Budget speakers and stereo amp

harpoonk31

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Do any of you have any recommendations for a budget stereo amp ($100-300) that sounds good and likewise ($200-400) for a pair of bookshelf speakers? Currently I have more of a movie setup that has some small surround sound speakers that don't sound great for music. I want to upgrade, but not jump into something super high end or expensive yet.
Thanks!
 

My2Cents

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There is a lot of gear out there that may suit your needs. Indeed, WHF magazine has articles on budget speakers and amps that may help. If you can get yourself to a dealer then perhaps you could audition some stuff.
You mentioned $'s and so I'm guessing that you are in the USA?
If so, Hi Fi stores really don't exist for us. Those that do exist specialize in high end home theater equipment.
So you're left with 'Best Buy' or buying on line through Crutchfield / Amazon / B&H etc.
You can also buy directly from many manufacturers, with free return shipping if not satisfied e.g. Cambridge Audio / Q Acoustics. I recently picked up a pair of Q Acoustics 3050's for $400 direct from them and they are pretty good floor-standers (now out of stock).
If you require streaming, perhaps a WiiM amp? There's a ton of decent speakers in the $300-$400 price range.
Personally, I would steer clear of used gear, unless you can audition it first and absolutely never buy used on line.
Shame you don't live close, I could sell you my old 'near mint' Yamaha R-S300 / Infinity Primus 163's for a couple of hundred $'s! LOL
 

harpoonk31

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There is a lot of gear out there that may suit your needs. Indeed, WHF magazine has articles on budget speakers and amps that may help. If you can get yourself to a dealer then perhaps you could audition some stuff.
You mentioned $'s and so I'm guessing that you are in the USA?
If so, Hi Fi stores really don't exist for us. Those that do exist specialize in high end home theater equipment.
So you're left with 'Best Buy' or buying on line through Crutchfield / Amazon / B&H etc.
You can also buy directly from many manufacturers, with free return shipping if not satisfied e.g. Cambridge Audio / Q Acoustics. I recently picked up a pair of Q Acoustics 3050's for $400 direct from them and they are pretty good floor-standers (now out of stock).
If you require streaming, perhaps a WiiM amp? There's a ton of decent speakers in the $300-$400 price range.
Personally, I would steer clear of used gear, unless you can audition it first and absolutely never buy used on line.
Shame you don't live close, I could sell you my old 'near mint' Yamaha R-S300 / Infinity Primus 163's for a couple of hundred $'s! LOL
I am indeed in the US. I do not have a need for streaming, but I can look at your recommendations and check out the articles. One question, I have heard two different answers on this and I'm not sure what to think, but do stereo amps sound better for music than AVRs?
 

landco

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You are formulating the question incorrectly. You need to start with: a) what model do you have b) what SPECIFICALLY don’t suit you about the sound
 

My2Cents

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I am indeed in the US. I do not have a need for streaming, but I can look at your recommendations and check out the articles. One question, I have heard two different answers on this and I'm not sure what to think, but do stereo amps sound better for music than AVRs?
If you buy an AVR for say $500 and a straight stereo amp for the same price I would expect the stereo amp to be better than the AVR for pure 2 channel music listening... simply because the AVR has to do a lot more and the manufacturer will have to skimp on components to allow them to get all of the required features into the unit for any given budget.
i.e. (in theory) the designer of the stereo amp will be able to put in a better quality transformer/power caps and better heat sink for any given budget.
Of course, there's always exceptions, but everything is designed to meet a budget and the AVR needs more components to do it's job and so compromises have to be made.
You could say that during design, with an AVR 'features' come first but with a 2 channel stereo amp 'sound' comes first.
If you don't need streaming then probably avoid the WiiM. I'm sure that something like the Cambridge Audio AXA25 paired with some decent speakers would give you a satisfactory sound for little money. Placement and room acoustics are pretty big factors and done right can make a budget system sound very pleasant (along with good stands and good cables). You don't mention how you will feed the amp. or what your source component is? I'm guessing now, not streaming?
 
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harpoonk31

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You are formulating the question incorrectly. You need to start with: a) what model do you have b) what SPECIFICALLY don’t suit you about the sound
I have a Yamaha RXV-361 and I don't know exactly how it sounds because I haven't heard it on speakers that are geared towards hifi music. The ones that I have are surround sound speakers intended for movie/home theater purposes. They are pretty small and don't give me the depth, bass, and overall tone and quality that I want.

Update: The speakers I have are YAMAHA NS-AP2600s and my subwoofer is a Yamaha YST-SW010. This is the package: https://www.manualslib.com/manual/340887/Yamaha-Ns-Sp1600.html
 
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My2Cents

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I would personally avoid the Dayton Audio amp. simply because it is a super budget tube amp. with a ton of features and so you can be sure that everything in it will be a compromise, including the digital board and the tubes. I actually considered buying their HTA200 just for a lark (interested to see / hear what it would sound like) but I didn't want to be stuck with a brick.
I'm a big fan of Yamaha but the RXV-361 was a super budget amp in it's day and I doubt that it's going to sound very good even with decent speakers... sorry :(
Personally I would avoid 'mini' amps unless you live in a 'Tiny House' (but that's just me)! ... we're in the USA... go BIG!
 
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Does anyone know anything about the Dayton audio HTA100? It's the amp that I'm considering right now along with a set of ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2s.
Most people in the UK might prefer to buy from a respectable dealer and as far as I know there's no dealer for that amp.....
Why did you decide on it?
Certainly hope it's a hybrid as those speakers are not the most efficient around....
 
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harpoonk31

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Most people in the UK might prefer to buy from a respectable dealer and as far as I know there's no dealer for that amp.....
Why did you decide on it?
Certainly hope it's a hybrid as those speakers are not the most efficient around....
The reason that I'm considering it is because it has 2 RCA inputs (1 for my turntable and 1 for my CD player), bluetooth (For my tablet), subwoofer output, and I've seen some good reviews of the amp. I am also in the US, so I don't really have any hifi stores. The fact that it's hybrid makes me think I might be able to get the pros of both tube and solid state amps (kind of the goal of a hybrid I guess).
 
The reason that I'm considering it is because it has 2 RCA inputs (1 for my turntable and 1 for my CD player), bluetooth (For my tablet), subwoofer output, and I've seen some good reviews of the amp. I am also in the US, so I don't really have any hifi stores. The fact that it's hybrid makes me think I might be able to get the pros of both tube and solid state amps (kind of the goal of a hybrid I guess).
So where can you buy it from? Ebay?
 

Integralista

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Do any of you have any recommendations for a budget stereo amp ($100-300) that sounds good and likewise ($200-400) for a pair of bookshelf speakers? Currently I have more of a movie setup that has some small surround sound speakers that don't sound great for music. I want to upgrade, but not jump into something super high end or expensive yet.
Thanks!
To make the story short: WiiM amp with streamer on board is the king up to 400 eur. It is small lovely looking amp with sound that can be compared with analogue amps for 400-500 eur. Speakers I will take Q Acoustics, e.g. 330 or small Dali.
Regards. Juraj
 

Fandango Andy

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There is no simple answer, it's all down to what you like. There is no substitute for listening to a few systems. The important thing to remember, the dynamics of the room will be as important as the equipment you put in it. And, you need to get your speaker position right to make it work.

Having said that, given the budget you suggest, I would start by listening to a Marantz PM6007 and a pair of Triangle Bora BR02. I have heard both, but not together, but think they will work.
 

Witterings

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I think I'd avoid the Dayton Audio like the plague ..... I won't buy anything that has 10% of 1 star reviews on Amazon irrespective of what it is.
You're problem will be a decent amp at that budget with the inputs you want, the Fosi Audio V3 and their latest ZA3 are meant to be very good for their cost ..... general opinion seems to be one of those combined with a WiiM Pro Plus is better than the WiiM Amp.
Don't know if your CD has a optical out as well as RCA which could go to optical in on the WiiM and could a budget phono stage for your turntable and use the RCA in on the WiiM.
Aiyima AO7 is meant to be good as well .... but again limited inputs.

I have the Elac B5.2's, which I think are brilliant, I would have tried the 6.2's but I'm very limited on depth as they're on a window sill so they wouldn't fit.

Not sure what clearance offers you may find in the US but the Arcam SA10 is being discounted and have seen some silly low prices in the UK, it'd be an amazing amp for you with a decent phono stage and DAC .... currently £329 down from £825.
 

Witterings

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Afterthought on the above .... not sure what your current surround setup / AVR is but if it has preouts the Arcam SA10 has HT Bypass so can also be used for your main L/R fronts for your surround so you won't need 2 sets of speakers.
 

harpoonk31

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I think I'd avoid the Dayton Audio like the plague ..... I won't buy anything that has 10% of 1 star reviews on Amazon irrespective of what it is.
You're problem will be a decent amp at that budget with the inputs you want, the Fosi Audio V3 and their latest ZA3 are meant to be very good for their cost ..... general opinion seems to be one of those combined with a WiiM Pro Plus is better than the WiiM Amp.
Don't know if your CD has a optical out as well as RCA which could go to optical in on the WiiM and could a budget phono stage for your turntable and use the RCA in on the WiiM.
Aiyima AO7 is meant to be good as well .... but again limited inputs.

I have the Elac B5.2's, which I think are brilliant, I would have tried the 6.2's but I'm very limited on depth as they're on a window sill so they wouldn't fit.

Not sure what clearance offers you may find in the US but the Arcam SA10 is being discounted and have seen some silly low prices in the UK, it'd be an amazing amp for you with a decent phono stage and DAC .... currently £329 down from £825.
Unfortunately, the CD player does not have optical out. I did check out the Arcam, and despite having a massive discount, it's still a little out of my price range. Thanks for the feedback on the Elacs, I have heard some good things about them and that helped reinforce it. I guess it must be different in the UK because here the Dayton HTA100 has only 4% 1 star. Do you know of anything else that might make me want to avoid the Dayton?
 
All these replies and no one has said Fosi V3 yet…
I’m guessing you may be being ironic, but…The thing is, it’s not a normal integrated amp, more a power amp with a volume control. So, with one source like a CD player it might work, but hardly a universal recommendation.

After your post we learn that the original poster has two items to connect, so that definitely rules it out!
 
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The reason that I'm considering it is because it has 2 RCA inputs (1 for my turntable and 1 for my CD player), bluetooth (For my tablet), subwoofer output, and I've seen some good reviews of the amp. I am also in the US, so I don't really have any hifi stores. The fact that it's hybrid makes me think I might be able to get the pros of both tube and solid state amps (kind of the goal of a hybrid I guess).
You can't connect a turntable directly to a RCA unless you use a separate phono stage. In your situation I would look at a amp with a built-in phono stage, such as Marantz, Rotel, Yamaha, older Arcams, older Roksan Kandys or Rega.
 

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