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NuPrime DAC-10, ST-10 and Totem Rainmaker speakers

– By RafaPolit, audiocircle.com

(Note: RafaPolit has been tuning his system. For a complete thread, refer to https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=150780.0)

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!

— Follow Up —

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.