GBP 3,000-3,500 budget for speaker system

TeslaModelS

Novice Member
Hi all,

Newbie here, so please excuse any faux-pas! But I've been carefully researching quite a bit for what will be the first serious AV system for me and I'm pretty excited about it. I'd like to get some feedback from all of you experts, if I could.

Background
I live in Hong Kong, well-known the world over for very small apartments.
The living room where the system will be is about 11 feet by 18 feet (though my seating position will only be about 11 feet away, as there are some things at the back of the room).
My usage is mostly for movies, but occasionally some concerts (jazz and pop).

Setup I have in mind

Front pair: Tannoy Revolution XT6F (1st choice) OR B&W 683 S2 (2nd choice)
Centre: Tannoy Revolution XT C (1st choice) OR B&W HTM61 S2 (2nd choice)
Back pair: B&W M-1 (?)
Subwoofer: SVS SB-2000 (1st choice) or GoldenEar ForceField 5 (2nd choice)
Receiver: Denon AVR-X2200W (1st choice) OR Yamaha RX-A850 (2nd choice)

The above will be paired with a Samsung UA65JS9900 TV (I think this is equivalent to the UE65JS9500 in the UK) but is not included in the GBP 3,500 budget.

So, any comments? The specific questions I had were:
1. The Centre speaker seems to be the weakest link in the system, and from what I understand, also the most important for movies. Any suggestions? Or is it better to simply stick with the manufacturer and series of the front pair?
2. The Receiver: I don't need fancy functions, so I'm tempted to get the Denon. But will it have sufficient power to drive the speakers I want? Is there any rule of thumb for how much of the budget should be spent on the receiver vs. the speakers?
3. The back pair also seems a bit weak, but I'm led to understand they are less important. Please do suggest if there are better alternatives.

Thank you so much in advance, and looking forward to learning from your collective wisdom!

Best,
Model S
 

PSM1

Distinguished Member
Personally I would want the same make and model of speakers all the way around (except for the sub). Hence I would want either the Tannoy Revolution or B&W 6 series as rears as well.
As a general guide to budget split you can spend 2 to 3 times the rrp of the AVR on the speakers to get the best from the AVR. If the budget split is a long way from this then you are really not getting the best from your overall spend.
Not sure large floorstanders are a good option given the size of your room. Floorstanders often do not like being place near walls/corners which is going to be a problem in a small space. This can lead to boomy bass and sound issues. You may be better getting some standmount speakers. Another option would be speakers like the Monitor Audio Apex or Shadow ranges. Also consider movies are mastered with a sub/satellite speaker system in mind hence may be worth considering if movies are a big element of the spend.
You will also not really be using the bass extension of the floorstanders since with a sub you would set all the speakers to small and a crossover around the 80Hz mark.
The best advice is to go and listen to the different options and see which sounds best to you.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
I agree with PSM1, you don't want to mix and match. Either the Tannoy for the Front Three (Left/Center/Right) or the B&W for the Front Three. Rear speakers are less critical.

I'm wondering how solidly constructed your apartment is? Bass tends to be the problem as it is most likely to penetrate the walls and floors and intrude into your neighbors space.

If the building is solidly constructed with at least the most basic consideration for sound proofing, then having large speakers and a large Sub, is going to be less of a problem.

However, if the building is not built with consideration for sound proofing, then perhaps a smaller 10" Sub with Bookshelf speakers would be the way to go.

Or as an alternative, though less than desirable, consider large Floorstanding speaker with NO Sub.

It is up to you to evaluate the level to which sound will leak from your apartment. That is something I can't know.

Overall, either system will be fine. Decent choice of amps. Decent speakers.

As to Floorstanding vs Bookshelf, for a fixed amount of money, you will get a better Bookshelf speaker. But you will get more impact from the larger Floorstanding speakers.

For example, in the UK, the B&W 683 floorstanding is about £1200/pr. However the next model line up, you can get the B&W CM6 with the outboard tweeter for £1500/pr. The CM series are noticeable above the 600 series, and the outboard tweeter really expands the sound stage. The B&W CM5, which is the same as the CM6, but does NOT have the outboard Tweeter, are about £1000/pair.

Though keep in mind the B&W 600 series are pretty nice speakers. It is just that the CM Series are better speakers.

So, these are the things that you weigh. Impact vs Clarity = Floorstanding vs Bookshelf. The room acoustics relative to sound leaking from the room.

May people in a space that size would get along nicely with bookshelf speakers mounted on stands. I can't say what is best for you, but I can say that I personally prefer BIG speakers. But I live in a small detached house, not in an apartment.

But, there is no flaw in either of your originally suggested speakers.

Steve/bluewizard
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
One additional issue, the surround speakers. It is less critical that those speakers are brand and series matched. Usually this is the one area where people have to compromise due to circumstances. What you pick will be dictated by space and placement possibilities.

The demands on the Surround Channels is much less that the Front channels, so the Side/Rear speaker can and most always are smaller.

Again, your circumstance more than anything will dictate what is possible for Surround Speakers.

Steve/bluewizard
 

TeslaModelS

Novice Member
Thank you so much for your most thoughtful and helpful replies, PSM1 and BlueWizard!

I thought I had done all the research I could, but I hadn't heard of this issue with floorstanding speakers. I was under the impression that if my space could allow floorstanding, it would be better to go with floorstanding!

BlueWizard: Thank you for pointing out the Impact vs. Clarity tradeoff as well as the concerns from neighbours. I think both perspectives would point me towards the bookshelf. In fact, I found that going to bookshelf may address the weakest link in my system: the centre speaker. I had chosen the Tannoys and the B&Ws mostly because of the front two floorstanders, and in doing so, "sacrificed" the centre a bit (as I understand neither are that great). However, if I go the bookshelf route, I'm keen on the KEF R Series: R300s in front, R100s at the back, and R600c in the centre.

Thank you, also, to PSM1 for the rule-of-thumb about the AV Receiver. I had read about that but I wasn't sure it was worth paying GBP 300 for another 10W in power. Nevertheless, having consulted a salesperson at a local shop, I concurred and I think I will now go with the Denon AVR-X3200W (one step up from the 2200W).

Thanks again!
Model S
 

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