The Surround Loudspeaker Topic

We currently use our BW CM1’s as surround (rear) loudspeakers.

What do you have and what are your experiences?

Regardless of what is used, it is very important to ensure that all speakers in a surround setup are of the same family. Failure to do this leads to Frankensound. Panning of effects changes character as speaker type changes.

I’d take a low cost AV speaker package over a more expensive but mismatched configuration any day.

In fact I take that as far as having two sets of front speakers: the stereo front and the AV front. As I can’t afford rears and centre of the same calibre as my stereo set, I keep both systems totally isolated from each other.

My Bose AM10 5.1 package is getting on for 15 years now. There’s better to be had for much less money but I got it due to room size and placement constraints, at which it suddenly is worth it’s weight in gold for consistent front to back sound character in pretty much any horrible positioning compromise.

I’ve heard the CM1s as front speakers before. Given they love at least 50cm from a rear wall, I can’t imagine using them for rears. That and I just didn’t like them.

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My surround system is completely unconnected with the hifi, even though in the same room. Used solely for movie watching, it is a 7.1 system, which better fills the odd-shaped room tgan would 5.1. The rearmost are different from the others: Wharfedale NXT, flat panel, look like picture frames (we could apparently spray-mount photos on lightweight paper without all effect, but haven’t got round to) The’re different from the other 5 which are all the small Tannoy FX. Does the job with bringing ambience and 3-dimensional sound to movies - but I have never compared with anything else.

I’m not a believer. A well sorted two channel stereo system should provide all the thrills.
I’m getting Drogon flying overhead left no problem.


Same brand for the loudspeakers is indeed the safe choice.

I did have my CM1’s working nicely, but they had to be a metre from the rear wall in my living which is 10x4 metres (and a bit bigger actually). Stunning loudspeakers that way despite being B&W’s! Sadly, in that position despite being impressive, they lost detail which is important for enjoyment too. Especially once one gets into the hifi knowledge this absense can grow into a frustration.

Regarding the AV setup, I consider three options:

  • Keep the CM1s / CM5’s.
  • Replace the CM1s by Neat Iotas and CM5’s by Iota Alphas (have heared them both, I like them).
  • Get a cheap set, e.g. the Kef T series.

I’ll think about it in the coming months.

Depends on room size and goal. The Iotas might be better speakers but they cost more too and you need a suitable sub. Whether they have the oomph in a large room is important too.

If I was starting again, I’d get a lower cost 5.1 package, plus another pair of the same type to go to 7.1, and if the room was large a second sub to do 7.2. I have my eye on the Qacoustics 3000i series 5.1 package for this. Certainly, I am interested in the KEF option too. But for me, this is another 2 years down the road.

When I set my office up to double as a media room I decided that the layout wouldn’t suit surround sound speakers. The room is about 3.5m by 5m and the seating area and OLED TV are across the narrower width of the room, between two doors. So getting rear speakers behind the seat wasn’t that feasible.

I’ve set up my Nova there with Totem Hawks and it works really well. The Hawks are quite holographic so you certainly plenty of sound out and about in the room, so I’m quite happy with that. I haven’t needed a sub - as it is my wife will pop down at night to tell that the bass is vibrating through the bedrooms…


I’ve got B&W 600s3 as my surrounds, a hangover from the day when the 5.1 system was all 600 series. My front 3 are now 800S series but no plans to upgrade the surrounds for a whole variety of boring reasons.

TBH, even having all your speakers from the same range of the same manufacturer still doesn’t guarantee smoothness of performance as the sound pans around the room. Sure, it’s better than having a completely random selection of speakers, but it’s not the nirvana one might expect.


Not sure I agree with all speakers being from the same stable as long as fronts and centre match surrounds can be what you like. I used to have all the same but changed my centre and main speakers at the beginning of the year as wanted different for my hifi end and not noticed any issues with it at all. After all your av receiver if worth it’s salt does use DSP to level and match them as close as possible


Highly recommend QAcosutics speakers had them for years, very very good.and don’t break the bank.

I know they’re good. I used 2010i and now 3010 in my office Naim system.

Meridian DSP5000 all round for our 5.1 system.

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How is that for listening to multichannel music?

The Meridian system is used primarily for TV & movies, and only rarely for music (when it runs in “Trifield” mode). In fact, I’m not even sure that we have any multi-channel “music” as such. :slight_smile:

Some users of Trifield have used it for MCM.

I too have recently decided on two separate systems for music (Naim/Fyne) and home cinema (Anthem/Focal). We are using Focal Dôme speakers in a 5.1 configuration… not the current Dôme Flax model but the ones from about 6 or 7 years ago. Very satisfied with the set-up for the surround.

I had a Maranta surround amp and apex speakers and sub . I bought a Naim system last year and a rel sub which really JS off the 250 amp. Audio out now goes from my maranta to the Naim pre amp ( just cheap 5 metre phono cables) So my Naim 250 now powers my speakers and sub . The marantz only does the centre speaker and rear Chanel speakers . The sounds is now done infinitely better and is way better than the system before .
However, I do have to connect the rep sub into the marantz as there is a loud buzzing noise . The rel connection and plug are all correct into the 250 and sub as far as I know . The sub works fine . I do have some interference in the speakers - all channels when I play the sky box through the name
. Is that the cables in use as the output . Or is it interference getting in the marantz amp
Any thoughts would be appreciated

I use Sonus Faber Domus 5.1 surround system. The rear surround speakers are the Concertino on dedicated stands. Quite satisfied with the SQ. Anyhow they are used only for movies.

I have a 5.1 system (in a separate room from my main stereo ‘music’ system) which I use with speakers from the same manufacturer, although they are not specifically designed as a matched surround system. I haven’t done any real testing to confirm this, but intuitively I feel that it is advisable to have speakers from the same manufacturer with a similar sound signature.

I have Ruark Solstice (front), Ruark Prologue One (rear) and Ruark Dialogue (centre), and these are powered by Krell Showcase pre/power (5.1) amplification. I also have a Rel Storm II subwoofer, but since adding the large Ruark Solstice speakers to my setup I rarely feel the need to switch on the sub.

I can also stream music to this system for occasions where it is more convenient to listen to music in this room rather than in my main ‘music’ room. This is currently achieved via a sonore microRendu (with TP power supply) and a Mytek Brooklyn+ DAC (with sBooster linear power supply), and using a surround ‘by-pass’ mode in my Krell pre-amp.

Dali Ikon 5.1
Front channels Ikon 6
Rear channels Ikon 1
Centre channel Ikon Vokal 2
Ikon Sub
Linn K20 speaker cable
Arcam AVR integrated AV processor