2 speaker + amp combo in the $1500 range

dezzadk

Standard Member
I want my first decent speaker setup, friends suggested 2 passive bookshelf speakers + amp and sub if I want better sound and can live without surround for the TV which seems more costly with receiver and probably less sound for the money.
I listen to mostly electronic music, dub, drumnbass, trap, but also ambient, downtempo, occassionally reggae and rock/metal.
I like them to be able to play low volume and still sound fully detailed and have some oomph for the electronic genres and movie I'm watching. I'm willing to pay upwards of $1500 for the whole setup. Mostly Klipsch, Argon, Dali, B&W, Denon, NAD are available here (Denmark).

One option I see is DALI Oberon 3, NAD C338 or a better one and DALI C-8 D

Another cheaper option is MISSION LX-2 MKII and NAD C316BEE V2

Regarding the connectors it might be slightly limited on those two amps to connect TV and PC. Is it ok if I hook jack -> RCA -> amp or should I go optical/TOSLINK?
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
Welcome to the Forum.

You will need a stereo amp that has it's own DAC onboard for TV use. Your TV can then be connected via optical to be able to play the audio from it. Speakers are going to be the most important part of any set up and should take up the bulk of the budget.

The NAD 338 has a good power output pushing 50 watts into 8 ohms so as long as your room isn't huge it will happily drive 8 ohm speakers and should perform well at low volume listening. With the 6 ohm Dali Oberon 3 it should be a good partnership. I've not listened to Klipsch and they are certainly going to be the easiest 8 ohm load on the amp because of their high sensitivity but I would expect them to be far brighter than the Dalis.

B&W, the 606 S2 would be in the price range of the Dalis. Sensivity at 8 ohms is 88dB but with a dip just to 3.7 ohms, again not too great a load for the NAD. There's a big step up in both cost and performance to the 7 Series speakers and there would be others that I would look at that step up in quality, certainly KEF R3s if you can source them.

What ever speakers and amp combination you decide on then it's absolutely essential that you audition them, preferably playing your favourite music that you are very familiar with.

Not having listened to either Klipsch or Argon, I'll not comment on those. The Missions have always been a good budget speaker and at their price point they are highly regarded but again although I've owned Mission speakers previously I've not listened to any of late and will not comment further.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I should add that I really don't know how any of the speakers would perform with your particular choice of music as it's genres that I would avoid personally. The KEF R3s will make a good performer with any type of music from acoustic singer songwriters to hard rock and classical as they are an extremely fast speaker with a three way design.
 

dezzadk

Standard Member
You will need a stereo amp that has it's own DAC onboard for TV use. Your TV can then be connected via optical to be able to play the audio from it. Speakers are going to be the most important part of any set up and should take up the bulk of the budget.
I'm not entirely sure but it might be that the NAD C316BEE V2 does not have a DAC builtin. I believe the C388 does.

The NAD 338 has a good power output pushing 50 watts into 8 ohms so as long as your room isn't huge it will happily drive 8 ohm speakers and should perform well at low volume listening. With the 6 ohm Dali Oberon 3 it should be a good partnership. I've not listened to Klipsch and they are certainly going to be the easiest 8 ohm load on the amp because of their high sensitivity but I would expect them to be far brighter than the Dalis.
Not a huge room no :) I was wondering if the NAD 338 was too little for the DALI OBERON 3, but its nice to hear from someone else its a good fit.
B&W, the 606 S2 would be in the price range of the Dalis. Sensivity at 8 ohms is 88dB but with a dip just to 3.7 ohms, again not too great a load for the NAD. There's a big step up in both cost and performance to the 7 Series speakers and there would be others that I would look at that step up in quality, certainly KEF R3s if you can source them.
Only regular K3 I see listed here. So maybe the OBERON 3 is a good fit.
What ever speakers and amp combination you decide on then it's absolutely essential that you audition them, preferably playing your favourite music that you are very familiar with.
Thats why I am a little biased towards the DALI and the NAD. I know I can test both out in stores, and from what I see I will be paying $1500 alone for an amp that can drive better speakers than DALI OBERON 3. It seems like you get a lot with NAD for the entry-level.
Not having listened to either Klipsch or Argon, I'll not comment on those. The Missions have always been a good budget speaker and at their price point they are highly regarded but again although I've owned Mission speakers previously I've not listened to any of late and will not comment further.
Alright! I saw darko.audio's
video on them and it seemed like he made up for their tweeters with the NAD 338 and his little RPi DAC, so it might be worth it getting better speakers and amp entirely.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I will be paying $1500 alone for an amp
The NAD C338 is, in the UK, priced in the mid range and that amp along with the Oberon 3s would set you back £1200 UK Sterling. It looks therefore that Danish prices are set much higher. Shudder to think how much KEF R3s would cost!

Would a Denon PMA-800NE fit your needs, it has it's own DAC and may be more lively and rhythmic for your musical needs. NAD has never really set my soul on fire.
 

dezzadk

Standard Member
The NAD C338 is, in the UK, priced in the mid range and that amp along with the Oberon 3s would set you back £1200 UK Sterling. It looks therefore that Danish prices are set much higher. Shudder to think how much KEF R3s would cost!

Would a Denon PMA-800NE fit your needs, it has it's own DAC and may be more lively and rhythmic for your musical needs. NAD has never really set my soul on fire.
Yes PMA-800NE costs $600 here. Yes we don't have it cheap at all in Denmark, cost of living is super high.

Do you think I should buy a sub with some Oberon 3?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
For your musical needs, then I would. Drum and bass is not much good with out a bass line running. Neither the Denon nor the NAD has a dedicated subwoofer pre-out so you would need a sub that has high level inputs. Again I've no idea how much a good musical sub would cost in Denmark. In the UK I would recommend BK subs for good cost effective units or REL subs for musical ability. Both these subs would be wired up to any stereo amp by the connection below.

REL-Neutrik.jpg
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
Neither the Denon nor the NAD has a dedicated subwoofer pre-out
The NAD C338 does have a sub pre-out according to the manual...

Screenshot_20210724-151051_Word.jpg
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Right. Is it worth it doing it like that and not have dedicated sub out?
Seems like the NAD does have a pre-out which makes life a lot easier and could certainly help keep the cost down of sub. The purist will argue that the high level is far better and more controllable. I don't use a sub for my stereo music as I find my speakers go deep enough for my music taste, James Taylor doesn't do heavy bass. On multi channel SACD or DVD-A then a sub taking advantage of the.1 LFE channel makes a fair contribution, but that's for another type of set up.
 

dezzadk

Standard Member
Seems like the NAD does have a pre-out which makes life a lot easier and could certainly help keep the cost down of sub. The purist will argue that the high level is far better and more controllable. I don't use a sub for my stereo music as I find my speakers go deep enough for my music taste, James Taylor doesn't do heavy bass. On multi channel SACD or DVD-A then a sub taking advantage of the.1 LFE channel makes a fair contribution, but that's for another type of set up.
Do you think the DALI SUB C-8D would be a great match? My only understanding of subs is the larger the diameter the slower it will be.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Do you think the DALI SUB C-8D would be a great match? My only understanding of subs is the larger the diameter the slower it will be.
I'm not the best to ask about subs. I've been using the same small REL for the last nine years. If nothing else it's reliable. Big doesn't mean slow. The big REL S Series is renown for it's musical prowess. The bigger the sub the better the slam for movies but this may not translate into a good musical pairing. Like everything in this game you can easily empty the bank account.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
Do you think the DALI SUB C-8D would be a great match? My only understanding of subs is the larger the diameter the slower it will be.
Rel subs are favoured by many looking at a predominantly music based system.

Personally regardless of brand, I wouldn't consider any subwoofer unless it had a 12" driver minimum. I'd also look at sub(s) from dedicated subwoofer manufacturers (Rel, BK, SVS etc). There's certainly better performing subs for similar money to the Dali.

Any of the BK subs from the xxls400 up will outperform the Dali imo...

Popular among forum members here (from BK - www.bkelec.com) is:

xxls400
Xls200
Double Gem
P12-300SB

In the SVS range - Either the SB1000 Pro or SB2000 Pro are great subs for music. I have dual SB2000 Pro's in my dual use system.

As @gibbsy says. It all depends on budget/how deep your pockets are!
 

dezzadk

Standard Member
Those BK are hard to come by here.

Maybe I should start out with the speaker and amp, seems like I can't go much wrong with those for the price.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
Those BK are hard to come by here.

That's a pity. They really do offer value for money and quality. Cabinets come in a variety of real wood vaneer finishes too.


Maybe I should start out with the speaker and amp, seems like I can't go much wrong with those for the price.
Sounds like a plan. You can always add a sub (or 2 😉🤭😂) at a later date if you felt bass was lacking.
 

3rdignis

Active Member
Is this for a pair?


Buy a sub later
 

Baron Mole

Active Member
Maybe I should start out with the speaker and amp, seems like I can't go much wrong with those for the price.
Probably best to concentrate on those whilst you start reading up on subs. A good place to start would be
In the SVS range - Either the SB1000 Pro or SB2000 Pro are great subs for music. I have dual SB2000 Pro's in my dual use system.
SVS SB-1000 Pro Subwoofer Review and here's a link to a shop in Denmark where the price seems comparable to the UK.
SVS SB-1000 PRO sealed box subwoofer
They also have the SVS speakers range which might suit your needs. Have a look at the 600 Euro SVS Prime Towers and look for some reviews. They won't be as "hifi" as the Dalis but might delay needing a sub.

It's a bit difficult to advise without knowing what is available in Demark, but the shop above does a very wide range which includes Marantz, Rotel, Cambridge, Yamaha, and System Audio just to name a few.

If you could produce a bigger shortlist of available products that fit your requirements and budget I'm sure you'll get lots of advice. And it's very important to go and listen - I've often come away with something different to what I thought I wanted !

Having said all that I've also frequently found that the first thing I came across in a search, after doing loads of research and listening to alternatives, was what I bought in the end ! Which is a roundabout way of saying you've already had great advice from @gibbsy and @Jester1066 and the NAD Dali combo may be the perfect choice.
 

dezzadk

Standard Member
Thanks man I found the SVS and bookmarked it!
It's a bit difficult to advise without knowing what is available in Demark, but the shop above does a very wide range which includes Marantz, Rotel, Cambridge, Yamaha, and System Audio just to name a few.
I am humbly listening to your advice (and very much appreciate it) as I have never really gotten into audio that much, its another pandoras box waiting to be overflowing my mind ;) and I'm easily pulled into stuff like that, so I might as well get the best entry-level stuff for the price and polish this idea a bit first choosing the right entry-level stuff.

Cambridge Audio, Wharfedale, SVS, Q Acoustics, ELAC, KEF, REL, Dynaudio, MK Sound, JBL, Audio Vector, System Audio, Canton, Jamo, Acoustics Energy, Audioengine, Edifier, Lyngdorf, Revel, ProAc, FYNE, Mission, Castle, Tangent, Monitor Audio, Rega

Are some of the brands I've seen sported online in danish shops.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I’d forget all about passive hifi for your needs.

Active speakers and a great dac will suit you much better.

Two of these


And one of these


Or this combination. Quite first class.


And one of these as a dac/preamp.

 

Baron Mole

Active Member
I have never really gotten into audio that much, its another pandoras box waiting to be overflowing my mind ;) and I'm easily pulled into stuff like that, so I might as well get the best entry-level stuff for the price and polish this idea a bit first choosing the right entry-level stuff.
OK, I now realise that you are struggling to know where to start - it's all a load of meanless names :D - although you've done good to suggest the NAD Dali combination :thumbsup:

I think a way forward is first to summarise what your requirements are.

When that's clear and agreed by you, secondly I'll do a shortlist of possible candidates based on what I can find on these 2 websites that fit your requirements and budget (please suggest any other Danish sites)
Velkommen til HiFi Klubben
AV-Connection | HiFi, Home Cinema, cables and accessories

Then we can invite advice from other members - I can't help because I haven't listened to any of the products at this price level.

I think your requirement are:-

1. Budget 1,500 Euro. I've said Euro 'coz my keyboard hasn't got a Euro symbol - if you meant USD please tell me (I'm willing to pay upwards of $1500 for the whole setup)
Are you prepared to go higher and if so to what ?

2. Your sources(inputs) are
a/. a PC - is this for streaming, playing music files from the PC or both ? Would you like streaming ability built in to the amplifier ? What audio output connections does the PC have ?
b/. the TV - again what audio outputs does it have ?

3. Your musical taste is
I listen to mostly electronic music, dub, drumnbass, trap, but also ambient, downtempo, occassionally reggae and rock/metal.
I like them to be able to play low volume and still sound fully detailed and have some oomph for the electronic genres and movie I'm watching. I'm willing to pay upwards of $1500 for the whole setup.
4. Ideally you'd like an amplifier, speakers and a sub, but you'd be prepared to add the sub later and spend the budget on getting a better sound.

5. Your room size isn't huge - what size is it ?

Please add or correct as you see fit.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Can you elaborate on why you think active would suit me better?

Pound for pound Active speakers provide much better value than a passive set up.

Each speaker has two dedicated power amps. One power amplifier per driver. That is one for the tweeter and one for the bass driver.

This is much more efficient than having a passive, two channel amp driving speakers for which it was not specifically designed and having a power sapping passive x-over in the signal path.

Active speakers are driven by four power amps, passives, by a stereo only amp.

Each of the four power amps in active speakers directly drives it’s own driver (speaker cone) after a precisely calibrated electronic crossover. With no loss along the way.

Active speakers lose no control over the bass cone even at very low volumes. So always sound like music should. There is no loss of grip as frequently happens with passive hifi at low volumes.

Also, for your kind of music especially, the absolute control of active speakers will be very beneficial.

Electronic music is not difficult to reproduce, but it’s dynamic swings are.

Actives can easily handle that, especially those of the quality of the Dynaudios and Adams. Their controlled power is impressive.

The extra detail of actives at any given price is also quite special. Again, it is a function of the total control of the speakers that direct coupling can achieve.

Ambient music, with the timing and detail retrieval of Actives is something quite special indeed.

And at any volume, a whisper or at party levels.

The Topping is a top class preamp and dac, and will work superbly with the actives. It has a direct USB input and an optical input for the TV.
 

dezzadk

Standard Member
OK, I now realise that you are struggling to know where to start - it's all a load of meanless names :D - although you've done good to suggest the NAD Dali combination :thumbsup:
Thanks a lot I appreciate the help man! Very nice of you!
2. Your sources(inputs) are
a/. a PC - is this for streaming, playing music files from the PC or both ? Would you like streaming ability built in to the amplifier ? What audio output connections does the PC have ?
Yes for audio output from PC. Streaming from phone would be nice but not a dealbreaker really if PC and TV is hooked up.
b/. the TV - again what audio outputs does it have ?
https://www.sony.com/electronics/su...5ce8f28a2ca2610651f806c1/50148631M.pdf#page=2 (on page 2 here's audio connections)
  1. Headphones (Mini Jack) > Need a good Y splitter
  2. HDMI eARC
  3. Digital Optical Out > Unless there's a significant advantage I don't see the use for this, TV will be wallmounted later with tilt and svivel so not great..
3. Your musical taste is
Thats correct, and dub techno, future garage phonk/wave, mostly electronic and bass-driven music.
4. Ideally you'd like an amplifier, speakers and a sub, but you'd be prepared to add the sub later and spend the budget on getting a better sound.
Correct. I just want help to figure out the best simple setup like amp, speakers connected to TV+PC. I figured I could better sound for less if I went with good dual speakers and amp from friends advice.
5. Your room size isn't huge - what size is it ?
4.3m wide (probably double as long), 26m2
 
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Baron Mole

Active Member

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