My New Great Room 5.1 Totem Acoustic, REL Subwoofer, PS Audio Stellar Monoblocks System with Exasound s88 7.1 Streaming ROON Ready Ethernet DAC

Steve Bruzonsky

Well-Known Member
May 16, 2010
172
13
405
In a few months, my dedicated home theater, built as an addition to my home back in 1997, will be completed, looks like a 11.12.12 system with Trinnov Altitude 32 (32 channels, using 4 channels to 4 subwoofer amplifiers, each subwoofer amplifier handling 3 21" sealed subwoofers). My theater system will be excellent for music using ROON as well, though I will be using ROON to downsample higher resolution 2 channel to 96 & 88/24 to use Auro 3D/Auromatic to utilize the "top" layer of speakers; and at times I may do the same with multi-channel high resolution music, but at times I may simply want to play multi-channel music at native rate when resolution is higher than 96 & 88/24 depending how I like how it sounds.

Meanwhile, having fully retired this year, and staying homebound thanks to Covid-19, except for visiting one of my daughters and family and grandson, starting mid-June 2020 I went on the Optavia 5 & 1 plan to lose weight. Since then, I have lost 108 pounds, down to 220, from 328, and I have been around the latter weight for many years. Right now I’m a solid good weight, but I am continuing to get down to about 190-195, which is what the BMI (Body Mass Index) recommends. And I’m out in my family room/dining area/kitchen a lot now. And I’m alone in the home since my other daughter moved out last September.

So now I’ve put in a very nice 5.1 system in my family room! On-wall speakers so as to be grandchild(ren) proof, plus these on-walls are phenomenal sounding and also great off axis regardless of whether I’m sitting, at the kitchen table, or in the kitchen, very audiophile, very musical, great sounding for both 2 channel and multi-channel. Due to the layout of the great room area, only a 5.1 system has been practical – no Atmos or ceiling speakers, no back surround speakers.

So for this great room system, I have installed:

75" TCL Series 8 4k TV 2019

5 Totem Acoustic Tribe III on-wall speakers (3 Tribe V on-wall speakers on order for the front, and the 3 Tribe III in front will be moving to the basement OLED system).

2 REL 7/Ti subwoofers (2 REL 9/Ti subwoofers on order for the front, and the 2 REL 7/Ti subwoofers will be moving to the basement OLES system, which will have in total 5 Tribe III

On-wall speakers, 2 Tribe AIS Atmos speakers, 2 REL 7/Ti subwoofers, NAD M28 multi-channel amplifier, Marantz AV7505 SSP, and 2019 65” LG OLED)

3 PS Audio Stellar M1200 monoblocks

2 PS Audio Stellar M700 monoblocks

Exasound s88 7.1 Channel Streaming DAC (ROON Ready via ethernet & wi-fi) with Teddy Pardo LPS (linear power supply) for DAC section

Coleman 7.1SW multi-channel switcher (to switch between using my Trinnov Altitude 32 SSP, until it goes in my upgraded and renovated theater – and when that happens get a much less expensive SSP, probably another Marantz)

Furman Ref-15i power conditioner (with nice current reserve as too hard to installed any dedicated circuits), with Furman M8DX power conditioner plugging into one of the Ref-15i high current outlets to power the surround monoblocks and subwoofers

Audioquest Thunder power cords for M1200 monoblocks and M700 power cords for some other components (PS Audio recommends and uses these in designing, tuning and playing their components)

ProAudioLA Analog DB-25 to female XLR snake cables


Make no mistake! This system sounds great and is so very musical! Its been interesting as I installed for now my Trinnov Altitude 32 SSP prior to getting and installing the Exasound s88 DAC. Both are ROON Ready via ethernet. The Trinnov SSP has its microphone and room optimization, speaker remapping, plays native up to 192-24, automatically using the microphone determines speaker distances and delays, etc., and has way more channels than the 5.1 I use in this great room. Whereas the Exasound plays up to 7.1 with upsampling if one wants up to DSD256 and for 2 channel with upsampling up to DSD512, I use its Windows program to set speaker levels and I use ROON to set speaker distances.

Before I got the Exasound s88, I was very happy with the Trinnov SSP, very musical. I found that the Trinnov big time speaker remapped, and although I liked the sonics without the remapping, sonics were even better with the remapping. And although I liked the sonics without having used the room optimization, after I performed a very rudimentary room optimization I liked the sonics even better. So the question I had was whether although the Exasound s88 technically I would think should out-sonically perform the Trinnov SSP given the s88s no need to downsample as well as its upsamping capabilities, will the Trinnov’s room optimization and remapping features and Auro-3D to expand 2 channel give it the edge (I understand that ROON and other software can be used to some extent to do some optimization, but I am not there at this early stage.)

With the Trinnov, I found even in this 5.1 system, that I liked using Auro-3D to expand 2 channel – but without a “top” layer of speakers, the improvement was minimal, at least in comparison to what it will be in my dedicated home theater with its “top” layer of in-ceiling speakers. No doubt if I wanted to go to the expense of using a Trinnov Altitude 16 in this system I would be very happy with the sonics! However, msrp of the Altitude 16 is $18,000 – whereas msrp of the Exasound s88 is $6500 plus another $300 for the Teddy Pardo LPS. In any event, I am not missing the Trinnov in this system since I moved over to the Exasound s88, as I am even more appreciating the sonics, detail and dynamics with the s88. The Trinnov SSP is amazing and necessary for a complex home theater system – not so much for a 2 to 7.1 channel primarily music system in my great room, as in this room the Exasound s88 is already excelling sonically.

I have 12 TB of music on my Western Digital MyCloudPR4100 network server, and a Small Green Computer Sonic Transport i7 (quad core) for ROON DSP as my ROON Core device, which are upstairs in my home office. For now I have a 50’ ethernet cable from the upstairs home office, extending over the landing, into the family room connecting to the Exasound s88. The Gigabit networking gear I currently have is 4-5 years old. My theater installer will shortly be changing out my networking gear, with hardwiring ethernet to family room and basement as well as dedicated home theater, to Luxul ABR-5000 Epic 5 Gigabit router with SW-100-08P Gigabit PoE+ switches and Eero Pro 6 Ko11111 mesh network system.

Although my Exasound s88 sounds wonderful just playing everything at native rate, my initial playing around so far likes upsampling 5.1 channel to DSD256 and 2 channel to DSD512 for everything. However, sometimes I find ROON cuts out if I am playing or upsampling to 5.1 channels at DSD256. When this occurs, I find that ROON on my laptop or iPhone is unresponsive and takes awhile to regain its connection to my network server. This could be due to my about to be replaced Linksys networking gear, or perhaps the Sonic Transporter i7 is having processing power issues with a 6.1 DSD256 stream (which it never had in my family room or theater using the Trinnov SSP as even DSD256 5.1 channel was downsampled to no more than 176-24).

So I find myself wondering whether I should sell the Sonic Transporter i7 and perhaps get the Exasound Delta server (i9 processor, can handle multiple high resolution music streams to multiple rooms at once). And this begs the question of moving to use HQ Player software in conjunction with ROON, so HQ Player does the upsampling rather than ROON.

Can someone explain to me their experience and info on whether and why HQ Player is better to use than ROON for upsampling? And for any other reasons in terms of sonic quality as well? I assume that if I go the HQ Player route that I absolutely should sell my Sonic Transporter i7 for ROON DSP and get the Exasound Delta server or something comparable.

And if you have both a high end 2 channel system and a nice home theater system, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on how music sounds in each system compared to the other.
 

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Last edited:

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
13,207
1,591
698
Congrats...a great story that goes well beyond great audio! BTW, what video are you using? I would imagine movies must be pretty awesome to watch. We use our audio system for movies as well, on a JVC DILA front projector and enjoy it tremendously.
 

Steve Bruzonsky

Well-Known Member
May 16, 2010
172
13
405
Congrats...a great story that goes well beyond great audio! BTW, what video are you using? I would imagine movies must be pretty awesome to watch. We use our audio system for movies as well, on a JVC DILA front projector and enjoy it tremendously.

VIdeo in the family room is a 2019 TCL Series 8 4k 75" TV. However, this is only a secondary system - its the "cooking" and "eating" system as I plan to maintain my weight loss, not eat out that much, and be healthy and around to be a good granddaddie!

My main video and also great audio will be my dedicated home theater once its finally done with upgrade and renovation, with a 14" wide 2.40 screen, Lumagen Radiance Pro, Sony VW5000 projector, 3 Aerial Acoustics 7t floorstanders and 8 Aerial 7LCR on walls, 12 Triad Silver Rotatable In Ceiling/Sat Atmos/Top speakers, 12 Seaton 21" sealed subwoofers, Trinnov Altitude 32 SSP, and more!
 

Steve Bruzonsky

Well-Known Member
May 16, 2010
172
13
405
Hi Steve

Congrats on the new system but even more so a huge congrats on the weight loss
Congratulations on the weight loss. A 108lb weight loss is amazing!

Thanks everyone. Yes, the weight loss and health, especially given Covid-19, is much more important. But now getting my audiophileness to my family/great room is wonderful as it only encourages me to cook and eat healthy and enjoy myself while doing so. The Totem Tribe III and Tribe Vs do not sound at all like on wall speakers, quite amazing!

Today part of my Audioquest power cord order came - the 3 Audioquest Thunder power cords for my front, left and right PS Audio M1200 monoblocks. Right away I heard the difference - I had the stock cords in before, but plugged into a Furman Ref-15i power conditioners.
But the only catch is its hard to get the power cords to stay tight in the back of the Furman - may have to rig up some hooks to hold up the cords in back of the entertainment center. And I am getting a new entertainment center to fit more stuff - a new Salamander Designs that is 21" high
(my current one actually is 24" high) but also 87" wide (my current one is 65" wide) - had to keep the height for only a two shelf unit as didn't want to chance having top of the entertainment center only a few inches below the bottom of the center speaker as that might cause some sonic and imaging issues. Or perhaps I need to consider another power conditioner, even PS Audio, with tighter plugs but which also has reserve current like the Furman since it doesn't look like putting a dedicated circuit in the family room is practical.
 

howiebrou

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2012
2,620
3,101
680
wow. 108 pounds. Amazing! Congratulations on that and the system!
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
13,207
1,591
698
My main video and also great audio will be my dedicated home theater once its finally done with upgrade and renovation, with a 14" wide 2.40 screen, Lumagen Radiance Pro, Sony VW5000 projector...12 Seaton 21" sealed subwoofers...and more!
Wow...12 x 21" sealed Seaton subs! That alone must be worth the ticket of admission! I have been contemplating 4 x 18" subs (2 x dual-18" opposite-firing) or dual columns of 8 x 12" (2 columns of stacked REL 212X)...and thinking that if it works, it could be remarkable...and that is nowhere near 12 x 21" sealed subs!

What is THAT experience like in comparison to the more typical 1 sub in the corner or dual subs?
 

Addicted to hifi

VIP/Donor
Sep 8, 2020
4,614
2,007
265
50
Australia
In a few months, my dedicated home theater, built as an addition to my home back in 1997, will be completed, looks like a 11.12.12 system with Trinnov Altitude 32 (32 channels, using 4 channels to 4 subwoofer amplifiers, each subwoofer amplifier handling 3 21" sealed subwoofers). My theater system will be excellent for music using ROON as well, though I will be using ROON to downsample higher resolution 2 channel to 96 & 88/24 to use Auro 3D/Auromatic to utilize the "top" layer of speakers; and at times I may do the same with multi-channel high resolution music, but at times I may simply want to play multi-channel music at native rate when resolution is higher than 96 & 88/24 depending how I like how it sounds.

Meanwhile, having fully retired this year, and staying homebound thanks to Covid-19, except for visiting one of my daughters and family and grandson, starting mid-June 2020 I went on the Optavia 5 & 1 plan to lose weight. Since then, I have lost 108 pounds, down to 220, from 328, and I have been around the latter weight for many years. Right now I’m a solid good weight, but I am continuing to get down to about 190-195, which is what the BMI (Body Mass Index) recommends. And I’m out in my family room/dining area/kitchen a lot now. And I’m alone in the home since my other daughter moved out last September.

So now I’ve put in a very nice 5.1 system in my family room! On-wall speakers so as to be grandchild(ren) proof, plus these on-walls are phenomenal sounding and also great off axis regardless of whether I’m sitting, at the kitchen table, or in the kitchen, very audiophile, very musical, great sounding for both 2 channel and multi-channel. Due to the layout of the great room area, only a 5.1 system has been practical – no Atmos or ceiling speakers, no back surround speakers.

So for this great room system, I have installed:

75" TCL Series 8 4k TV 2019

5 Totem Acoustic Tribe III on-wall speakers (3 Tribe V on-wall speakers on order for the front, and the 3 Tribe III in front will be moving to the basement OLED system).

2 REL 7/Ti subwoofers (2 REL 9/Ti subwoofers on order for the front, and the 2 REL 7/Ti subwoofers will be moving to the basement OLES system, which will have in total 5 Tribe III

On-wall speakers, 2 Tribe AIS Atmos speakers, 2 REL 7/Ti subwoofers, NAD M28 multi-channel amplifier, Marantz AV7505 SSP, and 2019 65” LG OLED)

3 PS Audio Stellar M1200 monoblocks

2 PS Audio Stellar M700 monoblocks

Exasound s88 7.1 Channel Streaming DAC (ROON Ready via ethernet & wi-fi) with Teddy Pardo LPS (linear power supply) for DAC section

Coleman 7.1SW multi-channel switcher (to switch between using my Trinnov Altitude 32 SSP, until it goes in my upgraded and renovated theater – and when that happens get a much less expensive SSP, probably another Marantz)

Furman Ref-15i power conditioner (with nice current reserve as too hard to installed any dedicated circuits), with Furman M8DX power conditioner plugging into one of the Ref-15i high current outlets to power the surround monoblocks and subwoofers

Audioquest Thunder power cords for M1200 monoblocks and M700 power cords for some other components (PS Audio recommends and uses these in designing, tuning and playing their components)

ProAudioLA Analog DB-25 to female XLR snake cables


Make no mistake! This system sounds great and is so very musical! Its been interesting as I installed for now my Trinnov Altitude 32 SSP prior to getting and installing the Exasound s88 DAC. Both are ROON Ready via ethernet. The Trinnov SSP has its microphone and room optimization, speaker remapping, plays native up to 192-24, automatically using the microphone determines speaker distances and delays, etc., and has way more channels than the 5.1 I use in this great room. Whereas the Exasound plays up to 7.1 with upsampling if one wants up to DSD256 and for 2 channel with upsampling up to DSD512, I use its Windows program to set speaker levels and I use ROON to set speaker distances.

Before I got the Exasound s88, I was very happy with the Trinnov SSP, very musical. I found that the Trinnov big time speaker remapped, and although I liked the sonics without the remapping, sonics were even better with the remapping. And although I liked the sonics without having used the room optimization, after I performed a very rudimentary room optimization I liked the sonics even better. So the question I had was whether although the Exasound s88 technically I would think should out-sonically perform the Trinnov SSP given the s88s no need to downsample as well as its upsamping capabilities, will the Trinnov’s room optimization and remapping features and Auro-3D to expand 2 channel give it the edge (I understand that ROON and other software can be used to some extent to do some optimization, but I am not there at this early stage.)

With the Trinnov, I found even in this 5.1 system, that I liked using Auro-3D to expand 2 channel – but without a “top” layer of speakers, the improvement was minimal, at least in comparison to what it will be in my dedicated home theater with its “top” layer of in-ceiling speakers. No doubt if I wanted to go to the expense of using a Trinnov Altitude 16 in this system I would be very happy with the sonics! However, msrp of the Altitude 16 is $18,000 – whereas msrp of the Exasound s88 is $6500 plus another $300 for the Teddy Pardo LPS. In any event, I am not missing the Trinnov in this system since I moved over to the Exasound s88, as I am even more appreciating the sonics, detail and dynamics with the s88. The Trinnov SSP is amazing and necessary for a complex home theater system – not so much for a 2 to 7.1 channel primarily music system in my great room, as in this room the Exasound s88 is already excelling sonically.

I have 12 TB of music on my Western Digital MyCloudPR4100 network server, and a Small Green Computer Sonic Transport i7 (quad core) for ROON DSP as my ROON Core device, which are upstairs in my home office. For now I have a 50’ ethernet cable from the upstairs home office, extending over the landing, into the family room connecting to the Exasound s88. The Gigabit networking gear I currently have is 4-5 years old. My theater installer will shortly be changing out my networking gear, with hardwiring ethernet to family room and basement as well as dedicated home theater, to Luxul ABR-5000 Epic 5 Gigabit router with SW-100-08P Gigabit PoE+ switches and Eero Pro 6 Ko11111 mesh network system.

Although my Exasound s88 sounds wonderful just playing everything at native rate, my initial playing around so far likes upsampling 5.1 channel to DSD256 and 2 channel to DSD512 for everything. However, sometimes I find ROON cuts out if I am playing or upsampling to 5.1 channels at DSD256. When this occurs, I find that ROON on my laptop or iPhone is unresponsive and takes awhile to regain its connection to my network server. This could be due to my about to be replaced Linksys networking gear, or perhaps the Sonic Transporter i7 is having processing power issues with a 6.1 DSD256 stream (which it never had in my family room or theater using the Trinnov SSP as even DSD256 5.1 channel was downsampled to no more than 176-24).

So I find myself wondering whether I should sell the Sonic Transporter i7 and perhaps get the Exasound Delta server (i9 processor, can handle multiple high resolution music streams to multiple rooms at once). And this begs the question of moving to use HQ Player software in conjunction with ROON, so HQ Player does the upsampling rather than ROON.

Can someone explain to me their experience and info on whether and why HQ Player is better to use than ROON for upsampling? And for any other reasons in terms of sonic quality as well? I assume that if I go the HQ Player route that I absolutely should sell my Sonic Transporter i7 for ROON DSP and get the Exasound Delta server or something comparable.

And if you have both a high end 2 channel system and a nice home theater system, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on how music sounds in each system compared to the other.
Very nice setup.
 

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