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  1. #1
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    Speakers for small room

    Enjoying my current set up, but of course, always thinking of upgrades.

    I turn 61 next year, and am starting to think of the “final system”, as major upgrades won’t happen after retirement.

    We are in our downsize house, and I ended up with a 9.5x14 foot room, with a sloped ceiling. Due to a hallway entry the speaker wall is both a short wall, and there is limited space to move the speakers out.

    I have treated the room with 2x floor to ceiling traps, a back wall bass trap, and a ceiling mounted first reflection trap. (GIK staff and products)

    I will be keeping the Bricasti M12, but considering speaker and amp upgrades. The MC60 amps hum with my Druids, as they did with my dad’s Klipschorns. I had to turn the gain down, and they lost a lot of luster.

    I hope to travel to audition gear at some point. I dont plan to buy this level of gear without hearing.

    Smallish speakers, kind of aiming for the foot square size of the Druids. Would not mind Bricasti amp, depending on speakers. Under 20k for speakers.

    For music, I like all kinds. Not a lot of classical, but I like guitar, jazz, classic rock, and some electronica/ambient. I also watch TV and BluRay via my speakers. A sub is present now, but probably not in final config.

    Thanks for your consideration.
    Amp : DIY FirstWatt M2x mono amps
    Digital : Bricasti M12, Oppo 203
    Analog : Technics SL1200G, DIY K&K Audio Maxxed Phono Amp
    Speakers : Daedalus Audio Muse Studio
    Headphone : BHSE + Voce

  2. #2
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    Does that limited space to move them out from the wall limit you to sealed or front ported? Can they come out 24" from the rear? By smallish do you mean stand mount, small floor stander or either?
    Main - JVC QL-Y7/Denon DL-301 Mk II, Gold Note PH-10, Nuprime CDT-8, Auralic Aries G1, Aqua La Voce S3, Supratek Chardonnay, Van Alstine Vision SET-400, Reynaud Abscisse Jubilee, (2) Rythmik F12SE, Audio Envy IC's ,SC & PC's, Triode Wire Lab PC's & USB , PS Audio Stellar P3, Timbernation rack

    Family Room - Oppo UDP-203, Teac NT505, Kinki Studio EX-M1+, Nola KO, (2) Rythmik F-12G, Wireworld SC & IC's, Neotech PC's, SurgeX SA-1810

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  3. #3
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    I have a prejudice for floor standers, but trying to be open minded.

    There is room for the front of the speakers to be 2 feet out.

    i have been looking at sealed, front ported, or bottom ported speakers, but not against considering rear ported speakers. The 40hz room mode identified with REW is somewhat ameliorated by the room treatment. True correction required several (many) 40hz bass panels that were 2x2 feet square and 8-10 inch deep. My man cave would have looked like a padded cell!

    I want to listen to some of the active speakers, with DSP capability. Somewhat afraid of the class D amplification, and the digital AD-DSP-DA that goes on before the amp too. But those are just fears, which might go away with listening. The Dynaudio actives, and the Manger S1 look appealing, with sealed cabinets, small size, and analog inputs.
    Amp : DIY FirstWatt M2x mono amps
    Digital : Bricasti M12, Oppo 203
    Analog : Technics SL1200G, DIY K&K Audio Maxxed Phono Amp
    Speakers : Daedalus Audio Muse Studio
    Headphone : BHSE + Voce

  4. #4
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    Might I suggest the Janszen Audio Active Valentina speakers? Priced at roughly $12-13k (depending on finish), they are designed to be placed close to the front wall and have built in DSP equalization settings that may help compensate for the 40Hz bass bump in your room. They are floor standers with no ports and XLR analog inputs. I auditioned them when I did a factory visit in their Columbus, OH facility. The only downside for you is that sales are manufacturer direct, so there are no US dealers. They were reviewed in The Absolute Sound (which is how I first learned of Janszen) and the review is online.

    Oh, and they sound amazing. (Always important, right?) I currently have the passive version of the Carmelita's (due to space considerations), but looking a few years down the road, I believe my speaker upgrade path will include serious consideration for the Active Valentina's.
    Pass Labs XP-10, Pass Labs X250.8, OPPO UDP-205, Auralic Aries G1, Bryston BDA-3, Janszen zA1.1, SVS SB13-Ultra, Shunyata/Audioquest cabling, Panamax power conditioner

  5. #5
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones13 View Post
    I want to listen to some of the active speakers, with DSP capability. Somewhat afraid of the class D amplification, and the digital AD-DSP-DA that goes on before the amp too. But those are just fears, which might go away with listening.
    Mobile isn't too far from Tampa, where Flexpo will be in Feb. Rooms there aren't that much larger than yours and will contain both passive and actives as you describe. So multiple types in same sized rooms. 60+ such rooms. Might be helpful.

    cheers,

    AJ

  6. #6
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    Quote Originally Posted by tino27 View Post
    Might I suggest the Janszen Audio Active Valentina speakers? Priced at roughly $12-13k (depending on finish), they are designed to be placed close to the front wall and have built in DSP equalization settings that may help compensate for the 40Hz bass bump in your room. They are floor standers with no ports and XLR analog inputs. I auditioned them when I did a factory visit in their Columbus, OH facility. The only downside for you is that sales are manufacturer direct, so there are no US dealers. They were reviewed in The Absolute Sound (which is how I first learned of Janszen) and the review is online.

    Oh, and they sound amazing. (Always important, right?) I currently have the passive version of the Carmelita's (due to space considerations), but looking a few years down the road, I believe my speaker upgrade path will include serious consideration for the Active Valentina's.
    Quote Originally Posted by AJ Soundfield View Post
    Mobile isn't too far from Tampa, where Flexpo will be in Feb. Rooms there aren't that much larger than yours and will contain both passive and actives as you describe. So multiple types in same sized rooms. 60+ such rooms. Might be helpful.

    cheers,

    AJ
    Thanks for both suggestions. I have indeed researched the Janzsen speakers. Although they are direct sell, he will "rent" you a pair for trial at your home. Something I may do. I do have some electrostatic headphones, and am interested in his speakers, particularly if I can give them a try at home next year.

    I have been to Axpona twice now with my son, and tend to get overwhelmed there. I hope to listen to some speakers in a couple of dealers. My son lives in Atlanta, my parents live in Houston, and I may make a trip to Sarasota . Still kinda doing the internet searching thing, waiting to see if I get enough bonus at end year and next quarter to fund either speakers or a new amp, or an Active speaker such as the Janzsen or Dynaudio. I plan to go down this path slowly, as I am not terribly unhappy with my system as it is. So far, I have gotten my endgame Streamer/Dac/Pre and Turntable. The Phono Pre that I built from the K&K Audio kit would be hard to beat I think.

    Again, thanks for suggestions. I have been interested in the Magico A3, and S1 MkII, thinking they may be good in my small room, but feel they would need more amplification than the McIntosh MC60s, although I would be able to turn up the gain from the lower end that I use now. I'm going to want to listen to those first, as I have only obliquely listened to their higher end gear at Axpona.
    Amp : DIY FirstWatt M2x mono amps
    Digital : Bricasti M12, Oppo 203
    Analog : Technics SL1200G, DIY K&K Audio Maxxed Phono Amp
    Speakers : Daedalus Audio Muse Studio
    Headphone : BHSE + Voce

  7. #7
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    Not sure if they meet all your criteria, but, Harbeth P3ESRs?

  8. #8
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    Harbeth are on my list to audition, the 3s, 30s and 5s. I have heard the 40s and 30s at Axpona in the Vinnie Rossi room. The 40s would be great, but physically too big for my room. A lot of what I read about the Harbeth talks about needing to be well away from walls to get their magical sound. Front ported though, and my nearly near field listening, with room treatments, might be ok. Having a sub to use as needed for some music types, and video, could make smaller speakers work for me.

    thanks
    Amp : DIY FirstWatt M2x mono amps
    Digital : Bricasti M12, Oppo 203
    Analog : Technics SL1200G, DIY K&K Audio Maxxed Phono Amp
    Speakers : Daedalus Audio Muse Studio
    Headphone : BHSE + Voce

  9. #9
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    Just a fyi - I have the Harbeth M30.1 and the P3ESR - both are installed in enclosures and do very well. There are no rear or bottom ports, which probably has something to do with their performance in cabinets vs free standing in the room.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    There's a pair of KEF reference 3's for sale on here. I have the 5's and love them.


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  11. #11
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    Thanks for the suggestion, the Reference 1 and 3 are on my list to audition. I’m way too early in the game to pounce on a deal yet.

    chicken before the egg question. I have a 25 watt amp (DIY Aleph J) a 45 watt tube amp (DIY audionotekits EL34) and the tubed 60 watt McIntosh monos. I’m wondering if I should look to get the new amp in 2020, or pick speakers fit for my room, and live with my current amps until I get around to an amp later on.

    Current amp choices would be GamuT D200i, perhaps XA25 if the speakers allow. Small, upstairs room, in the south, means no bigger class A. If funds allow, I would like to consider an M15 or M25 from Bricasti to match my M12.
    Amp : DIY FirstWatt M2x mono amps
    Digital : Bricasti M12, Oppo 203
    Analog : Technics SL1200G, DIY K&K Audio Maxxed Phono Amp
    Speakers : Daedalus Audio Muse Studio
    Headphone : BHSE + Voce

  12. #12
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    I was thinking if you had a budget in mind? Also, do you have a preference in type of speaker? For example I have a strong preference for European designs, especially British speakers. You had mentioned your father's Klipschorns. Some people love horn speakers with high efficiency ratings, I personally do not. Never been a horn speaker fan.

    KEF, B&W, Harbeth, etc. are British speaker companies. The KEFs mention above would be a destination speaker for me. Depending on your budget, KEF refers to the R series as their mini references. Very close to, but not as good as the References that are mention above. One huge difference is the R series is built in their Chinese factory compared to the Reference which is still hand made in England. Therefore the R cost a ton less, for a slightly lower speaker.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    Thanks for the comments, and suggestions. I have researched the KEF line. One of my issues, with lots of speakers is cabinet depth. I want mine to not be deep.

    I have a local guy that “carries” lots of lines, his office is appointment only. I have not been there. Once the year end buzz is finished, I’ll see what he has to listen to.

    I expect I’ll need to make a trip, or few, to listen to whatever list I come up with. At this point, budget is $30k max for both. Assuming business continues to do well for the next few years.

    I may end up with active speakers, and take advantage of dsp, but, being a traditional guy, I’m having trouble with the A2D conversion, processing, followed by D2A conversion prior to class D amplification. Something else I need to listen to.
    Amp : DIY FirstWatt M2x mono amps
    Digital : Bricasti M12, Oppo 203
    Analog : Technics SL1200G, DIY K&K Audio Maxxed Phono Amp
    Speakers : Daedalus Audio Muse Studio
    Headphone : BHSE + Voce

  14. #14
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    You might take a look at Totem. I heard a set of Hawks driven by a Naim system and they were impressive and they would meet your space requirements. You could go up from that model.

    I like your idea of getting a Bricasti amp. Brian uses Tidal speakers, you might also look at Vinberg who really captures most of that Tidal magic for less money, I'm not familiar enough with the line to know if they have stand mount or something smallish for your room.

    I had a set of Ref 3's in my system for a while when I was using Pass. My room is some larger than yours, I remember them providing more of an intimate soundstage and a surprising amount of bass. They also provide two different port sleeves to use, since they weren't my speakers I didn't mess with those, they did something to tune the bass which may be helpful for you.

    Speaking of tuning, Revel speakers on some models have "boundary" controls that allow some tuning of low and high frequencies to assist in better sound in a variety of room conditions. You might consider a Studio 2.

    I would also recommend looking at the small towers in Monitor Audio Gold or Platinum series. I really like the Platinum, the bass is very quic which is more of a tuneful dynamic bass opposed to boomy. Percussion was impressive IMO as well as clarity of brass.

    FWIW, I'd get the amp first, then if you had a chance to audition a speaker you'd have the total package to hear. If you buy speakers first and play with the amps you have, you may get buyers remorse due to the speakers not sounding good with an amp you aren't going to use anyway.
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  15. #15
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    I was looking at the Totem Forest Signatures on the web, they certainly look to be worth hearing.

    i pretty much agree on amp first. Then seeing how a great SS amp, with 2x, or more, the watts work with my Druids. Might convince me to upgrade to the newest Druid VI. Too many possibilities, of course. I’m hoping that finances allow me to look at the M25 in 2020, then start looking at speakers.

    I started this thread for this type of discussion, and to hear from anyone who might have experience with a room like mine.

    thanks some more!
    Amp : DIY FirstWatt M2x mono amps
    Digital : Bricasti M12, Oppo 203
    Analog : Technics SL1200G, DIY K&K Audio Maxxed Phono Amp
    Speakers : Daedalus Audio Muse Studio
    Headphone : BHSE + Voce

  16. #16
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    I have a room that is 11 x 15. I have a pair of Focal Sopra 3's in there, which you might think would overwhelm a room of that size. But they sound very good. There is a pair of french doors (that open to the living room) which I leave open while listening, and I think this helps the speakers to not overpower the room.

    I would audition the Sopra 2 if you can, it is a little smaller and might be a better match to your room. Just a suggestion for another speaker to listen to if you can find a dealer that has them available for a demo.

  17. #17

    Re: Speakers for small room

    I will go in a different direction here . I understand the Mac amp has sentimental value . However , if you like the Druids why not get a First Watt or small Pass amp and know you are going in the right direction ( and get rid of the hum ) . To me , completely different speakers may send you down the audiophile "yellow brick road ".

  18. #18
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    Welcome to the forum, thank you for joining.


    Quote Originally Posted by Fed_B View Post
    I have a room that is 11 x 15. I have a pair of Focal Sopra 3's in there, which you might think would overwhelm a room of that size. But they sound very good. There is a pair of french doors (that open to the living room) which I leave open while listening, and I think this helps the speakers to not overpower the room.

    I would audition the Sopra 2 if you can, it is a little smaller and might be a better match to your room. Just a suggestion for another speaker to listen to if you can find a dealer that has them available for a demo.
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  19. #19
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones13 View Post
    Harbeth are on my list to audition, the 3s, 30s and 5s. I have heard the 40s and 30s at Axpona in the Vinnie Rossi room. The 40s would be great, but physically too big for my room. A lot of what I read about the Harbeth talks about needing to be well away from walls to get their magical sound. Front ported though, and my nearly near field listening, with room treatments, might be ok. Having a sub to use as needed for some music types, and video, could make smaller speakers work for me.

    thanks
    I also have a small listening room (an unused bedroom) and my front ported Harbeth C7ES3s work very well for me. So well in fact that I can't see myself ever getting rid of them and I've never felt that way about any pair of speakers I've owned in my nearly 50 years in this hobby.
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  20. #20
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    Thanks for all the suggestions. If I were retiring 1/1/20, I would get a Pass XA25 or XA30.8 and call it done, perhaps getting the Druid IX if budget allows.

    I do hope to listen to

    Harbeth HL5plus and 40.2
    KEF Reference 1 and 3
    Dynaudio Focus 60 XD
    Dynaudio Confidence 20 (I like the 30 better, but its too big)
    Kii 3
    Dutch and Dutch 8c
    Janzsen Valentina
    Magico A3
    Wilson Sabrina
    Manger S1 and P1
    Viking Audio Berlin

    Bricasti M25 amp
    GamuT D200i
    Yamaha M5000
    ?
    (pure Class A would be too hot above the 25-30watt Pass amps)

    Clearly, I have spent too much time on the internet, but I am not in a hurry, and hope to enjoy the research, and discovery.
    Amp : DIY FirstWatt M2x mono amps
    Digital : Bricasti M12, Oppo 203
    Analog : Technics SL1200G, DIY K&K Audio Maxxed Phono Amp
    Speakers : Daedalus Audio Muse Studio
    Headphone : BHSE + Voce

  21. #21
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    Would one of the smaller Fyne floorstanders like the 502SP work in that room? They are bottom ported.

    https://www.fyneaudio.com/product/f502sp/

    Any of the small Pass amps should drive it with ease in your room.
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    Family Room - Oppo UDP-203, Teac NT505, Kinki Studio EX-M1+, Nola KO, (2) Rythmik F-12G, Wireworld SC & IC's, Neotech PC's, SurgeX SA-1810

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  22. #22
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    I was truly gobsmacked by the F1 and 702, but was put off by the size, and did not investigate the smaller series. Worth a listen if I get the opportunity. This is true of the Tannoy speakers as well. High efficiency speakers usually require big enclosures for adequate low end.

    Back in my DIY phase, I looked at using the GPA 15 inch coax speakers (modern day Altec Lansing), but the boxes are aptly described as “coffin” sized boxes.
    Amp : DIY FirstWatt M2x mono amps
    Digital : Bricasti M12, Oppo 203
    Analog : Technics SL1200G, DIY K&K Audio Maxxed Phono Amp
    Speakers : Daedalus Audio Muse Studio
    Headphone : BHSE + Voce

  23. #23
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones13 View Post
    High efficiency speakers usually require big enclosures for adequate low end.
    This is true for all passive speakers, specious claims to otherwise not withstanding. Hoffmans Iron Law governs the relationship between size, efficiency and extension. That's why practically every subwoofer is active. Active, either full or hybrid, circumvents that limitation.
    C'mon down to Flexpo, you'll see/hear.

    cheers,

    AJ

  24. #24
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    Yes, it’s a slim possibility, to make the Flexpo. This is the perfect time to be at our beach house in Rosemary right now though, and not sure my wife would be that forgiving.

    A3 is current area of inquiry, as it is sealed speaker. Would the Bricasti M25 (150w) run it well enough? Or would the Pass X250.8 be a better match?
    Amp : DIY FirstWatt M2x mono amps
    Digital : Bricasti M12, Oppo 203
    Analog : Technics SL1200G, DIY K&K Audio Maxxed Phono Amp
    Speakers : Daedalus Audio Muse Studio
    Headphone : BHSE + Voce

  25. #25
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    Re: Speakers for small room

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones13 View Post
    Yes, it’s a slim possibility, to make the Flexpo. This is the perfect time to be at our beach house in Rosemary right now though, and not sure my wife would be that forgiving.

    A3 is current area of inquiry, as it is sealed speaker. Would the Bricasti M25 (150w) run it well enough? Or would the Pass X250.8 be a better match?
    Either would be fine.


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  26. #26
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Mobile, AL
    Posts
    101

    Re: Speakers for small room

    Of course, the left channel amp did not turn on today. No obvious blown tubes, or fuse, all of which are about a year old. I got pissed, and just put my DIY Aleph J back in. It still sounds good. Subwoofer back out.

    it seems I’m looking for amp first. Thanks for all the advice to date!
    Amp : DIY FirstWatt M2x mono amps
    Digital : Bricasti M12, Oppo 203
    Analog : Technics SL1200G, DIY K&K Audio Maxxed Phono Amp
    Speakers : Daedalus Audio Muse Studio
    Headphone : BHSE + Voce

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Speakers for small room

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