Advice on new 3.1/5.1 setup and future-proofing

ere106

Novice Member
Evening all. Just to say that these forums are so helpful and I have really enjoyed reading through.

I am just about to move house and am looking to upgrade my AV system. Currently I have Denon AVR-X2400H with some old Cambridge Audio speakers - Sirocco S70x2 and S50. Music and movie split is about 50/50. Movies either 4K blu-ray or streamed through Netflix/Amazon. Other inputs include PS4 and Virgin media. Music includes vinyl (currently have Rega RP1 and Fono Mini A2D) Spotify and Tidal (so far just taking advantage of 44.1kHz rather than MQA).

So the music element is important and I am wanting a system that does music well. I would consider in the future having dual AV receiver and stereo amp, and so would want pre-out option to hook up to stereo amp. I also want some speakers that will do music justice, and so for now am happy to stick with smaller but decent 3.1 setup, but with future option for more surround.

The actual theatre area of the room is not massive, but the other thing is that at some point I am hoping to re-config another part of the house knocking two rooms to make a square 30m2 area and turn this into much better entertainment room, with possibly 7.2 or 9.2 setup. Realistically this is going to be some way down the line, perhaps 5 or 10 years.

So I guess one question I had is whether the new equipment I buy now should last that long (in particular AV receiver) or whether I should just focus on getting a good setup for the next 5-10 years and then look to upgrade thereafter.

Things I need now are therefore:

Speakers L C R
Sub
AV receiver

I was looking at KEF and the R series seems great. I do wonder about whether R3 are a little too big for the room, but otherwise they tick a lot of boxes. Add to them the R2C. Other options could be B&W 706s2 or focal aria/chora. I would rather have standmount + sub compared with floorstanding.

In terms of sub I was thinking BK but again not sure how big to go. And eventually will plan to have 2 subs and figure that the subs should last many years. So maybe P12-300SB but keen to hear thoughts.

Then as for AV receiver. I have enjoyed my Denon. Would want potential for 8K (although not really sure if I do need this, and certainly gaming is becoming less and less of an interest. 4k blu rays are really the primary TV enjoyment) and then at least 7.2 channels. If I went for KEF R3 I would want to make sure amp could drive them (and hence worry my current X2400H may struggle - although would appreciate thoughts on this).

So I was looking at:

Denon X3700H or X4700H
Marantz SR5015 or SR6015 (especially as general feedback seems that they are musical)
Yamaha RX-A4A

If lower power but more musical receivers would do the job then I am all for it eg NAD, Arcam. But don’t know much about these and assume that going to be much more pricey especially if looking at higher power.

Budgets:

Speakers £1.5-2k
Sub £500
Receiver £1-1.5k

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Room layout below - theatre area w3.25m h4.58m a14.86m2.

Thanks all and good evening!
 

Attachments

  • 6D62C0CA-FE29-4681-BEA1-6B332330443D.jpeg
    6D62C0CA-FE29-4681-BEA1-6B332330443D.jpeg
    78.2 KB · Views: 43
Last edited:

gibbsy

Moderator
Your room is not too far of the same dimensions as mine so I can assure you that, given the right amplification, the KEF R3/R2C will fill the room. I have the old R300/R200C combination and they are never stretched in my room.

The R Series are a hard drive for any amp given that they can drop to 3.2 ohms at times, possibly lower. I would pair them with the Denon X4700 to get the best from them. However as you have mentioned music the equivalent Marantz would be better in that department. In a pure home cinema set up the Denon would be fine and will easily drive the KEFs as a one box solution.

To get the very best out of the R3s for music then connecting them to a stereo amp with HT by-pass would be the way forward. Get the amp right and they are a very rewarding speaker. I have a Denon X6500 and a Rega Elicit-R to drive my KEFs for stereo music. There is no comparison between the Denon and the Rega for music.

If you are decided on the stereo amp and AV amp combination then, with just 5.1 as a maximum, then I would look at the X3700 as the power amp of that stereo amp will do the heavy lifting of the front left and right. The money saved could then be put towards the stereo amp.

As for going to 5.1 then I feel that KEF in dropping a replacement for the R100s as a bit of a mistake. If you wanted to say with the KEF for the surrounds it's either another pair of R3s or the smaller Q150s.
 

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
In case you're interested, there are 3 Denon models x3300, x4500 and x6400 on Peter Tyson part exchanged (with a short warranty) at the moment.

All have full preouts, two sub outs with Sub EQ HT and Audyssey app control.
 

ere106

Novice Member
Thanks both for your helpful replies. Yes I was looking at Elicit-R and was impressed. CAX81 also caught my eye as did Yamaha A-S1200. What DAC do you use with Elicit-R?

What about the difference between X3700 and X4700? That extra power per channel isn’t going to creat much difference in db. What do you think the key benefits are? And sounds like gibbsy your preference is for Denon AV rather than Marantz?

Yes I think eventually adding Q150 for surround makes sense perhaps rather than adding more R3s as it is quite a difference in price for speakers that will be surround sound.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Main difference is better components and amps on the X4700 as well as the very good AL32 processor. Marantz as considered better for music over their Denon stablemates. You do pay a premium for the Marantz HDAM circuitry but I don't need a more musical AV amp because I have the Elicit. The Denon is a very fine amp for movies and TV, great sound steering.

I don't use a DAC as my only music source is, at the moment, a Marantz SACD player and all my music is either CD or SACD. I also have a Denon SACD player which is currently in my headphone system, so I have a choice of two and they do get changed around now and then just for the hell of it.
 

ere106

Novice Member
Yes I do think more and more that separate stereo amp is best. Would there be concern if I first got x2 KEF R3 and also X3700H and used these for a while before getting stereo amp? Don't want to underpower the R3s if it will effect them in some way. And what about using them first in X2400H which Denon says is only 95W per channel 8Ohm?

And what are your thoughts about the higher end AV musical amps e.g. NAD or Arcam? I have read mixed reviews.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Both Arcam and NAD are better AV amps for music. Both amps have Dirac Live which is superior to Audyssey. An Arcam would give you a good one box solution. As good as an Elicit, I'm not going to comment as I've not listened to them back to back but I doubt it. If you have the expertise to use Dirac correctly then that is going to make a big difference.

By the time you buy a X3700 and an Elicit you're not far off, if not over the cost of either an Arcam or a NAD. Arcam I know play nice with KEF speakers.

As for running the X2400 with R3s in the short term then it will drive them.
 

The latest video from AVForums

AVForums Movies Podcast: We review Dune and ask which is the best decade for horror movies?
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom