Forgive me AV Forum...I am about to sin!

KeefGG

Standard Member
Until a couple of week's ago we had a reasonable AV/HiFi set up:
Uniti 2 driving Totem Sttaf floorstanders which then connected upto a Yamaha RX V-773 to run the 5.1 surround system with a Totem Dreamcatcher centre, Cambridge Minx x200 sub and some old Tannoy SE rears all standing on a glass/spiked rack (Atacama I think). It was all a bit old but worked rather well together.

Then the room was re-modelled and, although aestheticallly lovely, it has presented some acoustics challenges, some driven by the wife's requests.

Firstly the rack had to go (too ugly) and then the AV amp is now too big to be on show. TBH not a big concern as she is more into film than me so we're probably going with a Sonos ARC teamed with their sub and Ones for rears.

Now the serious hifi business! We have reached an agreement that the Uniti 2 can stay (was possibly looking at replacing with an Atom) but she would really like me to change the Sttaf's for some bookshelves but not use stands! I know, right? To be fair, if I can't find a set up I like then she is happy for me to stick with the floorstanders.

Am I just kidding myself that I can find something comparable without spending silly money? So far my thoughts are a Rel T5x sub teamed with either:

Rubicon 2
Monitor Gold 100
Eclipse TD508
Kef LS50 Meta
Focal Aria 906

These will sit on the bottom shelf shown in the pic. This shelf is 400mm deep and about 460mm high. I'm also thinking about putting them on the ISO Acoustic stands.

I guess I'm looking for some re-assurance (or should I be banished from the HiFi kingdom?) and any advice on making the most of the arrangement.

Here's hoping.
IMG-20210713-WA0005.jpeg
 

KeefGG

Standard Member
In general, I think a clear line of sight between the fronts of the stereo speakers is a good thing - but why?

I have a suspicion that the issue here isn't that the speakers benefit from a clear line-of-sight. I think it may be more about reflections from nearby surfaces.

If the two speakers can't 'see' each other, it usually means there's an obstruction close to one or both speakers and, in a domestic setting, that's often a reflective surface, typically an alcove - but not always, could be soft furnishings.

Wish I could find the article where, as an experiment, someone deliberately placed a thick absorber (might have been a mattress?) between the stereo speakers. The mattress (or whatever) was positioned so that it's length went some way towards the listener. The idea being that the sound coming from each speakers remained separate from the other speaker until it arrived at the listener's ears. In other words, a headphone-like listening experience. Allegedly, the experiment was enlightening.
Don't place mattress length ways down middle of my lounge......got it.;)
 
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Hoku

Active Member
I’d rule out the DALI Rubicons with that placement.

They are rear ported and produce more bass and dynamic heft than my previous floorstanders- and that’s with about 30-40cm free space behind them.

I also feel the MA Gold 100’s would be way too bass heavy for that placement. I found their bass slow bloated and overblown even in free space.

However with your placement limitations in mind, I’d take a closer look at Neat Iotas. They’re designed for popping on a shelf, take up minimal space and they’re fantastically musical speakers with a super midrange. Yes, they lack bass, so add a sub or two and you’d be good to go.

I’d also seriously recommend some ISO Acoustics products to help prevent your speakers from resonating the cabinet they’re placed on.

My ISO Acoustics ISO Puck Mini worked wonders separating them from my speaker stands. They’re superb products. Or you could consider the more complex ISO Acoustics Aperta line of isolating stands.

If you’re keen on DALI however, the previous mention of the Menuets may be a good shout.
 
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Baron Mole

Active Member
I'm thinking that as the speakers will be at the edge of the shelf level with the chimney breast then the impact will be minimal?
I'd like to think so in that situation, firstly because there's a line of sight-ish and secondly because higher frequencies are directional (forwards) and only the lower frequencies become omnidirectional-ish. I'm almost sorry I brought it up ! As has been said there's always some compromise.

You've had loads of good advice which pretty much covers everything from sub and speaker choice to dealing with potential issues with ISO products.

The only other thing I'd add is choice of sub. I do think it's worth going for one that covers the bottom octave by which I mean going down to 20Hz. My experience is that this adds a subtle but worthwhile extra dimension to all types of music. Specs for speakers usually quote a frequency range based on -3dB to -6dB, which means that the response is usually 3db down at the lower frequency and falling quite steeply after that. Your Sttafs say <39Hz +/-3dB so it might be reasonable to assume that the response starts falling after 50Hz, in which case I'd be looking to start bringing the sub in around 50-60Hz.

With most smaller speakers a higher crossover would probably be better. I'm not suggesting that you need a bass monster. For music you need something that's fast and tight to make your toes tap. As a crude generalisation sealed subs generally fit the bill. Also integrating a sub into a stereo set-up can be a pain unless the amp has bass management, so look for a sub with DSP to deal with that. It should also have a crack at taming your room modes. Something like -
SVS SB-1000 Pro Subwoofer Review

FWIW I've a Monitor Audio Silver W-12 and an old Velodyne - both sealed.

Once you've auditioned, I'd always advise buying with a 30 day return policy - you might fall in love at the dealers but find it just doesn't work at home (or the boss might not like it!).

Good luck and try to enjoy the process :)
 
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Khazul

Well-known Member
Wish I could find the article where, as an experiment, someone deliberately placed a thick absorber (might have been a mattress?) between the stereo speakers. The mattress (or whatever) was positioned so that it's length went some way towards the listener. The idea being that the sound coming from each speakers remained separate from the other speaker until it arrived at the listener's ears. In other words, a headphone-like listening experience. Allegedly, the experiment was enlightening.

Well, it wouldnt be a headphone like experience as each speaker would presumably still be reflecting from its adjacent side wall and rear walls (+ floor, ceiling etc). What I would expect would be odd is the relative lack of corresponding opposite reflections which I would completely expect to mess up the brain's interpretation of the whole acoustic space and most likely make interpreting the resulting stereo image less accurate.

However, AV cabinet and and typical living room alcoves, furniture etc probably wont create this effect to a notable extent and will more likely just create extra standing waves/resonances etc.
 
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KeefGG

Standard Member
Firstly, thank you to everyone for their advice and guidance. Felt I was able to at least approach this in a more informed way, even if I wasn't able to follow all the advice (the missus just laughed when they lugged in the SVS 1000 sub :rotfl::rotfl:).

Well as you can see the plunge was made after a fair bit of demoing and I'm pleased to report that my new Rubicon 2 / REL T5x combo is blowing my old Totem's out of the water. :clap:

My first track was Fake Plastic Trees (always a goose bump raiser for me) and it genuinely bought tears to my eyes. Stunning clarity and detail.

Now enjoying that pleasure I'm sure we all love, of re-listening to all my favourites through fresh ears.

Cheers all.
 

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Baron Mole

Active Member
I'm pleased to report that my new Rubicon 2 / REL T5x combo is blowing my old Totem's out of the water.
Hurrah ! Delighted that you are delighted and there's marital harmony. :thumbsup:

I'd be interested at some point ( after you've re-listened everything! ) to know what you audtioned and what you thought.

Enjoy the music :D
 
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KeefGG

Standard Member
Hurrah ! Delighted that you are delighted and there's marital harmony. :thumbsup:

I'd be interested at some point ( after you've re-listened everything! ) to know what you audtioned and what you thought.

Enjoy the music :D
Sat here enjoying as we speak.

The sub was pretty easy as the REL's size, sound and the discount made it a no brained for me. The wife did suggested that we could stick a back on the SVS, upholster it and replace one of the chairs :)

I took my Totems in to act as a reference then measured out the space I had in the corners of the demo room to attempt to replicate some if the accoustics.

Eclipses - 1st ones I tried - really disappointed. No real definition on the soundstage and generally sounded muffled. Was concerned this wasn't gonna work.

Monitor 100s - not bad but the sound wasn't really engaging. More a personal choice on tone I think.

Minuets and LCRs - lovely sound, clarity etc just didn't quite have the depth and heft of the Rubicons. Unsurprising really I suppose.

The only ones that came close were the Focal Aria 906's. Really lovely defined soundstage, tight bass. There wasn't really much to separate between them and the Rubicons in terms of performance I just slightly preferred the tone on the Dali's.

I've got them on the Isoaccoustic stands and connected them with Epic X cable. I'm really happy that the bass sounds so controlled and doesn't overwhelm the overall sound. That was probably my biggest concern.
 
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Baron Mole

Active Member
The wife did suggested that we could stick a back on the SVS, upholster it and replace one of the chairs
:rotfl: That could have been the way to go - I've heard some ladies enjoy sitting on vibrating home appliances !
I took my Totems in to act as a reference then measured out the space I had in the corners of the demo room to attempt to replicate some if the accoustics.
Perfect. For me the only way to properly audition is against a known reference.

Thanks very much for sharing your views. 🙏
 
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Hoku

Active Member
So pleased for you that you’ve found a set up that works for you.

Well done for having a thorough demo. It’s really worth the effort isn’t it and really does prevent expensive mistakes and buyers regret. The Rubicons are pretty special aren’t they. And your reaction is a giveaway really: they do manage to squeeze out all the emotion from music. They’re technically clever in many respects, but it’s the emotion of the music that gets you.

If you put Stevie Wonder on and the Rubicons don’t bring a smile to your face and get your foot (at the very least) moving, then you need to check your pulse frankly.

And I’m pleased they fit into your space. Soooo much better than a soundbar, and frankly a lot prettier too. But I am a hifi nerd and enjoy looking at speaker cones.
 
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KeefGG

Standard Member
So pleased for you that you’ve found a set up that works for you.

Well done for having a thorough demo. It’s really worth the effort isn’t it and really does prevent expensive mistakes and buyers regret. The Rubicons are pretty special aren’t they. And your reaction is a giveaway really: they do manage to squeeze out all the emotion from music. They’re technically clever in many respects, but it’s the emotion of the music that gets you.

If you put Stevie Wonder on and the Rubicons don’t bring a smile to your face and get your foot (at the very least) moving, then you need to check your pulse frankly.

And I’m pleased they fit into your space. Soooo much better than a soundbar, and frankly a lot prettier too. But I am a hifi nerd and enjoy looking at speaker cones.
Great shout on Stevie Wonder, gonna get some of his stuff going tomorrow.
 
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