Question Active vs Passive Speakers shortlisted, what should I get?

Ted Rai

Member
Hi, I've been lurking for a while; beening amazed by this rabbithole I've gotten myself into. I've looked at endless reviews, graphs and posts about diffrent set ups, but I've haven't really found anything for my typical usage.

So, I'm bulding a set-up from the ground up, primarily listening via bluetooth and vinyl on the odd occasion (I'd say 70/30). I mainly listen to Jazz and Rap, so having a good amount of bass would be great. From my understanding thus far, I would need a phono-stage paired with, an intergrated amplifer with bluetooth and passive speakers or active speakers with bluetooth. Space is a premium, so less is better and a remote is a necessity. I'd say my budget is up to £1000, whilist cheaper is better; build quality and longevity is just as important. I've listed somethings I've considered and a brief explanation of my thought process.

Klipsch r41-PM - just the cheapest option all in one and does the job. Still trying to figure out if this a newbie trap as I don't want to buy something that will have no longevity and I'll have to replace in a year.

Ruark MR1 MK2 - These felt like they were too small in general and I quickly dropped them, but I welcome people saying otherwise.

Klipsch The Fives - A better version of the r41PM's but still has the same phono pre-amp and overall one of my top 2

Kef LSX - Absolutely feel in love with the way they looked but the price is a little steep. This was also the reason I started to looking into Passive speaker systems.

I would most likely pair a small phono amp such as cambridge alva solo/schiit mani or a rega fono mini a2d with theses.


For the passive system I'm pretty much sold on the B&W 606, so its just a case of an intergrated amplifier


Rega io/brio - No bluetooth was the main issue here. This would be amazing if I could find a great work around.

Audiolab 6000a - All in one, has everything I need plus the Phono amp; I've heard it is pretty decent.

Cyrus One - Same as above really, I really don't know the diffrence between the two. I believe the audiolab has a dac which this doesn't? Will this make a big diffrence?

Nad d3020 v2 - I've heard that the phono pre amp isn't that great but the connectivity is great.

My thinking so far is that if I get a passive system, the upgrade path is better. The trouble is space; is there that much of a diffrence in quality between these two systems given the price point that its worth going down the passive speaker route.

I'm sorry about the cohesive of this post. I've just been overloaded with information in these past few weeks and I'm trying to make sense of it all. I really would appreciate some advice on what I should really be looking for.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Ok, so here’s a starter for ten -

Requirement, small (ish) decent bass Bluetooth and Vinyl sources, assume that you already have a turntable but no phono stage, budget £1000 -

Tisbury Phono and Pre at £159 each


Ifi Zen Blue bluetooth receiver £129


Tannoy gold 5 coaxial active speakers £266 per pair


BK Gemini sub £250


If you can deal with bigger speakers then you can swap the Gold5 + sub with the Gold8 for £410


If you are happy to go second hand then there are lots more deals to be had.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Here’s a second hand system that would give you a nice clear sound -

Stick with the IFI Zen Blue at £129 for Bluetooth.

Worth asking what you are streaming to Bluetooth as you may be better off with the Yamaha WXAD10 as this has bluetooth/airplay and streaming services built in £149.


Add a Audiolab 8000c preamp with decent built in phono stage £220


or this Linn Kolektor for £190


And Dynaudio BM5 mk3 at £530

 

musicphil

Active Member
Go passive.
 

English Invader

Active Member
Nad d3020 v2 - I've heard that the phono pre amp isn't that great but the connectivity is great.

Have you considered the lack of inputs on the 3020 v2? One phono stage, one line input. That's a very big compromise for a £400 amplifier. For a few hundred more, you could get the PS Audio Sprout which has more inputs, more power and comes from a high end manufacturer:

I use two NAD components in my system (PP2e phono stage and 310 amplifier) and the two separates I have were both much cheaper to buy than the 3020 v2 and both have better specs IMO.
 

AmericanAudio

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
The Fives are a great sounding speaker, we've just done a youtube video on it.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJ2fmSN02mI


Another alternate in this sphere would the SVS Wireless Speakers

Or the Receiver paired with a pair of bookshelf speakers.

Whilst they don't have a phono stage input this is easily overcome with a turntable with a phono stage built in from the likes of Rega or Project

Another consideration if you go passive then you can change and upgrade components later without changing the whole system.
 
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Ted Rai

Member
Here’s a second hand system that would give you a nice clear sound -

Stick with the IFI Zen Blue at £129 for Bluetooth.

Worth asking what you are streaming to Bluetooth as you may be better off with the Yamaha WXAD10 as this has bluetooth/airplay and streaming services built in £149.


Add a Audiolab 8000c preamp with decent built in phono stage £220


or this Linn Kolektor for £190


And Dynaudio BM5 mk3 at £530

[/QUOTE]
I really hadn't thought of bluetooth dac as a viable option. This has really opened my eyes up to a boat load of new possiblities. Looking at what most people are saying, passive is the way to go. Adding to the fact as new digital standard come in, I can just swap out the stand alone digital receiver, instead of having to replace the whole amplifier. This really gives the incentive to maybe spend a bit more in a quality phono/amp/speaker as they would not become redundent. My only question is should now is how I should go about pairing speakers and amps. I guess I need to do more research on what watt, impedance, sensitivity, etc all mean.
 

Ted Rai

Member
Have you considered the lack of inputs on the 3020 v2? One phono stage, one line input. That's a very big compromise for a £400 amplifier. For a few hundred more, you could get the PS Audio Sprout which has more inputs, more power and comes from a high end manufacturer:

I use two NAD components in my system (PP2e phono stage and 310 amplifier) and the two separates I have were both much cheaper to buy than the 3020 v2 and both have better specs IMO.

From what I've seen, the market doesn't really cater to my specific needs. So the systems that I opt into if it is an "all in one" seem to has some sort of compromise. The amp that you mentioned is great but its lacking a phono pre amp. I think for my needs I need to go with a simple setup and add in bluetooth as the "updatable" piece.

Edit: I'm an idiot, it has a phono amp. I having a looking into it, thanks!
 
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Ted Rai

Member
The Fives are a great sounding speaker, we've just done a youtube video on it.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJ2fmSN02mI


Another alternate in this sphere would the SVS Wireless Speakers

Or the Receiver paired with a pair of bookshelf speakers.

Whilst they don't have a phono stage input this is easily overcome with a turntable with a phono stage built in from the likes of Rega or Project

Another consideration if you go passive then you can change and upgrade components later without changing the whole system.

First of all, loved the video; simple, straightforward, to the point and same with the speakers. I really do think its a great all in one but as you mentioned you can't go ahead and upgrade components without getting rid of everything. TBH I'm really tempted to go with "the fives" cause of convenience but I'm thinking; I'm not doing much nowadays with the lockdown and everything, might as well take this on as a mini project and take my time building a setup that will have maybe have more longevity.
 

AmericanAudio

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
Its a difficult call, as you are looking for that mix of digital and classic analogue.

The manufacturers are catching on to the idea, especially with offering Phono Stages, USB DAC and Wifi / Networking, but they all seem to be going in slightly different directions with it, so whlist you might find your perfect combination, you will be limited on choice.

We think 'The Fives' are a very neat all-in-one solution, but putting a little bundle / combo together is more fun. The SVS (and others) seem to have it right with Analogue, USB, BlueTooth and Wifi inputs also.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Consider this rather fine set up sir.

These first class actives and sub.


This top class Bluetooth enabled streamer/dac/preamp.


And this splendidly capable phono stage.


I doubt you’d be anything but delighted.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
Loadsa good recommendations.

How about marantz pm6007, yamaha wxad10, q acoustics 3030

Good amp with phono stage
Streamer with bluetooth and more
Nice solid set of standpoints
Plenty of after thought add on abilities
 

musicphil

Active Member
Do you really need Bluetooth?
Is it convenience?
Or are you looking for quality?
Bluetooth and vinyl are opposites, one is compressed audio close to CD quality and the other is a brilliant way of listening to best analogue music.
Possibly more long term and upgradable path is a passive amp and quality speakers.
There are not many great speaker manufacturers that are also great at making electronics.
Have you thought about going S/H ?
You might be fortunate and have a dealer near to you that has a few great trade-ins- save a few £££ and assembe a great setup- you can demo too.
 
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