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Speaker choice - Neumann, Dutch & Dutch, KEF

HooStat

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#1
I have checked a few options with my spouse for our living room. I would be interested in people's thoughts on the good and bad of these options. You can see in the attached photo, I have been playing around with a center channel -- for many years we simply went with a 2.1 system with KEF Q300 speakers and a JL Audio F113 sub. It sounded fine except dialog can sometimes be muddy. I added a KEF Q100 speaker as a center channel because it was inexpensive (used) to test out. I don't know that having a center channel is "better" but I think the dialog is a little clearer. We watched the Taylor Swift documentary "Folklore" and it was the first time that I really enjoyed multichannel. I thought the sound was great. I don't know whether stereo would have been as good -- need to check that. But it made me reconsider multichannel (3.x -- no rear channels). But a center channel isn't necessary.

Anyway, here are the options. A bit eclectic, but there are reasons. Note that I can't put subs around the room in the "right" spots. At best, I might get away with one sub on either side of the TV. I can get away with narrow subs behind the entertainment center, which will have ~8" of space behind it. The new media cabinet is the same width as this one, but is 8" shorter (24" vs 32"). And it is only 14" deep which is a problem for components since many need more depth than that.

I don't need the biggest bass -- just enough to enjoy music and appreciate movies. It isn't a home theater. Clean lines and good sound are the priorities.

  • KEF R2C with grills x 3 (left, center, right) + 3 KEF T2 subs behind the entertainment center
    • Have to solve problem of 3 channel sound processing and amplification. Not much room inside the new media center we are getting.
    • Sealed, and relatively short (7" tall) so they should not be visually dominating or hard to integrate with subs
    • Sub solution is less than optimal.
  • Neumann KH 310 with grills x 3 + 3 KEF T2 subs behind the entertainment center
    • Have to solve problem of 3 channel surround processing
    • Not sure if the grills affect the sound in any appreciable way
    • Not sure if a sub is needed with 3 x 8" woofers
  • Dutch & Dutch 8c x 2 + no subs
    • Pricey!
    • Cleanest system (visually)
    • All black and rectangular should mesh well
    • Might be a big big (visually) but are really only 2.5" taller and wider than the KEF Q300
    • No sub needed
Genelec were ruled out due to looks. I could probably push on that, but maybe better for a different room. Alternate options on subs are fine too. Thanks for any suggestions or things to consider. If you have Dutch & Dutch speakers, please feel free to chip in your thoughts on their sound for movies and music (and the process for getting them -- I assume they are harder to get than the others).
IMG_2478.jpeg
 

JustJones

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#2
If you are wanting all black you can get the Dutch and Dutch in the Studio model for less money. I've seen them under 10k. The difference is they are MDF and will not be roon certified. If you are interested in a floor stand speaker the Buchardt A700 can be had in all black and no need for a subwoofer.
https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lisa7904-dutch-dutch-8c-studio-pair-monitors
The Dutch and Dutch are amazing speakers, very coherent , you might get away with no center speaker. I have never heard them with movies only 2 channel music but you might need a subwoofer if you want to feel the explosions in films. The Buchardt A700 isn't quite as clear in the midrange as the D&D but the bass on them goes lower and louder.
 
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HooStat

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Thread Starter #3
Thanks very much. Good point on the Studio version. I think the finish on the regular 8c might be nicer in the room, and it would be nice to be able to stream to them. I don't know for sure, but I think you can switch from the LAN/Roon input to the digital/analog input so it would be good for easy music vs. TV switching, if true.

An excellent idea on Buchardt, but I am not a fan of the Buchardt look, and they are even less established than Dutch and Dutch. Along those lines the GGNTKT M1 is very interesting and allows for custom paint jobs which is nice. Again, though, a new company makes it hard to buy expensive speakers. Particularly those not based in the US for support.
 
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HooStat

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Thread Starter #6
Neumann KH420 is also an option
The Neumann KH 310 has the advantage of being 10" tall and fitting under the TV screen. But KH420 could possibly work as L/R. They have grill covers too.

I agree on established companies. I think Dutch and Dutch are there, or almost there. I am rooting for them.
 

ntd

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#7
These are all excellent speaker options. That being said, changing speakers will not significantly impact the muddiness. The space appears to be relatively reverberant.
 

Pearljam5000

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#8
The Neumann KH 310 has the advantage of being 10" tall and fitting under the TV screen. But KH420 could possibly work as L/R. They have grill covers too.

I agree on established companies. I think Dutch and Dutch are there, or almost there. I am rooting for them.
The 8C sounds amazing
 
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#9
Thanks very much. Good point on the Studio version. I think the finish on the regular 8c might be nicer in the room, and it would be nice to be able to stream to them. I don't know for sure, but I think you can switch from the LAN/Roon input to the digital/analog input so it would be good for easy music vs. TV switching, if true.

An excellent idea on Buchardt, but I am not a fan of the Buchardt look, and they are even less established than Dutch and Dutch. Along those lines the GGNTKT M1 is very interesting and allows for custom paint jobs which is nice. Again, though, a new company makes it hard to buy expensive speakers. Particularly those not based in the US for support.
You should reach out to Mads from Buchardt via email or through Facebook Messenger and see if he can allay any concerns you have ...he’s a solid guy. In addition to the A700, the A500 may be worth considering.
 

napilopez

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#10
These are all excellent speaker options. That being said, changing speakers will not significantly impact the muddiness. The space appears to be relatively reverberant.
Well, narrower directivity will do just that if the cause of muddiness is the reverberance of the space. Higher directivity almost by definition = quieter reflections. The 8C will can also dramatically improve muddiness caused by bass problems by it's cardioid directivity.

@HooStat. I'd recommend the 8C simply because they basically include high-level room treatment. They will essentially 'fix' your room without the need for subs or fuss. Even with subs, I think you'd have trouble getting bass as clean as the 8C. I never quite could with dual (small subs). In my experience the 8C had one of the best phantom centers I've heard (all of my speakers double as home theater speakers, and I personally prefer to forego the center channel). Imaging is pinpoint and the sweet spot is quite wide too. Wider than many waveguided speakers I think because the constant directivity means moving off axis doesn't change the timbre all that much.

I also personally think speakers are more immersive when they don't take up all the visual spaceof subs and centers and whatnot, but maybe that's just me.
 
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HooStat

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Thread Starter #11
These are all excellent speaker options. That being said, changing speakers will not significantly impact the muddiness. The space appears to be relatively reverberant.
Yes -- very true, and nothing can really be done. That is why I was wondering about the 8c -- I was thinking its directivity might be useful in this room.

EDIT -- just saw @napilopez 's response. Very helpful.
 

napilopez

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#12
Yes -- very true, and nothing can really be done. That is why I was wondering about the 8c -- I was thinking its directivity might be useful in this room.

EDIT -- just saw @napilopez 's response. Very helpful.
Yeah, I definitely think a speaker with low frequency controlled directivity is your best bet Iif it's really just a room issue. Speaking just of room modes and the like, here's an example of the improvement the 8C made in my old place right out of the box, without any tweaking other than inputting the distances to my walls in the app:

Snag_d7ef9e0.png


Subjectively, the speaker just sounded so much 'snappier' than anything else I heard in that space. Things like double bass sounded much more authentic, and it kind of gave an effect similar to hearing a wider woofer speaker.

While the Neumann and KEFs +subs would be excellent no doubt, I do think the 8C is the best bet for fixing your room issues.
 

bigjacko

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#13
Yeah, I definitely think a speaker with low frequency controlled directivity is your best bet Iif it's really just a room issue. Speaking just of room modes and the like, here's an example of the improvement the 8C made in my old place right out of the box, without any tweaking other than inputting the distances to my walls in the app:

View attachment 101417

Subjectively, the speaker just sounded so much 'snappier' than anything else I heard in that space. Things like double bass sounded much more authentic, and it kind of gave an effect similar to hearing a wider woofer speaker.

While the Neumann and KEFs +subs would be excellent no doubt, I do think the 8C is the best bet for fixing your room issues.
Did you do any bass management for the purple and green line? Cardioid at bass still cannot fight room modes so I am curious what happened to around 120 Hz for 8c?
 
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#14
Well, I’m KEF bias because that’s what I am using. Why all R2c across the front? Consider the R2c paired with R3’s. My R3’s sit on top of IsoAcoustics stands that sit on top of dual Monolith THX subs.
Thats about $4,200 and will out perform 3 center channels and that slim, expensive KEF sub.
 
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HooStat

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Thread Starter #15
Well, I’m KEF bias because that’s what I am using. Why all R2c across the front? Consider the R2c paired with R3’s. My R3’s sit on top of IsoAcoustics stands that sit on top of dual Monolith THX subs.
Thats about $4,200 and will out perform 3 center channels and that slim, expensive KEF sub.
The R2C has a lower profile and we thought it might look cleaner. R3 is certainly an option. The subs are the big issue. I would really prefer not to see dual subs. Having said this, we could consider getting subs that match the cabinet from Salk (Rythmik-based design).

We just did a test of 2-channel vs. 3-channel and the 3-channel sound won. After so many years of a phantom center, I was a bit surprised.
 
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hardisj

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I'd trust @napilopez on his opinion here.

I'm not sure if it helps but I will be reviewing the Kef R3 and the DD8C soon, (though Napier already tested both, again). In the meantime, I have made a couple "intro" type videos that discuss the tech in each of the speakers if you are interested in watching them... maybe there's something in there you will find useful enough to help your purchase decision.



 
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HooStat

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Thread Starter #19
So, we ruled out the Neumann because we realized the cabinets are not going to look good in the space (they are grey and they don't seem to offer any other choices). The KEFs are a really good choice, but without a good subwoofer solution, it is hard to go forward.

But, I may have succeeded in getting Genelec on the table. So, just thinking about Genelec 8361a vs 8351b vs DD 8c.

@hardisj -- thank you. Will take a listen. This is really all your fault anyway. When I saw your initial DD 8C post the other day, it made me think about DD 8C as a simple "all in one" solution.
 

Vintage57

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#20
IMHO, you’re missing out by letting the cabinet colour dictate in a sound experiment. The KH420 is a full range contender.
‘Are you looking at white Genelecs?
 
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