NuPrime DAC-10 & ST-10 on Totem Rainmaker speakers. First impressions.

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RafaPolit

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 110
    • www.rafaelpolit.com
Hello Friends,

So, my DAC-10 and ST-10 are finally here and installed on my system (well, better put, they are my system).



My first impressions couldn't be better. I am really happy with the system.

Right out of the box and once installed it's clear that:
  • They are very classy and nice looking
  • They out-resolve the NuFoce IDA-100 by a considerable margin.  There is so much more resolution in the sound.
  • For the first time I understand what "sound stage" means.  Sound comes from everywhere, not just from the speakers.  Each voice and instrument has it's on position, really an eye opener for me!
  • It is a powerfull combo, so much so that if you a not careful, you can blow out your speakers. Start with low volumes and be wary of different source music (more on this later)
  • The clarity of the sound is remarkable if the source has that quality (more on this later)
  • The connectivity options are just perfect: my one problem with IDA-8 and DAC-9 was only one optical input, and no true analog bypass but digitized inputs.  The DAC-10 has the perfect amount of each type of connectors to me.

I really think these are remarkable pieces of equipment.

I do find a couple of things that require more listening, breaking in, or just plain acceptance in other cases!

  • The system is so revealing that what was previously more or less homogeneous music, now it's not!  Every music reveals its quality, some really shinning through and others pale in comparison.  This is the one thing we have to live with, but it will take some getting used to, this is not a fault on the equipment, but it's something that bothers me and I hope I can learn to just live with that.
  • The dynamic range and power of the system is remarkable! But that means I'm adjusting the volume far more often than what I was used to.  Some music (particularly soft classical music like piano) requires quite a lot more volume than pop songs.  I take it this could be solved by normalizing the volume of songs, but I prefer to hear 'what was recorded', so I'm on the fence with this one. I am probably used to more compressed sounding systems where this was not so much of an issue. Again, this is not a fault with the system
  • The setup pushes a lot less bass than my previous equipment.  I'm sure this is because it's a more 'flat' and true system, and that lesser equipment boosts bass in order to give the impression of a fuller sound.  I wholly agree that the take on the 10s is the right one, but now my speakers sound a bit thinner due to being bookshelves, and I may have inadvertently gotten myself into actually needing a sub-woofer.   I'll wait and see what happens after break in, but I'm not holding my breath on this issue, still not faulting the 10s

There are though a couple of things that I am not completely happy about, and I am hoping they get better when break in has done it's job:

  • There are times when I detect a 'nasal' quality to the sound... like subdued middles.   Brights are sharp and bass is profound (maybe a little too bummed at times, but that can be my speakers directly on top of the cabinet), but the middle section is, at times, muffled.  Will this be something that would improve with break in?
  • The other aspect which has me utterly confused is something I'd like to ask about.  I am a classical pianist and have hundreds of records of classical piano work.  I know them well and by heart. I have heard them with lousy speakers, with great headphones, with great studio-grade speakers and directly inside a recording studio's mastering room.  I know them well!  The thing is, here on the DAC + ST combo, the piano seems to have been put inside a huge church: there is a LOT of (never heard before) reverberation on the sound.  Could this be the same 'nasal' sound I was describing early? Some muffled middle sections that let the brighter echoes become more prominent?  This I wasn't expecting.  It's not a deal breaker, but it's the one aspect I would like to get perfect: solo piano classical works

Well, that's it after two days of 12 hours-a-day of listening and enjoying the NuPrime gear... as always.

Thanks for all the support and help! Your advice was invaluable in making my decisions and I will rely on you further as times goes by. Minor tweaks are probably due on the speaker isolation front that I agree could help with the overall sound.

Other than that, I hope to enjoy this setup for many years!

Best regards,
Rafa.

Evoke

  • Industry Contributor
  • Posts: 135
    • EVOKE Planar Loudspeakers
Hello Friends,

So, my DAC-10 and ST-10 are finally here and installed on my system (well, better put, they are my system).



My first impressions couldn't be better. I am really happy with the system.

Right out of the box and once installed it's clear that:
  • They are very classy and nice looking
  • They out-resolve the NuFoce IDA-100 by a considerable margin.  There is so much more resolution in the sound.
  • For the first time I understand what "sound stage" means.  Sound comes from everywhere, not just from the speakers.  Each voice and instrument has it's on position, really an eye opener for me!
  • It is a powerfull combo, so much so that if you a not careful, you can blow out your speakers. Start with low volumes and be wary of different source music (more on this later)
  • The clarity of the sound is remarkable if the source has that quality (more on this later)
  • The connectivity options are just perfect: my one problem with IDA-8 and DAC-9 was only one optical input, and no true analog bypass but digitized inputs.  The DAC-10 has the perfect amount of each type of connectors to me.
I really think these are remarkable pieces of equipment.

I do find a couple of things that require more listening, breaking in, or just plain acceptance in other cases!

  • The system is so revealing that what was previously more or less homogeneous music, now it's not!  Every music reveals its quality, some really shinning through and others pale in comparison.  This is the one thing we have to live with, but it will take some getting used to, this is not a fault on the equipment, but it's something that bothers me and I hope I can learn to just live with that.
  • The dynamic range and power of the system is remarkable! But that means I'm adjusting the volume far more often than what I was used to.  Some music (particularly soft classical music like piano) requires quite a lot more volume than pop songs.  I take it this could be solved by normalizing the volume of songs, but I prefer to hear 'what was recorded', so I'm on the fence with this one. I am probably used to more compressed sounding systems where this was not so much of an issue. Again, this is not a fault with the system
  • The setup pushes a lot less bass than my previous equipment.  I'm sure this is because it's a more 'flat' and true system, and that lesser equipment boosts bass in order to give the impression of a fuller sound.  I wholly agree that the take on the 10s is the right one, but now my speakers sound a bit thinner due to being bookshelves, and I may have inadvertently gotten myself into actually needing a sub-woofer.   I'll wait and see what happens after break in, but I'm not holding my breath on this issue, still not faulting the 10s
There are though a couple of things that I am not completely happy about, and I am hoping they get better when break in has done it's job:

  • There are times when I detect a 'nasal' quality to the sound... like subdued middles.   Brights are sharp and bass is profound (maybe a little too bummed at times, but that can be my speakers directly on top of the cabinet), but the middle section is, at times, muffled.  Will this be something that would improve with break in?
  • The other aspect which has me utterly confused is something I'd like to ask about.  I am a classical pianist and have hundreds of records of classical piano work.  I know them well and by heart. I have heard them with lousy speakers, with great headphones, with great studio-grade speakers and directly inside a recording studio's mastering room.  I know them well!  The thing is, here on the DAC + ST combo, the piano seems to have been put inside a huge church: there is a LOT of (never heard before) reverberation on the sound.  Could this be the same 'nasal' sound I was describing early? Some muffled middle sections that let the brighter echoes become more prominent?  This I wasn't expecting.  It's not a deal breaker, but it's the one aspect I would like to get perfect: solo piano classical works
Well, that's it after two days of 12 hours-a-day of listening and enjoying the NuPrime gear... as always.

Thanks for all the support and help! Your advice was invaluable in making my decisions and I will rely on you further as times goes by. Minor tweaks are probably due on the speaker isolation front that I agree could help with the overall sound.

Other than that, I hope to enjoy this setup for many years!

Best regards,
Rafa.


Hey, Rafa -


Awesome and congrats!  Welcome to accurate sound. It's crazy when you get something else and it's a revelation. I found the same dynamics with my speakers when I got my K38. It seems like there is no running out of steam. As for your bass - yes - the control this amp has deals with just about any woofer impedance and you're finally hearing what your speaker can do.


You might try lifting your speakers off the desk surface. You'll find a happy medium between a more accurate mid bass and extension. Play around with that. At the same time because your electronics can resolve so well now - you will hear things you never heard before - in cables, speaker wires, speakers - and a great deal - your source material. Listen to your favorites - you will be hearing many of them again for the first time :-)


Mark

mresseguie

Congratulations, Rafa.

+1 on elevating the speakers off the table.

As the amp and the DAC break in, you will notice changes in some sounds. Perhaps, what you hear as nasal may resolve itself after 100 to 150 hours.

JackD

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 777
Rafa

I would look into Isoacoustics for beneath your speakers.  They provide great isolation and are height adjustable.  A staple in recording studios.  This is the distributor for you country.

http://kcsa.com.pa/?lang=en

Armaegis

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 803
  • slumming it between headphones and pro audio
Hey, congrats on finally getting your toys in. It's been an interesting adventure watching you throughout the various threads!

As for the few notes you mentioned about sound, did you detect these when you were using your previous source/amp? Or are these speakers completely new to you as well? A nasal/muffled sound makes me kinda want to blame room reflections/boundary interactions as an initial gut feeling, but it could be anything. The thing is, that particular issue is very easy to check for by sticking fuzzy things in the way. Just get some high back chairs and hang a couple layers of heavy towels on them, then put those chairs at the first reflection points on the side walls, and also some behind you, and see if that changes things for the better. You could also try a pillow behind the speakers (assuming you don't block the rear port if there is one)

JackD

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 777
To me from my experience it sounds like a Class D amp breaking in.  Don't know what others do or have found but i have found that after break-in the amp will sound much better left on all the time.  It is better for both but especially the amp.  If turned off and on it takes many hours to get up to speed.  The DAC-10 will take a little time but not near what the amp will take.  Also if you haven't already, have the "better" half measure to the center of your ears in the normal listening position and see how that corresponds to the center of the tweeter. 

in1unison

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 44
Nice Rafa. Enjoy the music!

I share my view with JackD. Decoupling speakers AND DAC-10/ST-10 from the cabinet they are placed on will greatly increase accuracy and extension at all frequencies, in particular LF/MF where your beloved piano sound mostly resides.

Also surprising that you find bass (LF) lacking. That is one of the ST-10 very strong characteristic. Maybe you should check polarity of your speaker and/or interconnect wire.

seikosha

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 182
How far away from the speakers are you listening?  Do you have a "live" room?  Once you sit further back than the speakers are apart and if you have a lively room, you could very well end up hearing more of your room than the speakers.

Samac

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 72
Congratulations, Rafa,

Your system looks fantastic! :thumb: If you can, try to enjoy your system for the next month. Put as many hours in as you can and simply listen and enjoy while everything settles in. I wouldn't change anything except for maybe moving the speakers as close to the front of the cabinet as allowable. After that time you will be familiar with the new system and better able to make any changes you might want.

As you put hours on the NuPrime "10" combo you will hear it change. The mids and highs will flesh out and refine and the bass will deepen and tighten. With my IDA-16 the time leading up to the 300 and 500 hour mark was filled with burn-in progress. It was not always linear, there were peaks and valleys but music was always enjoyable(even though there were a few days when it took a step back). I'm at the ~1000 hour mark and things continue to improve with gains in dynamics and tonality.

Again, enjoy your system.Your Totem speakers are great. I would love to hear a NuPrime/Totem set-up someday.

Cheers,

Scott

John Casler


    The setup pushes a lot less bass than my previous equipment.  I'm sure this is because it's a more 'flat' and true system, and that lesser equipment boosts bass in order to give the impression of a fuller sound.  I wholly agree that the take on the 10s is the right one, but now my speakers sound a bit thinner due to being bookshelves, and I may have inadvertently gotten myself into actually needing a sub-woofer.   I'll wait and see what happens after break in, but I'm not holding my breath on this issue, still not faulting the 10s[/li][/list]


    Rafa,

    It appears you have your speakers 2-4" deep onto the surface.

    A simple thing (and no cost) is to place them  to the edge of the surface.

    This assumes (but I cannot see from the photo) that your stand/table is solid in the front.

    If it is, then you may find an immediate bass improvement in both accuracy, detail and depth.

    As your woofer pushes bass frequencies out, that "shelf" creates interference to that energy.  Placing the front baffle closer to the front edge reduces that interference, as well as (if it is solid) will produce a Bass Director of bass energy toward you.

    If it is NOT solid in the front, then it may not improve at all.

    But, it should take little effort to try.  If you don't find any improvement just move them back.

    Also, try and use tracks that HAVE Dynamic, and Deep Bass.  In general Electronic Music often has this, which shows you, that the speakers and system CAN produce these frequencies, "WHEN" they are present.

    Groups like KRAFTWERK, DAFT PUNK, and INFECTED MUSHROOM will show you the bass and spatial qualities.

    damguz

    • Jr. Member
    • Posts: 30
    Rafa,

    Good to read your first impressions. now that your Nuprime travel begins I think you already are finding the meaning of one of my comments about realizing how krappy your previously good mp3´s really are.  have patience, play with how much forward your speakers are and try to decouple them from the furniture (I think you are listening to what it sounds - or resonates - instead of the pure speaker´s driver).

    I do not if you have already run some high-ress tracks through your system, but once you do you´ll be amazed; and if you re-run them once your system is in the 000´s hours of run-in watch out for your jaw.  The sound stage is going to be larger and deeper than what you thought possible.

    RafaPolit

    • Jr. Member
    • Posts: 110
      • www.rafaelpolit.com
    Thanks for all the responses!

    I'll try to address your questions to better explain the conditions:

    • The room is my bedroom: 4m x 3.5m (12 x 10 feet)
    • Right side is window with drapes (right side of photo)
    • Left side are doors to bathroom and walking closet
    • Back side is a wall (yeah, not great)
    • Bed fills most of the horizontal space
    • Twitters are a little higher than my ears, is this not good?
    • 'Shelf' is a drawer-wardrobe with drawers that are not fully filled. Sides and top are solid wood
    • I am listening to all sorts of sources: from 320kbps MP3 from Spotify to 192Khz/24bit high res music
    • Right speaker is 12" from the corner and there is literally nothing I can do about it
    • The speakers are the same I had before.  I had not felt that with my previous two amps, but the sound was much smaller, so it was easy to put the more limited bandwidth into a coherent sound
    • Polarity is correct
    • Im sitting in two meters away from the speakers positioned two meters apart (equilateral triangle)

    Ok, so that's the physical aspect.

    About the bass, yeah the ultra-low bass is there, the chest-shaking booms of modern music are there, it's the middle-lower registers of a cello that are missing for me a bit.

    Regarding speaker isolation from the table, I have failed to find locally anything useful. So I'm going to build my own isolators with:
    • Cork panels
    • Dense foam from the thermal isolators used for camping (underneath the sleeping back)

    I have seen the ones you have posted, and I think I can replicate the physical properties of those isolators with what I have.  I'm still debating about doing two foams and one cork sandwich, or the other way around: two cork one foam sandwich.

    Probably will cut out the pieces and do some testing before committing to a final decision, but if you guys have any idea why one would be better than the other, I'm all ears.

    Thanks again for all the replies and suggestions,
    Rafa.

    Nidri17

    • Jr. Member
    • Posts: 35
    Hi Rafa.
    As mentioned, isolating/decoupling the speakers from the surface they're on will definitely help.
    A very good option would be to use Auralex Propads.
    The company does appear to have a distributor in Ecuador:
    https://www.auralex.com/where-to-buy/dealer-search/authorized-international-distributors/
    n

    RafaPolit

    • Jr. Member
    • Posts: 110
      • www.rafaelpolit.com
    Thanks again.

    Nidri, I contacted the company, they no longer import Auralex stuff, but I read and those make a whole lote of sense acoustic-wise.  I have voiced my deslike of 'magic' or unexplainable science, which tends to be very strong in the audiophile community. I'm not judging that approach, I just prefer not to follow that path, but rather things I can understand with what I know or can investigate of physics and electronics.

    This pads clearly isolate the speaker by providing solutions for two concepts: providing a dense solid support which can cope with the energy moving the speaker (if the speaker moves a lot, it will 'lose' energy wasted in moving the cabinet, it needs to be more or less still), and provide a dense foam that will absorb contact vibrations and prevent them passing through to the shelf.

    Also, what I mistook for Cork originally is apparently MDF. I could replace my DIY isolators with that further down the road.

    For now, I must report success with my current project:







    I tried different combinations.  The thing is, I can 'measure' the isolation by putting my ear flat against the drawer's side (solid wood) and covering my other ear.

    The findings where, as you guys expected and suggested, remarkable.  When no isolation is used, I can hear a lot of bummed bass, as well as 'muddled' middle and high frequencies.  That is very indistinct 'boom, boom, boom', mixed with hssshhh and mmmmmms on the high and middle frequencies.

    With the isolation, two very interesting things happen: the 'boom, boom, boom' is still there, but much less so, and also much more defined, not so bummed and indistinct (cutting very long low frequencies is no easy thing even in large recording studios!), but the high and middle frequencies disappear altogether from the drawer.

    That tells me one thing for certain: the drawer is not getting those frequencies any more.  What it doesn't tell me is if the setup if now getting those frequencies clearer onto the room, or if the mat / cork are eating up those frequencies.  Logic, size and my ears, tell me that they are doing what they are supposed to.  I don't hear less frequencies.

    I do sense a more defined bass which is most welcome, and I think there is also less 'contamination' on the middle frequencies. High frequencies are as defined as always.

    I really think this is the right direction. Perhaps refining the depth and density of the materials will prove better or worse, but the idea works and I am really happy about the more detailed bass I was so clearly missing during my first post.

    Of course, there are also more hours of break in into the system, so perhaps that is helping as well.

    At any rate, there is a measurable influence of these changes, so I am confident they are helping in some way.

    Thanks for pointing out that as a probable source of problems in my setup! Much appreciated!

    Best regards,
    Rafa.



    John Casler





    Perhaps refining the depth and density of the materials will prove better or worse, but the idea works and I am really happy about e more detailed bass I was so clearly missing during my first post.


    Hi Rafa,

    Looks like a creative solution.

    I would contend that your BASS issues were caused by:

    1) The cabinet resonance causing resonance in the top of your shelf the speakers sit on.  Often times, these resonances to some surfaces, can cause audible sounds that muddy the sound.  It appears your effort might have damped the transmission of those resonances.

    2) The second issue, is one I mentioned to you earlier.  When a speaker sits on SHELF, where the front baffle of the speaker has part of that shelf below it (whether it is 1" or 6") the bass frequencies that leave the speaker and normally are free to travel DOWNWARD, run into a SOLID boundary.  This boundary does a few things that can cause issues in bass.  First, it STOPS/INTERRUPTS the free flow of the bass Wave downward.  Not only that, the wave, depending on angular incidence, compresses and has energy bounce (reflection) at that angle of incidence.  As that energy then bounces upward, it then IMPACTS the clean Waves that you WANT TO HEAR.  This energy traveling up and through the clean waves distorts them, and their CLEAN energy from getting to you.

    Imagine how absolutely terrible a speaker would sound, if you didn't just have a shelf below it, but a BOX around it of the same depth.

    Muddy would be a kind description.  So, while it might change the aesthetics, I would still suggest moving the speakers as "close to the edge" of that shelf/top, as possible and see (or hear) if it is helpful.

    As well the photo above also shows the gear, being in the same plane as the speaker.  Moving the speaker to the front edge, and the equipment surfaces a little behind might also do some good.

    Oh, and by the way, the PHOTO above IS tremendous as a NuPRIME ad. . . . . :lol:

    triumph

    John's suggestions are good.   I also believe that the muddy not defined bass if from resonance from the drawer cabinet.

    Moving the speakers closer to the edge will probably produce less bass (being farther away from the back wall) but should be more define.  Moving the Nuprime stuff farther back will help on the first reflections the speakers "sees".  Again, will help with sound definition.

    I'd also use "feet" under your isolation pads.  Small cones under the pads will also make sure less vibration goes into the drawer. 

    It's all little things, but when added up, combine to create the best sound possible with the limitations of room, design and cosmetic we have to live with.

    in1unison

    • Jr. Member
    • Posts: 44
    Rafa, that looks great!  :thumb: Amazing what little DIY can do to the sound.

    John Casler

    John's suggestions are good.   I also believe that the muddy not defined bass if from resonance from the drawer cabinet.

    Moving the speakers closer to the edge will probably produce less bass (being farther away from the back wall) but should be more define. 

    Actually having the front baffle aligned with a "solid" front boundary acts as what is sometimes called a "bass beard".

    Since bass is radiated "spherically" the energy will disperse into space until it encounters a boundary, at which point it will "follow" or run along that boundary.

    If the boundaries are of an angular incidence that the flow of energy is not possible (such as at a right angle to the direction) the wave will spread and REFLECT, based on the angle.

    In this case, the front of the dresser directs the bass energy down to the floor.  It does not allow the energy to flow UNDER the speaker and reduce/dissipate as much.  When it hits the floor, it of course will suffer some reflection, and will move toward the listener along the floor boundary.

    Now of course, he bass ENERGY is dissipating (dispersing) during this whole trip, BUT, it is greater than  if the BOUNDARIES are not used to direct it.

    This is why a PEDESTAL speaker stand is FAR BETTER for BASS than a skinny pole stand for example.

    Hope I explained that well.


    echim

    • Jr. Member
    • Posts: 7

    Nidri, I contacted the company, they no longer import Auralex stuff, but I read and those make a whole lote of sense acoustic-wise.  I have voiced my deslike of 'magic' or unexplainable science, which tends to be very strong in the audiophile community. I'm not judging that approach, I just prefer not to follow that path, but rather things I can understand with what I know or can investigate of physics and electronics.

    This pads clearly isolate the speaker by providing solutions for two concepts: providing a dense solid support which can cope with the energy moving the speaker (if the speaker moves a lot, it will 'lose' energy wasted in moving the cabinet, it needs to be more or less still), and provide a dense foam that will absorb contact vibrations and prevent them passing through to the shelf.

    Also, what I mistook for Cork originally is apparently MDF. I could replace my DIY isolators with that further down the road.


    I must recommend Vibrapods ( http://www.vibrapod.com/vibrapod.htm ) since I had excellent upgrade in sound when applying them underneath my ATC SCM11 speaker. Amazingly how such a little thing can instantly change sound to a lot better.

    RafaPolit

    • Jr. Member
    • Posts: 110
      • www.rafaelpolit.com
    Thanks once more for all the detailed information and help.

    I am happy with the improvement provided with my DIY mats, but yeah, probably something a little more 'specific' to the task would work better.  Perhaps those Vibrapods could actually go between the Speaker and my DIY mats.  In that way I prevent the dreaded wooden-finish damage, as well as providing additional isolation on other frequencies / matterial densities that is reported by some on the vibrapod reviews.

    Also, they are acceptably small for them to come in a friends lugage and not require a 'proper' import procedure.  I just need someone really close I can bother with bringing them over, but that is more or less easy to find.  The model 2 would be almost double the wight rate for my speakers, but the model 1 falls short by 2lbs.  So the model 2 would have to sufice.

    Thanks again, specially for the actual explanations of how things should work (John, I'm looking at you! :) ).  That helps cope with the local options and finding solutions to the problems with what is available here.

    Best regards,
    Rafa.