Good looking simple amplifier recommendations for a home office

teasdep

Standard Member
Hi there. I'm looking for recommendations for an amplifier to power a pair of kef egg desktop speakers and headphones in a home office.

Input will be from a mac so will be driven either via USB or the headphone output.

I'd prefer a simple / silver design if possible and something under £200. Something like the Topping PAS3 looks great and I'd probably buy that if it came with a headphone jack.

Any recommendations out there.
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
Something like the Topping PAS3 looks great and I'd probably buy that if it came with a headphone jack.

If you're going to use the headphone socket of the Mac as the source, then may as well use that for the headphones.

You'll probably need a sub as well for any bottom end as IIRC, the Eggs have next to none. Are these the powered version or the old unofficial passive Eggs?
 
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jamieu

Well-known Member
Hi there. I'm looking for recommendations for an amplifier to power a pair of kef egg desktop speakers and headphones in a home office.

Input will be from a mac so will be driven either via USB or the headphone output.

I'd prefer a simple / silver design if possible and something under £200. Something like the Topping PAS3 looks great and I'd probably buy that if it came with a headphone jack.

Any recommendations out there.

SMSL AD18? Probably not the last word in audio excellence, but for a small, low-cost, desktop amp with a USB input and a 1/4" headphone socket, it looks like it could fit the bill? It also includes a sub output via a non-standard 3.5mm adaptor.

The SMSL SA300 adds a proper RCA subwoofer output, but annoyingly drops the headphone socket. On the other hand connecting it via USB would free up the headphone socket on your Mac.

If your Mac is one of the models with a dual analog/digital 3.5mm headphone socket you could connect it to a traditional integrated amp with a digital S/PDIF input using a Mini-TosLink to TosLink cable. Something like a secondhand Denon PMA600NE, Marantz PM6007 or Audiolab 6000A although all three are a fair bit larger than the SMSL. Although bear in mind the newer M1 Macs have dropped the dual analog/digital 3.5mm headphone socket so getting an amp that only accept S/PDIF may not be the best route if you're planing to upgrade your Mac any time soon.
 
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Ugg10

Distinguished Member
For desktop I'd go for one of these (at £220, a tad over budget but is in London so can collect and have a listen) as finding a small silver amp with USB may be difficult -


It has USB and will drive the Eggs OK. Also has a sub out port if you go down that route.

If your MAC has one of those Headphone/optical combo ports I'd tend to use that for digital output as it isolates the noise PC environment from the music end of things. The D3020 has an optical port.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Again, assuming the Mac has an optical out, this is the least expensive amp I’m aware of new that will work very well.

It also has a sub out too, which I think you’ll decide you need.


All you need to know right here,

 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
But personally I’d buy these instead.


These have a driverless USB input for direct connection to your dac, and four ‘dsp’ modes which may well help with desk placement.

Or sell the the Kefs and go for these.


Both are genuine active speakers with plenty of inputs. No amp required.

All you’ll need and a considerably more grown up sound than the Kefs with any realistic amp.
 

teasdep

Standard Member
If you're going to use the headphone socket of the Mac as the source, then may as well use that for the headphones.
Sorry, should have mentioned, the mac mini is tucked away underneath the back of the desk. Where I swap between speakers and headphones, I need some way of switching that's a bit closer. Given I need an amp for the speakers, it feels more convenient to get something that also has a headphone out.
 

teasdep

Standard Member
SMSL AD18? Probably not the last word in audio excellence, but for a small, low-cost, desktop amp with a USB input and a 1/4" headphone socket, it looks like it could fit the bill? It also includes a sub output via a non-standard 3.5mm adaptor.

The SMSL SA300 adds a proper RCA subwoofer output, but annoyingly drops the headphone socket. On the other hand connecting it via USB would free up the headphone socket on your Mac.

If your Mac is one of the models with a dual analog/digital 3.5mm headphone socket you could connect it to a traditional integrated amp with a digital S/PDIF input using a Mini-TosLink to TosLink cable. Something like a secondhand Denon PMA600NE, Marantz PM6007 or Audiolab 6000A although all three are a fair bit larger than the SMSL. Although bear in mind the newer M1 Macs have dropped the dual analog/digital 3.5mm headphone socket so getting an amp that only accept S/PDIF may not be the best route if you're planing to upgrade your Mac any time soon.
Thanks. I had started to look at the SMSL AD18 along with the Loxjie A30. It's the latest model mac so unfortunately no optical out any more.

I'm trying to reorganise and get more space back in the office a full size second hand amp is more space than I'm really comfortable giving up.

From what I've seen in various reviews over the weekend, it looks like the Loxjie meets all the requirements and is getting the most favourable reviews.

Thanks for those people offering suggestions of bigger better speakers. I'm sure that may well give a better sound output but I'm more looking to be able to re-use what I have with minimal spend. This is mainly for listening to music while concentrating at work rather than sitting down and primarily focussing on listening to music

 

FootHealer

Active Member
Hi,

Please let us know how you get on if you choose to go with the Loxjie A30. Was considering that myself for a small desktop setup, but decided not to go ahead with it, choosing a NAD D3020v2 and a Topping D10s DAC instead, although it did cost three times as much as the A30. Was a bit put off by the A30's high noise floor and distortion using the analogue circuits, and the poor headphone amplifier measurements (as reported by Amir at Audio Science Review), as I always like to think about how flexible an item is before I buy it. I tend to use a lot of analogue devices, so this was a no-go for me. However, the digital circuits (USB, coaxial and toslink) measured much better. I would be interested to hear how you find it.

Kind regards...
 

teasdep

Standard Member
Hi,

Please let us know how you get on if you choose to go with the Loxjie A30. Was considering that myself for a small desktop setup, but decided not to go ahead with it, choosing a NAD D3020v2 and a Topping D10s DAC instead, although it did cost three times as much as the A30. Was a bit put off by the A30's high noise floor and distortion using the analogue circuits, and the poor headphone amplifier measurements (as reported by Amir at Audio Science Review), as I always like to think about how flexible an item is before I buy it. I tend to use a lot of analogue devices, so this was a no-go for me. However, the digital circuits (USB, coaxial and toslink) measured much better. I would be interested to hear how you find it.

Kind regards...
The A30 has just arrived and initial impressions are very positive. Have listened to a handful of different tracks and can't complain at all about the sound quality at all. This is going both direct USB and bluetooth from my phone. Haven't yet tried headphones.

There's certainly more power output than you'd need for an office / desktop setup. Volume goes up to 60, 25 is sensible levels to work to and 30 feels louder than polite if you've got others in the house.

I'm quite tempted to try this and the speakers with the living room TV and suspect it's more than up to the job.

The A30 certainly has all the inputs / outpus I'd ever want in an office and can't think of anything to criticise so far. Personally I wouldn't spend 3 times on a device for this use case but that's very much a personal choice.

Enjoy!
 

FootHealer

Active Member
The A30 has just arrived and initial impressions are very positive. Have listened to a handful of different tracks and can't complain at all about the sound quality at all. This is going both direct USB and bluetooth from my phone. Haven't yet tried headphones.

There's certainly more power output than you'd need for an office / desktop setup. Volume goes up to 60, 25 is sensible levels to work to and 30 feels louder than polite if you've got others in the house.

I'm quite tempted to try this and the speakers with the living room TV and suspect it's more than up to the job.

The A30 certainly has all the inputs / outpus I'd ever want in an office and can't think of anything to criticise so far. Personally I wouldn't spend 3 times on a device for this use case but that's very much a personal choice.

Enjoy!
Great. Sounds positive. Thanks for sharing.
 

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