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KEF iQ5 vs Monitor-Audio BR5 vs Wharfedale 9.5

Audiolab 6000A Amplifier

Vue2AStill

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Friends,
Many of you have replied to my earlier post "Connecting two rooms into one amp" (http://www.hifivision.com/what-should-i-buy/2101-connecting-two-rooms-into-one-amp.html). Thank you for the same.

I have now purchased the Cambridge Audio 540D v2 and the Denon 1909 AV Receiver, so as to enable me to judge the speakers I want to buy on the electronics that I use. Based on the suggestions I received on the previous post and elsewhere on this forum, I took the Denon 1909, as it provides zones A & B, was only just beyond my budget and has been rated high for music reproduction (What HiFi group test, Sept 08).

I have already done one round of audition on KEF iQ5, Monitor Audio (MA) BR5 and the Wharfedale 9.5. Wharfedale 9.5 was good, specially on the low frequency reproduction, it almost did not need the subwoofer. But I felt the KEF iQ5 and the MA BR5 were better in the reproduction of the voice (mid range) and the higher frequencies. This is expected since the KEF and the MA drivers are smaller compared to the WH-9.5's 6.5" drivers. To my ears, the KEF had better imaging and was less sensitive to the positioning of the listener. But otherwise, I felt both the KEF iQ5 and MA BR5 were mind blowing, something I did not expect in this budget range. Now this is the problem, that I felt that they are both good.

To give you an idea of the genres of music I listen to, here is a compilation of the tracks I used for the audition:
Mark Knopfler (All that matters, Boom like that), Chris Rea (Road to Helll), Richard Marx (Right here.. ), Clayderman (piano - What a wonderful world), Clayderman (piano - Chariots of Fire), Pan Pipes (My heart will go on), Kenny G (Sax - Going Home), Bombay Jayashree (Lullaby - Kulasekhara Perumal), Saint Tyagaraja (Endaro Mahanubhavulu, Narayanaswamy and group), Johann Pachelbel (Canon, violin concert with Cello), Jagjit Singh (Kahi Door..).

Knopfler, Chris Rea and Jagjit Singh for their voices, Clayderman's What A Wonderful World for its sheer spectral range and sound stage creation, Bombay Jayashree's lullaby for its melody and serenity, Narayanaswamy Group's rendering of Endaro Mahanubhavulu for the sound stage creation and finally Pachelbel's Canon for its strong Cello presence, transients, whispers and the crescendo. These may or may not be appropriate as test tracks, but this is the music I listen to. I have read on this forum that I better use music that I listen to, for audition. That is what I tried to do.

For auditioning the surround effects, I was using the AVMAX DVD released in their October '08 magazine.

The MA BR5 is more expensive compared to KEF iQ5 by at least about Rs.6000. The KEF iQ5 is more expensive than the Wharfedale 9.5 by about Rs.8000. I am talking about the floorstander pair alone. As Venkat pointed out elsewhere on this forum, naturally, I would be forced to buy matching center & surround speakers: MA LCR/BRFx or KEF iQ2c/iQ1 or Wharfedale 9.CS/9.DFS.

I mention KEF iQ1 for surround, since the KEF dipoles are very expensive (more than twice of KEF iQ1 pair). Also, the highly rated KEF iQ5-SE is not available in India, at least not in Chennai, as per Pro FX. So iQ5 is my only option in KEF.

Having given you all the information above, so at this stage I depend on you guys, the experts here to guide me through the final decision. As I mentioned elsewhere, the lounge size is 11' wide (separation of floorstanders) and 13' deep (listening distance).
Music reproduction and a good sound stage are my priorities, movies watched only once in 2 weeks.

Please help guys.

- Vue
 

NAVARAJAN

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Is the ae avail in chennai? What is the cost what s your opinion regarding this pl let me know previously i had one i dont remember that number i felt it lacked details other wise it was fantastic so what about the latest one cheers from navarajan
 
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Rem

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Pardon me for adding a few more speakers to the list but after I saw the list of music you listen to I thought you definitely add

Mordaunt Short Mezzo 2 (Bookshelves) - 27k
Mordaunt Short Avant 906i(floorstander)
Mordaunt Short Avant 908i(Floorstander) - 44k


For the above speakers contact

Cressida AV Zone
85/16, East Mada Street
Tiruvanmiyur
Chennai
600041

COntact Person: Mr. R Ravi Kumar :
+91 98409 39774



OR



Home Taalkies
No.50-A / 51-A, J N 100 Feet Road,
Near Laxman Shruthi Musicals,
Chennai, Tamil Nadu
600026
Contact :- M V Baalaji Sundar
Telephone: + 91 - 09941879393

Email: balaji@hometalkies.com, mvbaalajisundar@gmail.com


Got these info from Mordaunt Short website. I wanted to buy the Mezzo 2 when the recession hit me badly:( so m saving money now :D.

It may not have the bass you might want but the mids and highs are awesome. But do check it out its worth every re.

If possible also check the

Epos M12i (though I have not been able to listen to it) - around 34k

M/S Reference Point
No:8, 12th cross, 1st stage, Indiranagar Bangalore 560038
India
Tel: +91-80-25257246.


Check with these people for the dealer in your area.
 
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anooj30299301

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Hi Vue2AStill,

Me too auditioned the KEF's(IQ 9's) sometime back and compared with DALI IKON 6 and Mentor, they seemed very neat for Indian tastes i.e prominenece of vocals. Dali's were good too but eventually liked the KEF !Q9. Thaey are quoted however around 80K:(
 
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afj

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vue
you've rated the kefs slightly higher than the ma's. and the ma's are more expensive. i think its a no brainer there between the two. havent heard the other speakers mentioned
 
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Vue2AStill

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You have not mentioned your budget if you have above 50k then MA RS6 and the Dali Ikon 6 are awesome speakers cant get much better than that.

Rem,
Thank you, I read a lot about the MA-RS6. But if I buy them, then I cannot buy the surround and center spkrs. I think the pair itself will cost me more than Rs.60,000.
 
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venkatcr

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Vue:

Where exactly have you reached with your search? Maybe you and I can work together for a more focussed search and discussion.

Cheers
 
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Vue2AStill

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Hi Venkat and friends,
Thank you very much for your kind offer. Yes, I look forward to working with you Venkat and take your advice. I am sorry, I saw your post just now, as I don't get time during the weekdays to login to hifiVision. Is there a number I can contact you on, can you send me a private message to avoid disclosing your phone number on the internet?

My wife and I had another audition last weekend and we listened critically to both iQ5 and MA-BR5. A few details of the audition set up:
- AV Receiver used: Denon 1909 in Pure Direct mode for both auditions.
- CD/DVD player: output taken using COAX to cut out the DAC of the CD player from the circuit. Thus, in both the auditions, only the DAC of the Denon 1909 was in action.
- The iQ5s and the BR5s were positioned about 10 feet apart and we were sitting about 10 feet in front of the line joining the two floor standers. The floor standers in both the auditions were placed about 2 feet away from both the side walls as well as the walls behind the floor standers.
- They were typical listening rooms with the walls covered by soft panels and carpeted flooring.

We noticed that the BR5 scores better on low frequency reproduction and male vocals too. The BR5 is almost as good as the iQ5 when it comes to treble and transients (specifically cymbal crashes). However, the KEF-iQ5s are better for imaging and less sensitive to positioning. This was quite obvious and I realise therefore that if I decide in favour of BR5s, then I will have to tune the positioning carefully to get a good stereo image. I also realise that the imaging will be sensitive to the listener's seat. But apart from the imaging, I am now tending to lean towards the MA-BR5, purely from a sound quality perspective: better low frequency, better male vocals and treble almost as good as the iQ5s. Knowing that the differences will be subtle, I made sure that I used Denon 1909 for both the auditions, in pure direct mode and the CD player was connected to Denon 1909 using COAX.

The posts from Rem and Prakash tempt me to consider MA-RS6 in lieu of BR5. Given my budget constraint of about Rs.70,000 for the 5 speakers, this means:
[1] I will have to drop the surround speakers (MA-BRFx) and pay that extra sum to buy the RS6. I will have to use some old speakers I have at home as the surround speakers and surely there will be a tonality mismatch.
[2] The budget for the center speaker will also increase as the MA-BRLCR (5.5" drivers) will not match with MS-RS6 (6" drivers) and I will have to buy MA-RS center speaker.

What is your opinion on this? Please advise guys.

-Vue
 
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vinod_david

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Hi:

BR5 is superior when compared to IQ5. As you said, vocals stand apart in BR5 and so too treble. Bass is okay to live with considering its superiority in treble and midrange. Stunning speakers I would say. If you are so so serious about 5.1, you cannot be dissapointed with BR5 HT package, considering your budget.

Now, MA RS6 FS alone cost you around 77k (current price), leave alone the center, rear and sub. But, if you are very serious about your music, and 2-channel is all that you long for, I would happily recommend you to buy MA RS6. I am dead serious that you won't regret of not having a 5.1 setup.

I own MA RS6 and I run it with CA 640 V2 setup, and you know why.;)
 
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Vue2AStill

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Thank you very much, Vinod, Rem, Prakash and Venkat, for your guidance.
The review on MA Silver RS6 from Stereophile referred by Prakash was very informative, as it also had the near field frequency response plot of RS6.

This weekend we auditioned MA Silver RS6 and Bronze BR5. While playing songs with vocals, when we switched from BR5 to RS6 and back, it was obvious that the vocals were superior on RS6 and of course the bass was more authoritative on RS6. The treble was the same on RS6 and BR5. So my wife and I fell for RS6 !

We exceeded our budget and settled with the RS6 pair ! The pair is still running in at my home at this point in time, as MA recommends 60 hours of running in.

I also needed a good center speaker for movie dialogue. I could not afford the RS-LCR, it is twice of BR-LCR's price. So I took some risk and settled for BR-LCR, even though I reaslised there will be a mismatch in tonality, as the BR-LCR uses twin 5.5" drivers, while the RS6 uses 6" drivers. However, I think it may be a small compromise, as
[1] the sensitivity matches (91 on RS6 v/s 90 on BR-LCR) and
[2] the cross over frequency is close (2.9 kHz of RS6 v/s 2.6 kHz on BR-LCR).
[3] Both RS6 and BR-LCR use the same 1" dome tweeter.

So I took a calculated risk and bought the BR-LCR for the center. I really need to verify if the assumption is true after they are run in and the sound is actually panned from RS6-left to RS6-right through the BR-LCR center in a movie.

I am using a pair of old (self-assembled) speakers with 8" drivers and 1" dome tweeters as surround speakers. I can't afford MA surround speakers.

Please give me your thoughts if the BR-LCR usage with RS6 for movies will be a big compromise.

Thank you once again,
- Vue
 
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vinod_david

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Thank you very much, Vinod, Rem, Prakash and Venkat, for your guidance.
The review on MA Silver RS6 from Stereophile referred by Prakash was very informative, as it also had the near field frequency response plot of RS6.

This weekend we auditioned MA Silver RS6 and Bronze BR5. While playing songs with vocals, when we switched from BR5 to RS6 and back, it was obvious that the vocals were superior on RS6 and of course the bass was more authoritative on RS6. The treble was the same on RS6 and BR5. So my wife and I fell for RS6 !

We exceeded our budget and settled with the RS6 pair ! The pair is still running in at my home at this point in time, as MA recommends 60 hours of running in.

Hi:

Congrats! on purchasing the MA RS6 and welcome to RS6 club. You have indeed made the right decision. My RS6 has improved a lot musically after quite a bit of running, so expect something magic to happen with those speakers as they are run in. Hope you got it from Audio People, can you share for how much you got it from, is it the usual 10% discount he offered ?:D

I cannot comment anything about your center or HT setup, am novice in HT. I'm very glad to hear that your wife also played an important role in selecting RS6, you are one lucky person indeed. Double thumbs up!:)
 
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Vue2AStill

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Hi Vinod,

Your post is very reassuring to me. Because, I have run them in for 60 hours so far, as recommended by Monitor Audio in their RS-brochure. The units have improved quite a bit, but I still cannot see them beat MA-BR5's performance yet, though the bass extension is quite noticeable now. So perhaps they need more running in, as advised by you. I am waiting to see more clarity in the vocal and treble band. The treble is still a bit muddled.

Yes, I got it from The Audio People with a 15% discount on MRP, after a lot of hard negotiation. I promised them I will come back for the surround speakers and other accessories.

Yes, my wife supported me, for a change! She was not willing to spend more initially, but she accepted it was superior to BR5 and in the end she gave in too !

Power supply:
Also, in my area where I live, the power supply is not very stable and there is a lot of voltage fluctuation and abrupt outages. Do you recommend a voltage regulator to protect the Denon 1909, the Cambridge-Audio CD/DVD player, the subwoofer and other sensitive electronic equipment that I am now using? Which do you and other forum members here recommend? Please advise.

- Vue
 
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vinod_david

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Hi Vue:

Don't worry they will blow BR5 out of the water in a few weeks. RS6 is far superior in treble, midrange, and bass compared to BR5. Mine is more musical and huge improvement in bass now since its purchase.

So, what are the other components in your setup. Please share.

Power - Yes, do install a stabiliser for your components.
 
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Vue2AStill

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So, what are the other components in your setup. Please share.

Power - Yes, do install a stabiliser for your components.

Along with the MA-RS6, I now have:
- Cambridge-Audio Azur 540Dv2 for the CD / DVD player.
Was recommended by forum members here.
- Denon AVR 1909 AV receiver for the amp. I used this for all the auditions.
Recommended primarily by What HiFi, in November 2008.
- MA BR-LCR for the center (took a calculated risk).
- Wharfedale SW 150 for the sub (cheapest sub, but popular).
- Self assembled 2-way speaker pair for surround, consisting of 8" woofer and 1" dome tweeter, both from Bolton (assembled 15 years ago!).
- A 32" Sony LCD.

Voltage Stabiliser
Do you recommend any particular brand for the voltage stabiliser / regulator? The maximum power consumption happens at the AV receiver of about 450 Watts. The CD DVD player may consume less than 100 Watts and the TV may consume about 200 W. So about 1 kW should suffice, should it not?

Thank you for your inputs and help.
 
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vinod_david

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Along with the MA-RS6, I now have:
- Cambridge-Audio Azur 540Dv2 for the CD / DVD player.
Was recommended by forum members here.
- Denon AVR 1909 AV receiver for the amp. I used this for all the auditions.
Recommended primarily by What HiFi, in November 2008.
- MA BR-LCR for the center (took a calculated risk).
- Wharfedale SW 150 for the sub (cheapest sub, but popular).
- Self assembled 2-way speaker pair for surround, consisting of 8" woofer and 1" dome tweeter, both from Bolton (assembled 15 years ago!).
- A 32" Sony LCD.

Voltage Stabiliser
Do you recommend any particular brand for the voltage stabiliser / regulator? The maximum power consumption happens at the AV receiver of about 450 Watts. The CD DVD player may consume less than 100 Watts and the TV may consume about 200 W. So about 1 kW should suffice, should it not?

Thank you for your inputs and help.

Hi:

Thanks for sharing ur equipments. What I can see there is lots of mix n match in your HT setup, nice indeed. As you know very well, a dedicated cdp and an integrated amplifier can do their duty very well for music alone, and in turn makes your speaker really sing. Excellent choice of 1909 and SW150.

I really want to go for HT setup, but don't have a dedicated room:(

Regarding stabiliser, am in dark, really can't help you, if you search around here you might get an anwer or members here can chip in.
 
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venkatcr

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Vue:

I am sorry I was not on the Net for some time. Joined back a few days ago, and I am checking all the threads one by one.

Congratulations on your purchases.

Regarding the stabiliser you can buy one from Krykard or from Vertex. Both are good. Both are local and will give you good support.

How does the SW 150 sound? I am looking for a sub woofer for a friend and shorlisting various brands.

Cheers
 
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Vue2AStill

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Hi Venkat,

I am really glad you are back online. Thank you for your inputs on the voltage stabiliser.

I have so far listened to only the Wharfedale SW150, the KEF entry level subwoofer (oval shaped) and the Polk subwoofer. I personally felt the KEF was better, but costs twice as much as Wharfedale SW 150. Before I bought the MA RS6, the SW 150 was doing its job well for movies and music too. After having purchased the MA RS6 whose bass extension is very good, the SW 150 seems to be not really adding value.

With my limited experience,
[1] if one has book shelves as the main speakers or has smaller floor standers such as the KEF iQ5 or MA BR5, the SW 150 would be great value.

[2] If one has floorstanders such as the Wharfedale 9.5 or 9.6 or the MA RS6, then SW 150 may not add much value. This is my experience from the limited auditioning I have done. Hope this helps.
 
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