Looking for new system advice

chris guevara

Novice Member
Hello All,

I've been making do with a cheap as chips arrangement for years which consisted of an ancient NAD amp and Warfdale Diamond speakers, streaming from an iphone via my Nvidia shield. The amp was unable to survive the upheaval of a recent house move and I need a replacement setup.

I'm going to give the Warfdale's to my son for his bedroom so am looking for a complete system. The more I research though, the more confused I seem to become. I've not researched hifi gear since I bought my first and only system over 30 years ago and it's all doing my 50 year old head in now!

So, what am I looking for? I ditched my cd collection in the move and currently stream from Spotify premium only. I've been reading about the new lossless Apple music format so that may be an option although I'm not sure my aging ears could notice much difference.

2.1 which I can plug my TV into. The room is approx 5 x 5m with a bay window which houses a large unit with my TV on. The speakers would have to sit on this unit either side of the TV, so would be close to the side walls of the bay. A 5 month only pup and clumsy child rule out floor or stand speakers I think so I'm looking for smallish bookshelf speakers.

I listen to everything from rock, metal, reggae and electronic to the occasional bit of classical!

I read the advice given on another post which said that active speakers are the way to go given their impressive detail at low volumes and this sounds like the right thing for me as I will rarely get the chance to shake the room. I like the simplicity of the KEF active speakers and they seem to get very good reviews but the LSX is probably too small for my room (????) and I'm not sure I want to spend £2k+ on the LS50 wireless II, although I could probably stretch to them if they blew me away.

I'm happy to buy used if it makes sense but by doing so it is unlikely I would get the chance to try before I buy. So...can you make some suggestions for a setup in the £1,000 - £1,500 range. Would a streamer like the Bluesound Node that folks on here rave about make a huge difference compared with streaming via a device like an Nvidia Shield (I'm guessing yes) although if I do add a dedicated streamer it would obviously limit the amount I had to spend on the amp & speakers. Is that a worthwhile arrangement or am I better off saving on the streamer and investing more on the other components?

If I went down the used route, what makes of amp and speaker pair well? Or am I better off with a KEF active speaker or similar?

Thanks in advance...
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
If you are wanting to use a stereo/streamer you could look at something from Marantz within your budget. The Marantz NR1200. As for the speakers are you looking at floorstands or bookshelf?
 

chris guevara

Novice Member
Thanks for your reply Shane. I hadn't really considered AV receivers, thinking they were more for folks looking for 5.1 or 7.1 setups but I'll take a look.

For speakers, I need a pair of bookshelf, given space and kid/dog constraints.

Cheers
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
Have you a size in mind as one that work well with your genre tend to be either a little larger than small bookshelfs or you can add a woofer to bring some real depth
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Thanks for your reply Shane. I hadn't really considered AV receivers, thinking they were more for folks looking for 5.1 or 7.1 setups but I'll take a look.

For speakers, I need a pair of bookshelf, given space and kid/dog constraints.

Cheers
Marantz is safe choice.

You can also check out Bluesound own amplifiers with streaming build inside. The Powernode 2i as an example, but the new model is now available to buy.
Node2i is also very good.

Speakers like Dali Oberon 1 may work also. KEF Q350 also.
 

chris guevara

Novice Member
My Warfdale's are 300mm high x 200 wide x 280 deep. I could go a little larger (height obviously not restricted) but not much.

The LS50 wireless ii's are 300 x 200 x 308 which would just about work for instance.
 

chris guevara

Novice Member
Marantz is safe choice.

You can also check out Bluesound own amplifiers with streaming build inside. The Powernode 2i as an example, but the new model is now available to buy.
Node2i is also very good.

Speakers like Dali Oberon 1 may work also. KEF Q350 also.
Thanks for the reply, will take a look at your suggestions.

Do you know how the Powernode compares to the Marantz NR1200?
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
The BlueSound Powernode 2i is a 60 watt amp with more streaming features for sure whereas the Marantz NR1200 has a little more power and gives you that traditional feel with some dials and HDMI connectivity, enabling you to hook your TV or any other device which uses this option. Both will power a wide range of speakers without any hassles. Speaker size wise, you could look at a pair of Q150's with a SVS SB1000 to bring a rounded sounding system
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Thanks for the reply, will take a look at your suggestions.

Do you know how the Powernode compares to the Marantz NR1200?
Sadly now experience with the new Powernode version, still the old version is quite enjoyable to listen to. There can be money saved since the old version has 60 watts compared to the new on which has 80 watts.

Sadly not listed to the NR1200 also! But listed to a lot of Marantz amplifiers the last 20 years. Like the PM6006 as an example. Marantz is very musical compared to other brands. Some love it, some not.

If you want air, large soundstage with then go for the Marantz. If you want a more neutral sound then the Powernode is a good choice
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I really think even if one amplifier has 60 watts (Powernode) compared to 75 watts (Marantz) is irrelevant since both amplifiers have good power supplies.
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
Both amp solutions should drive the Q350's, but if you went with the woofer solution, you will find that the Q350's are not required as the Q150's and sub will be more in line with a full range speaker solution
 

chris guevara

Novice Member
Both amp solutions should drive the Q350's, but if you went with the woofer solution, you will find that the Q350's are not required as the Q150's and sub will be more in line with a full range speaker solution
I've always found the bass from a sub to be artificial in some way although admittedly, I've only listened to budget gear.

The sub/Q150 is over £350 more expensive than the Q350's too. Monitor Audio Silver 100's which reviews say are excellent speakers come in £200 less. This is the rabbit hole into which I have fallen!

Too much choice...I guess I need to go and listen to some combinations...
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
If you set it up right, you shouldn't even know its there. That's the mistake that many people make when trying to integrate a woofer correctly and in reality whilst listening to music, you should power the woofer off and notice that something is missing and once powered back on, you notice the sound is much more structured than without it running. But if you have it setup incorrectly, you'll find that the crossover eats into the mid-range which is where things tend to go a little wrong and makes it sound a little false

I will concur that hearing with your own ears for any system is always the best option, and yes it can be a little bit of a rabbit hole if you don't place boundaries
 

chris guevara

Novice Member
If you set it up right, you shouldn't even know its there. That's the mistake that many people make when trying to integrate a woofer correctly and in reality whilst listening to music, you should power the woofer off and notice that something is missing and once powered back on, you notice the sound is much more structured than without it running. But if you have it setup incorrectly, you'll find that the crossover eats into the mid-range which is where things tend to go a little wrong and makes it sound a little false

I will concur that hearing with your own ears for any system is always the best option, and yes it can be a little bit of a rabbit hole if you don't place boundaries
Thanks Shane
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Thanks both. Just reading about the KEF Q350's. Would they be a good match for the NR1200?
Yes. KEF and Marantz have always partnered well. The KEFs are suprisingly benign and will suit many amps, especially those that lean to a more warm signature such as Marantz. The KEF R3 would be a step up in performance but at a cost.
 

chris guevara

Novice Member
Yes. KEF and Marantz have always partnered well. The KEFs are suprisingly benign and will suit many amps, especially those that lean to a more warm signature such as Marantz. The KEF R3 would be a step up in performance but at a cost.
That’s great info, thank you.
Can the R3’s work as bookcase speakers or do they need to be mounted to stands?

Im going to book a listening session at a local seller next weekend who has a wide range of gear.

It’ll be interesting to see if my ageing ears think the difference between a 1k system and 3k system is worth the extra expense.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
That’s great info, thank you.
Can the R3’s work as bookcase speakers or do they need to be mounted to stands?

Im going to book a listening session at a local seller next weekend who has a wide range of gear.

It’ll be interesting to see if my ageing ears think the difference between a 1k system and 3k system is worth the extra expense.
They will perform best on stands. Bookcase speakers is something of a misnomer as probably the worse place to put them is actually on a bookshelf or bookcase. They can go on a cabinet, that's where mine are situated, providing the cabinet is a good heavy gone to avoid vibration and resonance. Having them on good isolation feet also helps but if you do have the room for stands then all the better.

The R3s also come with a two stage bass port bung which can be used fully closed or half closed. It can also be fine tuned by pushing the bung in or out. I have mine (R300) half ported because of their proximity to a rear wall.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
If you’d like exceptional sound that will blow you away consider these.


This Dirac equipped amp will be all you’ll ever need.



The Dirac will easily take care of your unfortunate positioning option.

And these speakers are a legend.


Well within budget for both.

Around four grands worth of superb hifi for a third of that price.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Other speakers to consider.




(The MAs would benefit from a sub)
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Arcam is amazing, still remember my old Arcam A80, such glorious midrange.

I believe Arcam, Marantz have bass management build in (better subwoofer integration) then most amplifiers on the market.

But I know the new Powernode has bass management. It has 80 watts compared to the old Powernode 2i which has 60 watts.

If going for the more expensive KEF R300, R3 you should perhaps consider the Arcam amplifier. There are of course tons of other choices...
 

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