50% video / 50% audio for HDB living room

nncnfrmst

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2015
Messages
15
Reaction score
0
Hi all, I’ll be renovating my HDB resale flat before moving in and have a fairly blank slate regarding AV setup. I’m a noob and despite many hours of research I’m quite overwhelmed at the number of decisions to make. I know you guys are very practical and don't advise people to get things which are unsuitable for HDB settings so I would appreciate your guidance.

Floorplan:

Although I’m buying equipment for the whole house, I’ll focus first on the living room speakers, because this post is already super long!

Living room use case:
  • 50% Netflix which may be watched from dining table or couch. No Blu-Ray. Not really into action/adventure movies. Good dialogue much more important. Auditioned some setups in Adelphi with surround + subwoofer and felt we can live without them.
  • 50% streamed music (rock, hip-hop, folk) on Spotify (Premium) + a lot of podcasts. Good sound at couch more important. Realized while auditioning that good bass is more important for us here than for home theatre. Would like to have living room system as part of multiroom Chromecast audio setup without having to switch on TV.
  • Users: me + spouse, no kids or interest in kids

Other points to note:
  • No particular budget constraints but cautious about splurging on things we are not knowledgeable about and quality we may not be able to fully appreciate.
  • Reno not started yet but hopefully soon
  • Pre-existing false ceiling
  • No existing equipment, need to buy everything
  • May get 65 inch TV wall-mounted with full motion mount
  • The console we like is 1.6m width but extendable to full width of TV wall. H 45 cm, D 40 cm.
Frontal view of TV area:

Due to our 50/50 use case it’s quite hard to figure out which options are best. Have auditioned some and will continue but would still appreciate guidance. As an indication of budget, here are the speaker setups I’ve been looking into:
  • JBL A125C + A120 or A130 for LR (auditioned this @ Anson Audio, found it quite satisfactory)
  • Oberon Vokal + Oberon 1 or Oberon 3 for LR (auditioned this; Vokal was impressive but we are not sure we can fully appreciate the Oberon 3 quality for $1000)
  • SVS Prime Centre + SVS Prime Bookshelves (auditioned this; the centre was good but we’re concerned the Bookshelves will sound too bright in our flat which will be nowhere as well-treated as the showroom)
  • Polk s30 + s15 or s20 for LR
  • Q Acoustics Concept centre + 3020i or 3030i for LR
  • ELAC DC62 centre + DB62 for LR
  • PSB Imagine XC + Imagine XB or Alpha C10 + Alpha P5 (not sure of the differences between Imagine X and Alpha lines)
  • Wharfedale (not sure about this, heard it’s great for music but that the centre speakers aren’t great unless you get the pricy ones)

Subwoofer:
  • I suspected we wouldn’t need this for the media we watch, and this was confirmed in the auditions. The full Adelphi showroom experience with sub and Atmos was not particularly appealing to us.
  • However I learned that for music we did enjoy the effect of a sub with the bookshelf speakers we tested. We even listened to the JBLs above with a $239 Yamaha NS-SW050 sub and enjoyed it, just that its feature set is too low.
  • Based on some quick checks I gather that the SVS SB-1000 is worth considering for our use case.

Receiver:
  • I’m aware our room is hardly ideal so need good and user-friendly room correction.
  • At a future stage I may find it useful to connect my DJ equipment as Zone 2.
  • I originally wanted Chromecast built-in but as it seems hard to find we may end up having to plug in a HDMI Chromecast instead. (Not keen on Sonos because I don’t want to be locked into Sonos speakers for the whole house if I want multiroom audio.)

Questions:
  1. Do you have any recommendations for subwoofers good for music at a lower price than the SVS SB-1000 ($1000) and suitable for my space? I would want auto-standby, control by receiver and ability to add wireless kit.
  2. For L and R, are the smaller bookshelves above too small for my space? On the one hand they are smaller but that also makes them easier to place.
  3. If choosing the bigger bookshelves, how do I place them well? The DJ decks next to the TV impose some constraints. The QA 3030i seem to be wonderful for the price but if good positioning requires me to put them on stands pulled away from the wall, price goes up to $1000 for them + the matching stands (unless I can find second-hand stands suitable for the 32.9 cm depth). If I extend the console width and put them on it, what stand do you suggest and will they be too close to the wall?
  4. After all the above research I’m wondering if the higher expense of a setup based on separate components is wasted on the open room layout that I have? I don’t think we will do any treatment to the room - for example, although I understand that having a rug is better for audio, we still don’t want one. We auditioned some soundbars with Chromecast built-in (Sony Z9F, JBL Bar, Harmon Kardon Citation) and they were not as good as the separate component systems, but this was comparing them to professionally set up equipment in treated rooms. Maybe the difference would be less obvious in my flat!
 
Last edited:

petetherock

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Jan 7, 2007
Messages
8,002
Reaction score
51
If music really matters then consider a good speaker system and build around it.
If action movies aren't really the main diet, then consider good musical stereo speakers and build around that instead of a AVR.
Consider the NAD series: https://www.lenbrook.com.sg/products/nad-c-368 - comes with HDMI inputs if you spec it right.
Or a AVR like this https://www.lenbrook.com.sg/collections/nad-classic-series/products/nad-t-758-v3i

Otherwise I'll look for the Denon 8500 the end game AVR for sane money. But it may be an overkill.

Then audition the REL T series subs, eg the T7i. Musical qualities high, more than just for HT. You can choose your main speakers from a variety of brands, depending on your budget.

If you like bookshelf speakers, try the Dynaudio Emit series as a start, or use the NAD C368 with a pair of the Special 40s. Highly musical and not too bad for HT either.

Otherwise listen to the Dynaudio Music 7. You may not need a full HT system after you like to it.

For something out of the box, try the B&W Duo: https://www.bowerswilkins.com/formation/duo

Work with your builder and do give more info, and pics. All the best
 

nncnfrmst

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2015
Messages
15
Reaction score
0
Thanks a lot petetherock.

The Dynaudio Music 7 was actually the very first thing we ever auditioned. However maybe due to being new at this, we didn't really enjoy it. We should probably have asked the salesman to lower the volume as he played it really loud and the music I selected sounded harsh and muddy.

I thought it would be worth getting a decent centre speaker as we enjoyed its effect when auditioning setups. We will want to hear good and clear dialogue while eating at our dining table 4+ metres away. I did read that some people use a "phantom centre" but also that many others feel a real centre is still better. Therefore on balance I decided to try a real centre speaker, although it requires an AV receiver. May I know why you suggested the Denon 8500 AV receiver rather than something like the 3700H?

The Special 40s and B&W Duo definitely cost more than what I'll spend, I'm afraid! The Emit M10s do look great, although the price of the M15c centre would make this setup more expensive than the speaker combinations I listed above. Do you think any of the speakers I listed above are unsuitable for my use case?

I did read that REL subwoofers are great, but listed the SVS SB-1000 in my post as the price is lower but it's still well-regarded. Do you think it would be unsuitable for my use case?
 

patryn33

Arch-Supremacy Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2006
Messages
22,992
Reaction score
29
if you are listening to ~50% music, I would prefer a close port Subwoofer.

SVS SB-1000 is 720W 12" for like $1K, few sub can each that peak at such low price.
Klipsch R-120SW is 12" 400W ~$800
REL subs are not cheap, under $1k maybe the HT1003

as for LR. for JBL A130 ~$700(release 2018), might as well upgrade to studio 620 $900 (release 2019) or Klipsch RP-600M. if U can afford more try the revel m16 (Clarity AV Pte Ltd)

AVR, NAD T758 is a good choice but its $2.5k. 60W 7 channels driven

Denon 8500H maybe its top of the line at over $4K

your usecase of 2.1 or even 3.1, a 3700H is good enough. $1.7k. Even the Onkyo TX-NR7100 coming in June/July should be good enough for your application if there are no plans to go more channels or atmos.
There are also preout on 3700H, if u want to go for more power can get external AMP.
 
Last edited:

nncnfrmst

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2015
Messages
15
Reaction score
0
Thanks for your reply patryn33.

I do not anticipate finishing my renovation before early July so I am indeed hoping that new receivers such as the Onkyo one you mentioned will hit the market by the time I finally need to buy.

Noted regarding the JBL A130 vs Studio 620. Studio 620 is still within the price range I'm considering so will check those out, thanks.

For subwoofer, I was aware of a thread comparing SVS SB-1000 and REL HT/1003 but had not considered Klipsch so will check it out. Thanks.
 

Peach Tea

Arch-Supremacy Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2014
Messages
10,939
Reaction score
10
Spotify Premium only 256kbps. Buy good speakers and amp but Zzzzzzz. Lol
 

nncnfrmst

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2015
Messages
15
Reaction score
0
Spotify Premium only 256kbps. Buy good speakers and amp but Zzzzzzz. Lol
Music streaming quality will improve over time (for example, Spotify HiFi has been announced) and if I connect a CD player I will still be able to play my massive collection of CDs, so I don't see any harm in having a decent system. I may also connect my turntables and mixer (as a Zone 2) and play from vinyls.
 

wwenze

Great Supremacy Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2002
Messages
51,816
Reaction score
906
Spotify Premium only 256kbps. Buy good speakers and amp but Zzzzzzz. Lol
People in the past spent even more money on speakers just to listen to FM radio and cassettes
 
Important Forum Advisory Note
This forum is moderated by volunteer moderators who will react only to members' feedback on posts. Moderators are not employees or representatives of HWZ. Forum members and moderators are responsible for their own posts.

Please refer to our Terms of Service for more information.
Top