£800 Budget - Stereo Amplifier and Speakers

Orange Peel

Standard Member

I'm looking for my first stereo setup and have a budget or around £800.

Initially I'll be connecting it to my PC which has most of my CD/online purchased music.

I listen to a wide range of music including Classical, Rock, Pop and Dance.

My room is 4m X 4.5m and I have room for floor standing or stand mounts.

I'll be looking into DAC's at a later time.



Distinguished Member
The absolute best amp around right now at a deep discount is the NAD C355 in Silver-only and In-Store only, with 80w/ch for £299. Normally selling for £450. (Richer Sounds)

That would leave you about £500 for speakers, and you should be able to do very very well for that. I've got to run right now, but will add some suggestions later.



Distinguished Member
If it is a choice between floorstanding and bookshelf, for me, it is definitely floorstanding.

The next problem is that £500 is one of those in-between prices. It is very hard to find speaker right at the price. Which means, you are either spending £100 less or £100 more.

The first that spring to mind are the Dali Concept 6 AT £390/pr -

Dali Concept 6 - Google Product Search

If there is any way you can swing it, consider the Concept 8 which has twin 8" woofers and a midrange speaker, but cost £635 -

Dali Concept 8 - Google Product Search

The bass frequency response spec on both these speaker are good, but not outstanding. The Concept 8 is rated to 41hz at -3db, so at a still very respectable -6db, it should be down in the mid-30hz range. That same it true of the Dali Concept 6. It is rated also at 41hz -3db, so should reach a respectable 35hz at -6db.

To put that in perspective, -3db is just barely noticeable. Minus 3db is essentiall flat. So, -6db is just barely noticeable times two, making it a trace below flat response. That does not constitute much of a drop in sound level. So, I personally think you will have no problems with bass.

The Dali Lektor 6 is in between the Concept and Ikon line. The Lektor 6 is about £600 -

dali lektor 6 - Google Product Search

The Lektor 6 is rated down to 47hz. That's OK, and it is probably a much clearer speaker, but I'm guessing the -6db low end is only going to be around 40hz.

Ideally, if you can swing it, the Dali Ikon series are VERY highly rated, but not cheap -

dali Ikon 5 - Google Product Search

dali Ikon 6 - Google Product Search

Well over your budget, but a very nice speakers.

Summarized -

DALI International - In admiration of music - Concept 6

DALI International - In admiration of music - Concept 8

DALI International - In admiration of music - Lektor 6

Again, the £500 mark is hard to hit. Lots of speakers below £400, and lots above £600, but few in or near that range.

You could consider the Wharfedale Diamond 10.7 at about £579/pr -

WHARFEDALE DIAMOND 10.7 SPEAKERS (PAIR) - available from Superfi UK

Closer to your budget, would be the Diamond 10.6, which is essentially a 10.7 minus the midrange driver (£479) -

WHARFEDALE DIAMOND 10.6 SPEAKERS (PAIR) - available from Superfi UK

If you want good bass, but don't want to rattle the windows, this is probably a very good compromise, the Diamond 10.5 with a single 6.5" woofer but has the addition of a midrange speaker at £399 -

WHARFEDALE DIAMOND 10.5 SPEAKERS (PAIR) - available from Superfi UK

Response down to about 35hz.

Acoustic Energy Aelite are well liked speakers, and in your price range (£539) -


Low end response is 40hz, and I can't determine if that is -3db or -6db, but it is still good.

Over your budget, but a well regarded speaker, would be the B&W 684 for £699 -

Hifix.co.uk - Bower Wilkins 684

Keep in mind, I'm not quoting you the best prices possible, merely prices from a convenient source. Shop around.

One last speaker comes to mind, the Mordaunt Short Aviano 6 and Aviano 8 -

Mordaunt Short AVIANO 6 Walnut | Speakers Per Pair | Richer Sounds

Mordaunt Short AVIANO 8 Black | Speakers Per Pair | Richer Sounds

At or pushing your budget, but worth considering.

I think that is about the best in this price range. Again, it is an awkward price range, with good speaker above and below, but few right on.

All that said, while we can find you other amps, I can't think of anything that beats the NAD C355 for £299 from RicherSounds.com. That is really a stunning deal.

One last question - DO YOU HAVE VINYL? If so, that complicates things, but can be overcome are a reasonable price. Say, an additional £50 to £100.

Last edited:

Orange Peel

Standard Member
Great post Steve. Really appreciated :)

I don't have any vinyl. Mostly CD's or FLAC/MP3 rips.

I'll take a close look at all the speakers you've suggested.

I popped into my local Superfi at the weekend and was recommended a pair of Epos M22i's at £599 reduced from over £1000. I realise you've listed more than enough speakers but would like your opinion on these.

Also. Would the C355BEE Amp be suited to any of the above speakers more than others?

Thanks again :)
Last edited:


Distinguished Member
I've only had one experience with Epos speakers and that was with a small bookshelf. It was something of an unusual setup, and I didn't have any control over it so I don't know what the settings were. It was clear enough, but the Cymbal really stood out, which indicate pretty dominant high frequencies. Given that my hearing isn't so great any more, for the treble to be that dominate, it must have really been up there.

I'll temper that by saying that Epos are considered good speakers that have along history in the market. But, I have limited experience and limited feedback on them.

Last edited:


IMO and for your tastes in music I dont think you'll go far wrong with the likes of:

NAD C355BEE, Audiolab 8000S, Marantz PM6003 or the NAD C326BEE amps (if you want new). If youre happy with 2nd hand then take a look on eBay and the likes for: Arcam Alpha 10 integrated, NAD C320BEE integrated or Arcam DiVA A85 integrated amps :)

As for speakers; the likes of the Monitor Audio BR5's or the RX2's and the RX6's would be a superb fit (dependent upon budget left) as would the B&W 685's or the 684's but for me; with your budget in mind I dont think that the QUAD 22L2's can be beaten ;)

Superb speakers; great looks with a fantastic soundstage that'll fit a wide range of music. I nearly went for these over the M/A RX6's but the RX6's just pipped the QUAD's for overally musicalliyt and I was offered a deal on the RX6's I couldnt refuse!

The QUAD's with the NAD C355BEE or the Arcam DiVA A85 amp (2nd hand) would be a superb set-up ;)


Standard Member
I'd put it out there that albeit your not looking for a DAC right now you could get it.
I've just gone and got myself a:
Beresford Caiman DAC/Pre-amp - £230
Arcam 8P Power Amp - £130 off ebay (RRP £350)
<wanting> Acoustic Energy Neo 3 Floorstanders - £250 after searching (£360 at Peter Tysons)

So basically £940 kit for £610


I'd put it out there that albeit your not looking for a DAC right now you could get it.
I've just gone and got myself a:
Beresford Caiman DAC/Pre-amp - £230
Arcam 8P Power Amp - £130 off ebay (RRP £350)
<wanting> Acoustic Energy Neo 3 Floorstanders - £250 after searching (£360 at Peter Tysons)

So basically £940 kit for £610

Nice little system ;)

SightandSoundUK on Lune Street have the Neo 3's at c£230 I think!

As for the Arcam Alpha 8 power amp; personally I'd sell it on and see if you can get the Alpha 9 or 10.

You'd be surprised in teh difference of soundstage and overall musicality of these 2 power amps over the Alpha 8. They are MUCH better!


Distinguished Member
I was going back over your original post and noticed that your room is about 4M (13ft) x 4.5M (15ft). That is a little small.

I was originally going to push for the Dali Concept 8, and while they would work, these are some monster sized speaker, and might seem out of proportion, though you can use your judgement.

However, the Dali Concept 6 would be fine (£390/pr).

As to the suggestion of the Acoustic Energy Neo 3, from everything I've heard, people really like this speaker. Well below your budget, and an exceptional bargain at under £300. Certainly worth giving a listen to, and would work well in your room.

I think in new speakers, the Wharfedale Diamonds are also worth a look. They have many sizes to choose from, from the single 6.5" 3-way 10.5, to the twin 6.5" woofer 2.5-way 10.6, to the larger twin 6.5" woofer 3-way 10.7.

As to the used 'Alpha' amps, do it if you like, but I still say you will not come up with better quality or value than the NAD C355 for the money. Plus, you get full manufacturer's warranty, that's worth something.

The only thing the NAD amps don't have is a turntable input, but it seems as if that is not a problem for you.

In bookshelf speakers, this gets trickier. You are not going to get the same bass from a bookshelf speaker, though they can still be very good and very satisfying for stereo if you pick wisely.

The Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 with a 5" woofer, has gotten some extremely positive reviews since its release; always a good bet, but a little small for my taste. £169/pr from several sellers including SuperFi.co.uk .

Better would be the Diamond 10.2 with a 6.5" woofer. A 6.5" woofer is nearly 70% bigger than a 5" woofer. Keep that in mind. Low end response is rate down at 40hz, which is very respectable for a bookshelf speaker.

Superfi.co.uk is the first UK seller to start offering discounts on the new Diamond 10 series, and I think soon other sellers will follow their lead.


The Monitor Audio RX1 and RX2 are in your budget range.

The RX1 has a 6" bass driver and response down to 45hz; price £400.

The RX2 has an 8" woofer and response down to a very respectable 40hz; price £500. This is not a pixie speaker, but I would expect it to sound very very good, a deliver weight well above the typical bookshelf.

The Monitor Audio Silver RX series are very highly regarded speakers, and you should find several discussion of the bookshelf model in this forum.

Based on reputation, for clarity, consider the Dali Lektor line of stand mounted speakers.

The Dali Lektor 2 is about the same as the Diamond 10.1, both have the same low end, and both have the same sized woofer. However, the Lektor 2 is £299 from HiFix.co.uk, but it might be worth shopping around.

The Lektor 3 has a 6.5" woofer, not much more bass extension than the Lektor 2, but again, it is pushing a lot more air, and that has some value. The Lektor 3 from HiFix.co.uk is £449. It might be worth checking prices at Richer Sounds, I think they might be about £50 less.

The Dali Concept 2 is available from Audio Affair for about £250/pr, and has response down to 43hz from a single 6.5" woofer. The Dali Concept 1 is about £175/pr, 5" woofer, response down to a not so good 63hz making this useful for rear surround speakers only.

The Dali Ikon bookshelf on the other hand, I would expect to be very impressive speakers. The Ikon 1 has a tweeter/super-tweeter combination along with a 5" woofer with response down to a very impressive 43hz. Price at around £350 from Richer Sound among other places. The Ikon 2 with an equally impressive 42hz low end has a 6.5" woofer. I'm seeing these price between £670 and about £700. In this case, the best price seems to be from HiFiGear.co.uk (£671.77), but Audio Affair is running a close second at about £689/pr.

Again, from everything I've heard, the Ikons are stellar speakers. Keep in mind the prices and models are for the older standard Ikon line, which has just been replaced by the more expensive Ikon MK2 series.

I'm not intentionally pushing Dali speakers, they just happen to have models in your price range, and they have along history and sterling reputation.

Though, I have to admit, as it is with everyone, my recommendations reflect my personal biases and preferences. I can't divorce myself from that. But I think I can safely say that there isn't any bad equipment anywhere in this discussion. It is just a matter of now finding which you prefer.

Most of my prices come from doing a simple Google-UK Shopping search for model numbers.

Hopefully this has been helpful in at least pointing you at worthy possibilities.

Last edited:

Don Dadda

Distinguished Member

The latest video from AVForums

Amazon Fire TV Cube Gen 3 Review: Coming Soon
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom