Rethinking my system: Your ideas are appreciated

Hi all,

I have a pair of Dynaudio Focus 110s and a Rythmik Audio F12SE sub driven by a Rotel RSX-1055. My room size is 27x24. I listen mostly to rock, blues, funk, guitar/vocal instrumental and classical. I also use the system for movies.

While I really like the Dyns, I'm looking for something a bit stronger in both fullness and presence. Something where the sound doesn't seem to be coming from 'over there,' but rather it envelopes you and makes you feel like you're at the event. Not so much 'louder' as 'bigger.' This could certainly be due to poor speaker placement / imaging on my part. Still, I can't help feeling like I wish the sound was fuller, and at the same time I would rather not rely on the sub as much in order to get that fullness.

Not sure if this means going to floorstanders or possibly upsizing my monitors. Or maybe it means rethinking the Rotel, or at least adding monoblocks. Budget for speakers is around $1500 or so.

I apologize if my audio vocabulary is lacking or if I'm not clearly expressing my thoughts. I realize that everyone's tastes are different and that I'm working with a small budget, but maybe I could get general ideas and suggestions from those of you who have 'been there/done that.'

My OHM Walsh speakers are to my Dyn monitors what you describe you are looking for.

My Dynaudio monitors are big overachievers for their size and sound much bigger than one might think, but you need bigger speakers (and perhaps more power to go with it) for bigger sound.

Have you ever tried a dedicated power amp with your Dynaudios to see what that might do?
Your speakers could still benefit from better amp which is less hassle to upgrade especially if you're going to be shopping used for either unit. I'd look at Wyred4Sound amps.
You have a large size space and you're trying to fill it with a small stand mounted monitor. The tonal balance of the reflected sound, which is the majority of the sound in a large room, unless you sit very close to the speakers, is thinned out by the size of the room. In effect your room is working against your speakers. Obviously you need speakers that will work with this room. The problems is I'm not sure you can do it within your budget. The bigger Ohm Walsh speakers might fit your needs, but they are well north of $1,500. Vintage corner horns would also work, but again decent ones start around $2,000.

My suggestion is to not make any changes and live with what you have. Save up and come back to the question in a year or two. You'll have a better idea of what you need and a larger budget.
I found the focus 110's just too small sounding for my tastes. I bought the Focus 140's and that was much better. However,I think I need a little bigger dynaudio monitor or floor standers to get that more majestic sound. I think the contour 1.3 mk11's and the 1.3 SE sound bigger (and actually are a little bigger). I have a pair of 1.3 mk11's and they seem just big enough to throw a satisfactory large sound in a small to mid size room.
There is a pair of Hales revelation 3s for sale at Us audiomart which will leave you money left for the amp to drive them. Woes gone.
Are you using active high pass on the monitors, or are you running them full range, with the sub simply augmenting the lowest octaves?

If you're not running an active XO between sub and mains, adding the ability to cut everything below 80Hz from the mains will allow them to play with more dynamic range for two reasons:

Reduced excursion requirements on the mains allowing cleaner midrange reproduction

Reduced peak to average ratio on the amplifier, allowing better dynamic peaks for more realistic impact.
I used to have the Focus 220's and eventually sold them because the didn't really provide the umph and fullness I was looking for when listening to classical music. I upgraded to the Tyler Acoustics Linbrook Signature system and have been satisfied with this for a few years now. I could easily see these as my last speaker.
I found myself in a similar situation a couple of years ago, after moving my system into a newly-expanded Great Room (30'x30'x12'). I made the correct decision for my situation by upsizing my speakers to Tyler Woodmeres. What I noticed was a much larger midrange and bass reinforcement that I think could only come from larger drivers in a larger cabinet. Now, the entire room is filled with music, and it overflows nicely into adjacent open spaces. Tyler still makes the Woodmeres, although they are not currently featured on his website. Good luck.
With the size of your room, you really need something bigger to load the room if you are looking for fullness instead of pinpoint imaging. At your budget, I would recommend the PSB Golds. You then might need more power to do the speakers justice in that room. Something in the 250 wrms range. I liken your current system to a turbo 4 engine in a car. Might have enough horsepower, but not enough torque, like a V8 would have. You need more torque
i vote with the upgrade-the-amp folks. your dynaudios (which i really like) are very inefficient at 84db, while your avr is rated at only 75w/ch. like manitunc says, you need more torque--even if you were to upgrade speakers you might find your rotel can't cut it. you can find a nice used parasound or comparable for a few hundo. you're also getting good advise re: setup.
I have not tried a dedicated power amp, but I'm thinking that's the way to go here. As much as I love the Dynaudio sound, I still think they're a bit too small for my area even with the added power amp. I will probably get floorstanders to move more air.

I looked at the Anthem 225 — any other suggestions for integrated amps? Also, many of the integrated amps I've looked at don't seem to have sub outputs - just 2-channel for mains. Any way around this to hook up the sub?
Since you're using a 7-channel (with 5 powered channels) AV receiver and have a subwoofer, is this a surround HT system or are you using it for 2.1 ch. stereo?

I notice you're considering changing to a 2-channel integrated (Anthem 225), so I'm guessing you're not using the Rotel for surround sound. I just looked at a photo of the back panel of your sub and you really don't have to worry about whether you can hook it up with whatever you buy. Your sub has a versatile set of inputs--you can plug in a mono LFE RCA interconnect, R-L stereo interconnects, or speaker cables. The Anthem 225 has a pair of preamp-out jacks, so you could use a stereo pair of interconnects to drive your subwoofer. If you were to get a stereo integrated amp *without* pre-outs, you could still connect your sub with speaker cables.

Now on to the speakers. I have recently auditioned a pair of speakers that should be about perfect for your situation. 20x24 is a large room, and many good floorstanders that can fill that space are above your budget. However, the Monitor Audio Silver RX8 is an excellent, well made speaker with a neutral tonal balance, excellent low level detail, and BIG sounding in a modest size and right about at your budget. They retail at $1750/pair (here's a demo pair right at your budget) and are a demure 38" high. I heard these in a ~16x20 room and they were actually a bit much for it. They should be perfect for 20x24. In fact, this double-ported speaker comes with a pair of foam plugs for the ports if you need to dampen the port output to fit the room. That gives you 4 different physical bass damping configurations.

I also listened to the next size down, the RX6, which is slightly smaller and has one less woofer. It's amazing how much more sound Monitor Audio got out of the RX8 with just one more woofer. The RX8 makes the RX6 sound like a compact by comparison--nice sounding in the sweet spot, but not at all room-filling like the RX8. The Absolute Sound noticed the same things about the RX8's clarity, detail, smoothness, tonal balance, dynamics, and room-filling abilities in this review. It was also a TAS Editor's Choice.
Your instincts are correct. The speakers are simply too small and the power too little. Class D amps have all the watts you ned cheap enough, as mentioned Wyred4sound and others. The problem is the class D sonic is bit on the dry side. Choosing speakers is a matter of personal preference. You seem to be happy enough with the Dyns so you might have to wait until you have enough money to buy more substantial Dyne Speakers.

The Rotel is from a home theater setup that I had several years ago. I recently moved into a different house, so I don't run surrounds anymore - just mains and a sub.

Interesting that you recommended the RX8s - I briefly auditioned the RX6s a few months ago, and decided to stick with the Dyns. I didn't think the RX6s added anything that I wasn't already getting. That said, I have not heard the RX8s, but since you feel there is a substantial difference between those and the RX6s, I may have to give them a try.

I will also probably trade in the Rotel in favor of an integrated amp with more power.

Thanks for your helpful suggestions!

Thanks for the info Alderash. Sitting next to each other in the audition room and driven by the same source and amplification, the RX6 sounded like what it was, a compact floorstander. With the addition of one more woofer and a couple inches bigger in each direction, the RX8 somehow sounded like a huge floorstander by comparison.

A powerful 2-channel integrated is certainly the Anthem 225. You can use it with your sub and everything. Another integrated I like *a lot* is the Marantz PM8004. Although it's in their regular product lineup, it is built at Marantz's Reference line facility in Japan. It shares similar component quality and is the only mid-level Marantz amp to use their HDAM gain module, which they use throughout the Reference line. The PM8004 doesn't have the brute power of the Anthem, but at 100w into 4 ohms (the Monitor Audio RX8 is 4 ohms) it sounds like it's much more powerful. Its grip on multi-woofered ported speakers is exemplary. It has the speed and low level detail of a boutique amp. It reproduces all the recording venue ambience and draws the listener (me) into the performance. I heard this $999 integrated power a $12K pair of Sonus Faber Cremona Ms as though it was born to the task.

The Anthem is a great amp with lots of power at $1500, but the Marantz is kind of special. Here's the TAS review.
If you like the dynaudio sound, and from what I have heard of them they are great speakers, consider moving up their range to suit your room size. To get a full sound, big rooms need big speakers and powerful amps. You will need a new amp. I dont think you will get there with standmounts.
Zu omen may be good. I listen to similar music and Zu speakers are full of tone and dynamics that project into the room. Guitar/vocals are especially good as most Marshall/Fender stacks use Eminance speakers upon which Zu is based. They're designed to work with HT amps. ........ Just a thought