Full Range Speaker That Can Play Near Boundaries

Application calls for a full range speaker in the 10K range that will work well in a 13 X 17 room but little ability to move the speakers out into the space due to furniture and WAF issues. (Speakers will be maximum 18" from front wall either positioned on long or short wall). Looking for a real music lover's speaker, not a hifi demonstration. Very real midrange--lively and tonally correct with taught bass (not bloated or slow), dynamic yet non-fatiguing sound. Soundstaging and imaging are secondary to accurate tonality and lack of coloration. Suggestions?
Gradient Revolution comes to mind, though difficult to drive (93db) are made to be placed near the wall and have neutral midrange.
Hyperion HPS-938 - very natural and warm with incredible midrange. No fatigue and no coloration. Seamless transition from bass unit to midrange and from midrange to tweeter. Very dynamic fast bass with great control. Imaging is also great - laid back and very accurate. Read reviews.

If you think it's too good to be true you're right - they are ugly (unless you like black piano finish) resembling coffin. I got used to looks now but at the beginning it looked bad. Small advantage of piano finish is that piano repair shops can fix scratches.
If you can for corners, I'd say Audio Note speakers. Of course, they'd work best with at least an amp change in your system, too. $8k AN-E SE review, $6k AN-E review, $6.5k AN-E SPe
The North Creek Big Kat: http://www.northcreekmusic.com/Kitty/Big_Kat_Info.htm

I have no experience with them though.
Full range in a room that small might be quite a challange.
I was also going to suggest Audio Note AN-E loudspeakers based on your set-up requirements. Frankly, they seem like they'd be ideal.

However, your requirement for accurate tonality above all else makes me hesitate. The AN-E sound incredibly good, but I'm not certain there aren't other speakers that are more tonally accurate.
Numerous challenges arise from near-the-wall placement in a small room: Early reflections are inevitable, degrading the imaging and usually tonality (especially in the midrange and lower treble); room gain will boost the bass region more than the designer planned for; and bass modes are especially audible in small rooms.

In my opinion good radiation pattern control and speaker setup can minimize (but not entirely eliminate) the negative effects of early reflections. Adjustability in the bass region can be helpful as well. Ideally I'd want to use multiple asymmetrically distributed bass sources (several small subs scattered around the room) to smoothe out the bass, but that's usually only practical in a dedicated mancave.

The requirement for good radiation pattern control (which the Revolutions mentioned above offer; disclaimer: I'm a Gradient dealer) usually call for larger speakers than what one normally sees in a small room, but even though that's counter-intuitive when done right I believe it's the best solution. I have come to believe that good radiation pattern control becomes more and more important as the room size shrinks.

I don't know your budget, but Wilson Duettas were designed for that express purpose and sound wonderful.
From your review:

"My DA-1.1's are 7.5 feet apart (tweeter to tweeter) and I sit 10.5 feet away. The speakers are 2.5 feet from the front wall. Distance to the front wall is not crucial--2 feet is plenty."

What wrong with your current speakers?
I have the North Creek Eskas, which I like a lot: sweet and musical. They go very close to front wall. Have not heard the Big Kats which Face mentions, but they are said to go quite a bit deeper than the Eskas, and I expect they are very fine.

Yesterday I heard the Legacy Whispers, a large full range speaker with open baffle bass drivers that are said by designer Bill Dudleston to work near boundaries and in smaller rooms. They are impressive.


The older Merlin VSM SE was a little thin through the mid-bass when placed in free space. The octave to octave balance fleshed out a bit with hear wall placement and actually sounded a bit more natural to my ear. However, I also felt that the speaker's fantastic imaging ability is degraded just a bit when used this way. Some discreet treatment for first reflections and this can be a good solution for your problem. I had them in a slightly smaller space and was generally pleased with the results.

Good Luck

Check out the Guru speakers. They are specifically designed to be placed close to a wall.
The Opera Seconda is priced well short of $10,000 but is an excellent speaker.I have driven them with both a 50 WPC tube integrated and a 160 wpc Muse 160 mk.II with excellent results.They are a sealed box design and do well where I have had problems with other speakers(near the rear wall).
Thanks for your responses so far--some models mentioned here that I've never heard of so that is welcome. Kana--my current speakers are fabulous and I never thought I would part with them but we have put an offer in on a home where my listening room will shrink from the current open floor plan with a main listening area of 15 X 23 X 9 to a 13 X 17 X 8 closed in room. The DA-1.1's may end up being too large a presence in the smaller space which will have lots of furniture that will keep them pinned to the rear wall so I'm looking for options in case the deal goes forward. One speaker I am considering is the Vandersteen Quatro which has a powered sub that can be contoured to the room and is slightly smaller physically than my DA-1.1's. I'll do some investigating of the options mentioned here as well.
A used pair of Legacy Whispers if you can find them will do exactly what you want. They are designed to specifically minimize interaction with the room and can be placed near corners. Open baffle compound dipole bass with included processor to adjust bass level as necessary. They image very well to boot. I owned a pair for about 3 years in a room nearly identical in size to yours and they worked great in that room (13 1/2 x 17 x 8).
Dodgealum -- Have you asked Lou if he thinks the DA-RMa might be suitable? I would think that its more controlled dispersion, relative to that of the 1.1's, and its less extended deep bass response, and its slightly smaller physical depth might all make it more suitable to a smaller room with a smaller wall-to-speaker distance. Also, the closer proximity of the drivers to each other would reduce the listening distance that is required for them to blend properly.

-- Al
What Audiokinesis said about large speakers. I like my Altec Model 19s (I know, broken record) in a small room. Another American in Japan with Model 19s seems to think the same thing - they go well against the back wall and almost out to the edges of the room. Duke (Audiokinesis) may be able to confirm that Altecs would work well in such a space. While they are big, the fact that they don't need to be pulled out from the back wall (though the boxes themselves are more than 18" deep), or in from the sides means that they take up less space than you'd think - also counterintuitive. A real musiclover's speaker. They roll off a bit in the treble, but the mid/treble driver can be replaced with a BMS unit with relatively little effort I am told.

They don't meet your price target. They are a lot less.

And if those are just plain too big (and they are big - though they look somewhat mid-century furniture-esque with the grills on), you can try Model 14s. K-horns might work as well, but they aren't small either.
I use my Altec A7 in my office they sit right up against rear wall.Most horns can be placed near wall.
Maybe not your cup of tea and nowhere near $10k, but would seem to fit small room, near boundary requirements, and sound attributes you desire:

Rhythm Prisms

Yes the 45 degree toe-in works as I have the larger Jazz Modules and this will definitely minimize the early reflections while providing a larger sweet spot.
I would wait first to see if you actually move and if you do you might find out that your current speakers work fine in a room that size. If they don't pursue the new speaker.
My room is 14 x 18 and you would be surprised all the speakers that work in that space. BTW if you need new speakers check KCS speakers. Johnk answered above and he can build you a great speaker that will work in any room.
How about Merlin;the only thing I don't know for sure is
if they are sensitive to placement near the wall;great speakers and Bobby gives excellant Technical Support to his products.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
OMG. It's the end of the world as we know it.
LOL! But there's still hope, if the possibility I suggested (DA-RMa's) could work out.

-- Al
I was just over at the home inspection today and think I can make the DA-1.1's work in the space--so Michael you can relax! I do feel that the DA-RMa's may end up being a better fit and will discuss this with Lou. My preference is to stay within the Daedalus line so I'll bring my DA-1.1's over and see how they work and then take it from there. I'm thinking the aperiodic vent, which does not emit much backwave through the ports, will allow me to back them up to the wall fairly close. I will undoubtedly lose some soundstage depth but this would only be temporary until we build the man cave in what is now the garage area. Then I'll have a hell of a listening room!
Duke (audiokinesis) has just released a new speaker that looks like it was designed to meet your needs. They are called Rhythm Prisms and are discussed here: http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=78557.msg745554;topicseen#new
I will also chime in with a recommendation for the Gradient Revolutions. I have heard them sounding great in quite small rooms backed up near the wall.

Audionote speakers are also designed for near wall/corner placement and sound very good too. They have the advantage of being much easier to drive, and the disadvantage of being quite ugly to look at while the Gradient is quite handsome. It may seem odd to recommend both because they sound so different (Gradient is more of the lighter texture "airy" sound, Audionote is warmer, somewhat bloated in the upper bass), but, both are quite musical and pleasing to me.

A friend has a small and rather difficult room to get decent sound, but, he has finally found a speaker that works in the room. He has a pair of the floorstanding Sonus Faber Liuto speakers. This is a smoother sounding, less top end emphasis, speaker than most of the prior SF lineup.
Duke (audiokinesis) Does look like a sweet deal at the price. Sure Duke has the design very well sorted, Plus if you like buying from one of the most helpful guys in audio. Dukes your man. Kind of a win win you get wonderful sound and support from old Duke.
I agree with what people are saying about Duke's speakers and if you are going to get new speakers Duke's design should work great.

Another solution if you want to keep your speakers is to use room correction. The Lyngdorf products will give you flat bass response improve imaging greatly and allow you to put speakers against the back wall or in the corners.

I am a Lyngdorf Dealer.