Desktop set-up, budget of ~4500 USD?

Hey all. I’m jumping into the deep end here for someone who’s currently running a budget set-up of Micca B42x’s, Lepai 20w amp, and a behringer UCA202 DAC.

I’m fortunate to be in a position now with some spare money, and I have a serious upgrade itch. My budget is ~4500 USD and I’m looking to maximize my value by buying used.

For the purposes of my set-up, it’ll be placed in small-medium size living room/kitchen in a second floor apartment. Because I’m on the second floor, I’ll have to defer on the subwoofer for now. Like mentioned in the title, it will be a computer/desktop set-up for near-field music listening. Space saving in a plus, so I’m looking to go integrated amp/dac.

From what I’ve looked over so far, I’ve focused in on the Dynaudio Special 40’s to be paired with a Hegel H90 integrated amp. Granted this will be my first large audio purchase though, I’m curious to see what other folks had to say. If you had to maximize a budget on 4500 on bookshelf speakers, amp/dac/preamp (separate or integrated) what would you go for?

Given your requirements, if I were in your position I’d probably go for a pair of used LS50 Wireless and pocket the rest of the money. Everything is housed in the speakers saving you space and they’re great for both near-field and whole room listening.


Hmm, Vanatoo T1 encore, Edifier S3000 Pros?

And a THX 788 and some headphones. :stuck_out_tongue:


Really love my special 40’s, great speakers. I don’t use them near though

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so you’re saying your Special 40’s are for sale to the OP? :wink:

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Whoops I meant I don’t use them nearfield. I do use them and do not want to sell lol

4500 is a heck of a budget for a desktop setup. Nobody has mentioned studio monitors yet. They are self powered and designed for nearfield.

A pair of used Genelec 8331’s and a Topping D70 would sound great. Neumann, Dynaudio and Adam makes well regarded monitors in that price range. The D70 would connect via XLR and has a remote for input and volume control.

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True, but it handicaps upgradeability. And it would also depend on your preferred sound signature. The special 40s are not a flat studio signature

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@arxspecialist yeah I’ve thought about that. For some reason though I can’t convince myself to love the ls50 cabinet design. I know I wasn’t the biggest fan of the passive ls50 sound. I understand though the wireless package sounds different yeah?

@M0N my initial choices were actually influenced by some of your posts on this forum. It’s a good looking speaker that I could eventually transition to a floor stand layout when the day comes I buy a house.

@Andrew_Davis good thoughts. I’ve heard great things about genelec. Like the ls50 though I can’t wrap my head around its bionic like curves haha! After reading through the responses, I’ve realized I’m pretty biased towards the dynaudio brand. Any particular dynaudio studio monitor you can think of? I’ll start looking into studio monitors though, might as well consider all the options. Any particular reason for the topping d70? Apologies, Ive really only scratched the surface of audio equipment.

The dynaudio core 7 is a pretty great studio monitor, although I actually prefer the special 40s with a nice amp. The core 7 is more neutral (obviously) and was very very resolving when I demoed them. Buttt, the special 40 was more enjoyable to listen to and had a better sense of space and spacial awareness then the core 7 imo.

You would also need to get either a preamp or monitor control with your dac if you went with the core 7.

what about the Quad S2’s?

I thought they were pretty nice and really good looking, but imo at that price I would still prefer the svs ultra bookshelf even though it’s a older design. But I do know someone who really likes the quad signature

The philharmonitor bmr is a super super interesting speaker with insane soundstage capabilities, but kinda isn’t to the level of detail of the 40’s but something to look at for sure

Chances are that if you dislike the ls50, the wireless won’t win you over imo

Also tbh, I think genelec monitors are more advanced then dynaudio studio monitors, so if you are looking for a very flat resolving sound with advanced room correction, genelec is a great choice

I thought about Adam T5Vs, but Vanatoo T1 encore and Edifier S3000 Pros are, in short, dac/amp/speakers and everything you need and more in an all-in-one package.

Genelecs are DSP-corrected, but Edifier S3000 Pros got 3 or 4 DSP corrections available at the push of a button on the remote, if you prefer “neutral” or “dynamic”, etc. So, they’re also DSP-correcting for “fun”… and Zeos was damn impressed, apparently. :stuck_out_tongue:

Also, don’t you have to go way, wayyy higher in price, for speakers to match all the micro-details you can hear with headphones? That’s why I suggested this and a THX 788 + headphones. You could even use the THX 788 RCA out to the S3000 Pros if the DSP correction isn’t neutral enough for you, or, DSP-correct the “too neutral” but definitely detail revealing THX AAA tech?

…Ok, fuck. This forum is bad for my financial health. :stuck_out_tongue:


@M0N appreciate all the insight. I think I’ll proceed with special 40s then. Since I’m aiming to buy used, I’m okay waiting for a good price. In the mean time I’ll look into whether or not I want to go an active monitor route. Off topic, any thoughts of my initial choice of pairing the 40a with a hegel integrated?

@LeDechaine you’ve obviously thought about this a lot x) . I’m going to go without headphones though so it does free up my budget towards the speakers and amp/dac. I’m with you though, I already know the hurt that will come even after spending my “guilt free” money. Even so, I’ve resolved to spend every dollar to max out my imagined set up for now. The grind continues so I can add the ancillary things later and upgrade as I go forward @_@;;

I think the amp should be just fine if you are using it on a desk. I personally use separate components, but the hegel is a pretty nice integrated. If you plan for headphones though, perhaps consider the schiit Ragnarok 2, as that can serve as your headphone amp later on as well. That being said, the hegel is going to be the better amp, but imo you really wouldn’t be missing that much with the schiit

The 3000 pro were very impressive, but I do think the special 40 or genelec are on another level in this price range. But the 3000’s value is great

They should too, they’re like 10 times the price, lol.
I don’t know/care much about speakers when they’re 500$+ … to each their own, obviously.

Well, these S3000 Pros are beautiful… :roll_eyes: heh.