Looking for suggestions for an upgrade to my SMSL AD18 amp. The current amp is driving a pair of Triangle Borea BR02s. I ideally need digital connections as I use Chromecast Audio connected via a Toslink cable and also use Bluetooth. New amp would ideally have Bluetooth 5. Budget of around 300-400 euro, that delivers to Europe.
I think if you wanted to go the class d route, something like a topping pa3+ a topping dx3 pro would have what you are looking for. My personal preferences lean towards the denon here but the topping is also a very versatile setup. The nad d3020v2 is also a solid pick
Would you recommend the d3020v2 over the d3045? DAC quality? Relative quality of headphone vs speaker out compared to something like Sprout 100? Form factor is nice, and the phono stage is a plus, as I’m looking to upgrade from the MX3 myself (as your input has been so helpful with in a couple other threads). I thought i remembered there being some disfavor for the newer NAD stuff, so wasn’t sure how it might carry over to these models.
So both of those are solid, but they don’t beat the sprout100 for me. I think the sprout100 has a more refined sound in both the headphone and speaker outs, a better dac, and is easier to use. I definitely wouldn’t recommend the d3045 as imo its way too expensive for what it is, but for what you can find the d3020v2 for used it might be worthwhile if you want to stick in that budget. I haven’t tried the phono stuff on there so I can’t comment on that
Hmmm, that would be a bit better, that might make some sense to get. It’s going to sound cleaner than the sprout but not as natural imo. If you like the features and the form factor, it wouldn’t be a bad choice
Have also seen a few OG Peachtree Novas pop up recently in the $500 range…you’ve recommended the 300 before, but is the tube hybrid original good relative to the others mentioned here? Compared to the Liquid Plat? Benefit, perhaps, being the included DAC on the Nova.
The Denon doesn’t have USB inputs. Shouldn’t that give one pause? Are there any issues with converting USB to optical, besides the nuisance of having to buy yet another adaptor? Same issue with the d3020v2. Apparently the v1 had USB but they swapped it for a phono thingy. I lack the space for a phono, so that’s just not a temptation for me.
Another box. Sigh. The Sprout100 is looking better and better. And so, too, does the AD18, TBH. I also have a Topping MX3 in another room. I have never A/B’d them to compare, but I should probably swap them just for the experience. Given that the Topping is said to have a better headphone amp, that’s probably what should be on my desk vice driving my TV speakers, which is what it’s currently doing.
If it were only cheaper… I know, I know, stepping up from the AD18 is going to cost.
There’s a TEAC that looks like a good option, the AI-301DA-X or something like that. But none of the reviews I’ve read has convinced me it would be worth moving up from the AD18. Z even said it’s not, though it was a passing reference.