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Old 10-23-13, 12:55 AM   #1
mustang1
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HiFi advice sought

Hi, I want everything but I cant have it. By everything I mean aesthetics of small speakers but still have plenty of base that you would get from floor standers. I want to listen to music through stereo speakers yet also watch movies through the stereo speakers (I'm not a huge fan of 5.1 (and more) setups. I want a small amplifier but I know a larger one is what I need. A must-have is to hook it up to Apple TV. So here are three setups I'm considering:

1. Marantz M-CR610 with Monitor Audio BX2. I dont like the amp and I dont like the lack of bass. The sound quality was pretty ok. I got this demo'd but... there was no punch, no oomph. Maybe I can add a subwoofer to it. I like all the connectivity options that Marantz gives me.

2. (Something like a) Yamaha AS500 amp, Q Accoustics 2050i, some DAC. This kind of setup (amp and two speakers) is my favourite, nice and simple but I get excited by the features on setup 3....

3. (Something like a) Denon AVR-X2000 receiver, a pair of Dali Zensor 1, some subwoofer. I love all the connectivity features an A/V receiver gives me but realize sound quality may not be what setup 2 gives. I also dont want a 5.1 setup, 2.1 is the most I prefer because I dont want speakers all around the room.

My old system, a Bose Lifestyle 28 has packed up. I liked it's very small speakers and neatness of head unit. Before that, a long time ago, I had a Sony system with Sony APM-22ES loudspeakers (I loved that when I was kid) but now I'm older, I dont want such big speakers.

What do you guys think?
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Old 10-23-13, 05:21 AM   #2
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I have the Yamaha RX-V765 receiver, now a couple years old and not certain what the current model is. It works fine with Apple TV. The key when researching are the number of HDMI inputs (with a solo HDMI output to the TV). While I don't keep the Apple TV continually hooked up to that TV, I keep an HDMI cable attached and pulled around to the front (but hidden) for quick access and hookup.

Speakers, don't know what to suggest. While I have a similar setup - no sub but did include a center - I also built mine. The center was my first attempt, an MTM kit from GR Research http://gr-research.com/av-3s.aspx . Almost went with matching two ways, but like you wanted more punch as I trialed their newest version. I built these http://www.zaphaudio.com/SR71.html and they are smooth and solid down to about the 45hz range and haven't felt a need for a sub. I did upgrade the electrical components as he has a bias that "no difference with lower end electronics as won't 'hear' it.

Not certain what to recommend for speakers since didn't like the Monitors. May want to check Paradigmn, typically the 'standard' kit makers use 'to beat'. On the lower cost side, and readily available would be some Polks, Definitive Audio, and even B&W - some of which are in Best Buy's Magnolia Center. Also, look at audioholics forum. http://forums.audioholics.com/forums/forum.php

Here is what I built - including the matching stand.






Magnets under the veneer allowed the clean front when the cover was removed above.
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Old 10-23-13, 08:16 AM   #3
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Cool Tizeye.
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Old 10-23-13, 04:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mustang1 View Post
Hi, I want everything but I cant have it. By everything I mean aesthetics of small speakers but still have plenty of base that you would get from floor standers. I want to listen to music through stereo speakers yet also watch movies through the stereo speakers (I'm not a huge fan of 5.1 (and more) setups. I want a small amplifier but I know a larger one is what I need. A must-have is to hook it up to Apple TV.
It looks like your price point is ~$1k. Your largest bang/buck (by a large margin) is going to be a set of small main speakers + a subwoofer (unless headphones are an option). Search for used equipment... the newer stuff only supports more advanced sound formats which you don't appear to be interested in. For nearfield listening I can recommend the Emotiva Airmotiv line... put those with a good subwoofer and you've got a great combo.
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Old 10-23-13, 05:45 PM   #5
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you do understand the laws of physics, right? big base sound from tiny speakers is a violation of the laws of physics... somewhere you need a large cone woofer.
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Old 10-24-13, 03:52 AM   #6
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Remember this; a doubling of amplifier power will only yield 3 db. If it's volume you desire look for the most efficient speakers. Research these things before you go shopping.
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Old 10-24-13, 04:57 AM   #7
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you do understand the laws of physics, right? big base sound from tiny speakers is a violation of the laws of physics... somewhere you need a large cone woofer.
Likewise, the large cone woofer needs to be a three way W-M-T design for smooth crossover providing a linear response. As an alternative, the small 2 way M-T designs are either sealed "acoustic" or ported. Sealed can't push a lot of air (like a big woofer can) and the low end is very limited - typically falling off around 90hz. Tuned ported, like the one I built and the Monitor BX2's you referenced, push a lot of air and allow the base extension. One of the reasons you may not have felt "oomph" is that it is forward ported, so you get what you get. Rear ported, placement is critical as you need about 1 foot out from wall, but the wall acts to enhance and deepen the bass. Port diameter and internal tube length/design is critical for tuning as an unturned port gives the bottoming out "poof" breathing sound.

How low do you need to go? Personally, I find 45hz sufficient as it supports virtually all voice and instrumental (even rock percussion) ranges. It is the theatrical sound effects that can take it down to the 25-35hz range and that would require a sub or a large woofer speaker. A couple issues with subs. They don't provide stereo separation but just non-directional sound 'presence'. Not bad with crashes, heavy pounding effects, but their crossover from the main speakers is critical and can create issues. While you can set it lower, and ideally with mine, around 55hz, the THX standard protocol is for it to be 80hz and up to 110hz with small satellite speakers. What that effectively does is remove the stereo for the lower range, in my case 45hz to 80hz, that then becomes non-directional. The other issue is placement. While technically a sub can be anywhere in the room (except buried behind furniture and away from corners) appropriate placement becomes an issue. In my case, I discovered that the desired placement area was on a different electronic circuit from the receiver - two different breakers in the breaker box - and no outlets were available on the same circuit for alternate placement. This creates a constant hum and buzzing sound known as electronic loop noise. The entire system needs to be on the same circuit.
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Old 10-24-13, 12:34 PM   #8
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Vanatoo speakers...excellent choice if you are considering a computer based audio setup. No need for a stand-alone amp. USB, co-ax and toslink inputs. Works with AppleTv, iPod, etc.

http://www.vanatoo.com/
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Old 10-28-13, 01:22 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone.

I bought a Sony STR-DN1040 receiver and stereo Mission MX3 speakers.
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Old 10-28-13, 02:19 PM   #10
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The Sony was high on my list for my just-purchased setup, ended up going with the Yamaha equivalent (rx-v675) in the end. Found some nice deals on Newegg on Polk's older Monitor Series II speakers for that side of the equation. Most everything should be landing on my door step in the next 3-5 days.
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Old 11-17-13, 09:25 PM   #11
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^ Nice.

I think for my small studio (aka bike workshop) i'm either gonna get a Marantz M-CR610 with Dali Zensor 1 or Monitor Audio BX2. OR I'm gonna look for a used/slightly vintage hifi (though I want to keep things small).
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Old 11-17-13, 09:40 PM   #12
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^ Nice.

I think for my small studio (aka bike workshop) i'm either gonna get a Marantz M-CR610 with Dali Zensor 1 or Monitor Audio BX2. OR I'm gonna look for a used/slightly vintage hifi (though I want to keep things small).
I have a pair of audio engine A5 speakers for my bike shop and use an iPod as a source. It's simple system and it sounds good given that the acoustics in the garage isn't great.
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Old 11-18-13, 06:07 PM   #13
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From all your descriptions, and others, you definitely need a separate subwoofer.

And for the best experience, you'll want tactile motion as well since many DVDs nowadays have a separate LFE (sub-30hz) track that cannot be reproduced accurately with a subwoofer. For that, the Crowson Tech units have the best fidelity. They're able to reproduce large-wave motions such as ocean-waves all the way to the audible range such as rumble-strips on the highway. And you can even feel the difference between driving on gravel vs. paved tarmac.

Both the subwoofer and motion-transducers are discrete and can be installed out-of-sight. Then your mini speakers can handle the +120hz range. Best to have an amp with separate subwoofer & LFE outputs. You'll want sharp 24db active-crossovers to keep the frequency-ranges isolated to the drivers/speakers that can best reproduce each frequency range.
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Old 11-18-13, 07:48 PM   #14
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I have the Yamaha RX-V765 receiver...On the lower cost side, and readily available would be some Polks, Definitive Audio, and even B&W - some of which are in Best Buy's Magnolia Center. Also, look at audioholics forum.
I would be careful going to Best Buy. Despite carrying some nice stuff, the staff in my case was worthless (and possibly fraudulent) and their setup was questionable. If you're going to pay retail price on some items, you're better off going to a good audio store.
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