Question Spec me a stereo amp or powered speakers

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Cameron583, Aug 16, 2019.

  1. Cameron583

    Cameron583
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    Hi all,

    I bought an AVR last year (Denon AVR-2400H) and while it's pretty decent and powerful when driving 2 speakers, it's also very large, a pain to connect up (I move house quite a bit since I'm still at university) and horrendously unreliable; I have so many software issues with it.

    The reason I got the AVR as opposed to a stereo amp at the time is because I was planning to add various speakers as and when I had the money to achieve a 5.1 setup, however not long after I bought my 685 S2s, they discontinued the entire range and replaced with the new ones.

    I'm at the point of returning it (AVR) now because of the software problems (I've tried factory resetting which resolved for about 2-3 months, and all the other fixes Denon have provided) and want to get something that will allow me to cut down on my setup.

    I spend most of my time streaming music via Spotify, and would like something that will allow me to continue doing that - I would say networking capabilities are a must.

    It also needs to drive a pair of floorstanders - I'm thinking of giving the 685s to my mother, and will likely replace with some floorstanders.

    I've been looking at a Sonos AMP and Onkyo N-R855 thus far - I like the look of both.

    Alternatively, I'm open to suggestions around some powered speakers instead. I absolutely love the LS50 Wireless in White/Copper, however they're quite a bit out of my price range.


    So to recap:
    • Stereo amp, ideally networking capable. However workarounds that offer better value for money would be considered. Needs to be optical in.
    OR
    • Powered speakers, something like LS50s or floorstanders.

    Budget: Circa £500 for amp or for active speakers, I'll look at roughly 1K.

    Important factors:
    • Aesthetics - how they look plays a big part. I'm not a fan of wood finishes (such as my 685 S2). LS50s look great, I like the new B&W kit etc.
    • Will be paired with a sub - I use a B&W PV1
    • Sources will be Spotify and TV.
    • I'm very much in the camp of "good enough". My father has a NAD C338 paired with 684 S2s, and there's a noticeable increase in sound quality over my Denon, but can't imagine I'd notice much better. It's not a very powerful amp, though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  2. Jamie

    Jamie
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    The Yamaha RN-602d or RN-803d would both be on my short list.

    Or an amp with digital inputs and a separate Tuefel connector, Chromecast audio or DIY streamer attached via a digital input.
     
  3. Cameron583

    Cameron583
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    Both Yamaha amplifiers seem a little big - if I can, I'd like to reduce the size :)
     
  4. Ugg10

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    Total budget of £1500 - I'd go for the following -

    Preamp with network, spotify connect etc. and very small -

    Yamaha WXC50 - £240 - Yamaha WXC50

    Speakers - new -
    Adam A7x with matching sub if you like your bass - Adam A7X Active Studio Monitors, Pair with Sub 7 Subwoofer at Gear4music
    or the bigger Adam A8x witouth the sub - Adam A8X Studio Monitors with Isolation Pads and Cables, Pair at Gear4music
    Focal Shape 65 - a bit more refined and nicer to look at - Focal Shape 65 Studio Monitors (Pair) With Stands at Gear4music

    Speaker - Second Hand -
    Adam S1x - Adam S1X Active Studio Monitors RRP £2500 | eBay
    Focal Solo 6 berylium - Focal Solo 6B (PAIR) Active Monitors Very Good Condition Great Studio Speakers | eBay
     
  5. Cameron583

    Cameron583
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    Sorry should have made my post a little clearer - I'd be spending £500 on an amp, roughly, or £1K on active speakers :)
     
  6. Ugg10

    Ugg10
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    Ok,

    so, you will still need the WXC50 as a streaming preamp - then I would add -

    Focal Alpha 65 Active Studio Monitors (Pair) with Stands at Gear4music or
    Focal Alpha 80 Active Studio Monitors (Pair) Includes Stands at Gear4music

    depending on your room size or liking of bass.

    Second hand -
    Dynaudio BM5 - Dynaudio BM5A MK3 Studio Active Monitors Pair | eBay
    Or Adam A7x - Adam A7x Pair | eBay

    These are examples and I would make sure I listen to them before deciding as the active monitor sound is different to the "normal" passive amp/speaker mainstream sound.
     
  7. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    For primarily Streaming, the Yamaha WXC-50 Network Streamer/Pre-Amp (£250) is a good choice in a compact model, but you will have a hard time finding Active Floorstanding speakers, not impossible, but hard. The selection will be very limited.

    Yamaha WXC-50 MusicCast Stereo Streaming Processor - Streaming / Networking - AV Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

    MusicCast WXC-50 - Overview - Yamaha - UK and Ireland

    But you can find 8" Active Speakers/Studio Monitor fairly easily if you are willing to pay the price.

    Depending on your specific objectives there are two very well regarded models -

    Mackie MR824 8" Studio Monitors- £183 EACH -


    Mackie MR824 8'' Powered Studio Monitor at Gear4music

    JBL 308P 8" Studio Monitors - £299/pair -

    JBL 308P MKII Studio Monitor Pair with Pads at Gear4music

    JBL 308P MKII Studio Monitors with Stands, Pair at Gear4music

    You have a substantially higher budget, but for the moment, this illustrated the point I am making.

    KRK Rokit
    are more popular, and have a bit more bass, and they do come in a 10" 3-way model -

    KRK Rokit 10" 3-Way Studio Monitor - £417 EACH -

    KRK Rokit RP10-3 G3 Full Range Active Studio Monitor, Single at Gear4music

    The only comment I will make is that the Frequency Response on the KRK 10" is a bit exaggerated. The one qualified spec I found was 25hz at -10db, which is pretty much worthless. I found others that said 31hz unqualified. I suspect in reality it is probably closer to ~35hz which is still pretty good.

    The Yamaha WXC-50 does have a Subwoofer Output, but does not have Bass Management, but a Subwoofer could still be added to these speakers.

    There are some active floorstanding speakers, but whether they will serve you needs or not is unclear -

    Wharfedale Diamond A2 Black Active Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) - Floorstanding Speakers - AV Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

    DALI Zensor 5 AX Light Walnut Active Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) - Floorstanding Speakers - AV Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

    There is a version of the Yamaha WXC-50 that has a 50w/ch Amp built in, that would be the Yamaha WXA-50 Network Streamer/Amp (£330) -

    Yamaha WXA-50 MusicCast Stereo Streaming Amplifier - Mini Systems - AV Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists


    MusicCast WXA-50 - Overview - Yamaha - UK and Ireland

    This is a Class-D amp, but likely most of the speakers are going to have Class-D amps too, though not necessarily.

    Taking a different approach -

    Yamaha WXAD-10 Network Streamer - £120 -

    Yamaha WXAD-10

    MusicCast WXAD-10 - Overview - Yamaha - UK and Ireland

    Moderate sized high quality Amp -

    Rotel A12, 60w/ch, DAC, Phono - £699 -

    Rotel A12 Amplifier

    Excellent near Half-Price deal on some good speakers -

    Tannoy XT6F 2x6" Speakers - £499/pr (£999/pr retail) -

    Tannoy Revolution XT6F

    £120 = Yamaha WXAD-10 Network Streamer
    £700 = Rotel A12 60w/ch Amp w/DAC
    £500 = Tannoy XT6F Floorstanding Speaker/Pair
    --------------------------------------
    £1320 = Total


    You will have a hard time beating that for quality. But the final choice is yours.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  8. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    You say you have a grand for active speakers?

    The LSX Kefs, having everything you need are precisely that amount; adding your mighty fine sub to the equation and I’d say that’s all you’ll need.

    And exactly on budget.

    KEF LSX Smart Active Loudspeaker Review
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  9. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    8309E8A6-1F1A-4472-8B80-3BDDE46ED2DF.jpeg

    Aluminium rather than copper, but still a very fine looking speaker imo
     
  10. Cameron583

    Cameron583
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    I've listened to the LSX and wasn't keen - didn't find there was much depth to them, which can be compensated somewhat by the sub, but when I listened to them just wasn't wowed like I have been by their larger siblings :)
     
  11. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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  12. Cameron583

    Cameron583
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    Thank you very much for your detailed response - it's very useful as always :)

    I think I'd like to steer away from studio monitors - not keen on their aesthetics and generally don't prefer their sound signature, having worked with various brands over the years (used to be a music technologist).

    I've been looking into some wacky ideas, such as Beolab 8000s and a sub. I haven't demo'd them extensively enough to know whether they'd suit my sound preferences, but I quite like their design.

    What are people's thoughts on R500s at £749? Very much a fan of their design :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  13. gibbsy

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    At £749 you'll be stealing them. Superb speaker and at that price there is simply nothing to beat them.
     
  14. Cameron583

    Cameron583
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    Vs 704 S2s for about 1K?
     
  15. gibbsy

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    It's what you prefer, everyone is different. No right, no wrong. Considering the R500s were a £1500 speaker not so long ago and even then they were incredible value. I have R300s and just love their sound, but just like the 500s they do thrive on power.
     
  16. Cameron583

    Cameron583
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    I've heard KEFs in general like a fair bit of power. I've been looking into some stereo receivers - Denon have a new one out that looks quite nice, and the spec sheet looks good (not that it tells the whole story of course). 100W per channel @8 Ohms with standard distortion figures (I.e. a little more than they used to quote). So maybe 65W of decent, clean power.

    No idea on current delivery abilities and how it handles lower resistances.

    Must say, I very much like the idea of a Class D amp - most would probably say that the sound quality isn't as good however the convenience factor for me plays a big part
     
  17. DenyG

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    Hi,

    Accidentally opened this thread,as was recommended as trending topic,i just put on sale my Active monitors (Pioneer RM-07) in classified adverts/home cinema and hi-fi classifieds/speakers,subwoofer & soundbar classified for £550 for a pair also selling stands argosy 420i spire, maybe you interested

    Regards
    Denis
     
  18. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    It’s still true that cheaper class D amps aren’t up to flinging mighty current about.

    The bigger ICE modules and the Hypex legends are of course quite up there.

    But when even mainstream manufacturers ( suck as Denon) are given to quoting very modest power output at stupidly large distortion figures (compared to ab amps), then I’d stick with a good quality ab amp with a big power supply for serious speakers.
     
  19. Cameron583

    Cameron583
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    @DenyG thanks for the offer but not what I'm looking for :)

    Update to this thread, tried out the Sonos AMP today and was pretty amazed by how powerful it is. With some 603s, I was at about 80% volume, and they were seriously loud - pretty amazing considering that the amp doesn't get loud until 50%, and then gets quite loud quite quick.

    Loved the sound of the 603s, but I then went to the B&O store in Guildford and gave their Beolab 50s a listen (in addition to some 8000s...). For the first time, I was able to fully understand what makes good speakers sound "good". Sound became less about shouting noise at you, and more about having a conversation with you, but very loudly. Sound feels naturally produced, even at extremely high volumes, nothing sounded like it was struggling. It was easy to listen to.

    I never thought I'd be able to tell the difference between some mid range speakers and flagship ones, but man, these sounded awesome.

    I got to try out some Beolab 8000s too, and thought they sounded very nice. I really like the look of them too; very different. The store had a pair of them for £700, and pointed me towards sounds heavenly: a store that sells non B&O approved cables that let you connect B&O stuff to other brands. Apparently they're widely used in many stores, but they're not allowed to sell them :p

    I haven't yet had the chance to try out KEF R700s yet - I'd like to give them a go.
     
  20. gibbsy

    gibbsy
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    I think Peter Tyson have the only remaining stock of the old R Series.
     
  21. Cameron583

    Cameron583
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    Looks to be that way :-(

    Only thing that puts me off the KEF is the gloss - don't really like it
     
  22. gibbsy

    gibbsy
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    Ah lovely, nice soft cloth, polish the finger marks off.:)
     
  23. Cameron583

    Cameron583
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    More the look of it - everything in my front room is a matte finish, except my PV1 :)
     
  24. Cameron583

    Cameron583
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    I've narrowed down to a couple of options now.
    • For an amp, I like the Denon DRA-800H or the Sonos AMP. Denon is quite big, but has benefits of being a receiver. Sonos is nice and compact, but perhaps won't sound quite as good (if I even notice).
    • For active speakers, I've not found anything other than LS50s that I like the look of. In white/copper, and second hand, but nothing available at the moment.
     
  25. Cameron583

    Cameron583
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    The more I look, the less narrow my selection becomes.

    I've now added Dynaudio Xeo 20 to the list. My only slight predicament is the lack of wireless connectivity like the LS50, necessitating an additional device.
     
  26. KWB1

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    Blow the budget on a pair of Kef Ls50 actives twinned with a pair of BKXL400’s subwoofers and don’t look back...
     
  27. Cameron583

    Cameron583
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    To be honest, I'm really keen on the idea of active speakers - significantly less clutter and you know they're going to sound how the manufacturer intended them to

    Wouldn't sell my sub though - I love it :)
     
  28. KWB1

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    No clutter here :
     

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  29. Cameron583

    Cameron583
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    Those KEFs are my ideal aesthetic - can only afford them 2nd hand, however.
     
  30. Cameron583

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    Can anyone provide some suggestions on a small networking player with optical in and out? It'll be used for wireless streaming and for TV :)

    I've seen the Blue Node 2i but it's mighty expensive for what it is, though in every other sense, it's perfect.

    Something small would be great :)

    WXC50 looks great functionally, but not keen on the look of it :facepalm:
     

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