Big speakers in small room at moderate volume levels


My office is 11’W x 10’L x 9’H and is where I can listen to music for the next few years. I have a toddler and, for now, he has commanded the big spaces in the rest of the house. I have auditioned the Magico A3 and wanted to buy it but that was before I was relegated to the smallish office (I was expecting to move to a bigger room). I have removed the closet doors in this office room. The removal of the closet door gives me another 4 feet of depth to this room, though for only 1/2 width of the room. I can sit unobstructed 8 feet away from the speakers before I hit the area where the closet ends (so near field listening).

I currently I have KEF LS50 with Peachtree Nova 150. It is good and I can listen for the whole day without fatigue. I listen to FM, digital files on ROON, and my Sony SCD-1 SACD player. I want a bigger sound so I am looking at bigger speakers. I also do not want to use a sub since I am not a fan. I will also upgrade the NOVA 150 to the NOVA 500 in Spring 2019 and use with the LS50’s in a bedroom.

I came to the conclusion that my tastes would be best served by one of KEF Reference 1 or Magico A3. I was thinking that I would use the Lyngdorf 3400 in this room but I am having seconds thoughts on this now (some A’gon comments that it maybe a little dry). I am interested in solid state AB units like the Hegel H590 and Mark Levinson 585 to drive the speakers. I have heard the ML 585 and it is a fatigue free sounding unit that was a joy to listen to. I have not heard the Hegel H590 yet (but have heard other Hegels with KEF) and I am in the process of getting an audition of the H590. I have also discounted the class AB Micromega M-One 150 (with MARS room correction) because I do not want a cooling fan blowing in the room.

I must mention that I do not listen that loud when I am working and when I am working very late at night the volume is very low. The Mark Levinson and A3 combo was very good at low volumes during my demo but that was in the dealers perfect large room.

1) Am I making a mistake foregoing room correction with the 2 integrateds I am considering? Should I go with the Lyngdorf and A3 or KEF Ref 1, though I have never heard the Lyngdorf?

2) Will the Magico A3 work in this small room at moderate volumes WITHOUT room correction or will I subject myself to headaches and fatigue?

I am going to ask the dealer selling the A3’s this question when I am ready to buy but i wanted to ask on A’gon first to get some feedback. I doubt I could get the A3’s into my room for a trial but I have not asked the dealer yet.

I think (not 100% sure) the KEF Reference 1 with a non room correcting amp should work in my office space but I would prefer to buy the Magico A3 for the office. I have plans to buy another KEF model once my kid is a bit older and I can kick him out of the big room.
yyzsantabarbara
I am surprised you liked the Persona, I audition them, here in Germany (I believe Magico and Paradigm share distributor). They were so bright, glossy and coarse, and the bass was out of tune, don't know why would anyone prefer them to the A3 (or the Focal Sopra or the Sabrina), but that is just me. BTW, a friend of mine, that is also a reviewer for a hifi magazine, told me that the drivers are not pure Beryllium. Apparently, you can mix beryllium with aluminum, to reduce cost.
@mheinze When I first heard the Persona 5F with the Lyngdrof 2170 I was ready to go home after 5 minutes. I selected the Lyngdorf because of the DSP feature. We did not use DSP during the demo because the room was rather large and the DSP was not as crucial as in my office. I wanted a sense of the Lyngdorf without DSP (a pure amp test).

The Lyngdorf sans DSP was truly awful with the Persona 5F. I imagine it sounded exactly like you are describing in your demo. I asked the dealer if this sounded correct and he said no. He agreed it sounded bad. I asked what he demos the Persona with and he said Macintosh. I am not a big Mac fan and luckily they had sold all their Mac amps the previous month.

I asked them to use the analog preamp out (RCA) of the Lyndgorf and connect it to the Simaudio 860A amp (had to convert to XLR on the amp I think). This was a glorious sound. just fantastic. I liked it more that the Magico A3 and Mark Levinson combo. Most of the things I was looking for were very equivalent between the 2 speakers except that I got the sense that there was better integration of the tweeter and mid on the Persona.

I also listened to the Magico A3 with the Benchmark DAC3 + AHB2 amp and it was not as good as with the Mark Levinson 585 integrated. I sold the Benchmark gear after that. So this was a great example to me of how the pairing of gear is really important. Another reason I was willing to give the Persona more of a chance to shine.

The dealer mentioned to me that the Lyngdorf + Simaudio 860A combo was the best he had heard the Persona 5F. I can see how people have ran out after listening to the Persona. The top end can be bright with the wrong electronics.  On the online forums I read a lot of people suggesting pairing up the Persona with amps that I think would be awful with then, such as, Bryston, Benchmark AHB2. I am sure others but these 2 are amps I have owned and I think they would not sound good with the Persona.

At the moment the Persona is my choice but I have a few more speakers to go. I would look for a warm sounding SS amp to drive the Persona. I do have concerns that the Persona may not be ideal for 8 hours, but that is just a guess. I will do another demo later with the DSP stuff and come to a better conclusion.

Being in Germany have you had the opportunity to hear the Yamaha NS 5000? Now that speaker has some radical design and material.
Did not hear the Yamaha, so can’t comment. I believe the Persona was driven with Pass electronics, which are typically very sweet (It was so bad, I did not bother to explore further). I am not a big fan of DSP, so my preferences may be different than yours. I also don't like Simaudio at all I find them extremely unmusical and fatiguing (again, same distributor here so easy to audition). 
@drewan77 posted the following response to a DSP question I posted on the DEQX game changer thread.

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/is-deqx-a-game-changer/post?postid=1681789#1681789

@mheinze The Pass should have been a good match for the Persona for my ears. I think I would have liked the demo you had in Germany. You may really hate some amps I have owned in the past. I thought the Simaudio was warm sounding compared to those other amps.

I am not necessarily a fan of DSP. I am just not a fan of small rooms. I will tolerate DSP if the small room can be fixed.

Sly and the Family Stone said - "Different stokes for different folks". I think that is what we are seeing here.