Low volume bookshelf spkrs that go from 20 to 20k?

Hi folks, My daughter (9 years) is a discerning listener and a trained singer. I want to reward her with a nice stereo system. We listen to music at low volumes. I plan on buying speakers on my next trip to the US (daughter can not audition speakers). I do not want to compromise on quality but have a budget of about $ 1,500 for the speakers. The size of the room is about 14 feet square.

Speaker requirements:
Freq response: Should cover the audible range (20 to 20khz). I think this will keep my daughter happy.
Model: Bookshelf preferred (small room)

My questions:
Will I need a sub to complement the bookshelf speakers?
Are there bookshelf speakers that cover 20 to 20khz?
What models would you suggest for bookshelf and if required a sub. A 220 volt power supply for the sub will be ideal but not a must.

Appreciate your suggestions.

The bookshelfs speakers that will do the job are:

1. Totem Mani-2.

2. Dynaudio Special 25.

Both of them can ge bought here, used, but you may need to raise your budget. I will use the money set aside for a sub and go with either one of this two speakers. I do own the Mani-2 and they are incredible.
There is no bookshelf speaker that will provide usable response at 20hz. Also, a room that small won't allow 20hz
waves to properly propagate even if the speaker was up to it.
There are no bookshelf speakers on earth that can go to 20HZ in fact many extremely expensive speakers can't do it.

You will not need a subwoofer for a 14 foot square room. The small size and square shape will leed to severe standing waves and bass bloat.

If possible try to find a narrow floorstanding speaker system.

Resolution is the key to low volume. Resolution is dependent on the electronics. Try to find tube electronics which excel at low volumes.

Look at Dali loudspeakers which offer exceptional transparency and yet are warm and full bodied.
Two speaker makes come to mind which specifically seem to address the issue of constant sound quality acorss the volume spectrum - ie, they sound good at low, med or high volumes. Revel and Joseph audio - both make monitors that can be had in this price range. Revel especially.

Most speakers in my opinion do not maintain a consistent freq response curve at volume extremes and many sound lifeless at low volumes.

I would also say the a true bookshelf speaker is not going tp go down to 20hz - and if it came close it would vibrate itself and everything else right off the shelf! So assume you will need a subwoofer.

But if you are living in India (I'm guessing?) there are plenty of UK, French and Hong Kong products at 220v that might be easier to acquire than US brands.
I don't think it's possible to find a true bookshelf monitor that will go down to 20hz. I also don't think it's really necessary. I believe that the lowest note an electric bass can hit is 30hz, and a speaker that goes down into the upper 30's would be more than adequate unless your daughter is a bass junkie. I use a pair of monitors, JMlab Micro-Utopia that are rated to 50hz, but in room get down to about 40hz, perhaps even a bit lower, and I'm completely satified with the way music sounds, even bass heavy music. I'm no engineer, but given the small size of your room, you may not even be able to support bass notes as low as 20hz. If you truly want low bass a sub will be needed, though again in that room a good sub-free monitor may really be all that you need. At least you could start with a monitor and add a sub if needed. There are a ton of great monitors out there, in your price range perhaps something from Paradigm, PSB, or Totem might suit. I'm sure others will have other suggestions, good luck and happy listening!
Low volume listening and full range is a tall order for a bookshelf. A sub and monitors would be best. For low volume listening, I suggest you checkout the Single Driver Omega speakers or similar type speakers. They'll cover the midrange and highs very well. In fact for low volume listening a Single Driver high efficient speaker will be hard to beat.

The Super 3 XRS can be used without adding stands. This will save you money for other components. Midrange is something a speaker like this does exceptionally well on..something your daughter may appreciate.

Also being of high efficiency..you won't need much power. This opens the door for a host of affordable low wattage SETs, Battery powered amplifiers and many others that will drive the speakers nicely.
Keep one other issue in mind: Your daughter's hearing is way better than the average middle aged male. What seems detailed in the high end to you will probably sound harsh to her? I would be careful on the electronics for that reason also.

Finally, kids love bass. They don't notice if it rolls off at 35hz. They just want to make it thump sometimes. Find her some fun looking gear?
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I have absolutely no affiliation with this seller (never dealt with him/her...but this is a pretty amazing bookshelf IMHO...including shipping it will be well under your budget

Energy 22
Following up on what Narrod offered, a square room that size will make the bass response very uneven because there will be a large bass boost at some bass frequency. This will make the bass way out of true proportion whenever you hit notes in the boosted frequency band.

So trying for "full-range" in such a room could be a frustrating and futile experience. And the more powerful the speaker's bass response is, the more this uneven response will be exascerbated.

On the other hand, if you can calculate or measure the frequency of the bass hump, you may be able to find monitor speakers that roll-off before that point so that the big bump corresponds to the speaker's natural roll off.

Anyway, if you plan on going deep in the bass in that room you will probably need some judicious room equalization.

But just so we are on the same page, you do realize that most people can't actually hear a 20Hz tone but you can tell it's there because it will physically vibrate/shake the room and other objects within the room... There are almost no instruments that play down that low except for organ.
I see a Proac 1SC for sale here I would love to own.. not really bookshelf (requires stands, not against a wall) but would work great and very high quality for $1K. The only way to go down to 20Hz would be to have a pair of Allisons or AR's or other air suspension design used with the Allison 'Electronic Subwoofer' equalizer (way, way no longer available and almost never seen for sale).
Oracle needs to disclose his status as a Dali dealer for his post to be taken seriously.

Thank you.
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I agree that you won't get low bass with bookshelf speakers unless you use a sub. I agree that bass response in that room will be uneven without treatments or equalization.

Narrod, I'm curious what you mean by low bass waves can't propogate "properly" in a small room. You can get good low bass from headphones and that is a pretty small space. I have bass down that low in my room and it is not a whole lot bigger.
A 20hz soundwave is 27.5 feet long. It simple can't be achieved in a small room though the apparent bass can be very good in a properly treated room.
I would concentrate on getting speakers that accurately portray the 80-20k freq. range and then match up a small sub to fill-in the lower octaves. The Rogers LS 3/5s come to mind. As for subs, look for something with a 10-12" driver and room EQ capabilities, perhaps a Velodyne DD-10 or DD-12.

You will NOT be able to reproduce the entire 20-20k in the room described, but a system such as this should do VERY well from 35-20k in that room. And, once a larger room is available, run a re-eq and wtach that bottom end open up.

No, a bookshelf speaker will not go that low, nor would you want it to. In a 14 foot square room, standing waves would be terrible.

A 20hz soundwave is 27.5 feet long. It simple can't be achieved in a small room though

Good point...the long waves can be achieved but modal issues will be absolutely huge....a central position in a 14 foot room will be 7 feet from a wall and therefore reflections will be 14 feet behind the primary signal or a half wavelength off.... leading to large nulls followed by large bumps at the listening position as you go up in extreme LF frequencies...extremely bumpy. A rectangular not square shaped room and a listening position 38% from rear or back wall will help.

It might be better not to bother to produce these extremes (if it is for a bedroom music system), concentrate on something with a good mid range, small and elegant...with nice vocals and dynamics, IMHO...

Here is another suggestion for something small

I hate to hijack the thread but this is on topic since he wants 20Hz response. What does "apparent bass" mean?

It seesm to me you either hear the sound or you don't. I get very low frequencies in a room that is 17 feet long?

You don't have to have a standing wave to hear the sound. If that were true how can headphones produce low bass?
>A 20hz soundwave is 27.5 feet long. It simple can't be achieved in a small room though the apparent bass can be very good in a properly treated room.

At 1130 feet/second a 20Hz wave is 56.5 feet long although this is not relevant. If we were unable to hear sound waves longer than the space that contained them, we couldn't go below 12KHz when using earphones in our inch-long canals.

A pressure source (conventional box speaker) in an infinitely rigid sealed space experiences a gain of 12dB/octave below the fundamental resonance with a frequency of 1130 feet/second / 2 / the longest dimension (in feet).

This can be good : 12dB/octave nicely complements a sealed speaker's roll-off. The original poster should be able to achieve flat bass with a sealed speaker that has a 40Hz resonance frequency.

Or it can be bad. A flat sub-woofer in a car is going to be very bloated.

Velocity sources (Dipoles, cardioids) work in small spaces too.
Narrod: A 20hz soundwave is 27.5 feet long. It simple can't be achieved in a small room though the apparent bass can be very good in a properly treated room.

How are headphones able to achieve low frequencies?
Check out the Yamaha piano craft sereies. I wanted to see if I could put together a reasonable system at Best Buy.My friend asked me to reccomend systems for them but they always balked at highend prices.
After spending a couple of weekends at Best Buy I purchased a Yamaha cd reciever and two Yamaha powered subs(you could get by with one). The sound is amazing for that price range. ($400 for the system and $250 each for the sub.)Throw in a nice set of earphones and call it a day.
Now when my friends ask for a recomendation, I can take them to the bedroom and let them audition it right on the spot.
For an uprade you could substitute the the $399/Epos mini monitors.
Thanks folks for all your advice. I auditioned monitor speakers from the following manufacturers:
Spendor (similar to the Harbeth, but lacked clarity)
Dali (great sound but price was about $ 4000)
B & W (inexpensive but did not sound right)
Paradigm studio 20 (good but perhaps too big for my room)
Harbeth - liked them, price was within my budget too.

I ended up purchasing a Harbeth PS3ES-2 similar to the LS3/5a.

Thanks again (got to get the karma right)

Vish (now registered as yogananda)