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Recommendation Request - Desktop AMP + DAC to power passive Dali Spektor 1 speakers

Kaizen

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Hi all,

Hope you're well.

My first post on this forum...I am looking for some recommendations with regards to a Desktop AMP + DAC to power a pair of Dali Spektor 1 speakers - where music in my office will be played via a MacBook Pro. Also to add, occasionally I may use Bluetooth from my phone to listen to music via the speakers, and also may purchase headphones in the near future, so will need a setup with these capabilities.

I originally liked the small form factor of the Topping A50s/D50s. However, I realised that this combination is mainly used for an analog setup whereas, for my requirements I need the AMP to have 'Speaker Out' for my digital setup?

In addition to the above, is it recommended to convert a banana plug connection from the passive Dali Spektor 1 speakers, back into an RCA connection on the topping A50s?

Any help, guidance or support is appreciated.

Thanks.
 

AudioAaron

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I have no complaints with my SMSL Q5 Pro. It's tiny and works just fine for small nearfield bookshelf speakers. It does lack the additional features you are asking for, though.
 
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Kaizen

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Thanks for the recommendations...will research those.

Since my post, I’ve also come across:

1. NAD 3020 v2 (All in one)
2. PA8 (Amp) + D50s (Dac)

What would be your revised views on the above?

Thanks.
 
Last edited:

RickSanchez

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I think you need to start with the speakers and work backwards to the rest of the setup. A couple questions there:
  • Do you already own the Dali Spektor 1's?
  • Are you planning to buy a subwoofer as well? The Dali Spektor 1 speakers are very small, and spec'ed performance looks like it's only down to 59 Hz.
Assuming you're staying with the Dali Spektor 1's and not buying a sub, you're likely looking at needing three components:
  1. DAC
  2. Headphone amp
  3. Speaker amp
    • The Topping A50s is a headphone amp.
    • The PA8 I believe is a pre-amp.
Obviously you could get rid of #3 if you bought active speakers, which would save some room on your desk and -- depending on what you bought -- might have far more bass extension so that you could potentially avoid buying a sub. For example: the Kali LP-6 or the JBL 306P MK II.

Overall though just make sure that if you're going with the Dali Spektor 1's that you research speaker amps -- and ideally ones with a subwoofer out in case you need it.
 
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Kaizen

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I think you need to start with the speakers and work backwards to the rest of the setup. A couple questions there:
[*]Do you already own the Dali Spektor 1's?
[*]Are you planning to buy a subwoofer as well? The Dali Spektor 1 speakers are very small, and spec'ed performance looks like it's only down to 59 Hz.
Assuming you're staying with the Dali Spektor 1's and not buying a sub, you're likely looking at needing three components:
  1. DAC
  2. Headphone amp
  3. Speaker amp
    • The Topping A50s is a headphone amp.
    • The PA8 I believe is a pre-amp.
Obviously you could get rid of #3 if you bought active speakers, which would save some room on your desk and -- depending on what you bought -- might have far more bass extension so that you could potentially avoid buying a sub. For example: the Kali LP-6 or the JBL 306P MK II.

Overall though just make sure that if you're going with the Dali Spektor 1's that you research speaker amps -- and ideally ones with a subwoofer out in case you need it.


Thanks for your inputs. Please see below with regards to your points:
  • I have already purchased the Dali Spektor 1 speakers - these were the smallest size speakers I could find. Originally I wanted the Q Acoustics 3020 however, these were not available in the colour that I needed them in
  • I am not immediately planning to buy a subwoofer as the speakers will be used in a small sized room (office) however, in future I may add a subwoofer
Are there any alternative speaker amps that you would recommend please? So far on the list it seems we have SMSL Q5 Pro, Loxjie A30, Nad 3020 v2.

Also to add, the Dali Spektor 1 speakers only have a sensitivity of 83.0 dB - so I would imagine I would need quite a powerful amp to get the most out of the speakers? Currently, I am tempted by the Nad 3020 v2 as it seems to have all the connections and features that I am looking for however, I am wondering whether this device will be powerful enough to drive the Dali Spektor 1's?

Thanks.
 
Last edited:

RickSanchez

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Are there any alternative speaker amps that you would recommend please? So far on the list it seems we have SMSL Q5 Pro, Loxjie A30, Nad 3020 v2

Let's start with the three that you mention, at least from an ASR perspective:
  1. SMSL Q5 Pro: measurements are pretty bad.
  2. Loxjie A30: measurements are good at least for the DAC + power amp portions.
    • The headphone amp measurements are really poor. You would need to buy a separate headphone amp if you want to use decent headphones, and it does not appear there's an output on the Loxjie A30 to connect to the inputs of a separate headphone amp.
  3. NAD 3020 v2: no measurements on ASR that I'm aware of.
    • One member had to return his unit because it ran too hot.
    • Does this device have a headphone out?
If you want an all-in-one and don't care about the headphone amp section -- and if you're able to wait a couple months -- then the Loxjie A30 seems like a great fit for your setup, one that measures well, and one that likely has enough power for you. As Amir states in his review:

Loxjie A30 Listening Tests
I decided to test the A30 in a typical desktop setup. So I grabbed the PSB Alpha P5 (84 dB sensitivity) and connected it to the A30. I was most impressed with power ability and lack of distortion! There was incredible bass and ability to drive the P5 hard. And loud. I could get ample loudness while staying below 50 on the volume control. Playing my deep bass tracks however caused distortion to show up above 50 (mild crackling). But really, that was quite hard and we are talking using just one speaker here.

Overall experience below limit was absolutely audiophile with no excuses to be made.


For me personally, if I were trying to set up a system that meets all of your requirements it would probably be:
  • DAC + headphone amp: Sabaj D5.
    • SOTA DAC.
    • Solid performer in the headphone amp section, although -- depending on your headphones -- a bit under-powered if you're using the SE output.
    • It has both RCA and XLR outputs. The XLR outputs are nice future-proofing in case you ever bought active speakers.
  • Bluetooth: Something cheap from Monoprice, connected via SPDIF to the Sabaj D5.
  • Power amp: a few options here ...
But I understand that what I listed above could take up too much space or be well above your budget.
 
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Kaizen

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Let's start with the three that you mention, at least from an ASR perspective:
  1. SMSL Q5 Pro: measurements are pretty bad.
  2. Loxjie A30: measurements are good at least for the DAC + power amp portions.
    • The headphone amp measurements are really poor. You would need to buy a separate headphone amp if you want to use decent headphones, and it does not appear there's an output on the Loxjie A30 to connect to the inputs of a separate headphone amp.
  3. NAD 3020 v2: no measurements on ASR that I'm aware of.
    • One member had to return his unit because it ran too hot.
    • Does this device have a headphone out?
If you want an all-in-one and don't care about the headphone amp section -- and if you're able to wait a couple months -- then the Loxjie A30 seems like a great fit for your setup, one that measures well, and one that likely has enough power for you. As Amir states in his review:




For me personally, if I were trying to set up a system that meets all of your requirements it would probably be:
  • DAC + headphone amp: Sabaj D5.
    • SOTA DAC.
    • Solid performer in the headphone amp section, although -- depending on your headphones -- a bit under-powered if you're using the SE output.
    • It has both RCA and XLR outputs. The XLR outputs are nice future-proofing in case you ever bought active speakers.
  • Bluetooth: Something cheap from Monoprice, connected via SPDIF to the Sabaj D5.
  • Power amp: a few options here ...
But I understand that what I listed above could take up too much space or be well above your budget.

Apologies for the late reply.

I had a review of those combinations that you have recommended and it was quite a bit out of my budget unfortunately. I decided to go with the NAD 3020 initially (which does have a headphone out) but then I was not sure if my low sensitivity speakers required more power, so decided to go for the NAD 3045 instead - this device is an all in one amp/dac and so far i'm very impressed with the sound quality, and this device has all the features that I was looking for :)
 
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