Help for Living room Home Theater setup

Shires92

Novice Member
Hi, I'm hoping I could get some advice on what I should go for when it comes to my future living room setup.
So the plan is to have a HTPC (Intel NUC of some sorts) to power either a 2.1 or 3.1 setup hooked up to what will probably be a OLED TV of sorts.

I think I'm settled on the Q Acoustics 3020i's and maybe the 3090ci center speaker but I would love some advice on whether I would need the center speaker or not. As for the subwoofer, probably the Q Acoustics 3060s Powered sub but again, I'm new to this so I would love some advice.

My current setup is my PC is hooked up to a cheapo Pioneer AV receiver which is hooked up to two little Bose speakers and a Bose Sub and the AV receiver is plugged into my cheapo TV.
It's done great for the years of use but I want to upgrade everything plus the speakers aren't mine and I'd be going from a bedroom to a living room haha.

Now I would just reuse my AV receiver but I think it will be too big and bulky for a living room media unit (plan on making everything discrete) and also I don't know if I'll get the best out of the speakers with it. But if I'm wrong and my AV receiver would be fine then I'll try and find a way around the space constraint.

What I'm basically getting at is would a 2.1 setup with a HTPC and a OLED TV be a great experience, or would I just be better off buying some decent soundbar/sub combo?
Or could I emit the AV receiver all together and just connect some bookshelf speakers and a subwoofer to the HTPC somehow and then have the HTPC connected to the TV?
 
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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
If the front mains (3020i) are kept close together like 1,5m or so and/or you sit in the middle most of times then you could get away without centre. You could also use that money (for 3) for slightly better main speakers or subwoofer. It`s not like you couldn`t add the centre later though. You didn`t say anything about the room size, is tv on corner or middle of wall, listening distance etc. Try to buy some ~60cm tall speaker stands at least as that helps you to place the speakers at optimal height and you can also spread them apart as much as is needed so helps optimizing the placement.

If the Pioneer av-receiver has hdmi connections then you get picture & sound connecting hdmi cable from av-receiver hdmi in to htpc`s graphic card. Then you connect another hdmi cable from av-receiver hdmi out to OLED. Which version is needed and what source you have etc. other members knows more about the htpc stuff.

See my posts #7 and 12# why you shouldn´t buy the QA sub and which subwoofers you should look with low budget.

If you have local hifi shops like Richer Sounds, Seven Oaks etc. go listen 2-4 different speakers if you have options in your list. You don´t have to buy anything right away. Always fun and then you know which brand sound you like best and also the looks/finish could play part.
 

Shires92

Novice Member
If the front mains (3020i) are kept close together like 1,5m or so and/or you sit in the middle most of times then you could get away without centre. You could also use that money (for 3) for slightly better main speakers or subwoofer. It`s not like you couldn`t add the centre later though. You didn`t say anything about the room size, is tv on corner or middle of wall, listening distance etc. Try to buy some ~60cm tall speaker stands at least as that helps you to place the speakers at optimal height and you can also spread them apart as much as is needed so helps optimizing the placement.

If the Pioneer av-receiver has hdmi connections then you get picture & sound connecting hdmi cable from av-receiver hdmi in to htpc`s graphic card. Then you connect another hdmi cable from av-receiver hdmi out to OLED. Which version is needed and what source you have etc. other members knows more about the htpc stuff.

See my posts #7 and 12# why you shouldn´t buy the QA sub and which subwoofers you should look with low budget.

If you have local hifi shops like Richer Sounds, Seven Oaks etc. go listen 2-4 different speakers if you have options in your list. You don´t have to buy anything right away. Always fun and then you know which brand sound you like best and also the looks/finish could play part.
Thanks for the reply.
The speakers will be relatively close together as they'd be either end of the media unit and they would be on stands as I was planning on buying the Q Acoustics stands that pair with their 3000 range.

I was drawn to the Q Acoustics subwoofer just because of the compact nature and sleek design but I'd happily go with something different if it would give me a better sound, albeit if its still somewhat compact as I don't want a giant cube in the living room.
I like the BK Electrics Double Gem and XLS200 subwoofers, just wondering, as it's active I don't need to worry about my AV receiver having enough W to power it as it's getting power itself right? The AV receiver would be good enough to get the best out of that subwoofer?
Did some digging and the AV receiver is a Pioneer HTP-072 I bought back in 2014. Seems to deliver 100W per channel if that's any help to you.

As for the size of the room its 4.6m x 3.2m and there's no awkward angles or anything so it will be in what I presume would be the ideal spot against the 4.6m wall in the middle.

Maybe someone could chime in if anyone knows about a small compact AV receiver for not a lot of money? As I'd love to downsize the one I've got.

My dad has a pair of the Q Acoustics 3020i's so I think I'll borrow his to test out and see if they will be perfect for me.
 
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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the reply.
The speakers will be relatively close together as they'd be either end of the media unit and they would be on stands as I was planning on buying the Q Acoustics stands that pair with their 3000 range.

I was drawn to the Q Acoustics subwoofer just because of the compact nature and sleek design but I'd happily go with something different if it would give me a better sound, albeit if its still somewhat compact as I don't want a giant cube in the living room.
I like the BK Electrics Double Gem and XLS200 subwoofers, just wondering, as it's active I don't need to worry about my AV receiver having enough W to power it as it's getting power itself right? The AV receiver would be good enough to get the best out of that subwoofer?
Did some digging and the AV receiver is a Pioneer HTP-072 I bought back in 2014. Seems to deliver 100W per channel if that's any help to you.

As for the size of the room its 4.6m x 3.2m and there's no awkward angles or anything so it will be in what I presume would be the ideal spot against the 4.6m wall in the middle.

Maybe someone could chime in if anyone knows about a small compact AV receiver for not a lot of money? As I'd love to downsize the one I've got.

My dad has a pair of the Q Acoustics 3020i's so I think I'll borrow his to test out and see if they will be perfect for me.

Good that you posted the model as the Pioneer HTP-072 is made to work with the speakers it came with only. It doesn`t have subwoofer pre-out so you need new one. Then you can choose the subwoofer freely, but forget the QA sub.

There is not many slim line av-receivers and the cheapest currently is the Marantz NR1510.


HTP-072-main2.png
 

Shires92

Novice Member
Good that you posted the model as the Pioneer HTP-072 is made to work with the speakers it came with only. It doesn`t have subwoofer pre-out so you need new one. Then you can choose the subwoofer freely, but forget the QA sub.

There is not many slim line av-receivers and the cheapest currently is the Marantz NR1510.


View attachment 1703613
With the Pioneer unit I've got, I got rid of the speakers it came with as they sounded terrible and replaced them with two tiny Bose speakers which actually sound really good, I also replaced the subwoofer with a Bose one too but it's passive. I take it when you say subwoofer pre-out is that not the same as the subwoofer connection on the back of my Pioneer unit?

I've been looking at the Sony STR-DH790 as it's currently going for £349 and is a fair bit smaller than my current receiver and would probably sound a lot better I presume though I don't think I'll need the Dolby Atmos support etc but it seems AV receivers are pretty pricey.

I also tested out the 3020i's and to be honest, I'm underwhelmed by them, they aren't much/if anything louder than my tiny Bose speakers I have which I'm very surprised at. The only thing I can think of is maybe the receiver is holding back the 3020i's somehow.
Do you have any recommendations for two somewhat compact speakers (3020i size)?

So far it looks like I will be buying a whole new setup;
  • Intel NUC
  • two bookshelf speakers & stands
  • Sony STR-DH790 Receiver
  • BK Electrics Double Gem or XLS200 subwoofer
Probably looking between £1k-1.5k for the whole setup excluding the TV

Does that seem like a good list?
Again, thanks for the reply man, much appreciated. It's pretty daunting for a newbie like me haha.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I take it when you say subwoofer pre-out is that not the same as the subwoofer connection on the back of my Pioneer unit?
Your Pioneer uses a passive subwoofer. The Sony, as with the vast majority of modern AV amps uses a dedicated LFE pre-out which needs a powered subwoofer by a single RCA cable.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Yep the Pioneer only works with passive sub so the affordable Sony you mentioned will be fine for movies. The price was 449£, but if you get it 349£ that´s nice as most receivers are overpriced atm.

Bit suprised of your comment about the soundbar vs. 3020i if you compared them with music, although the soundbar had subwoofer likely on and the 3020i aren´t really bass heavy speakers on their own. Soundbar also has more drivers so can sound bit more immersive, but sound quality wise good 2.1 system should be noticeable jump. Would be important to go listen couple brands as when you find something you like then you will be so much happier and get the feeling you made right call. No buyers remours/what if thoughts later.

If it would be my money i would be looking bookshelf speakers with 6,5" drivers. In QAs case it would be 3030i which aren´t that much bigger/expensive but in real world they sound better what i have read comparisons. The QA stands cost too much, you can basically choose any stands you wish with large enough top plate but you need to remove the pads under the QA speakers with plinths cause QA made it so people would buy their stands. The pads goes in the holes of the QA stands. However when you use normal stands the "pads" end up in bad spots, not sturdy so need to be removed.

You can buy Fisual Dynami Duo stands from forum advertiser for 60£/pair, that is over half less than what QA stands costs (125£). That money can be used for better speakers!
 

Shires92

Novice Member
Yep the Pioneer only works with passive sub so the affordable Sony you mentioned will be fine for movies. The price was 449£, but if you get it 349£ that´s nice as most receivers are overpriced atm.

Bit suprised of your comment about the soundbar vs. 3020i if you compared them with music, although the soundbar had subwoofer likely on and the 3020i aren´t really bass heavy speakers on their own. Soundbar also has more drivers so can sound bit more immersive, but sound quality wise good 2.1 system should be noticeable jump. Would be important to go listen couple brands as when you find something you like then you will be so much happier and get the feeling you made right call. No buyers remours/what if thoughts later.

If it would be my money i would be looking bookshelf speakers with 6,5" drivers. In QAs case it would be 3030i which aren´t that much bigger/expensive but in real world they sound better what i have read comparisons. The QA stands cost too much, you can basically choose any stands you wish with large enough top plate but you need to remove the pads under the QA speakers with plinths cause QA made it so people would buy their stands. The pads goes in the holes of the QA stands. However when you use normal stands the "pads" end up in bad spots, not sturdy so need to be removed.

You can buy Fisual Dynami Duo stands from forum advertiser for 60£/pair, that is over half less than what QA stands costs (125£). That money can be used for better speakers!
I think you misread, I compared the 3020i's to my current speakers which are two very small Bose speakers (7.5cm x 7.5cm) and was using my passive Bose subwoofer with both the 3020i's and the small Bose speakers hence why I was so surprised with the comparison and made me think it might be my receiver maybe holding them back.

Would there be a massive difference in sound between the 3020i & the 3030i's?

Thanks for the stand recommendation though :)

Overall I've priced everything up and it's looking like a whole setup is going to set me back about £1400, but that includes a receiver, pair of speakers, powered subwoofer, speaker stands and a Intel NUC computer so I'd say that's pretty good. If I go for the 3030i's then maybe closer to £1.5k.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I think you misread, I compared the 3020i's to my current speakers which are two very small Bose speakers (7.5cm x 7.5cm) and was using my passive Bose subwoofer with both the 3020i's and the small Bose speakers hence why I was so surprised with the comparison and made me think it might be my receiver maybe holding them back.

Would there be a massive difference in sound between the 3020i & the 3030i's?

Thanks for the stand recommendation though :)

Overall I've priced everything up and it's looking like a whole setup is going to set me back about £1400, but that includes a receiver, pair of speakers, powered subwoofer, speaker stands and a Intel NUC computer so I'd say that's pretty good. If I go for the 3030i's then maybe closer to £1.5k.

Oh my mistake then. Still that doesn´t make sense from tiny Bose sats to decent sized bookshelf speakers the difference in overall sound quality alone should be noticeable. Hope you connected them right.

I don`t know about massive difference on 3030i vs. 3020i, but there is some for sure which you would hear clearly if listening without sub side to side in some hifi shop. The QAs do look nice especially in white/walnut.

Options larger than 3020i which i would consider with 3030i, check different finishes as there is many so will link just one for each:


 

Shires92

Novice Member
Oh my mistake then. Still that doesn´t make sense from tiny Bose sats to decent sized bookshelf speakers the difference in overall sound quality alone should be noticeable. Hope you connected them right.

I don`t know about massive difference on 3030i vs. 3020i, but there is some for sure which you would hear clearly if listening without sub side to side in some hifi shop. The QAs do look nice especially in white/walnut.

Options larger than 3020i which i would consider with 3030i, check different finishes as there is many so will link just one for each:


I ordered the Sony STR-DH790, I ordered it for £349 from Amazon though it's temporarily out of stock but I wanted to lock in the price of it as it's £449 everywhere else. It should ship within the month.
It seems to tick every box for me I think so it's one of the more sure purchases for my future living room setup.

I'll probably wait till I've got the receiver then I'll retest the 3020i's to see how they sound - hopefully much better.

Besides that I think I'm set on the subwoofer as well, either the BK Electrics Double Gem or XLS200 unless someone tells me otherwise haha.

Which just leaves the speakers, I might head up to a Richer Sounds store as there's a couple somewhat near me and get their advice and hopefully get some first hand experience with some speakers.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I ordered the Sony STR-DH790, I ordered it for £349 from Amazon though it's temporarily out of stock but I wanted to lock in the price of it as it's £449 everywhere else. It should ship within the month.
It seems to tick every box for me I think so it's one of the more sure purchases for my future living room setup.

I'll probably wait till I've got the receiver then I'll retest the 3020i's to see how they sound - hopefully much better.

Besides that I think I'm set on the subwoofer as well, either the BK Electrics Double Gem or XLS200 unless someone tells me otherwise haha.

Which just leaves the speakers, I might head up to a Richer Sounds store as there's a couple somewhat near me and get their advice and hopefully get some first hand experience with some speakers.

Great plan definitely wait up, but hopefully you could also get the subwoofer soon so you hear the system as whole. Getting the stands would be good idea too unless you have some stands/boxes there so you get the tweeters roughly at seated ear height. If you can push the front mains little wider apart it could make positive difference and also playing with the toe in angles (shooting straight to toward listener). I hope the av-unit isn`t very narrow like speakers 1,5m apart each other and you sitting 3m away.

As i said and if you do research there is nothing better as new in UK for the money (300-350£) to BK subwoofers. The company has been building woofers since 90s so there is certain expertise and sells them direct to customer. When you get one in your hands and compare it to light weight market boom box you know. I would say best performance for the buck the Double Gem over XLS200 if you can fit it! Check the depth and use tape measure so you know the size. It`s fairly tall and deep, but narrow. You won`t regret getting little bit more bass wise as you can always dial it down. Keep in mind hunger always grows with this hobby so get the best you can afford right away.

If you go to Richer Sounds i would book the demo time so you have about hour to listen different speakers, however you need to ask specific models before hand i think. Make sure you ask them to use the Sony receiver you bought as you can choose the receiver for demo aswell. Don´t ask them "what is the best speakers for me". Trust your ears only, you aren´t buying speakers for them. RS is known to be pushing brands that the sales person gets best bonuses. Don´t let them to talk you buying any subwoofer from them, they can be sneaky.

As for speaker wire get some affordable full copper 2,5mm / AWG14 like the one below. BK subwoofers come with sub cable.

Amazon product
 

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