Speaker recomendations for Stereo & Surround

Posted by: SimonJ on 01 November 2004


Before I start looking and listening to every speaker I can find does anyone have any useful experience and recommendations for speakers for both stereo and 5.1 surround. My amps are 282, AV2, 250 & 175 & my lounge measures 20' x 17' and has a 16' high ceiling. I love music, but films are also very important to me. I currently have Kef Ref 2ís, Kef Ref 100 & Kef Q2DS rears, the Ref 2's have done me very well but films are not the best as the centre is not really in the same class and does not sound tonally matched to them at all. I have looked at trying to buy a second hand Kef Ref 200, but am now thinking that rather than trying to find a centre to better match my fronts, maybe itís time to just bite the bullet and get new fronts & a new centre. Then Iíll hopefully get much better matched front/centre but will also get a much improved stereo performance at the same time. Iíll replace my dipole rears at a later stage and can probably spend £4-5k or so after a trade in/2nd hand sale of mine. I like the look of the B&W N804 or N803 & HTM1 but havenít got to the listening stage yet. Do the Signature versions just have a better finish or are there more to them than that for the extra money? They do look bl00dy good!

Cheers in advance for any useful advice.

Posted on: 01 November 2004 by Wolf
Ever consider Spendor? they have a matching center for their classic and I'm sure the new series. I've not heard the kefs and the B&Ws were not in a good shop to decide about them. I ended up with Spendor 2/3s, wish I could have afforded higher up the chain, but money and size limitations here in my domicile.

Life is analogue, enjoy it while you can.
Posted on: 01 November 2004 by arf005
my two pennies worth....

The minute I started reading your thread I was thinking B&W, mainly because I am an owner myself so am a little bit biased....
I have heard the N803's through virtually the same set up as you (CD5/202/250 - so your 282 should be even better by all acounts) The stereo sound was lovely, in my opinion, deep rich base with control, not a bright treble at all (some people think all B&W's sound that way....) and with the FST mid driver the whole speaker was excellently balanced.
From what I've read the HTM1 is a well balanced match for any of the Nautilus range, but I have not heard one.... My own CM4's/CMC up front are evenly balanced and like you say if you stick with the same brand you can't go wrong....
The signatures do have a higher spec of cross-over, so do sound better - allegedly - and the veneer that takes 6 days to cure looks great, but you'll be looking at Sig 800's and Sig HTM up front with Sig 805's as rears.....yours for £21K, nevermind the stands for the 805's.....
For the N803's and HTM1 with N805's at the rear it's £6400, and £400 if you go for B&W stands.

I demo'd a pair of N805's through 112X/150X from CD5i/5X/X2/and reluctantly S3....see me thread...


They sounded great! More impressive than I'd imagined, so as rears they'd more than do the job!!

What will be your source just out of curiosity.....

Good luck with the demo/decision......

Posted on: 02 November 2004 by Nick Riley
Simon -

If you have an opportunity to listen to Neat's Ultimatum range you should defintely have a listen. They are not to everybody's taste, but now that they do a centre speaker (MFC)- the Ultimatum range is very capable of offering a speaker set-up that is extremely capable for people like you and I who place importance on music AND movies.

I am using MF5's for left and right and the MFC for the centre. This would take you over budget but a pair of MFS's (standmounts) and the MFC would come in around 5K I believe. My only issue here is that the 175 is probably not up to the job of running the MFC - the 250 perfect for a pair of MFS's.

Have Fun.

Posted on: 02 November 2004 by prowla
Is it OK to mix'n'match, or should all the speakers be the same type?
(Imagine a room with 5 briks and a subwoofer!)

Posted on: 02 November 2004 by Jay
Originally posted by prowla:
Is it OK to mix'n'match, or should all the speakers be the same type?
(Imagine a room with 5 briks and a subwoofer!)


Generally it's best to tonally match all speakers and amplification. I suppose that doesn't mean you need all the same brands, etc, but that's usually the easiest way to do it. The benefit being that the "wall of sound" and panning of effects (left to right, back to rear) is smooth and as seamless as possible.

I got this to work extremely well with an AV2/180/175 and two pairs of Royd Minstrals and the Royd AV77 centre. Sure the lounge looked a little like Easter Island, but it was worth it.

The modern/new equivalent would probably be a pair of Arrivas with the new sats and centre matched with an AV2/175/150x set-up for example.

Posted on: 22 November 2004 by SimonJ
Cheers, guys.. I managed to find a bargain matching Kef 200C, sounds really great with my Kef Ref 2's and means I have spare cash to spend elsewhere - probab;y either a HICAP or swap CD5 for CDX2!! Smile
Posted on: 28 November 2004 by Johns Naim

Well my thoughts here might be slightly contentious, in that we can all only do so much $$$ wise, but IMHO matched speakers all round is an imperative if you want truly great and long term satisfying HT, as against the merely 'good'

I don't regard speaker tonal matching as an 'if possible' but an essential aspect of HT.

Too many potentially great HT systems are ruined by the 2 channel/stereo fan approach of 'adding on' 'near-enough' rears and center etc. Heh, I've done this myself, for cost reasons for the time being, and I'm very well aware it's no-where near good enough.

Consider: would you run say an Isobarik for the left channel of a stereo setup, and an SBL for the right channel? Obviously not... Big Grin You could 'get away' with it perhaps?, but I doubt if it'd be very satisfying.

Similarly if you REALLY want HT to work, and not just sound 'OK' then one needs matched speakers all round. It's not just a tonal mismatch, it's phase, polar response, dispersion, dynamic/transient response, identical crossover characteristics etc.

The usual 2 channel/sterophile 'upgrading to HT' combination of floorstanders at the front, and smaller bookshelf models from the same range at the rears, is usually done for reasons of cost and aesthetic considerations. Fair enough, but the performance WILL suffer compared to matching speakers all round.

HT can be just as rewarding from an involvement point of view as music, but it is a different discipline so to speak, and needs to be accredited the same amount of thought/planning and execution as 2 channel HiFi IF you really want top results/satisfaction.

Just my contentious 2 cents worth


John... Cool

This is my last upgrade.... after this my system will be finished...:-)