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Aussie amateur audiophile seeking savvy recommendations for desktop setup

Vanceer

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Hello everyone, it was my birthday recently and I have been having a hard time picking out my gift. I thought what better way to celebrate in lockdown than by ordering speakers and an amp I've never heard before.
This is going to be my first decent audio setup and was looking for some recommendations from you clever, experienced people.

Current equipment:
-a Lars and Ivan Bobo system connected to my pc via 3.5mm plug
-Sennheiser HD598
-Audio Technica M40x
-Sennheiser Urbanites, on ear
-Apple and Samsung usbc to 3.5mm dongles

Why do I want a new audio setup for?
-I want to be surrounded by the music.. feel the music? All sorts. Folk Persian music, traditional and pop Greek music, mainstream top 20's, old school rock, new school rock, and so on.
-Playing games and hearing everything in the direction it is supposed to be in.
-Watching and listening to tv shows and movies.

What I've found:
Amps
-JDS Labs Atom Amp Headphone Amplifier for 240AUD (is it good enough for speakers?)
-Schiit Audio Magni 3 Heresy for 220AUD (does speakers too?)
-SMSL AD18 for 187AUD

Speakers
-JBL Stage A120 for 360AUD on special from 400AUD
-JBL Stage A130 for 499AUD
-ELAC Debut 2.0 B5.2 for 498AUD on special from 549AUD
-JBL LSR305P MKII 5" for 498AUD on special from 599AUD

Other specs:
-Usually sit around 0.5m away from screen and speakers, but also sit about 2.5m away to watch tv shows and stuff
-Overall budget is around 500-700AUD
-I've read the JBL 305's make a hissing sound and am worried about that
-It would be nice to be able to use the amp with my headphones and speakers if possible
-I'm leaning towards the JBL A120 + any amp, due to their cheaper price and smaller size, but not sure if they're exact same as the A130 but just smaller.
-Open to other suggestions

Yes, I am an Aussie. Yes, I don't know what I am doing. Yes, Aussie prices are absolutely down under.
Yes, thank you very much for your curiosity and answers.

Yes... these are my current speakers
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weasels

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The Magni 3 does not do speakers. It's a great headphone amp, though.

I believe the same is true for Atom.

Obv. that isn't an issue if you're using them to feed a powered monitor like the 305s.

How much do Adam monitors run in Australia? I bought a pair of the budget line for my son and we've been pretty happy with them (he uses them for desktop speakers, but also as monitors for acoustic guitar/electric piano).
 

radix

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For my recent desktop upgrade, I went with the Neumann KH750/KH80s. It's truly something to behold, but is not in your budget.

I've seen others here recommend Kali monitors, which are more in your budget. They appear to have an Aussie dealer. As a powered speaker, you do not need an amp -- just drive directly from your sound card or raspberry pi or what-have-you. I'd really try to get their sub with the package for 2.1 sound. I'm not an expert on these, just repeating what I've seen. If you search the forums for Kali, you should be able to find the 1st hand reports.

Marc
 

Berwhale

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An integrated DAC/HP amp/Pre like the Topping EX5 would suit you with some powered monitors (I have the iLoud MTM's). I think that might be a bit over your budget. Some people complain that the MTMs don't go very loud, but i've never had an issue with them (even before I added the my sub).
 
OP
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Vanceer

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The Magni 3 does not do speakers. It's a great headphone amp, though.

I believe the same is true for Atom.

Obv. that isn't an issue if you're using them to feed a powered monitor like the 305s.

How much do Adam monitors run in Australia? I bought a pair of the budget line for my son and we've been pretty happy with them (he uses them for desktop speakers, but also as monitors for acoustic guitar/electric piano).
Thanks for the reply.

The cheapest I could find was Adam T5V 5 inch Nearfield pair for 719AUD. Maybe maybe, I might be able to stretch the budget, but are they that better than the JBL 305's you reckon?
 

GIEGAR

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...

Why do I want a new audio setup for?
-I want to be surrounded by the music.. feel the music? All sorts. Folk Persian music, traditional and pop Greek music, mainstream top 20's, old school rock, new school rock, and so on.
-Playing games and hearing everything in the direction it is supposed to be in.
-Watching and listening to tv shows and movies.
^ These bits look like your needs would be served by a surround system (5.1) at some point.

In any event, mission critical with monitor speakers (in particular) is having the ability to properly integrate a sub in the system and reduce low frequency excursion/distortion. This means at a minimum having some form of bass re-direction to enable high-pass filtering of the mains. (A simple sub out jack on a compact amp will not accomplish this.)

The most economical way to achieve this is with a second-hand AVR. For example, this 6-7 year old Denon looks good: https://www.stereonet.com/forums/topic/515118-fs-denon-avr-x2000-71-4k-3d-95w-per-channel/ ($250). As well as flexible digital bass management, an AVR provides a heap more processing and connectivity features and gives you the option of moving to a surround system over time.

Speakers? Check out the range of bookshelf models at Ascension/Adelaide Speakers: https://www.adelaidespeakers.com/index.html. These represent much better value for money than the imports due to customs duties/taxes and everyone in the supply chain taking their cut. If you're interested, give Edward (owner, designer, builder) a call to discuss your needs and budget.
 
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JSmith

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Nothing wrong with Ed's speakers, decent components and nice build quality of cabinets.

For something a bit of a step up in Aus, look at Orpheus speakers by Kiat in Sydney, absolutely amazing speakers for the money and hand built including the crossovers;

http://www.orpheusaudio.com.au/

Bookshelf;

http://www.orpheusaudio.com.au/products/aurora-0.5.html

He also has a high-end line under Duntec which are simply superb... but def not cheap;

http://duntech.com/

... however OP is after a desktop setup so this is overkill and maybe moot. :D



JSmith
 

AM88

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With your budget I’d spend as much of it on active monitors. In this case the JBLs. In the future should you wish to upgrade you could get a sub. If you ever want to go the passive route, you could assemble a good high wattage, class d amp buy a topping dac/pre and either Diy some bookshelves or go down the rabbit hole of “matching” some passives to that or just buying some of Amir’s recommendations. My advice is to spend almost all ur budget on active monitors that u like. The digital source side is now being over engineered at such low prices u really can’t (unless you try) go wrong. A final, maybe unhelpful recommendation is save and wait till u can get something you will be happy with for longer, like some genelecs or neumanns, you seem to have a decent headphone setup that should see u till then..
 
OP
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Vanceer

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Thank you everyone for the replies. I think I want to have my cake and eat it too.
Two more questions:

1. Do you guys reckon an amp/dac would be necessary for my m40x+HD598+Apple dongle, or any decent portable amp (Fiio E10k, etc) should suffice?
b) The DROP + THX AAA™ 789 Headphone Amplifier is on sale at the moment for around 295AUD delivered. Would that be overkill for these headphones?

2. I'm looking toward the active speaker route. Would the Kali's and JBL's also work well if I put them on my tv/ps4/apple tv, sitting roughly 3-4m away?

JSmith - Unfortunately, I had read those reviews but still could not decide. Neurotic FOMOism. What if I make the wrong choice! I'm in lockdown in Melbourne so can't do much but rely on the experts here and hope retail stores might do exchanges or refunds.

Giegar - I am asking for too much. Might stick with actives for now and upgrade in the future to surround. Although I do want to support local and Aussie, I might use them in future with the surround system.

JSmith and Giegar and AM88, et al - I hail from the mighty town of Melbourne, and for the moment, all things considering, the options found seem to be:

2x Kali LP-6's for 299AUD (with bonus isolation pads) each, or
2x JBL LSR305P MKII for 498AUD, with
some sort of portable headphone amp/dac for headphones

2x JBL Stage A120 for 359AUD, or
2x Polk S15 for 440AUD, with
some sort of desktop amp.

Thanks again.
 
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