Room size & choosing speakers

I am new to all of this and trying to find best size speakers for a small room. I recently listened to B & W 802D's (with a McIntosh MC452 & C-50) at a local audio store & loved the sound. It is a great deal of money for me, but worth it if I can create that magic at home.

My fear is that I will be listening in a 10' x 12' room and that the speakers will overwhelm the room. I also think of the B & W 803D's (smaller, less money, not quite as full sounding), and still have the same fear.

Right now I am trying to decide between the 803D's & the 805D's with a good subwoofer (possibly Rel 328 or JL audio F112). Any thoughts or help greatly appreciated.
I used to own the 802Ds, 803Ds, and 805Ds and I will say a
10x12 room is definitely too small unless you spend some
effort into room treatments. I personally would start with
the 805Ds and go from there adding a sub as required. BTW, I
used to be in 25x20 room and now have a 10x11 room. I am
currently using some SF Auditor Monitors at lower listening
levels and it works great for me.
another consideration is this... how long are you committed to having the system in that room? That is, are you permanently confined to that room? Will there be a move to a different place soon? I had a friend who invested in a system for a small room --- he painstakingly matched the system to that room. Then two years later he moved had a room w/ 3 times the volume and his system was now ill equipped for that room. he sold the system losing half his money and started again. Perhaps if you overload that small room for a time and use room treatments (a cheap option) --- then, when you move, you have a system that need not be replaced.

Of course, that may be your permanent room (or semi-permanent). Still, get a full bodied system that will play most anywhere and use some room treatments. That is the cheapest and most flexible route to take... or, at least, so it seems.
10x12 do not get floor standers. I'd go with the 805. You may not even need the subwoofer.
In all probability if your goal is to recreate the magic you heard at the dealer you will fail by a significant margin. The room and its interaction with the loudspeaker is the single most important aspect of getting great sound. Most dealers have spent more than $100k exclusive of equipment just to get the room right. As a non-professional user you don't have to go to that extreme, but a basic understanding of room acoustics and the use of products and techniques to address common problems is very important.

The magic of hearing well reproduced music is not primarily a function of equipment. Instead it is more about correctly setting up and matching equipment. For less than half the cost of the system you heard at the dealer there are knowledgeable audiophiles who could assemble and set up an equally magical system. B&W and McIntosh are both very good companies, but there are other brands that offer better value. This plus the knowledge of how to properly setup equipment, particularly loudspeakers, can save a consumer money.

I have no opinion about the B&W loudspeakers you mention. Tboooe has extensive experience with that brand and I believe he has given you some good advice.
Great sounding but overkill...
The 805's should be the place to start with no sub-that can always come later. The C50 is great. The 302 should sound exactly the same but is only 300 watts. That is more than enough power. Honestly, 40 watts with those speakers in a room that size will suffice. Yes, I do understand since I'm using a mac at home.
In the past I sold often monitors with a subwoofer in smaller rooms. The end results were a lot better than bigger speakers. These days I use Audyssey pro and even with lower level Audyssey and I can use even big speakers in smaller rooms. This is a new world with more freedom.
Thank-you - all of this feedback is so, so helpful. I have been obsessing and scouring this website and the internet trying to sort this out, and getting direct feedback is very helpful. My system will be confined to my 10' x 12' office and plan to be here for many years & hoping to get a system that will last.

I bought a system 15 yrs ago with cj amp/pre-amp (pv-14 & MF-2500) and Aerial 7B loudspeakers & have had so many hours of amazing music out of it, but when I moved it this house I could never get it to sound right in my livingrooom. I brought a pair of B & W pm-1 for my home office and ended up pairing them with my cj amp/pre-amp and have been very impressed with the B & W PM-1's - the sound staging delights and boggles me, and gives me the bug to step up.

I have listened to the McIntosh/B & W Diamond combination at a local audio store and am deeply moved by what they create. I loved the fullness/overtones of the 803D's over the 805D's, but given everybody's advice will let go of the 803D's. I have listened to the Dynaudio C1 & the Sonus Farber Cremona Monitor Audio at other stores (with less expensive amp/pre-amp combinations) and neither sounded close to the B & W 805, 803, 802.

My goal is to first figure out the speakers, and then sort out the amp/pre-amp/source issues - it is all very confusing, so any ideas are very welcome. I worry about spending so much more on electronics than speakers, and the McIntosh/B & W combination sounded so much better than others I have tried so far. One dealer suggested that I come in and try the audio physic virgo 25.

All help is greatly appreciated,
The limitation of B&W is still there crossovers. You never wil get the deep and wide stage as only in the best highend. For the absolute sound this is a pre. I did not go for the 800D I was irritated by the stage. Listening to your music with a stage which is 5 metres behind your speakers and more than 1 metre beside is superior to any small stage imaging. You never will get this level of excitment. I owned the best B&W for years and I know were I am talking about. Audio Physic has the same problem. I sold it for over 8 years.
when c1s and sonus faber dont sound close to bowers that means amp and cabling where not up to their level...allthough i like bowers but i have to be sick to buy them infront dyns and sonus(serblin models only) matter how much all 3 speakers sound different...i advice you to match c1s with high current high wattage quality amp and faster cabling(like any dyns) and they will shine...then must spend money on rest electronic and cabling to make any speakers sound their would be shame for any little better speakers not to work their potential becuz of inferior amp IMO...
You can spend you money only once. Just take a much time as you need. It is a lot of fun listening before you buy. Just enjoy it. I did a comparisson with the C1 and the Pl-100 from Monitor Audio. Stage of the Pl-100 was wider and deeper. Response was faster and more tight than the C1. You could hear more detals with the Pl-100. Always use amps which can give a deep and wide stage. Because you are in the price range were it is possible. Only fools go for a 2-dimensional sound. Often caused by not enough knowledge or less knowledge of the shops.
To be sure, monitors are the way to go under your circumstnces. While the Mac/B&W is a nice pairing, IMHO, better results can be had. As a threshold matter, I suggest integrating a sub from the outset (e.g., JL F110 would be plenty in 10x12 room), particularly as you are considering the C50, with all its tone controls across the full spectrum, etc. The C1 (and other monitors), far outclasses the 805D. I have paired the MC452 with Linn Akurate 212 (with JL F112) to great results. To me (with all the caveats about my space/ears/system), the Akurate 212 also is in a different league than the B&W monitor. That combination raised the roof in our listening space that is 3X the size of your room. Enjoy the search, and good luck.
I did a comparison with Primare power and pre amp with the B&W805 and the Pl-100. The Pl-100 was superior in every part. Wenn you go back to the B&W805 the stage was almost flat. Almost no depth. Also in resolution and respons it was inferior to the Pl-100. At the end you have to do the listening yourself. No one can choose for you!!
Need to correct my post, our listening space is 2X the size of the OP's room, not 3X (wish it was).
All of your input is greatly appreciated. I am going to focus on monitors, rather than floor-standing speakers for my 10' x 12' room & will try the Monitor Audio pl-100, Linn Akurate 212, & the dynaudio C1 again and compare with the 805D.

I have two questions - other great monitor speakers in the under 15K range? And second, how do I compare apples to apples - each audio store carries one of these, so no way to do A/B comparisons & the electronics behind them are so different (nobody seems to carry the same brands)? I have trouble discerning how much of what I like in the 805D was the McIntosh pre-amp/amp.
Mctosh can give a good and deep stage as well. Wenn you will use this amp you will hear the difference in stage depth and wide. It is the best to use about 5 numbers of cd's/lp's or music on streamer. Numbers you know well. Use them on each speaker you will listen at. Wenn you go for Mctosh I would go for cabels which give a sharp and small focus of instruments and voices. ( Audioquest, Taralabs, Kimber and Transparent all will work fine depending on your tatste. First only focus on the speakers. cables will be a mather later.)
Mksr , After reading your original post , It made me curious as to how your local dealer answered your question concerning room size with the 802D and associated equipment. What did they say when you asked this question? Since it is a local dealer, would they be willing to allow a home audition to help you make your choice?
In 2000 I met a person who bought the 802N. His room was too small for this speaker. He had a lot od acoustic problems with it. I never would have sold him this speakers in that room. I got really irritated and phoned with B&W in my country. I said you need to be more careful and honnest to cleints about speakers in this price range.
I auditioned the 802D's at a local dealer and did not like the sound at all. The imaging was constricted and the midrange was muddy and hollow. I think the problem was the room was too small for these speakers. Other speakers sounded much better in that room. Therefore I tend to agree with the others that the 802D's really need a bigger room to perform to their potential.
Many shops do not understand audio and acoustics. In my country it is the same. The problem is knowlegde. First you have to understand and know all the properties of the 802D before you can Judge in which room and how it need to be positioned. Then you also need to know which amp will get all the properties out of the speaker it owns. With speakercable it is the same. They often just place them somewhere, pick an amp and some cables. Audio and music does not work like this. It is that simple!
Mksr, given the dimensions of your room and the fact that your room is a bit
square-ish, it is best to go with monitor speakers that do not have a lot of bass
(e.g. B&W 805D, Focal Electra or Utopia) and complement these monitors with a
good subwoofer. Being able to move the bass source around the room is very
important for archiving a good bass response. When properly integrated with a
subwoofer, the 805 will sound much fuller than the 803Ds and should have
significantly more impact.

Regarding the Dynaudio C1 speakers (mk1 or mk2), when set up properly they
sound much better than any B&W 805 modeI. However, they require a much
more careful set up, i.e. they need a very good power amp and also require
careful placement in the room. Also, because they put out a lot of bass it is
imperative that you try them in your room to make sure they will not overwhelm
Thank-you for all of your feedback. It is helping me to sort through the choices. I went back to the dealer and listened again to the 803D & the 805D (with Rel 328 sub) in a room almost as small as mine, and I have given up on the 803D & 802D- too much speaker. I still like the 805D & the sub added punch, but at times I could locate the sub and it distracted from the fullness of the sound. I imagine that this has to do with placement and adjusting the sub carefully to fit the room.

I also listened today to Sonus Farber Olympica I (didn't like them at all) & then the Wilson Duette & it seems in a different class than the other monitor speakers I have heard. I can get a floor model of the original duette for about 1/2 the price of the new duette 2 (which I haven't heard yet). I only got to listen for about 45 minutes - wow. They seem worth going out of the way for.

The 805D/mac combination had one way that is was warmer, but in every other way the Wilson Duette (with an arye integrated amp) was far superior. I am interested if anybody has experience with them and if worth the money to get the duette 2's.

Try listening to the Monitor Audio Pl-100 and the PLW-15. I Always have the best results with sub's wenn they are closed and only have one speakerunit in front. With downfiring the stealth integration I have is not possible. I use the Pl-200, which can be places 10cm from the wall. Is a speaker with one of the fastest responses in there price range.This makes them a lot quicker and easier in smaller rooms. Just listen to it and try it. Take as much time as you can en listen to different speakers. You will find the one that fits best to your personal taste.
I was in your same situation, and ended up going with the B&W PM1 - I work from home, and my home office is exactly 10x12, and with furniture and such in the room I end up sitting no more than 6 feet from the speakers and the speakers are maybe 7 feet apart. It doesn't take much to fill a room this size with sound.

I do have a B&W sub in the room, but I only use it when listening to rock at higher volume levels. With just about everything else - jazz, classical, female vocals, acoustic guitar, etc. I turn off the sub and let the PM1 do all the work. There are plenty of times that I catch myself thinking, there's no way the PM1 should be putting out that much bass from a speaker that size, but they pull it off. I did consider smaller towers, but the PM1 are so nice to look at and sound much bigger than they are, and again...doesn't take much to fill a room this small with sound!

Lots of good suggestions from everyone else so far, just listen to as many as you can, and take them home if the dealer will let you. I learned that system synergy and room layout make all the difference. For my living room system, I went from B&W 704 (liked them, didn't love them), to B&W 805 (liked them more), tried some Quads, then B&W 805 Signatures (loved them, wish I never sold them, will own them again even if I just sit and stare at them), then Sonus Faber Concerto & Grand Piano (hated them with rock music, great for everything else), and finally, of all brands, I ended up with Mirage OM-9. In my specific living room, with my gear, and my source material, the OM-9 sounds best. On paper, they'd probably be everyone's last choice (and they weren't even on my list when I started), but it's all about total system & room synergy, and nobody here can help you with that you just have to try a bunch out and see if they give you goosebumps. Enjoy it - the journey is tons of fun.
The Wilson Duette would be an excellent choice in that they are designed for flexible room placement. They also don't need a subwoofer for music. They will work best with high powered solid state. I'd recommend integrateds from Rowland, Hegel, McIntosh or even Pathos, but there are many others that will work. Good luck.
Mksr, the Duettes are indeed much better than the 805Ds. Also, as Onhw61 has mentioned, for music you would not need a sub in your room with them. Though, I do not know how much bass they put out when they play music at lower volumes (when cracked up they put out enough bass for most people).

If you can stretch it, my advise would be to get the Wilson instead of the B&W 805Ds. Not only you have heard how much better they are than the 805s (which will hunt you for a long time if you would buy the 805s), but I assume that half the price of the Duettes 2 is not that much more that the price you would pay for the 805Ds plus a decent sub. However, as before, I advise you to try them in your room to make sure they will not overwhelm it with bass. Since Wilson dealers are required by Wilson to set up every pair of Wilson they sell in their client's room (at least that is the case here in Europe) maybe you can reach an understanding with your dealer, i.e. that you will buy the speakers if, when set up by him, they do not overwhelm your room.
Appropriate room tuning will allow you to use the premium larger speakers and have the greatest sound available.
The bigger more expensive speakers offer the best sound quality. It ca be surprisingly easy to tailor your room.
I agree with Tboooe, i'd go for the 805D's and add a subwoofer. The sub will give you adjustments to tune the response to your room which is a key advantage, however I would recommend staying with B&W. Have you had a look at the B&W DB1? It is part of the 800 series and should integrate better than a Rel or similar sub.
The problem of the DB1 is that is has 2 bass units. This means it Always influence your room more. Go for a sealed subwoofer with the bass unit in front. These days I use these days in a a-b demo with sub's with 2 bass units to show my clients why the first one integrates better. Always use a-b tests.
Good advice Bol, thanks for chiming in.
Price does not say anything. There are a lot more expensive speakers which are average or even poor than exeptional good. Quality of the cabinets, speaker units response and material use and the quality of filters and crossovers. There are enough speakers from 20.000 dollar and above which are not that good. At shows these people get very hard questions Always. I hate all the average and poor audio products.
Mksr, A consideration that I didn’t see addressed is speaker placement relative to room boundaries. If your office will see a lot of traffic, speakers that are optimized for placement well out into the room might be an issue. If your room configuration allows, I would steer away from rear ported speakers and seek speakers that like corner or at least near the wall placement.
I have the 805D's paired with the REL R528 in a room that is 11'X15'. I have tried quite a few larger models over the past five years and I wholeheartedly agree with monitors being the best for your room size. Any floorstander is going to over power that room. The 805Ds will drive an average sized room very well, provided it is driven with quality amplification. Even if you move and increase your room size, it should still work quite well. Good luck and enjoy the research!
Without roomacoustic systems in a small room monitor speakers with a subwoofer will be a much better option. From 2007 till 2009 I sold a lot monitor speakers with subwoofers. I Always took a pair of monitors and a subwoofer with me. Even when people wanted to buy floorstanders. Hearing is believing. Often they were surprised that the monitors and sub gave better results. These days I can easily adapt every floorstander even in a small room with Audyssey. ( or Audyssey Pro) This is a new way of freedom. Technique does change the way we think about acoustics!!
Just curious about your thoughts on the new Sonus Faber Olympica I.
I understand you didn't care for it, but wondering what specifically you didn't like. My dealer has not received his yet. They look gorgeous from photos, but I am guessing they will be overly warm at the expense of resolution, like other Sonus in my experience...
First - thank-you to everybody who contributed to this post. I am new to the site & found all of the information incredibly helpful in discerning what to buy. In the end I listened carefully to 13 different speakers in the $5,000 - $21,000 range and ended up with Magico S1's.
I am thrilled with the choice that I made. I did some of the listening with two friends with great ears and what stood out is that in almost every case we all had the same impressions of every set of speakers. We had the chance to listen to the S1's in a small room (a converted garage) and the musicality, timbre, clarity, fullness of bass far surpassed all of the other speakers in my price range. They are 2 way speakers, but not monitors.
The Magico's can give a stunning 3 dimensional image. Now you understand the difference between 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional. Good luck and a lot of fun.
Sonus Faber does not have the level of depth and wide compared to the Magico's. Respons is also not as quick as the Magico's.
I was disappointed with SF Olympica I. My friend and I both commented after one song that they seemed flat, mushy, lacking in depth or musicality. I have B & W PM - 1's at home (at 1/3rd the price) that sounded considerably better. The sound was so disappointing that I later wondered if the dealer had made a mistake with the wiring in setting them up. In terms of my own ear, they were the least interesting of the 13 pairs of speakers I auditioned. They didn't draw me into the music, where as virtually every other pair did. I hope that this is helpful.
It has also to do with the combo. Often they want you to buy the most expensive one. You can easily influence the outcome of any speaker! (when you want to)