Topping PA3 or SMSL AD18 or Denon Receiver.


Novice Member

Topping PA3 or SMSL AD18 or Denon Receiver.​

I've been wondering what option to take in a desktop+turntable+projector setup. Bear in mind that I'll mainly use speakers (thinking on the Dali Spektor 1) for a 13m^2 room, and that I already have a phono preamp. Intend to use it mainly for music, and ocasionally for movies and series. I thought of these 4 alternatives:

1 - SMSL AD18 / Topping MX3

  • has the optical input for the desk + the rca for the speakers
  • BT as a bonus perk
  • need for an HDMI audio extractor
  • EQ available

2 - Topping PA3 + some DAC (Fiio BTA30 or FX-AUDIO DAC-X6 MKII)

  • 2 devices, but more power to the speakers
  • IF Fiio, can have BT transmitter to some BT speakers like JBL or something
  • need for an HDMI audio extractor
  • no EQ

3 - Topping PA3 (using the integrated Desktop DAC)

  • only one device, but more money to invest in better speakers.
  • no BT or EQ
  • no need for an HDMI audio extractor

4 - Receiver - Denon AVR-X250BT

  • BT transmitter, similar to the Fiio .
  • No need for HDMI audio extractor
  • money spent on useless technology (i won't use a 5.1 system, nor i intend to in the future)
  • less audio quality in comparison to an independent AMP

My budget is around 450€ for everything (including the speakers), but I can stretch it a bit if needed. What option is the best one, considering I priorize audio quality; BT would be nice but not a necessity; I'm not scared to have lots of cables jigling around; would be nice to buy something that would be easier to upgrade later on.


The Denon is going to be crap for stereo music. You would be far far better of using a good integrated stereo amp that has it's own DAC so that you could connect any video by digital optical.

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