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Question Budget speakers/amp all rounder

smallfry

Active member
Nov 10, 2020
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Hi all

I'm looking to spend a little cash on an amp/speaker combination that will be used mainly for streaming, secondarily as stereo TV speakers, very occasionally with a turntable and sometime in the future with a CD player.
It's for the front room in a 1930s semi that during lockdown has become my home office and I want to take the earbuds out and listen to music properly.
The room is nice and quiet, 12ft x 12ft and ideally, I'd like to fill it with good quality sound.

The turntable is a Technics SL1700 that I had serviced a couple of years ago when my teenager decided he wanted some vinyl.
Streaming wise I have a spare Chromecast Audio.

Suggestions under £1000 appreciated.

Cheers
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
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In terms of the amplifier, there are some very good options within your budget. Having had experience with a wide range of them, the Rega Brio is my favourite. It has an excellent phono stage and plenty of other analogue inputs, and it's sound and build challenge quite a few more expensive amps.

If you need digital inputs, I'd suggest the Audiolab 6000A, though it isn't as musically beguiling as the Rega.

The remaining £400 leaves you with plenty of talented speakers to consider, and it comes down to what kind of sound you like and how well you can position them. I'd strongly advise an audition when it's possible, but I suggest including the 6th generation Monitor Audio Bronze series to your list, as well as Mission's MkII LX-series and their QX-series.
 
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plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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In terms of the amplifier, there are some very good options within your budget. Having had experience with a wide range of them, the Rega Brio is my favourite. It has an excellent phono stage and plenty of other analogue inputs, and it's sound and build challenge quite a few more expensive amps.

If you need digital inputs, I'd suggest the Audiolab 6000A, though it isn't as musically beguiling as the Rega.

The remaining £400 leaves you with plenty of talented speakers to consider, and it comes down to what kind of sound you like and how well you can position them. I'd strongly advise an audition when it's possible, but I suggest including the 6th generation Monitor Audio Bronze series to your list, as well as Mission's MkII LX-series and their QX-series.
I would go all-in-one, as the OP is looking for streaming essentially.
Clickety

I would pair it with Dali Zensor 3 speakers and suitable stands. He'll have to budget for a phono stage for the table.
 
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Rollo

Well-known member
Apr 21, 2020
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So many options at this price point. Just to throw a couple in. Amp you could go with Marantz pm6007, Been winning awards for years at this price, or the Audiolab 6000a. And speakers you could go Elac Debut Reference or Uni-fi 2. The Q Accoustic 3030i punch above their weight and if you want a floorstander the 3050i.
 

smallfry

Active member
Nov 10, 2020
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Thanks for the replies so far.
Lack of digital counts the Rege out but two mentions for the Audiolab 6000a.
The Marantz Melody X Premium Mini looks very interesting and would save me investing in a CD player later but I'm a bit wary of having an amp with a non-functioning CD player in years to come (I had a couple of mid-range players fail on me during the 90s).
The MaiA DS2 is nice but a budget buster when factoring in speakers.

Speaker wise it looks everyone has their own preference.
Pandemic permitting I'll see if I can make a trip to https://www.wilkinsons.tv/ who were very helpful repairing the turntable.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
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Another worthwhile option is the Yamaha R-N602 network receiver. It offers a very capable amplifier section with plenty of inputs, plus streaming through Yamaha's MusicCast platform. The built-in phono stage is also more than decent and the whole thing makes for a nice tidy package.

Here it is at your chosen retailer. At £399.99 it's a bit of a no-brainer in my opinion (and yes, I've owned and used a R-N602 extensively so I know it's good).

https://www.wilkinsons.tv/product/yamaha-r-n602/

Just add your choice of speakers and you'll have plenty of fun!
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
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Hi. I think, with that budget, that you can look at a Quad Vena 2 + a pair of Triangle BR03 or some Dali/Elac/Q Acoustics stuff (or you might actually find a Vena 2 bundled with Quad's own S1 speakers, which is of course what you should check out instead of the others - don't know if it would fit the budget, though).
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,675
121
19,870
Thanks for the replies so far.
Lack of digital counts the Rege out but two mentions for the Audiolab 6000a.
The Marantz Melody X Premium Mini looks very interesting and would save me investing in a CD player later but I'm a bit wary of having an amp with a non-functioning CD player in years to come (I had a couple of mid-range players fail on me during the 90s).
The MaiA DS2 is nice but a budget buster when factoring in speakers.

Speaker wise it looks everyone has their own preference.
Pandemic permitting I'll see if I can make a trip to https://www.wilkinsons.tv/ who were very helpful repairing the turntable.
The main benefit of the Marantz is because of room size it's quite discreet and won't dominate the relatively small room. It also sounds cracking too.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Hi. I think, with that budget, that you can look at a Quad Vena 2 + a pair of Triangle BR03 or some Dali/Elac/Q Acoustics stuff (or you might actually find a Vena 2 bundled with Quad's own S1 speakers, which is of course what you should check out instead of the others - don't know if it would fit the budget, though).
Yours for £995...
 

amormusic

Well-known member
Feb 24, 2016
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4,670
I'd take a different route and go 2nd hand.

For ballpark £600-650 you can pick up an Arcam Solo Music, which I'd pair with a set of PMC DB1i's which should be around £400. Therefore total spend of ballpark £1000.

This would take care of amp/dab/tv/cd/streaming via nas if you have one/BT aptx. Most importantly this would sound great and is far from budget kit. Reviews for both bits of kit are available on here and elsewhere.

Then plug in the chromecast and that's the streaming fully sorted, or you could use the inbuilt bluetooth (but wouldn't sound as good) and you could upgrade this element later if desired.

You'd need to buy a phono stage to connect turntable, which could be picked up very cheaply or be done later if it's rarely used. Others could chip in here as I dont use vinyl.

Edit: having just had a look on Ebay. DB1i's resale value has shot up since I last looked. Now around £600. Therefore this overall suggestion is quite out of budget.
 
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smallfry

Active member
Nov 10, 2020
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I'd take a different route and go 2nd hand.

For ballpark £600-650 you can pick up an Arcam Solo Music, which I'd pair with a set of PMC DB1i's which should be around £400. Therefore total spend of ballpark £1000.

This would take care of amp/dab/tv/cd/streaming via nas if you have one/BT aptx. Most importantly this would sound great and is far from budget kit. Reviews for both bits of kit are available on here and elsewhere.

Then plug in the chromecast and that's the streaming fully sorted, or you could use the inbuilt bluetooth (but wouldn't sound as good) and you could upgrade this element later if desired.

You'd need to buy a phono stage to connect turntable, which could be picked up very cheaply or be done later if it's rarely used. Others could chip in here as I dont use vinyl.

Edit: having just had a look on Ebay. DB1i's resale value has shot up since I last looked. Now around £600. Therefore this overall suggestion is quite out of budget.
I have no problem with second hand.
The chaps at the shop I linked to earlier repaired and serviced my turntable and were ridiculously knowledgeable (and very reasonably priced).
My first thought was to drive over and take their advice.
I'd probably come out having spent twice the budget though.
 
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smallfry

Active member
Nov 10, 2020
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Mrs smallfry has just strongly suggested floor standing speakers would not be appreciated.
So, something that sounds floor standing but not actually floor standing would be good.
 

rainsoothe

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Apr 30, 2012
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Almost certainly on a new unit.
I don't think anything will sound like a floorstander on a unit, and I don't think a lot of speakers are designed with that kind of placement in mind. Again, check the Quad Vena 2 amp + S1 speakers. Focal Aria 906 are also pretty forgiving about positioning, but might be above budget if you want to pair them with an appropriate amp.

One sleek suggestion would be the KEF LSX, which are amplified and do streaming (not sure if they support gapless playback, but I think they have DSP, which will help with combating the poor positioning).

Also, maybe if she sees some lookers, she might be ok with small floorstanders, since they can be placed on the sides of the unit and kinda be it's continuation - you might agree on this if you both see the Dali Oberon 5 in the flesh, which look and sound great - and again, are pretty small.
 
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smallfry

Active member
Nov 10, 2020
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I don't think anything will sound like a floorstander on a unit, and I don't think a lot of speakers are designed with that kind of placement in mind. Again, check the Quad Vena 2 amp + S1 speakers. Focal Aria 906 are also pretty forgiving about positioning, but might be above budget if you want to pair them with an appropriate amp.

One sleek suggestion would be the KEF LSX, which are amplified and do streaming (not sure if they support gapless playback, but I think they have DSP, which will help with combating the poor positioning).

Also, maybe if she sees some lookers, she might be ok with small floorstanders, since they can be placed on the sides of the unit and kinda be it's continuation - you might agree on this if you both see the Dali Oberon 5 in the flesh, which look and sound great - and again, are pretty small.
Ok thanks.
I think the Oberon 5 will probably bust the budget.
I'm basically after a warm rich sound, but thinking about what I've seen elsewhere a floor standing speaker might be overkill for a pretty small room.
I'll take another look at the Quad Vena 2 setup, but it's going to be hard to actually get out and have a listen in the current circumstances.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
395
206
19,270
I'm coming back following my own listening over recent days, which has given me some perspective that I'm not sure I've really had before.

The system I'm using at present is in my signature below. I've got a new all-Rega system on order, but it has struck me how much I have been enjoying music over the past few days using the Marantz amp with the Dali Oberon 5s. If I'm honest with myself, it's actually reaching the point where I'm questioning whether I need to make the change. I certainly want the new P6/NEO/Exact turntable, but I can't help wondering whether I actually need the new CD, amp and speakers, because the Marantz/Dali combination is sounding so good.

My point in sharing this here, is that the Marantz PM6007 pairing with the Oberon 5s is rather good to the point where it stops me thinking about the equipment when I'm listening. Bearing in mind I've been an insufferable and committed box swapper for the past 15 years, that says quite a lot about what a well matched £1,000 amp/speaker combination can achieve. The Oberons are also, to put the icing on the cake, very good looking speakers in the oak finish that I have, and nicely compact - more so than a lot of speaker/stand combinations.
 
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smallfry

Active member
Nov 10, 2020
8
3
25
I'm coming back following my own listening over recent days, which has given me some perspective that I'm not sure I've really had before.

The system I'm using at present is in my signature below. I've got a new all-Rega system on order, but it has struck me how much I have been enjoying music over the past few days using the Marantz amp with the Dali Oberon 5s. If I'm honest with myself, it's actually reaching the point where I'm questioning whether I need to make the change. I certainly want the new P6/NEO/Exact turntable, but I can't help wondering whether I actually need the new CD, amp and speakers, because the Marantz/Dali combination is sounding so good.

My point in sharing this here, is that the Marantz PM6007 pairing with the Oberon 5s is rather good to the point where it stops me thinking about the equipment when I'm listening. Bearing in mind I've been an insufferable and committed box swapper for the past 15 years, that says quite a lot about what a well matched £1,000 amp/speaker combination can achieve. The Oberons are also, to put the icing on the cake, very good looking speakers in the oak finish that I have, and nicely compact - more so than a lot of speaker/stand combinations.
Nice endorsement.
I was literally looking at the PM6006 before I read this.
I think the Oberon 5s might be too much for the room size but as rainsoothe said it could be worth checking out in person.

And just to add, I used to buy cameras and lenses like they were going out of fashion - I mean buy a body, then sell it and buy another and at least a lens a week (usually) vintage.
Then one day I borrowed a Fuji X-Pro1 and that as it. I was cured.
It's old now and probably worth next to nothing, but that and a 35mm lens is all I've used for about 6/7 years.
 
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