’t. What’s more, he actually compares kit from time to time. What a concept!


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I have just heard DSP as bad so far, but only because I heard fully DSP‘ed speakers until now (e.g. this white‘ish half horn like popular lifestyle speakers I don’t remember the make).

Edit: I found out it was the Avant-garde acoustics zero that gave me zero musical feelings.

Will be interesting with the AN3 in which cases of problems DSP in bass does more good than bad…at least it’s easy to try. I never heard a DSP speaker of that quality level until now.

Do you think there’s so much difference between reviewers and review concepts?

I think gear that would get a bad review isn’t reviewed at the end and any critic a reviewer has is buried deep between the lines anyway. I like comparative reviews of guys like Fremer who talk in a language in which I perceive differences. Conparisons imo are the only chance to read anything meaningful out of a review that isn’t available in brochures or similar anyway. Any review without comparisons is quite worthless to me unless I have a very good imagination how the reviewer perceives.

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Be interesting to see what the SOTA is with that stuff. Used to do a fair amount of setup as a custom installer - though those were typically very compromised systems from our perspective. The last one I had in my system (still have actually, if anyone wants one) is a DEQX HDP4, which was a big deal at the time. I installed the 24/192 USB mod in it.

I am sort of a purist with regard to this stuff though - I wouldn’t place an EQ in the chain on principal generally - and these things arguably noodle with more than analog EQs. It Always sounds better - in that it “fixes” problems - otherwise, why do it? But my experience was that after a long period of having a given form of correction in the system, when I took it out, it just sounded better to me. Yeah - the “problems” might be back, and maybe took a bit more work on room treatment or sub placement or whathaveyou. I just felt the problems weren’t as bad as the phase weirdness. And its been a while since I used an AVR for the stereo (also have an ARCAM AVR600) which is where it can make more sense to me.

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Which is it? (LOL)

I think I get what you meant though. In the end, “uncorrected” sounds better to you (?).



IIRC, one of the things that makes ARC so effective (and listenable to my ears) is that it is not heavy handed and burns more processing calories working on the lower frequencies, than fussing with (or, arguably messing up) timing and coherency. (Kind of like what Paul is doing with limiting DSP to the lower frequencies in his new speaker line, I guess…)