Questions from an amateur and a new member

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by MikeFinn, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. MikeFinn

    MikeFinn
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    Hello,

    My name is Michael, and I am Finnish-Swedish. I have some questions for you about some things I am thinking about getting.

    First, my living room is about 180-185 sq ft so not enormous. I would like to invest in some good sounds towards summer, and thinking about either the Marantz PM-8006 or PM14S1 Special Edition, and the CD-player will be from the same series.

    Loudspeakers then... what to get? I have been recommended the Klipsch RP-280F, B&W 683S2, Monitor Audio Silver 300 and Dali Zensor 7. Any comments regarding this?

    I listen to a mix of everything almost. Will mainly use a connection to a computer, but of course also CDs.

    Finally, I have a 65" OLED TV but don't really use it much. But if I plan to start watching films in the future, should I get a home theatre sound rather than traditional two-channel? I was into the idea of a HEOS Bar and subwoofer 'only'.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  2. muljao

    muljao
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    Firstly welcome.

    If you intend mostly listening to your computer plus see CDs, you'll be better served with an amp that has an integrated usb DAC, or a DAC that goes between the computer and DAC. The soundcards on computers are generally more functional than musical.

    If you intend going surround sound, your probably better going for an av receiver from the start, but for the same money it's generally accepted they are not quite as good for music because there is so much more in them

    I'd be inclined to decide which you'll get, stereo or surround, get an integrated amp with DAC or a separate DAC and just use your regular dvd player or bluray to play CDs when required, using the DAC as the sound decoder. No matter what you use the sound quality from the cd will be decided by the DAC used so even a cheap dvd player can sound fab with the correct dac

    I also would not overlook powered/active speakers setups
     
  3. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    That would make you room about 13.6 feet x 13.6 feet, rather than square feet, give us the actual dimensions of the room including Floor to Ceiling.

    Those are pretty big speakers for such a small room. You might want to consider speakers with 6.5" (165mm) bass drivers or 5" (130mm) bass drivers. There is no hard and fast rule for speaker size relative to room size, and how well any given speaker will work will depend on the layout of the room and the resulting room acoustics. Too many bare surfaces will likely result in a room that is too harsh due to echos and reflections.

    Also, can you give us a working Budget of the system and a list of equipment that will be included in that budget?

    Also, a list of features that you would like the system to have? Tone Controls? Phono In? Streaming? DAC? Other?

    Stereo or 2-Channel will be fine for Movies especially with large speakers. All you need is a DAC (digital to analog converter) to connect the TV Digital Optical Audio Out to your amp.

    And as a Side note, the speakers you have for you Stereo will by far out perform any Sound Bar, but that is your choice to make.

    You say you are Finnish-Swedish, we don't care about your ethnicity, we care about where you physically are? Are you in Finland? Sweden? UK? EU? Other?

    Though from the sound of it, you are looking at a pretty nice system.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  4. MikeFinn

    MikeFinn
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    I am in Finland now, been here a few years.
     
  5. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    Sorry if I sounded harsh. But where you are matter relative to recommendations we make.

    You could consider looking at XTZ speaker which get good reviews.

    XTZ - High-End & HiFi Högtalare, Hörlurar och Subwoofer /

    All the equipment you suggested is good equipment, but you might want to consider the balance of your system. For example, the Marantz PM14S1 is very expensive relative to the speakers you suggested. An excellent amp, worth every penny, but expensive.

    So, once again, if you could give us a working budget and a list of the equipment included in that budget, we could make some balanced recommendations though we would most likely have to use UK links.

    This is how I typically break down a Stereo System -

    1x to 1.5x = Turntable
    1x = CD Player
    1x = Network Streaming Player
    1x = Amp/Receiver
    2x = Speakers

    Of course, when it comes to purchasing, it rarely to never balances out like this. But this does give you are starting point, but you are free to adjust it based on the equipment you find and your personal priorities.

    Here is another thread, though the budget is pretty high, but it illustrates how we start with the break down above, and the system a person actually ends up with deviates considerably.

    Building a system around a pair of speakers !

    In the case above, the budget was so high, it was hard to spend all the money.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  6. MikeFinn

    MikeFinn
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    I will put some details together, will take a while. I have rather a lot else to do, but will get to it soon.
     
  7. MikeFinn

    MikeFinn
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    I just talked with a friend of mine, he said let's put a stop at €4,000 and hopefully a bit less.

    So the PM-8006 with the CD-player which I believe is called ND8006. Lots of people over here recommend the B&Ws I mentioned, but any options here?

    Approximately 560 X 380 centimetres. Ceiling height is normal for around here, about 250-260 centimetres.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  8. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
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    So -

    - CD Player
    - Amp/Receiver
    - Speakers


    The Marantz ND8006 (£1100) is actually CD, Network Streaming, and Bluetooth Player -

    Marantz UK | ND8006

    https://www.hifix.co.uk/marantz-nd8...atid=hifi&subcatid=amplifier&productid=pm8006

    So that is a pretty versatile product.

    The Marantz PM8006 (£1100, 70w/ch) Integrated Amp does NOT have DACs, but if you need one that can be bought as a separate item for a reasonable cost.

    Marantz PM8006 Integrated Amplifier

    Currently, the Marantz PMS1-SE (£1650 on sale, 90w/ch) Amp is not that much more money than the Marantz PM8006 so it might actually be a better deal if you can find it locally.

    https://www.hifix.co.uk/hi-fi/hi-fi-separates/hi-fi-amps-receivers/marantz-pm14s1se-amplifier

    Marantz UK | PM-14S1 Special Edition

    At this point we convert EURO's to Pounds Stirling - €4000 = £3550.

    So -

    £1100 = Marantz PM8006
    £1100 = Marantz ND8006
    --------------------------
    £2200 = Sub-Total


    Subtract that from above £3550 - £2200 = £1350 remaining for speakers.

    There are some nice speakers in the roughly £1000/pair to £1500/pair range.

    Here area few examples -

    Tannoy Revolution XT6F Speakers - Superfi

    Monitor Audio SILVER 200 Speaker

    Monitor Audio SILVER 200 Speaker

    B&W 683 S2 Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

    B&W 683 S2 Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

    Dali Opticon 6 Speakers - Superfi

    Monitor Audio Silver 300 Speaker

    Tannoy Revolution XT8F Speakers - Superfi


    There are some very nice speakers at substantially lower cost -

    Tannoy Revolution XT8F Speakers - Superfi

    Dali Zensor 7 Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

    Wharfedale Diamond 11.4 Speaker

    Q Acoustics Concept 40 Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

    Which you choose for speakers will depend on what you like for sound - do you like it on the Bright side, would you prefer great Midrange Clarity, would you prefer intense bass.

    Next Driver Size, you room is not that big, and though you are free to choose anything you want, I would suggest Bass Drivers no bigger than 6.5" (165mm) or near that. There are several very good speaker with TWO 5" bass drivers that you could consider - Monitor Audio Bronze 5, Dali Zensor 5, Wharfedale DIamond 11.3, and so on.

    Also, while you get smaller speakers, in that space for that money, you can probably move into higher end Bookshelf speakers. The 8" Monitor Audio Silver 100, for example is only, £650/pair. That is certainly a worthy speaker.

    Pushing your budget, even the higher end Monitor Audio Gold 100 are worth considering -

    Monitor Audio Gold 100 Walnut Bookshelf Speakers (Pair) - Monitor Audio - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

    As an alternative to Marantz, though those are very good amps, consider the higher end Yamaha -

    Yamaha AS1100 Integrated Amp, 90w/ch - £1150 -

    Yamaha A-S1100 Black Stereo Amplifier - Yamaha - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

    Yamaha CD-S1000 CD Player (CD only) - £1000 -


    Yamaha A-S1100 Black Stereo Amplifier - Yamaha - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

    Yamaha NP-S303 Network Player - £300 -

    Yamaha NP-S303 Silver Network Music Streamer w/ MusicCast - Yamaha - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

    Of course, you don't have to buy all Yamaha, there are lesser Yamaha CD Players, there are other Yamaha and from other brands Streaming Devices, it is all about working out what your priorities are.

    For example, here is a decent Yamaha CD Player that also has Network Streaming built in -

    Yamaha CD-NT670D CD Player with Streaming - £330 -


    Yamaha CD-NT670D Black Network CD Player w/ MusicCast & DAB - Yamaha - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

    Less on the CD Player leaves more on for the Speakers.

    It is about finding the right balance for you.

    Also, relative to speakers, do check out the XTZ from Sweden -

    https://www.xtz.se/#/product/

    The quality is pretty good and they make a range of Series that are sure to fit every budget.

    http://www.epichomecinema.co.uk/EpicHomeCinema/xtz95.html

    http://www.epichomecinema.co.uk/EpicHomeCinema/xtz99.html

    These are pretty close to your budget -

    http://www.epichomecinema.co.uk/EpicHomeCinema/99.36.html

    At least, using UK prices.

    So, let's consider one possible and very good system from Marantz and Bowers-Wilkins -

    £1100 = Marantz PM8006
    £1100 = Marantz ND8006
    £1150 = B&W 683-S2 Floorstanding (PAIR)
    --------------------------
    £3350 = Total


    That is petty close to your budget in Pounds(£).

    I've auditioned the B&W 683-S2 and was very impressed with them, smooth controlled bass and good clarity.

    An equivalent to the B&W 682-S2 with a slightly different voice would be the Monitor Audio Silver 300 (£1250/pr) -

    https://www.audiovisualonline.co.uk...silver-300-walnut-floorstanding-speaker-pair/

    £1100 = Marantz PM8006
    £1100 = Marantz ND8006
    £1250 = Monitor Audio Silver 300 (PAIR)
    --------------------------
    £3450 = Total


    Both have multi-6.5" Bass drivers. So, it is a question of which your prefer the sound of, but they are both good.

    Of course I can't know the prices where you are, but this should help give you some idea of the possibilities.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  9. MikeFinn

    MikeFinn
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    Thank you very much for your kind help. There is rather a lot to think about here.

    For a total amateur again - and feel free to laugh - the fact that the CD-player does not hace a DAC is important because...?

    I am going to enjoy the audio only, and not talk about the tech-stuff with anyone, glad my friends are as dumb as me in this area :D
     
  10. Hixs

    Hixs
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  11. MikeFinn

    MikeFinn
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    Ha ha! That simple. Thank you :)

    I really ought to dig deeper into the wonderful world of sound and start learning.
     
  12. Khazul

    Khazul
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    As you mentioned the possibility of getting into watching movies and asking about AV surround sound, the Yamaha A-S1100 also has another advantage in that it has a very convenient HT bypass mode (fixed gain power amp mode on one of its inputs) which is for use with an AV receiver that has front pre-amp outputs.

    The end result is you can get the best of both worlds - excellent hifi stereo sound from the A-S1100 and in future you can get an AVR receiver and leave the A-S1100 driving your front speakers when watching movies in surround sound.
    In which case you might choose speakers for which there is a matching center speaker and surround speakers available to give you that option in future.

    Also many AVRs also include network streamers.
     
  13. MikeFinn

    MikeFinn
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    So if I buy let's say the ND8006 I can just plug it to my computer using an HDMI or optical, and HDMI is better I believe. Then just plug in whatever I want. My computer has a separate Asus soundcard, a Xonar DG. Said to offer a bit better sound.

    My thinking behind getting a soundbar is that I watch so little TV it might not be needed. Some told me to get an Atmos bar. I would like for the stereo system to be on another wall, the TV I have placed near the door to my terrace. Some TV brand are now designing soundbars to fit in between the TVs 'feet'. But of course there is 'lesser' sound to concider, but if I only watch Netflix a few hours every week perhaps it really doens't matter much.

    When I started to look into all this I discovered that sound is more than just plugging in a few connectors - it is a whole new world to me! Found sound systems costing more than a 'normal' London flat.

    Now someone tells me there is also a Denon called PMA-1600NE. Making it more difficult to decide what to want. But many say Marantz is a great choice, so that is why I am thinking about it. I tend to listen to advice from people often, usually it ends up nicely.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  14. Hixs

    Hixs
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    Yamaha YS1600 - Yamaha YSP-1600 Digital Sound Projector

    Prob the most you'd want to spend for minimal TV watching whilst achieving good sound (for a soundbar).

    A computers sound card isn't going to be comparable to most of the amps suggested to you.
     
  15. MikeFinn

    MikeFinn
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    I was thinking about the Denon HEOS Bar (not the HomeCinema), but it is a bit expensive. I have to do lots more reading about options and things.
     
  16. muljao

    muljao
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    Just a different option

    Arcam irdac 2
    Set of JBL lsr 305s or mackie Mr6 mk3s

    Irdac sorts TV output, bluray or dvd as cd source and computer usb soundcard duties as well as aptx Bluetooth. If you went Mackies they have a dedicated sub if required, but I watch TV with a similar setup and listen to music regularly, it's just a different option to consider
     
  17. MikeFinn

    MikeFinn
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    Thank you everyone for your kind help. Please keep suggestions and comments coming if you like. It is good to have found a forum where you actually get good help, and it seems to be a friendly atmosphere here too.
     
  18. droidlike

    droidlike
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  19. MikeFinn

    MikeFinn
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    Droidlike, thank you for this. Do I dare mentionI had my PC-sound system to the TV for a while? :D Creative T4 Wireless. So I am not the world's biggest audiophile. It is a journey I have yet to master.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  20. droidlike

    droidlike
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    bt3 are real ( I mean ...REAL) HI-FI speakers, almost audiophile,
    so they are not exactly(not at all!) a pc sound system ;)
     
  21. MikeFinn

    MikeFinn
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    Let us play around with a new idea for a while!

    Many of you are into the idea of getting a more 'proper' sound for my TV rather than a soundbar.

    Marantz SR7012 and a pair of Monitor Audio Silver 300 or B&W 703 S2? Of course a centre and subwoofer also. Some recommend TWO subwoofers, but I h ave to say stop somewhere. And like I mentioned already, I do not watch TV that often.

    I could connect a good CD-player to such a system. It would perhaps not be as good as a two-channel sound, but for a party or just some casual listening?
     
  22. dannnielll

    dannnielll
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    There is an interesting thread developing on the future of 2 channel sound... See the front page.
    Any decent AVR made in the last 20 years can be used as a good home stereo as well as a full blown home cinema setup. .. it just means ignoring or switching off the rear speakers and their associated electronics and perhaps the sub woofer ,and using better left and right speakers.
    It is the speakers which are the weakest link in any sound system,
    The all in one home cinema setups containing dvd player, amplifier, radio, and speakers are not bad and very good value for money, but they invariably have tiny speakers. I have had a few such units . A Panasonic one now transferred into a summer home and probably 20 years old it was expensive enough at its time, and will fill the house with sound, a Sony Daz260 system, in current use with the main tv which even plays SACDs and a very cheap LG 3300ug , used in my study and now ready for the skip after 10 years service mainly as an FM radio..
    The cheaper all in one setups have morphed into the greatly inferior sound bars ... , But will inevitably return.
    I have noticed in the" cash converters" type shops the arrival of very good brand second hand full blown AVRs , usually of a generation preceding HDMI, and these are very good value... Quality powerful amplifiers, FM radio and the ability to use 2,3, 5 speakers
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  23. dollag

    dollag
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    My personal opinion would be ditch the idea of a soundbar and focus on the hifi system. It seems your main objective here is for a decent hifi and just a decent sound for when you watch TV. Is that the correct consensuses?

    The proposed Marantz amplifiers are great and would compliment either one with the ND8006. The CD player has ample digital inputs for your needs and is a fully pledged streamer if you decide to stream music from your phone, tablet etc. The ND6006 can be used as a preamp with its own volume control so could just add a power amplifier like

    Marantz MM7025 2 Channel Power Amplifier

    all controls would be used through the ND6006 including volume. and input selection. Makes using it all very easy and simple with a single remote.

    You could connect your TV via optical (which should sound no different to HDMI quality wise) directly to the ND6006 and output sound in a 2.0 configuration through your system. (I do this when watching TV in my bedroom) You would still have an additional optical and usb inputs for say a pc if you so desire and would be all controlled through the one device.

    The Yamaha Amplifier is a diamond and would suggest also putting that on your list, although aesthetically, would not fit in with the marantz cd player. some people do not mind this but something to bare in mind.

    I would also look at Hegel and Primare amplifiers as you may be able to source them fairly easy.

    For speakers it's a bit of a minefield out there. Whilst people are recommending you B&W's, I do not personally like their signature sound. Does that mean they are a bad speaker? of course not but it's a very subjective thing and would stress to go and listen to different brands with the amplifier you choose.

    In your budget (and slightly above), I'd look at the;

    MA silver and gold's 200's
    Kef R500's
    pmc twenty 23
    These are just a few that popped into my head but there are many out there that are great.

    I would strongly suggest going to listen to anything before you buy.

    In addition, make your room is not full of shiny flat surfaces and flooring as regardless how much you spend, your system will not sound great unless you address the acoustics of the room. Even something like a rug on the floor makes a huge difference. :smashin:
     
  24. MikeFinn

    MikeFinn
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    Yes, my original idea was a fairly good sound to the TV and more 'premium' for music.

    Someone suggester the Monitor Audio Gold 100. Many people around here insist on getting very large speakers because it is 'better'. But I do not always agree. They have to fit in the room!

    If I have a system more dedicated to the TV, I would probably sit on the sofa far more often and nowhere else in the room.
     
  25. dollag

    dollag
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    imo speakers can be too big for a room, just as they can be too small.

    I have a pair of kef r300 which are bookshelf speakers in a 15x 12 room and they sound immense and no need to get anything larger.
     
  26. Hixs

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  27. MikeFinn

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    Ha ha! This was interesting. Thank you for sharing.

    This is a true lover of sound.
     
  28. Don Dadda

    Don Dadda
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  29. MikeFinn

    MikeFinn
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    I had no idea about this brand! Interesting, and thank you.

    When I read "from Sweden" I started thinking about Marten...
     
  30. Khazul

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    I think go to a hifi store and listen to some amps and speakers to find a combination you like.

    With a shortlist of speakers, ask if you can listen to them connected to an AVR in pure direct mode (with the AVR's room EQ switch off) for a direct comparison of AVR vs HiFi amp.

    The one down side of surround in the number of physical speakers in the room and whether you can accommodate them. If you really cant for whatever reason then fair enough. However I personally find that even high end soundbars (sound projectors) are only a limited improvement over built in TV sound compared to even a relatively cheap AVR + sub + separate speakers. In the case of some sound projectors - they can cost the same as a decent AVR and a good 5.1 speaker system.

    On the subject of accommodating speakers - this is often an issue with floorstanding speakers - it isn't simply a case of the visual size of them - they also need to be further away from walls to sound their best compared to smaller stand mounts / bookshelf speakers - think back of them at least 30-60cm out in to the room from the wall for many floor standers before their start to sound nice and even with nice controlled deep bass (rather than boomy). The can help most speakers as well, but smaller speakers tend to be much more forgiving.

    Speakers that are too large to be properly positioned can get very annoying - it feels like bass just always buzzing in your ear and end up always fiddling with them andnjust quickly get to hate them. OTOH speakers that are too small to reproduce deep enough bass to be enjoyable wont annoy, but they may just do nothing for you either (depending on your music tastes and whether you are a deep bass groove person or not - some are, some arnt - I am regardless of genre). But this can be fixed with a sub. I do however find bass from even a well setup sub less coherent for a lot of music (fine for dance music) unless its just filling in the very low end (40Hz downwards).

    I personally think that with a good AV surround and with a great TV (that you have) movies are a very different and much more enjoyable experience, but each to their own. Without a good AV sound system I must admit I can rarely be bothered to even watching movies unless the story is exceptional and wont tolerate watching TV for very long either. With a good surround system that changes a lot.

    A decent modern AVR is more than good enough for casual music listening (especially in pure direct mode). The time when I tell the difference between AVR and decent amp is really when sat in the ideal position and actively listening to something well produced as a comfortable level.

    There are other options as well towards hybrid systems as I posted above somewhere which can give you best of both worlds (AVR + integrated HiFi amp for front speakers), but are much more expensive however they don't have to be bought in one go.
     

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