Floorstanding Active Speaker Suggestions

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by karlsushi, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. karlsushi

    karlsushi
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    Hi folks.

    Significant birthday coming up in February so hoping to use it as an excuse to upgrade.

    I am quite sold on the idea of Active Speakers (true active, not powered - just to put that one to bed), using a DAC and passive pre at the front end.

    I will be replacing some beloved Rega R5's with price cap up to £1500, including second hand market.

    They need to be floorstanders for stability reasons (I can't trust standmounters in a living room with three kids running around) and because it's the living room, studio style monitors just aren't going to work aesthetically, so it needs to be natural wood finish cabinets.

    I'm really struggling to find anything of that ilk around that price range and thinking i may have to go for a separate power amp and passive combination, but if anyone knows of any decent wooden cabinet floorstanding actives at that price point (including second hand market i'd be really grateful?

    The Dynaudio Xeo 6 is the closest thing I can find near to that price point, but I have no need for the internal DAC/Bluetooth etc and they're still not natural wood finishes.

    Any advice welcomed.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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  3. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    I think your options are limited and that you expectations might be a bit over the top.

    Wharfedale Diamond A2 White Active Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) - Floorstanding Speakers - AudioVisual Online

    Wharfedale Diamond A2 Black Active Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) - Floorstanding Speakers - AudioVisual Online

    DALI Zensor 5 AX Light Walnut Active Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) - Floorstanding Speakers - AudioVisual Online


    This is most likely where your price range needs to be -

    DALI Callisto 6 C Black Active Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) - Floorstanding Speakers - AudioVisual Online

    The Dynaudio Xeo 6 are a good choice, and since that Xeo 6 has been replaced, you might be able to find bargain prices on the older models -

    The current model is the XEO 30 - £3200/pr -

    Active floorstanding speakers - Xeo 30 wireless speakers - Dynaudio

    Dynaudio XEO 30 Wireless Active Speakers - Bartletts

    Dynaudio XEO 30 Wireless Active Speakers | Hifonix

    The previous was the XEO 6 - £1750/pr to £2600/pr -

    Active floorstanding speakers - Xeo 6 wireless speakers - Dynaudio

    Dynaudio XEO 6 Black Satin High-End Active Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) buy online in UK.| Hifonix

    https://www.hifonix.co.uk/detail/dy...-floorstanding-speakers-pair-with-connect-box

    Dynaudio XEO 6 Wireless Speakers | Dynaudio | Audio T

    The £1750/pr XEO 6 Speakers for HIFONIX are about as close as you are going to come to what you are seeking in NEW speakers. (note: £2600/pr retail)

    Also it is not clear what you are looking for. Floorstanding but how big, how many drivers, what size drivers? How big is the room the system will be in? How will they be used? For what style of Music?

    At close to your budget, the Wharfedale A2 Active Speakers are probably closest to your budget, though that I could find, not in the finishes you prefer.

    DIAMOND A2 | Wharfedale Hi-Fi

    But it seems Black and White are the only options.

    Lastly, why Active Speakers? Many of those listed are not only Active but Wireless. Do you really need that?

    You will have far more versatility with a separate Amp and Speakers, than with Active Speakers, unless you are willing to pay very considerably for them.

    Yamaha RN803 Network Receiver, DAB/DAB+, Networking, DAC, Room EQ, Bass Management,... - £560 -


    Yamaha R-N803D Network Amplifier

    MusicCast R-N803D - Overview - Yamaha - UK and Ireland

    Monitor Audio Silver 8 - Rosewood - £800/pr -


    Monitor Audio Silver 8 Rosemah Floorstanding Speaker (Pair) - Floorstanding Speakers - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

    Monitor Audio Silver 300 - Walnut - £1250/pr -

    Monitor Audio Silver 300 Walnut Floorstanding Speaker (Pair) - Floorstanding Speakers - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

    I think in what you said you were looking for, your choices are going to be limited ...very limited.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  4. karlsushi

    karlsushi
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    Many thanks for the replies. Much appreciated.

    Explains why I'm struggling to find any myself I guess!!

    As to this question, I had assumed (wrongly it seems) that you would get better value for money from actives than separate amp/speaker combinations at any particular price point, on the simplistic assumption that they incorporate fewer materials (i.e. less boxes).

    I have been very interested by some of the studio active monitors around, with particular interest in the Adam A7x and possibly the Mackie HR824 and can't work out why these companies are able to produce what seems to be incredibly well-reviewed active speakers at around the £1000 mark, yet traditional home hifi companies are asking for several times that for their entry level models!?

    Yes, I can hear the groans about why aesthetics should be important, but regrettably, that is the case here (my living room isn't just for me to take over apparently!).

    For me (and for the vast majority of the population) spending £1500 on some speakers is a shed load of money and it is a sign of the times that even that budget can't get you anywhere near what you want.

    In terms of size, nothing too big or overbearing really, so comparable with my current Rega R5's. The room is rectangular with the long side being disproportionately long in comparison to the width (about 14m or so compared with a width of about 3.5m to 4m), but with the speakers located around the middle of one of the long sides if that makes sense, so main listening position is only about 3m from the speakers.

    In terms of music, I have a second smaller set-up in another room for more acoustic music (jazz, folk, classical etc), so this room would be more designed as an all-rounder I guess (I literally do listen to anything and couldn't really have a more diverse music taste). That said, I have always tended towards a hunt for the most transparent sound possible (thus the passive preamp obsession), but at the same time, the family have been known to enjoy a disco in the living room every now and then and we live in a detached, so something that can fill the room every now and then too. Like I say, an all-rounder really.

    And no, I don't need wireless. I have a couple of decent DAC options which I am happy with and generally use laptop or phone as a source, linked directly with USB/Coax.

    Hopefully that helps to set the scene anyway.

    Following the comments above, my current thinking is now to go for as decent a set of passive speakers as I can afford and save amp upgrades for later (will be using an existing Rega Maia Power amp in the mean-time which I like).

    Thanks again.
     
  5. Ugg10

    Ugg10
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    I have the mk1 mackie hr824 fed directly from my dac through a passive preamp and source is a Chromecast audio. I have added a sub but it dies not really need it in my room but only fills in from 59hz down (sealed sub). I like the clear sound these amps give and if you are prepared to go second hand they are a bargain, that said the mackies are more musical/hifi than most studio monitors so could be a good choice. The hr624 and a sub may be a better choice if you don’t need the extra bass.

    If you are looking for passive then if you like a clean sound then PMC may be worth a look -

    The PMC OB1 can be had second hand for less than $1500 from the older models or possible a twenty 24 in the newer ones.

    Pair of PMC OB1 Floor Standing Speakers Cherry wood MINT Boxed OOO | eBay
    Pair of PMC OB1 Floor Standing Speakers Cherry wood MINT Boxed OOO not TWENTY FB1 EB1 FACT B&W £1400 | in Hackney, London | Gumtree

    PMC Twenty 24 Piano Black Speakers | eBay
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
  6. karlsushi

    karlsushi
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    many thanks @Ugg10

    I am sure I'd be happy with the sound, but unfortunately the Mackies don't fit the requirements for non-standmounters and natural wood finish (you can blame the kids/wife for that).

    PMC's definitely on the radar for passives, so I'll see if I can get a demo of the OB1 from a willing seller. Don't think I've ever heard a PMC speaker.

    I have some standmount Spendors in the small room set-up (S3/5R2) and I do love the Spendor sound. Also demo'd some Quad S2's when researching the standmounters and was very impressed, so the Spendor A5R or A6R and Quad S4 or S5 are also on the shortlist.

    Any other suggestions welcome.

    Cheers
     
  7. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Yes, but these 8" Studio Monitors are not what you asked for. Though I think they would be a better fit for your circumtance. Mackie, Adam, or JBL would all be good and affordable, and should have reasonable bass.

    Well that sucks. If at all possible the speakers should be on the Narrow wall playing into the 14m space. Across a 3.5 to 4m space (11.5ft to 13.12ft), that is much too close for floorstanding speakers. Though it does depend on the speakers.

    ....

    Large Studio Monitors are a real options, I would not discount that. But separate Amp and Passive Speakers are also a workable option. That's for you to decide. I almost recommended the Mackie, JBL, or KRK, but you said Floorstanding so I avoided it. Studio Monitors would require stands, so that is an extra expense, but not an extreme expense.

    As to an external Amp, you need to think about the quality, cost, and features that work for you. I used one example of a very high featured amp just to illustrate the range of possibilities. But there are more minimalist amps and more mid-featured amps to consider.

    You claim you have a Passive Pre-Amp, do I understand that correctly. Specifically what is it. Remember that a Passive Pre-Amp can NOT turn anything UP. It can on turn the volume to varying degrees of Down. It contains no amplification. Also, how many inputs does it have and what kind? And more importantly does it give you the inputs and features you need? I don't know, again, that's up to you to determine.

    Back to Studio Monitors, they tend to be designed differently than typical Passive Home Speaker. Studio Monitor have to be a flat and uncolored as possible to prevent the speaker from influencing or altering the final studio mix. Home speaker, don't need that flatness and precision. They can have a bit of bass boost or whatever the maker feels will enhance the music. There is a difference between Producing Music and Reproducing Music. Producing has to be very precise. Reproducing only needs to sound good.

    Another drawback to Studio Monitors is that they tend to come in Black, and now in some cases White. But wood finishes are rare. That could be a strike against them if they are in a general living space. But again, that's for you to decide.

    There are a wide range of options for Amp, but not completely understanding your need in this area, I'm not sure what to recommend.

    Also, will the Speaker/Amp be used with a TV, or is this strictly a music system? If it will be used with a TV, then you will need to come up with a DAC either build into the amp or separately.

    Do you have any interest in Network Streaming from the Internet or from Local Storage, because that will limit the equipment you choose. Limit the equipment or increase the cost.

    Again, you can't get what you want until you know what you want.
    In the details of your desires is a road map to the best equipment that will work specifically for you.

    Steve/bluewizard[/quote]
     
  8. Ugg10

    Ugg10
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    If you are handy with a saw and some glue and want a project then you could build some box stands for a pair of actives to make them look like floor standers (filled with dry sand, would be pretty stable) and then re-veneer the active with a wood finish, that's the plan with my second hand HR824 mk1 which have a nice three part construction - cast speaker mounting plate (leave black or spray metallic colour), MDF vinyl covered front baffle which will be stripped, filled, sanded and sprayed in metallic car paint and then the main box which can easily be re-vereered in a nice wood finish with a high gloss varnish/lacquer. You can get iron real wood veneer which makes things easier.

    I have just acquired a third speaker (£75 for parts but only issue was the woofer was unplugged inside and the foam was missing) so have that to try out on first.

    Just a thought.
     
  9. karlsushi

    karlsushi
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    Thanks @BlueWizard

    If you read through my earlier posts in detail then I think I have answered most of these points. I did my best to be pretty clear about what I want in my initial post, but I appreciate its difficult to grasp everything without me providing an essay of info.

    I know what I want. I want new speakers and the main point is no standmounters and only wood finishes, so that rules out studio monitors I'm afraid, so hopefully we can park that idea!

    I am happy with sources and have suitable DACs etc, so you can forget about that end too.

    Speakers are the main target with power amp secondary (thus the idea of going active initially), but thanks to the initial advice about actives, I am now just thinking get the best passive speakers possible and upgrade power amp later (I already have a half-decent power amp).

    Cheers and apologies if I've confused matters.
     
  10. dogfonos

    dogfonos
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    IME, you are correct but the criteria here is all about audio quality, not aesthetics and not speaker format. For your £1500 budget, you'll (almost certainly) obtain better audio quality from a pair of well-chosen active speakers than from a separate passive setup. However, the active speakers would likely be near-field studio monitors with a black finish and almost certainly stand-mount cabinets.

    There are some floorstanding active speakers with wood veneer finishes from the likes of ATC and Adam but the model's I'm aware of are vastly over budget. I can't imagine there would be many examples on the second hand market either.

    I believe that active technology is superior to passive, especially with higher-end actives now incorporating sophisticated DSP. Connecting an amp directly to a speaker drive unit seems, IME, to have beneficial audible effects, in terms of dynamics and transients in particular, though others (well, one in particular) will disagree. Each to their own. Actives are best avoided if you're after a comfortable, easy-listening sound.

    FWIW, I thought you were perfectly clear.
     
  11. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    You seem to have missed this part (emphasis added) -

    In the DETAILS of your desires is a road map to the best equipment that will work specifically for you.

    That said, let's clear something up.

    Is the £1500 just for the speakers?

    Do you need an Amp? If so how much money is available for that?


    The problem is, there are few Floorstanding Active speakers to choose from, and most are out of your price range. So, from a practical perspective, that leaves Studio Monitors. But you seem to have eliminated those. That's fine. But I think unless you can double your budget, you are also going to have to lose the idea of Active Speakers.

    Though the Dynaudio XEO 6 were only £1750/pr which is close to your budget, but ...that I can tell... no natural wood finishes. So, perhaps these are eliminated too.

    If you want a wide selection of speaker in natural wood finishes I think it is best to go with passive speakers.

    Though I may have missed it, it is not clear what you front end is, that is, your Amp/Pre-Amp. If you want to get into Amp replacements we would need to know what equipment you have now, and what features would be necessary in a replacement, and how much power you feel you need.

    In terms of cabinet finishes, the Monitor Audio Silver seem to fit your price range both in the older series, and in the newer series. Though in the older series, the finishes are limited to whatever they have in stock.

    Citing previous examples -

    Monitor Audio Silver 8 Rosemah Floorstanding Speaker (Pair) - Floorstanding Speakers - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

    Monitor Audio Silver 300 Walnut Floorstanding Speaker (Pair) - Floorstanding Speakers - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

    Those are essentially the same speaker - 2x6", 4" Mid, 3-way.

    If you can find the Wharfedale REVA 3 or 4 in Rosewood or Walnut, they look fabulous -

    Wharfedale Reva 3 Gloss White Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) - Floorstanding Speakers - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

    Wharfedale Reva 3 Gloss Black Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) - Floorstanding Speakers - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

    Wharfedale Reva 4 Gloss White Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) - Floorstanding Speakers - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

    Wharfedale Reva 4 Gloss Black Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) - Floorstanding Speakers - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

    You can see some photos of the other REVA finishes in this thread -

    New Warfedale REVA Speakers

    The Walnut and Rosewood seem hard to come by though.

    The Wharfedale are very easy to listen to with very low fatigue, sweet Midrange, and in your limited space, would probably work well. Although in the Photos the finishes look a bit muted, they are actually high gloss. If you watch the video in the link I provided, you can get a better sense of the finish on the speakers.

    A step down from the REVA would be the DIAMONDS -

    Wharfedale Diamond 11.4 Walnut Pearl Floorstanding Speaker (Pair) - Floorstanding Speakers - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

    The Wharfedale Diamond should be available in Black, White, Walnut, and Rosewood.

    Monitor Audio
    are a bit crisper, but still good speakers with probably the widest range of natural wood finished.

    Search - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

    The best deal in Monitor Audio has to be the Silver 8 in Rosewood (£795/pr). These are being sold at a £455 discount. That really maximizes your money.

    I don't know how much of an upgrade it is, but the REGA RX5 are available in Walnut for about £1530/pr for ex-display models -

    https://www.hifix.co.uk/speakers/hi...peakers/rega-rx5-speaker-walnut-display-model

    The standard selling price for the REGA RX5 is closer to £1700/pr and the listed finishes are - Cherry, Walnut, and Black Ash.

    https://www.hifix.co.uk/speakers/hi-fi-speakers/floor-standing-speakers/rega-rx5-speaker

    I would expect good things from the QUAD S-4 (£1195/pr, 2x5") or the QUAD S-5 (£1495/pr, 2x6.5") -

    https://www.hifix.co.uk/speakers/hi-fi-speakers/floor-standing-speakers/quad-s-4-speakers

    https://www.hifix.co.uk/speakers/hi-fi-speakers/floor-standing-speakers/quad-s-5-speakers

    As you can see, looking very good in the Rosewood finish.

    http://www.quad-hifi.co.uk/product-detail.php?pid=24

    http://www.quad-hifi.co.uk/product-detail.php?pid=25

    Well out of the price range, and probably too big, but the QUAD Z-Series is looking fantastic -

    http://www.quad-hifi.co.uk/product-detail.php?pid=31

    http://www.quad-hifi.co.uk/product-detail.php?pid=32

    Again, I think the absolute best deal in the Monitor Audio Silver 8 in Rosewood for about £800/pr (£1250 retail).

    I can't guarantee that they are better than your existing speakers though. You would have to determine that for yourself.

    There is one smaller Monitor Audio Silver you might want to consider. The Model 200 with 2x5.25". Considering your close listening distance, these might be a better choice.

    Monitor Audio Silver 200 - Walnut - £999/pr -


    https://www.audiovisualonline.co.uk...ilver-200-walnut-floorstanding-speakers-pair/

    Just a few thoughts.

    Steve/bluewiizard
     
  12. karlsushi

    karlsushi
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    Many thanks for the suggestions @BlueWizard

    Yes, after accepting that actives aren't going to be possible, I'm looking at maxing my full £1500 budget on a pair of passive speakers now, still based on the same requirements of floorstanding and natural wood finish.

    Front end will be a DAC (I have a couple of options on this, but generally 2v line level output) into a Tisbury passive pre and then Rega Maia Power Amp (80w/ch).

    Power amp upgrade to come at another time when I've saved up some more dosh.

    Cheers.
     
  13. DT79

    DT79
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    Slightly off topic (well, not if the OP likes the idea), but I’m intrigued by the idea of buying a pair of really good passive speakers (which in the OP’s case could serve as a pair of passive speakers initially) then making them into actives, but removing the crossover, and getting one of the minidsp devices to create my own DSP crossover, and a power amp for each driver. Doing something like that with some the big PMCs would be really cool. I do realise that’s actives with an even greater box-count than a passive system, but could sound really great I reckon and a great way of upgrading to actives in stages!
     
  14. Ugg10

    Ugg10
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    Have a look at the Hypex fusion plate amps, these have built in dsp plus two or three amps and different powers. Well regarded in the diy world.

    Hypex Electronics B.V.
     
  15. Ken T

    Ken T
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    AAh, but you forgot the "demand & Supply" variable in that equation.
    The demand for true active, floor standers are limited, specially in the affordable range.
    Those who manufacture these, only do it for the higher end/studio market = expensive!
     
  16. DT79

    DT79
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    Brilliant. I’m not naturally that proficient with such DIY projects, but i was very chuffed with myself when I managed to upgrade the tweeters on my ADM40s. I might be ready for another, more advanced, project! Not that I really need any more speakers.
     
  17. larkone

    larkone
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    You will be hard pushed to better your Regas for that budget. I have used Rega speakers for some years (Jura, RS7, RS1, Vulcan, Senta) and purchased others in between (Dali, PMC) but have always come back to Rega. Their timing, rhythm and pace are hard to beat. The upgrade bug can be insidious and I would warn about ending up taking a backward step just because the money is burning a hole in your pocket.

    The best upgrade I ever made was a Lyngdorf amp with RoomPerfect - why aren't other amps built like this. If you ever hear on you will be sold, it integrated my RS7s with the sub and the rest of the room in ways I had not thought possible. Not cheap but the best value upgrade ever.
     
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  18. DT79

    DT79
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    I really wish Lyngdorf did a preamp/DAC with Roomperfect built in and all the other features of the current range of integrateds. They did one in their old range, but they come up for sale only very rarely and lack all the features on the current crop. That and a pair of actives would be awesome.
     
  19. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    Have to completely agree.

    I’d sell all of your other bits, keep the Regas and buy the the Lyngdorf base model.

    Once past a certain (quite low) standard of hifi the room matters most. Removing is the single best move to make.
     
  20. karlsushi

    karlsushi
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    And there I was thinking that I'd decided on what to do and you go and throw a great big spanner in the works @larkone

    I have to admit, I do have an underlying fear of handing on the Rega R5's as they are super speakers (this why they are still one of the only pieces of kit i haven't upgraded since I purchased them new more than 10 years ago - them and a Rega turntable).

    They go for a criminal price second hand (last pair i saw sold on ebay for £150). I figure either purchasers are getting a bargain, or speakers really have improved in quality in the last 10 years such that this is all the Rega R5's are really worth now in comparison.

    I was assuming the latter after auditioning some standmounters recently for my second system (where I settled on what sound far superior Spendor S3/5r2's), but i am generally a pretty frugal sort of guy, so I won't be spending £1500 on replacing them unless I feel I'm getting that amount of money's worth of an upgrade.

    I'd never heard of the Lyngdorf Amps before. They look really interesting. It seems there are no bounds to the advances in digital technology.

    Would love to demo, but it seems the East Midlands is not the place to be able to do so sadly.

    Thanks again for your helpful thoughts.
     
  21. blue max

    blue max
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    I have the Dynaudio 6 floorstanders and the white finish is a refreshing change from wood. If your home is contemporary, they fit in wonderfully and the finish is impeccable.

    They are also relatively modest in size for a floorstander.

    Also, they just require a power cable and connect via a wifi connect box. Useful if on different sides of a room, so positioning is a bit more flexible.

    You wouldn't need the kit you have of course, so it's a complete package. But they are high quality and well regarded. Just another perspective.
    .

    IMG_6486.JPG IMG_6628.JPG
     
  22. larkone

    larkone
    Well-known Member

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    I bought my Lyngdorf without a demo after reading about it extensively, a calculated risk but one that didn't disappoint. Search for the reviews.
     
  23. dogfonos

    dogfonos
    Well-known Member

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    'Scuse my ignorance but what can the Lyngdorf do that, say, a miniDSP couldn't?
     
  24. DT79

    DT79
    Active Member

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    Wider range of inputs, most significantly including option for HDMI ins/out, plus by all accounts Roomperfect is at least as good as Dirac Live and far easier to use.
     

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