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Speaker options in the £1500 range (fronts only)? Advice wanted.

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by Daneel, Jan 11, 2004.

  1. Daneel

    Daneel
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    I am itching to upgrade my speakers. I demoed the B&W 703 and 704 yesterday along with the Monitor Audio GR20. I think I'm going to aim for 703 fronts, 705 rears (haven't heard them yet but I don't see the need for floor standing rears) and probably a HTM7 center although I might go for a HTM2 2nd hand. I will also add a SVS sub at some point.

    Given that this process is going to take some time as I don't have money for all this right now and the resulting system will have to last me several years I feel I should be completely certain that this is what I want.

    I would like suggestions for what else I should listen to before going ahead with the 700 series. I imagine that with the amount of money I'm bugeting for this I should have a number of options.

    I would also like opinions on what electronics I should partner with the new speakers. As much as I love my 2011 I'm really not sure how it will handle the 700 series, particularly the 703s.

    Assuming I went with the 700s the upgrade path would look something like this. In order:

    1. Move 602s to the rear and put the 703s as fronts.
    2. Replace the LC60 with the HTM7 or similar.
    3. Upgrade the sub to a SVS or similar.
    4. Replace the CD player, with a NAD 542 or better.
    5. Upgrade electronics to pre/power combo such as Rotel 1066/1075.
    6. Replace the rears with 705s.

    I have to add a DVD player in that list somewhere and a rear projection display based on DLP or LCOS but atm I'm focusing on the audio side.

    Is my order of upgrades sensible? Will I be left hugely unbalanced at several points?

    I'm wondering if the Rotel combination would be a worthwhile move. Perhaps I would be better to do it in stages, grabbing a 1095 (giving me significantly more power than my 2011 rather than just a little) first using my 2011 as the pre. (I relalise that this part should be in the amps fora but this is quite a bit off and I don't really want to give the subject it's own thread yet).

    Thanks for your suggestions.
     
  2. 337GUS

    337GUS
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    I'm going through a similar system overhaul to you, trying to make small steps forward with noticable improvement at each stage without messing up the system totally. Late 2002 I had 603 S2 x 4 and LCR6 S2 with Sony 930. About a year ago I got the 2011 and then mid 2003 I moved to the Monitor Audio GR's (see sig). I am using the 2011 as a pre/pro and have added power amps for the front 3 channels a few months ago. I have today hopefully bought a second hand pre/pro so can remove the 2011 :clap: All I need now are power amps for the rears.


    How about getting the 705's and a HTM7 to use as front 3 for now. This way you keep the front 3 in the same voicing and won't have an imbalance.

    Then add a power amp such as the 1095, Halo A52 or Arcam P7 to use with your 2011 acting as the pre/pro. Alternatives would be multiple 2 channels as I have done or even monoblocs, mixing amps rather than buying a 5/7 channel lets you have flexibility and buy better amps for the front 2 or 3 channels.

    You can then replace the rears with the 705's and add the 703's at the front.

    After that swap the 2011 for a pre/pro and then add the SVS or B&W 675 or 700/750.

    Alternatives to the 700's I would consider are Kef Ref and Dynaudio Contour, both of which I preferred to the CDM's.

    I have heard the 700's with the Rotel 1098/1090/1080/1095 at a show and was impressed, so much so that I went back 3 times to have a listen.

    Also a used DAC onto your DVD may be an option instead of a dedicated CDP.

    Gus

    PS: Where did you think the 700's bettered the GR20's? I am considering Martin Logan as my next speaker upgrade but that is some way off yet.
     
  3. Daneel

    Daneel
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    Thanks for the reply 337GUS, you raised some interesting points. The idea of going for 705s and HTM7 first is a sensible one but I would really like the 703s ASAP. My system is used about 65% for 2 channel music, 15% for multi-channel music and 15% for films. I'm not sure that the 705s plus my CHT-10 will give the improvement over the 602s that I'm looking for.

    I did a summary of my demo of the B&Ws vs the MA GR20s in this thread.

    I gave serious consideration to the KEF reference series but they are out of my price range. With the 703s I'm seriously pushing it. I was intending to go for the 704s until I demoed them. I would want the 205s for fronts and I think the RRP on them is about £4k. The Dynaudios I also looked at but they are 4 Ohm nominal IIRC [edit - I remembered wrong, they are 6 Ohms, the problem is finding a dealer I can demo them at] so I would have to upgrade my amp at the same time which is not currently an option.
     
  4. russraff

    russraff
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    Daneel,

    Your upgrade path seems to be fine - especially the option to save and get decent stuff. God the money I have spent! I would consider a few of points:

    1) This is merely my opinion, but I really don't like the 1066 Rotel processor. Frankly, if you do as Gus has and use your 2011 as a processor you'd probably get a better result.

    2) Quad make some very special direct radiating speakers with outlandishly good cabinets. I had a dem of these myself recently and I found them really very good. The centre in particular is worthy of a listen. Just another option that seems to pass many by.

    3) After some subwoofery shinanigans I would never buy a sub blind over the 'net. I don't care whether people lovet he brand or how nice the bloke who owns the company is (I am thinking of your SVS choice, here), I still wouldn't do it.

    Russell
     
  5. Daneel

    Daneel
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    Russell, thanks for your post. The Rotel option was just that, an option. I would demo before making the purchase, I find your opinion interesting though as I've heard nothing but good things about the 1066.

    With Quad which speakers are you talking about, the L series? I've been told that the two stand-mounts are very nice but the floor standers are nothing special. As a result I didn't bother to demo them, perhaps that was a mistake as they are priced quite reasonably.

    I would hope to get a demo of a SVS from a generous forum member, the club seems to be growing. What would you suggest if I decided against the SVS?
     
  6. russraff

    russraff
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    I used to own a 1075 poweramp and I know this amp to be a real star for the money. When I heard the 1066/1075 combo I was slightly dissapointed. I must admit the speakers used wouldn't be my first choice (mission 75 range). I can only think that the 1066 was a poorer processor than my then Denon 3801 amp with a 1075. Since I reckon that the 2011 is a better amp than the 3801, processor wise, I thought that the 2011 would be a better choice than a 1066. I have always thought that the poweramp stage in an integrated AV design is the part that suffers, not the processors which are normally fine.

    The speakers I listened to were the 12L standmounts. These were backed up with the B&W 750 sub for bass duties. This is probably how I would buy speakers, now: standmount speakers with a decent sub, rather than £1500 on the speakers alone. The Quad centre speaker is supoposed to be a near perfect match to the 12L's. I listened to the Quad centre, but not at the same time as I demoed the 12L's.

    I should clarify: I have nothing against SVS, it's just that I wouldn't buy without a dem. Someone from these forums would probably demo the unit better than some dealers as the sub will, over time, have been better setup and integrated. If you decided you didn't like an SVS, then I would suggest listening to B&W 750, M&K 1250, MJ Acoustics REF 1, Paradigm Servo15 (if you can find one) and, of course, REL Q400.
    The Ref 1 is a lot better than the price suggests for a music only sub, and if music is a priority it's worth a listen. The 750 was a great sub when I heard it with the Quads; very powerful but well controlled. Whether it is worth the money compared to models like the Ref 1, or B&W's own cheeper subs is a matter you will have to decide. Same goes for the M&K: It is a very good sub, just not that much better than some others. I would listen to the Q400, but have a tinker on with it yourself (I suppose this applies to all subs really), don't let the person setting it up decide what is best. There has been a lot of REL bashing on these forums, and I have had my part in that, but the Q400 is a very good piece of kit.
     
  7. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Knowing the B&W ranges,I would reckon that the 700 series will make the Pioneer work fairly hard,but it should be ok in the short term.
    Keeping to one speaker manufacturer is very useful for overall sound,and should help,as should your eventual plan to include a separate processor/amps,and the Rotel range offer very good quality and value.
     

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