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Recommend a system for $2k?


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A friend has asked me for a recommendation a set of DAC+amp+speakers for around $2k.

 

My line of reasoning was a NAD D3020 with a decent set of bookshelf speakers and stands.

 

Self-powered a-la Genelec with an ifi micro DSD might also be a good choice, but need to make sure he can control volume in a not-cumbersome way.

 

Any pointers please?

 

Thx!

NUC10i7 + ROCK > dCS Rossini Apex DAC + dCS Rossini Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V 9” + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo

Signal cables: Kondo Silver, Crystal Cable phono

Power cables: Kondo, Shunyata, van den Hul

system pics

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A friend has asked me for a recommendation a set of DAC+amp+speakers for around $2k.

 

My line of reasoning was a NAD D3020 with a decent set of bookshelf speakers and stands.

 

Self-powered a-la Genelec with an ifi micro DSD might also be a good choice, but need to make sure he can control volume in a not-cumbersome way.

 

Any pointers please?

 

Thx!

 

One element: KEF X300A ($799 a pair) (KEFDirect.com) self powered speakers and proprietary Dacs (96/24). This is merely one choice of many, many. I use them in my office/study fed by my main system. They are also available in a wireless edition for $999.99 (both models) best on stands.

 

Best,

Richard

 

Specifications:

 

System type Two-way bass reflex

Drive units Uni-Q driver array:

HF: 25mm (1in.) vented aluminium dome

LF/MF:130mm (5.25in.) magnesium/

aluminium alloy

Frequency response

(+/- 3dB) 58Hz - 28kHz

Frequency range

(- 6dB) 49Hz - 45kHz

Max peak SPL

104dB

Amplifier type Twin Class AB

Amplifier power

LF: 50W

HF: 20W

AC power input

US/JP versions: 100-120VAC, 50/60Hz

EU/UK versions: 220-240VAC, 50Hz

China version: 220-230VAC, 50Hz

Analogue input

AUX: 3.5mm stereo jack

Digital input

Resolution

Sampling rate USB 2.0: mini USB type B connector

Up to 24-bit

Up to 96kHz, depending on source resolution

Controls Balance control

System volume control

Internal volume 4.7L

Finish Gunmetal

Dimensions

(H x W x D) Without heatsink:

280 x 180 x 215mm

(11.0 x 7.1 x 8.5 in.)

 

With heatsink:

280 x 180 x 243mm

(11.0 x 7.1 x 9.6 in.)

Weight 7.5kg (16.5lbs) per speaker

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One element: KEF X300A ($799 a pair) (KEFDirect.com) self powered speakers and proprietary Dacs (96/24). This is merely one choice of many, many. I use them in my office/study fed by my main system. They are also available in a wireless edition for $999.99 (both models) best on stands.

Nice. Thanks Richard.

NUC10i7 + ROCK > dCS Rossini Apex DAC + dCS Rossini Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V 9” + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo

Signal cables: Kondo Silver, Crystal Cable phono

Power cables: Kondo, Shunyata, van den Hul

system pics

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One element: KEF X300A ($799 a pair) (KEFDirect.com) self powered speakers and proprietary Dacs (96/24)

Actually I think the KEF LS50 is what I will recommend.

NUC10i7 + ROCK > dCS Rossini Apex DAC + dCS Rossini Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V 9” + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo

Signal cables: Kondo Silver, Crystal Cable phono

Power cables: Kondo, Shunyata, van den Hul

system pics

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My system for that would look like this:

 

iFi Micro iDSD $500

 

Pair of JBL LSR308's $500

 

IsoAcoustic Stands for the JBL's $109 per pair

**Could add true bookshelf stands if he/she wanted them setup like a regular 2ch system too.

 

UpTone Audio REGEN $175

 

Still some money left over for a new laptop or whatever type of computer. This is a killer setup!

W10 NUC i7 (Gen 10) > Roon (Audiolense FIR) > Motu UltraLite mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs

 

Watch my Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMw_bZWBMtRWNJQfTJ38kA/videos

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My system for that would look like this:

 

iFi Micro iDSD $500

 

Pair of JBL LSR308's $500

 

IsoAcoustic Stands for the JBL's $109 per pair

**Could add true bookshelf stands if he/she wanted them setup like a regular 2ch system too.

 

UpTone Audio REGEN $175

 

Still some money left over for a new laptop or whatever type of computer. This is a killer setup!

Looks good.

NUC10i7 + ROCK > dCS Rossini Apex DAC + dCS Rossini Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V 9” + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo

Signal cables: Kondo Silver, Crystal Cable phono

Power cables: Kondo, Shunyata, van den Hul

system pics

Link to comment

How about the PS Audio Sprout with your choice of speakers up to $1500. Just have to be able to live without a remote control. :-). Another option would be Naim UnitiQute and speakers though that's likely pushing over the budget, but depending in the situation also check out the Naim Muso - yes it's all in one but may beat traditional systems if used in the right environment.

 

One question needed answering though, what kind of environment is this to be used in? And any other input or purely a computer based system?

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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How about the PS Audio Sprout with your choice of speakers up to $1500. Just have to be able to live without a remote control. :-). Another option would be Naim UnitiQute and speakers though that's likely pushing over the budget, but depending in the situation also check out the Naim Muso - yes it's all in one but may beat traditional systems if used in the right environment.

 

One question needed answering though, what kind of environment is this to be used in? And any other input or purely a computer based system?

Good suggestions. I live with an Ongaku - lack of remote is a true bummer.

 

Room is a smallish library (have not seen it myself). Music is classical, jazz, vocal. Purely computer input from a laptop with Roon on it.

NUC10i7 + ROCK > dCS Rossini Apex DAC + dCS Rossini Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V 9” + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo

Signal cables: Kondo Silver, Crystal Cable phono

Power cables: Kondo, Shunyata, van den Hul

system pics

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Actually I think the KEF LS50 is what I will recommend.

 

I was considering those for my sub $5k system (coming in at $2k would be nice, but I am going to end up closer to $3k), but they need alot of watts to get their potential and I am probably going for the more sensitive Tektons. Seems like you need a minimum of 100 quality watts with the LS50's, and any decent amp (NAD, Rogue, etc.) is going to cost another $1k minimum to get it (at least as far as I can tell). I was considering Emotiva (you can get 250w for less than $1k with them) but questions around the SQ, and a pretty consistent build quality complaint on various forums turned me off.

 

There is always Peachtree Nova125SE...

Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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I was considering those for my sub $5k system (coming in at $2k would be nice, but I am going to end up closer to $3k), but they need alot of watts to get their potential and I am probably going for the more sensitive Tektons. Seems like you need a minimum of 100 quality watts with the LS50's, and any decent amp (NAD, Rogue, etc.) is going to cost another $1k minimum to get it (at least as far as I can tell). I was considering Emotiva (you can get 250w for less than $1k with them) but questions around the SQ, and a pretty consistent build quality complaint on various forums turned me off.

 

There is always Peachtree Nova125SE...

Ah crap... You're right, I thought the LS50 was self-powered.

NUC10i7 + ROCK > dCS Rossini Apex DAC + dCS Rossini Clock 

SME 20/3 + SME V 9” + Dynavector XV-1s > vdH The Grail

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo

Signal cables: Kondo Silver, Crystal Cable phono

Power cables: Kondo, Shunyata, van den Hul

system pics

Link to comment

Self-powered a-la Genelec with an ifi micro DSD might also be a good choice,

but need to make sure he can control volume in a not-cumbersome way.

 

level pilot.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great way to control balanced analogue volume like the pro's.

 

Level Pilot @ TC Electronic

 

 

USD 107 @ Vintage King US

 

EUR 79 @ Thomann EU

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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Ah crap... You're right, I thought the LS50 was self-powered.

 

 

I tempered my recommendation to fit within the boundaries set. I would have recommended the LS50, but that would have made it more expensive to do the rest of what would be required much more expensive. The LS50 sound bettter with more power than the NAD you were considering as an element in your recommendation. In any case, my experience is that a budget set is a budget broken once engaged (smile) and the wedding usually makes for a happy marriage instead of a contested divorce. Enough with metaphors.

 

Best,

Richard

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With little less than 2K I would try to match a 100W Nuprime IDA-8 (995$) with a pair of Tekton Design Lore Reference (on sale now at 799$) or even a pair of smaller mini lore (650$) depending on the size of the room.

 

 

I would like to hear that combo! I suspect it would be in the top 5% of sound you can get in this price range. I am going to go with (probably) a Rogue Sphinx ($1300), but I be the Nuprime sounds good also...

Hey MQA, if it is not all $voodoo$, show us the math!

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A pair of Kef R100,s in gloss black, a Marantz NR1506, set of good speaker cables and stands. It has it all, AirPlay, digital inputs, HDMI, networked, Spotifi Connect, etc. A perfect

beginning modern system for a music lover to sample ALL that's now available in the digital world.

 

image.jpeg

image.jpeg

David

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have not had the pleasure of hearing them but the Dynaudio Xeo 3 wireless system looks amazing and has received great reviews. It retails for $2300 and is an entire wireless system. It has a wireless transmitter that can stream your network or music service, 50 watt per driver active wireless speakers and a remote.

 

Review: SoundStage! Xperience | SoundStageXperience.com - Dynaudio Xeo 3 Powered Wireless Loudspeakers

 

Thought this might be of interest

Dave L

 

Main: CAPS 3 Carbon > Roon > HQ Player > ARC DAC 8 > ARC VSi60 > Vandersteen 3A Signatures

Cables: AQ Rocket 88 Bi Wired, AQ Columbia RCA, and AQ Diamond USB

Office: Macbook Pro > Roon > HQ Player > Burson Audio Conductor SL w/DAC Output > Adam F5 or HiFiman HE-500

Cables: AQ Carbon USB and Oyide RCA

Storage: Synology NAS 213+

Basement: in progress - Building a RPI 3 > Peachtree IDAC > Halide Bridge > amp? > Wharfdale 10.2's

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+1!!

 

This is my secondary system in my office, and it sounds WAY better than it should for $$. Huge bang for the buck, and a lot of fun, musicality! Surprising bass too.

 

 

My system for that would look like this:

 

iFi Micro iDSD $500

 

Pair of JBL LSR308's $500

 

IsoAcoustic Stands for the JBL's $109 per pair

**Could add true bookshelf stands if he/she wanted them setup like a regular 2ch system too.

 

UpTone Audio REGEN $175

 

Still some money left over for a new laptop or whatever type of computer. This is a killer setup!

Metrum Onyx DAC, Matrix X-SPDIF2 DDC, Snake River Boomslang Digital cable, Verastarr Nemesis USB cable;

Backert Rhumba 1.2 Preamp; Coincident M300B Frankenstein mkII SET monoblocks

Omega Super Alnico HO Monitors (Cherry finish) / Martin Logan Depth i Subwoofer

Macbook Pro (mid-2012, 2.3GHz i7, 16Gb RAM, 512Gb SSD), HQPlayer, Tidal, Roon;

Cabling by Cerious Tech (Graphene SC, Blue PCs), Verastarr (IC and PC) and Teo Audio (GC IC)

 

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A suggestion to explore, rather than personal recommendation:

 

Aries Mini or Chord Mojo* ( or even Aries mini and Chord mojo...)

 

ELAC B5 speakers

 

Suitable budget power amp

 

*presuming Mojo works ok connected3.5 to RCA line out and controlling volume.

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I have not had the pleasure of hearing them but the Dynaudio Xeo 3 wireless system looks amazing and has received great reviews. It retails for $2300 and is an entire wireless system. It has a wireless transmitter that can stream your network or music service, 50 watt per driver active wireless speakers and a remote.

 

Review: SoundStage! Xperience | SoundStageXperience.com - Dynaudio Xeo 3 Powered Wireless Loudspeakers

 

Thought this might be of interest

This is it. Plus you can find them for around $1000 now too.

Mac Mini w/4TB external HD(minimserver)>NaimUniti 2b w/Naim Power-line>Scansonic MB 2.5>w/Naim NACA5 Speaker Cable

 

Auralic Aries Mini>Dynaudio XEO 3

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