Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › Newbie here, want to put together a desktop system
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Newbie here, want to put together a desktop system

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone, I am very new to the site and to audiophilia. I'm trying to put together an entry level desktop system that will be primarily for use with my mac computer. I already pulled the trigger on a pair of Pioneer SP-BS22 speakers, now I'm trying to decide what amp to combine them with. 

 

I've been looking at the Topping Class T amp line specifically the TP30, TP32, and TP41. I was hoping to get some words on wisdom on which one of these amps would pair up nicely or if you have any other recommendations for an entry level amp. I'd like to keep my budget for the amp to about ~$200 or less. 

 

 

I'd also appreciate any words on advice on hooking everything up! Like I said I'm very new at this... But from what I've read so far I'll definitely use banana plugs. From what I gather the only difference between plugs is the way they crimp the cable and that the pin style are for speakers. 

 

Thanks in advance for the advice! 

post #2 of 18
Do you have a soundcard in your computer? I'm wondering if you need the built-in DAC with the Toppings. If not, then I recommend looking at Indeeds t-amps on Ebay. For example, here is their high output digital amp. The Pioneers are a little inefficient, so if you want more volume to fill a room, this amp would work well. Or you could go with one of these TA2021s if you don't need a lot of volume, and then get an Audioquest Dragonfly as a DAC/headphone amp you can use with your speaker setup, too. It's not that Toppings are bad. I just like the Indeed amps better and I think you can do well with not combining everything into one.

Or, if you have room for it, this Denon AVR-1513 would be an excellent choice. More power than those smaller digital amps. Gives you the flexibility to plug in additional sources, build outward to a 3.1 or 5.1 setup, and good bass management should you ever want a sub.

Do you have headphones you plan on using with your setup? That could be a factor in determining what is best for you.

You don't have to use any plugs. Bare stripped wire works just as well. Banana plugs are for convenience. Sewell Direct makes good plugs. These are the ones I use. I've heard good things about their other model plugs as well.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Yeah I've been wondering that myself... All I have on my computer is whatever was built into it from the factory. So according to what I've read so far Im going to want a DAC, so the topping TP30 and TP32 are convenient since they have the built in USB DAC. With the TP41 it seems I'd need to get a dedicated DAC. 

 

Thanks for your suggestions, as far a volume goes I don't think I need that much since this would be in my bedroom. Maybe that Indeed TA2021 would be about all I need, that guy would be louder than the TP30 and TP32 right? 

 

I don't have headphones right now I'll probably be adding that in the future.

post #4 of 18
Yes. I would definitely go with a digital amp with the TA2021 t-amp chip over the TA2024. Should have a little bit more volume. The TA2021 will provide moderate volume in a bedroom and will be more than loud enough when sitting at a computer. Here's a review of the Indeed TA2021. I also own two of them smily_headphones1.gif

One reason I like the separate DAC/headphone amp idea is because if you are getting into this hobby, we all like to upgrade smily_headphones1.gif So getting the DAC/headphone amp separate from the t-amp means you can decide later you want to upgrade one part.

On the other hand, for all in one, the Denon AVR-1513 is the best setup. It has a headphone jack, a built in DAC of it's own, takes optical or HDMI (does your computer have one of those?), and tons of speaker power output compared to a t-amp, in addition to all the other features that an AVR has. If you have room for it, that would be my suggestion for an all-in-one unit over one of the Toppings. That would leave you money left over in your budget to save for something else. The only thing about most AVRs is that their headphone amps are often not the best for low impedance headphones.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Yes that Denon looks awesome for sure, specially for that price. But I don't really have space for it.

 

Looks like a DAC with and TA2012 amp like you suggest is the way to go for me. Topping also has the TP 21 which also uses a TA2021 T-amp , but you recommend Indeed amps overall? I don't really know much about all the brands yet, so I don't know what's viewed as a "good quality" brand yet. Other than having the headphone jack, would you say that amp is comparable to Indeed's TA2021? 

 

So in addition to the amp I'd need something like this Audioengine D1, or some of these cheaper options? Hifimediy Sabre USB DAC    MUSE USB DAC PCM2704  Or the Audioquest Dragonfly you linked. 

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

My other reply got held up by the mods because I linked to external websites.

 

But thank you so much for your replies, and recommendations. The Denon receiver looks like a great deal but I don't have space for it. I'll definitely go the DAC + T amp route. Now I've also looked at the topping TP21 which also uses a TA2021 amp, I know you're partial to the Indeed but this would be a comparable amp right? (Ignoring the fact that it has a headphone line out)

 

Would you recommend some DAC's that are below $100? For example the Behringer UCA202, MUSE USB DAC PCM2704, or the HiFiMeDIY Sabre Tiny USB DAC.  

post #7 of 18
Someone I know that had a Topping and Indeed preferred the Indeed for its SQ. YMMV smily_headphones1.gif

I don't know much about any of those DACs other than I have heard good things about the HiFiMeDIY one.

And better to have a DAC with good headphone amp if you plan on getting into headphones, too. You could do the FiiO E17, and that would give you a portable DAC/headphone amp as well. It has line out capability (you have to buy a $10 adapter) for hooking up a speaker amp. The E17 would work well with all but the very expensive high impedance headphones. So you could get a lot of mileage out of it smily_headphones1.gif
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

Gotcha. Thanks a a ton for your help. Just to make sure I got his down the set up would look like this: 

 

Computer--->USB DAC (like the E17)-----> TA2021 amp-----> Speakers. 

post #9 of 18

Funny you mention your setup.  I'm new to all this desktop audiophile setup too and went down the same path about one month ahead of you.  Here's what I've ended up with by lurking here and reading all the great information from these friendly/top members:

 

 

For speakers:

 

* Mac -> Schiit Modi ($100) -> Topping TP-21($80) -> SP-BS22 ($130)

 

The combo is great, but more sound than a desk needs!  A bit overpowering for me (size and sound).  I ended up moving the speakers to my home theater and putting B&W M1s on my desk with the Topping.  TP-21 doesn't have enough power for those, but at background listening levels I'm happy.

 

 

For headphones:

 

* Mac -> Schiit Modi ($100) -> Hifiman EF-3 ($125, $40 tube upgrade) -> Hifiman HE-300 ($125)

 

 

FWIW, there is no comparison in listening enjoyment between the speakers and the headphone combo.  None, nada. You wound have to spend a bundle to get a speak system to reach the headphone level.  If you want to listen to music then go the amp/headphone route.  

 

Also, FWIW, you can plug the headphones into the Topping TP-21.  It is better than directly into the mac, but still sounds muddy compared to the EF-3 amp.

 

If you watch movies on your desktop system with a friend, then your topping/pioneer combo can't be beat for the price.

 

I hope that helps.

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveSound View Post
 

Funny you mention your setup.  I'm new to all this desktop audiophile setup too and went down the same path about one month ahead of you.  Here's what I've ended up with by lurking here and reading all the great information from these friendly/top members:

 

 

For speakers:

 

* Mac -> Schiit Modi ($100) -> Topping TP-21($80) -> SP-BS22 ($130)

 

The combo is great, but more sound than a desk needs!  A bit overpowering for me (size and sound).  I ended up moving the speakers to my home theater and putting B&W M1s on my desk with the Topping.  TP-21 doesn't have enough power for those, but at background listening levels I'm happy.

 

 

For headphones:

 

* Mac -> Schiit Modi ($100) -> Hifiman EF-3 ($125, $40 tube upgrade) -> Hifiman HE-300 ($125)

 

 

FWIW, there is no comparison in listening enjoyment between the speakers and the headphone combo.  None, nada. You wound have to spend a bundle to get a speak system to reach the headphone level.  If you want to listen to music then go the amp/headphone route.  

 

Also, FWIW, you can plug the headphones into the Topping TP-21.  It is better than directly into the mac, but still sounds muddy compared to the EF-3 amp.

 

If you watch movies on your desktop system with a friend, then your topping/pioneer combo can't be beat for the price.

 

I hope that helps.

 

Thanks for your input, definitely helps to know what other people with similar set ups have. 

 

I just ordered the Indeed TA2021 amp now I need to decide for a DAC. Just trying to figure out what is best in value but still better in quality than the onboard chip my mac. 

post #11 of 18
I think your best options to explore are still the E17 or Audioquest Dragonfly v1 for ~$100. Or if you want to go over budget a little, Audioquest Dragonfly v 1.2 or Audioengine D1.

You might also watch the for sale forums and see if you can snag a used Dragonfly V1.2 or Audioengine D1 there. Might even catch a Maverick Tubemagic D1 in your budget (I did!). In fact, that could be a great strategy. Once you have your t-amp hooked up to your speakers, you can use it anyway with your mac something used pops up that you like. Many of us have gotten (and given) good deals on the for sale forums smily_headphones1.gif
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

I think your best options to explore are still the E17 or Audioquest Dragonfly v1 for ~$100. Or if you want to go over budget a little, Audioquest Dragonfly v 1.2 or Audioengine D1.

You might also watch the for sale forums and see if you can snag a used Dragonfly V1.2 or Audioengine D1 there. Might even catch a Maverick Tubemagic D1 in your budget (I did!). In fact, that could be a great strategy. Once you have your t-amp hooked up to your speakers, you can use it anyway with your mac something used pops up that you like. Many of us have gotten (and given) good deals on the for sale forums smily_headphones1.gif

 

I haven't perused through the for sale forums yet, will check them out. Thanks!

 

I'm actually currently bidding on a used E17 on ebay but the auction has three days to go still. 

post #13 of 18
I got both my Schiit Asgard 2 and my Maverick Tubemagic D1 from Head-Fi members for very good deals. A lot of members frequently buy and sell to try different equipment. And if you pay with paypal (but don't gift it), you are still protected similar to paypal with ebay.
post #14 of 18

how about o2+dac combo ?, after doing some research it look pretty for money/quality .

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 

I'm starting to think that I ought to have bought a better amp and just skipped the DAC? I won't know for sure until i have the amp. 

 

The Pioneers came in today and I hooked them up to an old JVC JR-S200 that I got last year. Not quite as good as the Acoustic Research 18's I have hooked up to the JR-S200 but I definitely like their sound, and should be more than enough for my bedroom. Though the JVC I have is a 35W and the Indeed is 25W, so they'll be a bit more tame on my desk. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › Newbie here, want to put together a desktop system