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Old 8th February 2009, 21:03   #1
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Default Advice Needed for Drawing Room Stereo: Harman/Kardon and Infinity vs. Bose

Hello Guru's: Need your advice ASAP in helping us decide on the Product. We REALLY need to make the Purchase+Installation done before coming Wednesday i.e. the 17th of Feb.

Requirement is as follows:
  • Music System for the Drawing Room at home
  • This is NOT a Home Theatre, TV will NOT be connected
  • Music may range from Indian Classical to Moderate Rock
  • It should "fill up the room" and not seem to come from one corner/side
  • Dimensions of the room are about 22"x15"
Dad was almost ready to buy Bose but since I have read some not-so-flattering comments on Bose on this Forum so convinced him to check out other options - namely JBL range, before making up his mind.

Note: We don't mind spending for Bose if it is ACTUALLY better than the other options available in the market at same or lower price points. I am just aware of Harman/Kardon (due to this forum) and so advised Dad accordingly. We will be happy to evaluate other options if someone can guide me.

Anyhow, Dad visited the JBL Lounge in Kalkaji and met with a Mr. Tausif Ansari (GM - North India and a pleasant fellow who I was introduced to by Sam at the Launch Party).

I am a NOOB so will explain as best as I can as to what Tausif explained to Dad who in turn explained to me. Request you guys to correct me if I am missing something. Music is always recorded on 2 channels unlike the movies which use more than 2 channels. Therefore, a Stereo system will suffice the need rather than a Home Theater.

Stereo Options suggested:
  • Option 1:

    > HK3490 - 2 Channel Stereo Receiver (Rs. 30k)
    > Infinity Classia Tower Speakers .. don't know if this was the C205 or C336 (Rs. 75k per pair)
    > Infinity Classia Sub (Rs. 50k)
    Total = Rs. 155k
  • Option 2:

    > HK3490
    > Revel Concerta F12 Speakers (Rs. 95k per pair)
    > Revel B120 SW (Wired=65k, Wireless=95k)
    Total = Rs. 190k-220k
Dad did not like Option 1 and 2 as we're looking for small and discreet speakers and the above were Floor/Tower speakers. We want the music system to be discreet and blend in with the background.
  • Option 3:
    > HK AVR155
    > JBL CSS 680
    Total = Rs. 60k
  • Option 4:
    > HK AVR155
    > HKTS11
    Total = Rs. 70k
  • Option 5:
    > HK AVR155
    > Infinity ModulusII
    Total = Rs. 85k
Option 3-5 seem better as they are Satellite Speakers. All Prices above exclude the cost of Source (CD/DVD Player)

This was last Sunday, today he visited Bose. Now, apparently Bose doesn't offer Stereo systems but just Home Theaters. They have a couple of jazzy features like ADAPTIQ that adjusts the music according to the size, shape, textures and other elements in the room!!

Their main Product is the Lifestyle 48 DVD Home Theater costing about Rs. 191k. - BOSE INDIA. From what I understood additional speakers such as these (BOSE INDIA) can only be installed if you have the basic system installed in the first place.

To summarize,
I need help to understand if the Bose at 1.91L is worth it or should I go for HK. What other options are available, say in HK but in the same small package (size-wise) of the Bose.
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Old 8th February 2009, 21:24   #2
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I have heard the adapti system of bose it is nice. but to me at some point the music tends to sound slightly artificial from their speakers. the warmth and mellowness in certain tracks seems to be skewed. the harmon kardon's are excellent as are the JBL's i haven't heard the latter here though. you can also check out pioneer and polk audio they have some excellent satellite ranges. another option you can look at are jamo. There is a guy here in bang who was showing me a bookshelf style speaker system completely wall mountable with THX and everything for like 85k with amp. look out for it. thats a brilliant system. sherwood amps are an option as well.


personally i'd ask you to take a sherwood polk combo.
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Old 8th February 2009, 21:28   #3
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NOT BOSE! You should be able to hear the difference newbie or not. Harman Kardon is ok. There are other makes I would look at. Denon is one.
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Old 8th February 2009, 21:42   #4
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Ok Guys, many thanks for your speedy response.

Now, my queries:
  • Where in NCR, can I check out Polk, Sherwood, and Denon?
  • Bose has built a reputation over the years. Could you please share links to articles that denounce Bose quality? My Dad is an IIT'ian, I'd need more than hearsay to convince him that Bose isn't the best thing out there at that price point.
Edit:
I haven't considered JBL because I was under the impression that HK and Infinity are better, and also fit the budget. The JBL range tops at Rs. 45k for the SCS260.5. Also, they aren't as sleek as the HK and Infinity are.

Last edited by manveet : 8th February 2009 at 21:45.
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Old 8th February 2009, 21:42   #5
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Wow! So much to spend on your hifi

What Bose have packed into tiny cubes is amazing --- but I'd add my vote against them. Go for conventional speakers, even if it is of 'bookshelf' size.

Over the years, the word I have heard is to consider Bose if and when I want a PA system: not for home stereo. I have not followed the market for nearly five years, but I don't think that has changed.
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Old 8th February 2009, 21:50   #6
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id ask Magma. he's been highly involved in his Home Audio project since 3 months.
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Old 8th February 2009, 22:06   #7
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First things first - small speakers and high quality music don't go together. Nor do subwoofers. Before you buy anything, decide your budget - not having a fixed budget is a very very dangerous thing. There's no limit to how much you can spend. There's always something better out there thats just more than your budget so you can end up in a vicious upgrade cycle. Once you decide your budget, then decide what you expect from it - accuracy or sound pressure/party music.

You'd have to get bookshelves or floorstanders, a decent stereo amp (either pre power or integrated) and a good cd player/dac+some other transport. AVRs, 5.1 surround systems, subs are out. They are a complete no in stereo audio reproduction.

The options suggested to you are not the right way to spend your money. You can do a lot lot better than an HK3490 as well as the amp. One doesn't need/use a subwoofer for stereo music.

First decide a hard budget. Me and many others would then be more than glad to help.

Last edited by reignofchaos : 8th February 2009 at 22:12.
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Old 8th February 2009, 22:14   #8
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If you are considering paying the extrortionate price for a Bose then why not check out Bang and Olufsen Beosound 3200 (and the models above this). The 3200 can store several hundred CD's worth of music so less wear of cd lens / lasers etc.

Personally I would go down the seperates route and opt for a Denon or Marantz amp and some decent speakers. Audition everything connected up before you make you decision.
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Old 8th February 2009, 22:36   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manveet View Post
My Dad is an IIT'ian, I'd need more than hearsay to convince him that Bose isn't the best thing out there at that price point
Sam Kapasi (a TBHPian) represents Harman Intl. in India.

Since your father is looking for something that is compact why not a subwoofer that can be partly tucked away and a pair of nice 5/6" 2 way satellites. I would look at Quad 11L or Epos M12, mated to a REL/Velodyne or even the QUAD L2 sub and a Roksan, Arcam, Rotel, or NAD CD+stereo amp combo.

If the budget permits upgade the speakers to Dynaudio42/52, JM Lab Chorus 705/6 or Dali Mentor 1/2. Mind you these speakers need a good amp to drive them well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
Over the years, the word I have heard is to consider Bose if and when I want a PA system: not for home stereo. I have not followed the market for nearly five years, but I don't think that has changed.
you heard right and yes not much has changed.
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Old 8th February 2009, 22:45   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reignofchaos View Post
First things first - small speakers and high quality music don't go together. Nor do subwoofers.
I don't understand. Are you saying that Subwoofers are not required for high quality music? IMHO, a Sub makes a WORLD of a difference, at least in ICE.

And there is always a trade-off. In our case I have made it very clear that we are looking for discreet speakers that blend in the background. Therefore, huge tower speakers are already ruled out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reignofchaos View Post
Before you buy anything, decide your budget - not having a fixed budget is a very very dangerous thing. There's no limit to how much you can spend. There's always something better out there thats just more than your budget so you can end up in a vicious upgrade cycle.
I have already mentioned a budget. Tops is 1.91L for the Bose. Their advantage being small size and the Bose brand.

Disadvantage in Bose is that I will not be using the many features it offers like 48 DVD memory. Like I said, a TV will not be connected, this is NOT a home theatre. I'll gladly buy something cheaper by Bose but if I understand correctly, they don't sell Stereo, only Home Theaters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reignofchaos View Post
Once you decide your budget, then decide what you expect from it - accuracy or sound pressure/party music.
I've already mentioned, classical music to basic rock. Party music will be rare.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reignofchaos View Post
You'd have to get bookshelves or floorstanders, a decent stereo amp (either pre power or integrated) and a good cd player/dac+some other transport.
I don't think we have space to dedicate for floor standers - just won't go with our drawing room decor. Two Bookshelf speakers can be accommodated on the side-table or on fireplace (maybe), but thats about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reignofchaos View Post
AVRs, 5.1 surround systems, subs are out. They are a complete no in stereo audio reproduction.
Could you please elaborate. Lets say I am listeining to Dire Straits from my iPod. What is better, 2 stereo speakers or 5.1 AVR's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reignofchaos
The options suggested to you are not the right way to spend your money. You can do a lot lot better than an HK3490 as well as the amp. One doesn't need/use a subwoofer for stereo music.
Let me clarify, Dad has not mentioned a budget to any sales guy and nobody has advised him on "how to spend his money". Let's not do that her, and simply talk on the product front.

When I listen to Dire Straits in the Car, it sounds wayyy better with a Sub, now you are saying that Sub is not required.

Pehle to mujhe yeh batao, is CD and iPod music always Stereo? If yes, you are saying a Sub is not good for SQ. I don't seem to be in agreement here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reignofchaos
First decide a hard budget. Me and many others would then be more than glad to help.
I am sorry but Budget is flexible. At this point I have shared most of the Info I have.

Would be glad if you and others can still help.
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Old 8th February 2009, 22:53   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by navin View Post
Sam Kapasi (a TBHPian) represents Harman Intl. in India.
Thanks Navin, I know about HK and Infinity because of Sam. Remove TBHP from my life and the only high-end brand I would have heard of is Bose :P
Have spent 2.5 years on this forum and like everyone here, I too have thoroughly enjoyed his Blogs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by navin View Post
Since your father is looking for something that is compact why not a subwoofer that can be partly tucked away and a pair of nice 5/6" 2 way satellites.
Exactly what Dad and I are thinking.

But won't 2 speakers in a 22 x 15 feet room make the sound seem to come from one side of the room and not exactly surround sound. This is my only apprehension because of which I was thinking of 5.1


Quote:
Originally Posted by navin View Post
I would look at Quad 11L or Epos M12, mated to a REL/Velodyne or even the QUAD L2 sub and a Roksan, Arcam, Rotel, or NAD CD+stereo amp combo.
Sounds good, but Greek.

What brands are these? Are they available in Delhi? Budget?

Quote:
Originally Posted by navin View Post
If the budget permits upgade the speakers to Dynaudio42/52, JM Lab Chorus 705/6 or Dali Mentor 1/2. Mind you these speakers need a good amp to drive them well.
Again, Greek. Same query as above. Availability? Budget?

Considering that no one at home is seriously into music, I think 1L should be a decent budget including wiring, etc.

Last edited by manveet : 8th February 2009 at 23:01.
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Old 8th February 2009, 23:16   #12
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Odd thoughts continuing...

A subwoofer is very much not required for home hifi. If you want to party, and feel the music, rather than listen to it, then you could buy one, else don't bother, spend the money on better speakers.

For those who do add a sub, the advice I've heard is: turn it up until you are just aware of it, then turn it down again a touch. It should not be thumping, it should just fill out the music a touch.

A two-speaker stereo system is always going to sound like the sound comes from one side of the room. In live listening, it always does come from where the players happen to be; stereo just reproduces that. Whilst there may be only one theoretically-ideal listening position, you should still get nice sound anywhere in the room. Placing the speakers would be the most important part of this; even more important than how much they cost. They should not be tucked into corners, and they should not be right back against walls. If you must hang your speakers on the wall, or even put your "book-shelf" speakers on a bookshelf, try to find speakers that are designed with this in mind.

Many small[ish] speakers end up with having tables or speaker stands bought for them. Might as well go for the floor-standers! In terms of size, mine are very discrete and take up little room. No pics, as my current set up breaks all the rules; one speaker is half-hidden behind a table. One day...

Another home-hi-fi point that should always be remembered is, despite what the salesman tell you, do not worry too much about power. In fact, ignore everything that salesmen say about it! My own experience of this is that I graduated from a 150-watt (Sherwood) amp to a 50-watt (Cyrus) amp. It was the finest hi-fi upgrade I ever did! Granted, the Cyrus was about four times the price of the Sherwood.
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Old 8th February 2009, 23:17   #13
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Home theatre setups are not reknown for being the best thing when it comes to listening to music. So if Bose only do the home theatre setup I would avoid it.

If you want a compact setup/lifestyle box then the B&O BeoSound 3200 looks appealing (some would say sexy). However best to review the unit.

BeoSound 3200 - Bang & Olufsen

They have some official retailers in India (Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore)

Also when reviewing any setup do take some of your own music.

Last edited by bigman : 8th February 2009 at 23:23.
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Old 8th February 2009, 23:34   #14
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Thanks Thad, your post clears up a few of the Cobwebs.

Thanks for the link bigman, I'll definitely check out the B&O store in Delhi.
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Old 8th February 2009, 23:35   #15
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B&O? Guaranteed to look superb, but I think better sound can be had spending the money on more orthodox-looking kit.

The looks of the more-orthodox might also age better, too: hopefuly this purchase is still going to be working in a good few years time.
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