Have you gotten great sound in a small er room?

I have a room that's 13 x 20 with the old part of the room having 8' ceilings and the newer construction nearly 10'. I found that firing the speakers across the short wall was interesting sonically: more open-sounding than firing down the long wall (which I've traditionally done). The sound is more layered, but the imaging diffuse. However, the sidewall reflections are much more reduced (and i have considerable ASC tube traps, and an ASC wall damp in the room.
What's your experience in a smaller room? Were you able to get both the music, and the soundstaging to cohere in a smaller room?
My room is smaller than yours (approx. 10' X 15' with it opening to the rest of my place on one of the shorter wall sides with windows on the other shorter wall) and I have my system along the long wall.

Obviously, it's not as deeply layered as I'd like it to be but the layers are there with great and stable imaging. Nothing diffuse, with quite sharp definition unless it's an orchestra.

LIke you, I have no sidewall reflections to speak of since the first, dominant signals reach me quickly due to the nearfield setup. As for the soundstage itself, it's can be wider than the speakers and the height is stable from edge to edge. The only room correction I have is my lounge and a carpeted floor, along with that opening one to side and a small computer desk and CD cabinet.

The sweetspot is small (about 3') but it's wonderful. I can't say why you don't have sharper imaging but keep experimenting :-)

All the best,
Sure, but my room (19.5 x 13.5 x 9) has two large openings one on the long wall and one on the short wall. The speakers are on the short wall 10' apart and 5.5' off the wall behind them. The my ears are about 4.5' off the back wall. The system is triangulated and the center is a few inches off center to change radiation patterns. The speaker's, on-axis, are toed in well in front of the listening chair to reduce sidewall reflections and change the ceiling radiation patterns. Room treatments are limited to strategically placed domestic furnishings including an 8xll ft rug. Sounds pretty good to my ear. :-) BTW, it took me a long time to get this system set up and it included finding speakers that worked best in it as well as electronics.

I tried setting them on the long wall but I was unable to get the same 'spaciousness' and bass response. I did however get an excellent near field response, sans bass, due to the elimination of much of the reflections.
Easier than in a big room, unless its REALLY small.
My room is 13.5 x 22 x 8, and is wood-panelled. I have the speakers placed along the short wall, firing along the long dimension of the room. See the pix and the last paragraph of the first post in my system description for further particulars.

Obviously there are many variables and dependencies that relate to your question, including the radiation patterns of the particular speakers. But FWIW, in my particular setup I've been very pleased with tonality and imaging, and the one significant room-related anomaly I've perceived is a deep bass suckout centered at around 45 Hz.

I've determined via measurements with test tones and an SPL meter that the cause of that is a rear wall reflection, the distance between my listening position and the rear wall being about 6 feet. Which surprised me somewhat, because the central part of the rear wall is an opening to another room.

Rear wall reflections will cause a deep bass suckout, to some degree, centered at a frequency in Hz of about 281.5 divided by the distance in feet from the listener's ears to that wall (281.5 is the speed of sound in dry air at 68 degrees F (1126 feet per second) divided by 4).

So while placement along the long wall would have the advantage of reducing the magnitude of side-wall reflections, a potential disadvantage is that the reduced distance between the listener and the rear wall will raise the frequency of that deep bass suckout. The last paragraph of Newbee's post, describing his experience, seems consistent with that. And of course additional issues may come into play with long wall placement if the speakers cannot be positioned far enough from the front wall to be optimal for their particular radiation patterns.

As is usually the case in audio, tradeoffs and compromises are inevitably involved, which are generally system and room dependent.

-- Al
I have something that you may want to try. Given all the variables it doesn't always work, but its a worthwhile experiment. Put each speaker in front of a different wall.

To visualize, you start off by facing your listening chair directly at one of the corners of the room. Use the corner as the center point of where your speakers are placed. You'll still have to try different placement options.
I have very good success in my 12X12 room using corner approach as described above + assymetrical and fairly wide placement of speakers relative to the corner. Works very well with both my smaller OHM omnis and Dynaudio Contour monitors.
I never got all the fuss about this, probably because I'm dumber than most with less acute hearing.

All I ever do in a room is get the speakers as far out in the room as possible, about 6-7 feet apart with me sitting as close to a wall as possible 6-8 feet away. Works for me.
I heard magnepan mg 20s sound great in a small hotel room, the first year they were introduced. the hotel was in las vegas--the golden nugget
I'm very happy with the sound I'm getting in my small listening room, using large floorstanders and dual subs. I can have ruler-flat frequency response if I want it. The two essential ingredients are extensive room treatments and DSP.
I do pretty much what Schubert said. THe trick in a small room is finding the room to do it. Utilizing two walls + corner in the front rather than a single wall alone just provides more options to try particularly when space is tight. Asymmetrical placements even more so.

Or just go nearfield as another option and completely forget about the room acoustics for the most part.
A room that's 20 by 13 with 10' ceiling is a small room? Interesting.
To Geoffkait's point...

I put Klipschorns in the corners of the far 9' short wall of a 12 X 9 X 8 studio apt. and powered them with a Krell KSA-300S.

When I played my Black Sabbath records at 78 speed, I saw God.
Gbmcleod, I have one recommendation-Zilplex resonators. I have a tiny room (10' by 13' with 8' ceilings. With the Zilplex, I have no width or ceiling restrictions. They saved my listening while in New Mexico.
Geoffkait, just happened to be looking at old threads, and saw your response from 3 years ago, and laughed.

I didn’t mean MY room was small: I was curious about rooms that were smaller and the results of others. I’ve had - with different systems - extremely sharp, focused imaging in this very same room, but that was with the speakers aligned along the short walls. Never did figure out why the long wall problem occurred, except, at the time, the speaker cables, which are only 2 meters long, didn’t allow for a great deal of variation in placement along the long walls and I was using an integrated amp instead of my ASL Hurricanes, which focus astoundingly well.

Still, it’s interesting to see the response of others. When I lived in San Francisco, my room was 2 rooms combined, with open space on either side of the archways into the second room (kind of a parlor/dining room combined, as frequently happened in Edwardian architecture, I was told by a friend who knew about the construction used in Victorian/Edwardian periods). The room was 10(h) x 13 (w) by 27 (l). So, somewhat similar to this room except for length, and that the other room was Edwardian period construction, so the ceiling curved down to the side walls, instead of sharp corners at the wall/ceiling interface, and between the two rooms, the ceiling came down to 8’ height on top of the two columns that divided the rooms. And the construction was plaster instead of the drywall construction in this house (which we moved into right after it was built in the '60s), 

In the basement of this ranch-style house in Connecticut, belonging to my family, where I first set up the stereo 13 years ago, the dimensions are 7 1/2’(h) x 23 (w) by 45 (l) the sound is astonishingly open and airy. I would’ve expected the low ceiling height to sabotage the sound - and it did for a while, especially in the lower midrange/upper bass - but i looked up one day and realized that perhaps putting some insulation in between the joists might benefit the sound. Lord, did it ever! The suckout was completely gone and the placement (fantastic layering) and realism of the Hurricanes made me understand what HP was talking about when he lauded them.

The problem with the basement is: 1) it gets pretty cold in the winter and 2), it sometimes still floods, even with the "moat" my mother had installed around the perimeter of the walls. Otherwise, I’d never have done an ASC Wall damp construction in the 13 x 20 room when we did an addition to the house. That room has NEVER equalled the basement in sound quality - and the basement has concrete walls, although I placed tube traps along the back and side walls around the speakers and it was enough! Larger rooms can have fewer problems, according to F. Alton Everest, the master acoustician.

But, I must have been pretty clumsy in my phrasing if I gave the impression I thought my room was "small." Not what I meant.

Gbmcleod wrote,

"Geoffkait, just happened to be looking at old threads, and saw your response from 3 years ago, and laughed."

One naturally assumes you were laughing with me.


G. Kait
Use small bookshelf (the smaller the better), aim it right at your ears. It’s actually easy to make it sound good in a small room.
I've gotten what I consider to be very good sound in a smaller room, but I have found that I had to try several different speakers, as some just wouldn't work, I believe due to bass cancellation.  As everyone with a small room knows, the placement options against the long wall are somewhat limited.  Yes, you can move the speakers back and forth a foot or so, but that's about it.  For reasons I will just chalk up to sheer luck, the Totem Forests and Hawks, and Harbeth Monitor 30's, all speakers I really wanted to love, were bad matches for my room and it seemed that the bass from 100hz down was significantly attenuated.  OTOH, the Opera Callas Monitors and my Trenner and Friedl Pharoahs positively bloomed in the room, with a very balanced frequency response.  So for me, it was a matter of luck.  IMO, once you get speakers that work, the rest falls into place more easily. 
In a small room early reflections and slap echoes will be louder than for large rooms all things being equal since the acoustic waves don't have as far to travel; consequently I operate on the assumption that smaller rooms require more aggressive acoustic treatment, you know, Tube Traps, Shakti Halographs, tiny little bowl resonators, Mpingo discs, Corner Tunes, diffusers, what have you.