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View Full Version : Small Integrated Amp Recommendation?



Redrum
2019-05-10, 05:56
OK, so this question doesn't belong in general, but where? Maybe it doesn't even belong on this forum, but hey, it's for my SB systems, so here goes.

Home is where my full kit resides, but a few years back I bought a small "seasonal" cabin. I have ISP/DSL access so can stream audio and video. I wanted to keep things simple, so I started out with a Boom and a small TV. I still enjoy the boom and his sound to this day. I wanted to improve the video sound, so I bought a cheap Yamaha soundbar, and decided to also bring an extra Touch from home to run through the soundbar. A slight improvement over the boom (which actually says alot for the boom).

But, it's really not cutting it, not bad, but I miss the sound from my gear at home.

I made a change to one of my systems at home that freed up a nice pair of Klipsch KG 1.5 bookshelf speakers (the old ones, not the gold cone ones). I plan on bringing them to the cabin, but, how to drive them? This is where my SB friends come in, your advice.

I have a couple of old Rotel integrated amps (late 70's) at home but they are too big and bulky. I have a Arcam A65 amp in one of my systems at home, which would be perfect, but I don't want to disassemble that system.

So I am looking for some suggestions, especially something I might find used, or relatively inexpensive, do drive the bookshelf. The speakers are very efficient, and I don't plan on playing anything loud, so low powered but clean, small footprint, would be ideal.

One last thing. I would really like if the amp could be controlled by a remote to integrate it into the harmony I have. Also, if it had a digital input and a nice DAC, then that would be ideal for the touch, otherwise, I would use analog.

Thanks for any suggestions...
Jim

d6jg
2019-05-10, 06:33
Donít know about Harmony for sure but I recently got my hands on a second hand Denon CEOL RCDN7. It surprised me.
It has optical and also has Airplay and works with Phillipeís Plugin perfectly.

Redrum
2019-05-10, 09:00
Donít know about Harmony for sure but I recently got my hands on a second hand Denon CEOL RCDN7. It surprised me.
It has optical and also has Airplay and works with Phillipeís Plugin perfectly.

Thank you, this is exactly the type of feedback I was hoping for. Even though there is no need for a CD player, it's nice and compact, and in the right quality/cost bracket (i.e. Denon, Onkyo, Marantz, NAD, etc).

My comment on Harmony is the I use a cheap Harmony 650 universal remote for "play music" "stream TV" etc all in one commands for simplicity for users other than I (wife and guests). I would like it if the amp would just receive IR commands for power on/off, volume, input, etc. Some of the desktop amps, like the Audio Engine one, do not.

Regarding your comment on Airplay, and Phillipe's plug in, I am not familiar...what would/could, that do for me over the planned Touch->amp->speakers (control via touch, or android app)?

Jim

d6jg
2019-05-10, 09:53
Thank you, this is exactly the type of feedback I was hoping for. Even though there is no need for a CD player, it's nice and compact, and in the right quality/cost bracket (i.e. Denon, Onkyo, Marantz, NAD, etc).

My comment on Harmony is the I use a cheap Harmony 650 universal remote for "play music" "stream TV" etc all in one commands for simplicity for users other than I (wife and guests). I would like it if the amp would just receive IR commands for power on/off, volume, input, etc. Some of the desktop amps, like the Audio Engine one, do not.

Regarding your comment on Airplay, and Phillipe's plug in, I am not familiar...what would/could, that do for me over the planned Touch->amp->speakers (control via touch, or android app)?

Jim

Harmony. The Denon has a standard IR Remote so Iíd expect it to work without issue.

Airplay Plugin. Limited to 16/44.1 but means that it could be used without any SB player attached at all. I use mine with a Pi plus USB DAC but I also experimented with Airplay Plugin and it works perfectly although needs a smartphone controller or similar.

w3wilkes
2019-05-10, 12:13
I'm in a similar situation and ended up with a Onkyo DR-UN7. I had to get a converter to change the component video out to HDMI. It will not play BlueRay, only regular DVD's and CD's. The Onkyo by itself will only run the front speakers, to run the rest of a 5.1 surround would require a separate power amp, but we don't need surround and I can't remember the last time we actually watched a DVD at the cabin anyway. I built a PiCore player with hifiberry DAC+ with analog out to the Onkyo driving small Bose AM3's. For a pretty small system both my wife and I are very happy with the sound. I have a full copy of my home library on my laptop and run LMS on the laptop when I'm at the cabin.

Redrum
2019-05-10, 13:00
I'm in a similar situation and ended up with a Onkyo DR-UN7. I had to get a converter to change the component video out to HDMI. It will not play BlueRay, only regular DVD's and CD's. The Onkyo by itself will only run the front speakers, to run the rest of a 5.1 surround would require a separate power amp, but we don't need surround and I can't remember the last time we actually watched a DVD at the cabin anyway. I built a PiCore player with hifiberry DAC+ with analog out to the Onkyo driving small Bose AM3's. For a pretty small system both my wife and I are very happy with the sound. I have a full copy of my home library on my laptop and run LMS on the laptop when I'm at the cabin.

Thanks for sharing. There are a whole lot of features on your Onkyo that I don't need, but the footprint/form factor is similar to what I was thinking - something that would fit on a shelf with a touch next to it. I see them second hand for about a buck and a half $USD.

I also built a piCore for the cabin (and one at home as well), but using it as a server, not a player, I put it in an enclosure with a 2TB USB HDD and installed it in the loft with my modem and router. Where you use your laptop for your library, I use a thumb drive and Samba to keep my libraries in sync. I'm thinking of in the future maybe another "travelling" HDD to simplify the sync by just mirroring the drives.

What's nice about this arrangement (at least in my brain) is I keep a copy of all of my files that need redundant backup (photos, etc) on both HDD's as well as my home PC and the cabin HDD serves as my "off the premises backup"

I appreciate your input, and d6jg's as well. You can find small amps/equipment out there, with prices all over the place, but it's nice to hear from our community "what sounds good". :)

Jim

TimT
2019-05-10, 19:59
NAD D 3020. We use it in our living room to drive two B&W Nautilus 805 speakers and a B&W subwoofer.

d6jg
2019-05-11, 03:43
I'm in a similar situation and ended up with a Onkyo DR-UN7. I had to get a converter to change the component video out to HDMI. It will not play BlueRay, only regular DVD's and CD's. The Onkyo by itself will only run the front speakers, to run the rest of a 5.1 surround would require a separate power amp, but we don't need surround and I can't remember the last time we actually watched a DVD at the cabin anyway. I built a PiCore player with hifiberry DAC+ with analog out to the Onkyo driving small Bose AM3's. For a pretty small system both my wife and I are very happy with the sound. I have a full copy of my home library on my laptop and run LMS on the laptop when I'm at the cabin.

I also have a small Onkyo but not that one. Mine has CD, Tuner, digital inputs and LAN but in the latter respect itís poor as itís DLNA implementation doesnít do gapless and it doesnít have AirPlay. Iíve used it with an SB3 via optical and a Pi+ HAT and both were fine. It has a smaller footprint than the Denon.

Browny
2019-05-11, 10:30
Something like this....

https://www.amazon.co.uk/LEPY-2024A-Plus-Amplifier-Silver/dp/B00SATAEEA

Simple, Cheap and very surprisingly effective. I have even paired one with a pair of Mission LX-2s in a second system and it holds its own very very well. For the money you can't go wrong

Grumpy Bob
2019-05-11, 12:13
This is a tiny setup that I put together for my office (https://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?102957-pi-based-systems&p=814509&viewfull=1#post814509). It used an Amptastic amplifier.

Now I use a Raspberry Pi with touch screen and DAC and amplifier cards feeding the speakers. Both systems are pretty small footprint.

Robert

Redrum
2019-05-12, 05:12
Thank you all;

The Lepy and Amptastic are interesting, but I am kind of stuck on the remote control of volume and power, as there are times that my wife, with or without guests, will be at the cabin without me, so ease of use is a big factor. I don't see where the Amptastic is available in the US.

The NAD is very intriguing. I had seen it prior to asking the question, and looking into it further, it seems to have gotten allot of buzz. I have owned NAD stuff before, so I know that the quality would be there. I just wished it was older so I could find a used one, They have refurbs for about $300.

I'd love to hit a <$200USD target, and perhaps used would help that, to justify just not bringing one of the old integrated amps or receivers I have lying around (I tend to not get rid of audio equipment). I don't mind spending the $ on something like the Denon outright, but the other equipment saying "what about me? I'm just sitting here!" might guilt me.

I mentioned the Arcam 65 because I own one, and know it sounds great, and it's thin. I know that NAD and others have older, thin models that I might be able to pick up used, but I don't "know" them. I could use the A65 but it's in a rack with the matching tuner and cd player that I never use.

Anyhow, thanks for taking the time to chime in.

Jim