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Advice for new system

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by ahh, Oct 19, 2003.

  1. ahh

    ahh
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    Hello everyone. I have been monitoring this forum for a few days and am very impressed with the collective knowledge here.

    I have finally decided to buy a new system from scratch, but as you can well imagine, I am confused with all the goodies out there.

    I have short listed the following and will at some point try to audition as much as possible. In the meantime I would love to hear from you:

    Receiver:
    Pioneer AX5i or Denon 2803 or Yamaha V640RDS

    Surround Speakers:
    Kef KHT 2005.2 or B&W VM1/AS1

    DVD:
    Pioneer 757 or Denon 2900

    Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Welcome!

    Of the items you've shortlisted,the Pioneer and Denon are generally well regarded,and sound good also.

    As for speakers,you'd probably be better advised to spend a little more on those if you can,unless space etc is at a premium.
    The Kef Eggs are pretty good for what they are,but larger separates may give you better results.

    If you're buying a Pioneer AX5i,then the Pioneer 757i DVD player makes an ideal combination,as you can use the i-link between the 2 for direct transmission of digital audio(DVD/SACD) for decoding in the amp itself,with better results.
     
  3. ahh

    ahh
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    Thank you for your reply alexs2.

    I take on board your comment about the speakers.

    Would you (or anyone) be able to suggest alternatives for the Kef Eggs? I do have some limitation on space, i.e. I am cosidering a plasma display(perhaps the new Pioneer 434HDE), which would be mounted on the wall, and the speakers on either side of the display with the centre speaker below the display. However, I would be happy to consider almost any other alternative for better results, considering that a small fortune will be spent on the entire setup (would be nice to get it right the first time).

    I once came across the Infinity Oreus speakers. They look really good. How do they compare to the kefs? Would they still be considered "light" for the receivers in question?
     
  4. scarty16

    scarty16
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  5. balders

    balders
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    Take a look at this thread which I started a couple of weeks ago regarding the Kefs vs other speakers.

    http://www.avforums.com/frame.html?http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=97091

    it raises a few interesting points, but unfortunately doesn't really provide a clearcut view on whether you're better off with the eggs or similar priced traditional speakers. Everyone's got a different view on what's best baed on their experiences and personal preferences. Some eggs owners say they're fantastic, others that the centre is lacking, whereas non-owners tend to be saying 'get something bigger' (which normally works out to be a lor more expensive!)

    Another thread talked about the VM1's and mentioned that the speakers are a little better than the Kefs, but the sub is lacking. This can be replaced though, but this does bring the cost up to around the £1000 mark (compared to £650 for the kefs).

    Personally, I still like the eggs, and am still thinking about buying them with a Yam 640. I'm also considering the Mordaunt Short Premier pack and a Mission M72i Cinema pack + sub. I've only listened to the eggs so far, and I must say, they did sound good.

    Still, you pays yer money and takes yer choice.

    I'd be interested to know what you end up with and why!

    Balders.
     
  6. Rainbow6

    Rainbow6
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    Balders,
    Sounds like you and me are leading parallel lives. I'm not looking at the Missions at the minute, but am certainly intereted in the eggs and the MS Premier pack, probably with the Yam 640 (though haven't ruled out Marantz and Pioneer). Also had thought of the Monitor Audio Bronze B2 or B1 package, but am not sure if my wife will go for that on grounds of lack of space (and believe it or not colour - the wood effects won't match our furniture, and she's not wild about black :().

    So, I suppose I say the same to you! ;) When you get a chance to listen to the Mordaunt Shorts, I'd be interested to know what you think. Any demos on the cards in the next few days? When I heard the MS premiers after hearing a 'sort of demo with the eggs', I was impressed with what they offered for the price. I'd want to hear them again, and be careful to listen to the sub to decide if its up to scratch. Either way, I also would

    :D

    Cheers,
    Jim
     
  7. ahh

    ahh
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    Thanks for all the replies above.

    Scarty16: I had a look at the minipods. They may sound terrific, but I think that for my tastes they are too bizzarre looking. Would be a great conversation piece, but I don't think that I could live with the design of the speakers over a period of time.

    Balders: I have read through the thread you mention, but as you suggest, there is no clear cut direction on the Kef Eggs. I have also been reading about the center speaker being weak, but I guess the only way to really overcome this is to go and listen. I am scheduled for an audition at Sevenoaks, Watford coming weekend and will report my findings.

    One strange thing about Sevenoaks is that although they stock the Pioneer receiver range, they dont have any to demo. Their emphasis was on the Denon range. Wonder why. Nevertheless still looking forward to the demo.

    Perhaps they would be able to suggest alternate speakers.

    I am still looking out for the Infinity Oreus speakers, 'cause they just look really slick. I want to find out if I can audition them somewhere close to North London.

    The Kef KHT 5005 also look really cool, but as yet no specs available. Holding my breath...
     
  8. JonHarper

    JonHarper
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  9. ahh

    ahh
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    Jon,

    Where would I be able to audition the Velodyne SPL speakers?

    Does anyone else have experience with these?
     
  10. SanPedro

    SanPedro
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    Ahh

    You may want to consider Castle's new compact set

    castle speakers website

    No idea what they sound like. Don't even know if they've been reviewed anywhere. But Castle have a good reputation, although seem more aimed at the music end of audio up till now.

    Maybe somebody else could shed light on them. They are beautifully finished and come in a range of wood finishes.

    Or the MJ Acoustics Pro range. I saw them at the Home entertainment show and, while I wasn't too impressed with them on the day (I think they were badly set - up), others praised them highly.

    See here for more Again they come in nice 'home friendly' finishes. A touch bigger than the eggs.

    chris
     
  11. JonHarper

    JonHarper
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    Ahh,

    Sorry for the delay. I got mine from Infidelity in Kingson, Surrey (0208-9433530). They aren't the cheapest of shops but I prefer to buy from someone whos knowledge I trust.

    Jon
     
  12. ahh

    ahh
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    I eagerly went down to the Sevenoaks shop today to listen to the Kef KHT 2005.2 speakers. I was mindful of the various posts in this forum about the weak centre speaker, but just wanted to go and have a listen anyway.

    The setup was a Denon 3803 receiver with a Denon 2900 DVD player, with Matrix Reloaded DVD being played. The scene selected was the one where Neil is fighting several hundred Agent Smiths.

    Kef KHT 2005.2
    As the scene played out, I started to listen for the voice, music and sound effects. Unortunately I just couldn't get excited. I thought that the Kef Eggs were very subdued and a bit woolly. Even at higher volumes they seemed to be lacking in engergy. I was very disappointed with their perfomance as I was very keen to get them. In fact I had gone to the shop just to make sure that they were good.

    So I asked the guy for alternatives.

    Energy Encore
    He recommended that I listen to the Energy Encore package. The difference from the Kefs was absolutely amazing. I could instantly differentiate the quality of the sound. The response from these speakers was unbelievable better than the Kef's. The clarity, the voice, the music, the sound effects... all of it was better, bolder, more cinema-like. They don't look as nice as the Eggs, but they beat the Eggs (no pun intended) to a fluff.

    Monitor Audio Radius
    I then noticed another small set of speakers lying around and was informed that the Monitor Audio Radius speakers would definitely be worth a listen. Not knowing what to expect, we set them up and started up the movie. I couldn't believe my ears they were better still. Although the difference between the Encore package and the Radius package was marginal compared to the Kefs, the Radius were definitely the winners today.

    I have now 90% decided to go for the Monitor Audio Radius package.

    The remaining 10%... I still need to listen to a couple of other receivers before I make the final decision. I am thinking of either the Yamaha 1400 or perhaps the Pioneer AX5i. I am not sure when I will be able to listen to these, but I hope soon.

    Will report further when I do.

    -ahh
     
  13. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    dont rule out harman Kardon DVD 25 is lovely PAL Prog unit and AVR2550 or 4550 are excellent some nice limited editions in silver/Black 2 tone 505/507 amps and 506 DVD
     
  14. Rainbow6

    Rainbow6
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    Ahh,
    How much are the Monitor Audio Radius speakers going for? And they were that much better, eh?
    Cheers,
    Jim
     
  15. YS-YS

    YS-YS
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    they cost
    £250 - for a pair of the 90's.
    £150 - for one 180.
    £350 - for the sub.

    and they are loads better than the keff egg's.
    they come in silver black rosemah beech and now also in white.
    but they never really compare with propper speakers.
    or a two channel system ;-)
     
  16. ahh

    ahh
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    Rainbow6: Sevenoaks are selling them for about £1000
     
  17. Rainbow6

    Rainbow6
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    Ahh,
    Thanks Ahh. Out of curiosity, did you try playing music CD's as well as the movie through the radius speakers? If so, how did that sound?
    Cheers.
    Jim
     
  18. ahh

    ahh
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    Rainbow6: Yes I listened to a musc demo CD they had there. The music sounded reasonably good. It was definitely better than the Kefs, but not as good as I would expect from proper bookshelf or floor standing speakers. The Energy Encore speakers were to my ears marginally better with music.

    Both speakers lacked some depth with music, but I think perhaps with another receiver, that may change. I am due to audition the Yamaha 1400, which is meant to be much better. Just for comparison, I also intend to listen to the Pioneer AX5i.

    Perhaps the Pioneer 757 DVD player may also sound better.

    In conclusion my point is that I dont think that the problem of flat-ish music is due to the speakers, rather it is either due to the lack-lustre performance of the Denon amp or the DVD player.

    I will report back once I have listened to these speakers with the different receivers mentioned above.

    -ahh
     
  19. balders

    balders
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    Oh great! Now I've got another two options to add to my list!

    My initial "short" list of Eggs or Mission M72s has now grown substantially to include:
    Kef 2005.2 Eggs
    Mission M72 cinema pack
    Mordaunt-Short Premier pack
    B&W VM1s
    Energy Encore
    Monitor Audio Radius

    .. and I'm sure there'll be another couple on the list within a week!

    I've also noticed that the budget is gradually going up as well, from my original £700 to £1000. It's always the same though isn't it - you start looking in one price bracket, and before you know it, you've sampled the next bracket up and that's it. It's then hard to go back down again.

    I think I am going to try to stick to my original budget though (Speakers, Amp, cables for £1000). Personally, I can't really justify spending more than this (too much else to spend my hard-earned on).

    Ahh: Thanks for posting your observations after listening to the Eggs and other systems. It'll certainly give me some ideas as to what to listen for when I start having a good listen to the systems on my list. And good luck with selecting an amp! Let us know how you get on.

    Rainbow6: I'll let you know what I think after I've compared the Kefs and the Missions (I think it'll probably still be between these for space and budget reasons). I'm still drawn to the Kefs, but that could all change after comparing the sound quality. From what I've been reading though, the two seem comparable.


    Balders.
     
  20. Rainbow6

    Rainbow6
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    Thanks Balders!! ;)
    When are you going for a demo, out of curiosity? I too am trying to stick to that same budget - very much looking forward to your thoughts.
    Cheers,
    Jim
     
  21. balders

    balders
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    Rainbow6,

    Sorry - won't be for a little while yet. :(

    I'm moving house soon and won't really be in buying mode until I've moved and found out exactly how much space I've got to play with.

    I'm still keen on the Eggs as they do seem to be good performers for the price. I'm kind of expecting the mission m72 fronts to be better for stereo music though (which may or may not be the actual case), so it could be a tough choice.

    There do seem to be a lot of folks around with either the Eggs or the M72 pack, so I reckon both are likely to be reasonably good buys. As I'm not really a hifi-buff, I think either will probably be sufficient for my ear (for now, at least ).:D

    How about you - when are you thinking of taking the plunge?

    Balders.
     
  22. Rainbow6

    Rainbow6
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    Balders,

    I'm hoping to purchase as soon as I'm confident that I'm getting the right thing. (This kit has got to last a while!) So, I'm just patiently looking around at the mo, and asking lots of questions.;) From looks, my wife and I would love for the eggs to do the trick. But the premiers aren't to bad either, that way.

    Maybe I'll get to demo the Premier Plus this weekend to see what I think of that one. If so, I'll let you know. No one near me stocks the Missions, so I'll have no joy there with demos.

    Jim
     
  23. ahh

    ahh
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    I auditioned both these amps today. Below are my findings:

    System

    Speakers: Monitor Audio Radius
    DVD Player: Pioneer 757ai

    DVD: Matrix Reloaded - Same scene with Neo (not Neil) fighting hundreds of Agent Smiths (track 15)

    with...

    The Pioneer Receiver
    My expectations were high. Was the pioneer receiver going to live up to all the hype I had been reading about. The amp had already been setup using its own built in MCACC. I was assured that no manual tweaking had taken place. The amp was new out of the box.

    I settled down in the armchair as the scene started to play.

    Pioneer's capability, power and detail of sound was just absolutely amazing. I was very impressed. Each kick and hit had a nice punch (no pun intended) to it. The surround atmosphere created was fully complete. I was finding it difficult to find faults with it, but I did.

    There was still something not quite right. So what was it. There was sufficient power being pumped out of the amp. The high frequencies were superb. The centre channel was excellent with whatever little dialog being clear and distinct. The rear surround speakers also sounded great. Then I realised that there was substance missing... the lower frequencies were just not good enough. The sub was slightly weak, but by no means bad. Perhaps a beefier sub was required?

    So we decided to substitue the Monitor Audio sub and hear the sound with a Rel 150 MkII. The sub was brought in and wired up. The difference was dramatically clear. The sub picked up the low frequencies and handled them beautifully. This was the missing part. Now the sound was good and satisfying. Fantastic. I thought to myself: This is it!

    Ok so the system was great with the DVD... but what about music? We turned up the lights and inserted a CD. I had brought along three with me 1. Crash Test Dummies - And God Shuffled His Feet, 2. Billy Joel - Storm Front and 3. David Guilmour - David Guilmour. All three CD's have good fidelity.

    Uh oh
    Track 8 of the Crash Test Dummies album is a great test track. The receiver was switched over to Stereo mode and this is where we hit some trouble.

    The sub refused to respond. After a lot of fiddling and checking the setup and wiring and all the rest of it, we got the Radius sub working, but not the Rel.

    This was a major problem. Why were things going wrong in a demo? There had to be a problem with the receiver. In any case, I decided to push on with the demo and let the boys figure out what went wrong later. At least we had one sub working.

    I played various tracks from all the CD's and they all sounded very good. It was not exactly an audiophile's dream, but not bad at all. It would do quite nicely.

    Surprisingly, I have to admit, the sound was reasonably good even without the sub. I was convinced that if the setup could be sorted out with the Rel, this would be the best system for me. The guys were very aplogetic and have invited me again for a fresh listen once they have sorted out the problems with the sub and the setup. A bit embarrasing... :rolleyes:

    Notwithstanding the glitch... the movies and the CD's both sounded very good.

    Ok so perhaps this particular machine had a fault with it.

    I requested to listen to the Yamaha 1400. Surely a new Yamaha would be easily set up and would work with the Rel sub.

    The Yamaha Receiver
    The Yamaha 1400, fresh out of the box, was brought in, wired up and setup while I sipped some coffee.

    The boys had not had any experience with this new receiver. This was a first time set up and it was not easy. The Yamaha's set up was not half as easy as the Pioneer's. The menus were a lot more complicated and seemed more like a manual setup than an automated one. The Yamaha's detection system was not able to accurately set up the speaker's volumes, equalisation, etc. and had to be manually adjusted.

    Ok so now the Yamaha was set up and the demo began. My expectations were flat, not having had any previous experience with this brand.

    The difference in sound, detail and clarity was instantly noticeable. The punches, kicks and sound effects did not have the detail nor the power of the Pioneer. The depth of the bass was also lacking. How disappointing.

    The Yamaha just didn't cut the mustard. Even the Denon 3803 (demo'd a week ago and relying on memory) seemed to have a better sound.

    Musically, however, the amp was very good. I would say almost at par with the Pioneer. But the Pioneer had the clear advantage with DVD playback.

    BTW we had the same problem with the sub with the Yamaha system as well. So now perhaps we had a faulty subwoofer. If not the sub, then perhaps there was a problem with the setup of both the amps. Which in itself was surprising, considreing that these guys were supposed to be professionals, experienced with setting up amplifiers on a regular basis. Go figure...

    Conclusion
    My only concern here was with the sub not working correctly, but I think that this will be sorted out when I go back for a listen this weekend. By then, I hope, that the boys would have sorted out their little problem.

    I think that my search is almost over. If I had to choose, and I think that I am 99% clear, I am sold on the Pioneer system. I loved it. It seems to be the right mix / balance between a home cinema system and a Hi-Fi, with emphasis on Home Cinema but also a cracking musical system.

    The speaker package is definitely a clear winner as well. The Kef Eggs are history and according to our professionals the Monitor Audio Radius package outperforms the Energy Encore system. This is one aspect that I will hopefully finally decide when I go back for a second audition.

    In the meantime, I would love to hear someone else's views on these amps.

    - ahh
     
  24. YS-YS

    YS-YS
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    long post, :)
    I think it would be worth getting the amps set up right, you wouldnt go home and listen to it without setting it up for the room.

    as far as the auto setup goes on the yamaha I have seen it done and it took a couple of button presses. maybe the guys at your local shop should work out how to use the equipment. ;-)
    btw what shop was it?

    you might have guessed I'm not a pioneer fan, but im sure there is a market for there stuff out there somwhere.

    I hope you get to demo them propperly with a nice cup of tea.
    and maybe a mars bar.
     
  25. ahh

    ahh
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    YS-YS: You are right about the set up of the amps. I agree that they would need to be adjusted for home use and I expect that both amps would be good.

    But, for me this is the first time that I am going in for a home cinema cum HiFi set up and this was the only way for me to check out the goods without actually having to take them home first. If the kit sounds good in the shop, then I assume that once set up correctly, it should sound better at home.

    The shop was the Sevenoaks at Swiss Cottage. To be fair to the guys there, it was the first time for them with the amp as well. And sometimes even the techies get caught. ;)

    You say you are not a Pioneer fan. What equipment do you use and what was your selection criteria?


    -ahh
     

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