Dynaudio Confidence C1's (approx $4k used 7.5k new).
Sonus faber Creamora auditor or the new 'M' series. A little laid back for my taste but a great sound. Should be around 3.5 to 5k used.
With either speaker I do recommend the factory stands - you may want to consider a sub too.
If you like Spendor, why not check out Harbeth speakers. I am sure they would work great in a smaller room.
I have found that any room 12 ft wide or less is too small in width for any serious floorstanding speaker for sure
Bookshelfs sound as big as the floorstanders and much better in most cases with this situation going on, including even bass is rather satisfying in a thin room with a smaller speaker for sure. Other than that others can help you further, but your on the right track with a 8 ft wide room for sure :-)
Why limit woofer to 6in? Best in small rooms is a SEAS exotic.
If you must change Dynaudio Contour is a less expensive option to consider. I'd also consider Totem, Triangle, Harbeth, PSB and Ohm Walsh 100 or Micro Walsh tall even perhaps for more near field listening. Some of these options will run less than your budget, but still deliver great sound and allow you to invest the remaining dollars elsewhere if needed or desired.
WHoops, also forgot Magnepan. MMGs alone or with a sub might even cut it.
I've found that in a smaller room, you do not have to spend a fortune on speakers for great sound. Larger rooms will tend to cost more to do right though.
Don't worry about the woofer size, it isn't relevant. The classic British speaker is a 2 way 8" woofer and most British rooms are smaller than yours. There is a pair of Spendor 2/2s listed for $675. This is a steal. I use a pair in my TV system and I would buy these but my wife be unhappy. I would rather have them than your S8e's. They remain one of Martin Colloms reference speakers. Also consider the SP-1/2E's. I am listening to a pair I bought used on Audiogon instead of my S100s because they fit my room better. If you like the sound of the newer Spendors you will love the sound of the old ones, they are better speakers. Buy the 2/2s. You will love them, they were better than the the 2/3s , which are $3000 or so now. In the unlikely event you don't like them you can resell them for little or no loss.
Regarding Dynaudio... they are GREAT speakers, but in my experience, even with their monitors, they need BIG rooms. Not necessarily cathedral sized, but def. quite a bit bigger than 12 foot on any dimension.
Their strength is that they have very big dynamics (much bigger than their size would imply), but they need space to open up. They've got to have some current running through them to really open up and do what they do, which a small room size will not allow you to do.
I owned the S1.4s which are spectacular in a big enough room, but I ran into these pitfalls (room not big enough), and changed to a speaker which did not need as as much current/room size.
The Verity would be a much better choice than the Dyn C1 in this sized room. Also, the Merlin TSM would be a good pick. To go much cheaper (without losing much, if any) I would take a close look at the GR Research Neo2s. They are a sealed monitor with a ribbon tweeter, and I run these in my HT and they leave nothing to be desired for my application. (other than bass, you will need a sub for any sealed monitor for a complete response). These are only available in kit form, but there are people on the GR Research board on audiocircle who will build them for you.
I agree with you assessment of Dynaudio speakers in general.
However, the Dynaudio Contour 1.3 specifically are small monitor style speakers that I have found to fit and work well in smaller rooms. I acquired them specifically for application in my smaller listening rooms. They do require a lot of power still though to sound best as you say.
In larger rooms, they still sound good, but do not have the lifelike dynamics and satisfying low end needed to compete with other speakers I have heard that are better suited to larger rooms.
If you decide that you do want a speaker smaller then the Spendors then look at B&W 805s. I have the original ones which are very good, The newer ones are exceptional and look great.
Definitely try a pair of Harbeth SHL5s. There's a pair for sale in the $3K range that you could easily turn around and re-sell quickly for about the same price (they don't last long on the used market). I own a pair.
Agreed that woofer size is irrelevant. I have a pair of Totem Arros... their footprint is 5 inches wide and 7 inches deep (!) with a 4.5" mid/woofer and they produce bass notes like nobody's business. It's all in the engineering. :-)
Hello Everyone...thanks for the great response. I wanted to post this question here on the forums because I am new to such a small listening space and it certainly has changed my perspective.
So many have responded that I am going to make a few general responses:
1. I like the Spendor sound and know it well. I am hoping to get a little more resolution...basically looking for a little change.
2. Speaker size was listed out of a simple belief that larger woofers (ala my S8e's that didn't work in the room) are too much because they produce too large of a wave for my smallish room. The S3e's that are working well have a 5.5" woofer and that seems to be max! Now I am not a speaker designer and I may be way off base, but I felt giving a 6" or smaller parameter allows suggestions of either a small bookshelf speaker or a small floor stander. Perhaps it has mor to do with cone material, cabinet design and magnet size...I just wanted to give a small parameter.
3. While I like Totem, I am looking for a little more resolution gain...I am very familiar with the Forest and Hawk models and I chose my S8e's over them. Good speaker, just not my cup of tea. Harbeth is a very good speaker but again not really my thing...darker sounding than I like. Dynaudio is a good call...I am concerned about their SPL being too high for my room...some above suggest this to also be the case. Otherwise I would love to try them out...I may anyways! Other suggestions are interesting as well.
Thanks Guys for your thoughts...Again I want to encourage any thoughts...especially from those of you with similar room experience...I also thought to go towards the high efficiency crowd ala Coincident...just a thought.
Even the small Dynaudios Contour 1.3's do need a good clean 60w/ch or better, be located at the correct height and need to be several feet away from walls and have room to breathe to sound best. If you can meet these requirements, they might be worth a try. They deliver a big clean sound from a tiny box.
I get best soundstage and imaging results about 3-4 feet in from side and rear walls in my two 12X12 rooms.
Have Spendor, Harbeth and Reference 3a speakers. All have a very similar sound, which I would call musical versus other speakers listed that tend to be more linear.
The Reference 3a Decapo-i may be a good choice with a little more bottom end and very musical. The other 2 speakers that I have heard and really like are the Harbeth HPL-es3 2 and the Spendor SA 1.
The Spendor is the most lacking in base with the Harbeth in between the Reference 3a and Spendor. This Harbeth is definetly not dark sounding.
The Veritys are also very fine speakers.
What makes a speaker "musical" as opposed to "linear"?
I use Celestion sl-700s in a small bedroom. If you can find a pair of SL-700se even better
Linear- speakers designed to have the smoothest frequency response, therefore sound the best. B&W,Thiel, Wilson to name a few. They are generally brighter on top and not as mesmerizing in the midrange. Many of them are fatiguing after extended listening.
Musical- designed to have a smooth frequency response but also more critcally voiced by ear. The response is important but not as critical as linear responses. These speakers tend to have a more appealing midrange and aggressive highs. Can be listened to for extended periods because of the aforementioned traits. Spendor, Reference 3A, Harbeth and ATC are what I would call musical speakers.
I recommend doing some serious acoustic treatment before buying any new speakers. You have a very poorly dimensioned room and spending more money on speakers before addressing room acoustics seems ill advised.
Buy the speakers first and treat the room afterwards.
Treating the room first would be like going in for surgury and then going to the doctor after surgury to diagnose the problem.
FWIW, as you do not discuss a proposed set up and I assume that you will set the system up with the speakers on the long wall in a nearfield listening set up (6'triangular type arrangement) as its the only thing that I can think of that will give good imaging at moderate levels.
I would be looking for speakers with a very clean/clear but unemphasized tweeter - consider that most speakers are not designed to be heard that close, or a speaker with rolled highs. I finally got some speakers with Dynaudio Esotar tweeters and I can't over emphaize how impressed I amp. If my speakers were not 3 ways requiring some distance for integration I'd recommend them. But, I'd sure recommend considering any of Dynaudio's models with that tweeter.
Check out the Ridge Street Sasons
Musical and would work very well in a room your size
I know someone that has these speakers in a room much smaller then yours and is very happy with the sound
Or one of the smaller Audio Note speakers with corner set-up.