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Which DAC/Player for studio monitors in a "classic" stereo setup


Oct 16, 2022

I currently have a "classic"/analog stereo setup. I've been thinking of switching to active speakers for a few years now and think the time has finally come. My current setup is a Marantz PM5005, connected to a Marantz CD5005, my TV via aux to cinch cable and the Dynavoice Definition DM-6 speakers.

For new speakers, I pretty much decided to get the Genelec 8340 (RAW) with the GLM-Kit (which hopefully makes the biggest different). I listened to the speakers yesterday in a music store near me, and they sounded pretty good. Sadly I couldn't play music of my choice, but a genre was played that I will listen to most, and they weren't even calibrated, so it hopefully will sound even better in my room, especially since I use completely recalibrated passive speakers now.

I want to use the Genelec's pretty much the same way I use my passive speakers now, so I need some kind of device where I can plug in my TV and my CD-Player and control the volume via a remote. I read a lot about devices probably suited for that here, and on many different sites, and think I probably already found the right thing but to be sure I make this post here.

My max budget for everything is, €3500. The Genelec's cost €1300 each and the GLM-Kit costs an extra €310. I will probably pay €25 or something for cables, so that leaves me around €500 for the preamp or what I will get. Ideally, I would like to pay more in the region of around €300.

Since I currently have my TV and CD-Player connected via cinch, I could use a fully analog preamp, but I think I want to go digital. My TV has one eARC and one Optical option as digital outputs, and my CD-Player can digitally output in Optical and Coaxial. So I will probably need a device with one Optical and one Coaxial input option. I don't really need Bluetooth and do not care about MQA.

My favorite option right now is the Sabaj A10d (2022). I really like the design (even though I would prefer black), the Bluetooth option, the balanced XLR outputs and the USB-C port since. I generally would like to have all my devices have USB-C even though I wouldn't even use it on this device.

Furthermore, I also think the Topping EX5 looks pretty cool, but I kind of like the Sabaj more. I know there are a lot of Toppings, SMSL and Loxje devices in that price area and that is probably the reason why I write this post, so you can tell me if my conclusion is the right one or if there is a clearly better option.

One big thing is maybe that I really have no use for the/a headphone amplifier in that device. Maybe it would be useful a few years in the future when I use it in a desktop setup, but yeah, I don't plan for that case.

I hope everything I wrote is clear, and thanks in advance.
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