Buying Second Hand..£150 for amp and £150 for speakers?? But what?


New member
Aug 5, 2011
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Afternoon all (well at time of writing this it's afternoon...)

I'm going to get back into good sounding music by buying a second hand setup. Just amp and Speakers at the mo....

Thing is; most of my music is in digital form so I have a good PC with the Asus Xonar soundcard; see specs below..

Output Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted):[/b]
116 dB for Front-out
112dB for other channels

Input Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted):[/b]

Output Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise at 1kHz (-3dB) :[/b]
0.00056% (-105dB) for Front-out

Input Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise at 1kHz (-3dB) :[/b]
0.0004% (-108dB) for Line-in

Frequency Response (-3dB, 24-bit/96kHz format):[/b]
<10Hz to 48KHz

Output/Input Full-Scale Voltage[/b]
2 Vrms (5.65 Vp-p)


Analog Playback Sample Rate and Resolution[/b]

44.1K/48K/96K/192KHz @ 16/24bit

Analog Recording Sample Rate and Resolution
[/b]44.1K/48K/96K/192KHz @ 16/24bit

S/PDIF Digital Output[/b]
44.1K/48K/96K/192KHz @ 16/24bit, Dolby Digital, DTS


Analog Output Jack:[/b]
3.50mm mini jack *4 (Front/Side/Center-Subwoofer/Back)

Analog Input Jack:[/b]
3.50mm mini jack *1 (Shared by Line-In/Mic-In)

Other line-level analog input (for TV Tuner or CD-ROM):
[/b]Aux-In (4-pin header on the card)

Digital S/PDIF Output[/b]
High-bandwidth TOS-Link optical transmitter (shared with Line-In/Mic-In jack) supports 192KHz/24bit


Firstly, how would I connect the soundcard upto an amp using the best method for sound quality with the equipment I have? Or will the quality just not be good enough via the soundcard?

I have budget of £150 for amp


£150 for speakers

Room size is medium/small (1 bedroom cottage size)...

I love listening to 80's - Erasure, Pet shop Boys, Matthew Wilder, Simple Minds etc.......but then I have 'moods' which puts me into Uplifting house I guess a good range of music is needed (apart from Classical, Jazz, Heavy Thrash Rock)

Just to let you know what I've been looking at;

Arcam Alpha 6 Plus

B&W 602's

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.....



Just use a 3.5mm headphone jack to 2-Phono plug cable, form the soundcard to the amp.

For your budget, I'd recommend either an Arcam Alpha 8 or a Sony TA-FB940R, both suit your music taste well. As for speakers the B&W 602's would be great but also consider Mission M73's, possibly Mission 782's. You could eve pick up a set of Acoustic Energy AE109s for under £100.


You could do worse than an Audiolab 8000a amplifier, I sourced one of ebay years ago and it is built like the proverbial.........You should be able to get a good one for £150. On the speaker front I cant claim to be an expert but why not try Wharfedale Diamond 9.1's you can pick these up for a hundred quid brand new, they won a squad of awards a few years ago.


Well-known member
Feb 8, 2008
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For connectivity, use the analogue outputs on the soundcard (the two phono/RCA sockets) into the amplifier.

As for amplifier and speakers, lots of choice and at your budget level (in fact any budget level) you will get the best deal by carefully buying used.

Spend the time wisely to research all of your options and stick with something that will have a solid resale value, because the chances are, that you will get the upgrade bug. :beer: