I have a pair of focal shape 50s and a sub6 subwoofer

I like how these sound and all this is being powered by an audient d4 mk2 which is around 200 bucks, but part of my feels like these aren’t being brought the best to their capability. Since these are active speakers since both are plugged up to the wall, i guess they benefit from a dac? I’m willing to loosen the wallet up a bit cause a 200 dollar audio interface is not supposed to mesh with a near 2k pair of monitors. Thanks ya’ll!

I have the Shape 50s as well and they shine if you have a really good fully balanced pre-amp…

Using the built-in pre-amp on DACs/sound interfaces usually don’t sound that good. It’s best to get a separate one; I use a Burson Soloist for my pre-amp. It is :ok_hand: with the Shapes…


#1 rule to get the most out of speakers is placement, placement, placement. The room determines how your speaker sounds not the speakers. Plus, it’s free!

#2 would be room treatment. They matter way more than getting any new kind of gear. Gear is what you want to focus last on…

Hope this helps!

*If you want some placement/treatment tips message me and I’ll share you my experience…I’d post it here but this kind of information deserves a whole thread in itself!

Yes fully balanced is what i’m looking for. My shape 50s as far as treatment goes are sitting on speaker stands like 3 feet away from the wall. The sub6 is sitting on an isolation pad. I’m moving a to a new house so where i’m at i don’t wanna waste time treating where i live atm.

These can be used with a preamp? I didn’t know this id4 mk2 is a preamp built in but yeah for how gorgoeus this speaker is as well as it could sound by the dimensions it can benefit immensely from a very high fidelity preamp. I need a preamp suggestion quick to bring out the full timbre, dynamics, detail, slam, and low end with these shapes. I’m still within my return window to ship the id4 back unless i consider getting a mic too to maybe get an interest in recording some day.

budget its 500-1000. 1200 maybe

Generally, yes it would benefit away from the wall but finding your low-end sweet spot is a much better method and is more effective.

In addition, you also need to find your stereo image sweet spot (if you haven’t already).

Well I don’t have a vast experience with pre-amps but as I said the Burson Soloist is a great option. It has a really great balanced pre-amp…keep in mind you’d have to buy a separate DAC…

I think i found my phantom center. Its just the resolution and dynamics i feel i could get more from these that they benefit with a separate preamp and dac. What Dac you using? The burson is sold out :frowning:

You’ll know if you’ve found your phantom center when you can clearly hear strong vocal presence in front of you and the speakers “disappear.”

I’m using the RME DAC which doesn’t really have a good pre-amp. Its DAC is good tho.

You could buy directly from Burson…

Aren’t these mid range focused? Vocals sound amazing on these especially like talk shows. I’m talking about instruments.
Shit you have a rme adi-2 dac??? Pairing it with a burson soloist??? This hobby is expensive but i love it.

Are you talking about the Shapes? I don’t think they are at all. Midrange is clear and transparent…no emphasis to my ears.

Ha, yes yes it is!

You could go with some Schiit stuff. I hear they have a really good balanced DAC that doesn’t break the bank…

Fuckers from sweetwater lied to me lmfao they sound good though.

Well I saw those options. Either a modius(would require a volume control but i wanna save space) and a bitfrost 2 which is a gooddddd entry to r2r dacs.

What would be a good dac then with something like burson? My question how do your shapes sound? Like i know its subjective but i’m curious with any genre of music doesn’t matter.

They told you it was mid-centric? I mean…they’re monitors so they’re supposed to be tuned to neutral for studio use.

Depends on the budget…the Bifrost is an excellent choice but it’s not neutral (it’s got some warmth to it). I don’t have the Bifrost but many people on the forum and reviewers really like it.

How do they sound w/ the Burson? They’re very transparent, they have a huge soundstage, and the bass is super tight. Treble on these I’d describe as raw but not harsh. When I tried the RME as a preamp, soundstage was closed-in and I couldn’t tolerate the treble too much (I have my EQ at the back to the lowest setting).

My main criticism is that sometimes it can be a little too colorless…I prefer a little more color, but I mean they’re monitors so they do what they’re supposed to do.

Yes and thats what i’m going for is to give the dynamics a lil more touch of warmth. The budget for a separate pre amp and dac is like 1200. I’ve heard a preamp in the all in one is not the ideal location and i always go for separates.

What does colorless mean? I just got these saturday around the evening so i’m still in the running in period.

Many people still like using the RME ADI-2 as PREAMP (volume control) / DAC (digital to analog) because its digital volume control is perfect and there is absolute no coloration, perfectly neutral.
I do also. Plus all the settings and adjustments you have are nice.

Hmmm, I’m not sure how to answer that since I really only know the Burson as being a great pre-amp…maybe a Soloist and then one of the lower-end balanced Schiit DACs.

Just keep in mind this is a subjective term…man, these made-up audiophile terms are hard to describe! lol

I guess I’d describe it as dull or boring in a way. Think about your favorite food (let’s say salmon), for example, cooked to perfection. There’s nothing wrong with the salmon but you wanna add more salt or mayo to accommodate to your specific tastes.

I keep seeing the soloist 3 and i’m sure thats not what you mean. its the actual soloist like the one shown on the companys site. Hmmm wonder if using a schitt dac like the modius would be ideal with a 1000 dollar preamp.

Colorless as in it could you use more detail or low end? If the former why not use an eq?

You use it with your monitors too? I imagine that unit gives ir better sound presentation and dynamics/timbre.

Yes, i use RME ADI-2 FS (AK4493) with Genelec 8330’s.

This one here…

Well it wouldn’t be the best that’s for sure but I don’t really have any experience with other pre-amps other than the Soloist and RME.

No, that’s not what I mean. It has to do with how it presents the music. It’s not lacking any detail…

You ever used an audio interface like the d4 mk2 i have? How much was the difference in sound compared to the rme ad 2? I’m asking cause i have nooo way to audition this stuff since im in virginia

How does it present the music? haha i have questions man this community is very interesting

lol I don’t know how else to explain it…

If you want my opinion on how it sounds via the Soloist…

Bass is tight, fast, and well-controlled. Mids are neutral with nothing added or subtracted. Highs are raw-sounding, meaning they’re very forward but not harsh to the ears. Very detailed and soundstage is deep.