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AMP/Speaker choice

ZRMN995

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Hello,
after some research, I've narrowed my choice to few speakers/amps.
I'm planning to listen wide variety of music in my living room (40m^2 of open space), which unfortunately, is not and can't be acoustically treated (except for the rug and maybe some curtains). Seating/listening position is around 2-3 m from speakers. Although I enjoy myself some hiphop music often, I can live without heavy bass but I'd be nice to have an option of implementing one in future.

When it comes to speakers I'm breaking my bones between KEF LS50 Meta and B&W 705 S3; both look stunning to me and seem to be a good choice. I could maybe stretch to R3 meta's..
When it comes to amps; Lyngdorf TDAI1120 offers room correction and seems to be a good choice in general. I've also read quite a few good comments on the account of Cambridge CX81 and Audiolab 9000A so now definitely not sure where to go..not to mention Hegel H120.
Also, I'm not sure which combo would be good for a movie night; from time to time I'd like to enjoy a good movie so connectivity with TV is important to me (pre-ordered new Sony QD-OLED A95L).

I've attached a picture taken from head-level of seating position. Speakers would be placed on stands where marked with x.

Any advice regarding mentioned components is more than welcome.
Mentioned components are inside of what I'm willing to spend on a system right now, and also I'd like to stay within those brands.
 

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Klonatans

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First of all, to avoid bass boominess I would recommend not to put the left speaker so close to the corner. As to the B&W speakers, I'd suggest to stay away from them because of the ear piercing treble (I heard the previous generation 705s at a Hi-Fi show and they were unbearable to listen). The current generation doesn't seem to be very good either: https://www.stereophile.com/content/bowers-wilkins-705-s3-loudspeaker-measurements
 

Beave

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The B&W 705 S3 has a couple of major measured flaws: A high amplitude port resonance in the midrange, and significantly elevated high treble.

See measurements from Stereophile here: https://www.stereophile.com/content/bowers-wilkins-705-s3-loudspeaker-measurements

And from the NRC anechoic chamber here: https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/i...&catid=77:loudspeaker-measurements&Itemid=153

I would skip those unless you really like their sound and get a really good price on them.

The KEF LS50 Meta measures pretty good but has limited bass capabilities, both in terms of extension into deep bass and ability to play mid- and upper-bass at loud levels. I wouldn't recommend them for that room unless you are also using subwoofers.

So that leaves the KEF R3 Meta, which would be fine. Their dispersion is a little narrow, but that might be a benefit in your reflective room environment.

There are other fine options too, but not the two listed above. What other speakers do you have access to?
 
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ZRMN995

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Thank you very much for provided info and good advice!

I've read few good reviews on 705 S3 and I actually really like their looks, they'd look good in my living room so that's one of the main reasons why I was leaning towards them but if they sound like you said, I will happily skip them.

Meta's are really close to my heart because I really liked how they sounded (I had the opportunity to hear them for a few minutes..) and also how they look.
Maybe they'd be a good choice with implementation of a sub somewhere down the road? I also like KEF's KC62 and saw it picked up some pretty good reviews..

Access-wise I can get to basically anything, but as mentioned, I'd like to pick one of KEF's or B&W's products.

I've seen many recommendations for R3's. What would be amp of choice in that case?
 
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ZRMN995

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First of all, to avoid bass boominess I would recommend not to put the left speaker so close to the corner. As to the B&W speakers, I'd suggest to stay away from them because of the ear piercing treble (I heard the previous generation 705s at a Hi-Fi show and they were unbearable to listen). The current generation doesn't seem to be very good either: https://www.stereophile.com/content/bowers-wilkins-705-s3-loudspeaker-measurements
Would adding some padding like acoustic panels (foam) behind speakers help in that situation? Diffusors?
I've seen GIK acoustic offers good variety of panels which can also be ordered in white so they'd blend with the wall..
 

radix

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You will need a sub (or two). I think sealed are just fine for music and they have a smaller footprint, which makes it easier to find the right position.

Most any of the decent class-D would be fine (buckeye, apollon, etc.) that are hypex or purifi (though not all integrators do as good a job as others). Or there's the Benchmark AHB2. You can look at the ASR review index and find recommended amps.

Did you consider active speakers instead of amp + passive?

As you cannot do any significant room treatment, I think adding a DSP might help, though you seem to have a really big seating area. I'm not sure if DSP would help fix the whole area. Drapes would help a lot.

To add room treatments, or even to position your speakers and subs, you have two (not exclusive) choices. Model the room in software and see what it recommends, or get a measurement mic and find out where you get reflections and nulls. I'd really recommend a measurement mic and learn REW software. It will help you balance the speakers and subs and find good positions and angles for everything to balance out the sounds versus reflections and room modes. I'd measure first, then buy treatments.
 
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ZRMN995

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You will need a sub (or two). I think sealed are just fine for music and they have a smaller footprint, which makes it easier to find the right position.

Most any of the decent class-D would be fine (buckeye, apollon, etc.) that are hypex or purifi (though not all integrators do as good a job as others). Or there's the Benchmark AHB2. You can look at the ASR review index and find recommended amps.

Did you consider active speakers instead of amp + passive?

As you cannot do any significant room treatment, I think adding a DSP might help, though you seem to have a really big seating area. I'm not sure if DSP would help fix the whole area. Drapes would help a lot.

To add room treatments, or even to position your speakers and subs, you have two (not exclusive) choices. Model the room in software and see what it recommends, or get a measurement mic and find out where you get reflections and nulls. I'd really recommend a measurement mic and learn REW software. It will help you balance the speakers and subs and find good positions and angles for everything to balance out the sounds versus reflections and room modes. I'd measure first, then buy treatments.
Thank you for your response.
I've seen a review on Lyngdorf TDAI-1120 which comes with mic and offers ability to do some measurements and include some room correction.
Should I go that way, I will definitely do some measuring before adding anything!

I've been thinking about LS50 Wireless II too but I've seen few comment that stated it is better to go passive+room correction amp than just go active..anyway, only conclusion I can come up to is that the more I read, more confused I am as a newcomer to HiFi world..
 

Klonatans

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Lyngdorf TDAI-1120 is well packed with a lot of useful features like room correction, streaming and DAC including, however I'm not sure if it has enough power to drive standmount speakers properly (60 W at 8 Ohms). You can try to find some user feedback on that matter.
 

radix

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Thank you for your response.
I've seen a review on Lyngdorf TDAI-1120 which comes with mic and offers ability to do some measurements and include some room correction.
Should I go that way, I will definitely do some measuring before adding anything!

I've been thinking about LS50 Wireless II too but I've seen few comment that stated it is better to go passive+room correction amp than just go active..anyway, only conclusion I can come up to is that the more I read, more confused I am as a newcomer to HiFi world..

Active does not need to be wireless. Good active speakers (wired) can have excellent performance because the manufacturer can match all the parts and apply DSP correction to get around issues with the speakers or enclosure. But you have more limited choices and it can be very expensive if you want larger, more powerful speakers for a bigger room.

Generally, minidsp Flex or SHD is a good budget-friendly choice with DIRAC. There are other options, like the Anthem STR preamp (or STR integrated) with ARC Genesis. Some NAD have DIRAC. Some newer AVRs have DIRAC too.

In picking speakers and amp, usually it is good to consider: how loud do you want to listen (google "loudness dB SPL chart"), how far away will you be (e.g. 3m), and how efficient are your speakers (e.g. 87 dB into 4-ohm for the R3 Meta). You can then use a calculator (e.g. https://www.crownaudio.com/en-US/tools/calculators) to see how much power you need. For 90 dB SPL at 3m with 10 dB headroom and 87 dB sensitivity speakers, you need 113 watts. (10 dB headroom is probably pretty generous). So, a 200 wpc amp should be OK.

From that number, you could say I want 93 dB instead, that's 226 watts. Or I will use 100 dB sensitivity speakers, then you're back down to 113 watts. Every 3 dB is doubling (or halving) the watts.

A Benchmark AHB2 will be 190 watts into 4 ohms. A Hypex NCx500 will be 600 wpc into 4 ohm. A Hypex NC252MP will be 250 wpc into 4 ohms. (those hypex numbers are from Apollon amps, but they any model using the same hypex should be about that power).

But, you cannot just add watts. The speakers need to be able to handle the power. KEF says the R3 meta is good to about 180W. You'd have to look at the review to see how much distortion it has at high power (https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/kef_r3_meta/). The graph for 96 dB at 1m would be only about 87 dB SPL at 3m but with all the same distortion. The R3 meta, depending how loud you want to listen, might run out of steam if you will be 3m (and want 90+ dB SPL). I have the older R3 in my TV room, but I'm only about 2m away in a smaller room and do not push them so loud. I'm just going by Erin's graph.

Kef%20R3%20Meta%20Harmonic%20Distortion%20%2896dB%20%40%201m%29.png


Personally, most of the time I'm listening in the 70-80 dB SPL range. But every so often, I do want to crank the volume, so having larger speakers and amps with sufficient power really helps.
 
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ZRMN995

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Active does not need to be wireless. Good active speakers (wired) can have excellent performance because the manufacturer can match all the parts and apply DSP correction to get around issues with the speakers or enclosure. But you have more limited choices and it can be very expensive if you want larger, more powerful speakers for a bigger room.

Generally, minidsp Flex or SHD is a good budget-friendly choice with DIRAC. There are other options, like the Anthem STR preamp (or STR integrated) with ARC Genesis. Some NAD have DIRAC. Some newer AVRs have DIRAC too.

In picking speakers and amp, usually it is good to consider: how loud do you want to listen (google "loudness dB SPL chart"), how far away will you be (e.g. 3m), and how efficient are your speakers (e.g. 87 dB into 4-ohm for the R3 Meta). You can then use a calculator (e.g. https://www.crownaudio.com/en-US/tools/calculators) to see how much power you need. For 90 dB SPL at 3m with 10 dB headroom and 87 dB sensitivity speakers, you need 113 watts. (10 dB headroom is probably pretty generous). So, a 200 wpc amp should be OK.

From that number, you could say I want 93 dB instead, that's 226 watts. Or I will use 100 dB sensitivity speakers, then you're back down to 113 watts. Every 3 dB is doubling (or halving) the watts.

A Benchmark AHB2 will be 190 watts into 4 ohms. A Hypex NCx500 will be 600 wpc into 4 ohm. A Hypex NC252MP will be 250 wpc into 4 ohms. (those hypex numbers are from Apollon amps, but they any model using the same hypex should be about that power).

But, you cannot just add watts. The speakers need to be able to handle the power. KEF says the R3 meta is good to about 180W. You'd have to look at the review to see how much distortion it has at high power (https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/kef_r3_meta/). The graph for 96 dB at 1m would be only about 87 dB SPL at 3m but with all the same distortion. The R3 meta, depending how loud you want to listen, might run out of steam if you will be 3m (and want 90+ dB SPL). I have the older R3 in my TV room, but I'm only about 2m away in a smaller room and do not push them so loud. I'm just going by Erin's graph.

Kef%20R3%20Meta%20Harmonic%20Distortion%20%2896dB%20%40%201m%29.png


Personally, most of the time I'm listening in the 70-80 dB SPL range. But every so often, I do want to crank the volume, so having larger speakers and amps with sufficient power really helps.
Thank you very much for this extensive answer!
I'll make sure to really take my time and understand the matter you've written about because all of that is new to me and atm I can't coprehend all that! :)

From power perspective, it seems that Cambrdige EVO 150 would be better choice for powering LS50 Metas or even EVO 75. It also has good port selection and direct TV ARC hdmi port.
 
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EdW

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First of all, to avoid bass boominess I would recommend not to put the left speaker so close to the corner. As to the B&W speakers, I'd suggest to stay away from them because of the ear piercing treble (I heard the previous generation 705s at a Hi-Fi show and they were unbearable to listen). The current generation doesn't seem to be very good either: https://www.stereophile.com/content/bowers-wilkins-705-s3-loudspeaker-measurements
Agree with your thoughts on speaker placement away from corners. Generally 90cm will do the job and you should also allow the possibility of placing the front of the speakers at least 60cm from the front wall. This would of course mean moving the TV bench to the right a little. Final speaker placement is a process of trial and error . . .

Rugs and heavy curtains could improve the sound further since the room as shown is likely to be ‘lively’ :)

If you are prepared to consider an active system the KEF LS60 comes highly recommended by @Kal Rubinson no less


and the LS60 has all the functionality seamlessly to add subs at a later date - also recommended by Kal.
Quite expensive - but consider - no amplifier, DAC, cables or speaker stands etc. to purchase so something to bear in mind if this meets your other requirements
 

radix

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Thank you very much for this extensive answer!
I'll make sure to really take my time and understand the matter you've written about because all of that is new to me and atm I can't coprehend all that! :)

From power perspective, it seems that Cambrdige EVO 150 would be better choice for powering LS50 Metas or even EVO 75. It also has good port selection and direct TV ARC hdmi port.
Sorry to throw so many numbers at you. The basic idea is that the sound level from the speakers falls off pretty quickly with distance (as the square). So to get to a desired listening level, you need bigger and bigger gear. The speakers and amplifier work together to deliver that sound level, based on the amps output at the speaker's impedance (e.g. 200 watts at 4 ohms), and the speakers sensitivity (dB SPL per watt at 1 meter). As with all things mechanical, the speaker will have some limit in the amount of power it can handle, so the sound will start to distort more as the power is increased, and then at some point it will deform and then break.

Screen Shot 2023-10-03 at 7.42.32 AM.png


For example, if I want 90 db SPL at 1m and I have 90 dB sensitivity speakers, I need 1 watt of power (with 0 headroom, so we're at max possible). Music will have an average sound level plus peaks. The 90dB is the average level and to accomodate the dynamic range of the music, we want to allocate some headroom. 3 - 6 dB is likely enough, but I usually use 10 dB to be way beyond the point where I might clip. In other words, I'm asking for 100 dB SPL maximum level. If you play around with the calculator, you'll start to see how these numbers relate to each other. There's nothing magic about these numbers I'm using (90, 3-6, 10, 100). They are just rounded approximations I use for these types of back-of-the-envelope calculations.

So, if you want to listen at 90 dB and have 10 dB of headroom (or 100 dB max, however you want to break that down), then I think the R3 is marginal for 3m. You need to decide how loud you want to go, here's a figure from https://hearinghealthfoundation.org/decibel-levels. You can download a phone app and measure your current setup (it's not super accurate, but will give you and idea). Crank up your current system to what you think is the loudest you want and see what it says.

HHF-Noise-Level-Chart-01.png


The THX reference level, by way of a point of comparison, is 85 dB SPL with 20 dB headroom (i.e. 105 dB maximum). It's actually a little higher for the subwoofers, IIRC. That is really loud, and I don't try to match it for my home theater.
 
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