5.1 + amp suggestions, budget TBC

Discussion in 'What Speakers Should I Buy?' started by mattg, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. mattg

    mattg
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    hi all,
    A good friend of mine has just bought a house and is looking to invest in a full 5.1 set up. The room size is around 12*18 feet, the pic below is loooking to the back wall where there will be an L couch and space for the speakers on the back wall.

    [​IMG]

    He will be buying a new 50" TV at the same time so the budget is a bit of a balancing act. He wants a full spec system but at the same time doesn't want to go overboard and spend 1000's.

    I went through a similar process a couple of years back (without buying the house) and ended up with a denon + B&W 685, 686 + svs. His room has space for a set of floor standers but he hasn't set on a TV cabinet yet so bookshelves could also be an option.

    inputs:
    HDMI: PS3 and Sky HD
    Sonos zone player,
    iPad / iphone / macbook - airplay (not a priority due to sonos).
    3D - not required

    first thoughts...

    AMPS:
    2012 Denon 1713 £400, airplay 1x front + 4xHDMI, 120w per channel. Good pairing with B&W?
    Sevenoaks Sound and Vision - Denon AVR-1713 <p> AV Receiver <p> (Claim Free Chord Company Cables Worth £50)

    2012 Yamaha RXV473£330, airplay, 4x HDMI, 115w per channel
    Superfi - YAMAHA RXV473 NETWORKED 3D READY HOME CINEMA RECEIVER WITH APPLE AIRPLAY

    Speakers:

    B&W 685 - £1330
    Superfi - B&W 685 THEATRE HOME CINEMA SPEAKER PACKAGE

    AE Aelite 3.5.1. - £1399
    Superfi - ACOUSTIC ENERGY AELITE 3 5.1 SPEAKER PACKAGE

    So, my questions...

    - Given the room size 12*18feet, are floorstanders recommended over bookshelf?

    - Rear speaker placement - should they be either side of the window (2 feet above the couch?) or on the side walls?

    - What other options are there around the £1-1500 mark for a set of 5.1. speakers including 2 floorstanders or better subs / centres?

    - Amps - sensible choices given the speaker budget?

    - Subs - are the subs in the sets worth while or is it better to buy 5 speakers + a separate sub.

    Any thoughts welcome!

    Thanks, Matt.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012
  2. mattg

    mattg
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    So trying to do some maths with a set around the B&W 684's, not sure if the centre speaker will stand up to floorstanders? Same for the sub, would you want a bigger one given the room size and other speakers?

    I'm happy with my ht62 but have it paired with the 685's. I think he will mostly be using the speakers for movies / sky / ps3 but will crank them load for entertaining etc.


    £314 - sub XLS200-DFandFF
    £700 FL/FR - Superfi - B&W 684 SPEAKERS (PAIR)
    £279 centre - Superfi - B&W HTM62 CENTRE SPEAKER
    £299 RL/RR - Superfi - B&W 686 SPEAKERS (PAIR)
    Total : £1592

    He has a seven oaks near him (sheffield) or Audio T near me for auditions if that sways anything.

    cheaper option:
    £229 - sub + rears - http://superfi.co.uk/p-3250-wharfedale-diamond-91-speakers-sw150-subwoofer-21-speaker-package.aspx
    £500 fronts - http://superfi.co.uk/p-2732-wharfedale-diamond-106-speakers-pair.aspx
    £169 centre - http://superfi.co.uk/p-2736-wharfedale-diamond-10cm-centre-speaker.aspx
    £898


    £1299Dali zenors 5 http://www.audio-express.co.uk/product.php?_DAL_ZENSOR5_51_&CAT=HCSPEAK&id=4291&t=gs
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
  3. Andrew K

    Andrew K
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    Monitor Audio Bronze BX5 AV Package together with a reasonable AV Receiver around £400 (there are some bargains at the moment on end of line model due to the new models coming out) should do the job. If you don't need floorstanders then the Radius R90HD Package would be another set worth looking at.
     
  4. mattg

    mattg
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    any ideas on what amps are on discount? I don't think he needs much from the amp beyond hdmi switching as the sonos will / ps3 / sky HD will cover the rest.
     
  5. Andrew K

    Andrew K
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    I would suggest looking at Yamaha V673 /V773, Onkyo NR609, Denon 1912 as out-going sub £500 amps as if you can find one they are better value at the moment. You may have to look around to find some of them if anyone has any left.
     
  6. mattg

    mattg
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    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 Column 4 Column 5 Column 6 Column 7 Column 8 Column 9
    0 Speaker Dali Price Speaker B&W Price Speaker B&W Price
    1 Floorstander zesnor 5 500 bookshelf 685 399 Floorstander 684 699
    2 Centre Zensor Vocal 229 Centre HT62 279 Centre HT61 399
    3 rear zensor 1 180 rear 686 299 rear 686 299
    4 sub E12 F 479 sub AS608 349 sub AS608 349
    5 sub BK Monolith 424 sub BK Monolith 424 sub BK Monolith 424
    6 sub BK XLS200 314 sub BK XLS200 314 sub BK XLS200 314
    7 kitchen zensor 1 180 kitchen 686 250 kitchen 686 250
    8 TOTAL bought as set 1299 TOTAL bought as set 1325 TOTAL bought as set 1746
    9 TOTAL seperate + monolith 1333 TOTAL seperate + monolith 1401 TOTAL seperate + monolith 1821
    10 TOTAL seperate + XLS200 1223 TOTAL seperate + XLS200 1291 TOTAL seperate + XLS200 1711


    So based off look and style (and sevenoaks being nearby) I think he's narrowed it down to B&W and Dali in OAK to match kitchen cabinets + TV room.

    In my mind the Dali should be best overall as he wants to by the same speakers in the kitchen as he does in the TV room and they are cheaper so he saves twice. Also, he could afford dali floorstanders and monolith for the same money as B&W 685 bookshelf set.

    Quantum AV also have the monitor audio's with a simliar set up to the Dali's Assume these are an older range due to the discount on the BX6 range.

    Monitor Audio Bronze BX5 AV - Quantum AV


    So the obvious advice is to set up a demo, given the budget looks to be 1200/1400 depending on sub choice is there any thing else I'm missing for a short list?

    Also, he now needs a set of smallish (~30-40cm tall) but room filling speakers for a large tiled kitchen. Any other suggestions beyond 686 / zensor 1's ? Most likely powered by a sonos zone.

    Ceiling speakers are not an option.

    Thanks all, Matt.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  7. sergiup

    sergiup
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    A somewhat similar thread here in terms of speakers.

    The B&W's 600's have a somewhat "warm" sound where mid-bass seems to be a bit emphasized - there's nothing wrong with this of course, it's just a characteristic. The 684's with the larger centre would be my recommendation if he decides to go B&W - the extra piston area does show in my experience (2x 6.5 in on the 684's, one on the 685).

    The Zensor series are pretty much the entry-level from Dali, yet they still provide relatively clean, uncoloured sound. They do have a slightly bright treble but not really in a way that bothers at all. Again, I would heartily recommend going for the 7's instead if possible - not a huge difference, but maybe better than thinking "what if"?

    I think either option will be satisfying, but they probably do sound somewhat different - has he heard both options, at least in a simple stereo setup? You also have to remember that if he went for bookshelves ideally they would be on dedicated stands, that tends to provide the best sound.

    Sub-wise, I'd say go big and set up a Monolith, it's probably the best for this price range. In terms of AVR, try to call Creative Audio and get an RX-V673 for £399 if you still can, it's an excellent price for it.

    As for the kitchen, I'm tempted to say try another brand - a Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 or something maybe? Not because the Lektor 1 or B&W 686 are bad choices, but simply so you have a different sound "experience". Depending on the furnishings etc in the kitchen, the B&W might be better suited with its ever so slightly warmer sound. Entirely up to you really, any of these will work just fine. The other option is to use some active monitors if the Sonos doesn't incorporate an amp.
     
  8. mattg

    mattg
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    Hi sergiup,
    on the website they have it at 499, do you know why they were doing it at £399?

    Yamaha RX-V673 product review + RXV673 7.2 network receiver Hot Deals. Creative Audio - Hi-Fi & Home Cinema Specialists

    having said that they do a bundle with the same amp that would bring it up to £150 ish for the amp on the basis th speakers are £1299. Wouldn't have the monolith in that spec though..

    Yamaha RX-V673 7.2 network receiver + DALI ZENSOR 5 (5.1) speakers + £200 cable bundle


    edit: on the email to them now.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  9. sergiup

    sergiup
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    Not sure, they just had a special offer for the 673, I think it was solely advertised by email though.
     
  10. RobSR

    RobSR
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    I saw you mentioned the Yamaha Rx-v473 in one of your first posts. I have this amp and very pleased with the performance and features. I paid 340 for mine as soon as It came out. 399 for a 673 sounds very cheap!
     
  11. buzz_lightclick

    buzz_lightclick
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    The 673 was available for £349 when it was first released at Creative Audio!
     
  12. RobSR

    RobSR
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    That's annoying! I only ever saw them for around 500, that's why I went for the 473 :( not that I'm disappointed with it tho!
     
  13. buzz_lightclick

    buzz_lightclick
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    Check out the 673 owners thread for more info- I think the best current price is £399.
     
  14. mattg

    mattg
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    yep, creative audio look open to deals so if you have an idea of what you want they might put a bundle together.

    £399 was the quote I got on Thursday, less with a bundle.
     
  15. mattg

    mattg
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    might be trying to get a viewing together this week, any must have music pieces to demo? Similar for bluray?

    edit: he has transformers 1 and 2, which is a good scene to test?

    I normally use eagles, hotel California as I know it quite well.

    Also, the latest update is he is leaning towards the larger 684's as I think he likes the branding more than zali and wants to buy once and spend a little more. Will be interesting to see if we can get a dali /B&W comparison, would imagine the B&W should be quite impressive, my old man has a much older set and they are great!
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2012
  16. sergiup

    sergiup
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    Get a bit of everything - Adele for vocals, some jazz maybe (Dave Brubeck Quartet's Take Five), James Blake's Limit to Your Love for bass, etc.. Any Blu Ray's with some degree of bass will do for movies for example.
     
  17. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    I've only been superficially following this thread, but I will comment none the less.

    If the budget is still at £1500, then I would suggest breaking it down this way -

    £_500 = AV Receiver
    £1000 = 5.1 Speakers

    Though I would prefer you to put more into the amp if you can.

    With £1000 to spend on speakers, and given the room size, I would recommend bookshelf speakers, though there are probably a few floorstanding front that would fit the budget. Wharfedale Diamond, Acoustic Energy Neo, Q Acoustic 2050i, Dali, and a few others depending on your preferences.

    The Dali Zensor 1 bookshelf 5.1 is about £999, which puts you right on budget -

    Dali Zensor 1 5.1 Speaker Package at Audio Affair

    Unless the budget has changed, the Dali Zensor Floorstanding are going to be out of the question.

    In Wharfedale Diamond 10 series, for the front I would recommend Diamond 10.4 floorstanding or Diamond 10.2 bookshelf. The Diamond 10.4 run about £330/pr and the Diamond 10.2 bookshelf run about £200/pr.

    You can select from this list of Diamond 10 speakers and build to suit your taste, your room, and your budget -

    £330/pr = Diamond 10.4 Floorstanding - Front
    £200/pr = Diamond 10.2 Bookshelf - Front
    £150/pr = Diamond 10.1 Bookshelf - Front or Rear, depending on how much room in the rear
    £100/pr = Diamond 10.0 Bookshelf - Rear/Side

    £170/ea = Diamond 10.CM Center - Center - an excellent bargain, but a somewhat large speaker.
    £150/ea = Diamond 10.CS Center - Center - 5" bass drivers, spans both bookshelf and floorstanding.
    £100/ea = Diamond 10.CC Center - Center - 4" bass drivers, small, bookshelf only.

    Wharfedales make one addition speaker worth considering these are Bi-Pole/Di-Pole speakers, that do a better job of diffusing the sound and fit nicely on the wall (£159/pr) -

    Superfi - WHARFEDALE DIAMOND 10.DFS REAR SPEAKERS (PAIR)

    A sample system -

    £200/pr = Diamond 10.2 Front
    £150/ea = Diamond 10.CS Center
    £160/pr = Diamond 10.DFS rear
    £215/ea = BK Electronics Gemini-II Subwoofer
    -----------------------
    £725 = Total

    With Diamond 10.4 floorstanding in the front, the total is £855/set.

    If you want very small compact speakers with good performance, then consider the Quad L-ite 2 system for about £900/set.

    Monitor Audio Bronze BX bookshelf system runs about £1100 per 5.1 set, though you could probably trim a bit off the price if you substitute a BK Electronics Subwoofer.

    An Acoustic Energy Neo 1 bookshelf 5.1 system will run about £750/set. The Floorstanding version, the Neo 3 5.1 is going to run about £1040/set. These are similar to the Diamond 10.4 in that they have twin 5" bass drivers and should work reasonably well in a small room. Though I personally think that is about the limit for a small room.

    The B&W (Bowers Wilkins) 685 bookshelf system are very good speakers, but the price is a substantial £1330, you could probably trim £200 off that price by substituting the BK Gemini-II subwoofer for the B&W Sub.

    Next, I would forget 7.1 in that small room, or if you eventually feel you need it, add the additional two speakers at a later time.

    Of those listed, the Zensor 1 would be good if you want to spend the entire budget. But, the Diamond 10.2 and 10.4 systems would be very good and are very affordable, and they leave you extra money to be put into the amp, or into accessories. Keep in mind you will need Speaker Wire and Interconnecting cables, that could run about £100 depending on specifically what you need. Also, that extra money could go to a new BluRay player.

    In amps, I think you will do best with Denon, Yamaha, or Marantz. Though Pioneer would be a worthy consideration. As to Onkyo, they make very good Movie amps, so if that is your priority, then consider Onkyo which are also very high featured amps. But the more important music is, the more I would move away from Onkyo and more toward the other amps suggested.

    At any particular time, you can find deep discounts on specific brands of amps depending on who is about to release new models. Right now there are several Sony amps on Deep discount. You might even be able to find some Yamaha amps on deeper discount. For these exceptional deals, you simply have to shop around.

    But I encourage you to NOT go below £500 on the AV Receiver if at all possible. Now, you might find an AV Receiver that was previously selling for £500 but is now on offer for about £300. That's OK. However, if the £500 model is on sale for £300, that probably means the formerly £800 model is now on sale for £500. You want the best amp you can possibly get for your money.

    As a starting point, I would suggest £500 for the amp and about £1000 for the speakers. You are free to deviate from that to meet your personal needs, but I think that is the starting point.

    The general rule is that the Front Three Speakers (Left/Center/Right) should be brand and series matched. Beyond that, you can deviate to accommodate your circumstance. For example, if room at the back is limited, you could get some compact wall mounted Satellite speakers. If you don't have room or budget for a Subwoofer, then get floorstanding fronts. They should give you sufficient bass to enjoy both movies and music. Later, when circumstances change, you can add a Sub if you feel the need.

    In the sample Wharfedale Diamond system I laid out, the Diamond 10.2 are bookshelf with 6.5" bass driver and response down to a very reasonable 40hz. They should be excellent for both music and movies, with or without a Subwoofer. Though without a Sub, the Diamond 10.4 are probably the better choice.

    The Wharfedale Diamond 10.DFS are a bit more expensive, but if room is limited in the back, they are good wide diffusion wall mounted speakers. Most would choose Diamond 10.0 or larger Diamond 10.1 for the rear, but it depends on circumstance and available room. I assume the speaker will be placed on the 12 foot wall, and if that is the case, wall mounted speaker placed up higher would probably serve you better.

    Again, my recommendations are based on an assumed budget of £1500. You have spoken of more expensive systems, but you haven't specifically given us a NEW working Budget. Or at least not that I saw.

    In that room, I would be reluctant to get floorstanding speakers with bass drivers larger than 5". Though that is highly subjective. Larger might work fine. But Certainly do not go smaller that good bookshelf in the front; again, my opinion, I'm not a fan of small satellite speakers. They are too limited for music.

    If you have revised your Budget, then give us a clear statement of the new Budget.

    Additional NOTE: Excellent deal on the Zensor 5 + Yamaha RX-V673 system from Creative Audio.

    But do consider this - Dali Zensor 1 + Yamaha RX-A1010 (£999 suggest selling price) -

    Creative Audio - Yamaha RX-A100 Advantage + Dali Zensor 1 5.1 Speakers

    Your room is long enough for Floorstanding speakers, but it is a little Narrow.

    Just a few thoughts.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2012
  18. mattg

    mattg
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    Steve, you are a true credit to the forum, I thank you for the time and apologise for my vagueness. I realise this thread has been more of a dumping ground from various conversations I've had with my buddy which has made it another pita to try and recomend.

    Further to this it doesn't help that I'm trying to do this incognito as I should be spending time booking up christmas holidays /visas for china / buying my own house and not trying to get a sneaky AV demo set up with a buddy 3 hours away... but that is a story for a different day.

    I'll drop a note to my mate and ask him to firm up his plans. I think he is moving towards spending more and buying once. (There is a :devil: on his shoulder)

    He looks set on a sammy 60 e6500 £1200 costco deal
    doesn't have a preference on amp
    likes the look of the B&W speakers/badge
    definitely keen on floorstanders
    didn't shrug off the monolith sub
    cables and interconnects are not going to be an issue to budget, £100 is in line with expectations.

    I'll try and get him to measure up the room properly and take some snaps so it is clear what the soundstage is.

    Do you happen to know the difference between the yam 673 and RX A100, assume more is better, feature wise the 673 ticks all the boxes. I understand if he is spending near 2k now more on an amp is advisable but the between the two there is just 20w per channel?
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012
  19. mattg

    mattg
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    Thanks Sergiup, good suggestions.

    Is it a sin to be testing mp3's (assume he has 320kpbs) with this type of set up? He'll be using Sonos / time capsule for most of the music so will be whatever bitrate they use.
     
  20. BlueWizard

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    The Yamaha 1010 is normally a £999 amp.

    The Yamaha 673 is normally a £500 amp.

    That's the difference.

    In speaker packages at a reasonable price it is hard to beat Wharfedale Diamond. In he wants to go one larger floorstander than the Diamond 10.4, he could move to the Diamond 10.6 which is about £499/pr.

    Diamond 10.4 =
    Product - Products - Wharfedale Hi-Fi

    2x 5" bass drivers in a 2.5-way configuration with bass response down to 38hz

    Diamond 10.6 =
    Product - Products - Wharfedale Hi-Fi

    2x 6.5" bass drivers in a 2.5-way configuration with bass response down to 35hz

    While the bass response is not that much different, the Diamond 10.6 with larger drivers are pushing about 70% more air than the smaller Diamond 10.4. It is up to you to decide how well the room will accommodate the larger speaker.

    Here are some photos posted on the forums -

    AVForums = New Wharfedale Diamond 10 Series - Page #13

    The large Center speakers is the Diamond 10.CM, while big, it is also an exceptional bargain. Also note that there are A LOT of photos on this page, so it takes a while to load.

    Keep in mind that speakers, especially floorstanding can not be shoved back into the corners. I have Diamond 9.6 and I would say they need about 1 foot behind them, and about 2 feet between the speaker and the side wall. Though that is not absolute. There is some flexibility, but not much.

    Here is a revised sample system -

    A sample system -

    £499/pr = Diamond 10.6 Front
    £150/ea = Diamond 10.CS Center
    £160/pr = Diamond 10.DFS rear
    £315/ea = BK Electronics XLS200 Subwoofer (10", 275Watts, 17hz)
    -----------------------
    £1124 = Total

    Combine that with the Yamaha Rx-A1010 Receiver (£559, RRP £999) for a total of £1683. The Yamaha RX-A2010 would be £749 (suggested retail on amp £1499) for a new total of £1873.

    Just a thought.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012
  21. nickfrog

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    Good move. A 50 would have been a shame with such a nice system !
     
  22. mattg

    mattg
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    Huzzah, minor progress. He's just ordered the Sammy :)

    in terms of sub woofers - is the B&K XL200 comparable to the B&W or similar subs. I.e. only really worth going for A monolith over a "kit" subwoofer, or generally do the B&K out deliver over the branded subs pound for pound?

    Thanks again for all your help! I'm not sure I'll get a chance to demo with him so this is proving invaluable in "steering" him to invest ;) :devil:
     
  23. mattg

    mattg
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    Hi all,

    following a chat with sevenoaks, he has shortlisted the following for a demo next week:

    B&W 683 as stereo music comparison - more likely to stick with the MA's.

    Main demo - Monitor Audio RX8, RX centre and RX2 at the back on stands

    sub: monolith+

    Amp wise, he was recommended the yam 673 is better over the older 1010 as it has newer ergo better parts and that the monitor audio's don't need a great deal of power to perform. I'll suggest he tries to demo both if they have it as that goes against everything I've understood from this forum.


    room dimensions:
    6.7m long, 4.5m wide, 3.3 tall.

    as the door is part of the front wall that leaves are 3 metres for tv FR, FL and C off the front wall.


    Any other considerations? he sounds happy with the budget, unlikely for wiggle room beyond the monitor audio spec. He is likely to buy from sevenoaks sheffield.

    Ta, Matt.
     
  24. Andrew K

    Andrew K
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    With those speaker choices the A1010 is going to be a much better choice than the V673
     
  25. mattg

    mattg
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    Thanks quantam, i've passed on the feedback.

    I've got a pic of the front wall now, will try and get another when he finally sorts out a demo and puts the order in.

    [​IMG]
     

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