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ipedro
Dec 17, 2011, 01:52 AM
I'm looking to get an amp to connect my AppleTV to but I don't want all the electronic clutter that you may find on living room shelves. I just have my little AppleTV on the shelf under the tv and I don't want to add much to it. Every amp out there seems to conform to the knobs and buttons VCR width shape. Is there a minimalistic, non conventional form factor amp that I can look into?

As an example, I've found this which unfortunately is just a concept and doesn't really exist:

http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/4/2011/03/fiskarsamp88.jpg



DustinT
Dec 17, 2011, 07:45 AM
If you're looking for something with some style to it, I'm not sure I have any suggestions. Bang & Olufsen have some tremendous design but you will pay dearly for it.

Perhaps you could consider a small amp and then mount it out of sight? Parts Express and Monoprice both carry a line of small amplifiers at extremely reasonably prices. These are not audiophile grade products, but I'm not sensing that's your interest. Perhaps pairing a small amp thats out of sight with some in wall speakers will give you a sufficiently custom look. Sound quality can range from decent to impressive depending on your budget. There are quite a few in-wall subwoofers too, which are recommended for installations where you'd like to get a substantial lower end to your sound.

macman05
Dec 17, 2011, 11:14 AM
I'm looking to get an amp to connect my AppleTV to but I don't want all the electronic clutter that you may find on living room shelves. I just have my little AppleTV on the shelf under the tv and I don't want to add much to it. Every amp out there seems to conform to the knobs and buttons VCR width shape. Is there a minimalistic, non conventional form factor amp that I can look into?

As an example, I've found this which unfortunately is just a concept and doesn't really exist:

Image (http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/4/2011/03/fiskarsamp88.jpg)

How many watts are you looking to get out of this amp? And what is your price range?

KevinC867
Dec 17, 2011, 11:29 AM
I use this to connect two small bookshelf speakers to my PC: www.amazon.com/PCA2-80-Watt-Stereo-Power-Amplifier/dp/B001P2VV50

It's not super stylish or hi-fi, but it sounds good, and is small (3"x6"x5") simple and cheap. :)

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51IACHz-SaL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

davidoloan
Dec 17, 2011, 12:03 PM
Have a look at Pro-Ject Audio systems.
http://box-designs.com/inhalt/bilder/tn/stereoboxs.jpg

You will most likely have to go with a stereo system to get your desired look, but this is not a bad thing if you use your Apple TV for music and podcasts as much as Films.

http://www.whathifi.com/review/pro-ject-stereo-box-s
http://www.project-audio.com

You will need a Dac too. I use an Arcam rDac which is very good and probably meets your minimalist look. It is small and simple and always remembers its preset so I never physically touch it. I think it is a bit blocky in its proportions whereas the Apple Tv is an elegant shape so I put it behind the TV. It is so small you would not know it is there.

http://www.arcam.co.uk/ugc-1/product/115/163_main.jpg

Arcam Stereo Amps are good but quite large so you probably would not like them. The Arcam Home Cinema ones are huge. All Arcam products sound great and are top quality.

www.arcam.co.uk

I use a good stereo amp from arcam and I prefer the flexibility for music and movies. I am never disappointed watching films and you can buy 2 top quality speakers for a lot less than 5 or 7 top quality speakers.

These are Arcam Muso Loudspeakers which are quite small and chunky aluminium which are quite Apple Like in design language. http://www.whathifi.com/review/arcam-muso-logo What Hi Fi don't seem to like the look but I do; very simple and unobtrusive. They refer to speakers like these as style speakers to please your wife, which makes no sense to me a bit like saying architecture is not important. I have a set. They sound great. You can buy them singly for about 150.
http://www.arcam.co.uk/ugc-1/product/18/28_large.jpg

macman05
Dec 17, 2011, 12:03 PM
Kanto Yaro Amp + Speaker Set for Apple TV

http://www.kantospeakers.com/products/yaro
http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0050/1402/products/Front3tight.jpg?100299

davidoloan
Dec 17, 2011, 12:18 PM
Kanto Yaro Amp + Speaker Set for Apple TV

http://www.kantospeakers.com/products/yaro
Image (http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0050/1402/products/Front3tight.jpg?100299)

The Kanto amp is a nice design.

Do you know the specications of its DAC?

The website just says "Audio technology by Bang & Olufsen ICEpower".

I would like a DAC and AMP in one small box like that, but at the same quality as my rDAC.

Any reviews of it?

davidoloan
Dec 17, 2011, 12:29 PM
Another great solution is the Bower & Wilkins Zepelin Air which takes an optical input from your TV so you can can get great sound from both your TV and Apple TV.

You can also run an ethernet cable directly into it so you can play your music from your computer via a wired connection if you have an ipad even with your Apple TV off using the remote app. It has Airplay too.

This is great design, not just that style speaker terminology.

http://www.whathifi.com/video/bw-zeppelin-air-review

http://files.velocix.com/c249/WebVideos/Products/ZeppelinAir/Video-ZeppelinAir-Main-UK.mp4

http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/Images/AirZeppelinMedium/splash.jpg

I haven't got one but I would like one. I wonder if the iPhone holder comes off. I would use it only with TV and Apple TV and iPad remote.

macman05
Dec 17, 2011, 10:39 PM
The Kanto amp is a nice design.

Do you know the specications of its DAC?

The website just says "Audio technology by Bang & Olufsen ICEpower".

I would like a DAC and AMP in one small box like that, but at the same quality as my rDAC.

Any reviews of it?

There will be an optional DAC upgrade available sometime in February 2012. No word on price though.

ipedro
Dec 19, 2011, 12:53 AM
Kanto Yaro Amp + Speaker Set for Apple TV

http://www.kantospeakers.com/products/yaro
Image (http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0050/1402/products/Front3tight.jpg?100299)

Thanks for all your suggestions everybody. I like this one the most.

I'm not quite sure what my price range is because I'm often convinced to spend good money for products that impress me, but I'm not sure this is necessary. What I'm looking for is an amp with great sound for a small 700 sq.ft apartment, that can drive at least 5.1 speakers and it really doesn't matter so much what it looks like if the only visible piece is a beautiful master volume knob.

I love the look of the Griffin Powermate. If I could get an amp that has that kind of knob as the only visible control, I'd be happy.

visual
Dec 19, 2011, 08:59 AM
What I'm looking for is an amp with great sound...that can drive at least 5.1 speakers

I think you might struggle with that. All of the options here are stereo or 2.1.

I think logistics alone will mean that you need a fairly large box to drive 5 speakers so your options are going to be pretty limited. You could either hide an ugly box away or plump for an integrted receiver from one of the more aesthetically aware brands. Arcam solo movie 5.1 springs to mind, although, personally, I'm not a fan of it's looks and it's integrated DVD player is not exactly cutting edge.

Cyrus is also worth a look. They make some exceptional kit, lovely quality, and I'm a big fan of their form factor. Alternatively I'd go with an Arcam AVR400, it's huge, massively over speced for what you want, and expensive but it is truely a thing of beauty.

justex07
Dec 21, 2011, 08:23 AM
Kanto Yaro Amp + Speaker Set for Apple TV

I recently received a review unit of the Kanto Yaro amp + speaker system. I was impressed with the build quality, accessories and looks. The sound was impressive for the size and price but I did find some shortcomings with the bass and some issues with treble/midrange.

I also had a review unit and they are sending me an updated amplifier and the addon subwoofer so I'm sure anything I took issue with will be resolved with either or both of those updates.

You can check out the review here http://itsjustjustin.com/?p=6514.

Here's what the Kanto Yaro looks like in real life (sitting on top of Klipsch Heresy speakers).

http://itsjustjustin.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Kanto-Yaro-in-my-living-room-630x419.jpg

Cheers!

srobert
Dec 21, 2011, 10:11 AM
Nice thread. I've got one of those huge receivers with hundreds of commands/buttons I never use. I might want to go down the same road as you when time comes to upgrade.

Here is one I found that fits some of your criteria:

neoHD media controller
YMC-500 (http://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio-visual/media-controllers/ymc-500_black__u/?mode=model)

Pros: Simple, 5.1, Decent reviews
Cons: Not so small

Listed at 500$ but available for 180$ at amazon.

bolshoi
Dec 21, 2011, 02:29 PM
Have a look at Pro-Ject Audio systems.
Image (http://box-designs.com/inhalt/bilder/tn/stereoboxs.jpg)

You will most likely have to go with a stereo system to get your desired look, but this is not a bad thing if you use your Apple TV for music and podcasts as much as Films.

http://www.whathifi.com/review/pro-ject-stereo-box-s
http://www.project-audio.com


I use a Pro-Ject Audio system with my Mac Mini and ATV2 and I'm more than pleased with it. While I don't consider myself an audiophile, I can hear the difference from my old system. What initially attracted me to their products was that the components were small with a simplistic, elegant design.

Currently I use a USBBox and a StereoBox hooked up to my Mac Mini. My ATV2 hooks up to my TV via HDMI and I use the TV's audio out port to the StereoBox. Not Ideal but it works for me.

If I wanted to go directly from the ATV2 to the sound system, I would have to replace the USBBox with a DACBox USB because it has an optical input.

With the recent upgrades to iOS5 and iTunes Match, most of the Mac Mini functions have been made redundant and I tend to use the ATV2 about 80% of the time now. Up from about 10%.

pancakedrawer
Dec 21, 2011, 08:27 PM
Does anyone know where I might be able to get the Kanto Amp without the speakers.
I want to hook up some KRK speakers!

Uofmtiger
Dec 21, 2011, 09:18 PM
I like t-amps for their small form factor and sound quality, but most of them only do two channel. Personally, I just hide my amp and most of my other electronics in a BDI cabinet that has doors.

justex07
Dec 22, 2011, 12:06 AM
Does anyone know where I might be able to get the Kanto Amp without the speakers.
I want to hook up some KRK speakers!

Two things. You MIGHT be able to buy the Yaro amp alone but the only place you'll likely be able to do that is from Kanto. The amp hasn't been out but for a week or so, not enough time for extras to be floating on the market.

Second. I THINK the Kanto Yaro amp is a 4 ohm amp at 47 watts per channel. The Kanto Speakers are very efficient speakers and also rated at 4 ohms. However, the passive KRK R6 Monitor is an 8 ohm speaker that is not known for its sensitivity (87 dB/w/m). You would likely blow the Yaro amp by using it with those speakers.

Bonus, the crossover would be all wrong. The Yaro will have a higher cutoff for bass than the KRK speakers so you'd also suffer from a decrease in potential bass output. KRK speakers have over three times the surface area as the Kanto speakers. 9.62 square inches on the Kanto speakers vs 28.27 square inches.

It's a nice idea but for a handful of reasons, mixing the Kanto amplifier with something like the KRK R6 would end up a disaster.

-justin

ipedro
Dec 22, 2011, 02:00 AM
Nice thread. I've got one of those huge receivers with hundreds of commands/buttons I never use. I might want to go down the same road as you when time comes to upgrade.

Here is one I found that fits some of your criteria:

neoHD media controller
YMC-500 (http://usa.yamaha.com/product/audio-visual/media-controllers/ymc-500_black__u/?mode=model)

Pros: Simple, 5.1, Decent reviews
Cons: Not so small

Listed at 500$ but available for 180$ at amazon.

Wow I really do like that one. Now I only need to figure out of this is possible to hook up wireless speakers for the back channels. Is it?

Amazing Iceman
Dec 22, 2011, 08:30 AM
How about one of those "SoundBar" systems from Samsung or Vizio?
These systems are also available with wireless rear speakers and subwoofer, so you can achieve 5.1 Surround.

justex07
Dec 23, 2011, 04:08 PM
How about one of those "SoundBar" systems from Samsung or Vizio?
These systems are also available with wireless rear speakers and subwoofer, so you can achieve 5.1 Surround.
There are lots of soundbars on the market these days, some of them even sound good :D I recommend you look at Klipsch if your budget is large enough. Their soundbars are pretty darn impressive. Sound & Vision magazine recently reviewed a bunch of soundbars, give that a look too. It's a great iPad app/magazine to boot.

ipedro
Dec 25, 2011, 01:24 AM
Could somebody explain these sound bars please? From what I gather, they reproduce a multiple speaker setup with just that one bar?

pancakedrawer
Dec 30, 2011, 07:31 AM
@justin
Thanks for the response. Much appreciated. I guess I'll start looking for an alternative amplifier.

@everyone
I spoke to a guy from Kanto who was incredibly helpful. The amplifier will be available for individual purchase soon. (he said after Christmas).

The subwoofer will be priced at $229.

hand
Mar 13, 2012, 12:59 PM
I also suggest taking a look at http://www.nuforce.com/ for simple connectivity to computer components or items with optical outputs.

And http://audioengineusa.com/

martinm0
Mar 13, 2012, 01:05 PM
I also suggest taking a look at http://www.nuforce.com/ for simple connectivity to computer components or items with optical outputs.

And http://audioengineusa.com/

These are my recomendations as well. I have no experience with them at all, but did look at these at one when considering getting away from powered computer speakers. I liked the look of the nuforce.

Here's another I found on Amazon:

http://www.daytonaudio.com/index.php/audio-video/audio-amplifiers/dta-100a-class-t-digital-amplifier-50-wpc.html

basesloaded190
Mar 13, 2012, 01:10 PM
Could somebody explain these sound bars please? From what I gather, they reproduce a multiple speaker setup with just that one bar?

Kind of. They have many little speakers and tweeters in them all pointing in different directions to give the impression of true surround sound.

panamajack
Jul 1, 2012, 01:52 PM
What did you end up getting @ipedro ? Curious to know what you think about the Kanto Yaro's ... they're $100 off right now at Simply.ca, pretty tempting upgrade.

hmoazed
Feb 4, 2014, 05:13 PM
the only solutions I have found to avoid a 1980's style gigantic "receiver/amp" with 100 dials and buttons I will never press/turn and AM/FM which I will never tune into are these:
http://www.logitech.com/en-us/product/speaker-system-z906?crid=47
http://www.logitech.com/en-us/product/surround-sound-speaker-z506?crid=47

Of course various soundbars exist with optical in and dolby digital decoding, such as these:
http://www.vizio.com/home-audio/

All of the above have their own dolby decoding and amplification. You can simply connect your optical out from AppleTV to any of these and you're done.

Or if can afford it, SONOS has some nice speakers...

If you are not interested in 5.1 and want just 2.0 music, your best bet would be a pair of studio monitors with optical in (e.g. Behringer). They are self-amplified, so no need for an amp. Just keep in mind studio monitors are near field speakers, you don't want to sit too far away from them.

Uofmtiger
Feb 5, 2014, 10:54 AM
For 5.1, you could get something like the Logitech Z680s I have in my office. I don't think they sell them anymore, but they make some similar setups like the Z906 (http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Surround-Sound-Speaker-System/dp/B004M18O60).

http://www.logitech.com/assets/35576/4/surround-sound-speakers-z906-glamour-images.png