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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I've never owned a TV it's time to buy it :) I want to get 75" 4K Samsung and some speakers. I'm not some kind of audiophile freak, so I don't need some expensive black-boxes that make unnoticeable differences to me :)
I'm more or less set with TV choice, this question is mainly about speakers (I've never bought anything other than logitech computer speakers).
I want to get some decent speakers that would also complement well with room design. Currently, I have two choices that I like (based on looks only, I haven't heard them): Beolab 8000 or Bowers and Wilkins CM8 S2 or CM9 S2. Beolab 8000 are 10 year old used from craigslist/kijiji for $2000, b&w are 2.5K or 3.5K for CM9. For b&w I'd also need to get an amp (store sales person recommended some yamaha model for $800). Both choices are kind of pricey so, I expect I wouldn't be disappointed in performance of either of the choices.

Any thoughts, pointers, recommendations?..
Thanks

I cannot add links to my post, so here are they:
Samsung UN75JU7100FXZA: samsung.com/us/video/tvs/UN75JU7100FXZA
Beolab 8000: beoworld.org/prod_details.asp?pid=802
Bowers & Wilkins CM8 S2: bowers-wilkins.net/Speakers/Home_Audio/CM_Series/CM8-S2.html
Bowers & Wilkins CM9 S2: bowers-wilkins.com/Speakers/Home_Audio/CM_Series/CM9-S2.html
 

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Will need a little more information to give more detailed advice.

What would be your main purpose for the system? (Examples: 2 channel audio, Movies, mixture of both, etc.)
What is the size of the room this will go in?
Is it safe to assume your budget is 2 to $3,500? Numbers based on the listings in your post. If not, what is your budget?
Are you opposed to using brands other than the ones you have listed?
Will you be able to listen to the speakers before you purchase them? Personally, I would never buy a speaker I haven't listened to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi dmarqueset,

Will need a little more information to give more detailed advice.

What would be your main purpose for the system? (Examples: 2 channel audio, Movies, mixture of both, etc.)
Mixture of both. I don't think that I need some kind of 5.1 surround, but I'd like to keep room open for possible upgrades (with b&w I was told I can buy later other units if I want to waste more money eventually)

What is the size of the room this will go in?
I have a two floor condo, each floor is 700sq ft (60sq meters). It's going to be in living room, which is open concept entire floor, but when I listen to music I usually listen it in entire apartment basically.

Is it safe to assume your budget is 2 to $3,500? Numbers based on the listings in your post. If not, what is your budget?
Are you opposed to using brands other than the ones you have listed?
B&W are from local audio store (along with TV), they can offer me 3 year "mortgage" with no interest for tv+speakers+amp, so couple of thousands here or there won't make a big difference. Yet, it's a bit freaky that speakers cost so much, wtf... :)

Will you be able to listen to the speakers before you purchase them? Personally, I would never buy or speaker I haven't listened to.
B&W are in the store, I can listen to them, but I didn't yet. I was offered other lower end speakers but they just don't look good enough to my taste and I was told that these B&W are a better choice. I consider that they are going to be prominent part of living room, so they can't look like I inherited them from my grandma, so I'd rather pay $1000 extra for better speakers in looks and performance.
As usual, before hitting the go button I decided to do some research (that's why I'm here) and I also checked craigslist/ebay listing to see what's up with speakers. I've seen these beolab 8000, I suppose they would be inferior to b&w cm8/cm8 in quality, but from reading reviews I assumed that they are going to be good enough for me.

The only speakers I've bought in my life are Logitech Z-5500. I bought them around 4-5 years ago, I think I paid something like $300 from best buy, I don't know why new ones are listed at $1300 on amazon. I've read some review that said that they are bad in mid ranges, and I somehow feel something is missing: my friend's bose 2+1 stereo computer speakers sound kind of better (but they also cost him around $500).
I'm more or less OK with these logitecs, I connect them to my PC to listen to some utube etc ;)
I have neighbors living under me. If I put too much base they can hear it, without base I can go as loud as I want and they don't hear it, but I think it's because the base unit from my Z-5500 sits on hardwood floor on top of their bedroom. I think if I place it on something soft to minimize direct kick into the floor it would be better (I know the sound would propagate trough walls anyway, but it does sound in their place like something is knocking on the ceiling).
 

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Pablo76 said:
... Any thoughts, pointers, recommendations? ...
IMO, get:
- a pair of B&W 685 S2s ($700, shipped, at BestBuy.com);
- a good-quality ID sub from PowerSoundAudio (PSA), ReactionAudio (RA), HSU Research (HSU), SVSound (SVS) or Rythmik Audio (Rythmik) for ~$1,000; and
- a nice mid-range AVR - something in, say, the $500-$700 range - from Marantz, Denon, Yamaha or Pioneer.

Max. cost: $2,400. And you'll have great sound.
 

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It sounds like your actual audio tastes/requirements are quite basic, but you do want the speakers to look nice and to put out enough sound to fill up your open-plan condo, right?

You can do better than B&W and especially Beolab (not to mention Bose, which is a complete joke on a dollar-to-dollar sound quality basis) for less money.

For your fronts, I'd get a pair of these, for $700 shipped (and with a 30 day money back warranty):
http://emptek.com/r55ti.php

And this matching center, $400 shipped:
http://emptek.com/r56ci.php

For your surrounds you can go with another pair of those same towers, or a pair of these, $225:
http://emptek.com/r5bi.php

This leaves you with plenty left over for a truly butt-kicking sub like this:
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-3mk5HP.html
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/uls-15mk2.html (rosewood veneer would match the EMPTek speakers)

These are all internet-direct brands that you won't find in any stores, so you will be taking a small risk of paying return shipping if you don't like them.

There are some internet-direct brands that offer free shipping both ways though, so that would be entirely risk-free: Aperion Audio and SVS. The second is especially well known for their subs.
 

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I agree with @eljaycanuck on the setup he suggested. The B&W 685 S2s are a very good performing speaker. I am partial to HSU Research subs and Yamaha AVRs.

If you want towers, the towers you listed perform really well. You can also try the Paradigm speakers. They perform well and are aesthetically pleasing. IMO the Signature series looks the best but they are fairly expensive. Check them out if your dealer has them.

I've never listened to a pair of Beolab 8000s so I don't know how they sound and my one listening experience with B&O wasn't the greatest. Bang & Olufsen makes nice looking speakers but I don't have enough experience with them to say yay or nay regarding them.
 

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It sounds like your actual audio tastes/requirements are quite basic, but you do want the speakers to look nice and to put out enough sound to fill up your open-plan condo, right?

You can do better than B&W and especially Beolab (not to mention Bose, which is a complete joke on a dollar-to-dollar sound quality basis) for less money.

For your fronts, I'd get a pair of these, for $700 shipped (and with a 30 day money back warranty):
http://emptek.com/r55ti.php

And this matching center, $400 shipped:
http://emptek.com/r56ci.php

For your surrounds you can go with another pair of those same towers, or a pair of these, $225:
http://emptek.com/r5bi.php

This leaves you with plenty left over for a truly butt-kicking sub like this:
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-3mk5HP.html
http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/uls-15mk2.html (rosewood veneer would match the EMPTek speakers)

These are all internet-direct brands that you won't find in any stores, so you will be taking a small risk of paying return shipping if you don't like them.

There are some internet-direct brands that offer free shipping both ways though, so that would be entirely risk-free: Aperion Audio and SVS. The second is especially well known for their subs.
+1, forget the Beolabs, and while the B&W speakers would be better, I would go with something like the EMP Tek speakers. I would also be looking at Ascend Acoustics, some Ascend CMT-340s or CBM-170s. A big +1 on the Hsu subwoofers, they can not be beat for the price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
IMO, get:
- a pair of B&W 685 S2s ($700, shipped, at BestBuy.com);
- a good-quality ID sub from PowerSoundAudio (PSA), ReactionAudio (RA), HSU Research (HSU), SVSound (SVS) or Rythmik Audio (Rythmik) for ~$1,000; and
- a nice mid-range AVR - something in, say, the $500-$700 range - from Marantz, Denon, Yamaha or Pioneer.

Max. cost: $2,400. And you'll have great sound.
The store that I want to buy from sells B&W 685 S2 for $610 (vs $700 at BB) if converted from Canadian to USD. They also have price match policy, surprisingly for all the stuff that I tried to ggl they offer pretty much best prices. On top of all that I can get 3 year no interest payments; this way I don't even notice that I pay anything for the whole deal ;)
For now I think to get only 2 towers and an amp; don't need a sub for now.

For your fronts, I'd get a pair of these, for $700 shipped (and with a 30 day money back warranty): emptek.com/r55ti.php

And this matching center, $400 shipped: emptek.com/r56ci.php
These are quite ugly... that was my original impression about red cherry color, but they have also black ones that actually look good IMO. link: usaudiomart.com/details/649208846-rbh-r55ti-tower-speakers-in-beautiful-piano-gloss-black-free-shipping/
Look-wise I still prefer CM8 (e.g. I prefer not too big towers), but I may as well consider CM9 from B&W. They kind of look way better with and without protective screen that attaches by magnets. Also piano black matches my TV console


+1, forget the Beolabs, and while the B&W speakers would be better, I would go with something like the EMP Tek speakers. I would also be looking at Ascend Acoustics, some Ascend CMT-340s or CBM-170s. A big +1 on the Hsu subwoofers, they can not be beat for the price.
Ok, BeoLabs 8000 are out of question already (they are 10 years old after all). Also, I'd need to pay full amount cash right away.

Overall, when I went to a store for the first time I was somewhat floored by prices for speakers. I was WTF with my eyes wide open :)
CMT-340 SE from ascendacoustics.com at $600/pr, or r55ti from emptek.com at $700/pr are the prices decent speakers should cost. However, as I said, I also look for something that matches better with my furniture/room design and for that reason alone CM8-S2/CM9-S2 are the top choices so far. I tested CM9 today, and pretty happy with them. How do these B&W's fare sound-wise compared to ascendacoustics or emptek?
By the way, prices converted to USD are: $2750 for CM9 and $1990 for CM8. The store sales guy also advised me to go with a pair of B&W 683 instead ($1350 usd/pr). It would cost me twice less for pretty much the same quality but I still prefer CM8/CM9 looks. For the AMP the store sales guy advised RX-A1050 or RX-A2050 (1000 or 1300 USD).
I tried to watch youtube videos to understand how to properly match speakers to amp's. B&W CM9 specs say "Recommended amplifier power, 30W - 200W (8ohms)", so according to utube videos I need an amp that can pump 45-300W per channel (e.g. 50% more than rms rating of the speakers). Kind of big spread. What power rating should I be looking for?..

Also, note that I'm planning to take them with TV and I'm sure that at least I can get 3 year no interest payment plan. With speakers, considering the price, I'll probably be able to squeeze 4 year plan instead. So, $1000 difference really equates to something like $25/month.
 

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Also, note that I'm planning to take them with TV and I'm sure that at least I can get 3 year no interest payment plan. With speakers, considering the price, I'll probably be able to squeeze 4 year plan instead. So, $1000 difference really equates to something like $25/month.
Well, if you need financing in order to buy, then that's a whole other story. Get the B&Ws in that case, you'll end up paying more than retail probably (same as with car financing, there's no such thing as "interest free"---they just jack up the final cumulative price, usually by more than what the cost of the actual interest would be)...but oh well, if you can't wait and you want 'em to look pretty then you gotta do what you gotta do.

Power ratings, whether the speaker's "recommended power" and the receiver's alleged "watts per channel" are mostly useless, because they are usually grossly exaggerated for marketing purposes (there is no regulatory body to keep the manufacturers honest). NAD, Marantz, and Harman Kardon are relatively honest (NAD especially). The most important spec you need to look for and match is speaker impedance: most are 8 ohms, which makes them easily driven by most receivers. The lower the speaker's impedance, the more demanding it will be of the amp---any speaker that is 4ohms is going to require a mid or high level receiver that is compatible with that impedance. The second most important spec is the speaker's sensitivity, although here there is also a fair bit of fudging going on in terms of how different speaker manufacturers choose to measure that sensitivity...but it's still nowhere as useless as "watts per channel" specs. The $1,000-1,300 (probably $800-1100 street) Denons the store guy recommends should have decent internal components that are not too far off their claimed power ratings, hopefully.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, if you need financing in order to buy, then that's a whole other story. Get the B&Ws in that case, you'll end up paying more than retail probably (same as with car financing, there's no such thing as "interest free"---they just jack up the final cumulative price, usually by more than what the cost of the actual interest would be)...but oh well, if you can't wait and you want 'em to look pretty then you gotta do what you gotta do.
I don't need any financing. I can buy cash pretty much anything in that store. bestbuy.com sells CM9 S2 for $3200 USD/pair, my store sells it for $2750 USD/pair (on their price list). On top of that they can give me 3 year interest-free financing. Kind of looks strange, maybe CAD/USD fluke?.. that's why I think I don't get total rip off deal at least. Sales guy told me that 3-year financing costs them 11-12% (which means credit organization probably gives it to them at 3% which I cannot get unless I take it from my mortgage which involves too much hassle). If I were to get loan myself I'd probably get something like 5% for unsecured loan, meaning that "no-interest" payment option that they offer me translates to 15% of the total value.
So, I could select all my stuff and twist their arms until I squeeze discount that I think is good for the whole package... (what would it be by the way?.. any guesses? With furniture I pretty much got 50% off on everything that I wanted), but I still prefer to spread the damage over a few years, this way I don't even notice that I pay anything basically. Overall, before I even started bargaining with them they offered 25% better price that bestbuy.com has.
Usually when I compare bestbuy.ca to bestbuy.com prices I feel like going south for a weekend to buy stuff, that's why to me the starting price looks like a good start ;)
I'm curious, in US if you were to buy these two speakers and a TV for $5K and an amp with total of $10K, how much usually you could bargain down the price at a local BB brick and mortar store (without any price&matching)?

Power ratings, whether the speaker's "recommended power" and the receiver's alleged "watts per channel" are mostly useless, because they are usually grossly exaggerated for marketing purposes (there is no regulatory body to keep the manufacturers honest). NAD, Marantz, and Harman Kardon are relatively honest (NAD especially). The most important spec you need to look for and match is speaker impedance: most are 8 ohms, which makes them easily driven by most receivers. The lower the speaker's impedance, the more demanding it will be of the amp---any speaker that is 4ohms is going to require a mid or high level receiver that is compatible with that impedance. The second most important spec is the speaker's sensitivity, although here there is also a fair bit of fudging going on in terms of how different speaker manufacturers choose to measure that sensitivity...but it's still nowhere as useless as "watts per channel" specs. The $1,000-1,300 (probably $800-1100 street) Denons the store guy recommends should have decent internal components that are not too far off their claimed power ratings, hopefully.
Denons? Is it brand or what?.. it's Yamaha RX-A1050 or RX-A2050, sorry I didn't mention the brand :)
The guy at the store said that I shouldn't go lower than RX-A1050 if I go with CM9. Then I watched utube explanation on how to match speakers and amps and it looks like even RX-A2050 isn't a good match.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The link below compares the Aventage models starting at the A850. If you have a list of features you are looking for in a receiver, then you can compare it to this.

Compare Yamaha Models
I compared them, still Chinese to me. Which one of them should be mated to B&W CM9 S2? :)
When I read the specs like "4K Ultra HD Pass-through and upscaling" it sounds like some scam to me. IMO this job of upscalling to 4K can be done with a $20 cpu.
 

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I compared them, still Chinese to me. Which one of them should be mated to B&W CM9 S2? :)
When I read the specs like "4K Ultra HD Pass-through and upscaling" it sounds like some scam to me. IMO this job of upscalling to 4K can be done with a $20 cpu.
From a power standpoint, all of the models compared are capable of driving the speakers and filling the room with sound. That is why I was saying that it really comes down to the features and Input/Outputs you want.

If I had to choose between the two models you listed, I would choose the A1050. Listed below is why I would choose the A1050.

1. The chances of me going to 7.2 (A1050) are a lot higher than going to 9.2 (A2050) channels. Have space limitations.
2. There is not much difference in loudness between 110 W (A1050) and 140 W (A2050).
3. They both support DTS-MA, Dolby True HD, and Dolby Atmos (If I ever change my mind.)
4. They have the same type and number of inputs.
5. I am waiting until Ultra HD Blu-ray comes out and for some of the "features" of 4K to settle out. So any advantage the A2050 has in 4K is only fun to talk about and doesn't factor in my decision.

Those are just a few of the things that are important to me. You'll have to decide what is important to you. If have questions about the features of the unit to help you decide what is important for you, feel free to ask. If I can answer them I will or I'm pretty sure someone on here would be able to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I would never buy or speaker I haven't listened to.
Ok.
The speakers that I'm thinking to get are in the store and I had plenty of time to try them using all kinds of music, and to compare them to others ($26K B&W, $10K focal speakers etc). They were good enough for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
From a power standpoint, all of the models compared are capable of driving the speakers and filling the room with sound. That is why I was saying that it really comes down to the features and Input/Outputs you want.
They all have pretty much the same feature list. It's quite unlikely that I'll reach 5.1 sound. I'm planning to do two towers, maybe I'll add later a central piece also, not even sure why, but somehow everyone tells me that I should get two towers and a central piece.

If I had to choose between the two models you listed, I would choose the A1050. Listed below is why I would choose the A1050.

1. The chances of me going to 7.2 (A1050) are a lot higher than going to 9.2 (A2050) channels. Have space limitations.
2. There is not much difference in loudness between 110 W (A1050) and 140 W (A2050).
That's the only real difference between these two IMO. The speakers that I might get (B&W CM9 S2) are rated 30-200W (each I suppose). Youtube videos about amps say that amp should be 50% over the speakers or even double. So... these yamaha amps are 110 or 140. You say that they are both OK, based on what numbers you decide so?.. I just want to understand. Personally, at the store I asked why a $300 yamaha wouldn't be OK. How different would it be with low end amp and higher end one?..

3. They both support DTS-MA, Dolby True HD, and Dolby Atmos (If I ever change my mind.)
4. They have the same type and number of inputs.
5. I am waiting until Ultra HD Blu-ray comes out and for some of the "features" of 4K to settle out. So any advantage the A2050 has in 4K is only fun to talk about and doesn't factor in my decision.

Those are just a few of the things that are important to me. You'll have to decide what is important to you. If have questions about the features of the unit to help you decide what is important for you, feel free to ask. If I can answer them I will or I'm pretty sure someone on here would be able to.
 

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The first thing I do is get a rough estimate as to how much power is actually required to reach the loudness that I want at my listening position. I use reference levels (85 dBSPL) as a max even though I don't listen at those levels. It is too loud for me. I then use some of the online calculators to get the estimate.

Crown Audio
AllegroSound (Calculator toward the bottom of the page)

Using the following information for the calculators:
Listening Distance: 8 meters (Used 60 from your post, took the square root and rounded up to the nearest meter. You can tweak the distance since you know exactly were you will be listening from.)
Sound Pressure Level at listening position: 85 dBSPL (THX reference level)
Speaker Sensitivity: 89 dB (Taken from speaker spec sheet)
Headroom: 4 dB

The second thing I do is subtract 15 W off the listed watts per channel rating. As @Zorba922 mentioned, a lot of the companies manipulate the actual ratings.

With those settings it takes roughly 64 Watts to get to Reference Level sound, which for me is really loud. So 95 W (110 W - 15 W) provided by the A1050 is more than enough. I would expect the amount it would take to get to Reference Level would go down once you put in your actual distance, a lot less than 64 Watts.

To answer your question regarding the $300 AVR, if it can put out clean and reliable power at the levels you want to listen at and it has the features you want then it can be used.
 

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Denons? Is it brand or what?.. it's Yamaha RX-A1050 or RX-A2050, sorry I didn't mention the brand :)
The guy at the store said that I shouldn't go lower than RX-A1050 if I go with CM9. Then I watched utube explanation on how to match speakers and amps and it looks like even RX-A2050 isn't a good match.
Yes, Denon is one of the mainstream AVR makers along with Yamaha, Pioneer, Onkyo, etc. The model number sounded like that of a popular Denon that people often reference here on AVS, that's why I was confused. Anyway, I looked up those Yamahas' pricing online and you're right, that shop is actually giving you a fair market price rather than an inflated one. I doubt they would knock off much more than an additional 10% if you haggled with them, unless you were paying cash up front---that's always a much stronger negotiating position.

If I were spending in the neighborhood of $1K for an AVR, this is what I'd get:
http://www.musicdirect.com/p-151411-nad-t-758-surround-receiver.aspx

A moot point, since the shop you're using probably doesn't carry NAD. But they have far more robust power supplies and other critical internal components than most mainstream AVRs, plus their power numbers are very conservative...a NAD that's rated at 50 watts per channel will often run circles around a mainstream AVR that claims 110 or 150 wpc, and their musical sound quality also tends to be in a different league---all this without all the gimmicky electronic bells and whistles, sound processing BS, etc. that the industry loves to hype up. NAD receivers and amps are designed to handle low impedance speakers so you'd never have to worry if there are any speakers they can't handle, unlike many mainstream AVRs. I haven't checked the impedance of the B&Ws you're looking at though, so this might be another moot point.

Anyway, all of that's off topic. It sounds like you've found a decent shop especially with their financing deal, especially if you prefer to "spread the damage" as you put it. The best bang for your buck would still be internet-direct, but being in Canada that gets a bit complicated unless you can find a privately owned UPS shop across the border that will receive parcels for you (my local UPS shop does this for about $22/month).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
If I were spending in the neighborhood of $1K for an AVR, this is what I'd get:
http://www.musicdirect.com/p-151411-nad-t-758-surround-receiver.aspx

A moot point, since the shop you're using probably doesn't carry NAD.
They have the T 758, $995 USD.

NAD receivers and amps are designed to handle low impedance speakers so you'd never have to worry if there are any speakers they can't handle, unlike many mainstream AVRs. I haven't checked the impedance of the B&Ws you're looking at though, so this might be another moot point.
They are 8 ohms.

Anyway, all of that's off topic. It sounds like you've found a decent shop especially with their financing deal, especially if you prefer to "spread the damage" as you put it. The best bang for your buck would still be internet-direct, but being in Canada that gets a bit complicated unless you can find a privately owned UPS shop across the border that will receive parcels for you (my local UPS shop does this for about $22/month).
That's what some my friends use. The problem however AFAIK to bring back something from the US I'd need to stay there for a few days. I think it all depends on value of acquired stuff.
By the way, there is 15% sales tax that I have to pay if I buy locally (other provinces might have lower sales tax). I'd probably be OK to mess a bit with speakers, but not with the TV: I prefer to pick it up locally to be able to exchange or service it if something happens. The other point: I want to get all of them in one shot, waste a few hours to set everything up, connect all the wires and forget about all setups
 

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First thing you need to do is STOP watching YouTube videos that offer "expert" advice.

Then get the AVR that YOU like best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The first thing I do is get a rough estimate as to how much power is actually required to reach the loudness that I want at my listening position. I use reference levels (85 dBSPL) as a max even though I don't listen at those levels. It is too loud for me. I then use some of the online calculators to get the estimate.

Crown Audio
AllegroSound (Calculator toward the bottom of the page)

Using the following information for the calculators:
Listening Distance: 8 meters (Used 60 from your post, took the square root and rounded up to the nearest meter. You can tweak the distance since you know exactly were you will be listening from.)
Sound Pressure Level at listening position: 85 dBSPL (THX reference level)
Speaker Sensitivity: 89 dB (Taken from speaker spec sheet)
Headroom: 4 dB

The second thing I do is subtract 15 W off the listed watts per channel rating. As @Zorba922 mentioned, a lot of the companies manipulate the actual ratings.

With those settings it takes roughly 64 Watts to get to Reference Level sound, which for me is really loud. So 95 W (110 W - 15 W) provided by the A1050 is more than enough. I would expect the amount it would take to get to Reference Level would go down once you put in your actual distance, a lot less than 64 Watts.
That's something like I wanted to find to be able to "calculate" what I need ;) I don't intend to listen to loud also; but if I have friends at my place I'd like to be able to be on the patio and have some music. Patio has sliding doors, it's like 12 meters from the speakers (on the other side of the living room basically). The problem is that sitting place on the patio is blocked by a brick wall from the speakers
 
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