RickyDeg's sleek system with Monitor Audio Apex
Moved to a new apartment last year and wanted something simple and clean that wouldn't dominate the room yet still deliver excellent performance. As you will notice from the pictures black & white is the flavor of my interior and the speakersystem Monitor Audio Apex fitted that bill perfectly. I currently own a 7.2-system, but the extra satellites have yet to be mounted. Once that is done they will serve as height-channels, but until I've found a suitable a/v machine with an appropriate surround mode I'll stick with a 5.2-system.
The design of the beautiful Apex felt like the icing on the cake in this decor. The room itself is rather small and cosy, but I dont see that as anything negative, infact whenever I fire up this system it doesn't feel as though the room itself is a limit. The soundstage is big and bold. The thick rug on the floor proved excellent for room acoustics.
The front trio of speakers are naturally placed lower than ideal (ear-level) but it was a necessary compromise. On the opposite side of the room are windows which naturally present a certain amount of glare on my display (and the glossy speakers). Normally I dont mind this too much, but it can be annoying on a bright day. Thankfully blinders have helped.
Previously I've always had a desire to see my electronics, but in this livingspace I felt it was more appropriate to hide them way, and this brilliant a/v-cabinet was perfect. It's spacious and well-built. The subwoofer AW-12 may look a little crammed in the corner, but this spot actually works well. Naturally, in a small room one has to make effective use of available surfaces.
The rear pair of Apex A10 satellites are placed fairly ideal, I think, even though a bit more distance could have been good. I don't feel as thought they are over-powering though, thankfully. My second AW-12 subwoofer is "hidden" away in the corner behind the sofa, adding to that extra feeling of bass 'slam' and 'depth' but most importantly help improve bass dispersion.
Truthfully I was doubtful at first about the design of these speakers, as I my initial reaction was "odd" - but that quickly went away and I realised how beautiful and unique the Apex truly are. I dislike the supplied table-top feet however, and removed them in favor of descreet flat resonator-feet by Valhalla Technology. Continuing to experiment on this issue though.
Even though the bigger A40 centerspeaker sounds slightly different than the smaller A10's the integration between them is still very good, and I never really find anything annoying. Completely identical speakers in each and every location is ideal however, as far as I'm concerned, but in this situation that solution was not really an option for me.
Behind the left cabinet-door is my much beloved CD/HDD-player Yamaha CDR HD-1500 with a retro-fitted 400GB harddrive for all my music. Uncompressed high-quality PCM only. Don't care for Airplay, iTunes and whatnot. HD-satellite receiver and Logitech's RF-system receiver are both very smallish. The excellent Oppo BDP-93 serve as a blu-ray transport only.
My trusty Denon AVR-3808A is a great receiver. I was first introduced to Audyssey through this machine, and it's pretty much transformed my system. Dynamic EQ is brilliant aswell, and make it stand apart from others I believe. Although not the latest MultEQ-version it's evident what kind of benifits this calibration-system can bring. Movies are great - music is decent.
First thing I always do when installing a machine is to replace the lame and cheap feet they come mounted with. I am a strong believer in isolating your equipment, whatever their pricepoint. Improvements can be dramatic at times, but mostly only subtle, but benifits are there regardless. These are Nordost Pulsar Points - excellent stuff!
My probably best investment is somewhat unlikely (?) a remote control; Logitech Harmony 900. It comes with an excellent RF-system for hiding the electronics away. It has worked wonders in my system and installation. I can sit in the kitchen with the remote and control the music I'm hearing from the livingroom. Brilliant. It's also very comfy and easy to set up.
Ok, that's it for now I aim to replace my trusty receiver soon though. But having tried so many potential replecements lately (Pioneer SC-LX83/85, Anthem MRX700 and Primare SPA22) yet seeing them all fail against the Denon I'm guessing my quest will be long and time-consuming. Perhaps I'll find a separates-solution, or stick with integrated. We'll see. Cheers all.