Complete newbie with a lot of questions!

Derek Trotter

Standard Member
EDITED: New post by me from today (August 5th) has all updated needs/ideas!



Hi all,

I’m new to these parts, and a complete newbie when it comes to a home cinema set up so I’m looking for some suggestions and advice. I’ve recently bought a new house and will be moving in within the next few months. I currently have a cheap soundbar and I want to get a decent audio set up for the sitting room.

I’m not sure if this is the correct forum for this query, so mods please feel free to move it to the correct section if needed!

I want to move away from the soundbar set up, and go for separates. I’m looking for a 5.1 surround sound set up for home cinema, that will also double up as a sound system with a CD player and turntable attached. The CD player and turntable will probably come later in the year, but I want the 5.1 set up for when I move in with the ability to add to it later in the year.

My current budget is £1300/€1500 (ish!). I have spent hours and hours reading up on set ups, and I’m getting more and more confused as to what to buy, so thought I’d ask the experts!

To give you an idea of the room, I have attached a rough diagram I did in paint. The room is 4.2m X 3.7m. The TV, amp and front speakers will be on one of the longer walls with the couch opposite it. On the diagram:
  • Blue is the couch and arm chair
  • Green is the TV unit
  • Red will be the speakers
  • Purple will be the subwoofer

The only piece of the puzzle that I am decided on is the amp, which will be the Denon AVR-X2700H. After that, I’m confused at what to go for. I like the look of bookshelf speakers and was considering the following:
  • Q Acoustics Q3010i for front and rear, with the Q3090Ci centre speaker and 3060S sub. Richersounds are doing a decent looking deal here at the moment
  • Fyne Audio F300 for front and rear, with F300C centre speaker and F3-8 subwoofer. This doesn’t come as package and is obviously a bit more than the Q Acoustic set up, does the difference in price give an equal difference in performance?
  • The third option would be similar to option 2 above, but with smaller and more discreet rear speakers (which would probably go down better with my better half also!)

For the rear speakers, I will also need two stands, and those stands will need to be tall enough to not be blocked by the couch.

Can anybody recommend some speakers and stands to go with the Denon 2700 based on all of the above?

As mentioned, the 5.1 is the main thing I want sorted before I move in, but later in the year, I would hope to add a CD player and turntable to this set up:
  • CD player: Denon DCD600NE
  • Turntable: Project Primary E (this will be my first ever time dipping my toe into vinyl, so I don’t need to go top of the range for this)

Any ideas, suggestions, criticisms, tips, etc. on any of the above will be gratefully received!

Thanks
 

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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
QA 3000i is the usual go to with low budget, but you should swap the front mains to 3020i and consider smaller surround channels most likely as those are quite deep so not sure what your Mrs. will say when they close to couch.

Can you mount surround speakers on rear wall higher up about 1-2feet from seated ear height? Monitor Audio has low depth option (Bronze FX) which is not that much more over QA 3010i package. You wouldn´t require stands then for "rears". My money would be on this Bronze package with larger center channel and mains plus better subwoofer over 3060S. You can show the PT bundle for RS so they would price match. You would be fine with the Bronze 50 mains over the larger 100 in the 2nd link. I hope you can give them a listen at RS at least! Third link has each model for closer look with dimensions and finishes.




Most folks would want to swap the subwoofer to better performing one, but your budget is bit too tight.
 

Derek Trotter

Standard Member
Thanks for the help so far Gasp. I will have a look at those links.

To answer your question, and something I should have mentioned in my original post, is that mounting speakers isn't going to be an option. It's a new build, and we can't make any changes at all, so if we mounted speakers there would be no way to hide cables. Having the rears on the stands will be a much neater option for us for the moment.

With that in mind, the size of the rears and stands which will be needed has to be factored into this also. Smaller rears would be the ideal scenario
 

.Griff.

Active Member
I like the look of bookshelf speakers and was considering the following:
  • Q Acoustics Q3010i for front and rear, with the Q3090Ci centre speaker and 3060S sub. Richersounds are doing a decent looking deal here at the moment
  • Fyne Audio F300 for front and rear, with F300C centre speaker and F3-8 subwoofer. This doesn’t come as package and is obviously a bit more than the Q Acoustic set up, does the difference in price give an equal difference in performance?
  • The third option would be similar to option 2 above, but with smaller and more discreet rear speakers (which would probably go down better with my better half also!)

For the rear speakers, I will also need two stands, and those stands will need to be tall enough to not be blocked by the couch.

Can anybody recommend some speakers and stands to go with the Denon 2700 based on all of the above?

Any ideas, suggestions, criticisms, tips, etc. on any of the above will be gratefully received!

Thanks

I'm far from an AV expert but I do have a very similar setup albeit I'm running Q3020i's at the front and Q3010i's at the rear. My centre is the same as you're contemplating, Q3090Ci.

Regarding stands for my rears I went with these which the Q3010i's sit on perfectly and are just the right height to clear our sofa - Amazon product
 

Derek Trotter

Standard Member
I've just looked up the couch that we've ordered, and it is 98cm high, so I'll need to take that into consideration when ordering stands. I'd also like if the speakers had some way of hiding the cables
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I've just looked up the couch that we've ordered, and it is 98cm high, so I'll need to take that into consideration when ordering stands. I'd also like if the speakers had some way of hiding the cables

So tall. Most stands are about 900mm max.

These available as matte,gloss black/white.

Usually people hide the wires with white trunking which could be done either pulling them straight down from speakers or up high near ceiling line and then toward corners and down so it wouldn´t be seen much. You could mount them fairly high (FX speakers) if you don`t go with Atmos route so the trunking wouldn´t be seen too much.


These are slightly larger model i linked but similar to give idea how they look high up on rear wall, without grilles though.

img_2646-jpg.852552


g893B6GFXH-B.jpg


I understand if it´s too much hassle. Those would only require two screws on wall per speaker though so very easy to mount and speaker has 124mm depth.


The stands for the small satellites are about 90cm tall too.

The speakers are very tiny and probably what your wife would want. Also very cheap which would lower the price of the bundle deal if you swap FXs to these.

If you find the white trunking to be effective enough for hiding wires you could then mount the Mass on wall with these higher up and aim them down.


For Q Acoustics there is the 7000i pair as "rears". Their own stands are ~700mm tall so won`t work. The table stand turns over as wall bracket.
 

Derek Trotter

Standard Member
Thanks for your help so far lads.

I'm still absolutely confused as to what speakers and stands to get! However, I feel like I'm starting to get somewhere with everything. I am happy with my choice of amp, and I chose the tv unit yesterday. I'm pretty happy with the choice of CD player and turntable, but they aren't really worries right now as I'll probably need to leave it a few months before ordering them.

While I'd like to wall mount the rear speakers, it's not the way to go for the moment unfortunately. Which means stands are needed, and tall stands at that. I had originally looked at the Denon 2700 with the Monitor Audio Mass II 5.1 bundle from Richersounds. I do like the look and performance of the normal sized book shelf speakers, at least for the front two and centre speakers. I am completely open to the size of the rear speakers, but something small like the MA Mass speakers or QA 7000i pair would probably look a little better in the room as it's not a particularly big room. However, that's not a deal breaker. I suppose the deal breaker on the rear speakers is the stands and if going for small speakers like those above would be a big downgrade on some of the speakers I'd already looked at (QA 3010i for example)
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thanks for your help so far lads.

I'm still absolutely confused as to what speakers and stands to get! However, I feel like I'm starting to get somewhere with everything. I am happy with my choice of amp, and I chose the tv unit yesterday. I'm pretty happy with the choice of CD player and turntable, but they aren't really worries right now as I'll probably need to leave it a few months before ordering them.

While I'd like to wall mount the rear speakers, it's not the way to go for the moment unfortunately. Which means stands are needed, and tall stands at that. I had originally looked at the Denon 2700 with the Monitor Audio Mass II 5.1 bundle from Richersounds. I do like the look and performance of the normal sized book shelf speakers, at least for the front two and centre speakers. I am completely open to the size of the rear speakers, but something small like the MA Mass speakers or QA 7000i pair would probably look a little better in the room as it's not a particularly big room. However, that's not a deal breaker. I suppose the deal breaker on the rear speakers is the stands and if going for small speakers like those above would be a big downgrade on some of the speakers I'd already looked at (QA 3010i for example)

I think you should go listen the Bronze 50 and QA 3020i front mains to get some idea how they sound and which you prefer. If the RS dealer would put their matching centers for the demo then even better! I have owned both but older versions and different sized models, however as i mentioned the Bronze range has larger center channel which covers most stuff with movies and also has better subwoofer so for me it would be easy choice knowing the Bronzes are class leaders. But you would need to ask does RS IE price match to Peter Tyson the link i posted and then will they swap the surround channels something smaller.

The surrounds i would say the little Mass are bit more compromise cause they are so darn small that the sound is noticeably more thinner. But that is for the effect channels only and if your wife requires something small then you have to go that route. I believe the QA 7000i is little better as they are good bit larger, but the QA stands are not tall enough and they come with table stands so you would need to find tall stands with small top plate to put them there. Also CA Minx Min 12/22 models could be used as effect channels.



The biggest problem is still finding some over meter tall stands. If this feels too much hassle then start with 3.1 system and later figure out the effect channels.
 

Derek Trotter

Standard Member
I'm hoping to be allowed into the house in the next week for a look at the current state of it, and should have a better feel for the sitting room then. I've changed my mind again, but I'm thinking with the size of the room, we may have to go for something small on the wall above the couch, like the Monitor Audio Mass satellite speakers....this will probably be a more girlfriend friendly option too :)
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I'm hoping to be allowed into the house in the next week for a look at the current state of it, and should have a better feel for the sitting room then. I've changed my mind again, but I'm thinking with the size of the room, we may have to go for something small on the wall above the couch, like the Monitor Audio Mass satellite speakers....this will probably be a more girlfriend friendly option too :)

Sure. But stick with the plan of buying something better for LCR. Hope you can give the Bronzes and QAs a listen at some local store.
 

Derek Trotter

Standard Member
Digging up this thread again, as it's almost time to buy my new toy! So after living in the house for a while, we have more of a feel for what we want, and the budget has also changed a bit. Currently looking at spending up to £1700/€2000

Amp: Denon 2700

CD player: Denon DCD600NE. There is also the option of leaving this out for the moment and spending the extra money on speakers/sub

Sub: Currently leaning towards Bowers & Wilkins ASW608. There is a space of approximately 35cm wide beside the tv unit where this would fit perfectly, and the reviews seem excellent

Front speakers: There is only 28cm between the edge of the tv and the edge of the tv unit (on both sides) so I'm conscious of not getting a speaker that is too wide. Current ideas are the Q Acoustics 3020i or Monitor Audio Bronze 50

Centre speaker: This would obviously depend on the front speakers I choose, but it's either the Q Acoustics 3090Ci or the Monitor Audio Bronze C150

Rear speakers: As the room isn't very big, and we are looking to keep that side of the room looking tidy, we've decided small satellite speakers (in white to blend in a bit!) are the best way to go. These will be wall mounted. Current front runner are Monitor Audio Mass satellite speakers

Any thoughts/opinions/criticisms to the above?! Or even suggestions for things to change out? I am hoping to travel from Dublin to Belfast in the next couple of weeks to try demo what I decide on, and then hopefully pick everything up when I'm there
 
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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Digging up this thread again, as it's almost time to buy my new toy! So after living in the house for a while, we have more of a feel for what we want, and the budget has also changed a bit. Currently looking at spending up to £1700/€2000

Amp: Denon 2700

CD player: Denon DCD600NE. There is also the option of leaving this out for the moment and spending the extra money on speakers/sub

Sub: Currently leaning towards Bowers & Wilkins ASW608. There is a space of approximately 35cm wide beside the tv unit where this would fit perfectly, and the reviews seem excellent

Front speakers: There is only 28cm between the edge of the tv and the edge of the tv unit (on both sides) so I'm conscious of not getting a speaker that is too wide. Current ideas are the Q Acoustics 3020i or Monitor Audio Bronze 50

Centre speaker: This would obviously depend on the front speakers I choose, but it's either the Q Acoustics 3090Ci or the Monitor Audio Bronze C150

Rear speakers: As the room isn't very big, and we are looking to keep that side of the room looking tidy, we've decided small satellite speakers (in white to blend in a bit!) are the best way to go. These will be wall mounted. Current front runner are Monitor Audio Mass satellite speakers

Any thoughts/opinions/criticisms to the above?! Or even suggestions for things to change out? I am hoping to travel from Dublin to Belfast in the next couple of weeks to try demo what I decide on, and then hopefully pick everything up when I'm there

Make sure you call them before you go and book 30-60min demo time so you can listen both brands. I assume you will go to Richer Sounds Belfast then so just say you want to hear these models if they have em in stock.

You are kinda buying wrong time as we should see new Denon models shortly, probably November at latest if everything goes normally. That means discount for X2700H and of course we don´t know yet what the X2800H will have new.

If you decide to go forward now then ask bundle deal including receiver and speakers. I counted 1158£ without stands / wall brackets for the X2700H + MA speakers (5.0) you listed, however this is without discount which you will get the more you spend! Hopefully your av-unit has decent height if you going to place the speakers on it. If possible wall mount your tv if there is no option to raise the tv (feet) otherwise so you don`t put the center channel inside the av-unit shooting your knees.

To add one option with the Bronzes and 3000i serie it would be Dali Oberon 1 and Vokal, slightly more expensive, but these are list prices so you always get discount. Personally i would ask to listen Bronze 50, 3020i and Oberon 1 if you call to RS and book the demo time. It`s very unlikely that they have the center channels for demo. Oh and also they usually ask which receiver you want to use in the demo so say X2700H so it will be then similar to home situation!



The B&W sub is rather small (8" driver) and overpriced. Not really what you want for theater system. I also remember some amp failures with these ASW subs. There is only 2year warranty (SVS has 5years). Do not go cheap with sub or you regret it later and then it will become expensive to swap it as it´s often the first upgrade folks do cause it can change your system as whole so dramatically! You clearly have the budget now for something better, but also to keep the cabinet compact sized and you have the left corner to place it i assume. With your budget and the size requirements SVS SB1000 Pro would be very much spot on for the ~15sqm room! Forum advertisers gives -10% discount for SVS subwoofers so make sure you mention that when you visit RS. If they can´t price match it then only buy speakers and receiver from there. 550-575£ has been possible for this model.



Another narrow (28,3cm) more affordable alternative would be BK Double Gem made in UK and you would order it straight from them UK, Essex. But it`s deeper and taller. See attachment of the Double in room.

Even the compact BK XLS200 would be better than the B&W, however i would spent bit more to get the SVS if possible as it`s so darn compact, smallest sealed sub in the market with 12" driver and rather amazing performance for the size!




PS. Don`t buy speaker wires or cables from hifi shop or you will be ripped off with fancy big name brands. There is much more affordable options on Amazon site. You won´t hear any difference to that double the price exotic cable while saving ££. Below is links for products that would do the trick for you, just check the length you need and amount (hdmi cables).


Amazon product

Amazon product

Amazon product
 

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Derek Trotter

Standard Member
Thanks for your help Gasp, it's giving me plenty of thinking to do!

In relation to speaker cable, I will go the Amazon route. I'm being awkward here, but do you have any recommendations with white insulation!?

When wiring the rear two speakers, should the speaker cable be the same length for both? I have been reading conflicting views for both!
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thanks for your help Gasp, it's giving me plenty of thinking to do!

In relation to speaker cable, I will go the Amazon route. I'm being awkward here, but do you have any recommendations with white insulation!?

When wiring the rear two speakers, should the speaker cable be the same length for both? I have been reading conflicting views for both!

That is nonsense the difference in length will be minimal so it won´t matter. Cut what you need, but also carefully tape measure the cleanest way for the surround wires with turns and ups/downs. So order enough wire when you calculate the total need. Here is 25m roll and also few banana plugs which can be handy when you connect the wires at the back of receiver which is rather tight usually. Only one in stock though. The difference here is the cable is oxygen free copper (OFC) vs. the cheaper copper clad aluminum (CCA) ones you going dirt cheap.

Amazon product

There is also white QED 79 wire which is also full copper and thick enough. Sadly also slightly more expensive due to coming from big company.
Amazon product

You can use scissors with rounding movement (gently) to take the outer part of the insulation off, but you can also buy cheap wire stripping tool (~5£) which has the 2,5mm..
 

Derek Trotter

Standard Member
What is the difference in the speaker wire size? For example, on the Purelink cable above, you have selected 2 x 2.5mm (0.20). I need 30m of wire, and they don't have that in stock in this size. But if I change to 2 x 2.5 mm (0.10) this in stock in 30m. Is the size in brackets the strand width? Will it make any difference going for the thinner strands?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
What is the difference in the speaker wire size? For example, on the Purelink cable above, you have selected 2 x 2.5mm (0.20). I need 30m of wire, and they don't have that in stock in this size. But if I change to 2 x 2.5 mm (0.10) this in stock in 30m. Is the size in brackets the strand width? Will it make any difference going for the thinner strands?
I wouldn´t worry about it, get the 30m 2,5mm2 ofc cable and you are good to go!
 

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