Speaker suggestions for less than ideal accoustics

I live in a lovely timber frame home that works well for our lifestyle but presents challenges when trying to create a good audio listening environment. My great room has a wall of windows, tile floors (radiant heat), a large stone fireplace,28' ceiling peak, open to a loft area and open to the kitchen/dining area. The space is approx 1000 sq ft. I have listened in stores to some nice speakers (JM labs 816s, Def Tech 7004, Paradigm studio 100s, PSB T55,) but I know none of them will sound the same in my great room. Anyone ever faced this challenge and know if certain qualities in speaker designs lend themselves to this? I have learned a lot from this forum and wish there were more places to hear some of the equipment mentioned. BTW,this is for music listening only. Home theatre will have its own dedicated room in the basement where things can be built to suit
lived in a very large cabin...redwood walls, radiant heat,vaulted ceilings with beams(also redwood....no amount of light at night could make the main room anything but twilight).....several large picture windows with no curtains.....klipsch heresys in the corners could fill the room, and despite the nature of horns(and the glass picture windows)it sounded awfully good. i tried lots of others over a 4 year period, even bose 901's but the heresys did the job. used mac tube gear(more radiant heat)...good luck
I'd kill for a room like yours. (Although you didn't mention the dimentions -- about 30 x 30 or 25 x 40?)

You're in a position (if not vetoed) to "islandize" your whole listening setup to the middle of the room, thus avoiding image-destroying reflections. Then all you need to worry about are echo/reverb, which can be addressed with general sound absorption (rugs/carpets, stuffy furniture, drapes/wall hangings/tapestries, lots of people, etc.) and bass nodes (which should be minimal in a room that size, but you might need some traps.)

The ceiling is too high to cause interference reflections, so only needs sound absorbtion if there's not enough elsewhere.

As for the glass. Well if you have radiant heating, I assume your house is energy efficient. So you have double paned windows. Those are pretty stout, and probably just as stiff as drywall (unless they're huge panes.) So unless they are rattling, I wouldn't worry about them.

But do consider a speaker/listening arrangement that pulls everything into the middle of the room -- you'll be so happy.

By the way, an ideal environment for dipole speakers and dipole subs. You're so lucky!
I can't help but think something like the Tact might help. The Gradients are reputed to be room tuneable.
Can't help but agree with Nsgarch! I would love to have that room to work with...Get something to produce concert levels...Hmmmm...So nice!
Frankly, I am pessimistic about anything that will work for that large space and would agree about setting off a small part for listening. Then you can treat that restricted area.

Get a Behringer DEQ 2496. This will help alot. For 300 bucks with the Behringer ECM 8000 microphone it's a steal. If you can use any room treatment that would be good too. No speaker is designed for bad acoustics that I'm aware of. Do some reading on the above piece.
Focal SM8's with DSP correction EQ and built in amplification, $7K/pr run your cd players digital out right to the speakers and control the volume from a windows based pocket pc or laptop....what more could you want? ...maybe a matching DSP subwoofer?
Apart from the windows and the tile floor, which may give you reflections and some harshness in the treble, the fire place, loft and large room size probably make this a great room for listening (lots of space and uncorrelated reflections). If you place speakers with back to windows and get a rug then you may not even need to worry about treble reflections

My guess is that the speakers that give you the best lower base response and that are least harsh sounding in upper mid and treble might work for you. You have a large room to fill, perhaps the Def Techs with that big 10" woofer might give you the umph you will need.... provided you are comfortable the "airy" highs these speakers are known for.

good luck!
Actually you're a prime contender for open baffle or dipole spkrs, as Nsgarch aptly notes above. ANyhting else will prbably make yr life a misery (it'll be near impossible to control 300Hz downward).

Probably the best open baffle design is Linkwitz's Orion -- but that requires ~3k + diy or 6k ready made (that includes amplification; some consolation). It would be easy for you to get excellent sound in yr environment (possibly better than you'd get in an untreated conventional room).
Another open baffle choice at a more reasonable price is the Bastanis (www.bastanis.com) something or other -- which also requires a little diy.

As your room is large, appropriate stators would be frightfully expensive (think of big Soundlabs).
Greg is right, Soundlabs would be (you should excuse the word) AWSOME, in that room! And so would the new Martin Logan Summits. Both provide plenty of bass of their own. But the big Soundlabs were built for a room like that -- it would be a marriage made in audio heaven!
Gotta go for the big boys to try and take the room out of the equation...Used Pipedreams with 4 Sat subs would fill that room nicely. Silk dome tweeters are softer on the ears than horns plus they are pretty easy to drive at a db rating of over 90. With a room that big and beautiful Im going to assume they are within your budget.
I would agree, large Martin Logans, powered with a nice Pass Labs 350 amp. Look out.
thanks everyone for your input. I have been intrigued by what I am reading about Shahinian design. It seems they have been around quite a while, yet their unique approach has not caught on. Why are they not more popular?
shahinians are great...like ohm, people either love them of hate them.....stereo everywhere(my apologies to amar bose)
I have spent a lot of time reading others insights and suggestions..what is disappointing is that there seems to be such limited access to all these high end products and a way to listen to all they offer. As a newcomer I appreciate all that I read but am no closer to buying what may be available from my only nearby "high end" audio store and their limited offerings.(PSB, POLK,JM Labs) How sad. Are these stores going the way of the old local hardware store?
I still look forward to any suggestions for an effective means to fill my great room with full beautiful music.I have decided not to go with the "big boys" and would like to hear some feedback on towers in the $1000-3000 range and and a well suited amplifier to match.
Timberman, I don't know what your budget allows (ie "Big Boys" speakers) but I understand your frustration over the prospect of spending a lot of money (even if willing and able) only to be underwhelmed with the result.

So let me offer what many might consider a novel (offbeat?) idea:

At this point in your search, just forget about making a selection, and instead concentrate on (re)searching out listening venues. It's an obvious, but not often enough mentioned fact that they can't come to you!

It's going to cost you a few airline tickets, possibly, or some long drives (where do you live, anyway?) but in the end, you will make a decision you know is right because it is based on first hand experience.

I'd set up my research effort something like this:

1.) First, I'd contact those who could help me compile a list of (what in they're opinions would be) appropriate speakers for my space. You've started to do that here in this thread. Here are some other ideas: What about talking with Richard Bird at Rivas Audio. Describe your space and get his speaker wish list. Email specific Agonners whose systems seem to reside in large spaces and ask them their impressions/pros/cons.

2.) Once you have say a dozen models/brands, representing a variety of design approaches, stats, horns, multi boxes, line source (Pipe Dreams, Dynaudio, Alon etc) planars (Maggies) call every one of those manufacturers (NOT THEIR DEALERS -- you're interested in doing the evaluating, not having someone else evaluate you!) and tell them where you live, describe your space, and ask them to recommend a place to listen to their product in an environment that most closely matches your own. Explain that while a dealer with a huge listening room would be OK, that if they wouldn't mind, you'd really appreciate it if they would be kind enough to contact customers whom they know have listening spaces like yours, and find out if they would mind demonstrating their systems to you (I can't imagine who but the most paranoid curmudgeon wouldn't be delighted -- you'd just have to go to them of course.) Every manufacture of "Big Boys" (and even small boys) from Wilson to Soundlabs to Alon to Focal to Avalon to Kharma, knows where there favorite children are living and would be delighted to try connecting you, if you're willing to make the trip.

Do it that way. You'll have a lot of fun, meet a lot of great people, maybe see a bit more of America, but more important, you'll come to make an educated decision that will return real enjoyment the first time out.
I have a large room with a wall of glass (19x39x9) and have truly enjoyed my full range Alon V MkIIs in that room. The flooring is wool carpet over tile. I have drapes I can pull over the windows.

I found dipoles sounded superb in this room. I would heartily recommend very dynamic dipoles like Alon/Nola or wide dispersion spekaers like Ohms or Shahinians, or possibly planars (you may need to augment some planars with subs).

I had a client with a similar type of room as yours (post & beam construction, open plan, tall ceiling, glass etc.) and his Apogee Divas sounded better in that room than they did in his former home where he had a room specially constructed for them.

I travelled to be able to audition what I was interested in. Try it - you may like it.
1000 to 3000 range, try the full range Apogee Centaur Majors. 4 foot long ribbon with a 10 inch woofer has plenty of slam for the buck.
I live in the Hudson Valley in New York, near West Point Military Academy. You would think everything in the universe would be locally accessible, yet my searches show a limited amount of "listening and comparing" locations. It appears a lot of these high end manufacturers sell direct because they don't want or need to deal with the mass media retailers and want to keep their products affordable to their end user. I applaud them for that and I will find a way to seek out and audition their custom offerings. Its actually a bit refreshing to know that these people still exist and I will be willing to support that mentality, assuming my hunch is valid. Once again thanks for everyones comments and suggestions..the search continues..it really is more fun than disappointment and I' hope one day to post a reply raving about what I ended up acquiring...keep suggestions coming. thanks
Are you looking to play loud? Most people seem to assume you want a big speaker that can fill your room. Have you thought about maybe going with monitor speakers w/ a sub or something? Perhaps something from Sonus Faber might work, as their speakers work really well with high ceilings and don't sound bad in reflective environments.
Loud, no. Fill the room with precise and accurate sound. yes.I know there is a fine line with distinguishing the two.Thats the place I am looking for.
I know a guy with a similar setup. He has ATC active 100's which can play 120dB continuous. I've seen ATC active 50's for about $7k a few years ago. Maybe the active 20's??Forget the passive models.
Timberman, do you have any ideas or restrictions as to where the speakers will be/can be placed and your listening position? I assume that since you're talking about "precise and accurate", you care more about sitting down in the sweetspot to listen most of the time?
I am restricted to speaker placement and realistically most of my listening will be done while moving about the room, or during dinner, or while working on the computer.Those other times when doing nothing but listening and enjoying there is not a precise sweetspot, if in fact that would be equidistant center and back from where I can only assume would be the speaker placement.
I guess a picture would show this a lot better than I can describe. Bottom line is that in my search to date I have heard music like I never heard it before, and it sounds wonderful.I am not ready to invest a lot of money into the possible end state right now but I am willing to find a nice start point and go from there.
Same ears,in fact over 50 yrs now, same music genre preference,(jazz and classic rock),a bit wiser, a bit mellower, a bit more time to relax and a few more bucks. Must be the equipment.
To follow up on Cdc's comments

I use ATC SCM 100 active monitors, an SCM 0.1/15 sub and the SCM 20's. I fear the 20's may be a little small for your needs (they definitely need a sub). I am not sure about the 50's as I have not heard them.

What I can confirm, as Cdc says, the 100's are indeed quite comfortable playing louder than anything I have ever heard outside of a rock concert. And with very low levels of distortion or compression.

As a pro speaker primarily used for mixing/mastering they have good dispersion of the sound field with a very even energy level throughout a large room...practically speaking this means that speaker placement is not critical (there is a solid image but no critical sweetspot). They also play consistently at all sound levels. These two factors may make them highly suitable for your application.


A caveat here, these really are "studio monitors" primarily used by professionals for critical listening. You will get ruthlessly accurate sound and a dynamic range that only pros demand and wives/neighbours may hate. Everything is critically damped in the design. The nice sounding harmonic colourations and warm resonant base commonly found in most widely appealing speakers, are totally absent.

They are also, admittedly, not pretty => see the pictures I have posted of my system.

The word "monitor" has been freely adopted by almost all consumer speaker manufacturers and has become quite meaningless, however, in this particular case, "Studio Control Monitor" really does mean something. The large ATC SCM 100 model remains principally designed for and sold to professionals and will probably never be very popular with consumers.
Timberman, I share your concerns for how speakers will sound in "real world" environments. I'm amazed at audio reviewers who rave about the imaging, etc., as long as they keep their head within the sweet spot area of about 1 cubic foot.

So...for you I'd recommend a speaker with wide dispersion, possibly a dipole or Ohm Walsh. With your reflective surfaces, I'd stay with something warm sounding and stay away from anything harsh. A sub will help keep the bass from being lost in the big room, especially for rock. Of the speakers you've listed, I think that the Paradigms would do well. I've had really good luck listening to Totem's that were placed in another room. Somehow they keep the detail in seemingly impossible acoustics without sounding harsh. I'd personally love to try the Totem Winds in a big room like yours. Buy on A'gon and you can always resell.
Timberman, a picture would indeed help, but are you going to be placing the speakers well into your room or back up against your rear wall or something. Also, in your search for speakers, what have you liked about say the Paradigms versus other speakers. We pretty much have no idea what kind of sound you like.
Nice system Shadorne. The ones I heard were active with a Naim pre and Naim CDP. They did not seem ruthlessly revealing although maybe my ears were less sensitive then. Naim is a pretty easy listen as well. All I know is they were the best rock speakers I've ever heard and this guy's house was an open 2 story "barn". Fortunately his nearest neaghbor was over 1/4 mile away!
well I have been listening to as many suggestions provided as possible and so far I would say my favorites, to date , are the Vandersteen 3a Sigs and Sonus Faber Concerto Domus (even though a bit undersized) Others,with less wow were PSB T55, JM labs 716S, KEF, Paradigm Studio 100s, and DefTech 7004. The search continues.