It all depends on how loud you want to listen, how much bass you expect and what kind of music you play. No simple answer.
9 responses Add your response
Budget? Decor considerations?
As to your question about bass, if anything, the open end of the room will help longer (i.e., lower bass) soundwaves form. You are going to have a serious resonant node because of the 15' square dimension, however. That's going to be your biggest concern.
15'x15' is not particularly big. You could easily fill that with 50-100 watts/channel and speakers of 90dB sensitivity or above. Something like an Onkyo A-9555 or Cambridge 640A integrated and a pair of PSB Image T45 or T55s. Or if you have more money to spend, a Nuforce or Bryston integrated and a pair of Totem Hawks or Sttaffs, Paradigm Reference Signature S6, or similar. Paradigm's Monitor 11's sensitivity would be like tripling your power (claimed 97dB sensitivity in-room).
FYI-My present system consists of McCormack ALD w/phono, McCormack DNA .5 (100 watts), Sota Comet TT, NAD cd player, NAD tuner and MIT cables. Presently I am using klipsch kg4 speakers. I like to listen at moderate to loud music, various forms of rock/pop music. The room is not 15 x 15 square, but is more like 14 x 16-slight rectangle. I am considering used Alon 2, Vandersteen 2c, Thiel 2.2 or some Totems. I am leaning torward the Alons or Ttoems becuase I really love the holographic sound stage they produce. Thanks for you input.
In answer to your earlier question about losing bass energy, it's not an open ended room that will make the bass escape; that'll let the longer bass waves form and roll back and forth. What makes you lose bass is how porous and/or flexible the floor and walls are. You'll get better bass, for example, in a masonry room that contains the full integrity of the bass waves than on a suspended floor with wood frame walls that lets the bass energy leak out of the room.
Now that we know your needs better, it looks like you'll want to pick a speaker that gives you the holographic imaging you're looking for first and foremost. Since many of the speakers you mention have average to slightly lower sensitivity AND you like to listen loud, you *may* need a more powerful amplifier (but maybe not). You won't know until you try it out.
If you can find a speaker that images the way you like and has a sensitivity of 90dB or above, your 100 wpc should be plenty, even for loud listening. I have a pair of 91 dB sensitive speakers in an open architecture living space, and my 85 wpc (but very high current) amp is plenty to give me good volume for rock, big band, or large scale bombastic orchestra.
My experience is consistent with JohnnyB's. My room has one open wall in a
room that is app 24' wide and 14' from front wall to seating, with the large
open space behind the listener. It produces all kinds of problems, notably a
"hump" between 80hz and 130ish hz that peaks at +20db. The
room requires a pair of bass busters to tame this behavior. I also use EQ'd
subwoofers to deal with the mess further down in pitch. Open wall layouts
are unpredictable and you shouldn't presume inadequate bass reinforcement.
As to specific speaker recommendations, I'll always recommend subs (SVS is a
good place to look) and a Velodyne SMS-1 controller for room EQ. Add the
main speakers of choice, the little Magnepan MMGs come to mind and a brief
listen to PSB monitors also showed promise. A pair of 12" SVS subs with the
SMS-1 and either the Maggies or (I suspect) PSBs is a <$2500 speaker system
that will provide excellent bass in even a difficult room as well as fine results
over the remainder of the audible bandwidth.
Marty has a great idea here. It's *easy* to get good imaging from little stand-mounted speakers (and don't scrimp on the stands). Then get a good subwoofer and the Velodyne module. This will enable you to actively tune the bass to the room, both in amplitude and equalization. Meanwhile, your mini-monitors with their sculpted, minimal front baffle will provide maximum imaging with a minimum of baffle diffraction distortion and cabinet resonance.