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Opinions on putting together a used high end 3.1 speaker system w/ amp and receiver

higuys

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Hi everyone, I've been researching high end speakers and amps for a couple weeks now, and honestly it's overwhelming. I'm not super technical so reading reviews and trying to understand the charts just confuses me. I've gone to a couple shops to demo speakers and amps in person but they've mainly been crazy expensive floor standing speakers (KEF Blade, B&W 800 Series) and stereo setups with left/right, McIntosh, Mark Levinson, and not a representation of what I'll be using them for. Can someone help steer me in the right direction for what I'm trying to do? I'm looking to buy used high end gear so anything great in the past 4-5 years (or older?). Budget $6000-$7000 (thinking $4000/speakers and $2000-$3000 for amp/receiver).

basic info:
-living room
: 16' x 16' x 8'
-system useage: 99% movies/tv, thinking about starting with 3.1 then maybe adding surrounds later
-speakers (after reading multiple reviews and forums, I'm considering these but open to other brands and floor standing speakers as well):
-Buchardt S400 MKII (not sure which center people pair these with if any)
-KEF R3 w/ R2C Center
-Monitor Audio (which models should I checkout?)
-Focal (also which models)
-Dynaudio (there's a deal one some contour floor standing near me, or should I be looking at bookshelf? and which center?)
-subwoofer: Rythmik 12" (all subwoofer reviews seem to point to Rythmik)
-amplifers/receivers: I heard some amazing McIntosh amps, preamps and all in one units at Magnolia but they're way out of my budget (also listened to music through high end floor standing stereo speakers, not movies demos with 3.1, 5.1, 7.1 etc..). Should I be looking at buying a Class D amp like Buckeye hypex/purifi, or NAD, Arcam (keep reading about reliability issues but maybe recommended older models?), Anthem, Rotel, Hegel? Any great models that are reliable I might be able to find deals on used or other high end brands and models to look at? Can amps be older but receivers should be more recent because of DAC, HDMI and room calibrating software like DIRAC? Any high end receivers to check out from the past 1-2 years? Does anyone make great simple receivers without built in power amps that have newer DAC, HDMI 2.1 and DIRAC with an easy to use interface? I know these are a lot of questions but hoping to narrow down some options to start a search. Not in a hurry, but looking forward to piecing together an amazing system soon. Any help and advice is much appreciated!!
 
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Zek

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(thinking about $1000/speaker and maybe $2000-$3000 for amp and receiver?).
It would be better the other way around: a larger amount of money for the speakers and a smaller amount for the amplifier.
Speakers are the most critical link in the audio chain and should be of the highest quality.
 
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higuys

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It would be better the other way around: a larger amount of money for the speakers and a smaller amount for the amplifier.
Speakers are the most critical link in the audio chain and should be of the highest quality.
I see. So $4000 on speakers and $2000-$3000 on the amplifier and receiver is not enough? What do you suggest? And any model suggestions to check out on the used market??
 
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higuys

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Have you considered a soundbar? Something like the Samsung HW-Q800C/Q700C/Q600C.
everything I’ve read has lead me to high quality center, high quality subwoofer, and high quality left/right speakers priority wise. what’s the advantage to a soundbar?
 

Svet Angelov

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There are no real sonic advantages to soundbars, in fact the Samsung mentioned above is one of the only ones that could be perceived as adequate - but it is still not worth the money. If aesthetics are not an issue, soundbars should be out of the question when looking for performance IMO.
Of the LCR sets you mentioned I'd go for the Kef, going for R5s or R7s instead of the 3s (not necessarily for the extra bass extension as that would be covered by the sub, but for the lower distortion at medium levels). The money for stands is very often better spent on the floorstander model. May I ask where you're located and if you would like the option for 5.1 and above in the future? Also if you've done manual PEQ before? This would help narrow down the amp choices
 

ZolaIII

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Problem number one is you never said from where you are from.
AVR recommendation:
You always try to find what you can on actions/promotions/discounts/sale out:
For main front speakers see how you like Wharfedale Linton's which can be found in EU for about 1100 € pair with stands.
Take a look at SVS subwoofer's offering and go for a pair. For instance SVS SB-1000 Pro in basic ash pro can be found for little over 500$ a peace right now.
I won't recommend you a central chenel speker as I don't really know a good one so regarding that use review index and search yourself (or someone more knowledgeable could jump in with advice regarding that as I ain't that much in multichannel my self).
Welcome to ASR and happy hunting.
 

RDoc

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How about something really different?

KH 150 L&R ($3.5k)
KH 120 ii center ($1K)
KH 750 w/MA1 ($1.8K)
WiiM Pro for streaming and TV input. ($.2K)
Total ~$6.5K but If you shop around you could likely knock a few hundred off this. Or, you could go with KH 120 ii for left and right and KH 80 for center.

Notice there's no AVR which means the WiiM Pro is your "preamp" and the speakers are all self powered. Connect everything together with SPIDF to bypass the poor WiiM DAC and do your room correction with the MA1. Input switching and volume control would be by cell phone.
 

K.Trout

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Hi would highly recommend going with a processor rather than a receiver, especially since you are already planning on getting power amplifiers to use. Skip the receiver and just get the processor. You get much better sound quality and won’t be wasting money on built in amps you’re not using. They are more expensive than receivers but in my opinion it s the single biggest upgrade in sound quality you can make to a system like this. Thrrr are also a lot more less absurdly expensive processors out now too. There’s the Tonewinner AT-300, Emotiva MC1 (I think?), or you can get a used one like a Yamaha CX-A5100 for around $1k that performs extremely well for a $1k processor.

Also. I would recommend adding height channels to your system so that you can take advantage of Dolby Atmos, DTSX, and/or a Auro3D.
 
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