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Small desktop amp

Discussion in 'audio' started by Barbapapa, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. Barbapapa

    Barbapapa pfm Member

    As I'm working mostly from home now, I decided to invest in a better desktop system. Main criteria: small, not too expensive, nice looking, and good sound. This precludes powered desktop speakers (I looked at several, but these didn't have the looks I want). I already ordered the new Ophidian Minimo speakers which are among the smallest available and have a nice veneer finish. To complement them I'm looking for an amp. I already own a Quad Vena which I might use in the set-up, but frankly it is a bit larger than I'd ideally want. So I thought to ask you guys about possible ideas.

    The Minimo speakers are rated at 40-80 W in 4 Ohm, but that is for full power. I'd use them in a near field set-up (1,5 distance) and at low volume. However, the room I use them in is large, with 3,5 m high ceiling. A rather low-powered amp will quickly run out of steam even at low volume (experience with Amphion Ions and Sony UDA-1). So I am looking at 30-40 W amps.

    I have a preference for A/B amps as I had some unsatisfactory experiences with cheap class D amps in the past, but that is not an absolute. I don't need a DAC (already have several).

    Currently I'm seriously considering the Nuprime IDA-6, which I can obtain at around € 600. I briefly looked at the Micromega Myamp which is very small, but read too many bad user reviews about lack of real power and noisy vent. A fairly obvious candidate which I've heard recommended often is the Rega Brio. It is somewhat more expensive but that may not be insurmountable.
  2. gustav_errata

    gustav_errata pfm Member

    If the Brio is too expensive, have you looked at the io?
    Torris12 likes this.
  3. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    I have used the Vega, Yamaha 303D and Brio+R in my home office but wanted something smaller with no loss of features for my workplace office. Ended up with a Project MaiA with Dali Zensor 3, very happy with it, loads of features and uber compact. There’s a new small Rega amp the IO but not seen/heard one.
    • 2x 25 W / 37 W @ 8 / 4 Ohms
    • 2 ohms drive capability
    • Dual mono design principle
    • Inputs: 3x stereo line, 1x phono (RCA), 1x Bluetooth (aptX), 2x dig opt, 1x dig coax, 1x USB
    • XMOS asynchronous USB 24 bit / 192 kHz
    • 24 bit / 192 kHz D/A converter
  4. Subito

    Subito pfm Member

    The Rega io sounds like an excellent match for your needs.
    Torris12 likes this.
  5. Gervais Cote

    Gervais Cote Predator

    A small Rega or a Nait 1 or 2 would be my options.
    Nevertheless, the last two are 15 ish watts per channel so may need to be tested before.
    A Naim 32.5/NAP 110 would be totally amazing IMO and quite compact when you put the 110 on top of the preamp !
    Exposure now makes a compact integrated as well but I didn’t listen to it yet :
  6. Del monaco

    Del monaco Del Monaco

    Cyrus One?
  7. Olsen

    Olsen pfm Member

    I've heard ophidians, they are remarkable but on a Naim 200 based combo.
    The little IO is surpricingly good on easy speakers.
    Perhaps a solution ?
  8. Durmbo

    Durmbo not French

  9. Gervais Cote

    Gervais Cote Predator

    Oop$$$$, sorry ! :eek:
  10. fegs

    fegs pfm Member

    Are you looking for new or secondhand?
  11. Salamander

    Salamander pfm Member

  12. fegs

    fegs pfm Member

    I was going to suggest the TEAC Reference 300 Amp

    I had one for years and sold it fairly recently, which I regret, wish I'd have kept it as a spare.

    They're shoebox sized, great retro ish looks (if that's your thing?) and IIRC 45WPC

    I don't think there's much love for TEAC around these parts but they can be picked up cheaply secondhand and you'll always get your money back should you decide to sell.

    They're a lovely sounding amp which belies their price tag
  13. Barbapapa

    Barbapapa pfm Member

    Thanks for all the suggestions, much appreciated. The Exposure looks nice but is indeed above budget (it also appears to be larger than I''d like). The TEAC would be an interesting option to keep in mind, but are not currently sold second-hand. I don't mind buying second-hand, but am dependent on available sales and The Netherlands in that respect has a smaller market than the UK (when I look at Hifishark). The Naim suggestion is interesting, but I think I'd prefer a single box to avoid further cluttering the desk.

    The Rega IO is a very good suggestion: I'd forgotten about that. I'm hesitant about the Maia: although I like the looks I worry a bit about whether it can really deliver sufficient power. The Cyrus One costs more than I'd like to spend, but would otherwise be a contender.

    I'm hesitant about options like Topping or others, even less known, which you buy over the Internet from China. I like to support my local audio dealers if possible, and well-established brands are easier to sell second-hand.

    So I'll have some thinking to do, will probably see whether I can have a quick demo of the Rega or others.

    Incidentally, when checking these suggestions I also noted the NAD AMP1, which apparently is not available in the UK but is sold in The Netherlands. It seems to be like the NAD 3020 V2. These do not seem to garner much interest, but are comparable to some of the other options mentioned (albeit in class D).
  14. mikemusic

    mikemusic pfm Member

    SMSL Q5

    Outstanding, tiny box
    Gervais Cote likes this.
  15. booja30

    booja30 pfm Member

    Or SMSL SA-50. That's what I use to power my B&O CX100s, but it can power a lot more.
  16. ArtK

    ArtK Wine & Music

    I bought the Rega IO for a second system and ran it for a few days in my main system and was more than pleasantly surprised. It drove my Spendor Classic 3/1’s beautifully. Also the phono stage is very good indeed.
  17. Gervais Cote

    Gervais Cote Predator

    If this can help, I have an SMSL M500 DAC. It sounds terrific for the price and the level of quality is very high so if their small amps are similar, they are probably also very good value.
    I typically prefer by far the British hi-fi products to the Chinese ones but I must admit SMSL might be the exception to the rules.
  18. Ptah

    Ptah pfm Member

    I tried the little Project S2 amp. Sent it back - not very good sound, connectivity an issue.
  19. Gervais Cote

    Gervais Cote Predator

    According to me, Project makes good entry level turntables but their electronic is really so so.
  20. ABCaudio

    ABCaudio Trade: ABCaudio, representing EWA

    May I suggest taking a look at the EWA Q-20?

    I would say that, wouldn't I! But it is very much worth considering.
    CJ14 likes this.

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