The Curse of What Hifi?


New member
Aug 10, 2019
About a year ago I decided I wanted to buy a TV. I casually picked up a copy of What Hifi down my local newsagents, then became hooked. Initially this was with TVs, progressing to AV and now seemingly hifi. I blame this magazine and many of the incredibly helpful posters on these forums for my imminent bankrupcy - I'm nevertheless a happy man!

I've enjoyed demoing some fantastic kit, playing about with settings a plenty and have had a great time. I've now got myself a Pioneer 4280, an Onkyo 875 on the cheap and now want to set out with a set of musical speakers. This will initially form a dual purpose 5.1 set-up but within the next six months I plan to add a CD player and then a dedicated stereo amp with a view to ultimately separating stereo from AV.

The listening room will start as a converted loft, done to building regs with new joists, sound insulation, and a carpeted floor. Dimensions 17ft x 15ft although with the pitched roof this equates to 1000 cubic feet.

My system needs to be able to grow. I had thought to go with a musical 5.1 set up so I could move the front pairing downstairs when I have the CD player, amp and enough money to change the loft to pure AV.

I started off looking at a sub/sat package given my use would be predominantly AV. The Kef eggs I heard were so underwhelming with music I had to move on, their IQ5SE floorstanders were better but you could tell physics can't be defeated. The next step up was the 685 theatre package, much improved but lacking in the scale I needed. Although I enjoy a lot of acoustic music with detailed vocals that the B&Ws were doing well, the indie/rock music that often also comes out lacked the necessary grandiose sound I wanted.

At the same time in Sevenoaks I had a listen to the 684 package which impressed me more - the scale was there although the detailing was lost slightly compared to their smaller cousins. The footprint was also a big jump. Although not unsuited to my larger room, if I was to move them down to the living room (14 x 14 ft and a thoroughfare to the kitchen/diner) I feel they would start to dominate if placed appropriately.

I was coming to realise, the more I listen and read, the more I knew what I wanted, and how much it's going to have to cost me. I'm really asking for your advice and experience. This is my first system so despite my reading I am an inexperienced owner. Should I abandon this pursuit of a dual purpose system, stick with a dedicated 5.1 package from a recognised AV brand (MK?) and get a talented stereo speaker pair, or try with a musical 5.1 package (I'm now being drawn to a system based on PMC GB1i and have a demo at the weekend) and add parts in stages?

I know this is a long and rambling post, I appreciate your patience and would be grateful of any advice you can offer.


Well-known member
Jan 13, 2008
My system needs to be able to grow. I had thought to go with a musical
5.1 set up so I could move the front pairing downstairs when I have the
CD player, amp and enough money to change the loft to pure AV. .

Seems to me you are doing pretty well on your own!!
If you are
moving the fronts downstairs are you going to purchase more for the AV
room upstairs?? Or are you going to stick with what you have upstairs
and start afresh for downstairs??


That's the crux of it. I'm at a bit of a crossroads. I had thought the fronts would start in the loft, add the DB1i rears and a centre to make a 5.0 system. If the bass response is as good as I hear for the PMCs I may get away without a subwoofer initially in my terraced house (maybe for the best?). As long as things are reasonable I would add a CD player then splinter the GB1is off, probably selling the DB1is and centre and looking for a stereo amp and a full MK or alternative AV system (with subwoofer) in the loft.

The alternative would probably be to buy a dedicated 5.1 system as a whole in one go, then develop the stereo side later, adding CD player, speakers and amp.


Buying the full pmc setup now and then selling half of it off in 6 months when you move the fronts would be pretty daft (you would lose out on money). I would get the right final dedicated surround system now for your loft regardless of stereo music performance.

Then put up with the lack of stereo performance for 6 months (not long, and it wont be that bad) and then get the right speakers for your future stereo downstairs.

I think otherwise you are asking to much of your purchase at the moment, for instance the pmc fronts might limit your future choice of stereo partners, i would definatly treat and purchase each system seperately


Sorry, that was a pretty dim reply to Messiah's original question. Guess that's why I don't do posting very often! Thanks Matt.

Keeping both the DB1is as a kitchen pairing and selling the centre channel (£450) would be an alternative. The DB1is are probably overkill for a speaker-free micro system but maybe with a decent iPod dock or wireless streaming device (Sonos or its future inevitable replacements) it could be justified.

Would this change things Matt or does your advice stand?


Day before the demo guys, sorry to bump. I'll go along anyway with the hope of picturing the PMCs both as a 2.0 and 5.1 system, just wondered what your thoughts were.

5.1 dedicated AV(MK type) or 2.0 becoming 5.0/5.1 as a musical setup(PMC)?


Well, I had a good time today - two hours definitely well spent!

Good to know this thread is also proving interesting reading in the Hifi section as a raison d'etre for What Hifi's current TV/AV/stereo emphasis.

The PMCs were cracking speakers, better than the B&Ws as a stereo pairing, but the increase in quality is now not as marked. It is apparent to me I am nearing the point where significant cost increases does not give much more performance benefit (to my as yet uncultured ears at least). I would not want to go much beyond this pairing financially at this stage - they are a beautiful looking and sounding speaker however and would still give me room to move up if I were to upgrade from the Rega Apollo/Naim 5i I demo'd them with. With AV they were also very impressive despite only in a stereo set-up. It is clear to me though I would need a 5.1 setup to do Blu-ray/sky HD justice, financially with PMC this would be prohibitive.

Current plan is therefore probably to go for a pair of PMC GB1is. These will form a dual purpose stereo/AV 2.0 system in the loft. I'll get a CD player at the same time. Cyrus will to be on the list, I see from previous posts Andrew is particularly keen on the PMC/Cyrus pairing.

When the next set of cash becomes available I will buy a 5.1 system and move the PMCs to the lounge. Hopefully by then there will be a some Profile 2.0 blu-ray players with source direct that don't cost £1500 and more info as to whether the new MK Sound versions of the original M & K speakers are any good (WHF review perhaps?).


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