Is a 12' X 16' room big enough for stereo?

Dear fellow audiophiles:
I am in the process of building a house. Our builder went over the floor plans with us yestreday morning and there is an bonus room which I planned on making a dedicated sound room, I am strictly into 2-channel stereo, and my speakers aren't that big, the Thiels CS1.5 driven by Pass Aleph 5. This room measures 12'X 16'. Not sure about the height yet. Is it big enough? What is your opinion?

It will be fine if you find that you speakers begin to over power the room change and go to monitiors such as Revel Gems or N805 just to name a few. I have a Krell FPB 200c B&W n803 and a levinson 39 and my room is only 17 x 12. It sounds great. A larger room would be much better but I am also looking for a new home. Also My room is a two channel setup also. Good luck Enjoy
No Problem. If you are going to ever move to real big speakers it could get to be a problem. There are other things to take into consideration as well as the room dimensions... flooring, walls, etc.
Put in a vaulted ceiling if you can, or if not, one as high as possible.
It's definiely large enough. I'm not familiar with your particular speakers, but there are certainly many models that would work fine in that size room. I have Merlin VSM-SEs and they would be fine in such a setting.
I owned a pair of Theil CS.5's in a room almost that exact size (if memory serves), it was in the bottom of a split level house so the floor and two supporting walls were concrete. It worked fine in that room, in some ways better than others, but bigger probably would've better. The main problem was there just wasn't much room for experimenting with speaker placement. For example, the Theil's (like many speakers) need to be out from the walls a good deal and you won't be able to get it "perfect" like Theil recommends. 4'-5' from the side wall (to create a crude 4ms delay) for each speaker will only leave you 4 feet between the speakers which isn't good for the soundstage. But there has to be a minimum of 2' from the sidewalls. I ended up with mine a little under 2.5' from side walls with 7'+ in between the speakers. As far as the rear wall, 3' out worked well, and the difference I found between 2' and 3' out was dramatic (at least I thought so at the time), after 3' the law of diminishing returns kicked in. Not to mention the different distances (2.5' and 3') helped prevent certain acoustic problems that could exist in the room. The one plus for a room that size is it will reinforce the low frequencies, something Theil's have always been a little shy on. And you'll never be sitting to far away so they'll play pretty loud.
A little bit of acoustic treatment in a room that size wouldn't hurt and might be worth it. Just the RPG pro foam level I at the first reflection points and the middle wall between the speakers should be enough, if any, or if you have some nice pictures to put there use those. But a 12' by 16' room is big enough to do the job well with some time put into things.
Francis, while you're at it (building, I mean), do consider getting some dedicated power lines for that room.

Cheers & good luck!
Get a set of Argent room lenses. They cure EVERYTHING wrong with a small room and make it sound about four time bigger than it is.
I'm jealous of your new "large" listening room. I'm in a 11 x 12 x 8 bedroom with B&W Matrix 803s! Elgordo, where can I find out about the Argent room lenses . . . and would they help in my tiny listening room? Good luck with the new house. Read the thread about dedicated circuits and get your electrician to install at least one into your new listening room with good cable.

my 12' X 18' room has worked great. i have a bay window and an 11' stepped ceiling that have really helped. you will need to treat the walls for reflections. i spent 2 years experimenting with different levels of wall treatment before i got it right. getting the right balance between live and damped is important.

consider floor to ceiling shelving behind your seating position for cds and lps. they work great as a diffuser and reduce shelf clutter. you don't want to lose any width from 12'.

your biggest challenge will be smoothing the bass and avoiding a mid-bass bloat. consider raising the height of your speakers to decouple your woofers from the floor boundary.

the biggest advantage of a relatively small room is that you can control what is happenning better than in a large room. good luck!
Your biggest problem may not be how small it is but the relationship between the dimensions. If it is 8ft high then you have 8X12X16 which could be terrible at certain frequencies. They are all evenly divisible by 4 and two are evenly divisible by 8. This will reinforce certain frequencies. You may need some type of tube traps.
I once had a friend living in an old Victorian apt. with a room 12X12X12. WOW, did he have problems!
The last post is right on the money. The key will be the ceiling height. I had a room built in my basement, which has 8 foot ceilings. Though I could have gone much bigger in lenght and widt, I ended up with 14 ft by 12.75 feet after crunching some numbers base don the formulae in The Master Handbook of Acoustics and using the room mode software posted on the Stereophile Web Site. I use SF Guarneri Homage speakers w/ a REL subwoofer and get reasonable flat response down to 20 Hz (measured w/ Rat Shack SPL meter and a test CD), other than a (not unpleasant) bump of about 5 db at 40 Hz or so. After trying many different arrangements, I settled on a nearfield arragnement with the speakers 8 feet apart, 3 feet from the side and over 4 ft from the back wall. I sit about a foot away from the front wall w/ RPG diffusers behind my head. All the first order reflection points are treated w/ RPG foam. This works VERY well!! Net, it's more important to get the room ratios "right" and use sound treatment than to buil a larger room w/ lots of nodal problems.
You are lucky a man! My listening room is only 12ft x 14ft. But I'm also lucky, the room have a cathedral ceiling(highest point is 12ft and lowest point is 8ft) and after a few years of experiment with different room treatments. The cathedral ceiling that I have is like a pyramid(look sideway). The sounds now is very very nice. Your 12ft x 16ft room is good enough with your tiny Thiels CS1.5. If you can try to build a cathedral ceiling or some kind of sloping ceiling(not parallel to the floor). Both the cathedral and the sloping ceiling will eliminate one of the three standing waves that are created by the 3 demensions of the room. Then you have only 2 standing waves(from the length and the width) to deal with. Send me an e-mail, I will send you an image and detail regarding the my speakers.
Hi, drrdiamond and Alexc are giving you the proper advice. Those dememsions will cause problems. Keep the demensions unequal and NOT divideable by even or odd numbers. The room is big enough, just the wrong demensions. I suggest you do some research on room accoustics and speaker placement before you commit to your plans. Happy Labor Day
you guys are killin' me here! MY listening room is only 8' x 12". Try and work with THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have you thought about sky lights at all? Nothing like taking in the moon while listening to good music:~)
I used a pair of Hales Revelation Twos in a room about 10x11 last year. At low volume, it sounded gooda and surely would have sounded better with wall treatment. You are OK. I think your Thiels will sound fine. Maybe a little wall treatment & some bass traps in the corners will help.
My room is just over 12' x 18' x 8'. My 3-way speakers are Aerial 10Ts and I also have a Triad Platinum subwoofer to reproduce the lowest octave or two. The speaker fronts are just over 5 ft. out from the back wall at one long end of the room and woofer centers are about 3 ft from either side wall.

Soundstaging is quite nice and overall the sound is fantastic. I've had much lesser equipment in this room in the past and it still sounded quite good.

Some to many will tell you that a room's acoustics is about 80% of the quality of the sound you hear. I believe that is quite true. All walls of the room are real wormwood paneling with tongue and groove joinery and recesses about every 6 inches. The ceiling has 3 beams going left to right (from staring at the speakers) and the floor is wall to wall berber carpeting with thick padding with wooden floor joists and a crawl space under that part of the house.

Also, there is a fireplace and very few windows with built-in bookcases behind either speaker. Luck of the draw it is a wonderfully acoustic room. Not too live nor too dead.

I would make certain that most/all reflective sounds can be absorbed/deflected or minimized and speaker quality and placement will be critical as it always should be.
I'd also second the opinion for a higher ceiling. Plus the extra headroom makes you feel less confined thereby improving your ability to relax.
I'm in an appartment 12 X 15 w/Thiel 2.3's and x-150 and x-2. Thiels are 36" from the rear wall and 24" from the side. I placed the thiels along the 12' wall. listing position 4 ft from the rear wall. slight tow-in. ppppppppeeerrrrrrffffffeeeeeeeecccccccttttttt!!!!!!!!!!
It's proabably built by now, but here goes: a minimum nine foot ceiling would be nice. Two more feet in width would allow more room between the speakers and, more importantly, between each speaker and the side wall. If you could go to twenty-five or twenty-six in length you would have room to grow and would allow for the deepest bass to be reproduced should you go for a subwoofer or a speaker sytem with really deep bass. As it is, the room is a good size. The trick now is to not fill it up with too much furniture and to fine tune the acoustics if you can. At the building stage a number of things, insofar as materials and construction techniques used should be looked at, since they can't be retrofitted very easily. The rest is fine tuning the acoustics with the usual approaches. The fact that you are looking at the interaction between speakers and room is a good idea, but you should, budget permitting, plan ahead for future upgrades of the speakers.
Lots of good advice here. You should have a great time experimenting and tuning. My room is only 14 x 16 and is a challenge with my big speakers. Argent room lenses were just too big for the livability factor (and too expensive--Yowee!!) but some Sonex at the first reflection points and on the back wall between the speakers helped hugely, as did a nice thick rug.