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Spica TC-50. One of my sound rooms is 10'x 15' and I have tried numerous speakers (Proac Response 1.5, Magnepan 1.6QR, Sound Dynamics RTS-3, Totem Arros and Sig. 1). The Spicas sounded the best with the Arros a close second. The Maggies did not sound good at all and I had them 3' from the rear wall.
Personally, i don't think that Maggies would work well in a room of that size. You should have no problem pressurizing that size room, so efficiency is not a major concern. This would point me towards a sealed box or transmission line design, especially if the speaker is of full range design i.e. a large woofer or three way. Sealed and Transmission line designs produce bass that is faster, more articulate and less bloated.
Optimally, I would look for something along the lines of a monitor with the possibility of a reasonably sized subwoofer set-up. The monitor should be small in size with a limited baffle area. Since you don't have much room to work with, this will produce the widest and most seamless soundstage possible. Boxes with larger baffles and drivers that are spaced further apart require greater distance to focus.
The two speakers that come to mind right off the bat are the Spica's ( as mentioned above ) or the Sequerra Metronome's. Both are excellent little speakers that can be had for next to nothing on the used market. Neither is real strong on bottom end though, so you might want to supplement them with a sub(s). You could then place the monitors for optimum imaging / soundstage without having to worry about losing the bottom end. The modular arrangement of the two piece system would also allow you to put the subs where they would obtain the necessary amount of bass reinforcement for optimum performance.
Either way, let us know what you do and the results of yoru decision. I'm sure that there are others in similar situations and it's always nice to compare notes. Sean
Thanks everybody. There are some great suggestions so far, some of which I'm familiar with and others that I've been researching as you recommend them.
I've always had a fondness for the Spica's and have often thought about buying them just because they can be had so inexpensively. Unfortunately, I just missed out on an auction for a pair of TC-60s (I'm guessing they're as good if not better than the 50s although I've heard conflicting views on this.)
I'm very intrigued by the Totems and have been researching them today. I have heard the Model 1 and liked them very much. I think I've ruled out the Maggies by virtue of the fact that they're so placement sensitive that I'm not sure I want to hassle with them. I don't think there'll be enough room to get them away from the wall since I have to place the speakers on the longer wall.
The other two speakers that I'm researching/considering are several Thiels (.5, 1.5 and 2.2 or 22 - thanks bose). I've heard the .5 and 1.5 and prefer the 1.5 although the .5's seem to disappear a little better. I've heard the 2.3's which are out of my price range, but have not heard the 22's. I know that they're a three-way and wonder if they might be a bit much for the room size. Finally, I've been trying to gather more information about the Audio Physic Step. I've never heard any of the AP line but am impressed by the favorable press. Anyone have experience with these? I see that they're very inefficient, but that shouldn't be a problem considering the room size and the amount of power that I have at my disposal.
Keep the suggestions coming! Maybe this small room isn't such a bad thing afterall. I'll keep you posted.
I have a similar problem in that my listening room will be around 10x13 (in the basement).
I have been looking at building (it looks easy) the North Creek Akora II (www.northcreek.com) which is specifically designed to be positioned relatively close to the wall. I have to admit that I haven't heard it, but the drive units are great in other applications and the filter looks like real serious business. You can buy the cabinet if you don't feel like making it yourself and still stay below budget.
I am almost certain some of the speakers mentioned are a bit much for your room. Sean gave some good advice. I am also a Spica fan. Had TC50's and now 60's. Spica's are ported though... and should be about two feet from the rear wall. Why are you against ported speakers? Because of placement? (and not planars!?) Spica's are designed for a room your size. I bought Virgo's about six months ago and they will not sound as good as the Spica's in your room.
Any of you guys looking to sell your Spicas??? The soundstage that they throw is addictive! I guess the reason that I mentioned the rear port is that I had a pair of Platinum Audio Solos that had to be VERY far from the rear wall because of the amount of energy coming from their rear ports. Now that you mention it Joekras, it doesn't make a lot of sense. Guess I was just thinking out loud, as it were.
I've also found a great deal on a pair of Dunlavy SCIs with stands for $650. I know that Dunlavy is very reputable, but I've never had the opportunity to audition any of their products. Anyone have any experience with these?
Finally, does anyone have any feedback about the Thiel 22s? Would they be too much for a room this small?
I like the Spica tc-50 suggestion ... and you could throw in a subwoofer for bass. My listening room is 12x10, and I have Spica Angelus with a Rel Strata3 ... yes it works in such a small room! (Though there's not much space left) The spica's are 2.5 feet from the rear wall, and I listen in a nearfield position. The REL is just inside the right hand Spica (the corner position sounded awful). As a result I get full range sound, with no boom, and wonderful imaging and mids. I really like the flexibility of the separate sub ... you can place the main speakers optimally for sound stage and the sub optimally for smooth extended bass ... in any size room. I don't think I'll ever go back to looking for a main speaker to handle the deep bass, since that often leads to a compromise, either ending up with too much or too little bass, or putting the speakers too close to the rear wall to boost the bass, at the expense of imaging.
If you can swing Tc-50s or LS3/5s or even small Proacs and a REL (or other such musical sub, perhaps the ACI titan) I bet it could sound tremendous.
Check out the Epos M12 monitor.
What HiFi, a British audio magazine that rates equipment against other equipment in its price range, gave it top honors amongst strong competition (Dynaudio, etc), including floorstanders.
It's been updated somewhat from its previous version, the ES12, which Stereophile gave a Budget Component of the Year award to, I think in Dec. 1997.
Wonderful high-end sound for under $900 retail. Very nicely scaled for smaller rooms. The rear port shouldn't be a problem--they do well near rear walls.
I too had the TC-50's and they are great for small rooms. However you should listen to the Meadowlark Kestrals. A floorstander that can placed easily,transmisson line design, easy to drive, and looks and sounds great. My room is actually a loft with no front wall and my kestrals sound great. Best of luck.
Addendum to my earlier post, Spica TC-50s are not ported. The TC-60 is ported and goes a bit deeper in the bass (though not close to being full range). Keep in mind that ported speakers are usually more difficult to mate with a sub. Both are excellent, but within its range, the TC-50 has the edge in resolution and balance. Most bookshelf speakers sound best at least 2' from the rear wall. If that is your concern, consider the Totem Arro, though ported, it can be placed closer to the rear wall than the Spica without losing its soundstage.
I've had very good luck with a pair of ProAc Tablette 50 Signatures in a 12 x 13 foot room. Running them with a subwoofer creates a very full sound. I have a lot of stuff in the room, and having a bathroom and a walk-in closet behind each speaker seems to compensate for the rear ports of the ProAcs. A weird setup yes, but I'm happy.
Thought I'd post an update. Was thinking very seriously about the TC-50's, but only found one posting for a pair here on AudiogoN and the seller never replied to my message. Plus the condition of them was not very good which made me hesitant to begin with. I could always wait, but I really want to get my system going again for some listening sessions over the holidays.
I was also very interested in the recommendation for Totem Arros. I really needed to sell my speakers before buying something else (don't want family strife before Xmas!) but found two tremendous deals here on the AudiogoN that I tried to buy them even w/o selling my Hales. Well, they were both such good deals that they were already sold!
I posted my Hales Concept Twos on this site and didn't receive much in the way of interest. Because they're so heavy, I had to list them for local sale only. I decided to drop the price and advertise for sale or trade for a pair of monitors.
I got a couple of very nice offers but have decided on a pair of Aerial Acoustics Model 5s. I had actually listened to these at Bay Area Audio in San Jose the day before I got the trade offer (talk about coincidence) and was VERY pleased. They're a sealed enclosure and don't have a tremendous amount of bass response so I think they'll work very nicely in my small room. They've got a buttery midrange which I LOVE (kind of like the Spicas) and also have a very extended upper range w/o being too forward at all. Needless to say, I'm excited about making the trade and getting them hooked up.
I'm scheduled to pick them up in Oakland on Tuesday evening, so I'll post again later in the week with m final thoughts.
Thank you all very much for your input. I value your opinions and am glad to have a group of "virtual friends" with whom to share this fantastic hobby.
Good listening and warm holiday wishes to you and your families!
I own the Thiels CS2.3. I am very pleased with them. But I would caution anyone considering them for a small room. Because of their first order crossover the listener needs to be positioned 10 feet or more from the speaker. The drivers in the Thiel integrate poorly in a nearfield listening position.
Refer to the online stereophile review and read the test results by JA.
The only way I know around this is to use TacT RCS 2.0 to smooth out the frequency response.