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Stereo amp to drive Q Acoustic 3050


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Hi all - I currently have a NAD D3020 amp paired with a pair of Q Acoustic 3050 floor standers. It sits in my living area which is open plan (6.4m x 5m) with a high ceiling.

 

I'd like to get a more powerful amp that could drive the speakers a bit better. Does anyone have any recommendations? My main music source is:

1. Google Play Music via a Chromecast Audio

2. My own music ripped as FLACs on my laptop served via USB to the NAD D3020 (using Jriver)

 

I guess things I'd never use (or are low in terms of priority) are phono stage, headphone input, bluetooth. What I do care about is digital inputs, ideally a good DAC built in, and of course something that can provide more oomph than the NAD D3020. 

 

I'm not anywhere close to knowledgeable on these matters but am trying to learn, so would really appreciate your advice/input.

 

Oh I should mention in terms of budget - max $1000? Also I have a friend headed back from UK so if you're aware of any decent amps that could be had from UK then please let me know!

Edited by rk76
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Hi, 

I know exactly what you are looking for. 

First of all in most cases build into amplifier DACs are usually average quality. Usb connection is really good. 

Second of all you need  around $3000 for amplifier + $500 - $1000 DAC, anything below would be a waste of money. Have a look at classified section for second hand if you like. Which amp? It depends. What is your favorite music, any examples? Do you prefer something fast (foot taping) or something smooth?

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$1000 wont get you much of an upgrade to what you already have, may as well save your money and stick with the NAD.

Up the budget to $2k, and Musical Fidelity M3Si comes to mind. It’ll also be a good option for future speaker upgrades with a solid 85watts per channel and very low THD.

Speaker upgrade you say? Unfortunately it’s a slippery slope [emoji17]

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hello@rk76 , there is an Onkyo integrated amp in the classified's for $600 in Sydney northern beaches, could be a contender, look up reviews, take your speakers to audition?

I don't believe a DAC is the B'all, others may have differing opinions, that's what this site is all about, let your ears be the judge when you hear it

topic of DAC v amp upgrade, read the posts, amps win hands down

Edited by wen
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Thanks all for your input - really appreciate it. Sounds like I’ve got to stick with what I’ve got for now since a number of you are saying $1k won’t make much of a difference to what I have. Don’t know when I’ll be able to up the budget but will revisit the forum for your input when I do. 

Cheers!

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My advice is quite different to a lot of the above. You really don’t need to spent $4K to better what you have. obviously the more you can spend the more flexibility you will have but you can achieve pretty damn good sound for $1000. If you’re buying used you can do way better than your Nad. 

 

Dac: Topping d50 dac - under $300 used, or a Topping D10 which is $130 new on amazon. These are both cracking little dacs for what is chump change in the hi fi world. 

 

Amp: That leaves $7-800 for THE critical purchase. You need to keep your eyes on the classifieds. It should buy you a great little mainstream brand integrated amp - Creek, Cyrus, Arcam, Rega, MF, Redgum - which will drastically improve on your Nad.

Rega Brio

cyrus 6 or 8

arcam - a70, a90, any if the FMJ series,  a19

 

These guys have sale - they have a Cyrus one which might be worth a phone call about.

 

 

I know this one below is double your budget (not quadruple which has been suggested) but this dac/amp would be orders of magnitude beyond what you’re currently using.

 

People get used to spending bucketloads of money on hi fi. With a little care and research you just don’t need to. Looking for a deal is half the fun.

Maybe post a WTB for an integrated amp in your budget in the classifieds and see what comes up?

 

 

Edited by buddyev
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Thanks again to all for your further input - @buddyev you inspired me to keep looking ? 

 

I mentioned earlier I had a friend in the UK travelling back - so he's picked me up this for £440:

XTZ Edge A2-300 Class D Power Amp  (https://www.xtzsound.eu/product/edge-a2-300)

Some specs:

Power (RMS): 2 x 460 W (1% THD, 2.7 Ω) / 2 x 300 W (1% THD, 4 Ω) / 2 x 150 W (1% THD, 8 Ω)
Frequency response: 5 Hz – 70 kHz (- 3 dB ref.)
Distortion: 0,005% THD+N (1 kHz, 1 - 100 W, 4 Ω)
Damping Factor: >1500 (8 Ω, 20 - 500 Hz)
Dynamic range: 113 dB S/N, (A-weighted at 300 W, 4 Ω)

 

As per website the gain potentiometer can be used to adjust for the output level, when connected to other sources than regular pre-amplifiers like mobilephones, mediaplayers etc.

image.png.9612eb8921ca0c7ed93ecd2e304595f9.png

 

Anyone has any insights on this amp? Also, being a newbie, I might have stuffed up by buying this - I didn't realise a power amp needs a preamp (or doesn't it?).

 

Point is I now have the above power amp heading my way, and my existing NAD D3020 (which I'll sell if it doesn't serve a purpose) and my Q Acoustic 3050 floor standers. Can I just buy a DAC and connect it to the amp? I was considering the Topping D10/D30/D50 or even the SMSL SU-8 Version 2.

 

Or do I need a preamp? Does anyone have any recommendations on which one if so would be best paired to the above amp?

 

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Sorry, I don't know this amp.

You could certainly buy a dac with a volume control and that would do the job with a power amp, though personally  I think a seperate pre is better. 

There's a Topping D50 in the classifieds at the moment - I think it has volume control but, as I said, a pre would be better.

I've heard good thing about this inexpensive Schiit pre amp. Maybe check some reviews online.

 

There's also a cyrus 6 integrated for $350 in the classifieds - would have been worth a look.

 

 

Edited by buddyev
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1 hour ago, barn door said:


Not overkill, as that THD is seriously high . . . Reckon that the actual clean power coming coming from this amp is around 40wpc.

In that case, might as well get one of these (or similar)

846620533_ScreenShot2015-03-26at3_42_42pm.png.2e6855c6ca66b2204c4f21bfe6601174.png

Line Magnetic 216ia. 38w ultralinear.

Of the 5 amps I tried with my 3050's, this was my favourite. Very robust drive, realistic sounding and music was appearing well past the outside edge of the speakers. Imho and ymmv.

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Hi

I have a NAD AV Amplifier T785. I bought it for 10% of its price new. In stereo mode it has 150 watts per channel. It is about 9 years old. It is massive in size and  very hefty. I can't image you needing more power. An excellent used AV can be had for about $500. Consider a top of the range AV amplifier if looking for a bargain as there is a lot of improvements in the AV side resulting in really powerful amps being cast aside for very little that operate with high quality in stereo mode.

 

I suggest a separate Dac if you go used as DACs keep getting better. If really tight on money go with an Audioquest Dragonfly Red. I have a chord quetest which is top level dac but really for the money the difference between audioquest red is really not that great. So basically run the USB dac from your computer to RCA or 3.5 mm analogue input. Otherwise be prepared to pay 2-3X for equivalent quality new. If your audiophillia comes back in a few years you are maximally flexible as DACs keeping improving while amps are fairly static

 

Wilddude.

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Hi

I have a NAD AV Amplifier T785. I bought it for 10% of its price new. In stereo mode it has 150 watts per channel. It is about 9 years old. It is massive in size and  very hefty. I can't image you needing more power. An excellent used AV can be had for about $500. Consider a top of the range AV amplifier if looking for a bargain as there is a lot of improvements in the AV side resulting in really powerful amps being cast aside for very little that operate with high quality in stereo mode.

There are good reasons why people don’t use AVR’s for 2 channel audio, nothing to do with power levels.

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Certainly your comment reflects conventional wisdom. I have Kef LS50s and have listened to at least 5 entry level amplifiers with the usual suspects (e.g. Marantz, NAD, Rotel) in audio stores with prices in the $750-1,500 range and my personal view is the top of the mid-price used NAD AV amplifier which I purchased for a lower price and claims to be "audiophile grade" sounds as good and perhaps better. It has an analogue bypass stereo mode which eliminates all the AV circuits including the rather disappointing dated DAC. This system  sounds better to my ears than the amplifiers suggested by the audio store staff which were typically using relatively low power amplifiers around 50 watts per channel. I attribute this in part to the greater power provided allowing a greater dynamic range but I am certainly not an expert on this.  I suppose in the end it comes down to design, quality of the components and personal preference. So at least to me,  I believe I will need to go to the middle price range dedicated stereo amplifiers to get a better audio experience but it is hard to know without doing A/B comparisons. Prices keep dropping so hopefully I can test this out soon. This is of course an opinion only.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 22/02/2019 at 9:27 PM, barn door said:

$1000 wont get you much of an upgrade to what you already have, may as well save your money and stick with the NAD.

Up the budget to $2k, and Musical Fidelity M3Si comes to mind. It’ll also be a good option for future speaker upgrades with a solid 85watts per channel and very low THD.

Speaker upgrade you say? Unfortunately it’s a slippery slope emoji17.png

A demo version is on sale for $1100 cant remember which dealer tho!

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Sorry its an "M3i" not M3si, not sure what the difference is:

http://www.visionliving.com.au/hi-fi/musical-fidelity-m3i-amplifier-ex-demo/id-Hk#.XIjPeaN_VfM

Still a great buy, however they stopped making M3i a few years ago, so not sure how this would still be a “demo” model.

 

There are some differences, M3i doesn’t have a DAC, Phono Stage, and has less watts per channel (76 vs 85 @ 8ohm).

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  • 1 year later...

Hi everyone, similarly to @rk76 I too have a pair of Q Acoustics 3050s. However unlike rk76 they're presently being powered by a Yamaha WXA-50.

 

For around $1k this system made a huge difference to the ears of a hifi rookie like mel. Obviously the speakers are capable of a lot more if paired with a half-decent amp though.

 

At this stage I intend to keep the WXA-50 as a streamer and hook it up to a Vincent SV-500 or something similar. My questions are as follows:

- Would it be better to sell the WXA-50 and buy something like a Bluesound Powernode 2i rather than go for the Vincent and WXA-50 combo?

- If I go for the Vincent, is a preamp and DAC necessary? Source will be MusicCast over wifi.

 

Thanks for your thoughtful comments above, looking forward to taking my listening experience to the next level.

Edited by chrisRS
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Would this fit the bill? My only concern is the lack of a digital input. Silly question, but could I use the WXA-50 as a preamp for TV and streaming and send both digital signals through to the Rega?

 

The system has to be able to handle optical in from the TV as well as digital signal from the streamer. No need for a turntable, tuner, or CD input.

 

 

Edited by chrisRS
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