What setup for TV and Music - Mini hifi vs full size amp / avr

fearce

Active Member
Hi all.

Have read through many posts with interest and hoping to get views on my questions and recommendations on a sound system for my needs.

My use cases are watching TV (60%) Movies and TV shows through Netflix, Prime and Disney + and then Music (40%) Source Spotify premium, MP3 of varied quality and YouTube.

To date, we’ve used TV speakers (Sams KS7000) or a Samsung HWK650 sound bar that I had got bundled with a TV bought a few years back. Did not often use the sounder for TV as found sound was muffled and clarity of speech in particular was not there and lost in droning.

I’ve now sold the sound bar and last week made two purchases with the intent to get a feel for what I like. Though to make clear - both candidates can be returned and i’m not wedded to keeping any.

Here are the items under testing and my findings on each.

1 - Edifier S350DB - 2.1 Active Speaker set.

This was the first item I had received. I connected it to the TV via optical. General impressed with sound, in particular, the clarity I heard throughout the range of high / lows; bass was deep, punchy but not distracting from other things i.e. speech and other detail say in movies e.g. glass shattering. Note: these comments are all with my very low baseline of TV / Soundbar sound.

2. Denon CEOL N10 - packaged with Denon Speakers.

Clearly this is a different beast to the above by way of features, so i’ll try to focus on the sound, which is core purpose of this thread, for now.

For movies, I noticed the Denon clarity was greater, e.g. the different sounds / items happening on screen were heard a lot clearer. This was expected. Lack of deep rumbling bass was immediately noticeable - also expected. The denon was also definitely louder, which made me push the edifier to the limit - this made me realise that it didn’t have enough guts at the top end - something I don’t think i can live with.


As such, I think what this has confirmed for me so far is as follows:


  • I want / like a subwoofer in my set up or at least the type of bass i got from the Edifier
  • The clarity between the denon and the edifier was noticeable to the extent that I DO CARE and prefer it.


Now looking forward, you will see that my choices have been on stereo 2.1 sound and that’s because i’ve read on here that AVRs (those within budget are no good with music - though I’ve seen mixed opinions on this). Budget at the moment, including at the very least, speakers to support a stereo setup is around £500 give or take some. I’d like the possibility to add rears and centre later, but this is where it starts to become a circular debate in my mind, due to the AVR comment I just made and also reading that a good stereo (potentially 2.1) at same price point will sound better than say 5.1 - is that right?

Questions

1. If I keep the DENON CEOL incl packaged speakers and add a sub - would this match the quality I get from the Edifier? By this i mean, retain the quality I saw in the denon and get the bass I got from the Edifier without bass overpowering everything else.
2. I’ve looked on PeterTyson / Richer Sounds and with these sorts of systems, speakers like Dali Spektors are often bundled and get good comments on this forum - would a change in speakers make a big difference to the packaged ones and also would it alter the bass experience i had?
3. Scrapping all the above, would I get better sound with any of the below full size amps and speakers at around the same cost and if so - what are recommendations that would beat the N10 set up?

On point 3, i’m open to variations of this e.g.

  • Yamaha Network Receivers e.g. YAMAHA 303, 402 or 602 or the DENON DRA-800h
  • Marantz Stereo Amps
  • Any AVRs recommended good for music and TV, but taking into account my initial budget cost e.g. I would be happy to buy an AVR and a set of speakers to get me stereo at the budget, but then add rear and centre later at an extra cost?

Note: I realise i’ve not really talked about features to much, but key things that are must haves are Bluetooth connectivity, Optical, probably being able to add a sub. Internet Radio and or DAB would be good, but can consider on merits of other things. You’ll see CD is not core on the list but I know it’s in the CEOL n10.


It’s turned out to be quite a long post so happy to add extra detail qualify further. I also recognise this post is talking about HIFI / AVR together, so not sure where it best sits.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
I sometimes mention studio monitors here, this is not because I have any agenda, in fact my home systems are passive, I have a shed done up and it's studio monitors.

I think if you went with a set of Mackie MR624s that you wouldn't need a sub and would get best of both worlds. You would need some kind of preamp to control but they can be got relatively inexpensive, in fact if you add an avr receiver with preouts for front channels ( I got one here for 40 pounds plus postage one time) you'd have a hell of a setup
 

fearce

Active Member
I sometimes mention studio monitors here, this is not because I have any agenda, in fact my home systems are passive, I have a shed done up and it's studio monitors.

I think if you went with a set of Mackie MR624s that you wouldn't need a sub and would get best of both worlds. You would need some kind of preamp to control but they can be got relatively inexpensive, in fact if you add an avr receiver with preouts for front channels ( I got one here for 40 pounds plus postage one time) you'd have a hell of a setup
Thanks.

What would I add these monitor speakers too is this to the Denon CeoL n10 or something else?

PS - I've edited the thread title now, to make clearer what I'm asking for
 

muljao

Well-known Member
You'd get the monitors and then get a second hand av receiver that has preouts. You could actually use any dac that has a preamp function, but the av receiver would give you lots of digital inputs and a radio and inputs for other stuff, assuming the size wasn't an issue. If you want to keep it tidy you could use something like a topping e30 dac with remote or an smsl sanskit 10th or similar
 

kipstar

Novice Member
I’m watching this thread with interest. I am looking for a solution to boost sound from TV whilst having a reasonable sound for music and radio streaming. I have been considering Marantz NR1200, and PMA800NE or DRA800H from Denon. Coupled with a set of speakers I’m hoping to achieve this for around £7-800.
 

fearce

Active Member
I’m watching this thread with interest. I am looking for a solution to boost sound from TV whilst having a reasonable sound for music and radio streaming. I have been considering Marantz NR1200, and PMA800NE or DRA800H from Denon. Coupled with a set of speakers I’m hoping to achieve this for around £7-800.

At that price, what is your reason for not going for an AVR?

Also if you went for those mentioned, would you be adding a sub too?
 

fearce

Active Member
Any other views in particular on my specific questions?

Happy to rephrase post if it's not clear or text heavy !
 

kipstar

Novice Member
At that price, what is your reason for not going for an AVR?
|

Also if you went for those mentioned, would you be adding a sub too?

I reckoned the DRA800H was a 2 channel AVR. The marantz NR1200 is more weighted towards being an integrated amp/streamer, though I'm happy to be corrected. All of them seemed to fit the bill of improving TV sound whilst providing streaming capabilities for £4-500. Leaves me £2-300 for a set of speakers.

I hadn't considered a sub at this stage, but would in the future...

Don't want to hijack your thread and sorry I cant help with your original query!!
 

muljao

Well-known Member
If you are adding surround sound later better to plan initially. Did you decide to keep anything you've bought?
 

Mr Edwards

Well-known Member
I reckoned the DRA800H was a 2 channel AVR. The marantz NR1200 is more weighted towards being an integrated amp/streamer, though I'm happy to be corrected.

Both the Denon DRA800H and the Marantz NR1200 are 'stereo network recievers' while the Denon PMA800NE you mentioned earlier is a 'stereo amplifier'.
 

Khazul

Well-known Member
Now looking forward, you will see that my choices have been on stereo 2.1 sound and that’s because i’ve read on here that AVRs (those within budget are no good with music - though I’ve seen mixed opinions on this). Budget at the moment, including at the very least, speakers to support a stereo setup is around £500 give or take some. I’d like the possibility to add rears and centre later, but this is where it starts to become a circular debate in my mind, due to the AVR comment I just made and also reading that a good stereo (potentially 2.1) at same price point will sound better than say 5.1 - is that right?

Its isnt that they are 'no good' it is that at a comparable price point a stereo amp is much better than an AVR (at least for sub 2k or so AVRs).

An AVR can be perfectly good and very enjoyable for music depending on what you are used to, what expectations you have, what your sources are, and what kind of speakers you have connected to it.

If your use case if background music that is sometimes loud - AVR can be great. OTOH if you want to hear all the intricate detail in something and actively listen to it, then maybe you need something alot better.

Either way, I wouldnt bother trying to make the transition from AVR to AVR + Hifi for 500 quid. Wait until you can add another k or so to that.

I think it is perfectly reasonable to first get an AVR and a decent budget 5.1 speaker package and live with it for a while. Maybe you find that is always going to be good enough.

Reading what people say on here often lacks context of what they listen to, how they listen, what kind of listening space they have, what their expectations are etc.

I have a really nice stereo amp in an HT bypass arrangement which is excellent when I want to sit in the perfect spot on the sofa and listen to music. OTOH, 90% of the time, music is on and in the background and I am not sat in an ideal position (over other side of room instead at a desk) and the difference between music via the AVR and music via my streaming system is minimal especially when I am focused on something else at that location which is well outside the ideal listening space (open plan room where part of it is a living area and part of it these days serves as an office desk for home working etc).
 

fearce

Active Member
If you are adding surround sound later better to plan initially. Did you decide to keep anything you've bought?

It's a tough choice, I'm impressed with both, in particular the edifier at the price, my specific set as a bluetooth fault so it has to go back in any case, but now debating whether the S360DB would be a better choice, though am concerned that model has a wireless sub whereas S350DB is wired.

Re the Denon Ceol N10, it's ok, clarity as expected, but for my use I know I'd have to add a subwoofer to it, so lets say I paid approx £430 for the unit and packaged speakers I'd need to add a sub minimum from what I've read I'd need to spend is £150.

At £580 it would likely excel on sound of the edifier, but only just in my opinion.

Clearly the features of the network hifi being the denon, are pluses and some I've warmed too.

Edifier aside, which in my opinion are an excellent bang for buck .... it then brings me back to my original query but slightly modified due to the denon cost increasing to get it to where I want .. and i I think I know the answer....if I had to spend £600ish on a new separates / mini hifi setup (2.1 minimim) is it better to keep the ceol or go for separate stereo amp and speakers and sub.


@Khazul - have read your reply so thanks. Ill respond separate to the above as views on this could pivot me again, which is no bad thing, as I already know I want a sub in my set up, so extensibility to of additional channel e.g centre and rear is appealing.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
If you went with a yamaha wxc-50 and monitors you can add a sub later and have all the streaming stuff and bluetooth. If you buy off gear4music you can return within 30 days.

The edifier sounds like it suits better, but as someone pointed out in another post you could actually buy a yamaha and 2 tannoys 802 monitors for 460 quid. I can almost guarantee if you went this way you wouldn't need a sub
 

fearce

Active Member
.....
The edifier sounds like it suits better, but as someone pointed out in another post you could actually buy a yamaha and 2 tannoys 802 monitors for 460 quid. I can almost guarantee if you went this way you wouldn't need a sub

Hi there, which post contained this recommendation? keen to check out specs...
 

muljao

Well-known Member
Quicker to link


2 of these, slightly more than 460 as originally quoted b stock
 

fearce

Active Member
Its isnt that they are 'no good' it is that at a comparable price point a stereo amp is much better than an AVR (at least for sub 2k or so AVRs).

An AVR can be perfectly good and very enjoyable for music depending on what you are used to, what expectations you have, what your sources are, and what kind of speakers you have connected to it.

If your use case if background music that is sometimes loud - AVR can be great. OTOH if you want to hear all the intricate detail in something and actively listen to it, then maybe you need something alot better.

Either way, I wouldnt bother trying to make the transition from AVR to AVR + Hifi for 500 quid. Wait until you can add another k or so to that.

I think it is perfectly reasonable to first get an AVR and a decent budget 5.1 speaker package and live with it for a while. Maybe you find that is always going to be good enough.

Reading what people say on here often lacks context of what they listen to, how they listen, what kind of listening space they have, what their expectations are etc.

I have a really nice stereo amp in an HT bypass arrangement which is excellent when I want to sit in the perfect spot on the sofa and listen to music. OTOH, 90% of the time, music is on and in the background and I am not sat in an ideal position (over other side of room instead at a desk) and the difference between music via the AVR and music via my streaming system is minimal especially when I am focused on something else at that location which is well outside the ideal listening space (open plan room where part of it is a living area and part of it these days serves as an office desk for home working etc).


Hi @Khazul sorry for the delay in coming back. As mentioned earlier and some interesting points.

To qualify further I enjoy good sound and music but as it stands I'm not one to try and sit there and enjoy the discrete sounds and definition of everything in a soundtrack. However to set a benchmark based on my original post I've been running for 3 weeks with the Denon CEOL N10 and in parallel a set of 2.1 speakers (Edifier S350db) and have commented on my observations of both. That said i'm happy generally happy with both.

Onto the point of AVR for music and your comments, I steered away from getting a entry - mid priced AVR as reading other threads (though perhaps pointed at denon AVRS) that AVRs are no good for music.

Based on what you've said and hopefully my added context of experience of the aforementioned systems and expectation do you think an AVR and to start with just two front stereo L + R speakers would be good for music and / or comparable to what Im currently testing?

Clearly speaker choice plays into this, but I thought I could start with just 2 x decent front speakers for now vs cheap 5.1 set as that would give me the stereo setup i'd be happy to start with and option to upgrade later.

Clearly cost is a factor, so let's say a budget of £650 - £700 give or take on the basis that if I keep the denon (£430) I have and to add a subwoofer (minimum £150) would take me over £600 anyway. Hence if spending that sort of money I'd rather go down a full size AVR route if quality similar.
 

Khazul

Well-known Member
I have to ask where you see yourself going with this in the future? That might make a big difference in your choices as then compromises my only be short term compromises.

Years ago when my old sony HT system exploded, then I knew what kind of system I eventually wanted even if I did not know the specific parts. This made it easy to choose where to compromise because they were all time bound compromises.
 

fearce

Active Member
I have to ask where you see yourself going with this in the future? That might make a big difference in your choices as then compromises my only be short term compromises.

Years ago when my old sony HT system exploded, then I knew what kind of system I eventually wanted even if I did not know the specific parts. This made it easy to choose where to compromise because they were all time bound compromises.

Continue usecases as described (music, tv, movies) potentially add more speakers if craving of surround grows or I find 2.0 / 2.1 limiting and need to add.

A valid outcome also be staying with 2.0 or 2.1.
 
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