Is My Room Large Enough?

Need advice.My room is only 11'x13' and would like to make a dedicated listening area there.Want to use a tube amp and thought about smaller speakers such as B&W 805/804/803's perhaps.Trying to get a bit of distance from the walls for the speakers with decent chair position will be a problem and am willing to only use one chair. I listen to mostly jazz,classical and vocals not needing a lot of bass.I don't really listen to rock and I don't want to use a sub. I like the thought of a cozy room using a tube amp,as I have only used larger solid state amps in the past,but maybe this room is too tight for this.What do you think,can I make this work?
I'd get F. Alton Everest's "Sound Studio Construction on a Budget", which deals with acoustic treatment of domestic listening rooms (despite its title), and maybe the 4th edition of his "Master Handbook of Acoustics", for ideas on making your room into a decent listening venue. The close to equal L and W dimensions raise a problem, which you'll be able to see very clearly once you read about room nodes in either of his books. The electronic components and speakers are of course important too, but I'd start with the room, whose acoustic character (after treatment) will greatly affect your listening experience, IMHO. A room like yours will be a challenge, but it should be able to be met.
Sorry, I meant soom MODES, not nodes. Bad proof-reading.
You can also go to the Stereophile website and look through their archives. You will find several articles that relate to room setup. You can also try the Cardas site there is an area there that discusses room setup as well. Some things to understand first though. The deepest low frequency your room will support is 42.3 Hz. A good starting point for speaker setup is to divide room dimension by thirds. If we assume that you will be placing the speakers on the short wall (firing in the long direction) then put the speaker center of each speaker 3'-8" from the side walls and the face of each speaker 4'-4" from the front wall. Your listening seat should be centered in the room, 4'-4" from the back wall. This setup creates an equilateral triangle between your listening position and the two speakers. This setup creates what many audiophiles refer as the "near-field" listening position. Understand that these positions are a starting point only. From here make small movements in the speaker location until you get the desired effects. Moving the speaker back (toward the front wall) will tend to increase bass, although too far and the bass may become boomy and/or muddy. Moving the speakers toward the sidewall will have a tendancy to make the soundstage wider, but at some point the center image will lose focus. Moving the speakers in the opposite directions will have the opposite effects. You will have to spend some time on speaker placement, but the reward is worth the effort. Tom_nice is exactly correct concerning the room modes. Some of these can be treated with room treatments. Last, the equipment will make some differences so audition carefully. Good Luck, Doug
Your listening room is more than large enough for your intended purposes. You will have to apply acoustical treatment. Be careful not to over damp the room. You will also need to be attentive to your choice of speakers. Near field listening puts a premium upon coherence (multi-driver integration). Given your stated taste in music, I recommend the Magnepan 1.6 or the Quad 63. Both speakers will mate well with the Audio Research CA50 integrated tube amplifier. Together you will have the nucleus for a very high performance small room system. Regardless of what equipment you choose, your room will not be a major impediment.
Here is a link to an article by Steve Deckert that you might find interesting on his efforts to get a room slightly larger than yours to work well as a dedicated listening room. (His room was 13x15.) His experience might at least help you identify some of the challenges and possible solutions, even if you don't pursue all of the room treatment options.
One thought to play with, and I'd love to here opinions on this. I've heard of others with squarish rooms setting up on the diagonal. This breaks up all the reflection points and could reduce the "acoustical treatments" required. It also has the potential effect of lengthening the room. Any thoughts? J.D.
Hi Am; Yes your room is big enough, just continue on the course you're suggesting, follow the advice in the above posts and you could have a very nice set-up. I started out with a 12 X 14 room, put Vand. 2Ce speakers (pretty big) and 175 wpc amp in it. If I was a grown-up at the time (I was late 40's), I would do what you are proposing. All that said, I still really enjoyed my system. I just couldn't play it at more than low to low/moderate levels. The speakers and speaker location)s) will be really important. Good Luck. Craig
I have a friend that uses a similarly small room and listens to B&W 801s in the nearfield. The speakers are only a couple of feet out from the front wall (to the back of his speakers, and he sits into the room making a slightly elongated equilateral triangle with his speakers. He sits about six feet away and I have got to admit the listening experience is great - a bit like headphones but much more enjoyable. Good luck.
I have a friend with a small room/ hey that's me! I guess you can never be to rich/skinny/ or have to large a room. I go to friends houses or condos and drool at their rooms.They're always polite and offer me a napkin.I second Mr. Kiwi's suggestion for nearfield. I go back and forth,because there is something to putting them speakers exactly half way into the room.Then I go back where the bass is best / 57in.from the back wall.
These are all good posted suggestions. I heard a small room about this size with acoustic treatment at a dealer and it was amazing - probably one of the best overall systems that I've heard - including the room treatment and the equpiment together. It was a great room for jazz/classical/vocal. He had the small triangle echo busters in the ceiling/wall corners of the room, with a few panels on the walls and ceiling. The equpiment was a Audio Research tube amp, a passive preamp, and ProAc 1.5's, set up in a near-field configuration. It was an amazing space. The bass was deep and so perfectly defined. That listening session sticks in my mind more than any other. I think my tastes in music/movies overall makes me a bit more of a banger - where I like the large room, B&W N802's and a big solid state amp, but after hearing that system, it makes me want to start over in a small room and see what I could do with the right acoustic treatment and a pair of those ProAc's to listen to my jazz stuff.
Sorry to hear about your small.. er.. room Avguy.
There are a lot of good suggestions above and I am going to try some of them. I have used a small room for a while and have tried a few things that have made improvements. I have tried to assemble less-forward sounding equipment and apply room treatments that assist in presenting soundstage images slightly behind the speakers, which seems to make the room “deeper”. Controlling early reflections is more important in my small room verses larger rooms I have used. Relocating the equipment rack from between the speakers to the side- wall makes quite an improvement in “depth”. Applying diffusion to the back and sidewalls seems to work better than absorption alone. I know this seems crazy, but I started hanging artificial ivy (the type with small leaves sold in craft stores works well) in these locations: walls beside the speakers, behind my listening chair, and on the center-wall & corners…the more I hung, the better the clarity and soundstage. After I started using the artificial ivy as "diffusors", the speakers seem to “disappear” on most recordings, an effect similar to a friend's system which uses RPG diffusors. Also, I like to experiment with different absorption devices. Currently, I am using Michael Green’s Roomtune treatments in all ceiling corners,40mm Marigo wall treatment dots,and tube-traps in the corners behind the speakers. Good luck with your new room and equipment!
hi jd,

i mentioned this as a possibility in a thread on the cable topic (?!?) called *excessive bass*. (?!?) any set-up that places the speakers asymmetrically in a room can be beneficial, especially for small rooms. it doesn't have to be completely diagonal - for example, keeping the listening-triangle-ratio the same, try moving one speaker closer to the back wall, or have one speaker closer to its nearest side-wall than the other, etc. this *will* help break-up standing-waves.

i have my speakers set-up this way, w/the right speaker closer to the right wall than the left speaker is, to the left wall, & my short wall is 25' long...

regards, doug

Now you've got my attention Sedond. Thanks, I think, now I might really have to screw things up and try a partial scew. Sounds like it's time to have my buddies over so we can play! I just hate breaking up a good thing, but I'll never know without a try. It is very intreging though, I would guess just 15-20 degrees would work fine, and it might even add depth. I'll post my results once I can muster the guts to do it. J.D.
good luck, jd - curious to hear about any changes ya may get...


ps - ewe can go easy, no need to "screw things up" - yust try moving only one speaker, say, ~1' forward, then move the speakers' toe & the listening spot accordingly - should only take a few minutes...

Hey, my room is almost the exact same size! I have, for 6-7 years, been using a 10.5 x 13 bedroom with plaster walls and ceilings, hardwood floors with thick carpet on a solid wood framed subfloor. I also have an 8 ft cove ceiling which may help. My Proac 2.5s' front panels are 34" from the wall behind them, and are 24" and 30" from the side walls (center of drivers). I sit on a loveseat that is 8" from the rear wall. I use a Transcendent Sound tube OTL 25wt amp on the woofers and a pair of Cary 2A3s on the tweeters. The sound is superb as is the music. I get excellent bass but some overloading when the volume gets to high. However, I think it's kind of like driving. Drive a Mazda Miata and you don't have to go too fast to have a blast. Drive a Lincoln Navigator and you think you're in your living room until about 90 MPH. Actually, quite a clumsy feeling experience, the Lincoln I mean. Your thoughts about a good, musical tube amp mated with good musical speakers in your small room are right on target. I have a hard time going to bed some nights. By the way, if you get a chance, drive an Acura Integra Type-R. what a machine!! Some guy in Ann Arbor has a hornet yellow one and I'm son jealous!
hi tom,

yer right-on in the audio world, but ya lose me when ya say: " an Acura Integra Type-R. what a machine!!..." try an '81-'86 warmed-over alfa gtv6 - 220hp, rwd, handling acuras only dream about, music from that italian powerplant making a car-stereo unnecessary... now *that's* a mmachine! oh yeah, 1/3 to 1/4 the cost, too! ;~)

regards, doug

ps - if ya *gotta* drop the big money on a car, a pantera, at about the same price as an integra, ain't half-bad... :>)

Sorry, Doug, but I'm the laziest auto guy you'll ever meet. I like a "plug and play" sports car and the Type-R (which is out of production) is exactly that. I've always loved the idea that Alpha represents and in the late 1980s almost bought a Spyder (about the best looking affordable sports car ever made), but during two test drives a dashboard wiring harness kept falling onto my legs, the left front headlight came loose and rattled, the right electric door lift didn't work, and there was stain on the back of the driver's front seat that no one could explain. For the same reason I don't have an analog rig (too much maintenance, etc.) I didn't buy the Alfa. I will only buy or lease new cars and my 1999 Saab 93 SE, which has been back to the dealer three times for warranty work, is as maintenance "rich" as I can handle. Yet, every time I see a Spyder in a parking lot I stop and admire and regret my lack of auto guts. Same thing happens with turntables every time I see the 4-5 boxes of records I've got stored in the basement.
tom, i've put ~250k miles on 4 alfas in the past 9 years - as reliable as any yapanese & svedish (non-saab) cars i've prewiously owned - & much more reliable than my friends' german cars. never have owned a spider, tho - only sedans-n-coupes. so, hurry up & get a turntable, already, willya? alfas-n-winyl *rule*!!! ;~)

regards, doug