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post #1 of 9 Old 08-26-2017, 07:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Home Theatre with HiFi System - Help Needed with choice of products

Hi All,

Newbie here looking for advice on a new system I'm setting up at my new home. I'm very new to all this so please educate me if you find any ignorance in my questions =)


So I've decided on the KEF Reference 5 front speakers and am thinking of adding the R-series speakers for the rest of the home theatre + a pair of ATC HTM as overhead atmos for a total of 5.1.2 (or 5.2.2)

Room size is around 350 sqft (6m x 6m x 2.6m ceiling) apartment living room.

1) Is it not a good idea to mix in different lines of speakers?
2) Thinking of the Yamaha A3050/A3070 as the AV Receiver, is this a good choice?
3) Do I need power amps for the Ref 5s for HiFi audio?
4) I'm kind of confused with my online research of how to pair power amps with the speakers. The sites says 1.6-2.5x specified continuous power but the Ref5s says 50-400W range, does it mean I shouldn't get something larger than 400w (at the risk of blowing the speakers)? Not sure how to connect the numbers and appreciate any pointers for reading
5) For home theatre, I probably don't need the power amps right? only for HiFi stereo into the Ref5s? What's the difference between the different types of amps like stereo amps and mono blocks?
6) But if I do have the power amps connected for HiFi, it'll be in the array and maybe I should leave them there during movies?
7) with all the different speaker ratings, how do you control the power sent to each speakers? I remember my old yamaha amp can set the size of each but is it possible to fine tune the ranges for each?

Choice of speakers:

Ref 5 x2
R600C centers
R900 Rears x2
R400b Subs x2
ATC HTM7 x2 (ceiling mounted)

I could upgrade the center/rears to R2C & Ref1s but not sure how that compares and if it's worth it for movies.
I also have some old B&W M-1 (mini all-in-ones), can they be used as atmos speakers at the ceiling?

Thanks and hope to hear back!
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-26-2017, 09:27 PM
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The Yamaha will probably be fine for HT, though it depends on how big your room is and how loud you want to listen. AVRs rapidly fall off their rated power when driving all channels, but in movie soundtracks the front three are driving most of the content with the surrounds and ceilings requiring relatively little power due to relatively little program content. If you plan on listening to multichannel music a lot the demands could be higher.

If you're planning on getting an external amp for listening in stereo anyway, it might be easier to just get a pre/pro instead of an AVR and just getting external amps to drive everything, it depends on how you want to set everything up though. Emotiva and Outlaw Audio both make highly regarded amps that come in at affordable prices.

Those subs aren't going to be the best for HT-duty, they have very small drivers and roll-off pretty early (-6db at 26hz according to KEF's website). KEF isn't well-known for subs, and you can certainly do better for your money. If you want a 'luxury' sub with a small footprint and don't mind paying for it JL Audio makes some nice choices, if you want the most bang for your buck and a larger size isn't a problem look at Hsu, SVS, Power Sound Audio, and JTR. I'd consider a 12" driver to me a minimum for HT use, you really want something that can dig down as close to 20hz (or below) as possible before any roll-off, 15" subs are even better. Going dual is nice for dealing with room nodes.

HT: Sony 940C, Oppo 203, Harman/Kardon DPR1001, Infinity Interlude IL40 x2, Infinity Interlude IL36C, Infinity MS-1 ii x2, Infinity MSW-1
Computer: Elac Uni-Fi UB5 x2, Elac Element EA101EQ integrated amp, SVS SB-12NSD
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post #3 of 9 Old 08-26-2017, 09:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbleehk View Post
So I've decided on the KEF Reference 5 front speakers and am thinking of adding the R-series speakers for the rest of the home theatre + a pair of ATC HTM as overhead atmos for a total of 5.1.2 (or 5.2.2)

Room size is around 350 sqft (6m x 6m x 2.6m ceiling) apartment living room.

1) Is it not a good idea to mix in different lines of speakers?
2) Thinking of the Yamaha A3050/A3070 as the AV Receiver, is this a good choice?
3) Do I need power amps for the Ref 5s for HiFi audio?
4) I'm kind of confused with my online research of how to pair power amps with the speakers. The sites says 1.6-2.5x specified continuous power but the Ref5s says 50-400W range, does it mean I shouldn't get something larger than 400w (at the risk of blowing the speakers)? Not sure how to connect the numbers and appreciate any pointers for reading
5) For home theatre, I probably don't need the power amps right? only for HiFi stereo into the Ref5s? What's the difference between the different types of amps like stereo amps and mono blocks?
6) But if I do have the power amps connected for HiFi, it'll be in the array and maybe I should leave them there during movies?
7) with all the different speaker ratings, how do you control the power sent to each speakers? I remember my old yamaha amp can set the size of each but is it possible to fine tune the ranges for each?

Choice of speakers:
Ref 5 x2
R600C centers
R900 Rears x2
R400b Subs x2
ATC HTM7 x2 (ceiling mounted)

I could upgrade the center/rears to R2C & Ref1s but not sure how that compares and if it's worth it for movies.
I also have some old B&W M-1 (mini all-in-ones), can they be used as atmos speakers at the ceiling?
1) No, it's perfectly fine to mix your speakers especially the surrounds to the fronts do not need to be "matched" at all unless you are either extremely OCD or plan on doing a lot of native-multichannel music listening (SACD/DVD-A) or multichannel gaming. For normal HT, people often allocate much more money on the fronts and the subwoofer than on the surrounds (rear/sides/heights) which only do a lousy 5-10% of the audio.

2) Yamaha is known for excellent long term reliability. Some people prefer the version of Audyssey Denon receivers have. Either way, I would spend no more than 30% of your total budget on the receiver because it has a relatively minor effect on the tangible sound quality of the system...overspending on the receiver is a common newbie mistake.

3) The Ref 5's specs do not suggest a speaker that requires an external amp, since it's listed as 8 ohms impedance and 90db sensitivity. And since you live in an apartment, I can't imagine you planning to blast them at extremely loud levels.

I would strongly agree with the previous poster's advice to look elsewhere for your subwoofer(s). There is absolutely zero need to go with subs of the same brand let alone same model line as your speakers. KEF like most speaker-dominant companies makes overpriced but underperforming subs compared to subwoofer-specialists like Hsu, SVS, PSA, etc.

To be honest, if your usage is primarily home theater as opposed to critical music listening, you could achieve equal or better results going with much less expensive speakers tailored more for home theater. The KEF R series speakers that I've personally heard (haven't heard the Ref 5s, they are about a dozen stratospheres above my budget, lol) struck me as being more suited for music than HT, frankly.

~ 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 #4 of 9 Old 08-27-2017, 01:55 AM
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If your main use is HT, I think a Pair of R300's and R600 up front would be sufficient. The R900's as surrounds are a complete waste of money. A pair of R100's or even Q150's would be more than sufficient for surround duty. For the sub, as you appear to be in Europe, I'd look at BK electronics Monolith plus. Since you'll be adding a sub and crossing over at 80hz, you would't really need towers unless you listen to most of your music in 2.0, in which case the R700/R900 for fronts would be a good option.
http://www.bkelec.com/HiFi/Sub_Woofe...th-FF_Plus.htm

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post #5 of 9 Old 08-27-2017, 05:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions. I'm definitely leaning towards better subs and cheaper surrounds after hearing your collective thoughts.

I do both Hifi listening and movies so I do want a nice pair of stereo fronts (thus the reference 5). And so I think I might go for the Emotiva XPA. I'm wondering how much power the Yamaha 3070 would drop when I got everything 5.2.2 hooked up. If say it drops down to like 100w per channel, then the XPA would make perfect sense. Perhaps the 2 or 3 power channels for the front would be good?

I prob don't need multi channel music. Just stereo is quite pleasing if the quality is good.
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post #6 of 9 Old 08-27-2017, 06:44 AM
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The sub (s) are self powered therefore won't use up any power from the AVR. When running 5.1/7.1 not all channels are running at the same time. Unless you plan on listening to your music full range from 3 blocks down the street you likely don't need an external amp.
If you're set on getting the reference 5's, may as well get the reference center and save money on the surrounds by getting R100's instead of R900's.
Are you planning on installing in ceiling speakers or add on modules?

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post #7 of 9 Old 08-27-2017, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbleehk View Post
Thanks for the suggestions. I'm definitely leaning towards better subs and cheaper surrounds after hearing your collective thoughts.

I do both Hifi listening and movies so I do want a nice pair of stereo fronts (thus the reference 5). And so I think I might go for the Emotiva XPA. I'm wondering how much power the Yamaha 3070 would drop when I got everything 5.2.2 hooked up. If say it drops down to like 100w per channel, then the XPA would make perfect sense. Perhaps the 2 or 3 power channels for the front would be good?

I prob don't need multi channel music. Just stereo is quite pleasing if the quality is good.
Will you even be able to have your system at such a volume level that you'll even be able to find its true quality?

In an apartment I doubt it so you might be spending Corvette money to drive 20mph instead of 120mph.

Lesser speakers that measure well would be every bit as good at apartment volume levels I would think.

Even KEF Q150s would be more than enough for high quality sound and volume in an apartment I would think.

As would one or two smaller subwoofers that cost a lot less.

Here in the States a pair of Emotiva BasX S8s would play lower than those KEF subs, with plenty of volume for an apartment, for a total cost for two subs of $398.

A pair of those KEF subs cost almost 10 times as much and have a very very poor -6db level of 26hz.

Are you in the USA?

Geoff A. J., California
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-27-2017, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbleehk View Post
Thanks for the suggestions. I'm definitely leaning towards better subs and cheaper surrounds after hearing your collective thoughts.

I do both Hifi listening and movies so I do want a nice pair of stereo fronts (thus the reference 5). And so I think I might go for the Emotiva XPA. I'm wondering how much power the Yamaha 3070 would drop when I got everything 5.2.2 hooked up. If say it drops down to like 100w per channel, then the XPA would make perfect sense. Perhaps the 2 or 3 power channels for the front would be good?

I prob don't need multi channel music. Just stereo is quite pleasing if the quality is good.
I didn't even notice you'd spec'd towers for your rear surrounds, yeah, I'd say just go with the R300 bookshelves and save some cash there (maybe even the R100s). You may also want to consider the Reference 3 vs the 5 for your front towers, especially for a smaller room. You could use the savings to upgrade to one of the Reference center channels, I'm a proponent of using as similar as possible speakers for the front stage. Plus, speakers can last for decades, they're easily the most long-lived part of any AV system and they have the biggest impact on the sound quality, so if you're going to spend big money on any part of a system, the speakers are the place to go.

I haven't personally heard the KEF Reference series, but I know some here who have who rave about them. If you're not 100% committed to KEF I'd also suggest checking out the Paradigm Persona series, it's in the same price-range, and they're the best speakers I've ever heard. The Revel line also has some amazing speakers, the Ultima Salon2 was recently the subject of a blind-listening test thread here (with a lot of great technical detail if you want to take the time to read through it) though they're slightly more than the KEF Reference retail. I've heard the Revel Performa3 F208s which are the big towers from the series down, and they're amazing, and an incredible value for their performance at only $5,000/pair. Both the Paradigm Persona and Revel Ultima and Performa have matching centers and bookshelves for surround duty. The Revel Performa line is about to add a few models using beryllium tweeters and updates to the other drivers that should even further close the gap with their Ultima series.

HT: Sony 940C, Oppo 203, Harman/Kardon DPR1001, Infinity Interlude IL40 x2, Infinity Interlude IL36C, Infinity MS-1 ii x2, Infinity MSW-1
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-31-2017, 02:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbleehk View Post
Hi All,

Newbie here looking for advice on a new system I'm setting up at my new home. I'm very new to all this so please educate me if you find any ignorance in my questions =)


So I've decided on the KEF Reference 5 front speakers and am thinking of adding the R-series speakers for the rest of the home theatre + a pair of ATC HTM as overhead atmos for a total of 5.1.2 (or 5.2.2)

Room size is around 350 sqft (6m x 6m x 2.6m ceiling) apartment living room.

1) Is it not a good idea to mix in different lines of speakers?
2) Thinking of the Yamaha A3050/A3070 as the AV Receiver, is this a good choice?
3) Do I need power amps for the Ref 5s for HiFi audio?
4) I'm kind of confused with my online research of how to pair power amps with the speakers. The sites says 1.6-2.5x specified continuous power but the Ref5s says 50-400W range, does it mean I shouldn't get something larger than 400w (at the risk of blowing the speakers)? Not sure how to connect the numbers and appreciate any pointers for reading
5) For home theatre, I probably don't need the power amps right? only for HiFi stereo into the Ref5s? What's the difference between the different types of amps like stereo amps and mono blocks?
6) But if I do have the power amps connected for HiFi, it'll be in the array and maybe I should leave them there during movies?
7) with all the different speaker ratings, how do you control the power sent to each speakers? I remember my old yamaha amp can set the size of each but is it possible to fine tune the ranges for each?

Choice of speakers:

Ref 5 x2
R600C centers
R900 Rears x2
R400b Subs x2
ATC HTM7 x2 (ceiling mounted)

I could upgrade the center/rears to R2C & Ref1s but not sure how that compares and if it's worth it for movies.
I also have some old B&W M-1 (mini all-in-ones), can they be used as atmos speakers at the ceiling?

Thanks and hope to hear back!
You might want to consider the path I took with my system to get the best out of hifi stereo system and home theater system in the same room using the same speakers. I used my yamaha rxa3060 as to drive my surrounds and in ceiling atmos speakers. For the front three LCR, I used a 7 channel power amp (3 channel used). Actually I can get away with a stereo power amp to save money as my Yamaha should suffice to drive the center speaker too. Since I like Yamaha sound for home theater but not for its stereo performance, I bought a Classe preamp to get the best sound of my front speakers. So for stereo listening, I use my stereo preamp, for home theater, I use my Yamaha receiver. I just use a regular av switch to switch between my stereo preamp and my AVR and I got the best of both worlds.

To save some money, you may just use R100 for your surround speakers rather than a floor stander. You may even use the savings to buy a reference 2C center speaker instead. As you can see in my sig, I am using R series for my LCR and Q series for my surrounds and in ceilings speakers. The Yamaha AVR will eq all of your speakers and they will sound quite close to each others. And rather than buying two R400b subs, you can also save money by buying a 15 inch or larger ID sub with a separate or built in sub equalizer. I myself own a Paradigm Sub15 with PBK built in and very happy with its performance for HT and 2.1 stereo listening. My Q400b + antimode also works very well but it won't go as deep and powerful as my Sub 15. Note: I bought Paradigm because the American ID subs were not available in my country yet.

LG 65UB930, Yamaha RX-A3060, Classe CP-800, Ifi iTube, NAD M25, KEF R900, R600c, Q300, Ci160QR, Paradigm Sub 15 + PBK, KEF Q400b + Antimode 8033S-II, Sony BDP-590, Zidoo X10.
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