Amplifier & speakers to play music output from Apple AirPort Express

Hems

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If I were to buy an amplifier to play music streamed from and apple airport express, what amplifier and speakers would anyone recommend? I'd have a budget of around £1200 for both. My music is mainly 320kbps and apple lossless.

Also, is there anyway that I could hook the above into to my existing setup so that the new speakers that I buy can be used when watching blu rays?

Thanks
 

Roger_A

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The most obvious is AVI ADM9T which have built in preamp and DAC to get the best from the AE Express. As they have two optical inputs then you can take the optical output from your BD player or television into the speakers. They cost £1125 so are within your budget. At a later date you can add the matching sub if you want to which will give real deep bass for films especially.

Roger
 

shooter

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What kind of sound do you like from your equipment?

We can make plenty of suggestions but ideally you need to get out and have a listen to some. That will give you some idea of whats available with the budget you have, which to be fair is pretty good.

The AE is a great bit of kit but to get the best out of it it's worth considering a standalone DAC. This will give better results over the AE's internal DAC via the phono out.

Is this something you considered?

The AVI suggestion is a good one as it incorporates everything you need and thats worth consideration too.
 
T

the record spot

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Not completely sure why it's the most obvious to partner the AE with AVI's ADMs...no doubt a good pair of speakers but the AE will work well and slot in nicely with a wide range of non-active sources as well as other active ones - incidentally, the AVI sub is another £900, so you'll have a couple of hundred left over from your £2.2k budget.

The AE is a good (read: great) bit of kit and for the money is a steal. Nice DAC too.
 

Roger_A

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The reason I said they were the most obvious is that they will do exactly what the OP is asking for with the minimum of boxes and cables, fit into his budget (£1200 not £2200) with good quality preamp and DAC built in and they should sound better than any separate amp and speaker at the price. I can't think of any other product that fits in neater when feeding from an AE.

Roger
 
T

the record spot

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So he did, my error. Though I think neatness is maybe not the top of his pecking order going by his kit list...and of course, that may not be his main requirement. Actives make for a solid option though.

The Acoustic Energy AE22 Actives would be my preference...no DAC (from memory) but a bold design and cracking sound quality to go with them by all accounts. Used to be £850 I think, but that was a few years ago now. They or the Genelec 8030 or 8040s.
 

tim92gts

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Another vote here for the AVI 9s, we were at a party with a set last weekend where they were running Spotify through a basic laptop and AEX.
Surprisingly powerful sound outside with a sufficiency of bass.
If i were starting from scratch now i don't think i'd bother with all this vinyl and rows of cds; maybe just a cheap bdp and use the spdif out for a few bits of Zappa and similar who aren't on Spotify.
i do rather love my Bryston / PMC setup at full volume as well though.
 
T

the record spot

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Going off-topic for a moment, that's the slight downside with Spotify - they have a lot of stuff on the service, but some acts are missing, big names too (Floyd, AC/DC...). It's none too major a deal if you don't like those bands, but like Tim's mentioned (welcome to the Dark Side by the way Tim...will the car be turning up in the avatar?!), you'd not want to ditch a source player of some type if you do.
 
A

Anonymous

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I haven't heard the AVI ADMs (although they sure have some enthusiastic and vocal followers, probably for good reason) - but I can put in another vote for the Genelecs. I bought the 8020 for the AEX in the kitchen and the results are stunning. Certainly makes me wish I had their larger siblings 8030 or 8040 in the living room instead of current AVI Neutron/Primare combo (which is fine but not in the same league for clarity and detail).

AEX feeding Beresford Caiman (DAC with volume control) feeding Genelec 8030 would make a very fine system indeed. I'm guessing it would set you back about £1,000, all-in. Add £500 for the larger 8040 model instead.
 

tim92gts

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G'day Mr Spot!
AS the OP has a bdp the source is there for cd, through digital he'll be fine.
A great position to be in as last time i was in HMV there were loads of ridiculously cheap box sets. I was in a classical shopping mode so complete works of Messaien was there for under £50, loads of Beethoven, i got the complete Quartets, Complete Varese and others.
I guess the same will come up in the rock section.
Spotify Premium is a good source for most material, do we think the price will escalate once we're all addicted?
Working on another avatar, mention of AC/DC has got me thinking.
 
T

the record spot

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Fopp and HMV have been winners for me for some time now - Fopp for the last 25 years. Picked up most of the Procol Harum remasters on Salvo a few weeks ago. They'd been reduced to £3 each so I tried one. Whoever did the mastering did a cracking job, so in I went the next day to pick up another eight. Can't go wrong.
 

lindsayt

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Just to clarify, I 'd like to ask a question to everyone who's recommending the AVI ADM9.1's or Genelecs on this thread:

On what basis are you recommending the ADM9.1's or Genelecs?

1 that they offer a convenient, WAF friendly way to get acceptable sound quality

2 that they offer the best sound quality for £1200

3 some other basis?
 
T

the record spot

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I've heard the Genelec 8020 / 8030 / 8040 and given they retail at around £500 / £800 / £1200 you get stonking products for the money. Money well spent and if I was going to part with £1200, the 8040s would be on my list at the drop of a hat. Effortless at reproducing music, nicely toned across treble, mid and bass - music was simply a joy to listen to.

The Acoustic Energy's I've yet to hear, though they may now be discontinued. The AVI's I've not heard, no immediate plans to.
 
A

Anonymous

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Agreed with RS and chebby.

From a convenience perspective there isn't much in it. With an AEX solution you drive the music selection etc from a computer in any case. I'm coming from the perspective of sound quality.

It makes a lot of sense. Think about it - this type of product is biamped, or more specifically, hosts a dedicated amplifier to each drive element. So one step further to a mono block for per speaker (where each amp still have to juggle multiple drivers with varying impendance response etc).

The new Adam floorstanders look extremely interesting, although I don't think they exist yet (?). As far as I understand it they are 2 way but with 3 elements and therefore 3 fitted amps per speaker (?). This brand is very well regarded and widely used in professional studio circles so they certainly have the credentials behind them.

As mentioned in my earlier post the Genelec 8020s are stunning which is why I recommend them or their larger siblings. As far as studio-oriented speakers go, they are also relatively attractive to look at and will fit in a home environment.

It's remarkable value for money and I have no doubt in my mind this is the way to go.
 

basshead

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another vote for the Genelec 8040a's. i have some and love them.

in my opinion actives give a far better sound-per-pound, give a cleaner sound at all volume levels, can handle louder volumes for longer, and are just generally better in everyway. the only reason they arent the norm is fashion.
 
A

Anonymous

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basshead said:
the only reason they arent the norm is fashion.

Agreed. So far there are only a small handful of manufacturers that build home-oriented active speakers and they tend to be relatively high-end (meridian, adam tensor, etc). But there is no reason for this. As someone else put it - in this day and age, amplifiers and active crossovers can be built for (almost) peanuts - ok, not great amplifiers perhaps, but when used in an active system they can still outperform a megabuck top-of-the-line amp driving the same loudspeaker drivers through a passive crossover network.

Which based on my own experience has been true.
 

shooter

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chebby said:
If it were me, I would have to try and listen to the new Adam Audio Artist 6 floor-standers.

I've looked into the Artist 6 and they only have XLR and RCA input not a digital like the 3 and 5. With that config you could still use the AEX to stream but you would be using the AEX DAC which is "okay" at best.

Adam do a DAC module for some of their speaker range and this could be an option if it fits the Artist 6. Not sure how the AEX and Adam DAC's compare and i'm not sure why the Artist 6 only has the XLR and RCA but worth finding out the former and asking Adam the latter!

EDIT:

Just reading the link you put up it states USB input but reading the Adam product sheet (PDF) page 5 states RCA and XLR only. This still means AEX phono out for streaming but raises more questions over the Adam DAC module which has an SFDIF input which would be fine with the AEX.
 

lindsayt

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OK, for everyone who's recommending Genelecs and ADM's on the basis that they offer the best sound quality for £1200. Have you compared them against any of the following speakers:

Altec Model 15

Bozak Concert Grand

Bozak Symphony

Celestion Ditton 66

EV Sentry III

EV Sentry IV

Ferrograph S1

Goodmans Magisters

JBL L100

Klipsch Cornwall

Klipsch La Scala

Quad ESL57

Quad ESL63

Urei 813

combined with a decent inexpensive amp, such as a Creek CAS4040 or A&R A60?
 

chebby

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I have as much respect (as anyone around at the time) for what amps like the A&R A60 and speakers like the Ditton 44s (I never heard the 66s) were like in their era. I wouldn't recommend them now (even in pristine condition).

£1200's worth of modern, well chosen, amp and speakers (or actives) will sound far better. I would split the amp/speaker budget £500/£700 - in favour of speakers - and get something like the Rega Brio R and Rega RS3s. (Then save up for a Rega DAC to upgrade from the AE one day.)

The £1200 active speaker options I leave to others with more experience of them. My earlier suggestion of Adam Artist 6s was just an idea for something a bit different from most active speakers. (That is, they have grilles and look good and are floorstanders. Altogether unusual amongst actives.)

Another direction might be a good £350 amp (CA 650A for instance) with Spendor S3/5R2s (£850) for an insightful sound with great imaging and midrange. (For people who don't want/need a system that will blast the ceiling down!)
 

jibbajabba3

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I have no idea about speakers these days, but personally I'd ditch the AE and buy an ATV2 for it's HDMI output. Sounds great thru my Pio 920
 

lindsayt

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Chebby, have you heard any of the speakers on my list?

I'm not saying whether they're any better or worse than a Rega Brio with RS3's.

If you ever listen to any of the speakers on my list, the speakers themselves will tell you whether they sound better or worse or just different.
 

chebby

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lindsayt said:
Have you compared them against any of the following speakers:

Altec Model 15

Bozak Concert Grand

Bozak Symphony

Celestion Ditton 66

EV Sentry III

EV Sentry IV

Ferrograph S1

Goodmans Magisters

JBL L100

Klipsch Cornwall

Klipsch La Scala

Quad ESL57

Quad ESL63

Urei 813

Where can the OP (or anyone else for that matter) compare modern speakers with even a small sample from that list? (Without use of a time machine.)

How many present day households would have the room for such massive speakers as many of those on your list? (Or be able to tolerate their presence on domestic/aesthetic grounds?) The smallest ones there (I think) weigh 56lbs per cabinet. Some of the (much, much) larger ones would cost many £100s just to crate and freight.

Some of them date from around 1965. Where can economically reasonable servicing and spares for a 46 year-old speaker system be obtained? For example, a clean pair of working 15" Altec woofers currently cost £370 + £114 postage on ebay.

Answering your earlier question, yes I have heard three (Goodmans & both Quads) on your list a long time ago. I have also heard old IMF/TDLs and KEF 104abs and Celestion Dittons (33s and 44s not 66s).

I wouldn't advise such vintage speakers unless someone was passionate about them, had a very large room to put them in, and the knowledge and skill to execute many repairs themselves. (Or become part of a dedicated owners group where help could be located.)

The OP may be interested in something like this so I won't prejudge his possible interest in your ideas.
 
A

Anonymous

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lindsayt, some of those speakers are close to half a century old. On a chronological scale that's half-way back to when these were top fashion. Technology moves on. Would you buy a 50 year old television, FM radio or projector?

You may not think that's a fair analogy, and obviously individual preference also varies. But I would not agree that recommending 40-50 year old gear is good general advise against modern alternatives.
 

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