Does anybody pay a pro to dial their system in?

Bought a new system here and I’m shooting in the dark for what to expect. It sounds underwhelming to me and I feel I need a second pair of ears. My new system comprises of:

Benchmark AHB2

Benxhmark DAC3 

Totem1 bookshelf speakers

i know the system is not the problem, it’s me. All just muddy. Small room 12x8. I’ve added carpet and thick curtains on all three walls (behind speakers and both sides. On the sides I have two sets of curtains so I can open them in the middle so I don’t deaden the room too much. All in all I’m not thrilled at all at what I hear.

Over the last year Ive been listening day and night to a great “lively and exciting” set of headphones (Fostex TH900) which I love and maybe this has set a bar on what I’m looking for in a room system. I understand that a system and phones are two different experiences but for now the system doesn’t hold a candle to what the headphones are giving me.

I’m  wondering if hiring a professional to dial my system in would be a good idea as I really don’t know what to expect from the system and my small room.


Your Benchmark DAC is hardly larger than the a typical remote. What this means is that it relies on op-amps rather than a robust conventional output stage. Not to once again declare that the emperor has no clothes but every time I see a Benchmark DAC in a major magazine get rave measurements assessments I cringe-the measurements of digital components including DAC's completely fail to address the sonic differences between components with robust analogue output stages and those that do not. There is more to it than that-the input stages, circuit design, isolation and grounding but the largest contributor to a great sounding DAC is the all-important output stage. 

Let me give you an easy example-old fashioned cd players. Those that sound best but don't necessarily measure best are often designed by conventional amp builders-the likes of Bryston and years ago, Classe. The reason is that with their amp building background they pay attention and devote resources to the output stage. 

One other quick point: how broken-in are your components, TT, and specifically the speakers? As an audio mentor of mine often said, you gotta put current through everything, at least a couple-hundred hours, before you start to hear what they really can do. I'm thinking especially of your relatively new speakers. 'Just thought I'd ask.

Hey guys, so many great responses, same in two other posts I can’t keep up…..I’m flying today on a thirty hour trip with stop-overs so can’t respond but I will in the coming week, just wanted to let you guys know I’m. not ignoring all your great input.

Thanks again for all your effort!!

Sorry if this has been asked, but what is your source?  Any chance the signal in is the reason?  That amp and dac are solid.  

Yes and it’s the best decision that I’ve made in this hobby. I’m a music lover first and and audiophile second. Bringing in a pro doesn’t limit your opportunity to play around, change or tweak things. But they bring expertise, tools and experience that I couldn’t match. 

To that end, I worked with J. R. Bosclair of Wally Tools on turntable set up, room analysis and improvements including a distributed bass array. There is no way I could have ever gotten where I am now on my own. Not even close.