Seeking advice with AV receiver/amp & Speaker selection


Sometimes too many options is a bad thing. In my case it has lead to a tough decision.

I am looking for an AV Amp/receiver (I do listen to radio so Receiver is better)
I am also in the need for speakers.

What I do have/know is;
- Panasonic plasma screen (component input)
- Harmon Kardon DVD 25 (Does progressive scan for Region 1 and 2)

I listen music and DVDs about equally - though being more specific it is probaby more like; Radio 20%, CD 20% and DVD 50% and TV 10%.

Options I had considered
Denon 3803
Pioneer 2011 (I think it is the 45tx in the US)
NAD T762 (though have yet to listen to this)

Speakers - well the target room is fairly open (25'x20'x10') - but I live in a flat - so I can't drive the bass too hard. SMALL is better than LARGE in terms of footprint
So the SUB :)
REL something like the Q200
B&W ASW 600
Monitor Audio ASW 100

For 5.1 - leaving 7.1 as an option for the future
Anthony Gallo - A'divas
KEF 2005.2
maybe something like the Mission m3s

I did look at the B&W VM1, but they are quite large, and the podspeakers unless outstanding are a little too wierd looking.

So - I have a budget in the region of £2,500 ($4k) for Amplifier/Receiver and speakers.

Help - too many options


BTW - I am UK based, hence the prog scan on Region 2 being important.

BTW - Podspeakers;



I have a feeling the receivers you listed are deserving of better speakers (don't know anything about A'divas). In a room of that size Acoustic Energy's Aegis Evo 3B's would not look that big and they are highly rated.

Vicky B

I am a newie trying to buy a receiver and speakers. I am considering the same options for the receiver. I am much more of a music person than a movies, though ideally I would not want to give up on anything...Currently , based on reviews and some trials, my preference order is:

1. NAD T762 or 760
2. Denon AVR 2803
3. Onkyo SR 800

Am I thinking about this the right way? I am very confused!!! I think I want to go for the NAD but it is much more expensive. ALso I do want to try and be future proof - how important is it though?

In terms of speakers, my dealer was coaxing me into either B&Ws or Dynaudio... Any thoughts

finally should I get speakers first or receiver?


hehe - thanks for the advice Valeem
the Aegis Evo 3B's are still a little large - I guess I was after the front speakers being nearer the size of the EVO 1s .. and the rears (need to be small - just because the back of the room is open onto the dining room.)

thanks for the suggestion though - since I will listen to them as a good comparison.

the A'divas (particularly with the sub) come across nicely, and enough energy to cope with a large room.


I am looking at a similar choice. I have to buy everything since my wife will take the old stuff with her after our divorce. Och wel...

Anyway, I am looking at a Denon AVR-2803 with a Panasonic DMR-E50 DVD. For speakers I was looking at Acoustic Energy Evo 3B speaker package.
For television I think of a Panasonic TX-28PS1 or JVC AV28X37HRE. I have a wide taste in music and like to watch TV with the surrounds on. Room is about 5x3.5 meters. I can get the amp/dvd/speakers for about £1500.

As alternative speakers I was also looking at Monitor Audio Bronze B2 or Quad 11L, and then look to get Center/Rear speakers later. Anyone have suggestions wrt this setup?

Many thanks!


Clearly, you want small speakers. Of your three choices, the KEFs are easily the best of the bunch. Smooth, articulate, and capable of being mounted anywhere, they are a real winner in design as well as sound.

The best receiver, IMO, is the NAD. Cleaner sound and more powerful than the other two receivers--has much higher current due to its large Holmgren brand tordial tranformer. A nice thing to have with the KEFs which are incredible to listen to, but are power hungry. Also has the best tuner. I have the Denon and it is a bit dry and grainy sounding when pushing it. The Pioneer is a nice unit, but I think it is a little too laid back for my tastes.

For a sub, I recommend the REL from your list. REL just seems to be better at the subs than either Monitor Audio or B+W. I think subs are an after thought for the latter two manufacturers.


"Future Proofing" is one of the latest buzzwords in audio, but it is akin to the Holy Grail. You can never achieve it as Dolby Labs will no doubt anounce a new format (as they did last month with Dolby Pro Logic IIx last month) which anything you buy will not have. But what does it matter? Everything is recorded today in Dolby Theater Sound ("dts") and that is all you really need because that is a standard and nothing else is. Everything else is just an added feature.

I would recommend you get the NAD, but if you want a better price, remind your dealer that the new 763 is coming out and he is going to be stuck with old inventory, so let's make a deal. You should be able to get the 762 for about $999 right now. If he won't deal, call DMC Electronics ( for an NAD T 761 (last year's model) which you can get for $499.00. It will have all of the 762's functionality, but not as much power. Very good unit, however. If you really want the 762, I know DMC is offering the 762 along with a T 512 DVD player for $1099.

Speakers: either the Dynaudios or the B+Ws should be a great match for an NAD receiver. I currently have a Denon, but I have an NAD on order and I am going to get Dynaudio Audience speaker package to go with it. It is a marvelous combo. Don't know which B+Ws you are looking at, but B+Ws are a great speaker as well and they are a good combo with an NAD receiver.


Concerning your choice of the Q200E subwoofer, well did you know that there is currently a very special offer on a subwoofer that equals (some say it betters) the performance of the REL product yet costs less than half the price? The company that makes the subwoofer used to manufacture the Q100E for REL and have been responsible for some of the UK's best subwoofer designs in recent years. They are currently manufacturing subwoofers for 4 of the UK's well know subwoofer brands but can't say which ones due to confidentiality agreements. The reason it is such a bargain is that they are selling direct and have cut out the retailers portion of the final price.

For more info see: in the bargain section under XLS 200 and also various threads here: do a search of XLS 200.

I have been informed that the current waiting list is 3 weeks and growing and it is available to people in mainland Europe also. Just thought you'd like to know. BTW IMO B+W are now making excellent subwoofers.

P.S. I was going to go with a REL Quake or MJ Acoustics Reference 100 until I got news of this. I'll be ordering mine next week so will write a review when I've had a chance to test it thoroughly.

Hey guys! Why is it that most times when I log onto this site some computer activates my Internet Security software by trying to gain access to my computer? Can anyone shed some light on this?

John A.
Vicky B,

I wonder if you were left in doubt by the answers to exactly the same question, which you posed with identical text, on Sept 5?

Your questions received some thoughtful comments in that correspondence, if I recall. I was good to hear you auditioned an NAD T752, and were deciding then on speakers. Of course the PSB bookshelves were disappointing with that receiver, lacking bass, and it was between B&W 602/603 and Dynaudio for speakers, I remember. Subsequent replies on that thread may have put you off NAD completely, that would be quite understandable.

Perhaps we shall hear yet again from Anonymous of Sept 16 on the above thread. I understand he/she was very unhappy with an NAD recevier, and will be taking it back to the dealer on Sept 17, as he/she did on August he/she undoubtedly will on ...? Perhaps he/she will post again, and keep us informed? It is a shame all the units at the dealer will have the same serious problems. They always do. I would give that brand a miss....

I truly second Hawk's recommendation of Oct 7 to Marc.

Hawk, about a passing remark in your Oct 7 reply to Vicky B; DTS has nothing to do with Dolby Corp. In fact it is its main rival. DTS is "Digital Theater Systems, Inc.".

Anon Oct 8. Surely no-one ever manufactured subs for REL except REL themselves. Clearly they buy components, but REL is a manufacturer, not a brand.

valeem's question Oct 8 (2). I have no experience of this. I would not worry, html is one way, you ask for files, they get sent. Your IP number is logged by the ecoustics server, and anyone who wanted to use that info to take a crack at your computer could do it at their leisure, not just when you are reading or posting, here or anywhere else.

Anyone have theories about identical posts? Amnesia?

On identical posts, it's probably a case of posting a query on someone else's thread, and then thinking that perhaps you would have been better starting a new thread. So you do, figuring that there's now two ways your question will be spotted and answered, so twice the chance of getting some good advice.

Personally I think it is rude to hijack someone else's thread when your question or comment has no relevance to the topic. It's pleasing to see that on these boards the hijacker is usually ignored. It's OK if, like FrankNL above, you have the same problem and can add something to the discussion.

Before I am rightly accused of going off topic myself, I will finish here and let the discussion get back to marc, Vicky and FrankNL's dilemma.

John A.
Thanks, Tim. You understand. But we've been through Vicky B's EXACT question before, have a look - and Vicky B. started that one. Some folk spent some time trying to help. As of now it has 24 posts. There is a predicable follow-up if you have one a particular conspiracy theory, because there is another repeated claim in that thread, which cannot be true. It is surely correct that some posts here cannot be taken at face value. Some weeks ago, Hawk, G-man, others, and I got flack for replying in good faith to a guy called George who had 100 k dollars to spend on a system. Whether was a fraud or a genuine guy with a question, but didn't come here to be insulted, we shall probably never know. I will find it, and post, so it becomes live again... I can sympathise with FrankNL but not supply much useful input. Yes, all off topic. But you need a bit of trust to spend time reading/writing here, and it's nice to know where you stand.

John Allen:

Sorry for the confusion but it was me who posted the Anon Oct 8 by accident. I have been in contact with BK Electronics concerning their XLS 200 subwoofer for a number of weeks and from all the info I've gathered it seems likely that all I've heard about them is true. You can email them at to ask any questions.

John A.

Thanks! I have now checked the BK web site. That looks like am amazing deal on a very serious sub woofer.

I was responding to; "The company that makes the subwoofer used to manufacture the Q100E for REL"

It looks like you could be right. That BK XLS 200 subwoofer actually looks incredibly like the current REL Q200E, even down to the descriptions such as "Gas Tight Neutrik connection for long term consistency of sound quality" - identical on both sites. See

If REL is out-sourcing, a lot of their stuff about hand-built by REL's craftsmen etc. looks a bit like mispresentation to me. If some models are made in Essex (England) by BK and shipped through REL at Bridgend (Wales) they are also going the wrong way in terms of labour costs etc., though they can both truthfully say "Made in Britain"...

The REL Q200E is £650, the BK XLS 200 £279.

You do everyone here a big favour by drawing attention to that!

Apart from performance, those subs also have features I really like, such as supplied cables for both speaker-level and line-level connection - one of the only makes where you can connect both, and choose.

Thanks again. If I hadn't recently bought a sub I would be very tempted by the BK myself. I always regretted REL was out of my range.


John A:

I have no idea if they are still making subwoofers for REL Acoustics as information regarding their current clients list is stictly confidential but I read on a post in another forum that they did in fact make the Q100E for them. Also from the info I've gathered their subwoofers are built and finished to the highest of standards even the bargain one currently being offered.

I do hope marc and anyone else in the UK in particular gets to hear of this as it represents huge value. I know that our friends in America are already benefiting from the direct sales approach of subwoofer manufacturers but I do believe that this is our first serious offer.

One to keep in mind come upgrade time?

John A.

Yes, definitely one to keep in mind, but they will all be gone by then...

"Rush now while stocks last".

The BK shipping costs to continental Europe look very reasonable. Any buyer should ask about the warranty.

Direct sales in N. America. Yes, like Dell and the AppleStore. It is interesting that it is up-market makes like Magnepan and Axiom who do that. If it comes to Europe, I would rather do direct business with a manufacturer like KEF or B&W. Those guys are going to take great care you are a satisfied customer. Have you seen the amazing service story of TCS with his NAD T752? The only problem will be one day there will be no local service, dealers, or demonstrations, only reviews. I suppose it is globalization, again... Personally I am in favour (seriously off topic, sorry). But good dealers are worth a lot. It is the cowboys who want the mark-up for no service I would let go starve. So many examples where I live...

John A:

"Rush now while stocks last"

Hey you got me worried now as I haven't ordered mine yet.

The drive unit is sourced from a danish company see and the amplifier is I believe one of their own designs so I can't see how they can run out. I think this requires more where did I put that number for Starsky and Hutch? Will let you know.

John A:

I have already asked BK Electronics concerning the warranty available on the subwoofer and was informed it came with a 1 year warranty.

John A.

Yes, it is not so clear, but on the main page they are definitely referring to the BK XLS 200 when they say:

"By order of the CEO summer clearance offer. Not to be repeated, when there gone there gone. High end subwoofer..."

[should be "...when they're gone, they're gone." But they make electronics, not words....]

So it is not the beginning of direct sales in Europe (unfortunately), it is clearance of surplus stock. It certainly looks like the BK XLS 200 is basically a REL Q200E. Perhaps BK and REL could not agree on something. The back panel looks different, but has all the same connections and controls. So my guess is, they are the same. The amp seems to be the same (200 W), and BK makes it. The "stock to go" may be the a result of BK failing to agree with REL about something trivial and being stuck with perfect subs that REL did not want. I always have a conspiracy theory...

So if you want one, go for it. Now!

John A.

Our posts crossed in the post.

If they have a one-year warranty, and you want a sub, go for it. I would...

200 W. 19 Hz. Gee. And they don't exaggerate, those guys.

You pay 2.5 times as much for the REL, and at least that for an equal from other major names.

John A:

Thanks for your comments. I am in fact waitng on a few reviews on the AV forum from people who have already ordered and have promised to post their opinions. One guy has just recieved his and is about to post proper pictures as well. I was a bit sceptical at first as no reviews were available from the usual sources so am just waiting to hear what people think of them. The specs I agree are impressive.

BK Electronics do occasionally make limited offers from time to time as IMO the sub that started the ball rolling was this one:

IMO this could be the start of direct sales as I believe that if enough people want something then someone sooner or later will go about fulfilling that need (BK have had alot more enquiries than they ever expected). I have seen that the German company Nubert is one that is doing this already. I do hope this is a trend that continues to grow. I wonder what the established sub makers in the UK are making of BK's current and future offers, I'm sure they will get some flak. Another conspiracy theory maybe?

John A.
Thanks! I will look at the link you sent. I have no more time today.
Best wishes,

John A:

This is the reply they sent concerning the number of units they have left:

"We have a large stock of the Peerless XLS10 drive units which we would like to clear, this is the reason for the limited stock. That said I would say it will take a couple of months to shift.


Tom Pearce"

You could be right that they ended up being stuck with these units after a diagreement with one of their clients.

John A.

Thanks. The Peerless is just the driver, of course. Since BK seem to make the amp and the cabinet, they can probably do this and sell a great sub at a very low price. Perhaps REL wanted a different driver for some reason, BK were stuck with the Peerless XLS 10, and decided to go on their own to solve their problem. I always like get things from the real maker, not a brand creator. I am seriously tempted myself. I would first have to find a buyer for my new Gale 3080W (a brand manufactured in Far East; same real makers as Mordaunt Short). Nothing wrong with it, though, and my wife would never understand.

John A:

I've read somewhere that the BK XLS 200 has the same driver and amp as the Ruark Vita 200 if thats any help? Although the Ruark is a downward firing unit. I do believe that some of the bits on the back panel of the XLS 200 look the same as the ones used by MJ Acoustics. Maybe just maybe?

BTW here is the first review I was waiting for:


Verdict? Read on...

Let me just say WOW! The packing was superb, and I mean superb. A box within a box! Padded with loads of foam pieces etc...Not the annoying little ones, the big fluffy ones. Stripping the many layers of cardboard and foam down, and slicing into box number two, there was the beauty, wrapped in yet more foam and stuff. It weighs a tonne! 17.5kg is allot heavier in reality than on paper. Once it was out (with a struggle) the unit sat on the floor, silent (for now at least)....with it was a small manual of what button does what etc, and the receipt, plus the high and low level connection leads and of course the 8mm spikes. The build quality is just amazing, its like a smooth tar, it looks very very good whatever it is, semi gloss it states on the website and I aint no wood expert, but it looks damn fine and classy. You might want to give her a polish once you have it placed, picks up a few hand prints etc...Unless it was my sweaty hands being so excited

Now the sound test; the build EASILY matches any MJ or REL sub, and sound wise...think the REL Q200E, only think slightly, ever so slightly better. Yep it really is superb. DEEP bass, full of character, warmth and importantly it's tight and focused. Maybe it's unfair to say its better than the Q200E, but I'll have to say it's damn CLOSE, real close. And the latter costs about 55% more.

I am gonna go now and test it some more, right now I have The Eminem Show blasting out...and wow does this thing shine...I also tried The Two Towers (Helm's Deep specifically) and Lucas's THX tester on the Ep 2 disc. Suffice to say it passes with ease, even on the LOW LOW deeps from the movie itself...

If you'll excuse me, I have neighbours to disturb!

John A.

That review not is about the subwoofer.

It is about the reviewer.

He is excitable. And a prat.

Unless it's a joke?

Thanks for posting!

John A:

A lot of people are excited about the subwoofer and other reviews are similar.

BTW for more reviews on the subwoofer see in the bargain forum where you can also find the Philex Thor Scart for a very low £18.

John A.
The packing was superb...Padded with loads of foam pieces etc...It weighs a tonne! 17.5kg is allot heavier in reality than on paper....the unit sat on the floor, silent (for now at least)...

I will in future avoid subs that come in brown paper, weigh less or more than they say they do, and play before you hook them up.

Never mind. It was a joke. Monty Python audio reviews.

Yours, warm and tightly focussed,


John A:

OK so ignoring the young mans review what is your final opinion on the sub? You have probably read as much as I have on the XLS 200. Should I or should I not take the plunge? I do value your opinion John. Thanks.

John A.

I would get one. It is either the REL Q200E with a different badge, or something very close, sharing all major components and design. And the REL Q200E is a very highly regarded sub by intelligent reviewers. And the XLS 200 comes from the actual maker, as you originally pointed out, (and I didn't believe!), not a brand.

If I were in the market for a sub at, what is it, just under £300 ($450? / Euro?) I would go ahead. That is my opinion, and what I would do. But as I said, I always wanted a REL, and its out of my range.

All that about the review doesn't count one way or another. I am down on writing like that, and the whole "celebrity brand" and hype aspect of hi-fi and audio annoys me. What we want is quality and value. My guess is the XLS 200 scores "outsanding" on both of those.

I would do it, myself. Honest.

But it's your money, valeem

John A;

Thanks again for your views. I have a budget of £350 as I've come to the conclusion that this is where the quality subs start around in the UK at least. My choice is between the REL Quake, MJ Acoustics Reference 100 and the BK XLS 200. I have to admit its a tough choice but the BK is edgeing it at the moment because of its sheer value. I too didn't believe all that was said of it originally but have come to the conclusion that it is a genuine offer from a genuine company. Anyway I have one week to decide on my final choice. Thanks again for your input.

Yours, gratefully


John A.
"but have come to the conclusion that it is a genuine offer from a genuine company"

If looks like that from the web site and all they say. They seem like straight talkers, no frills, proud of what they make. I can imagine what they might say, down the pub, about that reviewer. It would be worse than my comments, I doubt if you could post it. I suppose it is reassuring that they pack it carefully. From that list I would throw my money in with BK. the Rel Quake is very small, beautifully made, but doesn't go so low and isn't as powerful. The long (10 m) return speaker-level connection and care about crossover would decide me on any REL , but it is all there with the BK. That's why I think you were right about manufacture. REL stand out by making speaker-level connection easy even for HT, and recommend that. All the same would apply to the BK

i would be intersted to know what your decide.

John A:

After much thought I've decided to go with the BK XLS 200 for the following reasons:

Firstly, because of the size advantage it has over both the REL Quake and MJ Acoustics Reference 100. I have come to the conclusion that cabinet size helps in delivering a deeper and lower bass but because I still require a small sub for my smallish HT room/lounge I feel the extra cabinet depth will give the BK sub better real world performance than relying solely on the manufacturers claimed figures (REL 23Hz(-6dB), MJ 13Hz(?), BK 17Hz(-6dB)).

Secondly, the specification advantage the BK sub has over the other two. Both the drive unit and the amplifier are rated more powerful and therefore less likely to require replacement as and when I eventually get round to the inevitable upgrade of my Marantz (80w)/Mission (fronts 75w) setup.

Finally, because of its considerable price advantage (around £50 in reality) it has over the other two. I'm quite proud of the price/performace ratio of my current setup and aimed to continue this with my choice of subwoofer.

I must admit that I did'nt actually audition either the REL or MJ subs as working nights makes this very difficult so had to make my decision solely on reviews and actual user comments.

John A.

Great. I would have made the same decision. Keep posting. I think there are many here who will appreciate your feedback.

John A:

Well, it finally arrived just over four weeks after I'd ordered it and I have to admit it felt like forever. BK did originally say it would take three weeks but it seems they have been so overwhelmed with orders for the XLS 200 (they are quite a small concern) that they have had to remove the offer temporarily from their website but I have been informed that it will return once they have cleared the backlog of orders.

Having had a close look at the sub I must say it's very well put together with all the shut lines being all even and in particular the dials on the back panel feeling unbreakable. Also I was impressed with the high level lead that came with the sub as it seems to be of good quality (looks like copper with a tin plate) and have found that this particular lead retails for £30 making the whole an even greater bargain. The phono leads however are just cheapo ones but will suffice until I get hold of a better quality item.

I've had it for exactly a week now and must say that I'm very impressed with the sound that comes from the subwoofer when used with movies and just slightly less so when used for music. I have since ordering my subwoofer had the opportunity to have a listen to both the REL Quake and the MJ Acoustics Reference 100 at a local AV show therefore have a reasonably good base on which to compare the XLS 200. The REL IMO majored on clarity, no wonder it is said they integrate so well with many speakers, while the MJA had a more rounded bass sound but both where equally as detailed as the other with the MJA IMO being slightly more musical.

The bass sound that comes from my XLS 200 is somewhere in between these two, leaning slightly more towards the clarity of the REL. It is IMO a very detailed subwoofer that is good at relaying the bass from movie soundtracks, in particular explosions, one moment being fast and tight the next sounding slow and very open (hope I'm making sense?). I have as yet not heard the distortion that seems to be the boon of all subwoofers but maybe that's because I probably won't get a chance to really push it hard with my 80w (more like 60w) receiver but that's no big deal as it's plenty loud enough for my smallish viewing room. Also I don't think it even breaks into a sweat when I'm listening to it loud yet it still has the ability to shake the floor, windows and doors to a disturbing level (fun!).

As far as its music performance is concerned I think BK could improve on this slightly by adding more musicality (however they do it?) but then I guess I'm expecting too much in that department as I was lucky enough to get a listen to the brilliant REL Stentor III at the AV show. My XLS 200 certainly cannot add the levels of atmosphere and detail that I heard from that mighty sub. I wish I really do!

BTW I've noticed that Ruark have removed the Vita 200 from their UK website and that they too are based in the same town as BK Electronics (Southend on Sea), more than just a coincidence me thinks! I think the Vita 200 has been on the market for long enough now so maybe it's time for an update? My XLS 200 is I believe a forward firing version of that very same sub. Same driver, amplifier and back panel.

Lastly I have just received the latest news on the XLS 200 from BK Electronics. Hope this info is of use to someone:

Hello Valeem

There will be about 15 XLS 200's available in the future and this will be the end of the offer. We will introduce for a limited period a 300W sub the same size as the XLS200 but using an American ground zero drive unit.


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