Suggested Amp for Fluance Signature Series

Hey everyone,

Not terribly experienced with audio equipment, and while I’m learning more through independent research, I wanted to get some more experienced advice regarding an equipment upgrade I’m looking to do.

Current equipment:

  • Fluance Signature Series - passive speakers
  • BIC F12 - admittedly larger than I really need, figure I can move it to a living room setup eventually.
  • SMSL AD18
  • Monolith M1060 (open) headphones
  • Drop Panda headphones (whenever they actually ship :sob: )

Current Inputs:

  • USB from desktop (mobo can support SPDIF)
  • Bluetooth from laptop (can run USB or aux if need be, bluetooth is just nice to eliminate another cord)

I’m currently looking at moving away from the SMSL AD18 and getting separate units with a budget of $600 USD or so (although less than that is quite okay with me lol). Right now, I’m looking at:

  • JDS Labs Atom amp - headphone amp
  • Topping E30 - DAC
  • Topping PA3 - speaker amp
  • JDS Labs Element 2 (its just so clean) || JDS Labs El 2 stack - albeit more expensive

Are there any concerns with this stack (especially regarding speaker amp) that I’m looking at? Are there better alternatives in people’s opinions? Any help or suggestions is greatly appreciated here, again, just getting more and more into this hifi world. :slight_smile:

If you like the element, you could grab a nice amp like an emotiva basx a150 or a100 and have a very nice setup (although not super compact lol), but it would drive the fluance really well imo

For the topping, you could go with an E30 and L30 stack that might be pretty sweet (have only heard the e30, but if the l30 is like the a90 then it will be pretty good. The pa3 is a good amp, but I hesitate to say it’s a substantial upgrade from what you have now imo

If you wanted an all in one for everything that’s pretty solid, the PS audio sprout100 is worth a look imo (although might not be feasible budget wise)

First, thank you @M0N for the suggestions and quick response!

For sure the Emotiva a150/a100 is large. I’d have to consider moving the setup someplace to the side probably to accommodate the size, which is a small annoyance, but solid bang for the buck.

Even if the PA3 isn’t much of an upgrade, if it wasn’t a downgrade then that might be suitable. This being said, if I could still somehow use the SMSL AD18 for just my speakers, I’d be a happy camper from the savings and just upgrading the headphone side of my setup, but alas I don’t think it is capable of that. Sad days.

I’ll have to keep the l30 in mind though for that sort of stack. I’ve seen a great deal of good things about the e30, although I guess Topping has some QC issues? I’m a fan of the smaller footprint compared to the Emotiva setup.

I’m torn though, I glanced at the Sprout100 before, but I didn’t realize how much it really does! That unit is absolutely insane, especially for being a single unit. Now I gotta figure out if I could maybe find some extra cash lying around to make that large purchase doable haha.

Thanks again for the suggestions, its nice to limit some of the many options out there!

EDIT: As an informational question (probably pretty dumb though), is there any issue with running some speaker amp from the Atom’s Pre-amp outs? Would an issue arise from the Atom controlling volume and a speaker amp also having a volume control?

Yeah it’s pretty large. You could put it under a desk or something, it doesn’t have to be accessable since you would control volume through the element as a preamp

Yes not a downgrade, an improvement over what you have to an extent imo

You could do that, but you would get a good benefit from doing the speaker amp later on

For the e30 I think that’s been corrected, but for the l30 it’s too new to say. Generally topping has been good in my experience, but of recent I have seen a few hiccups

It surprised me because typically all in one units like that tend to make a bigger sacrifice on a specific part, like some receivers have good amps but poor dacs, or some have poor headphone outs, the sprout is just very well rounded if you don’t mind a bit of a warmer sound

Nope not really

So you would want to have the speaker amp closed to max to attempt to further bypass the existing pot, not exactly ideal but not bad or anything like that