Choosing first pair of speakers
Jan 27, 2017 at 3:45 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 17

bemeurer

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I'm planning on buying my first pair of speakers in a couple of weeks, and I'd like some help choosing. These are the options I'm currently thinking of
  1. Klipsch RP-160M
  2. Focal Chorus 705
  3. KEF Q100
  4. Wharfedale Diamond 225
Any thoughts on which one of these would be better or alternative suggestions? My room is about 18m², and my source is a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon paired to a Marantz PM6010 amplifier.
 
Jan 29, 2017 at 10:40 AM Post #2 of 17

yage

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If you're going to be listening at a desk, I would favor the front-ported models such as the Chorus or the Q100. The front ports make it easier to place the speakers near the rear wall without bass issues. Additionally, the KEF would probably hold an advantage with its coaxially mounted drivers. If it's going to be a more traditional setup where you have more freedom in how you place your speakers, then larger woofers generally net you more and deeper bass. The Klipsch would make the most of the watts from your integrated amp since its sensitivity is quite high.
 
Jan 29, 2017 at 2:22 PM Post #3 of 17

theveterans

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Your room is too big for a bookshelf speakers IMO. Get a floor-standing speakers like the Focal Chorus 714 to fill your room with sound nicely.
 
Jan 29, 2017 at 10:13 PM Post #4 of 17

ProtegeManiac

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  Your room is too big for a bookshelf speakers IMO. Get a floor-standing speakers like the Focal Chorus 714 to fill your room with sound nicely.

 
Or he can just sit closer to the speakers, with the speakers and his chair all farther away from the walls to minimize reflections. With the gear closer to the wall he can put a front firing sub between the speakers but pushed back a little bit and positioned on some kind of platform (to keep it equidistant to the mains, and preventing reflections off the floor from pulling the sub image too far down) later on.
 
Jan 31, 2017 at 9:19 AM Post #5 of 17

bemeurer

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Something neat showed up, a chance to get a pair of Focal Profile 908's in amazing good shape for the same price I'd pay for the ones I listed before. Any thoughts on this?
 
  Your room is too big for a bookshelf speakers IMO. Get a floor-standing speakers like the Focal Chorus 714 to fill your room with sound nicely.

The room is big on the x axis, but has no y depth. All my sound equipment will be across the y axis. It probably has about 4m wall to wall, so that's the maximum distance I could be away from the speakers. There's also not much space, and I like how easy it is to move bookshelf speakers if I have to move to another place soon.
 
Feb 1, 2017 at 4:16 PM Post #6 of 17

yage

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Sounds like a good speaker. If you can listen to them before you buy, that would be best.
 
Vandersteen (the company that manufactures my speakers) outlines a few good strategies for speaker placement which might be a good starting point. You can find them here, starting on p.5. 
 
Feb 2, 2017 at 4:37 PM Post #7 of 17

Olympus Mons

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I was interested in the Q100's when I was shopping for speakers a few months ago. Some people started telling me that they found them a little on the bright side which I wasn't sure that I liked very much. Be that as it may I did find many, many good reviews on them as well as the Wharfedale's which I also considered. In the end I decided to go for the Monitor Audio Bronze 2's and like them very much.  Some people say the treble isn't as upfront as they like it to be on them but I kinda like my treble a little rolled off anyway. Don't know what your sound preferences are but good luck with the search, I compared speakers for quite awhile and it can get overwhelming at times.
 
Feb 2, 2017 at 9:02 PM Post #8 of 17

artur9

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There's a bit of a price spread there.  Something like $300-550.
 
I have a soft spot for Wharfedales as they were all the rage when I was younger.  But have you considered a Magnepan?  They have a 60 day home trial, dealer managed.
 
Feb 2, 2017 at 11:02 PM Post #9 of 17

bemeurer

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  There's a bit of a price spread there.  Something like $300-550.
 
I have a soft spot for Wharfedales as they were all the rage when I was younger.  But have you considered a Magnepan?  They have a 60 day home trial, dealer managed.

There is a bit of price spread, yeah, mostly because my budget has fluctuated over the past week or so. Currently in consideration:
  1. Focal Chorus 705
  2. Focal Chorus 706
  3. KEF Q300
  4. B&W 686 S2
  5. ELAC Debut B6
 
The Magnepan seems really nice, but they look to big and have no dealers in Europe. 
 
Feb 2, 2017 at 11:04 PM Post #10 of 17

bemeurer

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  I was interested in the Q100's when I was shopping for speakers a few months ago. Some people started telling me that they found them a little on the bright side which I wasn't sure that I liked very much. Be that as it may I did find many, many good reviews on them as well as the Wharfedale's which I also considered. In the end I decided to go for the Monitor Audio Bronze 2's and like them very much.  Some people say the treble isn't as upfront as they like it to be on them but I kinda like my treble a little rolled off anyway. Don't know what your sound preferences are but good luck with the search, I compared speakers for quite awhile and it can get overwhelming at times.

The store nearby does have Monitor Audio Bronze 2 speakers, but I hadn't given them much attention. How long have you had them? Overall impressions?
 
For what it's worth I really enjoy neutral sound more, I have HD 650's and I love them. I listen mostly to classical and jazz. 
 
Feb 2, 2017 at 11:37 PM Post #11 of 17

ProtegeManiac

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  There is a bit of price spread, yeah, mostly because my budget has fluctuated over the past week or so. Currently in consideration:
  1. Focal Chorus 705
  2. Focal Chorus 706
  3. KEF Q300
  4. B&W 686 S2
  5. ELAC Debut B6
 
The Magnepan seems really nice, but they look to big and have no dealers in Europe. 

 
I'd go with the 706. Think Grados but speakers, and so while they don't image as well as many other speakers (not bad for the price range though), they won't have the imaging issues that headphones have.
 
Keep them roughly 0.75 to 1m away from the back and side walls (try to keep them roughly 1.5m to 2m apart though), then sit about 2m away, then experiment with toe-in. Make sure the speakers are on stable stands - heavy speaker stands can mean the difference between good enough bass and hollow bass (when you move, you can just pour the sand out and move it separately, just follow the proper procedure for drying it out). Also mind height - the ear needs to be somewhere between the two drivers height-wise. It's better to buy short stands actually and just make a mass-loaded platform (basically just a wooden box loaded with dry sand; top cover doesn't have to seal it, so you can take out the sand if you need to move) to adjust it (take into account good spikes under the stand).
 
If you're not moving soon you can build some acoustic panels (that you can haul to the new place and just make more if you need them). Just make basically a tall enough frame (figure up to 0.5m above the height of the speakers), stretch some fabric over one side, fill with sound absorbing materials, then stretch fabric over the other side. Or you can invest in acoustic foam panels when you move.
 
Feb 3, 2017 at 1:58 PM Post #12 of 17

bemeurer

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I'd go with the 706. Think Grados but speakers, and so while they don't image as well as many other speakers (not bad for the price range though), they won't have the imaging issues that headphones have.
 
Keep them roughly 0.75 to 1m away from the back and side walls (try to keep them roughly 1.5m to 2m apart though), then sit about 2m away, then experiment with toe-in. Make sure the speakers are on stable stands - heavy speaker stands can mean the difference between good enough bass and hollow bass (when you move, you can just pour the sand out and move it separately, just follow the proper procedure for drying it out). Also mind height - the ear needs to be somewhere between the two drivers height-wise. It's better to buy short stands actually and just make a mass-loaded platform (basically just a wooden box loaded with dry sand; top cover doesn't have to seal it, so you can take out the sand if you need to move) to adjust it (take into account good spikes under the stand).
 
If you're not moving soon you can build some acoustic panels (that you can haul to the new place and just make more if you need them). Just make basically a tall enough frame (figure up to 0.5m above the height of the speakers), stretch some fabric over one side, fill with sound absorbing materials, then stretch fabric over the other side. Or you can invest in acoustic foam panels when you move.

I went to the store today, and after much discussion with the owner I ended up getting the B&W 686 S2. I really like how the mids behave, but I'm finding the high end too aggressive for my taste. I'll give them a burn in of 48h or so and if my opinion doesn't change I will go back and exchange them for the Focals. The B&Ws are great speakers, they just aren't for me on my initial impressions.
 
Feb 3, 2017 at 8:32 PM Post #13 of 17

ProtegeManiac

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  I went to the store today, and after much discussion with the owner I ended up getting the B&W 686 S2. I really like how the mids behave, but I'm finding the high end too aggressive for my taste. I'll give them a burn in of 48h or so and if my opinion doesn't change I will go back and exchange them for the Focals. The B&Ws are great speakers, they just aren't for me on my initial impressions.

 
I'm getting confused here. You went into a brick and mortar store, bought speakers that you didn't like when you listened to them and hoping break in will totally change everything?

Or do you mean you went into a brick and mortar store (vs an internet retailer) and didn't do what you can do in a brick and mortar store, ie, listen to them on a demo set-up, relying solely on the owner's recommendation?

I never bought headphones or speakers that I haven't listened to at all (or not the exact same unit anyway). Even if the demo room is a lot better acoustically than your own room, the point of listening to them there is so that you know you're getting the speaker that sounds like what you like, and any difference when you listen at home is due to your room, which you can deal with somehow while you're at least beginning with speakers you're sure you liked in another room. Other brick and mortar stores can bring a demo unit over to your home, but of course these are the ones expensive enough that their net profit is better served selling a few units for sure to possibly impressed buyers who would otherwise not be willing to fork over that much cash.
 
Feb 6, 2017 at 9:08 AM Post #14 of 17

yage

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  I went to the store today, and after much discussion with the owner I ended up getting the B&W 686 S2. I really like how the mids behave, but I'm finding the high end too aggressive for my taste. I'll give them a burn in of 48h or so and if my opinion doesn't change I will go back and exchange them for the Focals. The B&Ws are great speakers, they just aren't for me on my initial impressions.


Usually if you need convincing (by yourself or a dealer) to pick a pair of speakers, then they're not going to be a good match. Trust in your own tastes and you'll find the sound you seek.
 
Feb 13, 2017 at 8:04 AM Post #15 of 17

bemeurer

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So, after having the 686 S2 for a week or so I decided to change, the sound had some characteristics that really didn't please me, and I really did not like the base. I decided to shoot my already half-dead wallet and exchanged them for a pair of ELAC's Uni-Fi UB5 (The "Slim" version, since it's the only on in the EU). They quite literally just got here, but  I am absolutely loving them. I decided to go with them once I had a chance to hear the Focal's and found them really fatiguing, after hearing UB5's I thought they were more my cup of tea. After seeing the very positive reviews I went for them. I'll come back with some better formed opinions in a few days.
 

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