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mambo12
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Recommend Startup Equipment

I listen mainly to music from my computer with flac files ripped from CDs.

So my question is what equipment do I need to get started in Hi-Fi listening?

My guess is the following:

1) DAC to boost output from my computer

2) Amplifier (do I still need this if I got a DAC?)

3) Speakers

I've been doing some research and these speakers seem suitable and within my budget range:

- Boston Acoustics A26

- Wharfedale Diamond 121

- Q Acoustics Q2020i

No idea on amps and/or DACs. Would really appreciate any recommendations and tips. Tks!

mambo12
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And what would you advice on

And what would you advice on my choice between powered speakers like the Audioengine A5 vs the other speakers mentioned above?

Bill B
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Powered

Powered speakers are, to me, sort of a natural for a computer music system.  For instance, you'll see that's the most common way it's done in the below Stereophile-affiliated website, Audiostream, which focuses on that type of listening.

Powered speakers as a category are neither better nor worse than non-powered speakers.  It's just that the non-powered ones require an amp of some sort, which would be another piece of equipment on your desk - so the "form factor" of having the amp builit into the speakers is smart and practical.

DACs:  many DACs are standalone units, and others are built into a unit that also contains a preamp which is just right for driving powered speakers.  Many of those also offer headphone outputs (so they are headphone amps as well).

I like the AudioEngine line and I have used the A5's, and bought those for family members too.  At my desktop I now use the A2's, supplemented with a nice subwoofer to make a full-range system.  There are other excellent brands too, I just happen to have settled on AE.  They also make a combination DAC/preamp/heaphone amp, the D1.  That and speakers would complete your nice system at a nice price.

mambo12
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tks for the advice. i'm kinda

tks for the advice. i'm kinda stuck between the decision of powered or passive speakers. What wld the consideration factors be? I suppose for future growth, amp + passive speakers will allow for greater flexibility?

And for the AE A5+, is there a need for a separate subwoofer? Do they produce enough bass by themselves?

You mentioned that powered speakers are neither better or worse than passive ones. So for the same amount of money, the Boston Acoustics A26 (slightly more expensive when factoring in a separate amp) is not better than the AE A5+? I would think that the A26 will be capable of better sound, of course also depending on the amp.

Bill B
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my answer may not be your

my answer may not be your answer - but for me, I've already got enough stuff on my desk and I don't want to add a separate amp and its cables to the computer scene.  (For me, I reserve the bigger stack of equipment etc to my "regular" or main stereo.)

Yes, your point about flexibilty is true.  I still suggest powered speakers since their internal amps may be considered a "perfect" match to their speaker selves.

The A5's have generous bass and do produce enough bass by themselves.  However... to get down even lower (and give more headroom and volume), adding a subwoofer is cool.  They make their own brand, but other brands of good powered subwoofers will be suitable too.

I haven't heard the A26 or the other passive speakers you mentioned, so I can't compare the sound.  However, the price for a pair of A26 might be around 400, right?  Then you would need to add a good amp for another 300 or so...

Listen in person if you can.

jackfish
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A little clarification is needed.

There are computer audio systems that are desktop systems which I think is what Bill B is thinking of. Then there are computer audio systems where the computer provides the source material to a regular HiFi system. Which need do you have? What size is your room? What is your overall budget? What kind of computer do you have?

commsysman
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Speakers

I use the Audioengine A2 powered speakers with my computer, which are excellent and have built-in amplifiers; see the review here from Stereophile. They cost $200.

I use a small subwoofer with them, since they have no real bass.

A Polk PSW10 would probably be enough as long as you don't want a huge amount of volume.

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