Question $2k Budget, Just Getting Started

Clover11

Novice Member
I am going to buy my first decent home theater system for my living room and wanted some expert advice. I have a $2,000 budget for a A/V receiver and speakers but am thinking of going with just the front left, center, and front right speaker to start. My room is far from ideal for a full surround or Atomos type systems, and I think I would rather have a fewer high quality speakers then more low quality speakers. I could then add additional speakers in the rear at a later date when I have more to spend. I have detailed a few options I have been considering below but please let me know if you think you have better options. I have been doing a lot of reading lately but am still new to all of this so thanks for the advice.


Environment:
The system will be used for both TV and steaming a wide range of music. Room is about 35 ft. long and 16 ft. wide. Roof is about 18 ft. high and vaults to the side of the room, which opens up over stairs and a loft for the front half of the room. The back half of the room has a 9 ft. roof. The vaulted roof has popcorn treatment and with it angled into the open lofted room to the side, I am guessing this would be terrible for an Atmos system and is bad for sound in general. My old systems is a lower end 5.1 system that can’t fill the room with quality sound and has poor dialog clarity on TV which I am looking to improve.



Idea 1: “What I think I want”
AV Receiver Marantz SR6013
Speakers Front KEF Ls50 with a KEF Q600c center
Only 3 speakers and I would need to get approval from the wife to go over budget, but all seem to be high quality components that are on sell right now. Is the receiver enough to drive these speakers? While I think music would be strong on this, would it work for TV?



Idea 2: “Front Tower Speakers?”
AV Receiver: Marantz SR6013
Speakers: ELEC Uni-fi UF5 Floor Standing Speakers and a ELEC Uni-fi UC5 Center
Maybe Tower speakers are the way to go through my wife would prefer something small. Read some hype about ELEC and Andrew Jones.


Idea 3: “Go Surround ELEC”
AV Receiver: Denon AVR-X3500H
Speakers ELEC Uni-fi UB5 bookshelf speakers x 4 and ELECT Uni-fi UC5 center.
Maybe I just need better speakers and receiver and I would be happy with the surround sound.


Idea 4: “Go Surround Low end KEF”
AV Receiver: Denon AVR-X3500H
Speakers: KEF Q150 x 4 and KEF Q600c Center + affordable sub
If I go surround, I could only afford lower end KEF speakers for surround but could have a little nicer center speaker for TV. Is the AV receiver enough for these speakers? They seem to be on a good sale right now.


Idea 5: “Out there”
KEF LS50Wireless.
Would this be enough to power my room and sound good for TV/Music? Would I regret not having a separate receiver/speaker down the road? No cheap, but I am guessing well paired and would sound a bit better then an mid range a/v receiver and ls50 passives.


The two main receivers I have been looking at are the Denon AVR-3500H and the Marantz SR6013. Both are a generation old but are on sell. It seems like I am better off getting a little nicer receiver from the last generation on sell then a new one at a lower level. I am not sure these have the power for the speakers I am looking at though and am a bit concerned I would need some type of amp. Would different speakers or a different receiver be a better path for me to go down? Thanks for all the help.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Speakers are the most important part of the audio experience and perhaps it's important to get them right and to have the right amp to drive them. The best speakers you have mentioned are the KEF LS50s but they are power hungry and would need a good power supply to get them to sound the best. In a full 5.1 or higher then with the power available being diminished with each set of speakers being added then consideration should be given to powering them with external amplification. In the short term the slightly more powerful Denon would be better if you just run a 3.1 with the LS50s. I would also look at the new Q250C to run as a centre with them.

You would certainly be better off looking at the last generation of receivers as very little changes year by year but does represent far better bang for your buck.

Personally I would go and get a good front three and receiver and build from there.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Large room! 10,6 x 4,8meters.

- Listening distance from couch to front LCR (tv)?
- How loud you listen typically / could imagine listening? If you had av-receiver can you remember the volume (MV) you used?
- No subwoofer listed because of tight budget i assume?


Notice that both receivers will offer you to add poweramp later if you want/need extra power so certainly consider buying one of those models. As you live in US (?) you have plenty of options when it comes to poweramps. Subwoofer would be good idea as certain type of movies will sound anemic without and it would take some strain off from receiver plus the whole system often sounds better when you let the subwoofer do the heavy lifting with larger driver and own amp! I would assume something like LS50 would be prefered with subwoofer on music aswell, depending of taste. For speakers you really should go listen few different ones within your budget. Even if you buy floorstanding speakers you would need subwoofer if you were to really enjoy some blockbuster movies. I assume the tv part you mentioned covers netflix / bluray movies - not only tv programs. It´s always tough with limited budget. Starting with 2.1 is one good option which i would seriously think about by picking some very good speakers like Gibbsy mentioned. Black Friday is behind the corner and i would almost guarantee that your local dealers will make you superb deal when you buy things together (receiver + speakers). You really need to listen few speakers first though.
 

Clover11

Novice Member
Thank you both. Yes, I am in the US and I have about 14 feet between my 15 and my couch. I don't really know about volume levels other then as I turn up my current system, it does not sound great. I steam most of my content but have a few favorites on Blue Ray. The subwoofer not being included above is budget related for now. I had been thinking I would get a decent one later when I had more to spend on it.

Thanks for the info on the Denon AVR-X3500H being a bit more powerful then the Marantz SR6013. I thought it was the other way around but there are so many receivers and they seem to rate power differently between brands. Super confusing for a newbie like me. They Denon is $300 cheaper right now but I thought the Marantz would be more powerful and was a level up. I also like the eARC that the Marantz has but I am not willing to pay $300 for eARC, two channels I probably wont use, and less power for what I do use.

I went and checked out the KEF Q250 as recommended and realized, these center speakers are bigger then I thought. I went and measured my space and I am not sure I have a good location for the center speakers I was looking at. My TV sits on a stand right now and is only about 4 inchs above the stand, so I can't really fit one of these center speakers on top of the stand in front of the TV without the bottom of the screen being blocked. With the new receiver that is larger, I am going to need to take a shelf from my stand and won't have room in the stand for the speaker either. Maybe I could put a shelf over the TV for the speaker, but that would require moving a big piece of art my wife made, and I don't know that I even want to ask her for that. The center speaker may be out for now, unless anyone knows of a good one that is ~4in. tall.

I guess that is leading me in the direction of the Denon AVR-X3500H with a KEF LS50 speakers and some money left to look for a sub. The Denon 3500H is on sell here for about $600 and the KEF LS50 is on sell for $900. Is $500 enough for a decent sub to pair with those speakers or should I just be looking in another direction now? Would I be better off looking for an amp for the LS50s instead of a sub for now? Maybe the LS50wireless start to make sense at $1800 if I am not going to have a center speaker? Can't really upgrade those later though and they would be $300 more then the passive speakers and Denon AV receiver. Are there other speakers I should be listening to? I am planning to go to an audio store to demo this weekend. Thanks again.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thank you both. Yes, I am in the US and I have about 14 feet between my 15 and my couch. I don't really know about volume levels other then as I turn up my current system, it does not sound great. I steam most of my content but have a few favorites on Blue Ray. The subwoofer not being included above is budget related for now. I had been thinking I would get a decent one later when I had more to spend on it.

Thanks for the info on the Denon AVR-X3500H being a bit more powerful then the Marantz SR6013. I thought it was the other way around but there are so many receivers and they seem to rate power differently between brands. Super confusing for a newbie like me. They Denon is $300 cheaper right now but I thought the Marantz would be more powerful and was a level up. I also like the eARC that the Marantz has but I am not willing to pay $300 for eARC, two channels I probably wont use, and less power for what I do use.

I went and checked out the KEF Q250 as recommended and realized, these center speakers are bigger then I thought. I went and measured my space and I am not sure I have a good location for the center speakers I was looking at. My TV sits on a stand right now and is only about 4 inchs above the stand, so I can't really fit one of these center speakers on top of the stand in front of the TV without the bottom of the screen being blocked. With the new receiver that is larger, I am going to need to take a shelf from my stand and won't have room in the stand for the speaker either. Maybe I could put a shelf over the TV for the speaker, but that would require moving a big piece of art my wife made, and I don't know that I even want to ask her for that. The center speaker may be out for now, unless anyone knows of a good one that is ~4in. tall.

I guess that is leading me in the direction of the Denon AVR-X3500H with a KEF LS50 speakers and some money left to look for a sub. The Denon 3500H is on sell here for about $600 and the KEF LS50 is on sell for $900. Is $500 enough for a decent sub to pair with those speakers or should I just be looking in another direction now? Would I be better off looking for an amp for the LS50s instead of a sub for now? Maybe the LS50wireless start to make sense at $1800 if I am not going to have a center speaker? Can't really upgrade those later though and they would be $300 more then the passive speakers and Denon AV receiver. Are there other speakers I should be listening to? I am planning to go to an audio store to demo this weekend. Thanks again.

Those two receivers are quite similar on paper as Denon and Marantz is owned by same company. No meaningfull difference in power output. Check the features and some owners talk/comparisons if you don`t have the option to listen both. X3500H will get eARC via firmware update so you can download it later. Don´t buy anything until Black Friday, i`m fairly sure both of those receivers will go out even lower price. Best Buy and Amazon are good places to keep eye. Accesories4less has SR6013 for 750$ with free shipping (manufacturer refurbished with 3year warranty).

If you go with the active route you still need some pre processor to get the LFE channel with movies. So extra cost ahead. Then if you start dreaming larger cinema system it will become super expensive..

"I have about 14 feet between my 15 and my couch. " So around 4-4,5meters. That is not short distance for small speakers in large room without subwoofer (for the time being).

You seem to be sold already for LS50, but i urge you to listen few different models from other brands too. Tricky part is the demo rooms are often quite small, but if there is larger one which let`s you sit further back (14-15feet), choose that. LS50 wouldn´t be my first pick for your large room with the listening distance and low sensitivity (power hungry) in mind. From KEF the R3 or R5 would be more ideal but they also sound bit different and cost lot more. Earlier models as 2nd hand R300 & R500 would be one option within your budget. Remember with standmount speakers you will also need speaker stands (~24") which will add cost bit (100-200$?).

There is decent subwoofers in the 500-600$ range especially at BF day, but they would work better in smaller spaces. You have large space to fill and i assume you have some limitations and requirements (finish & size) as it comes to lounge, not for dedicated space. In other words it can´t be too large, right? :) There is some better options at 800$ to 1k$ mark which is where i would save up.

So i guess raising tv with riser (under feet) is out of question. It´s always battle in lounge with tv´s and center channels. Most of time some compromise have to be made so take your time and think it carefully. You want to place it as optimally as you can as there is a reason why it`s called one of the most important channel in HT system. Nothing stops you starting without it though as you will just put it Off from receiver menu. You can still add surrounds example and run 4.1 for the time being.. 4" tall sounds too much of compromise in your situation especially.

Keep us posted about your findings if you go listen speakers. And if you can choose the receiver also for the demo then one of those you are looking or newer version 3600/6014 or higher models will do aswell from D&M.
 

Clover11

Novice Member
I went in and am demoed some speakers this afternoon which left me with more questions and more research to do. To sum it up, I am not sold on the KEF LS50 yet but really like B&W speakers that are out of my budget. I feel like an sub or maybe an amp is going to be important to get the sound I want out of bookshelf speakers. Lastly, I also need to consider active speakers more.


I went to listen to KEF LS50 passive speakers but they did not actually have any hooked up for demos. They did have the LS50 Wireless that I got to listen to briefly and I thought sounded pretty good but the bass or low end was a little unclear and lacking to me. Unfotunely they were set up in the corner of the open area of the store with one of the two speakers pushed up against two both the back wall and the side wall, which I think impacted the sound. I really wish I could have listened with a song I knew in a better placement. I am still considering these but not as strongly as before.

They did have some KEF R3s set up in a demo room which I was able to listen to with a comparable receiver to what I am thinking of buying. They were not really to my taste to be honest. Seemed focused up high to me and lacking in the lower tones. I am not sure if this was related to a short coming of the receiver/amp or if they just are not to my taste. I got them to run things through a Macantosh amp but I think since the salesman knew I was not buying the amp they only gave me about 10 seconds to listen before moving me along. I was surprised how big a difference it made, however, I don't know how much was from the dramatically increased volume when he ran it through and amp. Is it normal for an amp to increase the volume significantly or was that just a result of how the salesman set it up? I was left thinking that if I did not really like the higher end KEF R3s with the receivers I was looking at, I would probably be even less in love with the LS50s. However, the amp did seem to improve the sounds to me in the short time I heard it, so maybe I just need an amp for the LS50s and I would be happy. I am worried the extra amp kills my budget though and I don't really know what I am need there. The LS50 wireless seem more of a value to me now.

There was other brand of speakers demoed that did sound noticeably better to me then the KEF R3s. Bowers & Wilkins. The 705s seemed sinificaly better to me then the KEF R3s. They seemed to have a fuller sound and were more clear to me. They are also $3K for the pair and are far out of my budget. I also liked what I think was the 707 but may have been the 706. The sales person just kept saying they were a level down from the 705 but nicer then their 6 series. I wish I should have listed to the 606 or 607 which are in my budget but they did not have those in the demo room. My taste was more to these B&W speakers and I liked both the pair I heard, however, the 707 is still $1500, so unless they go on sale, I would need to go a step down from that, which I have not herd yet. I got home a did a little looking and it seems like people like the B&W 607s at first glance and they are half the price of the 707s. They may be a good option for me, what do you guys think? If I were to go with B&W speakers what would you recommend the 607, the 606 for $200 more with the bigger bass/midrange driver, or save up for the 707s that are almost twice the cost of the 607s but that I know I like?

I later asked to listen to the speakers with a sub and felt that the sub really added a lot to all the bookshelf speakers I listened to. I guess I need to prioritize that more. I liked the KEF 12” Qube in the store, but they were really having problems switching between subs and I am not sure all the ones I listened to were really working. I had herd good things about REL subs, but the one they played for me seemed very week and very underwhelming. So much so that I suspect that there was an issue, though the sales person just said that REL subs are ally underpowered except a 15” one out of my budget.

The speakers that really shocked me were the Devialet Phantom Reactor 900w active speakers. The salesperson brought me over to listen to these in the main store after listening to the LS50 Wireless speakers. They had two Devialets out in the open in the giant main room and not a demo room but they really seemed to present a clear soundstage despite the big noise room. They are tiny little things that looks like a toy spaceship about the size of a baseball. How is that possible? I thought they sounded better then the LS50w though I did not hear them one right after another and the LS50 were tucked into a corner where the Devialet were out in the open. They are $1350 each, so not cheap but maybe they will go on sale for Black Friday and enter my budget. I also think that if my wife got a look at them, she may give me a bigger budget as she is not thrilled about big speakers and has asked for a minimalist option. Not sure if they really sound good or if I was just expecting so little from them that they seemed impressive. When I looked into them a little more, it looks like they have much more powerful options, up to a claimed 4500 watts which seem to be more intended to be used individually. Seems from the reviews that I saw indicated they dropped signals a a lot a needed to be reset. Also sounded like pairing two together for stereo was an issue early on. They have been out a few years and the newer cheaper models, the 900 and 600 seem to be designed more to be used in stereo where the old ones were more stand alone. Does anyone recommend these they go one sale or if the wife raise the budget? Or, should I just stay away from these and consider them more of a gimmick? They did sound good to me in the short time I listed but I did not hear them back to back to anything to really compare them to and was not expecting much before hearing them.


Thanks for reading my novel. I am getting really into this but I don’t have any friends who are also into it to talk about it with.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I went in and am demoed some speakers this afternoon which left me with more questions and more research to do. To sum it up, I am not sold on the KEF LS50 yet but really like B&W speakers that are out of my budget. I feel like an sub or maybe an amp is going to be important to get the sound I want out of bookshelf speakers. Lastly, I also need to consider active speakers more.


I went to listen to KEF LS50 passive speakers but they did not actually have any hooked up for demos. They did have the LS50 Wireless that I got to listen to briefly and I thought sounded pretty good but the bass or low end was a little unclear and lacking to me. Unfotunely they were set up in the corner of the open area of the store with one of the two speakers pushed up against two both the back wall and the side wall, which I think impacted the sound. I really wish I could have listened with a song I knew in a better placement. I am still considering these but not as strongly as before.

They did have some KEF R3s set up in a demo room which I was able to listen to with a comparable receiver to what I am thinking of buying. They were not really to my taste to be honest. Seemed focused up high to me and lacking in the lower tones. I am not sure if this was related to a short coming of the receiver/amp or if they just are not to my taste. I got them to run things through a Macantosh amp but I think since the salesman knew I was not buying the amp they only gave me about 10 seconds to listen before moving me along. I was surprised how big a difference it made, however, I don't know how much was from the dramatically increased volume when he ran it through and amp. Is it normal for an amp to increase the volume significantly or was that just a result of how the salesman set it up? I was left thinking that if I did not really like the higher end KEF R3s with the receivers I was looking at, I would probably be even less in love with the LS50s. However, the amp did seem to improve the sounds to me in the short time I heard it, so maybe I just need an amp for the LS50s and I would be happy. I am worried the extra amp kills my budget though and I don't really know what I am need there. The LS50 wireless seem more of a value to me now.

There was other brand of speakers demoed that did sound noticeably better to me then the KEF R3s. Bowers & Wilkins. The 705s seemed sinificaly better to me then the KEF R3s. They seemed to have a fuller sound and were more clear to me. They are also $3K for the pair and are far out of my budget. I also liked what I think was the 707 but may have been the 706. The sales person just kept saying they were a level down from the 705 but nicer then their 6 series. I wish I should have listed to the 606 or 607 which are in my budget but they did not have those in the demo room. My taste was more to these B&W speakers and I liked both the pair I heard, however, the 707 is still $1500, so unless they go on sale, I would need to go a step down from that, which I have not herd yet. I got home a did a little looking and it seems like people like the B&W 607s at first glance and they are half the price of the 707s. They may be a good option for me, what do you guys think? If I were to go with B&W speakers what would you recommend the 607, the 606 for $200 more with the bigger bass/midrange driver, or save up for the 707s that are almost twice the cost of the 607s but that I know I like?

I later asked to listen to the speakers with a sub and felt that the sub really added a lot to all the bookshelf speakers I listened to. I guess I need to prioritize that more. I liked the KEF 12” Qube in the store, but they were really having problems switching between subs and I am not sure all the ones I listened to were really working. I had herd good things about REL subs, but the one they played for me seemed very week and very underwhelming. So much so that I suspect that there was an issue, though the sales person just said that REL subs are ally underpowered except a 15” one out of my budget.

The speakers that really shocked me were the Devialet Phantom Reactor 900w active speakers. The salesperson brought me over to listen to these in the main store after listening to the LS50 Wireless speakers. They had two Devialets out in the open in the giant main room and not a demo room but they really seemed to present a clear soundstage despite the big noise room. They are tiny little things that looks like a toy spaceship about the size of a baseball. How is that possible? I thought they sounded better then the LS50w though I did not hear them one right after another and the LS50 were tucked into a corner where the Devialet were out in the open. They are $1350 each, so not cheap but maybe they will go on sale for Black Friday and enter my budget. I also think that if my wife got a look at them, she may give me a bigger budget as she is not thrilled about big speakers and has asked for a minimalist option. Not sure if they really sound good or if I was just expecting so little from them that they seemed impressive. When I looked into them a little more, it looks like they have much more powerful options, up to a claimed 4500 watts which seem to be more intended to be used individually. Seems from the reviews that I saw indicated they dropped signals a a lot a needed to be reset. Also sounded like pairing two together for stereo was an issue early on. They have been out a few years and the newer cheaper models, the 900 and 600 seem to be designed more to be used in stereo where the old ones were more stand alone. Does anyone recommend these they go one sale or if the wife raise the budget? Or, should I just stay away from these and consider them more of a gimmick? They did sound good to me in the short time I listed but I did not hear them back to back to anything to really compare them to and was not expecting much before hearing them.


Thanks for reading my novel. I am getting really into this but I don’t have any friends who are also into it to talk about it with.
You need to be carefull and make sure that same volume is being used with each speakers as listening louder X model can have edge because of it.

Which receiver was used with R3s? Mcintosh amps costs fortune and certainly will be on different level to receiver.

Book another demo where you can listen LS50, B&W 606 and 706 S2. Better to call them and ask certain models to be heard. I wouldn`t bother with the smaller models with your space in mind. The 706 S2 should be noticeable step up from 606, but you have to listen them side by side to find out is the jump in price worth it for you. Basically 700 serie has better drivers, thicker cabinet with braicing and audio crossover components are higher quality. Remember B&W 606 competes more with KEF Q350. Again you need to calculate some speaker stand cost. B&W has sales often and hopefully one at BF.

Dynaudio Evoke 20 & Emite 20, Monitor Audio Gold 100, Revel M106 & M16, SVS Ultra bookshelf are highly praised standmount speakers in that 1k-2k$ price range aswell.

"LS50w were tucked in corner." Certainly not the right place for them or for any speakers to sound good. You need to hear them with speaker stands placed more in the open, just like the rear ported LS50 passive version needs to be pushed out from walls to sound best. It sounds with the problems they had subs and speaker location, not being able to listen certain very popular models i would look other hifi shops near you if possible.

For subwoofer you should look in to ID brands which offers greatest bang for buck. HSU and Rythmik in US offers quality products for decent prices! SVS is going to have big black friday sale and they have special programme for US citizens. You mentioned wife would prefer smaller speakers, i assume the same applies to subwoofer then. Problem is that small subwoofer is going to have hard time filling your space, but certainly will add some low end. Placement is going to be key point aswell so you need to pick something which has high WAF (wife acceptance factor) as you don´t want to spend big money and then hear from wife that the sub needs to be out of sight hided somewhere where it might not sound best.

I don`t think we have many robot speaker owners (Devialet) as you can get better sound for same price with regular hifi speakers and better looks.

Regarding LS50Wireless and other active speakers with the movies in mind please read this thread from post #2 to post #6.
 

Clover11

Novice Member
Thank you so much for the info. We used the Denon MX3600H and M 6014 for the testing of the speakers. Using the receivers I was interested in was actually the smoothest part of the demo experience. I am sure volume was a factor in my speaker choice but I also think that those receivers probably were not getting near the best out of the R3s.

I did not know about the 2.1 problem for the LS50Wireless but that has probably eliminated it from my list. Thanks you for bring that up.

I did not get a chance to demo a single one of those speakers you listed above and will hopefully have the chance. I am going to take your advice and go to a better place to demo them. Looked on the internet and found a well reviewed hifi shop about an hour away.

I hope to get a chance to listen to LS50s, Dynaudio Evoke 20 & Emite 20, Monitor Audio Gold 100 and Silver 100, Revel M106 & M16, SVS Ultra, B&W 606, 707e, and 706. We will see what is available, I hope the sales person does not hate me.

I am going to stay away from the Devialet. While I like the design, what I am really after is good sound quality and not a piece of furniture or art.

I talked my wife's ears off about everything I am learning and she offered to raise the budget and allow me to spend some more if I felt it was important to really get a system we are both happy with. We would rather pay what it takes to get it right now then cut some corners and want to replace everything in a few years.

It sounds like I should be expecting to spend around from $700 - $1000 for a good sub but I still need to do a lot more looking into these. I don't think I am too limited on size but have a couple locations that my wife would prefer it to live. Probably not ideal locations but not too worried about size in either spot.
 
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Clover11

Novice Member
The wife is going to go demo speakers with me soon and asked to hear the difference between nice bookshelf speakers and floor standing speakers. Sounds like she may be open to floor standers which I think would produce better sound for our big room. Especially considering I was going to need to put the bookshelf in my entertainment stand and they would have been 5 inch above a hard floor. I'm just starting to look into them more. I have only demoed a few quickly. A couple different lines of Def Tech towers with woofers, B&W 6 series towers, and Martin Logan M20s I think. I like the Martin Logan the best, closely followed by B&W. The Def Tech, did not do it for me.

What else should I look for in floor standers?

I am readying up on how the AV Receivers can use the height channels to bi-amp the front LR speakers. That sounds like a good idea for my setup. I am guessing the heights get less power then the front LR from the receiver normally, so I am guessing I hook up the heights to the tweeter? Would this actually help power a high quality speaker and would I see any benefits? I see things like "high-current amplification from a quality power amp or integrated amplifier is recommended for best performance" with some of the nicer speakers like the KEF LS50. Would bi-amping make any difference or is that just more power instead of "high-current amplification?"

Thanks
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I am readying up on how the AV Receivers can use the height channels to bi-amp the front LR speakers. That sounds like a good idea for my setup. I am guessing the heights get less power then the front LR from the receiver normally, so I am guessing I hook up the heights to the tweeter? Would this actually help power a high quality speaker and would I see any benefits? I see things like "high-current amplification from a quality power amp or integrated amplifier is recommended for best performance" with some of the nicer speakers like the KEF LS50. Would bi-amping make any difference or is that just more power instead of "high-current amplification?"
Using the same receiver to bi-amp is something of a false economy. You will still be taking the power from one central supply and it's known as passive bi-amping. Essentially you will be diluting the power available to the remaining connected speakers. It would be far better to use a power amp to drive the channels that you think need more power.
 

Clover11

Novice Member
Dang, I thought that since I was only running 2 or 3 channels from a 7.1 receiver, it would help. With me not taking advantage of most of the channels, I had hoped I could make use of the power for those channels.

Would a cheap amp like the Niles SI-2100 or the Russound A2100 work for me? All the power amps I see used in reviews are way out of my budget and I don't know if these cheap amps are actually any good. The NAD C 268 is a bit of a stretch on the budget but maybe it will go on sale for BF.
 

Clover11

Novice Member
I took the wife out for a nice breakfast and then drove out to a audio visual store to demo speakers togethers. It was a much better experience then the big box store's demo room and my wife was very patient with me allowing me to take my time. I think it was a high-end store, which ended up giving us exposure to nicer brands that we had never before encountered. The wife also decided to reconsider the budget a bit after seeing what is out there.


They gave us a bit to walk around the store and check things out before we asked for a sales rep’s assistance, which I thought was great. My wife gravitated to the Sonus Faber and I have to admit, those are beautiful speakers. The ones they had set up for demoing in the store started at $5,000, so we never demoed them but I did see they had a pair of bookshelfs, the Soneto I and II, at $1,700 and $2,200 that I told my wife I would research for her.

We listed to some Polk and SVS prime early but the B&W 606s were a bit better in my opinion and I like the 706 and 805 better still but we did not love either and they stretch the budget so we have somewhat ruled all of them out. We also listed to some GoldenEar tower speakers that did not stand out in any way positively or negatively.

My wife and I both liked options from Focal and Revel best. My wife preferred the Focal Chora 806, particularly with a sub. I liked it a lot as well and think it could be a good option for us. I see that the old Chora 706 is on sale for a little under half the price which seems tempting. I am also considering the Chora floor standing line the 816 and 826.


The Revel Concerta2 F36 was my favorite of the day, however, I admit I may have had some bias going in. We listened to this speaker in a different from then the Focal 806, however they did have a Focal Aria 906 set up in the room with the Revel. Both my wife and I liked the Revel F36 over the Focal 906 and it was a pretty clear difference to me but me wife found them close. We both thought we liked the new Chora 806 over the Area 906 but they were in different rooms.



I want to investigate Revel and Focal more and try to learn about the difference between lines. I did not get to hear the Revel M16 or M105. Not sure if they did not have them set up or why the sales rep never had us try them. I also want to try the F35, since I am planning on a sub, I think it may be okay to lose a little bass from the speaker and they are already at the top of the budget.



The Revel F36 is listed at double the price of the Focal 806 and they were close in my wife’s opinion, though listened to in different rooms.



What more can you all tell me about the Revel and Focal lines? Anything I should know before I make a decision or other similar speakers I should consider? Thanks.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I took the wife out for a nice breakfast and then drove out to a audio visual store to demo speakers togethers. It was a much better experience then the big box store's demo room and my wife was very patient with me allowing me to take my time. I think it was a high-end store, which ended up giving us exposure to nicer brands that we had never before encountered. The wife also decided to reconsider the budget a bit after seeing what is out there.


They gave us a bit to walk around the store and check things out before we asked for a sales rep’s assistance, which I thought was great. My wife gravitated to the Sonus Faber and I have to admit, those are beautiful speakers. The ones they had set up for demoing in the store started at $5,000, so we never demoed them but I did see they had a pair of bookshelfs, the Soneto I and II, at $1,700 and $2,200 that I told my wife I would research for her.

We listed to some Polk and SVS prime early but the B&W 606s were a bit better in my opinion and I like the 706 and 805 better still but we did not love either and they stretch the budget so we have somewhat ruled all of them out. We also listed to some GoldenEar tower speakers that did not stand out in any way positively or negatively.

My wife and I both liked options from Focal and Revel best. My wife preferred the Focal Chora 806, particularly with a sub. I liked it a lot as well and think it could be a good option for us. I see that the old Chora 706 is on sale for a little under half the price which seems tempting. I am also considering the Chora floor standing line the 816 and 826.


The Revel Concerta2 F36 was my favorite of the day, however, I admit I may have had some bias going in. We listened to this speaker in a different from then the Focal 806, however they did have a Focal Aria 906 set up in the room with the Revel. Both my wife and I liked the Revel F36 over the Focal 906 and it was a pretty clear difference to me but me wife found them close. We both thought we liked the new Chora 806 over the Area 906 but they were in different rooms.



I want to investigate Revel and Focal more and try to learn about the difference between lines. I did not get to hear the Revel M16 or M105. Not sure if they did not have them set up or why the sales rep never had us try them. I also want to try the F35, since I am planning on a sub, I think it may be okay to lose a little bass from the speaker and they are already at the top of the budget.



The Revel F36 is listed at double the price of the Focal 806 and they were close in my wife’s opinion, though listened to in different rooms.



What more can you all tell me about the Revel and Focal lines? Anything I should know before I make a decision or other similar speakers I should consider? Thanks.
Great to hear that you have listened many speakers. Revel is under Harman research (quote): Harman Research group is among the best in the industry and their work on the benefits of multiple subwoofers to deal with small room acoustical problems of standing waves has really helped improve the fidelity of home theater systems. Their study of the importance of loudspeakers having flat frequency response with uniform off-axis dispersion has helped the industry understand how to make more tonally neutral and accurate loudspeakers.

They do have massive facilities (anechoic chambers etc) where they example test competitors against their product using blind test method with the machine swapping speakers very fast. To my understanding they get normal people and golden ear comments and then tweak their speakers depending of results. They are doing lot of research which kind of speakers people buy and some other research which is said to help other manufacturers aswell as they share all data. There is guy from Harman/Revel writing at AVSForum very intresting stuff, but also very technical so i stopped at some point. Harman has also JBL Professional speakers under them (known from recording studios, cinemas all over world, car audio etc.). This is old video, but gives you some idea what goes behind there.



Focal is French company started 1979 in Paris. I have always get a feeling that they are one of the big brands that compete with B&W, KEF, Paradigm, PSB, Martin Logan etc. in US. You know the big dogs that everyone knows.

I would want to hear Dynaudio speakers. Another legendary brand that is always on top of peoples list. And also KEF R5 / R7 , Monitor Audio Gold 200 if you can stretch it.
 
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