Question First system for living-room/kitchen for EUR1K-EUR1.5K

Ostap

Active member
Sep 28, 2023
4
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Hi Everyone,
I would like to ask your help in selecting the items for my first hifi system- unfortunately my budget is limited to 1-1.5KEUR. (I guess for guys in the US the suggested budget would be 1KUSD, cause as per what I see, here in Europe we have 1.5-2x in terms of prices vs the US).
I have browsed and read and watched on internet I think a lot... but the more I do the more I get "into the woods" :)- so your help will be so much appreciated!
THE CHALLENGE:
Room and speakers placement:

I can only put the system in my living-room/kitchen.
The building is old and has thick brick walls. The room in total is 19sqmeters (including the appendix of some 3sqm, that you can see on the photo); quite tall ceiling ( at least 3meters).
The room has all kinds of furniture there and the only imaginable place I see for the speakers is besides the couch- as I have indicated on the photos- not ideal, but I have what I have.
Also, I cannot afford to move speakers away from the wall for ~1m; they will have to be quite close to the wall behind.
Speaker:
Really no concrete idea about which exactly; as per my investigation so far, I guess:
-as mentioned above, they will be close to the wall- so probably should be front ported.
-probably should be "brighter" as the room is full of random furniture.
Should I go for bookshelf speakers or something larger, considering the size of the room?
Subwoofer- know what it is but not sure when it is needed and when not; I guess it depends which speakers I go for.
AMP:
absolutely no idea- relying on you on which will go with other components best.
DAC and Streamer:
I will using the system only with digital sources (e.g. TIDAL), no turn tables, no cd, etc.
Again- don't really have an idea what exactly I need here. but I would like to have an option to use hifi streaming (Tidal), but also to have possibility connect quickly something casual, like spotify or put the sound from the youtube on the phone via bluetooth for example.
Other considerations:
I would like to also be able to connect the tv (you can see it on the photo a bit)- via the cable or bleutooth.... I guess you don't get hifi from tv anyhow (or maybe you can).
It would be great if I can connect electric guitar- not a deal-breaker, but would be good to have.

Hopefully I described everything to consider and I am not missing anything; maybe something of the above doesn't make sense- sorry, everyone has to start somewhere :)

Ultimately, if you can put the components that match best - that would be the gem!

I will go around the brick-and-mortar shops also to see how it all work and maybe get some wisdom from sales reps.

Thank you in advance!
 

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Witterings

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2020
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Surprised nobody else has stepped in with some suggestions.

Depends how important the TV is, if you want to go HDMI it'll narrow your choices a lot, worth having a look to see if the TV's got optical out?

Matantz NR 1200 has HDMI in and some streaming services ( not sure if it's got Tidal) or you could see if you can find a 2nd hand Cyrus One Cast.

Marantz 7000N has optical in .... £649 at Richer Sounds.

If you wanted minimalist you could get something like an SMSL AO200 and pair it with a WiiM Pro Plus which has a decent onboard DAC and has Optical in so could plug the TV into there and I'm sure there's a way you could get the guitar into the Line In.

If you go for a streamer like the WiiM you don't need an amp with streaming functionality but there's so many to chose from, just be careful as there's 2 versions, the Pro which the DAC isn't great or the Pro Plus which has a much better DAC

Rega Brio is very highly regarded, on offer at Audio T at the moment.

Dali Oberon 5 speakers are a very popular choice, not sure how easy they are to place but might be worth looking into and there's fairly often ex-demo / open box on e-bay.

I have a pair of Elac B5.2's in a larger kitchen living area, they're placed on a window sill with glass right behind and hence why I wanted front ported, I've also tried them in a bigger lounge and they almost don't seem too small in there although I'd probably look at their B6.2's which are a size up if they were staying there.

I also had some Focal Aria 926's which were front portd and really easy to place, they were actually a great speaker, very slightly bright on the top end, certainly over budget new but you may find some 2nd hand, sold mine for £800.

There's always some 2nd hand PMC's on e-bay, most of which are transmission line / front ported.

Is there nowhere else you can put the speakers, if you#re sitting on the sofa you really want them pointing towards you not at your side pinting away from you.

Hope that's give you a few things to look at.
 
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Gray

Well-known member
Speaker:
Really no concrete idea about which exactly; as per my investigation so far, I guess:
-as mentioned above, they will be close to the wall- so probably should be front ported.
-probably should be "brighter" as the room is full of random furniture.
Should I go for bookshelf speakers or something larger, considering the size of the room?
No. they certainly do not need to be brighter.
Yes, there is the random furniture that you mention, but there is also large areas of hard, reflective surface.

I can only be honest and tell you that when I see those (as I so often do), I cringe when I think about the compromise and frankly, the money you could be wasting.

Sorry to be negative but, from experience, I can only give you this analogy as to the effect of room acoustics your sound:
Imagine a person desperately in need of glasses attempting to read a book without them.
Yes, with a struggle he can see the words, but it takes real effort......which is not fun.
A properly treated room is like him putting on perfect prescription glasses.
The sound will be focused.
All (or the vast majority) of the effort needed to hear the music properly is removed - making it a relaxed, pleasure.

If you think I improved my listening room, you're right - and it was by far the best thing I ever did.
I know that my modestly priced equipment is less compromised than something costing 10 times as much - in the wrong room.

Again, sorry to tell you what you didn't want to hear.
Maybe you can't (or don't want to) change a thing.
But it's essential that you listen to some choices - start at a dealer if at all possible - then get a home loan if you can, before buying. See how the sound compares.

It's never going to be practical for domestic situations to have the same acoustics as a dealers listening room.
But it's just a fact that, the further you get from them, the more money you're wasting.

Good luck, I hope you can maximise the potential of your outlay.
 

Ostap

Active member
Sep 28, 2023
4
1
25
Surprised nobody else has stepped in with some suggestions.

Depends how important the TV is, if you want to go HDMI it'll narrow your choices a lot, worth having a look to see if the TV's got optical out?

Matantz NR 1200 has HDMI in and some streaming services ( not sure if it's got Tidal) or you could see if you can find a 2nd hand Cyrus One Cast.

Marantz 7000N has optical in .... £649 at Richer Sounds.

If you wanted minimalist you could get something like an SMSL AO200 and pair it with a WiiM Pro Plus which has a decent onboard DAC and has Optical in so could plug the TV into there and I'm sure there's a way you could get the guitar into the Line In.

If you go for a streamer like the WiiM you don't need an amp with streaming functionality but there's so many to chose from, just be careful as there's 2 versions, the Pro which the DAC isn't great or the Pro Plus which has a much better DAC

Rega Brio is very highly regarded, on offer at Audio T at the moment.

Dali Oberon 5 speakers are a very popular choice, not sure how easy they are to place but might be worth looking into and there's fairly often ex-demo / open box on e-bay.

I have a pair of Elac B5.2's in a larger kitchen living area, they're placed on a window sill with glass right behind and hence why I wanted front ported, I've also tried them in a bigger lounge and they almost don't seem too small in there although I'd probably look at their B6.2's which are a size up if they were staying there.

I also had some Focal Aria 926's which were front portd and really easy to place, they were actually a great speaker, very slightly bright on the top end, certainly over budget new but you may find some 2nd hand, sold mine for £800.

There's always some 2nd hand PMC's on e-bay, most of which are transmission line / front ported.

Is there nowhere else you can put the speakers, if you#re sitting on the sofa you really want them pointing towards you not at your side pinting away from you.

Hope that's give you a few things to look at.
Thanks you very much for the help- greatly appreciated.
I will be looking into the suggestions.
I went last week to couple of dealers to get some wisdom and with what I ended up ( which I will be now revising based on your comments) is:
Bluesound PowerNode paired with Klipsch rp-600m.
I have the optical out in the TV, which is maybe even better cause I can get the longer cable easier.

I like the idea Dali Oberon 5 cause they are floorstanders and look better to me... also regarding the placement- I actually spent most of the time in the center--ish of the and only for movies I would move to sofa, so I can readjust (and probably swap left/right) the speakers for the "session".

PowerNode does the job of everything (amp, DAC, streamer)- do I understand correctly that your suggestions have the same quality:
WiiM Pro Plus also has everything but you suggest to connect to SMSL ao2000 or Rega Brio cause they are better amps?
Same for both Matantzs-they have all 3 components in them?
Do you think that those options fair better vs Powernode?

Thank you very much in advance.
 

Witterings

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2020
487
254
5,270
PowerNode does the job of everything (amp, DAC, streamer)- do I understand correctly that your suggestions have the same quality:
WiiM Pro Plus also has everything but you suggest to connect to SMSL ao2000 or Rega Brio cause they are better amps?
Same for both Matantzs-they have all 3 components in them?
Do you think that those options fair better vs Powernode?

Certainly the PowerNode's are a very good all in one, the standard Node Streamer's limiting factor was possibly the DAC and quite a few people used an external one, I'm assuming the PowerNode uses the same DAC but as it's all in one you can't bypass it ... but it may well be "good" enough.

I'd say the Rega with a WiiM Pro Plus would be the best option out of the others and most niticeable difference to the PowerNode.

I think you're at the deciding point of a "lifetsyle system" in which case the PowerNode is a very good choice or is this the beginning of a journey and you're going to want to upgrade in the future in which case seperates would be better.

If you're decided on speakers maybe buy those but then get a home trial (or even a shop demo) of the PowerNode and the Rega with a WiiM.
 

Ostap

Active member
Sep 28, 2023
4
1
25
Sorry, here is the photo itself.
Certainly the PowerNode's are a very good all in one, the standard Node Streamer's limiting factor was possibly the DAC and quite a few people used an external one, I'm assuming the PowerNode uses the same DAC but as it's all in one you can't bypass it ... but it may well be "good" enough.

I'd say the Rega with a WiiM Pro Plus would be the best option out of the others and most niticeable difference to the PowerNode.

I think you're at the deciding point of a "lifetsyle system" in which case the PowerNode is a very good choice or is this the beginning of a journey and you're going to want to upgrade in the future in which case seperates would be better.

If you're decided on speakers maybe buy those but then get a home trial (or even a shop demo) of the PowerNode and the Rega with a WiiM.
Thanks- will try to arrange to arrange a home-demo. But I most probably will go for "lifestyle system"
QQ please, for Elax b5.2- which all-in-one device you would recommend? I am just asking cause PowerNode seems to me an overkill, no? (purely from the price standpoint difference- its twice more expensive vs the speakers)?
Thanks in advance.
 

twinkletoes

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2021
495
346
2,270
Sorry, here is the photo itself.

Thanks- will try to arrange to arrange a home-demo. But I most probably will go for "lifestyle system"
QQ please, for Elax b5.2- which all-in-one device you would recommend? I am just asking cause PowerNode seems to me an overkill, no? (purely from the price standpoint difference- its twice more expensive vs the speakers)?
Thanks in advance.
In a space like that it Seems like the solution here would be a pair of streaming speakers of some kind.

Jbl 4305p think that model number (type In jble active speakers there’s a bigger one and smaller one I thinking about the smaller for around the 1600 mark) these will be ideal as all you’ll need is power cables and all the connections you need for a tv ie toslink but loads of legacy connections if the mood strikes you.

Klipsch 5,7 or 9s these have an hdmi

Or even some plain old Sonos style speakers of some kind though connect to a tv in the traditional sense but nothing stopping a Bluetooth connection if you tv can do this

All these have some sort of airplay, chromecast options for streaming and klipsch Sonos have the connect option's.

They’ll work better in the tight multi use space that you have, in my opinion that is . All should be within budget.
 

Witterings

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2020
487
254
5,270
Sorry, here is the photo itself.

Thanks- will try to arrange to arrange a home-demo. But I most probably will go for "lifestyle system"
QQ please, for Elax b5.2- which all-in-one device you would recommend? I am just asking cause PowerNode seems to me an overkill, no? (purely from the price standpoint difference- its twice more expensive vs the speakers)?
Thanks in advance.

If you're asking that question on QQ .... firstly you've put Elax not Elac but I'd also look at the B6.2's ... the only reason I didn't go with them is I didn't have the depth for them on the window sill so settled for the 5.2's.

The Powernode Edge may be worth looking at as well just less powerful than the Powernode itself.
 

matthewpianist

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2022
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847
1,770
Given the compromises in positioning, Dali would be a good option for the speakers thanks to their wide dispersion tweeters. The Oberon 5s are very good, but they need space to avoid boom, and it's likely you will have potential for quite a few bass problems in that room. The Oberon 1 would be a good bet for your environment.

In terms of the electronics, the PowerNode Edge is a good suggestion. I used to have a PowerNode driving Dali Spektor 2s in a bedroom system and it was often more captivating than the (expensive) main system I had at the time.
 

Ostap

Active member
Sep 28, 2023
4
1
25
Thank you all a lot for the suggestions- it helped me big times to figure out what I need.
will go to few stores this weekend and try the speakers out!
 
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