Building a small 2.1 system

Discussion in 'Beginners and Audiophytes' started by F u r u y á, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. F u r u y á Audiophyte

    F u r u y á
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    Hello,

    I'm willing to build a small audio system. It's mainly for enjoying FLAC audio in my room (about 7 x 15 feet or 230 x 460 cm).

    Requirements (subject to changes):
    • Channels: 2.1
    • Audio power: 50W


    I'm considering the following architecture:
    [​IMG]



    Here's my questions:

    Architecture
    1) Is this a good setup? Is it a overkill for just 50W? What do you suggest? Simply a receiver?​

    Components
    2) What brands and models do you suggest?
    • receiver
    • preamplifier
    • amplifier
    • loudspeakers
    • cables and other parts

    Cost
    3) Roughly, how much a setup like that (or like your suggestion) would cost?​


    Unanticipated concerns
    4) What are the most important technical details I'll have to pay attention to?
    (eg. impedance has to match between the subsystems, loudspeaker has to support x% more power than the amplifier, etc)​



    If I said something wrong, irrelevant or simply forgot about important things, please pardon my ignorance. I'm completely new in this subject. Thanks in advance!
  2. slipperybidness Audioholic Ninja

    slipperybidness
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    First off, what soundcard are you using and does your computer have digi outs?

    If you have a good soundcard, then I would look into powered speakers from the likes of ADAM Audio, Emotiva, Dynaudio, Audioengine.

    If digi outs, then I would be looking into the XDA-2 from emotiva. It is a DAC that can also do the preamp duties.
  3. shadyJ Audioholic Ninja

    shadyJ
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    Like Slippery said, I would go for powered monitors if you are listening at your desktop. If not, then I might make other recommendations, but what is your budget and do you have any size restrictions? Also how loud do you want this system to be able to cleanly get?
  4. slipperybidness Audioholic Ninja

    slipperybidness
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    Yes, what is the budget?

    Look into this setup from AH member djreef:

    Minimalist Dedicated 2.2 Channel Fully Balanced, Fully Active Music Only System

    MacBook Pro
    Benchmark DAC1-PRE
    OPPO BDP-95
    Emotiva Airmotiv6es
    Dual SVS SB-12pluses
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2014
  5. markw Audioholic Overlord

    markw
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    First off, some random thoughts:

    Powered speakers are fine, but they limit your possibilites by having only one input. There are some fine integrated amps out there that will serve you quite well, particularly if you're sure you don't want FM as part of the deal. This will allow you to choose from a pletora of passive speakers which far outnumber the choices of powered speakers out there.

    As for that ".1" channel, well it simply doesn't exist in a stereo world. that's a separate, discrete, channel in home theatre that carries only low frequency information for movie sound tracks.

    You CAN, however, add a subwoofer to any system you come up with. This can always be done at the speaker level or, if your equipment allows, at some point before the power amp. This might be cumbersome to incorporate into a system using powered speakers.

    Depending on the quality of the sound card in your computer, you may (or may not) gain some performance by using either a different sound card and/or a standalone DAC. That, I'll leave up to others to take up with you.

    For that matter, there are stereo receivers and some integrated amps that have digital inputs built in, but that's not too common.

    You would be wise to discuss your final choices before purchasing to be sure they play well together. After the purchase is a bit too late, as some have found out.
  6. F u r u y á Audiophyte

    F u r u y á
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    Unfortunately onboard audio. It does have digital outputs though.

    Budget is $500 USD. It can go a bit upper (if I deallocate from other budgets like computer upgrades! ^^)


    I did. Too costly for my budget unfortunately. :(


    I thought that the subwoofer was "mandatory" to give a good listening experience, was I wrong? If you say "yes", I'll be happy because it's one less component to spend money on. :D

    Of course! At the end of this message I will list the suggested designs so that you can help me to pick one (or eliminate one).


    --------------------------


    Fellow audioholics forumers, which design choice would you pick (picture below), considering:

    Budget
    $500 USD

    Purpose
    Listening to FLAC audio in my room

    Room size
    7 x 15 feet (230 x 460 cm)

    Audio power
    50W

    Source
    My desktop computer


    If, for a bit more budget (or a bit more than a bit :p) you would pick other design choice not restricted to $500, please post a reply explaining why it would be a better choice.



    Design choices

    [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2014
  7. F u r u y á Audiophyte

    F u r u y á
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    Thank you all for the replies! Here's the answer to your questions.


    Unfortunately onboard audio. It does have digital output though.


    Budget is $500. It can go a bit upper (if I deallocate from other budget like computer upgrades).
    Not so loud. Once I listened to my friend's Edifier (powered speaker) 30W at a high volume (in a room with similar size comparing to mine) and I thought it really loud. That's why I chose 50w.


    I did. Unfortunately too costly for my budget. :(


    I thought that the subwoofer was "mandatory" to give a good listening experience, was I wrong? If you say "yes", I'll be happy because it's one less component to spend money on. :D

    Of course! At the end of this message I will list the suggested designs so that you can help me to pick one (or eliminate one).


    --------------------------


    Fellow audioholics forumers, which design choice would you pick (picture below), considering:

    Budget
    $500 USD

    Purpose
    Listening to FLAC audio in my room

    Room size
    7 x 15 feet (230 x 460 cm)

    Audio power
    50W

    Source
    My desktop computer


    If, for a bit more budget (or a bit more than a bit :p) you would pick other design choice not restricted to $500, please post a reply explaining why it would be a better choice.



    Design choices

    [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2014
  8. ImcLoud Audioholic Ninja

    ImcLoud
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    I would go with

    Audioengine D1 $169 dac {you may be able to find them cheaper, they work awesome I own a few of them} or you could plug rite into the amp with an rca x 3.5mm cable plugged into you headphone jack... then use your amp as a volume control along with your pc's volume control...

    Dayton apa150 $159 APA150 dayton apa150 - Parts Express Ships Fast and Ships Free

    or

    Dayton Audio DTA-100a Class-T Digital Amplifier 50 WPC Provides Power To Computer Speakers, Bookshelf Speakers, Headphones, And More! 300-383 but I like the apa150

    then for speakers that really depends on what you like the sound of, personally I would try to get something like a pair of ascend acoustics cbm170se's and an HSU STF2 sub...

    So total you would be around $1000 for a really nice good sounding 2.1 digital system, that will hold up to critical listening for all types of music...

    If you are on less of a budget, than I recommend the second amp, with a set of dayton b652's and a dayton sub-800 that will put you around $200 complete and sound decent for most music listening at lower levels...
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  9. F u r u y á Audiophyte

    F u r u y á
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    So here's the definition:

    Schiit Modi $99.00
    Topping TP60 $210.00
    Mordaunt-Short - Aviano 2 $399.00
    TOTAL $708.00


    I think the part that brings more discussion is the speaker choice. Please feel free to make your suggestions. Budget is locked at $700 now.
  10. 96cobra10101 Senior Audioholic

    96cobra10101
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    Emotiva USP-1. Stereo pre w/ sub output.
  11. Bryceo Banned

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    Behringer make an awsome 2.1 active speaker systeam
  12. markw Audioholic Overlord

    markw
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    Not quite.

    Re-read my definition of that ".1" channel.

    What you describe here, and what $20 computer speaker systems use, is a summed mono signal that's low passed to a common bass reproducer.

    IOW, it's simply adding a subwoofer to a two channel (stereo) system.

    To call that a ".1" channel is like saying you're having sex when it's just you and your hand. It may sound good when you say it, and it may fool some people who don't know better, but it ain't the same thing.
  13. ImcLoud Audioholic Ninja

    ImcLoud
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    thats not sex? Me and my wife have to have a talk tonight, she has some explaining to do...
    • Like Like x 2
  14. markw Audioholic Overlord

    markw
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    Something to keep in mind...

    When three people engage in sex, it's called a "threesome"

    When two people engage in sex, it's considered a "twosome".

    So, is it really a compliment when someone says you're handsome?
  15. bikemig Audioholic Chief

    bikemig
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    There are lots of good ways to skin this cat. I think the focal bird 2.1 (and Markw is right that this is not a "true" .1 system) is pretty cleverly engineered for computer based playback and it does a nice job of integrating the subwoofer: Focal Bird 2.1 System Reviewed. It also runs $1k which is above the OP's budget.

    I set up a desktop computer based playback system with a sub (see my sig) and decided to go with passive speakers rather than active ones. They're both good choices but you will have more options with passive speakers. Plus by going with a receiver and passive speakers, you may find it a bit easier to connect different sources, connect a sub, and so forth. Receivers have their uses.

    If I were going with an active system with a sub for $700, I'd take a hard look at the "Yaro" system from Kanto: Kanto Speakers - YARO. For $650, you get a pair of speakers, an amp with digital inputs and a sub out, and a sub. Not bad specs and a great price: YARO: Quality audio for the new era of media players. and YARO: Quality audio for the new era of media players

    If I were going with a passive system, I'd get the Onkyo TX 8050 (which is a stereo receiver that is set up for computer networking and has digital inputs), a pair of the Cambridge S30s, and the Energy ESW M8 subwoofer (I just bought one for my office and love it). Total cost is a bit over the OP's budget at $750:
    Amazon.com: onkyo tx-8050
    Amazon.com: Cambridge S30-N Speakers, Black (Pair): Electronics
    Amazon.com: Energy ESW-M8 NA 1,200-Watt Subwoofer: Electronics

    Edit: another way to do this is to go with a micro system from a major manufacturer. Both Onkyo and Denon are busy adding digital inputs to their micro systems. The Denon M-39 is another option; it runs $400 which leaves $300 for a sub: http://usa.denon.com/us/product/pag...tem(denonna)&pid=microcomponentsystem(denonna)
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  16. markw Audioholic Overlord

    markw
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    Actually, this is pretty much a dead issue here. OP is in heavy negotiations with several people on Audioreview on finalizing his purchase. Note his lack of participation here as of late.
    • Like Like x 2
  17. bikemig Audioholic Chief

    bikemig
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    Well it won't be the first time that my ideas have been ignored, ;)
  18. F u r u y á Audiophyte

    F u r u y á
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    Guys I'm not ignoring your ideas. I'm keeping track of this thread too. Thank you all for your input! I've decided to build a discrete system with DAC, Integrated Amp and passive Speaker, hence my last post asking for advices regarding my final (or not so final) definition. Also, I'm in the middle of a traveling (one of its purpose is to buy those stuff), so the only time I have to check this threads is at hotels computers at night.
  19. ski2xblack Audioholic General

    ski2xblack
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    Consider a DAC/pre + power amp, too. You could get one of those Emo DAC/pre amps for $350, pair it to this ATI two channel amp for $250 (that is an outrageous bargain, fyi)...throw in the Pioneer speakers for whatever they're going for and you're near $700.
  20. agarwalro Audioholic Ninja

    agarwalro
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    This is the same as a AV receiver in two boxes. IMO, do not waste budget on an external DAC and integrated amp, instead, get a receiver and spend more on speakers. As an added benefit, even the most basic receiver will give you 2.1 capability (mainly crossover and level management). To top it off, there will be room for growth if you ever decide go 5.1. Depending on the layout, 7.1 may not be optimal for that room. Talking of room layout, it is better to keep the system against the 7ft wall rather than the 15ft.

    Assuming you can purchase from US market, with a $1000 budget, here is my recommendation...

    Receiver: Denon 1613
    Speakers: KEF Q300
    Subwoofer: Hsu Research STF-2

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