Another Active/Powered Speaker Recommendation Post

Hi, all.

I’m looking to get rid of some clutter in the apartment living space so I’m thinking of going down the active/powered speaker track.

I’m looking to spend around AUD$2k at the most but I have some requirements that I’m worried might push me into a higher price bracket.

My setup is roughly as follows:

  • Yamaha RX-V675 receiver and small passive Cambridge minx satellites that are now about 10 years old.

  • Roon core is running on a NUC → ethernet into the router → ethernet back into the receiver.

  • TV is connected via optical into the receiver, Chromecast is connected to the TV.

  • Turntable is also connected to the receiver via RCA’s via the in built phono stage on the TT.

  • PC is connected to the receiver via optical (rarely used)

My aim is to replicate this setup but with some active/powered speakers, and retiring the Yamaha. Reducing the components/space and keeping the wife happy are the priority, so I also need them to be smallish bookshelf units or maybe on a stand Is this possible on my budget?

I dont see a lot of powered speakers that have the ethernet solution which may be a sticking point if I want to keep the NUC running Roon Core.

The KEF LS50 Wireless II units look like they will do what I want but price (and maybe the aesthetic) might be a sticking point.

The KEF LSX are closer to the price point but dont have RCA’s, is there some kind of adaptor that will help me here? Anything similar to this going around at the moment to compare?

Any recommendations or suggestions of a solution for me would be ace.


It is probably easier to come by with some small all-in-one box that provides all the various needed inputs and some RCA(/XLR) outputs that allows for connecting to active analog speakers, I think many of those modern “streamers” with built-in DAC may fit (maybe minus the TT input but the KEFs surely don’t have it either). There might be even AiOs with built-in amplifier (and possibly optional TT input?) available.
Such a split setup makes it easier to choose/find speakers that match your room and (sonic) taste. I personally would try to stay away from digital active speakers with built in “streamer” because they are inflexible, often have quality issues (mostly on the software side and not only the cheap ones) and tend to come with a hefty price tag for all the integrated functionality (buying cheap ones is just asking for trouble IMO). Also if the speakers (or the AiO) isn’t Roon Ready, are you willing to add a Roon Ready bridge to the mix or is Roon Tested (AirPlay or ChromeCast) good enough?

Possibly another add-on box needed here? What’s your goal?

To me it seems that you already have a working one box (receiver) solution. Is it more about to move the “clutter” from the center position, where I assume the receiver is placed now, to the sides in the hope the wife doesn’t notice? :grin:
You want to keep your Roon Core. I assume you also want to keep the TV and its connection to the speakers? If the ChromeCast is connected to the back of TV, he probably doesn’t add that much to the clutter. You want to keep the turntable too? What about the PC and it’s connection to the audio setup?

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Hey @BlackJack thanks for the reply.

I’m hesitant to do an AiO. Maybe I’m just used to thinking stereo separation needs to have two speakers.

Do AiOs still give decent stereo sound? Bear in mind I’m no audiophile and getting old, so I mightn’t even hear much difference. Plus I do like the look of two speakers.

I have no real need for any included streaming solutions like TIDAL or Spotify, or even airplay, I’d be using Roon for all that via Ethernet.

The goal above is to link the TT into the speaker via the RCA cables that are coming out of the built in phono stage The Kef LSX has an aux input, so I thought there’d be a way to use an adaptor to link the TT to the speaker this way.

Youre right about already having the one box solution. I’d prefer to have a no box solution and just the speakers, and the more I look at the Kefs the more I think they will do what I want, if… that aux-in can work with my TT.

It has optical for the TV sound in. Assuming there’s no weirdness with ARC, that my current receiver figures out itself. Im not across that tech or how it works, other than it works in my Yamaha atm.

It has Ethernet for the Roon Core.

PC sound I can live without.

I think I’m talking myself into the Kefs now though, but I’d love to know if there are similar speakers that also do this for around the same price.

Appreciate the response.

Sorry but I thought I made myself clear with the examples I gave: one box, all-in-one, AiO in my post all refer to a one electronics box that combines all that’s needed besides the loudspeakers.

Then buying speakers that come with all theses unneeded/unwanted options (plus some more) and a more or less successful Roon integration seems to be over kill - especially as you can’t change the electronics for better/supported/functioning one. I you want to go the smart speaker route (with more or less successful Roon integration), some brands come easily to my mind. Sonos, BlueSound, KEF, B&W mostly because they have somewhat of a history in this support forum (many not so happy customers) for various reasons and not because I think they are good recommendations. B&W seems to be the best of the bunch so far, but this can be just because they are the latest entry with likely the smallest market share.
If you start adding up prices for standalone single-purpose, decent quality components (DAC, ADC, network player, phono pre-amp, pre-amp, power amp, speakers and more if needed, you will easily end up with costs far above your budget. Having this all, integrated in speakers or at least a single electronics box, may save some money but not much unless some severe cost saving decisions were being made by the manufacturers. These come at a “price” for the customer - usually quality bellow expectation in many areas and during the whole lifecycle (as defined by the manufacturer) of the product which is also often shorter compared to standalone electronics components.
You may think of smart speakers as the pinnacle of human engineering but for the big companies these are not more than fashion products.

I think you nailed it here. :wink:

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Drawing from decades of acoustic expertise

That roughly translates to: We make loudspeakers. We don’t have expertise in consumer electronics so we just bought some decently priced (a.k.a cheap) off-the-shelve electronics board from a Chinese manufacturer and integrated it together with some decently priced (a.k.a cheap) off-the-shelve amp board, most likely also from China, into one of our loudspeakers we carefully engineered with all our expertise to sound good, paid some third party programmers to make the electronics work somehow and rebrand/customize a consumer phone app to control it - you know, we really don’t know about software ourselfs - in the hope it may serve any purpose for you dear customer asking for smart speakers all the time (means: our board of directors realized at some point that people spend a lot of money for smart speakers of other brands and decided we need such a product a.s.a.p. to get some of that money too).

Sad but true and not limited to KEF. :woozy_face:

With that opinion shared, I now stop ranting about fashion products.

Hey I appreciate the rant, and the clarification on AiO units from your other post, I was thinking the meaning the ‘all’ part of AiO included speakers. Should’ve read your post a little closer.

I will be creating a better more dedicated listening space in my new home, but that is still yet to be built. So, for now I want something simple that is more aesthetic to the space that have some more oomph than my little satellites that I’m running now.

I’ll check and compare the B&W’s, Sonos’ and the Bluesound stuff out. Thanks.

If anyone else has had experience with these that are using a s similar setup that I’m trying to achieve I’d love to hear what you think of these alternatives.

Both the LS50WII and the LSX have a 3.5mm auxiliary jack for stereo input, so that may help push this over the edge. I have the LS50W and LSX and enjoy them both, don’t think you can go wrong with either one, although the LSX can’t play as well in a large room and a subwoofer may be recommended.

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Thanks @Robert_F Ive watched some review videos and comparison vids, think I’m going to grab a pair soon.

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