Question Help me build my first Hi-Fi (streaming) Set Up!

ShredderNL

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Hello lovely Hi-Fi nerds and Audiophiles.
I'm moving out into my own apartment in a few months, which means I'll finally have some space for a decent Hi-Fi set-up rather than a Bluetooth speaker and some P.C. Speakers.
I've been lurking around Hi-Fi and Audiophile forums for years but have next to none real life experience with any of the equipment.

Some important considerations:
- My budget is €1200.- to €1500.- maximum (1028,- GBP to 1286,- GBP)
- My location is The Netherlands. (May be important for availability)
- My apartment isn't very big at 34m² living room/open kitchen. (365 sq. ft.)
- I listen to a lot of Rock, Hardrock, Heavy Metal, but also Pop & Dreampop, Acoustic Folk etc. (examples; Metallica, Judas Priest, Gojira, Foo Fighters, Led Zeppelin, Alice In Chains, London Grammar, Agnes Obel, Aurora, Florence + The Machine).
- I mainly want to stream my audio using Tidal Hi-Fi and FLAC files downloaded on my phone. But also listen to CD's at times. (but on many streaming amplifiers you can add a CD-player later on)
- I'm looking for a tight punchy bass, full bodied mids, and clear / airy highs.
- Both stand mounted speakers as well as floor standing towers are okay.

The only experience with Hi-Fi speakers I have was in fact yesterday, when I walked into a local Hi-Fi store. I got to compare the Dali Oberon 5's vs. Bowers&Wilkins 606 S3's through a refurbished Naim UnitiLite.
I vastly preferred the Bowers&Wilkins, in comparison to the Dali Oberon 5's they had a tighter bass, and more clarity in the highs, and sounded more energetic and lively. But with heavy guitar parts in Metallica's Sad But True I did find a lack of body/balls/oomph in the mids. You didn't really hear or feel that guitar "chug".
So what speakers should I be considering that are close to the Bowers&Wilkins in terms of punchy bass and clarity, but with fuller mids? (Focal? Dynaudio? a different B&W? A different Dali? QAcoustics? Klipsch? KEF?)
Also, let's say I do end up picking the B&W speakers, they are bright. And it is generally recommended to pair them with a warmer amp. But where do streaming amplifiers fall in this category? (Looking at the WiiM Amp, Bluesound Powernode (N330), Marantz PM7000N, Cambridge Audio Evo 75, Naim UnitiLite, depending on what will be available on the used market).

So, taking in all this information, can somebody please help me out and point me in the right direction?
There are too many options to pick from, especially if you consider the used market.
 

Juzzie Wuzzie

Well-known member
I am currently running my Naim Uniti Lite into Dali Oberon 5s and quite enjoy it - so would come with a recommendation. But a different sized room, acoustics, etc, etc.

The WiiM Amp would tempt me - and is something you could purchase new (if you can find somewhere that has them in stock) and well within budget. Perhaps paired with a sub to get the outcomes you are after; and also benefits from potential integration with television.

From your other suggestions, Marantz generally get positive statements made about them, but I have no personal experience.

Not mentioned and probably outside of budget (but perhaps not second hand) would be Lyngdorf and Hegel.
 
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Stuart83

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I only advise on what I've heard myself and I tried the Dalis and a few others but found the cheaper "q acoustics 3050i" a warmer sound and better deal.
If your into heavy metal they are very well suited especially when your personal preference is music on the louder side of the volume dial.
The budget you've set would mean a slightly cheaper speaker would leave more headroom for a decent amp as the speakers and amp have the biggest effect on what you hear providing any ancillaries you have after that are half decent.

The Marantz pm 7000 which I heard myself at richer sounds is nice and at 342 £ and within your budget but I found it a little underpowered with floorstanders.
The Cambridge audio axr100 is a nice amp and will comfortably power most speakers at 349 £.
It has inbuilt Bluetooth which is half decent for your streaming.
Mentioning watts and its many variables is a big debate starter but they are indeed the best indicator of what to expect at the volume dial.
Your right in saying there are so many choices but despite being pointed in the right direction it's always better to hear it for yourself if possible.

The above choices would leave you change for a cd player in the future which for your budget never look past the Marantz cd6007 it sounds very good.
Its just coming into the used market at 229 £.
I upped my budget when modernising a hifi and got a hold of an acram sa30 after trying a few different makers and models which takes care of everything at around 900 £.
If you value awards it's won all sorts including the eisa product of the yr 2yrs ago.
I can personally tell you it's very good.
With that you may find the q acoustics 3050i used still in your budget.
I have both within my hifi and they sound very good.
The exhaustive connectivity of the acram means a TV and sub woofer can be connected in the future and an endless scope for ancillaries inc both a MM and MC stage for a record player if ever wanted.
 
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ShredderNL

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I only advise on what I've heard myself and I tried the Dalis and a few others but found the cheaper "q acoustics 3050i" a warmer sound and better deal.
If your into heavy metal they are very well suited especially when your personal preference is music on the louder side of the volume dial.
The budget you've set would mean a slightly cheaper speaker would leave more headroom for a decent amp as the speakers and amp have the biggest effect on what you hear providing any ancillaries you have after that are half decent.

The Marantz pm 7000 which I heard myself at richer sounds is nice and at 342 £ and within your budget but I found it a little underpowered with floorstanders.
The Cambridge audio axr100 is a nice amp and will comfortably power most speakers at 349 £.
It has inbuilt Bluetooth which is half decent for your streaming.
Mentioning watts and its many variables is a big debate starter but they are indeed the best indicator of what to expect at the volume dial.
Your right in saying there are so many choices but despite being pointed in the right direction it's always better to hear it for yourself if possible.

The above choices would leave you change for a cd player in the future which for your budget never look past the Marantz cd6007 it sounds very good.
Its just coming into the used market at 229 £.
I upped my budget when modernising a hifi and got a hold of an acram sa30 after trying a few different makers and models which takes care of everything at around 900 £.
If you value awards it's won all sorts including the eisa product of the yr 2yrs ago.
I can personally tell you it's very good.
With that you may find the q acoustics 3050i used still in your budget.
I have both within my hifi and they sound very good.
The exhaustive connectivity of the acram means a TV and sub woofer can be connected in the future and an endless scope for ancillaries inc both a MM and MC stage for a record player if ever wanted.
Well I do like my music loud, but I do live in an apartment. So it can never get too crazy. Let's say around 75-80db's would be the loudest it ever gets played. But the other thing you mentioned is that the QAcoustics have a warmer sound. I don't really want a warmer sound. I just want to find something close to the B&W 606 S3's but with more body in the mids. And I have no clue where to find that... Also I was thinking around €1000,- for the speakers, and €500,- for the amp (both used). But maybe a different balance in price between amp and speaker would be better. Do bare in mind the amp absolutely needs to have integrated streaming at 24bit/192kHz and can make use of Tidal Hi-Fi connect. I'm not familiar with the ones you mentioned in (apart from the Marantz PM7000N I looked into).
 

twinkletoes

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Well I do like my music loud, but I do live in an apartment. So it can never get too crazy. Let's say around 75-80db's would be the loudest it ever gets played. But the other thing you mentioned is that the QAcoustics have a warmer sound. I don't really want a warmer sound. I just want to find something close to the B&W 606 S3's but with more body in the mids. And I have no clue where to find that... Also I was thinking around €1000,- for the speakers, and €500,- for the amp (both used). But maybe a different balance in price between amp and speaker would be better. Do bare in mind the amp absolutely needs to have integrated streaming at 24bit/192kHz and can make use of Tidal Hi-Fi connect. I'm not familiar with the ones you mentioned in (apart from the Marantz PM7000N I looked into).
Acoustic engery AE1's with a streamer/pre of your choice. Wim /bluesound/fiio r7 will handle what ever you throw at them. This would be a top pick on my list if start from scratch.

IF you can save a little longer or wait for a sale id also take a seriously long long look at JBL 4305p on sale now just a touch over budget here in the UK. all on ones no need for extra boxes.

more traditional systems -

bluesound power node and Kef seem to be good bed fellows.

Rotel, Kef, wim streamer.

OR tbh if all you want to do is listen to music and have fun, for the price there isnt much that matches Sonos and user interface and ease of use.

If looking at a more traditional system id spend a little less on speakers and more on the amp to control those said speakers.

Hope that gives you little steer and some food for thought, try and hear them in the flesh if you can. or make sure you have good returns policy if you don't like them
 

Stuart83

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Well I do like my music loud, but I do live in an apartment. So it can never get too crazy. Let's say around 75-80db's would be the loudest it ever gets played. But the other thing you mentioned is that the QAcoustics have a warmer sound. I don't really want a warmer sound. I just want to find something close to the B&W 606 S3's but with more body in the mids. And I have no clue where to find that... Also I was thinking around €1000,- for the speakers, and €500,- for the amp (both used). But maybe a different balance in price between amp and speaker would be better. Do bare in mind the amp absolutely needs to have integrated streaming at 24bit/192kHz and can make use of Tidal Hi-Fi connect. I'm not familiar with the ones you mentioned in (apart from the Marantz PM7000N I looked into).
Yes it does please see the link provided as streaming is the acram sa30's main purpose hence I thought of mentioning it in line with it being very good to listen to.

It's reason for winning the eisa award was it's streaming capabilities combined with it also being a very good amp at heart.

A warm sound is what is referred to as "has a tilt towards the bass frequencies the overall sound is smoother, softer, and has more emphasis on the mids and low end whereas the highs will be rolled off to some varying degree and less in your face or harsh" which is what I thought you were after.

please see the link below

it mentions what your after in a nutshell.
 
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Jasonovich

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Jul 28, 2022
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Hello lovely Hi-Fi nerds and Audiophiles.
I'm moving out into my own apartment in a few months, which means I'll finally have some space for a decent Hi-Fi set-up rather than a Bluetooth speaker and some P.C. Speakers.
I've been lurking around Hi-Fi and Audiophile forums for years but have next to none real life experience with any of the equipment.

Some important considerations:
- My budget is €1200.- to €1500.- maximum (1028,- GBP to 1286,- GBP)
- My location is The Netherlands. (May be important for availability)
- My apartment isn't very big at 34m² living room/open kitchen. (365 sq. ft.)
- I listen to a lot of Rock, Hardrock, Heavy Metal, but also Pop & Dreampop, Acoustic Folk etc. (examples; Metallica, Judas Priest, Gojira, Foo Fighters, Led Zeppelin, Alice In Chains, London Grammar, Agnes Obel, Aurora, Florence + The Machine).
- I mainly want to stream my audio using Tidal Hi-Fi and FLAC files downloaded on my phone. But also listen to CD's at times. (but on many streaming amplifiers you can add a CD-player later on)
- I'm looking for a tight punchy bass, full bodied mids, and clear / airy highs.
- Both stand mounted speakers as well as floor standing towers are okay.

The only experience with Hi-Fi speakers I have was in fact yesterday, when I walked into a local Hi-Fi store. I got to compare the Dali Oberon 5's vs. Bowers&Wilkins 606 S3's through a refurbished Naim UnitiLite.
I vastly preferred the Bowers&Wilkins, in comparison to the Dali Oberon 5's they had a tighter bass, and more clarity in the highs, and sounded more energetic and lively. But with heavy guitar parts in Metallica's Sad But True I did find a lack of body/balls/oomph in the mids. You didn't really hear or feel that guitar "chug".
So what speakers should I be considering that are close to the Bowers&Wilkins in terms of punchy bass and clarity, but with fuller mids? (Focal? Dynaudio? a different B&W? A different Dali? QAcoustics? Klipsch? KEF?)
Also, let's say I do end up picking the B&W speakers, they are bright. And it is generally recommended to pair them with a warmer amp. But where do streaming amplifiers fall in this category? (Looking at the WiiM Amp, Bluesound Powernode (N330), Marantz PM7000N, Cambridge Audio Evo 75, Naim UnitiLite, depending on what will be available on the used market).

So, taking in all this information, can somebody please help me out and point me in the right direction?
There are too many options to pick from, especially if you consider the used market.
I have noted, you like your music loud and you live in apartment, I would suggest a decent pair of headphones in addition to your new HiFi :)
 

ShredderNL

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Yes it does please see the link provided as streaming is the acram sa30's main purpose hence I thought of mentioning it in line with it being very good to listen to.

It's reason for winning the eisa award was it's streaming capabilities combined with it also being a very good amp at heart.

A warm sound is what is referred to as "has a tilt towards the bass frequencies the overall sound is smoother, softer, and has more emphasis on the mids and low end whereas the highs will be rolled off to some varying degree and less in your face or harsh" which is what I thought you were after.

please see the link below

it mentions what your after in a nutshell.
Well the thing is, I don't want a warm sound, but since the primary speaker option is still the B&W 606's which are bright, they may be better paired with a warmer sounding amp. At least, that's what reviews on the speakers said. I thought it sounded good with the Naim unilite, but I have no clue whether that is a particularly warm sounding amp or not.
 

Jasonovich

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Well the thing is, I don't want a warm sound, but since the primary speaker option is still the B&W 606's which are bright, they may be better paired with a warmer sounding amp. At least, that's what reviews on the speakers said. I thought it sounded good with the Naim unilite, but I have no clue whether that is a particularly warm sounding amp or not.
Puccini amps are slightly on the warm side but they will tame the B&W, they normally retail about £1,200K+ but if you don't mind secondhand, you can get one roughly £400ish on eBay. I know, I'm currently bidding for Naim 5i and if I don't succeed on the auction, I have the Puccini in mind. Worth looking into?


1702662102626.png
1702662014146.png
If you can extend your budget to 20th Anniversary Integrated Amplifier, Audioemotion.co.uk are selling at much reduced price.

 
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GroeneLeeuw

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Well the thing is, I don't want a warm sound, but since the primary speaker option is still the B&W 606's which are bright, they may be better paired with a warmer sounding amp. At least, that's what reviews on the speakers said. I thought it sounded good with the Naim unilite, but I have no clue whether that is a particularly warm sounding amp or not.
Stay away from B&W speakers, they are as you have experienced too bright. Try to listen to more neutral speakers, which will give you "body" if it´s there in the recording, from the likes of KEF or Focal.
 
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ShredderNL

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Stay away from B&W speakers, they are as you have experienced too bright. Try to listen to more neutral speakers, which will give you "body" if it´s there in the recording, from the likes of KEF or Focal.
Do I recognize a Dutch user name? Anyways, I didn't think they were too bright, but on the brighter side. I do tend to like my music a bit brighter. I guess it gives me the illusion of clarity. But talking of Focal, what would you suggest? Aria 906? Theva N1? What speaker has a similar tight & punchy bass as the B&W's do? So not a "woofy" or "rumbling" bass.
 

Fandango Andy

Well-known member
Hello lovely Hi-Fi nerds and Audiophiles.
I'm moving out into my own apartment in a few months, which means I'll finally have some space for a decent Hi-Fi set-up rather than a Bluetooth speaker and some P.C. Speakers.
I've been lurking around Hi-Fi and Audiophile forums for years but have next to none real life experience with any of the equipment.

Some important considerations:
- My budget is €1200.- to €1500.- maximum (1028,- GBP to 1286,- GBP)
- My location is The Netherlands. (May be important for availability)
- My apartment isn't very big at 34m² living room/open kitchen. (365 sq. ft.)
- I listen to a lot of Rock, Hardrock, Heavy Metal, but also Pop & Dreampop, Acoustic Folk etc. (examples; Metallica, Judas Priest, Gojira, Foo Fighters, Led Zeppelin, Alice In Chains, London Grammar, Agnes Obel, Aurora, Florence + The Machine).
- I mainly want to stream my audio using Tidal Hi-Fi and FLAC files downloaded on my phone. But also listen to CD's at times. (but on many streaming amplifiers you can add a CD-player later on)
- I'm looking for a tight punchy bass, full bodied mids, and clear / airy highs.
- Both stand mounted speakers as well as floor standing towers are okay.

The only experience with Hi-Fi speakers I have was in fact yesterday, when I walked into a local Hi-Fi store. I got to compare the Dali Oberon 5's vs. Bowers&Wilkins 606 S3's through a refurbished Naim UnitiLite.
I vastly preferred the Bowers&Wilkins, in comparison to the Dali Oberon 5's they had a tighter bass, and more clarity in the highs, and sounded more energetic and lively. But with heavy guitar parts in Metallica's Sad But True I did find a lack of body/balls/oomph in the mids. You didn't really hear or feel that guitar "chug".
So what speakers should I be considering that are close to the Bowers&Wilkins in terms of punchy bass and clarity, but with fuller mids? (Focal? Dynaudio? a different B&W? A different Dali? QAcoustics? Klipsch? KEF?)
Also, let's say I do end up picking the B&W speakers, they are bright. And it is generally recommended to pair them with a warmer amp. But where do streaming amplifiers fall in this category? (Looking at the WiiM Amp, Bluesound Powernode (N330), Marantz PM7000N, Cambridge Audio Evo 75, Naim UnitiLite, depending on what will be available on the used market).

So, taking in all this information, can somebody please help me out and point me in the right direction?
There are too many options to pick from, especially if you consider the used market.
As you are happy to look at second hand, lets look at this from leftfield. If you look at a separate streamer it frees you up to look at a wider variety of amps and also gives you the chance to upgrade in future.

If the second-hand market is the same in The Netherlands as it is here in The UK there is always plenty of used equipment available and, if you stick to popular and trusted brands you can always sell things on without loosing money (if you pay a sensible price).

Speakers especially floor standers can be bargain online if you find local seller who wont ship. They sometimes sell for a fraction of what it would cost with a delivery option.

CD players have been out of favour for years so can be picked up cheaply, but do so sooner rather than later, they may creep back up in price as there are less available, plus CD’s are experiencing a bit of a renaissance.

If you are going go down this route you are going to need a streamer, I have a WiiM Mini and an SMSL SU-1 DAC. £90 each but often on sale for less than that. I auditioned considerably more expensive streamers before buying this, at best they were on a par, most weren’t as good.

Finally, are auditioning components, pick a few tracks as a reference so you know you are comparing like for like. if you like Metallica I would try something of S&M, as a live recording it has more of a soundstage than studio albums, it’s a really good quality recording with a large dynamic range. All in all it’s a good system workout!
 
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ShredderNL

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As you are happy to look at second hand, lets look at this from leftfield. If you look at a separate streamer it frees you up to look at a wider variety of amps and also gives you the chance to upgrade in future.

If the second-hand market is the same in The Netherlands as it is here in The UK there is always plenty of used equipment available and, if you stick to popular and trusted brands you can always sell things on without loosing money (if you pay a sensible price).

Speakers especially floor standers can be bargain online if you find local seller who wont ship. They sometimes sell for a fraction of what it would cost with a delivery option.

CD players have been out of favour for years so can be picked up cheaply, but do so sooner rather than later, they may creep back up in price as there are less available, plus CD’s are experiencing a bit of a renaissance.

If you are going go down this route you are going to need a streamer, I have a WiiM Mini and an SMSL SU-1 DAC. £90 each but often on sale for less than that. I auditioned considerably more expensive streamers before buying this, at best they were on a par, most weren’t as good.

Finally, are auditioning components, pick a few tracks as a reference so you know you are comparing like for like. if you like Metallica I would try something of S&M, as a live recording it has more of a soundstage than studio albums, it’s a really good quality recording with a large dynamic range. All in all it’s a good system workout!
Thanks for the tips! I'll keep that in mind. And Metallica's S&M (the original one and the 2nd one they did a few years back) are on my Hi-Fi test list already ;).

Would you have any recommendations in terms of 2nd hand speakers to look at or to put on a shortlist? Speakers that perform really well for Metal and have that tight punchy bass, full mids, and clear highs? As I mentioned, something similar to the B&W 606 S3's but with more ballsy mids?
 

Fandango Andy

Well-known member
Thanks for the tips! I'll keep that in mind. And Metallica's S&M (the original one and the 2nd one they did a few years back) are on my Hi-Fi test list already ;).

Would you have any recommendations in terms of 2nd hand speakers to look at or to put on a shortlist? Speakers that perform really well for Metal and have that tight punchy bass, full mids, and clear highs? As I mentioned, something similar to the B&W 606 S3's but with more ballsy mids?
I always recommend S&M, both as and an album, and a HIFI test. Great minds!

Monitor Audio Silver 300 are tall slim three way floor standing speakers with great midrange and plenty of bass. The only ones I have actually heard are the 6th Generation (discounted about two years ago) that sound amazing. They should be withing budget. The current 7G will be over budget. 5G are relatively cheep but I have no personal experience of them, but worth looking up.

Again, I have no personal experience of them, but KEF Q550 Floorstanding Speakers seem to fit the bill.
 
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GroeneLeeuw

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Do I recognize a Dutch user name? Anyways, I didn't think they were too bright, but on the brighter side. I do tend to like my music a bit brighter. I guess it gives me the illusion of clarity. But talking of Focal, what would you suggest? Aria 906? Theva N1? What speaker has a similar tight & punchy bass as the B&W's do? So not a "woofy" or "rumbling" bass.
Portuguese that used to live in the Netherlands ;)

The Aria line of Focal is really nice and I´d recommend. I think they´re better than the B&W´s in all senses.
The newer lines I´ve never heard, I cannot comment.
 
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