Floorstanders, 600Eur max (Wharfedale, MA, QA or KEF)?

somethingOrOther

Novice Member
Hey everyone, new here, looking to buy a pair of floorstanders to hook up to a Denon S760H (the only decent 7.1 receiver I've found to be in stock within my budget, after weeks of hunting one down). The intent is to slowly upgrade to Atmos over the next few years, probably starting with a subwoofer in ~5 or so months.

My living room is currently 18 sq meters, but hoping to move into something around 25-30 sq meters in the next couple of years. I sit around 2.5-3m away from the TV in a fixed spot and have around 50cm (~70 if I pull everything back) space from the wall for the floorstanders if needed.
I'm hoping for something not fussy about positioning if possible and something that sounds great at low as well as high volumes (weekend movies, casual parties etc). I usually play a lot of games and listen to music during the night and I wouldn't want to wake up my fiancee or my neighbours. Besides, I'm usually pretty tired at that hour and prefer lower volumes.
The general split overall would be like 30% music, 30% movies, 40% games over the whole day.

I'm looking for something with good detail but not overly analytical, something fun and engaging but not tiring, probably something on the warm side I think? Trying to really avoid harsh speakers, I seem to be more sensitive to very bright audio than the average person, it feels like something repeatedly puncturing my ear-drum. Also, hopefully something with a decent soundstage too.

I've been looking hard the past few weeks and this seems to be what's in stock over here and within my budget:

Wharfedale:
  • Diamond 230
  • Diamond 240
  • Diamond 12.3
  • Diamond 12.4
Monitor Audio:
  • Bronze 200
  • Bronze 500
  • Silver 200 (slightly over budget)
Q Acoustics: 3050i

KEF:
  • Q550
  • Q750 (over budget)

Would any of these fit what I'm hoping to find (and is there anything I should absolutely avoid in this list)? I'm willing to go over budget slightly, but only if it's that much better for it to be worth it.

Looking forward to your replies and suggestions, thanks!
 
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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Is there any way to get at least Denon X1700H/X2700H as the cheap S serie is bit anemic and at least in US it has shorter warranty so they have saved somewhere. I believe the price difference will be very small to X serie. Some feel Denon isn`t best with music so you have example Yamaha RX-V6A to look too. It also offers preouts for front ch so you can add external amp if you need something more "musical" for 2ch listening.

You have chosen some good speakers. Generally the requirement of warm laid back non fatiguing sound is connected to Wharfedale as long as i remember in forums and there is very well known speaker designer behind the new 12 serie so it should be on your list for sure. Bronze 200 and Q550 are bit more anemic bass wise and as you will be without subwoofer plus moving to larger room i would personally consider the larger models assuming they aren´t placed very close to walls. QA 3050i has lot of good feedback too and nice rounded cab so wife friendly aswell. You need to find dealer who is willing to give demo with the receiver you are buying or similar priced model and best would be if you have 2-3 speaker models side by side playing your favourite music to get a sense which brand is best to your liking. Just to remind it won`t sound 100% same if it`s acoustically treated demo room vs. your house, but at least you get some type of sense what to expect so not total blind buy. I would make sure you cover some basics at home so curtains over windows, rug/carpet on floor in front of speakers, soft furnishing, bookshelves etc.

If you do lot of listening late night/gaming i highly recommend to consider comfortable open back headphones like Sennheiser HD558/598 or what is the latest model. They do leak little bit, but you can still listen bit louder than speakers and keep them on for hours. For gaming i wouldn`t even consider speakers even at day time if fps games.
 

somethingOrOther

Novice Member
Hey Gasp3621, thanks for your reply!

Regarding the AVR, the 760h was the only one I could find in stock anywhere around here, the others are available only by order from the manufacturer (through the dealer), but it is unknown when they will receive it. Indeed, the price difference was pretty small: 760h was 620€ (which was already way more than I expected to have to pay lol, I guess the chip/transistor shortage is hitting the AVR market almost as bad as the GPU one), x1700h - 700€ and Yamaha V6A - 720€. The warranty is the same for Europe, 2yrs on all of them. Once I decide on the speakers and receive both, I'll try to see if music sounds decent on it for me or not so I can decide if I need to return it and go for the Yamaha or the one-tier up x1700h. Thanks for the tip!

Regarding the headphones, that is what I did a half a year ago, but haven't found anything good within ~200€:
First I went for some Samson SR850 - I liked them, decent soundstage, good detail but it had piercing highs which simply ended up painful for me, so I gifted them to my dad instead and went for:
Sennheiser 599 & 560s: after a week of AB testing I decided on the 599. The 560s were detailed but had much smaller soundstage than 599 and were quite a bit more fussy about positioning than the 599. I have a small head so that was a bit of an issue. Anyway, they're amazing for multiplayer games, but they sound like crap with a lot of music (completely boring, suck the life out of it) they're mediocre for singleplayer games, I have to set the dynamic range to midnight to be able to hear most of the sounds, and worse, I found out what the Sennheiser veil is.
So then I bought a pair of Meze 99 Neo:
They're closed back so all the soundstage is gone, they have decent detail, are more fun than the 599s (still not enough though if you ask me), but rather muddy. They're good for hooking up to my phone and going on a walk or bus ride, but not good enough to play single player games with honestly. Besides, they make me sweat like a pig (I'm already a pretty sweaty person in the first place, even the 599s make my ears sweat).
Also, I play a lot of single player games on the ps5 and the DAC in the controller seems to do the job, but is, at best, mediocre.
So this is why I'm trying to find a good pair of speakers that sound good at a low dB level as well. Since I can play on the TV at a decent level at night with no complaints, I'm hoping that it will be the same with speakers.

Regarding the floorstanders themselves, indeed, I'm hoping to schedule some auditioning time at my local dealer, but it being close to christmas and covid still on the loose, I'm unsure if i'll be able to get it and also I don't think I'll have enough time to AB test so many speakers, so I'm hoping maybe people can help me trim the list a bit based on my preferences described. The moving + subwoofer is not an issue btw, as I'm not moving in the next year and if I feel the low-end is starved, I'm going to get a sub to go with them as well in the next couple of months.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Hey Gasp3621, thanks for your reply!

Regarding the AVR, the 760h was the only one I could find in stock anywhere around here, the others are available only by order from the manufacturer (through the dealer), but it is unknown when they will receive it. Indeed, the price difference was pretty small: 760h was 620€ (which was already way more than I expected to have to pay lol, I guess the chip/transistor shortage is hitting the AVR market almost as bad as the GPU one), x1700h - 700€ and Yamaha V6A - 720€. The warranty is the same for Europe, 2yrs on all of them. Once I decide on the speakers and receive both, I'll try to see if music sounds decent on it for me or not so I can decide if I need to return it and go for the Yamaha or the one-tier up x1700h. Thanks for the tip!

Regarding the headphones, that is what I did a half a year ago, but haven't found anything good within ~200€:
First I went for some Samson SR850 - I liked them, decent soundstage, good detail but it had piercing highs which simply ended up painful for me, so I gifted them to my dad instead and went for:
Sennheiser 599 & 560s: after a week of AB testing I decided on the 599. The 560s were detailed but had much smaller soundstage than 599 and were quite a bit more fussy about positioning than the 599. I have a small head so that was a bit of an issue. Anyway, they're amazing for multiplayer games, but they sound like crap with a lot of music (completely boring, suck the life out of it) they're mediocre for singleplayer games, I have to set the dynamic range to midnight to be able to hear most of the sounds, and worse, I found out what the Sennheiser veil is.
So then I bought a pair of Meze 99 Neo:
They're closed back so all the soundstage is gone, they have decent detail, are more fun than the 599s (still not enough though if you ask me), but rather muddy. They're good for hooking up to my phone and going on a walk or bus ride, but not good enough to play single player games with honestly. Besides, they make me sweat like a pig (I'm already a pretty sweaty person in the first place, even the 599s make my ears sweat).
Also, I play a lot of single player games on the ps5 and the DAC in the controller seems to do the job, but is, at best, mediocre.
So this is why I'm trying to find a good pair of speakers that sound good at a low dB level as well. Since I can play on the TV at a decent level at night with no complaints, I'm hoping that it will be the same with speakers.

Regarding the floorstanders themselves, indeed, I'm hoping to schedule some auditioning time at my local dealer, but it being close to christmas and covid still on the loose, I'm unsure if i'll be able to get it and also I don't think I'll have enough time to AB test so many speakers, so I'm hoping maybe people can help me trim the list a bit based on my preferences described. The moving + subwoofer is not an issue btw, as I'm not moving in the next year and if I feel the low-end is starved, I'm going to get a sub to go with them as well in the next couple of months.

I would have thought the dealer would give some discount. I would never pay list prices. Best would be to buy everything together to get better package price..

I have those Samson 850s too, but i can´t hear any pearcing highs. For the uber low price i´m very happy for compture use. Beyerdynamic 990 were one of my favourites for gaming and for movies too, very comfortable and decent bass which the Sens in comparison seem to miss.

Kef Qs have been said requiring bit higher volume to sound best. Seriously if you feel the Samsons sounding bright i feel you are very sensitive to extra brightness. Please listen both Wharfedales first. They are usually quite safe choices. Important to use the Denon in the demo and your favourite music. Personally i would want 6,5" drivers as minium if the speakers are used for music listening without subwoofer. But let`s see what you think. You must get the demo sorry there is no other way around. I would lean toward Wharf 240 and 12.4 for the demo if you find dealer that has both. 12.3 has 5,25" drivers and i feel after owning this type of slim towers they are great for movies with sub, but for music as own they just can´t give you that full sound. I had also about +35sqm room.
 

password1

Suspended
Are Q Acoustics concept 40 available in your country?

If you're considering Wharfedale Diamonds, also consider the Mission lx4 mark 2.
 

somethingOrOther

Novice Member
I would have thought the dealer would give some discount. I would never pay list prices. Best would be to buy everything together to get better package price..

I have those Samson 850s too, but i can´t hear any pearcing highs. For the uber low price i´m very happy for compture use. Beyerdynamic 990 were one of my favourites for gaming and for movies too, very comfortable and decent bass which the Sens in comparison seem to miss.

Kef Qs have been said requiring bit higher volume to sound best. Seriously if you feel the Samsons sounding bright i feel you are very sensitive to extra brightness. Please listen both Wharfedales first. They are usually quite safe choices. Important to use the Denon in the demo and your favourite music. Personally i would want 6,5" drivers as minium if the speakers are used for music listening without subwoofer. But let`s see what you think. You must get the demo sorry there is no other way around. I would lean toward Wharf 240 and 12.4 for the demo if you find dealer that has both. 12.3 has 5,25" drivers and i feel after owning this type of slim towers they are great for movies with sub, but for music as own they just can´t give you that full sound. I had also about +35sqm room.
Managed to get an audition in for Wharfedale 230s, QA 3050i, MA Silver 200 and KEF Q550.
I tapped out the Silvers 200 in 5 minutes, they were way, way too bright for me and I was unimpressed with 3050i, they just sounded... mediocre.

The Wharfedale 230s were a bit boomy and not very detailed, but I found them the most fun, while the KEFs were neutral and, as expected, lacking in the bass department, but was extremely impressed with their detail, soundstage. Wanted to audition the Q750s as well but they another person scheduled so I didn't manage to fit that in unfortunately. Got another one scheduled for monday but thinking of just getting the Q750s (since they have a better bass extension) and seeing how they do in my room, since it's probably gonna sound different anyway. Something to think about over the weekend I guess.
And yeah, about the harsh highs, even the 599s and mezes are basically at the limit of being harsh for me on some tracks, it's definitely some sensitivity I have to highs.

Are Q Acoustics concept 40 available in your country?

If you're considering Wharfedale Diamonds, also consider the Mission lx4 mark 2.
Unfortunately the c40s are either not in stock and never restocking or waaay over budget for me, like about 2.3 times my budget.
 

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