Question Small Stereo BT Integrated Amp for Harbeths

asinla

Active member
Apr 12, 2022
9
4
25
Yes...it seems odd trying to power my Harbeths with a small BT amp but let me explain...

I was perma-lent a pair of the original Harbeth 30's which I have been successfully driving with my aged yet passable Onkyo SR605 receiver/amp.
We recently bought a new TV and cabinet that the old TV was on had to go. Unfortunately that cabinet also housed the Onkyo, the DAC, the BluRay/CD player and the turntable. The new furniture that the TV sits on does not have any space for the audio components.
So I now need a small power amp to drive the Harbeths. I also need it to have inputs for the DAC and a Bluetooth receiver.
I'm trying to stay under $200 but if that's impossible I'll make a plan to go higher..possibly selling some units in the process. I'm not averse to buying used either.

I have done a lot of research especially on Audio Science Reviews and I was wondering if anyone here had some input as there is a lot of noise out there.

Thanks in advance for your time and input.

-Adam
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
1,433
856
2,070
Yes...it seems odd trying to power my Harbeths with a small BT amp but let me explain...

I was perma-lent a pair of the original Harbeth 30's which I have been successfully driving with my aged yet passable Onkyo SR605 receiver/amp.
We recently bought a new TV and cabinet that the old TV was on had to go. Unfortunately that cabinet also housed the Onkyo, the DAC, the BluRay/CD player and the turntable. The new furniture that the TV sits on does not have any space for the audio components.
So I now need a small power amp to drive the Harbeths. I also need it to have inputs for the DAC and a Bluetooth receiver.
I'm trying to stay under $200 but if that's impossible I'll make a plan to go higher..possibly selling some units in the process. I'm not averse to buying used either.

I have done a lot of research especially on Audio Science Reviews and I was wondering if anyone here had some input as there is a lot of noise out there.

Thanks in advance for your time and input.

-Adam
With great respect you are looking to drive $3,200 speakers with a $200 amp...?
That's not going to be a happy experience....😕
 

asinla

Active member
Apr 12, 2022
9
4
25
Ah yes Tinman. There is that. I realize the irony and folly.

It is a temporary solution for about 4 months till I move. Also, I'd rather have something powering them than listening through the soundbar.
 

amormusic

Well-known member
Feb 24, 2016
398
283
11,270
Welcome fella!

I too own Harbeth M30's, which I've currently got up for sale. These are utterly phenomenal speakers - you are doing complete injustice to them paired with a lowfi amp.

Mine were paired with my Sugden A21 Signature (which I appreciate is 10x your budget). But certainly Sugden/Class A amplification pairs beautifully in my experience.

You can pick up an older version of the Sugden A21a for around £600-700. Pretty much universally praised for their sound. Would sound wonderful on the end of your speakers.

Also, what is the need for Bluetooth? What are you listening to via BT?

*My suggestion is integrated, so no need for the onkyo
 

asinla

Active member
Apr 12, 2022
9
4
25
Welcome fella!

I too own Harbeth M30's, which I've currently got up for sale. These are utterly phenomenal speakers - you are doing complete injustice to them paired with a lowfi amp.

Mine were paired with my Sugden A21 Signature (which I appreciate is 10x your budget). But certainly Sugden/Class A amplification pairs beautifully in my experience.

You can pick up an older version of the Sugden A21a for around £600-700. Pretty much universally praised for their sound. Would sound wonderful on the end of your speakers.

Also, what is the need for Bluetooth? What are you listening to via BT?
Thank you for the welcome and information!

I rather suspect I will be going over budget in all honesty so i will check out the Sugden A21 and see what's for sale here in the US.

I want Bluetooth so I can encourage my kids to appreciate higher end audio by listening to their music through the Harbeth's. If they have to go to the HiRes player and find the track etc etc they simply won't do it. So annoying! :)
If they can just connect to the system with their phones via Bluetooth and play whatever track they want from their various online sources it will make life easier. I guess it's not really a deal breaker as I can add a small BT receiver to the system after the fact.

Cheers!

-A
 

amormusic

Well-known member
Feb 24, 2016
398
283
11,270
Thank you for the welcome and information!

I rather suspect I will be going over budget in all honesty so i will check out the Sugden A21 and see what's for sale here in the US.

I want Bluetooth so I can encourage my kids to appreciate higher end audio by listening to their music through the Harbeth's. If they have to go to the HiRes player and find the track etc etc they simply won't do it. So annoying! :)
If they can just connect to the system with their phones via Bluetooth and play whatever track they want from their various online sources it will make life easier. I guess it's not really a deal breaker as I can add a small BT receiver to the system after the fact.

Cheers!

-A
If they are using Spotify / tidal etc. (?) For streaming music, then a cheap and much better way would be to buy a Chromecast audio and output it via digital output to you dac, or straight to amp of you don't have a dac. Either option will sound better than BT. Again, the speakers are excellent - feed them the best signal input you can...

The kids will love it more.
 

asinla

Active member
Apr 12, 2022
9
4
25
Thank you for the welcome and information!

I rather suspect I will be going over budget in all honesty so i will check out the Sugden A21 and see what's for sale here in the US.

I want Bluetooth so I can encourage my kids to appreciate higher end audio by listening to their music through the Harbeth's. If they have to go to the HiRes player and find the track etc etc they simply won't do it. So annoying! :)
If they can just connect to the system with their phones via Bluetooth and play whatever track they want from their various online sources it will make life easier. I guess it's not really a deal breaker as I can add a small BT receiver to the system after the fact.

Cheers!

-A
Ah I see I would probably run into the same issue I had with my Onkyo. The Sugden A21 is too wide. That's why I'm looking for a smaller width device..like the Topping or the Fosi Audio.

Thanks though.
 
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asinla

Active member
Apr 12, 2022
9
4
25
If they are using Spotify / tidal etc. (?) For streaming music, then a cheap and much better way would be to buy a Chromecast audio and output it via digital output to you dac, or straight to amp of you don't have a dac. Either option will sound better than BT. Again, the speakers are excellent - feed them the best signal input you can...

The kids will love it more.
Oh that's excellent advice!!

Thanks very much I'll try that.
 
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amormusic

Well-known member
Feb 24, 2016
398
283
11,270
You can buy a digital cable for the Chromecast audio to output straight the the DAC.

Note these are discontinued now, so you'll need to look on eBay or similar. They are the best cheap hifi thing in existence in my experience. Access to proper streaming for not much money at all. Great!!

As for small sized amps. Mmm, I'll let others chip in. But do buy the very best amp you can afford to. They are seriously great speakers, so feed them as best you can.
 
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Basso

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2021
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If you are extending your budget and want a smaller box then maybe look for a used Cyrus One HD/Cast?
 

shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
453
305
19,270
Hi,
I would not consider cheap cost as the issue. If it is a temporary purchase, and your listening levels are low, then a cheap small amplifier is more than adequate.

Less money spent now means more money for the final amplifier you purchase, if that is your ultimate goal.

Regards,
Shadders.
 

twinkletoes

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2021
109
71
170
Welcome fella!

I too own Harbeth M30's, which I've currently got up for sale. These are utterly phenomenal speakers - you are doing complete injustice to them paired with a lowfi amp.

Mine were paired with my Sugden A21 Signature (which I appreciate is 10x your budget). But certainly Sugden/Class A amplification pairs beautifully in my experience.

You can pick up an older version of the Sugden A21a for around £600-700. Pretty much universally praised for their sound. Would sound wonderful on the end of your speakers.

Also, what is the need for Bluetooth? What are you listening to via BT?

*My suggestion is integrated, so no need for the onkyo
If space is tight i wouldn't recommend it at all! it will cook up storm in in a confined spot quite litrally
 
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twinkletoes

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2021
109
71
170
In all seriousness, these speakers require a lot of amp they wouldn't be out of place with 6-10k on the end of them.

Having said that there are loads of great second-hand amps on the market that will do great with them. Some great ones from the 70-early 00's can be had for not much more than 2-300 if you take your time and look around. I'd go to some garage sales and see what you can find.

Just find some online make a note and go on a hunt for some. Many don't know what they have and think there junk all it takes is your time and patients.
 

asinla

Active member
Apr 12, 2022
9
4
25
In all seriousness, these speakers require a lot of amp they wouldn't be out of place with 6-10k on the end of them.

Having said that there are loads of great second-hand amps on the market that will do great with them. Some great ones from the 70-early 00's can be had for not much more than 2-300 if you take your time and look around. I'd go to some garage sales and see what you can find.

Just find some online make a note and go on a hunt for some. Many don't know what they have and think there junk all it takes is your time and patients.
Yes.....I did this all day yesterday! Not much work got done!

I keep finding good stuff but the physical space constraint keeps coming up. I did see the NAD D 3020 V2 for a pretty decent $375 but the reviews have been pretty bad across the board. It would work in my space though as it stands on it's side.

Any thoughts on that one?
 
Yes.....I did this all day yesterday! Not much work got done!

I keep finding good stuff but the physical space constraint keeps coming up. I did see the NAD D 3020 V2 for a pretty decent $375 but the reviews have been pretty bad across the board. It would work in my space though as it stands on it's side.

Any thoughts on that one?
Sometimes you need to take reviews with a pinch of salt.... :)
 
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asinla

Active member
Apr 12, 2022
9
4
25
Now this looks like the right way to go for now! Thanks very much for this. I can't believe it did not come up on my radar given the amount of time I have been searching. Similar offerings from Fosi Audio and Loxjie keep coming to the forefront of my searches and I just can't pull the trigger on one of those.

I'll check this out properly.

-A
 
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Gray

Well-known member
.....a pretty decent $375
No way would I be spending so much for 4 months use. Blink and that time will be gone.
I'd be putting that money toward buying the very best sounding amp - regardless of size - now.
Whatever it took I'd make sure I could accommodate it until you move.
But that's just me 🤪
Furniture can never be allowed to dictate choice of hi-fi....it must be the other way round. And please don't tell me your partner is the dictator 😐.
 
No way would I be spending so much for 4 months use. Blink and that time will be gone.
I'd be putting that money toward buying the very best sounding amp - regardless of size - now.
Whatever it took I'd make sure I could accommodate it until you move.
But that's just me 🤪
Furniture can never be allowed to dictate choice of hi-fi....it must be the other way round. And please don't tell me your partner is the dictator 😐.
Hear, hear.
Well said sir.
Buying cheap for a limited period will mean you're on a loser money wise as you are never likely to recoup anywhere near your outlay when you try to sell it on in the future.
Buy wisely and you should not lose anything in the short term but you have to spend out in the first instance in something that you can resell easily.
 
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twinkletoes

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2021
109
71
170
Yes.....I did this all day yesterday! Not much work got done!

I keep finding good stuff but the physical space constraint keeps coming up. I did see the NAD D 3020 V2 for a pretty decent $375 but the reviews have been pretty bad across the board. It would work in my space though as it stands on it's side.

Any thoughts on that one?
Think it’s the v1 people go mad for. You can’t really go wrong with a NAD in all honesty. You have to remember a lot of the older ones need some room breath. They can run a bit warm.

I’d look at rotel. They had some slim line models over the years. Same with arcam.

think someone mentioned Cyrus above. Old models go for a steal and can be added to over time to “improve” sound. Power supply’s and all that jazz if that’s your cuppa.
 

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