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Is this the right system ?

Chris2016

New member
May 13, 2016
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Hello Everyone,

First time post here and had a specific question regarding the KEF LS50 speakers. In am currently thinking of getting into the seperates game (I currently stream my music to a very decent sounding B&W A7, but it has its limitations) and want to stream my music to a system. I am looking for something that sounds but also looks good but that remains relateively compact in size. Here is what I had in mind ( I appreciate the style criteria is subjective):

Amp: TEAC AI-501DA. This particular AMP didn't get the best of reviews on What Hifi but has had excellent reviews elswhere. It's compact and I just love that retro/geek styling.

Steamer: Bluesound Node 2, compact as well, the interface has had some so-so reviews but it sounds excellent.

Speakers: Now here's the tricky part. Was thinking of pairing the above together with the KEF LS50s (really like the white and blue ones), but reading around the forums, several people have been disapointed with their purchase. The connoisseurs seem to be saying that their set-up is wrong. For those who know the KEFs my questionis if the above combination would work well with the LS50s? Or do you have other bookshelf speakers to recommend for the system I'm thinking of? Or any other ideas (e.g other amps that are compact and neat looking), it's an open forum! :)

Thanks in advance for the hifi insight!

Chris
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
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Chris2016 said:
Hello Everyone,

First time post here and had a specific question regarding the KEF LS50 speakers. In am currently thinking of getting into the seperates game (I currently stream my music to a very decent sounding B&W A7, but it has its limitations) and want to stream my music to a system. I am looking for something that sounds but also looks good but that remains relateively compact in size. Here is what I had in mind ( I appreciate the style criteria is subjective):

Amp: TEAC AI-501DA. This particular AMP didn't get the best of reviews on What Hifi but has had excellent reviews elswhere. It's compact and I just love that retro/geek styling.

Steamer: Bluesound Node 2, compact as well, the interface has had some so-so reviews but it sounds excellent.

Speakers: Now here's the tricky part. Was thinking of pairing the above together with the KEF LS50s (really like the white and blue ones), but reading around the forums, several people have been disapointed with their purchase. The connoisseurs seem to be saying that their set-up is wrong. For those who know the KEFs my questionis if the above combination would work well with the LS50s? Or do you have other bookshelf speakers to recommend for the system I'm thinking of? Or any other ideas (e.g other amps that are compact and neat looking), it's an open forum! :)

Thanks in advance for the hifi insight!

Chris
Welcome to the forum. What size room and how far from the wall can you have the speakers? What type of music?

If you want compact I would consider active speakers like the AVI 10s, they have amps and Dac inside the speakers, they are around £1,500, not sure they come in whait though.
 

Chris2016

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May 13, 2016
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Thanks Big H. The room is normal size living room, if that makes sense. I was thinking of having the speakers sitting on the TV furniture on each side of the TV. with good space between the two. So they won't be extremely far away from the wall. I appreciate the sound would be better if it were the case and if they were sitting on stands but not a huge fan of the aesthetic of stands.

In terms of music type, its quite varied from alternative rock, to hip hop to more contemporary jazz. Thanks for suggesting the AVI 10s but think I have my mind set on the seperate route.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
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Hi. Very few speakers are designed for shelf use. Neat Iota are your best option, imo. Pair those with Naim Unitiqute 2 (+nap100 if budget allows), and you're done. Shelf mounting will make most speakers sound boomy, so if you want kef ls50 or the like, you need stands and some space away from back and side walls (think 30-40cm +).
 

Al ears

Moderator
Irrespective of that amps ability to drive those speakers I think you'd be wasting money using them in the position you describe.

Get some Neat Iotas instead.

Ooops, seems rainsoothe beat me to it...... however, ditto.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
371
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Oh, and try to audition before buying, your ears are the best reviewers. If you cannot audition in your own home, keep in mind that lots of reflective surfaces will emphasize treble and bass, and near wall positioning will make bass boomy and uncontrolled, and the soundstage will also suffer, having less depth and moving the sound closer to the speakers, instead of "floating" inbetween.
 

rainsoothe

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Apr 30, 2012
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Al ears said:
Irrespective of that amps ability to drive those speakers I think you'd be wasting money using them in the position you describe.

Get some Neat Iotas instead.

Ooops, seems rainsoothe beat me to it...... however, ditto.
:) sorry, too much free time today
 

Chris2016

New member
May 13, 2016
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Rainsooth / Al Ears - thanks for the NEAT Iota recommendation, there speakers seem exactly what I'm looking for. Did a quick sweep across their reviews and they are all overwhelmingly positive. Re the NAIM UnitiQute 2, I've tested it before and it does sound amazing. I'll need to check if they offer multiroon steaming a la Sonos or Bluesound.

For further ideas, I should have mentioned budget but prefereably sub 1500gbp (ish) can stretch to 1500-2000gbp if find the perfect combo.
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
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Chris2016 said:
Thanks Big H. The room is normal size living room, if that makes sense. I was thinking of having the speakers sitting on the TV furniture on each side of the TV. with good space between the two. So they won't be extremely far away from the wall. I appreciate the sound would be better if it were the case and if they were sitting on stands but not a huge fan of the aesthetic of stands.

In terms of music type, its quite varied from alternative rock, to hip hop to more contemporary jazz. Thanks for suggesting the AVI 10s but think I have my mind set on the seperate route.
Don't put the speakers on tv furniture, especially ones like the LS50s. Need proper stands in free space. Some speakers can be wall mounted. The Kefs should be fine for that type of music.
 

jjbomber

Well-known member
Dec 22, 2006
715
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Chris2016 said:
I appreciate the sound would be better if it were the case and if they were sitting on stands but not a huge fan of the aesthetic of stands.
If you must put them on the TV furniture, buy 4 squash balls and cut them in half. Then place these under the speakers. What's right for everyone else (putting them on stands) isn't right for you (putting them on the tv furniture).

Neat Iotas are on offer at Creative Audio, so try there. Naim don't allow deaders to advertise discounts but you'll get one if you ask. I'd prefer a UnitiLite over the UnitiQute2 and Nap100 combination, but the UnitiQute2 on it's own should suffice.
 

Al ears

Moderator
jjbomber said:
Chris2016 said:
I appreciate the sound would be better if it were the case and if they were sitting on stands but not a huge fan of the aesthetic of stands.
If you must put them on the TV furniture, buy 4 squash balls and cut them in half. Then place these under the speakers. What's right for everyone else (putting them on stands) isn't right for you (putting them on the tv furniture).

Neat Iotas are on offer at Creative Audio, so try there. Naim don't allow deaders to advertise discounts but you'll get one if you ask. I'd prefer a UnitiLite over the UnitiQute2 and Nap100 combination, but the UnitiQute2 on it's own should suffice.
Has it got to be squash balls? What about tennis?

Using speakers in a compromised position is not going to be rectified by the employment of eight half-domes of rubber.

It will not work you know. ;-)
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
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Just to echo the reservations expressed above about placement. If you have to place on furniture, something much cheaper than LS50s would be my suggestion. Their potential will be ruined on furniture. The Iotas can work ok mounted on the wall, however.
 

Bruno

New member
May 13, 2016
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....in the compact speaker group, do you know any worthy contendors to the NEAT Iota that I could compare against? cheers
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
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Bruno said:
....in the compact speaker group, do you know any worthy contendors to the NEAT Iota that I could compare against? cheers
not a lot - it's not that the Iota is compact, but it's designed to work on shelves or in bookcases. Dali Zensor 1 might be another one, and maybe Dali Zensor 3 - the manual says that they are both designed to work backed against a wall, but most reports say that the Zensor 3 sounds significantly better on stands. Not sure about the Zensor 1, but those are really small, and, of course, not in the same league as the Neats.

Another speaker designed like the Iota is the Guru Junior, and I've only been reading good things about them. Unfortunately, they're out of production, so you need to find a used pair if you wanna go that route.
 

Reijer

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Apr 22, 2014
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Hi Chris.

Got the same amp, love it. I use it with B&W 685 s2 and love the combo. But to use them on a shelf is not ideal. Most monitors need stands or very good isolation to separete them from the shelf.

Can you audition anything?
 

jjbomber

Well-known member
Dec 22, 2006
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Al ears said:
Chris2016 said:
I appreciate the sound would be better if it were the case and if they were sitting on stands but not a huge fan of the aesthetic of stands.
Has it got to be squash balls? What about tennis?

It will not work you know. ;-)
I was answering the OP's question, though I think I am the only one trying to do so. You're right; trying to answer the question will not work!
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
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jjbomber said:
Al ears said:
Chris2016 said:
I appreciate the sound would be better if it were the case and if they were sitting on stands but not a huge fan of the aesthetic of stands.
Has it got to be squash balls? What about tennis?

It will not work you know. ;-)
I was answering the OP's question, though I think I am the only one trying to do so. You're right; trying to answer the question will not work!
I would not put them on squashed balls either, don't think that is very secure. If you must put them on furniture I would buy something like these: https://www.amazon.co.uk/AURALEX-ACOUSTICS-MOPAD-accessories-Speakers/dp/B0002D0B4K
 

Chris2016

New member
May 13, 2016
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Hi Reijer,

Very glad to hear that you are enjoying the TEAC amp. To be honest I did have my eye on the B&W 685 s2's, I tested them paired with the NAIM unitiqute 2...very nice well rounded and crisp sound, but.... in a different (more mainstream) shop I tested the Dali Opticon 2s paired with a (pretty basic) Yamaha amp and the sound simply blew my mind....the sales rep played some Jazz and without exageration I it felt like I was sitting at Ronnie Scott's sipping some JD on ice...perfect. They are slightly more expensive than the B&Ws (about £200) but they do sound great.

That said, after the advice provided on (this most useful!) forum I think I'm going to go for the NEAT Iotas. To answer some of the feedback re not having them on stands (liked that squash ball advice) I'm going to see if I can find some metal studs to sit them on....havent found any so far, not sure it'll make a huge difference in sound...let's see.

Chris
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
371
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19,070
Check thomann, they have some miniature stands for mounting monitors, all under 100 € I think. They also have cheap pads if you think the stands are ugly or not worth it.
 

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