2.1 vs 3.1 setup with £1000 budget + Recommendations

WeaponX

Active Member
Hi,

Trying to decided weather to go with a 2.1 vs 3.1 set up.

I have a £1K budget to purchase the av receiver + speakers / sub, though would prefer if it was £800. I'm wondering if a 3.1 set up with a center speaker is much better than a 2.1 set up?

Speakers will be used along with a 65inch TV in a fairly small living room, with the sofa directly facing the TV. Open to both floor standing speakers or smaller bookshelf style speakers.

Current space doesn't really allow for a 5.1 set up, so 2.1 or 3.1 is ideal for me.

Any recommendations on an av receiver / speakers / sub is also appreciated. I've seen some deals on klipsch speakers which I'm looking at (floor standing, book shelf and center) but I've seen some mixed comments in the forums with klipsch.

Thanks.
 
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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
There is benefits for the centre channel, but with that budget i would forget it for now. You can start with 2.1 system and add it later assuming you don´t have to hide it inside cabinet shooting your knees.

With 1k£ budget and if you live in Ireland one example would be this (you should go listen the speakers first if possible):



OR the discontinued MA Silver range (RRP 550£!!)



Subwoofer should be bought from company that specializes in to them. BK Electronics builds the subs in UK and sells direct to customer (without middle man) so bang for buck is great! Gemini II has been budget king very long time. You won`t get anything better from local shop with this kind of money. As a bonus it looks like a wooden furniture due to driver not visible and you have many decor/wife friendly finishes to choose from. See link below:


Kef Q150 and MA Silver 50 must be one of the best picks in this price range, but as always call the shop and ask that you can demo them if you can make the trip! These are certainly lot better than the Klipsch R speakers which is not anywhere near the same level of these two. Klipsch is US brand and the prices are much higher in UK so for same price you actually get lower range model.

The Yamaha receiver is 5.1 model and has all the features you need with 4 hdmi 2.1 inputs. Easy to use and setup. It also supports wireless surround speakers, meaning no speaker wires are needed, but you would need to buy Yamaha Music Cast 20 speakers and each one has power cable so need to be placed near wall sockets. Cool feature if the situation changes later and you want the effect channels without pulling speaker wires to back of room.

You are going to need speaker stands so you get them at correct height and can move them to ideal spots. You should always ask "package price" and i hope the shop could give noticeable discount so you would be close to that 1k£ budget! One option below, but there is many different ones and the deciding factor are top plate size vs. speaker width/depth and of course looks/finish.
 

sjackson

Well-known Member
I've heard great things about the Monitor Audio STUDIO speakers which richersounds.ie have for £249. I believe they are the tweeters and mids from the Platinum range and originally retailed for over £1000. I've been stopping myself from buying a pair as I just don't need any more speakers!

 

WeaponX

Active Member
There is benefits for the centre channel, but with that budget i would forget it for now. You can start with 2.1 system and add it later assuming you don´t have to hide it inside cabinet shooting your knees.

Hey, thanks for all off the information and taking the time get the richersounds links.

Yeah, I had been leaning 2.1 but started looking at 3.1 more seriously after I'd seen comments online of how much the vocal clarity is improved. Though I'd also seen some comments that the left and right speakers don't get used as much with 3.1, so the center speaker is were to fire all your money if going with a 3.1 set up. I currently have a 2.1 setup though with an old dying Onkyo HDX22HDX, and think I'll be happy with an upgraded 2.1 setup for now.

At one point I was considering this center Klipsch Reference Base R-34C on clearance: Klipsch Reference Base R-34C Center Speaker - Discontinued Stock RRP £389 743878036145 | eBay and using my old Onkyo speakers for left + right until I upgraded them, but think for now, I'm leaning on just going 2.1 and getting good L+R speakers.

With 1k£ budget and if you live in Ireland one example would be this (you should go listen the speakers first if possible):


Which do you think is better, the Yamaha or this Marantz? Marantz NR1510 Black - CLEARANCE - Ex-Service

Also, do you know if the Yamaha has any issues with 4K 120 HDR / VRR? I've seen a lot of discussion on issues with this among av recievers and needing an update, mentioning to wait for 2022 model receivers? 95% of my time will be tv/film, but 5% also with 4K 120 HDR / Dolby Vision PC gaming.

The Black KEF and Monitor speakers both look good. Even though the Monitor have a higher RRP, they seem to be the same £299 price in many other stores as well.

These are certainly lot better than the Klipsch R speakers which is not anywhere near the same level of these two. Klipsch is US brand and the prices are much higher in UK so for same price you actually get lower range model.

Yeah, I'd read the UK prices for Klipsch are much higher than US. It was the Klipsch RP-600M model I was looking at on clearance for £480 at one retailer: RP-600M Bookshelf Speakers | Klipsch but I'm guessing I can get better from other brands at that price.

It would be good to see and hear difference speakers in store, time just won't let me at the moment due to the nearest Richersounds being 2 hours away and a busy few weeks.

I've heard great things about the Monitor Audio STUDIO speakers which richersounds.ie have for £249. I believe they are the tweeters and mids from the Platinum range and originally retailed for over £1000. I've been stopping myself from buying a pair as I just don't need any more speakers!


Thanks for the link! This does look like a great deal, but while it may sound silly, the satin grey colour doesn't work for me. Would prefer more of a black coloured speaker.
 
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josefK666

Active Member
Also, do you know if the Yamaha has any issues with 4K 120 HDR / VRR? I've seen a lot of discussion on issues with this among av recievers and needing an update, mentioning to wait for 2022 model receivers? 95% of my time will be tv/film, but 5% also with 4K 120 HDR / Dolby Vision PC gaming.
Denon and Marantz issued a hardware fix last year and all newer production models have no problem with the 4K/120 VRR issue (I have Denon).
To the best of my knowledge Yamaha are still working on their update for the 4A and other models. Last I heard was later this month. I'd take that with a pinch of salt.

I have the Q150s as surrounds by the way - they're probably bored it that role - but they are very good speakers indeed for the price.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Hey, thanks for all off the information and taking the time get the richersounds links.

Yeah, I had been leaning 2.1 but started looking at 3.1 more seriously after I'd seen comments online of how much the vocal clarity is improved. Though I'd also seen some comments that the left and right speakers don't get used as much with 3.1, so the center speaker is were to fire all your money if going with a 3.1 set up. I currently have a 2.1 setup though with an old dying Onkyo HDX22HDX, and think I'll be happy with an upgraded 2.1 setup for now.

At one point I was considering this center Klipsch Reference Base R-34C on clearance: Klipsch Reference Base R-34C Center Speaker - Discontinued Stock RRP £389 743878036145 | eBay and using my old Onkyo speakers for left + right until I upgraded them, but think for now, I'm leaning on just going 2.1 and getting good L+R speakers.



Which do you think is better, the Yamaha or this Marantz? Marantz NR1510 Black - CLEARANCE - Ex-Service

Also, do you know if the Yamaha has any issues with 4K 120 HDR / VRR? I've seen a lot of discussion on issues with this among av recievers and needing an update, mentioning to wait for 2022 model receivers? 95% of my time will be tv/film, but 5% also with 4K 120 HDR / Dolby Vision PC gaming.

The Black KEF and Monitor speakers both look good. Even though the Monitor have a higher RRP, they seem to be the same £299 price in many other stores as well.



Yeah, I'd read the UK prices for Klipsch are much higher than US. It was the Klipsch RP-600M model I was looking at on clearance for £480 at one retailer: RP-600M Bookshelf Speakers | Klipsch but I'm guessing I can get better from other brands at that price.

It would be good to see and hear difference speakers in store, time just won't let me at the moment due to the nearest Richersounds being 2 hours away and a busy few weeks.



Thanks for the link! This does look like a great deal, but while it may sound silly, the satin grey colour doesn't work for me. Would prefer more of a black coloured speaker.

I think Yamaha have had some issues with the 4k 120hz, not sure is it certain tv specific or what. Perhaps safer choice would be then this Denon which is new model and everything should be working normally. It also has higher bandwith 8k connections (40gbps vs. 24gbps) which would be more ideal future in mind.

Is there any other hifi stores near you? Only few shops have the Silver 50 6G available as the 7G is in stock already and costs 599£/pair so don`t think too long! Every AVF member who has bought them have only positive things to say. I have heard the earlier 5G Silvers and there is not really chance that you wouldn´t like them after the cheap Onkyo. :) Cabinet construction and finish is step up from Kef Q range, but they are also going to sound slightly different. I think there is feedback for both if you dig around and then you have to pull the plug blindly if demo is not possible.

Did you look the BK sub link i posted, what you think of that? It`s a fairly compact sealed sub with 10" driver. I have owned it back in the day and i would say it´s more on the polite side rather than being room shaking monster. But i would see it as benefit too compared to usual cheap subs which can be boomy one note fart boxes that calls too much attention themself and the bass quality is poor. With limited budget you need to start with something small and in UK Gemini II is best pick at 250£. But as always it´s tricky as if you can spend roughly ~100£ more then you are getting noticeable step up regarding the weight and depth of the larger BK sub.
 

WeaponX

Active Member
Denon and Marantz issued a hardware fix last year and all newer production models have no problem with the 4K/120 VRR issue (I have Denon).
To the best of my knowledge Yamaha are still working on their update for the 4A and other models. Last I heard was later this month. I'd take that with a pinch of salt.

I have the Q150s as surrounds by the way - they're probably bored it that role - but they are very good speakers indeed for the price.
Thanks, good to know on Denon and Marantz. Is there a list of the lastest models that have no 4K/120 VRR issues? Also, is the fix for it easy to install?

Good to know on the Q150s as well thanks.

I think Yamaha have had some issues with the 4k 120hz, not sure is it certain tv specific or what. Perhaps safer choice would be then this Denon which is new model and everything should be working normally. It also has higher bandwith 8k connections (40gbps vs. 24gbps) which would be more ideal future in mind.

This looks good thanks. Also seen the following on clearance as well: Denon AVRX2700 Black - CLEARANCE

Is it worth the extra over the 660?

Also looking at this one: Denon AVR-X1700H AV Receiver

Did you look the BK sub link i posted, what you think of that? It`s a fairly compact sealed sub with 10" driver. I have owned it back in the day and i would say it´s more on the polite side rather than being room shaking monster. But i would see it as benefit too compared to usual cheap subs which can be boomy one note fart boxes that calls too much attention themself and the bass quality is poor. With limited budget you need to start with something small and in UK Gemini II is best pick at 250£. But as always it´s tricky as if you can spend roughly ~100£ more then you are getting noticeable step up regarding the weight and depth of the larger BK sub.

Yeah, it looks good. I also seen some pretty good sub deals in the classifieds as well. Potentially, I may push my budget, but the Gemini I think looks good.

Not aware of any stores locally for testing speakers in person. Making a trip to Richer Sounds in Belfast is probably the best option if I get the time.

I've also seen some fairly big discounts on powered/active speakers recently. Curious if anyone has had any experience with powered/active speakers and sub for a 2.1 set up? It hadn't been something I'd looked at until today. The downside would be that it would limit the ability to upgrade in the future, but it set to stay with a 2.1 setup it, it seems there are some options out there.
 
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josefK666

Active Member
Thanks, good to know on Denon and Marantz. Is there a list of the lastest models that have no 4K/120 VRR issues? Also, is the fix for it easy to install?
I bought a Denon X3700H earlier this year and the retailer confirmed it already had the new hdmi chipset. I think all models carrying that spec that came out from last Summer's production line onwards are good (the models with new chipsets had serial numbers that had last digits higher than 70001). Older models needed a new, free hdmi adaptor. I think you'd be fine buying a Denon/Marantz now but it should be easy to check with the retailer given the fuss created around the issue.
Quick summary by WhatHiFi - Denon and Marantz receivers built since May are free of the HDMI 2.1 bug
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thanks, good to know on Denon and Marantz. Is there a list of the lastest models that have no 4K/120 VRR issues? Also, is the fix for it easy to install?

Good to know on the Q150s as well thanks.



This looks good thanks. Also seen the following on clearance as well: Denon AVRX2700 Black - CLEARANCE

Is it worth the extra over the 660?

Also looking at this one: Denon AVR-X1700H AV Receiver



Yeah, it looks good. I also seen some pretty good sub deals in the classifieds as well. Potentially, I may push my budget, but the Gemini I think looks good.

Not aware of any stores locally for testing speakers in person. Making a trip to Richer Sounds in Belfast is probably the best option if I get the time.

I've also seen some fairly big discounts on powered/active speakers recently. Curious if anyone has had any experience with powered/active speakers and sub for a 2.1 set up? It hadn't been something I'd looked at until today. The downside would be that it would limit the ability to upgrade in the future, but it set to stay with a 2.1 setup it, it seems there are some options out there.

Yes definitely X2700H is worth the little extra if it isn`t away from speakers/sub!

BKE has second ebay site where they sell new grade-b products in mint shape. Bookmark the site and keep an eye if you could possibly consider something better. There is four Double Gems now in different finishes which are very cheap!

 

josefK666

Active Member
I'm not sure my last post would have helped you very much given the last reply from Gasp!
Personally I think the 660 gives you all you need with some future-proofing and room for upgrades. Given the price of the clearance model I admit the 2700 is tempting though with a small room and a 2.1/3.1 system I'd say you don't need it now.

I am trying to be balanced and sensible which I'm not very good at. In reality if it were me I'd have bought the 2700 already :)
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
But it´s only 50£ extra and i wouldn´t really hesitate... :)

S660 is Denons budget range. X2700H is easily worth it:

  • 20w extra power
  • larger capacitors identical to X3700H
  • better room correction version (MultEQ XT vs MultEQ)
  • high grade audio components (starting from X2700H upwards)
  • atmos / dts:x support (+upmixers) and while 3.1 was the plan he can do 3.1.2 with example upfiring speakers or front heights with small sats like ca minx min 12
  • dolby atmos virtualization if he goes for 5.1 system some day (adds height effect without extra speakers)
 

josefK666

Active Member
You've got these spec sheets memorised haven't you :)

I don't disagree with you - an extra £50 for a 2700 clearance model is tempting . As it stands he won't really need many of those features but if any upgrade is somewhere on the horizon then sure, why not. Not sure what warranty he's been offered, that might be a factor for me.....

Anyway, I'm a fine one to talk - I almost had to be physically restrained by Tyson's when I insisted I needed the X4700 over the X3700. Thankfully they got me to see sense in the end. Next time though.......
 

WeaponX

Active Member
I think both the S660 and 2700 would be good enough for what I need. Though with the 2700, I may need to get the adapater to correct the HDMI issue. The newer although more budget entry S660 and X1700H models have no issues.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I think both the S660 and 2700 would be good enough for what I need. Though with the 2700, I may need to get the adapater to correct the HDMI issue. The newer although more budget entry S660 and X1700H models have no issues.

The adapter should be free if you need it. Typically people have at least 1k£ receiver with the MA Silvers so in that sense i would want the X2700H as minium. S660 is entry level unit and the internal parts are lower quality. In US i believe Denon gives one year longer warranty for the X serie over S.
 

NewbieAudiophile

Active Member
I Honestly feel like the center channel is really important when it comes to a movie viewing experience.

If money is an issue, perhaps you should start with a 2.1 and then add the center, following up with the surrounds.

The center speaker really is important since it handles almost all of the dialogue, and the front speakers are there for the sound effects and music listening.
 

WeaponX

Active Member
But it´s only 50£ extra and i wouldn´t really hesitate... :)

S660 is Denons budget range. X2700H is easily worth it:

  • 20w extra power
  • larger capacitors identical to X3700H
  • better room correction version (MultEQ XT vs MultEQ)
  • high grade audio components (starting from X2700H upwards)
  • atmos / dts:x support (+upmixers) and while 3.1 was the plan he can do 3.1.2 with example upfiring speakers or front heights with small sats like ca minx min 12
  • dolby atmos virtualization if he goes for 5.1 system some day (adds height effect without extra speakers)

Update - My budget is increasing!

New TV arrives tomorrow, managed to save £400 on it in a sale so focusing on the home cinema set up again now. I'm still planning on it being 2.1 and maybe later upgrading to 3.1, not looking to go 5.1 due to the wiring and room not being suitable really for rear speakers.

I have the option to get a pair of new, discounted KEF LS50 Meta speakers at £750. I was looking at the KEF Q150 (£300) or KEFQ 350 (£375), but am now very tempted to purchase the KEF LS50 Meta, due to the reviews and because I quite like the look.

The main concern however is that I've read they need power, so a more expensive receiver is likely required. I'd need to do some research on what av receiver would be required to power the LS50 Meta, but curious on your thoughts as you've been so helpful in this thread. Do you think the LS50 Meta is worth considering at that price? I may make the purchase tomorrow. Or, stick with the Q150 / Q350 just and save needing to purchase a better av receiver?
 

sosen13

Well-known Member
Hi, just my 5 cents.. And absolutely not me trying to sell you smth as distance is too much, even though I have those for sale in classified, so just a thought..
Have you looked at monitor audio apex option? If you want 3.1 later on, which makes a lot sense in movies, you need to think this way, not to have trouble later, how to expand your stereo speakers.
Monitor audio apex are in this case excellent example in my opinion. Read the reviews and multiple threads even here. They are absolutely great speakers.
(so only as example to show you the look of those beauties..) - For Sale - Monitor Audio Apex 3.0
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Update - My budget is increasing!

New TV arrives tomorrow, managed to save £400 on it in a sale so focusing on the home cinema set up again now. I'm still planning on it being 2.1 and maybe later upgrading to 3.1, not looking to go 5.1 due to the wiring and room not being suitable really for rear speakers.

I have the option to get a pair of new, discounted KEF LS50 Meta speakers at £750. I was looking at the KEF Q150 (£300) or KEFQ 350 (£375), but am now very tempted to purchase the KEF LS50 Meta, due to the reviews and because I quite like the look.

The main concern however is that I've read they need power, so a more expensive receiver is likely required. I'd need to do some research on what av receiver would be required to power the LS50 Meta, but curious on your thoughts as you've been so helpful in this thread. Do you think the LS50 Meta is worth considering at that price? I may make the purchase tomorrow. Or, stick with the Q150 / Q350 just and save needing to purchase a better av receiver?

The question is can you afford third LS50 Meta in future (laying), it`s fairly bulky as centre so decent space is needed too. But the same would apply for Q650c though. I would make sure some UK dealer is selling them as single before you buy the pair! Some used to do that for the old one so make sure it´s available. Otherwise you would need to look for R2C which costs 850£.

I wouldn`t build dedicated cinema room around them cause they would struggle at high volumes and would need to of power, but for a normal living room cinema they should be quite at home. I see they have made noticeable changes and generally people are more happier how they sound over old LS50.

I would always choose better speakers when possible (also keeps upgraditis at bay longer) and if you saved 400£ then by all means get the Denon X3700H which is Denons most sold model for a reason. Maybe the dealer will give discount if you buy it with LS50 Meta`s? You get preouts, better room correction with dual sub eq, slight bump for power etc. over X2700H.

The Apexes are very good speakers too! Basically same level to MA Silvers using technology from the older gen. Special die-cast aluminum cabinets with gloss finish. They are very popular with AVF members (see owners thread).
 

sjackson

Well-known Member
If you need extra power, a Behringer A800 power amp (2 channel) is only €235.
 

josefK666

Active Member
Stop messing about and just get these..


Look - they come in red!

:)
 

josefK666

Active Member
The LS50 Meta's are meant to be great though they don't go low so you would really need that subwoofer support for the overall sound which will take the pressure of your amp as well.
Unless you're planning on playing them at full volume in the O2 I wouldn't get overly concerned about powering up. Having said that I do have the X3700H though and if you can easily afford it now I think it's good value and may future-proof you for some time yet. I just don't think it's essential.

Just to be aware - Gasp3621 mentioned the R2c - these are great (I have one) but getting hold of them (in black) in the UK is very, very difficult right now.....
 

WeaponX

Active Member
Have you looked at monitor audio apex option? If you want 3.1 later on, which makes a lot sense in movies, you need to think this way, not to have trouble later, how to expand your stereo speakers.
Monitor audio apex are in this case excellent example in my opinion. Read the reviews and multiple threads even here. They are absolutely great speakers.
(so only as example to show you the look of those beauties..) - For Sale - Monitor Audio Apex 3.0

Thanks for the reply. The Monitors do get very good reviews and I'll definitley take a look into them. Any difference between the Monitor Audio Silver 50 and the Apex 10? Also, how do they both compare to the Monitor Audio STUDIO Satin Grey?

The question is can you afford third LS50 Meta in future (laying), it`s fairly bulky as centre so decent space is needed too. But the same would apply for Q650c though. I would make sure some UK dealer is selling them as single before you buy the pair! Some used to do that for the old one so make sure it´s available. Otherwise you would need to look for R2C which costs 850£.

I wouldn`t build dedicated cinema room around them cause they would struggle at high volumes and would need to of power, but for a normal living room cinema they should be quite at home. I see they have made noticeable changes and generally people are more happier how they sound over old LS50.

I would always choose better speakers when possible (also keeps upgraditis at bay longer) and if you saved 400£ then by all means get the Denon X3700H which is Denons most sold model for a reason. Maybe the dealer will give discount if you buy it with LS50 Meta`s? You get preouts, better room correction with dual sub eq, slight bump for power etc. over X2700H.

The Apexes are very good speakers too! Basically same level to MA Silvers using technology from the older gen. Special die-cast aluminum cabinets with gloss finish. They are very popular with AVF members (see owners thread).

A lot of good points here as always!

I could afford a third LS50 Meta in the future I think, but can I find a single LS50 is another question!

I don't plan to be having them at crazy high volumes, especially late at night to be considerate to the neightbours, but at fairly normal levels for movie watching.

Since I bought the TV at Richersounds this week, they offered me a dicount on the Denon as well, so I can get a Denon x3700 + LS50 Metas for £1800 at Richersounds.

Would the Denon AVR-X2700H be too low on power do you think for the LS50s even if not playing them at high volumes?

If you need extra power, a Behringer A800 power amp (2 channel) is only €235.

I wouldn't be too familiar with power amps. Does this just connect to the AV receiver to boost the power? Thanks.

The LS50 Meta's are meant to be great though they don't go low so you would really need that subwoofer support for the overall sound which will take the pressure of your amp as well.
Unless you're planning on playing them at full volume in the O2 I wouldn't get overly concerned about powering up. Having said that I do have the X3700H though and if you can easily afford it now I think it's good value and may future-proof you for some time yet. I just don't think it's essential.

Just to be aware - Gasp3621 mentioned the R2c - these are great (I have one) but getting hold of them (in black) in the UK is very, very difficult right now.....

Yeah, I definitley plan to have a subwoofer. Would you say the X2700H is adequate enough for the LS50's if not playing them at high volume? Or any other more budget receivers that you can recommend may work with them?

Yeah, I think the biggest concern is not being able to source a center when the time comes that I decide to get one.
 

sjackson

Well-known Member
There's an amazing offer on the Monoprice THX-365C (center speaker) at the moment. Normally retails for €400+ but through Amazon it's coming in at around €220. I bought 4 of them (each an individual order to get the voucher price). Someone else on the thread bought 3 of them to use as LCR.



Amazon product
 

sjackson

Well-known Member
I wouldn't be too familiar with power amps. Does this just connect to the AV receiver to boost the power? Thanks.

More or less, yes. If the AVR has outputs for each channel you connect those to the power amp using RCA cables (not from the speaker outs).
 

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