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Major life moment: first true Hifi system

pseudoid

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Welcome to ASR and a happy 2024,
May I go a different route and recommend that you hire an audio-advisor/consultant?
Such an agent may talk/convince you to look at the whole-house rather than just a room to fill up w/hardware.;)
Inter-connectivity and control-ability become the backbone of such a system, which may extend beyond just A/V with connectivity away from home.
 

GXAlan

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Major setback: Venue tech, the local dealer for Meyer Sound, only work on commercial or very large residential projects. They got back to me with a quote for flying in a team to my town and installing a Bluehorn system and it's ridiculous. I have a feeling they gave me that quote to scare me away, just over 300k.

That is for 3 bluehorns for the front and then lower tier speakers across the remaining bed layer and Atmos? Or did they go overboard on the recommendation? Part of the Bluehorn magic is that you do get the engineers coming to your house to really fine tune everything. Back when IMAX Private Cinema was a thing, the costs were in the range of 2M!

What if you just went with the Acheron Designer? The weakness of that is that it drops off after 16 kHz compared to the Bluehorn but if you are older, then it’s still quite good for cinema.

The Meyer Sound Amie is cheaper if you can keep your listening distance at 2m or so at reference level. 3-4m is perfectly fine in a home environment where you aren’t looking for the same loud levels.



He mostely does Bose and Yamaha based home theaters and similarly low cost stuff but he is the best I got and he is very very cheap, the package he offered me was about 1000 USD and includes overseeing the room insulation during construction and doing the wiring and placement of the speakers plus the installation and calibration afterwards. So thats that.

Bose and Yamaha are not high votes of confidence (and I say this running a Yamaha Cx-A5100 in my office and having collected a lot of Bose 901’s).

That said, if he is a hobbyist like one of us here, or on AVSForum, it’s a pretty good idea to have someone helping out with the ceiling/height speakers, etc.

I would like to have a reading chair facing the stereo in one direction and a couch that seats three facing the HT. The couch and reading chair would be back to back obviously, but I am informed here that it would be best to just have one system.

It depends. I think I thought your budget was $500K all in. At that point you can do what you described above. All that space behind you actually reduces the room effect of reflections off the back wall. You might not end up with as good of the speakers if you are essentially needing to buy 5 premium speakers instead of 3 premium speakers (LCR+Stereo vs LCR only).

Someone clever might be able to automate a system that lets us have the most overpowered rear speaker which switches to your front stereo setup if you like that turn around approach.

If you have a sofa of just 3 seats then the movie area may be a lot smaller and then Meyer Sound Amie gets you the same speakers used at many dubbing stages in the U.S., again, famously Skywalker Sound.

For the hifi, I am now of the mindset that the Sonos Faber STRADIVARI G2 and the integrated amp Accuphase E-5000 are perfectly fine for my target listening ( classical, opera...) now comes the issue of the HT....

That’s a big 360 from before. The Stradivari G2 and E5000 will be an incredibly beautiful setup. It’s harder to know what the sound is like. Subjective reviewers say it is a big difference from the original Stradivari and the original actually measured reasonably well enough that deficits in sound were more than made up by its beauty.

The Focal’s historically have measured better (several measured here) but the appearance is more polarizing.

That said, if you are gravitating toward Accuphase, it’s also worth knowing that they like to demo them with the B&W 801 D4’s in Japan.

This post summarizes it as not neutral but it does sound enveloping
Post in thread 'B&W 800D4 series'
https://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/b-w-800d4-series.25801/post-941194

My understanding is the directivity makes it a good option for EQ as well.

2- Do I proceed with the dedicated systems, and if so do I build two smaller rooms or one larger room with the aforementioned seating arrangement?

The benefit of two smaller rooms is that everything drops in price for the electronics. Your construction costs will rise. A Trinnov Altitude 16 with Meyer Sound Amie’s all around at 2 meters has the chance of giving you a close experience to the Bluehorn if you were trying to fill a home theater that sat 20-30 people at a 4-5m distance. The Trinnov setups are usually easy enough for hobbyists to do the calibration and the wall mounting, etc. are all pretty straightforward.

How many square meters do you have to work with? How critical is it to have the cars in your room?

I do apologize for the basic questions, this is all very new to me and it's turning out to be more involved than just buying stuff. I do appreciate the valuable advice I am receiving here.

That’s probably the best insight. It’s more than just buying stuff :). But all of these questions and ideas will really help you enjoy the best setup you can.

The other idea is approaching this as another learning experience in retirement
 

Galliardist

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That is for 3 bluehorns for the front and then lower tier speakers across the remaining bed layer and Atmos? Or did they go overboard on the recommendation? Part of the Bluehorn magic is that you do get the engineers coming to your house to really fine tune everything. Back when IMAX Private Cinema was a thing, the costs were in the range of 2M!

What if you just went with the Acheron Designer? The weakness of that is that it drops off after 16 kHz compared to the Bluehorn but if you are older, then it’s still quite good for cinema.

The Meyer Sound Amie is cheaper if you can keep your listening distance at 2m or so at reference level. 3-4m is perfectly fine in a home environment where you aren’t looking for the same loud levels.

It seems to me that they wouldn't go overboard on the recommendation. I presume the labour and transport costs are high, given the distance to be travelled.

I wouldn't actually rule out the quote. It's high, but remember the first post from @Altair was discussing systems in that price range, and if they really are experts at what they do the result may well be higher than a local guy, even with more expensive equipment, and popping a few mass market panels in afterwards maybe in the wrong places.

Though I'm being a bit facetious with that remark.
 

Galliardist

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Major setback: Venue tech, the local dealer for Meyer Sound, only work on commercial or very large residential projects. They got back to me with a quote for flying in a team to my town and installing a Bluehorn system and it's ridiculous. I have a feeling they gave me that quote to scare me away, just over 300k.

With that I am back to the drawing board, I have been researching and asking around locally and found a small company that does home theater installs. The guy that owns the company did study AV science and has a reasonable understanding of what is required to do a good sounding home theater, but is really geared towards average home theaters. He mostely does Bose and Yamaha based home theaters and similarly low cost stuff but he is the best I got and he is very very cheap, the package he offered me was about 1000 USD and includes overseeing the room insulation during construction and doing the wiring and placement of the speakers plus the installation and calibration afterwards. So thats that.

I also found a company online that specializes in room acoustic treatments and they do have a service that helps with treating the room post construction.


So that's the room taken care if best I can.

So I am back to considering a dedicated Atmos 7.4.2 HT setup, my previous thinking was that I could go with a dedicated set for the HT and a dedicated set for the Hifi. I would like to have a reading chair facing the stereo in one direction and a couch that seats three facing the HT. The couch and reading chair would be back to back obviously, but I am informed here that it would be best to just have one system.

For the hifi, I am now of the mindset that the Sonos Faber STRADIVARI G2 and the integrated amp Accuphase E-5000 are perfectly fine for my target listening ( classical, opera...) now comes the issue of the HT....

1- Do I integrate those speakers into the HT and forego dedicated systems, which speakers would be suitable to complement these choices? How would the Accuphase work in a HT system? Does it connect to a standard AV receiver? Will that cause loss of sound quality?

2- Do I proceed with the dedicated systems, and if so do I build two smaller rooms or one larger room with the aforementioned seating arrangement?

I do apologize for the basic questions, this is all very new to me and it's turning out to be more involved than just buying stuff. I do appreciate the valuable advice I am receiving here.
Let's relate that back to your first post.
You mentioned an area (presumably for the audio) of 10x9 metres. That's actually quite a big area to fill, so I'd rule out the back to back thing because you then end up running two big space filling systems for the price of one. That gives you a couple of other options: you can still use 10x9 with a big surround system, or you could do something like running 8m by around 5m, two rooms with a 1m corrridor behind to link things up. Your choice, but it sounds to me like you want the two rooms. It also gives you another set of options, because for example you could do the HT room straight away, and the stereo room over time - or if the HT setup does music to your liking anyway, you can use the second room for something else!

For the HT, you can specify better equipment: the principles are still the same, and you can adjust later as you learn more anyway. What you can do is get a proposal and send it to a few select people around here by DM (I would never post a proposal like that in an open forum!) for comment before choosing whether to proceed.

The stereo room can become your own project and can take longer, because you already have something good to watch and listen with.
 

Balle Clorin

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Wow , few people can afford what you are doing , what a dream !! Good to do it while your hearing is good too , in 10 years time all of us have lost quite a bit I am sorry to say.. better to enjoy life now than later.

As a Accuphase owner (A-48) I would listen to what Accuphase said in an interview, something like “we make Class A since our customers want it, our engineers think AB is a better choice”
I am an engineer too and I think P7500 will give more power and drive any speaker and last longer . Class A gets warm - 2 A300s will heat a decent room in freezing winter temperature - and puts a higher strain in the components even an Accuphase. With the class A you are limited to less power and it limits your choice of speakers significantly .
First find the speakers you really love and then find an amplifier that has the guts to drive them , . If the speakers are easy to drive (90db/2.8V or more) the room small( 20 feet x 15) like mine, class A will do if you must have it. I you want to play really loud Class A cannot give enough power.

Then add room treatment if you can or furnish smartly- carpet curtains sofa etc , and then a Trinnov room correction ( for stereo Amethyst preamp is fine and not so overwhelming as multichannel)
No point in spending money on power filters/ supply and cables ,The salesmen will like to sell you that to make money , but it does nothing for the sound.

Your problem is that setting together prestigious expensive high end brands does not guarantee a good sound or satisfaction. And you may not be able to audition the combination you foresee.
The best sound I ever heard was my father’s system from the 80s with a Pioner cd player, Nad amplifier and KEF speakers . Some 100 000 usd systems could not beat it..

Invite you self to listen at good systems and demos. Remember it will likely sound very different in your room. Room and speaker and listener positions is the most important factor, so you must audition at home. I had my speakers on loan for 6 weeks of experimenting with every position before final purchase, but that may not be possible , but a weekend is a minimum.

Yes Accuphase is overpriced in the USA ( cost less than half in Japan ). But I personally love the design and the quality of their power amps are outstanding. I have no experience with the Accuphase preamps but the prices are silly. I have combined my A-48 with Trinnov Amethyst with the state of the art room correction system for much less money. That is my dream system and it stays.
In my experience,
McIntosch sounds fatter and darker than most amplifiers, maybe not the amplifier to listen for details and small clues..

I think a reputable dealer should let you hear a really good system both in the shop and in your home before you decide, and compare 2 different speaker pairs so you can hear the difference… with only one pair you have no reference ..
 

GXAlan

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It seems to me that they wouldn't go overboard on the recommendation. I presume the labour and transport costs are high, given the distance to be travelled.

I wouldn't actually rule out the quote. It's high, but remember the first post from @Altair was discussing systems in that price range, and if they really are experts at what they do the result may well be higher than a local guy, even with more expensive equipment, and popping a few mass market panels in afterwards maybe in the wrong places.

Though I'm being a bit facetious with that remark.

I agree. My understanding is that the calibration for the bluehorn is among the very best you can get given the power of the processor and the expertise of the group.

$300K for the gear and installation and setup, all-in doesn’t seem outrageous to me.

For comparison, this setup doesn’t have Bluehorns

What threw me off is the 3 seat sofa only. The construction costs of the home may be a lot harder to wrap my head around though. So $300K including building a home is very different.

The available room size may be not need to be filled to the brim with home theater, so a smaller screening room might be in order.
 

Balle Clorin

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A second thought. Why not give 100k to both of the kids? 59k will buy you a fantastic stereo still
 
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Vacceo

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Some random ideas that you may or may not like:

-Have you considered architectural speakers? KEF and Perlisten both make really nice examples and if you have the room (you do), once done it will not just sound fine, but it will also look fine.

-I think a good HT starts with a good stereo and you build from there. Most processors allow you to listen in stereo only (and you can try multichannel or dual stereo too), so I'd go for a single system that can cover all the listening variants you like. If you are going to spend big, make sure that you can squeeze a lot of hours of enjoyment with as much flexibility as possible.

-EQ like Dirac can save you a lot on acoustic treatments. It does not perform miracles, but allows you to shave off a bit. Plus, added flexibility of EQ allows you to give you those extra decibels in a particular frequency that make your heart race.
 

MKR

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Welcome @Altair ! I am on a similar quest, albeit with a MUCH lower budget than yourself (with that said, one thing I have learned past year or so, and already suspected, you absolutely do not have to spend that kind of money for an end game system). Also, the majority of your budget should go to the loudspeakers, the most important link in the chain. Stating the obvious for the ASR veterans, but typical audiophoolery is in fact far from this. I have actually seen quite a few of the uneducated drop more on cables than any other component, a tragedy :facepalm:

If you are not in too big of a hurry, you may want to wait a bit to see what D&D has up their sleeves with their up and coming new offering ;)
 
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MKR

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Welcome to ASR! Sorry, I will try to explain what he said. And congrats on your retirement and all the fun projects you have planned BTW. Exciting times ahead!

Firstly, this place is different to other audio forums. This is Audio Science Review. Other forums believe in "synergy", that cables sound different, and all sorts of tweaks to improve the sound. The focus here is on evaluating equipment and claims objectively and getting the most for your money. Expensive products do not necessarily perform better or sound better, in fact many of these "high end" products have misguided notions about design that objectively worsens performance. So a lot of advice given here will conflict with what you will hear in other forums and conventional hi-fi wisdom, which is why many people are antagonistic towards ASR. I hope we can demonstrate that we are a friendly bunch and our mission is to educate.

"High SPL ability" means the ability for your system to go loud, and do it cleanly (SPL = Sound Pressure Level). This means selecting speakers which are appropriately sized for your room, and providing enough amplification to hit those SPL's without clipping. I agree that this is a good goal.

"In room linearity" means that the frequency response of your loudspeaker in your room is as even as possible. The two most important factors for good sound are (1) room and (2) speakers. The moment you place speakers in any room, the room will have a major influence on the behaviour of the speaker. There are various strategies to deal with this, which we can discuss, but the first principle is select the correct and appropriate speaker, and spend a lot of thought in placing it properly in your room.

"Controlled low end" refers to the bass. The room has a major effect on bass performance, and WILL produce huge peaks and dips. My sound system is no exception, and this is a before and after measurement of my sound system:

View attachment 335823

Red = before. You can see that the curve is all over the place. Green = after room correction (I use DSP - Digital Signal Processing). The red curve is the typical performance of any speaker in any room.

A "controlled directivity" speaker is a bit more difficult to explain. You can have a stab at reading this article by Geddes or this article by Linkwitz. Basically, when your speaker is facing you directly, the entire audio spectrum is at its loudest (not strictly true, but I am ignoring all the other variables for the sake of simplicity). As you move off to the side, it will get softer, and parts of the audio band will drop off faster than others. Usually, higher frequencies are more "directional" (more like a flashlight that directs light into a beam), and lower frequencies are more "omnidirectional" (more like a lamp that throws light everywhere). You want the entire audio band to IDEALLY drop off at the same rate and do it smoothly, because the reflections from the side walls will reflect any unevenness back to you and colour the sound. There are various strategies to deal with this, and this has resulted in many different speaker designs.

The B&O Beosound 90 you mentioned is an omnidirectional speaker. If you remove the cover, you will see that there are speaker drivers pointing in every direction. By manipulating the output of the speakers using DSP, the Beosound 90 is able to change its radiation pattern to something more suitable for your room and listening preferences. Other speakers, like the Dutch & Dutch 8C that was mentioned, are not omnidirectional but "controlled directivity". It uses clever design of the shape of the speaker to create a close to ideal radiation pattern.

I realize that there is a lot to digest, and all I am doing is explaining his post. Thoughts of my own:

- DON'T get those McIntosh amps because they don't perform very well objectively. Of course, getting them for their aesthetics, build quality, sexy glowing tubes, and pride of ownership is a valid reason to get them, but most people on ASR are dispassionate about things like looks and only focus on performance. You can get better performance by spending less, for example getting an amp like the Benchmark AHB2.

- DON'T get a PS1250 power supply. It will not do anything to improve the sound, and it is astoundingly expensive.

- DON'T buy expensive audiophile cable. It does not perform any better than cheap cable.

- Class A amps sounding "musical" is a myth. Amplifiers can be evaluated objectively.

And lastly, speaker choice is very personal. We can suggest speakers that are known for good performance, but ultimately, nobody here can tell you which speaker to get. We can only tell you which speakers not to get, i.e. those with misguided designs, are overpriced, etc. Only you know your preferences, your room, your personal situation, whether your speaker has to fit in with your decor or not, and so on. Sometimes speaker choice is limited by what the wife will allow! All these are valid considerations above and beyond the actual performance of the speaker.
Well said @Keith_W ! Good advice for anyone, especially new “subjectivists” joining the ASR crew.
 

AudioJester

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Iam a big fan of in-wall speakers, the Kef architectural extreme series is probably as good as it gets. Having the HT system hidden in the walls frees up the room to decorate as you like. I mean you can get much better sculptures/art work than SF speakers to look at.

Iam going to be the odd one out - but a glass part wall to see the cars sounds very cool. Many of us use thick acoustic blackout curtains to cover windows in our home HT setups. That would be special.

For HT the electronics make a difference. For audio - Trinniov and Dirac ART are the latest advances. For viewing MadVR Envy is pushing the tech.
 

Peterinvan

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I retired ten years ago, and have occupied many hours a day curating my Tidal playlists And reading Audiophile websites.

As the quality of my equipment improved with upgrades, my patience for poorly recorded/mastered albums diminished. Lots of tracks got purged from my playlists.

This is the downside, once you get spoiled, there is no going back :)

However, don’t forget to spend more time listening to good music, not the equipment etc.

Enjoy retirement!!!
 
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Altair

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Finally decided on my HT setup!

I first want to thank everyone who sent in their advice and commented on this and my other thread.

I traveled to Dubai, and auditioned a large number of systems, both Hifi and home theater. A few things I learned, mainly that the Hifi experience and HT experience cannot be duplicated in the same system! You really do need to build with purpose if you want to achieve the best possible outcome. Also learned that, for Hifi, more expensive does not mean better, the opposite is true for HT! Will elaborate on that in a dedicated thread,but as an aside, I found it interested how the audio community was segregated, you have people who are in the hobby for the end experience, others who are in it for the science of it all ( mostely guys on this forum fall in this bucket), and an interesting bunch of people who are in it for the fun of the hobby, these are the guys who disregard advancement in technology made since the seventies, and believe in very expensive cables and conditioning the hell out of power going into their systems. Nothing wrong with that, I see these hobbyist as I do wrist watch collectors who buy expensive Patek or Rolex watches when they can tell better time with a 50 dollar quartz Seiko. There is something beautifull about doing something the old way, the hard way, the mechanical involved way. I am not one of them though.

I digress, for the HT, I had decided on the Meyer Sound Blue horn but could not get the distributor to budge on their ridiculous pricing, thankfully I aufioned a system that was just as wonderful, the Perlisten system detailed in the image I had attached. They aufioned a few scenes for me, and the way the speakers disappear and offer natural directional audio was one thing that blew me away, the other was the amount of detail in every scene, the thunder and rain scene I experienced is burned into my memory! Absolutely realistic. I just couldn't believe the detail in the reverberation of the thunder or the way the rain drops trailed off such a minor sound note in a busy scene with dialog but could be isolated and focused on without being muddied by other audio. Just breathtaking! Far superior to any cinema I had experienced.
 

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Altair

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Now that I have the HT sorted, I have decided on a separate Hifi system and have an idea of what the room will be like in terms of function, this will be used as a library, music room, with a small desk with an iMac for work in the middle of the room. I will carve it out of my previously planned garage. I do have a question, what size room would be ideal for speakers such as the Sonus Faber Stradavari G2? And do we believe that an integrated amp such as the Accuphase E-5000 would be sufficient to drive these speakers? I had planned on dedicated class A amps and a preamplifier but with the HT eating more of my budget I am leaning towards an integrated amplifier, and foregoing the record player for now in favor of a cost effective dac and streamer set up. I do appreciate your advice on room size and amplification for these speakers.
 

GXAlan

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That’s a very nice setup. Storm Audio is used by several people here and it is one of the gold standards. Perlisten generally has good measurements too:

The Stradivari / Accuphase pair will be fine. The Stradivari is very efficient and the Accuphase integrateds are known for good current delivery.


You still have the issue of no room correction but that gets trickier if you want something simple.
 
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Altair

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Room correction as in room treatment and EQ after installation? If so then that will be taken care of to a degree, I have agreed with the dealer I will be purchasing my Sonus Faber speakers from to advice my installer on how to properly setup and calibrate the stereo speakers. He was not able to comment on optimal room size or if the E5000 was the best speaker.
 

Galliardist

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The manual for the Stradivari G2 is available on the Sonus Faber website, and has placing advice that would appear to require a 3.8m or wider room to meet. So maybe allow 4m for the short wall, calculate your seating position and allow a bit extra for the room length - so maybe 7x4m as a starting point (a little bigger would probably help).

Good work finding that HT setup. It should work well, and I think you could get used to music playback with such a system, certainly in surround. From your last posts, I think you see the two rooms as having quite different purposes, though.

I'm left wondering what cost effective DAC/streamer solution, though, is not going to spoil the looks of the other components. Possibly the basic HiFi Rose product, for the full width screen? That's not what we would mostly call cost effective, but in your league it would be.
 

Keith_W

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The manual for the Stradivari G2 is available on the Sonus Faber website, and has placing advice that would appear to require a 3.8m or wider room to meet. So maybe allow 4m for the short wall, calculate your seating position and allow a bit extra for the room length - so maybe 7x4m as a starting point (a little bigger would probably help).

Yeah, I agree. I think bigger is generally better. Bigger rooms sound more "spacious", probably because the reflections are arriving later with more attenuation? The downside of bigger rooms is that your speakers need to be louder.
 

BobbyTimmons

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Now that I have the HT sorted, I have decided on a separate Hifi system and have an idea of what the room will be like in terms of function, this will be used as a library, music room, with a small desk with an iMac for work in the middle of the room. I will carve it out of my previously planned garage. I do have a question, what size room would be ideal for speakers such as the Sonus Faber Stradavari G2? And do we believe that an integrated amp such as the Accuphase E-5000 would be sufficient to drive these speakers? I had planned on dedicated class A amps and a preamplifier but with the HT eating more of my budget I am leaning towards an integrated amplifier, and foregoing the record player for now in favor of a cost effective dac and streamer set up. I do appreciate your advice on room size and amplification for these speakers.
At a typical distance for hi-fi listeners the Accuphase E-5000 will be able to drive those speakers to any volume your ears could handle unless you are sitting quite far away. I don't know if the speakers would be suitable for the room size. 2 channel hi-fi usually assumes you wouldn't sit more than about 12-15 feet away. Accuphase have a reputation of being some of the best quality Japanese amplifiers. Dualazmak has got one. He said Accuphase provide a repair service lasting 50 years. https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...odern-class-a-vs-a-b.26431/page-3#post-960650
 
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Altair

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Thank you for the comments and advice.

So I understand that usualy people ask what are the right speakers for the a specific room, I am asking the opposite, with those speakers in mind, what dimensions should I design the room in my new home?

I am carving this room out partly from the HT and partly from the garage. It will contain one reading chair and one small desk with an iMac and an office chair.
 
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