newbie needs a bit of speaker advise


Standard Member
Hi all, wonder if anyone can give me any advice / opinion:

I'm wanting to upgrading my current setups speakers, this is my first real hifi ( real for what i can afford anyway )

I have a marantz cd63-mkii cd player and a cambridge audio a5 amplifier and a set of budget eltax monitor III bookshelf speakers.

I like the sound of the speakers but also pretty sure there the limiting factor in my setup at the moment. Im looking for something with a bit more detail that will fill the room a bit better whilst provide some nice low down punch. I listen to alot of different music types from jazz, pop, rock, & dance.

I really like strong bass music and love to here music with real weight to it ( if that make sense ), I do also have a marantz sr4300 for movies which the front pre outs are connected to the ca a5 adn a sony sub, I don't use the sub for stereo music as I think it detracts from the quality being a cheap movie sub.

Im looking to spend around £300 on some new speakers, I have been to seven oaks and another hifi shop in southampton called phase3audio, i listened to the b&w 686 speakers in both and loved the sound of them, 1st listen was usings a marantz amp for similar cost to my a5 and second was via an arcam amp / cd combined unit.

I also listened to a set of quad 11L2 speakers on the marantz amp in sevenoaks which looked gorgeous and sounded a bit more tight with the bass, making the b&w's seem a bit ...wooly?? in the low end, but maybe that was just because they had more extended bass ? ( need another demo )

I realise the 686 are supposed to be surround speakers whilst the 685 are for main front but the 685 are another £100! i haven't heard them yet, wonder if there will be that much difference ? i could save a bit longer if they are.

do you think my cambridge audio a5 will be able to the power the 686's ok ? they are a low 84 sensitivity so I've read, making them hard to drive. I think the marantz amp i demo'd them on was similar power to mine though and that seemed ok.

my lounge is about 4x3meters ( plus under stairs area ) and the quad 11l2's are about as big as i could get away with.

I am going to see if seven oaks will let me take my amp and cd player in and have another listen to b&w 686, 685, & quad 11L2, may also try the kef iq5se floorstanders as they seem very cheap on the net for around 250 with good reviews.

any comments ? or other speakers recommendations to look at, I'm also happy to buy second hand if i can get something even better for my money, but cant afford to upgrade the amp and cd player as well for now so need speakers on a similar level i guess

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