Upgrading Home Cinema - best way to improve music performance?


Active Member
I have an Arcam 850 AVR. Currently, the LCR speakers are in-ceiling. As I have a sound-proofing project with walls and floor above replaced, I have a one-time opportunity to upgrade the home theatre keeping speakers in-wall/ in-ceiling

I was going to go for MK Sound IW speakers for the LCR. I could opt for the IW300 for Lt and Rt with IW150 for the centre speaker. If I go with IW150 for LCR instead, the saving will be around £2.4k

Would I be better off using the Arcam for music with IW300s? Or adding a stereo amp to drive the Lt and Rt Speakers for music while opting for the cheaper IW150s? Is it possible to connect both Arcam and stereo amps to the lt and rt speakers without causing any interference?

If the stereo amp option would give the biggest improvement for music, which amp would people recommend?


Well-known Member
Go for the best in-wall speakers you can afford, provided they are suited to the room dimensions. Easy to add a stereo amp later, if you want to, for not much money relative to other costs. Much more expensive to wish you'd got the better in-wall speakers and try to change them later.


Distinguished Member
The Arcam are allegedly fine music amps as well as AV monsters so I’d be happy with that for now and concentrate on speakers.

The MKs, whilst suitably lauded are always so for AV, not necessarily music...

I’d seriously consider these. I’ve yet to find anything other than glowing praise for them.

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And there are tons to choose from so establishing a healthy budget won’t be difficult.

Deleted member 39241



Well-known Member
I certainly wouldn't rule out the MK Sound speakers for music. Those Dali speakers do look good though, and I like the idea of the rotating tweeters so they can be 'toed in'. Whatever you choose, the difference between good in-wall speakers and ceiling speakers should by mind-blowing compared to any difference between amps. I've temporarily taken my stereo pre-amp out of my system, so now I'm sat listening to music through an analogue input of my AV processor (Audiolab 8200) and it sounds fine - better than I remember.


Well-known Member
I have the Arcam 850 in my dedicated cinema room. Have to say, it's pretty darn good for music too.

I'd agree with others that you will see more difference investing in the speakers, and if you're still want to add a second amp later, you can do (albeit with some switching requirements if they are sharing the same speakers).

The external DAC route might also be more to your liking.

I've contemplated what other amp I might change to if I wanted to, but there's not really anything else in the same price point that competes / outperforms. Possibly an Emotive RMC-1 + Amps if it ever arrives / works would be on my list, but that's probably going to be an extra 4k to cover the power amp requirements.


Active Member
You say you have your main LCR speakers in-ceiling? That seems odd to be honest.

I would think the biggest upgrade you could make was putting them in/on wall at ear height. Bear in mind that high frequencies are directional, so ideally the tweeters should be firing out at ear height, with the exception of Atmos height speakers of course. Depending on the individual speaker's design, your main L&R speakers may be toed in slightly towards the listening position.

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Active Member
Thanks all. I was not aware of the Dali speakers. I’m guessing the M&K are more reference speakers for AV but need the subs for music whereas the Dali would be good music-wise in a 2.0 setup?

I have a XTZ 3x12 which I want to keep in the room for movies and want the other speakers to integrate well with this.

The ceiling speakers were surprisingly good for LCR - had this set up when there was some non-negotiable furniture against the wall meaning the screen had to come down in front.

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