Amplifier for KEF LS50 with Chord Mojo?
Dec 12, 2018 at 5:03 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

Noobzilla

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Starting to move into speakers now that I've finished my headphones set-up. Based on reviews, KEF LS50 is my top choice and may pick up a pair for $700 used. I do not own any receiver or amp for speakers, but I have a Chord Mojo I can hopefully use as DAC. Very excited! Been reading a lot and getting a bit overwhelmed though :D Need help either with recommended amps or direction what kind of amps I should be looking for?

Computer -> Mojo -> Amp -> LS50

I've seen a lot of people pair it with $1000-3000 integrated amps but that's beyond my budget (Parasound seems popular). There seems to be a good number who like tube amps as well. Does that mean I shouldn't bother with an LS50 if I cant afford those? I'll max out at $500-700 for 2 channel amp. May be willing to spend a bit more for 5 channel for home theater in the far off future.

I've also checked out the LS50 Wireless and although it looks like a very solid all-in-one solution, I have major concerns regarding its useful life (estimated years before it might break). Already reading problems from owners. One year warranty on electronics does not help with that concern either.

Thanks for the opinions!

P.S. Outside of budget but sort of randomly looking at Monolith by Monoprice
 
Dec 12, 2018 at 10:47 PM Post #2 of 10

Noobzilla

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Initial items of interest
Peachtree decco125 ($800)
Cambridge Audio CXA60 ($750)
Cambridge CXA60 ($750)
PS Audio Sprout 100 ($600)
NAD D3045 ($699)
NAD C 316BEE ($380)
Schiit Vidar ($699)
Marantz PM6006 ($510)
Yamaha A-S501SL ($440)
Emotiva Audio A-500 ($500)
Pro-Ject MaiA ($575)
Parasound 2125v2 ($600)

Either not sold here or out of budget range.
Rogue
Rotel (not available in US?)
Roksan (not available in US?)
Rega Brio ($1000)
Arcam SA10 ($1000)
Arcam A19 (older model)
Parasound A23 ($900?)

I think I will end up buying a used amp around $500-600. Leaning towards these. Will update the list when I find more info.
Arcam FMJ A29
NAD 375BEE
Parasound A23
 
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Dec 27, 2018 at 3:30 PM Post #4 of 10

Noobzilla

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Get the wireless. They sound superior to the non-wireless by all measures. Even with gobs of clean power, the integrated Kef power in the wireless is so much better.

I've forgotten about this post. I was able to get a used LS50 for $600 and ended up with a refurb full warranty Peachtree decco125 for $630.
 
Apr 23, 2019 at 8:45 PM Post #5 of 10

jlmathis

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I've forgotten about this post. I was able to get a used LS50 for $600 and ended up with a refurb full warranty Peachtree decco125 for $630.

I know it's an old thread, but that's an awesome deal on the KEF LS50s! I have the decco125 sky with the Kef Q300's and was debating on replacing them with the LS50s. Did you end up liking the pairing or did you switch out a piece?
 
Apr 23, 2019 at 9:14 PM Post #6 of 10

Noobzilla

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I know it's an old thread, but that's an awesome deal on the KEF LS50s! I have the decco125 sky with the Kef Q300's and was debating on replacing them with the LS50s. Did you end up liking the pairing or did you switch out a piece?

I upgraded the decco125 sky to Nova150. Big improvement on sound quality vs the decco125 buuuuut my Chord Mojo still beats the Nova150 DAC by a very small margin. Got it for $1200. I do not remember if decco125+Mojo < Nova150+Mojo. Imo the DAC on decco125 is mehhh but the amp was more than sufficient. It was a gamble for me to get the Nova150. I wouldve just kept the decco125 and saved $500 since I have the Mojo. If I don't have the Mojo, decco125 alone wont do justice for my LS50. I also have KEF R400b sub. I think it performed the same on both, but I upgraded my sub cables after and that made a lot of difference (shockingly). If you have a friend who has a good DAC, try borrowing it and see if improves your Q300. decco125 definitely bottlenecked my LS50's sound quality. Let me know if you live in SF Bay Area.
 
Apr 23, 2019 at 9:35 PM Post #7 of 10

jlmathis

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Awesome! Thanks for the lengthy reply, but Yeah I live over here in Chicago. I really haven't ever played with dacs or swapped them out before. My Desktop goes Deccosky 125 --> Audioquest Type 4 Cables --> KEF Q300s on top of Iso acoustics. Currently in my living room I have a Marantz NR1506 --> Blue Jeans stereo Cables --> Nuforce STA200 --> Blue Jean Cables --> B&W CM7s. I have upgraditis right now and am looking to shore up any weaknesses. lol. Was thinking LS50 or Harbeth P3ESR for desktop, but if you think adding a dac may make a big difference, I'd be willing to try. In the living room, just not sure where to go to be honest. Speakers are my biggest weakness, but am looking to upgrade the Marantz and Nuforce as well in that order. Not sure what to do about the Marantz, I am thinking either a good integrated like the Parasound Hint, but was thinking of going separate. I need multiple HDMI inputs for my wife so that it is easy for her. Really would like to find a pair of Revel F206 or F208 in walnt, Salk Supercharged Towers, or KEF r700 or r900. I buy most everything used. lol. I saw you were a bargain hunter as well. lol. My desktop is my avatar. Any suggestions are welcome!
 
Apr 23, 2019 at 10:50 PM Post #8 of 10

Noobzilla

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Awesome! Thanks for the lengthy reply, but Yeah I live over here in Chicago. I really haven't ever played with dacs or swapped them out before. My Desktop goes Deccosky 125 --> Audioquest Type 4 Cables --> KEF Q300s on top of Iso acoustics. Currently in my living room I have a Marantz NR1506 --> Blue Jeans stereo Cables --> Nuforce STA200 --> Blue Jean Cables --> B&W CM7s. I have upgraditis right now and am looking to shore up any weaknesses. lol. Was thinking LS50 or Harbeth P3ESR for desktop, but if you think adding a dac may make a big difference, I'd be willing to try. In the living room, just not sure where to go to be honest. Speakers are my biggest weakness, but am looking to upgrade the Marantz and Nuforce as well in that order. Not sure what to do about the Marantz, I am thinking either a good integrated like the Parasound Hint, but was thinking of going separate. I need multiple HDMI inputs for my wife so that it is easy for her. Really would like to find a pair of Revel F206 or F208 in walnt, Salk Supercharged Towers, or KEF r700 or r900. I buy most everything used. lol. I saw you were a bargain hunter as well. lol. My desktop is my avatar. Any suggestions are welcome!

Oh wow you have two systems. Double trouble lol! D you have any headphones or earphones? Have you tried your KEFs in the living room set up?
 
Apr 23, 2019 at 11:17 PM Post #9 of 10

jlmathis

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I hooked them up tonight and will listen to them tomorrow when the toddlers are up. Long story short, couldn't really move for two years due to a brain/spinal cord injury and I'm able to get up now and do stuff so I am playing around with everything that I've been staring at and couldn't move. lol Yeah, I've had a ton of headphones. Oddly enough Peachtree said the decco125 sky could power LCD-2s, so I bought the it specifically for that future. I didn't check the specs and it came nowhere near close to powering them after they said quote "they pair with them beautifully". lol. My all time favorite headphone is the LCD-2 fazor edition. Accentuated/forward mids, deep/extended bass, and a slightly rolled off treble. My CM7's are the complete opposite, but I saw an add for them a couple of years ago for $350 and couldn't resist.
 
Apr 23, 2019 at 11:47 PM Post #10 of 10

Noobzilla

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I hooked them up tonight and will listen to them tomorrow when the toddlers are up. Long story short, couldn't really move for two years due to a brain/spinal cord injury and I'm able to get up now and do stuff so I am playing around with everything that I've been staring at and couldn't move. lol Yeah, I've had a ton of headphones. Oddly enough Peachtree said the decco125 sky could power LCD-2s, so I bought the it specifically for that future. I didn't check the specs and it came nowhere near close to powering them after they said quote "they pair with them beautifully". lol. My all time favorite headphone is the LCD-2 fazor edition. Accentuated/forward mids, deep/extended bass, and a slightly rolled off treble. My CM7's are the complete opposite, but I saw an add for them a couple of years ago for $350 and couldn't resist.

Oh no! That injury sounds horrible! Glad to hear you're recovering. Headphone amp on both decco125 and Nova150 sucks! Or perhaps I'm just really spoiled by Chord Mojo. What do you use to power your headphones?

Hmmm. Which system do you use more often for listening? How often do you compete with your wife for the living room system? :p I'm thinking if you have X budget, it's better to focus on one system instead of splitting the upgrade. The LS50 will also need a sub. I hear people saying LS50 doesn't need it, but good subs really bring them to the next level.

Ohhh also try the Marantz as source then feed into the decco125 (use unamped analog output from Marantz to bypass decco dac). Quickly comparing the DAC specs, Marantz should be better. I assume you're already using hi-res music files. WASAPA/ASIO settings from your computer also improves sound. Let me know how that turns out. If there's no improvement, then I'm thinking decco125's capability is enough for your speakers and in that case it would make more sense to upgrade the speakers first. I think the decco125 also has unamped output-- you can use that as source to plug into your Nuforce. Oh wait, ignore everything I just said and tell me the results tomorrow (KEF in living room) lol
 

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