Big, big room -- which 10-20k speakers?

I just moved into a house in which my listening room will be about 35 x 35 with 17-foot ceilings, with double-story double-pane glass windows on two sides. I will be running a Luxman 509u intergrated amp, a Sony XA777ES, and a Luxman PD371 with a Miyajima Shilabe. Cables are a mix of old Nordost Valhala and newer Kubala-Sosna Emotion. I know it all seems fragmented but I just moved back to the US after a decade living in Tokyo so these are bits and pieces assembled over there.

I am considering a variety of used speakers that can be purchased for 10-20k, namely the Revel Ultima Salons 2s, Rockport Mira Grand II, Aerial Accoustics 20T (I should mention I had 10Ts in the 90s and loved them) and YG Anat Studio II.

I'd love any thoughts on which speakers would perform best in the room given it's size and reflectivity, and given my rather odd electronics. Thanks very much for your advice!
The Luxman 509u @ 120 wpc is too low powered to properly drive any of these speakers. You should consider more efficient speakers from DeVore, Silverline, JM Labs or Coincident.
If you want to fill such a huge room and enjoy to listen close to life levels the speakers mentioned won't do the job IMO. Also you need speakers with a narrow dispersion. I'd like to suggest some used Avantgarde Omega Duos but you would have to add another set of 225 subs. Also a Luxman integrated, even though probably not the best amps, will have plenty of juice to fill that huge space with sound when using 107 db efficient horns
I'd also love any thoughts from the community on Wilson Sashas or any other speakers that might do well in a big room in that (used) price range.
someone (not me) is auctioning off a pair of Genelec monitors on audiogon right now. that is an enormous space you're referring to by anyone's standards.
depending on your musical tastes and your interest in acoustic treatments would
perhaps be the greatest challenge of all in this case.
Of course I could also imagine a number of price-no-object speaker systems (4 cabinets) doing a great job of pushing enough air around that room to give you the kind of clean dB's that would also sound - "there are no words"-
If you want something that will actually fill that large a
room I would suggest something like the Classic Audio
Reproductions T-1. I've heard them at RMAF in a very large
room and they worked well.

They are very efficient and should work well with your
amplification. Most of the speakers you list are not
efficient enough for your amp. Especially in that large of a
My room is 30'x30'x 12', and my Tyler Acoustics Woodmeres do a superb job of filling the entire room with full, rich sound. My listening chair is 18 feet from the face of speakers. I have found the Woodmeres to be very listenable for long periods, and I plan to keep them for as long as I'm around.
Just some general thoughts on each of the five speakers you've mentioned:

a) Revel Salon 2s: I own these and am very familiar with them - see my virtual system for more info. Pros: soundstaging is outstanding - they disperse very well and so your sweet spot is expanded, a considerable asset if you seek to move about your large room. And certainly capable of filling your room. Also they are very neutral speakers that should do well in your glassy room. Cons: they are not very efficient and would quite likely require more power than what your Luxman would provide, especially in a room that size. A few have complained that they are lifeless, although I do not agree.

b) Wilson Sasha: Have heard these on several occasions. Pros: very nice in well-treated rooms. Excellent, propulsive mid-bass and very extended treble. "Front-row" sound if that is what you are looking for. A little easier to drive than the Salon 2s. Cons: not a paragon of neutrality. Humped in the bass and treble, and that latter quality may make them fatiguing in a glassy room. Don't soundstage as well as the Salon 2s, nor is dispersion as good. But they might have been my choice for a man cave.

c) Aerial 20T: have only heard once. Pros: good bass when properly fed (like the Salon 2s, they seem to need to feed). Very good midrange coherence. Cons: tweeter did not seem to disperse well, so restricted sweet spot.

d) YG Anat Studio II: have not heard. Plenty of reviews of them both from publications (which seem to like them) and show attendees (mixed bag, some say they are grainy and/or lifeless while others think they are neutral and/or revealing).

e) Rockport Mira Grand II: have not heard (but I would like to). Not generally a D'Appolito configuration fan myself, but both pro reviews and blogs from people attending shows seem pretty uniformly positive.
I suggest the Salk SoundScape 12s. They are incredible with vinyl. You are not likely to find them used, but since they are internet only, the price is much less than a bricks and mortar place would have them. They sound very natural and have so broad a dispersion that they have a similar tonal balance at any seat in your room The image would suffer, of course, but the tone would be very similar anywhere. Of course, I wouldn’t buy this or any other speaker without hearing them first.

I second the Tyler Acoustic Speakers...I have the Woodmere II's in a room that is 30 x 25 and they are fantastic...My suggestion is to contact Ty and have him build the speaker that will work best for you (drivers, crossovers,tweeters etc), not only sonically but also aesthetically as he has many grains of fine wood to choose from. His wood and workmanship is top notch...and best of all its MADE IN THE USA
John Strohbeen at OHm Acoustics has recently been touting some new models in the $10K range that incorporates large 15" powered subs into the model 5000 design that otherwise is advertised for up to 8500 sq. feet or so (and costs ~ $6500 or sowithout the powered subs). Might be worth a call to OHM to see what might be done there.
WHoops, sorry, I of course meant to say 8500 cubic feet, not 8500 square feet.

This is a second recommendation for the Classic Audio Loudspeaker. You will want the efficiency!

If that is outside of your budget the Dreammaker by Audiokinesis is another possibility- it is relatively efficient too. The other speakers in your list will need about 4X more amplifier power at the very least.
See all the suggestions your getting? BIG ROOM...BIG PROBLEMS!! I had one and moved to a smaller room and system. If it's all about moving air for dance music and the like, then just get JBL K's or something. To enjoy the subtelty and texture of the music, you will need magic in a room that size. A pair of Wilsom MAXX's maybe would do it?
Thanks so much everyone: there's an a great amount of info here to parse through and I'll spend the next few hours researching everyone's suggestions.

One feature that attracted me to the YGs was that they incorporate active amplification for the woofers. Has anyone heard these in a large room?
I've heard the Anats in a decent sized room. Very nice, at least with the acoustic vocal jazz recordings demoed.

The audiokinesis and Classic Audio suggestions are probably a good one for use with the integrated amp. Less efficient speakers may need more juice in a very large room. Class D amps are a nice fit there, but that would require an amp switch if that were an option.
I would not overlook Coincident.
dc10 audio "the instrument" but more $$$ perhaps the dealer in Denver or CT will give a big cut.
I know everyone is going to recommend their own speaker brand, but don't forget Daedalus. Lou's Ulysses speakers fill a vast room at RMAF, they look stunning and are ridiculously low in price + every year they get a "best of Show" report at RMAF. What's not to like?
I know that verity Audio speakers tend too do well in big rooms I think this has something to do with the rear woofer. But I a not sure if you amp is up to the job. I cannot say either way.
I think whether the 120 w/ch Luxman would cut it or not with the less efficient speakers would likely depend on listening habits, volumes, type of music, etc.

Having powered subs in the mix would help if needed.
Montana EPX Speakers.
Horning eufrodites pulled way into the room to create an amazing soundstage:
I would get the salon 2s and a new amp and maybe you can add a sub if you feel the need. Another thought would be dynaudio c4s but again you need more power in that room. I'd put half my budget into big awesome power it's going to mean more than anything else in that room.
That room is going to be a nightmare. You may as well resign yourself to the fact that you will only realize a certain precentage of what any speaker is capable of. Those 17' ceilings will surely be your undoing.

A big room like that is likely one that you want to leverage, and not fight, unless you are up for major sound treatment expense. Omnidirectional speakers lend themselves to that with their tendency to fill a room with sound rather than fire it directly at you.

I'd love to hear my big OHM F5s in a room that size. I think the Luxman could do a pretty decent job.

An alternate approach would be to go for near field listening. That opens up many new possibilities, including with the current amp.
Thanks so much everyone. I am now more confused than ever! I especially appreciated P59teitel's extensive discussion of the pros and cons of each speaker I had put forward. I'll also explore some of the other suggestions kindly proffered. I'll make sure to post back with an update later.
If you own the house and your wife does not mind you would be better off building a room within that room. You certainly have enough space.
Yeah, I tend to agree with the idea that if your seriously sticking with that gear?....well, don't bother going down the road with that speaker list! To truly eek out the performance from them you will need tons of cash beyond just the speakers to make them sing properly. Serious;y, look into the JBL arrays perhaps for some ass kicking fun with the power you have now.
you need giant speakers most of the products mentioned can not fill a room of that size sufficiently, and it is not a matter of just efficiency it is of bass response and the ability to move a huge column of air, other issues will be of limiting echo and reflection.

A pair of Maxx or other similar sized speakers will do it.

The Salons, Aerials, are not big enough. The Avante Gardes are a good but can sound shouty and are super fussy.

Salks won't do it either, Tyler you can never hear and have O resale value, as with other home brew speaker companies.

The Classic speakers don't have the resolution.
How far will the speakers be from the back wall?

If 4' or more, I saw some used Genesis 200's (dipole hybrids) listed but they have the older-style Carver ribbons. Serenity Acoustics is a brand new venture that displayed at RMAF with the OB/servo sub Super 7's but I don't think they even have a website yet.

How far from the speakers would be your listening position?

If more than 15', maybe line arrays like
Saw some used LS9's listed on audiocircle.

Don't under-estimate that Luxman.
Audiooracle, I agree that a lot of the speakers won’t be able to fill a large room, but I don’t think the Salks are in that category. At the 2010 RMAF the Salks were in the Iris ballroom. Steve Stone of TAS said they were the best sound of the show and they were playing a lot of orchestral music.

The Classic speakers don't have the resolution.
This is a load of bull. The Classic Audio keeps up with any of them. Its beryllium midrange field-coil driver is very fast, relaxed and revealing. The speaker uses Mundorf caps in the crossover with 6db slopes.

You need to do the math. You have a big room, and speakers with moderate efficiency (89-93 db) will not fit the bill with any integrated I know of, not if you want to fill the room with anything that sounds like real music. So if the speaker has less than 96 db I would strike it from the list, unless you feel like getting a 500 watt amplifier to drive them, because that is what you are going to need with speakers of lower efficiency.

For example, if you have a speaker of 91 db and a 500-watt amp, you will be able to play at exactly the same levels with a 125-watt amp if the speaker is 97 db. The reason is because our ears work on a logarithmic scale rather than a linear scale. So to get 3 db increase in volume requires double the amplifier power. 3 db is not a lot! 10 db sounds like it is twice as loud, but that takes 10X more power.

If you were using a smaller room this would be easy. But the advantage of a large room is that the virtual size of the musicians becomes life-like in the sound field- something you can't do in a small room. So you need a speaker with the bandwidth, resolution and efficiency. Most decent speakers have two of those three attributes. The reason I am an advocate of the Classic Audio Loudspeaker is that it has all three. So does the Audiokinesis Dreammaker, although it is slightly less efficient, it is still more efficient than most speakers mentioned so far.

The problem you are going to run into with speakers of lower efficiency is that by the time you get the life-like levels, you are going to be pushing the speaker pretty hard and its going to do some compression. Plus you can count the number of musical natural sounding amps that make 500 watts or more on one hand with fingers left over, price no object. That is why when you get into situations like this there is the expression 'gold-plated decibels'.

Go with a more efficient speaker and this will get a lot easier!
OHM F 5015's with 15" powered subs built in for ~$10,000 (if available currently) can fill that room as good as just about anything dsigned for home use, I would bet. The powered subs would take a lot of load off the main Luxman amp and could work very well I am thinking.

My OHM F5s which are similar but without powered subs running off my $3600 used BEl Canto ref1000m 500w/ch amps could even do a respectable job I bet. This combo has yet to show any signs of stress or breakup at any volume in my setup. The wide range OHM CLS Walsh driver that handles most music up to ~7Khz or so and minimizes demand on the tweeter is a big reason for that. Few other speaker designs can compare in terms of ability to go loud and clear, perhaps none at similar cost.

Older earlier generation OHM Walsh 4s or 5s might be had for less than $1000 used. I have used old OHM Walsh 2s outdoors even off an 80w/ch Tandberg receiver, and volume was never an issue. It sounded as much like live music as most anything I have ever heard, including many big buck reference systems. The sound of the older model OHM Walsh speakers are not as refined overall in most rooms as the latest and greatest, but might work very well for very little if room size and acoustics becomes the bottleneck towards achieving the kind of high end audiophile sound one might expect in most rooms.

Pro gear is more often applied in very large rooms/venues. Not as sexy, but perhaps the most bang per buck?
In addition to the other suggestions, if you can find them, Duntech Sovereigns or Dunlavy SC Vs or VIs could give you that big sound, but I doubt that the Luxman would be up to driving them to best effect in that big a room (especially the Sovereigns which, despite their relatively decent stated efficiency, really need an amp that can control their low frequency drivers).

If you really want to fill the room with your current equipment, I think Atmasphere's advice is the best; or else you can just use part of the room in a more nearfield setup as others have suggested, that would give you far more options. The glass walls will be an acoustic problem for you, I'm sure.
I'd say pick up a pair of old OHM Walsh 5s somewhere for <$1000 and give those a shot first before spending big bucks. You'd have little to loose and much to save/gain even if they do not cut it. They can be resold easily with little or no loss,or traded in to OHM for up to 40% discount on a newer pair if desired.

I would love to have a room that size for any OHMs and would never trade it if I did for anything in the smaller rooms most of us are limited to in our homes. I've found the OHm Walsh CLS speakers are NEVER the bottleneck. In your case, the amp would be, but it may still be good enough that it not matter. MAxing out the amp with the OHMs in a room that size should be an incredible experience that I would love to hear! That or the option of adding a good powered sub.

[url=]1987 Stereophile Review of the OHM Walsh 5[/url]
Another good candidate to look at would be Tannoy larger Prestige line. Probably Westminster or better still the Westminster Royal SE. Had them for years in a room almost as large, driven by Cary 300SE (15w), then later Cary CAD805 (50w), filled the room sweetly without a sweat. Your Luxman will be more than up to task, I'm sure.

At one point, a friend looking to buy these speakers demoed them at my home and brought his Accuphase (less than) 100w integrated+Sony 555ES cdp if I recalled correctly, it sounded great too that he ended up with the Canterbury (one model down). Definitely worth to check out ie.if you don't mind/love their classic look.
All this talk about what speaker will fill what room, with not much mention about how it's going to sound in the end. You should allot 1/3 of your speaker budget towards room treatment. You are going to need a lot of it.

And oh.. Btw I'm quite familiar with the Wilson Sasha, my brother owns and currently use them in an all ARC system. I don't think they would cut it in a room that size. Possibly if your ceiling is the norm 9-11', otherwise, as others here have suggested, you might need at least the Maxx2/3s to do the job right. Then, there'll be amp question.. While I'm sure your Luxman have the 'watts' for sPLs (Maxxes are quite efficient), I doubt they'll have the requisite 'currents' to properly control them woofers.

So, I'd too say yes, explore bigger more efficient speakers if you are not looking to major overhaul your entire system.

Good luck!
Rr999, I'd just like to suggest that you indicate to the assembled multitude what kinds of music you listen to. The need for high speaker efficiency, given the moderate power rating of your amplifier, will be especially important if your listening includes music having wide dynamic range, meaning a wide DIFFERENCE in volume between the loudest notes and the softest notes.

It is not uncommon, for example, for well engineered classical symphonic recordings to reach brief volume peaks that are 30 db or more greater than their average volume, and 40 to 50 db or more greater than the volume of their softest notes. A 30 db ratio of peak to average volume levels means that you will need 1,000 times as much power for volume peaks compared to the average levels of those recordings. And a 50 db difference between the loudest and softest notes requires 100,000 times as much power for the loudest notes as compared to the softest notes.

Many and probably most rock recordings, on the other hand, are compressed to a dynamic range that is in single digits as expressed in db, meaning less than 10 times as much power is required for volume peaks as compared to the softest notes.

Perhaps differences in the kinds of music that are listened to by those who have posted contribute to the divergence of opinion.

Good luck in your search.

-- Al
Maybe consider the large PBN whip ass speaker (WAS)
What terrific feedback! Thanks so much everyone for your help with this.

In answer to a few of the questions asked above:
- I have fairly eclectic musical tastes. I listen to old folk and country (think Bascomb Lamar Lunsford and Ralph Stanley), jazz (Jarrett, Monk), rock (Pixies, Patti Smith, M.I.A, the Dead.), symphonic classical, opera, world (mainly Japanese since I lived there for so long, and Brazilian of the quasi-jazzlike Milton Nascimiento variety). I really would not want to have my system be a major impediment to listening to any type of music

- My normal listening position will be about 12-15 feet from the front wall (which is actually windows) and slightly off-center. We will also use the room for entertaining a few times a month so being able to fill the room with low to moderate volume music would be useful

I am totally unfamiliar with horns. Would something like Avantgarde Trios with subwoofers be a good approach? I'm a bit concerned about the bass module crossover, and soundstaging

Thanks again for the advice! I've already spent hours searching the web trying to form a view on everyone's recommendations.
the trios will fill your space with ease but they are beyond the budget mentioned. Depending on required volume levels you can add subs. the new 231 subs ( 2 x 12" driver per side) sound very good and I guess you would at least need 2 subs her side. this is all way beyond the mention budget but would be close to perfect to fill that huge room.
Man, I'd love a huge room. As an earlier poster suggested, you should try
to take advantage of the benefits. I don't like overdamped, dead sounding
rooms. And the fact that the ceiling is that high may help if you could
suspend some appropriate diffusion- almost like open wood frame 'cells' in
a matrix (think honeycomb, just not necessary that shape of cell) or slats.
same width/length may be problematic, but that could be rectified by
erecting something that functions as a freestanding partial wall behind you,
perhaps even partly used as vinyl or media storage if you were inclined. Or
flip the set up around, so that fake 'back' wall and the front wall are the
sides. See below re the glass windows issue, which could then be the front
and back walls if properly treated. In effect, you could create an acoustic
environment within the larger room.
There are good people who know acoustics, know how to measure, but I'd
be reluctant to let someone loose on heavily treating that room until you
know what you have and how to take best advantage of it. What are the
walls, ceilings and floors made of? You'll obviously have to deal with all the
glass, but the right window treatment (and perhaps not even 'acoustically
endorsed' but along the lines of those heavy curtains used in theatres)
could work. Too bad there's no way to show us a picture or three, unless
you set up a system page and post the pics there. I'd love to see the room.
I'm not going to advocate any particular equipment to you. The best
sounding room i had so far, not nearly as large, was in an old brownstone,
very high ceilings, real heavy plaster walls, very wide old plank flooring.
The room sounded marvelous on its own with minimal treatment.
Almarg makes good sense as usual :)

The larger Tannoys are another good possibility.
Fact is most any good speaker can sound good in a large room. The determining factor will be how much volume and bass is expected.
Another vote for Tyler Acoustics. After buying and selling a few different pairs of speakers and not quite feeling satisfied, I picked up a used pair direct from Tyler Acoustics. I'm blown away, it's like I'm sitting *inside* the music. I'll be keeping these for a long time.
Tyler Acoustics are one line I have never heard that I would like to hear. I have seen several models that look well suited for a large room.
I don't see the problem with a big room. In fact, the big room minimizes of a lot of potential problems that are the bane of smaller rooms such as early reflections, standing waves, inability to get the speakers away from room boundaries, etc.

If the intent is to fill the entire room with live sound levels, then not only are the speakers named not going to do the job, as has been pointed out, the amp isn't going to do the job either. To really pump out the SPLs without spending a small fortune on one or two super-amps, horns are about the only solution. That's just physics.

I've lived with a set of Edgarhorns for almost ten years, and while there is a lot to like about their efficiency, their uncanny dynamic jump, and their ability to play really loudly with just fractions of a watt, they are not the speaker for everyone. And, they can be hard to find used (and I don't know if they are available new anymore, though I just retired mine and would consider sending them to a good home. . .).

If however, you can live with sitting 10-15 feet from the speakers in the sweet spot for serious listening, and will be satisfied with less than live levels elsewhere in the room while other activities are going on, then just about any reasonably efficient speakers will do the job.

I'm currently using KEF 207/2s and with their 91db/w/m efficiency they do a very good job playing at levels as loud as I would ever listen within 10-15 feet. Even new they come in right around $20K.

If sufficient bass becomes a problem, there are any number of good self-powered subwoofers on the market. A stereo pair, positioned to make some use of boundary reinforcement would likely solve that problem, if it actually is a problem.

As far as room treatments -- go slow and do your homework first. Check out some of the websites (RealTraps, GIK Acoustics, ATS Acoustics), get some tools such as StudioSixDigital's AudioTools for iPhone or Android, and take some measurments. You might just find that your problems with the room are really minor.

Good luck!
Well, I'm a bit late responding, but, since no one has mentioned them yet, here goes.

With your stated tastes, you actually won't need super-efficient horns, etc., to listen to lifelike levels of music, IMHO. My only caveat is that I have been to some rock concerts where the sound was so loud I had ringing in my ears after the concert...I'm presuming you aren't seeking that level of sound pressure!

First, as noted above by Bvdiman, your Luxman is 'only' rated at 120 WPC for 8 ohms. However, the 509u's 240 WPC rating for 4 ohms is normally a good indicator of an amplifier design that does have the ability to deliver enough current to properly drive most speakers.

I believe you really owe yourself a trip to audition the Magnepan 20.7 speakers. Magnepans (when properly placed) will fill a large room with the most lifelike music I've ever encountered. Dating back to their beginnings, when the Magnepan Tympani was declared their new reference speaker when reviewed in The Absolute Sound, Magnepan has repeatedly raised the bar vis-a-vis lifelike musical reproduction.

When paired with a superior subwoofer that can accurately produce the bottom half of the bottom octave of music (I presently use an M&K, and would suggest you consider the M&K MX5000 with the upper filter set to coincide with the 3db rolloff point of your main speakers) I've found that friends who have invested a LOT more than I have marvel at the natural musicality of my Magnepans.

Yes, I know they aren't the most efficient speaker ever manufactured. Yes, they do require placement away from a back wall to produce the best sound (one reason they sound so good in a larger room?). No, they don't have some magical unicorn horn dust sprinkled on the unobtanium drivers or the snob appeal of some unique designs. What they do so well is allow you to close your eyes and 'be there' with a recreation of the recorded performance that can be stunning.

I wish you good fortune with your quest!

We have an essentially open first floor in our home. The kitchen, entry, dining room and back area are all open. Some walls are as far apart as over 50 feet and some of the ceiling space is over 15 feet high.

Having said that, we've owned Wilson speakers, including the Alexandria X-2's mated with a pair of Watchdog subwoofers.

But nothing filled our space with as much quality sound as our Anat III Signature Professionals. The powered sub could pressurize our very large space without any additional subs and the quality of the bass was more satisfying than the X-2's as well.

If you haven't heard a pair of Anats, please do. You won't be disappointed . . . either with the audition (assuming the setup has been done properly, of course) or with hearing them in your large room.

Those speakers are nothing short of my remarkable, and I've heard (and owned) my fair share of competitors.