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Bookshelf Speakers Amp Recommendations?

Matias

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Maybe PA3s for 135 usd?
 
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I would rather buy a used Yamaha A-S 300 or 301, if money is a question.
Much more bang for the buck.
And why would you say that?
No ASR Review here to reference, no balance connection, doesn't seems to stand out for audio quality or something else (for the brief look I have given to it) and it is not even within my initial budget (€150-250).

Could you extend your thought on it, please?
Why should I consider this over other recommendations?

I can only see that yeah, it has a remote and a ton of input, but, a part from Sub-Out, I do not need all the others.
Currently, I do not have a CD player (nor CDs) or any other input, except my iPad with Spotify, as I stated describing my setup. Also, at the moment I am not even planning to add those, it is not something I am interested to, maybe I will, some day, but certainly not in a useful time frame.

Thanks.
 
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Maybe PA3s for 135 usd?
Interesting. Thank you.

What's your opinion between this, the PA5 and DA-9?
 

Angsty

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Just as an update.

After your suggestions, I take a look at the:
  • Topping PA5:
    • It has an ASR Review, so, well, it starts good.
    • It measures awesome and the reviews, everywhere, seems really good too.
    • It is a bit of a stretch for my budget (Amp + Cables >€350) but eventually, I may decide to put some more cash aside in a couple of months.
    • But it is just an Amp. No Remote, no common RCA input, no sub-out, damn...it doesn't even have a light :confused:
  • SMSL DA-9:
    • Just this thread on ASR (that I found).
    • Even if no measurements, seems all the owner are pretty happy. Looks inferior to the PA5, but not by a wide margin.
    • It would be the only unit within my budget. Now on sale for €215 (from like €250).
    • It has basically anything I could ask: Remote, both RCA and Balance, Sub-out and extras like a display, integrated power and BT5 (which I do not care, but is there)
The DA-9 looks almost the perfect unit to me, in this moment.
It is affordable and gives me flexibility. If I would like to add a Subwoofer to my bookshelf speakers (which, I would like to), I would not be able to with the PA5 for example.
And looking at your proposals, to have an Amp, let's say good as the PA5, with all of these features, I would need to pay north of €500/600+, and, in no way I would be able to spend that amount of money any time soon. Not in a system with a €100 DAC and €200 Speakers. I think that with that amount of money I could make more important changes, like better speakers and a Sub, but tell me if I am wrong.

What's your take on this? Would you recommend me the DA-9?
I don’t see any real drawbacks to the SMSL at this price point. My personal recommendation would be NAD, as mentioned earlier, for their long history of reliable low cost components. I’ve used some NAD components for over 20 years straight with no issues.
 

Matias

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Just as an update.

After your suggestions, I take a look at the:
  • Topping PA5:
    • It has an ASR Review, so, well, it starts good.
    • It measures awesome and the reviews, everywhere, seems really good too.
    • It is a bit of a stretch for my budget (Amp + Cables >€350) but eventually, I may decide to put some more cash aside in a couple of months.
    • But it is just an Amp. No Remote, no common RCA input, no sub-out, damn...it doesn't even have a light :confused:
  • SMSL DA-9:
    • Just this thread on ASR (that I found).
    • Even if no measurements, seems all the owner are pretty happy. Looks inferior to the PA5, but not by a wide margin.
    • It would be the only unit within my budget. Now on sale for €215 (from like €250).
    • It has basically anything I could ask: Remote, both RCA and Balance, Sub-out and extras like a display, integrated power and BT5 (which I do not care, but is there)
The DA-9 looks almost the perfect unit to me, in this moment.
It is affordable and gives me flexibility. If I would like to add a Subwoofer to my bookshelf speakers (which, I would like to), I would not be able to with the PA5 for example.
And looking at your proposals, to have an Amp, let's say good as the PA5, with all of these features, I would need to pay north of €500/600+, and, in no way I would be able to spend that amount of money any time soon. Not in a system with a €100 DAC and €200 Speakers. I think that with that amount of money I could make more important changes, like better speakers and a Sub, but tell me if I am wrong.

What's your take on this? Would you recommend me the DA-9?
DA-9 looks fine indeed.
 

TheBatsEar

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And why would you say that?
Felt like it.

No ASR Review here to reference,
You don't need a device that was testet by Amir to listen to music.
It's a consumer line Yamaha amp. It's not state of the art but will reproduce music pleasantly enough. These devices are built just like it for the last 30 or so years, none of them was bad. I had the 301, it's larger, smaller, older and younger sisters on my workbench, looked inside and liked what i saw. It measured uneventfull on my scope.

no balance connection
Fair enough, didn't see this one.

doesn't seems to stand out for audio quality
How do you know? You wrote Amir hasn't tested it.

or something else (for the brief look I have given to it)
It has variable loudness. Tone control. Subwoofer out. A tape loop. A phono preamp. A DAC.
I personally think it stands out quite a bit amongst the chifi amps.

and it is not even within my initial budget (€150-250).
That's why i said to get one used. Then it is.

Could you extend your thought on it, please?
Just did.

Why should I consider this over other recommendations?
Sorry to have wasted your time, sir. Next time i'll make sure to have a complete decision matrix.;)


1532162789600.jpg

May you have ground loops for the rest of your natural life and always leaky caps. ;)

EDIT #1: Didn't mean anything by it, just banter, sorry if it came unexpected. I added a smiley!
 
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jarmo

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And why would you say that?
As someone who has owned the larger A-S701, I’m guessing he/she has actually owned and listened to the 301 and therefore knows it’s a good amp.

The sound and build quality will frankly piss all over most of those el-cheapo amps you’re considering, but the recommendation that you investigate and rely on your own ears rather than other people’s opinions firmly remains.
 
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Sorry to have wasted your time, sir. Next time i'll make sure to have a complete decision matrix.

Mmm...I am pretty sure we misunderstood each other, as you look quite pissed and you didn't wasted my time.
I was really looking for an explanation.

You don't need a device that was tested by Amir to listen to music.
I certainly don't need something tested here, no doubt.
Both my current Amp and Speaker was not tested here and work just fine. I was just trying to say something like "I can't even compared it to other product that already looks good to my eyes (like some mentioned even here, ex. PA3s and PA5) and nothing it is catching my attention, so why may I choose this one?", something along these line. I tried a brief "It was not tested here", but apparently I choose bad words.

How do you know? You wrote Amir hasn't tested it.
I don't know. That's the point. Hence the "seems". I just looked a couple of review, both on YT and written and no one, of the one I saw, spoke particularly good (but not even bad!) about this unit.
Please, don't take my word out of context.


I asked what people think between the PA5 and the DA-9, and you answered with:
I would rather buy a used Yamaha A-S 300 or 301
  • Since it was not measured by the same person how measure for example the PA5, we cannot really speak about measurement.
  • It does not have a balance connection (that the others do)
  • It is over my price point (if not found used)
  • I would not use any connection that is has, other than RCA basically and maybe sub, so not much a 'pro' to my eyes all those inputs
So my question still looks legit to me. I simply asked: Why?
Do you have some measurements to show and compare?
It has some features I may not know about?
It has some strong point like reliability, sound, power, etc. ?
As I was not seeing any reason for it.

I was not trying to smash you, but quite the opposite, I was trying to understand, since I am making a choice and I am not that knowledgeable about.
I appreciate everyone that takes his time to help me.

And please, don't make some drama out of nothing, not really worth anyone's time.
It's all fine :)
 

TheBatsEar

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Mmm...I am pretty sure we misunderstood each other, as you look quite pissed and you didn't wasted my time.
Don't let the picture of a wet owl fool you. He actually likes it. :p
I was just offering banter.

It's all fine :)
Didn't want to stress you out either. :)

Anyway, since you need balanced, Yamaha is out, unless you go to 3k€ or more.
 

SuicideSquid

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Jumping in a little late here, but why not sell your speakers, do away with the amp entirely, and buy yourself a pair of studio monitors to plug straight into the DAC/preamp?

$800 or $1,000 spent on a pair of two-way bookshelf stereo monitors is going to get you much better sound quality than a $400 amp and $600 bookshelf speakers will get you.
 
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Jumping in a little late here
Not at all. Just started asking a couple days ago. Still not bought anything.

buy yourself a pair of studio monitors to plug straight into the DAC/preamp?
I am probably dumb, but how can I plug them into the DAC? Are Studio Monitors Powered?

$800 or $1,000 spent on a pair of two-way bookshelf stereo monitors is going to get you much better sound quality than a $400 amp and $600 bookshelf speakers will get you.
I honestly don't know, but I can trust you, the point is, I don't have $600 Speakers (but 200 ones) and I was looking for an Amp around €150-250.
So thanks for your suggestion, but I think we are in two different ballpark eheh
 

TheBatsEar

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I am probably dumb, but how can I plug them into the DAC? Are Studio Monitors Powered?
Yes, they bring their own amplifier built into one or two speakers.
 

SuicideSquid

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Not at all. Just started asking a couple days ago. Still not bought anything.


I am probably dumb, but how can I plug them into the DAC? Are Studio Monitors Powered?


I honestly don't know, but I can trust you, the point is, I don't have $600 Speakers (but 200 ones) and I was looking for an Amp around €150-250.
So thanks for your suggestion, but I think we are in two different ballpark eheh

Yes studio monitors usually have separate amps in each speaker for treble and woofer.

You can certainly get a solid set of entry-level studio monitors for €400 or so.
 
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You can certainly get a solid set of entry-level studio monitors for €400 or so.
Ok, well, good to know.
But, why all this trust in Studio Monitors?

I mean, it seems you are pretty confident that a "random" pair of studio monitor will beat a "random" pair of Bookshelf speaker + Ampli at a given price, or am I understanding something wrong here?
 

SuicideSquid

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Ok, well, good to know.
But, why all this trust in Studio Monitors?

I mean, it seems you are pretty confident that a "random" pair of studio monitor will beat a "random" pair of Bookshelf speaker + Ampli at a given price, or am I understanding something wrong here?
As a part-time audio engineer and a former hi-fi stereo salesman, I have a lot of experience with both, and in small- to medium-sized rooms, I find monitors almost always beat bookshelf speakers in a similar price class (particularly if you factor the fact that the monitors do not require a separate amp into your budget). There are two reasons for this - one is that the engineering/design goal of monitors is to make a speaker with as flat frequency response as possible, while with hi-fi speakers, particularly more budget-oriented speakers, often you'll find the mid-bass and treble will be pushed to the forefront to make the speakers stand out in a showroom, but when you're listening in a quiet space at home this generally doesn't sound as good.

The other reason is technical - monitors typically use an active crossover or DSP to divide the incoming signal between the tweeter and woofer, before it is amplified, which is more accurate than a passive crossover system, which has to use a series of resistors, capacitors, and inductors to split up the already-amplified signal. If you look across the reviews on this site for bookshelf speakers, you'll often see that they have problems in the 2kHz range - a common crossover point - as a passive crossover is just not a very efficient way of separating the lows and the highs for tweeter and woofer.

If you look elsewhere around here, you'll find lots of threads about people removing the passive crossovers in their high-end speakers and replacing them with active crossovers or DSPs, partly for this reason and partly for room correction.

By way of example, I have a pair of Totem Rainmaker bookshelf speakers, which are quite well-regarded speakers from around ten years ago that sold for $1,200 CAD, and a pair of Dynaudio BM5 MkIII monitors which I bought for $550 each ($1,100 for the pair), and the Dynaudios absolutely beat the pants off the Totems when listening in my 12 x 14' room with 9' ceilings and some modest room treatment. I had a pair of budget Mackie 5" monitors that I bought for $350 CAD that traded blows with the Rainmakers, for 1/5th the price when you factor in the cost of the amplifier driving the Rainmakers.

[edit] Here are a couple of monitors that Amir has reviewed in the past couple of years in the 300-600 euro per pair budget:




 
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OP
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As a part-time audio engineer and a former hi-fi stereo salesman, I have a lot of experience with both
Thank you very much for the time you took writing this, sorry for the late response.

So now my question is, when you would suggest passive speaker with an Ampli over powered studio monitors?

Moreover, if you read a couple of my message, I would like to add a SubWoofer, I can I add it if I remove the Ampli? Sorry if this is a stupid question, just getting into this hobby.
 

SuicideSquid

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Thank you very much for the time you took writing this, sorry for the late response.

So now my question is, when you would suggest passive speaker with an Ampli over powered studio monitors?

Moreover, if you read a couple of my message, I would like to add a SubWoofer, I can I add it if I remove the Ampli? Sorry if this is a stupid question, just getting into this hobby.

I'd generally recommend passive speakers if you're using them in a larger space, as studio monitors are typically optimized to be listened to up close and tend to be more directional than passive speakers. You also might want to look at passive speakers if you're doing a surround sound/atmos setup. But for stereo listening in a small or medium-sized space, I'd recommend active speakers just about every time.

Subwoofer works the same with active speakers as passive speakers - your preamp/dac may have a dedicated sub out, in which case just plug it in. For your DAC, if your sub has pass-through for RCA line inputs, just run to your sub and then to speakers. Otherwise just split the RCA output and run one set to the speakers and one to the sub.
 
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Head_Unit

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It does not have a balance connection
I think that is really less important than various other features, unless your cable runs are unusually long. Also you have to check if the internal circuitry of both the source unit and the receiving unit are actually balanced inside, not just adapted at the output, otherwise it is rather a waste. At your $500 budget I cannot imagine any stuff is actually true balanced circuitry. Anyway back to the original quest:
- You should really really really get something with Spotify Connect so you can control wirelessly from your iPad or iPhone. This is SO LIBERATING oh my goodness.
- You mentioned subwoofer and you have bookshelf speakers tuned to 60 Hz per Amir's measurement. And the woofers are tiny! You need a highpass filter which is unfortunately and stupidly rare in 2-channel equipment. A sub output is NOT a guarantee there is a highpass filter, which keeps your woofers bottoming out on heavy bass especially notes below the port tuning.
- For smooth bass room correction can really help* either in receiver or subwoofer.
Really all this adds up to using an AVR in stereo-nothing wrong with that, and used ones can be a huge bargain, or maybe something like a Bluesound Powernode (except I don't think it has a highpass filter inside so forget that).

*see for instance here
https://www.stereophile.com/content/jl-audio-fathom-f110v2-powered-subwoofer-measurements
 
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