Question What to buy? I am newbie

Fgattino

Active member
May 6, 2020
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Hi all, I am new to the forum and new to hifi. I am about to invest in my first hifi system and there are too many options even for my budget (total usd 4k) I am looking for DAC, amp and speakers. I have a small room.
This is what I have in mind: RME adi2-dac, PrimaLuna EVO 100 (integrated) and for speakers I was thinking Dali Opticon 2, Dynaudio Emit m20 or maybe something bigger like KEF q550, Dali Zensor 7 or Dynaudio Emit m30.
Any suggestions or comments will be highly appreciated.
The reason I’ve chosen these brands is because not all rands are available in the market, I am from Argentina.

Thank you in advance.
 

jjbomber

Well-known member
Dec 22, 2006
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Welcome to the forum.

What size room will the system be in? What will be source be, as you only want a DAC. amp and speakers? Finally what sort of music will you be listening to? There is a big different between Metallica and Mozart! Thanks.
 

Fgattino

Active member
May 6, 2020
7
2
25
Welcome to the forum.

What size room will the system be in? What will be source be, as you only want a DAC. amp and speakers? Finally what sort of music will you be listening to? There is a big different between Metallica and Mozart! Thanks.
Hi, thanks for replying. The room is approx 13x16 feet. I will feed the dac from the PC (Tidal, Flac or similar) and I like almost all music genres but right now I’m mostly listening to Rock, pop, jazz, Latin and some smooth jazz in that order. Since I am going to use Tidal as the feed I also looked at the SMSL M500 that has a MQA decoder, but the RME seems to be better.

Thanks again!
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
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Can't go wrong with Primaluna. You'll also need pretty sensitive speakers, so add Focal Aria to your list. If you don't wanna mess with laptop/pc, you could also check out Naim Atom and Arcam SA30.
 
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jjbomber

Well-known member
Dec 22, 2006
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Hi, thanks for replying. The room is approx 13x16 feet. I will feed the dac from the PC (Tidal, Flac or similar) and I like almost all music genres but right now I’m mostly listening to Rock, pop, jazz, Latin and some smooth jazz in that order. Since I am going to use Tidal as the feed I also looked at the SMSL M500 that has a MQA decoder, but the RME seems to be better.

Thanks again!
Speakers are a personal choice. Of that list I'd go for the Dali Zensor 7. They have a sensitivity of 90dB, so easier to drive. If you can listen to them that would be great. I don't know what the situation with Coronavirus is in Argentina, though Brasil is quite bad. Focal are great for rock; not so sure for smooth jazz. As I say, you really need to listen to them if you can.

Beautiful amplifier. Great choice.
 
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Fgattino

Active member
May 6, 2020
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Can't go wrong with Primaluna. You'll also need pretty sensitive speakers, so add Focal Aria to your list. If you don't wanna mess with laptop/pc, you could also check out Naim Atom and Arcam SA30.
Thanks for your comment!
I've checked the price on the Focal Aria 906 and in Argentina those are almost double the Dynaudio Emit M20 when the actual price in the US is about the same.
I'm still not clear on the sensitivity. The Emit M20 have 86 dB but they are 4 ohms, the Focal Aria 906 are close to 90 dB but 6 ohms. I don't know if the difference in the ohms will compensate the sensitivity.
I've seen great reviews of the Emit M20 so between the Focal Aria and the Dynaudio I'm lining towards the Dynaudio.
I've would love to have the chance to audition them but unfortunately it was hard enough for me to find a place that has these type of speakers for auditions from the get go, now with COVID is impossible.

Thanks!
 

Fgattino

Active member
May 6, 2020
7
2
25
Speakers are a personal choice. Of that list I'd go for the Dali Zensor 7. They have a sensitivity of 90dB, so easier to drive. If you can listen to them that would be great. I don't know what the situation with Coronavirus is in Argentina, though Brasil is quite bad. Focal are great for rock; not so sure for smooth jazz. As I say, you really need to listen to them if you can.

Beautiful amplifier. Great choice.
Hi @jjbomber
Things here are quite complicated, unfortunately I don't think I am going to be able to listen to them. Dali Zensor 7 was one the ones I had in mind. I also like the Oberon 7 but not sure if they are good fit for the amp.

Thanks for replying!
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
217
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For a small room, Oberon 5 might be a better fit. Bigger speakers need more space away from the wall.

Sensitivity - a higher number means the speaker is more sensitive, so easier to drive. It's measured like this: a microphone is placed 1m away from the speaker, which is linked to an amp so that the amp only uses 1 watt. The sound pressure (volume) is measured, and that's how you get sensitivity. For every extra 3 decibels, you have to double the wattage. Conversely, in the Focal Aria vs Dynaudio case, the Focal will need less than half the wattage to sound as loud as the Dynaudio. If you don't need concert levels, these differences shouldn't matter that much in a domestic application.

The Aria does seem expensive, though. Can't go wrong with either Dali Oberon or Dynaudio, though, so don't stress over it.

Also, check if Schiit Ragnarok (with the DAC module) is a good fit for you.
 
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Fgattino

Active member
May 6, 2020
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For a small room, Oberon 5 might be a better fit. Bigger speakers need more space away from the wall.

Sensitivity - a higher number means the speaker is more sensitive, so easier to drive. It's measured like this: a microphone is placed 1m away from the speaker, which is linked to an amp so that the amp only uses 1 watt. The sound pressure (volume) is measured, and that's how you get sensitivity. For every extra 3 decibels, you have to double the wattage. Conversely, in the Focal Aria vs Dynaudio case, the Focal will need less than half the wattage to sound as loud as the Dynaudio. If you don't need concert levels, these differences shouldn't matter that much in a domestic application.

The Aria does seem expensive, though. Can't go wrong with either Dali Oberon or Dynaudio, though, so don't stress over it.

Also, check if Schiit Ragnarok (with the DAC module) is a good fit for you.
Thanks @rainsoothe ! I'm clear now on sensitivity. I was searching for a good explanation about that online but none was clear as yours.
The Schiit is not available in Argentina so I think I will just go with the PrimaLuna.
I might go for the Oberon 7 since there is not much difference in price and their sensitivity is a bit higher.

The last thing I need to make a decision on is the DAC. I'm going back and forth if a MQA enabled DAC is worth the money. I actually could spend USD 400 and get the SMSL M500 that supports MQA and is not that expensive. I can use that DAC for my desktop setup if I get something better later. I love all the functions on the RME but it doesn't have a MQA decoder. At the end of the day this is just the start of what I hope is a long term hobby, so I will have time to experience with some other DAC in the future.

Thanks for the info!
 

Al ears

Moderator
Nov 23, 2008
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The use of MQA format is quite limited and, in my opinion only makes sense if streaming audio. Just hope do you see yourself using the DAC? Is it just with the computer?
If it can handle up to DSD format I would consider MQA to be essential.
 

Fgattino

Active member
May 6, 2020
7
2
25
The use of MQA format is quite limited and, in my opinion only makes sense if streaming audio. Just hope do you see yourself using the DAC? Is it just with the computer?
If it can handle up to DSD format I would consider MQA to be essential.
At least at the beginning I would use the amp with DAC exclusively . Tidal is going to be the main source of music, though I might get a turn table in the future (I'm getting the PrimaLuna with the phono stage) The SMSL M500 can handle DSD512 and MQA, it has balanced outputs and remote control, I don't think you can get more for USD 400. I think I'm going to give it a try.

Thanks for the reply!
 
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rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
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Thanks @rainsoothe ! I'm clear now on sensitivity. I was searching for a good explanation about that online but none was clear as yours.
The Schiit is not available in Argentina so I think I will just go with the PrimaLuna.
I might go for the Oberon 7 since there is not much difference in price and their sensitivity is a bit higher.

The last thing I need to make a decision on is the DAC. I'm going back and forth if a MQA enabled DAC is worth the money. I actually could spend USD 400 and get the SMSL M500 that supports MQA and is not that expensive. I can use that DAC for my desktop setup if I get something better later. I love all the functions on the RME but it doesn't have a MQA decoder. At the end of the day this is just the start of what I hope is a long term hobby, so I will have time to experience with some other DAC in the future.

Thanks for the info!
By all means, feel free to try it. But imo, the more important thing to consider is how well the speaker matches the room - a large speaker MIGHT overpower a small room, especially if you can't provide enough space for it (away from walls and corners). If you can accommodate the 7, then it shouldn't be an issue.

On the Primaluna, I haven't seen one bad review on their products, so it's a pretty safe bet. Good luck!
 
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Fgattino

Active member
May 6, 2020
7
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25
By all means, feel free to try it. But imo, the more important thing to consider is how well the speaker matches the room - a large speaker MIGHT overpower a small room, especially if you can't provide enough space for it (away from walls and corners). If you can accommodate the 7, then it shouldn't be an issue.

On the Primaluna, I haven't seen one bad review on their products, so it's a pretty safe bet. Good luck!
Thanks! I will give it a try and let you know how it goes!
 
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