Bookshelf speakers for a sideboard

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JMcQueen

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We bought a new house about a year ago and I've finally started looking in to a small system for the living room. The obvious answer is 'sound bar' but I'd much prefer a decent 2.0 or 2.1 system if I can get away with it. 

The sideboard/tv unit we have means that floorstanders are out of the equation. They'd sit too close to the cabinet doors and the other half has said a firm 'no'. 

This means I'm having to look at speakers that will actually work whilst sat on top of the side board  and thus close to the wall, very close. I'm thinking sealed boxes or front ported. 

I also havent decided on dac/amp etc but its going to have to take a signal from the TV as this system is getting used for both tv and audio. I had maybe been thinking of a Naim Atom or similar to keep it simple but i do have space for seperates.  listening distance is approximately 5m from the speaker position.

It is a second system and I can live with the compromise all this will bring but still looking to get the best I can 

Anyone got any good recommendations for a system - particularly the speakers 

 

Nearly bewildered

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Dynaudio 42s jolida fx DAC ( has volume pot can be used as pre amp) bantam 'stealth ' amp..audioquest ruby interconnects and LFD spiroflex speaker cables..

 

Lurch

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BlueSound PowerNode, Streamer, DAC & Amp (analogue USB and optical inputs) in one box and use, phone/tablet to operate switch sources, will also learn TV or other remotes for basic play, pause next track etc. Speakers, wharfedale Diamonds, Dali Zensor 1 Q Acoustics 3010\3020 will work with 4" behind them and are far better than, the price suggests (wall brackets also available). 

 
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Nopiano

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Naim and Neat go well together, so if the Neat Iota aren’t too tiny sound-wise, they’d be well worth hearing. Great close to, or even mounted on, the wall. 
 

What’s your budget?

 
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Gaz38

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I've hear good things about Quad Lites but haven't heard a pair myself 

 

Mynameismud

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I've had all sorts of configurations in various environments, big rooms, small rooms, standmounts, floorstanding etc. Harbeth  P3esr on a side board with a decent 100 wpc solid state amp, and isoacoustic isolation pads are as enjoyable as anything I've had. Your 5m listening distance might push their capabilities alone and need a sub. Well worth a demo however.

 
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tIANcI

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Easy set up - KEF LS50w, it’s an all in one. Great all rounder for music and simple HT sound system

Harbeth P3ESR - great little speaker but at 5m you cant push it too loud

ProAc Tablette 10 - another good speaker to consider

KEF LS50 - you can get more volume out of this baby.

ATC SCM7 - great sounding little speaker

Yamaha RN803 - nice all in one, very affordable. Sounds good. The YPAO room correction may not be the greatest but yeah, it does help a lot, esp when speakers are near to walls. I use this for my bedroom set up with the LS50

Mytek combo - Mytek Brooklyn Bridge (streamer/DAC/preamp) and the Mytek Brooklyn amp ... slightly costly but great sounding, does not take up much space.

Like what Mynameismud says, get some form of isolation. You can go with the nice Isoacoustic stuff or simple sorbothane feet. Bright Star Isonodes works well.

 
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DomT

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I am in the same situation as you.  We are going Naim Muso (from Harbeth SHL5/Marantz) because of form factor, functionality and sound. In our case we want the Naim functionality but don’t want to spend a lot of money on something that will always be a compromise. 

The only thing that I can see conventional speakers doing better is stereo image; the sound could also be better in some aspects. The thing to consider is that if you go for hifi speakers they were not designed to work well on a side board.  If you really want a ‘hifi’ type of speaker best to look at pro audio active speakers as they will cope better with sitting on a sideboard as they are designed to work directly sitting on studio furniture. Just to add that you can buy foam pads to sit under the monitors to improve bass. They work really well.

If you like a clear but in fatiguing sound go for a pair of Adams. I have used a pair of Adam 5s for the last 10 years and they are great. There are a number of brands to choose from and many places to listen to them. You will need a separate streamer.

 
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JMcQueen

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Morning all, thanks for the input, certainly some interesting ideas and some that are along the same as what I was considering. 

My budget is probably around £4k but I'm not adverse to buying used equipment to get the best bang for buck.

I have actually looked at powered speakers , particularly monitors like focal trio. I presumed (maybe incorrectly) that being designed for near field that they'd be wasted from a distance.

My leading choice was the Dynaudio Focus 20XD .  The near all in one solution would work well and I noticed they can be dialled in to their position (wall/corner) etc, which whilst I'm not expecting miracles would help

I like the Harbeths but do think the 5m distance might be straining them a little too much. Equally, I like the ATC sound so the 7's are worth considering

The Neat Ministra really caught my eye  though. Relatively small, in budget, designed to work close to a wall. They've only just been released though so getting a pair to audition might be challenging but certainly up there on the list at the moment. 

I've attached an image of the space Im working with. Ignore the TV as that is soon to be replaced and wall mounted and also the chair to the left hand side, that is also being moved. I do have the actual corners of the room but thats asking for miracles for something to work well there. There's a lovely amount of space in front of the unit but the GF wont have it and the left hand speaker would also be firing in to the arm of the sofa for the most part unless they were really tall. The width of the room is about 4.8m

999.jpg

 
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DomT

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A pair of Audio Note Ks would work well there on stands in the corners  Get an Audion or Audio Note or Leben amp and a Bluesound Node and you will be in heaven........ if you like valves

 
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Cloth-Ears.

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:bulb:

Whatever you buy, place them on Auralex Mopads.

Sideboard = hollow chamber within possibly causing boom +  the vibrations in general on a piece of furniture as opposed to a designed speaker stand.  Mopads may be a solution. They 'disappear' well enough visually.

2 Different sizes available and you can customise the verticle angle a bit by placing in a supplied wedge - depends the level you sit at compared to sideboard whether you want straight or angled down.

auralex_mopad_monitor_isolators_thedjshop.jpg


c1d276b667f75eb8ddc7641281d80b06.png


 
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tIANcI

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Add another zero and just get the Kii 3 + BXT. It will turn that room into an EDM club 😂🤣

 

MartinC

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I think a key factor here is deciding to what extent you may be interested in improving TV and movie audio? 

Regarding isolation from the cabinet I'd recommend Sorbothane hemispheres over Mopads. They're cheaper, more discreet and I'm confident more effective. 

 

DomT

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:bulb:

Whatever you buy, place them on Auralex Mopads.

Sideboard = hollow chamber within possibly causing boom +  the vibrations in general on a piece of furniture as opposed to a designed speaker stand.  Mopads may be a solution. They 'disappear' well enough visually.

2 Different sizes available and you can customise the verticle angle a bit by placing in a supplied wedge - depends the level you sit at compared to sideboard whether you want straight or angled down.



I use these in the studio and they help. Have not compared them to anything else as they are typically what people I work with also ise but we might all be sheep and Martin could well be right! 

 

JMcQueen

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Its funny you mentione the Kii3, they were on the list when I thought I might get away with bringing them away from the walls. Start off with the Kii3 and then add the bxt later. 

To be honest, although they'll be used for tv & movies 70% of the time, I'm not overly concerned with how much of an improvement they bring. Anything is going to be better than the TV speakers and I really want something that will do its best with the 30% its used for music. This was really the reason I didnt want to go with a sound bar as I felt the compromise was too much the the way. 

 

Cloth-Ears.

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Haven't tried sorbothane hemispheres but the ones I just Googled don;t look very substantial. I may be wrong in practice. I think the Mopads give great stability as well. I have a hunch that the volume of foam might do better at keeping bass boom down in the hollow cabinet from being a problem. I don't really know but suggest them as a product I know that could be tried. . Thing is, these things - both probably - are inexpensive and if they don't suit can be easily sold on. 

 

MartinC

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I have some Auralex Platfoam that I believe is basically what Mopads are made of. I also actually gave some Mopads to my brother in law as a present but in hindsight think Sorbothane would have been a better option. 

Townshend Audio have a video where they use a vibrometer app on a tablet placed on top of the soeaker to demonstrate the effectiveness of their isolation platforms. Stamping on the floor next to the speaker produces much less measured vibration when on the platform Vs on the floor. I did the same test using an app on my phone, with the Platfoam basically achieving nothing but Sorbothane hemispheres did. I also now think it's logical to want something to be more compliant (wobbly) to offer a degree of isolation/damping than Mopads.

I'm also confident that Sorbothane hemispheres would be considerably easier to be 'allowed' on aesthetic grounds!