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Topic: Amp / Receiver recommendations (Read 1240 times) previous topic - next topic
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Amp / Receiver recommendations

I've recently purchased a pair of BW 606 S2 speakers on eBay, and am looking for an amp / receiver set up to accompany for music listening and movie viewing. Here are the various factors that I'm thinking about:

  • Cost – aiming to keep to below £300 (I can buy second hand)
  • Needs either optical or HDMI input
  • At present I only need a stereo set-up. Down the line I might choose to expand to a 2.1, 3.1 or 5.1 system. I'm not sure whether to buy 5.1 right now or buy stereo amp first and shift to 5.1 down the line when I have more budget... it'll probably be at least two years before I look at changing up this kit
  • Bluetooth / Airplay also very useful; USB is an alternative

I've been exploring some cheap amps like the Aiyama T07, but getting a suitable DAC like a Topping E30 adds significantly to the total cost. Additionally, no local stockists in the UK right now... so it would mean shipping from China.

I've also looked at some second hand stereo amps, like Cambridge Audio's CXA60 or AXA35. None of these are complete solutions... the CXA60 needs additional kit for bluetooth, the AXA35 would need a DAC for the optical input.

Meanwhile I've seen advice on this forum that 5.1 AVRs tend to be better value because they have economies of scale... so I'm wondering whether I should skip the stereo amp route and just go for a cheap AVR which ticks all the boxes in one go.

Would love to hear any thoughts!

Re: Amp / Receiver recommendations

Reply #1
Meanwhile I've seen advice on this forum that 5.1 AVRs tend to be better value because they have economies of scale... so I'm wondering whether I should skip the stereo amp route and just go for a cheap AVR which ticks all the boxes in one go.
If multichannel is your ultimate goal, I'd think this is the way to go.  Modern AVRs have the digital inputs you want as well as Bluetooth and AirPlay.  Marantz, Denon, Yamaha, Sony: all are fine, but going to be tight at £300 unless used.

If you decide to go stereo for now, something like the SMSL AD18 or LOXJIE A30 might be an inexpensive solution (if you can get by without AirPlay).

Re: Amp / Receiver recommendations

Reply #2
I also recommend an AVR (audio video receiver).   They are available starting around $300 USD and if you shop around you can probably find a better deal.   

I do recommend a new-enough one that has HDMI because optical or coaxial (S/PDIF) doesn't support the Blu-Ray formats and some DVD players don't have S/PDIF.    (I upgraded my receiver a couple of years ago because it didn't have HDMI.)  


Most stand-alone DACs don't can't decode any of the compressed or surround formats.    Most DVDs have an uncompressed stereo track, but not all do.  (The receiver can downmix to stereo if you only have 2 speakers.)

You'll also want an AVR if you have a subwoofer and you want the "point one" LFE channel.      The stereo and surround channels contain the "regular bass" and the receiver has "bass management" so if you have "small" speakers you can route all of the bass to the sub.    But the LFE channel on a DVD or Blu-Ray contains extra bass for 'booms" & "explosions" and that cannot be re-routed to the other speakers and it's just thrown-away in the stereo downmix.

Re: Amp / Receiver recommendations

Reply #3
That's really helpful, thanks both! £300 certainly seems like a tight budget for an AVR – I think there are fewer deals in the UK than in the US. I'll keep my eyes peeled!

Re: Amp / Receiver recommendations

Reply #4
As an update - I’ve just ordered a used Sony STR-DH790. Thanks again both for your advice!