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Second system / small and budget friendly


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Hi,

 

For work reasons I commute between Norway and Croatia, and when in Norway I use headphones to listen to music. But I'm thinking of putting a small system on budget, would consist of Laptop + Integ. amp with DAC + Bookshelfs.

 

For speakers I have some favorites, and for amp I was thinking HEGEL H80, but if there is something similar with lower price would be nice, any suggestions?

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… I'm thinking of putting a small system on budget, would consist of Laptop + Integ. amp with DAC + Bookshelfs.

 

Have you considered going with powered speakers and eliminating the integrated amp? Lots of nice choices, a smaller footprint, and probably pretty cost-effective.

 

--David

Listening Room: Mac mini (Roon Core) > iMac (HQP) > exaSound PlayPoint (as NAA) > exaSound e32 > W4S STP-SE > Benchmark AHB2 > Wilson Sophia Series 2 (Details)

Office: Mac Pro >  AudioQuest DragonFly Red > JBL LSR305

Mobile: iPhone 6S > AudioQuest DragonFly Black > JH Audio JH5

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Have you considered going with powered speakers and eliminating the integrated amp? Lots of nice choices, a smaller footprint, and probably pretty cost-effective.

 

--David

 

Yes I was thinking about Genelec, but never heard them, and how to connect them with the laptop?

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Yes I was thinking about Genelec, but never heard them, and how to connect them with the laptop?

 

@DigiPete is the resident Genelec expert here. With luck, he will be magically summoned if I mention his name, or you can send him a PM.

 

For the lower end of the Genelec line (e.g., 8010), I think you would just use USB from the computer to an outboard DAC, and then out from the DAC you would go analog RCA or XLR (depending on the particular DAC & speaker and your preference) to the speaker. This is what I do with my LSR305's in the office. These days there are a number of very good DACs (IMO) that would be suitable for this kind of near-field setup for less than US$500, many considerably less. Just so you have an idea, you can implement a powered-speaker setup like this pretty cheaply, and it sounds pretty darn good. My (sadly, non-Genelec) system cost me around US$450.

 

As you move up the Genelec line, you start to get into Genelec monitors with onboard DAC capability (starting, I think, around the 8330A). So at that point, you'd probably be looking at USB out from the computer to a USB -> AES/EBU converter and thence to the speaker. I'm not exactly sure what your budget is, but with this all-digital setup you're starting to get into what I'd consider relatively big money for an office system.

 

Anyway, this is just what I get from looking at the Genelec website and the manuals for the speakers. Pete will be the authoritative source for this stuff.

 

--David

Listening Room: Mac mini (Roon Core) > iMac (HQP) > exaSound PlayPoint (as NAA) > exaSound e32 > W4S STP-SE > Benchmark AHB2 > Wilson Sophia Series 2 (Details)

Office: Mac Pro >  AudioQuest DragonFly Red > JBL LSR305

Mobile: iPhone 6S > AudioQuest DragonFly Black > JH Audio JH5

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@DigiPete is the resident Genelec expert here. With luck, he will be magically summoned if I mention his name, or you can send him a PM.

 

For the lower end of the Genelec line (e.g., 8010), I think you would just use USB from the computer to an outboard DAC, and then out from the DAC you would go analog RCA or XLR (depending on the particular DAC & speaker and your preference) to the speaker.

 

I was magically summoned ;-)

 

 

8010 is a great mobile monitor and has kept me happy during 6 months of travel:

 

Amazing travel setup: Dragonfly + Genelc 8010 (2 pcs = 3kg / 6.6 lb)

 

 

Genelec SAM series.

The SAM (Smart Active Monitor) series all have Genelecs GLM / Autocal room correction and monitor control system.

 

Genelec 8020, the next size up from 8010 comes in a version with analogue input but with GLM room correction:

Genelec 8320 (2 pcs = 6,4 kg / 14 lb)

 

8330A is next up, and while it offers insane sound in such a small package even for stationary use, weight penalty is even more severe (2 pcs = 11kg / 24.2 lb)

This is the smallest SAM series with digital input so you retain the purity of the signal.

All SAM's from here and up has both digital and analogue inputs (and will A -> D -> A any analogue inputs) #

 

 

The digital input is AES3 also known as AES/EBU (same protocol as the consumer S/PDIF but different impedance).

AES3 is the robust professional cousin that accepts up to 24/192 on 100m / 330 ft runs of cable.

 

 

AES3 external adapters

 

Yellowtec PUC2 USB -> AES3 - USD 500

 

Stello U3 USB -> AES3 - USD 400

 

M2tech hiFace Two USB -> S/PDIF USD 150

Neutrik S/PDIF - > AES3 Impedance Transformers USD 30

 

 

You pick your poison and take your chances.

 

Please feel free to chime in with better DAC's and AES devices or questions.

 

 

 

# SAM Subwoofers

 

Note that SAM subwoofers have digital inputs only: 4 x XLR digital in / 4 x XLR digital out (8 channels AES/EBU)

Except 7350A - the SAM entry SUB.

It is 5.1 in / 5 x out XLR analogue and 1 x in / 1 x out XLR digital (stereo)

Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB -> Thunderbolt2 ->
MacBook Pro M1 Pro -> Motu 8D -> AES/EBU ->
Genelec 5 x 8260A + 7271A sub
Genelec 8010 + 5040 sub

iPhone SE 2 ->  Sennheiser PXC 550 II
Blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile”

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Hi,

 

For work reasons I commute between Norway and Croatia, and when in Norway I use headphones to listen to music. But I'm thinking of putting a small system on budget, would consist of Laptop + Integ. amp with DAC + Bookshelfs.

 

For speakers I have some favorites, and for amp I was thinking HEGEL H80, but if there is something similar with lower price would be nice, any suggestions?

 

 

Try a NAD D3020 (DAC/AMP) for US$499

 

D 3020 Hybrid Digital Amplifier - NAD Electronics

 

It sounds excellent and is very versatile and even though it's rated at around 20 W/channel class D, it really puts out close to 60.

 

Speakers: Napa Acoustics S208 US$199/Pair

 

Napa Acoustic :: Products

 

My main stereo is in storage right now, and this is what I am using (with a laptop and Logitech Squeezebox Touch as sources) and I'm surprised at just how good this $700 worth of kit actually sounds. There's not much below 60 Hz, but from there on up the speakers are just magnificent and they image like gangbusters (as you would suspect)

George

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DigiPete thanks for your summon up :)

 

I think that I will go Genelec route, my concern is volume control, if go for Genelec G Three + Arcam irDAC I can only control volume from PC Jriver?

 

Above you described your system: 8010 + Dragonfly, how have you connected the dragonfly and 8010?

 

And also, what do you think, should there be some difference using dragonfly vs irDAC with G Three?

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DigiPete thanks for your summon up :)

 

I think that I will go Genelec route, my concern is volume control, if go for Genelec G Three + Arcam irDAC I can only control volume from PC Jriver?

 

That is the deal with the G Three, but I see no real problems with that. #

You could get an external passive volume control, this is often used by the pro's:

 

9000A Stereo Volume Control (unbalanced) - USD 110

 

TC Electronic Level Pilot (balanced) - USD 90

 

 

 

Above you described your system: 8010 + Dragonfly, how have you connected the dragonfly and 8010?

 

Adapter Cable XLR - Mini Jack USD 12

 

Not optimal to go unbalanced to balanced, but I wanted the low energy consumption of class D amps in 8010.

The raw power (2 x 40w) in a pickle jar size monitor doesn't hurt either. G One of same size has 2 x 12w A/B amps.

 

 

And also, what do you think, should there be some difference using dragonfly vs irDAC with G Three?

 

The Arcam rDAC (old version - no i) bought me time to research my real setup.

I found both rDAC and Dragonfly good value for money.

 

I chose the Dragonfly 1.2 both for the USB stick size and for the 64 step internal analogue volume.

 

 

 

# Genelec 8030B is the pro equivalent to the G Three consumer product in size, weight and coat.

Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB -> Thunderbolt2 ->
MacBook Pro M1 Pro -> Motu 8D -> AES/EBU ->
Genelec 5 x 8260A + 7271A sub
Genelec 8010 + 5040 sub

iPhone SE 2 ->  Sennheiser PXC 550 II
Blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile”

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I chose the Dragonfly 1.2 both for the USB stick size and for the 64 step internal analogue volume.

 

From your signature I see that you're on MAC, I'm on WIN, anyhow what do you think... if I decide for Dragonfly, than in JRiver Dragonfly will be selected as output device, and I could control volume from iPad and JRemote?

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Try a NAD D3020 (DAC/AMP) for US$499

 

D 3020 Hybrid Digital Amplifier - NAD Electronics

 

It sounds excellent and is very versatile and even though it's rated at around 20 W/channel class D, it really puts out close to 60.

 

Speakers: Napa Acoustics S208 US$199/Pair

 

Napa Acoustic :: Products

 

My main stereo is in storage right now, and this is what I am using (with a laptop and Logitech Squeezebox Touch as sources) and I'm surprised at just how good this $700 worth of kit actually sounds. There's not much below 60 Hz, but from there on up the speakers are just magnificent and they image like gangbusters (as you would suspect)

 

Also interesting option...

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From your signature I see that you're on MAC, I'm on WIN, anyhow what do you think... if I decide for Dragonfly, than in JRiver Dragonfly will be selected as output device, and I could control volume from iPad and JRemote?

 

 

LMGTFY

 

DragonFly Flight Manual

Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB -> Thunderbolt2 ->
MacBook Pro M1 Pro -> Motu 8D -> AES/EBU ->
Genelec 5 x 8260A + 7271A sub
Genelec 8010 + 5040 sub

iPhone SE 2 ->  Sennheiser PXC 550 II
Blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile”

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  • 3 months later...

I have moved in the new apartment, so its time for small system.

 

For the speakers I have decided, Genelec G TWO, now I'm searching for a small DAC with volume control, so far contenders are:

- NuForce uDAC3

- Audioengine D1

 

Any recommendations for other DAC with volume control in similar price range as above listed?

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