Question Which amp for a Dragon Fly Red and Kef LS50's?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Speakers' started by funguf, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. funguf

    funguf
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    I have a set of speakers from my HT setup I can steal for now, and a Dragon Fly Red that I usually hook up to my SE846's. I plan to attach them to my PC sometimes depending on what I'm doing, but I'm missing an amp.

    Could someone suggest something that is relatively inexpensive, small and good for listening to vocals and classical?

    I was looking at For Sale - Cambridge Audio Topaz SR10 in black - PRICE REDUCED but not sure if it would be suitable.

    Thanks
     
  2. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    The LS50s have a reputation for needing some serious welly to sound at their best... do you have a budget in mind?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  3. funguf

    funguf
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    Hmmm, I think maybe under £300. I don't plan on having these on loud since I'm in a terrace..
     
  4. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    The power isn’t for loudness as such, but for proper control with a big music signal at a low impedance part of the speakers response.

    Keep an eye on these few. They’re all powerful enough to get a good sound from the Kefs.

    NAD C 352 Stereo Integrated Amplifier, Minimal use mint Condition. | eBay

    NAD C370 STEREO INTEGRATED AMPLIFIER WITH REMOTE CONTROL - EXCELLENT CONDITION | eBay

    Cambridge Audio 651A Integrated Amplifier (Black) - Refurbished 5055300412058 | eBay

    But, with any luck this should sell for around your budget and, if you can stretch to it, is a serious amp of the calibre the Kefs require.

    Musical Fidelity X-A200R Integrated Power Amplifier with PSU | eBay
     
  5. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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  6. funguf

    funguf
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    Thanks for this, given that so much power is needed, is the Marantz SR6012 I currently have them plugged into enough?
     
  7. Hoku

    Hoku
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    I've got the Musical Fidelity X-A2, which is essentially the X-A200R without the remote control. It's a pleasant amp and more tonally neutral than the Cambridge (I used to own a Cambridge 640A driving identical speakers), but in terms of current, drive and bass grip, the Cambridge was the superior out of the two and it showed it in rhythm and timing.
     
  8. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    I’m surprised at that.

    However, the XA-2 was more of an upgrade on the X-A1, whilst the X-A200R was an upgrade on the XA-1000R.

    An altogether more powerful amp.

    Having said that, and though I think the 200 is impressive, the 640 and 650 CAs do play in a higher league than their price suggests.

    If budget was my ultimate test, I’d go for the 650, or the 640.
     
  9. Hoku

    Hoku
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    When I had the Cambridge system it was very revealing, and with certain genres (principally electric guitar based music) or with poorly recorded material, it could sound harsh in the treble, but I put this down to the CD player more than the amp because when the amp was playing other sources it was fine.

    For the money they asked for it, it was an awesome amp and comes highly recommended now as a low-budget used buy. I know some people reported reliability issues, but I bought my 640A in 2004 and it's still going strong with its second owner.

    Actually you could probably pick up a system comprising a Cambridge 640A and Ruark Epilogue speakers (preferably the rarer MkII's that have the Ruark label ontop the speaker rather than on the front baffle) for £200-300 all in, and it would merrily trounce many other systems I've heard up to and beyond a grand. It sounded awesome with movies too.
     
  10. dollag

    dollag
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    I had the sr7010 avr and had 3 ls50's across the front. it worked but they sounded their best on mono blocks pushing serious power into them.

    as @Paul7777x said, they work best with power behind them. the issue with the ls50's is that they are very revealing and show up bad recordings etc. it's a double edged sword to a degree.
     
  11. MONKEY_MAN

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    I currently own an AS500 Yamaha amp, would this amp be suitable for the LS50s?
     
  12. funguf

    funguf
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    I ordered the CA 651A. But what do you guys think of the new Sonos Amp, seems like there is enough power there...but a little above my budget..but then again, if £600 is the budget, it probably opens up a whole host of other good amps that are out there..
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019 at 9:02 AM
  13. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    I’d try the 651 first. It may be all you need.

    I’d be interested to hear what you think after becoming accustomed to it too. :smashin:
     
  14. funguf

    funguf
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    It's arriving today, so I'll give it a try tonight. The 651A looks like it has a USB input, so do I still need to use the Dragon Fly Red to feed it?...
     
  15. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    Try them both, see if you notice a difference.

    The CA is an older type of usb implementation but there’s no reason to suppose it’s better or worse because of it.

    I think it will be limited to 44.1/16, but I’m not certain. Nor is that likely to be important.
     
  16. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    In a NEW Amps with reasonable power based purely on High-Value, at least consider the -

    Yamaha AS501 Integrated Amp w/DAC, 85w/ch, Phono-In, Sub-Out - £260 -

    Yamaha A-S501

    That is about the most amp at the best price you will find in a New Amp.

    If you want to push your budget, consider this Network Streaming Receiver -

    Yamaha RN602 Network Receiver, AM/FM, 80w/ch, Network Streaming, DAC, Phono, Sub-Out, etc... - £320 -

    Yamaha R-N602

    Best value in new equipment.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  17. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    I will agree with others. The Kef LS50 are fine award winning speakers and deserve a great amp with decent power, unfortunately, your £300 budget does not push you into the range of amps deserving of £800/pr LS50 speakers. Add £100 to £200 to your budget and now we are talking, though adding £200 to £300 would be better.

    But we have to work within the budget we have. We've all been there ourselves.

    But, again, Yamaha maintain a pretty reasonable standard of quality and they offer most for the money.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  18. muljao

    muljao
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    Maybe I'm late to the party but if you use your dragonfly out of PC you can do proper vol control with the PC using PC/dragonfly as a preamp. You could therefore buy a power amp, plenty of powerful ones available at 300 I would think
     
  19. funguf

    funguf
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    So I hooked them up last night PC -> DragonFly -> CA 651A -> LS50's

    It sounds great! but the CA 651A occasionally makes an intermittent switching noise. I wonder if it is some sort of protection kicking in? The gain is set to about 2 o'clock and PC volume to about 2/100.

    I ordered the new Sonos Amp too for something to compare to. The line-in on the Sonos Amp seems to better handle the input from the DragonFly Red. PC is set to 25/100, Sonos volume to about 60/100
     
  20. Ugg10

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    the Dragonfly red outputs 2.1v, the input on the 651 is not stated but guess It is possibly nearer 1v. If you are at 2oclock on the dial then just up the volume on the app and reduce the volume on the amp.

    Pc volume at 2% is way too low.

    When I use the pc I set the playback app (Spotify in my case) to 100% and the windows volume to 100% and let the volume be controlled by the amp, in your case it will probably be loud enough at around 9-10oclock. By using 100% at the pc end I make sure there is no funny stuff going on with the volume reducing bits of data.

    This assumes the amp is at zero sound at 6-8oclock.

    If you don’t fancy going to 100%, set the app, pc and dragonfly all to 75% and see how you get on. If that is too loud drop the dragonfly to 50%. (Note I am assuming the pc main volume control is separate to the dragonfly but it may not be). But as said, I would prefer higher volume levels in the pc and dragonfly and lower ones on the amp.
     
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  21. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    As ugg says above :smashin:

    Plus, less than 100% on your pc is likely to be chopping off bits in volume attenuation.

    You should really use 100% out and volume control by the CA.

    If that leaves you with too tight a volume control then you should consider some rca attenuators.

    I can’t find the input impedance either... a pain.

    It’s likely that the mp3 input on the front is less than the imputes on the rear, so it’s likely to be best to use one of them if you’re not already.

    Also, I’d really try the usb input on the 651 straight from the pc without the Dragonfly. CA make good dacs, so it’s unlikely to be poor.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019 at 2:37 PM
  22. Fraziel

    Fraziel
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  23. Fraziel

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    I have a Nad C352 and it drives my Kef LS50's fine but its not good enough in terms of quality. Nowhere close. You want the LS50's to sound their best think around a grand.
     
  24. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    Agreed. But budget dictates the buy and £300 will struggle to get a grands worth used.
     
  25. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    Ps, the CA shouldn’t be making any noise...

    Can you describe the sound a bit better... does it sound like a relay switch?
     
  26. funguf

    funguf
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    It's the relay switch, clicking a couple of times, then pausing and then clicking again.
     
  27. Paul7777x

    Paul7777x
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    Well that sounds wrong... regardless of what you have attached.

    Is the led on the front flashing?

    Also, just in case, have you tried the laptop at, or close to, 100%?

    The 651 has a clipping circuit which may well be operating if you have the amp volume too high and the input signal too small.

    Also, as an aside, the Dragonfly will not be working optimally (at all) without a strong signal from the pc.

    Just to rule out the slim posssiblity of the dragonfly being at fault, try the pc by itself to see if the amp still clicks.

    Also, if you have a phone, cd or DVD player then trying one of those as well will help decide if it’s the amp or the pc.
     

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