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Advice requested regarding Audio

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I am new but am really glad I found you guys. I am currently doing a major renovation so have started to investigate a home audio setup. Firstly I really have no history of good audio systems. I listen to quite a bit of music but have never really experienced an excellent setup. We watch TV and the odd movie but its not a regular occurance.

The requirements I have are to setup the main living room and also to have some ceiling speakers in the dining room so we can listen to music when having dinner. In the main living room a TV with BluRay player. We are not all that fussed with surround sound however if we could get that without too much effort and still get good quality audio for music from it then I would be happy to go there.

The biggest requirement however is that the speakers need to look nice and stylish. My wife is never going to go for some big ugly black or wood things that take up half the room. Its not a home theatre and is the main living space so they have to be good looking and as unobtrusive as possible.

So initially (when I had no idea) I went to Bose. I love their little white cube speakers in the corner of the ceiling and would have been pretty happy with those from their looks. Then I found this site and spoke to a few people who have had their systems before and realised they are crap and overpriced. Then I went ot B&O. Wow! I checked out the Beolab 6000's and generally loved the look and the sound. However it seems you are pretty restricted as you seem to be pretty locked into their system. Also you're looking at $10K as a good starting point.

My budget is probably more like $5k.

Next (after looking around here) I went to Carlton Audio (In Melb) and looked around there. Really I only liked the look of the Monitor Audio R225/250s. These are white or black and look pretty unoffensive. They can be wall mounted on the side of the TV and away you go. So we could get three of these and two ceiling speakers at the rear, a subwoofer and a 5.1 reciever. That would set me back about $5k.

So my questions are:

1. Does anybody have any opinion on the R225/250 setup given our requirements?

2. Any other suggestions?

3. Should I go with a surround system or focus on the audio (2/3 channel) given I would listen to music more than watch movies?

4. Given our requirements what kind of reciever should I go with. Really the specs mean nothing to me so really I don't know the difference between a $1000 one and a $2000 one.

Our main living room will be 5m X 6m.

Any other advise is welcome!

Thanks guys.

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Welcome to SNA chefspop and I hope you enjoy your stay here. Most of what you're asking is fairly subjective and you are almost certainly better off doing the rounds and listening yourself and making those decisions on what sounds and looks good to you. You've been to CAV and you could also try Tivoli HI FI over in Camberwell, Audiophile in Fitzroy and I'd also recommend Audio Trends to you down in Ringwood. I'd personally give the box movers a big miss and stick with the specialist shops, however, there may others here that would disagree with that. Good luck and let us know how you get on.:)



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I would also agree with staying away from the hardly normals of the world. I would also recommend you take some of your favourite music with you to use as a reference. Speaker sound is subjective, and also always greatly affected by the demonstration conditions. However, you can help yourself by taking some music you know to use as a comparison between each system.

Good luck!

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You could try Trevor lees audio in kew...... Always the best price on pioneer and Sony. Plus a huge range of second hand stuff to stretch your budget further.

For speakers and subs check out deephz audio. Svs subs are truly amazing and cheap in comparison.

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Here's a suggestion for the dining room. It's a speaker called Linkwitz Pluto:


Imagine it turned upside down and the woofer is flush with the ceiling and the tube is painted with the same paint as the ceiling. Except for the very high frequencies, it's an omni which is a good choice for a dining room. The sound will be consistent across the whole room, most speakers tend to have a smaller sweet spot. Could be a novel dining room speaker. Not sure if your wife will go for it or not! The low cost simple and unobtrusive option is in-ceiling and you can probably get to listen to some in a number of places. They just tend to be a bit mediocre. Probably because most of them are low cost.

If you aren't that fussed about surround sound, then just go 2 channel. It's a quality vs quantity thing.

Expose yourself to some good options before making a choice. There are some good ones in Melbourne. SGR audio. A1 audio in Scoresby (Whatmough). Audio Trends in Ringwood. The good thing about these is that rather than a bank of speakers in a noisy store, you get a quiet room set up for a proper demo, so you hear a well set up system. Whatmough - all their systems sound good that I've heard. Audio trends have good service. I took a friend there and the sales guy gave some good advice and took the time to explain a lot of different aspects without either getting too technical or too simple. SGR, I'm going from what I've heard from others in here. Probably a few other good options I haven't mentioned.

When you go, pick out a few reference tracks. Use those every time. It's your best chance of comparing. I have a few, I even bring them to hear different systems at get togethers etc. I'm not quite enjoying them like I did in the past (overkill playing them so many times), but it's my little way of comparing everything. I know how it sounds on my system and quite a few others. It's my little litmus test. (Not that I invented the idea)

Check this out ... you'll think I'm crazy but bear with me ...


Yep that's a big speaker and the woofers are 15 and 18" each on the bottom. Not exactly a contender for spouse approval, but it kind of says "I'm a batchelor and I'm going to stay that way for a while!"

Now check out what someone did with that design to get it approved by the committee:

Follow this link:


Now it looks to me like it has a chance. Badass becomes domestic. Something to consider when you are renovating, as this is where you can do something you would not normally get away with. Here you could get handy and make something that has been designed by someone else, or you could get it built. DIY turns out to be a surprise - a lot of things just aren't worth it (made so cheap in a factory in China), but with high end audio, the mark ups are so high that you can make your own at a fraction of the price. Building a $5k speaker for $1k isn't crazy, it's quite realistic (as long as you don't try to design it all).

I might have some more ideas if DIY sparks any interest. It's for some and not others.

I tend to think that if you want to get serious, you want to spend more like $5k or more on just the speakers. DIY can bring that down a lot, avoid a lot of compromise and then add in some subs as well without blowing out the budget. There are some very capable DIYers out there who were generous enough to publish their designs for the benefit of the diy audio community.

Also check out ...



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