What's the upgrade path for me?

So this is more for my curiosity than anything else. I currently use a pair of ELAC B5s (first-generation) for my PC. It does double duty as near-field (about two feet from my chair) and bed usage (about two meters away). I drive it with a SMSL Q5 Pro, and bass is handled by a B&W subwoofer.

I’m not considering an upgrade now, but if I ever wanted to go up the audio quality chain, what would I be looking at?

Well, if you like the elac sound, the Uni-fi UB5 would be a step up. Perhaps also getting a better amp is another way to upgrade as well, but I would focus on the speakers first. There are lots and lots of options out there to look at, so you kinda need a price range and what you would be wanting out of the upgrade

I’ll be honest, my audiophile knowledge is better for headphones than it is for speakers. I generally like the sound, but I’ve never had anything else really high-end to compare it with - I was on Logitech speakers before this.

The question is as much - what do nicer speakers of the next step up - UB5s, or RP-600Ms - how do they improve on what I have? I guess that’s a question I understand for headphones, but not for speakers.

There is better detail, along with better spatial accuracy imo. You also get a separate driver for midrange with a coax tweeter The rp600m is going to have a different sound in the treble because of their horn tweeter. Also the ub5 and 600m imo would have more bass impact. So basically with the ub5 it is a bump in clarity and detail, better spacial representation, and a more refined sound signature

If you wanted a powered setup, the Vanatoo T1e would also be a nice powered upgrade

Speakers make the biggest difference. Then back up the chain in order - amps, preamps, DACs, sources. As far as speakers go, the only way to know what you like is to listen to as many as possible. That way you’re not throwing your money away on something you won’t be happy with 6 months down the line. Go audition speakers. Take your favorite music with you. Contact local audio clubs and ask to audition people’s stuff.

I would argue that a preamp can effect the sound more then a dac in some cases, as a poorly designed preamp can be more detrimental then using a budget dac

That’s why the preamp comes before the DAC :wink: as you go back up the chain.

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Ah, misread sorry lol. Then I would also say that the source of your music matters more then the dac and preamp then (as in the quality) because if you have bad quality music that’s a problem

All good.

Well, not the 20 char post limit. That’s not good. That’s bad @ZeosPantera !!!

Hmmmmm I place the preamp before DAC and sources. Mainly because it is physically effecting the low level analog signal. Even more so with channel imbalances if it has a shitty pot. You can’t really control for bad quality music unfortunately. If it’s recoded like shit, it will sound like shit.

But I think we’re getting ahead of the OP’s question. And I’m pretty sure we both agree - speakers first, then amp. By the time those 2 are put to rest, one tends to have a quite enjoyable “proper” system.

Yes for sure lol. That’s mainly what I meant for music, as that if you have pretty poor quality music you should try and change that, and imo if it’s really bad, it would effect the sound more then a subpar preamp

@leops1984 Perhaps if you can’t physically go and listen to a speaker, figure out what you prefer, then narrow down a list, and then buy online from a retailer with a free return policy (like Amazon), and if they don’t meet your expectations then you could return them within a certain time, since I know that sometimes it is hard to find places to listen to stuff like this in some areas

We may lower it but we don’t want replies that just say “lol”

Cmon that’s my favorite. That would be great, I don’t see a problem

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Unfortunately I live in the Philippines and… retailers don’t have those generous return policies. And the local retailers are also quite overpriced - to get my B5s at a reasonable cost I bought them online when I happened to be in the US and put them in my checked luggage.

The key is to audition gear. Being in the Philippines doesn’t hamper that. Go to the retailers, join the local audio clubs. Basically listen to as much stuff as you can so you can start having an idea of what’s out there and what you like/don’t like. No matter what anyone tells you in a forum or youtube video or hi-fi magazine, ultimately only you have your ears and your preferences. The better informed you are about what YOU like, the easier it will be to buy equipment YOU are happy with.

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