Small-ish speakers for a very large room?


I recently moved into a new condo which has a really large living room. The room itself is probably 35' x 17' with 12' ceillings; but the room is actually a partial loft - the wall opposite the stereo only goes up 7' leading into a 14' x 14' bedroom.

Needless to say, the room sounds pretty cavernous.

I have always built my stereo built around listening - I have a full Lineaum home theater (the Lineaum-brand 2-way tower speakers with the LX-5's as surrounds, and their "matching" center channel). Unfortunately, since I moved, everything just sounds anemic.

It's probably time for a change anyway - so I'm looking into a few different options. Unfortunately, I'm also on a tight budget.

How do people think that the Magnepan MMG's would do in a room this large? What other reasonably priced speakers would do well in a room so volumous?

I have no qualms with going with used speakers - I just want to spend less than $1000 for the pair and less than $500 for the matching center. I'm also not opposed to bookshelf speakers or speakers that would necessitate a sub for home theater.

Thanks in advance for everyone's advice.
To me, the MMG's would be too inefficient to work well in your situation, not to mention that they lack slam and impact in general.

I think I'd consider a pair of the Energy C-9 speakers. They're about 94dB/W efficient and have good range and impact. Since this is a discontinued model, I've seen them going real cheap on the web these days. You could probably pick them up for around $600 - $650/pr and that would be a great bargain.

I use the Energy C-7s in my home theater. They're in a somewhat smaller room and have worked out great for my needs. Energy makes a matching center too that shouldn't cost too much.
Oops, I see that you were looking for smaller speakers to fill your requirements. You can probably find some that will work to some degree, but I doubt that they'll work as well as larger speakers in a room the size of yours. So you may have to compromise on the overall impact and sound quality if you find smaller speakers to use.
No - those Energy's appear to be a good suggestion. I agree with you that I'm probably not going to get by with anything much smaller than that.

I'll try and find an Energy dealer around here; I've actually never heard Energy's at all, so I'm curious to check them out.

Mostly, by small I mean that I need to keep it wife-friendly - i.e. not Snell C's or 6' tall Magnepans :)
You can try to fill that huge room volume with sound from a single pair of speakers--but this is no easy task on a budget. Still... the Energy suggestion is interesting, and a PSB tower model might work too.

But if your ears are used to refined sound, chances are it will be hard to find a pair which will be efficient (and large) enough, and which can at the same time satisfy any need you may have for detail, smoothness and the rest of the high end qualities.

In that case, another option, a viable one for music, is nearfield listening. A pair of monitors on stands won't fill the room, but if you can sit near them the effect can be very satisfying indeed.
Not my cup of tea, but, maybe something like Klipsch Heresey's might work for you.
Those are points well taken, Tobias, in fact they illustrate my main concern - that I won't be able to fill up the room with sound on my budget without taking a step back in terms of musicality.

PSB is a brand I plan on looking at; they have a dealer near me who has a nice b-stock sale going on right now. I have some hope that I might be able to find something good there. I have a pair of their bookshelves that I use for my studio monitors and like them well enough.

I realize there's no magic bullet, I just wasn't sure what else to look at that would actually be musical. How about NHT and Canton?
Contact Louis at Omega Speaker Systems ( to get his recommendation.
You need to audition the Quad 12Ls or 21Ls.
anyone for lunn tukan or katans
Best thing to do would be to purchase 2 subs..(or one good one like HSU) and use speakers like Anthony Gallo's A'divas... or Infinity Primus 160 etc...which are amazing speakers for the price... use a good home theater receiver and use the bass management to cut off low frequencies around 120.... they will play plenty loud to fill your room.
I have a pair of Triangle Titus ES on stands, serving as nearfield monitors in my bedroom. They are quite smooth and detailed, and very lively and musically satisfying. I think they would work very well in a combined music / HT system. Of course they are small. The next model up, the Com├Ęte, is still in your price range and delivers more bass. Aball, a member here, has a pair of these and might be willing to talk about them.

Either of these would work well with a sub or subs. And of course if you buy used, you can look higher up the Triangle range. All Triangles are efficient, a plus for your room, and any Triangle model I've heard sounds better to me--more refined and detailed--than the PSBs and Energys I know. (Not to knock the Canadians, I am one after all, and they are certainly cheaper.)
Thanks to everyone for their help. It gave me a lot of different options to think about.

Last night I picked up a sub - which did solve the problem but only for home theater. It turns out (and I should've known this going into it) that my B&K Reference 10's bass management only works well for digital sources; if you turn it on for an analog source it sounds like it's digitizing the signal, crossing it over digitally, and spitting it back out again.

In other words, it sounds awful.

So - I'm returning the sub. Many people suggested them, and the store I frequent has a pair of floor-sample PSB Image T-45's - so I'm going to give those a try.

Thanks again everyone.