Audiophile amps, streaming higher res audio, and BUDGET

Im wanting a budget audiophile amp (ultimately i dont think those two go together, but whateva!), with either/or bluetooth, aptx, wifi. I want to power passive speakers, so not looking for bt speakers etc.

Ive been researching for hours and i wish i could pull trigger on the $1200 cambridge amp but alas, cannot (should not?) go there.

I am looking for thoughts about your sense of bt audio quality (limited to 300 ish kbps) through one of these dedicated amps as opposed to (Octatrack duh :hugs:) sonos, wonderboom, jbl etc…just as a comparison since im familiar with the audio quality of these.

And im looking for any recommendations too.

Amazon has these fosi, douk, etc that because of reviews and price are interesting.

I put together something for the pandemic. In the past I have had Cary Audio, Mark Levinson, and have a really nice pair of Class A Marantz- MA24, with some B&W 805s
All great gear. BUT for the pandemic I needed something for my rented space, and I didn’t want something so precious.

I did a little research and went with a TEAC NT505X, and the matching amplifier AP505, I think I paid 2K for the matching pair. It’s Class D, so it doesn’t generate as much heat. But it works. For speakers, I probably should have gone with a pair of Yamaha HS8’s they are studio reference speakers, and pretty affordable. Instead, I have a weakness for British speakers, and went with something not as well known, but small footprint, a pair of Minimo 2’s Minimo 2 | Ophidian . I like them, if I ever get a sub, for the low end, I would spend a little and get a KEF KC62 subwoofer. It was sub of the year for a couple of years, and it’s small. That or a REL. Anyways, I am sure you can find something, also check out audiogon marketplace, for a used setup.

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What sort of music do you listen to ? And how big is your room, do you have neighbours ?

My advise would be to focus on nice speakers. Spending 100 euros more on good speakers will get you a much, much bigger leap in performance than spending a 1000 more on a good amp. For an amp, make sure you have enough power, and the features you want, besides that most (non-aliexpress) amps sound the same.

My tip would be the nad d3020 with Bowers 607 or 606, depending on the size of your room, or, the kef ls50’s. You can get really good deals in the first generation of those.

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I’m also looking at getting set up with a turntable, and also hooking up my cassette deck. For a simple setup, would anyone recommend powered monitors instead of an amp/speaker setup?

(ignoring the phono stage for now)


Look at Topping MX5, it’s what I ended up using for my TV setup with similar requirements, BT etc. With good speakers this will be much better than integrated BT speakers. I have a strong preference for high efficiency speakers.

For a look at objective performance is a good resource.

I agree with @H1 that investments in speakers have a much bigger impact than amps.

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Powered speakers are amazing for a simple setup.

I use PMC result6’s with a Technics sl1500 turntable, which has a built in preamp.


I’ve had my old Cambridge Audio Azur 350a upgraded and the difference is night and day. I’ve subsequently also upgraded my separate Cambridge Audio phono stage, and changed the capacitors in my Monitor Audio speakers. The cost was a fraction of what I would have spent on HI-FI separates and speakers for the same improvement.

Scott at Maudifi upgraded the amp and phono stage, and sourced the components to the speakers which I did myself. He’s straight up and would give you advice, and totally not in this for the hard sell. He offers kits and DIY mods also.

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This is way cool! I think i might do something like this. Ive built several tube guitar amps so i love this idea. From his website alone he seems an incredibly stand up fella.

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It’s definitely worth spending some time looking at used gear, and if possible, demo’ing stuff in a local shop if that’s possible where you’re located. Good shops are harder to find these days, but those worth their salt will encourage you to demo stuff at the store to get a least a decent idea of what’s going to work for you, regardless of how much you might spend there. When my wife and I wanted a turntable years ago, we were looking at a Pro-Ject Debut III. The shop where went to hear it let us listen as long as we wanted to in one of their dedicated rooms – this despite the fact that they regularly sold turntables and other equipment in the $10K-plus range, and the Debut III was only $350. It’s always going to sound different in your space and you’ll need to do some experimenting to find the best placement of the speakers for your room, but demos go a long way if you can make it happen. Lots of shops also have used gear and good prices.

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Yeah, he comes across really into it and a straight up guy. I already had an old Azur amp and I found him through just searching online. I couldn’t fault the experience really — he explained everything in detail and gave me a tonne of options, plus there was absolutely no pressure from his side. It’s worth exploring, and also doing your own research if you have already got that experience in building your own DIY projects. :slight_smile:

On the Monitor Audio Bronze speakers I upgraded the caps and used improved wiring suggested by Maudifi on the crossovers… you can see the difference just through the scale of the caps in the before and after :slight_smile:

With the Cambridge CP1 phone stage Maudifi upgraded quite a few components…



and also the the work highlighted on the amp…

Honestly, it made such a big difference. This system is set-up upstairs where my music gear is and also where I work, so I’m really used to the sound of the system. On each upgrade I could tell the improvements straight away.

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With regards to the streaming part I just run Apple music lossless through my sound card into one of the inserts on the Amp for the day to day. Sounds pretty amazing.

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@Matmcr you are speaking my language!

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I had a old hifi set up for a long time (mostly mediocre old sony stuff) and when I got my genelecs and hooked my mastersounds mixer to them I was pretty instantly done with the hifi. I just use a patch bay to more easily route different things into the mixer. I think there are a decent amount of DJ mixers that can take care of the phono side of things if you ever need.


That’s the kind of thing I’m considering. I already have Genelecs for “studio” use, and I think they sound incredible.

The record player will not be in the same room. I was thinking I’d need an amp and speakers, but then I thought, why not just go with Genelecs again?

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I love flat freq response of studio monitors as well! Soooo good…

I did build them according to a plan 32 years ago, they sound better than my genelecs, but the components were absolut top during that time, thick magnets, tissue tweeters, maybe not analytical, but still … i love them. Moving them needs 2 people. 35 kg each. I drive it with yamaha music cast, it can read flac files. I cross reference my tracks here also. I wouldnt use then for production, only for results. Musiccast is very stable, i can recommend it.

If i did it again i would probaby get one of these:

Preamp + any class D 2nd hand.