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Amp suggestion for Q acoustics 2020i

Trotski

New member
Jul 14, 2013
1
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0
Hi,

I need your opinion on matching the Q acoustics 2020i with this little amp: http://hifipig.com/do-good-things-come-in-small-packages-amptastic-mini-t.
I essentially need the amp just to power up the speakers, without possessing an expert ear to make subtle quality differences.
This would be my biggest investment in audio equipment following the 35 euros Logitech PC speakers I have been using for 2 years with loyal dissatisfaction.
No ignorance intended, but I don't even know what an amp really does besides powering. I am looking at the cheapest decent option. This ampstatic little T is the cheapest. Can you tell me if it's decent ?

Thanks,
 

dalwen

New member
Jan 18, 2012
23
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i can't answer your question about the mini-t.

The information i have collected on the forum should make the following shortlist:

Denon PMA-520 or 720

NAD 316 or 326

Cambridge 350A or 351A

Marantz PM6004

.....

.....
 

bluedroog

New member
Mar 4, 2010
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I own a Mini-T and have heard the Q-Acoustics, whilst both are wonderful for the price in their own right I cannot recommend this as a good pairing. The Q-Acoustics are fairly inefficient speakers and thrive from a bit of power, the Mini-T simply doesn’t have the guts to get the most out of these speakers.

I have heard the Q-Acoustics on the end of a mini system and which was far more powerful than the Mini-T I’d imagine and the speakers felt congested and lifeless, a complete flat sound. I would imagine they’ll sound even worse on the Mini-T. I have tried my Mini-T on two pairs of speakers, some larger B&W 602s which are fairly efficient at 90db and they worked really well together, within normal listening volumes I’d say the Mini-T excelled, push it and distortion kicks in. I also tried it on some less efficient and small Mission bookshelf speakers and it really struggled.

Give the Q-Acoustics something with a bit of guts and they’ll reward you. Try something solid state such as the ones suggested above, perhaps add Rotel and Arcam to that list. For not much more than a Mini-T you’ll pick up a used amp with 50wpc that will sound great with your speakers.
 

Trotski

New member
Jul 14, 2013
1
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0
Hi

I followed your advice and went to hear the Q acoustics 2020i powered by a NAD 316 BEE in a hi-fi shop. As a first hi-fi experience, I was astounded by the crystal clarity and awesomeness of the sound. The NAD had all the adjustments set to neutral and the songs were coming from a CD.

But when I changed to my Ipod playlist all the gloss was gone and the music was really not impressing, almost flat. The shop-keeper told me that no system will play digital compressed files at that initial CD quality. Until today, I thought that 320 kbps was great quality. I found that even FLAC is compressed sound. He suggested I decompress files by burning them as an audio CD. But that's not practical for my 45 GB of music. I would need almost 90 CD's for that. Plus I want to listen to music from SoundCloud or Youtube and enjoy my system 100% at one touch of the mouse. He suggested making CD images (iso) and putting them on a big hard disk. That"s still a pain to me. Imagine doing an .iso for every new song you like on the internet.

He recommended buying a DAC, which would (almost) do the trick, but that's over my budget for now.

He said a receiver might raise the quality of the digital files, but my ipod did not make the connection with his only available receiver and I couldn't test it.

What would you recommend ?

1 Testing / Buying a Receiver.
2 Getting the NAD and decompressing all my music files.
3 Option 2 + a DAC in the distant future ? (I don't want a pyramid of audio devices in my room - the amp and speakers were already larger than I imagined)

QUESTION: How can an mp3 be decompressed into a high quality audio file simply by burning it on a 12 tracks CD ? I'm thinking at a small JPG file that you would decompress into a splendid high-resolution art-poster. Impossible.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Trotski said:
Hi I followed your advice and went to hear the Q acoustics 2020i powered by a NAD 316 BEE in a hi-fi shop. As a first hi-fi experience, I was astounded by the crystal clarity and awesomeness of the sound. The NAD had all the adjustments set to neutral and the songs were coming from a CD. But when I changed to my Ipod playlist all the gloss was gone and the music was really not impressing, almost flat. The shop-keeper told me that no system will play digital compressed files at that initial CD quality. Until today, I thought that 320 kbps was great quality. I found that even FLAC is compressed sound. He suggested I decompress files by burning them as an audio CD. But that's not practical for my 45 GB of music. I would need almost 90 CD's for that. Plus I want to listen to music from SoundCloud or Youtube and enjoy my system 100% at one touch of the mouse. He suggested making CD images (iso) and putting them on a big hard disk. That"s still a pain to me. Imagine doing an .iso for every new song you like on the internet. He recommended buying a DAC, which would (almost) do the trick, but that's over my budget for now. He said a receiver might raise the quality of the digital files, but my ipod did not make the connection with his only available receiver and I couldn't test it. What would you recommend ? 1 Testing / Buying a Receiver. 2 Getting the NAD and decompressing all my music files. 3 Option 2 + a DAC in the distant future ? (I don't want a pyramid of audio devices in my room - the amp and speakers were already larger than I imagined) QUESTION: How can an mp3 be decompressed into a high quality audio file simply by burning it on a 12 tracks CD ? I'm thinking at a small JPG file that you would decompress into a splendid high-resolution art-poster. Impossible.
I'm surprised because to me on my system the only difference between CD and flac is the slightly higher volume needed for flac from PC.
 

ID.

New member
Feb 22, 2010
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The problem was probably using the iPod directly as a source and thus relying on the iPod's internal DAC and analogue output stage. Particularly bad when running from the headphone out. You would notice a significant improvement using an iPod doc, and an even better improvement with a digital transport and DAC. Burning them to CD will not "decompress them". They will still be at the same rate, but you'd have the advantage of the data being processed by the DAC in a CD player. 320 is very good quality and many people can't tell the difference between 320 and lossless.

I would definitely get a DAC if you plan to use your PC as the audio source. Low quality sources such as YouTube will still be poor, but spotify and higher rate net radio stations should sound fine.
 

splasher

New member
Jun 17, 2013
25
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0
Ipods are great for sound on the move but not ever going to rival a CD played through a HiFi for quality. They're a product with the emphasis on styling and convenience and that comes at the cost of sound quality.

If you want the sound you heard in the shop, you can get very close to that with 320 mp3s but regardless of the sampling rate they need to have come from a quality source in the first place - like the original CD - and be played into the amp through a reasonable quality digital to analogue converter as ID says.

You can't put back information that's not there so you can theoretically convert a low rate file into a higher rate file but it will just take up more space without any improvement in quality.

If youtube (and similar free on-line) is the source of a lot of your music, it will never sound like you heard in the shop. Paying for music does come with some benefits.
 

dalwen

New member
Jan 18, 2012
23
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0
Hi, great to hear you are auditioning.

if you like the NAD sound you cold do a second demo with the follwing added boxes.

* a NAD DAC

or

* a NAD cd player C546, this has an USB input that supports external memory and audio rates up to 384kpbs, also MP3 and WMA decoding

If you don't want more boxes you could also demo the following amplifiers with a DAC built in (1 box solution)

Marantz PM6005 new model (stereo amp)

Marantz MCR 603 or the new Melody (610) (cd-stereo receiver)

Onkyo TX-8050 (=stereo receiver)

Onkyo A-9050 (stereo amp)
 

Trotski

New member
Jul 14, 2013
1
0
0
Thanks for answering. I really find your advice helpful.

I decided to go back and audition again using my laptop as a source. I will use original CD's, FLAC and MP3 files of the same track to compare differences.

I will also test the speakers with a DenonPMA 520 AE available at the shop. I noticed it has 5+ Watts per channel than the NAD and it's noticeably cheaper. What would you advice between these two amps ? Does paying extra for the NAD come with real benefits or it's simply acquiring a more prestigious brand ? I like the Denon's looks much more than the NAD's. This shouldn't be a criteria I suppose, but it's certainly a plus for Denon.

From what I read in various reviews, the NAD offers a more honest rendering of the music whilst Denon adds a little flavoring (that doesn't sound as a minus to me, should it ?).

Denon was listed first in the suggested amplifiers at the beginning. Was that the quality order ?
 

dalwen

New member
Jan 18, 2012
23
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0
Hi Trotski, great that you are finding time to audition, a bit cliche but that is the best way to build a system!

I will try to anwser your questions:

The Denon 520 will also be a good option, if you want to stay with 1 brand/make only, you have the choice to add the Denon DCD 720 cd player, it has a USB input on the front for i-devices.

In the Netherlands the Denon 520 (ca. 170 EUR) and Denon 720 (ca. 270 EUR) are quite a bit cheaper than NAD 316 (349 EUR) and NAD 326 (449EUR). For the price i think it is worthwile to explore te DENON sound, see another great review from another forum member about the PMA-720 and Q-2020i http://www.whathifi.com/review/2020i/user-reviews (i hope the link is allowed :shifty:)

I’ve had older models DENON and NAD gear, the Watts are measured differently by the various brands. The NAD watt specification is traditionally very conservative.

I also like the Denon look, it is very stylish / a traditional look. But i’m no architect :shhh:

My list was randomly listed by heart. No criteria added or what so ever.

Good day and enjoy your demo! :cheers:

Plees keep us informed of your progression
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
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Don't rely on manufacturers claims for W per channel, NAD is probably a lot more pwerful than the Denon and NAD tends to have more bass as well.

As for iPods yhe ipod4 is meant to be very good but if you have an earlier one I would try an external Dac seethat makes a difference. Really 320 mps and cds should not much difference is SQ. Also with Ipods is very important to have the settings correct to get the best sound quality. You may want to look at the Apple forum for that.
 

Trotski

New member
Jul 14, 2013
1
0
0
Hi,

I went back to the shop and listened to tracks from my laptop. The original CD's I took with me sounded great. But my MP3 library (downloaded for free) was very bad. I went and listened to 320kbps audio previews on itunes and I felt a huge improvement, almost as good as on CD's. So i realized it's not the MP3 format which sounds bad in general on hi-fi systems, it's just my tracks. I bought the NAD 316 BEE and Q acoustics 2020i without testing the Denon PMA 520, after being told that the NAD is way superior. Total amount spent (+cables) 420 GBP - prices are bloated in my country because transport from on line sites (ebay, amazon) is huge, and shops here set the prices just a little below that (frustrating).

I discovered the on-line streaming site Deezer and the quality is good for my ears. I will go with that for the moment.

The sound is great for the size of my room, bass is round, full and sometimes overwhelming. The maximum I can go without damaging my ears is half the volume. At maximum I need to leave the room, and I think my neighbors have to leave theirs. On low volumes the music sounds beautiful and intimate, but going loud is where it becomes impressive.

I am already considering going wireless. For now I saw the NAD DAC 1 wireless and Creative X MOD on-line. What do you think ? Is wireless even worth considering ? From what I heard, wireless loses signal, so " hi-fi " wireless is some sort of impossibility. Is that true ?

PS.

I bought the speakers, hey hey ! :cheers:
 

Cypher

New member
Jun 8, 2007
156
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0
There's almost no difference between original cd tracks and MP3 files at 320kbps. If there is a difference it's very, very small.

I had the Dali Zensor 1 for a while now and the only thing that bothered me was the weak bass. So the Dali Zensor 3 was on my list. But not anymore. I have the Q acoustics 2020i playing here for a week now and I really think they are twice as good as the Zensor 1. They are keepers for sure.

The sound is so tight and cohesive but still musical and the bass is so so good...........so articulate and tuneful. Buildquality is just perfect.

Conclusion ; amazing speakers !

About wireless music listening.............not a fan of it. Get wired if you can because it will sound much better.
 

dalwen

New member
Jan 18, 2012
23
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0
Hi, congrats and enjoy your NAD - Q acoustics combo.

Cypher, what amp are you using?

cheers :cheers:
 

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