Two important questions are 1) how important is sound quality for that 10% of music and 2) what speakers are you using and how hard are they to drive?
I'm guessing music will be more of a secondary thing and so sound quality not of the utmost importance although you obviously want it to at least sound good. And if the speakers aren't a particularly hard load and considering you're listening at relatively low levels in a relatively small room with a sub it doesn't sound like you'll need all that much power. I'd go for something like a Yamaha RXV375 ($250 or less new), which probably has enough power for your needs and gets decent reviews for sound quality versus other receivers in the price range. The biggest remaining question would be if it has all the features/connections you need or want. Given what you described I think getting a separate amp/prepro might be a bit overkill for this situation. Hope this helps and best of luck.
The television is all I have, so far. I plan to use an Oppo Blu Ray but I haven't made any decisions about the receiver or speakers, yet. You are correct the music is a secondary consideration and I want a receiver rather than separates to save room if nothing else. I was guessing I should pay more than $250 for a decent receiver but I don't how much more, to get something appropriate. I also want some good sounding speakers for a bedroom television set-up. I don't want to go overboard but I don't want to go cheap either.
What's your budget for the receiver and speakers (including the sub)?
I would guess the receiver, speakers and sub should be somewhere between $2000-$4000
If you're using an Oppo, and not using a turntable or radio tuner, I suggest skipping the receiver and just getting a 3 or 5 channel amp. Get a 5 channel if you plan to upgrade later.
The Oppo does very well directly into an amplifier, and the surround settngs can be controlled from the Oppo.
Seditious's suggestion of just using the Oppo without a receiver is a very good one. Here's how it would work:
The Oppo has separate analog outputs for up to a 7.1 surround system: front L + R, Center, Side surround L + R,Rear surround L + R and subwoofer. All would be connected to the multi-channel amp of your choice via analog audio line level cables with rca connectors at each end. You can use just 2 front speakers and a sub to start and go up to a 5.1 or a full 7.1 setup later if you wished. If you buy an amplified sub, you would just need a stereo amp for the 2 front speakers and run the Oppo's sub out directly to the amplified sub's input. If you buy a passive sub (unamplified), then you would need at least a 3-channel amp( like an Emotiva or Outlaw) to power the l + r speakers and the Oppo's sub out would go to the 3rd channel on the amp, with speaker wires to the sub.
The Oppos have a cool feature that I just discovered: It will automatically playback in multi-ch or stereo depending on the inputted signal. To configure this you have to hook it up in the following manner:
1. Connect the 'Dedicated Stereo' outputs on the Oppo using xlr or rca cables to the amp's l+ r inputs, do not use the Front L and Front R outs that are included in the analog out section.
2. Press the 'Home' button on the remote and go into the 'Setup' section. Choose 'Audio Processing' from the options on the left side and press select/enter. Use the arrow buttons to highlight the 'Stereo Signal' setting(you'll need to scroll down since it's one of the last settings) and press select/enter.
3. Choose the 'Front L+R' setting, do not select 'Down Mixed Stereo', and press select/enter.
This auto feature is really more impressive when using a 5.1 or 7.1 configuration since the Oppo will automatically play back in surround when you're watching tv or amovie and play back in stereo when you're listening to a cd or a computer file.
I have the Oppo 105 in my system and found out the above after setup. For you, using the Oppo will eliminate the need for a preamp, A/V receiver or a processor. The Oppo will do it all and very well.
For your budget and concerns for quality, I would buy an Oppo 103($500) or Oppo 105($1200), a pair of wall mounted (or free standing) Magnepan MMG speakers($325/pr), Magnepan MMGC center channel speaker ($300) and a JL Audio E110 powered sub($1,100) and Emotiva UPA-200 stereo amp($350). The total price would be $2,575 for the Oppo 103 system or $$3,275 for the Oppo 105 system.
The 105 and 103 both offer great video but the 105 offers superior audio play back than the 103.IMO, either would be great for a bedroom system and the 105 would be spectacular. If you opt for the Magnepans you have a choice of white or black and the center channel would not be a necessity. Of course, you could substitute speakers of your choice. The components/speakers I listed are picked for sound quality for both HT and stereo use.
Hope this helped you,
Seditious3 has a very good idea that I would also recommend, you don't need to buy an A/V receiver. The BDp-103 and 105 Oppos can be used as a limited input preamp, surround processor and bluray,CD, SACD, DVD-A player and even a digital music renderer and player.
You have a wide budget range, so I'll give you 2 system options; one for a very good basic system and one that I'd classify as spectacular, both assuming you only have the tv right now.
Option#1 Very Good Basic System $2,528 total :
Oppo BDP-103 $499
JL Audio E110 powered sub $1,050 (www.audiophileliquidator.net)
Magnepan MMG W wall mounted speakers $325
Magnepan MMG C center channel speaker $299
Emotiva UPA-200 stereo amp $349
Option#2 Spectacular System $4,018 total:
Oppo BDP-105 $1,199
JL Audio E110 powered sub $1,050 (www.audiophileliquidator.net)
Magnepan MMG W wall mounted speakers $325
Magnepan CC5 center channel speaker $1,095
Emotiva UPA-200 stereo amp $349
Within your stated budget of $2-4,000, these are both high-end systems that will sound and look very good to great. Of course, if you'd rather spend less, I could still give you a couple options ranging from $1-2,000 or even less, that would still sound very nice. Let me know if you'd like some less expensive options.
Great information. I looked up everything you suggested. I couldn't find audiophileliquidators.net The website just wouldn't work. The E110 sub was $1500 in every other place I looked. Also, the Emotiva UPA-200 is a stereo amp. Wouldn't I need a 5.1 or at least a 3 channel amp? I need floor standing front speakers as wall speakers just won't work. I really appreciate the long post that was full of good information. I plan to get the Oppo 105 and a couple more suggestions on speakers and an amp would be very helpful. Thanks a bunch.
You may want to avoid Audiophile Liquidators. I did some research and some have had less than pleasant experiences with them. Nobody's claiming fraud or loss of money but are mainly claiming poor customer service. Paying with a credit card, especially Amex, will offer some recourse if trouble arises. The prices are great but I've never bought from them. Do a google search, read the reviews and you can make an informed choice. You'll also see their website listed.
If you buy the E110 or another powered sub, you will only need a stereo amp since the amplifier is built into the sub enclosure. You'll need to plug in the subwoofer to a wall electrical socket and also run a line level rca cable from the 105's analog subwoofer output to the sub's line level input. You can set the crossover frequency on either the sub or the 105's setup menu. For an initial 3 spkr setup(a sub and l+r front speakers)you'd only need a stereo amp. However, if you'd like an initial 3.1 setup(sub, center channel spkr and r+l front spkrs), then you are correct that you'd need a 3 channel amp. Emotiva and Outlaw both offer good 3-ch amps, also.
I believe the Magnepan MMG and 12 models are offered as wall mounts or free standing on supplied stands for a similar price. They are both very good speakers from the midrange on up but are a bit weak in the bass regions due to their smaller size. However, either model in combination with a good sub (crossed over at about 80hz) would produce excellent results. I use the older and larger Magnepan 2.7qr spkrs with a sub with very good results in my music/ht system. I also think I have the same hdtv as you; a Panasonic 65" VT60 plasma. I can say for certain that this unit with an Oppo 105 is an outstanding combo. Good choice on the 105, you'll gain better audio over the 103.
You also asked for a few more speaker and amp suggestions. I just need a few questions answered before I can offer useful suggestions:
Are you going to definitely buy a sub? center channel?
Can you break your budget down by amp + speakers and sub + center if wanted?
Are you interested in using a 5.1 or 7.1 setup in the future, adding side and/or rear speakers? A yes answer will influence my amp choices.
Is 90% tv/movies and 10% music still accurate?
The KEF LS50s have been getting rave reviews and an A rating from Stereophile. I'd check out used amps on Audiogon. You might find a used sub as well.
For a top-flight bedroom system, I'd recommend the following:
1) Oppo BDP-103 or BDP-105 ($500 or $1200
2) Emotiva XPA-3 3-channel amp ($800)
3) Gallo Stradas for L/C/R speakers ($700 ea.)
4) Velodyne DD+ 10 subwoofer (about $1,000 on Audiogon)
This will give you a *very* highly resolving system that will playback every shiny disc available as well as provide internet/network streaming. At the top end, it will run you about $5100 (BDP-105), and about $4300 if using a BDP-103. Buying all the items used could knock $500-800 off the price tag.
This would be KILLER bedroom system!
I just read the Stereophile review on the KEF LS50 speakers that Dbphd recommended. These look like something you should consider, very good review. You would need a pair of stands with these($100-150) and would probably need a new or used sub($800-1,000), too. Also, you'd need a 3-channel amp like the Emotiva for $799 and a matching KEF center channel for $300-400. At $1,500, the speakers look like a bargain but the whole setup would run between $3,500-3,700 plus the $1,200 for the Oppo 105. I'm not sure if you want to spend that much.
The Rlwainwright suggested Gallo Strada system looks very interesting but probably should be considered a hi-end alternative with a matching price of $3,100 for l/c/r and sub. You'd either need to wall mount the l+r small speakers or purchase the optional stands for $450/pr.
Another suggestion I would propose is the Golden Ears Triton Three speakers (http://www.goldenear.com/products/triton-series). These are $999 each but have a built in amplified sub in each speaker so no $1,000 sub should be needed. They are good looking floor stand speakers that might simplify your setup. You'd still need one of their matching center channels(the larger Supercenter XL for $799 or the smaller Supercenter X for $599)and a 3 channel amp like the Emotiva XPA-3 $799 on Amazon).
This I would also consider a hi-end system with matching price tag that would be a total of $3,396 -3,596, depending on the center channel chosen and also don't forget the extra $1,200 for the Oppo.
We're good at spending your money, aren't we?
As you can see, you have lots of options and we're only suggesting a few. You have so many options at your healthy budget that it may help you to visit a few retailers and get a listen.
Are you going to wall mount your 65" plasma? If yes, I think the wall mounted hdtv, with a shelf or stand below (containing the amp, Oppo and center channel) with a Triton Three flanking the tv on each side, would be an extremely good looking and sounding bedroom system. Of course, you could also substitute the KEFs or Gallos,too. You have a ton of options, my friend.
I wrote another reply yesterday that hasn't posted yet,
Just noticed a classified listing on this site for an Emotiva XPA-3 for $100 off at $699, new is $799 by audiolawyer100. He says it's 1 month old and still in the box and will ship from Pa. for free.
Just a heads-up, seems like a good deal.
The television currently sits on a dresser but I have ordered an audio rack to replace it. However, the space for the center speaker is only 27" wide by 8" tall so that wouldn't work for the Magnepan center and may be a problem with some other picks as well. While I have 14' across the end of the room there is also a door on that wall and a door that swings onto it so I really don't have any overabundance of room. As usual space is a factor.
I like the Goldenear speaker look and really like the fact that it has subs built in. I need to read more about these speakers. However, a separate sub is also good. I won't be upgrading to a 5.1 or 7.1 in the future. This room just isn't large enough and my head is against the far wall at the head of the bed. I will order the Oppo 105 this week and wait for the rack to arrive before ordering the speakers or amp so I can be sure everything can fit.
I appreciate everyones input and am looking up every suggestion and taking notes. I don't really have a hard budget but just don't want to spend more than necessary for a good system. More suggestions would be helpful and don't assume I know anything. HT systems are something I know nothing about. I will be buying from the suggestions posted here. I really appreciate the help.
Just a few thoughts:
1. The Oppo 105- I bought mine at Crutchfield for $1,219 but free shipping. You can get it for $1,199 at Amazon and direct from Oppo but not with free shipping. When I bought at the end of Jan., this resulted in a net price that was $7 less from Crutchfield for me. You may have other incentives for buying elsewhere. so just an FYI.
2. Setup- Since you don't have an abundance of space, I would recommend wall mounting your 65" plasma. I mounted my 65" plasma in my living room system. The trick is mounting it at the right height, not too high or low. You want your head, from your viewing seat or bed in your case, to be at the same height as the middle of your tv screen. The middle of my screen, following this guideline, meant I mounted the middle of my tv 39" from the floor and this has worked out very well. You could measure the height of your eyes when on your laying in bed in a viewing position and then match the center of your tv to that height.
My mount (bought from Mounts Direct for $210) also telescopes out 36" from the wall, tilts several inches up and down and 90 degrees left and right. The movement up to 3ft closer may prove very useful for your situation.
3. Speakers(l+ c +r)and sub:
KEF LS50s- highly regarded spkrs but would require stands($100-200) and a subwoofer($800-1000). Matching center($300-800) could be wall mounted or set on stand. You'd probably want to bolt a door stop to the floor just before the LS50 stand to prevent tipping. Total spkr cost= $2,700-4,500(top price would include a 3rd LS50 as center).
Gallo Strata 2- Also highly regarded spkrs but would require wall mounting or stand mounting of speakers and a subwoofer($650-1000) is needed. Gallo Strata 2 custom stands are pricey at $450/pr. Door stop also would be good. Total spkr cost= $3,100-3,550.
Golden Ear Triton Three- Again, highly regarded spkrs but should eliminate the need for a sub. No stands required but matching centers are expensive($600-800). A floor door stop should also be used to prevent cosmetic damage. Total spkr cost=$2,600-2,800.
Honestly, I have not heard any of these speakers. But, from reading reviews and customer feedback, I am fairly certain any of these systems would meet or exceed your expectations. You could probably find local retailers to listen to the KEF and Gallo systems as well as other brands you may like. Golden Ear speakers, however, are sold direct with a home audition period so hearing them would be more difficult.
These options are not cheap so I'm sure you want to choose wisely. I'm retired with plenty of spare time, so I'm willing to help as much as I can. I have a very similar system to your projected one(Panasonic 65" plasma, Oppo 105 and surround setup) so I feel my experience may help you.
Plus, I'm really enjoying spending your money,
Since 90% of your time will be watching TV the center speaker will be of particular importance and I'd try to get the best one that fits your space and budget. Personally I like either using a monitor speaker (preferably matching the L/R speakers), but as this is not usually practical due to speaker height I'd choose a center with the tweeter located atop a dedicated midrange driver and then flanked by two midwoofs (I have been underwhelmed by center speakers that have two midwoofs flanking a single tweeter). Something like the Aperion Intimus 5C may be ideal as it comes in this configuration and is also less than 8" in height. Add their matching 5B bookshelves and an SVS PB1000 sub and you'd have the beginnings of a nice full-range system that's relatively economical and doesn't take up a lot of space. Paradigm also makes a Center1 speaker (and matching monitors) that would also fit your space and has a similar configuration, but at that price level I'd go with Aperion's silk dome tweeter over the Paradigm's metal dome, but that's personal preference. Given the size of your room I'm not sure I'd want to use tower speakers without a sub as they'd need to be pretty large to get bass near that of a subwoofer and may overwhelm your room visually and sonically.
As for electronics, an important consideration is the effectiveness of any room/speaker correction as that can make a big difference in what you ultimately hear especially in a smaller room. I'm not familiar with how the Oppo performs in this regard, but if it does well then maybe purchasing the Aperion speakers/SVS sub and the Emotiva amp mentioned above might make for an excellent combination for your situation/purposes (and I believe all offer nice in-home trial periods). If the Oppo doesn't do a good job with room correction it may be worth considering a decent AV receiver instead. Something like a Yamaha RXV475 should work perfectly fine for this application unless you want to spend considerably more for separates or a better AVR, but given this is mainly for lower volume TV watching I'm not sure it's worth the added expense. For whatever it's worth...
Soix, I hate to admit it but I have no idea what room/speaker correction is on an audio amp. I am only going to have 3 spaces below the television to put gear. A center speaker, blu-ray and what ever amp/preamp goes in the last slot unless I can double something up. I will have a look at the Aperion speakers. Thanks...
Tim, I don't want to mount the televison on the wall and have ordered a rack that will put the tv at just the right height for watching in bed. I'm glad you are enjoying spending my money because many times I don't buy because I just don't know what to get. I have been watching this bedroom tv and listening to the stock speakers for 2 1/2 years so I am ready to do something. I really appreciate all of the info I have received on this thread. I have some info to work with and I have learned several things. Once the rack gets here I plan to have made decisions on the amps and speakers. I will update this thread as I go along.
Here's a link with a brief description of what room correction does. If you go to the bottom and click the FAQ section there will be answers to many other questions you may find helpful as well. In a nutshell, even getting stereo speakers to sound balanced in a room can be a challenge, but add to that a center channel and a sub and the task gets exponentially harder -- especially regarding integrating the sub properly. These programs can be very helpful in setting the proper levels for each speaker while also taming a room's particular influence on the sound -- one of the most neglected and important aspects of achieving really great sound.
One of the gold standards right now is Audyssey MultEQ XT32, but you'd have to pay up a bit to get that right now and as this is not a super-critical listening environment you have to decide whether this is worth it. Given your application here I'm not so sure it is and that one of the very good mid-level correction programs in the cheaper receivers/prepros wouldn't be more than fine. There are many out there (me included) who will say room correction along with speaker selection will have the biggest absolute impact on what you ultimately hear. Not that everything isn't important -- it most certainly is from an ultimate qualitative standpoint -- but in terms of the magnitude of impact on what you ultimately hear this has been my experience.
Ok, it sounds like you have made some decisions:
You have a rack ordered with 3 shelf positions that will hold a yet to be determined center spkr, the Oppo 105 and a yet to be determined amp or a/v receiver. I'm not certain, but it sounds like the rack will also accommodate your 65" plasma either setting atop or attached to some built in structure.
Soix has raised some good points that deserve addressing:
1. Cost- Couldn't you just use an a/v receiver, with Audyssey or other room control capacity, along with a left, center and right speakers and possible sub?
The short answer is yes, you could, and this would give you sound quality far beyond your Panasonic's internal speakers and would be the least expensive option. However, I (and I think Rlwainwright and Dbphd, too) thought you were willing to pay more for sound quality a few steps beyond mass market consumer electronics and speakers, which is why we suggested higher end solutions.
Given your situation, sound goals and budget, your decision to buy the Oppo 105 is an excellent choice/solution. This unit has features that I'm not sure Soix is aware of:
It eliminates the need for an a/v receiver since it can be used as a limited input preamp (that works well for your requirements), surround sound processor for 3.1 to 7.1 configuration as well as high quality audio/video processors and dacs for music, movies and ota, cable and satellite hdtv. All you need to add is the amplifier and speakers.
It is true the Oppo lacks the sophisticated room correction software (Audyssey,etc) that some newer a/v receivers have but it does have a more basic speaker setup capacity that I think is ample for your purposes using a 3.0 or 3.1 setup. The Oppo's speaker configuration menu has a test tone generator that lets you balance your speakers manually by ear. You initially enter the distance in feet that your spkrs(l,c, r and sub) are from your listening position. If the system's algorithm settings are not to your liking, you can adjust each spkrs level up or down until you achieve the most balanced results to your ears.
The Oppo, along with a high quality 3-channel amp, likely gives you audio performance beyond almost any a/v receiver and light yrs ahead of the sound you currently have.
2. Equipment-Couldn't you just buy a simple setup consisting of a left, center and right speakers with a sub (like Axiom spkrs with a SVC sub)?
Again, the answer is yes you could. It all comes down to your budget and sound quality goals. Dbphd, Rlwainwright and I all offered options that are, admittedly, on the hi-end of the sound quality and cost spectrum that may be better suited to someone's main a/v system than a bedroom setup.
Are our suggestions 'overkill' and Soix's suggestion more appropriate and reasonable? Absolutely, but its your money and you just need to decide how much better sound is worth to you and how much your willing to spend. Only you, of course, can answer this.
You do have lots of options.
Have fun and enjoy the search,
Two points to consider:
(1) If your LR speakers image well, you may not need a center channel. Reviews suggest the KEF LS50 image exceptionally well, but other speakers also image well. I removed our center channel, because the big KEF Reference 107/2s image so well a center channel is redundant.
(2) Low frequencies are most critical for room correction, and you might be able to find something like the Velodyne SMS-1 bass manager used at a good price. I've long used an SMS-1 to control a pair of HGS-15s, and I recently bought a pair of SMS-1s for $450.
Another option to consider is pairing an Oppo with active speakers such as the KRK VXT8.
Yesterday the audio rack arrived so I measured it and the space is 7'x20" where the center channel will sit. I am a little afraid to not have a center speaker as Dbphd suggests because I am having some trouble understanding some dialogue and that is one of the main problems I want to overcome. I installed a speaker bar in another bedroom with the same model television and it really cleared up the dialog for me so I am thinking I definitely want a center speaker since I will be mostly listening to television on this system.
I have been fighting a cold all week so I haven't been researching my options but early next week I plan to order the Oppo then make some decisions on the speakers and amplifier. I tend to always upgrade and really hate it when I go too cheap so I may up the amplifier quality some. i guess I need to decide on speakers first then I will post back here and you guys can help me make a good decision on an amplifier. The KEF LS50 speakers look really good but I also really like the idea of the sub being in the Goldenear cabinets, too.
I plan to restart my research on Monday and look up the new suggestions and go from there. I really appreciate all of the help. I am looking up and carefully considering every suggestion. Like anybody I want a good system at a fair price so I am reading and rereading the suggestions. I will keep you guys updated as I go along. Thanks...
I did a little research for you since you're under the weather. Here's what I found out assuming you're going to choose between Golden Ear, Gallo, KEF, Aperion and KRK speakers:
Golden Ear Triton Three-the matching SuperCenter X center ($599) measures 20"wide x 5-3/4" high x 11" deep
Gallo Strata 2- the matching center speaker ($799) laid horizontally measures 13"wide x 5" high x 6.5" deep
Kef LS50- Using a 3rd LS50 as a center would not fit on your shelf(too tall) but at least one KEF dedicated center($299) would fit.
KRK-these are similar in size, but much less expensive than, the KEF LS50s. They are also too tall for you're shelf space and the l+r spkrs would need stands. They may offer a dedicated center but I didn't see one.I'll leave it to you to decide on these.
Aperion-these are similar in size, but much less expensive than, the Golden Ear tower speakers. However, they lack built in subs so you may find you need one of their 7 subs ($350-900). They also offer matching centers and at least one will fit: $160 4C that measures 12.8" wide x5.33" high x 5.5" deep and the 5C that measures 19.33" wide 7.33" high x 8" deep.
The first 3 suggestions are all highly rated speakers, as reviewed by professional reviewers, and will most likely give you the best sound but at the highest costs. The last 2 suggestions I have not read reviews on , but they still may meet your sound quality requirements, and they definitely offer the lowest costs.
In my opinion, and not solely because I suggested them, I believe the Golden Ear speakers offer the most elegant solution based on your needs for the following reasons:
1. You are assured of high quality sound since you can probably audition them first at a local dealer (go to www.goldenear.com and select the 'dealer' menu choice to find your nearest dealer).
2. The list price of 2 Triton Three spkrs and matching SuperCenter X center($2,600) is not cheap but is not the most expensive suggestion, either. Your local dealer may offer you a discounted package deal, especially if you buy 3 speakers and a suitable 3-channel amp from him.
3. Each Triton Three spkr has a built in subwoofer with its own amplifier, which not only saves floor space but also improves sq.
4. If you pick a very good looking, as well as a very good sounding, 3 ch amp to go along with the very good sounding and very good looking towers and center, you'll be a lock to win multiple room design awards and prizes.
5. The matching SuperCenter X spkr fits perfectly into your new rack center channel shelf position. You may view this as just a fortunate coincidence, however, many in the know would confirm that it's an obvious sign from the Audio Gods concerning the ideal choice.
I'm sure you know I'm just having a little fun, however, the Emotiva 3-ch is a good sounding and good looking (hint, hint) amp that would nicely complete your very good sounding and looking bedroom audio system.
Hope this helped,
When you get the Oppo and before you commit to a center channel, try setting the center speaker to off in the Oppo set up menu so all dialog is apportioned to the LR speakers. The ability of the LR speakers to image well will have a strong effect on dialog intelligibility. The Stereophile sampler and test cd can be helpful in judging imaging. Well set up speakers should be able to generate a strong centered image.
I once helped a guy set up a home theater on which he spent about $15,000 on very good speakers and electronics, but his beloved antique cabinet would only house a 42" widescreen TV. What a crime. I think letting a cabinet dictate your choices is a frustrating (and avoidable) situation given how many cabinet types/sizes there are out there, and unfortunately your 7" height restriction is going to rule out a lot of great center speakers and significantly reduce your remaining choices -- at least for a good center speaker (even a third LS50 is too tall). Too bad, especially since you're rightly very concerned about dialogue clarity. It's a great pet peeve of mine too and why personally I wouldn't compromise on the quality of a center speaker. Hopefully you'll get some workable recommendations from the good folks here.
That said, I do agree with Dbphd that if your front L/R speakers are capable of producing clear mids and image well and your listening position is close to midway between the two speakers you might be very happy (and maybe even happier) without a center speaker. I had such a setup for several years and didn't miss a center channel one bit. Personally I'd rather have dialogue reproduced by two high-quality speakers than one compromised speaker if that ends up being the choice, but like I said maybe you'll get some good recommendations that will preclude that from being the case. Again, best of luck.
I would certainly like to do without a center channel but I am under the impression that dialogue will certainly suffer if I leave it out? What I have read is that soundtracks are mixed for a L&R and center channel so when you leave out the center the mix suffers not being intended to play only through the left and right? I may buy the L&R speakers and hold off on the center until I hear how it sounds in stereo.
The Oppo will take care of down mixing to stereo so dialog is not lost. A 7' high slot is perfect for holding CD, SACDS, and Blu-rays, but I doubt any speaker would sound its best in it.
Wemfan- If you are having trouble w dialog, I would strongly recommend a center channel. A used NHT center channel speaker from their 1 series would fit very nicely and would match tonally w superzeros or super 1s that are almost always available on ebay. Or the new NHT Absolute zeros for mains with a new NHT absolute center. Add a sub and you have a very nice system that takes up little more space than those HT in a box deals but is way better.
Here is what I am thinking to get started.
1. Oppo 105
2. Kef ls50 pair
3. Emotiva XPA-3 power amp
I thought I would order these pieces then see if I needed a center channel or a sub. Any other suggestions from anyone? Is there a better way to go? BTW, I very much appreciate all of the help that I have received on this thread. Tomorrow the phone and the credit card....
I submitted another reply to you a few days ago that still hasn't posted. Hopefully this one posts quicker.
If I remember correctly, I think I recommended going with the Golden Ear Triton Three spkrs because they have a smaller sub built into each spkr, have a well matched $600 SuperCenter X center if you felt it was needed and there's no need for separate spkr stands. I still stand by this recommendation.
However, the KEF LS50s are probably also a very good option. You just would need a pair of stands, possibly a sub and I think they only have a small center channel if you determined you need one.
In any case, I think the purchases of the Oppo 105 and the Emotiva XPA-3 amp are very good choices that will work well with any speaker solution.
Wishing you the best,
Soix, "a crime"? Really? My wife's grandfather (a WWII vet who is no longer with us) made a beautiful cherry entertainment center for her. It is complete with matching book shelves, end tables and a coffee table; and he kiln dried some of the wood himself! I plead guilty to letting a family heirloom determine my TV and audio equipment selections.
Wemfan, I use an M&K S125C for my center channel. The angled front allows me to set the speaker on the top of my entertainment center and still have the drivers directed to my ears when I'm in my listening position.
If this was a furniture/home decor website I'd say fine -- whatever blows your skirt. But on this site and in this company, matching $15k of electronics with a 42" TV is a crime.
I respect your wife's grandfather's service and the sentimental value of his gift to her. To many a/v enthusiasts, however, anyone pairing $15k of electronics with a 42" tv screen is definitely guilty of some kind of offense. Personally, I'm somewhat offended just at the thought of it.
Sad but true,
Tim, Thanks for the research. I really appreciate your detailed posts. I have read each one several times. I will be rereading the one about how to hook up the Oppo when it arrives.
Where I live ( in Oklahoma) there is no place besides Best Buy that carries audio equipment so no easy try outs for me. I am leaning more towards the Kef LS50s because review after review was so high on them. I also like the idea of a small bookshelf speaker on a stand. I was thinking that if I needed a center channel I could lay a single LS50 on its side. It will fit if I lay it down but I was going to try and get by without one if I could. I like the look of them a little better.
Right now, Second place would be the Goldenear Tritons. I read one review where they said the cheapest version, the 7, was also the best sounding. Anyway, I know they are great speakers and I haven't ordered any speakers yet so I will think on it for at least another day. I also considered the KEF R300 but now it is down to the Tritons and the LS50. I like the look of a speaker box more than a tower so that is influencing me.
I did order the Oppo 105D today. I haven't done as much research on amps so only the Emotiva XPA-3 is in the running. I would like some more choices. Is this amp really what I need or should I go up in price and if I do what would I be getting?
I see amazon.com has the Emotiva XPA-3 for $800. My experience is that Amazon is very good about standing behind anything they sell with a simple return policy. It's good to save the packing until you're sure you got what you want to facilitate return if necessary.
Thanks for the kind words, Tim. He was part of a truly great generation.
"Thanks for the kind words, Tim. He was part of a truly great generation."
You're welcome. I instinctively feel proud and grateful to the Americans of the WWII era, especially those who fought. They truly were a great generation; some have even called them the Greatest generation and I tend to agree with that.
I completely understand if you go with the KEF LS50 spkrs on a nice pair of stands. I've read the reviews, too, and they are very highly recommended for both sq and value. If you do buy them, you may want to get a matching KEF center channel rather than position another LS50 on its side. I would call KEF, or a KEF dealer, and ask them for the best center spkr solution.
You also mentioned the Golden Ear Triton Seven towers as an option. These would also give you very good sq and value but, remember, the Sevens do not have built in subs/amplifiers like the Triton Threes do for $500 more. But you may find you don't require a sub in your smaller room, and lower volumes, with either the Golden Ears or the KEFs.
I don't think you can go wrong with either choice so it may be decided by which you consider the better looking or which fits your room best.
For a 3-ch amplifier, I think the Emotiva is a good match for both the Oppo 105 and the spkrs. In my opinion, if you want to look at amps that would be a possible step up in sq, I would look at a new or used Rotel, Wyred4 Sound, ClassD Audio, D-Sonic or Nuforce amp. Rotel offers both class A/B (same type as the Emotiva) and class D models. The others are all class D amps which are much more energy efficient and run cooler than the A/B amps. Which amp type sounds the best is debated on forum sites like Audiogon ad nauseum. I think class D sounds very good, when done right, and use a ClassD Audio 440CS unit as my main 2-channel amp with very good results. I use older used class A/B Adcom amps for my sub and surround channels. I'm considering replacing these 2 amps with a class D 4-ch amp soon, too, mainly to decrease electricity consumption, not for sq. reasons.
You can buy a new Emotiva XPA-3, like Dbphd mentioned, for $799 on Amazon. I also saw someone is selling one used on Audiogon now for $699 that he said is like new and hardly used.
Also I looked up KEF retailers in Oklahoma and saw there is one, called Bluespeed A/V in Tulsa. There may be others since I only looked up Tulsa on their 'retailer locator' at www.kef.com.
Best of luck,
Tim, You have my interest up for considering other amp options besides Emotiva. I looked up everything you suggested.
1. I couldn't find any prices on a 3 channel Rotel and no used ones.
2. Wyred 4 Sound has a great looking amp for $1775 but they are sold out of it
3.Class D Audio has a 4 channel amp the SDS-470 for $1275
4. D Sonic has a 3 channel amp for $1775
5. Nuforce didn't have anything but 8 channel amps on their site.
6. Parasound A31 There are two of them used on Audiogon
How would any of these amps compare to the Emotiva XPA-3 ? I could stretch my budget a bit if I was really getting better value for it. All opinions are very welcome. I don't know much about amps and of course want acquire something appropriate that will work well with the Oppo and Kef LS50 speakers.
I think the Emotiva XPA-3 would be a good match for the system you're building. The more I see and learn about the KEF LS50 speakers, the more I like them as a good choice for your needs.
As far as improving on the Emotiva for sq and your interest in alternative options, While I was looking for stand options for your KEFs yesterday,I saw an expired ad from another Audiogon member for a very interesting solution for you: he was building and selling custom stands for the LS50s that had class D amps built into the stands.
The amps were Hypex Ncore 400 module based amps that are highly regarded class D kit amps from The Netherlands. These are a lower powered variation on the Hypex Ncore 1200 modules that are only available to high-end class D manufacturers that sell their completed amps for $10,000 plus per pair as monoblocks( such as Merrill Audio, Acoustic Imagery and Mola Mola). You can read all about these modules on Audiocircle's forum.
I sent an email to this member,secretriches, asking if he'd be willing to build a pair of these amp/stands for you but he has not responded as of today.
The only other class D amp you may want to check out is the Axiom ADA-1000 in 3 channel form for $1,100. But, unlike the other class D amps I mentioned, I cannot say with any degree of certainty that the Axiom will better the Emotiva in sq.
I am sure that the Hypex Ncore 400 based kit amps will better the Emotiva in sq. If secretriches does not respond, you could probably find someone else to build a 3-channel version for you or you could build one yourself. An easier solution may be to just contact Wyred4 Sound and inquire when their 3-ch amp will be in stock again. That amp would also better the Emotiva in sq.
I'll let you know if secretriches replies. His amp/stands are ideal for your situation but only if he still makes them and at a reasonable price.
Not trying to stir the pot, just mostly wondering why: I find these amp recommendations interesting given the OP says he will use this system 90% for TV. Now, if he mentioned he'd watch movies too, then yeah. But TV? Seems like a lot of money is being put into amps for mostly TV watching and I am thinking funds could be used elsewhere to better effect.
Tim, Thanks for checking on stands for me. I did order the KEF LS50s yesterday. I talked to one of their guys about a center. It appears their are about 4 options that would work. The R200, R600, Ls50 or no center. He seemed to think all were good options. I am still a bit up in the air about which amp to get. There are a couple of Parasound A31 amps on the for sale section. I just don't know what is reasonable to pay for them. I haven't bought the Emo amp yet thinking I may run into something that I might like better. I am plodding along and will probably get it all together next week.
A similar comment has come up before in this thread. You are completely correct; many simpler, less expensive,solutions for Wemfan's originally posted question currently exist that would produce better sq than the supplied amp and speakers in his hdtv. However, I have the impression that Wemfan wants and enjoys high quality sound that is a few steps above mass market level sq and is willing to spend more to achieve it.
Audiogon members, basically, are all searching for, or have achieved, similar sq goals on a wide range of budget levels and varying levels of success in their sq quests. Wemfan can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think he wants to build an audio system that matches the performance level of his Panasonic plasma and new Oppo 105 universal player. Both are products that perform a few steps beyond the levels of mass market consumer electronics. Both are also at their best when paired with good ancillary equipment like Wemfan is seeking.
My opinion is that, once he experiences how well his new system performs on both ht and music audio, his ratio of 90% ht and 10% music ratio may very well shift more toward the music portion.
I'm actually really enjoying your system construction. Part of the reason, I think, is because I have a Panasonic 65" plasma and Oppo 105 in my system and know how meaningful they are in creating a high performance system. I know firsthand how these 2 components, combined with a good amp and very good speakers, are going to make you smile every time you use it and enable you to appreciate the time and money you invested in your system.
Both the Kef R200C an R600C would make a good match soundwise for the LS50s. The R200C is (6.7 x 20.9 x 12 in.) and the R600C is (7.9 x 24.8 x 13.2 in.) so the 200 would fit your rack better but the 600 may be too large.
Parasound makes very good class A/B amps. They have a reputation for high quality and amps that perform well over many yrs of service. So buying a used one might be a good choice. I don't know the going rate for used A31 3-ch amps but know the retail price when new was $3,000. But remember, it's a good idea not to equate price with sq. The Emotiva is less expensive but may sound as good or better to you. Others may disagree, but I think both A31 amps currently listed for sale here seem overpriced.
The A31 is a large amp that weighs about 65lbs. It also can run very warm/hot so it requires a well ventilated rack location.
If it was my money, which I tend to spend less freely than yours, I would probably wait and buy the Wyred4 Sound 3-ch for $1,795; it is half the size and weight, sounds very good, barely gets warm to the touch and I believe consumes about half the electricity of an A/B amp.
Honestly,if I was buying and didn't feel like waiting, I would consider buying the MMC-5 5-ch amp for $1,999(and just use 3 of 5 channels) for the reasons above plus the ability to easily go to a 5.0 or 5.1 system in the future.
The 5-ch is only $200 more. If you ever decided to add 2 rear surrounds and go to a 5.0 or 5.1 system, you'd just need to add the speakers. If you bought the 3-ch and had the same urge later, you'd need to add the speakers plus a 2-ch amp. You'd likely have a difficult time finding a quality stereo amp for $200, right? If you stumble upon a good one, please let me know.
If you don't mind buying used, you may want to keep an eye out for used class D amps on A'gon and other sites.
With what you decided on and have already, you're going to have a hard time screwing it up, even if you tried.
Did you get your rack and Oppo yet? Order the KEFs? I'm looking forward to hearing your impressions of your new system's sq after it's completed and you've used it for a couple weeks.
Of course, all your suggestions are sensible and probably have been extremely helpful to Wemfan. I re-read the thread and I still don't see him mentioning HT. He's mentioned TV twice in the thread. He'll probably clarify - I mean - he has the Oppo 105 so why not watch movies in the bedroom!??
I think it may be a mistake to forego a center channel speaker given he has mentioned a few times how important dialogue is. I don't think relying on a phantom center is this case will be sufficient - especially if he he intends to watch 90% TV (and maybe movies) and 10% music.
As to his probable speaker choice - the KEF LS50 - I have not heard them, only read about them. Given his space limitations, those familiar with them, do you think they will work in his space? I am wondering if a speaker that isn't placement sensitive might merit consideration?
Finsup and Wemfan,
Of course, all your suggestions are sensible and probably have been extremely helpful to Wemfan. I re-read the thread and I still don't see him mentioning HT. He's mentioned TV twice in the thread. He'll probably clarify - I mean - he has the Oppo 105 so why not watch movies in the bedroom!??"
I agree that all my suggestions are sensible, as are yours(although I'm sure you just forgot to include the adjective "extremely" in front of "sensible" as you surely intended). Just having some fun.
You're correct, I assumed he would be watching tv, as well as bluray movies, in his deluxe bedroom system and referred to the totality as HT in my prior posts.
"I think it may be a mistake to forego a center channel speaker given he has mentioned a few times how important dialogue is. I don't think relying on a phantom center is this case will be sufficient - especially if he intends to watch 90% TV (and maybe movies) and 10% music."
Yes, given Wemfan's statements, he will probably want to include a dedicated center channel speaker in his system. I would not recommend the use of a 'phantom center', either. I think he agrees and is planning on including a dedicated center and bought a rack that has a position for it.
"As to his probable speaker choice - the KEF LS50 - I have not heard them, only read about them. Given his space limitations, those familiar with them, do you think they will work in his space? I am wondering if a speaker that isn't placement sensitive might merit consideration?"
I have never listened to the KEF LS50s, either. I actually recommended earlier a different pair of speakers to Wemfan, the Golden Ear Triton towers, but he chose to buy the KEFs. I do not think that Wemfan made a bad choice. On the contrary, the more reviews and info I read about these speakers, the more I think Wemfan made a good choice with the LS50s.
All speakers, in my experience, are 'placement sensitive' and require some sort of trial and error experimental positioning to achieve optimum sq results.
Currently, I have only 2 concerns once Wemfan gets his chosen system up and running:
1. Will it have sufficient and the proper bass response?
The KEFs are highly rated and may deliver sufficient and well defined bass response all by themselves, especially considering this is a bedroom system that will not require prodigious amounts of bass. The good news, if Wemfan decides he wants increased bass performance, is that this can be easily incorporated later by adding an amplified subwoofer. This is a decision that needs to be addressed after system setup and assessment.
2. What speaker stands will Wemfan purchase?
The LS50s require a pair of good quality stands for setup positioning and optimum sq performance. The critical factors are the height and left and right positioning in relation to Wemfan's head/ears at his listening position, presumably laying in his bed. A 3rd factor to consider is the coupling/decoupling desired from the stands/speakers to the floor. I am not well versed on this subject since I prefer to use floor standing panel speakers, not monitors.
I agree with Finsup, it would be very helpful to hear from LS50 owners/users and others knowledgeable of these speakers at this point.
As I currently understand it, Wemfan has the hdtv, Oppo 105,3-shelf rack and the KEFs are ordered and on their way. That leaves 2 components for Wemfan to decide on and order: the stands and an amplifier.
I've been looking into possible stands and would suggest Wemfan start by looking at Sound Anchor and Sanus stands. I found Google searches such as "Sanus(or Sound Anchor) stands for KEF LS50 speakers" works well, either pressing 'enter' for general results or clicking on 'images' if you want a visual of options.
You're almost there Wemfan,
Tim and Finsup,
I did purchase a Parasound A31( I bet I did pay too much for it) which should be here Wednesday and I ordered an Oppo 105D and a pair of LS50 speakers last week. What I am missing are speaker stands, a center speaker and a sub which I will probably order over the next few weeks. I have changed racks so now I can accommodate the larger KEF center speaker which is what I will order if I go ahead with a center channel.
I will use this system primarily for TV but I am a musician so I will significantly up the percentage of music listening once I have a good system in place. However, I will probably never go to a 5.1 system as the head of my bed is against the wall and that is what I lay up against. I really think this system is all I am ever going to want in that room, anyway. I also have the same Panny television in two other rooms which will need my attention. One is the living room in which I want to do something above this system so this one I am learning on. The other bedroom is where we sleep and where my wife watches most of her television. It is a large room and all I have talked her into so far is a soundbar which really helped but is far from what I want in there. So far, she has been agreeable on my $2000-$4000 system (that has suddenly grown to 10) so I won't push for more until after a little time passes. :-)
You guys have all been very helpful, especially Tim, and I am considering every suggestion. I have a lot more equipment to buy so I am all ears and trying to learn. I am really looking forward to setting this thing up and I am sure I am going to have a lot of questions. Once this one is complete and I can give you my impressions I want to start in the living room which we use for 95% music and 5% television. It is a large room and I want it loud in there.
I will give continue to give updates as we go and ask for advice...lots of advice.... Thanks guys
I am getting closer. I ordered the stands from Soundanchors today. I chose the single post adjustable stand. You can angle the speaker as well as adjust its height.
To make the system complete I still need a center speaker and a sub. According to KEF I should go with an R series center so I think I will go with the R-600 for $1499. I know some subs have been suggested but I haven't turned my attention that way, yet. I need to wait a few weeks before spending more money.
I do want to make a sub choice soon, though.
So, you have a new rack on order with a larger center speaker position and you bought the Parasound A31 3-ch amp.
I think you just need a pair of good stands for the LS50s, right?
Each LS50 weighs 16lbs and is 12"high x 8"wide x 11"deep. The stand chosen needs to be atleast these dimensions to be secure. The middle of the LS50's driver contains the tweeter(high frequency driver). Ideally, your ears, when laying on your bed at your usual viewing/listening position, should be equal to or slightly above the tweeters.
I've looked at a few stands and found 4 possibilities so far:
1. Sanus SFC22 Steel foundations steel base center stands $160ea/$320pr on AMAZON Top Plate =12"W X 15"D HEIGHT=22" These have spikes for carpet or Neoprene soft feet for hard floors. These are actually center channel stands turned sideways for secure LS50 placement. This should not cause any sonic issues but you need to see them to confirm cosmetic suitability.
2. Sound Anchor Custom stands $800/PR 30" High and weigh 75lbs each (LS50's weigh 16lbs ea.) These are Sound Anchor's custom stands designed specifically for the LS50speakers. They are expensive but give the speakers a very solid foundation. (321)724-1237 or contact by email at email@example.com. TOP PLATE=?
3. Custom Design FS104 Signature Stands $350/pair. These are only available on Amazon in the U.K., afaik. These are good looking but also unique looking in black or chrome with optional top plate sizes to fit the LS50s. They have a large,thick and circular center support column with 4 much thinner support colums at the corners for added support. I think these in black would give a cool, cohesive look with the black LS50s. They're also less than half the price of the Sound Anchors. Only downsize may be shipping charges to the U.S. which I didn't check.
4. Argosy Classic speaker stands 36"high(42" for $10 more) and weigh 60lbs each $160/pair on sale now; this is a great price for 2 sturdy, good looking stands that would work well with the LS50s. Basically a Sound Anchor type foundation at a very low bargain price(hint, hint). Top plate is 12" x 12", bottom plate is 16" x 16". Only possible downside to these is 2" of excess top plate room will be visible on each side of the LS50;no big deal to me, when saving $640 a pair, but you may differ. www.sweetwater.com. These are a very good deal right now but make sure you like their looks; I do but looks are subjective. I would buy soon if you like these since they may go fast at this price.
So you need to do the following next:
Lay on your bed in your usual position (head against your headboard you said)and measure the distance from the floor to the middle of your ears.
Only consider stands that are equal to, or slightly below this measurement; as in lower by 1-2 inches tops.
This is not a complete list of all your options, just the ones I've found thus far. Once you find sturdy stands at the right height, your choice will probably come dwn to cosmetics and price.
Good luck on the homestretch,
I just sent an email about stands to you but you'll probably see that post before this one.
Hopefully, you can cancel the order if, after you read my other post, you decide you'd rather buy a different one. The Argosy stand pair I mentioned, on sale for only $170/pr right now at www.sweetwater.com, may convince you to change your mind but I'm not sure.
In any case, the Sound Anchors are generally considered the best you can buy but are the most expensive, too. The only downside to the Sound Anchors I can think of is the price. If you're ok with the $$ than you probably won't regret the purchase since you can't buy better as far as sq is concerned.
Hope everything is good,
Tim, haven't received your email, yet. I did buy stands for the LS50s from Soundanchors. They suggested the adjustable ones where I can tilt the speakers since my listening position is so high. I also ordered an audio rack that will accommodate the larger center speaker. I really am down to making a decision on a sub. Since there really is no budget anymore what would be your suggestion? I know nothing about how to pick a sub but i want one that is a good match for my system.
What is your budget for the sub? Are you thinking of one or two subs?