Desk Top System (Chord + ATC)

Seasons greeting all - I have a quick few questions regarding a potential desktop system:

Santa brought my son a gaming PC but didn’t realise that the monitor didn’t actually have any in-built speakers. Hence, to save the day, my Ruark MR1 Mk2s were purloined leaving my Mac with a Dragonfly Red hanging out the back, but without any speakers to connect to.

So, of course this now leaves the door wide open to investigate a new system, rather than just replacing the Ruarks. So far I’m thinking of the following:

Chord Anni plus a pair of ATC SCM7s

So, the questions are as follows (bearing in mind that I will be sitting at my desk about 2ft from the speakers):

a) can I continue to use my Dragonfly and simply connect this to the Anni, rather than investing in a new DAC?
b) if not, would it be worth getting a Chord Qutest instead? or
c) is the proposed system far too OTT for my purposes and should I simply buy another QB2 and connect this to my Mac, or indeed just run another ethernet cable to it from my EE8 switch?

For the most part I will be listening to Qobuz or the radio, with occasional YouTube (hence I’m feeling that connection to the Mac is not paramount).

PS: I’m not looking to create a headphone system - so it has to be speakers.

Thanks for any advice - as you can see from the above, I’m somewhat directionless on this one (as I’m mindful that I could spend a lot on a system that is somewhat secondary, given that Mrs R commandeers the desk for much of the day).

I think Anni is an interesting product, but obviously it’s still an unknown being new to the market. My guess is that it might struggle to run SCM7s as they would probably need more power to work well, and it’s always worth keeping an open mind about speaker matching. Maybe worth talking to a dealer who sells both Chord and ATC stuff.
The Dragonfly should work fine into any integrated with a 3.5mm jack to RCA lead. Obviously the Qutest should be better as the Anni was designed to match it.

Personally I wouldn’t want a QB for nearfield desktop listening as it will always be off centre. Stereo speakers seem like the best option to me.

Many thanks for the good advice Chris. As luck would have it my local dealer specialises in both Chord and ATC. I’m struggling to think of any speakers much smaller than the ATCs, aside from going down the PC speaker route with its consequent limitations.

Have you looked at KEF’s LSX speakers? Smaller than the ATC’s and no extra boxes required.

You may be alright with your proposed combo. And you seem to be in the right place with a dealer who stocks both brands.

As a delighted ATC SCM7 owner it is agonising for me to say a What Hi-Fi review of the Anni found the most joy with a pair of more sensitive KEF LS50 Meta. The review also tried a pair of ATCs which were okay until the wick was turned up. How much volume you might want from only two feet away is up to you!

Please let us know what you make of your own dems and trust your ears.

Thanks guys - I did look at the KEFs but thought I didn’t need all the functionality (even though it’s coming in at a 1/3 of the price of my proposed system!). My nephew’s a big fan of the LSXs, so I might need to reconsider. I don’t think I’m ever going to be cranking the system up really, so it’s low level detail that I need which hopefully the Anni can provide.

I guess the issue is that smaller speakers are not necessarily an easier load than larger ones. In fact I believe the larger SCM9 is supposed to be easier to drive than the SCM7. Others I would perhaps consider are Kef LS50 (not LSX, you don’t need the extra electronics) and Neat Iota…or of course a pair of N-Sats if you can find some!

At 10w the Anni looks very underpowered it seems to be more designed for phones. Maybe look at a preamp DAC quite a few around that are extremely good and pair with some actives. Something like the RME-ADI 2 DAC and Acosutivc Energy AE1 actives would be a great combo. I use the RME myself and it’s an excellent DAC and Pre and well regarded. The AE1 actives are also very well liked. Or as othes have said the Kef LSX are a good all in one solution but they don’t support usb in so you would need to still use the dragonfly DAC to feed them from the Mac or use their own streaming software over the network.

Thanks very much CH, very interesting. It appears that I could just go with the AE1s and wire them via my Dragonfly with no need for an additional/alternative DAC - is that right?

I listen to Qobuz and YouTube through a PC. Analogue cable from PC to QB Mk1. Simple. I’m considering buying a s/pdif card for the PC, but it sounds very good as is.

Navigating Qobuz on a PC is lot easier than on mobile.

ATCs are perhaps not the easiest speakers to drive and the 7s are sometimes reckoned to be harder to drive than the 11s. I wonder if Neat’s tiny Iotas might fit the bill? I use them in my office with an Atom and they work very well. They’re wall mountable if that is useful and a tad cheaper than the ATCs.


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That is correct yes.

Thanks for all the advice guys - as luck would have it my local Naim dealer also supplies Neat and Acoustic Energy, so I suppose I have a ready made one-stop-shop to demo just about all the combinations suggested!

Will let you know how I get on - it’s something of a balancing act between being realistic about how much I’m actually going to use the system, and my usual desire to go overboard.

Thanks again all.

The Anni got a decent review as a headphone amp but they didn’t think it was much chop as a an amp.

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