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Speaker advice please: M&K, Velodyne or Monitor Audio?

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by Irf, Feb 5, 2004.

  1. Irf

    Irf
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    Hi all,

    I'm in the market for some compact speakers, and I have had advice from here in the past which for several reasons came to nothing. Things can now start moving again so here goes.

    I have a mixed bag of gear at the moment:

    5 x cheapo Richer Sounds speakers (from my old prologic set)
    1 x Velo CHT-10 Sub
    Pioneer VSX-D510 Receiver (5.1)
    Panasonic TX-36PF10 TV

    A motley collection, I know. However I am putting things right, starting with the speakers, because the other bits are good enough for me at the moment. One problem though is that they need to be wife-friendly!

    I'm looking at these two options:

    M&K
    3 x M&K K5 for L/C/R
    2 x M&K K4 (tripole) for surrounds

    Monitor Audio
    1 x Monitor Audio Radius 180 for Centre
    4 x Monitor Audio Radius 90 for L/R/Surround

    I have also been pointed in the direction of the Velodyne Deco sub/sat system, and clearly I would need to sell off my CHT-10 for that. I have some concerns over appearance and whether the sub will be as good as my CHT-10, but I will be tryingto get a look/listen/feel of the system soon.

    Costs are clearly going to be different, but that is not my point of concern. My budget will allow me (just) to stretch to the M&K if they are really that much better, but I don't want to be paying loads more for little or no appreciable benefit. Any savings made by going for the MA will go towards good cables/connectors, nice stands, etc.

    It is likely that the rears will be wall mounted, and I haven't decided on how to mount the fronts. The centre will be beneath the TV. The room is 3.5m x 4.5m(into bay) x 2.5m. The TV is placed in the bay window.

    I plan to hear both MA and M&K setups in Croydon soon, but wanted to hear your opinions first. I am not set on the brands mentioned, but the speakers need to be small and sound good.

    Cheers for any help/advice,

    Irf.
     
  2. Ian J

    Ian J
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    In brief, the M&K's are excellent and I have the K4's myself, the Monitor Audio I haven't heard (Bristol show will cure that) but they seem to be highly rated by magazines and forumites alike whilst the Velo Deco seems to be a bit of a curate's egg. What Hifi tested it in their August 2003 edition and praised the sats highly but wasn't too impressed with the sub saying that it was a bit woolly and didn't have the killer punch of it's rivals either.

    If you can buy the Deco satellites only to run with your existing sub it might be a way round that.

    Another to put on your short list is the Castle Compacts which again I haven't heard but they have recently received a five star review by What hifi and the icing on the cake is that they look superb too.
     
  3. Irf

    Irf
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    Thanks Ian,

    Can you suggest (online) suppliers for the Castle speakers?

    Irf.
     
  4. Ian J

    Ian J
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  5. Irf

    Irf
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    I forgot to say that I'm not really bothered about pure musical fidelity.... the system is almost exclusively used for AV.

    Regards,

    Irf.
     
  6. drum63

    drum63
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    Hi Irf,

    You will recall that I was looking at exactly the same choice (M&K or Radius) before Xmas.
    I went to demo these at a branch of Sevenoaks over New Year but they didn't have quite the setup I requested when I booked the dem.

    For the Radius they had 3 x 180's across the front and 2 x 90's for rear with the 360 sub.

    They also couldn't dem the K5's (as it would take too long to setup apparently, even though I was told it would be OK over the
    phone), but did have some similar but more expensive M&Ks (Xenon LCR25s I think), coupled with a £1000 M&K sub (didn't get the model number).

    To be honest, whilst the M&Ks sounded better to my ears, they weren't that much bettter, especially considering these particular models were over £1000 dearer than the Radii (plural of radius ??).
    Unfortunately neither of them were very appealing to me during the dem as I felt that both lacked some midrange, particularly with music.
    Whilst I won't be using the system for CDs very much, I do have a lot of music DVDs (Concerts etc.) so I am probably more interested in the musical side than you are by the sound of things.

    I havn't given up with either range yet and intend to dem them again at another dealer, or ideally at home, as I wasn't convinced that they were set up correctly when I heard them.

    I also had chance to hear my mate's K3 setup, (K7 fronts, K4 rears, K9 sub), which I thought sounded excellent for films, but again not quite so good for music.
    He has a multiroom setup with Mission 753 floorstanders in another room so we were able to compare the same source on both systems.
    Once again, understandably, the midrange was certainly clearer with the floorstanders
    I'm now working on my wife to accept something a little bigger (MA Silver 1s and Centre) at the front, as I think they would suit my requirements better, but as mentioned I will also give the sats another go.

    Sorry, waffled a bit, but my advice would be to ensure that the dealer definitely has both ranges available when you dem.
    Also, there doesn't seem to be many dealers who sell both ranges.

    Might also be worth a look at the new Radius thin floorstanders if you have room. These have been mentioned on other posts but not apparently available until April at £499 a pair.

    cheers

    Gary
     
  7. Irf

    Irf
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    Hiya Gary,

    Yeah I remember exchanging posts with you on this already! So neither of us has bought yet then huh? :rolleyes:

    Which Sevenoaks did you go to? The one nearest to me in Croydon apparently does both ranges, but as you say I'm gonna have to check that they will be able to demo the precise setup I'm interested in first.

    Also I've found out that a dealer just 5mins from me (Oranges and Lemons) does the Castle units Ian mentioned. I might drop in on them as well.

    What are you doing about the electronics and sub? I was thinking about taking mine with me, so I can get a better idea of what I'm listening to, but the guy on the phone at Sevenoaks said not to bother..... seemed strange to me. I'd rather get a true reflection of what it's gonna sound like with the rest of my gear than get a rosy picture with their top quality stuff and then be disappointed at home!

    I did notice the new Radius units (225?) on the MA site, but I dunno if I can spare the floorspace. I was considering wall mounting the L/R (either side of the bay window) and sats (either side of the sofa).

    Keep in touch.....

    Irf.
     
  8. drum63

    drum63
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    Irf,

    The branch I went to wasn't Croydon, but I'll leave it at that as my one indifferent experience is not worth any more public criticism.

    To be honest, I think I went on the wrong day (New Years Eve) when they probably weren't that interested, dealt with an inexperienced salesman, and generally didn't enjoy the experience.
    I'm sure that others have had a much better demo experience at the same branch and my main gripe was that a "Yeah, Yeah no problem" over the phone became a "No thats not possible today" when I got there.

    I'm trying to replace an existing Mission setup (773 floorstanders, 75C centre and 77DS rears), with something a bit smaller and more wife friendly.

    I'll probably keep my amp for a while (Denon 2800) as I don't need more than 5.1 and don't/can't listen at high volumes.
    May also keep the rears for now as I would probably need to spend at least £400-500 to get anything better.
    (Sofa against back wall means I'm better off with Dipole/Bipoles).

    If I went for something like the K-series, would definitely get the K4s as they seem to be one of the best elements of the package.

    Will be looking for a sub though and I'm going to try and dem the MJA ref 100 which seems to get good reviews on the forums.
    Not easy to find a dealer who has this model though.
    Sevenoaks in my area only stock REL subs in that price range, Audio-T have some of the MJA subs but not the one I want.
    They suggest using the Pro 50 or REL Quake with the Radii,(wonder if I can start a trend if I keep using the plural ), but for the same sort of money Ref 100 seems to get more attention here.

    I'm in favour of supporting the dealer where I (successfully) demo the kit, and was hoping to try and buy the speakers and sub at one place, but they don't make it very easy.

    Be interested how you get on with your dem though.

    cheers

    Gary
     
  9. drum63

    drum63
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    Irf,

    Sorry forgot to add that for demo purposes I don't think I will take my receiver (as I couldn't handle the ridicule for having such an old one) ;) .

    I would assume (and happy to be corrected) that if I get a dem of the speakers with a current Denon receiver (2803, 3803), it's not going to be a totally disimilar sound to my own and should be at least closer to it than say a Pioneer receiver.

    Not sure why Croydon suggested you don't bring yours - maybe they don't want the hassle of rewiring etc.

    When I had my dem the guy was determined to use a different amp for each speaker set, as they were already pre-wired.
    Obviously not the best way to do an A/B test but maybe you have to go to a different type of dealer to get a more bespoke service.

    I've had very few dems in the past so don't have much experience to go on.

    Maybe others will give their experience of what to expect from a dem from the various dealers.

    cheers

    Gary
     
  10. Irf

    Irf
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    Agreed - that's a good idea! Can anyone out there with more experience offer advice on this? My gut feeling is to be really insistent and demanding (without being rude of course), cos after all I am going to spend several hundred quid with them.....

    Irf.
     

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