New 3.0 living room recommendations

DNY

Novice Member
I'm going to be moving soon and looking for some suggestions for a new living room set-up.

Attached picture for room measurements. Furnishings and placements are all TBD.
One measurement that's not on the picture that may be important is that towards the bottom of the picture, so left from the main seating position, the room still extends. The total width of the room at its widest point is about 11.5 meters, but as you can see it's not part of the main listening/watching area.

Intended use is about 60/40 movies/music, however I do value the quality of the hifi listening experience a bit over movies.
Note that for reference where I'm coming from is Q Acoustics 3020 fronts on a Denon X2400H which I find get's quite tiring after an hour or so of listening to music. So I'm not coming from a place that's hard to beat hifi wise. As in, improvements may be possible when focussing on specs that are generally better for movies?

Music wise I mainly listen to funk, soul and classic rock, as well as a bit of classical and folk music in the mornings and late evening.
What I currently find lacking is not so much volume, but I do find things get too shrill for my liking when cranking the volume up. So I'm looking for a richer sound, more warmth and depth.

Budget is about 2.200 GBP / 2.500 EUR + a couple hundred or so that I may be able to get back on the X2400H.

This is for fronts (floorstanders pref.) + center and either;
(A) new AVR, or
(B) AVR + integrated amp or seperates.

Really haven't taken a decission on this yet but leaning towards (B) at the moment.

Also the looks of the speakers is key for WAF. Generally a more classic/scandinavian look that comes in a (vinyl) oak or walnut finish.
Floorstanders also can't be too large in depth (max 30cm) and I can't place them too far into the room, maybe 40-50cm.

Finally this 3.0 set-up is intended as a starting point to which I plan to add surrounds (initally I see the QA 3020s take that role), as well as a sub and maybe upfiring Atmos in a year or so when budget allows.
 

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gibbsy

Moderator
Option B can turn out to be expensive. You would need either an AV amp which has pre-outs and an integrated stereo amp that has HT by-pass. That is the most convenient way of having a quality stereo music performance whilst still using the same front speakers with the front speakers being attached to the stereo amp. The alternative is to use a speaker switcher such as the Beresford 7220 along with a cheaper AV amp and a standard integrated stereo amp. The stereo speakers would be connected to the Beresford.

I use a stereo amp with HT by-pass and it is extremely simple to set and use.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I think you have to rethink this would it be better to do it in stages. The receivers are very expensive at the moment due to poor availability. If you would go with the A route to get worthwhile upgrade from what you have now would cost 1400-2000€.





Cheapest receiver in netherlands that has preouts for front channels would be Yamaha RX-V6A at 739€ and then the stereo amp with HT-bypass about 799€ as minium.


That would leave only 962€ for three speakers.

Also bit questionable still with higher % being movie use that you would want to live without subwoofer. I would rather go to 2.1 system first if possible. As you can´t even go large floorstanders that means the movies will keep sounding anemic, assuming you watch blockbuster type flicks.

Often known as more warmer sounding Wharfedales new model 12.3 has 320+28mm depth. Nice looking finishes, scroll down. These are usually prefered bit more for music due to warm laid back sound which Wharfedale is known from. So if looking something that doesn´t cause listening fatigue this brand is usually one to consider. But as always you need to listen them. This is very new range so the feedback is not just there yet.

Dali Opticon 5 would be great deal now as the mk2 has landed so these older go cheaper 1k€/pair. But sadly i could only find white finish. 31cm depth. Dali is well known from musicality and they seem to be popular choice in NL hifi shops. Dali Opticon is made in Denmark, lower ranges in China factory.

The fairly new popular Oberon 5 has under 30cm depth, but i fear this might be too bright sounding if it`s similar to earlier model.

Monitor Audio new Bronze 200 has also low depth under 30cm and is one to put on your list if you are looking this price range speakers. The new urban grey finish looks very nice and modern, i have owned earlier Bronzes with walnut finish. Lovely speakers, but as always i don´t know are they your taste.


However for long term purchase i would lean toward Silver 200 model which is going to go on sale very soon as new Silver range was just announced this week! So if you like the sound you are going to be buying speakers at best time possible. Real wood veneer finishes walnut and natural oak is surely going to please your wife. Googling the prices i noticed short NL review which is full of praise as is typical for this model so read that one too and definitely put them on your demo list if possible. However dont buy before the prices go down 10-20%.



Regarding subwoofer that room is bit of nightmare as you have that opening there and the total room size is massive (5,1 x 11,5) which the subwoofer is going to try filling so this one is hard cause it needs to be wife friendly, compact sized likely aswell. Personally i would consider ported subwoofers for a big open space and movie use being higher over music, but that means larger cabinet also. And i would assume you don`t want big black box (black ash). So looking the nordic options which have white and also bit more rounded cab with satin black finish the options would be below. I will add the smaller 1S for Arendal cause i fear the 1V cabinet size may be too tall, it`s very narrow though but also deep. Side firing driver on right side (black grille). So all these companies have years of experience of building subwoofers specifically and that is what you want. You get 5year amp warranty with each brands also. Please don`t buy any woofer from local hifi shop like some Dali model or similar. They are overpriced, cheap amps and performance is no where near these. If you need walnut or oak wood veneer finish then we may have one option for you, but that would mean ordering from UK and the shipping cost are question mark due to brexit.




Black ash only, but very good product:

And something special which may blend in on front corner.



These will get you started and give some ideas what to consider perhaps. I would buy new speakers and subwoofer right away and then wait until next summer for the sales of receivers, but your call.
 
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DNY

Novice Member
Wow thanks for the extensive list of recommendations. I still need to check all the suggestions in detail. I'll get back on that in a later reply.

But I do think you're both right that my current budget is maybe not suited for what I'm looking for. So I should indeed break it down further into some extra steps.

Subwoofer I'm not really prioritizing atm since well.. I really have no issues with the base I was already getting in the 3020s. Maybe it lacks detail, but I was hoping to get more of that from new floorstanders with music. And for movies, well blockbusters as you say, is something I watch about once a week maybe so it's just not the area where I'm looking for the most improvement right now.

So now I'm thinking maybe just going with fronts, center and an integrated stereo amp with HT-bypass (for future use) but right now I will just be switching cables over manually between new stereo amp to my current AVR that doesn't have pre-outs and will be replaced in a next step. It's something I think I can live with doing once or twice a day.... If I can't then I can give this Beresford 7220 a try for a bit until I have budget to upgrade the AVR?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Wow thanks for the extensive list of recommendations. I still need to check all the suggestions in detail. I'll get back on that in a later reply.

But I do think you're both right that my current budget is maybe not suited for what I'm looking for. So I should indeed break it down further into some extra steps.

Subwoofer I'm not really prioritizing atm since well.. I really have no issues with the base I was already getting in the 3020s. Maybe it lacks detail, but I was hoping to get more of that from new floorstanders with music. And for movies, well blockbusters as you say, is something I watch about once a week maybe so it's just not the area where I'm looking for the most improvement right now.

So now I'm thinking maybe just going with fronts, center and an integrated stereo amp with HT-bypass (for future use) but right now I will just be switching cables over manually between new stereo amp to my current AVR that doesn't have pre-outs and will be replaced in a next step. It's something I think I can live with doing once or twice a day.... If I can't then I can give this Beresford 7220 a try for a bit until I have budget to upgrade the AVR?

Well you are missing lot still as the 3020s won´t be able to play low with small 5" drivers, 60-70hz? as with certain movies you would want at least slightly below 30hz. So you are missing so much. It will be huge difference with quality subwoofer cause when you get it blend with the system it sounds like you would have big speakers with more weight and depth. It will be effective on both movie and music listening. It´s usually one of best purchases you can do for your system so think it through. If you sit middle of the speakers and day / early evening time when volume level can be higher you usually can get away without center channel. Toe in the mains toward you may help aswell. So the sub purchase could be done before, but if you are in doubt book a demo from local hifi shop so they show what quality sub can bring for music/movie listening.

You can do the cable switching yeah, buy banana plugs and it takes literally 10seconds to swap them!

Amazon product

Do some research for the amps. Don´t buy some budget 45w model. Look also for some ex-demo / ex-display models in your local hifi shops. You might find some expensive unit lot cheaper with warranty. However buy speakers first as that is where the most money should always go! It`s not going to be easy as your room will also have big effect what you are hearing. Hopefully you have plenty of soft furnishing, some thick curtains over windows and carpet or rug in front of your speakers.
 

DNY

Novice Member
I'll follow the advice of changing fronts first and not touching anything else right away. Not in a hurry and if amps/avrs are a bit more pricy right now all the more sense to wait another year with that.

Shortly after fronts I'll then probably look at sub and center first.

I will audition the Opticons. I have had my eye on those before, but previously found the glossy bits a bit offputing, but we'll see..

Will also check out the Diamond 12.3s and keen to audition the Wharfedale EVO4.3. I quite like the look. Spouse isn't quite convinced yet, but what's also drawing me to the EVO4s is their center as they seem to match the key specs that @Mr Wolf suggested to focus on for a fully AVR driven set-up.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Yes the EVOs are surely great option! If you find local dealer then do some listening. If it´s some smaller hifi shop i would listen them with X2700H Denon which will sound similar what you have at home and also then try some 1k stereo amp so you will hear the difference. Another and even better option would be to get them for home trial and then make a deal can you return/swap them if you aren´t satisfied.

Here is member @MK365 Evo system in white. The speakers are gorgeous!

20210813_111117-jpg.1554775


20210813_111127-jpg.1554774
 

MK365

Active Member
Yes the EVOs are surely great option! If you find local dealer then do some listening. If it´s some smaller hifi shop i would listen them with X2700H Denon which will sound similar what you have at home and also then try some 1k stereo amp so you will hear the difference. Another and even better option would be to get them for home trial and then make a deal can you return/swap them if you aren´t satisfied.

Here is member @MK365 Evo system in white. The speakers are gorgeous!

20210813_111117-jpg.1554775


20210813_111127-jpg.1554774


I'm running the Evo 4.3s with a Harman Kardon Citation amp and they sound absolutely incredible.

Happy to answer any questions you have.

I wrote this mini review in the other thread when another member mentioned how good they look:


Thank you! I confess they were the number 1 choice based on looks and I had nowhere to audition them. The local HiFi store I've been going to were nice enough to give me the option to return without a restocking fee. RS would take 10% so now as much of my business as I can give will go to the local store!

Had them for a few days and we were sold on every aspect. The RS salesmen said due to their port being at the bottom, they wouldn't have the same bass response as traditional rear or front ported speakers but I am glad to say he was wrong! The bass response for their size is incredible.

True to pretty much what all reviews say about the Evo range, they sound incredible with both music and movies - rich details, incredible voice reproduction and deep bass........all this for £1k and looking as good as they do (real wood, no veneers!). The only place they can fall over is with low quality media - older MP3s or vintage movies, they can get a little tough on the higher frequencies. That accounts for probably less than 5% of my total consumption.

I would highly recommend these speakers on every account!
 

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