looking to upgrade my AV system ... need some advice and suggestions without breaking the bank

RogerDingo

Member
hi all

i am interested in upgrading my aging AV system with a brand new spanking one to go into our new house ...we wont be moving in till Feb/March next year so thought id start doing some research into what my options would be.... so we got plenty of time to find the right fit.

my current AV is close to 10 years old.
its a Sony STR-DH820 running a 5.1 setup (the speakers are sony as well, not sure on the model as i cant see any model info on the speakers)

the living room in our new house will be around 2.9m x 5.6x (give or take)

i dont really have any AV systems in mind at the moment as im not entirely sure as to what i should be getting.. hence why im asking.
one AV system that i have noticed and comes up regularly as quite decent is the denon avr-x2700h... so i guess my price point at the moment is this model.
one of the reason i was looking at this AV is because it comes with hdmi 2.1 for my PS5.

ive got a Samsung Q80T TV so will need something that works well with this... should i consider a samsung system? just keeping it in the family so they work well together.

im not an audiophile so i dont need best of the best but i do want to make sure that the sound is crisp and clear.
one of the biggest issues i have with the sony system is that when were watching a movie the effects like explosions, music etc is so bloody loud and it overpowers the dialog... so you end up having to constantly make it quieter or louder.. im sure im not the only one that struggles with this.

so i was hoping that somebody can throw some AV suggestions/recommendations that i can take a look.


cheers!
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
Hi

A few questions if I may:

1. Did you have an overall budget in mind, for both the AVR & speakers?
2. Will the system be used mainly for movies or music too. For example my system is 50/50 use.
3. Is the room a dedicated Home Theatre, or (as is my case) the main living room?

I appreciate you're yet to move into your new house, but do you have any floorplans, a sketch or picture of the room you intend to house the system?

This information will help members give more tailored advice. As a general rule of thumb AVR & speaker bundles from the likes of Richersounds, Peter Tyson, Audiovisual Online etc offer great value and are a good starting point when building a system.

The only thing I'd suggest is you remove the packaged sub from the bundle and get one from a dedicated subwoofer manufacturer such as Rel, Bk, SVS..These offer greater value and performance than many packaged subs.

Don't forget you can also build your system in stages if budget is tight etc. Whichever system.you choose, the speaker's have the biggest impact on sound quality. I'd look to spend at least double the cost of the AVR on the speakers.

You should always audition any speakers prior to purchase as different brands will have different sound signatures. I would never buy speakers "blind" (without listening to them first).

There's no real need to brand match the 5.1 system to the TV. Any current newAVR will connect to your Samsung in the same in the same way..


Feel free to ask any other questions etc
 

RogerDingo

Member
hey mate

to answer you questions..

1. i think id be prepared to spend in the region of 1000-1500 pounds in total for the AV and speakers. I always bang on about having quality good sound and i dont feel i should be skimping out on this... i see this as a future investment and will want these to last at least 10 years.

2. like you the system will be used mainly for tv shows, gaming (ps5), music which i stream via bluetooth to my TV and the odd movie.
it would actually be really handy if the AV had bluetooth capabilities as well.

3. yes, this will be the dedicated room for all movies/tv/gaming related stuff.
ive attached a screenshot of the living room setup...

my understanding is that all the power ports, antennas etc will be located where the red exclamation mark is.. so i will most likely look at wall mounting the TV.... but thats TBC.
1627171192081.png



as im very much in the early stages of discovering whats out there in the AV world its about finding that balance between package deal (av and speaker bundle) /cost/buying individual speakers and AV (and what features it has)

ive seen these KEF speakers mentioned a few times and they look and sound (from what im reading) pretty damn impressive.. they also seem to come with a hefty price tag.
also seen ARCAM and Marantz mentioned as solid AV receivers... cant say ive ever heard of these 2.

goes without saying that splurging on dedicated speakers will give me much better sound quality.. question i have is if i would really notice the difference between a for eg. speaker worth 600 and one worth 400..
my girlfriend for example thinks that TV speakers are fine and she says they sound better to her ... (i instantly told her to get out of the house) so shes not one i can trust to give me a proper opinion.

as i said its all about finding that balance and what i feel is a good fit for me.

keen to hear some options and suggestions!
let me know if you need any more info

cheers!
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
Now isn't the best time to buy a new AVR as prices have remained high due to supply issues caused by the pandemic. There was also a huge fire in a major microchip factory which led to a worldwide shortage.

Have you actually listed to any speakers or system in store yet? If not this would be a good starting point imo. You also need to decide if you'd like floorstanders or bookshelf (standmount speakers). There's also in/on wall speakers.

Personally, I'd always recommend buying the highest model AVR you can afford. I say this as I bought a Denon x2500H in 2018 (the older equivalent to the current Denon 2700 but quickly sold this (within 18mnths) and bought a Denon 4500H as I wanted to try full Dolby Atmos, so needed a 9ch receiver.

In the current Denon range the 3700 is the lowest 9ch model. It's RRP is £1000, but for the extra you're also getting a better XT32 version of Audessey, more power etc. Here's a comparison of the 2 receivers:


So imo it's well worth the extra (especially if you're interested in running a full Atmos setup - Either now or in future). Obviously this will likely mean an increase in the budget 😊

If your not interested in a full Dolby Atmos (4 speaker) system now (or in future) a the Denon 2700 would be sufficient. Indeed it can do Dolby Atmos, but just the 2 height channels as its only a 7 channel receiver.

I have no experience of Yamaha AVR's so will let others chime in here. You mentioned Marantz. Well Denon/Marantz are the same company and built in the same factory. The equivalent model Marantz is usually more expensive than it's Denon sibling. There are however some subtle differences. Many say the Marantz sound more "Musical" vs the clinical Denons. But they are component wise virtually identical. Eg: Denon x3700 = Marantz SR6015.

There's also Arcam and Anthem. However these receivers will require a significant increase in your budget if looking to buy new!

In terms of bundles. Here's a few around your budget (based around the Denon 3700). Note I don't personally have any experience of these, but it gives you an idea what's available:



Again, buy the speakers without the sub. There's better subs for similar money.

I can however recommend the Monitor Audio range of speakers, having owned 2 sets myself (First the Bronze, now the Silvers) again these will push the budget further still. As always I'd recommend an audition of any speakers. Also look at Kef & Dali.

Talking of budget. It might actually pay to build your system in stages. This is something I do. You could for example start by buying the AVR and the front 3 speakers (LCR) and add the surrounds and a sub later when funds are replenished. Whilst the front 3 speakers are recommended to be brand and range matched. The surrounds and subwoofer do not need to match.

I've probably given you loads to think about/confused you even more. So feel free to ask anything else. As I said I'd start by listening to a good selection of speakers, to establish which brands you like the sound of.
 
Last edited:

RogerDingo

Member
that is definitely a lot to mull over!

i havent been to any sound stores as yet but this is something im planning on doing at some point... but first i wanna get some idea as to what i am reading about as there is so much to process.

in regards to Dolby Atmos..
i think its something that i would consider in the future .. the idea that i can immerse myself during a movie is pretty cool and i guess this is where the 3700 comes into play.
thing is.. to run a 7.1.4 speaker setup or more you gotta put speakers all over the room... i dont really want to clutter the living room with speakers
but yeah.. definitely something to consider for the future.

Bundles..
ive no idea what sort of speakers id want to get... the floor stand ones take up more room where as the smaller ones i could hang them onto the wall.
so purely based on that id lean towards the bundle with the Q Acoustics speaker only because they are smaller and i assume can be put onto a wall easier.
massive unknown really... but its good you brought that up as i never really thought about it.

those bundles you provided look pretty good to me.. i havent heard of any of those speaker brands so would need to read up on them as well.

I have thought about building the AV setup from scratch and buying the sub and surround speakers at a later date. i feel the benefit of a bundle is that its all provided and i dont have to worry about doing anything else.
If the price of building scratch is the same or close to a bundle deal then yeah i would definitely consider it and get kit that i feel fits the bill.
and again.. another thing to research.

There are so many acronyms and features in these AV units that make no sense to me at the moment as ive never heard of most of them so i need to read up on them as well.

thanks again for all your input so far... i will slowly digest it all and keep researching as to what i should get :)

keep throwing more setups, AVs, bundles, info etc at me so i can keep looking stuff up!


cheers!
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
i just stumbled onto a wireless HIFI setup...

the thought of not having to use cables is also pretty appealing.. any thoughts on these?
are there any wireless AV setups i should consider taking a look at?

They are only sold in pairs so it would come super expensive to build 5.1 system and there is much better choices for ££ as those are for fairly nearfield music listening mostly. You can get clean install for wires quite easily with these:


Here is more bundle deals with both Denon receivers.


Check the depth also, if you put the Q Acoustics 3020i on wall it will come out quite a lot and might not look as good. Would look better on stands. If you/she doesn`t like the look of stands then you can consider the slim floorstanders which are usually best looking option.


Few pictures tell more..

ecculne48tb51.jpg


Imagine this depth plus the wall bracket which pushes the speaker more forward. It will look quite "odd" if mounted on wall, especially if you mount your tv to that right side wall so when coming in to room you have two deep boxes hanging on wall...

maxresdefault.jpg



Slim towers will look great! Here example the Monitor Audio Bronze 200. See the bundle with X2700H (1620£ at Peter Tyson).

521monitor.2.jpg


They are excellent with movies and music. Again this new range got Best Buy just like the earlier range so they are not going to disappoint! Forward engaging sound with touch of brightness. I would have these on my list for sure with your budget. Check out the four different finishes on the 2nd link, urban grey is lovely too. The upfiring modules for Atmos comes only in white and black though.


 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
I think the bronze package of those would be my fav. Bigger budget Arcam is a step up and KEFs worth.

Denon wise I would look at the AVR 4700 the extra £300, you could pair with MA Bronze for around £2500 and have upgrade options. An Arcam solution could would be around £6700 with an AV20 & Kef R3
 

RogerDingo

Member
I think the bronze package of those would be my fav. Bigger budget Arcam is a step up and KEFs worth.

Denon wise I would look at the AVR 4700 the extra £300, you could pair with MA Bronze for around £2500 and have upgrade options. An Arcam solution could would be around £6700 with an AV20 & Kef R3

i get the feeling that the Arcam is a step too far in terms of my budget ... maybe one day :)

what would you say is the main reason to go for the 4700 over the 3700/2700?
im just wondering what would i be gaining that would justify that extra cost?
 

RogerDingo

Member
They are only sold in pairs so it would come super expensive to build 5.1 system and there is much better choices for ££ as those are for fairly nearfield music listening mostly. You can get clean install for wires quite easily with these:


Here is more bundle deals with both Denon receivers.


Check the depth also, if you put the Q Acoustics 3020i on wall it will come out quite a lot and might not look as good. Would look better on stands. If you/she doesn`t like the look of stands then you can consider the slim floorstanders which are usually best looking option.


Few pictures tell more..

ecculne48tb51.jpg


Imagine this depth plus the wall bracket which pushes the speaker more forward. It will look quite "odd" if mounted on wall, especially if you mount your tv to that right side wall so when coming in to room you have two deep boxes hanging on wall...

maxresdefault.jpg



Slim towers will look great! Here example the Monitor Audio Bronze 200. See the bundle with X2700H (1620£ at Peter Tyson).

521monitor.2.jpg


They are excellent with movies and music. Again this new range got Best Buy just like the earlier range so they are not going to disappoint! Forward engaging sound with touch of brightness. I would have these on my list for sure with your budget. Check out the four different finishes on the 2nd link, urban grey is lovely too. The upfiring modules for Atmos comes only in white and black though.



great info and detail here .. thanks for all the links!

wireless speakers
Ok thanks for the info.. makes more sense that it would be a much more expensive solution
i also think you'd end up losing some sound quality over wifi.
i have used those cable management things before.. they are great, used them at our old place.
I am hoping that in our new house ill be able to wire the cables thru the wall/ceiling meaning i wont have to use those cable hiders.

speakers on wall vs standing speakers
i agree with you that hanging speakers on the wall could be an eye sore...
i think as long as we have a cabinet of sorts under the tv then putting standing speakers in will work. they will just sit next to the cabinet.
the pictures you posted up definitely look great and I really like the look of the Monitor Audio Bronze 200 speakers... they look really good!

The only reason why i mentioned putting the speakers on the wall is that my current sony speakers do come with wall mounting brackets. They are much smaller than the MA bronze 200 so mounting them isnt really that much of an eye sore. I had them mounted at our previous place and they were fine... were currently in a temp rental so havent got them mounted anywhere, they are just sitting on the tv cabinet.
as you can see here they are.... the sub is on the right.
1627296974503.png


the rear speakers, i wouldve preferred to hang these on the wall but i dont want to drill anything in this rental.
1627297022033.png


so as you can all see upgrading my AV and speakers setup is a big deal and will be a huge jump in quality.. i feel like anything i get will be a huge improvement over these little speakers.


bundles
thanks for the bundle links... the Q Acoustics speakers look really good as well.
so many options!

if i was to choose between the Q acoustics and the MA bronze 200... id go for the MA Bronze 200 as i think they look a lot better.. i definitely prefer that look to the thin monitor stands.


are there any other brands in the same price range that i should consider?
anything from Yamaha?

thanks for your help so far... really good info there and plenty to think about

keep it coming guys!
 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
i get the feeling that the Arcam is a step too far in terms of my budget ... maybe one day :)

what would you say is the main reason to go for the 4700 over the 3700/2700?
im just wondering what would i be gaining that would justify that extra cost?
It's lots of little thing but main the AL32 processing and better power supply.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
if i was to choose between the Q acoustics and the MA bronze 200... id go for the MA Bronze 200 as i think they look a lot better.. i definitely prefer that look to the thin monitor stands.
If you like the Bronze 200's, you should also consider the next range up the MA Silver 100's.... They are standmount speakers, but I have these speakers and they are a big upgrade from the Bronzes imo - well worth the extra £25. The satin white is lovely too.

They have real wood vaneer finishes instead on vinyl on the Bronzes, better drivers etc


I've got mine on some Atacama Mosseco 6 stands, but you could place them on a cabinet.

There's also the MA Silver 200's but these are £999 RRP.

If you're set on floor standers These are some more in the same price range as the Bronze 200's:


 
Last edited:

RogerDingo

Member
It's lots of little thing but main the AL32 processing and better power supply.

ok makes sense in terms of better processing... basically everything runs smoother on the unit.

when you say better power supply do you mean its more powerful or has better power consumption?

cheers,
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member

ashenfie

Well-known Member
It has slightly more power
 

RogerDingo

Member
More powerful. Here's a comparison of the 3700 & 4700:

thanks... i did check this out the other night when you posted it up.. got a bit lost with all the specs :facepalm:

1627307830215.png


so the 4700 has more power meaning the speakers work better and produce better sound with less processing needed?
with the speakers that have been mentioned above ... would you/I really notice the difference?

also what is THD?
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
so the 4700 has more power meaning the speakers work better and produce better sound with less processing needed?
with the speakers that have been mentioned above ... would you/I really notice the difference?
You probably won't notice any difference in terms of pure sound output (ie level). The biggest noticable difference will be down to the 4700's better Al32 processing. Sound steering and separation will likely be better as a result. I have the 4500 (an older model, but with the same AL32 processing). That coupled with the better version of Audessey (XT32 vs XT) is a significant upgrade over the x2700.

Note the x3700 has the same XT32 version of Audessey (as the 4700), but the lower AL24 processing.

In summary:

X2700
7.2 Channel
Audessey Multi EQ XT
AL24 Processing

X3700
9.2 channel - so can do full 4 speaker Atmos configuratio out of the box. (can process 11.2 ch - with addition 2 ch amp).
Audessey Multi EQ XT32
AL24 Processing

X4700
9.2 channel - so can do full 4 speaker Atmos configuratio out of the box. (can process 11.2 ch - with addition 2 ch amp).
Audessey Multi EQ XT32
AL32 Processing

In addition the 3700 & 4700 also have more slightly more power, and Audessey Subwoofer EQ HT - Which gives better bass response and EQ.

Imo the 3700 is ideal, if on a budget and offers a significant upgrade over the 2700.. But if you can afford to stretch the budget - as a very happy 4500 owner - I'd go for that.
 

RogerDingo

Member
If you like the Bronze 200's, you should also consider the next range up the MA Silver 100's.... They are standmount speakers, but I have these speakers and they are a big upgrade from the Bronzes imo - well worth the extra £25. The satin white is lovely too.

They have real wood vaneer finishes instead on vinyl on the Bronzes, better drivers etc


I've got mine on some Atacama Mosseco 6 stands, but you could place them on a cabinet.

There's also the MA Silver 200's but these are £999 RRP.

If you're set on floor standers These are some more in the same price range as the Bronze 200's:



all those speakers look really good...
ive actually got some cheapo speaker stands that i could use.. they are the prettiest thing around but would certainly do the job for the MA silver 100's.

so many options!
 

RogerDingo

Member
You probably won't notice any difference in terms of pure sound output (ie level). The biggest noticable difference will be down to the 4700's better Al32 processing. Sound steering and separation will likely be better as a result. I have the 4500 (an older model, but with the same AL32 processing). That coupled with the better version of Audessey (XT32 vs XT) is a significant upgrade over the x2700.

Note the x3700 has the same XT32 version of Audessey (as the 4700), but the lower AL24 processing.

In summary:

X2700
7.2 Channel
Audessey Multi EQ XT
AL24 Processing

X3700
9.2 channel - so can do full 4 speaker Atmos configuratio out of the box. (can process 11.2 ch - with addition 2 ch amp).
Audessey Multi EQ XT32
AL24 Processing

X4700
9.2 channel - so can do full 4 speaker Atmos configuratio out of the box. (can process 11.2 ch - with addition 2 ch amp).
Audessey Multi EQ XT32
AL32 Processing

In addition the 3700 & 4700 also have more slightly more power, and Audessey Subwoofer EQ HT - Which gives better bass response and EQ.

Imo the 3700 is ideal, if on a budget and offers a significant upgrade over the 2700.. But if you can afford to stretch the budget - as a very happy 4500 owner - I'd go for that.

do you mean the 4700?

you sound very much like me justifying the extra cost and getting the more expensive unit... same thing happens to me when friends/family ask me for IT advice .. eg buying a laptop.. what to get..
i always say best of the best cause it will be better and last longer! :)

since we started discussing this im already leaning towards the 3700 as it ticks all the boxes without smashing the budget too much.
i dont think id really notice the increased features/processing/power benefits by getting the 4700.

from a bundle perspective im liking the look of this
 

RogerDingo

Member
I've a Denon X6700H which I bought recently. They sent me an email about a problem with play back and PS5, which I see is important for you, bug

As your buying next year, they should of fixed this by then, but something to be aware of.
yeah i saw this mentioned a while ago that the hdmi 2.1 chip has issues with the PS5. I saw this when i looked at the 2700 model.
hopefully they do fix it.
i wouldnt say its a show stopper as im currently using the 2.1 port on the TV itself.

thanks for letting me know that the issue exists in the higher models.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
do you mean the 4700?
The 4700 is the newer version of my 4500. I've had my 4500 since 2020. Apart from the 4700 having 8K - the spec of the 2 receivers is the same. I was merely using my 4500 as a comparison 👍🏼

you sound very much like me justifying the extra cost and getting the more expensive unit... same thing happens to me when friends/family ask me for IT advice .. eg buying a laptop.. what to get..
i always say best of the best cause it will be better and last longer! :)

I always try and get the best features and value for money I can. When I bought my 4500 (new), AVR pruced were much lower than now. IIRC I paid £899, but also got a discount! So you can see how much prices have increased!

since we started discussing this im already leaning towards the 3700 as it ticks all the boxes without smashing the budget too much.
i dont think id really notice the increased features/proce
The 3700 is considered the "sweet spot" in the Denon line up by many. Its a fine receiver and is certainly no slouch for sure. It's 1000% worth the extra over the cost of the 2700.

from a bundle perspective im liking the look of this

Very good bundle. The only thing I'd ask is they remove the Bronze Sub which should save you anywhere up to £579 - and buy any of these subs instead: (listed in order of my preference)




Any of these offer better value in both money, but more importantly performance over the similarly price MA W10 sub which. All the above have 12" drivers vs the 10" in the W10.

I'll also try and put together an alternative package. Either way. Why not see if you can go and demo the above package. Never buy speakers without demoing 1st.

You might even be able to demo the MA Silver 100's & Silver C150 to compare. Although, if going for the Silvers, I'd recommend (as I did) getting the bigger C350 centre - assuming you can fit it. It's a big upgrade over the Silver C150. To save a bit you could get the cheaper Bronze FX surrounds instead of the matching Silver FX.... Although that again will push the budget up a bit! 😊

Also remember to ask the likes of Peter Tyson, Richersounds etc for discounts. Most of them will do some kind of system builder discount and put together a custom amp/speaker package not listed. I buy most of my gear from Richersounds and have never paid RRP for anything I've bought new. If you don't ask you don't get!

Feel free to pm if you want too. 😊
 

RogerDingo

Member
The 4700 is the newer version of my 4500. I've had my 4500 since 2020. Apart from the 4700 having 8K - the spec of the 2 receivers is the same. I was merely using my 4500 as a comparison 👍🏼

ahhh right, thanks for clarifying.

The 3700 is considered the "sweet spot" in the Denon line up by many. Its a fine receiver and is certainly no slouch for sure. It's 1000% worth the extra over the cost of the 2700.
noted

Very good bundle. The only thing I'd ask is they remove the Bronze Sub which should save you anywhere up to £579 - and buy any of these subs instead: (listed in order of my preference)
i forgot to mention that i also really like the silver 100 bundle.. but the current bundle price is probably a bit much.. at the moment anyways.


would you make any changes to this bundle?

Also remember to ask the likes of Peter Tyson, Richersounds etc for discounts. Most of them will do some kind of system builder discount and put together a custom amp/speaker package not listed. I buy most of my gear from Richersounds and have never paid RRP for anything I've bought new. If you don't ask you don't get!

yeah true that... if you dont ask you dont get.
i wonder what sort of discount they would give me on the silver 100 bundle...

also be interesting to see what price these are going for next year once the new range is released... maybe itll fall down to around the 2k mark?
 

RogerDingo

Member
Very good bundle. The only thing I'd ask is they remove the Bronze Sub which should save you anywhere up to £579 - and buy any of these subs instead: (listed in order of my preference)

P12-300SB-PR Black Ash
Any of these offer better value in both money, but more importantly performance over the similarly price MA W10 sub which. All the above have 12" drivers vs the 10" in the W10.
ok thanks.. ill keep these options in mind.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
would you make any changes to this bundle?
Yep. As stated in my previous reply. I'd remove the MA W10 sub and get one of the 3 mentioned in my post #22. In fairness I'd replace any of the packaged same brand subs though!
 

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