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Question Stereo amp and speaker upgrade choice opinion

barnybaz

Active Member
Having sold me KEF R 5.1, anthem receiver and svs sub setup last year and replaced it with a Sonos playbase as I had to move house and downsized to a semi detached house (rented), I am missing proper stereo music and I'm thinking about getting the following but can't decide. Looking for good stereo sound (dance, rock, pop, occasional relaxing music and radio) that I can also connect my TV through in a room 16*9ft with ample power to drive speakers. I think small floorstanders will be fine and auditioned the Dali Oberon 5's yesterday with a bs node 2i digitally connected to an audiolab 6000a amp and it sounded good, cleaner than through the node 2i analogue outputs. I wanted to audition the bs powernode 2i as it has an hdmi arc connection and also a one box solution which I would prefer for convenience but they didn't have one in.

New bs powernode 2i + Dali Oberon 5 £1350 weybridge audio

New bs powernode 2i + ex demo Ae309 from sold by acoustic energy £1400 eBay

New audiolab 6000a + node 2i + ex demo Ae309 £1600 or with new Oberon 5's £1600

The above prices for new on eBay are 6000a £500 and bs powernode 2i £750 and node 2i £450 all of which are new. Their is a rega elex r @ £680 or best offer and a Cambridge audio cx80 for £500.

Would their be a significant difference getting the higher powered rega or Cambridge over a powernode 2i or 6000a/node 2i combo considering the size of my room which is probably classified as small I sit across the 9ft wall and with sofa and speakers away from wall so probably sit about 6-6.5 ft away from speakers.

In the past I have never been to fussy about pure music and my previous systems have all been movie setups with receivers etc so this will be my first proper HIFI setup and can't wait to get something ordered and get the Sonos playbase up for sale on here.
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
If you like the idea of BluOS have you considered the NAD amplifiers that can have a BluOS board inserted. I've been considering the NAD C368 with the module as a possible contender for my new extension (when I've got round to building it, that is)
 

barnybaz

Active Member
If you like the idea of BluOS have you considered the NAD amplifiers that can have a BluOS board inserted. I've been considering the NAD C368 with the module as a possible contender for my new extension (when I've got round to building it, that is)
Unfortunately the TV unit which it will be housed in isn't deep enough IV already compared dimensions. One just sold on eBay with the module in for £700 too 😕
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
The new PowerNode2-I w/HDMI has a pretty reasonable 60w/ch, though Class-D. A very nice compact unit -


It has two Optical In (3.5mm) and two Analog In (3.5mm), so it has a limited number of inputs, make sure that is enough to serve your needs. It does Audio Streaming, but not Video Streaming, make sure you have a source of Video Streaming if you need it.

Myself, I would prefer a full sized amp with Streaming or separate Streamer and Integrated Amp, but that is not going to be as compact as the PowerNode. That is something you will have to weigh for yourself.

Two Amps with Streaming to consider would be -

Yamaha RN602 Network Receiver, AM/FM, 80w/ch, Streaming, DAC, etc... - £350 -



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



The only thing these amps won't do is the new Apple Airpay-2, though they will do AirPlay-1. That only matters if you are using Apple products.

But as you can see you get Streaming and a pretty decent amp for considerably less than the Bluesound PowerNode (£799). But they are pretty bulky amps.


Bluesound products have a pretty high reputation, and the Powernode has sufficient power, but I would make sure it has the ability to accommodate any other connections you might have.

I would not consider any speakers that are low efficiency. Say with Sensitivity Ratings in the 85db to 87db. But as the approach and equal 90db, they are pretty efficient and 60w/ch should have no problem driving them.

The Oberon 5 are rated at 88db which is probably acceptable. The Acoustic Energy AE309 is rated at 89db, also again acceptable. I personally would not consider speaker rated any lower than these unless I had more power.

I'm seeing several places that have the AE309 for £999/pr. Oberon 5 are about £700/pr.

The AE309 seem to have won Best Speaker of 2019 and have consistently 5-Star ratings. DALI consistently makes good speakers, so I would expect good performance from them too.

I would at least give some thought to the Monitor Audio Bronze 5 (90db) speakers, though you have already chosen two very good speakers, but this might be an alternative to consider -


The Audiolab 6000a (£600) is good quality, but the power is modest. Still those who have bought the amp seem very pleased. The Rated Power is 50w/ch, and that is probably OK.

As to the other amps you listed, I would say that you need to focus on the features you need. Your specific needs direct you toward specific speakers and amps matter as much as or more than the product specs do.

For example, you mention Rega and Cambridge, nice amps, but they are not going to have Network Streaming, so that is going to cost you about £500 extra (Bluesound Node-2i).

Focus on YOURSELF, your specific needs, your specific circumstances, and your bugdet as much as you focus on the equipment itself. The Equipment above all has to serve your specific needs.

Just a few thoughts.

Steve/bluewizard
 

Paul7777x

Member
Also, as the Powernode is not blessed with massive power output, I’d go for the node 2i and a used amplifier.

This for instance,


The total, inc the Kefs, does exceed your budget by about £200, but then you’re getting a genuinely first class £3000 hifi for about £1700.

If you can find the spare extra cash I’d seriously consider it.

Especially for the speakers.
 
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xmb

Well-known Member
I would look at the new Cyrus One Cast, as it has a HDMI input as well as others all in a compact package.
 

barnybaz

Active Member
The new PowerNode2-I w/HDMI has a pretty reasonable 60w/ch, though Class-D. A very nice compact unit -


It has two Optical In (3.5mm) and two Analog In (3.5mm), so it has a limited number of inputs, make sure that is enough to serve your needs. It does Audio Streaming, but not Video Streaming, make sure you have a source of Video Streaming if you need it.

Myself, I would prefer a full sized amp with Streaming or separate Streamer and Integrated Amp, but that is not going to be as compact as the PowerNode. That is something you will have to weigh for yourself.

Two Amps with Streaming to consider would be -

Yamaha RN602 Network Receiver, AM/FM, 80w/ch, Streaming, DAC, etc... - £350 -



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



The only thing these amps won't do is the new Apple Airpay-2, though they will do AirPlay-1. That only matters if you are using Apple products.

But as you can see you get Streaming and a pretty decent amp for considerably less than the Bluesound PowerNode (£799). But they are pretty bulky amps.


Bluesound products have a pretty high reputation, and the Powernode has sufficient power, but I would make sure it has the ability to accommodate any other connections you might have.

I would not consider any speakers that are low efficiency. Say with Sensitivity Ratings in the 85db to 87db. But as the approach and equal 90db, they are pretty efficient and 60w/ch should have no problem driving them.

The Oberon 5 are rated at 88db which is probably acceptable. The Acoustic Energy AE309 is rated at 89db, also again acceptable. I personally would not consider speaker rated any lower than these unless I had more power.

I'm seeing several places that have the AE309 for £999/pr. Oberon 5 are about £700/pr.

The AE309 seem to have won Best Speaker of 2019 and have consistently 5-Star ratings. DALI consistently makes good speakers, so I would expect good performance from them too.

I would at least give some thought to the Monitor Audio Bronze 5 (90db) speakers, though you have already chosen two very good speakers, but this might be an alternative to consider -


The Audiolab 6000a (£600) is good quality, but the power is modest. Still those who have bought the amp seem very pleased. The Rated Power is 50w/ch, and that is probably OK.

As to the other amps you listed, I would say that you need to focus on the features you need. Your specific needs direct you toward specific speakers and amps matter as much as or more than the product specs do.

For example, you mention Rega and Cambridge, nice amps, but they are not going to have Network Streaming, so that is going to cost you about £500 extra (Bluesound Node-2i).

Focus on YOURSELF, your specific needs, your specific circumstances, and your bugdet as much as you focus on the equipment itself. The Equipment above all has to serve your specific needs.

Just a few thoughts.

Steve/bluewizard
Thank you for the in-depth reply. Your knowledge and feedback is second to none. I don't need any other features, it will just be used for streaming music from Amazon hd and Spotify with occasional radio and hooking up my TV via either hdmi (preferred) or optical with all other sources attached to the TV which I use are 4k Panasonic blu ray player, virgin box, android box and a Chromecast... Iv kind of settled on bluesound for streaming and don't mind the slight extra cost for one of the best along with Sonos user experience and also a roon end point If I decide to go down that route along with Google assistant compatability... As far as the Yamaha's and certain other amps Iv researched they wouldn't fit into my TV unit as they are too deep. If I bought a node 2i and amp it would need to be a slimline amp or narrow design like the 6000a, rega brio or rega elex r etc.. My heads telling me to just get a powernode 2i with the hdmi connection for simplicity but I keep thinking would my speaker choices warrant an amp with more guts. I enjoyed the sound of the 6000a with a node 2i connected via the digital input using the 6000a dac, I switched to the node 2i dac and it didn't sound as open and clear but not hugh. I'm sure in isolation I would be more than happy with it though, I heard that setup with the Oberon 5's and liked it. Just a shame they never had a powernode 2i as it would of made my decision easier. Only when I got home I noticed the ex demo AE309's on eBay and at a good price and that's thrown a spanner into the works as I'm sure they are a higher range speaker than the Oberon's but doesn't mean they will necessarily sound better. As for monitor audios I have had radius hd's and silver Rx previously in 2 different 5.1 setups and would like something different. Will be sure to let you know the outcome thanks again
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Depending on cabling requirements, how about -

BS Node 2i for tv (optical) and streaming (also has an analogue input if needed) and volume control connected to-

a pair of these (they have the same f3 rating as the Oberon so go at least as deep) , they look like they will match the decor well


Or these with a larger woofer


Or if you can accept the looks


Or bust the budget a little and go for these, will need short stands as well and you need two of them.

 

barnybaz

Active Member
Also, as the Powernode is not blessed with massive power output, I’d go for the node 2i and a used amplifier.

This for instance,


The total, inc the Kefs, does exceed your budget by about £200, but then you’re getting a genuinely first class £3000 hifi for about £1700.

If you can find the spare extra cash I’d seriously consider it.

Especially for the speakers.
I had r500's in my previous 5.1 system connected via an anthem mrx 510 receiver and it was great for movies but I wasn't blown away with music from that setup and would possibly be better with a dedicated stereo quality amp. They where probably to big for the room also and more than likely too big for my new living room hence why the models i mentioned are small floor standing models. With regards to the amp that is very interesting indeed thank you
 

barnybaz

Active Member
Depending on cabling requirements, how about -

BS Node 2i for tv (optical) and streaming (also has an analogue input if needed) and volume control connected to-

a pair of these (they have the same f3 rating as the Oberon so go at least as deep) , they look like they will match the decor well


Or these with a larger woofer


Or if you can accept the looks


Or bust the budget a little and go for these, will need short stands as well and you need two of them.

IV never considered active speakers before and only read up a little on the acoustic energy ae1's at £1000. Def something to read up more on... So do you think they would out perform the small floor standers I mentioned for scale especially when watching movies
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
In active speakers these are pretty good -

Edifier S3000Pro, 6.5", DAC (Optical, Coaxial, USB), Bluetooth, Remote Control - £590/pr -



Matching Speaker Stands - £109 -


That could be connected to a BlueSound Node-2i.


Just a thought.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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barnybaz

Active Member
Well I can rule out active speakers and a powernode 2i as I took the plunge and bought ex demo AE309's direct from acoustic solutions in walnut for £600 a saving of £400 and I really like the look as they will match my decor and are nice and small and we'll made. I just need to find a suitable amp now along with a node 2i as they recommended something with around 100wpc for the speakers but not sure if this was 6 or 8 ohm as the speakers are rated at 6 ohm and recommended 30-175 watts
 

Paul7777x

Member
Then I’d suggest you take a look again at the MF above if you can fit it in.

Plenty of current for your speakers at any Ohm dip.

Or, if you fancy new instead, there’s a good discount on this well respected fellow at Peter Tyson’s;


Again, not shy with its power supply.

Or the mighty fine Rega,


Or (my choice I’d think) this discounted modern legend.

 
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barnybaz

Active Member
IV looked at it and the specs are good but it just seems quiete old and not sure about reliability. How do the new music fidelity m2si compare to either of the following.... rega elex r £640 Cambridge audio cxa 80 £500 cyrus one £550... unfortunately none of the Yamaha s will fit in my TV unit as their too high
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
If you are happy using the node2i as a preamp then just add a power amp.

Quad 606/707/909 would give you plenty of power and are a compact size.

Here is a 909


But 606 are pretty much as good but can be found around £400 so save a bit of £, 707 are more difficult to find.

This would go nice with a black node 2i.

 

Paul7777x

Member
If you can get an Elex R for that price then I’d suggest that one.

Also, I’ve never heard a bad word said about any MF integrated amp.

Ps, there also the new Arcam at very fine discount too.

 
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Paul7777x

Member
If you are happy using the node2i as a preamp then just add a power amp.

Quad 606/707/909 would give you plenty of power and are a compact size.

Here is a 909


But 606 are pretty much as good but can be found around £400 so save a bit of £, 707 are more difficult to find.

This would go nice with a black node 2i.

Normally I’d suggest the same. But I recently read that the volume control on the Node app is a slider type. My clumsy fingers hate those things.

An entirely personal point though... for less klutz like digits a 909 would be all you’d need.

Also, just possibly too tall...?
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Normally I’d suggest the same. But I recently read that the volume control on the Node app is a slider type. My clumsy fingers hate those things.

An entirely personal point though... for less klutz like digits a 909 would be all you’d need.

Also, just possibly too tall...?
I’d read that too but also read you can set a max volume in the app so may be a way of limiting it to to stop sausage finger syndrome. Worth asking/looking into at a demo.
 

Paul7777x

Member
Normally I’d suggest the same. But I recently read that the volume control on the Node app is a slider type. My clumsy fingers hate those things.

An entirely personal point though... for less klutz like digits a 909 would be all you’d need.
I’d read that too but also read you can set a max volume in the app so may be a way of limiting it to to stop sausage finger syndrome. Worth asking/looking into at a demo.
That would make it more reasonable. And stop any potential speaker heart attacks.
 

barnybaz

Active Member
If you are happy using the node2i as a preamp then just add a power amp.

Quad 606/707/909 would give you plenty of power and are a compact size.

Here is a 909


But 606 are pretty much as good but can be found around £400 so save a bit of £, 707 are more difficult to find.

This would go nice with a black node 2i.

Unfortunately neither will fit in my unit and has to be rather slim to accommodate the node 2i, virgin box and Panasonic 4k player.. the Rega elex r ticks all the boxes and seems powerful enough with plenty positive reviews, I came across a blog using my speakers from audiot

 

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barnybaz

Active Member
So I purchased a Rega elex r second hand for £660 and bought a node 2i... I return home from work Tuesday so hopefully it's all arrived along with the ae309 speakers and I can give feedback on it. Thanks again for the input folks 👍
 

Paul7777x

Member
So I purchased a Rega elex r second hand for £660 and bought a node 2i... I return home from work Tuesday so hopefully it's all arrived along with the ae309 speakers and I can give feedback on it. Thanks again for the input folks 👍
Can’t think it’ll all be anything other than very fine indeed.

I’ll be very interested to hear how you get on :smashin:
 

gibbsy

Moderator
So I purchased a Rega elex r second hand for £660 and bought a node 2i... I return home from work Tuesday so hopefully it's all arrived along with the ae309 speakers and I can give feedback on it. Thanks again for the input folks 👍
Good choice, I'm an Elicit owner. Hope you're not hoping to use headphones with it though.
 

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