Home Cinema how to select a shortlist to audition.


Standard Member
I am looking to replace my aging Sony DAV550 all in one and I am struggling on how to get a shortlist. One idea is to choose two brands, that are at different ends of sound spectrum e.g Pioneer and Yamaha. Decide which sound you prefer and then try to match it with a set of speakers, maybe varying the price of the amp along the way. This begs the question, how consistent are manufactures in keeping to their 'house sound' as you move /down the price range and from year to year?

The approach that I have tried so far is to drop in on a quiet day and listen to whatever a dealer has got set up. At the moment I have listened to a Pioneer 920 with Kef eggs, which I hated. It sounded boxy, when I was expecting a reasonable sound stage. But the real killer was voices; they really grated and sounded shrill (?) The dealer then swapped out the eggs for Kef Q200 and Q100s. Much improved, I now had the sound stage I was expecting, but still the voices were a real problem and no way could I have listened to a whole film. One year later I quickly tried a Pioneer Lx85 and MA R90 (?) with a Rel sub. This was much better and was the sort of experience I was after. But given that I have only listened to Pioneer I think that I should try to sample something different, hence thinking of Yamaha.

My room is 4x5m ,plus a large bay. I think that I will have to go down the style speaker route( although it would be interesting to see what that means giving up). The budget is £1200 to £3000, with a definite limit of 4K. The less I pay the better, but given that I expect to keep it for a long time, I don't see the point of just replacing the Sony for something a bit better.

Is this a sensible approach and if so what sort of price point should I do my comparsions at? Also should keep the speakers the same, or switch to try to get a reasonable match with the two manufactures?


Distinguished Member
Whenever I have upgraded any part of my system, I have obviously done my research by searching for reviews and forum opinion. With source equipment, AV receivers and the like, I ensure that it has the features I want. Obviously style also comes into it and the equipment and speakers are part of the furniture they have to be pleasing on the eye. It is often difficult to arrange demos but it is always worth doing. When I was upgrading my speakers I drew up a shortlist with my budget of B&W 6 series, MA Silver and Focal Chorus 700/800 ranges and away I went. I demo'd most of them over a period of months and ended up going back to the Focal Chorus 800 series probably a year after I had heard them. Not the best way to do it but I'm happy.

As you liked the sound of the Monitor Audio speakers, why don't you try various receivers with them? There are a number of options in the Monitor Audio range from style speakers such as the Vector and Radius that you've listened to, high performance compact Apex range to the more traditional speaker styles in the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum ranges.


Standard Member
Thanks davepuma. Given that I will probably spend more and have them for longer, it makes sense to build the system around the speaker rather than the amp. Although I will probably do a quick a/b test with B&W so I understand the difference between them. The B&W also look a bit smaller, so I may be forced to go down that route anyway.

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