Green Mountain Audio Callisto disappear and you think the whole band is in front of you. These speakers never make you think they are small, they are just about the music.
Harmonic Precision Caravelles distributed by Star Sound Technology. Zu Audio Tones.
I recently came across a pair of real gems. They are the Aural Ersatz TAD-803 speakers from Bizzy Bee Audio, with Paul G's "single-driver, no-load tweeter mod." Actually I got them as part of the TAD-60 amplifier deal and had intended to sell them without even trying them, but that would have been a big mistake. These little guys sound amazingly good. The don't have quite the low end extension of large speakers, but the bass that is there is surprisingly articulate and tonally right. And through the midrange and highs they are very detailed, coherent, and natural sounding. They don't suffer from the usual crossover-related distortions/constrictions of multi-way systems, and that's where these Aural Ersatz TAD-803 speakers have a big advantage. There really is no crossover like no crossover. Plus, on many 2-way monitors, the designers set the crossover between 2 and 3kHz, which is in a sensitive part of the human range of hearing.
The TAD-803s look a lot like B&W 805s, and as crazy as it seems they can probably go head to head with the B&Ws and probably best them in a few areas. Sensitivity is 90 dB for these attractive 8-ohm monitors. Here's a link to more info and pictures. http://www.2baudio.com
They don't sound small, and they don't sound artificially large either. When set up properly they throw a huge detailed soundstage that extends way outside the speaker's boundaries.
Paul at Bizzy Bee Audio sometimes runs fantastic specials on these speakers so if you keep checking his website you can sometimes get quite a bargain. List price is $1499 and they look and sound like they're well worth it. The simple truth is that I like the speakers so much, that now I'd sooner sell the amp and keep the speakers. (But I'll probably keep both for a while.)
Silverline SR-17's. You won't believe you're listening to a monitor.
No, never heard anything small that even remotely sounded big....unless it came with a sub woofer
Zu Tones, on robust stands, driven by a forceful tube amp. Try to find a pair of used Osiris stands. It will be large and sensation, and when you have the cash, a Mini Method Subwoofer will complete the illusion.
Definitely the REVEL GEMs sound much much bigger than they look - and not only bigger they sound but simply wonderfully!!
ProAc Response 2s. They sounded "bigger" than the Magnepan III speakers they replaced in my system (this was in my pre-Gallo time). Dave
depends on your definifition of big..bose has marketed the dissappearing speaker to great effect for decades. generally, lots of small speakers throw a huge soundstage, and some of those are also pretty convincing covering the upper bass region. though lower bass isn't there (in lots of recordings it isn't there either), your ears will adjust(ie ls3/5.....totem one....europa....etc). big cabinets(particularly sealed enclosures and, to a lesser degree, transmission lines), generally offer a more balanced presentation, and deeper, more articulate bass. larger ported designs, tend to be more detailed(forward)in the midrange, and cover lower bass, though in most cases the bass region is less detailed and relies on viseral impact.
Soniq Mike -
If you want to get the real deal, try a pair of Verity Parsifal monitors. The complete parsifal has the bottom part of the speaker with the bass module in it, but you can just take the top monitor part and just them on a stand. I think they are $9Gs or so for the monitors.
They sounds HUGE and amazing. If you closed your eyes you would think you were listening to a big floorstander. And yeah, they easily extend into the low 40s if not high 30s in the bass.
For a lot cheaper, I also like the Von Schweikert VR1s. They have a full, relatively warm sound, but they don't obscure the deal like a sonus faber or something would. These guys sound much bigger than their size too
Plato, sounds like an add??
My JMlabs Micro-Utopias play quite large in my fairly small room. They're more than sufficient and my previous speakers were big floorstanding Alon Lotus'. I would say inroom bass get's into the mid 40's for me and it's quite tight and punchy.
Totem Mani-2's. Used to own a pair.....went tubes....got more effecient speakers. Wish I still owned them. Takes a lot of watts to drive them.....but big sound, big bass. Great monitor.
The Caravelles from Star Sound.
I would suggestthe relatively small but very LARGE soundind ZU Tone.
celsstion sl700 with a high cuurent amp (sonus faber extrema will do the same thing)
Totems - probably all of them, but I have personal experience with Mani-2s and Sttafs, and also, GMA Europa are worth mentioning. The Sttafs don't qualify based on your criteria as they are floor standers; however I would point out that Sttafs and other "small footprint" floor standers (of which there are many) take up no more room, and often less room than stand-mounts. For example, GMA Europas and Mani-2s should be mounted on 24" hi stands, which have a footprint of 12" x 13" or more, and a total height of 43". This compares to 7.5"x10"x35" for the Sttafs.
LS3/5a's sound much bigger than they are (which is tinny).
VSA VR-1 sounds big in a small to medium size room.
NHT SB3 gives great low end for a reasonable size bookshelf.
I think that most small speakers that sound big have a pronounced mid-bass bump that makes them more difficult to integrate with a sub. But if you are talking about a simple near-field set up it can be very pleasing.
Everyone knows small speakers they want to sound big. I have never found any small speaker to actually foot the bill; small speaker = small sound. It's physics. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing bookshelves. It's just that a person isn't going to get a floorstander performance from a pint size speaker.
Take any line of speakers and move from the monitors to the floorstanders. Huge difference. One monitor in any given line might sound better than a floorstander in another line. I think that is often confused with considering the smaller speaker to sound "bigger."
But it seems to be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow to consider a 1 foot tall monitor as being up to the task to compete with a floorstander with x cubic feet more volume for bass. If they could actually GET the performance of the bigger speakers without building them bigger, we'd have no big speakers to buy! They'd all be the size of the Boze cubes. (That's not to say that someday technology may take us there. maybe.)
If I had the 1 square foot of floorspace, which most of us do, I wouldn't even dream of monitors (unless budget or WAF dictated) if I could have floorstanders. And, yes, I've owned several pair of monitors over the years. I don't think I'd ever go back. A small speaker is what it is, not what it isn't.
"Take any line of speakers and move from the monitors to the floorstanders. Huge difference. One monitor in any given line might sound better than a floorstander in another line. I think that is often confused with considering the smaller speaker to sound 'bigger.'"
Good point. I feel that the "monitors" I now own from Intuitive Design sound better than the floorstanders I used to own from a different line. This is not to say that the floorstanders were bad, just that these monitors are phenomenal. The next step up in the Intuitive Design line is 38,000 dollars, then 65,000 dollars, so they're not a consideration for me.
Wilson Audio Duettes sound awesome. Almost without bounds!
Goatwuss, funny you mention the Parsifal, as I owned them for a period of 4 years - the whole bass module and monitor thing. I agree that the monitor alone is great, but I had really never used them as such when I had them. and frankly, for the price, I would go more full-range....
I just wish to get ideas on ''real world'' monitors, say, up to 3K or so...
Thanks for your post !
Spica TC-60s. John Atkinson wrote Stereophile about them,
"...excellent bass extension for a relatively small speaker... mid-treble is clean, clean, clean... The soundstage thrown by the Spicas on this atmospheric track was HUGE... The Spicas do the virtual space thing in a manner that is unrivaled until you start to get into kilobucks territory."
He wasn't wrong. They image like gangbusters, and at moderate volume levels, voices and instruments are presented life-size. Positioned correctly, the have much greater bass weight than you'd expect from a small speaker - acoustic bass and kick drum are convincing. I love mine. Every time I listen to Paul Simon's "Graceland", Lyle Lovett's "I Love Everyone", or Steely Dan's "Everything Must Go", I think "Wow!" On "But Beautiful", Boz Scaggs' voice floats solid and life-size ten feet in front of me, and when I look at the speakers I could swear they're doing nothing.
An absolute steal. Still, I found some change under my sofa cushions and am about to replace them with a pair of Martin Logan Aerius i electrostats - I've been spoiled by my Stax Lambda Pros.
Check out the Gallo Micro and A'Divas as well as the Orb speakers. Can't get any smaller then these and they do sound bigger then they look. I think it much have something to do with the spherical enclosure and baffleless design. Even though they are a single driver they do cover the full range except the deep bass. The Gallo Ti versions are even better.
You MUST check these speakers out!
Hamonic Precision Caravelles. As big a sound as I have ever heard from that size speaker, with the sonics top to bottom. I loved them...warren
Purchased used on Audiogon, the Platinum Audio Solo's are in the $600 range, and definitely qualify as smaller monitor speakers that sound large.
You didn't specify the size of your listening room, but these do quite a job, including providing enough bass quality and extension to provoke a broad grin upon first hearing what this smaller speaker can do.
My proac Tabulette 2000's with NNT Sub two sound awesome ! Check out my systems!
Proac monitors,Totem model one,Red rose,Diapason Adamantes.
Check out the Reference 3A Royal Virtuoso or Decappo but careful to match wih right amp. Many use with SET but the speaker's impedendance has a lift in and can result in a tilted treble. Or you can look into a pair of Sonus Faber Auditors.
green mountain Callisto sounds awesome and truely boxless!
By far! - the most dramatic example of this phenomenon I've heard is the Red Rose Monitor. This tiny box produces ridiculous bass. Overall- you may or may not love this speaker- but, as far as big bass from from a small box goes, this one is off the charts.
BTW - I own Parsifal/Encores and, although this is a much better speaker overall, the big sound/small box award definitely goes to the Red Rose.
Its more than physics...its room interaction and placement...small speakers can sound very big in the right(SMALL) room...that is what they are designed for afterall...that being said I like:
I'm just putting in a good word for a good product. Bizzy Bee doesn't spend money on advertizing. They mainly rely on word of mouth and satisfied customers who share their thoughts and experience in forums like this.
So my post may read like and advert, but it's basically my take on why the TAD-803s are able to impress me the way they have.
They lack a bit of extension at both frequency extremes, but the midbass through the lower treble region (where 90 percent of the music lies) seems a bit more coherent and transparent than many other highly acclaimed speakers that I've heard.
The feeling I get listening to the 803s is an intimate connection to the music that I get at some concerts (the better ones). This is opposed to other speakers that are hypercritical "reviewer's tools," but lead to premature listener fatigue. I thought some folks might be interested in a speaker like that, but maybe I was wrong.
Plato, Enthusiasm is still welcome on Audiogon.
Hopefully, each of us can be allowed to get the word out when we think something deserves more attention.
Your opinions in various discussions have already helped enlarge the pool of shared experience in a positive way. Keep on posting what comes naturally, which I believe is one of the Audiogon Ten Commandments.
The stand, btw, is a very significant element in the entire speaker package. A fundemental extention of the speaker. Good, great or primo monitors will never come into their own unless sitting upon a quality stand. And I don't mean Target. Stands can be very costly and be disproportional in price to the speaker. My Revel M20s use to sit atop the Sistrum Mini Monitor Platfrom system, which cost almost as much as the Revels. They were fabulous. And with the Caravelles atop? 'twas amazing.
jeez....are there any small speakers that don't sound big?
Jaybo, Your comment reminded me of a delightful review of how grocery store olives got their size names, including the ever popular super colossal, and super mammoth. Just be careful one of those doesn't roll off the dinner plate and land in your lap.
Check out www.sizes.com/food/olives.htm
I think I missed contributing to the past discussion about big speakers that sound small. The one where the mighty Wilson Audio Grand SLAMM humbled even the miniature Tivoli Table Radio in the competition to portray the smallest image of the famous buzzing bee in Rimsky-Korsakof's "Flight of the Bumble Bee".
Listener57 - LOL, what are the other 9? Most likely, most of us follow them all without even knowing it.
Soniqmike - After owned the full Parsifal Encores, why are you even posting in the speaker asylum? lol For serious, what is motivating you to find these elusive small-box-big-sound things after something like the Encores? You trying to challenge the world with parsifal competition in the $3 small monitor? If so - I hope the world is ready.
Like women...some speakers are bigger than others...but my wife sizes she likes HUGE speakers...I guess size does matter...ha!
Goatwuss, here are some answers...On the Parsifals: I did sell them for financial reasons, to allocate money for family priorities NOT because I was not thrilled by them.
Secondly, I am building a secondary smaller system and not looking for the absolute best or most expensive.
I guess It's like trying to find out that great value-priced wine that will taste way above expectations. Also, I would like the smaller speakers to ''fill the room'', and I do not necessarily mean with bass, but it does come into play. I would probably favor wide dynamics and power handling if I had to compromise, and of course truth of sound and accurate bass. I'm not looking for low, but looking for accuracy.
AS I mentionned before, I did try the Parsifals as monitors - but comparing it with the full bass cabinets is an unfair comparison...
Jaybo, not only are there small speakers that don't sound big, there are also big speakers that don't sound big !
Great point about some of these faux large speakers. Like the floorstanders that use 6" wide and 40" tall aluminum cabinets and have about four to six 4" bass drivers...
Yah, that's a joke for a big speaker. Nice to look at but c'mon, that's not sound. That's marketing. I think in particular of the Difinitive Mythos - hype. You fall for that and you've spent lots of money for mid-fi sound. Of course, most people don't REALLY care what it sounds like. They're too busy trying to impress others with the looks. Of course, WAF has vast influence on this issue...many of our bretheren suffer under the burden of WAF.
I recall the B&O speakers of old. Pretty, and pretty BAD sounding! Eye candy and ear crap. Made it into the Smithsonian primarily on looks, like a woman with great body and no wit. You'd be a fool to marry her. At least divorcing such pseudo speakers, you'd not need a lawyer.
Stand monitors will sound "BIG" in a small crib. Larger areas, high ceilings? Larger speakers will move more air. My Caravelles were perfect until I moved. 2 Caravelles = (2)6.5 woofers and 2 tweeters. 2 Zu Definition 1.5s. = (12) 10 inch woofers and 2 tweeters. Same footprint. Which do you think sounds bigger? Price of Caravelles with subs and stands were about the same as the Defs. The Caravelles just couldn't do it in the larger space.
My vote would go to the ATC SCM-7 bookshelf speakers. These speakers really sound "big" and can handle up to 250 watts.
Small speakers should not sound big.Trying to make them sound big gives them a fake sounding bass which detracts from their potential for purity of sound.[More excursion equals worse midrange]You are best off with a small speaker that only goes to about 60 hz and then using a subwoofer.
"Small speakers should not sound big.Trying to make them sound big gives them a fake sounding bass which detracts from their potential for purity of sound.[More excursion equals worse midrange]You are best off with a small speaker that only goes to about 60 hz and then using a subwoofer."
Good point, and probably true for most two-way designs. However, I can't detect this problem with the Intuitive Design Summits that I own, and I pointed that out in my review of that speaker. Maybe it would be an issue if they were cranked to ridiculously loud volumes. I haven't been able to hear it, though. I can only assume that they might sound even BETTER than they already do if they had an AGILE crossover set at or above 60 hertz, and ALSO were mated with subwoofers sufficiently fast and up to the task. As for now, no problems, even with hypervigilant listening.
Mdhoover,I just looked at the Intuitive Design website.I'm not saying your wrong .How could you not believe such a spiel?Very compelling stuff and obviously great science involved[cryogenics even]Almost as good science as Intelligent Design.