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Advice requested around new system feat Wharfdale Linton Heritage


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Hi Wammers,

Appreciate there's nothing in it for anyone here but me...but if anyone is willing to throw their opinion in,  I'd be appreciative anyway.

Currently have a cheap (but good) Chinese Valve amp I don't have the grille for, and Q Acoustic Concept 20s with the stands.  I also have a 1yr old, who wants to grab the glowing valves and put them in her mouth, probably, and also crash into my speakers, which are on 3 prongs and wouldnt respond well to the impact.  I have it all behind a kind of safety cage ATM, but she'll soon have worked out how to climb over it.  Basically the valves have to go, for now  - so it seems like a good time to upgrade the system.

I have about £2K to spend on a new amp and speakers.  My sources are say 40% vinyl (currently Pro-ject 1Xpression though this will get an upgrade soon too), 40% TV (movies plus some youtube, chromecast etc) and 20% bluetooth from phone and laptop.  I listen to everything really, style-wise.

I have a few additional little boxes (DAC, BT receiver, MM preamp) I'd ideally like to l to ditch to get one box doing it all.  The Heaven 11 Billie amp looks LOVELY...but it still has valves. I thought about seeing if I can mount it high up or something...it's just too much hassle - damn.  

I could get a Roksan K3, used for £700-800.  Doesnt look THAT cool but apparently it kicks ass...then I'd just need to retain my DAC, to take the TV input.

Quad Vena ii looks alright too - actually LOOKS cooler than the Roksan I'd say, and has MM preamp, BT and digital in, but I'm struggling to find used ones (I guess they're pretty new) so it'd be £750 for one with a nice finish new - potentially same price for a lot less amp than the above?

Cyrus One HD is an option.

Any thoughts on the best option here (or others around £1K), sound and features wise?

Then for speakers - I'm really liking the look of the Wharfdale Linton Heritage speakers.  Our room isn't huge though, I'd have to have them probably max 10 inches from the back wall. 

Here's the current listening space (the arrangement cant really change much and please ignore the mess of stereo you see here, this is all currently in flux).  But speakers will be near the walls, where the current ones are (not the ones on the table) and like 7ft apart, we'll be probably 8-9ft from the speakers.  The railing will go.

Are they a bad option for this room - and if so, what are my alternatives?  Around £1000, sound great, look cool, solid enough to be (relatively) safe with a toddler around....

Many thanks for your input on this and listening to my waffle.

Oh, also I have a BK XLS200 sub - had thought I'd sell this but I could also keep it.  Thanks again!

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With an inquisitive and growing toddler I would suggest staying away from stand mounts & relatively expensive ones at that. As kids grow they also have a propensity for inserting things where they shouldn't go, so I would say look at floor standers in the £200 - £400 range used. Something like the Q Acoustics 3050/50i would do the job nicely, and with some being vinyl wrapped, easily cleaned of jam, crayon etc. Floorstanders take up no more room than stand mounts but are more stable around a charging child. 

Going for cheaper floorstanders would also give you more in your budget for your amp. 

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Just looking at the pictures you seem to have the valve amp on the floor under the table ? If that is the case it would be quite an easy job to get a slatted wooden box that could be slipped over it . As this has lots of slot holes the heat issue would be dealt with and if the box was  made oversize then little fingers would not be able to reach the valves . A couple of bolts with wooden block could be used to secure the box to the amp meaning it could not be easily lifted off until the children get much older at that stage your on your own . You could then do as Lurch has suggested and get a pair of floor standers the Qi ones sound similar to what you have and can be had used for not too much . You can then be happy until your children reach an age to be trusted (40 ? 50?) and then buy yourself a new amp and speakers you can relax with .

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Thanks both for this. @bencat Actually my amp isn't in this picture (it's currently being repaired as I blew something up).  Your suggestion of a box would do the trick - thing is, if I have cool looking hifi I'd want it on display rather than hidden!

Re the speakers, @Lurch I think your advice is (sadly) good, but let me explain my thinking.  The concept 20s on stands are really unsteady, but the Linton Heritages look way more sturdy (Stands are roughly the same size as the speakers with a wide footprint, plus you can store around 40 LPs in each - so they're sturdy.  I think the cabs are about 18KG each, so they're heavy enough - question is more how securely they fit onto the base.  They LOOK much sturdier than the typical stand/speaker arrangement to me, but I guess I would need to see them, or get advice from someone who has a set.  I'd keep the grilles on and tape/hide the cable at the back...Im buying a cabinet for under the TV which the new speakers could sit flush against, and I could keep my prison bars - surely then its just attacking the grilles at the front (through the bars) I need to worry about...

Assuming they're no good though - I wanted to use this as an excuse to upgrade, I couldnt get excited about 3050s - much as I like Q acoustics' stuff, its basically the same speaker as I already have!  The broader question I suppose is having expensive gear around a toddler.  I feel like It'll be a ages until she's 'safe' (4 years until she's 5?) and that long with 'ok' kit seems like a life sentence...with that said, maybe I just need to wise up and be realistic about having kids! Cheap, wipe-clean gear maybe the way to go. Next you'll be telling me the McLaren F1 I've been looking at 'isn't a great family car'...

Any other opinions?  Thanks both

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I think you’d need to visit a store with Lintons to test their topple factor!  Like Lurch, I’d say floorstanders, preferably with outriggers which aid stability.  In many cases the manufacturers supply them for safety reasons.  

If you like the period look of the Lintons - and they do look solid on those four legged stands - you might like the new Leak amp which has similar ingredients to the Quad (both IAG brands, run by Peter Comeau).  He designed the Lintons too, I believe. 

https://www.leak-hifi.co.uk/stereo130/

For a super floor stander that’s not QA, these Dali are well worth hearing.  https://www.whathifi.com/reviews/dali-oberon-5

Edited by Nopiano
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When my kids were little I was using Gale 401s on stands  - when not playing the speakers were pushed up against the wall (less chance of being knocked) .. they were taught from a very early age not to touch and I had no problems as they grew.  At less than 2 years old I showed them how to use the tape machine to play their childrens tapes but they had to ask me or mummy to turn the system on for them.   My youngest was born in 96 and he was taught the same but with cds.

I would keep your valve amp (if you love the sound it makes) and put it on a shelf out of reach to stop burned fingers .. If you want to change the amp I would look at Prima Luna valve amps (there are some models under a grand on ebay) which have the advantage of being self biasing so tube changing is a doddle.

The only floor standers you can guarantee will not be pushed over are those weighing more than you can lift on your own, with a fairly large footprint and low centre of gravity i.e. a tall thin cabinet with speakers at the top can topple easily ( I found out to my cost when testing an amp and had it on top of one speaker .. PRO9TL transmission line floor standers and heavy beasts... and I nudged it and it went over - whereas without the amp it may have been ok).

So unless you are prepared to spend a lot of dosh on some very heavy speakers with a largish footprint, my recommendation is to stick with what you have .. blue tac them down to the stands and push back against the wall when not in use.  Train the kids (not hard) and wait to find the speakers that make you go "wowwwwwwww"   

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I'm going to disagree with Uzzy, though it's rare.

Hifi can be replaced. Replacing children takes more work and time and can lead to awkward questions being asked. I wouldn't have any standmounts with toddlers around, unless you could actaully move them out of the room (the speakers that is) or stick them in a cupboard (not impossible, but time consuming and easy to ignore/forget). Otherwise, look at floorstanding speakers with outriggers of some sort. Or make something suitable. Sonically it would do little or no damage to make something like a wood platform wider and deeper than the speakers, drill four holes and bolt through. You could be flashy and add spikes to the platform as well.

You could find some sort of case for the amp. In fact, the whole 'business end' could go in a cupboard of some sort with no back. As long as there's enough space above the amp, you can open the doors when playing music and close it when not.

Or just get a decent bluetooth speaker for easy listening, forget the hifi for a couple of years and spend some quality time with the kids while you have the opportunity. The time goes all too quickly.

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Similar thoughts to @rabski in that floorstanders or speakers on stands are potentially likely to fall when they are at the inquisitive age.

My solution for this was when mine were much younger was to build custom shelves for the kit and real sturdy custom shelves for the speakers all high up and out of reach and I restricted myself to bookshelves for a few years. Not ideal but better than nothing.

If you combine this with a healthy explanation that "Santa doesn't come if you touch this" from a young age, all good 😂

Then in a few years, you'll be fine.

To balance this though I'd also mention that our Goddaughter who is 2 years old, when visiting (not whilst we've been in restrictions don't flame me people) had zero interest in my floorstanders and they were absolutely fine. I have a large TV cabinet containing all my kit with the floorstanders on either side - so she has no need to be around the sides and be near the speaks, not that I've even had to tell her this.

Most kids once they can understand will be fine I think.

Edited by Amormusic
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Thanks all, again, for your input.  I'm a bit of a fair-weather wammer (only really post on here when I'm thinking of buying something) but it's heartening that the community on here is so helpful.  I appreciate it!

Safety is first, for sure.  With that said, valves on display are out, and probably the (far less cool looking) Roksan K3 I can pick up 2nd hand for £750 is in.  I reckon I can get a pair of Oberon 7s for £750, or the Q Acoustic 3050i for about £350.  Not sure if I'd see a huge jump in performance on the Oberons, but my thinking is...

3050s have outriggers, which should make them pretty stable. Additionally, with these if the shape of the stand doesnt make it too stable, as Rabski suggests I reckon I could fashion a plywood square a couple of inches wider on each side, and drill it about half an inch into the base of the speaker, at each corner.  I might need to check with QA that there's no innards right at the bottom of the speaker (I'd imagine it's just a concrete slab down there, but not sure...).

The Oberon 7s also have a base that looks pretty sturdy - and I thought being a bigger, heavier speaker than the 5, it should be harder to topple anyway.  Baby's only 22lbs now, by the time she's sprinting and heavier (like Jonah Lomu) I'm hoping she'll be more responsive to instructions.  Only thing with the Oberons is I'm not sure if I could remove the existing base to make something sturdier if needed.  Also drilling the holes will knack the 2nd hand value a bit, which maybe also makes the QAs a better bet.

Only other thing is I could have these probably a max of 8, maybe 9 in from the back wall.  Not sure if even with the bungs, this will cause issues with speakers of this size.

Funny, 'proper' hifi combined with little kids was something I'd not considered before, but I guess it affects a hell of a lot of people.  Business idea - someone should make a series of different sized 'floormount stands' - I'm thinking like a pyramid shape with a square hole a few inches deep for the speaker, and adjustable rubber grips.  I'd bet a range of about 10 sizes would fit the majority of speakers that werent weirdly shaped.

@Nopiano, that amp looks awesome, looks like I'm not getting the Lintons now mind.

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I look at your room and it reminds me of the times when my kids were young. Admittedly I didn’t have the cages lol. I disappeared from the audio scene for many years whilst my kids were young and also, we didn’t have all this technology we have today, CD or Vinyl oh and cassette. I put all my vinyl away for a number of years until I could play them again when it was safe and enjoyed them more when I went back to them. 
If I was you, I would take advantage of the stonking deal on the Arcam SR 250 at £899 and was £2500! It has everything you need and have requested and it has Dirac which is acoustic room correction which would be fantastic in your room. These units won’t be around for long. 
As for speakers, the Q Acoustics 3050! Totally the right choice for your situation and I have the smaller ones in my bedroom and I’m totally blown away by what they can do. 
Factor in some reasonable well made speaker cable and a Bluetooth receiver or better still, start streaming from your phone via WiFi job done! 
 

https://www.richersounds.com/arcam-sr250-black.html

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Edited by radiant red
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1 hour ago, Muttoninyourears said:

Also drilling the holes will knack the 2nd hand value a bit, which maybe also makes the QAs a better bet.

You might also like to consider the discounted QA Concept 40s with their tripod-type outrigger base.  A bargain at around £700.

https://petertyson.co.uk/q-acoustics-concept-40-floorstanding-speakers

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You shouldn't need to drill into anything.

Every speaker I know of already has threaded fixings the spikes go ito, or that outriggers attach to. All you need to do is use those to bolt something into.

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Just to throw another idea your way, I have just replaced my Concept 20s with Dali Oberon On Wall speakers. Surprisingly a big step up from the Concept 20s, which in my view always seemed to suck the life out of music. They dish out a decent amount of bass for their size, particularly when turned up and have a nice airy detailed sound. You could also use your existing sub if you found they were lacking in the bass department.

Edited by Funkpig
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18 hours ago, rabski said:

I'm going to disagree with Uzzy, though it's rare.

Hifi can be replaced. Replacing children takes more work and time and can lead to awkward questions being asked. I wouldn't have any standmounts with toddlers around, unless you could actaully move them out of the room

I see where you are coming from Rabski.    I guess me growing up in the 50s when we were taught not to push things over and when health and safety was non existent does affect my thinking  .. however there is no way you or I could push my buggers over either so I am looking at it a different way. 

When my two girls were small I used to push the Gale 401s back to the wall and they were either side of the fireguard so could not be pushed over, so I was looking at it from my point of view.    There are ways to make things safe with a bit of thought but whatever you do avoid anything that has a small footprint and a high center of gravity.   

An alternative with floor standers would be to actually take out the spiked feet - drill holes in a big paving slab and bolt the speakers to it (thereby providing a large heavy bass that would make it difficult if not impossible for a toddler to push over).

Also you could buy some strong tape, (furniture stuff they put in seating) wrap it round the speaker and fix it to the walls which would stop it being tipped forward or sideways.

Perhaps I was just lucky with my lad, I had the PRO9TLs and he never pushed them over (but the only way he could push was sideways which meant they would have fallen against the side walls).  

With my grandson (two years old) if he can push mine over I will enter him for the strongest under 7 year old in the world competition.

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My daughter was 2 (now34) when got my 1st system (including stand mount DL6s) and her brother was born, she was trained not to touch. At age 3 with her brother toddling, she acted like the local police, and I often heard her tell her brother "No! Mark, you musn't touch Daddies music" when I went into the other room to check she would be stood in front off the rack/speakers with her arms crossed and looking quite stern. 

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