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Best Budget Amp Under ~$180 With Optical & BT

lerp

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Hey y'all. I am looking for people's favorite class D amp that has both bluetooth and optical inputs. I have seen the Aiyima T9/T9 Pro, Aiyima D03/D05, Fosi Audio DA2120C, I think SMSL has some too, etc. Are there any that people prefer over others? Really trying to stay under $150ish, maaaybe up to $180.

This will be driving a pair of Cambridge Audio SX-50 speakers in my two-car garage. The optical input is needed for the TV that's in there too.

I have also seen the Loxjie A30, which seems to rate really well. My question here is just the power output. The SX-50's are 8 ohms, and per Amir's review, this amp only puts out 18w at 8 ohms. The other amps I mentioned seem to have more power. Would this Loxjie be able to drive my speakers as well as the Fosi/Aiyima amps?

Some of these have built in DACs, though I am planning on adding a separate DAC in the future. Now, I will not need an amp with a DAC in order to use optical with my TV, correct? Or do I? Wanna make sure I understand that correctly.

Would love to hear anyone's thoughts on any of this:)
 

benanders

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This will be driving a pair of Cambridge Audio SX-50 speakers in my two-car garage. The optical input is needed for the TV that's in there too.

I have also seen the Loxjie A30, which seems to rate really well. My question here is just the power output. The SX-50's are 8 ohms, and per Amir's review, this amp only puts out 18w at 8 ohms. The other amps I mentioned seem to have more power. Would this Loxjie be able to drive my speakers as well as the Fosi/Aiyima amps?

Some of these have built in DACs, though I am planning on adding a separate DAC in the future. Now, I will not need an amp with a DAC in order to use optical with my TV, correct? Or do I? Wanna make sure I understand that correctly.

Would love to hear anyone's thoughts on any of this:)

Be a doll and post your speaker’s specs or a link, and dimensions of your garage, yes please? :)

Been a long day, and with a Loxjie A30 going for 3+ years in a large space I may have some helpful input, but I lack the fortitude to do not-my-kit specs homework with Google at the moment :p
 

staticV3

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Some of these have built in DACs, though I am planning on adding a separate DAC in the future. Now, I will not need an amp with a DAC in order to use optical with my TV, correct? Or do I? Wanna make sure I understand that correctly.
Optical and Bluetooth both transmit digital audio signals.
An Amp generally needs analog input.

If you want a device with Optical and Bluetooth in and Speaker out, then it needs to have a DAC and an Amp built-in.
 
OP
lerp

lerp

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Be a doll and post your speaker’s specs or a link, and dimensions of your garage, yes please? :)

Been a long day, and with a Loxjie A30 going for 3+ years in a large space I may have some helpful input, but I lack the fortitude to do not-my-kit specs homework with Google at the moment :p

Of course good sir!

Freq response: 50-22k Hz
Rec amp power: 10-100w
Sensitivity: 87dB


I will have to measure my garage when I get home, but it is probably around the 22' x 24' range, somewhere in there. Fits two cars very comfortably.
 
OP
lerp

lerp

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I could also do something like a Fosi Audio BT20A Pro + SMSL SU-1. That DAC would give me optical, Fosi gives BT and is a great cheap amp (currently using one on another set of speakers, and really like the tone control abilities).

I suppose another way of wording my question for this thread would be: What's the best TPA3255 chip amp in the price range specified with BT & optical, OR a combination of DAC + amp for less than ~ $250?
 

staticV3

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@lerp the SMSL PS100 has Bluetooth, Toslink, and HDMI ARC allowing you to control volume using the TV remote. All for just $30.

Most TVs lock their volume to 100% with Toslink out, requiring you to use the DAC's or Amp's volume control instead.

So I'd do PS100 plus a chip Amp from Fosi or Aiyima. Something like the Aiyima A07/A07 Max or Fosi V3/ZA3.

https://fosiaudio.com/products/2024-version-v3
https://fosiaudio.com/collections/2...udio-za3-balanced-dual-mode-class-d-amplifier

https://www.aiyima.com/collections/power-amplfiier/products/aiyima-a07-max
https://www.aiyima.com/collections/...er-aiyima-a07-tpa3255-2-0-channel-300wx2-hifi
 

Zapper

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Optical and Bluetooth both transmit digital audio signals.
An Amp generally needs analog input.

If you want a device with Optical and Bluetooth in and Speaker out, then it needs to have a DAC and an Amp built-in.
True. For the OP's sake let me rephrase it: If the amp has Bluetooth, optical, coax, or HDMI inputs, then it has a built-in DAC. You do not need an external DAC with that amp, although you are free to add one.
 

benanders

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Of course good sir!

Freq response: 50-22k Hz
Rec amp power: 10-100w
Sensitivity: 87dB


I will have to measure my garage when I get home, but it is probably around the 22' x 24' range, somewhere in there. Fits two cars very comfortably.

I’m assuming average 8’ ceiling. The speakers aren’t particularly efficient, so I’d give a lukewarm suggestion of “try it” for the Loxjie A30 - Amazon’s good ol’ return policy being the insurance. It should be able to drive your speakers if you don’t intend to run them pretty loud. If it fails to, then Loxjie’s power rating is indeed stated too ambitiously and I consider that perfectly good reason to send the device back. The A30’s Bluetooth syncs well enough for my wife’s phone purposes (I never use it), not sure which chip/whether it’s changed in the past few years etc. It does well in our ~25x16x11’ room powering a pair of 88 dB small satts (+2 powered subs). About 17’ listening distance, I can run movies louder than is comfortable. Really just a question of whether it can push enough bass watts in your pair of bookshelves. I tend to think if the A30 can run as my HT’s “AVR” (via optical in) it’s probably up to many lighter tasks for other folks.

@lerp the SMSL PS100 has Bluetooth, Toslink, and HDMI ARC allowing you to control volume using the TV remote. All for just $30.

Most TVs lock their volume to 100% with Toslink out, requiring you to use the DAC's or Amp's volume control instead.

So I'd do PS100 plus a chip Amp from Fosi or Aiyima. Something like the Aiyima A07/A07 Max or Fosi V3/ZA3.

https://fosiaudio.com/products/2024-version-v3
https://fosiaudio.com/collections/2...udio-za3-balanced-dual-mode-class-d-amplifier

https://www.aiyima.com/collections/power-amplfiier/products/aiyima-a07-max
https://www.aiyima.com/collections/...er-aiyima-a07-tpa3255-2-0-channel-300wx2-hifi

Reasonable alternatives. Not a fan of combining >1 mini boxes if at all avoidable, seems to defeat their main convenience, but that could easily be my own personal peculiarity ;)
Don’t see any advantage to using the tv remote in the garage, though. :D
 
OP
lerp

lerp

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I am a n00b so sorry for potentially silly question. I am now wondering about bluetooth w/DACs. In the setup I'm considering, let's say I had an external DAC hooked up to a BT amp. If i connect my phone to amp via BT, will I even be using the DAC?

Follow up question: If I wanted to stream from my phone via BT, and I wanted to incorporate an external DAC, would I need to connect to a DAC that has BT, instead of the amp? If I connect to a BT DAC, would that be "better" sound quality wise (since I am using the external DAC) than connecting to a BT amp?

I know that a DAC converts digital signals to analogue, but I'm wondering how bluetooth fits in to that. I know using BT compresses the signal, so I guess I'm wondering if using an external DAC w/BT has any impact on that compression, or if the signal remains the same whether I'm using BT with the amp or BT with the DAC.

edit: the amp in this scenario would remain something like the Fosi BT30D PRO, fwiw.
 

benanders

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I am a n00b so sorry for potentially silly question. I am now wondering about bluetooth w/DACs. In the setup I'm considering, let's say I had an external DAC hooked up to a BT amp. If i connect my phone to amp via BT, will I even be using the DAC?

Follow up question: If I wanted to stream from my phone via BT, and I wanted to incorporate an external DAC, would I need to connect to a DAC that has BT, instead of the amp? If I connect to a BT DAC, would that be "better" sound quality wise (since I am using the external DAC) than connecting to a BT amp?

I know that a DAC converts digital signals to analogue, but I'm wondering how bluetooth fits in to that. I know using BT compresses the signal, so I guess I'm wondering if using an external DAC w/BT has any impact on that compression, or if the signal remains the same whether I'm using BT with the amp or BT with the DAC.

edit: the amp in this scenario would remain something like the Fosi BT30D PRO, fwiw.
Not silly questions, if looking for clarification.
BT will articulate with one element, be it a discrete DAC (that sends its signal to the amp), or an AIO (= All-In-One) DAC-amp device. If an amp can receive BT, then it must also have an inbuilt DAC (even if it’s not really advertised/promoted as such, since otherwise that amp would have a hard time interpreting what your phone was trying to relay, data-wise).
Different BT chips used in different devices over time, but I’m not sure how much this would matter among your possible options/price range from a quality/fidelity standpoint.

Basically, you want an amp that’ll drive your bookshelves to whatever volume you wish to use without clipping. If using BT from phone, best to go with an amp that has an inbuilt DAC simply because you limit the number of units in your chain (1 vs. 2, excluding phone and speakers). But, that’s mostly a matter for your preference.

The Loxjie A30 you mentioned is all: BT receiver-DAC-amp. If it can perform as the manufacturer states, it should be sufficient for you need. If not, there are plenty of others (Fosi SMSL etc) with different/higher wattage ratings. Your only conundrum is the sheer number of options these days ;)
 
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lerp

lerp

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Not silly questions, if looking for clarification.
BT will articulate with one element, be it a discrete DAC (that sends its signal to the amp), or an AIO (= All-In-One) DAC-amp device.
That makes sense. However, I am still wondering- If I have an external DAC connected to an amp, and my phone is connected via BT to the amp, will that be bypassing the external DAC completely?
 

benanders

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That makes sense. However, I am still wondering- If I have an external DAC connected to an amp, and my phone is connected via BT to the amp, will that be bypassing the external DAC completely?
If the phone is connecting to the BT in the AIO amp, then yes, it’s likely not being routed backwards from the amp’s BT chip to the separate DAC, then back to the AIO amp’s input-DAC-high pass out.
But I suppose that complexity could vary based on a given AIO BT-DAC-amp’s topology and input/output options.
Basically, if the amp accepts BT, it should have an inbuilt DAC and won’t need (or “want”) to work with a discrete DAC, as it would be a redundant loop.
That’s an oversimplification for some scenarios, but should cover all your bases.
 

Talisman

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If the phone is connecting to the BT in the AIO amp, then yes, it’s likely not being routed backwards from the amp’s BT chip to the separate DAC, then back to the AIO amp’s input-DAC-high pass out.
But I suppose that complexity could vary based on a given AIO BT-DAC-amp’s topology and input/output options.
Basically, if the amp accepts BT, it should have an inbuilt DAC and won’t need (or “want”) to work with a discrete DAC, as it would be a redundant loop.
That’s an oversimplification for some scenarios, but should cover all your bases.
Simply many small cheap amplifiers do not have a real built-in DAC, but the Bluetooth chip includes a basic DAC inside. This is why many amplifiers have Bluetooth without having digital inputs.
 
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lerp

lerp

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If the phone is connecting to the BT in the AIO amp, then yes, it’s likely not being routed backwards from the amp’s BT chip to the separate DAC, then back to the AIO amp’s input-DAC-high pass out.
But I suppose that complexity could vary based on a given AIO BT-DAC-amp’s topology and input/output options.
Basically, if the amp accepts BT, it should have an inbuilt DAC and won’t need (or “want”) to work with a discrete DAC, as it would be a redundant loop.
That’s an oversimplification for some scenarios, but should cover all your bases.
Perfect, thank you for clarifying. Part of the reason I wanted to go with an external DAC is to experiment with different options and sound stages over time, compare differences, etc. Sounds kinda fun :p
 

wandulus

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Of course good sir!

Freq response: 50-22k Hz
Rec amp power: 10-100w
Sensitivity: 87dB


I will have to measure my garage when I get home, but it is probably around the 22' x 24' range, somewhere in there. Fits two cars very comfortably.
Using since 2021 an A30 with a pair of Focal Chora 806 (89dB) in a large room (about 50m2 with high ceilings, about 4m) flawlessly, and about 30 in volume is usually loud enought for me.
I think it's the best option.
 

Talisman

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Perfect, thank you for clarifying. Part of the reason I wanted to go with an external DAC is to experiment with different options and sound stages over time, compare differences, etc. Sounds kinda fun :p
If you still intend to have an external DAC, the advice is to get a DAC with quality Bluetooth (ldac) and not be interested in the Bluetooth integrated into the amplifier
 
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lerp

lerp

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If you still intend to have an external DAC, the advice is to get a DAC with quality Bluetooth (ldac) and not be interested in the Bluetooth integrated into the amplifier
I have an iphone, which, as I understand, doesn't support that codec. Right? Or am I wrong on that because the DAC in this case would be providing the LDAC codec instead of the iphone?
 
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