Integrated and seperates options, Amphion Argon 3S

FakeThinkpad

Novice Member
Hi,

Its time for me to get a seperate two channel setup and i need some opinions, pointers and maybe even a experiance or two from these options i have come around to in terms of Amplification. The speakers will be a pair of Amphion Argon 3S that are rated 86dB. I would say they are pretty even and natural sounding, maybe towards mid centric.

I have boiled it down to three options,
  • Musical Fidelity M3si and seperate entry level DAC
  • Cambridge Audio CXA81
  • XTZ Edge Amp, Pro-Ject DAC Box S2+ and Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital

Looking for something that is enganging and can get me a soundstage that is both wide and deep and have a good seperation of instruments. i listen mostly to Jazz, Soul, Singer songwriter and Blues in low to moderate volumes, so fidelity at lower listening levels are important. Source will be digital streaming through Spotify and/or Tidal.

Dont have much experiance in two channel before, but i do have good experiance with the speakers from my old Onkyo AVR even if i feelt it never did the speakers justice.

My thoughts to far, and i really look forward to your own opinions on this is that the MS M3si might be a tad underpowered and sadly im hesitant to going for the M5si even if it would be a much better amp to start with, it would be over my budget when taking DAC and streamer into account. and maybe in some respect, that lack of power might be the same story on the Cambridge CXA81. The last option, seperates, i feel a bit intimidated by, a lot of factors that needs to work right together and i like the simplicity of a integrated even if the Edge amp probably would get me the power levels.

Again, really appreciate your thoughts on this,
Christian
 
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Khazul

Well-known Member
Out of those, I would go with M3si, however I also think you should try to stretch a similar level of DAC as the S2 digital - ie a respected 9038Q2M based implementation, otherwise probably best to use what is in it if you can.

I find the 9038Q2M based DACs to be about the price point where DACs start to get good. After that then expect to pay 500+ and for another noticable improvement and close to 1k after that. Topping are cheaper than Pro-ject and there are others, but I have no direct experience of them (I have an S2 digital into a Yamaha A-S2100 amp).

As for CA - sound always seem OK to me - decent clarity but less impressed with the control of large speakers and I have seen a lot of comment in various forums from people with build quality issues (knobs loose etc). I guess a CXA81 would be fine with bookshelf or maybe standmounts so my issue with it may not be one for you.

The final option - no idea. The best DAC of the options you give, so may in the end as a package give the best overall clarity, though I have no idea about the project DAC box S2+.

A thought occurs - for the other options - what is your streamer (ie the equipment you will use to handle tidal etc)?
 

FakeThinkpad

Novice Member
Thank for your thoughts, regarding streamer I havent completely made my mind yet but it leans towards a chaper option with a digital out to let the DAC handle most of it. most likely a Chromecast Audio or similar, any streamer around 150 USD. I know Pro-Ject does a streamer in the same line as the DAC but it probably wont be in the budget, much rather spend it on a decent DAC to be honest, Will have a look at the Topping brand, thanks.

While on the topic of hte M3si, i remember reading somewhere that its the same as the M3 but with a Phone stage but not sure if that is true, see the output is different and not sure if the M2si is Monoblock design.
 

FakeThinkpad

Novice Member
Ended up with a M3si as i found a good deal on one for 700$ still under warrenty that im taking delivery of soon, as well as a Topping D50s and Chromecast Audio.

Good set of christmas present for myself and cant wait to hear the result!
 

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