confused and don't know what to do


We would like to buy a nice audio system and also have this double as a surround sound but listening to music is the priority. We have listened to many speakers but have settled on the B&W 804's. Now the challenge is to select a receiver and all the other accompaniments we require. We have a little challenge in that our home is a condo and the outside wall is all glass. The space is combined kitchen, living room, and dining room all open with hardwood floors and hard tile on the walls of the kitchen and a lot of granite counter tops. It seems that every where we go, the recommendations are different depending on what the store is selling and of course, the sales people would like us to buy the most expensive. What would give great sound without going crazy. We are thinking about 2 tribe sub woofers and space is limited and an in wall center B&W speaker but we don't know what we are doing and don't want to throw our money away. Help! Too many choices and we don't have enough knowledge. Thank you so much.
raw33
@millercarbon,
Your system looks fantastic and I couldn't agree with you more. There are a few dealers in this forum that are truly helpful and not constantly trying to promote products they sell. Unfortunately there is one dealer here that uses Audiogon's forum daily as a sales platform.
This retort is both to Millercarbon and Rbach.

First Millercarbon, you do have a nice two channel setup, however adding a screen to a two channel system does not make it into a Home Theater.

No center channel and no rears and no surround sound processor means you have stereo TV which can sound great but this kind of setup wiill not offer the level of involvement for video sources that you can get by having the additional components.

Your expreriences with combining "Home theater stores" and expecting to get real music out of a conventional home theater gear of course is not going to come anywhere near the level of quality that you will get out of a real music system, most "Home Theater stores" are run by people without training into design of Home Theaters nor have experience  with High end two channel music systems. Also many Home Theater stores use fiberglass acoustical panels which can make the room over damped or worse have no real acoustical treatment at all.

If your room is overdamped or underdamped neither will sound good.

Miller you seem to disadain the concept of Home Theater and seem to feel that the extra speakers are a waste. On contrare the center channel anchors the dialog and the real channels help create the expansive feeling of space which is why there are rear speakers in the first place.

If you also look at our posts we suggested that the OP look at a high end intergrated amplifier for the important job of providing the best possible wo channel sound and use a surorund sound receiver to power the rears and the center channel this is the same kind of setup you are also using except you have tube monoblocks and a preamp instead of an intergrated amplifier.

Your level of experience can not be compared with ours we builds both real Movie Theaters and we design state of the art music systems and in 30 years of professional audio experience the amount of gear we have sold, and tested and how many customers we have worked with is in the thousands.

As per the line that there are no such things as great Surround sound receviers the Audio Control and Arcam lines sound really quite good.

There are some also pretty amazing sound surround sound processor/preamps the Theta line, Audio Control, and the new NAD M17 MK 2 actually sound quite fantastic. The new Hegel C55 is a true music amplifier that just happens to provide three additional channels over a comparable two channel Hegel amplifer.

We have built theaters for major celebrities and have been trained by Toni Grimani Keith Yates and Russ Herschelman.

We have four soon to be five sound rooms which include both pure music rooms and our two channel business partners include some of the finest music gear in the world including: Naim, T+A, Electrocompaniet, Krell, Unison Research, Micromega, Zesto, Hegel, Coda, Lumin, Bricasti, Anthem, Audio Control, KEF,Paradigm, Dali, ATC, Quad, Cabasse, Legacy, Alta audio and lots more.

Rbach we write on these forums not to necessarily sell anything, we have helped clients from all over the country, and even in other countries all without selling them anything.

Why don’t you contact Fast who wanted to sell his brand new Kef Ref 5 because he couldn’t get them to sound right in his room, we started talking on the boards and he reached out to us and we advised him on what he needed to do to make the system sound great.

We sent him a power conditioner, power cables, interconnects, footers, room tuning accessories, a new dac, and music server and after working on his system for a few days which included repostioning his KEF Reference Fives, the system sounded fantastic.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ




RAW33,

As previously mentioned audition as many gear as you can and come to your own conclusion. I am sure you noticed that everyone here claims they have the best system and this is simply because they picked out what they thought was right for them. As I mentioned pick out the speakers that call out to you sonically,
etc. and do your best to match the rest to balance out the speakers to your taste.

Everyone here has the best intention to help, but all these recommendations will become overwhelming. Bottom line is you will end up picking your own gear in the end by auditioning, reading reputable reviews, etc. Don’t get me wrong there are very good topics and information provided here that you will benefit from for your setup, but in the end it is your call. I already mentioned this previously, read on tweeter material like berillium, titanium, etc., since these will influence the speaker sound to a large degree.
Anyway, this research was fun for me because I learned a lot and I was turned on to great music along the way.
Yes, it is overwhelming but I feel that I have definitely benefited from much of the knowledge and helpful advice I gained from reading many of these posts. I really do appreciate everyones opinion.  The intricacies and the details that go in to a sound system are fascinating and I have just barely scraped the surface.  I am trying to gain understanding  but see that will take me awhile and much experimenting and experiencing. I look forward to an interesting journey. As you say, the system has to be right for me and I am sure I will make mistakes in my choices from which I will learn. I am just hoping those mistakes aren't too expensive. LOL!
We live in a similar condo, all downstairs is a combined living, dining, kitchen with sliding glass on one end.  I use Sennheiser RS 185 wireless headphones for HT and a dedicated 2 channel stereo for music. The Sennheisers work great and a second pair can be added. My comment is more of a practical one though.  Subs and in wall speakers.  You’ve got neighbors.  In wall speaker in a common wall is a definite no go.  So is cranking the subs, even a little.  Food for thought.