Question Best setup for music/netflix streaming in living room on a £200 budget

Discussion in 'What Speakers Should I Buy?' started by tomuk1700, Jun 23, 2015.

  1. tomuk1700

    tomuk1700
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    I'm moving into a house with 4 housemates and we're looking for the best speaker setup for the living room which is roughly 100 square feet. Primary use will be for playing music, secondary use for watching films streamed on netflix though a laptop. We're all students and none of us are audiophiles by any means, the only real requirement is for it to provide a punchy low end at high volume without causing too much distortion and to be loud enough as to still be heard clearly in a noisy room. We're on a budget of £200 strictly speaking but we could probably stretch to £225 if its justified. I've looked at various low end active PA speakers, towers and studio monitors as well as PC speakers and passive equipment paired with receivers/amplifiers, and from what I've seen the setup that's taken my fancy so far is the Logitech z906.

    On the plus side the hub allows for 6 inputs to be connected at once and the remote is a nice touch, also the satellites and sub seem to be more than powerful enough, although I've read a lot of people claiming there are various setups which provide way better quality and are around the same price point. Interestingly these people never seem to provide alternatives so I'm hoping you people on here can help me out.

    P.S - Surround sound isn't a big deal for us I've just figured its the most efficient way to fill the room.
    - Another thing to note is that we will most likely sell the speaker setup after 1-2 years so upgradability isn't a feature we're interested in
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015
  2. PSM1

    PSM1
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  3. dogfonos

    dogfonos
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    There are very many amp/speaker setups that would comfortably outperform the Logitech system you mention at a similar price. Thing is, this isn't just about ultimate audio quality, is it? It's about choosing the best set of compromises for you in your current situation. And with a £225 max budget, there will need to be significant compromises.

    I can see the appeal of the Logitech. It's main compromise seems to be audio quality but it offers a lot of kit for the money, high power, many inputs and a remote. If all these facilities/features are important to you, then it's a sensible choice.

    If, however, you lean more towards good audio quality then the system suggested by PSM1 in post#2 would do a much nicer job. The amp still has multiple inputs (I think) and while it's not as powerful, it only has to fill a 3m x 3m room by the look of it so should be fine for quite high volumes in that space.

    A different set of compromises with the emphasis very strongly on audio quality, power and bass extension would be this pair of well-regarded studio monitors:

    http://www.thomann.de/gb/m_audio_bx8_d2_b_stock_2.htm

    Thomann also sell a brand new pair for a little more. These are probably a discontinued (or soon to be discontinued) product as M-Audio have released a new range that effectively replaces this speaker.

    Nowhere near as ergonomically convenient as either the Logitech or Cambridge/Monitor Audio system and the lack of grills could be an issue in shared student accommodation but the sound quality, IMO, would be far superior. A cheap analogue switchbox could be added to allow more inputs:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Audio-Input-Control-Manual-Cinch/dp/B001PIBLX6/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t
    or
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/B-Tech-BT31...8&qid=1435447671&sr=1-6&keywords=audio+switch

    Note: these switch boxes have no volume control so volume would need to be controlled at source as it's rarely practicable to regularly use the volume controls on the back of each speaker.

    I think a PA setup would be overkill for a small room. Normally, I would suggest a smaller speaker than the M-Audio BX8 in a room that size but you say that bass potency and high volume are important considerations for you and there's no way the other systems mentioned here would trump the BX8's on those fronts.
     
  4. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    These aren't great speakers, but they are big and they are loud -

    Superfi - Tibo Edge 200 Speakers (Pair)

    Superfi - Tibo Edge 500 Floor Standing Speakers (Pair)

    Then an Amp, equally, not the highest quality but a brand name and pretty big power (100w/ch) -

    Superfi - Yamaha AS201 Amplifier

    That is, worst case, $150 + $140 = $290. Yes, you can spend less, but you will get less.

    Now just one detail needs to be resolved, we need to know what outputs are available on your TV.

    The Options are -

    1.) A Headphone Output- This is the simplest lowest cost solution.

    2.) RCA Analog (meaning not digital) Audio Out.- These can be Fixed or Variable, depending on the TV. A Fixed output would require an amp with a remote Volume Control.

    3.) Optical (most common) or Coaxial Digital Audio Outputs. These require a DAC (digital to analog converter). It also requires the amp to have its own remote volume control.


    Typically DAC Cost about £150 or more, but you can get a very basic DAC for less.

    Here is a very basic DAC for about £48 -

    Superfi - CYP AUD3 Digital To Analogue Converter

    TOTAL = £150 + £140 + £50 = £340

    Yes, that is over budget, but as I pointed out, if you spend a little less, you will get substantially less.

    In a decent bookshelf speakers at a low price, these are often recommended, a better speaker, but smaller (£125/pr).

    Superfi - Tannoy Mercury V1i Speakers (Pair)

    You will have a hard time adding a Subwoofer of any substance, for less than £100 -

    Superfi - Yamaha YSTFSW100 Subwoofer

    In fact, here is an exceptional deal on Bookshelf Speaker with a Sub, but it eats most of your budget (£229/set) -

    Superfi - Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 Speakers & SW150 Subwoofer 2.1 Speaker Package

    Add that to the Yamaha AS201 Amp, and the price rises to £360.

    If you want to go real minimal then -

    $135/ea = Denon PMA-520AE, 45w/ch

    Superfi - Denon PMA520AE Amplifier

    £99/pr = Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 (5") bookshelf speakers

    Superfi - Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 Speakers (Pair)

    But you would still need the DAC, assuming you actually need one. If your TV has Headphone Out or Analog Audio Out, that will save you about £50.

    Though more money, here is an Receiver that comes with Streaming and a Built-in DAC. It is basically the AS201 with Streaming and DAC added (£219) -

    Superfi - Yamaha RN301 Networked Receiver

    If you and your friends have a lot of digital music, the streaming aspect can be real handy.

    However, you can add Streaming from you Smart Phone or Smart Pad/Tablet for as little as £50 for a good Bluetooth Streamer, though I suspect you can pay less.

    Superfi - QED Live uPlay Wireless Bluetooth Audio Receiver

    I know money doesn't grow on trees, especially for a student, but what you describe as expecting from the system is not consistent with your budget.

    The systems here would sound OK. How OK, depends on which one you pick.

    If I were going to pick a quality system, though admittedly way over your budget, this is what I would pick -

    Yamaha AS301, 60w/ch Amp with DAC (£229) -

    Superfi - Yamaha AS301 Amplifier with DAC

    Wharfedale Diamond 122, 6.5" Bookshelf, 40hz (£159/pr to £179/pr) -


    Wharfedale Diamond 122 - Google Search

    Bigger speakers with deeper bass, a powerful amp with built in DAC. That's £390 best case.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2015
  5. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    The real thing that needs to be resolved now is what Outputs are available on your TV. That will determine what Options are possible.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  6. PSM1

    PSM1
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    I would say the Cambridge audio amp would be at least as powerful as the Logitech. The power rating on the Logitech is hugely overstated.
     

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