Planning my first (!) home theater build ever has been a rollercoaster of indecision. On the one hand, I know for sure that whatever I end up getting will blow me away, since all I've ever had are Bluetooth speakers for music and cheap soundbars for my TV. On the other hand, it's a fairly serious investment and I want to get the most out of my money. I'd say my usage is split fairly evenly between gaming (Xbox, PS, Switch), movies/TV (mostly streaming), and music.
I can stretch my budget to US$3,000 for a TV, speakers, and a receiver. I've pretty much settled on the TCL 65R617 for US$1,000 as the best value, since my other picks (Sony X900F or LG B7 OLEDs), while much better, are about/over twice as expensive.
That leaves me with US$2,000 for speakers and an AVR. I figure with this budget I can either go for lower-end stuff and get the full setup right away, or I can "start slow" with a smaller setup, and upgrade it over time. I figured I might as well start with good stuff so down the line I end up with something great - I'm in no rush. Moreover, being an apartment, I'm wary of getting a sub and bothering neighbors which is why I think 3.0 makes more sense than 2.1 as an entry point.
This brings me to KEF. I'm a total audio newbie but I'm in love with how they look, and reviews seem very positive for them. I'm considering picking up a pair of Q350 (US$650) and a Q650 (US$650) center, along with a Denon X3400H (US$650), for a high quality 3.0 setup that fits my budget.
Some caveats: I'm not in the United States (though I'll be ordering from a US website). This means I have no access to any quality speakers to test out in person, and it also means shipping to/from is quite expensive for me (so ordering stuff just to audition, and then return if it doesn't fit the bill, isn't an option for me).
This will be placed in a relatively small square room. The viewing position will be a couch set against the wall opposite the TV, so having speakers behind me isn't an option. Moreover, the front left / right speakers can't be on stands, but rather placed on either side of the TV on an open shelf. The center channel (I know Q650 is enormous) would be placed below the TV, on the same level as the bookshelves, which is roughly ear-level.
I have a render for what the decorator says the room will end up looking like. This is to accurate scale including the TV. Just ignore the white vases on either side of the TV and imagine the front L/R speakers there. I'd probably have the TV set a little higher so I can fit the center below it.
Now, this newbie's questions are:
- Is Q350 + Q650 + Denon x3400H be a reasonable US$2,000 3.0 setup?
- Would I perhaps be better served with an ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 5.0 setup for US$50 more? (4x UB5 + 1x UC5)?
- Considering what I'm coming from, am I just spending too much altogether and could get away with something far more basic?
Since I'm wary of buying a subwoofer, I feel more confident in the KEF providing good enough bass. Moreover, I've heard the ELAC units, because of their lower nominal impedance, require high end amplification (specially if running without a subwoofer so there's no crossover relieving the speakers from low freq duty). Also, the KEFs in white look so freaking good, my fiancée is gonna have an easier time agreeing to this all