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1st home cinema setup, help needed

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by Daneel, Dec 5, 2002.

  1. Daneel

    Daneel
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    I am trying to pick componenets for my first home cinema and I have been doing a lot of reading. I plan to buy a reciever, 5 speakers sysem and DVD/CD player. If I can spare the money a sub as well.

    I need the system to perform well for music and films.

    I have pretty much decided on a Marantz SR7300 possibly SR6300. I am having a lot of trouble picking speakers though. I was quite keen on the Wharfedale Diamond series, 2 x 8.1, 2 x 8.3 and a centre (£265 from qed-uk). The Eltax Chroma pack also looks like a bargin right now, qed-uk have them for £238.

    I went to my local hifi shop and the salesman there warned me against the Wharfedales and suggested mission instead.

    He gave me a demo of a Marantz 5300 with Mission M5 speakers, 2 floor standing M5.2s, a centre and a sub, the rears were not connected. He put on Star Wars episode 1 and turned the volume up to -7db (small demo room).

    I was impressed with the sound quality and stereo imaging, but although it was loud, it didn't seem loud enough given how high he had the volume up and the size of the room. He told me that the speakers plus sub would be £850, a lot more than I had planned, and as I said, I was concerned with the lack of volume.

    I had been looking at the Mission 70 and 70i range, but given that the M5s are supposedly higher range and I wasn't very impressed, I'm not keep to go there either.

    The only other speakers I have looked at so far are the Acoustic Energy Evos. They are about twice the price of the Wharfedales, £540 from Hifiblitz for a 5 speaker setup, £770 with a sub.

    I am also having a hard job picking a DVD/CD player, the Marantz range seem expensive for what they are, but I need it to play CDs well in addition to DVDs.

    Sorry for the long post, I'm just trying to convey where I'm at with my thinking on this.

    All comments/suggestions appreciated.
     
  2. Daneel

    Daneel
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    After a lot of reading this morning I'm adding the Monitor Audio Bronze series to the possibilities, 2 x B2, 2 x B4 and the Bronze centre, £520 from Hifibitz.
     
  3. Nobber22

    Nobber22
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    Monitor Audio and Acoustic Energy are both great & from a class above the Wharfedales and are therefore justifiably more expensive. Demo both. Mission M5 series should also be in the same class sound-wise but IMO are the worst speakers Mission has released in 5 years. Don't be surprised if they are re-released as "i" series with major internal changes soon :rolleyes:

    However the cheaper M73/M74 range is v.good and worth a demo against the Wharfedales. Then add a good sub like MJ Pro50 for example. That salesman warned you off the Diamonds, but put you onto a much more pricey design - cheeky!

    As for DVD player, none are very good at CD replay (well Arcam DV88+ is pure class, but is £1200). See Toshiba SD520 or Pioneer DV626A. Otherwise get a Tosh 220 DVD & a £150 Sony CD player for the best of both worlds. :)
     
  4. Daneel

    Daneel
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    I figure i better link to some specs and reviews for the equipment I've mentioned:

    Marantz SR7300 - http://www.marantz.com/p_product.cfm?id=2380&cont=u&line=rcv&cat=hf

    Marantz SR6300 - http://www.marantz.com/p_product.cfm?id=2379&cont=u&line=rcv&cat=hf

    Wharfedale Diamonds:
    Spec sheet (pdf) - http://www.wharfedale.co.uk/D8Broch.pdf
    Review - http://www.area450.com/homecinema/speakers.htm
    Review of 8.1 - http://thestar.com.my/audio/story.asp?file=/2002/8/22/audiofile/22wharfedale
    Review of 8.2 - http://www.hifichoice.co.uk/review_read.asp?ID=2096

    Acoustic Energy EVO:
    Manufacture's page - http://www.acoustic-energy.co.uk/products/aegisevo/aegisevo.html
    Spec page - http://www.acoustic-energy.co.uk/products/aegisevo/comparison.html
    Review 1 - http://www.area450.com/homecinema/subsat4.htm
    Review 2 - http://thestar.com.my/audio/story.asp?file=/2002/8/8/audiofile/08acoustic
    Review of EVO 3 - http://www.hifichoice.co.uk/review_read.asp?ID=2437
    Review of EVO 1 - http://www.hifichoice.co.uk/review_read.asp?ID=2086

    Monitor Audio Bronze:
    Spec - http://www.monitoraudio.co.uk/techspecs/bronze.htm
    Bronze Series blurb - http://www.monitoraudio.co.uk/products/Bronze_Baby_Series/bronze_new.htm
    Review of Bronze 2 - http://thestar.com.my/audio/story.asp?file=/2001/3/22/audiofile/22bronze
    Review of Bronze 1 - http://thestar.com.my/audio/story.asp?file=/2002/9/5/audiofile/05bronze
    Review of 5.1 system - http://www.home-entertainment.co.uk/firstlook_read.asp?ID=1360
    Bronze 2 - http://www.hifichoice.co.uk/review_read.asp?ID=771
    Review Series - http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_7_4/monitor-audio-bronze-3-speakers-12-2000.html
    Part of a comparative review - http://www.soundandvisionmag.com/hot_topics/articledisplay.asp?ArticleID=34&page=3

    Mission m70 (i) Series:
    m70 Series - http://www.mission.co.uk/product/m70/m70.htm
    m70i Series - http://www.mission.co.uk/product/m70i/m70.htm
    Review of m73 - http://thestar.com.my/audio/story.asp?file=/2001/12/20/audiofile/20mission
    Reivew 1 - http://www.hifichoice.co.uk/review_read.asp?ID=1959
    Review m73 - http://www.hifichoice.co.uk/review_read.asp?ID=1198
    Review of m74 - http://www.home-entertainment.co.uk/grouptest_read.asp?GroupID=1551&ArticleID=1544

    Eltax Chroma:
    Chroma Series - http://www.eltax.com/com/products/prod-side1.phtml?serienavn=Chroma 5-pack&type=2
    Review - http://www.homecinemachoice.com/testbench/SpeakerPackages/Eltax/EltaxChromaSystem.shtml
     
  5. John Dawson

    John Dawson
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    Actually Nobber, the DV88 Plus is around £999 recommended retail, so you've just saved £200 as it were :)

    Maybe still a bit expensive for Daneel, but you never know. Having said that you can sometimes find an AVR100 (our previous 5.1 receiver) on the market at £399 or less. These are usually graded stock, i.e. factory refurbished by our staff in the UK, with warranty. And there are DV88s to be had for £600 or so if you hunt for them.

    Just a thought!

    John Dawson (Arcam)
     
  6. MikeK

    MikeK
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    Daneel

    Be wary of hifi salesmen :)

    Remember that they are salesmen, not oracles of free, impartial, accurate and objective advice :)

    If he doesn't stock Diamonds, often the first thing he will do is steer you onto something he does stock. Then he will often attempt to upsell you to a more expensive solution than you first envisaged.
    He's just doing his job. :)


    As for what to buy, only you can really decide that, but you really need to have some idea of how you are going to split up your available budget before you start.
    If you have £1000, there's really little point looking at £700+ speaker setups - you aren't going to get much of an amp and DVD player for the remaining £300.

    On the DVD player - you could consider a seperate DVD and CD player. For some reason, DVD players with even reasonable CD playback seem to carry a hefty(ish) price tag - the new Marantz 4200DVD is, acc to WHF, a reworked LG 4750, complete with £150+ price hike. That £150 or so could buy you a reasonable budget CD player.
    Still, if you want a one box solution from the same manufacturer as your amp.......
     
  7. Daneel

    Daneel
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    My budget isn't really set, I was hoping to spend £1000, but I'll go up to £1500 if need be.

    I found the SR7300 at unbeatable for £457, qed-uk have it for £477, Hifiblitz are £525. Which leaves me up to £1000 for speakers and a DVD.

    One thing I'm concerned about is my warrenty, are any of these online places authorised dealers? If not, do they back they warrenty? From the website it doesn't look like Marantz will.....

    The Eltax speakers look great, and are very cheap, I just wish someone had them to give comments on. If I grabbed those i could buy a decent DVD/CD player, either a lower Marantz, or a Sony NS905, or a Pioneer 656 something of that nature, and still come in not much over £1000.

    The thing I don't like about the AE EVOs is that they need to be positioned quite far (20" or so) from the walls to give good sound, that may pose a problem.

    Another thing I'd like advice on is rear speaker type. Given I want good music quality as well as movie sound, should I be looking at a bookshelf type rear, or a bi-pole?

    Another thing I was wondering about the bi-pole speakers, is how do you mount them? Should they be mounted on a back wall, with both speakers firing at 45 degrees to the listener, or on the side wall, one firing towards and the other away from the listener.

    The room I'm planning to set these up in is 24' by 12', the plan is to put the fronts on either side of the tv (which is at one end and slightly towards one corner) and put the speakers on the side walls about at half-way. Will this work?
     
  8. MikeK

    MikeK
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    My budget isn't really set, I was hoping to spend £1000, but I'll go up to £1500 if need be.

    I found the SR7300 at unbeatable for £457, qed-uk have it for £477, Hifiblitz are £525. Which leaves me up to £1000 for speakers and a DVD.

    One thing I'm concerned about is my warrenty, are any of these online places authorised dealers? If not, do they back they warrenty? From the website it doesn't look like Marantz will.....


    It really depends on how the warranty is worded I think (no expert here).
    In any case, you have the min 12 month retailer's warranty from whoever you buy from.
    Someone posted here a while back that they had ordered a Marantz (may have been a Denon) from Unbeatable, and was told that they are awaiting delivery from Marantz/Denon UK.
    If the manufacturer/UK distributor is selling direct to these web retailers, they'd find it pretty difficult IMO to then argue that they aren't approved dealers and therefore they don't have to honour any warranties.
    Still, I don't know the legal position - maybe in law they can argue this :rolleyes:




    The Eltax speakers look great, and are very cheap, I just wish someone had them to give comments on. If I grabbed those i could buy a decent DVD/CD player, either a lower Marantz, or a Sony NS905, or a Pioneer 656 something of that nature, and still come in not much over £1000.

    The thing I don't like about the AE EVOs is that they need to be positioned quite far (20" or so) from the walls to give good sound, that may pose a problem.


    Can't comment on the Eltax Chroma - never heard them.
    I have heard the Diamonds though, several times and have always liked them considering the price - for the money QED are doing them for, IMO they are a bit of a bargain.


    Another thing I'd like advice on is rear speaker type. Given I want good music quality as well as movie sound, should I be looking at a bookshelf type rear, or a bi-pole?

    Another thing I was wondering about the bi-pole speakers, is how do you mount them? Should they be mounted on a back wall, with both speakers firing at 45 degrees to the listener, or on the side wall, one firing towards and the other away from the listener.

    The room I'm planning to set these up in is 24' by 12', the plan is to put the fronts on either side of the tv (which is at one end and slightly towards one corner) and put the speakers on the side walls about at half-way. Will this work?



    No hard and fast rules about type of rear speaker IMO - often comes down to personal preference.
    If you have to sit very close to the rear speakers, then bipoles may offer some advantages for movies, giving a more diffuse sound. Flip side is that they are perhaps not quite so effective with multichannel music - your choice at the end ofthe day.

    The surround L+R should ideally be positioned on the side walls, at or just behind your listening position (preferably above head height) Obviously the surround back will go at the rear, most probably on the rear wall directly behind your listening spot.

    As for the fronts, the centre is obvious.
    L+R either side of the TV sounds fine - just make sure that you get the spacing right (and if the main fronts are unshielded, keep them far enough away from the TV so that the picture is unaffected by magnetic staining).
    Too close together and the soundstage is very narrow - a bit unrealistic. Too far apart and it sounds disjointed, incohesive blah blah. Basically the further way you sit, the further apart the speakers go, within limits - try to keep them away from the side walls if poss, and as you approach the side walls, try toeing them in a bit.
    It's all a bit of a hit and miss, trial and error affair though - the room plays a large part in the final choice, both acoustically and aesthetically.
     
  9. Daneel

    Daneel
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    Thanks for the reply MikeK.

    The warrenty issue is more of a US thing that I picked up on. The US Marantz website states very clearly you are on your own if you buy from an unauthorised dealer.

    http://www.marantz.com/hifi/america/index.html

    I have a thread on my usual forums (arstechnica, excellent site for PC problems) asking the same things I'm asking here.

    http://arstechnica.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?a=tpc&s=50009562&f=67909965&m=8180978045

    The last post there from Doomlord-uk suggests B&W speakers with a more expensive receiver.

    Pioneer DV656 DVD-A/SACD player (it does video too!) - £360 online, or less
    Arcam DiVA AVR200 or Denon AVR 3802 - both around £700 online
    B&W DM602 S3s for fronts - £300 retail (negotiate cash price)
    B&W DM600 S2s for rears - £200 retail (ditto)

    I think the more expensive receiver is a waste of money for my purposes, but B&W may be worth considering.

    Would it be a night and day difference between say the Wharfedales Diamonds and the B&W DM6xx series? How about compared to the mission m70i or AE EVO series?

    On those Eltax speakers, how much weight should I give to the review that I have linked to? That is really all I have to go on for them.
     
  10. Daneel

    Daneel
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  11. Mitch2000

    Mitch2000
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    IMO the Wharfedale package is slightly better than the Mission's M72/M73 range having demoed both. MikeK is right to say that the salesman will say avoid the brands they don't stock because they are trying to get a sale. The retailer where I demoed the speakers told me both were good and in his opinion the Wharfedales had a better Bass response. Also bought from QED about six months ago and I am very pleased with them. With regard to the Amp/Receiver I think I would go for the Marantz but would want to have a listen alongside say one of the new Yamaha's 430/530/630 etc..
     
  12. Gomez

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    Cheers Daneel,

    may I can help you a bit with your decision. I think you already considered most of the best stuff available at the market within your price range.

    Now you're getting closer to the point where nobody can help you any more- it's only up to your personal taste. With all the packages mentioned above, you can't really go wrong, you just have to chose the one you like best.

    I was also looking for a setup in this price range, and finally decided for B&W DM 602 S3 as fronts, 601s as rears and the LCR 60 center. I've hooked them up to a Marantz SR 7000 (grandfather of the SR 7300:D ), my DVD Player is a Sony DVP NS 900.
    I've demoed the B&Ws at home against the new Monitor Audio Bronze B2 (some of the reviews you've posted refer to the old series, be careful) and the 'old' Silver 3i.
    The Bronze B2 ist a good- looking allround performer with at tight, smooth bass, while the Silver 3i is a fine, audiophile sounding speaker, but unfortunately lacking any serious bass.

    I found the B&W 602s to be the best compromise between the two speakers, and I am still very impressed of their fine stereo performance. They also offer a stunning performance with homecinema purposes.

    But, as I've already said, now it's really up to your ears (and your eyes). I think a Marantz SR 6300 will match the B&Ws perfectly. Of course, the Arcam, Denon or bigger Marantz will also match them perferctly, probably even better. But if it was up to me, I would save the additional costs for the amp and invest them in the speaker setup, for example for the bigger LCR 600 center instead of the LCR 60.

    - Gomez
     
  13. Daneel

    Daneel
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    Thanks for the info Gomez.

    I'm starting to get very interested in the B&W DM600 series. Looking at 602 fronts 601 rears and a LC60 centre. How are they for volume, given I have a pretty large room?

    Any suggestions for places I can go to get some sort of a discount on B&W? I could pay cash if that helps.

    Also, I couldn't buy the sub immediately, the B&W website recommends a £400 or £500 sub to go with the above set-up. Is that a good buy and what are the alternatives? How will they sound without the sub ?

    Then there is the issue of stands, I was planing to get floorstanding fronts and bi/di-pole wallmountable rears, but that isn't the case anymore. The B&W stands are £200 a pair which is way more than I want to spend. Any suggestions on that?

    Thanks

    Daneel
     
  14. Gomez

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    Cheers Daneel,

    refering to the stands, take a look at the Atacama Nexus Series (50 or 60 for the B&W DM 602). Nice looking, well built, and a real bang for the buck, I got mine for 110€ (I live in Germany). Here's a pic of what this would look like:

    [​IMG]

    As for prices, have a look at the forum here, there has been a thread some weeks ago concerning B&W prices. I got mine at a dirt cheap price, but that won't help you much as I got them here in Germany...

    'A pretty large room' is pretty relative :D What's its size more or less? My living room is just 12m²... But I would guess that this setup would still be suitable for rooms up to 30m². But that depends as well on your listening habits (volume).

    Happy auditioning

    - Gomez
     
  15. Daneel

    Daneel
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    The room is 24' by 12'. Those stands look nice, I need 2 sets though and I found the Nexus 6 (24") for £60 at Hifibitz, so that's £120. I was hoping for something a bit cheaper :)
     
  16. Daneel

    Daneel
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  17. Doomlord_uk

    Doomlord_uk
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    Hey there, see you're still busy... good on you!

    The conversation is still continuing over on AT, btw...

    So what's the score? I'm gonna be doing some checking out on av receivers myself as I'm in the market for a (fairly cheap) one, cheaper than you're looking at really I think, but i'll keep you posted on my findings.

    One more thought - if you find a receiver with pre-outs for the main channels too (as well as the sub channel) then you could add separate power amps later on too. This would be a good upgrade path, I think.

    I don't know, but I guess, depending on how loud you wish to play, that the DM6xx serious would be adequate for you room. If you bought just a pair of '602s to start with (see my AT post) then you could add 604s later. They would certainly drive your room quite well. Also, don't forget that you will eventually be using a sub which will relieve the speakers of some of their (low-frequency) room-filling duty! How will you be setting everything up in your room? I'd say ideally you would have the screen at one end, with the seating in the middle to two-thirds the way down with the rear's behind you... Dipole rears are supposed to be mounted on the side walls. Officially alongside the seating position - but I dispute that. Mounting them behind would be better IMO and anyway if you're using bookshelf speakers then they would need to go behind you.
     
  18. Daneel

    Daneel
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    Hey Doomlord_uk, nice to see you made it over here.

    I'm going to demo my intended setup at the local hifi shop. I'm also looking at a Velodyne CHT-10 as the sub. They are very cheap in the US, around $350, cost me £325 here, but it's cheaper than the £400 B&W sub. I wonder how the two compare. More posts to come I think :D

    I'm thinking a Toshiba 520E for the DVD player. Looks good for the money. Not sure though, the Sony NS705 is about the same price.
     
  19. Doomlord_uk

    Doomlord_uk
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    I hope you will compare them. I'm fairly familiar with RELs; I've not heard either B&W or Velodyne subs - I'd sure like to! I thought you weren't in the market for a new DVD player?
     
  20. Daneel

    Daneel
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    Not much chance of listening to the Velodyne, can't see any place stocking them. Lots of people seem to have bought them from Uncle Eric in the power buy section, so it shouldn't be too hard to get opinions.

    I will probably grab the sub/DVD at the end of January. Speakers I'm not sure, either ASAP, as in next week, or at the beginning of January. Is it likey I will get a better price in January? I'm also not sure how many places actually have the SR7300 in stock, it's only just arriving in the UK from what I gather.
     
  21. Doomlord_uk

    Doomlord_uk
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    From Velodyne's website:
    ----------------------------------------------------
    * Redline [Scotland] Ltd.
    Unit 11B
    72 Newhaven Rd.
    Edinburgh, EH6 5QG

    United Kingdom

    Phone: 44 131 555 3922
    Fax: 44 131 555 3964
    Contact: Martin Morecroft
    Email: martin.redline@virgin.net
    Location: Distributor
    Products: All Velodyne Products Supported
    ----------------------------------------------------
    A brief search of the usual suspects did not turn up any UK stockists but Redline should help you. Do you live anywhere near London because if you do, most of the high-end retailers are likely to stock Velodyne.

    Looking at the CHT's specs it appears to have quite a high lower rolloff point - 28Hz. I wonder if the similarly priced Quake wouldn't be better? REL claim output down to 16Hz (though not at -3dB obviously). Personally I prefer depth to loudness. Anyway, see what you think trying the RELs and B&Ws.
     
  22. Daneel

    Daneel
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    The REL Quake is £350 RRP, and does 23Hz @ -6db

    Stats:

    Quake:

    £350
    16.3lb (7.4kg)
    100W continuous
    9.96 x 11.57 x 10.7 (wxdxh)
    8" driver

    CHT-10:
    £325
    Frequency Response: 28-120 Hz +-3 dB
    High Pass Crossover (6 dB/octave slope):
    Passive 85Hz
    Low Pass Crossover (12 dB octave, 24 dB ultimate):
    40Hz-120Hz (adjustable)
    Auto On/Off
    RMS Power: 150 watts
    Magnet: 40 oz.
    Voice Coil: 2" 4-layer copper
    Inputs: Line-level and speaker-level
    Outputs: Line-level and speaker-level
    Cabinet (H/W/D): 16.25" x 15" x 19.75"
    Weight: 53 lbs. (24kg)
    10" driver

    I don't think the Quake would stand a chance against the CHT-10. Just look at the difference in size and weight!

    Seems like I'm getting a lot more for my money with the Velodyne. I will probably try to have a listen to the B&W ASW 600 @ £400. Similar spec to the CHT-10, slightly smaller.
     
  23. Doomlord_uk

    Doomlord_uk
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
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    24kg??? what's that thing made from???
    It does have a bigger drive unit though...
     

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