What 5.1 setup?


Standard Member
Right ive basically got a setup like this:

Pioneer VSX-520 AV receiver
Cambridge Audio S30

Thats hooked up to my pc and other devices, only got one pair of s30s so a 2.0 setup currently. I have been aiming to pickup the S50 centre but im doubting CA quality now, speakers are generally a subject i know little in and its baffling to get a reasonably solid recommendation for X Y and Z so im hoping someone can help me!.

I want to end up with a 5.1 setup, ive read that mixing manufactures isnt a great idea due to tonal differences so the S30s are able to be sold if i should leave the CA road, overall im looking to spend:

£200 - £250 Front speakers
£100 - £160 Rear speakers
<£100 for centre speakers
~£100 for sub (is this way too low? no idea)

I watch alot of films and music but film performance is a more important role for the system. Im trying to decide between bookshelfs for fronts or floorstandings as originally i had the idea of using S70s as the fronts and s30s as the rear when money was available, im just not sure how good the S70s really are when compared to alternatives in that price range.

Im really stumped on this and getting a bit frustrated as im failing to learn adequately what i need to be looking for!

Any help is greatly appreciated as i dont want to grab the S70s S50 and whatever the CA sub is if there are better alternatives! Thanks for your time.

edit: Also as im looking to minimise costs (student, poor lol) im eager to look at the secondhand market which is another reason for me doubting the CA route as i cant really find any current series CA speakers for sale, if for example i know tannoy V4 are a solid choice i can then keep an eye out for them :p.
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Distinguished Member
You really need to add more to the sub budget. £200ish is about the minimum for a reasonable sub. Superfi are doing the Wharfedale Diamond SW150 for around £180 I believe which would be worth looking at. Otherwise the BK Electronics Gemini II is a popular budget option for just over £200.
As for the speakers the best bet is to go out and listen to a few different options. I could say one brand is the best around but you will probably have another view due to personal preference. CA speakers are not that bad but again due to personal preference there may be a better brand for you. The Tannoy V series are also a good budget option, as would the F series if looking second hand. By going to listen to a few options you can find out what sounds good to you. The classifieds on here is also a good place to look for bargains if looking secondhand.
If looking at speakers from known manufacturers like Wharfedale, Monitor Audio, Kef, Focal, Tannoy, Mission and Morduant Short then you will not go far wrong either. Go listen, enjoy and let your own ears guide your choice.


Standard Member
Thanks for the reply, im trying to understand why subs need to be reall expensive/highend? Surely they are the least needed item of a setup, my dad has a 5.0 sound system from about 15 or so years ago and its very good :D.

I totally forgot to mention that the room this will be in is a bedroom currently but im hoping to move out when i finish university so i want it to be future proofed since i wont be getting rid of them anytime soon!.

Also i didnt seem to touch up about the pros and cons of bookshelf vs floorstanding speakers, would i be wrong in assuming floorstanders are better? All i can fathom is that floorstanders reduce the need for a sub as they can provide better bass response but im a noob :p.

Im going to pop in richersounds this week to hopefully get the tannoy V setup demoed along with a cambridge setup to just compare. Weymouth hifi seem to be doing the v4 for £270 and VC centre £105 and V1s for £109, works out like £52 cheaper than richersounds :p.

And finally, i should have added that as im a poor student (only spending what i earn part time, not much!) im not buying it all now unless ofc theres a serious offer for a set, hence the reason why i currently own S30s as the plan was move them to the rear and buy S70 for fronts and a centre when i could afford it and now im not sure i want the CA setup. So budget is moveable but ideally £250 for fronts as i cant justify more but for other areas i can add more later on.


Distinguished Member
The reasons sub cost more is because they have inbuilt amplification. £200 is not expensive for a sub and not high end. A decent sub will add a lot of impact to a movie and not be flabby/ill defined in sound so well worth paying a little more for. Floorstanders are more important if you like listening to a lot of music in stereo format as they go lower than bookshelf speakers. Although floorstanders can mean less need for a sub they will not go as low or with as much authority as a dedicated sub (especially with the budget you have for front speakers). Hence a sub is still going to be worthwhile buying even if you do buy floorstanders.


Standard Member
Thankyou very much for the replies PSM :). I get what you mean about the sub, been reading about them and i noticed they're active rather than passive so yeah i guess thats the main reason :D, the sub will have to be the last thing as my budget cant cope with a high priced sub atm since im buying it as and when i can afford each part :p.

Would you say a £300ish floorstander is the better option rather than a £200 bookshelf + stand front?

Im pretty much set on the tannoy v4 as front floorstanders (unless someone can recommend a better alternative?)
but cant decide on a solid few to demo in the bookshelf size, i will probably end up with floorstanders but from what i was reading if you're going to have a sub then a bookshelf is better as they're better at being more "agile" im no audiophile but i appreciate spending extra on stuff that will sound better :p lol.

Again thanks for your help, im in no rush so im just slowly deciding the best route :).


Distinguished Member
If you are not getting a sub then the floorstanders will be a better option as you will get more bass until you can afford a sub. Once you get a sub you can then set the floorstanders to small and an 80Hz crossover which should give the same clarity of sound as a standmount. Hence I would say get the floorstanders.


Standard Member
I just got a pioneer VSX-520 av and series 1005.2 kef 5.1 speakers. The speakers I got from comet for £100. The next series up was £150.... Comet home entertainment have been bought out by Sony, so the are selling cheap.

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