Question M-ONE can't drive Monitor Silver 6 - how to fix?

Phate18

Novice Member
Hi AVF,


Being young and stupid, I bought speakers and an amp before I really knew what I was doing and am now wondering what I can do to salvage the situation. My current, very mismatched set up is:
  • LG B8 55", viewed from 6ft or so in a room that opens into a fairly big living space/kitchen.

  • Audiolab M-ONE amp+DAC all-in-one (40 Wpc, spec)

  • Monitor Silver 6 floorstanders (recommended 60-150 W)

  • LG UBK90 Blu-Ray player
Sound signal supplied over active USB cable from PC (playing mainly FLAC, some DSD but can't really tell the difference) and over optical from the TV. Bluray connected directly to TV.

My split is probably 50% music, 25% gaming, 25% TV.

The M-ONE has a good DAC, but its 40 Wpc simply isn't enough to drive the big floorstander Monitors. The sound is very clean and there is good separation, but it's lacking any sense of oomph, especially in the bass department. The speaker spec says it goes as low as 35 Hz, but it just feels lacklustre even at higher volumes.

What would you recommend I do in this situation? Ideally, since I've already spent about GBP 900 on setting up the audio part of the above, I would like to spend no more than another GBP 500 on fixing it if possible. I have aspirations to build a 3.1 or 5.1 set up in the future.

I have considered buying a reasonable AVR like the Denon X3500H (around GBP 650 currently) with support for Dolby Vision (to match the Bluray), which should have enough power, but I'm worried that the sound quality in music listening is going to suffer, and I don't have any of the other components for home theatre yet. (Subwoofer and a matching centre would be another what, 700? And then surrounds and heights, oh lord...) Or a cheaper AVR with pre-outs and a dedicated power amp to drive the fronts?

Or, since I listen to music a lot, should I buy a better amp+dac combo? I have looked at the likes of the Cambridge CXA80, which is very expensive at GBP 800 and would not fit in any future home theatre expansion. I can't seem to find any high-power amps in the lower range of the budget spectrum other than integrated network streamers, but is the DAC going to be as good as the M-ONE?

Or finally, would a separate DAC and power amp fit this better?

I know I've dug myself a hole here, but I'll be thankful you for any tips you might have for me.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
If it we're me I'd sell or trade the Audiolab which is undoubtedly a good unit but not suitable here.

There's obviously loads of integrated options as you mentioned, the Cambridge audio or maybe the Yamaha as801 at Peter Tyson at under 600 or even the nad d3045
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
It's not clear how long you've had the system but in any case, it's always worth double checking your speaker is correct. One speaker out of phase with the other is an easy mistake to make. Then experiment a bit with speaker placement. Moving the speakers closer to the rear wall will reinforce bass while the supplied bungs should help control boom. If you still come up short then it looks like @muljao is right & the Audiolab has to go.

If it had pre-outs you could look at adding a power amp, but it doesn't. If it had a sub out you could look at swapping the floorstanders for bookshelves & a sub, but it doesn't. So I'd suggest some research into what the Audiolab would fetch & then consider how much you can add on top.

Given you intention to integrate multi-channel in future it would make sense to choose an amp with a processor/AV mode that can be driven from the pre-outs of an AVR.

If the budget will stretch then an AVR with Dirac room correction may be an alternative. The Nad 758 for example is currently significantly over your likely budget but would save you buying a separate AVR in future.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
If the M-ONE had Pre-Out or Line-Out, this would be a somewhat easy fix. But it doesn't, so we move on.

The Monitor Audio Silver 6 are 90db Sensitivity, which means they are pretty efficient. Which leads me to ask, what are you asking the speakers to do? A 40w/ch amp should take them to 100db.

Now, certainly it is always nice to have more power. But more power comes at a price, both in terms of £££££££££££ and in terms of size. The unit you have is pretty compact. But that likely means Class-D amps, and likely with Class-A/B amps, a much larger size.

Too bad though because that unit seems to have very good DAC, but I can't think of how to salvage the DAC in the absents of Pre-Amp Out or Line Out.

Here is one option -

Yamaha RN803 Network Receiver DAB/DAB+, 100w/ch, Network Streaming, Room EQ, Full Bass Management, DAC, etc... - £570 to £599 -


Yamaha R-N803D Network Amplifier

Yamaha R-N803D Stereo Receiver Inc MusicCast

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

It has USB but USB-Media not USB-PC. So, you would probably need a USB-Only DAC for direct connect to a PC. But since it has Network Streaming, you don't really need a direct connect. You can excess music on the PC (local & Internet) though your computer network.

Just a random thought.

Steve/bluewizard
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
The M-ONE claims 40W into 8 ohms and a mere 60 into 4 ohms. At no place in its blurb can I find anything about its current capacity or its short term ‘burst’ power. Not a good sign.

I’d strongly agree it’s too feeble for the MAs.

I have to suggest you sell the M-ONE and further suggest this as a replacement.

An excellent machine by all accounts, plenty of power to spare, Cyrus’s impeccable credentials, and a great dac. It also has the current best possible Bluetooth and, crucially for you, an AV bypass.

(This will enable you to buy a less powereful and therefore less expensive av amp when you’re ready, as the power for the main stereo speakers is already amply taken care of.)

Cyrus ONE HD (Black)

The review here has more to say about it.

Cyrus ONE HD Integrated amplifier review

Expensive, but a one time buy I’d say.

One last thing, especially as music is your main thing; I’d always advise getting the whole setup in parts. Buying averything at once on a smaller budget can lead to regrets.

Once you have the stereo sound you like, then would be the time to reassess your budget for the rest.

For instance,

the three remains speakers for 5.0

Then an av amp.

Then a suitable sub.

Then the height speakers.

With a little patience and judicious used buying you’ll end up with a stereo/AV set up that will be leagues ahead of what you could possibly have had buying new in one lump.
 
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BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
If your ultimate goal is a Surround Sound system, and we can assume that this will occur in the foreseeable future, then you really need a Good AV Reciever.

If you have £1000 or more then you are looking at a Good AV Receiver.

If you are look at under £1000, you are looking at an OK Receiver, unless it happens to be on-sale.

At under £500, you are looking at a tolerable receiver. OK ...fine... but nothing special.

I would try to get as close to £1000 or more as you can. But, we all do the best we can within our working budgets.

AV Receivers
are going to be packed with features = Power - 100w/ch or most likely more, Network Streaming, DAC, Surround Sound, Bass Management, Room EQ, HDR, 4K, and more.

The only consideration is how long it is going to take you flesh out the Surround Sound system?

If a year or two, we are good. But if 5 years or more, then not so good. AV Receivers tend to go out of date much quicker than Stereo Amps. Soon, it is going to need to support 8k Video. There is always new technology coming down the Pike.

So, if you buy an AV Receiver now, then you are committed to filling out the system reasonably soon.

But then ... that's just my opinion.

Steve/bluewizard
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
Buy a power amp and use the Audiolab as a DAC?

The power amp can be used later when you buy an AVR to continue driving the fronts.
 

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