Help me decide on an amp for KEF LS50 meta

surr3a1

Standard Member
Hi all,
I now own a Bluesound Powernode which powers the KEFs. I like the sound of this combo but I know that it can be better if I get a just a Node and add a separate Amp.

I had auditioned the KEFs with Arcam SA20(or 30 not sure) before I got them and the sound was a little better with more details in the vocals. This is how I know it can be better.

Additionally I know that the Audiolab 6000a sounds better than the Powernode but because of the 50W I'm inclined towards the 8300a.

I am a BluOS fan and don't want to change that for sure.

What amp/dac combo should I choose:

  • Arcam SA20 - probably the best price. Only one I've actually heard and I liked it
  • Audiolab 8300a (I need a DAC(Ares II) here and that makes it by far the most expensive setup... worth?)
  • Cambridge CXA81 - 3 years WhatHiFi favorite but is that objective?

All-in-one solution:
Roksan Attessa Streaming Amp - very beautiful and everything in one device. Price is just a little over the other amps+Node combos. It is too new though and reviews are lacking.

Any advice is welcomed.

Thanks!

P.S.

The Powernode has both low/high pass filter applied to the speakers/sub. Without this the bass from the speakers is not good. Too boomy and unclear as they are around 20-30cm from the front wall. I really want these to be high filtered and somehow I think that nothing without this will sound good at all. I've yet to find anything on the market that would do this... The hogh pass filter on the speakers adds more clarity and detail and clearly audible by anyone - this is needed!
 
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Ugg10

Distinguished Member
If you have no other sources then you can use a Node 2 directly into a power amp, just another option, there are lists of second hand power amps to choose from. Also you note on the 8300a needing a DAC, if you are using the Node 2 for streaming this has a DAC in it already with analogue RCA outs so no need for a separate one.

One thing you are correct about is the LS50’s need in both power and current to drive them well. Best idea is to get out to some shops and audition to see what your ears like.
 
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Ataripower

Well-known Member
Can I suggest you take a look at the NAD M10. This is a very capable amp and bluos streamer so ticks both boxes. I had mine connected to a pair of LS50 Metas and it worked very well
 
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surr3a1

Standard Member
if you are using the Node 2 for streaming this has a DAC in it already with analogue RCA outs so no need for a separate one.

Thanks for your reply. I'm aware it has a DAC but I was thinking that it might not be the best one around...

Do you think the Node 2i would be enough if I am using an external DAC or the new Node would still be a better choice? I really can't find any opinions on these as transport only.
 
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surr3a1

Standard Member
Can I suggest you take a look at the NAD M10. This is a very capable amp and bluos streamer so ticks both boxes. I had mine connected to a pair of LS50 Metas and it worked very well
I have the M10 in my list but its price 2nd hand is as much as the others new. It is an all in one box and I can't help but think that the separate components would be better. On the other hand I've seen the reviews and they are really good. Thanks!
 
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Wez68

Distinguished Member
I,m running the Meta,s with my Naim Atom and its a fantastic combo , the Atom drives them easily , sounds superb , and I paid £1800 for my Atom brand new a few months back
 
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surr3a1

Standard Member
Another one box solution which you could consider ...

Hi, I've heard comparisons between the C368 and Cambridge CXA61 and the NAD was to put it mildly "not good"... so NAD nope (except maybe the M10 but it is a NAD).
 
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surr3a1

Standard Member
I,m running the Meta,s with my Naim Atom and its a fantastic combo , the Atom drives them easily , sounds superb , and I paid £1800 for my Atom brand new a few months back
I've heard and read too many reviews about the Atom but it is an integrated streamer that has its own OS/app. I stream only Deezer and don't really like Tidal/Qobuz so Naim in general is not an option for me.

Thanks!
 
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Wez68

Distinguished Member
I've heard and read too many reviews about the Atom but it is an integrated streamer that has its own OS/app. I stream only Deezer and don't really like Tidal/Qobuz so Naim in general is not an option for me.

Thanks!
How do you stream Deezer? I mainly use Spotify Connect
 
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surr3a1

Standard Member
How do you stream Deezer? I mainly use Spotify Connect
Maybe you missed it in the original post. I use the Powernode which has the Deezer HiFi built in so my phone/pc/tablet acts as a simple remote. There is nothing over the air so no loss.

The Node has the same capabilities w/o the integrated amp. I want to get the node for the capabilities and an external amp for even greater sound.

---------

I was reading this post here Amp match for LS50s

And the guy finally arrived at the LS50 Wireless. In his review of the Powernode+LS50Meta, @Darko said that he actually prefers them(with the KEF sub) better than the Wireless II. That can't help me thinking that I might be right where I am supposed to be and don't even know it :))). I own the BK P12-300 sub so I got that part already covered.
 
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ashenfie

Well-known Member
I have an Audiolab 6000a and have tried it with the LS50s. I didn't think it was a great match. My friend kindly let me use it NAIM Unti Atom and wow wonderful. My views are you need an amp with decent grunt. NAIM/NAD/Hagal come to mind.
 
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surr3a1

Standard Member
It is not power I'm after. The Powernode has 80wpc and I don't really feel I need more.
It's more details, clarity and transparency that I'm seeking.
 
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Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Are you going to buy a new amplifier or just use the Powernode? 80 watts, Class D based is a lot of power. If you don’t play really loud I can’t see you need more watts.

But you can get more head room on loud volumes with more powerful amplifier, and more details on low volume.

It seems your budget is high, therefore perhaps the new Nad C399 might be an option. Or the Music Fidelity M3 which gets a lot of praise here on avforums.

Then you have the Marantz PM8006, but then you need to get the new Node streamer. Or get the older Node2i.

Many amplifiers unfortunately does not include bass management/subwoofer like Nad does. If I’m not entirely mistaken.

Still you can buy subwoofer with DSP included.

Then it depends which sound you want.

Marantz is more midrange focused. Fat mid mid bass, romantic vocals. The lower bass is slow compared to other manufacturers, but it still is dynamic. The top end is easy on to listen to.

Nad is the opposite. Neutral sound. With a lot of bass punch. Still bad recordings might sound very poor.

Music fidelity is supposed to be little on the warm side, still powerful sounding.

On one option I am forgetting to mention is Hegel. Very high damping factor which suits many speakers. Hegel does not however have the same bass which Nad has. It’s bit lean sounding on Hegel.

You also say you are Bluesound fan, still you can always use Bluesound eq with Hegel as example.
 
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surr3a1

Standard Member
Thanks for the reply, I'm planning on selling the Powernode(at the classifieds here atm) and get a Node just for streaming. I'm trying to get within £1500 if possible.
I know that I can get a Nad M10 for that price and it would definitely be an upgrade... maybe it is worth it?!
 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Buy this and have all you need and the magnificence that is RoomPerfect.

With or without a sub, your Kefs will love you for it.

 
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surr3a1

Standard Member
It looks like a lovely device but no Deezer which is the usual problem. They all support these other services but not Deezer...

The only way I see is to stream it with Chromecast which from my experience is the biggest crap in the world(with an iphone/pc) and would never ever use it for anything.
 
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ashenfie

Well-known Member
Not sure of your definition of the best streaming service. I have been with Qobuz many years with there service. I can't fault Qobuz quality and I guess that leave the catalog and musical taste to decide on.

I thinking the NAD M10 might be your best option and supports both services.
 
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surr3a1

Standard Member
Not sure of your definition of the best streaming service. I have been with Qobuz many years with there service. I can't fault Qobuz quality and I guess that leave the catalog and musical taste to decide on.

I thinking the NAD M10 might be your best option and supports both services.

Qobuz is the only service which is available in a handful of countries. This means they are lazy or stupid and I hate them for this and will never use them.
On top of that I've done comparison between them and Deezer and the quality for the exact same song/release was inferior.
On top of that their catalog is so much smaller and lacking a lot.
They are expensive in general, and with all of their issues - they are extremely expensive!
So yes, Qobuz is really worse for me.

They may work for everyone else, which is Ok - I don't mind that.
 
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ashenfie

Well-known Member
Qobuz is the only service which is available in a handful of countries. This means they are lazy or stupid and I hate them for this and will never use them.
On top of that I've done comparison between them and Deezer and the quality for the exact same song/release was inferior.
On top of that their catalog is so much smaller and lacking a lot.
They are expensive in general, and with all of their issues - they are extremely expensive!
So yes, Qobuz is really worse for me.

They may work for everyone else, which is Ok - I don't mind that.
I feel you have posted in this tread here, rather than the irrational views tread. The company been around since 2008 and specialises in Audiophile recording and not cannon fodder and that explains why counties, range of titles is limited and they charge more. If you really only interested in cheap and cheerful stick with Spotify and a pair of wharfedale.

I have compared service have to say struggled as Deezer at the time didn't many high Rez. records that I liked and therefore I stuck Qobuz, so my experience is that exactly opposite.

Please correct me if I am wrong. Qobuz are currently the only mainstream service offering true lossless music up to a baffling 24 bits at 192kHz. Either way it's a monster of a stream.

So to answer your question they are neither Lazy or Stupid simply working on a limited budget to meet Audiophiles needs.
 
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andycc72

Active Member
I too do not like Qobuz, the functionality is really inferior to both Spotify and Tidal IMO and the suggestions/recommendations are not in the same ball-park as Spotify or Tidal.

But the SQ on Qobuz was definitely better than Spotify but seemed on par with Tidal to me. As soon as Spotify go high-res I'm binning Tidal. Spotify is king for everyting except SQ for me.
 
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surr3a1

Standard Member
I am really not interested in arguing about this thing and the topic has nothing to do with the streaming platforms except the fact that I need only Deezer support.

  • Qobuz catalog is very limited
  • Only a small percentage of that catalog is 24bit
  • They charge more with the promise of something which is just not true
  • I just compared another song and this time it was better on Qobuz(I am objective and not a fanboy)

Back to topic, I may be able to get the Arcam SA20 for a better price than any of the other ones and on specs it beats everything else.
 
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mseve1

Active Member
I may be able to get the Arcam SA20 for a better price than any of the other ones and on specs it beats everything else

You may be unimpressed with the SA20 which has a rich but 'safe' sound quality. If you're after "more details, clarity and transparency" the Arcam might not be the best option.
 
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surr3a1

Standard Member
You may be unimpressed with the SA20 which has a rich but 'safe' sound quality. If you're after "more details, clarity and transparency" the Arcam might not be the best option.

I'll consider this and my best choice is to get my Powernode and go to the shop where I first heard the KEFs. I'll have the chance to compare it against the Arcam and see what is what.
Thanks!
 
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gava

Active Member
I have a deposit down on the new NAD C399 - on paper it seems incredible for the price.

Availability is uncertain at this time however. Apparently still on track for this month, but I've not heard any news yet.

If you can wait then almost certainly worth an audition.
 
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