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New speakers help (amp and audio interface)

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Alte_neume

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New speakers help (amp and audio interface)

PostFri Jun 23, 2023 4:05 pm

Hello all, it's been a while. I now have two Vandersteen 2CE Signature II speakers. I currently have a Mac running Hauptwerk and an SMSL SAP-II TPA6120A2 amp for my headphones. The speakers came with two 4-wired spade connectors.

At this point I do not know what else to buy to make my set up work. The 2CE Sig II manual recommends amps rated 40-160 watts per channel into 8 ohms. It recommends "stable transistor" amp. I honestly do not understand the technical jargon in the speaker manual (https://www.vandersteen.com//media/file ... manual.pdf)

I'd like to spend no more than $500-$700 if possible to make my set up usable. I'm assuming I'll need a bigger amp of some kind. I am wondering if it is possible to make this work without having to buy an audio interface...consider in a few years).

Appreciate any guidance! Thanks
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larason2

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Re: New speakers help (amp and audio interface)

PostFri Jun 23, 2023 11:23 pm

Usually I recommend a Crown or QSC amp, but your speakers need pretty low wattage. So maybe this would work:

https://www.long-mcquade.com/1242/Pro_A ... lifier.htm

The prices are in CDN, but you get the idea. You'll need a splitter to convert the headphone output from your headphone amp to the 1/4 inch (TRS) or XLR connectors, but then you'll be off to the races. Don't be off put by the technical language, you just need a power amplifier that provides the right wattage at 8 ohms. Any more capacity you buy isn't going to get you better sound.

Those are pretty fancy speakers. You could definitely spend more money on a fancier amp, but I wouldn't. The low wattage requirements are a symbol of the quality of the speakers in my mind. I wouldn't have spent that much on a pair of monitors though!
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mdyde

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Re: New speakers help (amp and audio interface)

PostSat Jun 24, 2023 3:36 am

Hello Alte_neume,

Alte_neume wrote:I am wondering if it is possible to make this work without having to buy an audio interface...consider in a few years).


The built-in audio output on Macs works perfectly well for Hauptwerk, so you could certainly use it for now. A good dedicated audio interface is likely to give you a bit less latency and a bit higher audio quality.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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josq

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Re: New speakers help (amp and audio interface)

PostMon Jun 26, 2023 1:17 pm

As a side note, I'm surprised by the amount of audiophile mythology in the Vandersteen manual.
Especially, don't fall in the (potentially very expensive) trap that different wires have different sound characteristics.
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Alte_neume

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Re: New speakers help (amp and audio interface)

PostSun Jul 02, 2023 3:47 pm

Thanks very much for the above contributions (and for the link of a specific amp example). Some more pragmatic questions:

1. I do not know the specs on my speaker cables but both speakers have a 4 spade connector on the amp side and 2 hook connectors on the speaker side. How do I know if the amp will be compatible with this or do I need to purchase an adaptor or some kind?

2. I am still unclear if this new amp will replace my current headphone amp or will I need to switch back and forth between the speaker amp and the headphone amp? (My current headphone amp has a TRS connector for my headphones.)

Thanks again for the technical insight!
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larason2

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Re: New speakers help (amp and audio interface)

PostMon Jul 03, 2023 10:33 pm

1: You can connect the spade connectors as shown in the manual, and the hook connectors (red to red, black to black) to the twist connectors on the amp I showed above. Twist counter clockwise to loosen, put the hook in, and twist clockwise to tighten. Use a screwdriver to attach the spade connectors to the monitor as shown in the manual.

2: You can use either the headphone amp or your mac's 1/8 inch audio port as the input to the amp. Which one you use doesn't matter (On a PC, I would tell you to use the headphone amp, but macs have a pretty good DAC). Either way, you would need to convert the stereo signal from the headphone amp/mac audio out to two separate TRS or XLR mono connectors (for the amp I recommended). If you just connect a standard TRS to TRS, say from the headphone amp, then you will only hear sound out of one channel. You need a TRS stereo to 2 TRS or XLR mono converter, or a 1/8 inch connector to 2 TRS or XLR mono converter (or either with the appropriate 1/8 to 1/4 inch adapter). If it were me, I'd connect it to the Mac's audio out, then you can use either at the same time, and switch from speakers to headphones just by turning off the amp. If you go to a music store or some electronics stores, they have all the adapters you could possibly use. If you bring the amp with you, they can help you as well.

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