Question Suggestions for first budget-friendly desktop nearfield speakers

Which speakers for me?

  • Wharfedale diamond 220

  • Q acoustics 3020i

  • Tannoy gold 5

  • Tannoy gold 7

  • Tannoy gold 8

  • Others


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sken

Active member
Dec 5, 2021
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4
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Hello everyone

I am looking for suggestions for my first desktop hifi speakers. I have a 120cmx60 computer desk (~53cm wide for the computer) and I would like to buy a pair of nice speakers as my first speakers. The desk is facing the wall and I would sit within 0.5m to 1.5m to the speakers. I am currently using a dac smsl su9 and headphone amp atom amp so direct rca or balance in, or usb input to speakers are not the big problem for me.

My budget would be under 450 pounds if possible and I live in UK. Active or passive speakers are also ok for me. The thing I concern is that I don't know where I can try to listen to the speakers before bringing them home. Could someone also suggest nice audio shops in UK which allow listening in the shop first before I buy?

I think my preference of sound would be neutral sound with a little bit warm, with some soundstage and not harsh highs and give me enjoyment when listening.(not so sure) I mostly listen to orchestral music(within big orchestra to chamber to solo), movie soundtrack, instrumental music, pop and jazz music. I play flac, 320 mp3 and also stream from Spotify too.

Coz this would be my first pair of speakers, I search for a lot of information in the internet but I am not sure which one to buy and the followings with high ratings are what I found.

Tannoy gold 5/7/8 (studio monitors are ok for normal listening too?!)
Wharfedale diamond 220
Q acoustics 3020i

(passive speakers with a smal class D amp?)

I would appreciate for other speakers and amp suggestions too. Thanks for any suggestions in advance.
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
1,350
792
2,070
Hello everyone

I am looking for suggestions for my first desktop hifi speakers. I have a 120cmx60 computer desk (~53cm wide for the computer) and I would like to buy a pair of nice speakers as my first speakers. The desk is facing the wall and I would sit within 0.5m to 1.5m to the speakers. I am currently using a dac smsl su9 and headphone amp atom amp so direct rca or balance in, or usb input to speakers are not the big problem for me.

My budget would be under 450 pounds if possible and I live in UK. Active or passive speakers are also ok for me. The thing I concern is that I don't know where I can try to listen to the speakers before bringing them home. Could someone also suggest nice audio shops in UK which allow listening in the shop first before I buy?

I think my preference of sound would be neutral sound with a little bit warm, with some soundstage and not harsh highs and give me enjoyment when listening.(not so sure) I mostly listen to orchestral music(within big orchestra to chamber to solo), movie soundtrack, instrumental music, pop and jazz music. I play flac, 320 mp3 and also stream from Spotify too.

Coz this would be my first pair of speakers, I search for a lot of information in the internet but I am not sure which one to buy and the followings with high ratings are what I found.

Tannoy gold 5/7/8 (studio monitors are ok for normal listening too?!)
Wharfedale diamond 220
Q acoustics 3020i

(passive speakers with a smal class D amp?)

I would appreciate for other speakers and amp suggestions too. Thanks for any suggestions in advance.
Hi. Richer Sounds, Audio T, Sevenoaks Sound and Vision all will let you listen before buying (although you may have to book an appoinment with current COVID restrictions) I have never heard a Wharfedale speaker that sounded harsh...quite the opposite. I was going to suggest the Wharfedale 12.1 but they are £100 more expensive... Q Acoustics are excellent but they are very deep speakers for desktop use. I would also look at Dali Spektor 2 a What HiFi product of the year but they need plenty of running in. Good luck!
 
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sken

Active member
Dec 5, 2021
6
4
25
Hi. Richer Sounds, Audio T, Sevenoaks Sound and Vision all will let you listen before buying (although you may have to book an appoinment with current COVID restrictions) I have never heard a Wharfedale speaker that sounded harsh...quite the opposite. I was going to suggest the Wharfedale 12.1 but they are £100 more expensive... Q Acoustics are excellent but they are very deep speakers for desktop use. I would also look at Dali Spektor 2 a What HiFi product of the year but they need plenty of running in. Good luck!
Wharfedale 12.1
Dali Spektor 2

Thanks for the recommendation. I would take into my consideration. I find that the more serious problem is the selection of the power amp to drive those passive speakers, there are massive numbers of amplifiers in the market... Although in my budget most of them are class D I think(?)

Do u have any tips for selecting the right amp?
Or eg. i should buy the set of speakers and amplifier tgt in richer sound maybe?
 
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gasolin

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Mar 17, 2013
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Wharfedale diamond 220 lack bass, the midrange sounds strange and the sound is dark, lack highs

Dali spektor 1 sounds artificial soft in the upper midrange lower treble and the bass,lower midrange is very warm sounding

Q Acoustics 3010i sound a little soft in the upper midrange,lower trebel but not at all as much as the spektor 1, can lack som details but sound pleasant even at high spl

Wharfedale diamond 12.1 can also sound as if it's not the most detailed speaker,. the 12.0 and 12.2 sound better
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
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You could certainly listen to a few amps while you are there. Personally I would look at the SMSL DA9 to match your DAC. Lots of excellent reviews on YouTube. Buy from Amazon and try at home for 30 days...you can always return it if not for you. 👍
 

gasolin

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Mar 17, 2013
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You could certainly listen to a few amps while you are there. Personally I would look at the SMSL DA9 to match your DAC. Lots of excellent reviews on YouTube. Buy from Amazon and try at home for 30 days...you can always return it if not for you. 👍
He is only looking for speakers
 

sken

Active member
Dec 5, 2021
6
4
25
He is only looking for speakers
Yes for now I only got a dac... the amp i own now is a headphone amp
So as well as I buy passive speakers I need to consider the amp too...

The wharfedale diamond 12.2 sounds great too. Looking forward to listening them in shop haha.
 
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sken

Active member
Dec 5, 2021
6
4
25
One more questions if possible, what should I consider when buying amps?
There are like lots of amps, are there some brands especially fit the specific speakers?
Any brands are especially well known with their amps or great value with not huge price?

Want to leave the world of chi-fi (topping and smsl) one day...
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
1,350
792
2,070
One more questions if possible, what should I consider when buying amps?
There are like lots of amps, are there some brands especially fit the specific speakers?
Any brands are especially well known with their amps or great value with not huge price?

Want to leave the world of chi-fi (topping and smsl) one day...
Well the key thing is to listen to see if YOU like the sound the combination of amp and speakers makes. There is no right or wrong...just what you like. Most amps will drive these 'entry level' speakers just fine.
Plus nothing wrong with Topping or SMSL. They are excellent designs which perform at the 'state of the art' level technically. The top of the range models are not uber expensive but not cheap either. My SMSL M400 was £809 but if made in Europe would be twice that.
 
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sken

Active member
Dec 5, 2021
6
4
25
Well the key thing is to listen to see if YOU like the sound the combination of amp and speakers makes. There is no right or wrong...just what you like. Most amps will drive these 'entry level' speakers just fine.
Plus nothing wrong with Topping or SMSL. They are excellent designs which perform at the 'state of the art' level technically. The top of the range models are not uber expensive but not cheap either. My SMSL M400 was £809 but if made in Europe would be twice that.
I see ~ thank you for sharing your thoughts. Instead of the da9, maybe I would look for the smsl ao200 for my amplifier now.

Btw I am not saying smsl or topping are wrong, I like the dac su9 that I own. But I also want to learn and look at different brands and products. The chi-fi seems to aim at the highest spec (low noise and distortion?) as cleanest as possible and as dynamic as possible. I think there are both pros and cons. The pros is yeah I got a really clear and clean sound and the cons maybe I lost a bit musicality, soundstage and smoothness inside. This is my opinion after a long time usage of the dac su9. Maybe it is just my preference for a more relaxing sound. I used to be active in the ASR. But for now, I would like to explore more in different forums and see more ideas in the world.
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
1,350
792
2,070
I see ~ thank you for sharing your thoughts. Instead of the da9, maybe I would look for the smsl ao200 for my amplifier now.

Btw I am not saying smsl or topping are wrong, I like the dac su9 that I own. But I also want to learn and look at different brands and products. The chi-fi seems to aim at the highest spec (low noise and distortion?) as cleanest as possible and as dynamic as possible. I think there are both pros and cons. The pros is yeah I got a really clear and clean sound and the cons maybe I lost a bit musicality, soundstage and smoothness inside. This is my opinion after a long time usage of the dac su9. Maybe it is just my preference for a more relaxing sound. I used to be active in the ASR. But for now, I would like to explore more in different forums and see more ideas in the world.
You're not wrong. Measurements are not everything and I agree for long term listening pleasure many choose a more relaxed and ' less forward' sound...I know I do! 👍
 

Roger_A

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Mar 31, 2010
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As they are for a desktop, which usually means limited space, wouldn't active/powered types be worth considering such as the Ruark MR1 Mk2? If prepared to consider used then the smaller Kef actives might be possible though these would be the original version as the latest are over twice the OP's budget.
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
1,350
792
2,070
I see ~ thank you for sharing your thoughts. Instead of the da9, maybe I would look for the smsl ao200 for my amplifier now.

Btw I am not saying smsl or topping are wrong, I like the dac su9 that I own. But I also want to learn and look at different brands and products. The chi-fi seems to aim at the highest spec (low noise and distortion?) as cleanest as possible and as dynamic as possible. I think there are both pros and cons. The pros is yeah I got a really clear and clean sound and the cons maybe I lost a bit musicality, soundstage and smoothness inside. This is my opinion after a long time usage of the dac su9. Maybe it is just my preference for a more relaxing sound. I used to be active in the ASR. But for now, I would like to explore more in different forums and see more ideas in the world.
You may find this review interesting.. and his comparison with the DA9....

View: https://youtu.be/99Sw7A5mOPQ
 

gasolin

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2013
1,408
276
19,570
One more questions if possible, what should I consider when buying amps?
There are like lots of amps, are there some brands especially fit the specific speakers?
Any brands are especially well known with their amps or great value with not huge price?

Want to leave the world of chi-fi (topping and smsl) one day...
No matter what people say you want as much power as possible (but not 500 watt pr channel if 200 watt pr channel is more than enough).

You want more than you need so you always have enough power, don't have to run the amp at levels where it makes the sound agressive, muddy, uncontrolled because your pushing it to hard

You don't need the wattage to play super loud,but to have enought within your preferred level and to have enough for the amp to be able to control the speakers, people don't always know how much they need for the sound always to sound clean, dynamic music can easily peak 10 db above avarage spl, playing 10 watt + 10db is 100 watt

One amp you could start with is the Audiolab 6000a and see if that is enough for you
 
Last edited:

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
773
459
19,270
Before you buy, go to a professional music store and try out some desktop monitors (They will be actives) as they are designed specifically for the job you want, plus have suitable adjustments to get the best out of them. (Make sure you try first as unlike Hi-Fi speakers which make everything sound nice, the studio monitors will be brutally honest)

Bill
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
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Oh. Also how's about the new Q Acoustics M20? They seem to be a perfect fit for your budget AND needs. They are indeed active and have DSP that you can adjust in order to match the speaker placement. And also leave room in your budgy for some ministands, like the IsoAcoustics iso 130 (check to make sure the speakers are not too small for them). I haven't heard them, but I strongly suggest you have these on the top of your audition list.
 

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