I am dumb. Please help me. Connecting passive speakers to pc

Hi all,

I recently bough a new dac/amp combo primarily for a few pairs of headphones I have, but I’ve never really bought a decent pair of speakers in my life and I’m absolutely clueless on how I would connect them to my dac/amp and if its even possible.

My dac/amp combo is a SMSL d400ex.

I will be using the balanced 4.4mm output at the front for my headphones and I want to buy a pair of Dali Spektor 1 passive speakers as well.

The speakers are passive and only have a connection for speaker wire. Do I need some sort of adapter for the rca cables to connect them? Do I need another hardware device? I watched this video which appears to show how to connect them directly to a pc cheaply, but I’m certain that my dac/amp would be clearer / more powerful if I could connect them?

Any help with this would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

For passive speakers you will need a speaker amplifier. I’d look at getting something used rather than something cheap and nasty.


Got you. I need a separate device. No wonder I had so much trouble searching for this. Thank you for the feeedback.

I have a budget of roughly $200 USD (note I’m in Australia). So would there be a way to use the existing dac functionality with the speaker amplifier then?

E.g. RCA out to speaker amplifier then speaker amplifier using the speaker cable to the passive speaker?

Should I just save myself the hassle and get powered speakers instead and hook it up to the dac/amp.

Maybe something like this?

Powered speakers are a simpler option but having a separate amp and speakers will give you more options and let you try different speakers in the future. If your DAC has RCA outputs then you can use it with any amplifier.

That SMSL amp should be okay, especially for something desktop sized. If space isn’t too much of an issue you could have a look for any used integrated amps, something from Denon, Marantz, Yamaha, etc should be a good step up in quality, but that SMSL amp will work fine too.


Thank you so much, this is all much clearer now.

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Dexter_Kane is spot on. Hooking up a dedicated amp and passive speakers opens up a world of high quality audio. I picked up a used Pioneer SX-450 on eBay for ~£100 and it is amazing.

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Smsl a300 is what you want if you want to stay in the smsl family…

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I watched some reviews and ended up getting the SMSL a200mkii. The speakers will probably take a month to get here from overseas. will update back here once I have them set up.

Never looked much in to vintage stuff but because its going on my desk probably would take up a bit much space. Thanks for the suggestion though.

Some components that were high end (not hifi, the macintoshes and meridians still cost an arm and a leg) , if properly maintained and refurbished (capacitors and soldering for the amps, refoam and recone and crossover caps for the speakers) are a very good match against the current middle end (stuff in the 300-1000) dollar range because back in the day they were using better quality materials.
This sometimes compensates for the 30 years ov evolution in the field… Sometimes not.
You need to put in the time to research, the money to experiment, and sometimes you still end up with a dud of a system…

My vintage system is a pair of JBL studio monitors from the 80s ( JBL 4411) that cost 1500usd back then - 6kusd in today’s money
And I run them with either a vintage NAD 906 (relatively low power, clean sound) , a modern behringer a500 (moar power, class d amp less clean) or a 400w vintage carver amp (good for rock music only, very loud :joy:) …

in my living room I have a Denon amp and Klipsch speakers, they are a much better option for just 'pkaying music and movie audio’s as they do not need any additional fiddling to sound good…

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Don’t sleep on the Fosi Audio v3 chip amp. ASR gave it a very positive review - I’m using one with nearfield speakers on my PC right now.