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Hi everyone,

 

I just recently got my hands on a pair of Pioneer S55Ts. I'm just looking for an amp to drive them, and seeing as I only listen to Spotify and FLAC files these days, I'm looking for a system that can do the streaming with a DAC as well. But I don't know anything about integrated amps. Less than $1000, preferably less than $500. The speakers sound a bit 'polite' to me so character is good. Although I only stream from Spotify I may switch to Tidal in the future, or even Qobuz. Thanks for any help!

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Congratulations on the speakers!

 

For the best bang for buck, I'd consider a Bluesound Node gen 1 - there have been a couple second hand on Stereonet for about $250, Len Wallis even had one second-hand recently for ~$300. The Bluesound has decent sound quality, and a well-supported, user-friendly app. Also note a streamer like this doesn't rely on the signal from your phone to transmit music - effectively, your phone is just the remote control.

 

That then gives you more options to choose an amp with the sound characteristics and power you need. 

 

It's two boxes, yes, but especially if you're ok with a second-hand amp, you could get a cracking system going for about $500, and when the streamer is superseded, you can keep the amp and just replace the streamer.

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11 hours ago, Tone Malone said:

For the best bang for buck, I'd consider a Bluesound Node gen 1 - there have been a couple second hand on Stereonet for about $250, Len Wallis even had one second-hand recently for ~$300.

 

Thanks for the recommendation. Might be tricky to find the Bluesound for that low though, or even at all, I can't find any being sold at the moment.

 

As for the amps, any recommendations for 6ohm speakers with 91dB sensitivity?

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For a one-box solution (amp+streamer), have a look at the Yamaha WXA-50, which retails around $600 (showing $584 at Shelby Acoustics). You can get a used model for under your budget.

 

Keep an eye around for a used Bluesound Powernode 2 - which is also a one box solution. This is one model prior to the latest model (2i), so you may be able to snag a used one for a bit more than your budget.

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35 minutes ago, chillipalmer said:

 

Thanks for the recommendation. Might be tricky to find the Bluesound for that low though, or even at all, I can't find any being sold at the moment.

 

As for the amps, any recommendations for 6ohm speakers with 91dB sensitivity?

They're around at that price although they get snapped up quickly. People are trading up to the Node 2i so The gen 1 devices are coming into the secondhand market. You might even get a gen 2 (without the 'i'). Same with the Powernode. 

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Thanks for all the recommendations. I actually like the idea of a dedicated streamer and a standalone amp, since everything digital eventually gets superseded... I'll probably shop around for an amp first and use the old phone into RCA trick, and eventually upgrade with some kind of Bluesound Node.

 

Does anybody have any ideas for good amps to pair with fairly flat-sounding speakers?

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35 minutes ago, chillipalmer said:

Does anybody have any ideas for good amps to pair with fairly flat-sounding speakers?

 

What's your budget and speaker specs?

 

Buying used can get you better bang for buck than new, if you're inclined to go that way

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5 minutes ago, anandpkumar said:

 

What's your budget and speaker specs?

 

Definitely prefer used, let's say around the $300 mark. Speakers are 6ohms, 91dB sensitivity, 120W maximum input. Thanks!

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4 minutes ago, chillipalmer said:

 

Definitely prefer used, let's say around the $300 mark. Speakers are 6ohms, 91dB sensitivity, 120W maximum input. Thanks!

 

Those speakers don't look too difficult to drive. $300 is a tough budget, but not impossible. Keep a lookout in the classifieds sections for older models from Rega (Brio), NAD, Cambridge Audio, Rotel etc. A 2015 model Rega Brio sold here recently for around $550 - which is a real bargain. If you are patient enough, a good deal will come up sooner or later

 

Another option is to look at vintage amplifiers from the likes of Sony, Pioneer, Sansui, Onkyo, Kenwood, JVC etc - but you'll need to check if they have been serviced recently

 

Good luck with the search!

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At the moment I can test out a Marantz PM 45, a Rotel RC-960BX (I assume I would need a power amp to go after this?) or purchase an Audiolab 8000A blind. The first 2 are within budget, any opinions?

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6 minutes ago, chillipalmer said:

At the moment I can test out a Marantz PM 45, a Rotel RC-960BX (I assume I would need a power amp to go after this?) or purchase an Audiolab 8000A blind. The first 2 are within budget, any opinions?

The Rotel is a pre-amplifier so you will need a power amp to pair up. At this stage, I would suggest to stick to integrated amplifiers.

 

The Marantz seems to have decent specs. Do you have an opportunity to hear these with your speakers before you buy?

 

Audiolab amplifiers are also good, and this model should be able to drive your speakers well. 

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If you're still looking, this might also suit your needs. I've bought second hand equipment from Len Wallis before, and can highly recommend them. They usually do a full check-up of the equipment before selling secondhand, and also provide a 3 month warranty.

 

 

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6 hours ago, anandpkumar said:

If you're still looking, this might also suit your needs. I've bought second hand equipment from Len Wallis before, and can highly recommend them. They usually do a full check-up of the equipment before selling secondhand, and also provide a 3 month warranty.

 

 

Thanks very much for your help. I'll keep the Pioneer in mind. So at the moment I can purchase the Pioneer A400X or Audiolab 8000A unseen, or I can have a listen to a Marantz PM 45. There is also a Marantz SR5500 I can go and listen to, so at the moment I'm leaning towards the 2 Marantz amps. I know the SR5500 is more for home theatre, but it sounds like it might be great for my speaker setup.

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yeah, makes sense if you can listen to the amp before you buy - always a safer choice. Let us know whether it works out for you

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Must admit I agree on hearing before you buy. I once bought an Exposure amp and for all the great reviews it simply didn't match my speakers. Fortunately the seller also had second thoughts after selling, so it was relatively simple for us to reverse the deal. I know some people really enjoy trading gear second hand, but to me, all the reselling and re-packing etc is just a headache 

 

Interesting choice between the 2 Marantz amps ... The PM 45 must be 30 years old so unless it's been serviced could well be performing below it's best. Surround sound amps rarely sound as good as stereo amps in anywhere near the same price range when new, but then again they also sell for peanuts second hand. 

 

I'm not sure if you live in a major city but if you do, there are a lot of great amps turning up across Australia on this forum that are potentially in driving range, and some hifi shops sell second hand gear cheap without advertising it. So if the 2 Marantz amps aren't for you hang in there. Hope to hear how you go 👍

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Thanks for the help, in the end I liked the sound of the Marantz PM 45, so I went with it! It has been serviced too so reasonable condition.

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Great to hear that you found the Marantz to your liking. Let us know how it fares with your speakers

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6 hours ago, anandpkumar said:

Great to hear that you found the Marantz to your liking. Let us know how it fares with your speakers

I actually brought my speakers over to test out the combo before I bought it. Speakers sound good! Not $2000 good, but really enjoyable for my lounge room, which is all I wanted. Now I just have to keep an eye out for a used Node 2.

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7 minutes ago, chillipalmer said:

I actually brought my speakers over to test out the combo before I bought it. Speakers sound good! Not $2000 good, but really enjoyable for my lounge room, which is all I wanted. Now I just have to keep an eye out for a used Node 2.

That's great - didn't realise that you had tested the Marantz with your speakers. 

 

Along with the Bluesound node 2, have a look at the Yamaha WXC (less than $400 new) or a raspberry pi+DAC combo for similarly priced options.

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Have a look at the Yamaha WXAD 10... budget friendly, simple to setup can do blue tooth, wireless streaming from phone, tablet, server or streaming service...

 

Very simple & quite effective solution.. I have one myself.. I don't stream from spotify, tidal, etc... but, I do stream off a hard-drive connected to my wireless router & it works very well...  new price is $215 at a good number of stores... including online with free postage...

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