Advice for Home Cinema system with decent music capabilities


New member
Aug 10, 2019
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Hi all,

I am looking to buy a decent home cinema system around a Pioneer 608D Plasma screen.

Given that I find music quite important, probably 40% of the time, I am looking for a receiver / speaker combination that does a decent job on both.

I was considering to go for the Marantz SR8002 receiver given that Marantz is usually best in music and I just have heard only the worst stuff about Onkyo 875/905, which the magazine seems to love, even though everbody has problems with it, the heat issue and I have only heard bad opionions with build quality of onky products more generally. Any thoughts?

Speaker wise I want 2 decent size floor standers that can be used alone for stereo, 2 bookshelve speakers for the back, one center and one subwoofer. All should be from the same series/producer.

Currently I am considering the new XQ series of KEF with 2*XQ40 for the front, 2*XQ20 for the rear, one XQ50c Centre and one HTB2 Subwoofer. Look beautiful and seem to have some decent qualities and the brand seems to have decent quality throughout. The old XQ series (XQ one and Five) got very mediocre reviews in the magazine. Anybody has experience with the new XQ30/40 speakers?

The Dali Ikon 6 set that was so highly praised in the mag just looks too ugly to put in my living room I personally find (I know tastes can be very different... and I do love the look of the Dali Helikons which are just a bit above my price range at near 9000....).

Other speaker sets that I would be interested in would be B&W XT series or B&W 700 series. Does anybody have experience with the quality of these, also vis-a-vis the KEF?

Also for final curiosity. While I set my speaker budget at about 5k max, budget is always flexible and i would like to know how much better do the ca. 9k speaker sets such as KEF Reference, Dali Helikon or B&WE 800 series sounds? (I am no musician and definitely do not have absolute hearing so you know what I mean...)

Any other contenders with good looks, music as well as movie capabilities?

I am curious about any experience anybody might have.



Andrew Everard

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May 30, 2007
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To put in my 's worth, I've been running an Onkyo TX-SR875 for about eight months now, and had no heat problems - nor indeed any other problems - whatsoever.

And it's running into about £7500's worth of PMC speakers, and sounds excellent, with music in stereo, surround SACDs, CDs and radio, not to mention movies.

I'd suggest you could do a lot worse than an 875 with PMC GB1is on the front left and right, the DB1iM-C centre and DB1is on the rear channels, with either the PMC TLE1 sub or one or two of MJ Acoustics small subs on, or even a Velodyne MicroVee or two.

Or you could go the whole hog, as in the system I have, with the big FB1i or OB1i floorstanders on the front, the CB6i centre and a pair of DB1is for the surround channels.

As I said, just my personal opinion.


Thanks for the opinion, the PMC look quite professional I find they look a bit cold though.

I might try and get a listen.

Anybody with some experience on the other speaker series?


Hi Patrick,
I have been running a set of B&W XT's as my front 3 (XT4 and XTC) for about 2 years now and am really happy with the sound from them.

I also run B&W FPM4's for the rears rather than the XT2's as I needed something wall mountable and they also fit in with the decor (keeps the missus happy).

I am using an Arcam AVR300 to power them, specifically chosen for it's musical talents as well as surround sound capabilities. Only downside is that is doesn't provide HDMI output or have any of the latest HD sound formats.

Couple of points about the XT4's that might interest you:

After about 1 month I had an issue with a buzzing from one of the speaker units, sounding like a blown driver unit. After talking to the local store I bought them from, it turned out to be a vibrating dust guard that had come unglued slightly. The B&W rep was really helpful and got both speakers replaced without any fuss. The new set have been problem free.

If you demo the speakers, try them at low and high volumes. I find that the speakers display less detail when played at low volumes, give them a bit of welly and they suddenly start to sing. This may or may not be an issue depending on your preferred listening volume.

I chose to stay away from the B&W PV1 sub as it felt a little cheap and underpowered in comparison to the rest of the speakers. I plumped for the Velodyne SPL-1200 instead and I would recommend you give one a demo as it can really move air (and my sofa :p) and can also handle music as well.

Not had any issues with the B&W XTC and am very happy with its performance.

Hope this helps and have fun choosing.


Hi Patrick

I'm sort of in the same boat, although my speaker budget is
about £3.5k. I auditioned the B&W MT30 plus PV1 the other week and
was well impressed with the movie surround sound. I then listened to
some XT4's (2 speakers, no sub) fed by music fidelity ampage. The sound
from them was lovely with the beautifully engineered demo CD but when I
fed a CD I'm familiar (Gorillaz) with through the system, they just
didn't have the kind of taut bass I'm looking for and used to (got
some aging Linn Keilidh's). The dealer was trying to reassue me that
all would be ok if the XT's were hooked up to an AV amp with sub
switched on. Never got to try this but does anyone have a take on this?

at another dealer I mentioned my experience with the XT4's and they
reckoned these were way overpriced and I could get much better sound for
listening to music from other brands. I audtioned an onkyo 875, with
audio cd's played through a blu ray player (probably not ideal), teamed
with Monitor Audio RS 6's, then B&W CM7's (not great with the onkyo
amp) and finally Monitor Audio GS20's (about £1500) which were the closest I've come
so far for what I'm looking for in terms of listening to music.
Visually of course no traditional floorstander is going to look as good
as XT4's would set against a Kuro in a smart room, although the GS20's are available in gloss piano black.

Like you, I'm not sure about Onkyo AV kit having read tons of negative comments on owners threads in other forums. The jury's still out though and other receivers I'm considering include Yamaha RX-V3800, Denon 3808 and 4308, and maybe the Onkyo 905. All these have ethernet ports which is the way to go, especially if the manufacturer can offer firmware updates flashed via the on-board ethernet.

Bottom line is I want to like the XT4's and haven't completely ruled them out yet but need to listen to them through a high end AV receiver and sub.




After doing some more research I consider now to go for the Onkyo 905 hoping that receiver has been aroudn for long enough by now to have most of the problems addressed. It is the only receiver that sports the Ultra THX2 from those receivers with all the new features and I can not justify it to myself to go for the Denon A1HD at nearly 4k given that both sport nearly exactly the same features from HQV Reon, Ultra THX2, as well as all those things any of the new receivers have. And sounds seems to be quite good if one can believe the reviews here.

Speaker wise I made quite a bit of a change. I will probably go for a home cinema speaker set from Teufel in Germany, the Teufel System 9 Ultra THX 2 in a 7.1 configuration. Many friends in Germany had very good experiences with that brand and it sells straight from the factory as opposed to using all those retailers decreasing prices. This system also got some of the best reviews possible in various German magazines and at just 5k EURO is cheaper than many of the 5.1 setups available over here in the UK. And there is a 12 year guarantee on the speakers (Subwoofer only 2 years) - compare that to a KEF 1-5 year guarantee.... and that in the UK one has to pay extra for guarantees already upset me significantly when i bought the pioneer plasma.

For stereo I will have to get an extra cd-amplifier-2 speaker setup at some point. Need to wait for another bonus... grmpf


If you are going for the 905 I suggest you demo with music first - I have one and am currently battling to get decent sounding music. I am running with old Kef reference 2.2's as the front and have B&W DS6 for the 4 rears and cinema is fabulous, but music is not is lean.


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