Combining active speakers with surround sound?

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I have a room sized 2.8 m x 3.65 m or roughly 10 m2 that I will designate for combined experiences of listening to audio and watching movies. I am not really into the hazzle of pairing up streamers, dacs and amp with passive speakers. I have my eyes on a set of LS50 wireless for audio listening. Still I also want a great movie experience with surround sound that can fill the room. Ideally the LS50’s would become front speakers of my surround audio, and I would rather not want another set of front speakers to deal with in the room. I am not quite clear on what might work well in this type of set up.

What set up might you recommend me to consider for this combined experience?

Answered question
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Hi Frank,

I would think you could use the KEF LS50w speakers to do double duty as audio and front speakers in a surround system. A few questions that might help clarify how to go about setting such a system up.

  1. How many speakers and/or subs do you want to use in the surround system?
  2. Do you want all active wireless speakers/subs for the surround system?
  3. What will be your source(s) for audio?
  4. What will be your source(s) for video?
  5.  Do you want the audio to be stereo or multichannel?

Regards,

Mario

Answered question
0

Hi Mario,

It would certainly be great if I can have the KEF LS50w speakers operate double duty, only I am unclear about how this would be wired up.

Re 1: The main part of the set up in addition to front speakers would be two rear speakers. I am not thinking that I need anything beyond a 5.1 setup.

Re 2: I am open to suggestions and I am not settled on either at this time.

Re 3: Source for audio would be exclusively be wireless streaming to the KEF’s and predominantly TIDAL masters. I don’t consider Roon as I do not have a local collection of music.

Re 4: Video would come from the television likely connected by HDMI ARC. I may need to consider also to wire TOSLINK to KEF’s?

Re 5: Audio as stereo only.

I don’t know if there are surround receivers that can wire up with active speakers?

There is also the alternative that I consider going with Sonos for the surround, and have a Playbar, Sub, and two satellite one’s make up for the surround. This set up will obviously not utilize the KEF’s during video playback.

Regards,
Frank

Answered question
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Hi Frank,

Well here are a couple of ideas for you to think about.

  1. You could get a AV receiver with preamp outs like a Denon AVRX4500H. Use RCA type interconnects to run from the preamp outs to the RCA inputs on the KEF LS50w’s. Then get passive speakers for your rear speakers and connect those to the appropriate outputs on the receiver. I’d suggest sticking with KEF for the passive speakers as they will all have a more similar house sound. Connect your TV to the receiver and use the receiver to control all your video sound.
  2. If you wanted all active speakers you could use a AV Preamp/Processor like a Marantz AV7703 to control all your video and use the various preamp outs to connect to the speakers. I’m not sure you can connect wirelessly but it would be something to check out.

Your alternative of using two different setups for music & video is what I actually did about 10 years ago. I have a SET amp setup for stereo music and a receiver with satellite speakers & sub for video. For me the main advantage is that the sound is optimized for music in the 2 channel system and optimized for video in the multichannel system. In addition I can replace a single component without having to replace everything as video standards change.

If I was starting from scratch at this point I’d still do the same audio setup I currently have but for video I’d be very inclined to look at a system like the Sonos setup you mentioned, isn’t that the Sonos 5.1 surround set? Having the speakers match and connect wirelessly would be a big plus. If possible I’d suggest you give them an audition. The KEF LS50w’s have been getting pretty great reviews and are small enough to be easily placed in your room for the best sound. The combination of the LS50w’s for music and the Sonos for movies could give the best of both worlds.

Regards,

Mario

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