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Music Good floor standing speakers?

Discussion in 'General' started by Buzzons, 18 Feb 2012.

  1. B1GBUD

    B1GBUD ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Accidentally Funny

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    Mission speakers, why hasn't anyone mentioned them? You can pick up a fantastic well looked after pair on ebay, seen a few go recently that I've kicked myself for missing.
     
  2. lamboman

    lamboman New Member

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    Argh...don't tempt me (though I don't really have enough amp as a whole to get the most out of them!).

    Price...it varies, but keep looking and a good pair will come up for around £500-600. As far as £650 or so for an immaculate pair (like mine!). Over budget but worth the extra spend. Snoop around eBay and second-hand dealers, a pair will come up...but please, I beg, listen first! Cambridge Audio are very much a budget brand in the sector. Linn...opposite end of the scale, especially more recently.

    Because Mission aren't anywhere near what they used to be; they're simply not that good anymore. Had an old pair of 761s (which aren't that desirable in comparison to some other models at the time) paired with a NAD 3020B. For a budget system, it sounded brilliant. Again, they were never a premium brand as such, for the most part.
     
  3. MiNiMaL_FuSS

    MiNiMaL_FuSS ƬӇЄƦЄ ƁЄ ƇƠƜƧ ӇЄƦЄ.

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    Stereo > 5.1 in the future

    There's a flaw in your idea...

    You can't expand a decent stereo setup into 5.1...they are different things requiring different set-ups! This is because AV amps are not good at music - period.

    Once you get into the thousands of pounds then they become okay at music, but are still blown away by much cheaper dedicated stereo amps. The only real exception to this in a lower price bracket is the Arcam AVR-300 and above which have revolutionised the AV market in regards to sound.

    You're best bet is to have two set-ups, one for music and one for films/gaming. That way you can use a proper dedicated stereo amp (ideally bi-amped with a power amp in the long run) and some speakers made for music. You could get round this by having a decent multi channel pre-amp that handles the surrounds speakers output, but feeds into power-amp for stereo music reproduction.

    Bottom line - a good music setup is very different from a good cinema setup, which is most important to you and which are you looking for now?

    Back to stereo

    Different speakers will match different amps. An Arcam Amp for instance will generally be a disaster with Mission speakers as they approach bass reproduction completely differently.

    Just as certain makes of amp are great at amazing mid-tones and clear treble with booming bass for classical and jazz....but cant keep the bass tight enough re-produce rock music well.

    So you need to start with what you're going to be listening to, then pick out 4-5 amps that fit your style of music well and are typically available second hand in your budget...grab which ever comes along at the right price.

    Then pick-out 4-5 pairs of speakers you'd be happy with that match your amp and your style of music...and grab which ever comes along.

    Result = top notch, cheap second-hand setup, that is actually right for you.


    More Help

    You should really just pop over to the AVforums to both pick some speakers up and get some professional advice :)


    New Vs Second Hand

    Always buy second-hand audio, speaker technology hasn't really moved on in 20 years, so you're going to be disappointed buying new on a budget. Again stereo amps, lots of classics out there from NAD and Arcam in particular.

    The only exception is AV amps, still buy the second hand, but the technology does shift. But once again I can't stress enough that unless you're spending thousands then AV amps are awful for music!


    The Source

    Amps and speakers can only re-produce what they receive in the first place. So what's the source of your music?

    If it's from CD's, then you need a good CD player, or alternately a CD player that has a bypass/raw output feature that allows the amp to do the audio decoding.

    If the source is your PC, what are you playing? If it's MP3s then just abandon the idea now, no amount of stereo can make compressed audio sound good

    If it's lossless codecs such as 'Apple Lossless' or 'FLAC' then you're onto a winner, the question is how to get that music to your amp and what part of the setup is decoding that music?

    If you use a speaker/aux/stereo out, then your computer will decode the music, and send it to your amp, this is rubbish, most sound-cards are aimed at AV reproduction and aren't great for music - unless you want to spend some more money.

    If you use a digital out, then a few very select sound-cards are able to output SPDIF/RAW, this is undecoded sound - but then you need a digital amp, which lead you back to AV!. Famously the NFORCE chipset could output SPDIF/RAW from onboard sound, the first and last onboard sound chipset ever to do so.

    The best way for music? Bypass your sound card and/or onboard sound completely! How? Using a music streamer, some like a squeezebox can take audio as data from wireless or wired network, and then decodes it using an onboard DAC (digital to analogue converter). This same process can be replicated using a USB or network capable DAC - essentially removing your PC's sound reproduction from the equation, which is very healthy for music.


    Suggested Music Set-up

    Mine:
    Flac music on PC > Wireless to Squeezebox > digital out to Brensford DAC > Stereo output to PreAmp (Tubes) > Power Amp > Floorstanders.

    You dont need a standalone DAC (as the squeezebox one, or the one on a USB dac can be very good...it's an anal improvement for a later date. You also don't need a pre-amp, once again an anal achievement for another day.

    So your setup may look like this:
    PC > USB DAC (£100 for a decent one second-hand) > Amp (£100-200 decent second-hand stereo amp) > Floor standing speakers (£200 decent second hand).

    £500 for a whole second-hand music setup that will easily complete with systems costing around £1,000-2,000 retail.
     
    Last edited: 25 Feb 2012
  4. TheCherub

    TheCherub Member

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    I agree with a lot of what has been said previously, with one modification:

    SPEAKERS FIRST!

    Speaker / room interaction is the make of break of any system. Get the speakers right and it's bliss; get them wrong and no amount of good amp choices will make up for it. Once you've found speakers that do the business, then look at finding an appropriate amp to drive them.

    If you want advice on AV kit then AV Forums is the way to go. If you want advice on 2-channel audio then I can highly recomment http://www.hifiwigwam.com as being a thoroughly excellent place with a brisk online market place.
     
  5. lamboman

    lamboman New Member

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    As someone who owns a multi-channel music amp, I wholeheartedly agree with what MinimalFuss said (and didn't say it because my mind always thinks of my music setup as my movie setup!). And what TheCherub said, again, I'd agree with.
     
  6. Buzzons

    Buzzons Active Member

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    wow more stuff!

    I went to sevenoaks today to have a quick chat to the guys there and they had a set of Kef R500 speakers set up and they sounded soooooooooo good. Booked an appointment to go back next weekend to try out different things - sadly they're ~£1500 so .. what should I do?

    Also, I would much rather have 2.0 than 5.1 if the 2.0 sound as good as those KEFs did.
     
  7. Tribble

    Tribble Steals Avatars

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    Just don't spend to much money, take a step back. :thumb:
     
  8. MiNiMaL_FuSS

    MiNiMaL_FuSS ƬӇЄƦЄ ƁЄ ƇƠƜƧ ӇЄƦЄ.

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    Glad you're looking at music and stereo :)

    Go check out the for-sale section of the AVforums. The rule of thumb second hand is that you can generally get around 3x the value of speakers today.

    For example, a massive budget favourite are Mission M74's, considered a great mid-range speakers in the 90's they an now be picked up for around £60 (I sold some recently in-fact!), you'll be hard pushed to find anything under £250 brand new that matches them.

    You sound like you're looking higher end, you could look at something like Kef IQ7's for around £200. Bowers & Wilkings 685 are a top bookshelf or around £300.


    Amp wise in a similar price range (under £200) you can get the likes of a NAD C370, Arcam Alpha 8 (my person favourite in this area), Pioneer A400, Musical Fidelity A1, Marantz PM6010....there's other greats out there in the second-hand market, those are just off the top of my head.


    Your best bet is to go and listen to modern combinations - they'll give you an idea of 'house' sounds (different makes have signature sounds) and then look for second hand versions of the sound you like.

    Remember, a lot of techies will tell you it's about trying to reproduce the sound in as perfect and transparent way as possible. That's okay for some people, but most of us actually like our sound 'coloured', tube amps for instance are loved by audiophiles everywhere, but they actually dont re-produce sound accurately, they add warmth and colour....and it's the different kind of additives that your looking at, different amps produce sounds differently, you're not after the 'cleanest' re-production, you're after the sound that you like the best! Which means most of the numbers, mhz, ranges, dont count for much....so it's all up to your ear and recommendations.
     
  9. longweight

    longweight Possibly Longbeard.

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    Should I be using FLAC 1 or 5? for ripping?
     
  10. Cleggmeister

    Cleggmeister Of reasonable knowledge...

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    It makes no odds, all are lossless, just different compression ratios to save space. Personally I go with as little compression as possible since space is relatively cheap.
     
  11. longweight

    longweight Possibly Longbeard.

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    And which one has the least compression?
     
  12. Buzzons

    Buzzons Active Member

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    Spent over 6 hours listening to stuff today at 3 different hi-fi shops around me. All slightly different kit but all in the range of 500-1500£ (for the speakers).

    Was looking at KEF Q700 and R500s mainly with some random french ones thrown in for fun that were in the same price brackets.

    I was hoping i'd not hear the difference between the 1500 and 100 KEFs and luckily I couldn't really tell // care about the tiny differences provided by the two.

    I could *really* tell the difference betweek the KEFs and the 500£ pair though which saddens me. I could also tell the difference between the Onkyo 609 and 809 in terms of what was powering the speakers.

    Was using LOTR Fellowship of the ring - scene at the bridge of kazagoon or w/e with the Balrog .. lots of rumbling bass and highs with arrows and the like (Bluray source) and Star Wars Ep 3 - starting scene with the large space battle (again bluray source)

    As the speakers are going to be mainly used for playing films - I don't do music in the lounge and when I do it's for BBQs so not really that important I wanted to make sure that the speakers sounded good for films.. and the KEFs totally do that... annoyingly.

    Best price I was offered was around £1750 for the 809 (ex-demo as they're not getting any more in - £750) and a pair of the KEF Q700 (new - £100)

    So not really in budget but the £500 speakers sounded so much worse than the KEFs in a really annoying way to my ears :( - what should I do!
     
  13. TheCherub

    TheCherub Member

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    Just thought I'd add an extra note on this, as yesterday I took delivery of a pair of Triangle Celius Esw floorstanders (predecessors to their current Antals). Cost me the princely sum of £300 in great nick and they are absolutely stunning. Would definitely recommend a pair if you can find them and they are very unfussy about power requirements for amps being connected.
     
  14. phycomp

    phycomp New Member

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    Try to get a home demo of these speakers if you can, as room acoustics vary so much - you don't need a full 5.1 demo, just stereo to highlight the differences between models. My money if I could afford them would be on those lovely KEF R500 floorstanders :)
     

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