Question New hifi system advice for office setup

hamzamian

Active Member
Hi,

been some time since I bought new hifi equipment so I have a lot to learn and catch up with! I am the final phases of putting together my new home office (bet I’m not the only one these days!) and I very often listen to music when working. Till now I had been making do with a Bose Companion 50 but have in the past had proper hifi setups with dedicated components and tower speakers.

While I do have a large (and old) CD collection which is also mostly ripped to a NAS too I generally listen to 90% of my music from Spotify (settings cranked up to max quality) so it’s not really going to be the best quality input. I have looked at maybe subscribing to Tidal or similar and may do so in future. I guess I’ll wait till I have the new system I’m place ans then try it out to see what kind of a difference it makes.

The speakers will be sat on the desktop (and I might end up actually placing them on their side too if that’s not detrimental to sound quality) and the placement won’t be ideal for dedicated listening as such.

Initially I was thinking of something like the following

Q Acoustics 3020i
Denon PMA 60
AudioEngine D1

and just connect it to the computer and run Spotify there so maybe a Raspi running Spotify Connect.

after a chat to Richer and much browsing of their website though I’m not sure I’ll be happy with the sound from the PMA60 and started thinking about using a full size amp (slight challenge in where to place it as it can’t live on the desktop like the PMA60)... so I then looked at using the Cambridge CXA61 and the CXN V2.

...and then too much web browsing and watching audio reviews have gotten the better of me and I find myself wondering about some KEF LS50 speakers instead of the 3020i.They seem great value at almost half their new price right now. I think though if I went that route the CXA61 won’t be best amp to pair it with, so perhaps I need the CXA81? Or maybe the Cyrus One?

So I’d be looking at

Cambridge CXA81
Cambridge CXN V2
KEF LS50 (not the newer meta)


oh I’m also planning to add a BK Elec Gemini II, the room is about 15m sq. I tend to be quite sensitive to harsh treble or siblance and distorted audio and most of my recent hifi listening has been with headphones (Shure 1540, RHA T20i) and an Oppo portable DAC.

So just looking for some advice really and also a reality check on whether I’m going overboard. I’d love to be able to audition these first but I just don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon.

Thanks!
 

password1

Well-known Member
How about the QA concept 20 and CA cxa61 amp and spend more on a better sub.

These speakers have soft dome decoupled tweeters, very detailed and smooth. At £229 they are a bargain considering they were originally £379 when launched. Multi award winning and compete against speakers up to £500 in group tests.
 

hamzamian

Active Member
How about the QA concept 20 and CA cxa61 amp and spend more on a better sub.

These speakers have soft dome decoupled tweeters, very detailed and smooth. At £229 they are a bargain considering they were originally £379 when launched. Multi award winning and compete against speakers up to £500 in group tests.
Thanks.

Yes I did wonder about those too. Would the CXA61 be good enough to run them? How do they compare to the LS50?

I thought the Gemini II was a good sub, what better alternatives would you suggest? To be honest I hadn’t really looked any further than the BK website for the sub!
 

muljao

Well-known Member
I think an active setup with the inputs you need would be better here. Amps built into speakers will take up less space and the correct ones will have speakers and amps matched somehow for performance. You've mentioned ls50, ls50 wireless, but as your budget is there maybe dali obleron 1c with it's hub that can take many inputs but doesn't need to be that near. It would be tidier for an office
 

password1

Well-known Member
I'm afraid I've never demo'ed the ls50 so can't comment on them but I know there are plenty of members happy with their concept 20s and one member has the cxa60 or cxa61.

Bk subs are great value, the cabinets are well made but they are very old class ab designs. If you intend to use a sub for music then the Rel t series are a good quality product with a reputation for being musical and integrate well. The Rel t5i is reduced from £549 to £489. I have heard the non i version and its very musical, build quality is fantastic.
 

Paul7777x

Member
One of these


And two of these


This combination will give you considerably better sound for considerably less money that tha CA and Kef idea.

Adding a sub is simple too and there are loads to choose from.

I’d suggest this one as an excellent minimum.


Up to this one.

 

Paul7777x

Member
The above will give you a near full range hifi of exceptional quality.

And in any event there is no need at all to buy a streamer (much less one of the CXNs price) as your computer already is an excellent one.
 

hamzamian

Active Member
I think an active setup with the inputs you need would be better here. Amps built into speakers will take up less space and the correct ones will have speakers and amps matched somehow for performance. You've mentioned ls50, ls50 wireless, but as your budget is there maybe dali obleron 1c with it's hub that can take many inputs but doesn't need to be that near. It would be tidier for an office

One of these


And two of these


This combination will give you considerably better sound for considerably less money that tha CA and Kef idea.

Adding a sub is simple too and there are loads to choose from.

I’d suggest this one as an excellent minimum.


Up to this one.

Thanks. I hadn’t even considered active speakers (except very briefly the Audioengine A5+). I had assumed though that the sound quality wouldn’t be on par with a good amp and speakers.

Would those Dynaudios really sound better than something costing three times as much? The Dali Oberon 1c would be in budget too but I’ll have to check sizes carefully and ensure they’ll fit under the monitors.
 

hamzamian

Active Member
I'm afraid I've never demo'ed the ls50 so can't comment on them but I know there are plenty of members happy with their concept 20s and one member has the cxa60 or cxa61.

Bk subs are great value, the cabinets are well made but they are very old class ab designs. If you intend to use a sub for music then the Rel t series are a good quality product with a reputation for being musical and integrate well. The Rel t5i is reduced from £549 to £489. I have heard the non i version and its very musical, build quality is fantastic.

Thanks for the recommendation I’ll take a look into the Rel.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
As another alternative I wouldn't rule out a pair of sonos 5s either (assuming wifi is available). People often rule them out as lifestyle products but they sound great, especially in a pair, doubt your "need" a sub with these or the dynaudios suggested by @Paul7777x
 

hamzamian

Active Member
spent some time looking at various active speaker including the ones recommended above but in the end I've decided I'd prefer passive speakers and an amplifier.

I have three computers on the desk and though 80% of the time I only need one of them connected to speakers (or none of them to just listen to Spotify) there are occasions when I'd like to have one of the others connected and using active speakers would be a little limiting in terms of the number of inputs but also switching between them.

I'd also like to setup everything with a Harmony remote including all the AV conferencing equipment (which is totally separate) and I suspect it might be easier to integrate separates with IR blasters.

So I think I'm still leaning towards to the LS50s but perhaps I'll forgo the sub for now till I've heard them and decided if I really need one. Not so sure about which amplifier to best pair them with though as it seems they need something good for them to really sing.

I'm thinking one of

Cambridge CXA81
Arcam SA20
Cambridge Azue 851A

They're all similarish sort of money. Anyone have any experience of the LS50 with any of these? Anything else I should be be looking at instead?
 

hamzamian

Active Member
Are you still planning on the having the pair of LS50s and amplifier sitting on the desktop as well? Just how big is your desk?
No only the LS50s will be on the desk (which is quite big at 1.8m x 0,75m).

The amplifier will be hidden away in another cupboard elsewhere, behind or to the side of the desk. It will all be controlled via IR blasters and a Harmony remote so doesn't need to be visible.
 

mseve1

Active Member
No only the LS50s will be on the desk (which is quite big at 1.8m x 0,75m).

The amplifier will be hidden away in another cupboard elsewhere, behind or to the side of the desk. It will all be controlled via IR blasters and a Harmony remote so doesn't need to be visible.
OK - you must be very organised. I have a similarly sized desk (1.7m x 0.8m) but with PC, monitors, printer and letter tray I don't have room to accommodate even a pair of Echo Dots !
 

hamzamian

Active Member
OK - you must be very organised. I have a similarly sized desk (1.7m x 0.8m) but with PC, monitors, printer and letter tray I don't have room to accommodate even a pair of Echo Dots !
Not sure organised is the right word... I can be quite messy!

I have three 27" monitors but all on monitor arms and a laptop, also on a monitor arm. printers, letter trays etc are all off the desk on shelves. So the desk is fairly clear and the monitor arms also help save quite a lot of desk space.
 

Paul7777x

Member
OK - you must be very organised. I have a similarly sized desk (1.7m x 0.8m) but with PC, monitors, printer and letter tray I don't have room to accommodate even a pair of Echo Dots !

:laugh:

Alas, me too.

If it was a quarter kilometre long I’d still somehow contrive to have no space.
 
Last edited:

muljao

Well-known Member
How are you going to be connecting the computers, is it via headphone out connect, optical output or usb dac?
 

hamzamian

Active Member
How are you going to be connecting the computers, is it via headphone out connect, optical output or usb dac?
One of them will use the RCA outputs on the AudioEngine D1 (already have this and use it just for headphones for video/audio editing right now).

The second one will be connected via a Toslink output and on the third one I might use a cheap USB DAC or Toslink again if I can get an old Thunderbolt dock with Toslink out to work with it.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
I'd say rca out might be your least good connection.
Because of what you say I'd go the cambridge audio even if it means changing speaker choice, it has all the digital inputs you need
 

hamzamian

Active Member
I'd say rca out might be your least good connection.
Because of what you say I'd go the cambridge audio even if it means changing speaker choice, it has all the digital inputs you need

Thanks. I thought the D1 was well regarded as a DAC though?

I'm happy to leave it only for the headphones and use another DAC if necessary. I could also add a DacMagic 100 or something and I don't mind doing so if needed.

Can anyone confirm/deny if the CXA81 will be power the LS50s ok?
 

muljao

Well-known Member
I misunderstood, didn't even know what a d1 was, thought you meant rca out to that unit, soundcards in computers are generally thought to be functional rather than hifi. I'm pretty sure you don't need another dac if it's well regarded
 

hamzamian

Active Member
I misunderstood, didn't even know what a d1 was, thought you meant rca out to that unit, soundcards in computers are generally thought to be functional rather than hifi. I'm pretty sure you don't need another dac if it's well regarded
Ah right sorry, perhaps I wasn't clear. Its one of these:

Amazon product
So basically USB from computer to the D1 and then RCA from D1 to amp
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member

muljao

Well-known Member
I'm sure that's excellent.

Look at the review that went up the last few days of the musical fidelity ms2i. If you got one of these and added a dac with usb and optical for you other 2 pcs you'd likely be sorted. Review reckons it works well on kefs and it isn't crazy expensive
 

hamzamian

Active Member
Could you use a usb switch to connect the three pc's to one USB DAC (your D1).

Some thing like this - https://cpc.farnell.com/pro-signal/sb-424/switch-manual-4-1-usb-1-1/dp/CS13283?st=usb switch

This may relax the requirement on the amp.
Possibly but USB switches just yank the hardware from the machine when switched and it results in all kinds of odd behaviour that I prefer to avoid.

I'm sure that's excellent.

Look at the review that went up the last few days of the musical fidelity ms2i. If you got one of these and added a dac with usb and optical for you other 2 pcs you'd likely be sorted. Review reckons it works well on kefs and it isn't crazy expensive
Thanks for the recommendation. I'll take a look at the review.
 

The latest video from AVForums

LG G1 OLED EVO Review (OLED65G1)
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

Disney picks up Sony's cinema releases post Netflix in US
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
What's new on Netflix UK for May 2021
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Sony unveils X-Series wireless speakers
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
AVForums Podcast: 21st April 2021
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
JBL Synthesis SDP-55 processor and SDR-35 AVR now available separately
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom