Choosing speakers for my living room - help needed

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Hello again, yesterday I had my first demo in a store in Slovenia. I wasn’t able to test all of the speakers I wanted, but still I got a pretty good impression. Demo room was similarly sized as my living room. The store didn’t have the receiver I want to buy (Yamaha RX-V6A), instead we used Marantz NR1710. I wanted to try Focal Chora’s 806, KEF Q350 and Q Acoustics 3030i. At the end I didn’t try the KEFs, because they were brand new and the seller said I won’t get the correct impression, because their haven’t been tuned in yet.

So... First I tried Focal Chora 806 and I must say, I was really impressed with the details they provided. Listening to Beyonce’s Pray You Catch Me made me feel as if she is singing in front of us. In Armin van Buuren’s Mirage I heard the details in violins I’ve never heard before. It was like I was able to hear the sound of strings so clear and detailed, I was really impressed. But what I missed was a bit of bass and because of that the seller told me I‘d maybe like 3030is better for that. Yes, the bass was heavier and punchier with those Q Acoustics, but other sounds weren’t nearly as clear and detailed as with Choras. Violin sounded the same as I was used to, there weren’t those “violin string pulling and sliding” details anymore. Then I tried Choras 826 (floorstanding speakers) and their bass was punchier than in 806, while the details remained more or less the same. I’m thinking I’d get better end result to pair 806 with dedicated subwoofer, like we talked before. What do you think? Because the price would be pretty similar... Pair of 826s or pair of 806s with SVS SB1000 (pro)...

Subwoofer of course as you watch movies/shows too. I think the app allows you to set two settings one for movies and other for music if i´m correct. I would have listened the Q350 even if they were brand new, it´s not like they would have changed so much after "break in-period". If you can visit the shop again i would compare the Focals and Kef still. I don`t think QA can compete with either of these being also cheaper. Of course if there is other shops near you to visit with some other brands/models in your list then go there.. But yeah SB1000 Pro with 806 looks like your best bet at this point. You could play little bit how far the speakers are from front wall, moving them closer can boost the bass, but may also affect other areas then. If they were positioned further away from walls the amount you may not be possible to keep at home then push them in and listen.
 

vamosborc

Standard Member
Thanks, will try to test more of them out. I started to complicate my life by adding another option to my list: KEF LS50 Meta. It’s in similar price point as Chora 826 or 806 with a sub and the people are saying a lot of good stuff about them. From what I found out they might have better bass than 826 with high level of details in mid and high range while keeping a neutral aspect to the overral sound... But I don’t know, most probably I’d still get better overall sound from 806 with a sub... The other thing I’m afraid with LS50s are that Yamaha RX-V6A wouldn’t be enough to really get the most out of these speakers.
 

password1

Distinguished Member
Assuming you want 5.1, then at the price of 5 ls50 meta speakers and a sub there is a lot of great choices.
 

GrazzaB

Well-known Member
The Kef Q350 are a really really decent pair of speakers, and if you are going for a sub you could also consider the cheaper Q150s. I see quite a lot of Monitor Audio silvers coming down in price with open box units from dealers so I think they might be due a refresh soon. If so you’ll be able to get even better deals on the current models.
 

vamosborc

Standard Member
Assuming you want 5.1, then at the price of 5 ls50 meta speakers and a sub there is a lot of great choices.
At the moment I’m looking for 2.0 for starters, then adding a sub if I’ll have the need to enhance the bass in my small living room.

The Kef Q350 are a really really decent pair of speakers, and if you are going for a sub you could also consider the cheaper Q150s. I see quite a lot of Monitor Audio silvers coming down in price with open box units from dealers so I think they might be due a refresh soon. If so you’ll be able to get even better deals on the current models.
The dealer described the Q350s somehow in the middle between 3030i and Chora 806, with a little less bass than 3030i but with finer details, while the 806s have even more clarity then Q350s, but lacking some bass. Yes, I need to consider Monitor Audio Silvers too, both 50s and 100s. My upper budget limit being 2k (receiver and sub if needed included) I can squeeze those into it too.
 

password1

Distinguished Member
A stereo amp will outperform any surround amp at the same price point.

You should consider a stereo avr or amp with HT bypass. If in the future you decide to go 5.1 you can keep the stereo amp and add an avr.

There's no point buying 5 or 7 channels of amplification if you only intend to have a stereo set up.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
A stereo amp will outperform any surround amp at the same price point.

You should consider a stereo avr or amp with HT bypass. If in the future you decide to go 5.1 you can keep the stereo amp and add an avr.

There's no point buying 5 or 7 channels of amplification if you only intend to have a stereo set up.
1000% agree with @password1 here.

I use an Audiolab 6000A (which has HT Bypass) paired with a set of Monitor Audio Silver 100's, for all my stereo music sources. The 6000a also acts as a power amp, when the same 100's are used as the left & right fronts in my 5.2.4 Cinema setup. All processing in cinema mode is done by a Denon x4500h.

It's a really simple setup process and the Audiolab is far superior for.music than the Denon is/was.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
There's no point buying 5 or 7 channels of amplification if you only intend to have a stereo set up.

That is not the case with Vamos. He is doing both and dreams of more immersive experience so the stereo amp is waste of money and limits him. He also needs the streaming features. Yamaha has preout if one fancies to add other amp later so RX-V6A is good choice to start build up the system slowly.
 

password1

Distinguished Member
That is why i mentioned a stereo avr or amp.. there are stereo amps and stereo receivers with streaming capability.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Still anemic choice if movies are important. He clearly wants to add more speakers later so the av-receiver is the way to go.
 

vamosborc

Standard Member
For the last couple of days I've been researching my options. At the beginning I was intrigued by towers too, especially after testing out the Chora 826. I really liked the somewhat beefier sound comparing to 806, but reading all your comments made me realize that most probably the better option for me, as said, would be bookshelf speakers with subwoofer. I won't be able to test all of my options, but based on my research and knowing what I like, most probably I'll choose between Focal Chora 806 and KEF Q350. I really liked the wide soundstage of Chora and based on the reviews KEfs have a great one too. It's like if you close your eyes, the sound comes over you and you have a feeling of the speakers kind of just melting away. Now to the question, it's really a beginner's question from me, but I couldn't find a good answer anywhere and you really helped me through my process to this point. I'm worried that adding a subwoofer to the 2.0 system would kind of ruin this feeling of a sound coming over you and the feeling of dissapearing speakers won't be there anymore, because the low frequency sounds would come from another place in the room then other, let's say main sounds from main speakers. I know there are tutorials of where to place subwoofers for optimal performance, subwoofer crawl etc... But basically, I have only two places in my living room, where the woofer can stand, and that is on the right side of the couch (I think bad choice, because that would be far from front speakers) and the other more logical choice would be on the left side of the front speaker (where that small table is near the TV). I hope I was clear with explaining my concerns. Are they something to really worry about or am I over-analyzing everything now?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
For the last couple of days I've been researching my options. At the beginning I was intrigued by towers too, especially after testing out the Chora 826. I really liked the somewhat beefier sound comparing to 806, but reading all your comments made me realize that most probably the better option for me, as said, would be bookshelf speakers with subwoofer. I won't be able to test all of my options, but based on my research and knowing what I like, most probably I'll choose between Focal Chora 806 and KEF Q350. I really liked the wide soundstage of Chora and based on the reviews KEfs have a great one too. It's like if you close your eyes, the sound comes over you and you have a feeling of the speakers kind of just melting away. Now to the question, it's really a beginner's question from me, but I couldn't find a good answer anywhere and you really helped me through my process to this point. I'm worried that adding a subwoofer to the 2.0 system would kind of ruin this feeling of a sound coming over you and the feeling of dissapearing speakers won't be there anymore, because the low frequency sounds would come from another place in the room then other, let's say main sounds from main speakers. I know there are tutorials of where to place subwoofers for optimal performance, subwoofer crawl etc... But basically, I have only two places in my living room, where the woofer can stand, and that is on the right side of the couch (I think bad choice, because that would be far from front speakers) and the other more logical choice would be on the left side of the front speaker (where that small table is near the TV). I hope I was clear with explaining my concerns. Are they something to really worry about or am I over-analyzing everything now?

The left side at front is likely better at least for not localizing as easily. The SVS app has movie, music, custom presets so you can have different type of settings for each use. :) It will take some time to tweak so the sub kinda disappears more with music listening as it ruins it if you can hear it as own source.

When you have time watch this clip so you know what to do when you get the sub and you probably get more hyped to get it sooner! :laugh:


So when you can go to listen the Q350? Doesn`t matter if it´s out from box new just listen them are they for you. Ask the dealer to put the Focals side of those Kefs and they usually use banana plugs so the dealer guy will swap the cables fast. Q350 is likely to have stronger bass but the quality of it has been commented often. So if it sounds bit boomy or bloated then ask the guy to put the half or full bungs in as many owners use those with the Kefs and swears they sound better.
 

vamosborc

Standard Member
Wow, thanks for that advice and link, I’ll thoroughly check it out. So I’m guess with tweaking the settings you can make the sub almost dissapear too? I’m going on Tuesday, can’t wait haha! Yeah, I heard about those bungs, will keep the attention to that too when testing.
 

vamosborc

Standard Member
So, like I said, based on my extended research I narrowed my choices down to two speakers: Focal Chora 806 and KEF Q350. Last week I went to the store/testing room again and tried both speakers with multiple different genres of music using the same amp (I wasn’t able to test them using Yamaha RX-V6A, because the store didn’t have it). Here are my thoughts. Both speakers have really wide soundstage, it would be really hard to say which one is better in that category. Well, that is one of the reasons those two were my main favourites for buying since I’ll be using them for movie watching too. I think mids and treble are a little better in KEFs, they are more full sounding, comparing them to Choras. Moving on to bass. KEFs certainly go deeper in my opinion, but the roll off is better in Choras, so it’s split in that category I guess. Where I really felt the difference was in the highs, which sounded more detailed, more forward and open in Choras. That made me feel like overall listening experience felt a bit more detailed and at the same time not tiring at all (I don’t know how that will be in the long run), which I really enjoyed. The other important factor that shifted my choice to the Choras are front facing ports, which I think are pretty crucial in my situation, where I don’t have a lot of open space in my living room and speakers will stand pretty much in the corner. So I pulled the trigger, ordered a pair of dark wood Focal Chora 806, two Chora stands and Yamaha RX-V6A. Everything arrived today, so I’m feeling excited as hell! Thanks again to everyone for helping me out!
 

vamosborc

Standard Member
After using the speakers for about a month now, I have to say, I’m more than satisfied. At the moment I’ll keep that 2.0 setup for a while, then maybe upgrade it with the sub first, but in that small room I must say I’m not exactly missing anything right now. I have a feeling even the bass in Choras became stronger and more accurate after using them for a while. Anyway, if I’ll want to add the sub, I’ll need to get rid of the big closet on the side, because at the moment I don’t have the space to place the sub correctly :D
In the attachment are the pics of my current set up. I love it, thanks again for all the help! If anyone has any questions about Focal Chora 806 or Yamaha RX-V6A, feel free to ask, I’ll do my best to answer them.
 

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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
After using the speakers for about a month now, I have to say, I’m more than satisfied. At the moment I’ll keep that 2.0 setup for a while, then maybe upgrade it with the sub first, but in that small room I must say I’m not exactly missing anything right now. I have a feeling even the bass in Choras became stronger and more accurate after using them for a while. Anyway, if I’ll want to add the sub, I’ll need to get rid of the big closet on the side, because at the moment I don’t have the space to place the sub correctly :D
In the attachment are the pics of my current set up. I love it, thanks again for all the help! If anyone has any questions about Focal Chora 806 or Yamaha RX-V6A, feel free to ask, I’ll do my best to answer them.

Of course you add the sub for movies. There is big ranges the speakers can`t produce. They might feel strong at certain range, but subwoofer will be required for full experience. If you aren`t in rush you could always save up for Arendal 1961 1S which is narrow with right side firing driver, although you are quite tight in space there so SB1000 Pro is likely still most ideal candidate.

PS. The speakers look fantastic! But they are Focals so no suprises there.
 
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vamosborc

Standard Member
Thanks, I think they look fantastic too! Yeah, I bet you are right. I need to think of the way of somehow squeezing the sub (most probably SB1000 Pro) somewhere without sacrificing too much sound. And if possible, without removing the furniture.

And those Arendals look amazing too. I wonder how they sound compared to SB1000 Pro. Because the price is pretty similar from what I’m seeing. Arendal 1961 1S is 800 euros, while SB1000 Pro in gloss finish is 700. You can find a deal for 600 euros, but only for black wood color, which I think looks the least attractive…
 
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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thanks, I think they look fantastic too! Yeah, I bet you are right. I need to think of the way of somehow squeezing the sub (most probably SB1000 Pro) somewhere without sacrificing too much sound. And if possible, without removing the furniture.

And those Arendals look amazing too. I wonder how they sound compared to SB1000 Pro. Because the price is pretty similar from what I’m seeing. Arendal 1961 1S is 800 euros, while SB1000 Pro in gloss finish is 700. You can find a deal for 600 euros, but only for black wood color, which I think looks the least attractive…

Arendal 1961 1S over the small SB1000 Pro without doubt if you can fit one and can afford it! :) It`s comparable to SB2000 Pro (900£).
 

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