What Hi-Fi system should I get for c.£2k? (HiFi vs Sonos)

wuiyuewrywieruwlei

Active member
Jun 25, 2022
3
2
25
Hi everyone,

Having previously been considering Sonos, I am now considering whether to buy my first HiFi system instead, as a complete HiFi newbie! I'd therefore like some advice... just bare with me and my lack of knowledge!

My requirements:
- My budget is c.£2.0k (would happily spend less, but could also invest more into the system over time). I'd like a TV soundbar to be included within that budget.
- The HiFi system will mainly for playing music in my open plan living room / kitchen / dining area. The room is fairly long, at 8.5m x 3.5m. The room is open plan with three distinct areas: lounge area (with a TV) at one end, dining table in the middle, and kithen at other end. I will be listening to music throughout the room. There is flexiblity on where to place speakers, but I'd expect they will go in the middle (i.e. facing the dining table) for best all-round sound across the whole room.
- Soundbar (or alternative) for the TV. I am less focussed on sound quality for the TV, so don't need surround sound or anythign like that
- Music will be streamed over Spotify and controlled by my (Android) phone


I am considering three options:
1) Complete Sonos system: two Sonos Five speakers as a stereo pair, plus a Sonos Beam. Cost c.£1400.
- Pros: easy to set up, easy to use, and fuller sound throughout the room because the Beam can link up and play music whilst I am in the lounge area, which is not next to the Five speakers. Sould also add a Sonos Subwoofer, but I am not too bothered about big bass.
-Cons: lower sound quality than HiFi separates as far as I understand.

2) HiFi system, and separate soundbar. Something like an Audiolab 6000A amp with built-in DAC and bluetooth connectivity (c.£649, or could splash out for Cambridge Audio CXA61 at £900) plus a pair of c.£750 floorstanding speakers (don't need to decide which ones yet), plus a Sonos Beam. I would then be streaming from my phone via Bluetooth. Cost c.£1850.
- Pros: better sound quality than the Sonos system.
- Cons: perhaps sounds isn't spread throughout the long room as well as the Sonos system?

3) Option two, but with a Sonos Port as well. Cost c.£2250.
-Pros: Sonos Beam and HiFi speakers can all play the same song, which (may?) improve the sound of music when sat in the lounge area, which is aware from the HiFi speakers.

A few questions:
- For overall sound quality throught the room, which is the best option?
- Would it be cheaper to get a cheaper amp without streaming capacility e.g. Marantz PM6007, and connect a separate streamer to it?
- Is my understading all correct, and do you have any other smart ideas?!

Note that I don't really need the multi-room functionality of Sonos, althoug a Sonos Move could be a good addition to play music in the garden.

Thanks in advance! Keen to know people's thoughts!
 

Basso

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2021
51
31
70
Can’t advise on what it is best. The immediate thoughts for me though are 1. I would personally go for a separate streamer. 2. You already have covered as having music located in the one end of the space may need to be loud in order to fill the room whereas several speakers will be more even.
I guess it comes down to what is most important to you.
You could consider an amp like the Marantz which two sets of speaker functionality. Set A could be for your floorstanders when wanting to listen properly and add in a second set of speakers at the other end of the room. It will will give you an option of two spears playing at either end or all four if you want an even(ish) sound. Not sure how this would sound in practice but might be worth exploring.
 

matengawhat

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2007
694
15
18,895
For the soundbar since you said weren't bothered about surround check out eBay Peter Tyson refurbished Harmon kardon citation for £279, prob best sounding bar out there for that kind of money.

That sorts TV and then focus on the stereo side.

I've always run with two setups in my rooms, well 3 really, I have soundbar and sub for daily TV viewing and then full 7.1 system for movies and then my stereo setup with sub for music, stereo and hc share the fronts and sub.

Where are you going to sit to listen to music or is it just for background music, the comments above re 2 sets of speakers allows for lower volumes across rooms if you plan to talk whilst its playing rather than really loud in one room to fill others.
 
Last edited:

plastic penguin

Well-known member
To be honest, there's too many ifs, buts and possibles. I have heard a full Sonus set-at a friend of the family last year. Was it any good? Well, it sounded fine. Would I change my system for a full Sonus kit? No. But that's based on what I heard.

Wholeheartedly support a demo with a similar priced hi-fi. The only way for the OP is going to know for sure.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
834
384
19,270
Hi. 1. Best advice you're gonna get is to go audition for yourself and let your ears decide.
2. Even though I'm a separates advocate, don't underestimate the power and carefreeness of convenience
3. What kind of music are you mostly into?
4. Also, is it Spotify 100% or might you change to Tidal/Qobuz/Amazon Music etc?
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
834
384
19,270
Yes, I think I'll go to RicherSounds to check out.
I'm into lots of different music, but indie and techno are the top genres.
I could change to another streaming platform, just hadn't really considered it before.
Yes, indeed auditioning for yourself is best. The reason I asked about Spotify is that they only stream mp3. I, for one, like to think I can hear the difference between MP3 and CD quality (and above), at least in my system, with my music, but a lot of people won't. Sonos also don't do hi-res if I remember right, and the convenience of a Sonos + Spotify system shouldn't be underestimated imo, even if, at least in theory, it should be inferior to separates.

If you were to go for separates (even if you do stick with Spotify or not), I'd suggest looking into either all-in-ones like Nad C700, Marantz PM7000N or Bluesound Powernode (some, if not all of these also have HDMI, so you could also use them with your TV), or separate streamer+amp combos, like Bluesound Node 2021, or iFi Zen Streamer + Zen Dac V2 (or a used Cambridge Audio CXN v2) and an amp like Naim Nait 5si, Marantz PM6007, Arcam SA10 or SA20, Rega Brio, Cyrus One and many, many more.

For speakers, I'd look into Quad S2 for a very, very versatile standmounter, balanced but very musical sound, Focal Aria 906 if you want something more open sounding, or Mission QX2 or Wharfedale Diamond 12.2 for a darker sound. If you go with a Marantz amp, Dali speakers are also a must-audition imo.

For floorstanders, you could do way worse than Wharfedale 12.3, Dali Oberon, Fyne Audio F501 or the Wharfedale Lintons. But most these will require even more space away from walls than standmounts. However, do try them.
 

RoA

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2021
459
260
1,270
Why 'Hifi vs Sonos'?

A Sonos system can sound very good and probably saves you a lot of balls ache (money) down the line.

It's what most folks probably want/need. Even fairly discerning ones, especially those that are never happy with what they have which ... is a fair amount of Audiophiles.
 

12th Monkey

Moderator
I know it's unlikely to be representative, but I was listening to a Sonos setup in the dentist's waiting room yesterday. It was probably the radio station they were streaming, but the sound quality was awful - no treble, muddy bass emphasising the bit it could actually reach, and the sort of awful, overblown midband that made it impossible to ignore, and equally impossible to tolerate (I was happier in the chair!).
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tinman1952

RoA

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2021
459
260
1,270
My local bike shop/caffee, Rockets&Rascals have a couple of small Sonos speakers high up, near ceiling and angled down on opposing ends of the largish room. Very engaging and catches my attention most times.

I've listened to the larger 5's a few times. Thinking back to my time with the LS50 Meta Wireless and their overt 'Audiophile' sound (great but all about detail/soundstage at cost of fun) I do wonder if a decent Sonos system not would have given more musical satisfaction ... .

Anyway, I digress
 

Witterings

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2020
110
28
620
Why 'Hifi vs Sonos'?

A Sonos system can sound very good and probably saves you a lot of balls ache (money) down the line.

It's what most folks probably want/need. Even fairly discerning ones, especially those that are never happy with what they have which ... is a fair amount of Audiophiles.
A while back I was chatting to someone with years of experience working with one of the big retailers and asked about the difference in quality and his words were - "You're making a choice between Lifestyle or Quality"
This was in response to me asking about possibly moving from a fairly decent AVR over to a Sonos solution (partially to obtain multiroom as well) and whether it'd be an upgrade but he forwent the opportunity to potentially sell me a system to give what he believed was a genuine reply.

In essence though the only real way to tell is to listen to them both ideally in a back to back situation.

The one thing I've learnt a great deal from recently was doing back to backs with various different speakers setting up 2 pairs with a switch so you can get an instant comparison from one to the other and leaving them like it for a few days.

I've learnt that you'll prefer one set with one song and another set with another song depending on how they were recorded and there's a massive difference between tracks.
Some speakers sound better with quiet music in the background, (often the brighter ones) but not so good as other pairs with the same tracks cranked up and is where the brighter ones sound shrill and become "tiring" to listen to.

This has changed my way of looking at it and rather than hoping for "the perfect" speaker, instead I look for extremes and characteristics I really don't like as knockouts.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts