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I'm looking cheap but decent quality 2.0 bookshelf speakers, either active or passive with a DAC/amp

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

OK so here's where I'm at. I'm considering 2 solutions:

 

1) HiFimeDIY Sabre USB DAC 2 (External PSU w/headphone amp) paired with powered 2.0 bookshelf speakers.

2) Topping TP30 USB DAC, t-amp & headphone amp combo paired with passive 2.0 bookshelf speakers.

 

The HiFimeDIY Sabre USB DAC 2 costs £42, leaving ~£110 for a set of powered 2.0 bookshelf speakers. (http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=87)

 

The Topping TP30 costs £75, leaving ~£75 for a set of passive 2.0 bookshelf speakers. (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Topping-Class-Digital-Amplifier-USB-DAC/dp/B00898T0MY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398514753&sr=8-1&keywords=topping+tp30)

 

---

 

I want to replace my current Logitech X-530 5.1 surround system on my computer with 2.0 bookshelf speakers, and a DAC/amp that can also be used to power ATH-m50 headphones. Could you please offer me some advice?

 

Budget: £100-150 (I really can't afford much more)

Location: UK

Design: Simple, clean aesthetics, similar to Audio Technical A5+ speakers

 

I've seen a few active speakers that can be used to play computer audio without a DAC/amp, would you recommend any of these?

 

 

M-Audio Av40 speakers, priced at £95 on Amazon. (http://www.amazon.co.uk/M-Audio-Studiophile-Av40-Monitor-Speakers/dp/B000RPT0UE/ref=sr_1_2?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1398276092&sr=1-2&keywords=M-Audio+AV+40)

 

Audioengine 2 (A2?) speakers, priced at £165 on Amazon. (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Audioengine-multimedia-speakers-Total-2-way/dp/B000VKEFN2)

 

M-Audio's BX5 D2, priced at £145 on Amazon. (http://www.amazon.co.uk/M-Audio-BX5-D2-Powered-Monitor/dp/B005F3H6Q8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398466822&sr=8-1&keywords=m-audio+bx5+d2)

 

Fostex PM0.3 speakers are also available for around £90 on eBay.

 

 

Would the headphone output of M-Audio Av40s provide higher volume playback on ATH-m50s compared to my computer?

 

I was dead-set on purchasing active speakers to bypass the need for a DAC/amp, however I could do with an amp to increase the playback volume of my ATH-m50 headphones. I would like the DAC/amp to be small and as basic as possible, i.e. speaker output and headphone output only.

 

Thanks :)

 

Something like this Lepai TA2020+ DAC/AMP but with a headphone output would be absolutely perfect, then I could purchase a set of passive speaker monitors. (http://www.amazon.co.uk/TA2020-Tripath-Class-T-Amplifier-Supply/dp/B007VMA6OU/ref=sr_1_6?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1398469440&sr=1-6&keywords=desktop+amplifier)

 

This Schiit Audio 2 IS EXACTLY WHAT I NEED, unfortunately is way out of my price range. (http://schiit.com/products/asgard-2)

 

This Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi HD looks OK, but it's still a little too expensive. (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Creative-Sound-Blaster-X-Fi-Card/dp/B003RRY3WE)

 

NuForce uDac 3, priced at £145 on Amazon. (http://www.amazon.co.uk/NuForce-NFUDAC3BLK-Nuforce-uDAC3-schwarz/dp/B00FG9MJ6I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398472455&sr=8-1&keywords=NuForce+uDac+3)

 

Hopefully that's enough examples to give you an idea of what I'm after.

 

Thanks again :)


Edited by CraigR1990 - 4/26/14 at 5:20am
post #2 of 19
Neither the Asgard 2, Nuforce, nor Creative DAC/amps have speakers amps. Just a headphone amp and pre-outs to connect powered speakers or a speaker amp.

I'd take the M-Audio's BX5 D2 over the A2s or the AV40s.

Look into the Topping TP21 and see if it's available to you in the UK, and then you could get passive speakers to go with it. I'd look at the used market for the speakers. Best values there with your budget. smily_headphones1.gif

Look into the HIFIMEDIY SABRE USB DAC for a budget DAC that would leave you more money for powered speakers.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Neither the Asgard 2, Nuforce, nor Creative DAC/amps have speakers amps. Just a headphone amp and pre-outs to connect powered speakers or a speaker amp.

 

That right there is exactly why I need advice lol, thanks.

 

I found the Topping TP21 amp on Amazon for £47.50 which is cheap enough, where's the  best place to look for passive speakers and which manufacturers/models should I look out for? My budget for the amp+DAC+speakers is £150. Assuming I can pick up a simple USB DAC for £40-50 that also leaves around £50 for the speakers, is that enough for something that would perform better than say BX5 D2s?

 

edit: Found this USB DAC for £25 direct from HiFimeDIY (http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=83). That would leave around £75 for the speakers.

 

edit 2: What about something like this USB DAC (w/ built in headphone amp) paired with a set of BX5 D2s? (http://hifimediy.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=87)

 

edit 3: I've found this Topping TP30 which is a combination USB DAC, t-amp and headphone amp. Is this a good product? It's exactly what I'm looking for and I'd have £75 to spend of passive bookshelf speakers. (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Topping-Class-Digital-Amplifier-USB-DAC/dp/B00898T0MY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398512487&sr=8-1&keywords=Topping+TP30)


Edited by CraigR1990 - 4/26/14 at 4:43am
post #4 of 19
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your reply. Them Edifier R1280T speakers look fantastic, could I just plug them straight into my PC and they'd work, with need for an amp or DAC?

post #6 of 19

Depends what outputs your pc has they need a line level output its normally a green 3.5mm jack on pcs or stereo rca outputs.

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

My motherboard has a green line level output jack, I think. (http://uk.msi.com/product/mb/Z77_MPOWER.html)

 

I'm considering purchasing a Topping TP30 combo USB dac, t-amp and headphone amp. The active speakers you recommended were great, could you please recommend some passive speakers that would work with the TP30? Thanks :)

post #8 of 19

For your budget you'd probley get a better deal searching ebay or gumtree for something second hand.

 

If you want new though these: 

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Behringer-1C-BK-Monitor-Speakers-Black/dp/B000Q81RVW/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1398515108&sr=8-12&keywords=passive+speakers

 

or floorstanders

 

http://www.electromarket.co.uk/hi-fi-stereo/hi-fi-speakers/floor-standing-speakers/bba0879

post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
post #10 of 19

The wharfedale diamond 9.0 are good speakers can't go wrong with them for £60

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

They're the ones that caught my eye too :)

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 

Would that Topping TP30 be able to power them Diamond 9.0's? Sorry for the bombardment of questions.

post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRG1990 View Post

The wharfedale diamond 9.0 are good speakers can't go wrong with them for £60

Agreed. And the Topping TP30 would do very well with them for a desktop setup.
post #14 of 19

The topping will drive the speakers to about 100db at 1 metre , it will be enough to fill a small room with sound.

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRG1990 View Post

The topping will drive the speakers to about 100db at 1 metre , it will be enough to fill a small room with sound.

I agree, but probably wouldn't have any headroom left for dynamics at that volume. I have some 8 ohm, 89db sensitivity speakers that I measured with one of the 2021 amps, and it would hit 100db (pink noise, at about 1 meter), but not much SPL left.

I think it's reasonable to expect about 90db or so to leave plenty of room for dynamics. Which is pretty loud sitting at a computer and enough to have some nice sound in room smily_headphones1.gif
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