Speaker upgrade for old system

admin_exported

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Hi Guys, I have an old system which I am planning to upgrade, starting with the speakers. I am totally out of touch with the world of hi-fi so am hoping you can give me some tips.

The system is ( Arcam alpha 8 amp / alpha 5+ cd / Kef coda 9 speakers)

The room is a large open plan kitchen / living area which is about 32ft long by 21ft at its widest point. It has a tiled floor and high ceilings ranging from 8 to 15 ft. The speakers will be situated fairly close to the corners of the wall but I should be able to leave about 10 inches between the rear wall and speaker and about 8 inches between side wall and speaker.

I am planning to demo Kef Q700 / B+W 684 / Monitor Audio RX6 and probably also Q900 (since the trade-in deal brings it below £1000 and I probably have a big enough room for them)

Are there any of these speakers that would be particularly suited to my current Arcam stuff and room layout or are there any that would definitely not work?

Should also add that when I upgrade the amp / cd , I will probably stick with Arcam

Thanks.
 

lindsayt

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If you want slimline modern looking speakers with WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor), then you could buy a pair of the speakers from your list. But if you want the biggest upgrade in sound quality for your £1000 then there are other speakers that would be better.

The trouble with all the speakers on your list is that they are all made down to a price, have tiny bass cones, ported cabinets and are relatively inefficent. The result is that they will sound as if they're shouting to be heard in your very large listening room. They also have unsatisfying bass.

Speakers with more authority would give you a more satisfying sound in your room. Ideally we're looking at speakers that work well in corners, and are not too amplifier fussy. Instead of leaving an 8" by 10" gap, you could get bigger speakers that go right in the corner. Here's a few of my suggestions:

Klipschorn

Altec Model 19

EV Sentry III

Klipsch Cornwall

Yamaha NSM1000

Goodmans Magister

My advice is to buy the sort of speakers that I'm suggesting for the right price, 2nd hand. And then have your own demo in your own room. If the incoming speakers don't sound a lot better than your Coda 9's then sell them on eBay for more or less the price you paid for them and then buy something else.
 

CnoEvil

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Check out Dali Ikon 6. If you like them, you will need to try "in situ", as they need a bit of space around them. I suspect they will be fine, given the area they have to fill.
 

lindsayt

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Sadly no. Not for £1000.

In the last 30 years speaker design has increasingly prioritised WAF and low production costs at the expense of outright sound quality. To the extent that about 97% of speakers on the market today are slimline ported boxes.

£1000 can buy you some really high-end speakers in terms of sound quality and manufacturing costs if you go for the sort of large vintage speakers I'm recommending.

£1000 buys you very mediocre sound quality if you buy new or nearly new.
 
A

Anonymous

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Have to laugh at the WAF thing as that is exactly what I have to put up with. She is more concerned with how they look rather than how they sound. Assuming I may be stuck with the "slimline ported boxes" does it still follow that bigger is better. Should I be looking for as big a cabinet and drivers as possible?
 

CnoEvil

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Foo64 said:
Have to laugh at the WAF thing as that is exactly what I have to put up with. She is more concerned with how they look rather than how they sound. Assuming I may be stuck with the "slimline ported boxes" does it still follow that bigger is better. Should I be looking for as big a cabinet and drivers as possible?

In a word.....Yes; provided of course you like the sound. A small sub £1000 standmount is likely to struggle filling that area.
 
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Anonymous

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This has got me thinking. Does big speakers in a big room mean big amplifier, as the trusty old Alpha 8 only has 50w per channel ? Lets just say I was to buy something like Kef Q900s, which are pretty big, do I need a more powerful amp as well and if so, what size?
 

CnoEvil

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Foo64 said:
This has got me thinking. Does big speakers in a big room mean big amplifier, as the trusty old Alpha 8 only has 50w per channel ? Lets just say I was to buy something like Kef Q900s, which are pretty big, do I need a more powerful amp as well and if so, what size?

Not necessarily. It depends on the sensitivity of the speakers. Big reflex speakers are often more efficient, so it just depends how low the ohms drop to in practice.

The Kefs are very efficient (91 db) and the Dali even more so (92 db). The Kefs use ABRs (auxillary bass radiators) which are passive and used instead of a port - I'm not totally convinced, but you must hear for yourself. Try to get a listen to the Dalis (Ikon 6) as well.
 

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