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Standmounted or Floorstanders?

Mattsville

Novice Member
Hi,
I'm putting together my first home cinema and could use some help please! So far I've got hold of an entry level projector (Optoma HD141X) and what I hope is a decent budget amp - Sony STRDN1050. I've also managed to get hold of a sub (Acoustic Energy Aegis Neo, 200w). Now I need speakers.
This is going to be in a dedicated (albeit small) room (2.2m x 4.5m) so size of speakers isn't really an issue. My initial thought then was that floorstanders would be the way to go, but now I'm wondering if I'd be better off with smaller speakers, given that I have the sub. I also want to be able to play high (ie. better than a mini-system) quality music.
Currently I'm using a pair of old hi-fi speakers (MS202's) for fronts, with just a 2.1 setup. Do people normally use a sub when listening to music (if they have one setup for movies anyway) or is it better to just use the fronts?

I don't want to spend a lot on the speakers either so will hopefully find some 2nd hand or on offer. I'm ok to spend up to about £150-£200 on new fronts, and am not sure what else I want. I don't really want to buy a centre speaker as I don't think I really need one, but rears are a must (could maybe use the MS202's, but they're a bit big and ugly).

So here are my questions:

1. Should I buy floorstanders or standmounts for the fronts? I don't need massive bass for music, but if I'm not going to use the sub I don't want it to be obviously lacking bass. The £200 budget would have to include stands if not buying floorstanders. Which option would give me better quality for the same money?

2. Following on from above - I've heard that I should match speakers to the amp, but don't know where to start, and unfortunately I have very limited time to demo. Any suggestions for fronts to match to the amp (Sony STRDN1050)? It seems like a bit of a beast at 160w/channel. The speakers must be black, and as they are very prominent in the room it'd be nice if they look good.

3. Linked to the answer of the others - should I use the sub when listening to music? Obviously I'll experiment when I have the speakers, but should probably decide beforehand.

4. How important is the quality of rear surrounds? I wouldn't have thought very important, and given my setup a pair of £50 standmounts should be fine? is it worth taking money away from the fronts to improve the rears (I wouldn't use rears for music)?

5. Do I really want a 6 or channel setup? The amp is 7.2 so I could include 2 extra sides, or high fronts, or bi-amp the fronts. Any of these worth it? Which would be best?

Thanks very much for the help, sorry for so many questions!
Matt
 

PSM1

Distinguished Member
To answer your questions?
1: Which to get will depend a lot on your room and the particular speaker itself. Floorstanders in a small room can often lead to problems as they tend to be too close to the wall and/or corners of the room and this can cause sound issues like boomy bass. Hence, in general a standmount speaker is often recommended. That said some speakers are less fussy than others and I would have no reservations about putting my floorstanders (PMC GB1s) in a small room as they are very forgiving. That said even some standmounts do not like being put near walls either so it is a bit of a mine field. Really you need to demo the speaker to see how it will work. So the best option for you money is the speaker that works best in your room whether that is standmount or floorstander (not very helpful I know but it is the reality). However, what you tend to find is that a standmount+stand tends to cost the same as a floorstander for the same money so you do not really lose out on quality by going one over the other.
2. Ignore the power outputs stated by the manufacturers as they tend to be over inflated and not really reality of what it puts out. A 160W per channel stereo amp will be so much more powerful than an AVR claiming the same value. Sony AVRs are often recommended with warmer sounding speakers like Tannoy and Wharfedale but Kef would also be an option. However, a lot depends on personal sound preference so a brighter speaker like Monitor Audio may work well for you. So again go listen to a few options and pick what sounds best to you.
3. This is a question always asked and the simple answer is use it if you like the sound of it and if not then do not. It really is that simple. A sub is going to go lower and with more authority than any floorstander that is going to be within your budget. Also by taking some of the load off the main speakers to the sub you can help to clear up the mid range. Hence a sub can be beneficial but it does need to be set up right. If you over do the sub then it can drown out the rest.
4. Your system is only as good as the weakest link. The rears may only take 10% of the total sound output but you are still going to want a consistent quality to the rest. Personally I would want all speakers, except the sub, to be the same make and model (the ideal would be the same speaker at each location).
5. Biamping the fronts can give some gains but they are not huge. The benefits of 7.1 or additional speakers comes from getting the speakers in the right places and having space between them and you for the sound to disperse properly. If your sofa is against the rear wall then I would advice against 7.1 as the rears will just be too close to you and can dominate the rear sound stage. So again which is best depends on your room and its layout more than anything else.
 

Mattsville

Novice Member
Thanks for the reply! So the answer is generally that nobody can help much, I need to listen to them myself? That doesn't really help though, because even if I took my amp to a store to test speakers with, they wouldn't be in the same room in the same locations or with the same sub. I don't think any stores are going to let me take home 10 sets of speakers to try out with no obligations. So I need to narrow it down somehow. I can start with Wharfedale, Tannoy and Kef though, thanks. I guess I can trial floorstanders against standmounts in a shop and just take the result of that to be gospel, even though we know it's not a fair test. But without any better ideas...

Ok so the response about the surrounds surprised me. Just to be sure can I turn this into a real world example?
I'll be spending my time in the room 80% on movies, 20% music, but I care far more about sound quality in music (will be vocal/rock not dance/drum n bass), for movies it's more about the effects (and bass, from the sub). I SUSPECT I won't want the sub on for music. My sofa is 4ft away from the back wall so i don't think rears will be too close, plus the amp will manage the setup to stop them overpowering the others, won't it?

Right, so let's say I have £300 to spend on speakers. Would you really buy 3 sets of £100 speakers? It's a fair sacrifice on the music which would only use 1 set.
If 6 channel, would you have extra rears or fronts? The high fronts (if I had them) would have to be different, as I'd have to mount them to the wall and they'd have to be small.

Thanks again, I really need the help!
Matt
 

PSM1

Distinguished Member
As a general guide you can spend up to 3 times the rrp of the avr on a 5.1 speaker set to get the best from it. If your budget is limited then buy less speakers but of better quality. Hence in your situation I would get the front pair or 3 for now and then save to get consistent quality rears later.
In your case you may be ok but an avr can not compensate enough if the rear speaker is right next to your ear.
 

Mattsville

Novice Member
Well rrp of the amp is about £400 (bought for £180), rrp of the second hand sub I got was about £300 (bought for £100), so then spending £300 on second hand speakers should be about the right ballpark.
So how would you split £300 between mains and rears? Really 50/50? Given that I care more about hi fidelity music than movies , that seems like the wrong decision to me - but then I don't have much experience.
Matt
 

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