British made speakers from Harbeth , Spendor, Epos, Also, Canadian made Totem Acoustic Model 1 Sigs, might be just the ticket, all of these manufactures make speakers that perform great in smaller rooms.
If you have the room to allow the Maggies to be placed correctly (well away from the wall behind the speaker), it would be a very good apartment speaker. As a dipole speaker, the bass energy from the back and from the front are out of phase with respect to each other and cancel at the sides. A LOT less energy spills into the room and much more seems concentrated in the listening area where the speakers are aimed at. This is not just theoretical. When I went from dipole panel speakers to dynamic speakers, I was shocked at how much louder the sound was in other rooms. You will be able to play the Maggies louder than most conventional speakers without disturbing neighbors.
If you have to go with smaller speakers and/or placement closer to the wall or corners, look at Audio Note speakers. These do well in such placement and sound reasonably lively at lower volume levels. ProAc and Harbeth are also good candidates.
I agree with JL and Larryi. Stick with the maggies if you can place them and you can use the sub quieter at certain times and louder others. Its a great way to control the bass in an apartment. Im not sure of your subs dimensions but look into some aurelex subdudes to put your subs on as that is supposed to help with lessening bass transmissions through the walls.
Buying your neighbors gifts (chocolate, booze, whatever they are into) helps also.
As a fellow Magnepanatic, I want to emphasize advice from larryi who wrote " If you have the room to allow the Maggies to be placed correctly (well away from the wall behind the speaker), it would be a very good apartment speaker".
I will go further and say all my experiments where my Maggie 1.7s were NOT " well away from the wall behind the speaker" failed and had me immediately disconnecting and re-connecting my other speakers.
For some people "well away from the wall behind" will mean more than 5 feet. In my case it was never less than 10. Am not speaking for others, but 5 and 10 was the difference between hoping I'll get used to an imprecise (yet tonally wonderful and fairly deep) image, and hearing exactly the deep and precise soundstage that makes me happiest.
Mapman makes a very good point. Use a platform that is designed to absorb vibrations and turn that energy into heat. Avoid carpet piercing sharp-pointed feet that couple the speaker to the floor. This causes the floor, particularly if it is a suspended wood floor, to become a giant sounding board.
I also like the suggestion for trying an LS3/5a speaker. There are several current models, by different manufacturers that try to get a very similar sound to that old BBC classic design. I have not heard these so I don't know how well they manage to copy that sound. Not too long ago, I heard an original Rogers 15 ohm version and it sounded really good; it would make an excellent apartment speaker, although, ideally, it would not be place too close to the back wall.
Pay attention to placement, as your neighbors will hear a bass line before anything else....
Maggies, Yes, good call y'all. But a dipole in a small space could be problematic. A decent bookshelf on a stand, smallish towers...
Consider active EQ for the space. You'll likely be 'playing the room' as well as the speakers when square footage shrinks...
I know I've annoyed the purists with that crack, but it's worked for me. I prefer a 'flat' space when practical...
I seriously doubt, even at hypothetical "used" prices, the Magico S1 is what the OP is looking for. It is funny how this line of speakers always sneaks into the conversation even when it is SO NOT in the conversation. At less than 1/3 the price, I think the Raidho X-1 much more fits the bill, and even this price ($6500) is probably WAY out of the OP's consideration.
The Gradient Revolution is another speaker that is probably out of the price range, but, if not, this is a terrific speaker for someone that has to put the speaker near a back wall and/or the corners of the room. It also sounds decent playing at lower volume.
The Totem Arros is another good recommendation. It sounds nice at lower volume and I have heard it work well with a subwoofer (which is something the OP already has).
Another spot-on post from larryi. It should probably be stated (if it wasn't already) that stand mounted monitors, even small ones, does NOT imply a lack of bass energy above oh ... let's say 60hz to be safe. With my Joesph Audio Pulsars it was more like upper 40s.
The point is that you can end up with overwhelming bass resonances even with smaller monitors. I know it's hard to audition *anything* but you should be well aware of this point.
My suggestion would be to buy DeCapo 3MM monitors with stands , forget about subwoofers. Maggie's, in my experience, need to be driven to a bit higher volume levels to sound good...not good for an apt. Go the higher efficiency route and gravitate to El-84's for fine apartment listening. 90 db. +. ( Older/recapped Scott amps still a good deal when you can find them and classically beautiful. - Where's "cinkpa"?/Sam's Audio? Wright Sound had some El-84's...who else? Triode Labs.)
(The Pulsars are amazing for 4 times the price. + Need quality power. But probably as stated, have too much bass for an apartment.)
Check out Opera speakers/Sonus Fabers to go with your Classe's as another idea if you want floor standers.
Isn't bass inherently problematic at low volumes? Fletcher and Munson's experiments in the 1930s showed that people are relatively less sensitive to low and high frequencies at lower volumes. Hence the "loudness" button that used to be prevalent on hi-fi equipment. Dolby Volume includes a much more sophisticated DSP implementation of an equal loudness curve. TacT Audio implemented something similar about 10 years ago. An equal loudness curve always seemed like a good idea to me, and I wish it were more common in modern DSP systems, especially those with microphone measurement. Sonos has a "loudness" button, but presumably it's more like the 1970s-era bass/treble boost rather than something like Dolby Volume. Nevertheless, I sometimes engage it when listening at very low volumes.
your comment about bass presence at low volumes makes good sense to me since the OP did state he will play "softly".
your "efficient speakers" comment however is so general and unsubstantiated that it’s puzzling at best. can you elaborate without using the word "pressurized" unless you want to go to great lengths to explain how longitudinal waves superpose, reflect, diffract and attenuate?
yeah , the op is going to have to play at lower volume , no choice about that .I am not big on recommending particular brands . OP needs to hear and judge for himself . Hundreds of worthy speakers out there . All the less efficient speakers i have owned take larger volumes to wake up the bass . The more efficient speakers less . just my experience .Greater dynamics at lower volumes as well with efficient speakers. I would add finding speakers that do not go down too low as well . You will be less likely to have problems with neighbors .
OK. I understand that you're talking about your experiences here. I also assume you mean to include only passive speakers in your comment, because, for instance, Vandersteen Quatros are not efficient and yet they would be excellent for the OP's room as the bass in so configurable that it would allow him/her to augment the bass. Low volume listening will sound great. Of course the Quatros are out of the price range here, but just making the point about this slightly inefficient speaker being more than adequate. And yes, there are ways to decouple it from the floor if people want to comment about the low-to-the ground ports.
However, I believe you need to state which inefficient speakers you refer to as well as the amplifier driving them in order to make the general statement you're making. I had J.A. Pulsars in a small room for instance. Not an efficient speaker by any means, but it sure sounded wonderful at low volumes with any of my amps. Again, theses speakers are out of the OP's price range but the principal doesn't change with price: some inefficient speakers can be wonderful in small rooms.
maybe this way of describing it is better . I have three speakers in my room right now , one set of floorstanders that are efficient , one real large inefficient set of towers and one set of electrostats (full range no cone) . When comparing all three at the same spl my most efficeint has the most bass presence , followed by the inefficeint towers and lastly the electrostats . To get the same perceived bass with the electrostats i need to turn the volume up louder . If i were in an apartment situation and i liked bass i would not use the electrostats .
Even the preamp used will have an effect on bass . A Bryston preamp i am listening to right now has the most bass at lower volumes than any other pre i have used in the past . My whole recommendation is assuming the op likes bass . Maybe the op could care less about bass . Most americans like bass though .Bass will be the biggest problem with the neighbors . The reason i turn up the volume is to get more bass response . The louder you go you start to bring in more senses like feeling the pressure waves. Take bass out of the listening equation for me and why bother cranking it up to just hear louder mids and treble .
You may want to look into the JansZen Z1A-1Electrostatic Speakers. If your amp can drive the Maggies well, It should be able to drive these, but that's something you will have to follow-up on. They were recently reviewed in either Steoreophile or TAB with high regard. I am thinking they will work in your smaller apt. as well as a larger room if and when you change residence. They have the speed, clarity, and detail that you are accustom to and according to what I have read are easy to place with a large sweet spot. There's adjustment control for any exaggerated Bass or treble, that would probably help tame things where needed in your apartment. Also note that there is an optional side firing tweeter.
You may want to communicate with owners of said speaker hear on AG.
Telling the OP that he/she NEEDS efficient speakers is just way too subjective an opinion and ends up limiting the choices. It's also confusing and therefore possibly counterproductive for the OP because it's in direct conflict with many of the good suggestions here.
Also, did you read my comment about the Quatros? This PROVES your efficiency statement to be incorrect in general. I know the Quatros are out of the price range, but something like an inefficient $1500 ... whatever (see suggestions above) + a powered sub would not be.
Again regarding the Maggies, as has been stated a few times here, they will only be *right* for an apartment if you can place them well away from the rear wall.
Neat Motive SX2 is an excellent speaker. It has a small footprint and have a much fuller sound than their stature would suggest. Their reflex port fires down through the plinth so they can be placed anywhere which makes them ideal for apartment living.
A lot of good advice in this thread. I think the Reference 3a would be an excellent choice and so would Neat speakers (talk about an under-rated line of speakers). On the higher efficiency side, the Tyler Acoustics PD15 is another candidate. Never heard the JansZen, but, some electrostatics would also be quite good. Personally, I like the old Quad 57 because it can play soft and the limited bass response would be apartment friendly.
I know that it is very much a rough generalization, but, a lot of high efficiency speakers ARE very dynamic sounding, particularly at lower overall volume levels. I find the full range single drivers to be extremely dynamic, but, most have very limited bass and a very pronounce upper midrange peakiness as part of the bargain. The more reasonably balanced high efficiency horn systems have the big negative of being very expensive and impractical because of the room that they take up. Because of the ability of horn systems to sound amazing at low volume, you can find crazy pictures of huge systems taking up almost all the space in Japanese audiophiles' tiny apartments.
Funny it took me until now to realize this: I’ve been researching DeVore Gibbon 8s for the last 3 weeks, and often came across an opinion that these are right for small rooms. I think the point there is that the bass isn’t big enough to really call it a full ranger, but maybe it’s enough given the right space? I bring up the DeVores because of the way the drivers are well above the floor. This same design is employed by some ProAcs that I see for sale here. The ProAcs are not known for being light afoot with respect to bass, but again the drivers are well off the floor.
I think it’s worth looking into this design and researching what people say about it. It doesn’t have to be DeVore or ProAc specific, rather what are people’s experiences with respect to similar designs?
By the way, I bought some DeVore Gibbon 8s arriving today. Unfortunately they won’t be going anywhere soon;-)