Best Speaker Choice for my very "non-audio-friendly" Living Room
New to A-Gon, and looking for advise on purchasing a set of speakers. My room is about as sound stage unfriendly as you can imagine (Hard to describe) as the center of the room is a huge fireplace with speaker placement options limited to about 25' apart from each other on each side of the fireplace. The room is approx 30' by 14' so my listening distance from each speaker is 15' & 16' from my center chair. With that said, I have always (maybe wrongly) been inclined to buy big powerful speakers in an attempt to fill the room with good sound. Up til now I have been running an Anthem 540 Amp, and running my fronts through a Peachtree 500 from the Pre-Outs on the Anthem to a set of Cerwin Vega Twin 15's. I actually liked the sound of this setup, but the twin 15s were just huge and honestly obnoxious on the living room (my wife had a stronger opinion on that than I did lol) So, I have moved the big Vega's down to the shop / pool room and thats where they will live with a modest emotiva amp/pre amp combo that works well. I like the option of a Klipsch Cornwall (old school look, but much shorter and more esthetically appealing than the Vega's or maybe a set of Focal 948's which I listened to at the local shop. Both of these options are in my price range, and I "think" would give me the sound / performance I loved with my Old Vega's but look much better in the room. Any advice from the experts on this forum would be greatly appreciated.
Imaging is not as critical to us, and it is a very novice / wide question indeed. Haven't looked at the open baffle idea yet, had not considered them. Very different! Guess I'm just looking for opinions as to what the best overall sound quality I can achieve from a $6000 range set of speakers when proper speaker placement is really not possible, or if I'm just throwing money away when It really wont make much difference due to my room restrictions.
Interesting question. So, if imaging isn’t important… what is the purpose of the liven room system? Listening for many? Casual. The fireplace, how wide… how far from the listening area? a couch?
things I am thinking is stuff like high quality monitors on stands closer together. What about and audio[like room elsewhere and doing Omni directional speakers in the living room that will not creat mass bass overloading and can be closer and not as obvious. You could put a couple photos in your system profile so we could get a better idea of the challenge. Honestly it sounds an interesting challenge.
Wilson made a pair of speakers with stands (Duette) for a number of years that they recently discontinued. They were supposedly made to be less room dependent than the other speakers in their line. I own Wilson speakers & like them a lot but never heard the "duette's", so can't comment on their performance. Others seem to like them though, & they come up used in your price range occasionally.
My room is also audio unfriendly. Narrow and very deep. With no coherent back wall . One 40 something foot side wall is mostly glass. The other side wall opens into a hallway and kitchen. There is basically a floor to ceiling “island” in the middle that is a closet and staircase. I bought a used pair of Ohm Walsh 4s and haven’t looked any further. Two small REL subwoofers in the front corners. They fill the space with sound. Talk to John at Ohm Acoustics and see if he thinks 25 feet apart is too much.
Look at the higher quality in wall and in ceiling speakers. With your requirements I would forego worrying about imaging and just concentrate on clean, clear, dynamic sound that let's you enjoy your music in more of a club like atmosphere where you hear the music regardless of where you are physically.
You could also have a set of monitors on stands that you set up occasionally when you want to listen in a 2 channel stereo setting. I have a friend with a very large/expensive home that presents like a beautiful model, but no unsitely wires anywhere to be seen. All lighting is from above or built in wall sconces. He brings in his speakers (Tidal "Piano"), which are in a hidden wall cavity and hooks them up to a killer hidden system. He may leave them there all weekend or if he plans to listen during the week.
Ohm are really friendly in a room just like yours.. No crazy prices and they are not hard to set up.. If things change they are still a good omni direction pleasant sounding speaker.
Open baffle? I got no idea on that one.. they do have great sound effects.. They are super hard to get right in a treated room much less a weird room.. I have a few OB designs.. What a PITA.. Dipoles that's a different story.. two different baffles 18-24 inches apart will work... BUT a common pole.. no way to get the timing right..
What about putting the speakers up on the hearth? Immediately, cuts the separation between speakers. Better proportion to the depth of the room. Toe-in likely can be adjusted for optimization. I would pop your current speakers up there and give it a listen.
Without some measurements like room response, I can mostly assume (rightly or wrongly) that some room correction may be more important that the speakers at first? Once the room is treated and corrected then better speakers could produce a better sound. Or do I have it wrong?
Again on the Omni’s. You can’t really go wrong with the radial sound in an acoustically bad room. Of all of the high end speakers I’ve had, my wife’s favorite was a pair of relatively inexpensive Decware ERRx radials. She loved the sound coming from everywhere. I also liked the sound but they weren’t refined enough for me.
Actually its not about brand but about following basic room guidelines. Smaller nearfields placed near the listener but far away from the room boundaries is the goal. Having more energy at your [listening] location direct from the speaker vs reflected energy at your [listening] location, speakers always sound better and more like they actually sound. Its the reflected energy that changes speakers and makes them sound weird or different in every room you put them in. Then keep the level low enough that you dont "energize" the room where reflections do not get closer in level to direct sound.
This is the core idea of nearfield monitors developed by recording engineers years ago. SInce they work in all kinds of different rooms, get the speakers close to you to reduce [unwanted] room effects. Brad
It's too bad you're against using something with a 15" woofer as this review of the Magna Transpuls looks like it would work in your situation. Although cheap in price, they compete with much higher brands, and Klipsch is the US dealer for them.
You need really good off-axis dispersion and immunity from reflection, so I’m even more inclined to say you should just eliminate normal box speakers from consideration as a starting point. I think open baffles and omnis are the way to go. Again, demo/return capability is a must.
Wow. You are not kidding on a challenging environment. The photos are worth a thousand words.
i would try small monitors on stands on the granite shelf. Put them just high enough not to get heated by direct radiation from the fireplace. This would allow cutting down the distance apart. Looks like you already have a subwoofer there… that would continue to work.
A wide dispersion LCR mounted right to the stone fireplace would work well. From my ATC world, a SCM 12i which has a steel plate to mount to in the back and Adaptive Technology stuff to use as the "arm" to the bracket. This is how studios and post houses do it. You'll need a serious hammer drill to lag bolt into the stone. You need a bracket that can be tilted downward to keep energy off the glass.
Wide dispersion for sure horizontal, but narrow vertically.
I saw the Tannoy Canterbury mentioned. A friend sold his expensively modified ($10k in new outboard crossovers) Tannoy Canterbury speakers when he heard the Fyne F703, which will have no trouble filling your room with great sound quality.
Larsen makes unique speakers made to be placed right against the front wall, so you can avoid the tedious trouble of setting your speaker/listening positions precisely. Both the 8.2 or 9 will fill your room with high quality sound.
I've heard both the Larsen 8.2 and Fyne F703. I haven't heard the Larsen 9 but can extrapolate from the 8.2. I know another fellow that sold his SoundLab electrostatics after hearing the Larsen 9 in his home.
As they are in your price range, You should consider the Paradigm Personas as well - for great built-in room calibration, high efficiency, imaging in spades, and an unusually broad sweet spot. A wide speaker separation is actually displayed in many of the posted Persona system images. With beautiful design/construction and a relatively small footprint, the WAF is also very high. Good luck!
Hello, I think you should go with the Revel m126 be with the matching stands. These speakers will sound amazing in your room. The wave guide prefers an untreated room. You will swear there is a sub in the room because the base and mid base is on point. These speakers filled my 14x24x8 room with ease. When you hear them in your room you will understand. Plus, they even sound great when listening off axis.
My room is indescribably weird and my ATC SCM40s (passive) sound great in there. Sealed box with excellent off-axis sound and non-fussy placement. New, they're 7k. You can get nice used ones for $3800-ish. Monitor-ish sound with a hint of warmth. British. Check them out. I haven't heard most of the suggested speakers by other posters, so I can't provide any direct comparisons.
Couple people mentioned Tekton. For your purpose I would say absolutely not as well as pretty much any other conventional speaker. They do not have very good off axis dispersion at all in my experience. Ohm or other Omni seems a no brainer.
Fyne 703 mentioned earlier. I have the 702 in a smallish room with glass doors. The tweeter in midrange design avoids the initial interactions with the sidewalls. Shop manager helped me set up. No room treatments needed
Thanks again everyone! I moved my "temp speakers" Old set of nice Infinity RSB's to the Mantel bench on each side and the improvement was 100%. I cant thank you enough for steering me in that direction. My wife was even impressed, and she could care less lol. So with the room being what it is, speaker placement was the first hurtle i have now overcome. So a nice "bookshelf" size speaker will be my next choice to upgrade to and I will likely add a nice set up cables, and call it good as the room certainly does not justify much more than the 10-12K I will have invested. (I know that's a laughable amount for a lot of audiophiles) I'm looking at the Elysian 2's and a couple other options, something in the under 36" tall range as the full size tower options on the mantle will put the tweeters too high..for sitting listening position. Thank You all!!
As has been mentioned, typical box speakers are not great off axis. In addition to open baffle and omnidirectionals, wide dispersion box speakers can be good off axis e.g. my LSA bookshelf were under $2k and are great at this and not sensitive to room placement. You can try them at home and return them if they don't work (Check with Walter at LSA who is very helpful)