Optimize Stereo Experience - NYC Studio

Hey, happy new year to all - new to this board but been lurking for a couple of years now.

Needed some help with this 2.1 stereo system I’ve assembled in my small NYC studio apartment: NAD T 758 + pair of KEF R900. I use Amazon HD and Spotify to stream the music. Below pic shows that my room layout doesn’t allow for placing the two speakers in a straight line (have tried all other room configurations, unfortunately this cannot change). I have so far ‘corrected’ this via DIRAC and sounds significantly better with it. Had the following few questions in case anyone case help.

  • Any further additions to the system hardware to make the sound improve significantly (amps, wires, speakers etc)

  • Would a center channel speaker make sense. I mostly listen to music but sometimes do watch TV/Music too. I have a feeling the dialogue can be improved if I add a center channel.

  • While I tried to test A/B Spotify vs Amazon HD and couldn’t hear a very drastic difference, would love to have people’s opinion here. I would definitely prefer Amazon HD over Spotify, but the crappy UI of the Amazon in BlueOs (NAD) makes life much easier whttps://ibb.co/dmRD1Phhen browsing for new music on Spotify.

  • While I can’t change where I live, any other tips / suggestions re speaker placement?

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Streaming will impose it’s own limits beyond what the room dimensions and characteristics impose. Enjoy what you have some issues are so costly to overcome The relatively small benefits are not necessarily worth the expense and effort. Small room, limits on volume, difficult placement, “do everything” requirements equals possible recipe for spending big bucks and still getting back small return. YMMV, difficult to offer solutions for your situation, just offering a word of caution on the variables based on your post.

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I don’t see the pic you mentioned but at the level of hardware you’re using, I suspect sound treatment would be your next best strategy for dealing with placement and room limitations.

Thank you - I appreciate it. I thoroughly enjoy the setup I have currently - It’s always about the ‘what could have been’. But like you say, the incremental benefits seem small at the expense of a) aesthetics / clutter in small room b) costs. With aesthetics being the bigger limitation.

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I agree - I’m trying to figure out what kind of treatment I can add without sacrificing too much in aesthetics.

Yeah, the picture speaks volumes, you need to deal with and offset, that’s a big pain in the ass. I had to offset my entire living room because of a layout issue and it drives me nuts some days…if you managed to get a decent center with that layout you are ahead of the game, great job on using correction software to make it better, just looking at the offset makes my OCDtwitch an eyeball🤪

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Haha yes, it’s a pain to think of as someone with even basic audiophile tendencies. It’s just that there’s no other possible variation of this room I can place the speakers in. It’s a studio apartment, so opposite this setup is a kitchen sink, a fridge and a big couch :stuck_out_tongue: . And to think this condo cost me fortune…welcome to NYC haha.

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Any thoughts on Amazon HD vs Spotify? Thanks

The speakers are fine, it’s that damned TV sitting to your left because of the bump out that makes me twitch. I swear i would have just given up and got rid of the t.v…LOL
Yea, a center channel if the speakers aren’t doing it for you does improve the vocal quality on an HT set-up. You are in an apartment though, and have to limit yourself on volume. Personally, i would not have bothered with anything bigger than bookshelves if for no other reason, i hate having to deal with angry neighbors. We love to help you spend money here, it’s so much vicarious fun for some of us. A nice low volume set-up would be great for that room, using a nice low power set amp, pre-amp and a great DAC with wayyyy overpriced bookshelf’s. Yeah, we can help you spend money if you are dead set-on it😈

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Hated amazon hd And spotify and pandora, Went with combination Roon, tidal and quboz

Haha, no intentions to spend stupid money at all. In fact, I’m inclined not to do anything material unless the incremental improvement is drastic.

Let me try Roon + Qobuz + Tidal . Did you find noticeable SQ improvement vs others?

There is much poorly recorded music out there, also much old stuff i like that sounds like crud. I happen to like the interface best on Roon and the combination of tidal and Quboz gives me more variety than i have ever enjoyed in my life. Also, yes there was a small but noticeable increase in SQ because the roon core will need to be hard-wired to your ethernet connection. This alone gives you the full capability of Your digital library and software as opposed to the limits of blue-tooth. There are other opinions, some folks will stick to things like spotify and tell you hi-res plays no role in quality, which is true of some masters recordings but not all. MQA does nothing for me and i don’t go out of my way for those files. You would have to form your own opinion there.

Also, the NAD receiver and your speakers are really nice pieces. Throwing a roon core in the mix might not be the best way to increase Sound quality. Are you missing something in the sound? As has been mentioned tweaking the room is honestly your best bet until you move and have better space. Maybe someone smarter than me can come along and make some much better suggestions for a cute small space like this… I’m not just not coming up with anything worthwhile off the top of my head. Try tidal free for a week if they still offer it and see what you think. That;s the best least painful tip i can offer. Quboz used to offer something similar…

My old HS friends had studio apartments in NYC, Queens , Brooklyn and Jersey. 2 of them were HP users for that very reason. They never bothered with speaker systems they just set up really nice HP set-ups (for their time, 90’s) and were thus able to enjoy music and TV without the stressors of the space limitations.

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Btw, welcome to the forums…if you have been reading you know there are much smarter folks than me around…i just happen to be a native new yorker and prefer speaker systems so you got stuck with me today babbling away :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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MTMs very nice. They mostly build with concrete out in northeast no ? Not like the POS stick construction out west, you can hear what the neighbor is thinking.

Want to suggest mounting micca covo for height ch and elac 10in subs but the studio looks nice and a adult lives there not a man baby like meself.

I might dare to say those speakers for that space and offset layout, won’t deliver what they could be in optimal position.
Recommended distances is 1m / 39" from side wall and 25cm/9" from back wall. Distance between speakers now is good but the rest not.

Personally i might go for something smaller that can be used close to wall’s/corners.
Use the space from the left plant, to the corner wall with stands to get the height right and speakers would be more in correct line.
Room correction would still be needed and going full active speakers with 6-8" drivers, they would deliver good sound even with low volumes. Still having nice bass range.
No need to play loud to enjoy full sound. If the lowend ain’t enough, maybe adding a sub to right corner then, were the right speakers is now.

I also like to daily use Spotify cause the UI is just so good, and works so easy nicely even when changing media device.
I could go for full digital tidal and have digital to all the way to speakers but i would a minor issue with HT then. Minor issue being that AV-receiver should also be fully digital XLR outputs as well… being a minor 25k bonus soo, not yeat.

You will lose open real estate but gain symmetry, Get a tv stand. Hybrid nearfield setup. My HT room is similar, goodtimes.
See SH forum in the pic, i visit there too! :slightly_smiling_face::+1: