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Device choice for using passive speakers for TV

scal

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Hi;
I hope this post is in the right thread.

I recently moved place and we have build in furniture which is not deep enough to hold my audio and video devices. I used to connect the TV and other devices to the AMP but now I have to look into a compact alternative to replace the AMP to be able to place the device near the TV and not use the (awful) built-in TV speakers to view movies or listing to music, both form streaming apps via a media box. The media box itself has no sound output options so I foresee to use the TV output options (it has optical, hdmi, rca, and quite a few others) directly.

I have two passive JBL Control 1X which I like and don't want to replace for budget reasons. They have those 'swing clips' (I believe that's what they are called) connection in which I directly plugged cables in. They were connected to the AMP with similar system expect you screw the connection to make the cable tight.

Searching around I found a DAC could be an option for my needs. There are a lot of those in compact format which would fill my needs in terms of space it takes and without having to basically buy a new AMP with smaller size than the one I have. Some options are devices such as MICCA AD250, TOPPING MX3 (or MX5 but budget is already quite a bit high), TOPPING PA3, DTA-2.1BT2, etc. (any other model suggestions are welcome) which have those output connections for direct wire my speaker needs.
I only plan to connect the media box and perhaps a second device at most so I don't need dozen of in ports for cd/dvd player(s), tuner, turntable and so on.

I am wondering if such device will not disappoint compared what I was used to with my AMP. I don't expect such a small device to do all my AMP can do, but at least provide me a better sound experience in terms of richness (call it dynamics ?) and level. Should I consider a combo of DAC with pre-AMP or AMP ?
As I use only two speakers for the TV, I'm of course not going to compare such solution to any 5.1 or other alike home cinema experience, that is not what I am after.

Some reference of devices:
- TV: Sony KDL-42W828B
- media box: Xiaomi Mi
- speakers: JBL Control 1X
- AMP (I used to have my speakers connect to, with all devices): Pioneer VSA-D7

Thank you for your expert adives :)
 

AudioStudies

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If your speakers are passive, you will definitely need an amp, in addition to a preamp. Or what is called an integrated amp that includes both the preamp and amp. In some cases, the preamplifier can be omitted if the DAC you choose has a volume control. In that case the DAC could feed directly into an amp. If you go that route you won't have any additional inputs available. But all of these things can be had in small form factors. I am a fan of Topping products.
 

Blumlein 88

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What is your budget? And how large can the speakers be and fit the space? And do you have a reason not to use active speakers (maybe no plugs available to power them)?
 
OP
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scal

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If your speakers are passive, you will definitely need an amp, in addition to a preamp. Or what is called an integrated amp that includes both the preamp and amp. In some cases, the preamplifier can be omitted if the DAC you choose has a volume control. In that case the DAC could feed directly into an amp. If you go that route you won't have any additional inputs available. But all of these things can be had in small form factors. I am a fan of Topping products.
Thank you for the feedback.
I was thinking the MX3 and PA3 combo but MX3 is not available, and MX5 is quite a budget leap compared to MX3.
Any singe unit or combo you would recommend ? I'm looking for about 250€ range but this is a 'random' number, I can extend it a bit if needed but I just don't want to spend hundreds or thousands to buy something I have in my Pioneer which just don't fit

Thank you
 
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scal

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What is your budget? And how large can the speakers be and fit the space? And do you have a reason not to use active speakers (maybe no plugs available to power them)?
Thank you for the reply.
I'm thinking around 250€
the speaker cannot be much more than monitors of the size of JBL Control 1 (roughly 14dx23hx16w) but I don't wish to buy new speakers as I have them available. Indeed, power source is a bit of a struggle, again due to the custom furniture which hides only 2 outlet on which I can only connect an extension of about 4 extra plugs. I also want to keep the space 'neat', not a home cinema or music studio feel as it's the common living area of the appartement.

Thank you
 

AudioStudies

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Thank you for the feedback.
I was thinking the MX3 and PA3 combo but MX3 is not available, and MX5 is quite a budget leap compared to MX3.
Any singe unit or combo you would recommend ? I'm looking for about 250€ range but this is a 'random' number, I can extend it a bit if needed but I just don't want to spend hundreds or thousands to buy something I have in my Pioneer which just don't fit

Thank you
I don't have all the model numbers on the tip of my tongue, but I suggest you just shop for Topping products at the Apos Audio web site.
 
OP
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scal

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I don't have all the model numbers on the tip of my tongue, but I suggest you just shop for Topping products at the Apos Audio web site.
Thanks, I forgot to mention I'm in Europe ? :) I'll have to use another website but I was browsing Atos to get an ide on products.
As helper, I'm browsing options from online shop with in/out-puts and price range, example: https://www.audiophonics.fr/en/inte...ical/output-speaker_terminal/channel-2_stereo
I'm looking at availability as well and the LOXJIE A30 seems like a good candidate, allowing me to connect a few devices if i need to via different ports
 

tonycollinet

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I think the A30 would be a very good match for your needs.

For context - my Son has a very similar situation - very limited space for components, but only needs the analogue output from his TV to be amplified. I bought him one of these for Christmas.


While it won't break any Sinad records (or even come close), and I'm sure it doesn't achieve the claimed 50W - it is amazing what you can get for £40. And it knocks the socks of the built in TV speakers, and sits at the back of a shelf never needing to be touched or even looked at. It is about the size of a pack of playing cards.

The A30 will be much better than that.
 

djtetei

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You already have what you need, so there's no reason to spend more money on new equipment. Just put a nice table in front of your furniture able to hold the weight of the amplifier and enjoy life more.
Don't try to complicate things when there are simple solutions available.
 
OP
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scal

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I think the A30 would be a very good match for your needs.

For context - my Son has a very similar situation - very limited space for components, but only needs the analogue output from his TV to be amplified. I bought him one of these for Christmas.


While it won't break any Sinad records (or even come close), and I'm sure it doesn't achieve the claimed 50W - it is amazing what you can get for £40. And it knocks the socks of the built in TV speakers, and sits at the back of a shelf never needing to be touched or even looked at. It is about the size of a pack of playing cards.

The A30 will be much better than that.
Thanks for your input, that little device look very nice ! :)
 
OP
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scal

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You already have what you need, so there's no reason to spend more money on new equipment. Just put a nice table in front of your furniture able to hold the weight of the amplifier and enjoy life more.
Don't try to complicate things when there are simple solutions available.
Thank you for the suggestion; even if it is a practical one which I would have though of in case it just was possible, it simply is not a solution for my situation. I even thought of putting my setup in a corner which would not be practical to use (manually like putting a cd disc in or remotely to play/pause, etc.) but I would need cables (power outlet extension as well as audio/video ones) running all around the room. I am not alone living in this space and can't just 'put this and there wherever.
Constrains sometimes requires adjustment, which can require spending 'a bit' of money
 

djtetei

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Constrains sometimes requires adjustment, which can require spending 'a bit' of money
My dear friend, your money is yours to spend, but, sometimes, those adjustments has to be made by other people also sharing your space and part of those adjustments may require some attention and awareness to cabling and power outlet extensions. Cables and power outlet extensions are cheaper than a full blown amplifier, which by design, even if lighter weight and smaller height, may have the same form factor as your current amplifier.
If I'm not mistaken the JBL Control 1X speakers power handling is 125 W continuous, which may require an amplifier capable of delivering at least 250 W continous at 4 ohms, in order to provide a minimum headroom of 3 dB.
Ultimately, it is your choose and your money.
I am just trying to be helpful without being ignorant of the financial costs.
 
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scal

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My dear friend, your money is yours to spend, but, sometimes, those adjustments has to be made by other people also sharing your space and part of those adjustments may require some attention and awareness to cabling and power outlet extensions. Cables and power outlet extensions are cheaper than a full blown amplifier, which by design, even if lighter weight and smaller height, may have the same form factor as your current amplifier.
If I'm not mistaken the JBL Control 1X speakers power handling is 125 W continuous, which may require an amplifier capable of delivering at least 250 W continous at 8 ohms, in order to provide a minimum headroom of 3 dB.
Ultimately, it is your choose and your money.
I am just trying to be helpful without being ignorant of the financial costs.
I understand and believe me I would do minor adjustments if I could. Renting a place don't allow me to just start adding outlets wherever I need them just like replacing custom build furniture.

I'm definitely not technical, I had my setup for years without really paying attention to technicalities. So thank you for sharing that thought !
I loved how the JBL sounded at a friend's place so I bought a couple of pairs and then acquired a 'regular' amp and other devices to complete the setup. Never thought "these will not work together". That's why I came here for adives :)
How would I know if any small amp I'm considering would not even power out the speakers to hear them from the couch, when they are next to the tv about 2.5 meters in front ?
 
OP
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scal

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I contacted a local shop which actually advice to go for a 'FDA' instead of a Class D. Argument is that if I only want to connect digital inputs (TV, media player, and alike), and FDA would be digitally native for all inputs. Thoughts ? Thank you
 

Zek

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advice to go for a 'FDA'
Maybe this one ...
 

djtetei

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@scal
And how the sound is supposed to reach the speakers, which are analog, by the way?
There is no such thing as fully digital amplifier, if you are thinking this way or those "shop people" tried to inject that ideea to you.
There is a fully differential amplifier, hence the term FDA, but, ultimately the output stage has to be analog.
The digital signal in digital domain is a string of 0 and 1. In order to hear what those zeros and ones are, they need to be converted to analog domain (the sinusoid form or the sound has to be reconstructed).
A class D amplifier does not mean that it has to have a built-in digital sound processing unit.
If you only use digital sources, like most people use these days anyway, your signal chain will consist of a digital to analog converter with or without built-in DSP feature and an amplifier, no matter what class it is, who will amplify the analog signal (ussualy a voltage amplifier).
 
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scal

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Maybe this one ...
That is one of the list I have, although the shop suggested the SMSL AD18 V3.1.
I'm trying to review a few from this site to have a better idea and make a 'short list'
 
OP
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scal

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@scal
And how the sound is supposed to reach the speakers, which are analog, by the way?
There is no such thing as fully digital amplifier, if you are thinking this way or those "shop people" tried to inject that ideea to you.
There is a fully differential amplifier, hence the term FDA, but, ultimately the output stage has to be analog.
The digital signal in digital domain is a string of 0 and 1. In order to hear what those zeros and ones are, they need to be converted to analog domain (the sinusoid form or the sound has to be reconstructed).
A class D amplifier does not mean that it has to have a built-in digital sound processing unit.
If you only use digital sources, like most people use these days anyway, your signal chain will consist of a digital to analog converter with or without built-in DSP feature and an amplifier, no matter what class it is, who will amplify the analog signal (ussualy a voltage amplifier).
Thank you for the feedback.
As I'm not an expert nor even a novice (rather a 'noob' I'm not afraid to say :)) in this domain, I can only rely on sources I find (this forum, the reviews and shops). The more I search and get feedback, the more confused I get on what to choose from after all :(
 

gumblag

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I recently moved place and we have build in furniture which is not deep enough to hold my audio and video devices. I used to connect the TV and other devices to the AMP but now I have to look into a compact alternative to replace the AMP to be able to place the device near the TV and not use the (awful) built-in TV speakers to view movies or listing to music, both form streaming apps via a media box. The media box itself has no sound output options so I foresee to use the TV output options (it has optical, hdmi, rca, and quite a few others) directly.
So you need a different amp which is smaller due to lack of space?
 

gumblag

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Thank you for the feedback.
As I'm not an expert nor even a novice (rather a 'noob' I'm not afraid to say :)) in this domain, I can only rely on sources I find (this forum, the reviews and shops). The more I search and get feedback, the more confused I get on what to choose from after all :(
What exactly is confusing? The increasing numbers of options or the options themselves?
 
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