Help pick 2.1+AMP+DAC with BLE for nearfield music with space restrictions for around 1000€

coroner26

Novice Member
Hey guys,

I'd need some help with picking the right combination of speakers, amp & dac. The setup would be used for music and the source is going to be a PC. The only digital outputs from the PC are USB and HDMI. The price for all should be less than 1000€ but I can stretch by a few hundred more if it's worth it. Below are lists of stuff I found but please feel free to recommend anything else and I'll check it out.

The room is small, 3.5m x 2.5m (around 11ft x 8ft), height 2.6m (8.5ft) and I use it as an office and for my hobbies. There's a limitation on the speaker size I can place on the left-hand side due to a wall. I also can't shift everything more to the right because of a drawer unit which is in the middle of the table. The other reason is that I'd like to keep as much free space on the right-hand side of the table as possible (electronics DIY zone). I'm providing here 3D modelled scenes rather than real pictures because the reality is not quite like this yet (there's currently no space between the wall and the monitors on the left but I'll be shifting everything to the right to make space for the left speaker).

pracovna02e.jpgpracovna04_01.jpgpracovna05.jpgpracovna06.jpg


SPEAKERS

As you can see from the pictures above, I am not limited by the height of the speakers but I am limited in the other two dimensions. I rotated the speakers so they face my ears. The largest I can accommodate are for example w:17cm (6.7"), d:26cm (10.2") (that's the size on the pictures). If the speaker is wider then it needs to be shorter, so like w:19cm (7.5"), d:24cm (9.4").

I went through quite a few threads here and elsewhere and I created a list of most recommended speakers but as I said, feel free to recommend any others too. I checked their dimensions and whether I can actually buy them in my country (Slovakia) or in Czech Republic. If it's really worth it I can also order from Amazon.de.

These are the ones that I am able to buy and which would also fit:

Passive SpeakersFrequency rangeWoofer sizeH x W x DSensitivityPrice / pairBass Reflex
Polk Audio Signature S10E67 Hz - 40 kHz4"21 x 14 x 1687 dB155€backcan be placed near wall
Cambridge Audio Minx Min 22120 Hz - 20 kHz2.25"15 x 8 x 988 dB200€n/a
Q Acoustics 3010i65 Hz - 30 kHz4"25 x 15 x 2586 dB210€back
Fyne Audio F30054 Hz - 28 kHz5"25 x 16 x 2187 dB214€back
Polk Audio Signature S15E50 Hz - 40 kHz5.25"30 x 19 x 2488 dB230€backcan be placed near wall
PSB Alpha P357 Hz - 21 kHz (+-3dB)4"22 x 13 x 1786 dB250€back
Cambridge Minx XL50 Hz - 22 kHz5.25"22 x 16 x 2487 dB250€back
Dali Spector 254 Hz - 26 kHz5.25"29 x 17 x 2484.5 dB260€backcan be placed near wall
Elac Debut B5.246 Hz - 35 kHz5.25"34 x 18 x 2486 dB320€front
DALI Oberon 151 Hz - 26 kHz5.25"27 x 16 x 2486 dB350€backcan be placed near wall
Monitor Audio Bronze 5040 Hz - 30 kHz5.5"28 x 17 x 2685 dB370€back
DALI Fazon Mikro95 Hz - 25 kHz4"20 x 11 x 1084 dB400€n/acan be placed near wall
PSB Alpha P555 Hz - 21 kHz (+-3dB)4"29 x 17 x 2488 dB400€back
Klipsch R-51M62 Hz - 21 kHz5.25"34 x 18 x 2293 dB540€back


SUBWOOFER

I don't seem to have many options for a sub under 500€, at least not from those that are regularly recommended in the threads.

SubwoofersFrequency rangeWoofer sizePrice
Klipsch R-12SW29 Hz - 120 Hz12"310€
Polk Audio HTS 1025 Hz - 180 Hz10 "315€reliability?
Polk Audio HTS 1222 Hz - 180 Hz12 "380€reliability?
Cambridge Audio Minx X30131 Hz (-6dB) - 200 Hz8" subwoofer + 8" passive radiator400€
SVS SB-1000 Pro20 Hz - 270 Hz12"640€

The SVS SB-1000 Pro is above the price I'd like to spend on a sub but I added it because if I buy it, I'll replace my existing QB12 which I use in my 5.1 HT setup (QA 3030i+7000LRi+QB12) with it and use QB12 as my office sub. Although somebody mentioned that he used QB12 in a small room and it was just too big for it and that a smaller woofer-sized sub was performing better.


AMP

I originally wanted to buy AVR Sony STR-DH590 for 250€ but that is not available anymore. It's price also went up to 350€ now and it's supposed to be available in 02/2022 (doubt it).
Either the amp or the dac should act as a Bluetooth transmitter since I own Momentum 3 headphones (supports AAC, aptX, and aptX LL).

Amplifiers/AVRsPriceInputs
Denon PMA-600NE400€BLE, Optical, RCA, RCA (Phono), Jack (3,5 mm) / Sub Out
Cambridge Audio AXR85470€BLE, RCA, RCA (Phono), Jack (3,5 mm) / Sub Out
Yamaha WXA-50500€USB, Optical, RCA, LAN / Sub Out
Denon PMA-60510€BLE, USB, Coax RCA / Sub Out
Denon AVR-S660H550€RCA, HDMI, BLE, Optical / Sub Out

I was also looking into chi-fi ones like SMSL AO200 or SA300 but first, I can only buy it from amazon.de and second I am not too convinced about them (especially due to some negative reviews on amazon).
From the list above I am inclining to either PMA-60 or AVR-660H because they have Bluetooth and USB/HDMI inputs so I wouldn't need a DAC. A plus for the AVR is that it has Audyssey and a proper bass management. Btw. I also have that MultiEq Audyssey app which I used to calibrate my HT system (Denon X2600). I think it noticeably helped the sub.


DAC

Again, not many can be found "locally".

DACsPriceInputsOutputs
Topping D10s110€USB, optical, coaxRCA
Topping E30156€USB, Coax, OpticalRCAharsh sound?
iFi ZEN DAC V2 (+Headphones amp)180€USB, RCA, PentaconnRCA, Dual Balanced


ACTIVE SPEAKERS

At some point I also started to look into active speakers. But I was put off by the mention of hiss coming out of them which I'd be not ok with. I think it's only Kali and Adam where I read that the hiss is not that obvious. I still think a combination of passive speakers and amp/avr is more flexible in terms of future updates. Here's a list nonetheless:

Active speakersFrequency rangeWoofer sizeH x W x DPriceInputs
Presonus Eris E4.5 BT70 Hz - 20 kHz4.5"24 x 16 x 18230€Bluetooth, Balanced Jack 6.3 mm TRS (2 x), Jack Stereo 3.5 mm (1 x), RCA (2 x)
JBL 305P MkII49 Hz – 20 kHz (+-3dB)5"30x 19 x 23260€Balanced
Klipsch R-41PM76 Hz – 21 kHz4"29 x 15 x 22420€USB, Phono / RCA, optical, AUX In 3,5mm jack
Klipsch R-51PM68 Hz - 21 kHz5,25"34 x 18 x 23540€USB, Optical, RCA, RCA (Phono), Jack (3,5 mm) / SubOut
Kali Audio IN-539 Hz - 25 kHz5"38 x 28 x 21700€RCA - Cinch, 6,3 mm Jack a XLR
Adam A5X50 Hz - 50 kHz5.5"28 x 17 x 22700€RCA, XLR


Finally, here are lists of things that I saw being recommended but are either not available in my country, too big or too pricey.

Passive speakers - not available / above price range / too bigH x W x DPrice / pair
Elac Debut Reference DBR6236 x 20 x 28480€
Wharfedale diamond 10.236 x 22 x 30360€
Wharfedale Evo 4.1600€
Revel M16s1 200€
Triangle Borea BR0321 x 31 x 28390€
Jamo S 80335 x 19 x 25260€
SVS Prime Bookshelf35 x 20 x 26550€
Bowers & Wilkins 607 S235 x 16 x 30600€
Bowers & Wilkins 60730 x 17 x 21526€
Aperion Audio Novus
Ascend 200SE
Emotiva B1+
NHT SuperOne 2.1
Ascend Sierra 1
NHT SuperZero
RSL CG3
Monoprice Monolith MM-3
Elac Debut Reference 6.2

Subwoofers not available
BK subs
Monolith by Monoprice 10in
Rythmik L12
RSL Speedwoofer
HSU VTF-2 MK5
Bic F12
Emotiva BasX S8
Emotiva Airmotiv SE12

DACs not available
SMSL Sanskrit 10th MK2
Schiit Modi 3

Active speakers - not available / above price range / too big
Kali LP-6 2nd Gen
Kanto YU4
Audioengine HD3
Monoprice DT-4BT
Audioengine A2+
Tannoy Gold 7

Thank you
 
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Ugg10

Distinguished Member
For that set up I’d definitely go DAC + active monitors + sub.

Dacs are reaching parity with differences being close to inaudible so SMSL Sanskrit 10th mk2 or Topping E30 is good enough at 125euro.

A BK Gemini mk2 would be good enough in a smaller space for a sub using the rca inputs on a y spitter from the DAC. This is £249 so approx 350euro with shipping. This leaves 500euro for the monitors.

5“ or 6” monitors will be fine as you are using a sub so based on prices at Thomann have a look at these -

Focal alpha 50 evo
Tannoy Gold5
JBL 306p (on offer at the moment)

Worth getting some vibration pads for under the speakers as well.

Hope this helps.
 

coroner26

Novice Member
Thanks Ugg. About the sub...BK subs where at the top of my list for this setup but I don't think I want to go through the trouble of doing customs paperwork, pay VAT, customs fees etc. hence I added it to the "Subwoofers not available" list. So any other ideas for the sub? Would my QB12 be too much for such a small room?

Focal alpha 50 evo is too wide, can't fit it.
JBL 306p - the 305 and 306 seems to be known for hissing which would annoy me
Tannoy Gold 5 - some mention quality issues and they don't play as low but otherwise look fine, could get them from Thomann for 330€

Thomann has quite a range of studio monitors, any others worth considering?

Also why would you go with DAC + active monitors + sub for this setup? Because of the price or because they are more suitable for near field use or any other reason?
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
If you are using a sub then this I’ll take over at around 60-70hz, baring in mind that sounds below about 120hz are omnidirectional so any 5” monitor will be fine. Active monitors (I use Mackie Hr824) tend to be also good for low level listening as the power amps work on each driver directly.

The Tannoy Golds are nice as they are coaxial so all of the frequency range comes from the same place which helps nearfield listening.

I’d drop BK a line or give them a call to see if they can include taxes etc. I you import something into the UK then all you get is an email demand for the taxes etc and a handling fee from the courier, once paid then they deliver. They are a direct seller and so pound for pound they are very good value not having to pay for show rooms are dealer markup.

Typically Mackie, Tannoy, Focal, Adam and Dynaudio monitors tend to be a bit more Hifi than some others. Sound on sound website is a good place to find reviews.
 

coroner26

Novice Member
So I've been looking more into active monitors and Adam T5V caught my eye and ear (well at least what can be gathered from comparisons on youtube, far from real life experience I know). They seem to be well rated. Any thoughts on them?

T5V is back ported (but so is JBL 306p that you recommended)...is it going to cause too much issues in my case? I could place some acoustic panel behind the computer monitors if it helps. I'd also need to move the monitors a few centimeters back to make the speakers fit but that should be ok. I could get a pair of T5Vs for 290€.

pracovna07.jpg
 

Ruffuz

Well-known Member
So I've been looking more into active monitors and Adam T5V caught my eye and ear (well at least what can be gathered from comparisons on youtube, far from real life experience I know). They seem to be well rated. Any thoughts on them?

T5V is back ported (but so is JBL 306p that you recommended)...is it going to cause too much issues in my case? I could place some acoustic panel behind the computer monitors if it helps. I'd also need to move the monitors a few centimeters back to make the speakers fit but that should be ok. I could get a pair of T5Vs for 290€.

View attachment 1608351

I have a feeling that you'll be annoyed with that position and you'll find a way to sit more central.

T5V should be fine, believe it has 5" woofer which will be enough in that size room especially if you'll be using sub.
You could also look into Mackie MR524.

This channel is very interesting.
 
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coroner26

Novice Member
Can you elaborate on "annoyed with that position and you'll find a way to sit more central"? Annoyed with position of what?

Thanks for for the MR524 hint, I'll check them out in more detail, from the comparison they do sound bit different to T5Vs but I didn't hear anything that would annoy me.
 

coroner26

Novice Member
And the annoyance would be that the speakers sound different because one is in a corner and the other is not? Is that what you mean?
 

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