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Floorstanders Audition and Queries

Home Theatre Systems

vijar

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Hi folks,

Recently moved into our new house and decided to give the music and movies a facelift too. For past 4 months, auditioned and listened to various options. My usage and preference is much more towards music (60-70%). Movies and tv viewing make up for the rest. Since space for speakers is always an issue, I started to look at various compact surround packages. I demoed QAcoustics 2020i, Sonos, NAD Viso Twenty, Boston Acoustics Soundware XS, Tannoy HTS201 & Polk TL1600 surround packages. Somehow, music never came alive in these tiny boxes and I decided to go for floorstanders as the front.

Looking to budget (approx. 1 lakh for 5.1 speakers), I started with lower price options Sonodyne and Pioneer. Listened to Sonodyne Sonus 2605V3 one afternoon and liked it much better than the surround packages I had heard so far. The positives were big sound, good clarity and separation of mid and high frequencies, competitive pricing. Took the dealer some time to turn around with pricing. Due to budget constraints he suggested me to go for Marantz NR 1605 which I was not sure would have enough power for these FS. The dealer started the hardsell and mentioned wrong specs (which I verified later) of speakers trying to convince me. Hence put these speakers on hold and decided to demo other options as well.

I called various dealers in Pune and Mumbai but none had Pioneer Andrew Jones package available for demo. It seems most dealers are not keeping it in stock now.

Next I listened to Mission MX4. They were definitely much better than Sonodyne in sound quality. However, they seemed to lack bass. There was also issue at dealers end since they did not have it rigged properly for demo and could not even play my songs on it. After this, auditioned Focal Chorus 714. These were paired with Yamaha AVR and sounded much brighter than I wanted.

There was a gap of about a month since some other priorities took over, after which I started the process again. Started with ELAC Debut F5. When I listened to these the sound really came alive. These speakers could really sing. I did not find any major issues (that is till I heard Tannoys). B5 bookshelves were not available for demo. Hence tested 5.1 surround with Monitor Audio satellites (dont know model). These undoubtedly were the best speakers so far.

Same dealer also had Tannoy Mercury V4i. So switched to these and listened to the same songs. There was a noticeable difference in clarity and definition at the low end of frequency spectrum. Opening drums in Seven Nation Army sounded much cleaner and I could hear more layers of instruments than on ELACs. Tannoys definitely had that marginal improvement over F5. For 5.1 set up, we had to use same Monitor audio satellites and ELAC C5 as center and ELAC S10 sub since the dealer didnt have other Tannoy speakers. Once again, Mad Max Fury Road sounded somewhat better with Tannoys.

Next stop was AVExcellence where I auditioned Paradigm Monitor 7. I listened to the same set of songs that I had auditioned on ELAC and Tannoy. The soundstage was much grander than both ELAC and Tannoy. I am not sure if it was the speakers or the demo room. Also, guitars in Hotel California sounded cleaner and louder. After listening to these speakers I realized that guitars were getting bit subdued on ELAC and Tannoy. However, these speakers lacked the bass in comparison to ELAC and Tannoy.

As of now, I am leaning more towards Tannoy Mercury, which is incidentally also the cheapest amongst ELAC, Tannoy and Paradigm. However, may need to look at a better sub since dealer has offered 8 inch TS 2.8.

I also want to audition Dali Zenor 5 and QAcoustics 2050 also before taking a final decision. Going by threads in the forum it seems that Dalis will turn out to be much costlier than both ELAC and Tannoy and for that reason I may have to drop them. I have been quoted 90k for Sonodyne, 101k for Missions, 125k for ELAC, 120k for Tannoy and 169k for Paradigm (all for 5.1 set up).

Would be grateful if FMs can offer advice on following:

1. Any feedback on Tannoy Mercury V4i. Have not seen many reviews online. Tech specs mention frequency response from 32 Hz to 53kHz which seems fantastic. However, Tannoy VCi caters to 67 Hz to 53kHz as compared to ELAC C5 which is 48 Hz to 20kHz. Since I have not demoed Tannoy VCi, not sure if it is going to sound better or worse. But to match the tonality of speakers, it may be better to opt for VCi if I go for Tannoy FS. Any thoughts, advice on this will be appreciated.

2. Tannoy sub seems to be below par. One option I am considering is to take 5.0 since Tannoy FS have a good bass and a good sub later. Other option is to take ELAC S10 which seemed to combine well with Tannoys. FMs may kindly advise on any other sub (around Rs 30k).

3. My next query is on AVR. All the FS require around 100W RMS. Will a 50W Marantz NR1605 be adequate for them, if I am not looking for very loud sound. Or is it better to opt for more power. My other option is Yamaha RX V579 which has 80W per channel and is in same price range as Marantz NR1605. Marantzs higher power SR series is much more costlier and I dont want to spend that much right now. Though, Marantz is said to be better for music (than Yamaha), I have not been able to audition same speakers with the two AVRs. I am also considering adding a stereo amp in future. If I do that, then will NR1605 be adequate for movies to drive the speakers.

Will update once I am able to audition QAcoustics and Dali also. In the meantime, any help / advice is most welcome.
 
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elangoas

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Great list of auditions.. I think you almost covered everything...

Marantz NR 1605 might not be adequate for a Floorstander, but it has pre-outs for Left & Right.. You can add a stereo power amplifier to power your fronts..

How big is your room?
What is your total budget (AVR + 5.1)?
 

regeHA

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I'd simply go for higher quality FS and an amp. Keep it 2.0 and add the center, surrounds, and sub later on after saving up for it.

Compromising on amp or even speakers will only come back to bite you at a later date.

You have a good budget for a pair of FS. Look at Monitor Audio too, good at the budget level, especially the Silver series. I have the Silver home theater, and I started with the FS, and over a year to 18 months added the center, satellites and subwoofer. It's not top of the line, but in that budget its excellent value for money.

I'm sure Tannoy, Mission, and other brands will have similar offerings, but don't go for the budget end. Instead invest in the best FS in your budget and then over time add the rest. The FS will more than suffice for movies and music initially.

I've FS for the TV, saves the hassle of wires for a 5.1 setup, but also performs way better than any soundbar.
 

vijar

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@elangoas: room size is 26X13. I had started with a budget of 125k for speaker+AVR, which is now already in 175k range. I dont want to cross 200k anyways. But I want the improvement in SQ to be worth the additional INRs I will be putting in.

@regeHA: unfortunately in my case it is not gonna work that way. I will better build a system now rather than hunt for more speakers later. At best I am thinking of adding the sub later and building 5.0 now. But it has more to do with finding the right sub rather than budget. Will try to audition Monitor Silvers. Being in Pune, I have the constraints of limited options with all dealers.

I reread the review of Tannoy Mercury V4i on WhatHiFi. Their main grouse against these speakers seem to be that QAcoustics were better. Have lined up QAcoustics audition for tomorrow. MRP is approx 169k. Likely to get around 150k. In that case these have to sound way better than Tannoys and ELACs for me to go for them.
 

nipunkx

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You have a good budget for a pair of FS. Look at Monitor Audio too, good at the budget level, especially the Silver series. I have the Silver home theater, and I started with the FS.
Can you please mention the model name of silver series that you have and their cost? How is the movie watching experience with them as 2.0?
 

afj

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are you getting a sub as well with your setup? if so you dont really need floorstanders. bookshelves will do for the fronts. will come in cheaper and solve your amp issue as well
 

regeHA

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Can you please mention the model name of silver series that you have and their cost? How is the movie watching experience with them as 2.0?
They are the older RX series. I bought the RX8, but you can go with RX6 for smaller rooms. I'd also go for the RX6, but I did not know better back then than FS are not really needed for a HT setup especially with a good sub.

Movies are good, clarity and detail and even the LFE kicks in for explosions. But its not surround sound, so don't expect to hear background noises coming from behind. Other than that its excellent and works well for both movies and also for music. I've tested all genres and they are really capable performers for music.

are you getting a sub as well with your setup? if so you dont really need floorstanders. bookshelves will do for the fronts. will come in cheaper and solve your amp issue as well
I always give that advice, but OP's need is 70% music. Pretty much certain any home theater satellites + sub will not be equal to quality FS for music. It's better he spend on quality BS or FS for music and add satellites and sub later on for the movies... at least in my thinking.
 

Vinay2013

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I had a brief audition of Tannoy V4i and I was quite impressed with the detailed presentation. I am sure there are matching surrounds V1i ? and center as well.

For Floorstanders none of the dealers recommend Marantz slim line receivers (NR Series).
 

afj

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I always give that advice, but OP's need is 70% music. Pretty much certain any home theater satellites + sub will not be equal to quality FS for music. It's better he spend on quality BS or FS for music and add satellites and sub later on for the movies... at least in my thinking.
i agree with you. its always a toss up. budget vs SQ:)
 

vijar

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Thanks afj and regeHA. I considered BS but felt that for music I do need FS. Am trying to find out if I can audition RX6.

@Vinay: Yes there are matching surrounds and center as well as a sub with Tannoy V4i. I have got a quote but only FS were available for audition. I have concerns about TS 2.8 sub being offered and might switch to some other sub.
 
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afj

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vijar also audition the kef q series. though if monitor audio silvers are in your budget, theyre really good
 

elangoas

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@elangoas: room size is 26X13. I had started with a budget of 125k for speaker+AVR, which is now already in 175k range. I dont want to cross 200k anyways. But I want the improvement in SQ to be worth the additional INRs I will be putting in.
For approx 2Lac budget, you should be considering the Pioneer LX series/ Marantz 6010 / Denon x 4x00 series... Higher End AVR's generally have top notch performance... Should easily satisfy you music needs too..

All the above AVR's are in 1 Lac range... For the remaining budget spend on 5.0 speaker for now.. And then you can add a Subwoofer later..

btw they are handful of Taga Harmony 5.0 speakers on hifimart.com, doubtful if you can get an audition, but prices are too good.. Take a look @ them too..
 

vijar

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Thanks afj. Not sure where I can audition KEFs. If I travel to Mumbai/Hyd will try to see if I can audition them.

@elangos: my thinking is a bit different. I want to buy speakers that can last next 10 years whereas electronics always gets upgraded quickly. Hence if I spend 2L in all, I would allocate more money to speakers (~70%) than to AVR. Hence am not considering AVRs in 6 digits. I might be better off taking a basic AVR+ stereo amp in the same cost.
 

regeHA

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Thanks afj. Not sure where I can audition KEFs. If I travel to Mumbai/Hyd will try to see if I can audition them.

@elangos: my thinking is a bit different. I want to buy speakers that can last next 10 years whereas electronics always gets upgraded quickly. Hence if I spend 2L in all, I would allocate more money to speakers (~70%) than to AVR. Hence am not considering AVRs in 6 digits. I might be better off taking a basic AVR+ stereo amp in the same cost.
+1. Audio formats for video and AVRs are changing, and also becoming more closed source/proprietary so you will be forced to upgrade to new h/w every few years. Spend the most on speakers, and even there the most on good FS as music is your primary requirement.
 

elangoas

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@elangos: my thinking is a bit different. I want to buy speakers that can last next 10 years whereas electronics always gets upgraded quickly. Hence if I spend 2L in all, I would allocate more money to speakers (~70%) than to AVR. Hence am not considering AVRs in 6 digits. I might be better off taking a basic AVR+ stereo amp in the same cost.
Perfect buddy..Speakers don't make much of difference for movies than an high end AVR would do.. They have very good Auto calibration system, Sub EQ for 2 subs, pre-outs for expansion & importantly Digital Room correction feature that compensates some of the acoustics shortcoming in your room..
 
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Recently I did some search for FS, AVR & SUB with preference towards music.
But my budget is more flexible.

FS I would suggest the following (I always prefer 3-way rather than 2-way for music) These were the best I liked
1. Polk RitA7
2. Wharfedale 240

AVR I would suggest Marantz SR-6010 (Has 100watts grunt for 2 channel at 0.08 THD)

Subs: SVS Either PB-1000 or SVS PB-2000 preferably dual set up.


Please keep in mind, building HT is not a onetime thing especially with budget constraints. Go one thing at a time.
FS & AVR play a major role for music. I always knew it, but realized how much I miss after doing audition.
Also generally it's preferred that FS and CS should be matching and satellites preferably too matching.

The above FS sound awesome even without Subs. So may be you can buy the FS and AVR now, then add Subs, then add satellites.
 
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vijar

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Thanks elangoas and afj.

@Kannan: Yes a 3 way sounds more refined and airy. But in the end, we all have our personal preferences. Polk RTis were on my shortlist. Problem is getting the right model to audition. Dealers, most of the times, keep only one model and try to sell the speakers based on that. As far as, SR-6010 is concerned I would love to own it. But in my budget I am not even thinking about 5010 right now.
 

vijar

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Update on auditions:

I could not get to listen to QAcoustics 3050. Still waiting for reply from Dali dealer for Zensor 5 since their demo room is under renovation.

Visited Oceanic this weekend and Mr Dave advised to look at XTZ 95.44. It is a little know Swedish brand and they don't advertise much or even have proper information in English on their website.

XTZ 95.44 employs ribbon tweeters instead of dome. I listened to a CD of Jagjit Singh and it was as if singer was present in the room itself. The speakers sounded very natural, airy and very balanced. The details was fantastic. By far, these have been the best speakers I have heard.




They had Tannoy Mercury V4i also available and I could switch and listen to the same track on both set of speakers. The difference was immediately apparent. However, at Oceanic only option to listen to the speakers is to carry the CDs (no USB, MP3, FLACs etc). Hence I had limited choice of music in listening to the speakers.

Researched the web for XTZ speakers and there is very little out there in terms of feedback and reviews. The ribbon tweeters employed in them are apparently used in very high end (MA Platinum series, Salk Sound, ProAc Carbon Pro etc). There seems to be an issue of vertical dispersion with ribbon tweeter which I did not feel while auditioning.

Have been quoted 87k for the FS pair. Compared to other speakers I was looking at, these are almost one and half times costlier.

I plan to do another round of auditioning after I have heard Dalis and then decide. In the meantime, if anyone has any feedback on XTZ and/or ribbon tweeters, I will appreciate the input.
 

Aanuj

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XTZ are excellent speakers it will beat speakers thrice it's price hands down. They are very highly regarded in hiend circles. They are like EB Accoustics , excellent speakers but choose to remain discreet and sell direct. Get them. And as for Missions audition the MX5 that's the Mission you should look at,great speakers at Rs 60k. I love the Tannoy V4i but too overpriced now. V4 used to retail between 42/38k but this ones priced way over the top as the Elacs, and the Dalis , keeping all this in mind the MX5 are substantial speakers for the money and multi award winners for a reason. The Polk RtiA7 are value for money too but the midrange is dicey and there's too much of "not that good bass" bass for my liking.
 
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