Help me find some HiFi speakers...

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Aug 10, 2019
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I'm a new member and not that great on HiFi's. I've been looking into getting a decent-ish hifi for arond £300-400 tops really. I have more or less settled on the Onkyo CR-515 (but I am open to persuasion if anybody has anything else to suggest). I am however baffled by speakers to be honest. There seem to be so many good ones out there that get cracking reviews in most places but I really don't know what to make of them all.

Speakers I have looked into so far include:

Monitor Audio BR1 and BR2
Q Acoustics 1010 and 1020
Wharfedale Diamond 9.1
Mordaunt-Short Avant 902i

It will mainly be used for music both in compressed and uncompressed formats. Mostly bluesy rocky type stuff if that makes any difference. I will possibly whack the PS3 into it as the Onkyo has an optical in, but I will stress that it is mostly going to be for music.

So, basically what do I need to look for? Some places I've read suggest that the 515 would struggle to power something like the Monitor Audio BR2s, is this the case? I don't mind going for the more expensive end of the speakers that are mentioned here as long as there will be a reasonable improvement in the sound.

Unfortunately trying out all the speakers isn't really an option so I'm just going to have to go for it based upon other peoples opinions, so any help and advice will be greatly appreciated.
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Don't forget Tannoy's Mercury F1s which are well rated too and a former WHF winner I think> The Q Acoustics will serve you well too. There's a choice of retailers - John Lewis and HiFiBitz are doing the Onkyo for £299 and £230 respectively. Check with JL though as their strapline is "never knowingly undersold" - not sure if this applies to online prices or instore, but they offer a standard 2 years guarantee on electronics (and a standard 5 year one on TVs incidentally).

If you buy for £230 this suddenly gives you £170 to play with for speaker and cable options.

However, if you're open to suggestion, how about separates or is space really limited? NAD, Cambridge Audio and Tangent all have lower budget models which along with the Q Acoustics or Tannoy speakers, will see you ride home within your budget. Richer Sounds have their £299 system too (see their website) which might be worth a look.

Happy hunting!
 

drummerman

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Jan 18, 2008
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The onkyo/yamaha/denon's are ok for a bedroom/study or as an alarm clock.

Nad's baby components at around £150/each are beyond anything the above can come close to. Add Nad's own little stand mounts at £130 or so and your smiling for a long time.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Agreed, non-hifi manufacturers are woefully overpowered by entry levels from NAD, Cambridge and Rotel. Although I'm personally biased toward the NAD and Rotel gear.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Agreed. If it's entry level two channel hi fi you're after, skip Denon/Onkyo/Yamaha & head straight to NAD.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Anything in particular you could suggest from them? Having had a look at some of their stuff I'd be even less sure what to go for with.

Regarding the Onkyo again, it's power output is 20 watts per channel. Does this mean if a speakers power is suggested at 25-100w that the Onkyo just wouldn't be good enough to power them?
 

drummerman

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Jan 18, 2008
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[quote user="alwatson"]

Anything in particular you could suggest from them? Having had a look at some of their stuff I'd be even less sure what to go for with.

Regarding the Onkyo again, it's power output is 20 watts per channel. Does this mean if a speakers power is suggested at 25-100w that the Onkyo just wouldn't be good enough to power them?

[/quote]

315bee/515bee.

Unless you have a particular reason for choosing the micro ie. absolutely no space, I really would'nt bother.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
That Onkyo is an awesome bit of kit! Better than a lot of seperates i've heard up until you start spending about 600 quid, and then it's still better than a lot of them!

The Onkyo works really really well with Focal Chorus speakers...

Unless you are spending money on decent (At least 600 quid) seperates, I really WOULD bother
 

gpi

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Mar 29, 2008
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[quote user="alwatson"]
Anything in particular you could suggest from them? Having had a look at some of their stuff I'd be even less sure what to go for with.

Regarding the Onkyo again, it's power output is 20 watts per channel. Does this mean if a speakers power is suggested at 25-100w that the Onkyo just wouldn't be good enough to power them?
[/quote]

I'm not very technically minded to explain this but the Onkyo specs states it delivers 20 watts into 4 ohms, so as most speakers are 8 ohms the wattage the amp delivers should be higher. I think the Wharfdales are measured at 6 ohms, not the common 8 you find with most speakers. I'm sure this means the Onkyo will power most small speakers just fine. Someone will no doubt be along to explain it better.
 

drummerman

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[quote user="BigGuads"]Unless you are spending money on decent (At least 600 quid) seperates, I really WOULD bother[/quote]

Funny
but it has a built in tuner, I give it that much.
 

drummerman

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Jan 18, 2008
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But to back it up with a more helpful comment, The Onkyo and the Yamaha sound harsh when pushed even modestly in a reasonable sized room. They both have a thin treble that can easily become fatiguing and power output is probably quoted at something like 1% distortion at 1khz rather than over the entire frequency response. They're just technical details and I would'nt take to much note of it. I like certain valve amps and they dont exactly measure well either.

This is of course compared to separates, the closest of which I've heard, in price, are the NAD's.

Still, for a tiny room and with the 'neatness' factor they have, why not.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
[quote user="gpi"]I'm not very technically minded to explain this but the Onkyo specs states it delivers 20 watts into 4 ohms, so as most speakers are 8 ohms the wattage the amp delivers should be higher.[/quote]

Actually it would be lower, probably about 15W. As long as you don't play it so that it distorts the speakers should be OK, but it is a bit low.
 

gpi

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Mar 29, 2008
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OK, I thought I'd got it the wrong way round. So 20w into 4 ohms becomes about 15w into 6 and 10w into 8?

Is this for a small bedroom/study OP? Many low-powered valve amps do just fine with fairly sensitive speakers, even less than 10w.
 

drummerman

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[quote user="gpi"]OK, I thought I'd got it the wrong way round. So 20w into 4 ohms becomes about 15w into 6 and 10w into 8? Is this for a small bedroom/study OP? Many low-powered valve amps do just fine with fairly sensitive speakers, even less than 10w[/quote]

No, not many valve amps with less than 10W do to well. Anyway, you seem pretty set on your onkyo and some people with pretty good knowledge have commended it so you could do worse.
 

gpi

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Mar 29, 2008
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[quote user="drummerman"]
[quote user="gpi"]OK, I thought I'd got it the wrong way round. So 20w into 4 ohms becomes about 15w into 6 and 10w into 8? Is this for a small bedroom/study OP? Many low-powered valve amps do just fine with fairly sensitive speakers, even less than 10w[/quote]

No, not many valve amps with less than 10W do to well. Anyway, you seem pretty set on your onkyo and some people with pretty good knowledge have commended it so you could do worse.
[/quote]

No, I'm not buying one. ;o) I know someone who has run 93dB/w/m large Tannoys from a 3 watt valve amp. 10 watts are perfectly sufficient to drive anything at 88/98 db. We only listen to the first few watts of output anyway, unless one is hard of hearing and has no neighbours.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for all the replies everyoner.

I've been looking at the NAD C315/C515 combo. It looks quite tempting but I'm just a bit worried about the price. I'd looking at, at least, £320 for the amp and CD player. This doesn't leave me much money to play with for speakers and cables.

Also, if I were to, for example, run my PS3 through this system. Would it make much difference using the RCA audio instead of the optical audio? Is there much of a noticable difference in the sound?

Thanks again everyone.
 

drummerman

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Jan 18, 2008
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[quote user="gpi"]No, I'm not buying one. ;o) I know someone who has run 93dB/w/m large Tannoys from a 3 watt valve amp. 10 watts are perfectly sufficient to drive anything at 88/98 db. We only listen to the first few watts of output anyway, unless one is hard of hearing and has no neighbours.[/quote]

I assume you are refering to Single Ended Triods/Valve Amps. Not my cup of tea and way to esoteric (boring) for me, even if you have speakers the size of Westminster ...


Still, you are of course right, the first watt is the most important but with todays trend towards ever smaller boxes/drivers you need to take manufacturers figures with a pinch of salt. Your '88db' quoted speaker is, in real use, probably closer to about 80/82db from where you sit. Even under lab measurements a lot of manufacturers seem to be over optimistic of what their speakers can do in terms of sensitivity and regularely overquote by 2 or 3 db. Also, Valve watts (generally) sound different to SS ones. A twenty watt Valve amplifier will sound much more dynamic/powerful than a little micro.
 

gpi

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Mar 29, 2008
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Good spot! Ring Alex at audio affair and see if you can audition it. Depends where you are based I suppose.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I'm probably going to go for the Nad with F1's. Then I just need some speaker cable and I'll be set. I just worry a bit that the lack of a digital input on the amp may cause issues in the future.
 

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