I would also include the Dynaudio Confidence C1 speakers on your list of candidates. They also work well with Mac gear.
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You must here the new Jantzen 2.1. They are absolutely amazing and will kill a pair of Duette 2 as well as the Dynadio, they are very compact floor standers, I am listening to them in a slightly larger room and they sound fantatic.
They have a remarkable combination of virtues, they are insanely transparent, I have heard details in music that I swear I didn't hear before, the ESL driver that Jantzen uses is incredibly light weight and is driven evenly across its surface, so you have the speed of a ribbon without any of the hardness that a ribbon drive can sometimes have, they are very coherent, they work in small as well as large rooms, they are easy to drive, and have great bass.
Unlike every other ESL they are not a diapole so they can work in any room.
They have adjustable midrange, adjustable treble and a bass boost or cut so they are very tunable.
I just got a pair and I have to pick my jaw off the floor, they are so good, that a reviewer bought a pair and his two friends both bought pairs.
Many people don't remember Jantzen, Arthur Jantzen built the worlds first electrostatic speaker in 1954 predating all others including Peter Walker.
The Jantzen panel was so legendary that David Wilson used Jantzen panels in his legendary W.A.M.M speakers that at the time were the world's most expensive speakers when they came out in the late 80s.
and at their introductory price they are $7,500.00 now and will be going up to $8,900.00 in a few months, make them one hell of a buy.
I have a 10x13x8 room but have only a sleeper couch in the room. I use the LSA1 Statements with great success. But the addition of the Zilplex resonators allowed this. I now get a room with the recording venue in the front and not the restrictions of a 10' wide and 8' high room. This is my only audio room for three months of the year. At the time I bought these speakers, they were $2500/pair.
I have a pair of Cub's that work very well in a small room. I can't imagine someone picking the 805d's over them. To be fair, though, I don't like B&W speakers. Also, I don't think the Duette's are worth the money.
Another speaker you may like, if you can find a pair, is the ProAc futures series. If I remember correctly, there were 2 different models. I auditioned the bigger of the 2. Great speakers. They're small floor standers and will work very well in a small room.
I have had my Dynaudio's for over 12 years and they are still rock solid as the day I first set them up. Go with the Dyn's if you plan on keeping them for a long time. Obtw ,they love Power! If your into that sort of thing.I have also heard many great things about ESL's. It really comes down to what amps your using and what music you like to play. I am biased towards Dynaudio because thats what I have.
I had a 12 x 13 foot room some time ago and stumble upon a review in Stereophile, I think, about the ProAc lSC speakers with the Cary 300SEI and the reviewer was awestruck about that combination. I went out for an audition and did in fact buy the speakers and Cary amp and the midrange was in fact pure magic, voices were spectacular. Best of Luck
I have used a 10x12 room as my main analog listening room for years. My primary recommendation - treat the room first!
It's a simple fact - a room of this size os going to challenge you for optimal audio reproduction. You can minimize (but not eliminate) these problems by treating room. IMO this is more important than your choice of speakers or other gear.
Depending on your physical limitations (doors & windows, furniture, seating position and speaker placement limitations) and what type of music you most typically listen to will also determine the right speakers for your room.
Hello Pulsar fans,
We just got in the Source Technlogies Xl 1.7 $3,000 monitor made by the original designer of the Infinite Slope crossover technology, John Socelleto, he sold the rights to those designs to Joseph Audio when he decided to downsize JSE which was growing too big in the 80's.
His new company uses many of the same crossover techniques and the same fantastic Seas XL magnesium midrange, with a 1 inch soft dome, long story short a ridiculous $7k worth of performance for $3,000.00
Not as good as the Jantsen ZA 2.1 I also recommended
but an fantastic mini monitor.
Questions - audiooracle - did you buy the jantzen 2.1 without trying them out? I can't imagine doing that, and Br3098 - how do I learn about treating my room as I have no idea what to do.
Right now I am only looking at 2-way speakers - Wilson Duette's, Magico S1, and the B & W 805D (& red328 sub). I have aspects of each that I like, so hoping to go back and listen to them all again.
All of your thoughts/advice is greatly appreciated.
My understanding of the Duette II's is they're designed strictly for near wall placement versus the original Duette's that have the option for either near wall or free space placement.
I picked up a pair of the original Duette's about a two months ago to replace a pair of Avalon Ascendants and I couldn't be happier. Mine are in my 22' by 16' family room which will never be a dream music room.
I went with Sound Anchor stands instead of the Wilson stands which saved a few bucks. Another reason I went with the Sound Anchor stands is since I have thick carpeting, I figured the larger base on the Sound Anchor's would make them more stable than the Wilson stands that have a smaller base.
Mksr - well since you asked...
1- First I would advise you get a copy of Jim Smith's Book "Get Better Sound" and read it from cover to cover.
2- Test your room with analysis software. You will need a laptop, software program and a calibration microphone. You can pay someone else to do this, but cheaper and it's easy to do yourself, and you will learn a lot in the process. There are many sw applications for PC and mac, some free and some $. The free apps are good but not great, so just pick one that has instructions that you can understand and go.
If you are going all digital (as in from a PC or music server), you might simply try using an active room EQ software in the signal path. I am very impressed with a product called Dirac Live Room Correction Suite. They recently introduced a less expensive, 2-channel only version that IMO works great.
3- After you have tested your room and have an analysis, you can either send it to a professional for guidance ($$$), send it to a room treatment product vendor or learn how to analyze the data yourself. It's not that hard.
4- Treat the room, but don't over-treat. I suggest starting small and adding more if needed. Most rooms your size will benefit from bass traps in the corners. You might also add some absorption and diffusion, but again I recommend starting with a minimal approach and adding more as needed. Don't go overboard with product. You are not going to make a 10x12 room acoustically perfect for all speakers, merely listenable for a select few.
5- Select your speakers, based on your room analysis, room treatments and physical limitations (can you place the speakers against the back wall or can they come out into the room, do they need to be placed on a shelf or ???) If possible, try any speaker first in your room and with your gear before buying, or make sure that you have a good try and buy or return policy.
There are lots and lots of great speakers out there, and many that will work well in your (hopefully now treated) room. But here are some general guidelines that have worked for me in my small room (but YMMV):
- select the smallest speakers that will provide you with the sound that you seek. Standmount monitors work VERY well in small rooms (should be obvious, no?)
- I have found that speakers utilizing a single point source tend to sound better, are easier to place and require less room treatment than widely placed, multiple drivers
- I would try suggest that you avoid dipole or radial speakers, with the possible exception of the Quad 57. The placement requirements are too challenging for a 10x12 room
- think low power amps - SETs or small PP tube amps and low powered MOSFET/OPAMP SS units will work very well if mated to a pair of relatively high efficiency speakers
- if it's to your liking, corner placement and/or or small horns can sound marvelous in a small room
- some may advocate nearfield listening. You can try that - it's not my cup of tea. But if it works for you you might be able to avoid doing anything at all to the room.
I hope that this is useful. Have fun!
Br3098, you say "monitors work VERY well in small rooms." What's your view on rear-ported vs front-ported monitors for such a type of room? I'd imagine the front-ported monitor would work much better since you can place it right up against the back wall. Any tips or suggestions regarding ported speakers in a 10x12 room? Thanks for all your wonderful suggestions.
Br3098 - So, so, so helpful!!!! It is a little overwhelming, but I will take it one step at a time, starting with the book you mentioned. I have narrowed it down to 3 sets of speakers - Wilson Duette's, Magico S1, B & W 805D & I hope to audition the Joseph Audio Pulsar since so many people have raved about them and they are in my price range. The Magico S1's are floorstanding speakers, but they are 2 way speakers & seem like they are designed to not overwhelm a small room. They all seem like good choices & then will see if I can learn how to treat my room (or find somebody to help me).
Gfcf424892, You are correct; front-ported monitors are generally easier to use in in small rooms. Rear ported speakers almost (but not always) need placement well away from the wall behind in order to sound best. Exceptions include the Audio Note AN-E & J, which are rear-ported speakers designed for corner or near wall placement.
But for a 10x12 room I might try a non-ported speaker first. In my room, I have tried similar Salk Ellis 1801b speakers; one pair ported and one sealed. Although the bass extension on the ported speaker was a little more than from the sealed unit, the bass from the non-ported model is much tighter and pleasing.
In a nutshell, speaker selection for very small rooms is about energy management. Small speakers w/ small bass drivers, fewer or closely-spaced drivers, sealed and (hopefully) non-resonant enclosures help to make these speakers work in smaller rooms; and have the added benefit of making the room easier and less expensive to treat.
B&W PM1 stand-mounts supported by B&W's PV1D subwoofer.
I heard this combo right after hearing Wilson Alexandria XLFs powered by ARC reference electronics, and really, the little sat/sub system was not much of a letdown. It has a great sense of cohesion, musical truth, deep imaging, and tonal balance from top to bottom. With factory stands it's a helluva small room system for around $5K.
I s'pose if ya gotta have the diamond tweeter then you could move up to the 805 Diamond monitor. It would also be a great match with that PV1D sub. Taken on its own merits, however, you might not miss the diamond tweeter on the PM1s, and they're also very gorgeous.
I heard the PM1/PV1D combo powered by Classe gear including a digital pre with crossover with high pass filter to the PM1s (probably around 80 Hz).
Br3098 - do you have any experience with either the Magico S1 or the Wilson Duette's. I have been impressed by both and they seem designed for smaller spaces, but that is the extent of my understanding.
Johnnyb53 - Right now I have the Pm-1 speakers and i love them. Somebody suggested that I add a Rel 328 sub. I hope to move this system downstairs and get a better system for upstairs - either the 805D with sub or the Wilson Duetter's or Magico S1.
I had the 805Ds but I switched to the 805Ns. I found that the 805N was superior in many way including:
-seamless driver transition
I have owned many high end monitors and to date I have not found one that works better than the 805N - and my room is 11x12. My second choice would be Harbeth, not the 805D which I just cannot understand.
Smaller room usually means smaller speakers possible for good bass.
Also listening position is often closer to speakers than otherwise. Often the closer drivers are perceived to be a point source from the perspective of your listening position, the better for soundstage, imaging and coherency top to bottom. Avoid speakers with large physical separation between drivers.
Lots of good affordable monitor and affordable smaller floorstanding speakers in the $2000 or less price range to work with given these two criteria to help choose.
I would try without a sub initially, and only add sub or subs later if desired, making sure sub levels can be integrated cleanly as needed.
Also pay attention to different amps that might be used to best effect depending on the speakers. Smaller less efficient speakers with good bass capability often need a surprising amount of power to deliver optimal results, often 150 w/ch or more. Larger higher efficiency speakers for a room that size, like Klipsch Heresy for example, can get away with much less power and may even sound best with a lower powered tube amp. That is assuming you listen to a variety of music genres and may want to go to lifelike volumes when called for. Using a powered sub even with less efficient speakers will offload work from the mains and enable better results with a lower power amp perhaps there.
I have narrowed it down to the Wilson Duette's, Magico S1's, Raidho C1.0, Joseph Audio Pulsar's or B & W 805D. I plan to listen to them all on Sunday and Monday and compare and pick. In different ways they all sound like good choices (haven't heard the Joseph Audio Pulsars yet) & so any thoughts on how what to listen for and how to sort through them is appreciated. I worry at little that the Magico S1's will be too much bass for my small room. I will be listening to them all at different stores with different components.
Does anybody know how much difference there is between the Raidho c1.0 and c1.1 ? I can get the c1.0 as a dealer demo and save $5,000.
I'd be prone to want to buy from the dealer with speakers that sound good to you that helps to best take your specific needs into consideration, including room size, acoustics, listening preferences, etc. That's probably the most important thing.
IF they focus too much on their product simply being "the best", beware, especially if there is more $$$$$s involved.
Dealers that focus exclusively on very expensive gear often tend to think that way. Otherwise, the $$$$s would not be justified. I tend to prefer dealers that try to offer the best gear possible at various price points. For a small room like that, Bigger + more expensive is less likely to translate into best results.
I'd add Dynaudio (chose your model) to the list. Dyns have very good build quality including drivers and often seem to hit well above the average of what you would expect from a speaker in a similar sized package overall. That makes even the smallest lesser expensive models prime candidates for a smaller room. I use Dynaudio Contour 1.3 mkII both in similar size and even much larger room and they always seem up to the task.
LSA recently went Internet-Direct. The LSA-1 Statements are now down to
$1699. See link.
Also, the KEF LS-50s are S'phile rated "Class A Limited LF&';. Good sound is
where you find it. Also, a true point source is a significant advantage in a small
room; you don't have to sit at a specific distance to get the drivers to blend. I
can't think of a better match for LS 50s than a 10x12 room.
With these outstanding room-appropriate sub-$2K speakers available, maybe
you could spend some of your budget on truly exotic electronics and/or room
Here's another thought: If you want something more upmarket, I'd seriously
consider the Sonus Faber Guarneri ($22K w/stands) or Memento ($15K
w/stands). In fact, with your budget I can't think of a more satisfying solution
that will consistently put a smile on your face. Gorgeous to look at and they draw
you deeply into the music every time, regardless of scale or genre.
I am new to all of this and greatly appreciate everybody's feedback. It is quite an education. In the end I auditioned 13 pairs of speakers between $5K and $21K and have ordered the Magico S1's. I am thrilled with my choice and can't wait to get them.
I auditioned about 1/2 the speakers with two friends (one a former acoustical engineer) and what stood out is that we had near %100 agreement on the strengths/weaknesses of each pair of speakers we listened to (I originally liked the B & W 803 speakers more than either of them). We were able to audition the Magico S1's in a smaller room and the musicality, sound-staging, timbre, texture in the mid's, and fullness of the bass made them the clear choice for me. My friend the engineer also explained that their sealed bass enclosure will work well in my small room and give me more freedom around positioning them.
I am still not sure of the electronics to buy with them. I heard them with a VTL S200 tube amp, VTL 5.5 line stage, and a Kuxman DA 06 DAC & they sounded great, so that is one strong possibility. I am interested if anybody with the Magico S1's has other ideas what to pair them with?