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Thread: What audio system for quiet but quality listening?

  1. #1
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    What audio system for quiet but quality listening?

    Powerful amplifier and sensitive speakers? What could have power for a standard room 5x3m/45m3? Impedance 4-6 Ohm?
    I listen to mostly classical and instrumental music (=high dynamics). No pop, techno or metal ;-), perhaps even quietly listen not... Loudness is useful for bass, treble are not present while on cheap amplifier. The resulting sound is flat without power.
    Pls advice someone knowledgeable, maybe specific amplifier/speakers?
    Thanks for any tip or advice
    Peter

  2. #2
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum! What is your budget? What have you heard that you liked? What didn't you like? What form of playback will you be using (LP, CD, streaming?) and which pieces are you looking to fill in? Do you want an integrated or separates? The more information you can give us, the easier it will be to make recommendations.

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    Depending on your source, you may want to look at powered speakers, this would have the amp built in and optimized for the speakers. You could look at Audio Engine, Vanatu, I heard a set of outstanding powered speakers by Sauk for around $2500.00, or from there you could look at Dynaudio. With streaming becoming so popular the powered speakers, with most having a DAC built in as well, have also become popular. (DAC = digital to analog converter) Considering this is basically the entire system pricing isn't so bad, but does cover a wide range depending on budget.
    Mark Levinson #512 SACD & 532h power
    Pass Labs XP-10 preamp
    Clearaudio Performance DC & Maestro v2 E, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    JBL 4367's & SAM3ha
    Revel S30's & SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet & Surgex SA15&20

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    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Take a look at Nuprime Class D amps and integrated amps. From what I have read, they sound very good at low volume. They are reasonably priced.

    http://www.nuprimeaudio.com/

    Another great performer at low volume are AVA Hi Fi "R" series amps. I have personal experience with these. They keep their dynamics at low volume. They are quite a bit more than Nuprime amps. AVA ships world wide. They have a big following on the Audio Circles forum. They perform way above their price point.

    Fet Valve Amplifiers

    Just remember that each piece of gear plays into dynamics- preamp, amp, music source and speakers.
    Last edited by blackraven; 10-12-2016 at 08:29 AM.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed View Post
    Welcome to the forum! What is your budget? What have you heard that you liked? What didn't you like? What form of playback will you be using (LP, CD, streaming?) and which pieces are you looking to fill in? Do you want an integrated or separates? The more information you can give us, the easier it will be to make recommendations.
    budget is adequate quality you expect... well, no 4digit amount for the high end. It would not address my question here. Rather Low High End ;-)
    My question was more general, I know it's hard to do without accurate information. No LPs, more CD or quality streaming. Some mid range int.amplifier and "normal" CD player. Smth like this PD-H01 | TEAC or CD-H750 | TEAC

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    Depending on your source, you may want to look at powered speakers, this would have the amp built in and optimized for the speakers. You could look at Audio Engine, Vanatu, I heard a set of outstanding powered speakers by Sauk for around $2500.00, or from there you could look at Dynaudio. With streaming becoming so popular the powered speakers, with most having a DAC built in as well, have also become popular. (DAC = digital to analog converter) Considering this is basically the entire system pricing isn't so bad, but does cover a wide range depending on budget.
    yes, maybe DAC converter can be solution too for me. As separate one. thx

  7. #7
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Check out this Cambridge Audio Topaz SR20, a 100wpc receiver with built in Wolfson DAC and phono stage:
    Cambridge Audio Topaz SR20 Receiver-Audio Advisor

    I'm listening to a Cambridge Azur 540A at my office as I type this that has essentially been running non-stop for over a decade now. Seriously, I never turn it off. One of the reasons I picked the CA over Roksan, NAD, and others was specifically due to the low level retrieval. Some amps need you to crank them up for the sound to bloom, the CA is tonally very balanced regardless of volume.

    If your main listening is to classical and instrumentals, the first speaker that comes to mind has to be Bowers & Wilkins. Supposedly 80% of all classical music is mastered on B&W's, so clearly this is a good place to start. This pair of CDM 7SE would work swimmingly in your room:

    https://www.audiogon.com/listings/fu...70-saratoga-ca

    I have a pair of CDM 7NT's (essentially the same speaker with Nautilus tweeters) in my bedroom system which is slightly larger than your room and they work very, very well. Rock solid imaging, liquid mids, airy highs, and taut, accurate bass. B&W's build quality is renown with drivers built to last a lifetime.

    You may also want to consider some Magnepan MMG's or .7. Blackraven would be the one to ask about those. Just remember you have to put Maggies well out into the room for best sound and amplification is going to be far more critical as they need lots of current. The Cambridge probably won't let the Maggies sing as well as a dedicated amp. Maybe a used Adcom or even better, this SAE

    https://www.audiogon.com/listings/so...t-lake-city-ut

    Yes, it's a 30 yr old amp, but most of the critical components have been upgraded and a good amp is a good amp, regardless of age. I drive my B&W's with a 50yr old Marantz and love it. Many others on the forum also use "vintage" gear. SAE's from this era were designed by James Bongiorno and Morris Kessler, two giants of the audio industry, and were competitive with McIntosh, Krell, and other heavyweights.

    Hope this helps.
    Mr Peabody likes this.

  8. #8
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    Another thought, on a budget, have you thought about a headphone set up? You can find some decent DAC/headphone amps for a reasonable price, Schiit, for example, match it with a good set of headphones and you will be hearing better quality than most bedget amp/speakers will bring.

    If just wanting an amp and speakers look at NAD who has integrated amps with disc playback and streaming DAC, or, Cambridge Audio, like the CXA60. Elac is a good bang for the buck speaker.

    The TEAC gear is mostly entry level. What direction to go really depends on how good you want your sound to be.
    Mark Levinson #512 SACD & 532h power
    Pass Labs XP-10 preamp
    Clearaudio Performance DC & Maestro v2 E, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    JBL 4367's & SAM3ha
    Revel S30's & SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet & Surgex SA15&20

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    thx a lot gentlemen, I will take into account these tips for buying a new audio gear
    B&W I've heard (and saw too). Nice sound
    greetings from Europe

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    I don't know why I didn't think of this before, but a perfect system for your requirements would be a PS Audio Sprout driving a pair of ELAC B5's or B6's. This integrated amp will have all the power you need and has a great built-in DAC and even a MM phone stage! For less than $800usd you would have a killer system that will do exactly what you're looking for.

    Sprout Integrated Amplifier | PS Audio

  11. #11
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    The sprout is a great idea. But those Elac B6's require a lot of power to sound their best. Andrew Jones recommends at least 50wpc and preferably over 100.

    The NuForce DDA 120 Integrated has more power. 50wpc vs 33 for the Sprout at 8 ohms. And 75wpc at 4 ohms vs 50wpc for the Sprout.

    NuForce DDA 120 Integrated Amplifier DAC-Audio Advisor
    Last edited by blackraven; 10-24-2016 at 09:24 AM.
    topspeed and Feanor like this.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

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