I think Wilson Benesch speakers sound great and work well in small or larger rooms. I would look at the ARC or Discovery. Both are ported on the bottom making them work in a boundary situations. In your room I would consider putting them on the long wall giving you space on the sides.
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Marten Design Coltranes would be hard to beat in performance/size. i seriously considered them for the rear channels of my 2-channel room.
other possibilities would be the Kharma Midi and Mini Exquisites.
those would be my top small 'cost-no-object' speakers. i did own the big Exquisite 1D's in my 12' x 18' room for three years and they were magnificent in that room.
your system uses the same gear as mine; and assuming that you already like the 'sound' of your Kharma's.....any of the above speakers would take you much further down that path.
i had the Kharma Midi Exquisities in my room for 4 months; very nice. but the Kharmas are much more expensive than the Coltranes (which are already expensive at US List price of $50k).
i don't know if $9500 meets your definition of "cost no object," but for that you can own the most magical sounding speakers i have ever heard: the Auditorium 23 Solovox. Based on what you have said are your musical tastes, I highly recommend that you give these a listen. Look for links to reviews on tone imports website. i just ordered a pair to replace my Avantgarde Duo's.
If you can, try to audition Verity speakers. They are really special with darTZeel amplification, and all but the largest models work great in smaller rooms.
Coltrane is a great speaker too, but it's not for everybody.
You might want to listen to the YG speaker too, the Anat Reference on stands (without the large bass module). Fantastic speaker, and I think that could work fine in your room.
And of course, don't overlook MBL 121. :)
Thanks Mike...I do like my speakers though with development of new tweeters incl Kharma's own diamond, I am intrigued. But the basic sound, definitely yes. I probably will first try my existing speakers but wonder if they will over power the room. After speaker set up and chair we are talking about say 10-12 ft btwn the two positions. I was thinking of the Mini Exquisites, Coltranes (same accuton driver+ diamond tweeter approach) or the Magico Minis....all with possibly a subwoofer though that would over power the room as well
Henry- Why not a pair of Evolution Acoustics MM1s or MM2s? With the MM2s you would have plenty of adjustments for the bass, and the mids and tweeter are the best I've heard bar none. The depth of the cabinet may present a problem, but the way it tapers and the small width I think it would work.
It sounds like you will have plenty of listening chair-to-speaker distance for the MM2s to integrate well. My speakers are about 9 feet center to center and I sit a little over 9 feet away and the speakers are totally coherent and disappear.
I think the MM2 is by far a much better value than the other speakers mentioned and would absolutely work in your room (use the extra funds to buy room treatments as mentioned below). About 4-5 feet off the front wall to the front baffle of the speaker, 7.5 feet apart center to center, and sit about 9 feet away. Use a Mini Trap HF to take care of the first reflection points on the side walls, some Mondo Traps and Tri Corners in all four corners of the room for broadband bass absorption, and some diffusion behind your listening position (not sure where the door and windows are). Use the controls on the MM2 for final tuning- enjoy!
I selected the Verity Audio Parisifal Ovations because of the refinded full range from a smallish box. The caveat is that you may have to fire the base cabinets forward, which can alter the sound a bit....
But, if you expand, you can turn them backward (as I did after I moved) and let them rip!!!
Enjoy the seach....
BTW - Search the SF Startavais, there is a guy on this site that has them set up in a relativly tiny room and has no complaints.
Talon Thunderhawks with the Rives Audio Sub-PARC for each. Similar driver component to the Coltrans that Mike Lavigne mentioned (excellent speaker), except the bass is 2 8 inch drivers and it has the ability to be actively crossed over. Using the Rives Sub-PARC you can crossover the bass, parametrically EQ, and it has a digital amp built in. This speaker was specifically designed to give big convincing sound in smaller, or less than acoustically friendly spaces. We design rooms all the time, and have probably run into just about every issue imaginable--thus the Thunderhawk was developed with room acoustics (particularly small rooms) in mind. The Thunderhawk retails at $25,000, a pair of Sub-PARCs is $9,000.
Of course, as a disclaimer, Rives Audio manufacturers the sub-PARC and owns Talon Loudspeakers. Thus, while we certainly have a biased opinion, your situation is the poster child for why we designed this combination.
I'm building a cost no object room now that is similar in size. I will be using the Wilson WP7 and complete WATCH surround system. This is another RIVES room and though it started out much larger, over 1/3rd of the cubic foot space is bass trapping!
I seriously doubt that I will be upgrading speakers anytime soon. Kind of funny... the Talon Thunderhawk looks very similar to the WATT/Puppy!
Just pushing buttons Richard!
Wow...lots of suggestions and very much appreciated. Overall it seems all these speakers, some of which I am familiar with, you all are saying it would not dominate the room with some proper treatment...certainly hope so. perhaps I could just try my existing speakers to get a feel then think about a possible upgrade path.
On some of the recommendations
Merlins: heard a lot about them and do want to hear for myself but note sure they have any distribution where I live, which is Hong Kong
Evolution: same as above but even more so!
Wilson: familiar and simply put, not my cup of tea: I respect them but can;t fall in luv with them, though I do wish to try the Duettes given they can be placed close to the wall which would increase distance etc
Talon: perhaps and certainly worth investigating...but the PARC gets inserted btwn the pre and prw amps correct? If so I wonder what it means for my Dart 50 ohm Zeel connections....
Verity: Actually audtioned them today...at a dealership and it was the Parsfail..driven by Mcintosh solid state. Impressions: very neuiral, accurate, and delineated instruments incredibly, pin point location/imaging...but they lacked oompth, and they seem to not do instrumental colors, the body of sound as much as I like or search for...perhaps with the Darts this will all chg but food for thought anyway.
Auditorim: I do not these and will try to check them out
Wilson Benesch: on my list
In general, in small rooms, I would think rear ported speakers may something to avoid?
The new Sonus Faber Elipsa's (scaled down Stradivarius); The ifinite baffle design minmizes room reflections. From Sumiko website:
Chief among the physical design elements is the use of the infinite baffle form pioneered on the Stradivari. Extensive use of sub-structural stiffening spars breaks up remaining resonance nodes. Wider than it is deep, this elliptical cabinet construction couples easily with even difficult room acoustics allowing bass to roll effortlessly into the listening space. Here, the form is more tightly tailored and the reduction in overall scale works to its advantage allowing it to be easily integrated into a variety of listening spaces.
With the Thunderhawks the Sub-PARC gets inserted between the pre and the amp. The only thing in the circuit for the Hawk section is the active crossover--no parametric. This is NOT a PARC, but it does use the PARC circuit for the low frequency modes. Give us a call if you want to go into detail into how it works.
May I humbly suggest for your consideration the new "Neeper" Perfection One loudspeaker from Denmark? More info at:
Absolutely amazing - we are very excited to be distributing this new ultra-high performance design!
Jim Ricketts/tmh audio
This is a bit tricky. I like speakers that come alive at low volume for small rooms. At higher volume, small rooms overload and become muddled and unpleasant sounding. Unfortunately, the best sounding speakers at low volume tend to be very large in size (horn-based systems), making them impractical unless you don't mind filling up the whole wall with speakers (i.e., you are a Japanese audiophile).
Of the stuff I heard that was of reasonable size and meant to be placed in a small room (near the corners or near the back wall, etc.) I would suggest looking into the following:
Audionote (uk) speakers. A vast lineup with prices up to and above the $100k mark. All are suitable for small rooms and sound good at reasonable volume.
Gradient Revolution. I heard these several times at CES/T.H.E. Show and thought they sounded very good in the small hotel rooms they were set up in.
Gryphon Cantata. A small system that I heard in a relatively large room, but I bet they will sound nice in a small room too.
Magico Mini. A very lively sounding system, but some may find the upper midrange too forward.
I dropped by a dealer whom I know very well...and listened to the Magico Minis again....very nice indeed, very nice.
But I also got to listen to the Model 6....WOW...obviously far to big for my room, but holy crap they are good. They were being driven by an all Audio Research system of Ref CD, Ref 3 and the ref 610 (I think? the top of the range) mono blocks...staggeringly natural
Oh and the Elipsa are in HK I found out so will arrange a visit.
Unfortunately over here, home demos are not provided
Home demo of speakers is not common anywhere (too easy for a customer to damage the finish). But, the good news for you is that you will be listening in the near field (close to the speaker) at home so you can audition in the near field at the dealership. This removes a lot of the room acoustics variables and gives you a good sense of what the speaker will sound like in your own room. A lot of speakers actually do not sound good in the near field because they are balanced to sound good at a distance (high frequencies drop off faster so a speaker balanced for the far field will sound bright up close; sound only integrates at a great distance for some speakers).
I listed a few speakers above, but I forgot to mention other possibilities. I heard the new Quad electrostatics and I think they are the best Quads ever (yes, better than the 57s). Although electrostatics nead to be away from the back wall, they do have big advantages in small rooms -- they sound very dynamic at lower volumes, and, because the opposite polarity soundwaves from dipoles cancel at the sides, they actually interact less with the sidewalls of the room.
I am quite familiar with all of the Sonus Faber models except the Elipsa and current Guarneri. I haven't heard those, but my guess is they are contenders for a small room.
Hey guys, these speakers are getting very expensive very quickly? What about looking into some older approaches to spakers such as the Stonehenge series from Iconic Speakers? I was thinking of trying to hear a pair of these:
What are your thoughts? Once again, small room tube amps?
Good point, tubes or solid state would be a personal preference.
I was told (but I cannot confirm) that you couldn't do better with a large coax driver in a large box for a small room. I have personally never heard such a speaker, but I was curious if anyone in this thread could contribute to this idea of the Iconic Stonehenge Model V.
I have not heard the speaker, but am considering a trip to the factory to audition.
I too am in the same boat. But it is very difficult to replace the Living Voice speakers I currently own. I can say good things about the OBX2 however. They are very nice.
I have them setup in a 12' x 12' listening area in a room that is 12' x 24' and they sound great. My setup has them wider than expected considering how close I sit.
Trade-offs, that's what speakers are all about right?
Here is how I would describe the pros and cons of the OBX:
* Dynamic range is very good. These speakers have bite if called upon.
* Refined sound from top to bottom in terms of frequency spread - smooth sounding w/o any horrible gaps or bumps.
* Fast and well controlled. The mid bass, I've had others over to hear them and some very respected ears have commented on how much mid bass texture is revealed. But keep in mind, this is a bass reflex ported box, I'm sure you will get a cleaner low end with a sealed box. But the low end is always problematic.
* Good detail across the frequency spread with the exception in the mids, I suspect the cross over from the 2 mid bass drivers to the tweeter. You really have to listen to pick up on this, it is not obvious.
The OBX is a very well balanced speaker from what I've heard. You always want more after time, but when I go to listen to other speakers, I seem to come back satisfied with what I have. But I have to disclose that I am budget minded and I try to look at value. So my comments may not apply to this thread.
You are on the cutting edge of this hobby by looking at your system. I look forward to reading about your journey with your next speakers! Please keep us informed as to the direction you go.
Proac 1sc, Totem Mani2, Dynaudio C1
I suppose it depends on whether your looking for sheer accuracy or say a slightly warmer sound.
A smaller speaker will certainly give you the illusion of no speakers at all especially in a smaller room, but if your mostly a lights off kind of listener it wont matter as much.
I had a chance to listen to the Magico Mini and the V3 today in completely different systems. The Mini is a tremendous speaker, you definitely have the power, and should go hear these asap. :) Very nice 2 way indeed. The V3 will give you lower response, but it's a step down in refinement.
How goes the search?
Hearing them makes me want to look at a solid state amp now...:) But, alas, my room is only so big, I cannot have a 'collection' of audio gear laying around as I have no intention of letting my Lamms go anytime soon.
i think you have gotten a lot of good suggestions, but will just throw in my 2 cents for the Merlin VSM-MXe. I have an 11x18 room and I don't think for a room this size there is a better speaker, at least not for my taste, which as you know differs from listner to listner. I also think very highly of the Verity line. With your size room probaly the Fidelio would be the right size. While the Parsifals ar better, not for your room.
Check out the Tetra stuff, maybe 506, 406, etc. www.tetraspeakers.com. These are somehow a bit different than most other box speakers... They have a different feel. These are fairly popular with musicians - they cerainly aren't studio monitors, but are sort of the 50/50 blend of 'the high end' with professional recording requirements - which have much better nearfield listening characteristics and overall are more accurate to the recording, sometimes to a slight fault where other epeakers we might be more used to are colored in a way that perhaps improves bad/flawed recordings.
The main thing here is that they certianly hold their own versus similarly prices 'high end' speakers and have really incredible nearfield response (not always a goal for high end speakers), so could be perfect.
Thx Pubul...Merlin does interest me but not sure if they have distrubutor here in Hong Kong...did try the Parsifals and while the soundstaging...no the location of instruments within the soundstage was incredibly precise, and overall resolution was very impressive I did not find them to be my cup of tea. They lacked that body of tone, tonal color when called for ,..at least to me. Tubes may do the trick and perhaps my Darts which excel at this will help as well, but ceteris paribus I think some others that I have tried so far like the Magico Minis or Kharma Mini-Exquisties are more along my tastes.
James, you are the first one to comment on the V3s i've seen. Can u elaborate a bit more in relation to the Minis?
You really must treat the room, otherwise you will never get the best performance from any speaker that lives in it.
The smaller the room, the more it needs to be treated.
Take some of the money you plan on spending on speakers and buy some bass traps for the corners and RFZ panels for the 1st reflection points. This is money well spent and you will not regret it. Take a look at Real Traps and budget about $4k if you are serious about getting a good sounding room, regardless of speaker choice.
The V3 was setup to a pure Zanden system, the 90 watt monoblock push-pull 845 amps, the preamp, and the transport/dac signature combo. I did not check the wires, but I did notice the Nordost speaker wire. They were in a large room about 8 feet up from the back wall. I do not know the room measurements.
Detail was there, bass was there, but I was not able to critically listen because I did not have my own CDs. I was just getting a casual sense for them. But I heard all I needed, they didn't do much for me.
I was disappointed in the Zanden monoblocks. But then again, different system completely and setup in the dealer may have been less than optimal.
I went into a much smaller room (about half the size of the last) where the Minis were playing, driven by Burmester gear with a Metronome CD player. I think the amp was about 280 watts per channel.
Now I can see why these speakers are getting attention, tremendous detail, and coherency that is in a whole other league from the V3.
The Burmester gear I've heard before, good, but not my cup of tea. I would love to hear the Mini on a high power tube amp of some kind. They do require lots of power from what Mr. Wolf replied to me, when I asked about my ML2s. He said they would be fine with the V3, not the Mini.