Help me choose an upgrade path - from Klipsch to Arendal or XTZ?

Rubarbs

Standard Member
Background: My family and I live in a one-bedroom apartment in Sweden. Even though we someday hope to have a dedicated room, right now we are limited to a living room setup. The current setup is a pair of Klipsch rf-82 mkII paired with an Onkyo TX-NR609 AVR. While mostly fine for movies and games, the system is quite disappointing in terms of music reproduction. In my room, the rf-82 and Onkyo combo sounds thin and “empty”, while at the same time being too boomy. There is loads of low bass, not that much mid-bass, too little mid-range and a lot of treble – if that makes sense? In other words, the whole presentation is very thin/bright sounding and not very balanced.

The Klipsch speakers were bought for another room, and in the past six years I have never really been able to make them sound right in the current room (although changing to an integrated amplifier - Marantz PM6005 - made it better). We have played around with positioning a lot and while there are other positions in this room that works slightly better in terms of sound, their current position is the most practical one in that it leaves the most space for our two-year old two whirlwind around the place without breaking anything (or himself).

TLDR: Current system is Klipsch RF-82 MkII w/ Onkyo TX-NR609 Basically, I think the speakers and AVR in our current system are poorly matched to each other, the speakers are a poor match for the space they´re in – and I would like help finding a suitable replacement. We would like to eventually expand to 5.0 or 5.1. Usage is perhaps 70% movies/games and 30% music (although good music reproduction is still important to both my wife and me). I have attached a picture of the front wall w/ current system installed - as well as the side-walls where we plan to hopefully install some side-surround speakers a few feet above ear-height (although placement will be sub-optimal).

Front wall.jpgSide-wall Left.jpgSide-wall Right.jpg
(Current system, front wall - left and right side-walls.)

Having eliminated several systems already, we are now considering the following speaker sets and would love some input from the forum.

Option 1:
  • LCR: Arendal Sound 1961 monitor + center
  • Surround: Arendal Sound 1961 bookshelf, Surround or Height speaker (expensive option), or XTZ Spirit 2 (cheap option).
  • Subwoofer: XTZ Sub 8.17 (maybe x2)
  • Cost: ca 2 500€ or 2 100 €
Option 2:
  • LCR: XTZ Spirit 4 + Spirit 6 or 8 center
  • Surround: XTZ Spirit 2
  • Subwoofer (optional): XTZ Sub 8.17 (maybe x2)
  • Cost: 1500€ w subwoofer
Note on choice of subwoofer: We are not looking to shake the walls. We rarely play loud. We just want something to fill in some of the lower frequencies missing from the Arendal speakers which play down to roughly 75Hz. The 8.17 seems like a reasonable choice that might work in our apartment without bothering our downstairs neighbour. The plan would be to try the 8.17 first and ask our neighbour to let us know if he can hear us while we watch movies or listen to music (apparently our Klipsch RF-82s have not bothered him in the past six years). If the subwoofer does not work out, we might have to look towards another setup – since the Arendals are designed to be paired with a sub.

Questions:
  • Which would be your choice of these two systems? Why? (wife prefers Arendals)
  • Are they reasonable upgrades to our current system? They seem better matched to the space aesthetically, at least.
  • If going with Arendals, the plan is probably to wall-mount them since they are so shallow (might be hard to find suitable stands). Would sound transfer between apartments be a concern with wall-mounting? None of the walls are shared with other apartments. Other negatives of wall-mounting?
  • If going Arendal: would it be worth it to pay double for Arendal surrounds instead of XTZ Spirit 2s?
  • What would you do with a space like this? Maximum speaker budget of 2500€ for 5.0 or 5.1.
  • Which of these AVRS would you choose to pair with these speaker sets? Yamaha RX-V6A (800€), Denon AVR-x2700 (800€), Marantz SR5015 (1100€) or Denon X3700H (1200€). Are they powerful enough to power the Arendals to reach low-medium volume? AVRs seem unusually expensive atm, so might wait a while before buying a new one.
Sorry for the long post, I have been reading up on this for over a year now and am getting dangerously close to getting stuck in analysis paralysis. Any input is greatly appreciated.

PS. We (I) briefly considered the KEF LS50 as well, but the wife thinks they look like the turrets from Portal – so she is kind of afraid that they will start shooting at her as soon as they get a chance. They have therefore been eliminated from the short list.
 

sebna

Member
I will not be able help much as I don't know most of the gear you are asking about but me recommendation would be to go for 2nd hand AVR. Something like 4500 or 3600 or equivalent from other brand at close to half price of a new unit.
 

Patrik72

Standard Member
Hi, I was in a similar situation as you. I ended up going for the Arendal and have just received them a couple of days ago. As they will be used in our weekend home I cannot comment on their performance yet but they are super solid and built like a tank (in a good way). In a couple of weeks I will be able to set-up and listen to the system so I can give my thoughts on their performance than. The main reasons why I ended up with the Arendal (1961 Monitor and Center) over the XTZ (Spirit 2 and Spirit 6):

  • I only have heard positive reviews on the Arendal while there have been some mixed reviews on forums on the XTZ Spirit.
  • I like the clean look of the Arendal where the grill is attached with magnets, while XTZ could have made the same but did go with the plastic pins that ruins the clean look if the grill is of
  • As the XTZ are vented they are more difficult to have mounted flush to the wall and this was a must for us.
When it comes to the sub we did go for the Arendal 1961 1S as the size and performance seems to fit well for the room that we will place the system in. I do think that you should consider a sub regardless if you go for the XTZ or the Arendal system as it does so much for the soundstage when looking at movies. Using a sub does not necessary mean that you will play loud, as you will get a solid foundation in the sound you might even end up listen at a lower level and still be happy if you have to care about neighbor’s, babies etc. So I strongly recommend a sub or two.
 

KiwiRob

Active Member
I went with the Arendal 1961 Monitor, Centre and Sub 1S, last week I ordered the 1961 Surrounds. I have no complaints, the build quality is exceptional, sound is huge for small speakers. I couldn’t be happier with them.
 

Rubarbs

Standard Member
I will not be able help much as I don't know most of the gear you are asking about but me recommendation would be to go for 2nd hand AVR. Something like 4500 or 3600 or equivalent from other brand at close to half price of a new unit.
Thank you for your advice! I will keep an eye out for used receivers as well.

Hi, I was in a similar situation as you. I ended up going for the Arendal and have just received them a couple of days ago. As they will be used in our weekend home I cannot comment on their performance yet but they are super solid and built like a tank (in a good way). In a couple of weeks I will be able to set-up and listen to the system so I can give my thoughts on their performance than. The main reasons why I ended up with the Arendal (1961 Monitor and Center) over the XTZ (Spirit 2 and Spirit 6):

  • I only have heard positive reviews on the Arendal while there have been some mixed reviews on forums on the XTZ Spirit.
  • I like the clean look of the Arendal where the grill is attached with magnets, while XTZ could have made the same but did go with the plastic pins that ruins the clean look if the grill is of
  • As the XTZ are vented they are more difficult to have mounted flush to the wall and this was a must for us.
Hi Patrik!

Thank you for your input. I am leaning more and more towards the Arendal 1961 monitor + center combo. As you say, the reviews are positive and they do look better with the magnetic grills. I am very tempted to try them out.

When it comes to the sub we did go for the Arendal 1961 1S as the size and performance seems to fit well for the room that we will place the system in. I do think that you should consider a sub regardless if you go for the XTZ or the Arendal system as it does so much for the soundstage when looking at movies. Using a sub does not necessary mean that you will play loud, as you will get a solid foundation in the sound you might even end up listen at a lower level and still be happy if you have to care about neighbor’s, babies etc. So I strongly recommend a sub or two.
I think you're right. A subwoofer might work if we keep the volume at a reasonable level. Our current Klipsch towers can be quite thunderous sometimes and our neighbor claims he doesn't hear us watching movies or listening to music. If I go with a sub, I'll make sure to choose one with a good return policy and ask our neighbor to tell us if he's bothered by it in any way.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the Arendals once you have set them up and tried them out. Also, what receiver/amp are you planning to use to power them?

I went with the Arendal 1961 Monitor, Centre and Sub 1S, last week I ordered the 1961 Surrounds. I have no complaints, the build quality is exceptional, sound is huge for small speakers. I couldn’t be happier with them.

Hi KiwiRob!

Nice to hear that you enjoy your Arendals.

What are you using to power them? How would you say they perform with music? Any thoughts on their performance when listening at low/moderate volumes?

Best,
Rubarbs
 

KiwiRob

Active Member
Hi Rubarbs I have a Denon AVC X3700H, not the most musical amp. I use them mostly for movies where they excel, I do play music through not very often.
 

Patrik72

Standard Member
Hi Rubarb, for the moment beeing we will use a Sony STR-DN 1080 as we got a realy good price on it. It does lack the mor fancy systems as Audyssey, Dirac etc so you migth want to go for a more modern Reciver if you like to have these systems. I will post more once I set it all up.
 

Rubarbs

Standard Member
Hi Rubarbs I have a Denon AVC X3700H, not the most musical amp. I use them mostly for movies where they excel, I do play music through not very often.

I am leaning heavily towards choosing that amp for my setup. Are you happy with it in your setup?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Hi Rubarbs I have a Denon AVC X3700H, not the most musical amp. I use them mostly for movies where they excel, I do play music through not very often.

There is ways to make it sound fine with music too. Depending are you using Pure Direct or 2ch stereo mode with Audussey on (Reference or Flat curve, by-pass L/R is popular for 2.1 music listening too), then i would buy the Audussey app editor so you can limit the correction to about 200hz and turn off the midrange compensation, there is also few other things to tweak. You would still have correction on the bass frequencies and subwoofer would be eq`d aswell. This is were it´s often needed most.

Funny that this forum is mostly against Denon for music listening, the reviews never say anything negative quite the opposite and owners in US don´t really complain either. Go figure.


I am leaning heavily towards choosing that amp for my setup. Are you happy with it in your setup?

If we look it as av-receiver there isn´t anything in UK for similar price that offers so much. It´s no wonder the 3000 range has been one of the most sold model all over world for quite long time. It has the same correction as 5000£ costing Denon AVC110 has. It has preouts so you can add 11x 200w poweramps to run any speakers you want after winning lottery! It has 11.2 processing also for 7.2.4 system (future proofed). The upcoming Yamaha model will be 7.2 and will cost more. Strong competitor i can think of comes from Onkyo or Pioneer with Dirac Live. They come June-August if not delayed.
 

Rubarbs

Standard Member
If we look it as av-receiver there isn´t anything in UK for similar price that offers so much. It´s no wonder the 3000 range has been one of the most sold model all over world for quite long time. It has the same correction as 5000£ costing Denon AVC110 has. It has preouts so you can add 11x 200w poweramps to run any speakers you want after winning lottery! It has 11.2 processing also for 7.2.4 system (future proofed). The upcoming Yamaha model will be 7.2 and will cost more. Strong competitor i can think of comes from Onkyo or Pioneer with Dirac Live. They come June-August if not delayed.
The 3700h does seem a really good choice in its price range. Even though I only plan on doing 5.1 at the moment, having the option to expand beyond that in the future and to have pre-outs for every channel + the better room correction seem like really nice things to have in an AVR.

I am mostly decided to go with 3700h at this point, still curious to hear what others think though :)
 

KiwiRob

Active Member
I am leaning heavily towards choosing that amp for my setup. Are you happy with it in your setup?

I am more than happy with it, it does a excellent job, far better than the old Yamaha I had previously. Its mostly used for home theatre and since the home theatre is also in the room I use as an office background music or talkback radio.
 

Madbear

Novice Member
Great advice!
 
Last edited:

Rubarbs

Standard Member
I thought I'd post a little update.

I had decided to go for the Denon x3700h, but it is not available for purchase at the moment. It was supposed to be back in stock on April 15, but has moved to May 15 now. Might wait and see what this year's model has to offer. Keeping an eye out for used options from Marantz and Denon as well, but no luck yet.

I knew I wanted to try the XTZ Spirit 2s as surround speakers, so I ordered those. I felt like I was running in circles with which LCR to go with, so I decided to order the XTZ Spirit 4 + Spirit 6 to try out. Seeing as I could get all five speakers for little more than what two Arendal Monitors would cost, I was curious to at least try them out. The idea is to try the speakers and see if we like them enough to keep them.

Recieved the XTZ Spirit 5.0 package on Friday, and set them up during the weekend. The spirit 2s have been wall-mounted and look nice imo. Got a chance to listen to the system a little bit during the weekend. They sound different from our Klipsch-speakers, but I haven't heard them enough to give a verdict yet. Unfortunately, I have been stuck with an ear-infection the last few days, so can't hear much on one side at the moment. Hope it clears up soon, so I can get back to testing. The idea is to try the XTZ- speakers and see if we like them enough to keep them. If we don't like them, or are undecided, we will order the arendal 1961 monitors to compare. If the Arendals are that much better, they would stay instead.

If there's interest, I'll update again when testing is finished and all is decided.

Best,
Rubarbs
 

EnwezorN

Active Member
Look forward to hearing your verdict on them - I have 3 x XTZ Spirit 6 waiting to be wall mounted and 2 surround Spirit 2s also waiting to be wall mounted - have some DIY to do and redecorating before I can try them out properly. I'm interested to hear what effect the jumper has which I believe was created for wall mounting. Good luck to you.
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
1961 Arendals need a subwoofer IMO. Otherwise by themselves they'll be lacking in the bass department.

I think once you have some good subs integrated, the Arendals will be very difficult to beat.

Why not Arnedal subs? I'd definitely save some money via a second hand or bargain priced AVR and spend more money on the speakers and subs first. They'll last you longer than an AVR.. especially a denon which you'll likely want to upgrade at some point.
 

Patrik72

Standard Member
I have the 1961 Monitor and center together with an 1961 Sub1S and they work extremly well together. I use 80hz as the crossover frequenzy and that gives a very good integration betwen the sub ant the monitors and center. IMO Such small speakers as the 1961 Monitor, center etc or the XTZ Spirit 2, 4, 6 or 8 need an subwoofer to performe well if using for homecinema etc.
 

Rubarbs

Standard Member
1961 Arendals need a subwoofer IMO. Otherwise by themselves they'll be lacking in the bass department.

I think once you have some good subs integrated, the Arendals will be very difficult to beat.

Why not Arnedal subs? I'd definitely save some money via a second hand or bargain priced AVR and spend more money on the speakers and subs first. They'll last you longer than an AVR.. especially a denon which you'll likely want to upgrade at some point.
Thanks for your input. Seems like solid points to me.

I realise the Arendal 1961 monitors are designed to be used with a well integrated subwoofer(s), and I like the idea of a setup like that. On the other hand, I am a bit hesitant to use a subwoofer where I live right now, since I don't want to disturb my downstairs neighbour. We've only had floorstanding speakers before, so haven't tried a sub in our apartment. Maybe it could work well, I'm not sure. Maybe the only way to know for sure is to try it :)

An alternative, that I haven't mentioned above, could be to instead replace my current Klipsch floorstanders with smaller ones (maybe the 1961 towers, or used Kef r500s). That would perhaps make it so that we don't need subwoofer(s) right away, but the option to add them would still be there whenever we move somewhere else, where subs could be utilized better.

Right now we are testing an XTZ Spirit 5.0 with spirit 4 (LR), Spirit 6 (C) and Spirit 2 (surround). Unfortunately, my hearing has been temporarily fudged on one side, so can't say what I think of them yet.

Regarding saving money on a bargain or used receiver. I'm afraid I haven't found any suitable options yet. I have been keeping an eye on the local used market for a few months, but no luck yet. Any tips on models to look out for (used or otherwise)?
 

Patrik72

Standard Member
Or that you go for some secondhand sub from XTZ or similar, the XTZ Cinema 1x12 or the 10.17 edge or 12.17 edge cold be a good start.
 

sebna

Member
Thanks for your input. Seems like solid points to me.

I realise the Arendal 1961 monitors are designed to be used with a well integrated subwoofer(s), and I like the idea of a setup like that. On the other hand, I am a bit hesitant to use a subwoofer where I live right now, since I don't want to disturb my downstairs neighbour. We've only had floorstanding speakers before, so haven't tried a sub in our apartment. Maybe it could work well, I'm not sure. Maybe the only way to know for sure is to try it :)

An alternative, that I haven't mentioned above, could be to instead replace my current Klipsch floorstanders with smaller ones (maybe the 1961 towers, or used Kef r500s). That would perhaps make it so that we don't need subwoofer(s) right away, but the option to add them would still be there whenever we move somewhere else, where subs could be utilized better.

Right now we are testing an XTZ Spirit 5.0 with spirit 4 (LR), Spirit 6 (C) and Spirit 2 (surround). Unfortunately, my hearing has been temporarily fudged on one side, so can't say what I think of them yet.

Regarding saving money on a bargain or used receiver. I'm afraid I haven't found any suitable options yet. I have been keeping an eye on the local used market for a few months, but no luck yet. Any tips on models to look out for (used or otherwise)?

I have 4500h for sale in case you would be interested. PMed you the details.

Cheers
 

Conrad

Moderator
I have 4500h for sale in case you would be interested. PMed you the details.

Cheers
And obviously you'll do a classified listing if you want to trade :D
 

sebna

Member
And obviously you'll do a classified listing if you want to trade :D
Absolutely. If he / she would be interested in buying it I will do so (who would not want an extra trading reputation point? ;))
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
Thanks for your input. Seems like solid points to me.

I realise the Arendal 1961 monitors are designed to be used with a well integrated subwoofer(s), and I like the idea of a setup like that. On the other hand, I am a bit hesitant to use a subwoofer where I live right now, since I don't want to disturb my downstairs neighbour. We've only had floorstanding speakers before, so haven't tried a sub in our apartment. Maybe it could work well, I'm not sure. Maybe the only way to know for sure is to try it :)

An alternative, that I haven't mentioned above, could be to instead replace my current Klipsch floorstanders with smaller ones (maybe the 1961 towers, or used Kef r500s). That would perhaps make it so that we don't need subwoofer(s) right away, but the option to add them would still be there whenever we move somewhere else, where subs could be utilized better.

Right now we are testing an XTZ Spirit 5.0 with spirit 4 (LR), Spirit 6 (C) and Spirit 2 (surround). Unfortunately, my hearing has been temporarily fudged on one side, so can't say what I think of them yet.

Regarding saving money on a bargain or used receiver. I'm afraid I haven't found any suitable options yet. I have been keeping an eye on the local used market for a few months, but no luck yet. Any tips on models to look out for (used or otherwise)?

IMO factor subwoofer into equation. Buying floor standers to temporarily buy time before getting a sub is silly.

Reason to buy towers is for music or looks IMO if integrating good subs. Sure tower might sound marginally better due to the extra performance in the tank for bass response etc but generally, monitors + more subs are just going to be much much better for HT.

And the price increase of monitor to tower is huge.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: LG C1 OLED + JBL Synthesis SDR-35 First Thoughts, plus TV Show & Disc Reviews & more
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

What's new on UK streaming services for June 2021
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Austrian Audio launches Hi-X65 headphones
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Roku expands streaming content with Roku Originals
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
What's new on Netflix UK for June 2021
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
AVForums Podcast: 12th May 2021
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom