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New Amp/Speaker Setup

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by scrowe, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. scrowe

    scrowe
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    Hi All,

    Bitten by the Home Cinema bug, I've been looking at possibly upgrading my sound setup, budgeting £1,000 ish.

    However, I've seen the following offer which seems a good deal for top-notch gear at www.creative-audio.co.uk

    Pioneer VSX AX5Ai with KEF KHT 5005 5.1 speakers for £1990

    I'll probably add another rear for 6.1 also.

    Is it worth breaking the bank for this offer?
     
  2. Tejstar

    Tejstar
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    This is just my opinion, but I’ve heard the Kef 5005’s and feel that the Pioneer AX5Ai would be overkill for them. It maybe best to decide on speakers first and then buy the amp to complement whichever speakers you choose. Speakers normally are not as straight forward to choose as other pieces of home cinema equipment given the wide ranges of choices on offer both aesthetically and acoustically (i.e. sub/sats or floorstanders; music or movies etc.) :)
     
  3. scrowe

    scrowe
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    What other speakers would you recommend I look at?

    I'm finding a dearth of good reviews and sources for speakers online at the moment.

    I also can't get my head around this non-distant selling rule that the speaker manufacturers enforce, such that the above offer is not really available to me unless I drive to Shrewsbury and pick them up in-store {:-(
     
  4. Tejstar

    Tejstar
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    Well it depends on your budget, is it £1k or £2k? Other considerations are whether you want to use the system for music? Also do you have any preference over sub/sats or floorstanders?

    Kef aren’t the only ones who do this, as far as I remember Arcam Cyrus and Naim also do the same. It basically protects the ‘little-guy’. It stops massive internet retailers bulk buying products and offering a substantial discount that could effectively put smaller retailers out of business. They also do it to allow the products to be given the proper service required (incl after-care).

    However, there are other places than Creative Audio that stock Kef that may be closer to you. If you live in the South-East then Hi Spek offer very competitive prices on Kef products.
     
  5. scrowe

    scrowe
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    It's mainly Home Cinema, music listening is minimal, the amp comes in at £900ish so only £1k for speakers. I'm pretty much sold on this amp as I'd like matching components, and I already have Pio Plasma media box and DVD player.

    I much prefer floorstanders, but am looking for something more slimline, than the traditional Mission fronts I have at the moment. Rears need stands as well, as they won't be wall-mounted, but just freestanding behind the sofa.

    I demoed the Kef 2005's and although the sound quality was Ok, I didn't like the minimalist look, which is why I was prepared to upgrade to the extra expense of the 5005's.

    I've got a couple of quotes in the pipeline from a couple of the vendors hereabouts, but unfortunately prices is key for me. I'll check out Hi Spek now.
     
  6. Tejstar

    Tejstar
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    You won’t go wrong on the Pioneer AX5Ai, it was the amp I was originally going to go for!

    Have you heard the 5005’s? Whilst they are an improvement over the ‘eggs’, they don’t feel like as much of an improvement as the price suggests they should! If you are willing to wait Kef should be launching it’s new product in its KHT range soon, the KHT6000 ACE. These are slimline and may be better than the 5005’s. Click here for more info.

    Alternative speakers to consider are the Monitor Audio Radius range, which have very slimline floorstanders (R270’s). They also come in beautiful finishes too, very WAF! The Canton’s are highly thought of, maybe you could go for the Movie CD 2.22 package. A number of people have bought from Germany and saved significant money on the Cantons, it’s worth considering.

    Even though you don’t really want a sub/sat system I would recommend you listen to some Castle Compacts, wonderful little speakers that come in a range of finishes too. Hope it helps! :)
     
  7. scrowe

    scrowe
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    Looks like the 6,000's may be going to hit my pocket a bit too much where it hurts.

    Looks alone, don't fancy the castles much but the Canton looks a good choice and at the right price.

    However, the Piano Black radiuses look even better. So they are my new favourite to try and get a demo. There's a Sevenoaks in Croydon, so I shall pop in there at the weekend.
     
  8. Tejstar

    Tejstar
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    Let us know how you get on :thumbsup:
     
  9. scrowe

    scrowe
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    Right, frustrated in attempts to get a demo of the exact speakers I wanted, based on recommendations here, I imported a 7.1 Canton speaker combination from Tenspot in Germany consisting of:-

    Canton AS 25 SC Subwoofer
    2x CD 100 Fronts
    1x CD 50 Centre
    2x CD 50 Rears
    2x CD 100 Mono Rears

    This all comes to slightly over £1,000 with the 5.1 equivalent with lesser subwoofer retailing at over £1,500 in the UK.

    I'm quite lucky to have a square viewing area, and the setup will be7.1 as recommended in the Pioneer AX5Ai manual for speaker placement. The only compromise is that the CD 100's will have to be flush to a wall either side of the couch, instead of slightly withdrawn.

    Next question:-

    Is it worth laying out for QED Silver Anniversary @ £4 per metre? With 4x rear cabling runs I'll need about £200's worth, but I'd prefer the expense now for the best quality in the long run. However, if the stuff, (mostly Gale) that Richer Sounds are knocking out at £1.50 to £2 a metre is almost as good I may compromise.

    Also how do 'airloc' or 'banana' plugs work. Do the Amp and speakers need to be compatible with this type of connector, or is it universal?
     
  10. felix_li

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    A good quality cable definitely worthy but for rear I wonder because normally the rears only responsbile for "the effects". So I put my $ into front & centre.

    I did try many cables, e.g. Monster, Van Den Hul, TaraLabs, QED, Audioquest & XLO, etc. For my experience, silver based cable is the best for mid to high. I'm also using AX-5Ai but I prefer the Van Den Hul cables (used for > 15 years, no disappointment so far):
    1. Front A, Elac 2 SAT, Van Den Hul Goldwater.
    2. Front B, Celestion SL6Si, Monster Cable M1 (want to try the driving bass power of AX-5Ai so switch from Goldwater to M1).
    3. Center, Elac XL, Van Den Hul CS-122.
    4. Rear, Elac 2 SAT, Van Den Hul Snowline.

    Banana plug is universal but the one with locking mechisam is preferable, like WBT & QED (remember to pick those little plastic out from AX-5AI). However, I prefer the bare cable connections unless it's a thick one. The only drawback is that you need to cut 1cm every year :suicide:
     
  11. scrowe

    scrowe
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    Thanks Felix,

    Van Den Hul really is out of my price-range, I think

    I've ordered 10m of QED silver for front and centre and 45m of the cheaper QED silver micro for the rears

    Amp, speakers and cable are all arriving Monday. Hope the neighbours are out {:)
     
  12. scrowe

    scrowe
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    Finally, it's all in. Most difficult bit was cutting and stripping the QED speaker cable, talk about industrial strength! Took nearly 2 full days to rewire everything in neatly.

    I gave it a workout this afternoon with Resident Evil 1&2 on DVD. It was quite a different experience from my old setup. I could hear a lot more detail, and I found it really immersive, realising that before explosions and gunfire only sounded just 'loud'.

    I need to go through my discs now, and see if I can discern whether the 7.1 surrounds make any real difference. I think my LOTR discs have surround-ex, that I can try, but I've been using the upmix option on the amp today anyway.

    Thanks all for the help and advice in this thread.
     
  13. frustin

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    what did you use to tack the silver anniversary down with? got pictures? i am about to install and that stuff has a mind of its own its so tough.
     
  14. scrowe

    scrowe
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    Basic white plastic cable clips from B&Q, needed one about every 12-inches to keep the wire flat, but the corners need 3 or 4 in close proximity to keep it bent. Looks OK around the skirting board which is white against whitish walls. I'm not one of these people obsessed with hiding wires
     

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