Question Wanting best of both worlds..

davidmn27

Active Member
Hi

I'm due to move to a new house which is being renovated so I've got a blank canvas for my living room, and therefore my home cinema set up as well.

I'm not one for spending a fortune on equipment but I do crave good stereo sound for my music, as well as having a system on which to watch movies in 5.1/DTS.

I currently have a Cambridge Azur 351r, a pair of Tannoy MX3s and some Tannoy centre and surround speakers, and a Yamaha sub.

I tend to stream my music through Spotify on my PS4 which is wired into my Azur via HDMI (DTS setting). I like that I can just use my phone to control Spotify rather than messing about.

The sound I achieve is good, but I want better!! (Fuller, richer at lower volumes)

What advice do people have to improve my system..new speakers, new amp, pre amp, stream via a different device??

Budget is circa £400. Any suggestions welcome...
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
£400 is not a huge amount to play with. I don't think you would be able to improve very much on your speakers for that money, but you may want to think about changing the amp.

That 351R does not have pre-outs, so there isn't a lot you can do to make it sound better. It is also rated at 70 watts rms per channel, 8 ohms (two channels driven) and 50 watts rms per channel, 8 ohms (all 5 channels driven). Your Tannoy floorstanders mention power ratings of 120 watts, although none of this is an exact science, possibly a bit more power might help.

£400 should buy you a new AVR that is more powerful than what you have and has a lot of new features, that may (should) make things sound better. It's not guaranteed though. Maybe try and see if there are any clearance / open box bargains around.

If you go to a retailer that has demo facilities (eg Richer Sounds amongst others) I am sure they would be happy for you to take your Cambridge 351R along and do a side by side listening comparison to other AVR's that they have in your price range.
 

davidmn27

Active Member
Thanks for the response.

I can probably up my budget if it's worth it.

So despite the age, my speakers are still decent and it's the amp that's the problem?

Is Spotify steamed through a PS4 considered a decent way to get good sound??

Thanks again
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
£400 isn't going to buy you an AVR with exceptional stereo performance so I'd suggest parallel systems. Start with a Beresford TC-7220 speaker switch & then spend the balance on the stereo amp that best fits your needs. At a minum an optical input for the PS4 or maybe something with bluetooth to stream direct from the phone. As always, going used on both will yield better results.

The Yamaha RN602 has all the bells & whistles you're likely to need including direct Spotify support, which takes the PS4 out of the equation. Pushes you around £70 over budget new plus some extra speaker cable.

I'm assuming that you have Spotify Premium & that it's already configured for maximum bitrate?
 
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davidmn27

Active Member
Yes I do have Premium and it'd set at the highest quality. I'll look into changing the connection from the PS4 too.
Thank you for the advice.

It sounds as though increasing my budget might be the simplest answer, then selling my Azur and speakers, then buying something a year or two old.
 

davidmn27

Active Member
Also, can you explain how the speaker switch would work? So I'd be able to use two amps for my existing pair of speakers and depending on if I'm listening to music or watching a movie I can chose which one??
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
Also, can you explain how the speaker switch would work? So I'd be able to use two amps for my existing pair of speakers and depending on if I'm listening to music or watching a movie I can chose which one??
Yes! It just facilitates having two amps sharing one set of speakers, and an A and B switch to select between the 2. So you connect movie sources to your AVR and music sources to your 'musical' amp.

The only issue is having one source (eg your PS4) where you would want to game in 5.1 on one amp but listen to music through it on the other amp. You could get a separate device for streaming music, something like the chromecast audio is only £30.

The problem with speaker switches is that they have to be good quality so they work properly with no risk of damage to the amps or speakers and no degradation of sound quality.

The Beresford has a good reputation but is £90, which is quite a large portion of your budget.
 

RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
Probably the first place to start is to try the existing kit in the new place. Different rooms, furnishings & speaker placement can have a huge impact on the sound. If after that you still want to change then you're really going to need to get out & listen to some alternatives within your budget. Then demo at home to make sure it fulfills your needs. A "Full, rich sound at low volumes" is going to be somewhat subjective to say the least.
 

davidmn27

Active Member
Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm still undecided to be honest. I may try my existing kit in my new place and take it from there, but I'm now thinking I'll up my budget once I've moved
 

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