Any Improvement Possible for B&O-Hsu-Paradigm-Apple System?


This all started with an ad I saw for a pair of B&O 8000 “Pencil” speakers.  I bought those and want to keep them as the center of my system.  Since I assembled my system without professional advice, I am interested in ideas on possible improvements. I like the sound, but am looking to increase the realism of my music.  I mostly play jazz through my Apple iPad Pro, listening to radio stations around the world on radiogarden.com.  I listen at lower levels most of the time, maybe 20-25% of the sound level bar on my iPad.

My room is 20ft by 40ft with 8ft high ceilings.  The walls are mostly large windows and patio doors, floor is concrete, and ceiling is drywall.  The only fabric in the room is a sofa.  It also has bookshelves and a kitchen.  My listening position (LP) is about 8ft from a side wall and 12ft back from a windowed short wall, facing toward the short wall.  The subs are midway against the long walls, facing each other, and behind the LP.  They sit on thick rubber pads

My equipment is:

Apple AirPort Express Wireless Router a1392 300Mbps

B & O BeoLab 8000 speakers, the right one 9ft from the LP and the left one 12ft 

Hsu ULS15 Mk II 15in sealed sub

Paradigm Monitor Series 7 12in sealed sub, via Paradigm wireless transmitter

Cables are Monoprice 10ft and 25ft  22awg 3.5mm plugs to RCA connections 

Everything is powered, and the only adjustments I can make are on the backs of the subs.  If I spend $500 or $1000 can I improve my system?  I’ve though about a DAC, better cables or another Hsu, but I don’t know if they would make any noticeable improvement.

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That sounds like a highly-reflective and huge listening space.  I'd invest in some sort of room treatments to improve the experience.  It may take several different types to not only improve the sound, but also to not make the room look like a recording studio.  The right rug(s), decorative acoustic panels, diffusers, etc.

Yes our room is a combined living/dining/kitchen with lots of glass.  There is a carpeted stairway into the space, and 6 tall thin bookshelves along the walls.  I’m going to start room treatments today with more utility rugs at the speakers.

if you're committed to your speakers, a dac would be a logical upgrade--in your range i'd look at chord or smsl, though there's many others. room treatments are always a good idea as well.

I thought about a new DAC. In my research I found this article - https://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/airport-express-audio-quality-2014.htm

Ken’s beginning summary of the Model A1392 states, “Good: Fantastic audio quality, full 2 V RMS output, beautiful, sturdy build and small. Bad: Much clumsier to set up the first time than Bluetooth.”

Then he shows about 20 pages of graphs and charts, none of which I understand. But there are frequent comments throughout such as, “perfect…marvelous.”

Ken concludes, “At any price the Apple AirPort Express is a great DAC. It sounds great, with a completely silent background, full 2 V output, smooth detailed sound and full infrasonic bass response.”

My AirPort Express is set up and running well. I think I need to upgrade the weak link of my system to gain any improvement. Is that my DAC? Or is the quality of the internet radio I’m using as the source the limiting factor here.

 

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