Question AVR/Speaker combo for small living room - advice please

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by Zarch, Jul 14, 2015.

  1. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Hello all,

    Here we go again...... potential upgrade time.

    Further to my question the other day about L, centre and R speakers, LR and Centre too close? So don't bother? | AVForums here's the expansion of my setup.

    I currently have a 10 year old Sony DAV-SC5 DTS capable DVD/AVR combo hooked upto to a plethora of HDMI & Toslink switching boxes, its a right mess.

    The speakers are 4ohm with a passive sub, so pretty unusable moving forward I would have thought. Although i'd love to save speaker costs and be able to use them?

    Here is a scale drawing of the living room.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, its only 4m x 3.4m with the TV in one corner. The L, Centre and R are on a shelf of the TV cabinet as there is nowhere else for them to go. So no real separation as there is only 1m between L and R speakers. But there is nothing I can do about this. Rear speakers are in the only place possible on wall brackets with cable already run under the floor. I currently have the sub crammed behind the main sofa, but i'm open to suggestions if that would be worth moving to behind the TV.

    Sources are SKY-HD, WDTV Live, Sony BDPS-490 Bluray and a Chromecast. I do also have a Nintendo Wii via component, but i'd be okay running that direct if required. (ie if AVR didn't support)

    To future proof myself, I'd like to consider having more than 4 HDMI, but not a deal breaker for the right combo.

    Bluetooth and maybe Airplay would be nice, but i'm not sure i'd be happy paying almost double for those extras when I'd rarely use them.

    I could always add a £15 Bluetooth receiver off Amazon, so always have that option for sending stuff from our phones etc.

    Viewing habits? Well CBeebies and Nick JR get watched a lot. (damn kids) We sometimes get to watch films off SKY and Bluray and I enjoy watching sport on TV via the SKY box.

    I always have the sound sent via the current AVR as the Harmony remote fires everything up, but i'm finding the sound less than ideal. TV feeds sound muddled and rarely seem to use all the speakers. I hoping the upgrade will bring some sparkle back into the room, even when watching TV through the SKY box?

    Can I expect such an uplift in experience? Even just watching TV?

    Not ideal, but budget is probably around £400 for AVR and speaker combo.

    AVR wise I think i'm down to 3 options. I've been using Richer Sounds pricing as there is one on my doorstep.

    Yahama RXV377 - £150 (4 inputs, No Bluetooth, No Airplay)
    YAMAHA RXV477 - £229 (6 inputs, No Bluetooth, Airplay)
    Sony STRDN1050 - £299 (6 inputs, Bluetooth, Airplay)

    So Airplay is £80 extra? and bluetooth on the Sony award winner is double the price? Don't think I can justify that. I don't care for internet radio and all the DLNA features etc, think i'd be wasting my money.

    Again, looking at the speaker packages on Richer Sounds.

    PIONEER S-HS100 - £99
    TANNOY SFX 5.1 - £169
    TANNOY TFX 5.1 - £199
    TANNOY HTS101 - £319
    WHARFEDALE DX1 HCP - £329

    Which could get me total prices of (some of these are Richer Sounds bundles)

    YAMAHA RXV377 & Tannoy SFX5.1 - £318 (£350)
    YAMAHA RXV377 & Tannoy TFX5.1 - £349 (£383)
    YAMAHA RXV377 & Wharfedale DX1 - £399 (£426)
    YAMAHA RXV377 & Tannoy HTS101 - £439 (£482)

    Price in brackets includes the Richer Sounds 6 year supercare warranty (10%), which seems like a no brainer?

    I think this rules out the HTS101 as blows my budget somewhat.

    If I went with the YAMAHA RXV477 or Sony STRDN1050 i'd only have enough left in my budget for the £99 PIONEER S-HS100 speaker bundle. Probably not a good compromise? Better to get a decent set of speakers as these can stay even if I upgrade in the future.

    So are the Tannoy TFX worth the extra £30 over the SFX? They certainly 'look' more aesthetically pleasing to my eye.

    The bundle price with the Wharfdale looks very very tempting and a steal, but only 4ohm? I thought that was bad?

    Hoping to get upto my local Richer Sounds this week to demo something, but would appreciate any thoughts on the potential YAMAHA RXV377 & Tannoy SFX / TFX or Wharfedale DX1 combo in relation to my room layout and size.

    Thanks for listening. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015
  2. Zarch

    Zarch
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    The more I think, the more I'm leaking towards the Yahama RXV377. May even consider 2 very small from speakers only to start with if people don't think the tannoy or wharfedale will be upto the job? Hoping to goto Richer Sounds later in the week to demo a few things.
     
  3. Ghostrider

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    What is on the right hand wall?

    You'd get much better surround effect if you were to wall mount the TV on the right hand wall and make the left hand couch the main viewing position.
     
  4. Zarch

    Zarch
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    A pair of sliding double doors into the kitchen, so no can do. :)
     
  5. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    I'd ditch the 5.1 system and go with the best 2.0 (or 2.1) system your budget will allow.

    Keep in mind for most of the time your TV and Movie viewing is being delivered mostly by the front speakers - the effects speakers are not adding much for the majority of your viewing.

    Odd as it seems I'd consider placing one speaker to the left of the fire and one to the right of the TV and either use an AVR in stereo mode or go with a budget Stereo Amp.

    You could either go with Full Range speakers (something that works OK close to walls) or 2 x Sat speaker plus a Sub.

    Joe
     
  6. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Hi Joe,

    Thank, you, I really appreciate you taking the time to reply.

    It definitely needs to be a AVR as I want to do away with all the HDMI/toslink switch boxes i've got and consolidate connections.

    Unfortunately, there is no space at all to place the left speaker the other side of the fire as there is a bookshelf that fills that space. On the TV cabinet shelves, directly under the TV is the only place for any L, centre and R speakers. :(

    This then leaves another problem, speaker size. The height of the middle shelf is just 20cm. The shelf below is taller at around 25cm, but this would leave the speakers almost on the floor. Not good?

    So i've been searching around and I'm struggling to find a decent speaker that is under 20cm tall? Which then always draws my back to 5.1 speaker packages as the speakers are usually small enough.

    Maybe I could place 2 x bookshelf speakers on their side on that middle shelf? mmmm, would need to get the tape measure out when I get home, could be an option. :)

    EDIT: Had a thought that I might be able to swap the shevles round on the stand so that the 25cm gap becomes the upper shelf. This could open things upto bookshelf speakers like the Roth OLi RA1 (£70), CAMBRIDGE AUDIO SX50 (£129), Q ACOUSTICS 2010i (£120) and similar small speakers.

    Would any of these be okay without a sub? as i'm not all that bothered about thumping bass.

    Finally, will the Yahama RXV377 have enough about it to drive a stereo or 2.1 set up? We rarely have it on loud as the kids are usually in bed when we watch films. Its more the quality that i'm after.

    As the RXV377 is coming towards limited stock and being discontinued i'm thinking of picking one up and worrying about the speakers as and when. Otherwise i'm looking at paying double the price for the Sony STRDN1050 which then limits the speaker budget. :(

    Thanks again.

    Mick
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  7. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    AVR - looks like a good option to build around, no reason to not go for it.

    Loudspeakers - small loudspeakers tend to come 'alive' at a certain volume so can be tricky for very low level listening as they can lose energy in the mid and (limited) bass below that sweet spot.

    A pair of Anthony Gallo Micro/Micro Ti + the TR-1D Sub works well when you have limited space (and separation).

    The Gallo's produce a very strong centre image so will happily work for Music/TV/Movies without a Centre channel and placed relatively close to the sides of the Display.

    Ideally the Sub will be placed relatively close to the Sats to avoid a hole in the mid/bass range.

    Joe
     
  8. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Thanks again Joe.

    Unfortunately, a quick Google suggests the Anthony Gallo kit is way way out of my price range.

    Yes, I think I will go for the amp, but the speakers may have to come later when I can work out which direction I want to go in.

    2 x small mid/top end speakers with a sub
    2 x small bookshelf speakers- Roth OLi RA1 (£70), CAMBRIDGE AUDIO SX50 (£129), Q ACOUSTICS 2010i (£120) or similar
    Complete 5.1 package - TANNOY TFX 5.1 - £199, WHARFEDALE DX1 HCP - £329 (only £250 when bought with Amp at Richer Sounds)

    Minefield! :(

    Hopefully tomorrows trip to Richer Sounds demo room might answer a few questions.
     
  9. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    A demo is a good idea - ensure you try a range of 'demo' content, voice/diction is critical for Movie viewing, don't get sucked into big explosive scenes 'blowing your socks off'.

    Ensure you set the volume to the levels you will use at home.

    Joe
     
  10. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Thanks Joe,

    Yes, as the majority of our viewing is TV broadcasts and not really movies, clarity of dialogue is probably the most important thing for me.

    Rumbling bass and giant subs are not what i'm after, hence I'm leaning towards the idea of a pair of small bookshelf speakers that may hopefully cover all the range i'm after.
     
  11. Zarch

    Zarch
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    If I do go down the pair of small bookshelf speaker route, the key points for me when demoing will be.

    - The speakers will be only 1m apart on my TV cabinet, will I really need a centre? or will the amp handle that well? Will it create a faux centre? Or will it get confused? The Roth, Q Acoustics and Cambridge Audio bookshelves i'm thinking about all have matching centres at around £100, but might not be required? Suppose it's easy to add one later if required.

    - Enough range in the main speaker? enough bass, (granted, I don't need much) and clear dialogue. I'm sure any of the speakers i'm thinking about will be an upgrade on the small 10 year satellite speakers of my current setup. :)

    - If I don't need to spend on the centre, do I consider a small pair of satellite speakers for the rear effects, something like the Cambridge Audio Minx Min11 on clearance at £30 each?

    I think that would be my preferred option. Nice pair of bookshelf speakers, no centre or sub and then a couple of small satellites for effects.

    My demo appointment has been cancelled as the demo room upgrade has taken longer than expected, so going Monday now. Just means I get to 'think' over the weekend....... now that is dangerous. :)
     
  12. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Final option to throw in there in the very short term is a pair of old Mission 760i bookshelf speakers that I've had sitting doing nothing for years. Although there are a little too big for what I want to do long term, i could always see how they get on in a 2.0 setup. :)
     
  13. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    I'd give the Missions a go - ideally they would be on stands rather than a cabinet.

    Three blobs of blu-tac per cabinet may help a little.
     
  14. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Progress!

    Went to RS and demoed the Yamaha amp..... liked it, bought it, too good a price not to.

    Listened to a Tannoy TFX 5.1 pack, the Sub really did a lot of work. RS chap also suggested I also tried the Mission's to start with, what have I got to lose. They are free. :)

    I wanted to buy a pair Cambridge Audio Minx for the rears, but the clearance ones at £30 each had all gone, so now considering my options what to do for the rears. :(

    So three hours work last night was take EVERYTHING off the stand, remove all the unwanted switch boxes and associated cabling. I then dismantled the stand and put back together with the shelves the other way around. So there should now be 25cm height, which would be enough for a smaller pair of bookshelf speakers if I so wish. I then had to reprogram the Harmony remote to remove the devices and bring in the AVR.

    All this upheaval did give me opportunity to clean and tidy everything behind the cabinet. I still need to get some cable tidies back there, but the result is so much cleaner and nicer. Much to the delight of my wife. \o/

    I haven't had much chance to listen to the result, that will continue this week. But i'm currently left in a 2.0 setup with those Mission's in place.

    [​IMG]

    So jobs moving forward.

    1. find some decent cheap rears like the Minx and run some better cabling.
    2. live with the Missions for a while, see how the a) bass and b) centre duties sound

    Number two could then lead to
    a) new book shelves to stand vertically to free up more shelf space for the Wii and other things
    b) get a sub is not enough bass (hopefully won't have to) and go small satellite L & R rather than bookshelf.
    c) get a centre if centre performance not upto it. (hopefully won't have to)

    Loved tinkering last night, its been a while. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2015
  15. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Word of warning, don't let kids near your gear.

    [​IMG]

    Owned these Mission 760i for what must be 20 years and have kept them in decent nick, both whilst in use and in storage.

    Been back on a shelf just 2 days and the 3 year old boy decides to poke the woofer with his finger. ***.

    So moving forward, any speaker solution needs grills. :)

    Thank god these were only £30 worth of antique kit and not something worth more.
     
  16. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Try using sticky tape to pull the dust cap back into shape, take care and it ought to remove the dent. 'Steady' the driver with two fingers of one hand whilst you gently'pull' the dent with the other.

    Kids are like moths to the flame with speaker drivers - luckily with a mid/bass driver it's unlikely to alter the sound enough that you would notice.

    Joe
     
  17. Zarch

    Zarch
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    So my Cambridge Audio Min11's arrived and i've tested them as follows:

    a) as surround speakers with Mission as L/R front. - love the effects, great, very happy.

    b) as main L/R speakers in 2.0 - sound very bare and lacking in bass, as to be expected I suppose?

    c) used one as a centre in the middle of my Missions - whilst I can just about make out the centre channel from main sitting position, I don't think there is enough separation (see main pic above) to warrant a centre speaker. 3 speakers crammed into less than 1 metre.

    So i've put the min11 back as surround for now.

    The next step I think........ Get a sub!

    Whilst the Missions kick out way more bass than the Min11 at the front, I think I could do with more.

    I think i'd like to try and pick up a BK Gemini II or something similar second hand. Any recommendations? Is the Cambridge Audio X200/X201 on par with the Gemini?

    Or is there another sub around the £150 second hand mark worth considering?

    Thanks.
     
  18. Zarch

    Zarch
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    Latest update.

    Managed to pick up 3 cambridge audio Min 11 for the front as well as a X200 sub. Which compliment the two Min 11 I picked up for the rears.

    The fronts have replaced the Mission 760. Wife is happier with the look.

    [​IMG]
     

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