You might be very pleased at the sound that you can get out of small speakers. I set up a pair of Von Schweikert VR1's (used about $500) for my brother with a sub and an Onkyo receiver into a similar space (open on the two side walls) for near field listening. They rest on a cabinet that holds the gear and has a thin TV between.
The sound is one that I could listen to all day and has much of the beauty, sweetness, and naturalness of a larger system.
there is a nice set of De Capos for 1050.00 on this site.
No need for a sub unless you want thumping, sounds good at low volumes
Have you considered the Gallo on-wall stuff? Haven't heard it personally, but I doubt Gallo would put out anything less than amazing.
Vandersteen also makes some on-wall surrounds. Haven't heard them either, but Vandy's pedigree would make me strongly consider them too.
That is, of course, if you like Gallo's and Vandersteen's presentations.
Good suggestions above.
Also take a look at Tekton Design. Their designs are very efficient (95 - 98 db) so work well with most amps.
How about Proac Tablets or the Reponse 1sc, or Harbeth P3ESR, and a small sub like a used Rel Q201 or T series? Both the Proac and the Harbeth like tubes 60 watts being plenty
I just transitioned from a small space using 2-way stand mounts to full range floor standers in a larger area. If youre open to box speakers, take a look at the M12s I listed last night. Ive owned quite a few speakers costing more than several times their price and always ended up going back to the M12s in smaller listening environments. In regard to a sub, I used a pair of TBI Magellan V1 Us to augment the M12s low end with great results. Should you go the planar route, the TBIs would integrate well for the speed needed with that type of speaker and would fit nicely within the confines of your fireplace. They do pop up on Agon from time to time and as luck would have it, there are two (not mine) currently listed. Best of luck ;)
Also research BeoLab 3 and BeoLab 4000 from Bang & Olufsen.
That fits your first object of active loudspeakers plus they fit in tiny spaces. Expensive but killer sound from a tiny box.
Wow...tough space. I've listened to many speakers, trying to find some that work well against the wall without too much bass bloom. Only thing I've found that work well are Anthony Gallo A'Divas. See if you can find some to listen to. John Blue might be a good bet too.
A pair of Spendor S 3/5 sealed minimonitors (like a modern LS 3/5a)with a variety of amplification and a minimum of about 6 inches out from the wall can be quite amazing. Can be found on Audigon for ~ $600+ frequently. I had Quad 63's for a while and the little S 3/5's could frequently out Quad the Quads.
I am using a pair of NHT Classic 3 in a small, 11 x 10 room with great results. The drivers on the 3 are very close together, which allows them to integrate very soon after leaving the speaker. I would avoid any tower or other speakers that have widely spaced drivers since you dont have the room to allow them to gel together well. Teh classic 3 lists for $999 but can be found new for $400.
I second the S3/5s or the original SP 1/3s (not the SP 1/3Ps). The latter are rare as hens' teeth on AG, though.
I would forget the subwoffer and buy a pair of Rega RS3's.
I had exactly your problen and they work wonderfully in a small space,VERY musical and easy to drive with a perfectly
beautiful full-range sound.
The side fring woffers make placement so easy,can fire in or out,whatever sounds best in your space.
I have them in a 12x11 room driven by a 10 watt Sophia Baby Electric and wouldn't change them if I won the lottery!
In many ways a better speaker than the Maggie 1.6 I had before I downsized to a condo.
Focal Solo 6 BE or Twin 6 BE if you can swing the extra $
I agree with previous comment
forget the sub. I put together a budget system for my smallish basement (10.6x11) and Im currently using a pair of Meadowlark Swift speakers that sound very musical and at 89db, have no problems filling the room. They also have a small footprint which would fit your rooms needs. They can be had for around $500.00 and if you dont like them, they are an easy sell.
Thiel viewpoint on the side walls or pointsource on the ceiling?
Some great ideas. Mostly unpowered monitors for near-field. Any experience with on-wall? I would really like to get these off the floor.
The Thiel viewpoints are a possibility, but I don't have a clue how they sound.Did like the 3.6 I heard 10 years ago.
Rear ported probably wont' work too well near the wall.
Have thought of Gallos and now rethinking. Never heard a pair.
Thanks to all . . . the saga continues. Would really like to hear from experienced mc1 and vignette user.