3.1 with XT32 for my bad room, or just get a soundbar?

nightowl

Novice Member
If I could buy an Onkyo TX-NR7100, I wouldn't be asking this. I think I need room correction and I'd like multi-room music, so I like that it's got DIRAC and Chromecast built in, at a good price point.

But Onkyo receivers don't seem available at all in my country these days, and I don't know if that will change. Could you please help me assess the other ways I can upgrade? We've been using 2 Creative Gigaworks T40 speakers with our TV for years!

Here's a summary of the situation in my new apartment:

Audio.png

  • TV: 65 inch Sony X80J
  • 50% streamed music on Spotify Premium / 50% Netflix (dialogue-heavy stuff more than action/adventure)
  • We use low/mid volumes much more than anything loud
  • Room treatment is non-existent and unlikely to improve (tiled floors, leather sofa, don't want rugs due to allergies) therefore good room correction probably needed. Warm/neutral speakers probably better for this room than bright.
I love the living room layout the way it is even though it's not great for AV purposes. Given that I don't intend to change up the room, what spending is worthwhile vs futile here?

I don't mind spending on decent equipment if its quality will still show in a sub-optimal room. But if I'll be wasting good equipment on a bad room, maybe I should aim lower. We actually have no problems with our 2 Creative speakers so our standards are obviously low to begin with!

Constraints:
  • I'm in Singapore; the direct-to-consumer brands considered as great value in audio/HT forums aren't available to me. Same with Accessories 4 Less, Amazon Warehouse, etc.
  • We can't buy and return this equipment the way people can in the US or Europe. No retailer will accept "I just didn't like it", it would have to actually be faulty and even then maybe only an exchange would be possible.
  • I don't feel I know enough about this to navigate the used market.

All these options are in my budget but which is the best use of the money for my room and use case? (Prices are for new equipment in Singapore dollars.)

1. Setup which might be wasted on my room: let's estimate $3700 total
Denon X3700H ($1800) (I guess Audyssey XT32 is probably the next best room correction I can get)
Chromecast
L and R: Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 UB52 ($900) / Polk R100 ($800) or R200 ($900)
Speaker stands
C: Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 UC52 ($520) / Polk R300 ($740)

2. Middle ground setup if my room's not worth the better receiver and speakers of setup 1: let's estimate $2200 total
Denon X1700H ($1100)
Chromecast
L and R: JBL Stage 130 ($480)
Speaker stands
C: JBL A125c ($480)

3. If 3.1 isn't really worth the effort for this room, maybe I should just get a soundbar? It'll be easier to sell off if the Onkyo receiver becomes available in my country and I want to upgrade. The Bose one sounds better than others I listened to, has room correction, Chromecast built in, and is rated better for music by Rtings than other soundbars: $1780 total
Bose 700 soundbar ($1150)
Bass Module 500 ($630)

(I can add a subwoofer to options 1 and 2 but prefer to start off without it and see if it's really needed.)

Any advice would be really appreciated - I've been thinking about this a lot but feel I can't see clearly any more, particularly since I'm a noob.
 

Htfanboy

Active Member
I can easily vote for the Polk r200 as I heard it recently and it sounds great! You will not be disappointed!

Never consider a soundbar for any purpose as it doesn't deliver full and detailed sound like separate speakers do.
 

nightowl

Novice Member
Thanks for your reply Htfanboy. My concern is that however good the Polk r200 may be as a speaker, and how good it may sound to people with good room acoustics, perhaps in my room conditions it will not sound that much better than the JBL Stage 130 which is almost half the price.

In my local home theatre forum, some people also felt that a 3.1 setup in that room with the Denon X3700H wouldn't be appreciably better than a top quality soundbar. I've listened to the Bose and watched reviews of it by people whose other reviews are of top-end hi-fi equipment, and they don't view it as a bad choice "for any purpose". It would definitely be a bad choice if I had a great room layout, plenty of space, and chose it anyway. But that's not my situation.
 
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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
If I could buy an Onkyo TX-NR7100, I wouldn't be asking this. I think I need room correction and I'd like multi-room music, so I like that it's got DIRAC and Chromecast built in, at a good price point.

But Onkyo receivers don't seem available at all in my country these days, and I don't know if that will change. Could you please help me assess the other ways I can upgrade? We've been using 2 Creative Gigaworks T40 speakers with our TV for years!

Here's a summary of the situation in my new apartment:

Audio.png

  • TV: 65 inch Sony X80J
  • 50% streamed music on Spotify Premium / 50% Netflix (dialogue-heavy stuff more than action/adventure)
  • We use low/mid volumes much more than anything loud
  • Room treatment is non-existent and unlikely to improve (tiled floors, leather sofa, don't want rugs due to allergies) therefore good room correction probably needed. Warm/neutral speakers probably better for this room than bright.
I love the living room layout the way it is even though it's not great for AV purposes. Given that I don't intend to change up the room, what spending is worthwhile vs futile here?

I don't mind spending on decent equipment if its quality will still show in a sub-optimal room. But if I'll be wasting good equipment on a bad room, maybe I should aim lower. We actually have no problems with our 2 Creative speakers so our standards are obviously low to begin with!

Constraints:
  • I'm in Singapore; the direct-to-consumer brands considered as great value in audio/HT forums aren't available to me. Same with Accessories 4 Less, Amazon Warehouse, etc.
  • We can't buy and return this equipment the way people can in the US or Europe. No retailer will accept "I just didn't like it", it would have to actually be faulty and even then maybe only an exchange would be possible.
  • I don't feel I know enough about this to navigate the used market.

All these options are in my budget but which is the best use of the money for my room and use case? (Prices are for new equipment in Singapore dollars.)

1. Setup which might be wasted on my room: let's estimate $3700 total
Denon X3700H ($1800) (I guess Audyssey XT32 is probably the next best room correction I can get)
Chromecast
L and R: Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 UB52 ($900) / Polk R100 ($800) or R200 ($900)
Speaker stands
C: Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 UC52 ($520) / Polk R300 ($740)

2. Middle ground setup if my room's not worth the better receiver and speakers of setup 1: let's estimate $2200 total
Denon X1700H ($1100)
Chromecast
L and R: JBL Stage 130 ($480)
Speaker stands
C: JBL A125c ($480)

3. If 3.1 isn't really worth the effort for this room, maybe I should just get a soundbar? It'll be easier to sell off if the Onkyo receiver becomes available in my country and I want to upgrade. The Bose one sounds better than others I listened to, has room correction, Chromecast built in, and is rated better for music by Rtings than other soundbars: $1780 total
Bose 700 soundbar ($1150)
Bass Module 500 ($630)

(I can add a subwoofer to options 1 and 2 but prefer to start off without it and see if it's really needed.)

Any advice would be really appreciated - I've been thinking about this a lot but feel I can't see clearly any more, particularly since I'm a noob.

If you listen the experts they always say effective room correction can`t cure bad room or poor speaker placement. It´s usually when you have optimized these things first and then run it, it will make difference. Of course it´s better to have good one than not at all, but the point is one shouldn´t assume it`s magic bullet always. After saying that i would still pick the X3700H if you buy the Polk R200 system!. With the audussey editor app (20$) you can tweak it bit more where the correction is done and few other important features. If you buy it remember to run the setup through the app. There could be new models coming in near future so hopefully you aren`t in rush. I can`t say for sure, but something is coming from Denon. If X3800H is introduced then the 3700 will go on sale.

How wide is that "console" as in av-unit? Looks quite tight with the speakers. I wonder could you move the mixing table to side wall or at the short wall where the couch so basically next to it? If you sit 3meter away you would want to spread the front mains apart good amount (2,5-3m) and not make the mistake of squeezing the front three too close together like we often see (1,8m roughly with 65" tv and narrow av-unit).

I would rather pick the X1700H and JBLs plus some compact quality subwoofer (steer away from cheap boom boxes) than the Bose soundbar. Another alternative would be 2.0 / 2.1 system which works ok if you sit fairly middle most of times. I doubt you would be satisfied with the soundbar with tiny drivers cause you have large open space and sitting 3m away. The subwoofer (module 500) is useless in this type of room and you have the drivers close each other so it`s never going to be as good as separate system. If this would be bedroom then yeah why not, but 1600$ for soundbar system is quite madness...
 
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nightowl

Novice Member
Hi Gasp3621, thanks for that! Absolutely agree room correction can't be a magic bullet, which is why I'm wondering if spending on a receiver with XT32 will really make that much difference to a bad room.

The AV unit is 1.8m. While the mixing table needs to stay there next to all the power points, the couch can be pushed forward easily enough.

I've also been thinking about 2.0/2.1 like you said. It's just my spouse and me watching stuff on the TV, or from the dining table, so we will be quite centred most of the time. We use our Creative Gigaworks T40 speakers at pretty low volume even when we watch TV from the dining table, and we can hear all the dialogue just fine. However, when I initially looked into this setup I got the impression that something with Spotify Connect and Chromecast built in wouldn't be much cheaper than just getting the X3700H, and it wouldn't have any room correction. Do you have any recommendations for what I should look into?
 

Htfanboy

Active Member
Thanks for your reply Htfanboy. My concern is that however good the Polk r200 may be as a speaker, and how good it may sound to people with good room acoustics, perhaps in my room conditions it will not sound that much better than the JBL Stage 130 which is almost half the price.

In my local home theatre forum, some people also felt that a 3.1 setup in that room with the Denon X3700H wouldn't be appreciably better than a top quality soundbar. I've listened to the Bose and watched reviews of it by people whose other reviews are of top-end hi-fi equipment, and they don't view it as a bad choice "for any purpose". It would definitely be a bad choice if I had a great room layout, plenty of space, and chose it anyway. But that's not my situation.
The Polk will sound alot better than a soindbar. I have used one before and even my existing apeakers which isn't as good as those r200 easily beats all soundbars on earth.

Do you really believe multiple tiny speaker drivers like 2-3 inch in a bar would really sound anything like a 6.5 inch driver and a tweeter?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
The AV unit is 1.8m. While the mixing table needs to stay there next to all the power points, the couch can be pushed forward easily enough.

I've also been thinking about 2.0/2.1 like you said. It's just my spouse and me watching stuff on the TV, or from the dining table, so we will be quite centred most of the time. We use our Creative Gigaworks T40 speakers at pretty low volume even when we watch TV from the dining table, and we can hear all the dialogue just fine. However, when I initially looked into this setup I got the impression that something with Spotify Connect and Chromecast built in wouldn't be much cheaper than just getting the X3700H, and it wouldn't have any room correction. Do you have any recommendations for what I should look into?

Ah just what i was afraid of. Shame you can`t turn things around there and the darn mixing table as i would have wanted to see the tv in the middle of the 3,23m wall and couch opposite to it 2,5-3m away which probably would also looked better coming from the hall to living room. I mean there is extension cords always for the mixing table, but you probably have considered every option / wife have a strong say how things must be there..

I would consider the X3700H if you buy more expensive speakers like the 900$ Polks with R300/R400 center channel and quality subwoofer. How much you planned to spend for sub if you get one?

Where can you place the subwoofer if thinking all possible spots in the living room? Likely in the front wall left side of tv if i had to guess. You have speaker stands each side of the av-unit and then the mixing table so it wouldn´t fit on the right side. Is this correct? Another option could be by the couch of right side, so it would be basically hidden there. The nearfield placement could be ideal as you have so open space, but it could also locate bit easier there and you would have to run the sub cable behind the mixing desk and 3,23m wall to near the couch. I can imagine the subwoofer would sound quite bass light in the middle of room (length) if it would go to that spot where the red arrow points at and says 415cm. Also you probably aren´t going to buy large sub as you said you don´t listen loud and you would try the bookshelf alone first. That for me says you don´t crave much of bass in general..

What about the center channel where did you plan to place it? Inside the unit probably as you aren`t wall mounting tv and you can´t put it in front of tv as it would block the picture unless you can raise it somehow. As you probably know "hiding" the speaker inside unit isn´t the best idea especially for centre which is so active, but if it´s not too low it may still sound ok. The R300 is sealed and the larger R400 centre has rear ports so the smaller would do fine.

Hope you can visit some store to at least give the R200 a listen! You don´t have to buy anything..
 

nightowl

Novice Member
Thanks again Gasp3621 for taking the time to write, it helps to talk this out with someone!

The 3.25m wall is the window actually, so the TV definitely can't be against that.

For a subwoofer, I'm hoping it'll work on the right side of the couch although I'll also try it on the front wall left side of TV, exactly like you spotted. Based on trying out subs when I've been testing out speakers, I don't care much about them for TV/movies but I do appreciate what they add to music. While I haven't looked into it deeply yet, based on what I can buy in Singapore I'd start by looking into:
Starke Sound SW10 or SW12 ($550/$680)
SVS SB 1000 Pro ($1100)

My TV is wall-mounted and I left a little over 22 cm height for the centre speaker to fit on top of the AV unit, so that'll work for most centre speakers within my budget. And I left the middle section of the AV unit (nothing special, just Ikea Besta) wide open front and back for a receiver.

I can listen to the Polk, Elac and JBL speakers at their dealers' shops here so will definitely go check them out.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thanks again Gasp3621 for taking the time to write, it helps to talk this out with someone!

The 3.25m wall is the window actually, so the TV definitely can't be against that.

For a subwoofer, I'm hoping it'll work on the right side of the couch although I'll also try it on the front wall left side of TV, exactly like you spotted. Based on trying out subs when I've been testing out speakers, I don't care much about them for TV/movies but I do appreciate what they add to music. While I haven't looked into it deeply yet, based on what I can buy in Singapore I'd start by looking into:
Starke Sound SW10 or SW12 ($550/$680)
SVS SB 1000 Pro ($1100)

My TV is wall-mounted and I left a little over 22 cm height for the centre speaker to fit on top of the AV unit, so that'll work for most centre speakers within my budget. And I left the middle section of the AV unit (nothing special, just Ikea Besta) wide open front and back for a receiver.

I can listen to the Polk, Elac and JBL speakers at their dealers' shops here so will definitely go check them out.

Ok good to know and great to hear you have the tv wall mounted so you get the center channel in "free space" and high up as the closer to seated ear height the better. Ideally you would bring it at the front edge of the av-unit away from front wall, just like your front mains.You can also use two rubber door stoppers at each side as they are angled then you can easily aim it bit more upwards if required, you also get the decoupling effect aswell. Cheap trick. Personally i would buy the R400 as it has the bigger drivers and specifically identical to R200, however it´s your decision as you are perhaps more in to music.. But of course it could change when you get such good system.

I actually looked what you have available there in SG. The SVS is safe bet no doubt, but if you don`t want to spend that much then the SW12 without doubt, the 10 is bit too small. For movies the SW15 for same price as SVS looks great, but i assume you aren`t after that kind of bass so you just want bit more weight and depth. Then i think you can spend bit less (SW12).


Hopefully you can get the demos soon. Keep us posted about your findings. I would book the demo time before hand rather than walking to shop and ask so you can listen without rush and hopefully compare to other speakers in same room. Ask them to use X3700H or X4700H so it will be similar then what you would have at home. The Elacs look slightly disappointing in few ways, but let see what you prefer. One thing i read from the R200 owners who did ton of measurements is that they are quite sensitive how you angle them toward listener so play around with that like example keeping them shooting straight ahead, little bit toward you and finally toed in fully toward you.

You don`t need to buy any super expensive stands, just that the top plate size is ok to speaker width and depth (not oversized or too small). Also if you buy everything from one shop ask package deal. Never pay list prices!
 

nightowl

Novice Member
Thanks Gasp3621, the doorstop trick's a good one!

For the sub, while I'm obviously tempted to save money with the SW12, I'm aware that SVS has a wireless adapter for its subs although I haven't looked deeply into it yet. If it works well, that would be a factor in favour of SVS.

Hoping to do demos this weekend!
 

nightowl

Novice Member
Thought I'd write a quick update of the 2 demos I've managed so far.

The first was the Elacs. The UC52 was impressive. The UB52s sounded very good, very balanced and controlled. However I did get the feeling that at lower volumes (which is more common for us than higher volumes) they lost some sparkle. In addition, I'm quite concerned by the audiosciencereview forum findings about their cabinet resonance. Given that it's fairly likely I'll be stuck with these speakers if I buy them and they have this problem (we don't have a buy-and-return consumer culture here) I'm thinking I might eliminate them.

I then decided to look further into speakers that might perform better at low volumes, and heard the Monitor Audio Bronze 100s might, so I went to listen to those (the 6G versions). I wanted to listen to them with the 6G Silver C350, which was on sale and within my budget, but the salesman had the Silver C250 already hooked up and I didn't quite have time to wait for him to heft the C350 over and hook it up. I felt the Bronze 100s were livelier than the UB52s, generally and at lower volumes. Oddly, the centre speaker (C250) did not impress. I had to point out several times that dialogue didn't sound good before the salesman changed some settings, after which it was better but still not as good as the UC52.

I'll try to check out the Polks next weekend.

Doing some calculations, I can get the Monitor Audio Bronze 100s + Silver C350 (3-way) for a slightly lower price than the Polk R200s + R400 (2-way). I'm thinking: wouldn't it make sense to pick the combination that has the 3-way centre speaker?

The Monitor Audios have 3-year warranties too, and the Polks only 1 year.

I'm aware that some people choose not to match their centre speaker with their L and R, but the 3-way Emotiva, Infinity Reference and Monolith centres they often go for instead are not available to me. I can however get the SVS Prime Centre at $710, cheaper than the C350 or R400, but I'm not sure if it would match badly with the Bronze 100s or R200s as L and R.
 
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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thought I'd write a quick update of the 2 demos I've managed so far.

The first was the Elacs. The UC52 was impressive. The UB52s sounded very good, very balanced and controlled. However I did get the feeling that at lower volumes (which is more common for us than higher volumes) they lost some sparkle. In addition, I'm quite concerned by the audiosciencereview forum findings about their cabinet resonance. Given that it's fairly likely I'll be stuck with these speakers if I buy them and they have this problem (we don't have a buy-and-return consumer culture here) I'm thinking I might eliminate them.

I then decided to look further into speakers that might perform better at low volumes, and heard the Monitor Audio Bronze 100s might, so I went to listen to those (the 6G versions). I wanted to listen to them with the 6G Silver C350, which was on sale and within my budget, but the salesman had the Silver C250 already hooked up and I didn't quite have time to wait for him to heft the C350 over and hook it up. I felt the Bronze 100s were livelier than the UB52s, generally and at lower volumes. Oddly, the centre speaker did not impress. I had to point out several times that dialogue didn't sound good before the salesman changed some settings, after which it was better but still not as good as the UC52.

I'll try to check out the Polks next weekend.

Doing some calculations, I can get the Monitor Audio Bronze 100s + Silver C350 (3-way) for a slightly lower price than the Polk R200s + R400 (2-way). I'm thinking: wouldn't it make sense to pick the combination that has the 3-way centre speaker?

The Monitor Audios have 3-year warranties too, and the Polks only 1 year.

I'm aware that some people choose not to match their centre speaker with their L and R, but the 3-way Emotiva, Infinity Reference and Monolith centres they often go for instead are not available to me. I can however get the SVS Prime Centre at $710, cheaper than the C350 or R400, but I'm not sure if it would match badly with the Bronze 100s or R200s as L and R.

If you would go the MA route then it would make sense to get the Silver 100 (6G) with the C350 if they are still selling both in your country. The Silver 100 6G and C350 6G are discontinued now, they should be priced much lower than normally if still available! There is new models called Silver 100 7G and C250 7G. Really shame you can´t listen at home as some stores are lazy to setup and it can sound then mediocre. We have quite many C350 owners at AVF and everyone has been very impressed so far. The speaker was on heavy sale due to new model coming.

You could listen the SVS Prime Bookshelf and Prime Centre also if they are available there for demo. There is ton of feedback for them which can be little bit mixed as they tend to sound fairly bright to some. They are on same level to MA Bronzes.

You don´t really need to mix brands. Give the Polks listen next weekend and let`s see are they the way to go or not.
 

nightowl

Novice Member
Hi Gasp3621, thanks again for continuing to help me with this!

The Silver 100 6G are not available, or else I would definitely have jumped at those.

I previously already listened to the SVS Prime Bookshelf + Centre and didn't include them in my initial shortlist for this post because I did indeed feel that they sounded bright. In addition, it felt like a subwoofer would be mandatory with them, whereas with the Bronze 100s it would still be great to have, but not mandatory. However I had wondered if just using the Prime centre without the Prime bookshelves could be workable (if not too mismatched with my L and R) since any brightness of the centre would only affect TV/movies, not music.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
You could also try Bronze C150 if it would do the trick. I had the older version and never any issue understanding speech etc. Of course the Silver C250 is better and also nicer looking. You should get discount for the new 7G serie if you buy the front three (S100 & C250). There is always air in the prices, just need to call all dealers through and use business man skills. :)

If i would go with SVS it would be the Ultra serie which should be more balanced sounding, but it`s probably too expensive where you live. Not sure would it be much of upgrade from the new Silvers though.

Will be intresting to see how you feel about the Polks which has got lot of praise.

Dali Opticon 2 mk2 and Opticon Vokal mk2 would be intresting option too.
 

nightowl

Novice Member
Hi Gasp3621, unfortunately Dali Opticon 2 mk2 and Opticon Vokal mk2 are not available here. I did try out the Oberon 3s before and they were fine, although I stopped looking into them since I didn't see how to get a 3-way Dali centre speaker.

When you say I need to call "all dealers", I should clarify that I'm already dealing with the only dealers. Although Amazon Singapore does have the Elac speakers I'd considered and did once carry the Polk Reserves (now out of stock), there's only one Elac dealer, one Monitor Audio dealer and one Polk dealer. I'm not expecting great service from the Polk dealer unfortunately based on interactions so far, but we'll see next weekend.

The Monitor Audio dealer yesterday didn't offer any package discount beyond free Canere 7F speaker wire, plus he said people are flying from India to Singapore just to buy Denon 3700s from him and bring them back to India, so even if I can bargain a bit more I don't think it will bring Silver 7G speakers within my budget. I get the impression it's a seller's market right now.

And yes, unfortunately SVS Ultra is also above my budget.

It's a really bad time to be shopping for HT/audio equipment but I guess it's good that I really find my Creative speakers fine in the meantime!
 

nightowl

Novice Member
I checked out the Polk Reserve 200s and the 300 centre speaker today.

For various reasons, the (sole) dealer's shop setup was so far from ideal that I don't think I can really evaluate these speakers against the Elac and Monitor Audio ones I listened to.

That being said, the slicker setups in the Elac and Monitor Audio shops don't match what my home will be like either, so no matter what I choose there'll be a lot of uncertainty until I actually hear them in my space.

The 200s came across as balanced, and OK at lower volumes although I could only be 1.5m or less away from the 200s, whereas I'd been about 2m away from the MA Bronze 100s. I felt like they would need a subwoofer, whereas with the MA Bronze 100s I felt it would still be better to have one, but not mandatory. The dealer played some jazz where I found the brass sounds too bright, but for the songs I chose myself (not jazz) I didn't have any problems with brightness.

The dealer didn't have the Reserve 400 in the shop unfortunately so I had to listen to the 300 instead. He didn't play it together with the L and R, but on its own, and at a position on the floor far right from my listening position. It didn't sound that bad despite this odd positioning, and he felt (looking at the same floor plan in my first post) that for my use case (my spouse and I sitting either on the couch, or at the dining table) it would be enough.

He's open to a package price and I'll ask him for quotes.

However, I doubt that price will be the deciding factor between the Polk and MA options.

I feel like it will come down to the centre speaker since I think I'll enjoy either choice for L and R.

The MA C350 will presumably be the best option but is 235 mm high and the base of my TV has about 240 mm clearance. Angling the speaker upwards will probably not be possible and swivelling the TV (it's on one of those wall-mount brackets where I could have pulled it out and swivelled it a lot) probably won't be either.

The remaining choices are then the MA Bronze C150 ($474) vs Polk R300 (price unknown) vs Polk R400 ($899). Between these, is it a simple case of "you get what you pay for"?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I checked out the Polk Reserve 200s and the 300 centre speaker today.

For various reasons, the (sole) dealer's shop setup was so far from ideal that I don't think I can really evaluate these speakers against the Elac and Monitor Audio ones I listened to.

That being said, the slicker setups in the Elac and Monitor Audio shops don't match what my home will be like either, so no matter what I choose there'll be a lot of uncertainty until I actually hear them in my space.

The 200s came across as balanced, and OK at lower volumes although I could only be 1.5m or less away from the 200s, whereas I'd been about 2m away from the MA Bronze 100s. I felt like they would need a subwoofer, whereas with the MA Bronze 100s I felt it would still be better to have one, but not mandatory. The dealer played some jazz where I found the brass sounds too bright, but for the songs I chose myself (not jazz) I didn't have any problems with brightness.

The dealer didn't have the Reserve 400 in the shop unfortunately so I had to listen to the 300 instead. He didn't play it together with the L and R, but on its own, and at a position on the floor far right from my listening position. It didn't sound that bad despite this odd positioning, and he felt (looking at the same floor plan in my first post) that for my use case (my spouse and I sitting either on the couch, or at the dining table) it would be enough.

He's open to a package price and I'll ask him for quotes.

However, I doubt that price will be the deciding factor between the Polk and MA options.

I feel like it will come down to the centre speaker since I think I'll enjoy either choice for L and R.

The MA C350 will presumably be the best option but is 235 mm high and the base of my TV has about 240 mm clearance. Angling the speaker upwards will probably not be possible and swivelling the TV (it's on one of those wall-mount brackets where I could have pulled it out and swivelled it a lot) probably won't be either.

The remaining choices are then the MA Bronze C150 ($474) vs Polk R300 (price unknown) vs Polk R400 ($899). Between these, is it a simple case of "you get what you pay for"?
Yep the demoing is tricky especially if you don`t have the two brands in same room so could get better idea. Odd that the guy didn´t bother putting the R300 centre with the mains and play some movies. Lazy dealer and your comments about C250 not sounding right kinda shows that the guys aren´t putting much effort there. These aren`t cheap toys so the should sound quite damn good after what you are using at home.

Remind me:

How low the center channel goes on your av-unit vs. seated ear height? Is the speaker shooting your knees/shins rather than chest area?

Are you placing the front L/R main speakers on floor stands each side of tv?

Basically if you could wait little bit until fall to see new Denon models will there be X3800H. If yes then that would mean X3700H goes on sale soon after the announcement. However i´m not sure how soon they would react in the country you live so it could be december who knows. I also thought if you would save little bit going with the X2700H, but probably not enough to get better speakers and then you won´t get the XT32 you wanted. Another option would be to start with 2.0 system so just front mains + X3700H = going with the Silver 100 (7G) which should be very clear step up from Bronze 100 especially for music listening. You said you can`t afford to buy them both right away so it would take just bit longer to get the Silver C250, but who knows you might not miss the centre as much as you think. Building the system slowly is often the best route anyway so you don´t do compromises and end up back soon in the upgrade train. With Monitor Audio the Silver range is usually the sweet spot for many folks. The jump to Gold serie is expensive and the higher you go the more diminished returns kicks in. Sure you get amazing finish and that 10-15% extra detail for real audiophiles who has every other areas optimized aswell.

If going with the Polks the R300 is sealed by design and R400 has rear ports which you would seal with the port bungs if the speaker goes close to wall or if the av-unit is not open where you place the speaker. Like box inside box. R400 shares same drivers with R200 mains. Then the size and price with possible discounts, would need to see prices for both deals. Generally one would always pick the largest more capable center channel from same range if it doesn`t limit the placement.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Late to the party :)

What mixer/amp/speakers are you using with the DJ turntables in the TV Lounge and does that kit always stay in place (you are not taking it elsewhere for parties?).

Which Zones do you wish to include in the 'multi-room' system and is it Audio Only across the multiple Zones?

Which Source devices do you need to support across the various Zones?

How do you want to control the multi-room system?

Joe
 

nightowl

Novice Member
Yep the demoing is tricky especially if you don`t have the two brands in same room so could get better idea. Odd that the guy didn´t bother putting the R300 centre with the mains and play some movies. Lazy dealer and your comments about C250 not sounding right kinda shows that the guys aren´t putting much effort there. These aren`t cheap toys so the should sound quite damn good after what you are using at home.

He seemed quite sincere and honest, but he has some particular views which I guess influence his choice not to do a slick demo setup the way some other shops do. He thinks speaker demos are a waste of time because shops can change how they sound using expensive equipment and room treatment which will not be replicated once you bring the speakers home.

For the R300, he said the most transparent way to demo it would be to hear what it could do on its own, rather than in combination with the R200s.

Remind me:

How low the center channel goes on your av-unit vs. seated ear height? Is the speaker shooting your knees/shins rather than chest area?

Are you placing the front L/R main speakers on floor stands each side of tv?

The AV unit is 48 cm high. Seated ear height is about 90 cm. I'd say a "bullet'' straight from the centre speaker would shoot my stomach (when seated), not my knee.

Yes the plan is to put L and R on stands each side of TV.

Basically if you could wait little bit until fall to see new Denon models will there be X3800H. If yes then that would mean X3700H goes on sale soon after the announcement. However i´m not sure how soon they would react in the country you live so it could be december who knows. I also thought if you would save little bit going with the X2700H, but probably not enough to get better speakers and then you won´t get the XT32 you wanted. Another option would be to start with 2.0 system so just front mains + X3700H = going with the Silver 100 (7G) which should be very clear step up from Bronze 100 especially for music listening. You said you can`t afford to buy them both right away so it would take just bit longer to get the Silver C250, but who knows you might not miss the centre as much as you think.

Yes unfortunately I don't know how fast we would get new Denon receivers - I think Singapore is too tiny to be an important market for this. We're definitely not important to Onkyo, anyway!

Actually cash flow is not the issue here - I can afford any system I want, but I've set a modest budget because I'm new at this. Plus I'm not sure how much I can really discern the quality difference between, for example, the Polk R400 ($899) and the MA Silver C250 ($1329) - we watch dialogue-driven stuff not action movies, and it's just 2 of us rather than a group of people sitting in different positions.

The problem, of course, is that if I don't want to pay $1329 for the C250, and if the C350 is too big, then (if price reflects relative quality) the $474 C150 seems quite a big step down - maybe the Polk R400 is the middle ground?
 

nightowl

Novice Member
Late to the party :)

What mixer/amp/speakers are you using with the DJ turntables in the TV Lounge and does that kit always stay in place (you are not taking it elsewhere for parties?).

Which Zones do you wish to include in the 'multi-room' system and is it Audio Only across the multiple Zones?

Which Source devices do you need to support across the various Zones?

How do you want to control the multi-room system?

Joe

Thanks for coming, better late than never! :D

The DJ setup is 2 Technics SL1210MK2s and an Audio Innovate AEM 100i mixer. But I'm just a beginner, the kit is purely for practice and will never leave the house.

I was thinking that when I get the 3.0/3.1 system for the living room, I'll move my Creative computer speakers (currently plugged into the TV) to the DJ setup.

Ideally, I'd have the living room, kitchen , study and 2 bedrooms as part of a multi-room system. It would be audio-only. I barely have any source devices worth considering, I just stream Spotify Premium from a JBL Link 10 in my bedroom and a Revo SuperConnect in my study. I've been quite minimalist because before this new place in Singapore, I was living in a Paris apartment half the size and with no soundproofing.

In terms of controlling the multi-room system, I'd like at least some speakers to be voice-activated and work with Google Assistant (e.g. in the kitchen) but in other rooms (e.g. the study) using an app or remote is fine.
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
How about this


and this

 

nightowl

Novice Member
How about this


and this


Hi rccarguy2, thanks for the suggestion but unfortunately those are not available to me in Singapore.
 

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