Theatre system

14 Jan 2011
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United Kingdom
Hi Guys,

I'm in the market for a home theatre amp and speaker package. Budget is no more than a grand for the speakers and £5-600 for an amp.

Think i've found an amp which is the sony strdn 1050 but would probably get the newer 1060.

Its the speakers i'm having trouble deciding on. I think i've narrowed it down to the dali zensor 1 5.1 and the wharfedale diamond 220 hcp. I can't stand mount any of the speakers they will have to go on wall brackets which i think will probably suit the dali's more. I will go in store and have a listen to them both but wondered if you guys had any hands on experience with either speakers or have any other suggestions? At the moment I'm swayed more toward the wharfedales based on reviews. The room is my bedroom which has the usual bed, wardrobe etc in it so non critical speaker placement is quite important, i'm going to struggle to get the two fronts equidistant from each other. Also being bracket mounted they will be close to the wall. I want speakers that will be strong on music reproduction as well as movies. I've got a 4k tv and hooked up to netflix and now tv through apple tv
10 - 15 years ago i had a bose acoustimass 10 with a rel sub, are they still worth looking at?

Room is about four metres square.

Thanks in advance
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Having a listen is really the best plan. No matter what peoples recommendations, everyone hears something different from speakers, so draw up a short list but then let your ears decide.

When demoing you need to watch out for differences in volume between products. Speaker efficiency will affect volume; so demoing two sets of speakers and leaving the amp set at the same volume level throughout then it's easy to mistake louder for better and walk out with an inferior product just because it is better at turning Watts in to dBs. If you have a smart phone then download one of the free sound meter apps. They'll often feature an average setting. Listen to the two sets of speakers playing the same piece of music or film. If nothing else changes then the difference in dB volume between the speakers is down to the efficiency. Once you have that difference figure then you can adjust the amp's volume by the same amount to level the playing field.

I would also recommend listening just to a stereo pair with the AV receiver set to its minimal mode.... "Pure Direct" or whatever Sony calls it. Play the music from a CD player though rather than a BD player. Most budget and mid range BD players have awful sound quality as CD players.

Depending on where you're going for your demo, other speakers that have really impressed me include the new Q Acoustics series and the Monitor Audio MASS system. I've never rated Bose Acoustimass for anything other than the occasional commercial background music system in restaurants. IMO they're very poor Hi-Fi speakers. REL subs are fabulous but expensive. BK is the manufacturing subcontractor that Richard E. Lord (REL) used. BK now sells under its own brand. REL quality for about half the price.

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