All change! New house, more rooms: what kit where and what new kit?

Arfa

Active Member
Just moved house, swapped from a tiny terrace house in London to a large house up North. Trying to work out where to put my existing kit and planning what new kit would fit best.

Current kit:
  • Primare SP31.7 + A30.5 surround processor/power amp.
  • Sony 55" telly, about ~10 yrs old but was top of the range.
  • Cambridge Audio 751BD universal player
  • Exposure XXV stereo integrated amp
  • Thorens TD160 Super, Alphason Xenon tonearm, Creek OBH8SE, Heed Orbit 2 PSU
  • Royd speakers: Doublets, Minstrels and AV77
  • Wharfedale Evo DFS dipoles
  • BK Monolith sub
  • Old Mac Mini + NuForce USB-SPDIF adaptor
  • Hitachi FT5500mk2 and Sony ES tuners
  • Big Linux server running Plex
  • Logitech Harmony Elite remote and a bunch of funky LiFx lights.
  • And the last owners have left us a couple of basic 40" telly's bolted to walls, AppleTV box, an old Sony SMaster DVD 5.1 surround kit and a basic Sony bluray player
New rooms:
  • Cinema room in loft (5.1m x 5m). Already converted by the last owners, they just took all the kit with them!
  • Lounge (5.4m x 4.4m)
  • Home office (4.1m x 3.7m)
  • Kitchen diner (~4.5m x 7.5m)
  • Conservatory (5.9m x 4.1m)
We have a shed load of CDs, Vinyl, a fair SACDs/DVD-A. However, 90% of our music listening is streamed (Plex or Spotify), just so convenient!

Initial plans are to shove the Primare, 751D, subwoofer cinema kit in the loft, will just use the 55" TV up there until we can afford a nice projector etc. Use the lounge mainly for music, stereo only. I'd like something for music & radio in the office (hooked up to the computer in there), and similarly something for radio and streamed music into kitchen-diner and conservatory.
The lounge, office, kitchen-diner and conservatory all open up into one another, so a streaming system that can sync them all would be very nice. Been looking at BluOS stuff, like the look of the Nad C368 for the lounge, but open to other ideas. The kitchen-diner and conservatory are adjacent, could be served by a single 2-zone amp fine. I do some video editing in the office, so I do wonder if some pro monitors might be better here. But a classic stereo receiver could fit well too.

The Royd's are good speakers, but they're all pretty tatty now, so happy to consider swapping them. And obviously, I clearly need more speakers anyway!
The Exposure XXV is a great amp, but it's fussy and I get ground hum from it when I plug the TV into it or a radio with an aerial lead, which is making it annoying for us in the lounge.
The Mac Mini is very old (Core 2 Duo thing) and is a pain to stream tunes from when sat on the sofa. Happy to swap it for something better.

No firm budget yet, just early plans, got to buy more furniture first! Maybe about a £1-2k for lounge amp and/or speakers. Cinema warrants a bigger spend at a much later point, but could consider a well priced set of speakers earlier just to get current stuff up and running. Much less budget for office, kitchen and conservatory, will be favouring convenience more, but I'd want something better than a little 'lifestyle' wireless speaker in the corner. :) Almost all my kit I have bought second hand and that would be my default choice to get most for my money.

Where would you put my existing stuff? What stuff would you shift on and what stuff would you buy (or keep an eye out for 2nd hand)?
 

jamieu

Well-known Member
90% of our music listening is streamed (Plex or Spotify), just so convenient!

So a streaming system that can sync them all would be very nice. Been looking at BluOS stuff, like the look of the Nad C368 for the lounge, but open to other ideas.

No suggestion on what kit to keep / let go or where best to place it ;-)

But in terms of multi-room audio with a mixture of audio devices/speakers from different vendors.....

It's a shame Plex is so limited re. the networked audio devices it supports — the Plex apps and Chomecast as far as I can tell — as otherwise it gets a lot right and PlexAmp isn't too bad as music streaming apps go. I guess you could buy a couple of additional Chromecast Audios secondhand and add them to your existing devices that didn't have built in support for Plex or Chromecast, but that limits you to all-in-one Smart/Wireless speakers that support Chromecast.

Another option might be Roon as it would then open you up to being able to use any Airplay, Chromecast, Sonos or RAAT / Roon Ready device/speaker (which could just be a tiny, low cost RPi plugged into one of your existing amps, either via a digital or analog connection).

Obviously far more expensive than Plex, but as you already have machines/servers you could run the Roon Server/Core on 24/7, you'd only need to stump up for a yearly or lifetime Roon licence (you could look at the lifetime licence as the cost of a piece of new hardware, if paying for software makes you baulk).

In a multi-room, multi-vendor setup Roon starts to make a lot more sense as once you have the server running somewhere the cost of streaming to a new device then becomes free to low-cost compared to having to buy (say) a BluOS supporting device/streamer for each additional device/room/speaker/zone you want to add multi-room support to — it also stops you getting heavily locked into one hardware based streaming platform/ecosystem.
 
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moujik

Member
@Arfa Congrats on a new house up North! :)

regarding "..until we can afford a nice projector..", if you sit and watch at least 10ft from the screen, I'd say there's no need to go 4k and you can get a new HD PJ with RGBRGB colour wheel under £1000. Then you can triple your viewing diagonal :)
 

Ascotbilly

Active Member
Royd Mistrals - been trying for ages to remember what they were called. Mate had a set great looking and sounding speakers !!
 

Arfa

Active Member
Mostly settled in now, a quick update on hifi plans so far:

The Exposure, Thorens deck and Royd Doublet are serving the downstairs lounge.
The loft room is on its way to being a home cinema. Got the 55" Sony TV, Primare amps, Cambridge Audio bluray, Minstrels, AV77, Wharfedale dipoles and the BK monolith set up there. Sourced a nice used set of leather recliners which are perfect. Got the LiFx lamps, V-Pro remote dimmer on main lights and very usable already.
For the office, I've picked up some Focal Alpha 65 active studio monitors, which are very nice.
The old Sony bluray and SMaster gubbins is being thrown out.

Couple of dilemmas outstanding:
1. Not getting much wifi in the loft room, I've got ethernet draped across hall to my office, and my son isn't getting a reliable connection in online games etc. Been quoted £850 to get 7 ethernet sockets fitted around the house, following the same routes as existing tv aerials cables and terminating in a switch in the loft. Or, just get buy with a bunch of wifi boosters/extenders, Powerline adaptors, or G.hn over twisted pair adaptors to piggy back the telephone sockets; either will be cheaper, but will never as be good.

2. Whether to get some posh stereo speakers for the lounge, freeing up the Doublets for a 5 speaker Royd setup upstairs. Or, get another 5.1 set for the cinema room, leaving the Exposure/Royd setup in the downstairs lounge.
 

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