Question Looking for help finding a suitable amp to drive a pair of Scansonic MB-6s

Jogi

Member
Dec 23, 2020
1
0
20
Hi folks

I recently got my hands on a pair of Scansonic MB-6s for a bargain price. I am used to decent quality sound, my other setup is a RME audio interface with Event Opals (in love with those since day 1) and I also got a couple of usable headphones. The current project is a setup for a bigger room and the MB-6s were the first step towards that goal. Hopefully I can create my best sounding system with these speakers.

Now I'd like to find the right integrated amp or pre- and power amp combination that would work well with the MB-6s. The speaker purchase drained my wallet quite a bit so my budget for the amp solution is 1-2k bucks, unless there is a much much better option for a little bit more.

After doing some research on the internet the following options (with their retail price in Switzerland next to them) are on my mind:
  • Rega Brio - 900 CHF (I am worried that this one doesn't have enough power)
  • Rega Elex-R 1500 CHF (The same sound with more power?)
  • Rega Elcit-R - 2300 CHF (Above my budget but is this way better than the previous two rega amps?)
  • Marantz PM8006 - 1200 CHF (I read that this fella pairs well with ribbon tweeters due to being "mellow")
  • Cambridge Audio CXA81 - 1200 CHF (Sick set of features like XLR and Subwoofer connections & Bluetooth connectivity, I read that it is a little bright and might not be the ideal partner for a ribbon tweeter)
  • Cambridge Audio Azur 851 N/W/D/C - 1200 - 1900 CHF (Does this sound better than the CXA81?, It seems to be "higher end" but from a much older generation if I got that right)
  • Pro-ject Pre Box RS + Pro-ject Amp Box RS - 1900 CHF for both (I read the 18 pages of discussion on here about the Pre and people seem to like it, could upgrade with the linear PSU a month later, don't have any soldering skills for replacing the tubes)
I listen to electronic music a lot so a tight and weighty bass but also detail and clarity of the mids and highs would be appreciated. The rest of the setup are 2 Technics 1210s (are the shabby RCA cables on those the weakpoint of my audio chain?) and a Varia RDM20 mixer which has a XLR output, so I'd prefer something with XLR inputs over unbalanced RCA. It would be a nice bonus to be able to stream tidal music via bluetooth directly to the amp. But sound quality is much more important than this feature, as I can route tidal music via the line out of my audio interface to the line in of the mixer. Actually the main goal is to have the best possible sound for my vinyl collection (and Tidal music via line in of the mixer). If additional features on the amp mean worse sound quality than that's a bad thing.

I can't really order amps to try them out here as I have to pay 10% of the buying price when returning them.

Do you guys like any of those listed amps in combination with a ribbon tweeter? Do you have different suggestions of what might work well with the MB-6s?

The speakers go down to 30Hz according to the spec sheet but I might upgrade with a MB-10 or other good subwoofer at some point. With my current low budget Marantz amp they definitely do not have the juicy bass of the opals but I can also play around with the placement a bit more. Also the speakers are not burnt in yet so maybe I'll be happy with the bass without a sub at some point (the manufacturer suggests 250 hours of burn in time before they reach their full potential).

Last but not least are good audio cables an improvement to the sound or is that a myth? With expensive speakers and hopefully a decent amp in the near future it would feel wrong to use regular cheap speaker cables. Is a QED XT40i (150 CHF for 2x 2meters) cable any good?

Thanks a lot in advance for any input you might have for me and merry christmas.

Best,
Jogi
 

ThisIsJimmy

Well-known member
Nov 11, 2020
274
115
1,070
Hi Jogi

I can't advise completely on this list (my interest is mainly on the headphone setup) but one thing they do have in common is a good DAC.

Top 10 best performing tested DACS on Audio Science Review at this point in order are:

1) Okto dac8 stereo
2) Gustard X16
3) Mola Mola Tambaqui
4) SMSL M400
5) Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro
6) Topping D90
7) SMSL SU-9
8) Matrix Element X
9) SONCZ SGD1
10) Topping DX7 Pro

The majority of these are capable of supporting a multitude of inputs such as optical/bluetooth/ias/coaxial/usb etc. as well as utilizing Balanced outputs in XLR and RCA. Many also have the ability to function as a Pre-amp for the amplifier.

You also have mentioned that you also have some headphones that you might be able to make best use of. From a Headphone Amp standpoint the most flexible one in existence right now which might suit your use case best is the Topping A90. It offers 3 different mode gains, has balanced and unbalanced outputs, XLR and RCA in puts, and can function as a Pre-amp (has XLR and RCA outputs.

Others here will be able to offer better advice from a speaker amplifier standpoint.

Whilst I have upgraded speaker cabling in the past, this was only on some Logitech PC Speakers. As they only supplied something the equivalent of bell wire anything was going to be better :LOL:. If you can advise what you have now, others may be able to better advis you here.

You are right to mention RCA being a weakness in audio setups now. Ground loops are something you have to be aware of now, noticeably on balancecd equipment. It is recommended to use XLR where possible.

Jimmy
 

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