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Speakers KEF R3 equipment match

metokolev

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Hello Folks,

Nice to meet you!

I found this forum this week when searching with what gear to pair KEF R3 (non-meta) speakers (can purchase for 1050EUR). My budget is between 2500EUR and 3000EUR. This is for my leaving room sized ~21 square meters. I listen only on Spotify (considering to change to Qobuz once available at my country) but don't want to limit myself for the future to just streaming.

So based on the tenths of youtube reviews and even more forum posts/ reviews (here and elsewhere) I read, I am thinking of the following equipment match with the KEF R3.
  1. Yamaha r-n1000a integrated amp/ network receiver - must be hard to change at a later point but in budget and can save for a sub.
  2. Rega Elex-R MK4 integrated amp + WiiM pro plus (for streaming) - I heard only good reviews on the Rega here and elsewhere however in a post on this form a concern is raised that if connected to a streamer clipping appears when changing songs. Other than that in budget.
  3. Apollo Hypex NCx500 (amp) + Schiit Freya S (pre-amp, not sure if needed though) + RME ADI-2 DAC + WiiM pro plus (streaming) - will be way above my budget but was proposed as a really good (in particular AMP + DAC) combo by a major contributor on another thread.

This will be my first hi-fi audio gear so cannot wait to hear your opinions, suggestions and/ or comments.

Thank you!
 
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alex-z

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I would recommend against an integrated amp. It really limits your options in terms of room correction software and future upgrades, standalone components are better value.

Spend less on the DAC, you don't need a $1200 RME ADI-2. Something like an SMSL DO100 is pushing near state of the art performance for $200 currently.

You can skip the pre-amp entirely if your system only has a single source. Volume control on the DAC will reduce the output voltage going to your DAC.
 
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metokolev

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Not needed I’d say. What would it add to the RME?
Thank you. I won't be investing in pre-amp then.
I would recommend against an integrated amp. It really limits your options in terms of room correction software and future upgrades, standalone components are better value.

Spend less on the DAC, you don't need a $1200 RME ADI-2. Something like an SMSL DO100 is pushing near state of the art performance for $200 currently.

You can skip the pre-amp entirely if your system only has a single source. Volume control on the DAC will reduce the output voltage going to your DAC.
Thanks! So, pre-amps are needed if you have two or more sources, for example another amp in another room or? I don't get why would you need 2 amps... Sorry a fresh newbie here.

Do you think I should do this combo Apollo Hypex NCx500 (amp) + SMSL DO100 (DAC) + WiiM pro plus (streaming)?

Thank you both for helping me decide on the right equipment!

Have a good weekend!
 

alex-z

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Thanks! So, pre-amps are needed if you have two or more sources, for example another amp in another room or? I don't get why would you need 2 amps... Sorry a fresh newbie here.

Do you think I should do this combo Apollo Hypex NCx500 (amp) + SMSL DO100 (DAC) + WiiM pro plus (streaming)?

Thank you both for helping me decide on the right equipment!

Have a good weekend!

By multiple sources, I meant streamer + CD player + turntable for example. Having a pre-amp just makes having them all connected simultaneously a bit simpler. Even then, the pre-amp isn't technically required, it just provides you a means of volume control for sources which are not routed through the DAC.

Yes, I think that combo would be a good setup. Alternatively, you could use a miniDSP Flex as your DAC. This costs a bit more, but gives you the ability to run Dirac Live directly on the DAC, and the subwoofer integration ability is also excellent.

 

Moonbase

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Welcome to ASR and the R3 are nice speakers. The first thing is to get a decent source like Qobuz. All good amps but maybe the Rega.

Now if your wanting room correction then maybe spend a little more say NAD or Lyngdorf. The Lyngdorf 1120 would be compelling with room perfect and good streaming options with the kef R3s
 
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metokolev

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By multiple sources, I meant streamer + CD player + turntable for example. Having a pre-amp just makes having them all connected simultaneously a bit simpler. Even then, the pre-amp isn't technically required, it just provides you a means of volume control for sources which are not routed through the DAC.

Yes, I think that combo would be a good setup. Alternatively, you could use a miniDSP Flex as your DAC. This costs a bit more, but gives you the ability to run Dirac Live directly on the DAC, and the subwoofer integration ability is also excellent.

Thank you! So basically if in future I consider to get a turntable/ cd player is recommended to get a pre-amp too. Got it know, thank you very much for guiding me in this journey.

So Alex you suggest to go for the Apollo + MiniDP + WiiM pro plus combo, right? Thank you!
 
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metokolev

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Welcome to ASR and the R3 are nice speakers. The first thing is to get a decent source like Qobuz. All good amps but maybe the Rega.

Now if your wanting room correction then maybe spend a little more say NAD or Lyngdorf. The Lyngdorf 1120 would be compelling with room perfect and good streaming options with the kef R3s
Thank you it's really nice community and happy to be here.

So you are recommending the integrated amp despite the concerns listed above?

Thank you all again, your advices are of great help!
 

Moonbase

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Thank you it's really nice community and happy to be here.

So you are recommending the integrated amp despite the concerns listed above?

Thank you all again, your advices are of great help!
No issue with any off the suggests. The source and speakers will make the biggest difference.
 

alex-z

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Thank you! So basically if in future I consider to get a turntable/ cd player is recommended to get a pre-amp too. Got it know, thank you very much for guiding me in this journey.

So Alex you suggest to go for the Apollo + MiniDP + WiiM pro plus combo, right? Thank you!

Yes, that is the combo I would personally buy.

I see someone else recommended NAD or Lygndorf, but in my experience they are too expensive for the features offered. The Lyngdrof 1120 for example is $2200, and while it has a nice GUI, the actual quality of room correction software is not better than Dirac Live running on the miniDSP. Particularly when it comes to multi-sub integration.
 

DoctorRobert

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I think that the big question to ask yourself is how complicated you want to go. If you accept some, it is wise to invest in a solution with room correction. I use KEF R3s in my home cinema room together with an SVS SB-1000 sub and the room correction of a Denon AVR-x2600 and I am quite happy with the result. In the living room I am using a SONOS amp together with a DALI speakers (Fazon F5). Probably less accuracy but it still sounds pleasant enough for my ears. And a very simple and tidy setup. So if you can live without room correction, the SONOS amp is a good choice for a tidy, all in one box. If you want some room correction, some Yamaha products (amps with integrated Spotify support) are worth considering. Lyngdorf has a simular approach but you pay more for better room correction, and it will probably require a bit more effort to set it up correctly. And then there are the solutions with dedicated function per box. So seperate room correction (e.g. miniDSP Flex), a streamer (WiiM) and a power amp. Very effective room correction, once you get it right, but maybe less easy to use if you expect somebody else to use it, who is maybe less interested sound quality.

TL;DR To me the biggest question is the choice between room correction and convenience. Amplifiers sound very similar.
 
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metokolev

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No issue with any off the suggests. The source and speakers will make the biggest difference.
Got it. That's why I am concidering the more high quality Qobuz with WiiM pro plus (source) and the speakers for that price rage seem really good.
Yes, that is the combo I would personally buy.

I see someone else recommended NAD or Lygndorf, but in my experience they are too expensive for the features offered. The Lyngdrof 1120 for example is $2200, and while it has a nice GUI, the actual quality of room correction software is not better than Dirac Live running on the miniDSP. Particularly when it comes to multi-sub integration.
Thank you Alex! Yes, certainly I am thinking to add a sub at a later point.
I think that the big question to ask yourself is how complicated you want to go. If you accept some, it is wise to invest in a solution with room correction. I use KEF R3s in my home cinema room together with an SVS SB-1000 sub and the room correction of a Denon AVR-x2600 and I am quite happy with the result. In the living room I am using a SONOS amp together with a DALI speakers (Fazon F5). Probably less accuracy but it still sounds pleasant enough for my ears. And a very simple and tidy setup. So if you can live without room correction, the SONOS amp is a good choice for a tidy, all in one box. If you want some room correction, some Yamaha products (amps with integrated Spotify support) are worth considering. Lyngdorf has a simular approach but you pay more for better room correction, and it will probably require a bit more effort to set it up correctly. And then there are the solutions with dedicated function per box. So seperate room correction (e.g. miniDSP Flex), a streamer (WiiM) and a power amp. Very effective room correction, once you get it right, but maybe less easy to use if you expect somebody else to use it, who is maybe less interested sound quality.

TL;DR To me the biggest question is the choice between room correction and convenience. Amplifiers sound very similar.
Yes, that's why I was thinking the r-n1000a. But looking at all the options seems the separate boxes are much better value for the money than in all in one box, e.g. the Yamaha, NAD or Lyngdorf. Thank you all!
Too expensive to be sure, but NAD M33 does it all, and it's good looking too.
Looks good yes but its way above my budget. Thank you for the recommendation.
 

Moonbase

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The lyngdorf 1120 offers the ability to manger 2 subwoofers, with flexible tweaking without effort or the need to purchase extra mics or need for a laptop. No sure what a MiniDSP offers over room perfect other than the extra complexity of Dirac?

In terms of cost the nad m10 and even cheaper all-in ones nads with Dirac do a good job. No need to buy a M33.
 
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metokolev

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The lyngdorf 1120 offers the ability to manger 2 subwoofers, with flexible tweaking without effort or the need to purchase extra mics or need for a laptop. No sure what a MiniDSP offers over room perfect other than the extra complexity of Dirac?

In terms of cost the nad m10 and even cheaper all-in ones nads with Dirac do a good job. No need to buy a M33.
Ok it seems the lyngdord and the nad m10 are in the same price range. So both are integrated amps with streamer and dac built in right? So either one of those or the above combo with separate boxes. Would see if they will be any discounts after the holidays and then finalize. Last question, are there any specifics when I connect the separate boxes - apollo + miniDSP + WiiM Pro?

Thank you for the quick support all!
 
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metokolev

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Yes, that is the combo I would personally buy.

I see someone else recommended NAD or Lygndorf, but in my experience they are too expensive for the features offered. The Lyngdrof 1120 for example is $2200, and while it has a nice GUI, the actual quality of room correction software is not better than Dirac Live running on the miniDSP. Particularly when it comes to multi-sub integration.
@alex-z Thank you! I've read the same in other posts here. The one box solutions are generally pricier because they are more convenient for the user and everybody in the chain need to markup.

What should I consider when connecting the separate boxes - Apollo Hypex NCx500 + miniDSP Flex Digital + WiiM Pro and the KEF R3?

I found the miniDSP Flex in Europe but DIrac live need to be purchased separately. I can't find it with Dirac live included. Couple of questions though?
  1. I assume the UMIK mic is required if I want to activate the Dirac live?
  2. Do I need to be worried about the different FLEX models, e.g. balanced/ unbalanced/ digital? Seems the analog audio output is the biggest difference between unbalanced and digital. The balanced is 100EUR more expensive than the unbalanced and digital. I read in an article that it depends on the amp but no idea if the ports of the Hypex NCx500 ST Lux Stereo Amplifier are balanced or not.
Thanks agains and apologies if I've been pain in the ass with all the silly questions.
1702222781905.png

The lyngdorf 1120 offers the ability to manger 2 subwoofers, with flexible tweaking without effort or the need to purchase extra mics or need for a laptop. No sure what a MiniDSP offers over room perfect other than the extra complexity of Dirac?

In terms of cost the nad m10 and even cheaper all-in ones nads with Dirac do a good job. No need to buy a M33.
Why complexity? Isn't Dirac same type of feature/ software as Yamaha's YPAO which purpose is to correct acoustics in the room?


Summarizing all of the above (hopefully haven't excluded any good suggestions), I see these as my main options:

  1. Integrated amps – all in one box
    1. Lyngdorf TDAI-1120 - 4100лв (2095EUR/ 2250USD)
    2. NAD M10 v2 – 4740лв (2420EUR/ 2600USD)
    3. Yamaha r-n1000a - 2795лв (1430EUR/ 1540USD)
  2. Dedicated function per box – 4555лв (2325EUR/ 2500USD)

Hope this info will be of help to other users as well when deciding on their Hi-FI purchase.

Thank you all!
 
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metokolev

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Ok, here is the answer to the 2nd question - The Apollo Hypex NCx500 comes standard with 4 selectable gain settings, switchable input between Neutrik XLR balanced / Gold plated single-ended inputs, 12V trigger with passthrough and Furutech FI-06 gold-plated mains input.
1702333191183.png
 

RickyC34

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@alex-z

What should I consider when connecting the separate boxes - Apollo Hypex NCx500 + miniDSP Flex Digital + WiiM Pro and the KEF R3?
The only thing to consider is the outputs of your amp. Balanced or unbalanced and match that.
I found the miniDSP Flex in Europe but DIrac live need to be purchased separately. I can't find it with Dirac live included. Couple of questions though?
  1. I assume the UMIK mic is required if I want to activate the Dirac live?
Yes
2.Do I need to be worried about the different FLEX models, e.g. balanced/ unbalanced/ digital? Seems the analog audio output is the biggest difference between unbalanced and digital. The balanced is 100EUR more expensive than the unbalanced and digital. I read in an article that it depends on the amp but no idea if the ports of the Hypex NCx500 ST Lux Stereo Amplifier are balanced or not.
Thanks agains and apologies if I've been pain in the ass with all the silly questions.
Get the balanced or unbalanced version to match your amp, not digital.
Why complexity? Isn't Dirac same type of feature/ software as Yamaha's YPAO which purpose is to correct acoustics in the room?
Dirac is the same as it is room correction but it's very different than YPAO. Dirac does have a learning curve and not to scare you away but learning REW to optimize your Minidsp has an even steeper learning curve. Some people like myself like to tinker and want enjoy the total control over the system that the Flex offers. This isn't for everyone.

Room Perfect or Audyssey is much more user-friendly in my opinion.

I own the OG R3's after comparing the Emotiva A-2, Schiit Vidar 2, and Purifi 1ET400A, I landed on the Purifi. I also have a Minidsp FlexHt that's arriving on the 13th.

If you're looking to broaden your understanding of audio and you understand it will be a bit of a journey the Flex is a great option. If you want to set it and forget it, I have never seen an owner of the 1120 not thrilled with their purchase. Many of which seem to have it paired with Kef speakers.

Dirac is $200 on the flex and can be purchased from Minidsp's website. I believe you can purchase straight from Dirac as well.
 
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metokolev

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The only thing to consider is the outputs of your amp. Balanced or unbalanced and match that.

Yes

Get the balanced or unbalanced version to match your amp, not digital.

Dirac is the same as it is room correction but it's very different than YPAO. Dirac does have a learning curve and not to scare you away but learning REW to optimize your Minidsp has an even steeper learning curve. Some people like myself like to tinker and want enjoy the total control over the system that the Flex offers. This isn't for everyone.

Room Perfect or Audyssey is much more user-friendly in my opinion.

I own the OG R3's after comparing the Emotiva A-2, Schiit Vidar 2, and Purifi 1ET400A, I landed on the Purifi. I also have a Minidsp FlexHt that's arriving on the 13th.

If you're looking to broaden your understanding of audio and you understand it will be a bit of a journey the Flex is a great option. If you want to set it and forget it, I have never seen an owner of the 1120 not thrilled with their purchase. Many of which seem to have it paired with Kef speakers.

Dirac is $200 on the flex and can be purchased from Minidsp's website. I believe you can purchase straight from Dirac as well.
Thank you RIcky! I couldn't understand the difference between Purifi and Hypex but seems you can't go wrong with either. If the price is the same which one would you choose? I read here comments that the purifi cools better in general and is newer technology.

It's interesting topic for sure, that I don't mind learning more about it. Also I am more keen to buy a box per function in case I want to upgrade in future but also to get more for the buck. To upgrade an integrated amp need to either buy another one or change to box per function anyway. It seems people in the forum agree that integrated amps are pricier and you don't get the most for the price you pay.

I will try without Dirac but maybe would later upgrade (when the new paycheck comes in), and I read more on the REW & Dirac.

Congrats on the new purchase!

Sorry last question, I read that you definitely need a sub to bring your system to the other level. SVS seems as highly recommended. I have short listed SVS SB-1000pro & SB-3000 micro, any impressions on either? This will be at a later point for sure.

Thanks again and have a nice day!
 
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