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Active or Passive Bookshelf Speakers?


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Hi all,

been lurking for a while and doing a lot of reading on SNA but have a few questions on PC attached bookshelf speakers if you have the time.

Background:
I'm not sure if I'm an audiophile but I'm not happy with "standard" sound. Currently I have a Xonar Essence STX and some Sennheiser HD598's but want some bookshelves as well.

My music is mostly classical piano with some chamber music and opera. Mainly looking for detail and separation of piano voices in baroque pieces. Room is about 3 x 4.5 and I have room for stands if needed. Music is all FLAC.

I kinda narrowed it down to some popular active speakers:

AktiMate mini+ (~$500)
Tannoy 501a (~$400)
QUAD 9L (~$500)

But then I strayed over to the passive side and read about the Usher S520's which seem to be very well regarded (~$320). Obviously, I'll need an AMP with that.

1) Would I be able to get anything decent for around $300 to drive the Ushers? (I read on the John Darko site that they need a bit of power ).

2) Would the usher + suitable amp provide additional detail and clarity over the above mentioned actives?

I know the answer will always contain an element of "that depends" but would appreciate any observations or advice. Thanks.
 

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IT shouldn't be too hard to pick up a decent stereo amp for $300 on eBay, or via the classifieds here .. or sometimes even a runout or demo model from a dealer. There are some pretty cheap (at RRP, and you never pay RRP) models from NAD, Aaron, Pioneer (try their 2nds store), and others. 

 

Two great things about stereo amps for someone with a limited budget:

 

1. No moving parts, so not so prone to damage

2. Class AB amp circuitry hasn't changed much for years, so the 10 yr old amp will likely have the same circuit topology as the current model

3. Lots of them around 2nd hand (related to point 1.)

 

OK, that's three things, but hey :-)

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IT shouldn't be too hard to pick up a decent stereo amp for $300 on eBay, or via the classifieds here .. or sometimes even a runout or demo model from a dealer. There are some pretty cheap (at RRP, and you never pay RRP) models from NAD, Aaron, Pioneer (try their 2nds store), and others. 

 

Two great things about stereo amps for someone with a limited budget:

 

1. No moving parts, so not so prone to damage

2. Class AB amp circuitry hasn't changed much for years, so the 10 yr old amp will likely have the same circuit topology as the current model

3. Lots of them around 2nd hand (related to point 1.)

 

OK, that's three things, but hey :-)

 

Ok, thanks befinex, second hand is the answer for me I think, I just spotted the classified section on SNA so I'll have a trawl through there first.

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I think you'll be happy with them.

Which amp have you decided on?

 

Second hand Yamaha AS 500 - entry level but matches my budget and seems to be good value for not much money (based on reviews I've read). Just picked it up from another SNA member. Now I just need those Ushers to arrive..

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