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Answered What Is The Best Speaker Out There For A Budget Of £1,500?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Speakers' started by AlwaysHeadFirst, May 9, 2018.


    1. AlwaysHeadFirst

      AlwaysHeadFirst
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      Hi Everyone,

      I'm currently looking to invest in a set of speakers and wanted to ask what the best 'all rounder' speaker would be?

      My budget is a max of £1,500 but ideally I would like to spend around £1,000 - £1,250.

      I have tried looking online but it seems to a be an absolute minefield of choices!

      I've noticed on What Hi-Fi rate the B&W 683 S2's quite highly and they are right on the budget but I'm not so sure as they are coming up to 4 years old now? - are a new 600 series due?

      Other than that, friends have recommended Kef as a good option as well as the Tannoy XT86F - which I am inclined to lean towards!

      Any help / advice is highly recommended :)


      P.S. - how good are the Kef R700's?

      They are on offer ATM - down from £2,000 to £1,400?
       
      Last edited: May 9, 2018
    2. Best Answer:
      Post #18 by dollag, May 10, 2018 (1 points)
    3. MacVee

      MacVee
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      Are you looking at floorstanding or standmount too?
       
    4. AlwaysHeadFirst

      AlwaysHeadFirst
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      Just Floorstanding -

      Looking on SuperFi and their site, I've come across these four:

      Dali Opticon 6
      Dali opticon 8

      Kef R700

      B&W 683 S2's


      No idea the differences but prices vary from £1200 to £2000 !
       
    5. MacVee

      MacVee
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      If the budget maxes out at £1500 then that is that, although you of course will open yourself up to more choices at the £2k point too like Opticon 8. The Opticon 8 has an extra driver and is a larger unit than the Opticon 6.

      Have you considered Quad S-4 with a list price of £1199 or S-5 at £1499. I've been impressed by Dynaudio's offerings paired with a variety of amps and genres. There is the Emit M30 at £1295.

      I know it is a minefield and to complicate things further there is the amplification and room to consider too. Some will be more fussy with placement, foam bungs supplied with some models can help tame the bass. If it is a smaller room the speaker could be overpowering.
       
    6. AlwaysHeadFirst

      AlwaysHeadFirst
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      Its a 'standard' size living room, my Amp is the Cambridge Audio CXA60.

      Hmm, so if you had to narrow it down to one speaker, personally, what would you say?

      I mean, the Kef R700 is a £2,000 speaker but down to £1,400?

      If there is an absolute standout speaker at a higher price point, I can always wait a month or two and save the extra cash :)
       
    7. MacVee

      MacVee
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      If it is my ears and my money then something from Dynaudio, providing it is a good match to amp & room.

      From your list it wouldn't be fair to say as I've not heard them in action. It was possibly the Opticon's predecessor (Ikon?) I heard in an AV setup powered by a Pioneer receiver and I wasn't blown away. Could it be business as usual or are the Opticon's a real improvement? Paper specs can only tell so much as well. Are Kef's being strongly discounted because a new model line is envisaged?

      There is the step up Dynaudio Excite X34 at £1.9k or X38 at £2.6k but of course these are over budget.

      Can you demo the ones you've listed at Superfi, preferably with amp you want to pair up with? A sure fire step in the right direction before dropping so much money? Provided more questions than answers but hope this sheds some light.
       
    8. dollag

      dollag
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      Your not going to like this answer but imo there isn't one. The reality is everyone has their personal taste and choice when it comes to speakers. Some people (myself included) love the Kef R range and i personally had the R500's (still have the R300's); however there are people that prefer other brands.

      I would try and get a demo of the R700's they are a great speaker. Others I would put on my audition list are:

      PMC TWENTY 24 SPEAKERS / EX DISPLAY LAST PAIR/ DIAMOND BLACK ONLY £1950.00 | eBay
      Probably my 1st choice

      dynaudio excite 34's

      Totem sky's

      I'd also look out for ex demo/end of line models as huge savings can be had.
       
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    9. gibbsy

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      I think you should rule out the R700s with the Cambridge's 60w, they thrive on power. My R300s have come alive since being powered by a 105w Rega. They are a big unit and require careful placement.
       
    10. Ugg10

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      Standard size living room, can I assume about 12ft x 15ft. Also cxa60 was a £500 amp so £1000 speakers sounds about right. But in a standard size room there is such a thing as too big, and at that point the bass becomes boomy or muddy depending on the room and furniture, often less is more so a pair of good standmounts like the r300 may be a better listen than a pair of average flor standers.

      The Neat Iota Alpha are an interesting one to add to the mix, small floorstander but with a downward firing woofer which will be good in a smaller room plus reportedly easy to position.

      But as others have said, there is no substitute to letting your ears decide in an audition.
       
    11. Abacus

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      If you buy a speakers (Or anything Hi-Fi) via a review, specs, best buys or recommendation from others, then there will be a 99% probability that you will find something wrong with them, to put it simply, never buy anything without listening to it first. (This is a golden rule that you ignore at your peril)

      Use reviews etc. purely as a guide to narrow down your choices before going to listen to them.

      Bill
       
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    12. Hixs

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      Focal 726 would be worth a demo. A little light on the bass, but you won't find many speakers that match them for clarity under 1500. They're not speakers that make bad recordings sound good though....
       
    13. johnvnross

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      Passive approach - How about some jbl c211’s and a Crown power amp - Bluejeans cable.

      Active approach- some ebay genelec 8040’s coming directly out of an ebay Oppo 105. Bluejeans cable.

      Sorted
       
      Last edited: May 10, 2018
    14. AlwaysHeadFirst

      AlwaysHeadFirst
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      Thank you to everyone who replied, I'm now more confused than ever >.<

      I will head down to some Hi-Fi stores and see if I can get a listen to any of the recommended speakers :)
       
    15. AlwaysHeadFirst

      AlwaysHeadFirst
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      What would you make of the Dynaudio Active Floorstanding speakers that don't need an Amp?

      Pro's and Con's of not using an amp?
       
    16. AlwaysHeadFirst

      AlwaysHeadFirst
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      Good shout, my local richer sounds has these for demo, will definitely try them out, they look fantastic too!

      Not too bothered about Bass - as long as its there and enough to produce an add to the sound, especially when watching movies, then I'm happy!

      Above that, I prefer clarity in sound and a speaker being able to pick up on all the little subtle differences and sounds - e.g. when gaming, hearing the footsteps, when listening to music, hearing all the subtle instruments / sounds / clear voice

      Also, how are the Focal 926 rated against the 726?
       
      Last edited: May 10, 2018
    17. AlwaysHeadFirst

      AlwaysHeadFirst
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      What would you say makes the PMC's a good speaker?

      I think on my Shortlist are:


      B&W 683 S2's - £1,200
      Focal Chorus 726 - £1,200
      Kef R700 - £1,400


      I think the PMC Twenty 24 will be out of my budget at £2,100 however - are they on a different level to the three speakers mentioned above? - are they worth the jump in price?


      Also, is a centre speaker worth it?

      I'm leaning towards to the Chorus 726 however they can be paired with a Chorus CC 700 Centre Speaker - what kind of benefits would this bring out?
       
    18. AlwaysHeadFirst

      AlwaysHeadFirst
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      I will definitely be upgrading my Amp next - I want to get a decent set of speakers that will last me a long time and I understand my Amp needs upgrading too :)
       
    19. dollag

      dollag
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      Best Answer
      The link i left was a pair of ex demo which will have a 20 year warranty with pmc and were under £2000 or best offer.

      The PMC's have amazing clarity and accuracy, even compared to the Kef R range, which are a lot more laid back in comparison.

      I like focal speakers too but the pmc twenty 24 is in another league. the speaker retails at over £3k and even then it's a damn good speaker.

      a center channel is used for home theatre not 2 channel stereo?? I am a tad confused as to why you would want one unless your planning on building a multi channel system, which changes everything imo?
       
    20. dogfonos

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      As has been said already, there isn't a'best' speaker at any price point. It's horses for courses.

      And, IME, all your shortlisted options are too large for a 'standard' UK room . Caveat: ...unless you wish to have an unnaturally heavy bass sound - with the risk of a muddled mid-range too. I'm basing my view on the room size that Ugg10 guessed at in post#9 and which you didn't correct so I assume 15' x 12' is about right.

      Most gaming mags recommend a multi-channel setup for gaming. You may not get such an immersive gaming experience with two channel audio.

      There are still plenty of suitable options though.
       
    21. AlwaysHeadFirst

      AlwaysHeadFirst
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      I watch the occasional movie - normally a big cinema release on 4K about once to twice a month and thought a small £300-£400 investment in a Centre speaker might be worthwhile?

      And so the PMC Twenty 24 are completely above the three other speakers on my shortlist?

      I’ve seen them online brand new for £2,100 - I’m guessing well worth it then if they offer better quality sound than the Focul / B&W or Kef’s?
       
    22. AlwaysHeadFirst

      AlwaysHeadFirst
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      Hmm, my room is 4.6m x 3.6m,


      I see what you mean with the speakers - what would be a better fit for my room?

      And I’m not sure I’d want all the wires and cables and mess of a multichannel setup?

      That’s why I was also looking at Active Floor Standing speakers too - noticed Dynaudio do a range?
       
    23. gibbsy

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      Ah, now my room is slightly bigger and L shaped and my pair of standmounts, KEF R300s, more than fill it. Even with movies through the Denon X6200 it is very rare that I listen any higher than -15dB. Music wise when the 300s alone are playing with the Rega again very rare that the dial goes past 11 o'clock.

      In that size room the KEF R500s or 300s would be more than adequate and at the price point that these speakers fall into there is now some serious contenders to be considered. We can all recommend you speakers and with experience members will tell you to stay away from others because of your room size.

      Speakers are very subjective and because I really like the sound of R300s, or the KEF range in general, they may not be to your taste, so auditions are essential. As for upgrading the amp then again that is subjective but I've been blown away by the Rega Elicit R even at the audition stage.

      If you're not interested in 5.1 then I wouldn't bother with a centre and concentrate on a really good stereo amp and speakers.
       
    24. ShanePJ

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      This is one of those questions which can only really be answered by yourself. music is a very personal experience and no two people really experience music in the same way. So, whatever a reviewer, your neighbour, or even me for a fact says. You have to ignore them all unless you have heard the speakers for yourself.

      In an ideal World. We would just say, if you have a bright amp, use a warm speaker. If your amp sounds a little lifeless, get a bright or pacy pair of speakers on the end of the amp and your done. But sadly its not that easy.

      You really need to know what you are going to expect from a pair of speakers (other than noise :D). The only way to find this out is to audition with your own material and maybe if the dealer where you are going to audition the speakers are open to it, bring your own amp.

      From here, you may find that your amp just gels with one pair of speakers that you had never even heard of, but together they sound fantastic.

      So, my advice would be to short list a few speakers. Be strong and wait till you have heard them all before you make your choice. (The room will alter the way a they performs to - making it even harder to choose :confused:). But what will happen when you put the effort into choosing a pair of speakers, you will find that you will be far more happier with your choice as they will be more in tune with you and no-one else. One word of advice, if you do get an attentive sales person who is able to understand what sound you are looking for by observing the way you audition the speakers, let him show you his recommendation. You may like them if he's really observing you correctly

      And how do you know if you have found the right speakers, that's easy, if you start to enjoy the music in place of listening to the speakers, that's when you have found the right speakers for you and believe it or not, that is also your style of sound. :thumbsup:
       
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    25. Ugg10

      Ugg10
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      Think I will be calling myself Mystic Ugg in the future - pretty close 15'1" x 11'10".

      There is a guy selling a pair of gloss black Twenty 23's on the classifieds on here that may do the job, just over £1000. A step down from the 24's but may suit your room better. He also has a nice but niche amp for sale that would be close to budget. Depending on where you are it may be worth a trip to audition.

      For Sale - PMC Twenty 23s, and 21s matching PMC stands

      For Sale - Heed Si Integrated Amp, and X2 Power Supply
       
    26. lindsayt

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      In the last 15 years every hi-fi component I've bought has been without listening to it first.
      For speakers I've been buying on the basis of specifications, as follows:
      1 weight - over 70kgs per channel is good.
      2 cost new - over 1 million Yen when new is good. Half a million Yen is OK.
      3 Price now - under £500 is good. If they cost more than that, £1000 below the current going rate is OK (hi fi buying as a mini business investment).

      I've been delighted with the purchases I've made this way. Especially when I've taken what I've bought to bake-offs to compare against what other people have bought via traditional demo-first methods.

      By using my simple specification I am giving myself a 98% chance of buying great sounding speakers / great sounding for the money speakers / a nice little earner should I decide to sell.


      Coming up with the best sounding - all round - speakers for £1200 is a lot easier than coming up with the best all round speakers for AlwaysHeadFirst. That's because he probably won't want to buy the best sounding speakers he can for the money and what he actually wants is the best compromise FOR HIM between, looks, size, age, convenience, price, overall sound quality. That best compromise is sooo subjective and personal that I find it difficult to give advice on threads like this.

      Beyond saying keep an open mind and consider used speakers as well as new. Also consider broken speakers IF you're up for a couple of hours DIY fixing them (fixing perished bass foam surrounds is equivalent in difficulty to fixing a bicycle).

      And the buying methodology that Abacus likes is different to the buying methodology that I like. Use whatever methodolgy you're happiest with / most comfortable with.
       
    27. AlwaysHeadFirst

      AlwaysHeadFirst
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      Good advice,

      But the Kef R500s are £1,500 and Kef R700 are £1,400 on offer?

      Worth paying more for 500s?
       
    28. AlwaysHeadFirst

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      I’m looking at the best speakers for the price point - I won’t notice subtle differences.

      I would easily take an experts advice or someone on here who has listened to a lot of speakers and can say the best all rounder is between these speakers and then sure, I can go an audition a few ..

      But I’d rather walk into a store having a shortlist and then decide which ones to get or else I’ll never be able to buy >.<

      At the end of the day, it will most likely be a recommendation that I go upon anyway!
       
    29. Wolfie666

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      The only R700's I can find at that price are the Black Edition Special in Superfi. I can't find them anywhere else which gets me thinking why are they £600 cheaper than Gloss Black std price £2000 and cheaper still even with the KEF 20% discount for trade in speakers. Makes you think there must be something wrong with them.
       
    30. stranger

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      lindsayt quoted "For speakers I've been buying on the basis of specifications, as follows:
      1 weight - over 70kgs per channel is good."

      Not much choice there for circa £1500 but no one would run off with your speakers.
       
    31. Hixs

      Hixs
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      Bass is fine to a degree. Focal concentrate on 'proper' bass rather then the real deep end that vibrates the floors. So jazz etc is fine no sub, but anything electronic I always play in 2.1.

      726 vs 926 - well the 926 are the superior speaker, and probably my next upgrade towards the end of the year...

      I would disagree about your shortlist being too big for your room as well. My room is small 5m*5m and I don't think the speakers are over powering in the slightest. They don't dominate the room either.
       

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