Home HIFI setup suggestions

yaboy810

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Jan 21, 2024
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Hi everyone! New around here and I come looking for some suggestions/advice!

There's an upcoming family occasion which I am looking to mark by a home hifi setup. The person in question is a musician(bass) /general lover of audio/speakers/and has had various speakers hifi setups over the years but I suppose, never a very serious setup. I'm looking for some suggestions, advice etc on this. Some sort of criteria's to get up and running:

- This is for the home, most likely living room, which is not acoustically treated and will have a sofa and general living room items.
- currently playback is in the form of Project turntable, CD. (welcome any thoughts or suggestions there also)
- generally likes a very warm, wide, enveloping bass
- looking at around £5000 budget

A consideration has been a set of used Beolab 5's. I have heard the Beolab 50's (while out of the budget) properly configured and they wow'd me.I guess the 'room reading' capability of them is something I'm thinking might (?) be useful within an untreated space as described above.

How about an offering from B&W? Some floor standing speakers... or something like Wharfedale Dovedales? I guess at this point we're looking at amps too... of which suggestions welcomed.

I know it's probably a little vague, but hoping some thoughts can help steer the road. Floor open and welcome all thoughts/suggestions/guidance!

TIA
 

Clarkey_71

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£5k is a big budget and you will get loads of advice here on various bits and bobs.
For my two penneth I'd start at the turntable. Great deck, but can the cart be improved? MM or MC?
Consider a phono stage?
Amp wise, at that budget you could look at Bel Canto, Moon or Cyrus. I went with my nephew to audition amps a little while ago and the Moon blew away the competition. (In our ears. Always consider this. It's your system and has to be right for you.
Speaker wise? A huge collection of both floor standers and stand mounts available at that price.
I'd throw Kef and PMC into the mix.
Not sure if you're looking at new, but with careful research, the secondhand market can be amazing.
I hope this helps and good luck. Enjoy it!
 
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Gray

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I guess the 'room reading' capability of them is something I'm thinking might (?) be useful within an untreated space as described above.
Bear in mind that no electronic trickery can sufficiently correct a really acoustically poor listening room.
Hopefully the room is not as poor as mine was, before treatment (otherwise, honestly, it would be 5 grand wasted).

Sounds like he's lucky to have you buying his present.
We could all make suggestions based on what we own / like.
However, my advice would be that not a penny is spent until the recipient gets to hear and approve of the choices, preferably in his room.
(He's owned hi-fi before and he's a musician, so it's essential).
 
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Fandango Andy

Well-known member
Hi everyone! New around here and I come looking for some suggestions/advice!

There's an upcoming family occasion which I am looking to mark by a home hifi setup. The person in question is a musician(bass) /general lover of audio/speakers/and has had various speakers hifi setups over the years but I suppose, never a very serious setup. I'm looking for some suggestions, advice etc on this. Some sort of criteria's to get up and running:

- This is for the home, most likely living room, which is not acoustically treated and will have a sofa and general living room items.
- currently playback is in the form of Project turntable, CD. (welcome any thoughts or suggestions there also)
- generally likes a very warm, wide, enveloping bass
- looking at around £5000 budget

A consideration has been a set of used Beolab 5's. I have heard the Beolab 50's (while out of the budget) properly configured and they wow'd me.I guess the 'room reading' capability of them is something I'm thinking might (?) be useful within an untreated space as described above.

How about an offering from B&W? Some floor standing speakers... or something like Wharfedale Dovedales? I guess at this point we're looking at amps too... of which suggestions welcomed.

I know it's probably a little vague, but hoping some thoughts can help steer the road. Floor open and welcome all thoughts/suggestions/guidance!

TIA
There is no right and wrong between active speakers, or passive speakers + amplifier, they are just different ways of achieving the same thing. I would go with speakers and amp, but that's just my preference. There is an argument that you will get more for your money with active speakers, but they are what they are, with a conventional setup there are opportunities to upgrade or add to what you have.

The first thing I suggest is to go and have a listen to some options, but it sounds more like this is going to be a gift so you so what you like and the other person likes may be different. Back in the mid 90s as a teenager I went with my dad who was auditioning various setups. He like the ones with the greater clarity, I liked the warmer sound.

Just to throw a curveball at you, if you are looking for "enveloping bass" rather than trying to find speakers that do everything have you considered adding an active sub?
 
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landco

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Aug 26, 2023
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Hi everyone! New around here and I come looking for some suggestions/advice!

There's an upcoming family occasion which I am looking to mark by a home hifi setup. The person in question is a musician(bass) /general lover of audio/speakers/and has had various speakers hifi setups over the years but I suppose, never a very serious setup. I'm looking for some suggestions, advice etc on this. Some sort of criteria's to get up and running:

- This is for the home, most likely living room, which is not acoustically treated and will have a sofa and general living room items.
- currently playback is in the form of Project turntable, CD. (welcome any thoughts or suggestions there also)
- generally likes a very warm, wide, enveloping bass
- looking at around £5000 budget

A consideration has been a set of used Beolab 5's. I have heard the Beolab 50's (while out of the budget) properly configured and they wow'd me.I guess the 'room reading' capability of them is something I'm thinking might (?) be useful within an untreated space as described above.

How about an offering from B&W? Some floor standing speakers... or something like Wharfedale Dovedales? I guess at this point we're looking at amps too... of which suggestions welcomed.

I know it's probably a little vague, but hoping some thoughts can help steer the road. Floor open and welcome all thoughts/suggestions/guidance!
Beolab is a designer speaker, you pay so much for an unusual appearance. If that doesn't interest you, there are plenty of decent items on the used audio market for much less than £5,000. What you should know right now is that the sound is primarily affected by your room, you will need to buy a sound processor to correct the room's deficiencies using an equalizer, at a minimum, and spend time on the optimal placement. Choose a large acoustic system, small acoustics do not sound very good - physics cannot be fooled.

The amplifier and sound source (if we are not talking about vinyl or a tube amplifier) do not have any effect on the sound; modern digital technologies are the same everywhere, regardless of cost.
 

Fandango Andy

Well-known member
There is no right and wrong between active speakers, or passive speakers + amplifier, they are just different ways of achieving the same thing. I would go with speakers and amp, but that's just my preference. There is an argument that you will get more for your money with active speakers, but they are what they are, with a conventional setup there are opportunities to upgrade or add to what you have.

The first thing I suggest is to go and have a listen to some options, but it sounds more like this is going to be a gift so you so what you like and the other person likes may be different. Back in the mid 90s as a teenager I went with my dad who was auditioning various setups. He like the ones with the greater clarity, I liked the warmer sound.

Just to throw a curveball at you, if you are looking for "enveloping bass" rather than trying to find speakers that do everything have you considered adding an active sub?

I wasn't going to make any recommendations, but after posting my original response I stumbled on this video. Seems to fit your criteria. As well as having the sound you describe it also has base management so you can control the crossover from your speakers to a sub.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F52Ok-mc4v4&t=311s
 

Gray

Well-known member
The amplifier and sound source (if we are not talking about vinyl or a tube amplifier) do not have any effect on the sound
Quite a few people would agree that differences between digital sources can be subtle at best 👍

But, if you're saying that all (non-valve type) amps sound the same, you'd be very much in the minority with that opinion.
(There's a good chance the OP will find that they don't - from the very first pair of amps he compares, into the same speakers).
 

yaboy810

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Thanks all for the replies so far. Some good thoughts (y)

Speaker wise? A huge collection of both floor standers and stand mounts available at that price.
I'd throw Kef and PMC into the mix.
Thanks for those. The person has some KEF's, but they are probably towards the lower end.
Not sure if you're looking at new, but with careful research, the secondhand market can be amazing.
Would consider either.
What you should know right now is that the sound is primarily affected by your room, you will need to buy a sound processor to correct the room's deficiencies using an equalizer, at a minimum, and spend time on the optimal placement.
(There's a good chance the OP will find that they don't - from the very first pair of amps he compares, into the same speakers).

It's probably worth adding, actually, that I come from an audio background, although, on the mic side of things. I'm aware of the impact of amps etc. My ears are pretty good, I can pick up on small sonic differences, from recording. I just have little experience and I am very out of touch with the hifi market (speakers, amps etc.) I don't know of many speakers, or amps... I couldn't really name drop you many models of either.. it's not a sphere I am within. So, I welcome any suggestions .... 'for that budget, I'd look at these, or these' ... 'I'd be looking at these amps, these speakers'. I will probably go off and rabbit hole myself...

ps. any suggestions of places UK where a lot of this stuff could be auditioned?

Cheers!
 
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landco

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Aug 26, 2023
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But, if you're saying that all (non-valve type) amps sound the same, you'd be very much in the minority with that opinion.
Any modern transistor amplifier has a “shelf” in the audible frequency response range, 20Hz-20kHz. And the distortion is much less than that generated by the speaker system. Therefore, we can say that the effect of the amplifier on the sound is of no practical importance.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Any modern transistor amplifier has a “shelf” in the audible frequency response range, 20Hz-20kHz. And the distortion is much less than that generated by the speaker system. Therefore, we can say that the effect of the amplifier on the sound is of no practical importance.
What most people will tell you is that all transistor amps most certainly do not sound the same (very noticeably so in some cases).

Far from being of 'no practical importance', it is of very real practical importance, not least to original poster of this thread.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Most people have no idea what "psychoacoustics" and "blind testing" are :)
No, you're right.
When they come on here questioning cable differences, they (rightly) get told about the benefit of blind testing.

You won't see many get advised that blind testing of amps is necessary.....and there's a reason for that 👍

Don't know what and how many amps you've heard, but the ones I've compared, I'd confidently be able to consistently, repeatedly, identify them against each other in blind tests - and I'd be amazed if you couldn't.
 
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