White kitchen speakers - flat wall speakers, 2.1 system or small bookshelf - recommendations please

danburne

Member
Hi,

I’m looking for some white* wall mounted/mountable speakers to go in a kitchen (c. 6.1mx4.8m). (*At a pinch, I could spray speakers that aren’t the right colour.)

I’m not really looking to spend more than £500, £600 tops, including any mounting hardware, preferably (a lot) less. Second hand preferable, to help keep costs down (not time critical, so I can wait for the right things to come up).

The options seem to be:
(A) Flat wall speakers, e.g.
  1. Kef T101 £299
  2. Dali Oberon On-Wall Speakers 499
  3. Dali Opticon LCR MK2 On-Wall Speaker £599
  4. Bose 891 £499
  5. Polk Audio 265-RT £229
  6. Polk Audio Vanishing Series
  7. Monitor Audio IV140 Invisible Speaker £550

(B) Some small speakers (e.g. bookshelves like the PMC DB1 or even smaller) that could be mounted with brackets off the ceiling

(C) A 2.1 satellite/sub system (provided the sub is pretty small - ideally something which could be wall mounted. E.g.
  1. Monitor Audio MASS 5.1 (Mist) £659
  2. APART AMBIENT SET W | 2X SATELLITE SPEAKERS + SUBWOOFER £509
(D) Something else - e.g. a soundbar such as the Dynaudio Music 7.

Since this is going in a kitchen, they’ll be exposed to some steam / smoke / aerosolized fat etc, so ideally something that can cope with that.

Acoustically, the setup will be suboptimal - a very reflective room; unable to position the speakers correctly, etc. But this is to entertainment / listening whilst cooking, etc, rather than serious hi fi (I have a different space and setup for that. So it may well make sense to spend less ...

Sources will be: Amazon Echo Dot; bluetooth (probably via the Dot, unless the system has inbuild bluetooth), and phone audio (LG G6 and Sony Xperia II)

I am currently using PMC TB2 (or TB2+) powered by Flying Mole DAD M100 monoblocks, via a Cambridge Audio C500 preamp. Sadly the PMCs are too big have to go (well, get moved into another room). I can keep the amps, or I have a Marantz PM66 KI Sig I can use instead or - considerably less good - a Cambridge Audio A1 (the latter two options would take up less space and probably be more than fine for the job). I could always buy another (s/h) amp.


Ideas most welcome - many thanks in advance!
 
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danburne

Member
In ceiling might also be a good option (despite the compromises...), since it's proving quite hard to work out where to put "normal" speakers!

I've marked up a few possible options. E.g. one to the left of the hob, with another on the wall opposite; on the support pillars (between hob and over, and another opposite); but probably best - if not ceiling speakers - to have small white bookshelf speakers or sattelietes on brackets above each of the windows - that way they're firing into the garden (plan is to have a bi-fold that opens that whole side of the kitchen out).



Kitchen only with speakers.jpg




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37898_DUL200299_IMG_15_0000.jpg
 

danburne

Member
I think the real problem will be the doubtless dreadful acoustics, so anything hi-fi will be wasted.

I'm tempted to do something like buy an inexpensive s/h pair of white bookshelf speakers (e.g. Monitor Audio Bronze 1, Q Acoustics 3010 or 3020s), and mount them above the windows. Amazon Echo Dot plugged into a cheapish amp (or possibly get one of the integrated bluetooth/streaming/Alexa compatible amps). Done!
 

Aslund

Active Member
I am far from any expert in this area. But reading your posts I wonder if your path is the right one. Maybe a simpler solution would be to simply buy a bluetooth speaker.
I remember some years ago I bought a Denon Envaya mini. A tiny tiny speaker but I was blown away with the sound and often puzzled how it could play that big. How market is today I sadly do not know.
 

danburne

Member
I am far from any expert in this area. But reading your posts I wonder if your path is the right one. Maybe a simpler solution would be to simply buy a bluetooth speaker.
I remember some years ago I bought a Denon Envaya mini. A tiny tiny speaker but I was blown away with the sound and often puzzled how it could play that big. How market is today I sadly do not know.
You may be on to something! I must confess to being instinctively (irrationally, perhaps!) suspicious of things other than traditional speakers, but my (limited) hi fi knowledge is mostly 15+ years out of date and I'm sure things have moved on considerably!
 

Yorkshire AV

Active Member
AVForums Sponsor
FYI - the DALI Opticon LCR are £599 EACH!

Do consider something such as a pair of the Monitor Audio Soundframe 3's.

They're small but attractive and provide a good sound.


The Oberon On-Wall get a big thumbs up from us here also out of the list above.

You may find the Monitor Audio Bronze 50 or DALI Opticon 1 MK2 with wall brackets a fuller sound than the above with the trade off that they're a little larger.
 

danburne

Member
FYI - the DALI Opticon LCR are £599 EACH!

Do consider something such as a pair of the Monitor Audio Soundframe 3's.

They're small but attractive and provide a good sound.


The Oberon On-Wall get a big thumbs up from us here also out of the list above.

You may find the Monitor Audio Bronze 50 or DALI Opticon 1 MK2 with wall brackets a fuller sound than the above with the trade off that they're a little larger.
Thanks - great tips, much appreciated! I'll look into those.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I’d go for the Dynaudio Music 7 as you mentioned.

It’s big enough to sound like it and will have no problems filling the room.

They are portable and can be shelf mounted in the least likely to get craggy place but, most importantly, they have an at least rudimentary room correction system which is supposed to be quite effective.

That will be useful in a kitchen with hard surfaces and acute angles everywhere.

And there’s this to consider too.

 

password1

Distinguished Member
Buying brand new pair of medium to high end speakers would be wasted if you don't have ideal positioning spaces.

As it's not for serious listening in a dedicated room I'd consider buying a cheap pair of speakers so you don't need to worry about getting them ruined and covered in oil, grease, smoke, odour, etc.

Both your amps will be ok to drive something like MA MR2, Monitor 100, old bronze, Kef cestra 2, mission m70 or m33 series or QA 2000 or 3000 series or Dali Zensors or Spektors.
 

jamieu

Well-known Member
Personally for kitchen use I'd just go with something like a pair of Sonos 1 or a Sonos 5 both available in white — easy to clean, one box, minimal cables, decent app, easy to replace if one breaks, won't look out of place in your kitchen. You could even go with the Ikea/Sonos range which work with the Sonos app/ecosystem but are half the price.

For background listening in a kitchen ceiling speakers might seem like the obvious option, but you do risk the grills changing colour/yellowing over time and (just personally) I find ceiling speakers in a hard surfaced room can sound a bit like you're in a retail store with piped music. A sub may help, but equally could become overpowering if you're mainly listening to radio/background music. There's also the added faff of installing them. If you did go that route I'd suggest moving them out more into the main part of the room.

FWIW I know a number of people who have in-ceiling speakers installed in their open plan kitchens (originally powered by a micro CD unit) who just ended up using a Roberts Radio or a standalone portable speaker like a Sonos or an Amazon/Google smart speaker as it worked better for them for background / radio listening.

If you wanted to keep it higher end and permanently installed, then Genelec make some very small (195x121x115mm), but surprisingly powerful active monitors (8010a) in white with close-to-wall mounts which you could feed directly from an Echo dot or other device with a line output, as they have their own in-built amps. I use a pair for surround duties, but have also listened to them on their own they put out far more power (96dB @ 1m and go down to 67 Hz at -6dB) than their size would suggest. They also have a very durable finish and metal grills that can be wiped clean. This PDF gives some ideas re. the various mounting/installation options.
 
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kitp

Active Member
If its mainly for background music (or recipes from your echo dot) have you considered in-ceiling bluetooth speakers (maybe one which has a master and a slave option). eg - Lithe Audio Bluetooth Wireless 6.5" Ceiling Speaker
 

Ascotbilly

Active Member
I am far from any expert in this area. But reading your posts I wonder if your path is the right one. Maybe a simpler solution would be to simply buy a bluetooth speaker.
I remember some years ago I bought a Denon Envaya mini. A tiny tiny speaker but I was blown away with the sound and often puzzled how it could play that big. How market is today I sadly do not know.
@danburne - My better half would be very envious of your kitchen 🤣

I’d start off with the advice as above.
Have a look on Amazon for Anker Soundcore speakers. Bought one a couple of Xmas ago after hearing one at work. Not a great deal of ££ recharge via usb and easily connect to phones plus you can stick them in the drawer when not in use.
 

danburne

Member
Thanks all.

The Lithe's look like the neatest solution, aesthetically.

Sonically, I'm a little suspicious, given the cost. I'm used to PMC TB2+s powered by Flying Mole class D monoblocks, with a Cambridge Audio C500 pre-amp, in our current (similarly sized and similarly acoustically dreadful) kitchen (photos show what will hopefully be our next kitchen as of next month). I'm yet to be persuaded of bluetooth audio quality (certainly streaming via bluetooth via our Echo Dot into the PMC setup sounds dreadful; hardwired into C500 or streaming via the Dot is fine. One for the bathroom is tempting though!

Whilst the kitchen's not a critical listening environment, we do listen to a lot of music there. In the new kitchen (pictured), the doors open out onto the garden/courtyard - so keen to have a system that will project and have some volume (both to get some audio to the garden, and also if we end up having a kitchen rave, as we've been known to! :))

I think keeping the PMC/C500/Mole setup would be overkill, but I'm something like an inexpensive s/h pair of white bookshelf speakers (e.g. Monitor Audio Bronze 1, Q Acoustics 3010 or 3020s) or even standmount speakers (I have some Monitor Audio Bronze BX2 elsewhere, which sound good enough even with a cheap amp like the Cambridge Audio A1 and can be had for £100 odd s/h) and mount them above the windows, pointing out to the courtyard.

As the voice controlled source, I can then plug our Amazon Echo Dot - or better, use my old phone (LG G6 with 32 bit quad DAC) with Alexa or Google enabled - into a s/h amp (plenty of great stuff to be had s/h for under £100 - say a Marantz PM66 SE / or Ki Sig, a Cambridge Audio, etc. I have a Pioner A400 I could use). Some cables and gear to hide though, and brackets to buy, but all do-able.

I might be missing a trick on an integrated bluetooth/streaming/Alexa compatible amp, however. But I'm struggling to find ones that work well with voice control. By all accounts, the Amazon Echo Link Amp has pretty terrible reviews for sonic quality, and I'm pretty certain would under perform compared to the phone/amp solution above. The only other thinkgs I've come across that look interesting are the Yamaha CRXN470D (nice to be able to play CDs too); and the Tibo SIA50 and SIA75. But these are nearly £300 and £200 respectively, and (as far as I understand it) don't support voice control (even when you also have an Echo Dot), which is essential for what I'm after. Any thoughts on that would be most welcome, since if there is a good solution, I might end up using it in other spaces too (bedrooms, bathroom, etc).
 

bruny

Active Member
We use an echo show 8 in our kitchen. Not audiophile quality but it’s pretty good. Good enough for back ground music. I use Amazon music so just tell Alexa what to play. also handy for getting up recipes while your cooking. 😀
 
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