Full Range speakers for a living space


First (and long) post- sorry.

I know there is a similar thread going at the moment about NICE looking speakers, but I don't want to hijack that thread with my question.

I don't have a listening room, and nor do I want one, I love listening to music, with my wife (and friends - when the world returns to 'normal') in our living room [17.5' x 11.5' at the narrowest - but it the room opens out a few more feet. Ceilings are 13').

Sources are Aurender and Michell Gyrodec (with Dynavector Karat). Audia Flight phono, VTL 5.5 II pre and Gamut D200i power. All cables are Synergistic R Atmosphere L2
Current speakers are JM Reynaud Abscisse.

When I lived in the UK I had amps by Audiolab, Naim and Exposure, and I had various models of ProAc speakers.

My current system is better in most ways in comparison to those previous systems, the treble is sweater, the midrange is more open and detailed and the bass,midrange and treble are well integrated. However I don't feel the soundstage is enveloping as I would like. Nor can I pinpoint exactly where the musicians are. The lower range does not extend as far as I would like. And I just feel that a certain dynamism (I guess some would call it PRAT) feels lacking.

I am pretty certain I can improve on the first 3 of these with a change in speakers. I think my tube preamp may be affecting the PRAT, but I really do love the midrange I get, so I am aiming to stick with my VTL for now.

My music taste is principally rock: 60s classic psychedelia, 70's classic rock, 80's rock and synth-wave (think Depeche Mode) and almost the entire Metal spectrum from the originals (Black Sabbath) through the mainstream classics (Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Motorhead) all the way to modern Thrash, Doom and Black Metal. I also listen to classic EDM (Underworld, Chemical Brothers), Roots, Rocker and Dub Reggae and old school hip hop. Music that never gets played is female vocal, Jazz, classical, MOR Pop (except Neil Diamond after too much wine), AOR and especially Prog-Rock (Yes, ELP)

Given the dropped guitar and bass tunings in a lot of metal and how deep synth-bass can go I am thinking I need speakers that can go down to 24,25,26 Hz. Anything lower might overload my room.

Now comes the really hard part: I have specifics about the looks and placement of the speakers, because the room is still my living room so I really do not want a pair of Wilson Sophias sat in the middle of it :
1) I really do not want the FRONT of the speaker to me more than 3' from the front wall
2) I really do not want BLACK speakers
3) I would really prefer to have speakers that are stylish (which I know is subjective), but basically I am trying to avoid a simple tall rectangle
4) Budget is $15,000 new or used, in fact I have a preference for used since even the greatest speakers depreciate significantly the moment the original owner opens their crates - and I accept that this makes auditioning with my kit impossible - which is partly why I am reaching out for help.

So I have been thinking that sealed, TL, isobaric or bottom-ported speakers might help me get bass extension with room friendly placement. Thoughts so far are:
- Sonus Faber Armati (might be too deep physically)
- T+A Criterion
- Neat acoustics Ultimatum XL6 or XL10 (although these are tall rectangles)
- Egglestonworks Nine
- Lawrence Audio Double Bass (available in wood finish so I am told)
- Piega Coax 711 (interesting in silver aluminum)
- Paradigm persona 7F
- YG acoustics Kipod signature (passive and in silver - very hard to find one)

Obviously a Magico S3 M-Coat would be a fantastic option, but they are not within budget

If anyone has experiences with these speakers with a similar set-up to me or with similar music I would love to hear feedback and I am especially looking for ideas and feedback on speakers that might suit me. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Ian.



Ag insider logo xs@2xianellis
i have some free range speakers
they sound great
wild
but sometimes they crap behind the couch
WAF is low
very low
Metal and no low frequency control?

The only truly full range speakers use adjustable self powered subwoofers. Unfortunately, the speaker location is usually the worst place for the low end of the full range.

Most any room can handle crazy low frequency IF you have control.

You know Syzygy makes really small self powered wireless remote control sensibly priced subwoofers and I’m sure there are a few more choices by now. I imagine they’re mostly black though. 

You seem so close, why not the VTL 150 and a tiny sub?
@m-db Those Syzygy subs being wireless are extremely interesting. I think I could accommodate 3 of them without too much of an issue. The do only come in black, but I have a friend who runs an exceptional car wrap shop so I can always get them wrapped to a dark walnut wood grain finish.

(PS the VTL-150 is sidelined as it need re-tubing and I haved moved onto SS power.)

@ozzy62 Just for background this house is an 1882 brownstone. Someone in the 1970s/80s started modernizing it, but fortunately they did not get too far, and I have managed to spend the necessary time and money restoring it back: Repairing all the mouldings, and putting back fireplaces and doors. It still has original lath-and-plaster walls, which is why it is difficult to add new power outlets and impossible to run cables through walls. Being 'original' is also why there are zero room treatments, and to be honest with the look of the products I have seen for treatment, I cannot see any being added.
When facing the speakers midway on the right wall are the doors to the room. These are pocket doors and always open - leaving an opening 11' tall and 9' wide, onto the hallway, specifically the bottom of the main stairs.

To wrap up and hopefully this next statement is not anathema to this group:

If locating the main speakers far from the wall, adding subs and room treatments gives me sound that I consider 100% perfection. Then I will accept 80% if I can get that without doing any of those things and just change my main speakers.
If I ever decide on a dedicated listening room then I will shoot for 100%.
@ianellis I love the PMC Fact series.  The BB5 XBD is one of my favorite sounding speakers of all time.  But you don't get a lot of bang for your buck.  You have to spend considerably more $$ beyond the Fact series to get reference performance out of the PMC line. They're great, they're just not "giant killers" which is what most of us are searching for.  Unless we already own the giant in question :)

I have always believed that you're going to buy top tier reference speakers, they should outclass speakers costing far more.  I've represented several speaker manufacturers over the years but Legacy always seems to be the brand that causes peoples jaws to hit the floor or get that "goosebump" factor.  I decided to rep them after leaving RMAF absolutely floored by their performance and usually regard them as best in show year after year.  

But the real secret to getting any of the speakers in the Legacy lineup to have the magical sound signature you hear at the big audio shows is to pair them with the Legacy Wavelet.  Yes it's a $5k preamp/dac that does room correction.  But once you hear Legacy/Bohmer's implementation of frequency and time domain room correction in the wavelet, you'll never go back to listening without it. I prefer it over Dirac or Room Perfect.  Adding a Wavelet to a system is the auditory equivalent of upgrading your speakers and preamp. It's that drastic.  Just for kicks, try toggling the wavelet correction on and off during a listening session and you won't believe you were ever able to tolerate the sound before correction.

PM me if you're interested in any of the Legacy products, I'm extremely competitive with pricing for Agon forum members.  Best of luck on your search!


Vienna acoustics ‘the music’.