New to hifi - need advice please

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by zenza, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. zenza

    zenza
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    Thought I would try this forum instead of the streamers & network forum.

    Currently I have some Bose Companion 20 speakers connected to my imac for listening to my music collection on my imac.

    However, I would like better sound quality so am looking to get some decent speakers and amp/dac for music listening and also the odd movie.

    Went into Superfi today and demoed some Monitor Audio BX5 speakers paired with Audiolab MDAC and Audiolab Poweramp and was very impressed with the sound.

    I am looking to get the Monitor Audio BX5 or RX2 or even B&W 604 speakers. I know that there are loads of DACs and Amps out there so not sure what be the best solution to connect the speakers to my imac?

    A youtube review of the BX5 speakers stated that they sound amazing paired with a Rega Brio R amp. Would it be wiser to spend more money on the amp or the dac?

    The MDAC sounded really good but the guy at Superfi said that I would also need to be a separate amp as the MDAC does not have an amp for speakers built on, however does have a headphone amp. The MDAC is £600 and the power amp is also £600 so that would mean £1200 which is a lot. Is there a dac which also has a speaker amp built in?

    So my question is what combination of amp and dac would be suited to connect the speakers to my imac that would drive the speakers well without costing too much?

    The imac had a SPDIF audio jack (so can use a Toslink to mini toslink cable) and obviously usb.

    Any ideas?
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  2. BobbyMac

    BobbyMac
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    I'd look at buying a HK990 for £750 (Integrated amp 150 Watts into 8 Ohms, HT Bypass & has both digital & analogue inputs)

    Home Cinema Centre @ Edinburgh have their demo one for sale c/w two year warranty (I home demoed it, but decided I'm going down the power amp route)

    I used to have an MDAC and a Sony Poweramp and to my ears the HK990 was slightly better sounding

    Or if you have your heart set on the MDAC / Poweramp, you could probably pickup a S/H MDac for around £400ish and a power amp for around the same
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  3. Doomlord_uk

    Doomlord_uk
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    Hmmm... that's not a bad deal on the HK990.
     
  4. zenza

    zenza
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    Thanks for the advice.


    Is the HK990 an all in one system so I wouldn't need a separate dac or power amp?

    Would I just connect it to my iMac via spdif?
     
  5. BobbyMac

    BobbyMac
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    Correct AIO, no need for external power, you could use your iMac via SPDIF :smashin:
     
  6. zenza

    zenza
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    Thanks.


    Would be nice if I was closer to Edinburgh to demo as I'm in brum.

    Can't find any stockists near me.

    Also it seems the XTZ A100 does the same job as the HK 990 but can't find any stockists.
     
  7. BobbyMac

    BobbyMac
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    They are hard to find :smashin:

    XTZ can only be bought direct from Sweden at the moment (Audio Asylum the UK distributor ceased trading unfortunately)

    I also had a home demo of this, it's a lot of amp for the money however I wasn't bowled over by it (especially the Class A mode)

    There was a XTZ AP100 power amp for sale last week on HifiForSale for £350 which is a good price for a Class A PA with balanced outputs

    Bear in mind you would need to buy a Pre-Amp if you go down the PA route :smashin:
     
  8. BobbyMac

    BobbyMac
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  9. zenza

    zenza
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    Thanks for the input guys....its a shame I cant demo the HK 990 or the XTZ.

    Another option I have maybe to get a Music Fidelity VDAC II and then pair it with a decent amp like an audiolab 8000a or a NAD
    356 bee.

    I have also found that NAD do the C356 bee dac which is an amp & dac in one.

    It retails for around £540 so not sure if that would be a good option or the vdac with a different amp?
     
  10. BobbyMac

    BobbyMac
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    Technically you could use DSR to get a home demo for the HK990 :blush:

    I'd argue that the £349 premium your paying justifies bending the rules :p

    XTZ actually allow you to home demo for three weeks (however you would be liable for return shipping to Sweden )

    Buy And Try

    Personally I'd steer clear of the Audiolab 8000a if you like your music lively
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  11. belloire

    belloire
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    i can heartily recommend having a look at these speakers

    Purité North

    they are fully active and sound amazing. 2 sizes, £310 for the smaller ones, £470 for larger. don't let the size put you off though, even the small ones are amazing. the same site also does the ESi DR DAC for £300 which is a bargain. i've heard it against DACs of 4 times the price and you wouldn't know.

    and, as you appear to be based in Birmingham i know they'd be happy to do a home demo of the kit.

    (as an aside, i do know the people who run this business, but have nothing to do with it, i heard it at a demo day)
     
  12. BobbyMac

    BobbyMac
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    [​IMG]

    Being thick, where is the unbalanced input?? :confused:
     
  13. belloire

    belloire
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    the unbalanced input is a 'jackplug' that goes in the middle of the XLR socket. the pic on the back shows the jack plug. you can use appropriate cables or an adapter.
     
  14. Don Dadda

    Don Dadda
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    You can home demo the XTZ for around 3 weeks after which, if you want to purchase, they will send you a new one.
    Or if you don't, send it back and just pay for carriage which was £40 but may be a bit more now..

    EDIT: Ignore the above. Bobby Mac has already explained
     
  15. RBZ5416

    RBZ5416
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    Rotel's RA-11 integrated has a DAC built in & is stocked by Superfi. So you should be able to get a dem with your chosen speakers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  16. zenza

    zenza
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    Thanks guys.

    Looks like you guys are pushing me more towards the HK 990 and the XTZ 100a.

    BTW, how much is the XTZ?

    Need to get some speakers or do they send you the speakers too?

    Would the monitor studio bx5 or rx2 be a good set?

    Was impressed with the bx5 when I heard them with audio lab mdac.

    Are the b&w 604 or the Dali zensor also good options?
     
  17. zenza

    zenza
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    I did get a demo of the rotel paired with the same bx5 speakers and thought the mdac produced better sound so wasn't too impressed with the rotel.
     
  18. zenza

    zenza
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    Belloire, thanks for the suggestion. That gives me another option.
     
  19. Don Dadda

    Don Dadda
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    The XTZ Class A100-D3 is €850 which is around £733 and change.
    That is a £200 increase over the last 2 -3 years :eek:

    They also send speakers for the same home demo period of 3 weeks, but you will need to enquire about that with them.

    If i was to suggest a pair it be the 99.36.

    Also, the XTZ amp does not have tone controls, so if that is a requirement then maybe its not for you.
     
  20. zenza

    zenza
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    Has anyone tried the XTZ?


    How does it compare to a decent amp and dac combo?
     
  21. BobbyMac

    BobbyMac
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  22. Don Dadda

    Don Dadda
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    How do you mean 'decent'?

    I have an xtz D3 and can assure you its more than decent. Its not for everyone and it is a huge and heavy beast but you be hard pushed to find better for the money, even though that's more possible now than before due to price rises. But still you be hard pushed.

    The onboard dac is very good. I wouldn't go as far as claiming as good as say a MDac or alike but its no slouch and better than entry level ext dacs.

    As well as digital inputs, it also has a subwoofer output which is also rare on stereo amps, yet you have both on this amp. And To think that the D3 was selling for £525 2-3 yrs ago make you wonder if they were selling it at a loss.

    I use it with a pair of XTZ 99.36 speaker.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013

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