New budget setup

PaulCon

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Jan 16, 2012
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Hi All,

I’m looking to get a cheap setup (amp and speakers) for my spare room, it’s not that big and have a budget of around £250.

I’ve been looking on eBay and wondered if anyone could recommend something, I like the look of the Marantz PM6005 as I need an amp with optical input as I’ll be playing via Spotify on my Mac.

what other amps have optical inputs? I did think about the Denon M40 but it doesn’t seem powerful enough to drive a decent set of stand mounted bookshelves.

Thanks in advance

Paul
 

muljao

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Jul 18, 2016
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The marantz is nice. I use it with q acoustic 2020i and am very happy.

Another option would be a dragonfly black or similar DAC and a set of JBL lsr305 speakers
 

gasolin

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Mar 17, 2013
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I think the Q Acoustcis 2010I is very good, little bump around 75-90hz and a bit more on a desk (you can't really get them, atleast as new), i wouldn't buy the 3000 i think the tweeer is more bright,sibilance and less bass, good sensitivity

Mission LX-2 is 50% more expensive then the 2010i (atleast when i bought them i Denmark) and they sound alot more open and even when bass is a bit deeper it doesn't have the same kind of bump in the bass as the 2010i's, they sound atleast 1 class better like the concept 20 does over the 2020i, much better than the Wharfedale diamons 220 that sounds very dark and no bass unless all you play is edm, midrange sounds strange.

Dali zensor 1/3 to bright sounding and can easily sound agressive in the highs = listening fattigue
 

MajorFubar

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Mar 3, 2010
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If you're really stuck for space how about some DAC-equipped amplified speakers, and lose the separate amp? Kef Eggs spring to mind, also Ruark MR1 mk2 if you want something more conventional. Both just about within your price range. Also look at Sonos.
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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Sony STR-DB930 fully functional DAC and lots of power will not struggle with any speakers at that price range. Should be doable at max £50. Great sounding you will struggle to do better at the price. Speaker wise for £200 second hand you could do quite a bit.

How big is your room? How much space have you got for hifi? How clear of the wall can you have your speakers? What's your listening distance and preferred volume? Also what's your musical taste?
 

PaulCon

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Jan 16, 2012
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Thanks for the response all,

It's not really about space but more about budget, in the past I've had a Denon PMA-250SE with Denon CD, DAC Magic 100 and B&W DM601's but had to sell them when I moved in with my girlfriend but we've cleared the spare room and made it into a listening room (and yoga space for her, hehe).

The main thing I need is optical or alike to stream or connect a computer as I don't really use CD's which is what appealed about the Denon M40 or Marantz PM6005 but I wondered if there were any other options apart from those two as I'd prefer something a little more powerful than the M40.

Regards to speakers I've been looking at something second hand under £100, maybe Tannoy Mercury M2, Wharfedale Diamond 9.1, Dali Zenzor 1 or if budget was too tight maybe some Mission M73 (to save having to buy stands).

I like setups which have punch and clairty so basically anything exciting, I hate laid back sounding stuff (never been an Arcam fan) so anything people can recommend would be greatly appreciated.
 

muljao

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Jul 18, 2016
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This will plug into your macs usb- I know you mention optical, but you also did say similar

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00AOH5JTQ/?coliid=I12WFKTWUR50S1&colid=2NKGIL8YWPDJS&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

I have these (as well as a marantz pm6005 with monitor audio bronze 2s)- these will rock beyond what their price and size suggests, also if you buy from the company on the link you have 30day money back policy so you cant really lose out

https://www.gear4music.com/Recording-and-Computers/JBL-LSR305-Active-Studio-Monitor/UXF

https://www.gear4music.com/Recording-and-Computers/JBL-LSR305-Active-Studio-Monitor/UXF
 

batonwielder

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May 13, 2008
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Dali Zensor's are bright but no punch. Marantz you will hate. Wharfedale can sound too warm. Sounds like you need something along the lines of Rotel, B&W, and Monitor Audio. Focal is terrific value as well.
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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batonwielder said:
Dali Zensor's are bright but no punch. Marantz you will hate. Wharfedale can sound too warm. Sounds like you need something along the lines of Rotel, B&W, and Monitor Audio. Focal is terrific value as well.
I've owned and heard quite a few DALI speakers from mid nineties to modern designs and punch is just about the first thing that comes to mind when describing their sound.

How bad of an amp pairing did you listen to come to that opinion.
 

matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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If you can find a pair pre-owned, I'd warmly recommend KEF Q100. They're a terrific little speaker and in many ways I wish I still had mine, though I do love the Dyns still. I think Q100s with a Marantz PM6005 would be a killer combination for very reasonable outlay.
 

Blacksabbath25

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Sep 20, 2015
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insider9 said:
batonwielder said:
Dali Zensor's are bright but no punch. Marantz you will hate. Wharfedale can sound too warm. Sounds like you need something along the lines of Rotel, B&W, and Monitor Audio. Focal is terrific value as well.
I've owned and heard quite a few DALI speakers from mid nineties to modern designs and punch is just about the first thing that comes to mind when describing their sound.

How bad of an amp pairing did you listen to come to that opinion.
I agree I do not understand why people think theses things that they are bright ,or no midrange or lack punch *scratch_one-s_head*
 

matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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A nice alternative to the Marantz would be a Rotel. Either the RA-01 or the RA-04 that replaced it would be great, perhaps with a second hand Cambridge DACMagic...
 

batonwielder

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May 13, 2008
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insider9 said:
batonwielder said:
Dali Zensor's are bright but no punch. Marantz you will hate. Wharfedale can sound too warm. Sounds like you need something along the lines of Rotel, B&W, and Monitor Audio. Focal is terrific value as well.
I've owned and heard quite a few DALI speakers from mid nineties to modern designs and punch is just about the first thing that comes to mind when describing their sound.

How bad of an amp pairing did you listen to come to that opinion.
Naim Supernait 2, Rega Elex-R, and etc...Really bad amps I guess...
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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batonwielder said:
insider9 said:
batonwielder said:
Dali Zensor's are bright but no punch. Marantz you will hate. Wharfedale can sound too warm. Sounds like you need something along the lines of Rotel, B&W, and Monitor Audio. Focal is terrific value as well.
I've owned and heard quite a few DALI speakers from mid nineties to modern designs and punch is just about the first thing that comes to mind when describing their sound.

How bad of an amp pairing did you listen to come to that opinion.
Naim Supernait 2, Rega Elex-R, and etc...Really bad amps I guess...
If you have a look I actually said "bad amp pairing". It really makes no difference how good of an amp is in isolation if it doesn't work with speakers.
 

knaithrover

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Nov 24, 2013
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As matthewpiano mentioned Kef Q100 are v good along with the Q300's. Also at that price range Dali Sensor 3's and MA BX2's are nice and go well with Marantz. Big fan of old Nad amps too but no dac with them..
 

batonwielder

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May 13, 2008
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insider9 said:
batonwielder said:
insider9 said:
batonwielder said:
Dali Zensor's are bright but no punch. Marantz you will hate. Wharfedale can sound too warm. Sounds like you need something along the lines of Rotel, B&W, and Monitor Audio. Focal is terrific value as well.
I've owned and heard quite a few DALI speakers from mid nineties to modern designs and punch is just about the first thing that comes to mind when describing their sound.

How bad of an amp pairing did you listen to come to that opinion.
Naim Supernait 2, Rega Elex-R, and etc...Really bad amps I guess...
If you have a look I actually said "bad amp pairing". It really makes no difference how good of an amp is in isolation if it doesn't work with speakers.
If you read carefully, my comments were limited to the Dali Zensor's that I've heard. If you read really carefully, I merely stated the names of the amps they were played with. You made a judgment before reading my comments, unless that was actually a question. And if it was, my answer wasn't an invitation for you to opine about the pairing. So, for you, it really makes no difference how good of an amp is in isolation whether it works well with speakers or not. If you would like to leave a constructive comment about what amplifiers work great with the Dali's (the one's you've heard), please feel free. It's still not what the OP was asking, but I'm sure you would like to get it out.
 

batonwielder

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May 13, 2008
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Allow me to leave something more helpful. Marantz PM6005 is a nice piece of gear and sounded great on some of the Kef speakers that I've heard, and that includes the Q300, Q500, and Q700. It's not the most exciting sounding though, and the amp certainly didn't lit the Kef R Series on fire. I think, for that, you need something like the Cambridge CXA 60. Their newish lineup sounds quite dramatic with many digital inputs. The Cambridge did quite fine driving a set of Proac D2's. I believe Cambridge is coming out with V2 of this soon, or they have already. Not sure if you can find one at your price, but it's certainly worth a try as its used price should be going down as well.
 

newlash09

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Aug 28, 2015
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Can you try finding a pre-loved bluesound powernode gen1. Doesn't have optical in, but you can place it away from your Mac and can stream to it wirelessly. I loved mine before I gifted it to my sis. The amp section is from NAD, and is really punchy. Unlike the usual stereo amps you have been considering, this has a dedicated sub out with cross over at 80hz. So any decent bookshelves will do, and when you have budget, you can add a small sub. This will give you the punchy sound you are looking for. No conventional amp with 2 bookshelf speakers can go as low as a 2.1 speaker setup. I used to use the qacoustics q7000lri satellite speakers with the qacoustics q3070 sub with the bluesound powernode. And it was glorious. Deep, punchy , fast agile bass from a neat and tidy setup with 2 tiny satellite speakers and a sleek wall mountable sub. No space lost, no stands, no cables littering the room. And all controllable by an excellent app. Even your girl friend could use it with ease. This also brings tidal, Spotify, internet radio and Bluetooth to the party ( you'd have to add a 15 pound Bluetooth dongle though ).
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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batonwielder said:
insider9 said:
batonwielder said:
insider9 said:
batonwielder said:
Dali Zensor's are bright but no punch. Marantz you will hate. Wharfedale can sound too warm. Sounds like you need something along the lines of Rotel, B&W, and Monitor Audio. Focal is terrific value as well.
I've owned and heard quite a few DALI speakers from mid nineties to modern designs and punch is just about the first thing that comes to mind when describing their sound.

How bad of an amp pairing did you listen to come to that opinion.
Naim Supernait 2, Rega Elex-R, and etc...Really bad amps I guess...
If you have a look I actually said "bad amp pairing". It really makes no difference how good of an amp is in isolation if it doesn't work with speakers.
If you read carefully, my comments were limited to the Dali Zensor's that I've heard. If you read really carefully, I merely stated the names of the amps they were played with. You made a judgment before reading my comments, unless that was actually a question. And if it was, my answer wasn't an invitation for you to opine about the pairing. So, for you, it really makes no difference how good of an amp is in isolation whether it works well with speakers or not. If you would like to leave a constructive comment about what amplifiers work great with the Dali's (the one's you've heard), please feel free. It's still not what the OP was asking, but I'm sure you would like to get it out.
I think we got off on the wrong foot. I did read your every comment before posting carefully. You said DALI "no punch". And there was no ill will although and a bit of surprise. Whereas I see how they may sound bright in some setups, no punch is a strange thing to say in any setup imho. This is the last thing I would expect from Dali hence I mentioned amp pairing. Zensor 3 for instance sounds dreadful with budget Marantz and Cambridge gear but it's not to do with punch.

Here are some for OP

Zensor - Onkyo A9010, Primare A30.1, NAD C320BEE

Opticon range - Hegel Rost and so I was told Yamaha AS2100, A3000 (not hear them with Yamahas)

Epicon - Arcam (not sure of model it as AVR circa £3k)

104 - not heard it sound bad on any gear I've tried for lowly Sony DB-930 to Pass Labs X30.8 or Music First V2 + Icon Audio MB845 MK2

Same goes to DALI Concept 6. Sounded at least good on any gear I've tried.

As to being constructive and making a judgement. OP asked for an advice on a setup, that's pairing. So I'm not sure comments "DALI are bright and no punch" is constructive. If you don't mention the pairing it's just putting off form otherwise enjoyable brand.

This is a forum after all and it's fine to voice your opinion. But I didn't know any invite is necessary to comment. But consider is what you wrote constructive #11? I read your comment #16 and it's clear you misunderstood my point. That's what I was trying to clarify.

And for clarity, I don't know you and don't appreciate being told I need to get something out. If you'd like to discuss Hifi I'm all in but personal digs like that aren't welcome. Particularly as I've been respectful towards both you and your opinion.
 

gasolin

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Mar 17, 2013
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knaithrover said:
As matthewpiano mentioned Kef Q100 are v good along with the Q300's. Also at that price range Dali Sensor 3's and MA BX2's are nice and go well with Marantz. Big fan of old Nad amps too but no dac with them..
Nad D3020 has a dac mabye half price used
 

knaithrover

Moderator
Nov 24, 2013
153
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gasolin said:
knaithrover said:
As matthewpiano mentioned Kef Q100 are v good along with the Q300's. Also at that price range Dali Sensor 3's and MA BX2's are nice and go well with Marantz. Big fan of old Nad amps too but no dac with them..
Nad D3020 has a dac mabye half price used
Yeah I used to have one v v good for such a tiny thing - thought it might be a bit beyond what the OP wanted to spend
 

Blacksabbath25

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Sep 20, 2015
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batonwielder said:
insider9 said:
batonwielder said:
insider9 said:
batonwielder said:
Dali Zensor's are bright but no punch. Marantz you will hate. Wharfedale can sound too warm. Sounds like you need something along the lines of Rotel, B&W, and Monitor Audio. Focal is terrific value as well.
I've owned and heard quite a few DALI speakers from mid nineties to modern designs and punch is just about the first thing that comes to mind when describing their sound.

How bad of an amp pairing did you listen to come to that opinion.
Naim Supernait 2, Rega Elex-R, and etc...Really bad amps I guess...
If you have a look I actually said "bad amp pairing". It really makes no difference how good of an amp is in isolation if it doesn't work with speakers.
If you read carefully, my comments were limited to the Dali Zensor's that I've heard. If you read really carefully, I merely stated the names of the amps they were played with. You made a judgment before reading my comments, unless that was actually a question. And if it was, my answer wasn't an invitation for you to opine about the pairing. So, for you, it really makes no difference how good of an amp is in isolation whether it works well with speakers or not. If you would like to leave a constructive comment about what amplifiers work great with the Dali's (the one's you've heard), please feel free. It's still not what the OP was asking, but I'm sure you would like to get it out.
I’ve owned the Dali Zensor 1 And 3s the Zensor 1s are very small box shelf speakers that do not give out much bass because of there size and what I remember about them was they where quite natural sounding but you would expect this from a very small speaker .

The Zensor 3s where better I thought at the time because they are bigger then the Zensor 1s So sounded better with pretty good bass from a stand mounted speaker now I used my Dali Zensor 3s at the time with Marantz PM6005 and CD6005 with the speakers mounted on speaker brackets on the wall and they sounded pretty good for a small speaker .

But remember that the Dali Zensor 1s And 3s are both budget speakers and the Zensor 3s being the better speaker on this kind of budget and I still think that the Zensor 3s are excellent value for money if your starting in the hobby for your first setup

But as you go up the range of Dali speakers so does the sound quality go up to and then you start looking at stronger amplifiers because some of the Dali speakers are hard to drive so need the power from a good amplifier .

But one thing I’ve learn is one speaker might sound rubbish on one amplifier but put them speakers with a different amplifier there sound will change to being great sounding speaker by matching the sonics of the amplifier and that’s why it’s important to demo speakers and amplifier together to give you the general idea .
 

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