Seeking advice on best all in one box/speakers for music and TV soundroom

Posted by: kevin J Carden on 10 September 2017

We'd like to buy my Father in Law a new Music and TV sound solution and wondering if anyone has experience and advice. My FIL is very bright and alert for his 91 years, but isn't really tech savvy, so streamed or PC based music is not really option. The music source will be CD's. TV is fed by a NowTV box. DVD's of standard def only are the other video source.

For room logistical reasons he'll need a small sized, bookshelf stereo pair (with possible addition of a centre speaker for dialogue since his hearing is also 91 years old!). Those logistics are that the whole lot will sit on a sideboard with the electronics inside, TV on top and speakers either side of it, also on the sideboard top - no room for speaker stands. For preference, Speakers need to be no more than small bookshelf, so 10" x 6" x 6" or thereabouts maximum.

My initial searching is leading me towards Arcam Solo or similar. Max budget c. 1500 if needed. Ease of use is paramount.

Any and all suggestions gratefully received!

Posted on: 10 September 2017 by Adam Zielinski

What about a soundbar, with an aux input for music playback? This should handle the TV viewing (2.1) and play-back music too.

Posted on: 10 September 2017 by kevin J Carden

Hi Adam. Yes, an option. The crux of the issue I think is to balance TV and music since each are of equal importance to him. My worry about a soundbar is that the balance gets tilted too far toward the TV sound. I use a Sonos sound bar for my TV sound and it works nicely in that role. On music it sounds just about OK, but I'm not convinced that a dedicated stereo pair of lesser cost wouldn't do a better job with a decent amp. It's a tough call since I know that TV dialogue is the most difficult thing for elderly hearing to pick out. You may be right. Any particular soundbar you had in mind?

Posted on: 10 September 2017 by Adam Zielinski

Kevin - I could imagine that the simpler to operate, the better it would be. I'm not much into soundbars as such - bought a Bose one for my parent's TV (dialogue clarity and sound effects were a primary concern). And a remote is as clear as it gets - On / Off and Volume + and -.

Other reputable companies that could be worth looking at are: Yamaha, Denon, MonitorAudio.

You may also consider getting a programmable remote control to ease the pain of too many remotes - Logitech is a good solution here. 

Posted on: 10 September 2017 by dave marshall

Not sure if it's still a current model, (if not, check out Fleabay), but the Q Acoustics Q TV 2 is an ideal, fuss free solution to the problem of crap sound from flatscreen tv's.

It bolts onto the rear of the tv, using as a template the fixing points on all tv's for wall mounting.

The sound quality is excellent, since it contains it's own amp, and a bass sub woofer, in addition to the full range stereo speakers, especially using an optical cable to connect it, and a fellow hi fi fan commented that it sounded better than many folks hi fi systems.

Certainly worth checking out.

Posted on: 10 September 2017 by Kevin-W

Kevin - I have a Canton DM50 soundbase under my TV. Very good sound, extremely well built (it's German) and a doddle to operate. The remote is clearly laid out and nice and chunky.

It will also stream from a device using bluetooth (there are two RCA inputs at the back as well, for connecting an amp or CD player), and has a pretty convincing "surround" mode.

Posted on: 10 September 2017 by rainsoothe

Hello. Imo Q acoustics 7000i is a very hard to beat surround system for the price, if you wanna go that route. A Denon, Onkyo or Yamaha etc receiver to partner. I bet Arcam solo is a great solution, but wouldn't one eat up your entire budget?

 

Posted on: 11 September 2017 by kevin J Carden

Thanks all for your thoughts. Speaking about this with my Father in law he is insistent that we not spend so much, so I'm thinking the soundbar option may be optimal. The Q Acoustics Media 4 (has anyone had any experience of it?) seems to get very good reviews so I think we may go and have a look at one of those as a start. 

Kevin

Posted on: 15 September 2017 by kevin J Carden

Update on this thread: We (FIL & me) listened to few soundbars and decided that while they can do a good job on TV sound, none really produced anything better than mediocre music. Fortunately, my dealer I think came up trumps by suggesting that a stereo pair mounted closely either side of the TV should work for TV dialogue as well as music. With that idea in mind we've ended up with :

Yamaha WSA-50 , a tiny streaming amp supporting all the major streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, Tidal etc., has an optical input for TV sound and an analogue input for CD.

B&W 686 speakers.

Sound is pretty darn good IMHO and despite his 91 years, my FIL shows great promise in being able to handle streaming services via his iPad ( I've been trying him out on my Sonos and Naim apps !), so the ability to neatly and simply add streaming services is a definite plus. Including all leads and cables c.820 all in .

It could be that the TV sound isn't optimal in the long run. If so, a soundbar for around a further 350 will be added. I think we're sorted.

 

Posted on: 15 September 2017 by Adam Zielinski

Sounds like a good and neat solution!

Well done.

Posted on: 22 September 2017 by Don Atkinson

When you said Yamaha WSA-50, did you mean WXA-50 ?

Posted on: 24 September 2017 by kevin J Carden
Don Atkinson posted:

When you said Yamaha WSA-50, did you mean WXA-50 ?

My typo Don. Yes, WXA-50. All installed in his Bungalow now and sounding remarkably good. The MusicCast app that Yamaha have developed also knocks spots off my Sonos one IMO and he is having no problem operating it. Great to see the pleasure it clearly gives him using Spotify to rediscover his younger days through the music. Andrews Sisters, Al Jolson, Mrs Mills, etc.. Fair brings it all back for him. 

Posted on: 24 September 2017 by Gazza

I think that also has a Bluetooth out, so you can play a pair of wireless headphones from it, not many amps do this

Posted on: 25 September 2017 by winkyincanada

I'd love it if higher end TVs were offered without any sound system at all, as an option (lower cost?). Many people add AV sound systems anyway. Our TV's speakers go unused.

Posted on: 25 September 2017 by Gazza

The last company that offered a TV with speakers being an option as the Pioneer Kuro plasma. Unfortunately they could not make money even at their elevated prices and sold out their technology to Panasonic.

Posted on: 26 September 2017 by Don Atkinson
Gazza posted:

The last company that offered a TV with speakers being an option as the Pioneer Kuro plasma. Unfortunately they could not make money even at their elevated prices and sold out their technology to Panasonic.

We took the speakers as well as the Kuro screen. They give a half decent sound for general TVs. But we push the Hifi sound system into action for music content in a TVs show or DVD.

Posted on: 26 September 2017 by Don Atkinson
kevin J Carden posted:
Don Atkinson posted:

When you said Yamaha WSA-50, did you mean WXA-50 ?

My typo Don. Yes, WXA-50. All installed in his Bungalow now and sounding remarkably good. The MusicCast app that Yamaha have developed also knocks spots off my Sonos one IMO and he is having no problem operating it. Great to see the pleasure it clearly gives him using Spotify to rediscover his younger days through the music. Andrews Sisters, Al Jolson, Mrs Mills, etc.. Fair brings it all back for him. 

Thanks for that clarification. And it's nice to know your dad enjoys the system !

Posted on: 26 September 2017 by ChrisSU

I bought a WXC-50 for my daughter last year (same as the WXA but without the power amp) and set it up with my old A&R A60 and a pair of Royds that were languishing in my loft. I was very impressed with the little Yamaha, it sounds pretty good for what it cost, very easy to set up, and very stable over WiFi. Before I gave it to her, I tried it into my 282/200, and while it's no match for my NDX, it didn't embarrass itself at all.