Looking For First HiFi Setup With a Laptop - any advice?

admin_exported

New member
Aug 10, 2019
2,556
4
0
Hi, thanks for having me here guys. I've been browsing the forums for a while and have been convinced that I should try to set up my own hi-fi system.

I have gotten rather bored with the poor quality of my current ipod dock speakers (gear 4 house party)

All my music is on my laptop, being either 320kbps MP3 (i know it's not perfect) with a few FLAC albums. I have a macbook pro - no optical output or anything. Only usb, firewire, and the 3.5mm

How would, for example, The Bose companion II speakers compare to an entry level Hi-Fi system? http://www.amazon.co.uk/Companion%C2...2030334&sr=1-1 - my friend has a pair and they sound much better than my current speakers

My question is: What do I need to begin?

To play music from my laptop I am under the impression I need to have:

- A DAC? for good quality audio transfer? or could i just use the 3.5mm jack in my laptop?

- An Amplifier

- And some speakers

- also quaility wires?

Is there anything else I need?

my budget it between £200-300

I've read good reviews about the wharfdale diamond 9.1 and the acoustic q 2020i -are they good for an entry level set up?

Wharfdale: http://www.amazon.co.uk/WHARFEDALE-D...2030192&sr=1-1

Acoustic Q: Q ACOUSTICS 2020i SPEAKERS (PAIR) (WALNUT): Amazon.co.uk: Electronics

in terms of the amplifier - a richer sounds shop down the road for me is selling a cambridge audio topaz a1 for £80 CAMBRIDGE AUDIO TOPAZ AM1 Stereo Amplifier: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics - are there any other good entry level amps?

Do I then need a DAC? basically how do i then connect my laptop to the amp?

My Understanding is that, With a DAC my setup would go like this Laptop>DAC>amp>Speakers - is that right?

If so, are there any good budget DACs? or are there other methods?

Sorry about my complete lack of knowledge

Thanks a lot
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
494
330
19,270
I would suggest seeking out a decent used amp. Something like a Denon PMA250SE could be had for less than £100 and you could combine this with some pre-owned speakers such as Mission 760s for around £50. Add a Musical Fidelity V-DAC to this and you'll have a cracking first system on a budget.
 

amcluesent

New member
Mar 8, 2009
25
0
0
>or are there other methods?<

Yep. Get an Apple Airport Express and a pair of Audio Engine A2 speakers, bought new about £240 all up. That'll stream music off the macbook, so long as you're using iTunes. (N.B. using FLAC in a Apple world is setting yourself up for bother, convert to Apple Lossless and everything's a lot simpler. Just saying.)
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
494
330
19,270
amcluesent said:
>or are there other methods?<

Yep. Get an Apple Airport Express and a pair of Audio Engine A2 speakers, bought new about £240 all up. That'll stream music off the macbook, so long as you're using iTunes. (N.B. using FLAC in a Apple world is setting yourself up for bother, convert to Apple Lossless and everything's a lot simpler. Just saying.)
Sounds like a great suggestion to me and certainly better than compromising with one of those CA Topaz amps. Simple, functional, and it should sound good at the same time.
 

Tim2010

New member
Dec 25, 2009
10
0
0
Never waste your money on Bose or Beats Audio.

Blue Jeans Cable is good for RCA interconnects at a "normal" price.

Amp: Marantz PM7004?

Speakers: B&W685 (they're not cheap) or some entry level Boston Acoustics speakers.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
amcluesent said:
>or are there other methods?<

Yep. Get an Apple Airport Express and a pair of Audio Engine A2 speakers, bought new about £240 all up. That'll stream music off the macbook, so long as you're using iTunes. (N.B. using FLAC in a Apple world is setting yourself up for bother, convert to Apple Lossless and everything's a lot simpler. Just saying.)
Hi, thanks for the replies everyone - amcluesent - what would the audio quality be like from the audio engine a2s via the apple airport as opposed to going through an amp > missions / whardale/ 2020i?

how would the denon pma-250se compare to the cambridge audio am1? Also I went to a richer sound shop today and was recommended the Mission MX1s - are they any good?

so at the moment my options are:

Apple airport > Audio engines

Laptop>amp>Speakers (any listed above)- this setup (due to lack of funds i would either use a usb sound card or the internal 3.5mm jack of my laptop)

Which would you recommend? I am leaning toward a setup with an amp, purely because it allows for upgrades - unless the airport would be a better idea?

Thanks alot guys, I really appreciate the help!
 

Overdose

Well-known member
Feb 8, 2008
279
1
18,890
Some ideas for an active system. Whatever route you choose, at your budget, carefully selected used equipment might be the best way forward.

Speakers:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Behringer-Truth-B2031-High-Resolution-Reference-Studio-Monitors-/170807218656?pt=UK_Consumer_Professional_RL&hash=item27c4e751e0

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Event-20-20-Nearfield-Studio-Monitors-Speakers-2020-150W-/290685732774?pt=UK_Consumer_Professional_RL&hash=item43ae3847a6

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Genelec-1029A-Active-Monitor-speakers-/280848757344?pt=UK_Consumer_Professional_RL&hash=item4163e3f260

DAC/Preamp:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/M-Audio-Fast-Track-Pro-Sound-Card-/300678797938?pt=UK_Computing_ComputerComponents_SoundCards&hash=item4601da5a72

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/EDIROL-UA-25-24-bit-96kHz-USB-Audio-Capture-Interface-LOW-START-PRICE-/251020699110?pt=Midi_Controllers&hash=item3a71ffe5e6

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Behringer-U-Control-UCA202-USB-Audio-Interface-/150779508793?pt=Midi_Controllers&hash=item231b28b839

Some ideas for an active system. Whatever route you choose, at your budget, carefully selected used equipment might be the best way forward.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts