Question Upgrade options... £1k (ish) budget

Vik1

Novice Member
Hi all

Was after some advice please...

I have a "home cinema" set up in the front room. It's roughly 16foot by 12 foot.
The sound was set up with hand me down parts (apart from the amp) a couple of years ago and I'm looking to upgrade it.

The room doubles as a front room too and the kids play in it, so speaker positioning isn't ideal but I have to compromise! because of that I'm mainly looking for best bang for buck rather than the system that I would love to get.
At the moment I have 7.1 sound with 2 floorstanders at the front (under the screen) and surrounds high on the wall (near ceiling ... I know... but kids play in the room too and was the only way that I could get the wife to approve!).

I have a yamaha rxv 675 amp (which I think I'm happy with - but may be told otherwise!)

The speakers ...
Fronts - these are those horrible dynalab things that you hear about being sold about from the back of vans...
Centre - Eltax moviemax
Sub - mission 70ASE
Surrounds mission 70

It's used for 70% movies/TV series and 30% for playing PS4. I'd quite like to use it more for music but that will only ever be a small part of it.

Was considering buying one of the all in one packs from the likes of Richers - something like this:
Q Acoustics 2050i 5.1 | 5.1 Package System | Richer Sounds and then just buying two extra rears

But wanted some advice. Overall the system I have now is ok, it's done it's purpose for the last couple of years but I want something that is more immersive, has greater clarity and better separation (in scenes where there are things moving - it sometimes gets merged too much in my system). I don't listen to it that loud (neighbours and kids) so clarity is more important to me than pure power.

So questions..

- should I go for a whole new package? if so which one?

- current set up - do I need to replace my surrounds (they're an old model but seem decently reviewed for their time). Or should I leave these and just replace the rubbish fronts (and amp? and centre?).

- if doing a mix and match - how do you make sure it all works nicely together?

Budget - v happy to spend around 700 - don't mind doubling this if I'm going to get double the sound (but aware that's subjective and at some point you get to the bit about diminishing returns) - the doubling has just come about because I have fallen in love withe Dali Zensor 5 package (without even hearing it.. I know....)

Grateful for any advice anyone has!
 

gibbsy

Moderator
As the surrounds carry less information than the front three then they could be left as they are at least until you can better position them. That can free your budget up to get a better front sound. With little ones running around you should again not spend a fortune. What does fall within your budget is the KEF Q Series. There are good discounts available at the moment, check out Peter Tyson. The floorstanders are sturdy, well made and quite pleasing on the eye. The Q500 floorstanders will match up to the Q200 centre for a total cost of £550. Or the next step up a pair of Q700 with a Q600, again under budget at £900.

If you're happy with your receiver I've no doubt that it will sound a lot better mated to the KEFs. What I like about the KEFs is the plinth design is very sturdy.

Search results for: 'kef q500' page 2
 

Vik1

Novice Member
Thanks @gibbsy - would you recommend keeping the existing sub then?

Do you need to have the surrounds as the same brand to keep all in synch? I suppose that gives me the opportunity to get some small eggs at some point to use as the surrounds

I think I'm happy with my amp - not run it on better speakers for a while - but it always used to sound reasonably good and was a decent amp (for lower mid range) in its day
 

gibbsy

Moderator
New sub could make a difference but it very difficult to recommend one as room position can be just as important as the quality of the unit. You could try your existing sub with some KEF Qs, no real reason not to. If your unhappy then you can always ask for further advice.

As for using the Missions as surrounds, again then why not. The receiver will sort out timing and with less than a perfect position there may be no need to replace them in the short term. The most important are the front three and certainly the centre for clear dialogue with the left and right blending perfectly over that front soundstage.

You could look for better matching surrounds in the classified like a pair of KEF 3005se Eggs.
For Sale - KEF 3005se Eggs
Or you could go for a pair of Q100s on a suitable wall mount for not much more. I think a pair of Q500s, 200 Centre and 100s for surrounds would set you back £750 or perhaps less with Peter Tyson if you mention active AVF membership. £30 will get you a really good pair of B-tech bt77 wall mounts. Choice of subs is down to cost, but I would be more than happy with that set up for well under a grand.
 

Vik1

Novice Member
Thanks for this. Out of interest how hard would it be to make them work?

I'd replace the front speakers with a pair of these: Mackie HR624 Mk2
They are some of the only THX certified speakers and will blow your mind in terms of clarity, imaging and even bass without a subwoofer - and with a subwoofer will be astonishing. They have advanced amplifiers built in (calibrated to the drivers). Sadly it looks like it may be slightly complicated to set them up with your receiver though as there are no pre-outs. However they are the speakers to get if you want the very best sound.

David
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Passive speakers are far easier than active. Besides the need for extra power cables and nearby points which in itself can be a pain. I see very little room for improving sound. With passive an upgrade in receiver will result in better sound which is unlikely with active, they are the sound as they are the amp. Passives are easier to room EQ, you only have to deal with one amp circuit.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
@kc5819w I don't doubt that active speakers can and do produce excellent sound. Yet in a standard home living room environment the difference will be minimal, a dedicated home theatre room may be closer to call. As the OP states he is happy with his present receiver and at this time purchasing a new one to accommodate pre outs for all five channels is not cost effective.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I agree that its no doubt not cost effective considering the existing setup. However these speakers do sound phenomenal in a standard living room. The room I use them in a very large and I sit about 5m away from them, and I have never heard anything like it even after dozens of demos of hifi speakers and equipment, hence my recommendation.
I've actually owned a pair of active speakers. Now don't laugh, please. In the late 1960s a British company Bush produced a record player that could be used on it's own or with two other active speakers attached. Used with one speaker attached to the left output the player would act as the right speaker. Connect to both outputs and the player would be muted by a three way switch. With the attached wire you could set a stereo field of about 30 feet. Considering my bedroom was about 12 feet wide it was a bit of overkill. The 1960s equipment may have been crap but the music was a hell of a lot better.:)
 

Vik1

Novice Member
Thanks for the advice both.

Sounds like actives are unfortunately ruled out.

So here's a question... Around £550 gets me good upgrade above. Say I buy a bk amp for approx 400. That's 950.

Would I hear the difference if I spent that bit more on the monitor bronze package (around 1400).
Or I'm thinking of just increasing the budget on the front four speakers (inc a bk sub which I'm falling in love with)

Also where I'm confused is how easy it is to actually audition speakers for mainly film usage. You really need to watch a couple of films before you really know how you like. Plus I'd need to take my amp with me I guess...

It's not like music where you can sit and listen for 20 mins with a few different types of song.

I'm in a bit of a scatty indecisive mood at the moment!!
 

Vik1

Novice Member
In terms of being happy with my amp. When I had it with better speakers I remember liking it

It gets good reviews
Yamaha RX-V675 review

And thought given the current speakers above I'd be better off spending the money on speakers now rather than the amp

Budget is approx 1400 total, if I'd be better changing amp pls let me know
 

gibbsy

Moderator
If you're happy with your receiver then stick with. Good new speakers will last for years. Receivers are more fragile and people will replace far more receivers than they do speakers.

So you've upped the budget. A sub will set you back £400, so that leaves a grand. You should get a pretty good front three for that. I'm a KEF fan so I'll always recommend them but apart from the Q series they are going to bust your level.

For the best balanced sound make sure all the speakers are from the same manufacturer and better still the same model range. The master at sourcing speakers is @BlueWizard.
 

Vik1

Novice Member
Have gone round and round the houses looking at options and am now probably coming back to your recommendation below!

It seems a very hard deal to beat for the money. I have been exploring whether it's worth spending 1400 ish on the monitor bronze or dali set but this looks like the best option for now. Then a bk sub and later some kef surrounds

As the surrounds carry less information than the front three then they could be left as they are at least until you can better position them. That can free your budget up to get a better front sound. With little ones running around you should again not spend a fortune. What does fall within your budget is the KEF Q Series. There are good discounts available at the moment, check out Peter Tyson. The floorstanders are sturdy, well made and quite pleasing on the eye. The Q500 floorstanders will match up to the Q200 centre for a total cost of £550. Or the next step up a pair of Q700 with a Q600, again under budget at £900.

If you're happy with your receiver I've no doubt that it will sound a lot better mated to the KEFs. What I like about the KEFs is the plinth design is very sturdy.

Search results for: 'kef q500' page 2
 

YEHBABY

Active Member
I think you can't go wrong with either the Dali or the bronze.

I bought the front 3 speakers first (Dali Zensor 7 and Vokal) then added the rears 12 months later. Very happy.
 

Vik1

Novice Member
follow up question if I may @gibbsy @YEHBABY and others...

From the advice above and what I've read on here its v important that the front three are same brand and ideally range.

How important is a matched sub? or can I just buy a a BK sub to go along with it (as they are so well reviewed on here). Would I need to be careful to try and "match" the sub or could I get away with just getting P12-300SB or the monilith?

My head is saying to go for the KEFs as mentioned above - but I can't get my head out of going crazy, upping the budget considerably and getting (say) the monitor audio silver 6
 

YEHBABY

Active Member
follow up question if I may @gibbsy @YEHBABY and others...

From the advice above and what I've read on here its v important that the front three are same brand and ideally range.

How important is a matched sub? or can I just buy a a BK sub to go along with it (as they are so well reviewed on here). Would I need to be careful to try and "match" the sub or could I get away with just getting P12-300SB or the monilith?

My head is saying to go for the KEFs as mentioned above - but I can't get my head out of going crazy, upping the budget considerably and getting (say) the monitor audio silver 6

1. Yes, its important to keep the front 3 the same make and model.

2. I've not got a sub, but the general advice on here is that they don't need to match. The BK subs are recommended often. As for which BK model, you're best seeking advice from others.

3. As for which speakers KEF, Dali or MA. I would suggest you demo them all to see what you like.

4. As for going all out and getting the best speakers possible like the MA Silver 6. Obviously this is down to your budget.
With hindsight, if I was in your position rather than buy a full 5.1 lower end speaker package, I would have got the best 2.0 L/R speakers I could afford. Like the MA Silver 6 and added the centre, rears and sub at a later date, when I could afford it ( but that's just me :D )
 
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Vik1

Novice Member
1. Yes, its important to keep the front 3 the same make and model.

2. I've not got a sub, but the general advice on here is that they don't need to match. The BK subs are recommended often. As for which BK model, you're best seeking advice from others.

3. As for which speakers KEF, Dali or MA. I would suggest you demo them all to see what you like.

4. As for going all out and getting the best speakers possible like the MA Silver 6. Obviously this is down to your budget.
With hindsight, if I was in your position rather than buy a full 5.1 lower end speaker package, I would have got the best 2.0 L/R speakers I could afford. Like the MA Silver 6 and added the centre, rears and sub at a later date, when I could afford it ( but that's just me :D )

Thank you for your reply - much appreciated

So further questions

1 going all out - are the MA silvers a much better mid range speaker? or at that price point should I be considering others? Are they good enough to be my speakers for the next 10 years etc (assuming we don't have some weird development in technology)

2 - The guy at Richers (super helpful) was saying that the problem with my current amp is wattage - it's a little underpowered for the speakers - so I won't get the best out of them (he wasn't trying to upsell for once - he was saying it may be better to stay lower down unless I plan to update the amp in a few years). What I couldn't understand was even if it's not getting the best out of the speakers - would be it be getting enough to justify the extra few hundred pounds

3 - I've got a 7.1 set up at the moment - planning on leaving the missions at the back for now - when I do get around to upgrading would the rear rears be those FX speakers or just normal ones?
 

YEHBABY

Active Member
Thank you for your reply - much appreciated

So further questions

1 going all out - are the MA silvers a much better mid range speaker? or at that price point should I be considering others? Are they good enough to be my speakers for the next 10 years etc (assuming we don't have some weird development in technology)

2 - The guy at Richers (super helpful) was saying that the problem with my current amp is wattage - it's a little underpowered for the speakers - so I won't get the best out of them (he wasn't trying to upsell for once - he was saying it may be better to stay lower down unless I plan to update the amp in a few years). What I couldn't understand was even if it's not getting the best out of the speakers - would be it be getting enough to justify the extra few hundred pounds

3 - I've got a 7.1 set up at the moment - planning on leaving the missions at the back for now - when I do get around to upgrading would the rear rears be those FX speakers or just normal ones?

I'm certainly no expert, so also seek advice from others. But here's my take:

1. If you're thinking of going all out I would Demo the MA Silver's and the Dali Opticon range to see what you like. If you buy further down the range, like I did, you will probably end up spending more in the long run. As you would end up having to sell the old set and buy the new higher range. That's the stage I'm at. And yes, a good set of speakers can last you 10 years and probably many AV receivers.

2. I have the step down model from your amp (Yamaha 477) and it has enough power to run my speakers. I think your amp could run the silvers, but obviously they'll benefit from a better amp. I personally would make do with the amp and upgrade at a later date. That is my next upgrade.

3. Yes I would make do with the old rears. If you do go the MA route the FX speakers do seem popular for the rears.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Keep the front three the same, make and model, it will make for a better tonal match. Nothing worse than voices moving across the front soundstage and sounding completely dufferent in the middle.

I'm not too struck on KEF subs, there are better out there for the same money.

The RS salesman is right in some respect. Rule of thumb is that speakers should cost roughly two to three times the price of a receiver. Wattage, or power is more important if you want to drive speakers at higher volume for long periods or if the speakers are harder to drive , ie 8ohm is far easier to drive than a 4ohm speaker. Even a quality speaker will suffer from an underpowered amp if pushed to the amps limit, many call this headroom.

To be honest your receiver should be fine. You want to start your upgrade somewhere and the most obvious way is with the speakers first, Yehbaby has a good point by going for front left and right although personally I would rather do the front three. The rest can follow, including a better sub or receiver.

My upgrade path was: Denon 2310 with 3005 Eggs and KEF sub>REL sub (KEF was crap)>KEF R100/200C/100 as front three>Denon X6200>KEF R50 Atmos>KEF R300 for front left and right, R100s replacing Eggs as surrounds. It took over a year from getting the R100s. If I was the right side of 65 I might have took a little longer, but hey I'm spending the kid's inheritance.
 

Vik1

Novice Member
Thanks @gibbsy. Originally this was going to be a small upgrade. But now I'm going to go bigger! My issue is that I will never get around to selling stuff off, so might as well jump rather than going incrementally

I'm just confused as to which ones to choose. I can afford to do the front three, so it's just which one. I'll definitely buy the same range of those.

Gonna have to go listen, compare bronze with silver with zensor with opticom I think...

Whathifi reviews the tannoys xtf6 really highly but I have always been wary of their reviews plus more choice and I may go mad.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Your own ears are the best reviewers for sure. Play the same tracks on each set up and make sure you know it well from your present set up. Take your time. Some dealers may even let you take a pair of demo units home once you have decided. Good luck.
 

YEHBABY

Active Member
Your own ears are the best reviewers for sure. Play the same tracks on each set up and make sure you know it well from your present set up. Take your time. Some dealers may even let you take a pair of demo units home once you have decided. Good luck.
I agree with this. Take your time and enjoy!
 

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