Question Best speaker selection in tight space for small home cinema?

gpt

Active Member
Hi All!
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It's been a while since I've been on but as with most - the bug eventually starts to bite again and I'm back.

I originally started building my sound system 8 yrs ago in a different house with different space. This was the kef Q range. Since then I moved house and my dedicated room shrank to only 4m x 3m. It's now time to re decorate the room and the reality is that not only are the speakers physically too big for the room, but I'm guessing likely too big in what they are producing too (I'm wondering can I improve my surround experience with smaller speakers) - screen and seating is on the 4m walls so we are only ever 2.5m from screen

So soon I will be putting up for sale my kef Q900's, 600c and 300 for rears and I want something I can wall mount to replace them.

My budget for the front 3 is probably about £500 over the sale value of my speakers for the front 3 - I don't mind adding rears later if it will significantly improve my system. I probably watch movies 80% as opposed to music 20% these days. I won't be replacing my amp yet which is a marantz sr7011

I had a look through the forums and found plenty of small enough speakers - I just don't want to go overkill for my room size. I'm also now looking towards motorised screens if there have been any newer developments in this area!

Would love to hear some opinions :)


Thanks

Pete
 
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gpt

Active Member
Apologies mods - this was supposed to be In the "which speakers should I buy" section and being on my phone I can't see a delete option for the thread!
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Few popular compact sized wall mountable speakers: M&K Sound (MP7, MP950, MP150), XTZ M6 (not slim but sealed cabs), XTZ Spirit 6 (x3), ATC HTS serie.

At the other end more as lifestyle speakers with slim factor are Monitor Audio Radius 225,
KEF T-serie.

@richardsim7 has even smaller room than yours with XTZ M6s, couple 15" sealed subs and other goodies. This might give you some ideas. :)
 

gpt

Active Member
Few popular compact sized wall mountable speakers: M&K Sound (MP7, MP950, MP150), XTZ M6 (not slim but sealed cabs), XTZ Spirit 6 (x3), ATC HTS serie.

At the other end more as lifestyle speakers with slim factor are Monitor Audio Radius 225,
KEF T-serie.

@richardsim7 has even smaller room than yours with XTZ M6s, couple 15" sealed subs and other goodies. This might give you some ideas. :)


Thanks for the reply gasp - Any idea what sort of price vs performance were looking at with some of the models you mentioned and how they may compare to my current setup ie the Q900's? i know im going to be gutted if i take steps backwards

I had seen some of the models you had mentioned talked about particularly the mp150s as rears with s300s at the front. Also seen the xtz m6 and even kef tdm's so i am trying to do a little reading like i said with regards to proce vs performance - and if any would be overkill in a small room

I dont think the kef t series would be able to give me what im looking for although ive never heard them personally
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the reply gasp - Any idea what sort of price vs performance were looking at with some of the models you mentioned and how they may compare to my current setup ie the Q900's? i know im going to be gutted if i take steps backwards

I had seen some of the models you had mentioned talked about particularly the mp150s as rears with s300s at the front. Also seen the xtz m6 and even kef tdm's so i am trying to do a little reading like i said with regards to proce vs performance - and if any would be overkill in a small room

I dont think the kef t series would be able to give me what im looking for although ive never heard them personally

Not own experience, but @DodgeTheViper had Q900s and then he bought XTZ M6s at some point, maybe he can give you some idea how they compare. Some members here have upgraded from KEF R-serie to XTZ M6 aswell. They have quite different design to typical hifi speakers. See freq response. XTZ and M&K are meant to be used with subwoofer always.

XTZ Spirit serie was compared against new KEF Q serie in Hifi Choice magazine so should be direct competitor. Many members heard them at some demo day, positive feedback. Adjustable treble, waweguide design over tweeter, should have high power handling for cinema use (manual mentions it).
AVForums has reviewed the ATC HTS system and we should have few owners. No doubt they make great speakers.

For M&K speakers there is few dealers in UK which will give you demo! For XTZ you need to buy the speakers and you get 30day buy&try so you can decide after home demo. For ATC no idea, i assume there is demo option. KEF TDM looks ummm old haha, but i`ll bet they kick ass.

If you have specific questions for those brands, owners can help you best:


 

gpt

Active Member
Yeah I knew he had the q900's - guess who bought them off him 😂👍 the xtz m6's do look nice.
 

DodgeTheViper

Moderator
Yeah I knew he had the q900's - guess who bought them off him 😂👍 the xtz m6's do look nice.

I’m sure you’re very, very aware but they are totally different speakers. I guess it depends on your needs and wants.
 

Atomicus

Active Member
Slightly tricky this one. I'm in the process of converting my garage to a small home cinema... the room will be treated with sound insulation etc. There are certain limitations, but I'm hoping when all done it's going to offer a semi-decent space.

Anyway, my problem is due to the smaller space, I am quite uncertain what route to go with speakers.

From the diagram below, this is the space on the wall my screen will be going on. I can fit up to 110", but not sure if I should downsize to 100" just to give me that bit of extra space. Once all the plasterboard is up (this is represented by the bright blue on the image below), the room will only be 2.235m high by 2.49m wide. This does present an issue for the screen wall as it limits me to LCR bookshelf speakers given the lack of height under the screen (about 60cm... but I'd get closer to 70cm if I went with 100" screen). I'm aware these speakers will end up being quite low, but this shouldn't be too much of an issue as I plan on having bean bags, so the listening position should work out fine.

I already have a P12-300SB-DF subwoofer which will be going at the rear corner of the room (no room at front).

Budget for AVR and speakers is up to approx £2K, but obviously if I can come in less then all the better... and given the limitations of my space I don't want to spend money unnecessarily if I'm not going to get the full benefit. I do not consider myself an audiophile either. Use case will be movies, gaming and some music... so all rounder basically.

I'm not sure how best to mount the front speakers either... on-wall brackets, small stands or a shelf of some sort, but I am limited for depth, as there is a door entrance to the front left of the screen, so I can't have a big shelf sticking out or the door will end up hitting it. I have about 30cm to play with here. FYI, this also prevents any sort of in-wall speaker solution behind the screen. The way I see it, bookshelf speakers are my only option.
 

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Atomicus

Active Member
I'm considering going with KEF R100s for my front LR and rears, and an R2C for centre. This is my first foray into a home cinema set-up, but it's just within my budget (actually a bit over) and from what I've read will certainly be more than capable. If anyone has other suggestions though, I'm all ears! I have seen it suggested that instead of a dedicated centre, another R100 would actually perform very well, but I don't know if that's the case. It's certainly quite a saving vs a dedicated centre (my eye is on my ever increasing costs lol), but I don't know what compromise (if any) is being made here.

I'd also heard good things about the newer Q350s.

On the AVR front, I'm not clear what the best pairing would be? I was hoping to keep this circa the £500 mark if possible.

I already have a BK P12-300SB-DF sub.

I need to go with bookshelf speakers due to lack of space for floorstanders... my screen will take up the full width of the room.
 
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b1g1an

Well-known Member
Three R100s will work just fine, no downsides to putting the middle on its side with these either if it helps with positioning of aesthetics.

I tried it with three Q150s and was pleased with the results though ended up going with an R300/200C combo. Seem to have said this several times recently but you can always go for a second hand R200C if you don't mind waiting while for one with your name on, took me four months. Should be less than half the cost of the R2C and will give more presence to the centre channel and going without for bit isn't the hardship you might think. Will certainly get you back on budget :)
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
If the OP was planning a 3.1 set-up, I was going to suggest going for 2.1 instead, and one of these stereo AVR's:

 

gibbsy

Moderator
As mentioned above a lot depends on whether you are going to go for a maximum of 2.1 with Rambles' solution or with an eye on having a full surround in the hear future. KEFs are fairly neutral and will partner almost all makes of receivers available. Denon, Marantz, Sony, almost all will make a good job of driving them.

Within your budget by a £1 is the Denon AVR X3500 and that will make a good job with the R100s and with it's present price of £499 is something of a steal being almost half it's original price. I think it's one of those 'don't hang around prices' as Peter Tyson has had them at this price for a while now and stocks must be getting low. One thing to bear in mind is that you will be restricted to a 7.1 or 5.1.2 configuration with receivers in your price bracket including the X3500.

 

Atomicus

Active Member
As mentioned above a lot depends on whether you are going to go for a maximum of 2.1 with Rambles' solution or with an eye on having a full surround in the hear future. KEFs are fairly neutral and will partner almost all makes of receivers available. Denon, Marantz, Sony, almost all will make a good job of driving them.

Within your budget by a £1 is the Denon AVR X3500 and that will make a good job with the R100s and with it's present price of £499 is something of a steal being almost half it's original price. I think it's one of those 'don't hang around prices' as Peter Tyson has had them at this price for a while now and stocks must be getting low. One thing to bear in mind is that you will be restricted to a 7.1 or 5.1.2 configuration with receivers in your price bracket including the X3500.


Thanks. I was planning on 5.1, so x2 R100s at the rear also (unless something else is better suited), with the possibility of Atmos in the future, although this wouldn't be ceiling mounted.

My room isn't large, only 2.5m wide, by 4m long, and 2.3m high. I also have to put my sub at the rear due to no space at the front.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Your best solution is to stay with a maximum of 5.1.2 for which the X3500 would be perfect. If you are thinking in future of Atmos then the KEF upfiring modules which will be the new Q50a, new R8a (far too expensive) or source used R50s. All of those will sit perfectly on top of the front R100s and will do an excellent job if your ceiling meets the requirements for reflective Atmos.
 

Atomicus

Active Member
Your best solution is to stay with a maximum of 5.1.2 for which the X3500 would be perfect. If you are thinking in future of Atmos then the KEF upfiring modules which will be the new Q50a, new R8a (far too expensive) or source used R50s. All of those will sit perfectly on top of the front R100s and will do an excellent job if your ceiling meets the requirements for reflective Atmos.

Thanks... all in, it's within my budget (and I guess I can always sell the additional R100). Is there any real benefit in going with a dedicated centre though? Obviously that would add a significant chunk to the budget, but I've seen many people say how important the centre speaker is in any set-up.
 
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b1g1an

Well-known Member
From my experience, as I said above, the centre, thanks to the greater bass prowess, gives more weight to dialogue, more gravitas would be another way of putting it, same as the 300s do for the front pair. On the flip side, is often said the best lcr is three identical speakers so you get a totally seamless front stage. In isolation I think you'd be very happy with either.

Regarding the 3500, i have one too and it will be fine driving Rs at 5.1 but it's not up to 7 channels with such power hungry speakers, nothing some external application won't fix when the time comes though. You won't get anything better for anywhere near £500 so it's a no brainer.

Also, check with PT regarding stock of R100s sooner rather than later, they've put the 'check stock levels' badge on them and bumped the price £50 which are tell tale signs they're just about gone.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
If you're left and right are fairly close together, say under six feet, then you could run a pseudo centre where the stereo image will play the dialogue. KEFs are particularly good at this because they do have a wide dispersion from the UniQ design. That would give you initially a 2.1 followed by a 4.1 with surrounds in place.

A centre speaker will lock the dialogue to the screen and that dialogue may be unique to that speaker from a 5.1 soundtrack with the left and right picking up dialogue as characters move around the screen as well as the majority of front ambient sounds. Many people just use the front pair with a centre and it does work very well. It's up to you, more of a personal decision rather than a right or a wrong thing to do.

It's fair to say though that you could add a centre in the future as KEF speakers are very easy to integrate with other models in the range.
 

Atomicus

Active Member
From my experience, as I said above, the centre, thanks to the greater bass prowess, gives more weight to dialogue, more gravitas would be another way of putting it, same as the 300s do for the front pair. On the flip side, is often said the best lcr is three identical speakers so you get a totally seamless front stage. In isolation I think you'd be very happy with either.

Regarding the 3500, i have one too and it will be fine driving Rs at 5.1 but it's not up to 7 channels with such power hungry speakers, nothing some external application won't fix when the time comes though. You won't get anything better for anywhere near £500 so it's a no brainer.

So if I went with the 3500, adding Atmos (Q50A for example) with the R100s and my BK P12-300SB-DF sub wouldn't really be do-able? What would be the external application that would resolve that, and what would the cost be? Does it make more sense to spend a bit more on the AVR in the first place to give me that capability?
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Have we established whether you will be using the system for 2 channel music or not?

Also, how fixed is your budget?

The power differences between the AVR models of say the Denon 3x00, 4x00, 6x00 are not that big to justify the difference in prices between the models. You are really paying for the option to add extra speakers.

If you did want to listen to music, I would suggest a Marantz SR601x or SR701x as that would sound better for music, but pretty much identical to the Denon for movies / tv.

If you do want to add external amplification, you could use a lower cost AVR and add a 2 channel integrated amp for music, that would give you a more musical experience in 2 channel mode, and a bit of extra power in multi channel mode. But for that to be a good experience, and not overly fiddly, you would ideally want a stereo amp with an HT bypass function, to enable linking it with an AVR to be nice and straightforward. Then you would be looking at the £1000 region for a stereo integrated amplifier with HT bypass.

You could just add a power amp, if music is not too much of a concern, but again, they are not cheap, the starting price for a modest 2 channel consumer power amp is around £500.

I have a 'hack' for this, which is to use pro audio power amps, as they are massively better value. My current favourite model is the Behringer A800, just £150 brand new with 3 year warranty, for 2 x 220 watts into 8 ohms, it can be bridged into a 1 x 800 watt mono amp!


Add one of these and you can get it to power on and off automatically with the AVR, so you set it up once and then forget it:


Alternatively, if you up the budget to a more expensive AVR, you will get a much more satisfying 'one box solution' but you would be looking at the top of the range Denon 8500 / Marantz SR8012 to get much better components, power supplies, and a more solid performance.

The Arcam AVR's are currently being refreshed, which only happens about once every 5 years. They are very good for 2 channel music, and have huge solid toroidal power supplies that deliver a very steady powerful performance from their internal amps. They also come with Dirac room correction, which is highly rated. I have an Arcam AVR550 myself, it is not without it's foibles, but it does produce great sound and I am not planning on changing it anytime soon.

That model was £2700 not too long ago, and the replacement model, the AVR20 is £2999. The best price on the AVR550 at the moment is £1599 with full warranty from Sevenoaks clearance specials:

 

b1g1an

Well-known Member
So if I went with the 3500, adding Atmos (Q50A for example) with the R100s and my BK P12-300SB-DF sub wouldn't really be do-able? What would be the external application that would resolve that, and what would the cost be? Does it make more sense to spend a bit more on the AVR in the first place to give me that capability?

That should've said amplification! You could do it but the 3500 doesn't have enough quality power to drive them properly. I found in the big action scenes the sound became muddled, lost the clarity and sound stage the speakers can produce, still worked though. If you search on here I have discussed my experiences and those of others of adding a power amp. A two channel driving the front pair could be done for as little as £150, @Rambles will tell about behringer ones, and you can go up from there. The improvement in sound quality across the board with a power amp makes it a good upgrade regardless.

If you don't want to go more than 5.1.2 then the 3500 and a power amp will be your best and cheapest route. Power needs are the Catch22 with buying 'bargain' much higher quality, low sensitivity speakers which were originally a couple of tiers above your budget and AVRs just don't provide decent power for them until you are looking at ones that cost several thousand. The end result is well worth it though and you'll be happy for years to come.
 

DrH

Active Member
Deleted as posted in wrong thread
 
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gpt

Active Member
Well,

having weighed up the option, and given my room size and what i wanted to achieve (ie no big speakers or floor standers - I was all set to go for the M6's (i did want to consider the arendal thx s but they were still too deep) - Then of course last night i was still looking on the arendal site and found the dimensions of the new 1961 range - monitors 42.5H x 16.5W x 15.0D cm . Sounds perfect for what im looking for.

Do we think these are going to be the ones to wait for? better than the M6's?
 

Atomicus

Active Member
I'm good with decent beanbags... not the cheapo kind though, so will be something a bit more substantial. I was surprised to find there's quite a few good options out there nowadays.

There's just no way I can fit floor standers in, unless I come wayyyy down on screen size, at which point I'm in TV size territory. I've already got a 65" TV in another room, sat a similar distance away, so I know for sure I want to go bigger.

Hadn't seen the MA Apex speakers. I'd be rounding in on KEF R100s... seems the Apex are quite a bit more expensive, but not quite sure how they'd compare.
 

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