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Amp/DAC for A5 speakers?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Most of my listening lately has been through my Audioengine A5's and I'm wondering if anyone has any experience getting a noticable bump in SQ and with what outside equipment? I still do headphones, but won't bother listing what I have as I'm not bound to what I do have and as I said all listening is on my speakers lately unless I need to be as quiet as possible. Pricerange would ideally be under $500. Any ideas?

post #2 of 10

Hey n0ah,


What do you have them connected to now?


I personally like to use an all-in-one (dac/headamp/preamp) with the A5s.  You set the volume on the speakers and control it with the pre-amp.


I started this thread on the A5s & Rokits a couple of weeks ago. 


Might help you out if you want to take a look.  I've connected various dacs/pre etc. to them.







post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

I just have the A5's connected straight to a mac mini. The Icon HDP is being considered to wedge inbetween there but I'm just not sure its what I'm looking for. I've read its obviously a compitent amp/dac for headphone use and it does come with the preamp which means it can be intended for speakers as well, but considering I only care about speakers right now I haven't really read anything that indicates it adds a couple notches in quality. Though I do see the convenience in volume adjustment from a knob that's within arms reach sound is still what I'm after. Wondering if I should just be looking at speaker upgrades instead.

post #4 of 10

IMO n0ah, I don't believe you are getting the best out of the A5s connected directly to Mac.  That being said, I don't own a Mac, but if I connect the A5s to a laptop vs. a dac the difference is very evident.  The A5s sound great as long as they are connected properly and everything is in order in the chain.

Using the volume on the pre-out is very convenient, however if the sound would not be good then it would be a moot point.  I look at it as an extra feature on top of great sound.


ATM, I'm using the A5s with the C-2 (pre-out) being fed by the NFB-3.  Great sound and good times indeed.


Just my opinion...



post #5 of 10

The A5's are a pretty good speaker and they can only amplify whatever signal they are given.  It seems like a waste to me to spend that kind of money but not provide a good signal to start with.  You don't need anything too fancy.  Plus, as posted, if you get something with a preamp you can  just use the volume on that to control the speakers.  My A5 volume control has never been moved.

post #6 of 10

I really like my A-5s and have used them in various configurations.  My favorite is with a squeezebox touch (which is well within your $500 budget since the SB runs around $260 on Amazon).  It will let you stream all your music as well as internet radio (pandora etc.).  The sound quality is better than via the analog out from a computer and the remote on the SB touch works well. 

post #7 of 10

I actually felt like the A5s sounded great out the box.  They're one of the few sub 300 to 500 dollar speaker I've heard that didn't need a lot of work to sound great.


My NHT M-00s on the other hand sound their best with a good Dac and analog pot.

post #8 of 10

I had my A5's hooked up to my Dell Studio 15 for a long time, and that sounded great. When I plugged them into my friend's macbook though, their was a noticeable improvement. When I hooked up myA5's to my Fubar 3 amp/dac combo I couldn't really tell if there was an improvement in SQ. Mac's tend to have nicer internal DAC's than other computers. An amp/dac is unnecessary for your current rig.

post #9 of 10

Get the A5's off the desk surface and they sound much better. You need them off the surface by at least an inch and a half. Cheapest upgrade in SQ.

post #10 of 10

Didn't Audioengine come up with the N22 amp to specifically match their speakers? I believe Jude also has Audioengine speakers paired with the N22.



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