First hi-fi system...in Portugal

nodin2000

Novice Member
Hi everyone. I'm putting together my first hifi system. I just moved to Portugal, and am finding myself going around in circles trying to plan the system. The main issues are that there are no hi-fi stores near me where I can try out speakers before I buy, and the products I get get online don't do returns (or very expensive to return). So I've bascially got one shot at getting it right, without having heard anything first. It might be easier if I'd had a 'proper' hi-fi previously, but I'm coming from a Klipsch 2.1 computer speaker system for $150 ProMedia 2.1 Bluetooth Computer Speakers | Klipsch
The room set up is for my office (photo attached is current layout - we are buying this place, so it will look different, I will have my desk at the back of the room facing the door, so I have room to place speakers closer to the door some distance from me. Room dimension are roughly 3.5m (11ft) long, 2.5m (8ft) wide. The ceiling slopes down towards where my desk is from about 3m (10 ft), to 2m (7 ft), so I'm estimating about 750 cu/ft or 22cu/m of air.
Screenshot 2021-12-15 at 12.25.14.png
So the room is of modest size, I want to feel to power and soundstage of an orchestra and it's low notes, but not have the bass overwhelm things. I've not come to a conclusion on floorstanders vs bookshelf, vs bookshelf+sub. Just trying to get a decent speaker stand is a challenge here!
I listen to all types of music but I most care about the sound when listenting to classical (piano/orchestral), and opera.
Budget is around €1000 ($1100)
All my music in on Apple Music that I play from my Macbook Pro.
I've watched countless YouTube videos and read lots or articles and posts, but common issues I come across are lack of availability (Portugal is a small market and a lot of product is not available/sold here), and even when they are sold here, the prices/MSRP varies massively from those in the USA/UK. For example, a NAD C328 is the same price as a Cambridge Audio AXR85 (€450) but in the USA the NAD is over 50% more expensive. Similarly, the Jamo S800 series are well reviewed, but normally in the context of their low price, but they cost about 50% more in Portugal than the USA.
For getting the music out of my Macook into the amp, there are wireless and wired options. I'd favour a wired solution as being more stable and presumably would retain more signal. That means either using the Macbook DAC with a USB-C to 3.5mm converter, then a 3.5mm to RCA line-in to connect to the amp, or getting something like the iFi Zen v2 with a wired USB connection from Macbook to the external DAC, then RCA-RCA to the amp. Spending money on a bespoke streamer seems unnecessary to me given the limited budget.
Below is a list of what I CAN get in Portugal and the prices in Euros.
I'd be really grateful for any help narrowing down the best approach, especially regarding speaker configurations. I even saw a post on oen forum that suggested active speakers for this price range - instinctivly I didn't love this idea as it doesn't leave much room to tweak or upgrade, but welcome thoughts on this too.
Thank you
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moujik

Member
Congrats nodin, Portugal is beautiful!

The prices often vary depending on the location of market vs manufacturers.

I would go for an amp with streaming. Mac products tend to give you less performance for more money :)

I'd spend the other half on a second hand pair of speakers.

You should be able to get a nice sound stage if you sit in front of the desk with the speakers placed around the first line after the door
 

nodin2000

Novice Member
Congrats nodin, Portugal is beautiful!

The prices often vary depending on the location of market vs manufacturers.

I would go for an amp with streaming. Mac products tend to give you less performance for more money :)

I'd spend the other half on a second hand pair of speakers.

You should be able to get a nice sound stage if you sit in front of the desk with the speakers placed around the first line after the door
Thanks for the reply - yes, Portugal is beautiful, people are friendly...very happy here.
When you say, 'an amp with streaming', do you mean buy an amp with a built in streamer? Instead of just getting a iFi Zen type device + an amp? [I already have the Macbook Pro as a 'controller']
Second hand market for hi-fi stuff seems pretty non-existent here...bit better in Lisbon, but that is a few hours from here.
What's your thoughts on the floorstanding vs bookshelf vs bookshelf + sub. e.g. €400 gets Jamo S807/Polk S50 floorstanders, but I'd have to spend €500 to get S803/SX50's + sub + stands. Which is going to sound better in that room for classical music?
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
This is a simple request indeed.


Serious active speakers are a revelation. The extra clarity, grip and drive, even at low volume simply surpasses passive speakers by a good margin. And Dynaudio make some of the best in the world.

Forget about upgrading being a problem with active speakers, you won’t need to as they get it right first time (no lossy x-overs, Perfect power amps for each separate driver and designed together as a whole).
And

Amazon product

For your budget this combination will give you a far better sound quality than separate, passive components.

The Dynaudios are grown up active speakers. They also have very useful adjustments possible in case of any room placement problems. Top class.

The Topping is a mega bargain. Simply plug the MacBook into the usb input on the E30 and you’re good to go for first class sound.

A review here,


For cl
 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Ps, and for classical music (even Baroque, my personal favourite) active speakers of the quality of the Dynaudios lay it all open.

Tremendously dynamic thanks to the directly coupled power amps and current availability. The swing from quiet to full whack orchestral output is exceptional.

And, again because of the control granted by the four individual, directly controlled and powered drivers, the detail retrieval is delightful.

Thomann also have a, no questions, 30 day return period so there will is no risk to your cash.
 

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