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Obagleyfreer's picture
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Rotel RA 12 or Cambridge Audio Minx Xi
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I'm currently looking for an amp with integrated DAC that will allow me to play high resolution files from my PC. 

The speakers they will be running are Neat Motive 2s.

I have heard a demo of the Minx Xi in my local Hi Fi shop and I loved the sound, but the Rotel RA12 spec and price seem much better.

Can anyone give me a little guidance here as I feel the Minx Xi, while sounding great, is very restrictive and doesn't allow me to upgrade in the future. 

 

Does the Rotel RA12 have similar sound to Cambridge Audio Minx xi or are they quite different? I haven't the chance to audition the Rotel unfortunatley.

 

Many thanks

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hi - i think Naim partners

hi - i think Naim partners especially well with Neat (haven't heard the combo myself, but it seems to be a prefered combo on naim forums). Can you stretch your budget and go audition your speakers with Naim stuff? Like the Unityqute 2 (which can later be upgraded with a power amp) or, even better, Unity2? If you don't mind the lack of USB for direct computer access (u can stream via network tho). Or, if you don't need analogue inputs, u can go Dac V1 + Nap100 (or the Chord Hugo instead of the V1). 

 

Anyway, try to audition your speakers with Naim, they might change your mind. And dont buy blindly by what others say; audition, and if it sounds good to you, then go for it. Sorry I couldn't give feedback about that Rotel.

 

Btw, people will ask you for room size, taste in music and budget in order to give you better feedback and suggestions Smile

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Obagleyfreer wrote:

Obagleyfreer wrote:

I'm currently looking for an amp with integrated DAC that will allow me to play high resolution files from my PC. 

The speakers they will be running are Neat Motive 2s.

I have heard a demo of the Minx Xi in my local Hi Fi shop and I loved the sound, but the Rotel RA12 spec and price seem much better.

Can anyone give me a little guidance here as I feel the Minx Xi, while sounding great, is very restrictive and doesn't allow me to upgrade in the future. 

 

Does the Rotel RA12 have similar sound to Cambridge Audio Minx xi or are they quite different? I haven't the chance to audition the Rotel unfortunatley.

 

Many thanks

Have tou considered getting an amp with an asyncronous usb input?

Unless you PC has a really good sound card and a decent low noise SPDIF output this may be much more important..

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Naim sounded great.....but not 2k great

Thank you for your reply Smile

I did audition both the CA Minx Xi and the Naim UnitiQute2 with my Neat speakers, the shop let me take them to try out.

The UnitiQute2 did sound better, basically more crisp sounding and defined to me (sorry I'm no audiophile), but the price difference was quite substantial Naim was $2,900NZD and the Minx Xi $1,300NZD. It wasn't worth the huge price difference to my ears. 

I'm new to Hi Fi and really want to start on the right road with this hobby. I feel that buying the Minx Xi is kind of a dead end for me before I've even begun. No room for upgrades or added new components etc. 

So, I have now discovered the Stream Magic 6, which is like the Minx Xi but needs an amp. 

I do have an amp at home (Yamaha AX497) I could use for the time being.

If I hooked up the Stream Magic 6 to the yamaha using the Pure Direct analog mode, Would I still get nice Cambridge Audio sound? Or would the amp 'Yahaha-fi' things and I end up degrading the sound? 

Sorry, like I said, I'm new to this and I just don't want to make a mistake buying the Minx Xi that I'll regret.

If the Stream Magic 6 will still sound great running through my Yamaha amp then I'll go that route and just buy a better poweramp down the track when budget allows. 

 

I REALLY appreciate all your help, thank you! 

 

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davedotco wrote:

davedotco wrote:

Obagleyfreer wrote:

I'm currently looking for an amp with integrated DAC that will allow me to play high resolution files from my PC. 

The speakers they will be running are Neat Motive 2s.

I have heard a demo of the Minx Xi in my local Hi Fi shop and I loved the sound, but the Rotel RA12 spec and price seem much better.

Can anyone give me a little guidance here as I feel the Minx Xi, while sounding great, is very restrictive and doesn't allow me to upgrade in the future. 

 

Does the Rotel RA12 have similar sound to Cambridge Audio Minx xi or are they quite different? I haven't the chance to audition the Rotel unfortunatley.

 

Many thanks

Have tou considered getting an amp with an asyncronous usb input?

Unless you PC has a really good sound card and a decent low noise SPDIF output this may be much more important..

 

 

Thank you for your reply Smile

What amp has the things you mentioned? Sorry, it's all new to me. 

My PC has a rubbish sound card, which is why I thought about getting a streamer with built in DAC so that could handle the sound. I was just going to use Wifi streaming or USB audio so I thought sound card in the PC was bypassed, am I wrong?

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Obagleyfreer wrote:

Obagleyfreer wrote:

davedotco wrote:

Obagleyfreer wrote:

I'm currently looking for an amp with integrated DAC that will allow me to play high resolution files from my PC. 

The speakers they will be running are Neat Motive 2s.

I have heard a demo of the Minx Xi in my local Hi Fi shop and I loved the sound, but the Rotel RA12 spec and price seem much better.

Can anyone give me a little guidance here as I feel the Minx Xi, while sounding great, is very restrictive and doesn't allow me to upgrade in the future. 

 

Does the Rotel RA12 have similar sound to Cambridge Audio Minx xi or are they quite different? I haven't the chance to audition the Rotel unfortunatley.

 

Many thanks

Have tou considered getting an amp with an asyncronous usb input?

Unless you PC has a really good sound card and a decent low noise SPDIF output this may be much more important..

 

 

Thank you for your reply Smile

What amp has the things you mentioned? Sorry, it's all new to me. 

My PC has a rubbish sound card, which is why I thought about getting a streamer with built in DAC so that could handle the sound. I was just going to use Wifi streaming or USB audio so I thought sound card in the PC was bypassed, am I wrong?

Not at all, there are different ways of getting music from a computer to your hi-fi. The most obvious are.....

Getting a decent soundcard to do the digital processing onboard and feed analogue straight to a 'normal' amplifier. You can do the same, but with the output digital, SPDIF over RCA or optical.

Use usb to output the file to an asyncronous usb dac, some amplifiers have this capability but many do not, including the 2 mentioned in your opening post. There are hovever plenty of separate dacs with that capability.

Or transfer your music files over a network to a 'streamer'.

All have advantages and disadvantages, done well there is little to chose in terms of quality, mostly it is down to functionality.

For example I play mostly Spotify, Macbook > Fiio dac > Active speaker. Very simple and neat, I could use optical to connect my laptop to my dac but it is more convenient to use a wireless Airport Express. It also means that I can stream from our iPad should Mrs DDC need a proper computer for something.

In both cases I can use Spotify desktop software which is pretty good, so this choice works really well for me. You may want your setup to do different things, easy enough, though you do need to think carefully about what you want your ystem to do, then configure it appropriately.

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The only reason I went to

The only reason I went to that price range is because I think (correct me if I'm wrong) that your speakers are in that price rance, and it would be a pity to strangle them with something lower. BUT this is the most important thing:

Obagleyfreer wrote:

 It wasn't worth the huge price difference to my ears. 

You're leting your ears decide, so if you think you'd be happy and not missing out with the CA driving them, that's perfectly fine. It seems like a capable little box tbh, don't be offput by my (or other people's) opinions and  suggestions Smile 

 

I have no experience with your amp, but if it's an old and lesser one, yes, it will act as a bottleneck for the Stream Magic 6. On the other hand, you could upgrade the amp another time, but don't know if it's worth the hassle. I guess you could give that a try as well.

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[/quote]

Use usb to output the file to an asyncronous usb dac, some amplifiers have this capability but many do not, including the 2 mentioned in your opening post. There are hovever plenty of separate dacs with that capability.

Or transfer your music files over a network to a 'streamer'.

All have advantages and disadvantages, done well there is little to chose in terms of quality, mostly it is down to functionality.

[/quote]

 

Thank you for your input Smile

I took what you (and other members) have said on board and I went ahead and bought a CA Stream Magic6 V2. 

I figured this would have a similar sound to the Minx Xi (Amplifier dependent), as it's the same company and it also it has streaming and asyncronous USB input for my PC Smile

My other reason for buying the SM6 was that I'm just starting out in the Hi-Fi "hobby" and I thought the Minx Xi was a dead end. At least with the SM6 I can now add to it with a nice CD player, amp, turntable etc

That leads me to my next question.

If anyone uses the SM6 and can recommend a good amp to pair it with that would be great. I'm on a budget so Ideally between 500-700GBP. Im thinking either the CA Azur 651W power amp or an Arcam A19 integrated. 

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance! 

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rainsoothe wrote:

rainsoothe wrote:

The only reason I went to that price range is because I think (correct me if I'm wrong) that your speakers are in that price rance, and it would be a pity to strangle them with something lower. BUT this is the most important thing:

Obagleyfreer wrote:

 It wasn't worth the huge price difference to my ears. 

You're leting your ears decide, so if you think you'd be happy and not missing out with the CA driving them, that's perfectly fine. It seems like a capable little box tbh, don't be offput by my (or other people's) opinions and  suggestions Smile 

 

I have no experience with your amp, but if it's an old and lesser one, yes, it will act as a bottleneck for the Stream Magic 6. On the other hand, you could upgrade the amp another time, but don't know if it's worth the hassle. I guess you could give that a try as well.

 

Yes I think the Neat motives are in a similar price range and I've heard they team up very well with Naim, but my ears also liked the CA partnership, and so did my wallet! 

I took what you said on board, thank you,  and decided to go with the SM6.

Now I have to go amp shopping! Smile

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Obagleyfreer wrote:

Obagleyfreer wrote:

At least with the SM6 I can now add to it with a nice CD player, amp, turntable etc

wait... ok, someone correct me if i'm wrong, but i think the SM6 can't act as a pre-amp (analogue one at least), so you'll defenately be needing an integrated amplifier to go with it IF you later want to add a turntable/whateveranaloguesomething. But just to double(or tripple)check, you know that the UQ2 (AND the Minx XI) had both the streamer and amp in one box (+1 analogue input), and you could stream music from your laptop/pc just by having the UQ2/Minx linked to your router, right? Because I think you're just spending the same ammount of money (or even more now) for a two box sollution that's gonna be doing the same thing as the UQ2/Minx could do, but perhaps with a bit more juice Smile

 

Don't get me wrong, pelase, I don't mean to put you off or anything, I just wanna make sure you understand what all the gear in question is and isn't capable of doing.

 

With that in mind, i'm gonna suggest trying to find an ex-dem or a good deal on a (surprise, surprise Smile ) Naim Nait 5si. You could also audition a Cambridge Audio Azur 651 A, but I think I heard it once and it wasn't all that jazz, and the 851A is way out of your price range. But you might like it, so who knows? 

 

The usual integrated amp shortlists in this price range have some of the following: Exposure 2010S2, Creek Evolution 50A, Roksan Kandy K2, and the one I'm always suggesting, the wonderful XTZ A100D3. I have no idea how Neat speakers sound like though, which means you'll have to get this kind of input from someone else or audition it yourself (except for the XTZ, which you must order home from their website and return it if you don't like it). 

 

Of the above, my favourite sounding machines are the XTZ and the Nait 5si (mind you NOT 5i (italic) ). Hm... come to think of it, they all sound good if partnered right, but the two i underlined are special for me Smile

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