IMHO, If I had to build a system for listening in a similar size room I would go for a high quality source, a good tube headphone amp and the most comfortable headphones I could afford to buy.
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Perfect room for monitors + subwoofer. Monitors can be placed per Cardas or AudioPhysic for imaging and subwoofer placed to load the room with bass. I have a slightly smaller room and the sound is outstanding.
I actually think smaller can be better with rooms because you need less power, which means you can buy better quality.
Absolutely, if you don't have the speakers yet, go for some that are not too picky about placement (Dynaudio, Audio Physics, most good monitors). Stay clear of dipoles, bipoles and time alligned (Thiel) as they like the listener further out (over 8 feet). Set up for near field listening and you will have good results (Cardas's web site has a nice formula for rectangular rooms).
I am very happy in my 15 by 10 room (Dynaudio Contours 1.8 II), which my ceilings where as high as yours though...
A friend has a very large room, something like 18 x 30 and he uses 5 watt single ended Cary's to drive his Alon Adriana's coupled with a REL Stantor. Amazing sound I must say for such a large room and such a small amp driving them. The music just flows from those speakers and one never needs to really crank up the volume. The REL actually filled in the bottom octave so well we never thought was missing.
The Alon's on their own go down to something like 35 Hz at best and the REL crossover has been set at 25 currently. We tried various crossover frequencies in two or three sessions but settled for 25 (the lowest on the knob) and now the things seem absolutely OK, to our ears that is.
I will need to check the REL site for the downward firing sub they offer.
Thanks for the tip
There's oodles you can do. Don't forget, mini monitors need stands. You can, easily, put Revel M20s or the like in that space. Actually, the M20s are not tube friendly because they need lots of wattage, but the size is the factor I was getting at. These are the speakers I use, so I'm familiar. You set yourself up with a nice 6 foot equilateral triangle and keep your speakers 3 1/2 feet from the back wall, and your listening chair, likewise/3 1/2 feet, from the wall in back of it--you'll be in business. peace, warren
Awesome. Thanks for all the feedback. I was thinking minimonitors, or a 2 way floor stander with the same footprint. If I added a sub, what would conventional wisdom be on placement? I am sure I could experiment, but would "in the middle" be the best place to start?
Totem and Rel is exactly what I was thinking. With Reference 3a's as the upgrade path....