Getting back into hi-fi... Speaker advice needed please.

Antics

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Hi,

I've got an old Arcam A65+ Amp sitting gathering dust. So I'll be sorting a streamer out (Wiim Pro Plus) soon and I'm trying to choose some speakers.

They can be stand mount or floorstanders (though i prefer the look of the latter). Looks are important as the GF needs to be onboard.

I'm going to audition as 2nd hand pair of B&W 603 S2 Anniversary Edition this weekend.

Also considering the KEF Q550 and Q Acoustic 5040.

I do like a nice sweet and detailed midrange. I'm not a bass junkie.

Any thoughts on the pairings would be appreciated. Or any other suggestions too.

Thanks
 

Integralista

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Feb 9, 2024
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Hi,

you got a nice amp, I recommend to look also on some used Bluesound Node streamer. This is top choice also used.
As for speakers, Bowers&Wilkins 603 and Kef Q550 are both not so easy speakers. Both requite autority and power in bass especialy. It is typical esp. for B&W. My friend use similar B&W603 S3 with double mono power amp (some 150watt per chanell/4Ohm) and just this amp woke them up. Kefs are less critical as they are 2,5 way design but using Aluminium for bass cones. Amp must be of very high quality, no compromise. And this is revealing speaker, which let you know all compromises in your system (a bit like Magico in High End). Buying such speakers you will rebuild whole your system, I am sure. You mentioned also Q Acoustics 5040. This is a lot easier speaker to drive than Kef and B&W. It is modern, very advanced design with excellent sound and I think also very elegant. I will consider buying them in your case. Also Monitor Audio Bronze 500 are very good. They are very sensitive (90dB) and 8 ohm impedance, which needs your amp. They work very good with e.g Marantz 6007 or 7000N which are both low powered musical amps. Like your Arcam. BR.
 
Welcome to the forum.

KEF and QA are two of my favourite brands. The Q series are getting on a bit now but have stood the test of time and good discounts are often available. The QA you mention is from their newer, more exciting sounding range which I’ve not heard. I wouldn’t overlook the older 3050i even though it’s often around £500, as it’s very nice, and on the mellower side.

For a partner-friendly look and very even-handed sound then the Dali Oberon 5 is very nice. Not only attractive finishes but not too big, and easy to place.

Between that lot and the B&W you’re listening to, you’ve a good chance of finding something suitable. Please do go to a store or dealer, even if just a chain like Sevenoaks or Richer, to see the diversity of finishes, and check their latest offers. Even the best pictures don’t convey what you see and can touch.
 
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Amormusic

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You've not said how much you have to spend on the speakers?

If you are working to a budget, there's a pair of black Q Acoustic Concept 40 floorstanders on the Maverick forum which are very sensibly priced at £300ono.

I've owned two pairs of the Concept 20 stand mounts previously and for the money they are excellent speakers. QA beefed up the cases and put an absorbing gel layer in between two layers. The Concept range are their higher end range.

If I was building a sensibly priced system, I don't think you could go wrong with a pair of those. Being used you also wouldn't lose any, or very little, cash if you decided to sell them in future.

NB: I have no connection to the seller of those.
 
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Integralista

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Feb 9, 2024
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Welcome to the forum.

KEF and QA are two of my favourite brands. The Q series are getting on a bit now but have stood the test of time and good discounts are often available. The QA you mention is from their newer, more exciting sounding range which I’ve not heard. I wouldn’t overlook the older 3050i even though it’s often around £500, as it’s very nice, and on the mellower side.

For a partner-friendly look and very even-handed sound then the Dali Oberon 5 is very nice. Not only attractive finishes but not too big, and easy to place.

Between that lot and the B&W you’re listening to, you’ve a good chance of finding something suitable. Please do go to a store or dealer, even if just a chain like Sevenoaks or Richer, to see the diversity of finishes, and check their latest offers. Even the best pictures don’t convey what you see and can touch.
QA 3050 or Dali Oberon 5 are both very good tips for amp like Arcam 65+ or Arcam A19. Just remark, QA 3050 produce quite a lot of bass, it needs more care in positioning to prevent booming. Dali is easier here in this department.
 

twinkletoes

Well-known member
Best advice I can give is pick some you both like the look of, then listen to them, pick the one that gets your foot tapping. Not much else to it really.

It’s been along time since I listen to an a65 though I remember it being a “mellow” sound, so I’d look for more exciting sounding speakers, the ying to its yang. Back in the day in its price range , that was mission or b&w. And those same brands are about within that budget today.
 
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Fandango Andy

Well-known member
Hi,

I've got an old Arcam A65+ Amp sitting gathering dust. So I'll be sorting a streamer out (Wiim Pro Plus) soon and I'm trying to choose some speakers.

They can be stand mount or floorstanders (though i prefer the look of the latter). Looks are important as the GF needs to be onboard.

I'm going to audition as 2nd hand pair of B&W 603 S2 Anniversary Edition this weekend.

Also considering the KEF Q550 and Q Acoustic 5040.

I do like a nice sweet and detailed midrange. I'm not a bass junkie.

Any thoughts on the pairings would be appreciated. Or any other suggestions too.

Thanks
Loadspeakers are very subjective in both looks and sound. They also vary massively with how forgiving they are with their placement. When it comes to sound, there is no substitute for an audition.

I haven't heard the Q Acoustics you mentioned, but their cheaper sibling the 3050i are fantastic, so there is a good chance they are good too. I would also take a look at Triangle. I haven't heard any of their floorstanders, but very impressed with their standmounts.
 

Fandango Andy

Well-known member
Hi,

you got a nice amp, I recommend to look also on some used Bluesound Node streamer. This is top choice also used.
As for speakers, Bowers&Wilkins 603 and Kef Q550 are both not so easy speakers. Both requite autority and power in bass especialy. It is typical esp. for B&W. My friend use similar B&W603 S3 with double mono power amp (some 150watt per chanell/4Ohm) and just this amp woke them up. Kefs are less critical as they are 2,5 way design but using Aluminium for bass cones. Amp must be of very high quality, no compromise. And this is revealing speaker, which let you know all compromises in your system (a bit like Magico in High End). Buying such speakers you will rebuild whole your system, I am sure. You mentioned also Q Acoustics 5040. This is a lot easier speaker to drive than Kef and B&W. It is modern, very advanced design with excellent sound and I think also very elegant. I will consider buying them in your case. Also Monitor Audio Bronze 500 are very good. They are very sensitive (90dB) and 8 ohm impedance, which needs your amp. They work very good with e.g Marantz 6007 or 7000N which are both low powered musical amps. Like your Arcam. BR.
I borrowed a Bluesound Node with a view to buying it. It didn't sound as good as a Wiim Mini with a Schiit Modi DAC (also borrowed). I kept the Wiim and added an SMSL SU-1 DAC and gave the Bluesound back. I didn't have the Bluesound to do a direct comparison with the Wiim + SMSL, but was able to compare the Schiit with the SMSL and am happy with my choice.

Not saying then Wiim is better. That was a couple of years ago and both have moved on with new products. Just not sure most people need to be spending Bluesound money any more. They were the only game in town in their price bracket for a while, but not any longer.
 

Stuart83

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Jul 22, 2023
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Hi,

I've got an old Arcam A65+ Amp sitting gathering dust. So I'll be sorting a streamer out (Wiim Pro Plus) soon and I'm trying to choose some speakers.

They can be stand mount or floorstanders (though i prefer the look of the latter). Looks are important as the GF needs to be onboard.

I'm going to audition as 2nd hand pair of B&W 603 S2 Anniversary Edition this weekend.

Also considering the KEF Q550 and Q Acoustic 5040.

I do like a nice sweet and detailed midrange. I'm not a bass junkie.

Any thoughts on the pairings would be appreciated. Or any other suggestions too.

Thanks
I know the QA 3050i partner very well with Arcam as I've had that pairing recently.
Very alive and fresh sounding and fill the room very well.
Imo punch they well above their weight hence their various accolades.

At the time I also demoed the 5040 and a few others back to back at richer sounds and both me and the guy there agreed although sounding slightly different the 3050i sounded as good to us both presenting a bargain to me.

After a pair of old mission speakers blew in a somewhat vintage second hifi so the QA's were moved over as the replacements (which sound amazing via a pioneer a400) better in some regards.

It ment I then needed to look into suitable replacements for my main hifi and after many demoes including the B&W 603 S2 with my personal preference in mind, I found the fyne audio f502s near the top of the list of favourite speakers I've ever heard connected to the Arcam sa30 and Arcam radias.

With their vicerale punch and fission ensuing pleasure's everytime they go loud with quality all across the range to boot its what I came home with.
Not too much bass but it is there so maybe not the best match.

Speakers are a very personal thing after all they are primary to the amp in creating the main differences to the sound you will hear given the anciliries are decent.

I also demoed the wharfdale diamond evo 4.4s etc and a few of the other main contenders on top and none came close to the way the fynes throw music at you (if you like that kinda thing).
They were a nice suprise.

You may want to see my thread

Well I managed to get to richer sounds and another and demo a few different speakers including the said Fyne audio 501 and wharfdale 4.4 Evo.
I even tried a few amps aswell😀

I used my Acram sa30 for reference and an Acram radia amongst a few others.
In the view of keeping to the thread topic I wont go further with my opinions on other amps to rule out bad partnering.

I can only give my personal opinion within my preferences.
As you know speakers are a very personal thing.
I use reviews and advice as a ballpark to separate the seed from the chaff first then demo the shortlist.

Everything is of course "IMO" so please do not take offence.
I find it easier to almost write a disclaimer first.
Everything is of course"to my ears" and I don't want to be writing IMO after every sentence.
(Plus I like you guys, I would not force my view nor willingly cause offence)

The wharfdales that interested me the most came first.
The first thing I noticed was the drivers seeming much smaller than advertised.

It seems they too now use the circumference of the driver surround to boast a larger size.
They are 4.74 inches ( about 5" including actual integral driver surround) the rest is a surrounding aesthetic fascia.
So not the 6.5" specified size.

Once music commenced after the guy in richer sounds after recommended the fyne audio over them that is 🤷‍♀️ I was totally surprised by a lack luster sound.

I thought it was actually a set up issue, that much I found myself checking everything quickly before adjusting the volume and source.

Sitting back again I just knew within a minute they weren't for me despite my head telling me
"Hey they won stuff and are wharfdales they must be good 😂"

There just wasn't any excitement or urgency in anything.
I didn't find them directional because of the AMT tweeter nor fatiguing as assumed by another poster, quite the opposite.

They were very laid back as one or two reviewer's picked up on.
Not in the type of manner best suited to a low volume listening more akin to my father's type of listening preferences but rather in itself lifeless.

I won't go on as I'm genuinely not wanting to cause offence with those who like them.
Suffice to say alongside the floor staff (the ones that like hifi) I found the best polysemous word for them in my opinion is "dull" 🤔 within my personal preferences.

Second came the Bowers & Wilkinson 603 S3

To stay away from the usual elongated marmite wax lyrical style we've all come to know from magazine reviews etc, which all use the same words in a different order via a lazy fashion of getting through an entire page before describing the actual attributes.

To use key words.
I found them very detailed, bass rich with much much clarity.
Something ever there that would appeal to nearly everyone, I found nothing really wrong with anything
If playing it safe an ideal speaker to have indeed.

They are what I've always expected from B&W's and that's an air of quality that's immediately apparent.
They were a much better sounding speaker than the aforementioned wharfdales but are a tad more expensive to boot.
I couldn't see them disappointing anyone but I always look for something to stand out rather than blend in so decided against.

Next the fyne audio f501

Within a minute of the lumineers "stubborn love" an innate smile spread from ear to ear.
The music felt alive with all vicerale excitement i could cope with.
It made me think how much im in love with the lumineers music.

The speakers had me "hearing" the music once again instead of just analysing the sound.
I found myself enjoying the same music tracks (in the interest of fairness) exponentially more.
😁😁😁😁😁😁😁😁
Everything I personally like was there.
Intoxicating Power and drive, so engaging beyond the other two prior mentioned speakers.
They are a very commanding speaker.
I thought that was enough and my decision was made.

At this point I'd heard enough until I saw the fyne audio F502 were on offer.

In they rolled on a trolley dolly nearly 4ft of them with the spikes on.

I sat back and admired the imposing look as the squeaky wheels we all know from the supermarkets moved them into place.
Being a DJ I've had many huge and still have an older pair of Mackie's in the loft (where they can stay) that dont carry such a domineering look.

High power monitors/PA's aren't "usually" good for anything but loud.
They can be very flat.
(There's a few exceptions)
I've had many and never considered them to be as good as their hifi equivalent.

The fyne audio f502 speakers had me sat in awe so much so that I'd forgotten about the two pairs of stand mounts I'd heard prior all together

I still can't remember what they were 😂

The 502's are Absolute behemoth's.
They were very similar to the 501 with everything I liked so much and more.
So much more depth and attack.
A much fuller lower end bass out of the 8" drivers but in a very quick and controlled manner.

They reminded me of an older favourite pair of mission 763i's of yesteryear that were very bass rich.
Coincidentally I like them that much they languish in a cupboard awaiting repair.

Everything was so fresh sounding with exceptional dynamics irrespective of the small room size in comparison to the speakers.

The "small" demo room at richer sounds is almost the same width as my bedroom come listening room although not as long.

I liked the fyne audio 501 so much I thought they were not able to be bettered within my set parameters.

That little 501 floorstander is an absolute hoot.
A joy to listen to.

I Switched to the track that was the end for the mission mx3's thus causing this whole scenario, The clash "lost in the supermarket"

I dialed it up to 52 on the Arcam after being somewhat egged on by the richer sounds salesman which to people who've heard one will tell confirm is very loud and the absolute limit for some smaller speakers and sat back.

It seems Arcam didn't over state their wattage unlike the Roksan k3 it replaced.

My limbic system was flooded.
I felt genuine "frisson" as I do regularly when music is loud with a quality sound.

The hairs on the back of my neck were stood up on end.

Absolutely what I was looking for without comprise.
I assumed it not possible at this price to get so much.

I read the backstory to the relatively new fyne audio formation suffice to say it shows that alongside their time at tannoy being of heavy influence they have added their own (iso) flare pardon the pun.

I can't describe how good these speakers sound as you might not have the same preference in sound or be even near.

Someone's bright might be somewhat shrill to another.
Another's leaning to warmer sounding speakers could sound too rolled off to different listener.

I can say I liked the fyne audio 502 that much I purchased them.

In terms of speakers I demoed I've forgotten the two stand mounts heard.
I know I relegated them quickly not finding what I was looking for in either.

I also demoed a few other floorstanders and amps but don't want to bore you any further with my attempts to explain what I thought of some the speakers I've demoed.
Suffice to say it isn't a review I'm trying to put forth just a friendly impression of what I think personally.

I couldn't get to demo some of the suggestions made as they were either to far afield or not stocked at all with the vendors I am willing to purchase from.

My partner did take a few photos as I was to impressed with both the fyne audio 501 and 502 to think beyond what I was hearing
 

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