Lacking experience to make final decisions on speakers!

Zyke

Novice Member
Hey everyone.

I've recently gotten interested in home theater, but since i live in an apartment still, i figured i would start out "light" with a 3.1 setup, but in a way that would allow me to upgrade and improve it later, when i move into a house (probably 3+ years in the future though).

I live in Denmark and do not own a car, so sadly i am very limited in what i can listen to other than Dali, which is Danish and sold by Hifi Klubben where i live.
First of all, i will try to explain a bit about the room. I live in a fairly new 72m2 apartment split into 4 rooms, which can be closed with doors so only the "main room" is relevant. The sound dampening between apartments is excellent and i have no one living below me.

The "main room" combines the living room with the kitchen and this is where the home theater will be. I have attached a picture with some approximate measurements and i estimate the room to be around 3000 cubic feet, which will lead into subwoofer discussion later.

Budget is around 2500 euro for 3.1 speakers + subwoofer. I have already bought a Denon X1700H. I was looking at getting the Denon X3700H, but EU prices are absolutely ridiculous right now, so there's no way i'm paying 10k+ danish kroner (1400 euro / 1500 usd) for a 2020 model at that price. Figured i'd instead buy what I "need" right now and look into upgrading later.

A final note is that my current TV setup doesn't really allow center speakers wider than around 52cm / 20.4 inches without having to pull everything down and re-mount it etc. so i would like to stay within that size, even though i know that it limits me in some ways.

Speakers:
Speakers i've been looking into getting (bookshelf speakers, preferably decent looking and white):
  • Monitor Audio Silver (Silver 100 7G more specifically, with C250 center, this looks very appealing when reading reviews etc.).
  • Dali Opticon 1/2 MK2 (I can actually listen to these and can probably find some older version used as they are a danish brand and everyone buys Dali).
  • XTZ spirit 4 + spirit 6 as center (Swedish brand, but can't find a lot about the spirit 4).
  • Arendal (more specifically the 1961s, also struggling to find more on these, people mostly talk about their 1723 range, which gets a tad too expensive).

These are some of the speakers i've been looking at that is available in Europe and with a decent center speaker that fits the required dimensions. What do you guys think, are there other speakers you would recommend? Again, i'm very limited with what i can actually go and listen to.

Kompakt højtaler - Små højtalere med god lyd you can go here if you want to see some of the available speakers that i could go easily listen to.

My preference would probably be 60/40 movies / music, don't know if that helps with speaker recommendations. Maybe the optimal solution is to just try and go listen to Dali's and then have either XTZ or Arendal speakers on home trial?

Subwoofer:
I'm unsure how big of a subwoofer i will need. My plan was to invest in one now and then i could add another in the future, but i realize that 3000 cubic feet is still a pretty big room, so I don't know how large to start out with, do i need to go for a 15" woofer in this case? I imagine the future room will be at least the same size, maybe even slightly bigger.

  • XTZ 12.17 EDGE (Good reviews, on sale right now, not sure if actually "big" enough).
  • Monoprice Monolith 12" or 15" (Seems to be the "king" of value, but no longer on sale and not sure if it will be again, due to the new V2's).
  • Arendal 1V (Unbelievably good looking, but not sure if it's a very good value compared to something like Monoprice).
  • BK Electronics (Seems a bit outdated, but i contacted them and they seem to still deliver to EU after Brexit)
  • SVS subwoofers (I've l.ooked at them, but they seem overpriced in EU).

I hope i have provided all the information you might require to assist me if not, please say so and i will do my best to reply quickly :)

Best regards and thanks
Rasmus
 

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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Hey!

You could try if the THANKYOU20 code works on Monoprice EU site. Two M12 V2s would be awesome, even one already should drop your jaw on floor if this is first time you hear something like it. It`s hard to imagine that you could push them hard in apartment even if it has good sound proofing as the low frequencies will travel so easily to other houses. I can`t think you would benefit from the 15"/13" models there cause you can`t listen them as loud as in detached house. The M12 V2 is suitable for 3000-5000cuft room and with duals you have even more headroom. Of course i understand if you want to buy the biggest sub (15") now eyeing the future move, but the box is huge like having washing machine there! :) And would it be away from speakers then also...

The Arendal and XTZ will naturally suit great for modern European living room as they look better than Monolith & more compact size wise, but naturally they can`t play as loud in the deep down. However i`m still skeptical how hard you can push the sub(s) without causing issues with neighbours. You also have SVS PB1000 Pro which is slightly ahead performance wise and the PB2000 Pro which is very similar to M12 V2. Arendal costs 8490 DKK so between the two SVS model. There is one group test in the Arendal site where it was tested against SVS PB2000 Pro, XTZ 1x12 Edge Cinema plus some others. Arendal was picked best by one point hah very strong on sound quality, long story short all are good choices no doubt. I think it comes down for how low price you can get the M12 V2 and is the finish ok for living room. Don´t buy anything ugly cause it´s sure way to get buyers remorse later. For living room the Arendal would be winner looks wise and i can´t imagine two wouldn´t satisfy you in apartment.

The av-receiver prices are crazy indeed. Shame you had to buy the cheap model as new models are coming at some point this year which means reduced priced for the current ones. No information when and what is coming. Probably same units with new hdmi 2.1 board which has full set of 8K inputs.

Arendal 1723 Bookshelf and Centre would been easy choice and best for long term assuming you swap the receiver, perhaps starting 2.1 system first if money being issue. The center channel is too wide by few cm and you probably don´t have space for third Bookshelf 1723 upright vertically either. Three identical speakers at front would be great, but that would mean wall mounting tv higher. I`m not sure how you have planned to place the centre, hopefully not inside the av-unit as it´s always more or less compromise. I mean you could buy "floor tv stand" that goes under and behind your av-unit and being height adjustable that leaves you space for larger center on top of av-unit. Amazon UK has those if you don´t know what i mean.

With XTZ Spirit you should ideally opt for Spirit 8, not the slim 6. The 8 model has identical 6,5" drivers to Spirit 4 and larger cabinet. That is basically what you want for center channel as it´s the most active speaker in your system. I hope you could find solution to fit larger center channel cause you are buying the speakers as long term purchase.
The XTZ Spirits differs from MA and Dali at least with the highs rolling off much sooner so they should be opposite to bright. Notice i don`t mean harsh by bright. One review of Spirit 2 mentioned this against MA Bronzes and measurements backed it up too. Some might feel that kind of sound lacks bit of excitement (?), but others might prefer the non fatiguing smooth sound. We have had members going both ways.

From Dali the Opticon 2 would be more suitable, the 1 is too small and Vokal comes with the dual tweeters. Shame you can´t compare the Opticons and Silver as they are one of the best in this class no doubt. B&Ws doesn´t get that much love unless you like fairly hot treble. 706 S2 and HTM71 S2 would be the models to consider for long term. Naturally very expensive. At least go listen the Dalis.

Don`t forget the Monoprice 365 system if the looks/finish is ok.

 

Zyke

Novice Member
Hey!

You could try if the THANKYOU20 code works on Monoprice EU site. Two M12 V2s would be awesome, even one already should drop your jaw on floor if this is first time you hear something like it. It`s hard to imagine that you could push them hard in apartment even if it has good sound proofing as the low frequencies will travel so easily to other houses. I can`t think you would benefit from the 15"/13" models there cause you can`t listen them as loud as in detached house. The M12 V2 is suitable for 3000-5000cuft room and with duals you have even more headroom. Of course i understand if you want to buy the biggest sub (15") now eyeing the future move, but the box is huge like having washing machine there! :) And would it be away from speakers then also...

The Arendal and XTZ will naturally suit great for modern European living room as they look better than Monolith & more compact size wise, but naturally they can`t play as loud in the deep down. However i`m still skeptical how hard you can push the sub(s) without causing issues with neighbours. You also have SVS PB1000 Pro which is slightly ahead performance wise and the PB2000 Pro which is very similar to M12 V2. Arendal costs 8490 DKK so between the two SVS model. There is one group test in the Arendal site where it was tested against SVS PB2000 Pro, XTZ 1x12 Edge Cinema plus some others. Arendal was picked best by one point hah very strong on sound quality, long story short all are good choices no doubt. I think it comes down for how low price you can get the M12 V2 and is the finish ok for living room. Don´t buy anything ugly cause it´s sure way to get buyers remorse later. For living room the Arendal would be winner looks wise and i can´t imagine two wouldn´t satisfy you in apartment.

The av-receiver prices are crazy indeed. Shame you had to buy the cheap model as new models are coming at some point this year which means reduced priced for the current ones. No information when and what is coming. Probably same units with new hdmi 2.1 board which has full set of 8K inputs.

Arendal 1723 Bookshelf and Centre would been easy choice and best for long term assuming you swap the receiver, perhaps starting 2.1 system first if money being issue. The center channel is too wide by few cm and you probably don´t have space for third Bookshelf 1723 upright vertically either. Three identical speakers at front would be great, but that would mean wall mounting tv higher. I`m not sure how you have planned to place the centre, hopefully not inside the av-unit as it´s always more or less compromise. I mean you could buy "floor tv stand" that goes under and behind your av-unit and being height adjustable that leaves you space for larger center on top of av-unit. Amazon UK has those if you don´t know what i mean.

With XTZ Spirit you should ideally opt for Spirit 8, not the slim 6. The 8 model has identical 6,5" drivers to Spirit 4 and larger cabinet. That is basically what you want for center channel as it´s the most active speaker in your system. I hope you could find solution to fit larger center channel cause you are buying the speakers as long term purchase.
The XTZ Spirits differs from MA and Dali at least with the highs rolling off much sooner so they should be opposite to bright. Notice i don`t mean harsh by bright. One review of Spirit 2 mentioned this against MA Bronzes and measurements backed it up too. Some might feel that kind of sound lacks bit of excitement (?), but others might prefer the non fatiguing smooth sound. We have had members going both ways.

From Dali the Opticon 2 would be more suitable, the 1 is too small and Vokal comes with the dual tweeters. Shame you can´t compare the Opticons and Silver as they are one of the best in this class no doubt. B&Ws doesn´t get that much love unless you like fairly hot treble. 706 S2 and HTM71 S2 would be the models to consider for long term. Naturally very expensive. At least go listen the Dalis.

Don`t forget the Monoprice 365 system if the looks/finish is ok.

Appreciate the incredibly detailed answer Gasp.

I just tested the THANKYOU20 code and it does indeed work on the Monoprice EU website, so I will probably go for a monolith sub then! Would you recommend to go for the V2 over the older V1? I guess the V1 is probably going to be gone in the future, if i don't buy 2 subs now.

I gotta admit, as much as it hurts me to say it, i was planning to put a center inside the AV unit. My AV unit is "fairly" expensive and quite "tall" and i currently have the TV mounted at the perfect height, so there's just no way to put a center speaker under it, even with lowering the AV unit. The AV unit is quite tall though, so the center would be able to have plenty breathing room on top of it, but of course not be at optimal height. I'm not sure if i should simply stick with a 2.1 in this case as you said and then later, when I move, redo and add a proper center.

Alternatively i would raise the TV by 10cm, but i feel like that would start to get too high, but then i could fit a center speaker under 23cm under the TV. This would allow me to at least fit some more centers, like the spirit 8. Tough decisions :(

I have attached a picture of my setup in its current state.

The cheaper receiver model was the only one available at what seemed to be a reasonable price and brands like Onkyo are simply not available in Europe. Would you recommend waiting for the new ones to drop (it's not optimal, but i could hold off with buying stuff for now). Otherwise, i figured this would be "ok" for just a 2.1 or 3.1 setup and could be upgraded in a few years time, when the market has hopefully recovered.

I will go listen to the Dali Opticon 2 mk2's tomorrow. I just saw that the matching center for those speakers is also too large, so i can definitely see how much this is limiting me right now. Definitely considering just going for the 2.1 setup for now and figuring out something else in the future.

If i like the Dali's, i might consider giving the MA silvers a try (I will try to figure out what the return policy is for them here in Denmark), since you say they are somewhat similar.
 

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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
You have familiar looking stands there. Norstone Stylum. I had those in white too with "rears" . Arendal uses them in their demo room aswell when i last asked stands for the 1723 S models. :)

Yeah man definitely raise the tv if possible, could you push couch bit more away perhaps to compensate it? Many folks here at AVF have tv on top of fireplace. It looks quite crazy, but clearly they are ok with it. When i visit my parents they also have tv fairly high, first when you start to watch it feels bit odd but later on it`s ok. I think it`s one of those things like when you have 108" screen and sit under 3meter away from it, it feels massive first but after month you start craving larger one. You get used to it.

Keep us posted how you find the Dali`s. Would be great if the dealer could put the Opticon Vokal too and play some movie clips. Hopefully they use X3700H/X4700H unit which is more ideal partner with these level speakers. XTZ feels bit cheaper like no magnet grills as if you don´t keep em you have the ugly holes visible. The Silver 100s are taller/wider and deeper over Opticons with 8" mid-bass drivers without being too bass heavy speakers, i assume you have read the reviews for 100 6G so you get the idea what to expect and why they are loved by everyone. You should also consider which looks best to your eyes as you going to be watching them daily for years to come so i think the purchase should tick all the boxes for you.

The M12 V2 should have about same performance to V1 and V2 looks better plus is available later on so i think it`s a no brainer. 800€ price is very low for such high performing unit. Comes with same 5year amp warranty as SVS/Arendal. The sale codes are not valid for long time so don´t think too long!

You could watch some clips so you see the size in room. It`s with the V1 but same size so you get the idea. If possible i would try it at the right front corner first to see how it sounds. What ever you choose you need to be open for finding the best placement, especially with dual subs so think carefully is the finish suitable for the sub to go where it needs to go rather than where it looks best (might not sound best). Hit play:



The receiver is not on par with the speakers you buy so keep that in mind that you want something better long term and you also don´t have the better room correction which also affects how the sub sounds plus the XT32 (X3700H upwards) has also the better setup for dual subs (individual distance/level for each subs if you place them further apart) so later on 3000/4000 serie Denon or Marantz SR 6000/7000 serie would be ideal. Yamaha is typically very expensive in Europe. Used prices are likely high aswell and if not transferable warranty it becomes risk. Onkyo is coming with new models and should arrive to Europe summer time. It has Dirac Live in the midrange models aswell so if you up for tweaking and own laptop then this could be the way to go, but we don´t know about the pricing yet. Onkyo RZ-50 is the model to look for.
 

Zyke

Novice Member
You have familiar looking stands there. Norstone Stylum. I had those in white too with "rears" . Arendal uses them in their demo room aswell when i last asked stands for the 1723 S models. :)

Yeah man definitely raise the tv if possible, could you push couch bit more away perhaps to compensate it? Many folks here at AVF have tv on top of fireplace. It looks quite crazy, but clearly they are ok with it. When i visit my parents they also have tv fairly high, first when you start to watch it feels bit odd but later on it`s ok. I think it`s one of those things like when you have 108" screen and sit under 3meter away from it, it feels massive first but after month you start craving larger one. You get used to it.

Keep us posted how you find the Dali`s. Would be great if the dealer could put the Opticon Vokal too and play some movie clips. Hopefully they use X3700H/X4700H unit which is more ideal partner with these level speakers. XTZ feels bit cheaper like no magnet grills as if you don´t keep em you have the ugly holes visible. The Silver 100s are taller/wider and deeper over Opticons with 8" mid-bass drivers without being too bass heavy speakers, i assume you have read the reviews for 100 6G so you get the idea what to expect and why they are loved by everyone. You should also consider which looks best to your eyes as you going to be watching them daily for years to come so i think the purchase should tick all the boxes for you.

The M12 V2 should have about same performance to V1 and V2 looks better plus is available later on so i think it`s a no brainer. 800€ price is very low for such high performing unit. Comes with same 5year amp warranty as SVS/Arendal. The sale codes are not valid for long time so don´t think too long!

You could watch some clips so you see the size in room. It`s with the V1 but same size so you get the idea. If possible i would try it at the right front corner first to see how it sounds. What ever you choose you need to be open for finding the best placement, especially with dual subs so think carefully is the finish suitable for the sub to go where it needs to go rather than where it looks best (might not sound best). Hit play:



The receiver is not on par with the speakers you buy so keep that in mind that you want something better long term and you also don´t have the better room correction which also affects how the sub sounds plus the XT32 (X3700H upwards) has also the better setup for dual subs (individual distance/level for each subs if you place them further apart) so later on 3000/4000 serie Denon or Marantz SR 6000/7000 serie would be ideal. Yamaha is typically very expensive in Europe. Used prices are likely high aswell and if not transferable warranty it becomes risk. Onkyo is coming with new models and should arrive to Europe summer time. It has Dirac Live in the midrange models aswell so if you up for tweaking and own laptop then this could be the way to go, but we don´t know about the pricing yet. Onkyo RZ-50 is the model to look for.

Hey Gasp.

For a small update:
- Ordered a Monolith V2 12 inch with the code you provided, was looking at the specs and damn, it's big!

- Went and listened to the Dali Opticon 2 mk 2's and also some Oberon 3's for a cheaper comparison. Gotta say, when i told him to put on the Oberon 3's, I was expecting it to be almost the same, but the Opticons had so much more presence and I definitely knew i had just found a minimum bar i had to reach! Ordered some outlet white Opticons in perfect shape to save 15%, as well as the matching center. I will spend some time with them to trial them out and see how it sounds once i bring them home.

Not sure if i should try out the silvers, there is sadly no place in Denmark selling them with a trial option, so i would have to pay to return them.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Hey Gasp.

For a small update:
- Ordered a Monolith V2 12 inch with the code you provided, was looking at the specs and damn, it's big!

- Went and listened to the Dali Opticon 2 mk 2's and also some Oberon 3's for a cheaper comparison. Gotta say, when i told him to put on the Oberon 3's, I was expecting it to be almost the same, but the Opticons had so much more presence and I definitely knew i had just found a minimum bar i had to reach! Ordered some outlet white Opticons in perfect shape to save 15%, as well as the matching center. I will spend some time with them to trial them out and see how it sounds once i bring them home.

Not sure if i should try out the silvers, there is sadly no place in Denmark selling them with a trial option, so i would have to pay to return them.

Yes it´s quite massive. Hope you have understanding Mrs.

Nice to hear you got some discount from the Dali´s and from the sub. If you got extra money then it would be ideal to do some head to head comparison at home with the Silvers if they can be returned without too large cost. Of course you can go on with the Dali`s, but will you get those "what if" thoughts later on if you haven´t heard the option you wanted.

Have you ordered some basic OFC (oxygen free copper) speaker wire let´s say 2,5mm2 and some basic shielded subwoofer cable? Usually hifi shops will ask high price of these, but maybe you have some shop locally that doesn´t rob you totally.
 

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