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Speakers for AV8/P7

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Tracey, Jul 2, 2003.

  1. Tracey

    Tracey
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    Ok, I've had a bit of a windfall so I've more or less made up my mind to upgrade to the AV8/P7 (after a demo of course). If I do this though it will pretty much blow my budget for a good few years, however I am also thinking of upgrading my sub and rear speakers (rear speakers straight away, sub soon ish).

    At the moment I have a pair of Mission 781's for the front and a 78c centre speaker, now I know for some of the audiophiles out there they're not the most expensive speakers, but I loved the sound of the 781's so I got a pair and unless I win the lottery I have no intention of upgrading my front speakers for a while, I also love the look of them and the fact that the 78c sounds great and is nice and small. So, the obvious choice would be to replace my Eltax HT2 bipolars with a pair of Mission 78D rears and then get a replacement sub (I currently have a Paradigm 10), something like an REL would do (not more than £500 though). Now IF I buy the AV8/P7 it's a hell of a lot of money and I want to know that it will drastically improve my listening experience (music and movies) with the kit I have. I would love a set of M&K speakers and may well do that in the future but for now 5.1 with the speakers I've got/getting is all I can have, I'd probably biamp the front channels.

    so, any comments, is it worth doing or should I just stick with what I've got (avr100/alpha 10p3) and get irritated when I know a DVD can sound much better! :mad:
     
  2. nathan_silly

    nathan_silly
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    I hope you're going to a dealer?

    Don't buy any speakers without demoing them .. take the following recommendations with a pinch of salt.

    ...

    I recommend Bose speakers. The best in the world! :p
     
  3. Tracey

    Tracey
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    Of course, the sub I'm not sure about at all as I haven't demoed any others, but I know that it's better to have the same speakers all round, just not sure if the dealer will have all the stuff I need to listen to. I don't really want to have to take all my speakers with me, so maybe get a home demo. I'm not keen on Bose at all!!!
     
  4. nathan_silly

    nathan_silly
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    Ok.

    What ratio is the system to be used- music/movies?
    Do you live in a terrace/semi?
    What is your speaker budget - for 5.1 or 7.1?
    How do you the sound? laidback, neutral, or forward?
    How big is your room?
    Is your sofa close to the back wall?

    ps. I was teasing reg. Bose... :)
     
  5. Tracey

    Tracey
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    Well I don't really have a budget for speakers as I'm keeping my Missions, so really I would just like to match the rear speakers (mission 78D) and as for a sub, would probably pay £500 - £600 even if it meant a second hand one. I would say I listen to musice/movies 50/50, but I would me more upset if my music sounded rubbish, alhtough I would love to have a great sounding surround system too. The room it will be in is roughly 14ft by 22ft, sofa is against the wall and the wall where the front speakers will be has been soundproofed (built a stud wall not touching the existing wall and filled with amw). I prefer a nice neutral sound, I want to hear the treble and like lots of bass but not so it's harsh sounding, which is why I like the missions with the Arcam I can listen to it for ages, but when I'm watching a film it's a bit lacking, not very exciting.

    p.s I knew you were joking about Bose, but they do look nice!! :)
     
  6. nathan_silly

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    If you don't mind buying 2nd hand stuff.. here's a centre..

    I'm biased because I own the the Kef 200, and the Kef Ref 2.2's ..

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=83560&highlight=reference

    and "small" :D speakers (new)

    http://209.167.103.167/kefref42.htm

    IMO I would say the Kef 200 is the best speaker under £1K.

    Other good speakers to consider are M&K S-85 (now discontinued)

    You could also checkout SVS subwoofers, for about £700 you can get the best SVS active subwoofer.. and at 500W output, 20hz should be good enough!

    http://svsubwoofers.com/subs_cylinders.htm#powered

    I would try and borrow the various types of surround speakers. Dolby recommend the same all-round, and standard speakers. I don't believe in a home enviroment this works well. There are dipole speakers and bipole speakers. They work slightly differently. Try comparing using monopoles all round. Then try dipoles on the side walls. Switch everything off bar the sides. Listen to it for a bit (get used to the dipole sound and see what effect it does) Switch over to bipoles, and do the same. And of course watch DVD's with dipoles & bipoles. Also try bipoles & monopoles on the back wall (as rears for 7.1)

    Personally I prefer dipoles as sides, bipoles as rears- especially if you're very close to them (or closer to the sides/rears then the fronts)
     
  7. sticker

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    I agree with Nathan re the Kef 200 & 2.2, I listened to them and they sounded really good, you won't be wanting for excitment with those. :devil:

    A further bonus is that you can get 200c fairly cheap secondhand and Hyperfi are selling 2.2's for under £1,000, also Creative Audio I believe have them

    Regards
    John
     
  8. nathan_silly

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    Nope. I bought the last pair!:D
     
  9. sticker

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    Doh
     
  10. Tracey

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    I don't doubt that the KEF is a good centre but I bought the 78c to match my front speakers, I actually asked the dealer what would be the best thing to do and he told me that there is no point getting a different centre because it won't match.

    The point is if I buy the AV8/P7 I won't have any budget left to replace all my speakers but will be able to replace my rears straight away and a sub in the near future. I just find it so difficult because even when I go to a dealer it's always the same I have £5.5k to spend and I end up wanting to spend £10k, unfortunatley that is not going to happen, I can't even live in my house at the moment as it's being refurbished so to spend all my money on new speakers when there's nothing wrong with what I've got (to my ears) is just stupid. A couple of years down the line I may well be in a postion to get a whole new speaker package that is worthy of the Arcam equipment, but with the amount of stuff my boyfriend wants to do to the house it may be a few years yet, and he doesn't like watching films so it's not worth the arguments. He'd be impressed with a good hi-fi though and to be able to watch the footie in decent surround sound.

    Thanks for the advice though, who knows I might get something on interest free credit, ex dem or second hand from a dealer in a couple of years.
     
  11. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    Tracey, I suggest that you have a read of this thread here and the arguments within it about the importance (or not) of using speakers of a quality that match that of the driving electronics.
     
  12. nathan_silly

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    Have to agree with Nic on this one. Using close to £6K on a pre-power system and using speakers that are classed as mid-budget is a bit lop-sided.

    If your system lacks attack, try replacing the poweramp stages with a high quality poweramp, say 150W per channel... try out diffferent sounding poweramps.. or maybe just replace the AVR with a 2nd hand top-end processor available for £1200-£1800 (Tag AV32R, Lexicon MC-1, Meridian etc)

    Then try a subwoofer. You don't say whether you have a subwoofer. If you haven't, it'll sound lacking in low-end and dynamics.

    I think your dealer seems a bit suspicious recommending to spend your whole budget on the pre-power and not even considering lesser pre-power and speakers to boot.
     
  13. sticker

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    Tracey,
    I understand completely what you are say because I was in exactly the same position as yourself, BUT when I got my AV8/P7 it really showed up the inadequacies of my current speakers, which I thought was brillant in my previous setup. One of the reasons for this was that I was listening to speakers in demo's of a far higher quality. When I got the kit home I was mildly disappointed with it. Consequently I took the front speakers from my HiFi setup (PMC FB1) and the diffeence in sound was like night and day. I even replaced the amp with my old Sherwood to see if it was only the speakers causing the difference. To my surprise the difference was minimal, the Sherwood just wasn't capable of reproducing what the Arcam could. Perhaps I would have noticed this if I had got the Arcam on home demo, but for one reason or another I couldn't get a dealer to loan me the equipment

    So now I've had to redo my overall budget and now am looking at speakers that are a match for the Arcam.
     
  14. sticker

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    Bloody message length limitations :mad:

    Cont'd

    Anyway the speakers taht I'm looking at are vastly more than I wanted, but I've decided that if I want to get the true potential from the Arcam the associated kit has to match, and so unfortunately doe sthe price :( ....to an extent. I think with speakers you get what you pay for (not convinced about other areas though, cable etc ;))

    I would say don't pay list for this though as you should get 10% discount if you bargin.

    Regards
    John
     
  15. Tracey

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    Ok now I don't know what to do, I constantly hear people saying ooh this is great and this £2,000 centre speaker is fab and you need 2 subs etc. I have listened to some high end hi-fi and it gets to the point where I really can't justify the extra £1k for something that just sounds slightly better, if at all. In fact when I got my Mission 781's I demoed the 782 and 783 and there really wasn't much difference apart from the price of course, the 782's/783's supossedly had more bass and a better frequency range, well my friend has the 782's and I think my 781's sounds bassier, maybe it's my room I don't know. I was going to demo the AV8/P7 and if I loved it, get that, then in the future get some better speakers, surely that's what upgrading is all about, I don't want to chuck £1000 down the plug hole and replace my front speakers when I've only had them a couple of years. Although I love my hi-fi I'm not stupid enough to spend £10k on it, I could get a decent car for that. It gets to the point where it's just getting to be silly money. so if I got the AV8/P7 I would then need to spend how much on speakers, another £5k, and then they might sound rubbish when I play music?

    I haven't got a dedicated room for hc so I just want something that sounds good, not something that is so expensive I have to keep convincing myself that it does sound better!!

    So what should I do, remember I am happy with the music side of things but want something a bit more exciting in surround mode and I want PLII. I don't have the space to separate everything so one amp for hi-fi and another for HC isn't an option, are there any AV receivers that sound good for music and movies and don't look hideous like those gold denon ones, ugh. I wish Arcam could make a receiver that is a step up from the AVR100.

    By the way the dealer didn't tell me to get the Mission spekaers with the AV8/P7 I bought the centre when I got the AVR100. and I do have a sub but it's only a paradigm 10.

    sorry did that sound like a rant :)
     
  16. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    OK, well, assuming that you agree that having a huge gap between the quality of the speakers and the quality of processor and amp is not a good idea, there are two ways you could approach this:

    1) Upgrade the system piece by piece as you can afford it. This will (IMO) result in poorer sound until the point where your upgrades are complete (1-2 years from now?) but perhaps better sound after that.

    2) Upgrade everything now, to the point that you can afford to. This will sound rather better now, but could limit your options a few years down the line.


    My immediate instinct that there is just too big a gap between the Arcam FMJ kit and your speakers. Buying the Arcam kit will make the system sound better - but compared to what it sounds like demoing it in the store with speakers costing 6 or 7 times as much, the results are likely to be really rather dissapointing. The question is not "will this sound better" but "if I am going to spend ~£5500, is this the biggest improvement in sound that I can get for the money?"

    Suppose instead that you bought something like this:

    Rotel 1066 processor (£995).
    Rotel 1075 power amp (£845).
    B&W Nautilus 805 fronts (£1400).
    B&W Nautilus HTM2 centre (£850).
    B&W CDM1NT or SNT rears (£750).
    Paradigmn Servo 15 subwoofer (£500).

    That would come to £5340 - roughly the same amount of money as you're proposing to spend on the Arcam kit (in fact rather less if you factor in the money you get back from selling your current speakers second hand, so you could maybe afoord better rears than the NT range). My suspicion is that this system would sound substantially better than the combination of Arcam kit and your Mission speakers. And if you do want to upgrade again in a year or two, you will still have plenty of options.

    Obviously this is not the sort of decision you should take just by reading what people say on this forum. But I would strongly suggest two things:

    1) Get a home demo of the Arcam kit in your living room with your speakers before you decide to buy.

    2) Try and listen to a system more like the one I am suggesting above (not necessarily using exactly those components) and see how it compares. You may be pleasantly surprised.
     
  17. NicolasB

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    Yes. :smoke:
     
  18. Tracey

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    Thanks, now that's what I needed to hear. I actually like B&W speakers and have heard them before although not the ones you are suggesting. I really haven't a clue which is why I need a shortlist of what to demo. I also need to see if the Rotel stuff would fit on my stand!! Hmm it's definitely lots to think about, I think the best bet is to work out what combinations I could have with my budget, and what would be best. I would prefer to sort everything out in one go than to keep upgrading all the time, because if I'm being honest I don't think I'll have any spare cash for quite a while, maybe even 4 or 5 years.

    sorry to rant, I won't do it again, promise :)
     
  19. NicolasB

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    If you think you are buying a system which is going to remain more or less unchanged for 4 or 5 years then (IMO) achieving a balance between the different components is even more important. If any one component is dramatically much poorer in quality than the others then (again IMO) it is likely to drag the whole system down with it.

    Incidentally, you might also want to think about 2nd hand possibilities. For example, if you could afford to spend £1500 on a processor, then you might get significantly better results from a 2nd hand Lexicon MC1, Tag McLaren AV32R or (if you're lucky enough to find one that cheap) Meridian 568 mk I than you would from a new Rotel or Cyrus processor.

    Oh, and I may as well say this again: a VERY approximate guide to spending (again, IMO) is that the new price of your processor and power amp combined should be roughly the same as the price of your front three speakers. So to justify spending £5500 on an Arcam AV8/P7 combination you should (IMO) be thinking of something like B&W Nautilus 803s with an HTM1 centre.
     
  20. sticker

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    Tracey if the Rotel may be a tight squeeze on your rack, don't even contemplate the P7 and AV8, the P7 is very big and heavy (31kgs)

    :laugh:

    Nic's suggestions are very sound and at the end of the day as Nic says buy what your ears like :)
     
  21. CYRUStheVIRUS

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    hi TRACY i think nic makes some good points but if you are lucky enough to have 5k in cash, secondhand is worth thinking about as most sellers especially on here keep there equipment as new, and the upgrade bug means there is plenty of bargains floating around. a bit of research and patience will leave you with a top system and some spare cash for dvd's:smashin:
     
  22. warrj

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    Hi,

    If you are considering 805s then remember to budget for decent stands. The matching B&W ones are IIRC around 400 quid. The really good polished granite ones from HNE are 480.

    Also, without wishing to restart old arguments I'm of the opinion that (especially in smaller rooms - e.g. normal British living rooms) the 805, HTM1, SNT combo is quite good enough for the AV8/P7.

    YMMV,

    Regards,

    Jules.
     
  23. Tracey

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    Yes I think I need to see what's out there, read lots of reveiws then go and demo some kit. I would perfer to get interest free credit on some of it (the longer my money is in my account the less I pay on my mortgage), but second hand is definiltey a good idea, even if I managed to get some ex dem or second hand equipment from a dealer, but of course if I was buying privately I would need to bre absolutley sure about what I'm buying. I know what you mean though, all my hi-fi and AV equipment is immaculate and I keep the box and instructions for everything I buy so it's as good as new.
     
  24. Tracey

    Tracey
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  25. Tracey

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    oops sorry meant to reply to this and pressed submit by mistake! I think the AV8/P7 probably would sound great with the B&W's but I think the argument is, would it sound any better than if I used a cheaper power amp and processor. Getting stands did cross my mind, £400 is a bit steep but it doesn't surprise me at all. I think I need a long dsicussion with my dealer, they'll be sick of me when I eventually make up my mind!:D
     
  26. Tracey

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  27. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    There is no question in my mind that using an Arcam AV8/P7 will sound better with any set of speakers than using the aforementioned Rotel kit with the same speakers. If you use a Lexicon MC12B and high-end Krell monobloc amplifiers then it will sound better still. But, as always, that isn't the issue. The issue is: what is the best sound you can get if you have x amount of money to spend on it?

    And in this particular case it sounds as though the AV8 and P7 between them would eat up the whole of Tracey's budget, so that isn't an option anyway.


    £400 strikes me as being a lot to spend on speaker stands. Again, I'm sure the B&W stands sound better than stands costing £75, but that doesn't mean that they sound enough better to justify spending that kind of money on them instead of on better speakers or electronics.
     
  28. Tracey

    Tracey
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    So are there any other speakers I should be considering, something from KEF maybe? What about M&K, or are they put of my price range with a budget of £5.5k
     

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