Scratching the itch - A journey


Active Member
I hold this forum fully responsible for the journey highlighted below.

So I moved house 2 years ago into a typical UK semi from a small flat. I had a 50" Samsung K7000 and a Canton Soundbase. 20 years ago I was an avid What HiFi reader and had a Marantz CD/Amp combo and some B&W speakers but had been out of the hobby owing to kids, marriage etc. The soundbase died so I decided to look at a basic 5.1 system. Didn't want to go mad and had done very little research into the wider Home Cinema world so read a few reviews and browsed these forums and decided on a Marantz NR1509 and Mission M3 Cube system. I put all this into the lounge. The issue here is the lounge attaches to the neighbours so I had to be considerate with the volume. Pic below

I had to watch with dynamic volume on and the sub turned down and music, streamed via Airplay, was rubbish so the upgrade itch started. I decided that I wanted better music capabilities but because of the room size stuck with small speakers. I decided upon the Bowers and Wilkins M50 which was 5 M1's and an ASW608 sub. This was a good improvement on the clarity and dynamics of the Missions and more bass than I needed for a small room. I started with the M1's on their side on the cabinet but had no sound stage. I wanted to put the L/R's on stands but was very limited for space, I had a local timber yard cut some sleepers to size and bunged some spikes on the bottom, looked odd with the small speakers but did the trick:

This gave me the soundstage but I thought music was still lacking. By now I had spent many hours on the Internet, Youtube and in these forums reading various reviews and the upgrade devil was tapping me heavily on the shoulder. My thoughts were to change the front L/R to a more musical speaker and keep an M1 as a centre. I didn't want to go mad cost wise so settled upon a pair of Dali Oberon 1's It was these or the B&W 607's but the Oberons fitted the decor better so out came the debit card (again)

So now I was way happier with the sound of the whole system but aesthetically my lounge was turning into what I didn't want, far too many speakers, stands etc and I still could only turn it up when my neighbour went out. We get on well and I would never take the mick but when I did crank it up, especially for movies it sounded great. My main issue was I couldn't do this too often, especially for music that I like to listen to later in the evening. It was now that I had an idea. My garage had already been converted into a room by the previous owner, the kids were using it as a den with a PlayStation and old sofa. What if I bunged all my stuff in there and made it a Home Cinema? Before I spent anymore money I thought I would trial it so bunged the telly and front sound stage + sub in there for a week, kids thought I was mad

This really worked, because the room used to be a garage it has a double skinned wall, concrete floor and a thick fire door, hardly any sound leaked out and I could crank up the volume. Then the planning started, I decided upon adding a Dali Oberon Vokal for a full Dali front soundstage. I used 4 of the M1's for side and rear surround duties and repurposed the Mission Cube speakers as Atmos ceiling speakers, I also added a Denon X3600h for the main AVR and used the Marantz NR1509 to power two of the height channels. A B&W ASW610 was sourced from eBay for a second sub and Apple TV added. Also as my living room wanted it's telly back, I picked up a 55" Samsung Q80R. My idea here was aesthetics are (nearly) as important as overall picture/sound quality so I resisted the temptation for an all black room and popcorn machine! I have thoroughly enjoyed this journey and many nights will be spent in here enjoying the system
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