Bookshelf spkrs revisited -Spendor/Dynaudio/FA

I have been looking for bookshelf or small floor standers to replace my B&W’s. I am in a difficult space (approx. 12 X13) with the speakers angled out from the corners. I have added more substantial curtains as well as a few acoustical panels (and a great deal of time tweaking). My system does well with female vocals and acoustical, but can be a bit fatiguing with male vocals and alt. Rock. I pretty much have concluded the present speakers are just too big for the room.

My system comprises a Krell HTS 7.1, Cary Cinema 5, Cary 306/200 with XLO sig & ref cables. I would like to get smaller speakers, which still have good lower end (sub only for HT) with a warm midrange and detailed highs w/o being etched or analytical. I rather give up a bit of detail for a warmer presentation.

I am having trouble demoing these speakers locally & doing it as I travel. As a result, I am not hearing the speakers under ideal conditions. I would appreciate your thoughts on being able to place the speakers close to the back/side wall (6” to 10” away), the ability of the speaker to create a big soundstage and the tonal characteristics.

So far, I have listen to the Dynaudio Contours 1.4 (with Adcom amp & preamp & arcam cd92) in a fairly large room. The speakers had a large sound stage with very good bass response. The presentation was forward & not sure if its electronics. When the speakers were placed to the back wall the soundstage was smaller & the speakers were less forward. The upper-end was pretty extended. I wouldn't say bright, but not overly smooth. Not sure what to think of this speaker yet. They offered to setup the speakers in another room to mimic my condition, but not sure the adcom (amp in particularly is a good way to demo these speakers). Are these speakers going to sound close to the B&Ws?)

I also had a chance to listen to the Spendor 5se (dealer had no monitors). I was really impressed with the speakers, but they were aligned with pretty smooth gear, audio research int. amp with cd3. It was a very nice, non-fatiguing presentation. I had a brief listen to it with the same preamp & an esoteric DV-50. The presentation lost some its midrange plushness and the upper-end was a bit grittier. The only down side with the AR set-up was the level of detail I couldn’t hear? Do you need to give up maybe that super-detail for a more polite presentation?) Will these speakers mate well with my electronics?

I am also expecting to home demo the FA fs688. No opinion on them yet, but hopefully they will be some where in between these two. At this point, I thought the Spendors were more livable than the Dynaudio, but I think I think I had a less then ideal set-up. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Found your thread very worthwhile, since I've been on a similar quest. Recently went to Toronto, and hoped to hear both the Spendor 5se and the Focus 688, for comparable reasons. That is; wondering if the three-way (3 x6 inch drivers plus tweeter; 41 inches high)in my small room is the best option. Spendor dealer was temporarily out of commission after a fire. Went to a retailer for Focus Audio, but they had no FS 688 in stock. So; I listened to the 788. If I can extrapolate from that experience, the FS 688 should be very fine indeed as a small room application.

I listened to the Dynaudio 25s elsewhere; a very agreeable well-balanced sound. They made me think some of what I have been hearing sacrifices some of the midrange to extremes of high and low. Some might find them a bit laid back; I would have snapped them up if I'd had an extra few thousand dollars in my jeans at the time.

I would suggest you audition Reference 3a's; perhaps starting with the Dulcets. I had a weekend audition at home; thought they had a special directness and liveliness to their voice, and a very nice balance across the spectrum. Neither the deepest of bass, nor the last word in sheer detail, but highly engaging and musical, and a relative bargain in my books. Perhaps the combination of small size and crossover-less amp to woofer design; they seem to bring out more music at low volume than anything I can recall.

Let us know how you make out.
p.s. How good were the Spendors for resolution of low level detail?
if you liked the Dynaudio speakers, you will probably like the Totem speakers. i liked the totems better than the dynaudio's. Try out the totem model 1's, great little bookshelf speaker. The totem forest or hawk speakers are a smaller floorstanding speaker with a full range sound. I have a couple pairs of the totem Mani 2's and these are a full ruange bigger bookshelf speaker.
good luck!
If you look at my 2 channel HT system and Bedroom systems, as well as some of my speaker posts, you will see that my speakers require placement near the back wall or inside of bookcases. The quest for getting good sound with these set-ups has taken me to purchase & experiment with a number of different speakers. With these types of set-ups, you should be looking at two types of speakers: acoustic suspension (sealed box) or front ported. Stay away from anything that is rear ported (which will disqualify a good number of speakers), as it will just not work. I will also add that given your set-up constraints, you should not spend a huge amount of cash on your speakers.

With that said, for my bedroom system, I have had excellent results with the NHT SB2 ($400 list) and the Omega Super 3/TS3 ($540) loudspeakers. The NHT's are a smallish, 2 way, sealed box bookshelf model that have a warm, musical presentation to them. They have worked well with all the music types that I listen to (pretty much everything with the exception of dance/electronica and hip hop). They give a respectable amount of bass and have a very listenable mid and upper range sound. The NHT's differ from B&W 's (300 and 600 series) in that the upper ranges are more relaxed sounding, not over emphasized like B&W's or bookshelf Polk's for that matter.

I recently have begun using the Omega Super 3/TS3's. I had these speakers built for me and opted for the Omega Super 3 product in the narrower TS3 cabinet. What excited me about these speakers is that they use one, high efficiency full range Fostex speaker ... no crossover.

.... (Anecdote ... one of the most satisfying small systems that I owned about 15 years ago used the original Bose 101 speakers (a single 4" speaker in a black indoor/outdoor enclosure) paired with a cheap ($130) Technics receiver and cheap a ($130) Pioneer CD player. Talk about a system that you would swear that you could hear inside the speaker and around the music) ....

Back to the Omegas... These speakers are front ported and are designed with both tube and solid state components in mind. These speakers are very musical sounding, without sounding overly lush. Absolutely dead-on with acoustic piano and vocals. Extremely clear sounding. They sound great played low. My wife commented on how good these sound (lite jazz; Norah Jones) and she is normally pretty indifferent to the whole audiophile thing. What could work for you with the Omega loudspeakers is that Omega offers an in-home trial/return policy. I am considering getting the Omega 6 Grande to replace the AR 302's (which I love) in my 2 channel HT set-up.

Lastly, in the interest of saving you some time, the speakers that did not work out in this type of near wall set-up were: B&W 302's; Optimus Pro 5 LX; EPOS 11; Acoustic Research 15; EPOS ESL3; and Wharfedale Diamond 8.1 (came the closest).

Regards, Rich
thank you for the responses. Based on some feedback I tried 3 different ATC speakers and came away pretty impressed. I also had a chance to hear the Contours again. They sounded much better with different equipment. It was a nice sound, but I think I prefered the ATC. I really need to try them at home, however.

I will probably listen to the Totem Sig 1 as well as a Triangle speaker when I get a chance. I look forward to hearing some more, so I can take some choices off the list. At this point, I will probably eliminate the Spendors since I cannot demo at home. I really like their sound with the AR gear, but don't know how it would sound in my room. It was a very musical and enjoyeable speaker, albeit it doesn't provide the same level of detail as the other speakers.

Once again, thank you for the comments