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Seeking advice - speakers for my open plan living/dining/kitchen area

d3miller

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Jan 10, 2022
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Long time lurker, first time poster here...

I've been trying to piece together a system for my space that will be 100% used for listening to music (we have a dedicated HT setup downstairs). There will be no MLP per se; we mostly listen to music in this space while eating, cooking, hanging out, etc. with family & friends (photos attached). We currently have a Homepod there, which has done a decent job as a 360 degree/voice-controlled speaker.

Here are my key requirements:
  1. Must support streaming music, ideally Apple Music, but we also have a Spotify subscription.
  2. Must support voice control. Leaning towards Siri, but Google is fine too as long as it supports Apple Music. I'm happy to keep using my Homepod (or downgrade to the mini version) as the voice control for an Airplay 2 supported system.
  3. Must be aesthetically pleasing (WAF)
  4. Must be kid friendly/safe (see photos)
  5. Must be under ~$3k all-in (inclusive of speakers, streamer, amp, cables, sub(s), etc.)
After a fair amount of research, I'm leaning towards an active stereo system, so I've currently narrowed it down to:
  1. Devialet Phantom II, 98 dB (wall-mounted, stereo paired). These seem to check all of my boxes above, and I probably won't need a subwoofer. However, I've heard of some people having frequent connectivity issues and also Devialet does not do repairs. ie if they break out of warranty, it's basically done. So I worry about longevity here, especially for the price.
  2. Genelec G Three (wall-mounted) + subwoofer + Bluesound Node. I could make this work, but it's more components than I'd like with slightly larger footprint.
  3. Kef LS50 Wireless II. These don't seem to have wall-mounts, and that also doesn't seem to be recommended due to port location, so I'm not sure if this is actually an option for me.
I'm curious if folks have any other recommendations or thoughts on these 3 options. I considered a set of passive bookshelves (specifically Revel M16) + amp, and love the flexibility of options there (and better price/performance ratio), but it seems like I'd need to put these on stand mounts, and I'm a bit worried about the overall footprint (would have to move some furniture around) and my kids knocking them over...

It's a potentially challenging space, so here are some photos (please excuse the mess, we are still in post-holiday recovery). Kids are intentionally in the photos to give you a sense of requirement #4 above.

I'm heavily leaning towards active wall-mounted speakers, in the location of the red circles (I have power outlets in close proximity). Or, if I go the stand-mount route, a set of bookshelves in the location of the blue circles. I prefer not to place a set of speakers on/beside the sideboard near the TV you see on the right, unless the speakers are 360 (like the Homepod there now, or something like the Syng Cell Alpha), as we pretty much are never sitting in front of that area on the sofa listening to music.

Lastly, I'm open to using EQ/room correction, but for this room, acoustic treatments is not an option.

Thanks in advance!

-Daniel
 

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RickSanchez

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I am far from an expert in setting up a room for audio, so take my comments with many grains of salt. I looked at your requirements list and read your other comment:

There will be no MLP per se; we mostly listen to music in this space while eating, cooking, hanging out, etc. with family & friends

My biggest concern is maintaining reasonable and consistent volume levels throughout the listening area. Putting 2 wall-mounted speakers on the far end of the room means you may have to turn the volume up pretty high if you're in the kitchen area, as an example. It won't bother you in the kitchen, but it would not be fun for anyone on that end of the living room.

As such I'm wondering if you'd be better with a small array of speakers placed throughout the listening space. And while the Devialet Phantom II (98 dB) would meet your needs I couldn't recommend those at $1,400 USD each. Maybe it makes sense to get an array of Homepod Mini's? Amir hasn't reviewed them but Erin has. $100/each, no extras needed, meets all of your requirements. Worst case you start out there for, say, $400 total. If it doesn't work you can re-sell them without taking a huge hit.
 
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