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Amp opinions please... I have a little dilemma...

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#1
I'm trying to put together a little casual listening system for my living room... nothing critical... and I'm getting a tad turned around. Primary source is a Chromecast Audio for Spotify and radio. I only want to spend a couple hundred or so. I've pretty much read every thread on this site and haven't really come away with any conclusions.

I do not like tizzy, brash, harsh sounds... cold and sterile are out. Smooth and liquid midrange is a must. Forward, front row seating is very appealing to me (I used to run a lot of single driver speakers and they always presented themselves as such).

A couple amps I've seen on this site:

Loxjie A30 by this site's recommendation but sold out everywhere

SMSL DA-8s which I know nothing about... only came across it because the previous version was ICEpower'd

A couple from my past experiences have been the Teac A-H01 which I really liked but impossible to find now at any decent price. NAD D3020v2 which above anything else didn't crank my tractor one bit... not sure what it was about it... didn't last long.

Now for a couple hundred I could go vintage... HK 300C or a Sansui 221 or some other low watt receiver\integrated amp... not sure I want to go full size?? Help me out here.

I know if I triple my dollars the WXA-50 fits nicely... ICE and Sabre... two of my favourite things... I'm sure the Yamaha sterile sound won't be present... or at least not as much.

I would appreciate any insight, suggestions, casual banter, left turn, right turn...

Thanks!!!
 
OP
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Thread Starter #3
Nothing at the moment... and I'm not worried about that... I have had literally a hundred different pairs over the last 30 years so I'm pretty sure I can find something suitable to my tastes :)

I'm more concerned about an amp and how to get the best out of streaming from the Chromecast. I liked the sound of ICE. The Hypex in the NAD didn't thrill me. I like the sound of ESS. The AK in the Chromecast is actually pretty good so needing another DAC is questionable. I need bass\treble controls in my place.

I've been out for the last couple of years so I've fallen behind on the new stuff. I need to bounce some ideas around!
 
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#4
Perhaps not a helpful comment for you, but there are a number of threads on the interwebs about the CCA not necessarily passing a high quality Spotify feed. The only reason I know is I went down that rabbit hole when my Spotify --> CCA didn't sound amazing. At the moment it's perfectly adequate as the convenience factor is so good but every so often I debate pulling out a Raspberry Pi to see if it makes a difference.

The CCA has a decent enough DAC so you don't necessarily need the Loxjie unless you want the option. If you don't need a remote Aiyima A07 seems like a choice for the board (likely what I'll buy or the A04) or vintage if you can take up the space. Alternatively a non-vintage used receiver would be pretty affordable -- assume you could get a non-Sansui that works and has a remote for $100. At any rate if you don't like the first option selling and getting the next level up won't set you back much (even if you don't sell).
 
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#5
I’ll be the first to chime in and say you should go with powered speakers. Especially if you can find a set with DSP for crossovers and equalization (intended to mean bass/treble control), but could include room correction or custom filters. Vanatoo and iLoud come to mind.
 

watchnerd

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#7
Nothing at the moment... and I'm not worried about that... I have had literally a hundred different pairs over the last 30 years so I'm pretty sure I can find something suitable to my tastes :)

I'm more concerned about an amp and how to get the best out of streaming from the Chromecast. I liked the sound of ICE. The Hypex in the NAD didn't thrill me. I like the sound of ESS. The AK in the Chromecast is actually pretty good so needing another DAC is questionable. I need bass\treble controls in my place.

I've been out for the last couple of years so I've fallen behind on the new stuff. I need to bounce some ideas around!
So any feature set as long as it has ESS and ICE and is a few hundred bucks?

Get a used W4S mINT
 
OP
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Thread Starter #8
Thanks people... really appreciate the replies!!

A little background... over the last 30 years I've worked myself through the ranks of McIntosh on down. With DSP and room correction I've worked myself up from Berhinger to miniDSP to DEQX. I've played with pretty much every speaker config out there from single drivers to multi's to open baffles... diy and manufactured. I've had the privilege to have been able to do this! I'm getting close to retiring and moving so I just want something to carry me over the next couple years.

earworm: I've read many articles about the CCA... it is more than adequate for me especially for radio but an amp that comes with Spotify Connect as an option would be a bonus. And also I have to say if you want to try the Pi it is a very fun rabbit hole! The A30 dac was just there as an option. Talk to me about what you would call non-vintage... family took over about a decade in the 90's and 2000's so there was a stretch in there I'm outa tune with.

WesParker: Powered\active speakers... indeed yes!! Was looking through a few including the newest PSB AM3 and AM5 which has some dsp to them and eq. Albeit the P5's didn't rank all that great here a neutral sound signature is not what I am after. My ears have some hearing damage... I need a midrange boost... V-shaped sound signatures are a no go for me. Do you have any other's I should be looking at??

JSmith: I'm not sure what you are meaning but I'm looking for simplicity.

watchnerd: Answer is no... I only stated those two things as a reference for a sound signature... those Teac's used to trade for $200 CAD but now there are over double that. I figured that now there has to be something newer out there to replace that absolute bargain of a buy that the Teac's were!

Thanks again everyone for the comments!!
 
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#9
@sideways2 makes sense on CCA... I'm still using it. It's easy. By non-vintage a receiver from the era you skipped. It's kind of luck of the draw on your local used site. I'd go that route if budget is the factor and you have the space for the box. You could probably find a NAD, H-K (pre-merger) or decent Japanese model for ~$100 or less. The older more analog ones command a bit more of a premium, at least in my market. An AMP that includes Spotify Connect would probably go out of your budget but might find an AVR with it. Just may not be as great for the rest of your list. The AVR I have (Onkyo TX-NR646) w/ Spotify Connect has the flakiest network stack around... It's beyond annoying although when it works convenience factor to wake the amp via the Spotify app is great and WAF is amazingly high on that use case. And when it doesn't work :D
 

JSmith

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#10
Now for a couple hundred I could go vintage... HK 300C or a Sansui 221
This is a good idea then... built like beasts (especially the power supplies), generally sound appealing and have the simplicity you're looking for. I still run in one of my systems a 44 year old Akai amp... has never had any parts replaced, still works fine and can really pump out the juice.



JSmith
 

Glasvegas

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#11
there are a number of threads on the interwebs about the CCA not necessarily passing a high quality Spotify feed.
Really? Is that just with Spotify? Is the problem with the internal DAC? I believe the streamer part of the CCA is bit perfect.

I stream Tidal to a CCA with separate DAC and can’t hear any difference when compared to various other streamers.
 
OP
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Thread Starter #12
earworm: Good to know about the AVR's!! I actually haven't thought about the network side of things. I'll stay away from that route thanks! NAD is very plentiful around these parts even with minor shipping involved. In the late 90's I was doing the home theatre stuff and went through three HK amps... all failed out of the box... even had the regional rep concerned so much that he upgraded me to a higher model. That was my one and only time with HK. That new receiver was promptly traded back to the retailer.

JSmith: I mentioned vintage as there are plenty options around me. Is a remote truly necessary?? I haven't decided that yet :) BTW you like your Akai... I have never owned one... how would you describe it's sound??

As for my findings on the CCA... I agree with you Glasvegas. I have went through it every which way and I cannot find anything disagreeable with the internal dac or otherwise. They function flawlessly. Even at the premium asking prices now if Google would have continued down this path they could have upped the charge and it still would have been worth it! I run a Google Home with Onkyo G3's as my room speakers... I love Chromecast... it's a blessing when one gets older!!

Thanks all for bouncing some ideas around... appreciated!!
 
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#13
Really? Is that just with Spotify? Is the problem with the internal DAC? I believe the streamer part of the CCA is bit perfect.
Only with Spotify. 256kb aac is the max. Probably not perceptible to human ears. But something in my system wasn't great... CCA was a bit easier to blame than my speakers. So of course I changed the speakers and kept the CCA :)

Bummer about the older H-K's. I had one in the 90s that was great. Still regret giving it up, although admittedly I had to use the B speakers for several years since the A speaker posts died early on...
 
OP
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Thread Starter #14
Fantastic :cool:

And with mine it was the DSP... all I got was white noise out of all the channels. Rep told me they switched manufacturing plants on this series... needed to work out some QC issues I guess.
 
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