So I recently moved to a new room. Sure it's small at 12 x 13 but now I can dedicate it to audio complete with as many room treatments and posters of Otis Redding as my heart desires.
For speakers I am looking at monitors like the Devore 3XL, Audio Note J, and Harbeth Compact 7's. I selected these speakers on sonics (I've heard all but the Harbeth's) but mainly because the specs indicate that the speakers when placed out in the room don't go much below 40Hz.
I HATE boomy out of control bass and with a room as small as mine I feel that bass boom could be a problem. Is there a cut of frequency wise I should be looking for in speakers to avoid bloated bass?
I anticipate a number of nodes especially around 60Hz given my room dimensions so my thought was to have speakers that don't go to much lower than 40hz (-6db). Does that make any sense?
Boundary reinforcement in the bass region is typically stronger and sets in earlier (at a higher frequency) in small rooms. In my opinion we'd want the speaker's output in the bass region to be approximately the inverse of this room gain.
Several authors have placed "typical" room gain in the ballpark of 3 dB per octave below 100 Hz or so. This of course varies from room to room, and with speaker and listener positioning within a given room, and also with whether or not the doors into the room are open or closed.
All of that being said, a low-Q sealed box system (rolloff of approximately 6 dB per octave) would probably be a good starting point for a small, bass-heaviness-prone room. This wouldn't solve all the problems inherent in trying to get natural-sounding bass in a small room, but I think it would be a good start.
In an 11 x 14 x 8 room, I owned 3 speakers that were not problematic in the bass (Klipsch Heresy II which go down to 63 Hz +/- 3 dB...and Mission 780 which go down to 65 Hz +/- 3 dB and Tannoy Reveal which go down to 65 Hz). You are probably safe within these limits. Now I am using Mirage Omnipolar speakers that go down to 28 Hz in the same room, a room that was overloaded when I used Vandersteen 2CE which went down to a similar frequency. So you just never really know until you try...you might get lucky.
Look for used Infinity Intermezzo 2.6 active monitor or floor-standing Prelude MTS. The R.A.B.O.S. will eliminate the boom, and you won't have to sacrifice deep bass. In addition, you can drive either of these speakers with a 12-watt SET. I have done so in a huge room and a small room, and they really sing either way.
Otherwise think about getting an analog parametric EQ, e.g., Rives PARC.
Vik, I have a room close to yours and I just jumped in to a pair of Eventis Audio Phobos. They worked well in my room with the bass not boomy but enough to blend well. I listen to Jazz, symphony, pop music. They also have a monotor Metis which I have heard and they sound just as great minus a little less bass. Great looking speaker all around. Good Luck.
Thank you gentlemen, specifically those who shared speakers (whose specs I will look up) that worked in small rooms. Bottom line is that auditioning of items like the Audio Note k and J vs Harbeth p3 and C7 will have to be done.
Vikvilkhu, it sounds like you're thinking of high efficiency main speakers that don't go down very deep plus an equalized sub.
For an optimal small-room system my own thinking is along similar lines, though you might consider using two or more small subs. The reason is NOT to get louder or deeper bass - the reason is to get smoother bass. You see, in small rooms a severe peak-and-dip pattern is inevitable no matter where you place the sub, and equalization alone is not a complete solution. By using two or more small subs placed asymmetrically, each will produce a different peak-and-dip pattern at the listening position. The sum of these dissimilar peak-and-dip patterns will be smoother than what you can get with a single sub, and this will be true throughout the room. Combined with EQ this is a very effective approach.
I ran a pair of Harbeth Compact 7's in an 11 X 11 room that opened on two sides and it was a close run thing. They sounded good but could overload the space at times. The Harbeth's like some room to breath and when I moved them downstairs to a much larger space (13 X 23 and open on one side) they really came into their own. The Harbeth sound is hard to beat--perhaps a pair of the P3ESR or even Monitor 30's would do the trick?
I currently use a transmission-line speaker--the Von Schweikert VR5-HSE--in a 12 x 15 room. No issues.
But I like Duke's recommendation quite a lot. Wish I had the leisure/option to try it. I heard his new speakers at RMAF a while ago, the one with the subwoofer array called "The Swarm," and was very impressed.
I'll toss the Spendor SP 1/2E's into the mix. I used them in a room about the same size as yours and I can tell you that the bass was never boomy. They go down to about 40 Hz. Midrange and treble are very natural on this speaker. The reason I gave up on these excellent speaker is that I wanted full bass extension (I listen to full orchestra a lot and want a full bottom end for more realism) and was never able to get a sub to mate well with the Spendors. I curently have Vandersteen 3A Sigs which are fantastic even in such a small room.
Dodgealum made some good points. The Harbeth P3ESR is one little gem that sounds very good and will work well in that space. The C7ES3 will also work but will sound better if given more room to breath. Both will pose little(or none) bass problems in the room.
Bass traps are your friend. Check out the GIK site. My room is 12x15 and my speakers (SP Tech Timepiece 3.0) go down to 30hz. They provide all the bass I need and it's not boomy at all. I see lots of wonderful expensive systems here but seldom see the right (if any) room treatment. It makes a difference folks!
Thanks all. I have an array of bass traps that would make Ethan Winer of Real Traps proud. The room was designed using an array of software solutions. I have bass traps all over the place per my original post.
Duke, you hot the nail right on the head. I do plan on using two subs that are eq'd after using ETF software to tune the optimal Q and attenuation settings to give me a nice smooth response. The fact that we share a similar line of thinking makes me very interested in your products.
The pre/pro idea, respectfully, will not work.
I'm off to hear the Compact 7 and P3ES tomorrow. Hopefully the dealer will have Monitor 30's for comparison sake as well.
I'm also going to listen to the Reynaud Bliss from my old friend Bob Neill who has always given me sage advice in the past.
I tell ya, buying new really gets a bad rap. Buying used is great, but I never felt comfortable using dealers time and not buying something from them. Buying new allows me to compare and know that I have heard it all. Never having to second guess your choices is priceless.
In that small of a room, you have far more things to consider than just bass nodes:
1. You'll need more acoustic treatments than just bass traps. Consider some serious absorption behind your listening position, and at the first reflection points on the side walls. In a small room, diffusion doesn't cut it.
2. Your speakers need to sound best near-field and on-axis. Off-axis response can be considered either irrelevant or detrimental. It really depends on how well your room is treated.
3. Your speakers (and your associated equipment) need to be able to resolve at very low volumes. Some speakers (and amps) sound best when "the juice gets flowing". In a small room, you'll want your system to sound great with just a drip.
4. Duke nailed it on the head regarding multiple subs in a small room. Two small subs may seem like overkill - it's not.
As you can probably guess, I've gone through this process before. Check out my system to see my equipment choices.
@Nrenter- You and I have both done this before haven't we? :) Thanks for the tips.
If I could return the favor, you should really add some more bass traps in the room specifically at the ceiling to wall junctures. It will really help you with standing waves under 60Hz in your room. Have you used any ETF software to see what your system's low end frequency response really is? Ponying up for such software (available for Macs and PCs) was one of the wisest investments I have made in my system. Without said software you're just guessing at treating a room. The radio shack meter and test discs are toys. They can't be trusted to give fine enough gradations to make any determinations other than gross guesses.
I am going to look into your subs as well. I would prefer a DIY sealed box enclosure. A pair, as you indicate, is a must. But an equal must is a parametric EQ. You have to get one for your room. It makes even average subs outperform the priciest. It really is the only way to smooth out the bass response in a small room like ours (for one seating position at least). Thanks for your thoughts. Vik
PS- I'm hearing such great things about Ayre products. I'll have to ask my dealer about it. I've been sold on Audio Note, Shindo and Leben these last few months. He's had Ayre just sitting there this whole time and I haven't even asked him about it (save for their new DAC which he raves about).
I haven't added treatments up-high primarily for aesthetic reasons. However, I have no doubt they would have a positive impact. While my room sounds good in the seated (listening) position, it's unbearable in the standing position (where your ear is just above the treatments). Since I (literally) only listen in one position, I haven't made an effort to do any more.
While I haven't updated my system description to indicate my approach, I'm using my subs as a converse parametric eq (not sure if that accurately describes it, though). I'm using one sub to create destructive interference at the room's resonance frequency (around 50 Hz), and then using the second sub to fill in the lower end (under 40 Hz). I use 1-Hz incremental test tones and set by ear. I'd be interested to see if ETF package would confirm my settings.
I bought the ML subs out of impatience and cheapness. I really wanted small REL subs, but didn't want to wait for them (or pay for them).
I love my Ayre gear, particularly with my GMA speakers. If you're willing to take a risk, you may want to consider the GMA Rio speakers (and if you really want to take a risk, the GMA Eos HD). The Ayre DAC is on my want list (after the Ayre L-5xe power conditioner).
So I've narrowed down my choices to smaller speakers like the Harbeth p3, Audio Note K and Devore 3XL. I'll have to talk to my dealer about the 3XL's though as even they may be a bit too much for the room.
I'm really such a fan of the Shindo Montille that any speaker I chose has to work well with it. The Montille was an eye opening experience. My wife just started to laugh out loud when I she heard the SuperNait and Leben.