Bookshelf speakers, CYP AU-D3 DAC & Airport Express.


New member
Aug 10, 2019
Hi all,

Very reluctantly, I am having to mothball my much loved but 20 year-old separates rack to make more space, and to be honest, more and more, I use iTunes and airport expresses to play ripped CDs and iTunes downloads (so a mixture of Apple Lossless and iTunes+ quality [256kb] AAC's). So I have a couple of questions:

1) What small(ish)/bookshelf speakers might complement my Creek amp (which I've been allowed to keep - hurrah!). I've had both amp and speakers for nearly 20 years and still love the big warm "live" sound they give, even at low volumes, but probably to the neighbours relief, at 50x25x25cm, the stand-mounted speakers have been given their marching orders... :-(

I heard some Dali Lektors being run in a while back and really liked them, but looking at the reviews, it seems there is better available now, and I have yet to try them with my amp anyway. I'm not sure I'll get away with the pug-ugliness of the Mission MX1's and the Monitor Audio BX2's are probably stretching the budget and size restrictions somewhat, but the Wharfdale Diamond 9.1's look like they might fit the bill. I would welcome any comments on matching any of these with my amp, or suggestions for any alternatives that would be worth an audition?

2) Given a move to streaming... Currently the sound is pretty good, but CD's played on my old Yamaha DVD player still sound better. Would the addition of an optical lead from the airport express to a CYP AU-D3 DAC improve the sound significantly over a high quality minijack to RCA lead (to replace the existing £15ish IXOS one)? I realise it's not going to be a DAC-magic or Beresford, but it could sit out the way behind the amp rather than be another box to stack and I have a decent but old pair of Chord interconnects that I can use on the DAC/amp connection. If not, any suggestions for a decent minijack to RCA lead would be much appreciated!

3) I recently bought some AudioengineA2's, which while great for wireless streaming in the kitchen, and I would be happy to recommend for what they are, obviously don't come close to my Creek amp and speakers. I can't tell the difference between the Audioengine-supplied leads (mini-mini and mini-RCA) and my IXOS lead, but would the A2's benefit from a similar upgrade to optical + budget DAC or HQ mini-RCA lead? My main concern is the heaviness of the bass relative to the vocals, and would appreciate anything that might improve this.

Thanks for any and all comments! :)


Hi, im afraid I cant be of that much help but I do have the CYP dac your mentioned, and all I will say is hat it gives a very flat sound, bass is killed right off. I have a cambridge audio a5, wharfedale diamond 10.1 and an old technics cd player with optical out. In this set up im not really blown away with the dac, but then again it is only cheap.

On the other hand when I use it with my laptop to amp it really comes into its own, get a huge improvement over just using an rca to mini jack cable. Sound is much more crisp and clear.

Hope this is of help


Thanks Southsea,

You've been more helpful than you might think! Reducing the boominess on the bass for the Audioengine A2's wouldn't be a bad thing at all for my kitchen setup, and as I'm guessing the Airport Express built-in DAC is probably similar to that found in a laptop, it's got to be worth a go! I think I will get hold of one and try it with both systems and see if it makes much of a difference. Will let you know how I get on...



P.S. Still looking for advice on some bookshelf/smaller speakers to replace my Creek SL20's if anyone out there has any views on what might match my Creek 4040 amp nicely? Thanks! :)


Ah magic, glad I could help.

Im happy I got one, I mean at £30 its a bargain.


So the optical cable (from thatcable) to go with my shiny new (and very diminutive) CYP DAC, arrived today and I have just spent an hour or so with 2 airport expresses wired up to my Creek, one via the optical lead to DAC and old Chord RCA and one via a fairly decent minijack to RCA, and even once I'd balanced the sound levels (iTunes - multiple speakers volume panel, gotta love it! ;-), the DAC really brings something extra to the party (as well as being about 25% louder if output volumes are set to be the same.)

I wasn't unhappy with the sound previously, but suddenly it sounds like a recording when compared to the really live sound through the DAC. I'm not an audio expert, so forgive any incorrect terminology, but you can definitely here much more detail, it's brighter (but not tiringly so) cymbals are less muted, vocals clearer, extra sounds suddenly becoming apparent on source material I thought I knew well, but have only listened to via streaming (Apple Lossless rips) this past year... There's also much more separation generally and it's easier to place different instruments (better soundstage?)

So, thanks must go to WH for bringing it to my attention with their original review of the CYP, but if anyone else out there is using an Airport express or Mac (both have minijack sockets that double up as optical ones) to stream music to the stereo, I can thoroughly recommend finding one (around £38 online) and whilst I haven't compared my £2 optical-cable-plus-minijack-to-toslink-adapter to the £20 "cheap" option I was offered in RS, it seems just fine to me!

For £40 I have a whole new 45Gb iTunes collection to listen to all over again! :)