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Amp advice for a newbie!

Librarium

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Hey folks! I'm new in the passive/amp audio, had active speakers my whole life, looking to get something better for my living room TV setup.

My speaker of choice would probably be Dynaudio Special 40 or maybe Evoke 20.

My budget is around $4000 for speakers and amp, so probably gonna get both from a used market. After doing some research came up with these options.
Ideally looking for an integrated amp with DAC and then add a streamer like Node 2i.

1) Preamp + power amp (Not ideal, need to get a DAC too)

Schiit Freya + Vidar. Have a Schiit stack for my Hifiman Arya's and really enjoy the sound.

2) Budget Integrated amp with DAC with good reviews

Denon 1600NE ($1100 open box)

3) Save for longer and get something higher end (Hegel, Lyngdorf, Naim)

4) Get higher end active speakers in my price range.

Not sure if they will sound better than passive+amp combo.

Buchardt A500 (Around $4000 new)
Dynaudio Focus 20XD ($4000 open box)

If you can add any options or give me some insight, that would be much appreciated.
 
Last edited:

Rip City Dave

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Is your budget $4k for everything or just the amp/preamp?

If it's the latter, the Parasound Hint6 will check all your boxes. Great power, a dead-quiet preamp and a strong DAC.
 
OP
L

Librarium

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Is your budget $4k for everything or just the amp/preamp?

If it's the latter, the Parasound Hint6 will check all your boxes. Great power, a dead-quiet preamp and a strong DAC.

$4000 is for speakers + amp, my bad, I'll edit the post.
 

blestin

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Hey folks! I'm new in the passive/amp audio, had active speakers my whole life, looking to get something better for my living room TV setup.

My speaker of choice would probably be Dynaudio Special 40 or maybe Evoke 20.

My budget is around $4000 for speakers and amp, so probably gonna get both from a used market. After doing some research came up with these options.
Ideally looking for an integrated amp with DAC and then add a streamer like Node 2i.

1) Preamp + power amp (Not ideal, need to get a DAC too)

Schiit Freya + Vidar. Have a Schiit stack for my Hifiman Arya's and really enjoy the sound.

2) Budget Integrated amp with DAC with good reviews

Denon 1600NE ($1100 open box)

3) Save for longer and get something higher end (Hegel, Lyngdorf, Naim)

4) Get higher end active speakers in my price range.

Not sure if they will sound better than passive+amp combo.

Buchardt A500 (Around $4000 new)
Dynaudio Focus 20XD ($4000 open box)

If you can add any options or give me some insight, that would be much appreciated.

What is this setup going to be used for and what is your space like. Are you planning on using it for music only, mix, or movies? What is the room shaped liked and how big?
 
OP
L

Librarium

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What is this setup going to be used for and what is your space like. Are you planning on using it for music only, mix, or movies? What is the room shaped liked and how big?

It's a 25 square meter room (5m X 5m), mostly for music listening (Tidal/Qobuz)
 

Helicopter

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Denon 1600NE will be fine. I would probably get a Yamaha AS801 over that, but not for any scientific reason. I just like the appearance better. Schiit Ragnarok would work too, and match your headphone stuff. I love the Freya S here, Freya and Vidar is a good combo too... I don't think you will go wrong with any of these. It mostly boils down to features, looks, and price. I would not save more for an expensive amp. These less expensive options are all audibly transparent and if you want to spend more you should spend it on speakers.
 
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Librarium

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Denon 1600NE will be fine. I would probably get a Yamaha AS801 over that, but not for any scientific reason. I just like the appearance better. Schiit Ragnarok would work too, and match your headphone stuff. I love the Freya S here, Freya and Vidar is a good combo too... I don't think you will go wrong with any of these. It mostly boils down to features, looks, and price. I would not save more for an expensive amp. These less expensive options are all audibly transparent and if you want to spend more you should spend it on speakers.

It's interesting because on a different forum people told me that it's better to spend more on the amp, and I won't get S40's full potential with "cheaper" amps. Denon was called Mid-Fi.
Do you think Schiit Ragnarok 2 will drive them ? I want to get an integrated amp ideally, and I heard these speakers are power hungry.
 

blestin

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It's interesting because on a different forum people told me that it's better to spend more on the amp, and I won't get S40's full potential with "cheaper" amps. Denon was called Mid-Fi.
Do you think Schiit Ragnarok 2 will drive them ? I want to get an integrated amp ideally, and I heard these speakers are power hungry.

It’s definitely not better to spend more on an amp than the speakers, goods amps should sound very similar to each other. Buckeye sells a nc502mp for $600 and it’s absolutely fantastic and impossible to beat value wise.

I think you also have way better options in your price range for speakers than the S40s. Are you locate in the US? Do you have any preference’s or size requirements?
 

Moonhead

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Buchardt seems legit, it’s a no brainer going with active speakers.
 
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Librarium

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It’s definitely not better to spend more on an amp than the speakers, goods amps should sound very similar to each other. Buckeye sells a nc502mp for $600 and it’s absolutely fantastic and impossible to beat value wise.

I think you also have way better options in your price range for speakers than the S40s. Are you locate in the US? Do you have any preference’s or size requirements?


Thanks for the reply! In that case I think Denon is a good choice, I've read some rave reviews, it has DAC and lots of power.

I live in California, prefer standmounts, S40 is ideal size wise. I really like Dynaudio as a brand (owned some monitors and active speakers) and the way their speakers look. I was also considering Canton 836.2 (much cheaper), what else can you recommend that you think will beat S40's?
 
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blestin

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For the price you pay for the Denon 1600NE you are not getting that much and there are no objective measurements of it. You might as well get a Denon 3700 + nc502mp, which will get you Audyssey room correction for bass management, a dac, a preamp, + 500 watts per channel for the same price.

Stand mount wise Selah Purezza , KEF R3, Philharmonic BMR are your best higher end options. Purezza and BMR throw massively wide soundstages, KEF is a bit more narrow and focused. BMR probably has the best low end of the three.

All three of the above are objectively better than the S40, will you like them better in your room who knows.

Some less expensive but still good are Revel M106, Focal Aria 906, Elac Debut Refrence 2.0, Philharmonic affordable monitor.

I am sure there are other options I forgot to mention, but there are definitely much better options than the S40.
 

Head_Unit

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Buchardt A500
My friend has these. A lot of technology-the room correction took out a huge dip from like 50-130 Hz!! No wonder the previous speakers had no bass. The only thing he doesn't like is the back panel hits like 160F not that's not a typo. Super super hot. Now instead of A500 plus a stand I'd really want to save up for the upcoming tower version, even if I had to wait and save.

If you go to passive speakers, I will rather disagree that "I won't get S40's full potential with cheaper amps." Maybe so-but look at this https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/denon-vs-parts-express-round-1.984507/ You might feel a more expensive amp is better, but you might not hear any difference at all. Reasonable return policies are a key! In any case I'll definitely agree with @blestin that given a set total budget, the vast majority should go to the speakers, which have far more effect on the sound.
 
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Librarium

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Thank you for all the great advice guys! I think I will go with the passive + amp route, hopefully won't be dissapointed.
 
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