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post #1 of 52 Old 04-08-2017, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Beginner setup - 5.1 or 2.0 to start?

Hi all,

I'm looking for some advice on my first serious investment in speakers, replacing a tiny Acoustic Aego 2.1 setup (Which is actually OK for day-day watching but is terrible for movies). I have a budget of just over £1000 ($1200) to invest, which needs to cover the speakers themselves and any receivers, amps etc. My first inclination was to go for a full 5.1 setup, however having done some research, I'm not sure how great an effect I'm going to be able to get out of the rears. My living room is small (15' 3" x 10' 2" /4.65m x 3.10m) and I'd have to mount the rears on the wall because the sofa is back up against the wall.

Another requirement is that whatever setup needs to be relatively childproof, as the speakers will have a small toddler to contend with and I don't want speakers balancing on stands. For this reason, I was considering floorstanders for FL/FR regardless of setup - however I'm not sure if large speakers are going to be overkill in this room (Tried to attach pictures, but I need to get my post count up) I'm sitting about a meter away from my TV.

My primary use case will be playing games and watching movies, but I also want to play music in stereo and for it sound decent.

Some options I have considered are:

5.1 Q acoustics 3000 package with Floorstanders - Package at exceptional av for £1150 including a Denon AVR-X2300w

2.0 Floorstanders - Looking at just getting the floorstanders of the best I could afford - Tannoy Revolution Xt65 - Monitor Bronze Dali Zensor 7s etc and picking up a receiver seperately

Lifestyle sub sat packages - Q acoustics 7000i etc - As I have limited space and they wouldn't look so out of place mounted on the wall.

For the money, where would you guys recommend I start? Should I invest in the best 2 speakers I can afford and stick with stereo or invest big in 5.1? Any advice would be massively appreciated.

Cheers,
Paul
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post #2 of 52 Old 04-08-2017, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Carlton View Post
...For the money, where would you guys recommend I start? Should I invest in the best 2 speakers I can afford and stick with stereo or invest big in 5.1? Any advice would be massively appreciated.

Cheers,
Paul
Two channel rules! In your budget range two good loudspeakers are the way to go, later if you chose to and your budget improves up can move into more channels (if you must, lol) and keep your quality front speakers.
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post #3 of 52 Old 04-08-2017, 10:23 AM
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Put your money into the best fronts you can afford. That's where the real payoff in sound quality is. Almost any AVR will do the job so don't overspend on an AVR. The increase in cost for an AVR is usually for additional features rather than better sound quality/performance.

Panasonic TCP65VT60, Denon AVR-x6200w
Oppo BDP-103, Dish VIP722
NHT C4 front speakers, NHT C LCR center spkr
NHT Classic 3 surrounds
Velodyne Optima 12 & DLS-5000R subs
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post #4 of 52 Old 04-08-2017, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Carlton View Post
Hi all,

I'm looking for some advice on my first serious investment in speakers, replacing a tiny Acoustic Aego 2.1 setup (Which is actually OK for day-day watching but is terrible for movies). I have a budget of just over £1000 ($1200) to invest, which needs to cover the speakers themselves and any receivers, amps etc. My first inclination was to go for a full 5.1 setup, however having done some research, I'm not sure how great an effect I'm going to be able to get out of the rears. My living room is small (15' 3" x 10' 2" /4.65m x 3.10m) and I'd have to mount the rears on the wall because the sofa is back up against the wall.

Another requirement is that whatever setup needs to be relatively childproof, as the speakers will have a small toddler to contend with and I don't want speakers balancing on stands. For this reason, I was considering floorstanders for FL/FR regardless of setup - however I'm not sure if large speakers are going to be overkill in this room (Tried to attach pictures, but I need to get my post count up) I'm sitting about a meter away from my TV.

My primary use case will be playing games and watching movies, but I also want to play music in stereo and for it sound decent.

Some options I have considered are:

5.1 Q acoustics 3000 package with Floorstanders - Package at exceptional av for £1150 including a Denon AVR-X2300w

2.0 Floorstanders - Looking at just getting the floorstanders of the best I could afford - Tannoy Revolution Xt65 - Monitor Bronze Dali Zensor 7s etc and picking up a receiver seperately

Lifestyle sub sat packages - Q acoustics 7000i etc - As I have limited space and they wouldn't look so out of place mounted on the wall.

For the money, where would you guys recommend I start? Should I invest in the best 2 speakers I can afford and stick with stereo or invest big in 5.1? Any advice would be massively appreciated.

Cheers,
Paul
Definitely do NOT go with satellite systems of any kind, their performance will never match that of normal speakers no matter how much they cost.

The glaring weak point of the Q Acoustics 3000 package is the subwoofer, which is ok for music but useless for HT. Otherwise, the QA speakers are quite versatile and good for both HT and music use, plus are an outstanding value.

I would buy the QA speakers separately, and start with just the front 2 or 3 if needed, in order to fit this into your budget:
https://www.hifix.co.uk/svs-pb1000-subwoofer

The subwoofer will make the biggest difference so that is where you don't want to cut corners.

If you're sitting only 1 meter away from the speakers then floorstanders might be overkill, but I understand the concern about child safety.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #5 of 52 Old 04-08-2017, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Carlton View Post

For the money, where would you guys recommend I start? Should I invest in the best 2 speakers I can afford and stick with stereo or invest big in 5.1? Any advice would be massively appreciated.

Cheers,
Paul
In the UK, I think Q Acoustics is a great choice.


For your subwoofer these guys are the ones you want to look at.

http://www.bkelec.com/HiFi/Sub_Woofers/XLS200.htm

A pair of Q Acoustics 2050is are 300 pounds.

http://www.richersounds.com/products...loorstanders#1

That leaves you money to buy a receiver.

http://www.richersounds.com/product/...o-avrx2300-blk

When budget allows a center channel is just 80 pounds.

http://www.richersounds.com/product/...o-q2000i-graph

To add 2010i or 2020i on wall mounts as rears will be around 100 pounds when the time comes.

Geoff A. J., California
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post #6 of 52 Old 04-08-2017, 11:13 AM
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I agree with the Q acoustics recommendation with your budget. You can easily wall mount the speakers for child safety. The sub is the backbone of a good HT set. Spending a little on the sub will be well worth it in the end. A pair of Q acoustics 3020's and SVS sub alone will be a significant improvement over what you have. You can always get the 2020/2010 to save a few bucks, move them to surround duty when budget allows for the 3020's. Just don't cheap out on the sub.

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Bedroom: JBL Loft 50 FL/FR , Loft 20 center, JBLSP 150 sub, Pioneer VSX-830K, PS3, 32" Insigna LED.
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post #7 of 52 Old 04-08-2017, 11:21 AM
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i was considering 5.1 again, but all those wires, boxes...no thanks.
i do remember my friend once had a fab ($70k) 2.0 system (sonus faber ganeri (?)) monitors
and we enjoyed some james bond flick on it....those 2 speakers kicked butt...fab low end etc.
we didn't need any sub or rears, subs, or side speakers at all.
the simpler the better for me, esp if you get really good quality front speakers.
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post #8 of 52 Old 04-08-2017, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by dswierenga View Post
Put your money into the best fronts you can afford. That's where the real payoff in sound quality is. Almost any AVR will do the job so don't overspend on an AVR. The increase in cost for an AVR is usually for additional features rather than better sound quality/performance.
Could go refurbished or even used on the AVR to funnel more into the speakers.

Receiver: Pioneer VSX-1022-K
Sub: SVS SB12-NSD
Fronts: Pioneer SP-BS22-LR
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post #9 of 52 Old 04-08-2017, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Carlton View Post
Another requirement is that whatever setup needs to be relatively childproof, as the speakers will have a small toddler to contend with and I don't want speakers balancing on stands. For this reason, I was considering floorstanders for FL/FR regardless of setup - however I'm not sure if large speakers are going to be overkill in this room (Tried to attach pictures, but I need to get my post count up) I'm sitting about a meter away from my TV.

My primary use case will be playing games and watching movies, but I also want to play music in stereo and for it sound decent.
Cambridge Audio makes nice stuff

Bookshelf speaker - SX50
http://www.richersounds.com/product/.../camb-sx50-blk

speaker mount
http://www.richersounds.com/product/...bt77/btec-bt77

Center channel - SX70
http://www.richersounds.com/product/.../camb-sx70-blk

BK sub that was listed or this Elac sub

Elac sub
http://www.richersounds.com/product/...-debut-s10-blk

Pioneer 1131 receiver
http://www.richersounds.com/product/...n-vsx-1131-blk

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post #10 of 52 Old 04-08-2017, 09:44 PM
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If I were to start over, I would go full DIY on the front 3. LH/RH/center. It would decimate all, and save money.

Go used on the AVR, and build a nice sub.

Surround speakers don't have much responsibility for perfect reproduction.


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2 Pairs RBH R55ti, R5bi, R56ci, RBH 15", Crown XLS2500, (2) 18" Marty subs, (3) 12's and some old garbage.
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post #11 of 52 Old 04-09-2017, 05:57 AM
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I say go 5.1.

If your primary use will be movies and games, a modest 5.1 system properly set up will trump an excellent 2.0 system because you cant fake good surround. You can make a good effort at it, but ultimately true surround will always be superior to fake surround.

If you had said at least 50% of your useage was music, I would suggest the 2.0 or 2.1 system to start then expand to 5.1 (or 5.1.x) but since your primary use is movies/games, go 5.1

You do not need an expensive system to have a great surround effect in a smaller room. Modest speakers in the proper placement with room correction and a decent AVR will net you some wonderful results.

If you can manage to land some speakers from a place with a good return policy, you might want to do a test. Spend a few days with a 2.1 setup, then spend a few days with a 5.1 setup and see what you like better. Some prefer the sound quality of expensive stereo over surround and other prefer true surround effects that come from a 5.1 system. (I am in the latter camp)

But I do echo the other posters who suggest spending a bit less on your AVR. If you are just doing 5.1 surround and nothing fancier, just about any AVR will do. However I do suggest getting an AVR that has at least 7.1 channels and Dolby Atmos just in case you want to try it out. These days that doesnt cost a whole lot extra (Around $350 for a 7.2 Onkyo with Atmos)

Another shortcut: if you decide to go with Towers, you might be able to skip the sub. If your towers are capable down to 40hz or even lower, you may feel a sub isnt even necessary. Or at the very least you can buy the sub later down the road where you can save up for a better sub to add to the setup. (But to a bass-head, thats crazy talk)

Let us know what you decide to do. 2.1 or 5.1 used to be the great debate around these parts till 5.1 became super affordable.

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post #12 of 52 Old 04-09-2017, 06:14 AM
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Also, if you go 5.1, make sure your center speaker is a good one. Thats the speaker that gets the most use in a 5.1 configuration. My own setup is super inexpensive but it sounds great....excpept the center is the weakpoint. I wish I had spent more on the center. Start with a capable center and build out from there.

And while the conventional wisdom is to NOT mix and match speakers, its not so critical in a basic 5.1 configuration. Even speakers in the same series WILL have different sonic characteristics because the different sizes and shapes of the box and different reflection points etc. As long as your front L/R match and your side surrounds match, you shoul be fine. Dont be afraid to go out of series (or even brand if necessary) to find the center speaker you want.

I will say match whenever possible, but dont be afraid to upgrade that center even if you cant do all the speakers in the system. Loud and clear vocals and crisp sound from the center should be one of your top priorities.

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post #13 of 52 Old 04-09-2017, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Carlton View Post
Hi all,

I'm looking for some advice on my first serious investment in speakers, replacing a tiny Acoustic Aego 2.1 setup (Which is actually OK for day-day watching but is terrible for movies). I have a budget of just over £1000 ($1200) to invest, which needs to cover the speakers themselves and any receivers, amps etc. My first inclination was to go for a full 5.1 setup, however having done some research, I'm not sure how great an effect I'm going to be able to get out of the rears. My living room is small (15' 3" x 10' 2" /4.65m x 3.10m) and I'd have to mount the rears on the wall because the sofa is back up against the wall.

Another requirement is that whatever setup needs to be relatively childproof, as the speakers will have a small toddler to contend with and I don't want speakers balancing on stands. For this reason, I was considering floorstanders for FL/FR regardless of setup - however I'm not sure if large speakers are going to be overkill in this room (Tried to attach pictures, but I need to get my post count up) I'm sitting about a meter away from my TV.

My primary use case will be playing games and watching movies, but I also want to play music in stereo and for it sound decent.

Some options I have considered are:

5.1 Q acoustics 3000 package with Floorstanders - Package at exceptional av for £1150 including a Denon AVR-X2300w

2.0 Floorstanders - Looking at just getting the floorstanders of the best I could afford - Tannoy Revolution Xt65 - Monitor Bronze Dali Zensor 7s etc and picking up a receiver seperately

Lifestyle sub sat packages - Q acoustics 7000i etc - As I have limited space and they wouldn't look so out of place mounted on the wall.

For the money, where would you guys recommend I start? Should I invest in the best 2 speakers I can afford and stick with stereo or invest big in 5.1? Any advice would be massively appreciated.

Cheers,
Paul
Surround is pretty nice for movies (and presumably games - I'm not much of a gamer). But you don't need really nice speakers for the surrounds. The surrounds don't handle much of the load, so you can get away with something really inexpensive/refurbished/used without it being particularly bothersome. Not sure if monoprice is available to you, but you could get something like this for simple surrounds for now and then upgrade later, if you feel it's needed:

https://www.monoprice.com/product?c_...seq=1&format=2

As I mentioned earlier, you can go refurbished/used on the receiver to save some cash. AVR technology tends to become obsolete faster than anything else in the system, so unless you have deficiencies elsewhere in the system (inefficient speakers requiring lots of power, etc.), don't spend a lot here since you'll probably want to upgrade within a relatively short period of time, anyway.

Looking at the systems you mentioned, The Q Acoustics 3000 system looks good. I haven't heard it, so I don't know how they sound. One reason not to get that package is that you really don't need expensive speakers for the surrounds (as mentioned above). Some say, though, that matching all the speakers is the best way to go. Probably more important for multi-channel music than for home theater or gaming.

I did notice that the speakers in that Q Acoustics are rated at 6 ohms. If your AVR is low end, it might have difficulty driving all the speakers as much as you might like.

I wouldn't get the 7000i system. Just think those speakers will leave you less than satisfied.

For now, I'd focus on getting a good subwoofer, good three channels up front, and fill in with an inexpensive/used receiver and inexpensive/used surrounds.

Receiver: Pioneer VSX-1022-K
Sub: SVS SB12-NSD
Fronts: Pioneer SP-BS22-LR
Center: Polk CSi30
Surrounds: Polk R15
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post #14 of 52 Old 04-09-2017, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the helpful replies!

Some clarification to the responses:

Sub - I hadn't a spent a lot of time thinking about the sub to be honest. As I'm in a very small room with not a lot of soft furnishings and laminate floors, the bass can be overpowering even with my tiny existing sub! It may be a placement issue too, as it's very close to the wall. A general question - is spending more on a sub usually a volume thing? Or will I still significant quality benefits if I don't need the extra power? To NuSoardGraphite's point, if I do go for towers, I may see what the bass is like out of them minus a sub and then invest in a good sub down the line if it's lacking.

AVR - One thing I hadn't mentioned here is that I'll need at least 4k/HDR pass through - my next big investment will be a 4k OLED in a couple of years and I don't want to re-buy a a receiver just for that. I appreciate I could get more value out of a refurb for the same money though and I still won't be future-proofed for ever. As mentioned, it looks like a lot of entry-level receivers cover 4k/HDR/Atmos now, so it's not a huge stretch for my budget.

Levels - Picking up on capo4u's point on impedance, it's worth mentioning that I'm not going to have the luxury of playing anything super loud. Again, with a little one in bed after 7pm and I live in a semi-detached house with a shared wall in my living room. That being said, I still don't want a mismatch between the receiver/speakers. The Denon x2300W I was looking at is 150 watts per channel and claims to be able to drive speakers down to 4 ohms. In general, I'm also going to be looking for something that is going to sound good at relatively low volumes.

Piece-by-piece or big bang - Most people seem to be recommending starting small and building up, which I can really see the logic in, but some of those bundle deals seem very tempting! For example, the Q acoustics bundle I mentioned, if I bought just the towers and the AVR - that'd be around £900 new, for an extra £250 I get two good rear bookshelf speakers, a decent centre and a sub!

Wall mounting - to pase22's point about the wall mounting the front channels. I wasn't sure about this, because most of the speakers I've been looking are rear-ported and I have read they can sound a boomy/off if placed to close to the wall. I suppose I have the same concern about towers too - as they are going to be close to the wall, should I be looking at front-ported exclusively? Or am I overthinking it?

Thanks again for the all the responses. I've been doing a a tonne of independent research but it's a huge help to get your opinions. To be honest, i'm looking forward to making a decision just so I can stop over-analysing the whole thing
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post #15 of 52 Old 04-09-2017, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul Carlton View Post
Thanks for all the helpful replies!

Some clarification to the responses:

Sub - I hadn't a spent a lot of time thinking about the sub to be honest. As I'm in a very small room with not a lot of soft furnishings and laminate floors, the bass can be overpowering even with my tiny existing sub! It may be a placement issue too, as it's very close to the wall. A general question - is spending more on a sub usually a volume thing? Or will I still significant quality benefits if I don't need the extra power? To NuSoardGraphite's point, if I do go for towers, I may see what the bass is like out of them minus a sub and then invest in a good sub down the line if it's lacking.

AVR - One thing I hadn't mentioned here is that I'll need at least 4k/HDR pass through - my next big investment will be a 4k OLED in a couple of years and I don't want to re-buy a a receiver just for that. I appreciate I could get more value out of a refurb for the same money though and I still won't be future-proofed for ever. As mentioned, it looks like a lot of entry-level receivers cover 4k/HDR/Atmos now, so it's not a huge stretch for my budget.

Levels - Picking up on capo4u's point on impedance, it's worth mentioning that I'm not going to have the luxury of playing anything super loud. Again, with a little one in bed after 7pm and I live in a semi-detached house with a shared wall in my living room. That being said, I still don't want a mismatch between the receiver/speakers. The Denon x2300W I was looking at is 150 watts per channel and claims to be able to drive speakers down to 4 ohms. In general, I'm also going to be looking for something that is going to sound good at relatively low volumes.

Piece-by-piece or big bang - Most people seem to be recommending starting small and building up, which I can really see the logic in, but some of those bundle deals seem very tempting! For example, the Q acoustics bundle I mentioned, if I bought just the towers and the AVR - that'd be around £900 new, for an extra £250 I get two good rear bookshelf speakers, a decent centre and a sub!

Wall mounting - to pase22's point about the wall mounting the front channels. I wasn't sure about this, because most of the speakers I've been looking are rear-ported and I have read they can sound a boomy/off if placed to close to the wall. I suppose I have the same concern about towers too - as they are going to be close to the wall, should I be looking at front-ported exclusively? Or am I overthinking it?

Thanks again for the all the responses. I've been doing a a tonne of independent research but it's a huge help to get your opinions. To be honest, i'm looking forward to making a decision just so I can stop over-analysing the whole thing
No, a better sub isn't just a louder sub---it can go lower and most importantly, CLEANER. Meaning the bass notes will be distinct and quick not bloated, boomy and muddy which is exactly what a cheap sub does. A good sub that is correctly integrated will NOT call attention to itself, but it will fill up the music's bottom end in a very solid, pleasant way...not necessarily a wall-rattling boom boom kind of way (unfortunately that is how many people mis-use it).

Since you're in the UK, I'd also suggest looking at the Wharfedale Diamond 220 (bookshelf) speakers or the 230 (tower):
https://www.hifix.co.uk/wharfedale-d...shelf-speakers
https://www.hifix.co.uk/wharfedale-diamond-230-speakers

These are down-ported so you actually CAN place them close up against a wall more than a rear-ported speaker. Both put out plenty of bass for music. For HT you would need a subwoofer mainly if you watch a lot of big budget action movies and want to really feel the explosions, rumbles, crashes, etc.---if you don't, then you would be fine without them.

If you stick with rear-ported, the QA speakers come with foam port plugs so you could use them in order to place them closer to a rear wall...also, crossing them over at 80Hz in your AVR will remove any boominess or congestion caused by that type of placement. These are an extremely good value:
http://www.richersounds.com/product/...co-2050i-graph
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~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #16 of 52 Old 04-09-2017, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul Carlton View Post
Thanks for all the helpful replies!

Some clarification to the responses:

Sub - I hadn't a spent a lot of time thinking about the sub to be honest. As I'm in a very small room with not a lot of soft furnishings and laminate floors, the bass can be overpowering even with my tiny existing sub! It may be a placement issue too, as it's very close to the wall. A general question - is spending more on a sub usually a volume thing? Or will I still significant quality benefits if I don't need the extra power? To NuSoardGraphite's point, if I do go for towers, I may see what the bass is like out of them minus a sub and then invest in a good sub down the line if it's lacking.

If the bass is already "overwhelming" with the small sub you have, just keep that for now and test it out with a variety of configurations. With a proper AVR with room correction software that also adjusts the bass, it might tame that issue. If you get capable towers, you can use the bass from the towers AND the sub and have more than enough pressure to fill your small room. But even that might not be necessary.


There are several factors and reasons why you want to spend more on a sub:


1: Volume. As you said one of the primary reasons is volume. A bigger room requires more pressure to fill meaning you need a bigger woofer capable of pushing more sound. This is your 8" vs 10" vs 12" vs REALLY BIG debate. Most tend to go with 12" but in a smaller room, a 10" or even an 8" sub might be adequate. In larger rooms, you need at least a 15" sub or bigger, or multiple 12" subs to fill in the gaps or smooth out the peaks and nulls that will be created.


2: Tonality: A sub meant for music should have tight, accurate bass. Not just "boomy" bass. Generally this is ported vs sealed, but that doesn't tell the whole story. A sub with boomy bass may actually sound better for movies/gaming (gunshots and explosions are very boomy) as long as the bass isn't loose and rattling. However if your system doubles for music, then you want tighter bass for better musicality.


3: LFE: Low Frequency Effects. This is bass frequencies lower than 120hz. It is specifically what the subwoofer is supposed to handle, which is why it can be placed on its own channel. The goal for many HT enthusiasts is to get good bass down below 30hz. Even the most capable of tower speakers have difficulty reaching down into this category. A properly built sub with a quality woofer and enough power can do so. In fact they can reach below 20hz in some rare cases. At this point, you cease being able to hear the bass and you more feel it in your bones. Generally speaking, the bigger the woofer, the deeper the bass can go. However this is not a hard rule. It has a lot to do with the design of the cabinet, the quality of the woofer and the effects of the room.


In your case, Volume is not going to be your primary concern, since your room is small, and any subwoofer with middling efficiency should be more than loud enough for your purposes. So you would have to decide if Frequency or Tonality is your priority. If its frequency, you want to go with a larger woofer and cabinet possibly ported (ported subs usually go a few hz lower than sealed ones, again not a hard rule though), if its Tonality, you probably want to go with a smaller woofer in a sealed cabinet. There is no wrong choice here, just the type of bass you prefer.



Quote:
AVR - One thing I hadn't mentioned here is that I'll need at least 4k/HDR pass through - my next big investment will be a 4k OLED in a couple of years and I don't want to re-buy a a receiver just for that. I appreciate I could get more value out of a refurb for the same money though and I still won't be future-proofed for ever. As mentioned, it looks like a lot of entry-level receivers cover 4k/HDR/Atmos now, so it's not a huge stretch for my budget.

Absolutely. You want at the very minimum, 4k/HDR pass through. That means an AVR new enough that it can handle HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2. I would also suggest you get at least a 7.1 amp AVR with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X "just in case". As I mentioned earlier, they aren't very expensive. Also a Network capable AVR has a lot of little extra features you might find handy, like automatic updates and streaming radio apps. Those are the minimum features I would look for.



Quote:
Levels - Picking up on capo4u's point on impedance, it's worth mentioning that I'm not going to have the luxury of playing anything super loud. Again, with a little one in bed after 7pm and I live in a semi-detached house with a shared wall in my living room. That being said, I still don't want a mismatch between the receiver/speakers. The Denon x2300W I was looking at is 150 watts per channel and claims to be able to drive speakers down to 4 ohms. In general, I'm also going to be looking for something that is going to sound good at relatively low volumes.

Most modern AVRs can handle 8 ohm, 6 ohm and 4 ohm speakers just fine. I don't think its something you have to worry about with a small room. Or even a mid-sized living room like mine. If you have a voluminous dedicated theater meant to play at reference levels, that is probably something you need to consider, but not with an average living-room setup.



Quote:
Piece-by-piece or big bang - Most people seem to be recommending starting small and building up, which I can really see the logic in, but some of those bundle deals seem very tempting! For example, the Q acoustics bundle I mentioned, if I bought just the towers and the AVR - that'd be around £900 new, for an extra £250 I get two good rear bookshelf speakers, a decent centre and a sub!


Piece by piece is just fine. If you are patient, you can slowly put together your surround sound system with quality components, and when all is said and done, have a very kick-ass system to impress your friends with. But it is also okay to go modest if you want it all right now. As I said before, I have very inexpensive speakers and I am happy with all of them except the center. I do feel the need to upgrade, but that's because I want better speakers for playing music. I have no complaints about my surround sound for games or movies AT ALL (except wanting the center channel to play dialogue louder/cleaner). If I didn't listen to music on my system, I wouldn't even consider upgrading.


You already have a subwoofer. Keep that for now. You can always upgrade it to something better as you go. Find your primary three speakers....your Front L/R and center. repurpose those AE speakers to your surrounds at first. Then replace them when you are ready, with whatever you decide to go with. Then upgrade your sub when you are ready.


I noticed that AEGO 2.1 is kind of like a Bass Module that has the amps for your little speakers in them. It should still be usable as a stand alone subwoofer if you go from the LFE port on the back of your AVR to the audio input on the back of the sub. This is what you have, correct?




Quote:
Wall mounting - to pase22's point about the wall mounting the front channels. I wasn't sure about this, because most of the speakers I've been looking are rear-ported and I have read they can sound a boomy/off if placed to close to the wall. I suppose I have the same concern about towers too - as they are going to be close to the wall, should I be looking at front-ported exclusively? Or am I overthinking it?

Depending on the towers themselves, as long as you can get them 6" to 12" away from the wall, it should be okay. I had my front L/R speakers wall mounted with a shelf and bracket setup I made myself and I made them long enough to keep the speaker about 6" from the wall and I had no issues with that. My speakers are rear ported. (now I have them mounted on stands though. Makes it easier to adjust placement)

Quote:
Thanks again for the all the responses. I've been doing a a tonne of independent research but it's a huge help to get your opinions. To be honest, i'm looking forward to making a decision just so I can stop over-analysing the whole thing

No problemo. welcome to the rabbit hole!

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post #17 of 52 Old 04-09-2017, 09:34 AM
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also there are prof calibrators you can hire in, too if you do go the sub route
..i came across one guy from the CBC who was some head sound engineer
who did home calibration on the side with his equipment...pay him $200-300 or so and let him do his thing for an hr or so with his pro machine and software.

i always like using pros, if i can...did it also while decorating my apt (hired an interior decorator for 1 hr) and got some fab ideas.
to me getting in a pro can make sense (not always but often enough)....all depends on your budget and prefs.
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The Q Acoustics are not hard to drive at all based on the Concept 20s I tested in my home.

The Denon will be just fine.

What is your current sub?

You have the luxury, I believe, of being able to go listen to the Q Acoustics as they are available in shops in the UK, here they are only available on the internet.

Not sure there is a better bang for buck UK speaker out there.

The Concept 20s I tested in my home against speakers twice the price, (Martin Logan and B&W) were every bit up to the challenge.

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Originally Posted by canali12 View Post
i was considering 5.1 again, but all those wires, boxes...no thanks.
i do remember my friend once had a fab ($70k) 2.0 system (sonus faber ganeri (?)) monitors
and we enjoyed some james bond flick on it....those 2 speakers kicked butt...fab low end etc.
we didn't need any sub or rears, subs, or side speakers at all.
the simpler the better for me, esp if you get really good quality front speakers.


$70k speakers or not... Movies are always better in surround.
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Also, if you go 5.1, make sure your center speaker is a good one. Thats the speaker that gets the most use in a 5.1 configuration. My own setup is super inexpensive but it sounds great....excpept the center is the weakpoint. I wish I had spent more on the center. Start with a capable center and build out from there.

And while the conventional wisdom is to NOT mix and match speakers, its not so critical in a basic 5.1 configuration. Even speakers in the same series WILL have different sonic characteristics because the different sizes and shapes of the box and different reflection points etc. As long as your front L/R match and your side surrounds match, you shoul be fine. Dont be afraid to go out of series (or even brand if necessary) to find the center speaker you want.

I will say match whenever possible, but dont be afraid to upgrade that center even if you cant do all the speakers in the system. Loud and clear vocals and crisp sound from the center should be one of your top priorities.
I fully agree. So many people that don't realise that in a surround sound setup be it 5.1, 7.1, 10.2, 22.4 or whatever... The most important speaker is the CENTRE Speaker. that's the channel that makes or breaks a home theater.

Generally I always advise getting five identical speakers or alteast five(or more) speakers from the same series (very least same manufacturer), but the exception is choosing a centre speaker that is a level or two above the rest in the company's hierarchy.

Example if you have a 5.1 surround from Bowers & Wilkins where four of the speakers are B&W DM685s then you could opt for a B&W CM series centre IMO, or if you have a 7.1 with 6 speakers from the Dali RUBICON series you still choose an EPICON centre.
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$70k speakers or not... Movies are always better in surround.
that is strictly a preferential thing...i had a 5.1 before...maybe with the wls systems nowadays it'd be less of a headache...but for the min amt of rear l/r sounds that spill out from tracks, i'm very content with a good 2.1. system in surround sound
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...i'm very content with a good 2.1. system in surround sound
Movies are a visual experience that the quality of the sound improves but with so much of your brain working on the visuals, sound takes a back seat. A good movie works even without a mega sound system. IMHO.
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post #23 of 52 Old 04-09-2017, 04:19 PM
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Movies are a visual experience that the quality of the sound improves but with so much of your brain working on the visuals, sound takes a back seat. A good movie works even without a mega sound system. IMHO.
For me, the sound is about 40 to 50 percent of the experience. In an action movie, the sounds need to match whats going on the screen or it will break immersion. And in those cases, surround us always better than just pure stereo.
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Don't rule out all wall mounted satellites yet. In the US the SVS Prime Satellite package would be a great 5.1 setup for a smaller room. Instead of mounting the surrounds directly behind the couch they would probably work well mounted 90 degrees (back of the side walls).

In a larger, semi-open living room, 3 Prime Sats sound quite full. I just added 4 surrounds (omnipoles), but I'm not ready to comment on those yet... The key is that the Primes Sats are matched to good sub.

My point is not to advocate for SVS, instead it is to encourage you to remain open to wall mounted speakers. If you have the opportunity, try to demo some wall mounted speakers. Also, be patient and look for bargains.

I was considering a combination of Focal Superbirds/Birds. However, I took advantage of the Internet Direct route and demoed the Prime Sats. I was pleasantly surprised. Because I already had a good sub, they were able to replace my well respected Wharfedale Diamond 10.1's.

Because your room is small and your seem to be limiting yourself to a 5.1 system, you probably don't need to go overboard on a receiver.

Cheers!
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post #25 of 52 Old 04-09-2017, 05:23 PM
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Don't rule out all wall mounted satellites yet. In the US the SVS Prime Satellite package would be a great 5.1 setup for a smaller room.
For the same price, I'd much sooner take the RSL 5.1 system:
https://rslspeakers.com/products/cg3...ecial-edition/

But for an extra $122, I'd rather get 5 x Ascend HTM-200SE which are just a little bit bigger than both RSL and SVS sats but are equally wall-mountable and have dual (not single like the other two) 4" woofers for $722 shipped, with the same $400 RSL sub:

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...00/htm200.html

*** EDITED to add: oops, just remembered the OP is in the UK. Nevermind...it was a nice vicarious pipe dream, though.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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Originally Posted by NuSoardGraphite View Post
If the bass is already "overwhelming" with the small sub you have, just keep that for now and test it out with a variety of configurations. With a proper AVR with room correction software that also adjusts the bass, it might tame that issue. If you get capable towers, you can use the bass from the towers AND the sub and have more than enough pressure to fill your small room. But even that might not be necessary.


There are several factors and reasons why you want to spend more on a sub:


1: Volume. As you said one of the primary reasons is volume. A bigger room requires more pressure to fill meaning you need a bigger woofer capable of pushing more sound. This is your 8" vs 10" vs 12" vs REALLY BIG debate. Most tend to go with 12" but in a smaller room, a 10" or even an 8" sub might be adequate. In larger rooms, you need at least a 15" sub or bigger, or multiple 12" subs to fill in the gaps or smooth out the peaks and nulls that will be created.


2: Tonality: A sub meant for music should have tight, accurate bass. Not just "boomy" bass. Generally this is ported vs sealed, but that doesn't tell the whole story. A sub with boomy bass may actually sound better for movies/gaming (gunshots and explosions are very boomy) as long as the bass isn't loose and rattling. However if your system doubles for music, then you want tighter bass for better musicality.


3: LFE: Low Frequency Effects. This is bass frequencies lower than 120hz. It is specifically what the subwoofer is supposed to handle, which is why it can be placed on its own channel. The goal for many HT enthusiasts is to get good bass down below 30hz. Even the most capable of tower speakers have difficulty reaching down into this category. A properly built sub with a quality woofer and enough power can do so. In fact they can reach below 20hz in some rare cases. At this point, you cease being able to hear the bass and you more feel it in your bones. Generally speaking, the bigger the woofer, the deeper the bass can go. However this is not a hard rule. It has a lot to do with the design of the cabinet, the quality of the woofer and the effects of the room.


In your case, Volume is not going to be your primary concern, since your room is small, and any subwoofer with middling efficiency should be more than loud enough for your purposes. So you would have to decide if Frequency or Tonality is your priority. If its frequency, you want to go with a larger woofer and cabinet possibly ported (ported subs usually go a few hz lower than sealed ones, again not a hard rule though), if its Tonality, you probably want to go with a smaller woofer in a sealed cabinet. There is no wrong choice here, just the type of bass you prefer.






Absolutely. You want at the very minimum, 4k/HDR pass through. That means an AVR new enough that it can handle HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2. I would also suggest you get at least a 7.1 amp AVR with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X "just in case". As I mentioned earlier, they aren't very expensive. Also a Network capable AVR has a lot of little extra features you might find handy, like automatic updates and streaming radio apps. Those are the minimum features I would look for.






Most modern AVRs can handle 8 ohm, 6 ohm and 4 ohm speakers just fine. I don't think its something you have to worry about with a small room. Or even a mid-sized living room like mine. If you have a voluminous dedicated theater meant to play at reference levels, that is probably something you need to consider, but not with an average living-room setup.







Piece by piece is just fine. If you are patient, you can slowly put together your surround sound system with quality components, and when all is said and done, have a very kick-ass system to impress your friends with. But it is also okay to go modest if you want it all right now. As I said before, I have very inexpensive speakers and I am happy with all of them except the center. I do feel the need to upgrade, but that's because I want better speakers for playing music. I have no complaints about my surround sound for games or movies AT ALL (except wanting the center channel to play dialogue louder/cleaner). If I didn't listen to music on my system, I wouldn't even consider upgrading.


You already have a subwoofer. Keep that for now. You can always upgrade it to something better as you go. Find your primary three speakers....your Front L/R and center. repurpose those AE speakers to your surrounds at first. Then replace them when you are ready, with whatever you decide to go with. Then upgrade your sub when you are ready.


I noticed that AEGO 2.1 is kind of like a Bass Module that has the amps for your little speakers in them. It should still be usable as a stand alone subwoofer if you go from the LFE port on the back of your AVR to the audio input on the back of the sub. This is what you have, correct?







Depending on the towers themselves, as long as you can get them 6" to 12" away from the wall, it should be okay. I had my front L/R speakers wall mounted with a shelf and bracket setup I made myself and I made them long enough to keep the speaker about 6" from the wall and I had no issues with that. My speakers are rear ported. (now I have them mounted on stands though. Makes it easier to adjust placement)




No problemo. welcome to the rabbit hole!
NuSoardGraphite - Yep that's my little 2.1 system pictured. I'd not considered carrying on using it as a sub, worth considering! When I said the bass was 'overwhelming', what I really mean is I have that classic problem with action movies, where the mix seems to be really biased towards the low end and I can barely hear the dialog. I end up cranking the volume up to hear the dialog, then as soon as the action starts the bass is unbearably loud so I'm constantly having to adjust the volume. My sub has a very basic low, mid, high eq setting on the back - which I have set to low - but I've no other way of adjusting the levels. That's really what I inspired me to start considering HT - after doing some reading, it sounded like what I really needed was a centre channel/proper receiver.

Zorba922 - Yeah Q 2050i are very good value and have pretty stellar reviews. They look quite a big chunkier than the 3050s, so i'd be interested in a comparison - Need to get down to Richer Sounds to arrange a demo. I'd be interested in any views on the 2000 vs 3000 series. For aesthetic reasons, I'd like to have at least the front 3 channels matching and as others have suggested, maybe go for slightly smaller, cheaper rears.

Thanks also for the clarification on the difference a good sub makes, that makes a lot of sense. Looks like i'm going to have to start saving a few more pennies for a proper sub too.

SnellTHX - thanks for the point on the centre. Again in my naivety, I was expecting the centre to mostly be dealing with dialog, so I was thinking the front L/R to be doing the heavy lifting in terms of soundtracks and the bulk of audio in general. I'll make sure I invest in the centre. on a side note, I've no idea where I'm going to put the centre! It's not going to fit in my cabinet and will likely be too tall to put under the TV.. I'll probably need to mount my TV and then put a shelf up for the centre. My wife will not be pleased...

Cheers,
Paul
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post #27 of 52 Old 04-10-2017, 04:42 AM
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NuSoardGraphite - Yep that's my little 2.1 system pictured. I'd not considered carrying on using it as a sub, worth considering! When I said the bass was 'overwhelming', what I really mean is I have that classic problem with action movies, where the mix seems to be really biased towards the low end and I can barely hear the dialog. I end up cranking the volume up to hear the dialog, then as soon as the action starts the bass is unbearably loud so I'm constantly having to adjust the volume. My sub has a very basic low, mid, high eq setting on the back - which I have set to low - but I've no other way of adjusting the levels. That's really what I inspired me to start considering HT - after doing some reading, it sounded like what I really needed was a centre channel/proper receiver.
Yeah, with the AVR handling the bass management, it might actually sound okay for a while. Hopefully at least long enough for you to save up for a decent subwoofer upgrade.

I am NOT suggesting you keep your current sub. Just that it might do temporarily until you can afford a better replacement. With the budget you have to spend, getting an AVR+center+mains doesnt leave a whole lot left over for your sub and unless you settle for one of the "acceptable" budget models in the $200 to $300 range, you just might end up trading one crappy subwoofer for another.

The issue of not being able to hear the dialogue should be handled by the AVR bass management as it will equalize the spl level of all the speakers. And if you are still having a problem after running room correction, you can turn up the center channel or turn down the sub independant of the other speakers, so adding an AVR into your system should improve your situation from the outset.

Good luck speaker hunting!

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post #28 of 52 Old 04-10-2017, 05:59 AM
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Movies are a visual experience that the quality of the sound improves but with so much of your brain working on the visuals, sound takes a back seat. A good movie works even without a mega sound system. IMHO.
Disagree. I think sound is at least 50% of a movie
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post #29 of 52 Old 04-10-2017, 12:21 PM
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For the same price, I'd much sooner take the RSL 5.1 system:
https://rslspeakers.com/products/cg3...ecial-edition/
But for an extra $122, I'd rather get 5 x Ascend HTM-200SE which are just a little bit bigger than both RSL and SVS sats but are equally wall-mountable and have dual (not single like the other two) 4" woofers for $722 shipped, with the same $400 RSL sub:
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...00/htm200.html
*** EDITED to add: oops, just remembered the OP is in the UK. Nevermind...it was a nice vicarious pipe dream, though.


Depending upon WAF requirements, you have lots of options. You just have to find the right balance -- the right sound vs the right lifestyle needs. If time allows, demoing different products makes for a fun journey and may give your more confidence and pride in your final solution.
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post #30 of 52 Old 04-10-2017, 12:51 PM
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Disagree. I think sound is at least 50% of a movie
Depends on the movie genre, and your viewing habits.

For big budget action/thriller flicks, yeah I would agree---the sound is a welcome distraction from the god-awful acting, lame dialogue, and (worst of all, IMO) painfully predictable plotlines.

Those who watch a movie actually caring about nearly-extinct phenomena like original characters, interesting plots, decent dialogue, etc. and mostly watch dramas, comedies, art/alt films, documentaries, etc. are fine with 3.0 or 2.0
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