Budget + range amps (Rega, Audiolab, CA) + passive vs. Active Speakers

njprrogers

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2015
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Hi,

I've been looking to kit out a room at home with some hardware, spending around 500 GBP each on a network source, amp and speaker. Overall budget approx . 1300 GBP.

I've been looking at the Audiolab 6000a, the CXA61, the Rega Brio and pairing them with something like the B and W 606's.

However, after reading some reviews, I am now intrigued by the Acoustic Energy AE1's. I was wondering on what ppl think about amps + speakers in this price range against these types of speakers.

(Obviously, the answer is to listen to both but unfortunately in COVID times, that isn't currently possible!)

Thanks!
 
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millennia_one

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Sep 1, 2014
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So is your budget 500 or 1k

AE1's will need I belive a preamp/DAC/some sort of control unit to control them so extra money on top, something like Audiolab M-DAC+ would do the job. Would be a lovely setup.

I'd also seriously consider Sonos plays 5 if you're looking for that sort thing and I think Dali have some active options maybe KEF LSX
 

manicm

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May 1, 2008
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The AE1 has been universally praised, and is pure analogue - you bring your own preamp and/or DAC and/or streamer.

Things to consider:

1. The advantage is no obsolescence on the source part. So let’s say you’re talking a 1500 to 2000 quid system - the AE1 alone is 1000 pounds.

2. For 2300 quid you can get the substantially more powerful KEF LS50 Wireless 2, currently with state of the art streaming built-in. Obsolescence is something you have to consider after 3 or so years.

3. Talking about obsolescence, I have a 3 year old then top shelf HEOS soundbar which still serves my needs for high-res streaming, although it does not do MQA, so don’t let people scare you away.
 

njprrogers

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2015
44
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10,545
* So to clarify, 500 quid on both amp and speaker for a spend of around 1000 vs. roughly that for the AE1 actives.

I was looking at something like the Yamaha WXC50 as a pre amp / streaming source. That might be a step down from the quality of the speaker / amp but I could update later. Trying to get set up for approx 1300 GBP / 1500 Eur
 

manicm

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May 1, 2008
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Alternatively you could look at something similar I got for my mother like the Denon Ceol N10 with the optional speakers. Then look at getting better speakers later.

The optional speakers are so cheap, it’s not worth getting the unit alone. They have excellent clarity but are bass light. There’s a loudness option that helps.

All for 500 quid or less, and it has the kitchen sink minus MQA. You can hook up the TV via optical too.
 

gregvet

Well-known member
Dec 24, 2008
128
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Hi,

I've been looking to kit out a room at home with some hardware, spending around 500 GBP each on a network source, amp and speaker. Overall budget approx . 1300 GBP.

I've been looking at the Audiolab 6000a, the CXA61, the Rega Brio and pairing them with something like the B and W 606's.

However, after reading some reviews, I am now intrigued by the Acoustic Energy AE1's. I was wondering on what ppl think about amps + speakers in this price range against these types of speakers.

(Obviously, the answer is to listen to both but unfortunately in COVID times, that isn't currently possible!)

Thanks!
Worth considering the bluesound node 2i as a source. One of the things that appeals about this unit is that it can send signals via Bluetooth as well as receive them, so you can use wireless headphones if required. Would pair really nicely with the AE1’s
 

njprrogers

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2015
44
10
10,545
Some good suggestions there... the Kef seem to get very favourable reviews... The purely analogue inputs to the AE1 don't scare me too much given that I can change sources. Understandably, most of the movement in the last ten years has been around DAC's and streaming. Would be nice to have the flexibility to swap out the source to future proof somewhat.

Lots of love for the node 2i on the forum. Was considering the Audiolab 6000N as well... will see how the budget goes :sweat:

So, how would ppl compare the sonic abilities of these approx 1000 GBP actives vs amps + passives in the range I was talking about? Do they hold up?
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
977
239
19,270
Some good suggestions there... the Kef seem to get very favourable reviews... The purely analogue inputs to the AE1 don't scare me too much given that I can change sources. Understandably, most of the movement in the last ten years has been around DAC's and streaming. Would be nice to have the flexibility to swap out the source to future proof somewhat.

Lots of love for the node 2i on the forum. Was considering the Audiolab 6000N as well... will see how the budget goes :sweat:

So, how would ppl compare the sonic abilities of these approx 1000 GBP actives vs amps + passives in the range I was talking about? Do they hold up?
From what I’ve gleaned the AE1s are easily the measure and most likely exceed any amp/speaker separates combo for 1000 pounds. So it’s excellent value.

Having said that, a Marantz PM6007 and B&W 607/Monitor Audio Silver 100 at almost the same price is also something to seriously consider.

For a bit more I would also look at the Audiolab 6000a - probably the best amp you can get for the price.
 
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njprrogers

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2015
44
10
10,545
Yeah, I have been seriously considering the Audiolab 6000A Play which is a one stop shop for streaming and amplification and is an amalgamation of their well regarded streamer and amp. Seems like a great value proposition.
 

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