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Question Amp & Speakers - £1000 budget

Alfred01

Novice Member
Hello,

It's been a long time since I bought new equipment so I consider myself something of a 'newbie' and would appreciate some advice.

I would like to purchase an integrated amplifier that has a phono stage, Bluetooth and digital connections including optical - I am not looking for an AV unit with features that I will not use.

Presently I play mainly vinyl and CD and tend to listen to rock, blues, soul etc with a bit of electronica, but want the option to listen wirelessly from an i-device.
The Hi-Fi is in a modest sized open plan living/kitchen room and unless I wander around I'm seated 3m from the speakers which are 1.7m apart.

I am considering:
Quad Vena II Vena II | QUAD | the closest approach to the original sound 45w @ 8 ohms
- possibly the system pack (on offer) with S-1 speakers.
Audiolab 6000A 6000A | Audiolab | World Class Hi-Fi, DACs, CD Players and Amplifiers 50w @ 8 ohms
Cambridge Audio CXA60 + Blutooth dongle + phono stage 60w @ 8 ohms

Speakers need to be bookshelf and can be a max of 25cm off the wall. As well as Quad S-1 I was
looking at Dali Oberon 1(Sensitivity 86dB, Impedance 6 ohms) or B&W 607 (Sensitivity 84dB, Impedance 8 ohms).

I like the tidy solutions of the Quad and Audiolab but have yet to hear any of these units so these are just starting points.

Any comments on these combinations or any other suggestions? Thank you.
 
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3rdignis

Prominent Member
Depending on your room don't discount Oberon on wall without an understanding of wall bounce with regards to better base.
 

3rdignis

Prominent Member
With 6000a you could place cheaper analogue room eq between pre out and power in.
 

gIzzE

Distinguished Member
Try and get a deal on some Quad S2's.

Genuinely my favourite speaker under £2k at the moment.

I bought a pair for a second set up and they blew me away, so much so I sold my Meridian DSP5200's and replaced those with the Z3s. Didn't like them as much as the S2s, so went on a bit of a speaker binge, swpped for Martin Logans, then Quad 988s, Scansonic MB2.5's, but I kept pulling the S2s out of the second room and preferred them to all the above.
I do use a Rel Strata btw, the Quads on their own are too lightweight for me.

They definitely work with amps far above their price point as well, I had them with Bel Canto S300 and the monos, Quad 909, Quad 33, Quad 405, Quad 405-2. Arcam A38, and I tried the Vena.

The winner was the 405-2 with the dual mono psu and upgraded caps, it was 40 years old, so more a case of refurb than trying to improve it.

The Vena was actually pretty good, and I would own one, been a few used for around £400. My room is quite big, and at the levels I often like the Vena just got a little edgy sounding compared to the 100wpc 405-2.

I paid £480 for my S2s from a local dealer, so have a word with them.
Quad Vena, S2s and a used Rel or BK sub for £100 and you will have a wonderfully sweet sounding system for your budget.
 

Alfred01

Novice Member
Thank you gizlaroc for your input. I can get the Vena II for £600 from my local dealer and £999 with the S-1's - I'll definitely talk to him about the S-2's. I have to say I've had my head turned by the B&W's but really need to get in the demo room..
 

gIzzE

Distinguished Member
I'm not a B&W fan at all, really not my thing.
Even the big £15k ones they had on demo in Martins in Norwich with £50k worth of amps, streamers and PSUs didn't do anything for me.

I have bought B&W 3 times now and none lasted more than a month before giving up on them.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Yamaha wxc50 £250
Project Phono Box £80
Dynaudio BM5 III £660
All new prices

You will need a plug behind each speaker though or run extension leads.

On the Dynaudio you can tune the response to your room and how close they are to the wall and so how much treble or bass you like.

Yamaha has digital and analogue inputs, bluetototh, airplay and streaming.

Assume you turntable does not have a built in preamp so the project box does that for you.
 

xmb

Prominent Member
Unless you are set on a compact amplifier I would look at the Yamaha R-N803D. This has all the features you need (in one box) and the bonus of room correction, which may be useful in acoustically difficult rooms. I like my Dali Zensor 1 so assume the Oberon 1 would be even better. But also listen to the Monitor Audio Bronze 2.
 

xmb

Prominent Member
Also look at the Monitor Audio Silver 50 (or Silver 100) as you can get this in a package with the R-N803D for £899 (£999).
 

Alfred01

Novice Member
Thanks for the replies.
I did look at the NAD but don't think I could live with the design. You certainly get a lot of bang for your buck with Yamaha but there's a lot of tech that I just won't use.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Yamaha wxc50 £250
Project Phono Box £80
Dynaudio BM5 III £660
All new prices

You will need a plug behind each speaker though or run extension leads.

On the Dynaudio you can tune the response to your room and how close they are to the wall and so how much treble or bass you like.

Yamaha has digital and analogue inputs, bluetototh, airplay and streaming.

Assume you turntable does not have a built in preamp so the project box does that for you.

I doubt you’ll beat this set up for your budget, or a good deal above.

The WXC-50 is as good as it gets, unless you spent big money... and even then, if you had big money, it would be better spent on even better speakers.

The Dynaudios are a thing of legend and being active have a pair of power amps in each speaker, one for each driver.

The power amps are therefore tailored specifically for that job. And Dynaudio have been doing this for a long time time indeed.

Altogether, a better sound than you’d expect for the cash.

Ps, it’s certainly a tidy way to go too. Just two speakers and a tiny dac/streamer/preamp.
 
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gIzzE

Distinguished Member
The Dynaudios are really good, I used the previous ones as monitors for Ableton and Rekordbox.

You should try and have a listen, they are a very different sound to the Quad Ribbons. If you really want to hear every thing without colouration they are great, and they are not really sharp sounding at the top like some monitors can be.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
The Dynaudios are really good, I used the previous ones as monitors for Ableton and Rekordbox.

You should try and have a listen, they are a very different sound to the Quad Ribbons. If you really want to hear every thing without colouration they are great, and they are not really sharp sounding at the top like some monitors can be.


I probably ought to have caveated my suggestion with the "monitors will reveal how good the recordings are - bad recording will sound terrible but good recordings will really shine". I listen on a pair of Mackie HR824 and can really shine but some recordings are almost unlistenable and these are similar to the Dynaudios in being slightly more "musical" i.e. have a less flat reponse than most monitors.
 

gIzzE

Distinguished Member
Yeah, I used them recently as a main speaker while waiting for some Dittons to arrive.
Even though there is adjustments to dial back the treble a bit and boost low frequencies, I found Spotify a bit sharp with some complicated music.

Also, my listening position was around 15 foot away and they don't work that well at that distance.
I moved the room around and then I was about 12 foot away, still too far.
Move the speakers out and the sofa forward so you are about 8 foot from them and they start to make a lot more sense.
Just something to consider.
 

IvanDobskey

Established Member
I spent £1000 on a Yamaha rn803 amplifier and monitor audio bronze 5 speakers.

Very pleased with my setup :)
 

dogfonos

Prominent Member
Any comments on these combinations or any other suggestions? Thank you.

Agree with Ugg 10 & Paul7777X - an active system will likely offer better (i.e. more accurate) audio quality for any given outlay than a traditional hifi amp + passive speakers. There are three main reasons for this:
  • The active crossover is more stable/predictable in its operation than its passive counterpart.
  • Each drive unit is connected directly to its own dedicated amplifier so offers improved control over diaphram movement.
  • Most active speakers (usually called active studio monitors) are professional products where purchasers often need to justify expenditure so they seek value-for-money products, unlike the hobbyist hifi market where product hype and bias often inflates selling price.
Interesting. A completely different approach to what I had in mind.

If you are keen to achieve the best audio quality for your budget, it's worth checking out a few active speaker options in your price range. Few hifi shops sell active speakers. Best bet is to get a demo at a pro music store and make up your own mind on active vs passive. I have to say though that the aesthetics of most active monitor speakers are an acquired taste. Construction costs have generally gone to making the speakers sound good whereas appearance is, generally, a minor consideration.

I too would opt for the Yamaha WXC50. The choice of £500-£700/pair active speakers is huge. Often priced as single units, some highly regarded examples are:

Mackie XR624 Active Studio Monitor at Gear4music
Yamaha HS8 Active Studio Monitor at Gear4music
Focal Alpha 65 Active Studio Monitor
Adam A5X Studio Monitor
https://www.thomann.de/gb/eve_audio_sc207_stand_bundle.htm
https://www.thomann.de/gb/equator_d8_mk2.htm
https://www.thomann.de/gb/krk_v6_serie_4.htm

Not sure what size of speaker (active or passive) would best suit your room size. Agree with gizalaroc regarding speaker spacing and listening distances. The speakers mentioned in this post will all sound good from around 1 metre to 3m listening distance, even though they are termed 'nearfield' monnitors. Many of us on this forum employ active nearfield studio monitors for our listening pleasure at these distances.
 

Alfred01

Novice Member
Excellent comments, thank you. Given the restrictions on listening distances and angles with active speakers I'm not sure that going down that route would work for for me.
The Yamaha R-N803D is an interesting proposition and certainly has all bases covered, but would it do justice to vinyl with decent Dali's or the like?
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I’ve had so many active speakers over the years and not one of them has had any problems or restrictions with ‘distance and angles’.

I don’t know where this idea came from. My current Adams for example can fill a field with music. From any angle.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
I agree with @Paul7777x, your op says 3m from speakers and 1.7m apart. This is similar to my set up, just may be a bit close and a little farther apart to make a more equal triangle and my 8” mackies have absolutely no problem, in fact I am only running them at about 1/4 volume on the speakers and I can play them to indecent volumes. I think a set of 5” actives may struggle but 6.5” will be fine and 8” may even be too much which is why I suggested the Dynaudio (BM5 are 6.5” so do not conform to usual naming structures), second hand Adam a7x would als be on my list and maybe the Mackie hr624.
 

Alfred01

Novice Member
Paul7777x, I've no experience of active speakers so my comment about ‘distance and angles’ came from reading the previous posts:
"my listening position was around 15 foot away and they don't work that well at that distance.
I moved the room around and then I was about 12 foot away, still too far.
Move the speakers out and the sofa forward so you are about 8 foot from them and they start to make a lot more sense.
Just something to consider."
and
"The speakers mentioned in this post will all sound good from around 1 metre to 3m listening distance".
Thanks again for the input.
 

muljao

Prominent Member
Not sure about listening distance

I had mackie mr6 mk3s initial setup in a 23x17 room and they filled it no probs
 

xmb

Prominent Member
If a large part of your source material will be vinyl, I am not sure I would want the 'clinical' studio monitor sound that many active speakers seems to provide.

The Yamaha R-N803D allows future upgrading of your speakers and will handle all sources you throw at it. The Dali speakers have good dispersion so are a little more flexible in listening position and placement.

As always you need to listen for yourself to be able to decide the sound you like. No debate on here will help you.
 

muljao

Prominent Member
There's a lot can be said for a conventional amp and passive speakers, convenient etc. There are some great deals to be had at Peter Tyson and others when you go for a package deal.

I have both types as said (active and passive). I'd be more inclined to have my main system as a conventional passive system and say a bedroom/mancave/ computer based setup as active, but that's just my preference
 

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