Help needed - totally lost - info and pics provided

gavingavionson

Standard Member
We've just renovated a badly damaged room in our new house and I currently have all my old AV stuff set up. We are almost done in the room and despite not planning on spending anything more on AV (we've still got a whole house to do!), I have managed to set aside some cash to improve the AV situation.

The room is 4m wide by 5m long. The AV stuff is currently in a 40cm deep alcove. There is a bay window at the other end of the room from the TV. Other than a large corner sofa, there is no other furniture in the room. It's a suspended wooden floor. The volume of the room is approx 1,500 ft3

Photo of the AV alcove here: AV area

My current gear is old and super budget:

LG 50PT353K Plasma TV

Sony STR DH520 AV Receiver

Samsung HT-D4500 5.1 speakers

I have no desire to upgrade the TV right now. It works for us and when we do upgrade it I want to spend some cash (that I don't have right now) on a good one.

What I do want to upgrade is the sound system - it's functional (i.e. I can hear stuff), but that's about it.,

My plan is as follows:

  1. Buy fronts, centre and sub immediately
  2. Use current AV receiver then upgrade this next
  3. Use current satellites and then upgrade last
Our requirements are:

  1. 66.6% movies/33.3% music (eclectic taste in music, so all round capability is desirable)
  2. We've decided to avoid floorstanding speakers for space/aesthetic/cash reasons...and would prefer to stick bookshelf speakers on stands and buy a decent sub.
  3. We can't audition anything right now, so need to decide whether this puts the plans on hold, or there are any no brainer deals out there that mean its worth taking a punt.
  4. The upgrade needs to be a a very obvious upgrade for my other half. I don't think this should be too hard!

My research (aka try to get my head around a subject i know nothing about) has led me to the following options:

Fronts and Centres:

Monitor Audio Bronze 2/Bronze Centre...£270 total
Dali Spektor 2/Vokal Centre ...£340 total
Mission QX -2/???? Centre...£269 for bookshelves...would try to pair with cheaper centre as matching is £300?
Elac Debut 5.2/5.2 Centre...£470 total

Sub

Used XXLS400 (or maybe XLS200)...£250-300

AV Receiver

Something used from Denon X series...£250

Questions

Bearing in mind I haven't heard any of these speakers, my head is saying the Monitor Bronze 2 plus Centre, along with an XXLS400 is a stonking deal at the moment, then adding in the FX speakers at a later date.

Would something like the QX2 or Debut 5.2 be twice as good, as they are approaching double the price all in?

Does my approach seem sensible in terms of upgrades and the type of kit I am looking at?

Will this type of set up still sound good for music (I acknowledge that its not going to satisfy an audiophile, be we are not anyway)

Is my other half likely to be impressed by the difference (and therefore be happy I have spent our cash on it)?

Are there better value AV's out there than say a 3 year old Denon X series?

Will the proposed speakers plus XXLS400 sub be enough to "fill" the room for movies and music?

Are there any other speakers I should be looking at in my price range?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Hi there!

Your plan sounds good doing it stages.

Regarding the speakers it`s always tricky to guess which one would like most. The speakers you mentioned are more or less in the same level. There is new Bronze range out next month and because of that you see the lower prices. Normally it was around 280£ for Bronze 2 pair. I hope you are considering walnut, rosenut, white ash rather than the black oak. Dalis are nice speakers aswell and you can find the earlier Zensor range 2nd hand too which is slightly better than the Spektor range. They have bit extra brightness in the top end compared to Bronzes example. Now that could be plessing for you (more exciting) or the opposite. They also draw nice wide soundstage. Plenty to like, but that top end may come tiring, that was my thought when i heard them. But don´t put too much weight on this as you could feel opposite and love them.

Haven´t heard the Elacs, although they should be very good cause they are designed by Andrew Jones and the real world feedback is great, bit boring looking though. I would look the larger 6.2 and 6.2C though. I think for the price the Bronze 2 system is very tough to beat all things considered, the sound is very enjoyable with music & movies, easy to listen whole day if you may. If you want to be 100% sure you would wait until the shops open up and put Elac, MA, Dali against each other in the demo room. This would give you all the answers you are looking for.

As for the receiver i would never buy 2nd hand receiver, but that´s just me. I feel it´s too risky without warranty. But if you do look those then i would keep my eyes on Yamaha receivers cause they are known one of the most reliable ones. But i think if you are swapping the tv later on then you probably want up to date receiver with newer features also. Your Sony may not be the last word with musical capabilites, but it has the new HD sound formats so you will fine with it for movies for now. Best would be save up for something higher range, unless one pops up for good price used.

The room could use more soft furnishing. Some nice looking thick rug in front speakers would be good idea. As for the main speaker placement don`t put them inside the alcove! Buy speaker stands from AVO (50£/pair) and have them pushed forward. For the center channel you either bring the cabinet forward and have it there at the front edge with using some isolation feets or wall mount it below tv. You want to optimize carefully the position as it will be one of the busiest speaker with movies so as close to seated ear height as possible.


As for the subwoofer if you are going to use it mainly with movies i would personally pick BK Monolith which often comes up at the classifieds. The position of sub is critical so with that in mind also, front corner or 1/4 front wall placement is good starting point. If the XXLS400 is more easily to be moved and won´t give you fights with wife then by all means go that route. Regarding the amps the risk is there with 2nd hand old stuff, but they are usually rather cheap to fix and you have great support from BK.

Apologies, i tried to write shortly but that just isn´t possible when considering many things i want to bring up. :laugh:
 

gavingavionson

Standard Member
Thank you very much for taking the time to offer some advice!

Yes, I suspect you are right re the receiver. I will sit tight with the Sony until funds allow me to replace it with something more suitable. It might make sense to try to pick up a deal on a new TV and AV receiver at the same time, once funds allow.

The Monolith is going to be pushing it size-wise. I could however manage to squeeze another XXLS400 in a different location if the need ever arose...

I had planned to have the front of the FR speakers outside of the alcove...will this be sufficient, or do i need the whole speaker outside? Thanks for the tips on the centre speaker, I will probably mount it under the TV using a bracket as you have suggested.

The biggest question now is whether to pull the trigger on FRC speakers, or wait until I can demo. To be honest, £270 for the Monitor Audios doesn't feel like a big gamble, and if I end up demoing something else at a later date that I prefer, I can either recoup some of the costs of the MA or use them in another room (or even use the Bronze 2s as satellites?)

If I was to order both the MA and Dalis for a side by side (then send the least favourite one back), would this be a worthwhile test, given neither will have been run in?
 

password1

Well-known Member
You're not comparing like for like. The bronze 2 are budget cheap and cheerful built to a price. The Mission LX series are akin and even those have better build quality. The Mission QX are a level above.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thank you very much for taking the time to offer some advice!

Yes, I suspect you are right re the receiver. I will sit tight with the Sony until funds allow me to replace it with something more suitable. It might make sense to try to pick up a deal on a new TV and AV receiver at the same time, once funds allow.

The Monolith is going to be pushing it size-wise. I could however manage to squeeze another XXLS400 in a different location if the need ever arose...

I had planned to have the front of the FR speakers outside of the alcove...will this be sufficient, or do i need the whole speaker outside? Thanks for the tips on the centre speaker, I will probably mount it under the TV using a bracket as you have suggested.

The biggest question now is whether to pull the trigger on FRC speakers, or wait until I can demo. To be honest, £270 for the Monitor Audios doesn't feel like a big gamble, and if I end up demoing something else at a later date that I prefer, I can either recoup some of the costs of the MA or use them in another room (or even use the Bronze 2s as satellites?)

If I was to order both the MA and Dalis for a side by side (then send the least favourite one back), would this be a worthwhile test, given neither will have been run in?
Yep another XXLS400 is always option then, example both at front corners or diagonally front/back corners, opposite sidewalls etc. If you are leaning new XXLS400 then you also have the same size P12-PR model which could be even more ideal if you crave stronger low end for action/scifi flicks. I say this cause you have house, not apartment so you are not as limited and probably can crank out more so you want good impact! Pick the best you can afford.

The Spektor range was cheaper than Zensor and Oberon is the new version of Zensors. The center channel is smaller which i don´t like and it would be deal breaker for me. Sadly Oberon will cost bit more and that´s why i mentioned Zensors. I don´t know can you return the speakers to RS without losing money.

Outside the alcove (pushed forward) so there is empty space behind, not against walls atleast 20cm space behind. I don´t know how wide the alcove is and how far away you sit. You can play little bit with the toe in also, Dali works best shooting straight as per their recommendation. If possible don´t keep couch against rear wall and i hope you don´t sit too far away either.

The run in well let`s say there is also lot of "run in" needed for your ears to get used to new sound.

You're not comparing like for like. The bronze 2 are budget cheap and cheerful built to a price. The Mission LX series are akin and even those have better build quality. The Mission QX are a level above.
Yes indeed QX range is level higher and more expensive, but that still doesn´t guarantee X person would like it more as each brand has their own sound signature. I haven´t read that much good of these in AVSForum by people who compared them to other brands. Strangly they don´t seem to be talked here much either as i know the brand has great history. The QX center channel was said to be mediocre in WHF review, i wonder what that was about. Still only 2-way design without special waweguide, it´s likely to suffer known negatives if listeners further on the sides.

LX is similar to Q Acoustics 3000 range, both ranges are designed by same person. I don´t believe LX has better build quality than Bronzes while being cheaper (200 vs 280 RRP) and they certainly don`t look as nice! Bronze had even better cabinet than new KEF Q serie by some dealer who inspected them more carefully at AVSForum. LX serie uses smaller drivers in smaller cabinet (center) to please wifes, just like Q Acoustics. Compromise!

Bronze
  • High quality crossovers with premium grade Polypropylene film capacitors used throughout
  • Rigid 18 mm MDF construction throughout, employing radial and cross-bracing techniques for high rigidity resulting in low cabinet coloration
 

password1

Well-known Member
I have owned the lx1 and have the bronze 2 and the build quality of the missions is better the bronze has a cheap price of plastic on top.

Its a personal preference. I find the lx more modern looking. the bronze 2 are similar to the br2 and bx2 in cabinet design but with a different woofer. the bronze c cam cone does look nicer than the black cone of the lx.

These are my bronze 2
IMG_20200524_171347.jpg


IMG_20200524_171422.jpg


These are my lx 1
IMG_20200524_170738.jpg


Build quality is superb for the price.

IMG_20200524_170717.jpg

The cabinets on the bronze 2 are definitely not as solid as the lx1 i had but thats probably the smaller more rigid cabinet.

How about the concept 20's? They're heavily discounted from £379 when new to £229.

I would take whf reviews with a pinch of salt.
 
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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Shame you have the black oak, it looks bland. Any of the wood finishes even if it`s vinyl wrap looks 100x better than the cheapish black oak. I don`t believe the LX cabinet is any better, most likely isn´t even braced. They can´t do magic with that build budget. And you would have to compare LX+ to Bronze 2 for both have similar sized cabs and drivers.

The white one looks nice! Much better than this on the AVF review.
 

password1

Well-known Member
I agree the black oak looks bland. To me the cheap fake wood effect vinyl looks like boring speakers from the 1980's. The fit and finish on my bronze just isnt as precise.

The lx look modern and stylish in the flesh, the white ones anyway.

Both have magnetic grilles which is a feature i like.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
The vinyl wrap in Bronzes should be one of the best looking available at this price, there is definitely cheaper looking ones. I had the white ash and it was very nice, but these are questions of taste at the end of day. The walnut isn´t bad either looking from couch it looks very nice and there is nothing screaming fake or cheap. I had the Silver real wood veneer walnut side by side and yeah it was surely nicer, but also double the price. :) If i would pick Bronzes i would definitely get anything other than the black oak which doesn´t have any wow factor. I think the new range has full black and greyish front part. Have to see live before saying anything cause pictures doesn´t always give best idea.
 

password1

Well-known Member
I think the Q Acoustics concept 20's are the best if not one of the best built for the current price. They're superior to anything similart price Ive seen, with 9 layers of lacquer and double 'gel core' cabinet construction.

IMG_20200520_173522.jpg


I dont think there are speakers better built than the concept 20's for less. They're very heavy for their size.
 

gavingavionson

Standard Member
I've just been reading up on those Concept 20s, they do seem to be great value at £229.

A little frustrating the stands are more expensive and the centre speaker is £200.

So at £150 more than the MA Bronze 2/Centre, do the Concept 20s/Centre represent an overall better speaker (objectively of course)?

Can I get good performance out of them using a cheaper stand?

And will they run OK with a cheap AV receiver in the interim?
 

password1

Well-known Member
You don't need to use the Q acoustics stands. Any sturdy stand will do more or less the same job. Blu tack is recommended to fix the speakers to the stands.

The concepts are a league above the bronze and will be good enough for future receiver upgrades. The concepts are equivalent to the silver range and the 3000/3000i series are equivalent to the bronze range.

I have the concept 40's and im using a budget £200-£250 amp..i was using two £500 old amps (not taking into account inflation)
 

password1

Well-known Member
A little frustrating the stands are more expensive and the centre speaker is £200.
There is a concept centre in the classifieds for half the new price (not mine) They are rare. If you that then the difference is only £50-£60 rather than £150.

 
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gavingavionson

Standard Member
Thank you! I've just messaged the seller.

Does the Marantz SR5008 seem like a good buy? It's £299 as a PX at Peter Tyson. it's got pre-outs, which is appealing as leave the door open for buying a decent hifi amp in the future.
 

password1

Well-known Member
I can't comment on that marantz receiver as ive experience on them.

For around £300 Id personally look at new with warranty for peace of mind. pioneer vsx933 would be my choice based on my experience of the vsx920

 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thank you! I've just messaged the seller.

Does the Marantz SR5008 seem like a good buy? It's £299 as a PX at Peter Tyson. it's got pre-outs, which is appealing as leave the door open for buying a decent hifi amp in the future.
Too old with HDMI 1.4.. So you would need to ugprade it again when you buy new 4K tv. Makes zero sense.
 

gavingavionson

Standard Member
I've just noticed with the Concept 20s that I'd probably have to have them further out of the alcove than is ideal. You would walk in the room almost into the speaker.

To have the front of the speaker flush with the wall, or just protruding, I'd only have 10cm at the back.

Would plugging that back port as suggested have a real impact on the quality of the sound?

Would another speaker be preferable if I cant pull it 20-30cm from the back wall?
 

password1

Well-known Member
Plugging the port should make them not as deep and in my experience the port doesn't affect the tweeter/higher frequencies.

As you're going to be using a subwoofer anyway it shouldn't matter if you lose a little depth. The subwoofer will do the bass duties, assuming youll be high passing the speakers.

It's best to experiment with/without bungs and at different distances and toeing in angles.

where is the doorway? would the door hit a speaker if its fully open?
 

gavingavionson

Standard Member
The door opens into the room, and as you take a step in, the speaker would be on your left.

So the door won't hit it, but someone walking into the room would need to avoid it.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
The door opens into the room, and as you take a step in, the speaker would be on your left.

So the door won't hit it, but someone walking into the room would need to avoid it.
What was the width of that alcove where it starts/ends? I had that first in mind that you would place them on each end of those, but pushed forward so the side of speakers would be in room and behind there would be space =alcove. But at this point it´s guess work and ideally you would try yourself. For music listening equilateral triangle (speaker to speaker to listener) is often recommended, but for AV use slightly narrower can work too. QA recommends that you have 2-4meter apart for main speakers.

For QA Concept 20 the company says it can work little bit closer walls than the Concept 40. For that floorstander model they mention 200mm as minium and for side walls 500mm. And you can always try the port bungs if you move the speakers wider and the wall is closer. But i have a feeling that they could even benefit slightly of the closer wall placement. They are lot smaller with small drivers so the low end is going to be weaker than for Bronze 2 example and you are going to want to have subwoofer with music listening most likely. Well i know i would.

"The Concept Series speakers are rear ported and designed to work best with some space behind them i.e. 200mm or so away from a wall. If you position your speakers close to a wall/corner then the foam bungs should be inserted into the rear ports or there could be too much bass. You will find the level of bass is reduced but definition and bass extension is increased. Experiment to see what you prefer and try making small changes to the position of the speaker to optimise the final result. "

"The Concept 20s are ideally mounted on Concept floor stands. If you are stand mounting, a simple guide is that the treble unit should be at ear level to a seated listener. Stand mounted speakers should be treated as floorstanding speakers except that the speaker may be placed a little closer to the back wall. Shelf mounting is also possible. Be prepared to experiment to find the best setup for your taste in your particular listening room."
 

gavingavionson

Standard Member
Many thanks to gasp3621 and password1 for all of the helpful advice, much appreciated.

I've ordered the Concept 20 fronts from Peter Tyson, and picked up that Concept Centre from the classifieds. Having spent an inordinate amount of time trying to decide, they seemed like the best all round option, and the one that won't leave me immediately wanting to upgrade if/when I change my receiver and perhaps pick up a stereo amp too. Thanks for putting me on to those password1.

Next on the list is an XXLS400 or equivalent (the monolith is just too big size wise).

Also...what would be a good idea for satellites to match the Concepts? Preferably something small...Q Acoustics 7000LRi looks like it could be a good fit?

On the hunt for a sturdy stand now that will fit...the Custom Designs SQ 400 will just squeeze in thankfully.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Many thanks to gasp3621 and password1 for all of the helpful advice, much appreciated.

I've ordered the Concept 20 fronts from Peter Tyson, and picked up that Concept Centre from the classifieds. Having spent an inordinate amount of time trying to decide, they seemed like the best all round option, and the one that won't leave me immediately wanting to upgrade if/when I change my receiver and perhaps pick up a stereo amp too. Thanks for putting me on to those password1.

Next on the list is an XXLS400 or equivalent (the monolith is just too big size wise).

Also...what would be a good idea for satellites to match the Concepts? Preferably something small...Q Acoustics 7000LRi looks like it could be a good fit?

On the hunt for a sturdy stand now that will fit...the Custom Designs SQ 400 will just squeeze in thankfully.
I would prefer the sturdier looking RS300 more, but up to you. :) Notice you want the 24inch tall = 600mm version which ever you choose.

Here is one black pair of QA 7000i with stands.

Hope you will find some sub that isn´t too old if you hunt used one.
 

password1

Well-known Member
The QA 7000 satellites look suitable as surrounds as they have the swivel brackets saving you money and hassle of buying brackets. With bookshelves or a dedicated surround once they're fixed to the wall it'll be a little bit less convenient to reinstall them.

IMG_20200525_112755.jpg


IMG_20200525_112742.jpg

They look cute, a bit like tic tac pills.
 

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