The current system is a Zenith 3, ethernet, Naim HE, balanced, Focal MG. There’s nothing wrong with it, more that I’m curious about whether it can be improved upon through changes in one (or two or all) of the following:
- Power supplies/conditioners/distribution blocks.
- Re-wiring the house (separate CU/switchless sockets etc).
- The network (switches, cables, USB clocks etc).
To those with experience in these areas, where should I focus first, or maybe to put it another way: which of the above changes had the biggest impact on the SQ of your system?
Note that at this time I’m not considering replacing any of the kit (including the headphone cable).
The Zenith and Qobuz provide the music.
I’ll suggest that for your system what you are suggesting looks like tweaking for the sake if it and benefits are unlikely to be huge, or indeed good value for the likely outlay. Especially when your output is only into a mid range headphone. A search will indicate that views on power conditioners etc on here are very mixed.
For those costs why not demo some different headphones?There is a lot of choice, lots of different styles etc. Having more than one pair is common! I know you don’t want to change your kit, I am suggesting adding an option. Cheaper than rewiring the house too!
Thanks, Bruce. As you (probably) know, several posters here extol dedicated mains, upgraded PSUs, and distribution blocks though admittedly many of them have higher-end, more revealing systems. Having said that, I did get a chance to listen to an upgraded PS on the system yesterday and there was a clear change in the sound. And yes, buying a better headphone would certainly be the more sensible move (I’ve owned the Utopias).
If it works for you that is what counts.
Doesn’t have to be the newest headphones on the planet.
As a Clear user (not Clear MG); I’d say they lack the serious resolution to ‘take that stereo further’ (and many chose them over the Utopia as a sound preference).
If that setup is good enough for you, then ‘yay’, and call it a day!
IF you want to spend more, maybe other things would benefit from the cash first and foremost.
I use some Ultrasone headphones(Edition 5) and whilst they took a long time to break in and ‘get past’ a bright hurdle (hours 600-800 of their break in were particularly bright/‘harsh’); some quality headphones can prove very revealing and ‘changing the speakers’ in a hifi system will change the sound the most.
Like as is already mentioned, perhaps OTHER headwear would be were to start.
If you are unwanton to change kit,… not sure how much altering the sound, subtly, via proposed changes will make one happy.
When for a lot less coin you could try out other headwear that will make significant changes and alter perception of whole genres of music.
If I had a headfi setup based on Clear (/Clear MG) I would probably be only halfway on my journey. They do sound rather bass heavy for an openback, and lack the soundstage of a typical open back as well, so they are a hard headphone to place, in terms of what genres they do best with; ‘reason for owning’…
I found them lacking detail and ability to place, well, instruments, vs older ‘more expensive’ headphones. I found the Clear one of the biggest dissapointments in headfi (as was the HiFiMan Sundara).
I’d probably choose some original Bowers and Wilkins P7 over a set of Focal Clear
If I wanted an upgrade to better sound, some Astell and Kern AKZero1 would flog them… (for peanuts). (for over ear, some older Ultrasone Edition 5 would be a steal for a low price sound quality upgrade!)
Very good feedback. I will look into your suggestions. Following the (temporary) addition of an upgraded PSU, it is clear that the MGs have some headroom left in them. I might put some cash into the PSU/mains side of things first, and then look at different headphones. No one so far has commented on upgrading the network so I guess that idea can be put to one side (for now).