Speakers for a Large Room (20’x37’)


Open concept listening space with speakers on one short wall and kitchen at the other end.  Furniture about fifteen feet from speakers.  I assume I'll need large speakers and am considering Klipsch Cornwalls as well as Tannoy Ardens, but open to suggestions.  I also assume standmounts are too small for the space.  I should mention I mostly listen at low to moderate sound levels, occasionally cranking it if the wife is out.   Thanks for any input.

doni

KEF Blades would be my first choice in a big space.

@yyzsantabarbara , why would the Blades be a better choice than Cornwalls?  Does the width of the baffle have any influence in terms of pressurizing a large room?

My space is open and very similar to yours. At the widest it's 17 feet but mostly 14 ft x 40 ft long with the kitchen on the other end and furniture 12-15 ft away from the speakers. I listen mostly from the furniture,  so my expectations may be different from yours. I'm relatively happy with my Paradigm Persona 3f speakers but would not mind the 5f or even larger.  I do have 2 15 inch subwoofers,  so they do add a lot to the whole effect. The 3fs are connected to a 400w Anthem amp. It certainly fills up the space with volume but not what people might think at low volumes. 

 

My biggest issue might be the side wall reflections sitting that far away. I don't worry about rear walls because I sit about center of the space. I also have the speakers about 3 or 4 feet out from the front wall.  Low volumes for me are not that great from my listening distance 12-15ft with those speakers. Hope that helps. Good luck.

 

 

Spatial Audio X series.

@jackd  Hadn't really considered a boxless speaker.  Are there advantages over other types of speakers in a larger room?

With a large space and using the long axis I would consider something like Wilson that can generate a good sense of power. Generally a Wilson speaker will require big amp output. Stand Mount could work as well. A good quality speaker makes all the difference in sound. BTW a baffle will add a bit ( 6db ) to the power response of a loudspeaker.

 

 

@doni 

 

More forgiving of placement and the Spatial's use professional drivers are capable of effortless high volume.  With the X series you have the choice ot 2 models with the powered bass driver or a recently released all passive version. I have a pair of their all passive predecessor that I use in a room similar to yours at 22' x 26 x 10' for the main part of the Family Room with an 8' foot wide opening into a 14" wide Kitchen/Breakfast Room.  They can fill the whole space effortlessly at almost unbearable volumes if that's what you want.  They are also very effiecient at 97db for the power models and 93 db for the passive. Another speaker that has worked well for me in that environment are the Nola KO's whose upper half of the cabinet is open baffle with the two woofers in a ported enclosure at 91db.  I think at the current price the Nola is about twice as expensive as the Spatial.  If you want more info on the Spatial look at their dedicated area over at AudioCircle.  Many dozens of happy owners and participation from the company owner too.

If you can wait until next summer, and it's in the budget, the new Klipsch Jubilee. I have heard the Jubilee and the new Cornwalls. At low levels, the Jubilees still project so much power, it's unreal. They are effortless.

I would look at the Vivid Kaya line.  I have recently heard them in a large listening space and was very pleasantly surpirsed despite the relatively diminutive size of the Kaya 45.  There are similarities between the Kef Blades and the Vivids in terms of cabinet as they are both fiberglass though I like Vivids core better.  They both have side firing woofers in opposition, etc...

The actual baffle size is less critical.  It comes down to the amount of energy that exits the cabinet and the Vivids and Kef do a wonderful job of daming internal sounds so that most of the energy exits the cabinet.  

Horns of course do the same.  IMO, you get a more lifelike and refined sound with the Vivids or the Kefs but they are quite a bit more expensive.  

Thanks so much for all the great info.  This gives me a lot to think about.  I am fascinated by the Vivid's looks and described performance, and will be keeping my eyes and ears open for a chance to hear them.  The Klipsch Jubilee's are also of interest, as are the Cornwalls.  Any other thoughts, don't hesitate to post.  Thanks again.

+1 for the Spatial X Series.

My room is 25'X25' with a cathredral ceiling topping out at about 14'.  The X-5's are stunning!  Detail retreval is like nothing I have ever heard.

 

the kef blades are magnificent but wil lail to presurize such a large room

 

if they are turned up too loud the midrange driver will fail..

 

 

legacy mkes speakers which can fill up such a space

the focus have deep bassand are 96 db  efficient they also handle tons of power

 

dave and troy

Audio intellect   nj

kef and legacy dealers

 

 

@doni I just think the Blade are the best speaker I have ever heard. There are aspeakers with a little better drivers out there (for ex. Yamaha NS5000). However, the way the Blades project the soundstage in unsurpased with every other speaker I have heard. I have gone to a a few shows and have heard a lot of gear. There are also incredible audio stores in Southern California. So I am not basing my comment from limited experience.

BTW - the Yamaha NS5000 is also an incredible 'bookshelf" speaker that would likely be great in your large space. You can get a home demo of them from 2 online sellers. I expect to get the NS5000 over the Blade because the side firing Blades are a bit more difficult to place in my living room. I have a local NS5000 dealer.

BTW2 - I expect the KEF Blades to be upgraded soon with the META technology that came with the most recent LS50's.

 

I just read the @audiotroy comment about the Blade and loud volume. I never new that. So maybe the Blade recommendation is something to question if you play really loud (I don’t).

Last month I was in a room with top end Legacy speakers driven by a CODA #16 amp and those speakers will really fill a large room. I also heard them a few years ago in a large hotel room and the room was too small for them. Not a big Legacy fan though but they have a huge sound.

I also see @verdantaudio commenting on the Vivid Kaya line. I really like those speakers too. I was planning to get the Magico A3 for my office until I heard the Kaya 90 (I was interested in the Kaya 45). I thought it was a better speaker with more coherent sound. However, the side firing woofers made me relunctant to get them even after I spoke the the guys from Vivid. They said the side firing woofers would not cause a problem in my room which have drywall and outside brick. I went with the safer pick of the Thiel CS3.7.

Audiotroy's point has come up before.  Years ago over in Stereophile forum, I had made a comment on the LS50s and he argued they had an issue at high volumes due to the tweeter limiting excursion.  This would extend to any speaker using the UniQ driver and even showed it in a measurement plot they provided.

I am not a Kef dealer or expert and can't speak to it.  Only that I have heard it raised as an issue previously.  I will tell you that Vivids will not have this problem.  And, even though you would think it would be an issue, near wall placement with those side firing woofers is not an issue.  I have tested it on my Kaya 45s.  I am not sure how or why it works, it just does.  
 

 

Doni,

My room is 16'6/' X  34 with cathedral ceiling. I use custom  built Tannoys using HPD 315 drivers. I only sit about 9' from the speakers. They really work well for me.

You can see for yourself in Done For Now, under the name of "The Summit". 

That refers to my summit, not inferring it is at the top of everone's heap.

Good luck with your search, regards,

Dan

@verdantaudio When I spoke with Vivid we also discussed the FRONT wall placement. They said because of the tech they have to limit the back wave (I think) the speaker can be placed almost at the front wall. They said when they demo their massive Giya speakers in smallish hotel rooms they are forced to put th speaker right against the friont wall and it still sounded pretty good.

@yyzsantabarbara that is consistent with my experience.  Usually, you only run into an issue if the cieling is low (like 7' in a basement) with a bigger speaker like the K90 or a G2.  Front and side walls surprisingly have minimal impact.  Even the rear firing oval decades work well in a customers home and he had one basically in a corner.  It is really amazing.  

I've got a big room thats L shaped but pretty much open.  A stairwell seperates the front wall leaving corners about 18ft apart.  The back wall is a little over 30ft long.  If you've got corners you can easily fill the room with a huge natural sounding soundstage with any amp (I'm using a 2 watt SET) and can reach 90db with more to go. 

Corner horns while large don't really take up much of your living space unlike standalones that need to be away from the front wall.  

Imagine Cornwalls with a bigger fuller sound.

To answer a couple of questions, my ceiling is 10', and I listen mostly at low to moderate volume levels.  The need for a speaker that plays really loudly is low priority.  
@islandmandan You say your Tannoys are custom but I wonder if you could equate them to the Ardens,or perhaps a larger model.

@yyzsantabarbara  Thanks for the pointer to the Yamaha NS5000.  I'll do some research.

 

My main space is 45x25x16 broken up into LR, kitchen, and DR. My Zu Def 4 speakers are on the short wall and effortlessly fill the space using only a 300b SET. In my experience a high efficiency speaker is desirable in a huge space. 

I'm sorry @danager  but I missed seeing which speakers you were referring to.

@fiesta75 Thanks for the reference to the JBL Everest.  Lots os folks thought it was the bestof show at the recent CAF.

Sorry I meant to say:

Klipsch / Speaker Lab Corner Horns. They are a fantastic deal used. I live near Seattle and there are usually a pair or two for sale every month or so. The Speaker Lab SK versions are even cheaper. Volti and some others have upgrades for them. New horn and drivers and crossovers which is what I planned to do with mine when I purchased them but they sounded so good that I just wrapped the midrange horn with dynamat and enjoy them. For me the most amazing part is how good they in the kitchen. They fill the whole level with great sound

Dunlavy sc-4,5,6s are still to be found on occasion. Even though they are perhaps a couple of decades old, they still represent one of the best values in high end audio. Oh, and they absolutely love big rooms.

With the luxury of a room that size I'd be ordering a set of Maggies.

What is your BUDGET?  Will you consider a horn speaker?  I have a room larger than the one you speak of.  After a long search, I ended up buying Viking Acoustic Grande Voix dual horn speakers.  They absolutely fill the room with musical bliss.  Check out the Viking website.  

Doni, the drivers are HPD 315 (12") Dual Concentric. The enclosures were designed by me, are 150 liter bass-reflex, 1 7/8" two-layer MDF, weighing 192 lbs. each.

The crossovers are DIY, using Alpha Core 12 gauge ribbon inductors Mundorf        S-I-O  capacitors, and Dueland resistors.

I enjoy them every day.

Regards,

Dan

I auditioned the Cornwall IV's and loved them. But I didn't think the imaging was quite as good as what I wanted, so I went with the Ardens, without auditioning them, on a lark.

I think they would be perfect for your size room. Both are relatively unsightly compared to other options (according to some. I loved both)... But the sound...

If you get a chance to audition them broken in, that would be wise. The Tannoys do take about 500 hours to losen up. And it's not a pretty journey at times.

I can say the Cornwalls are likely better for low-level listening. They are incredible speakers and just effortless.

But if you can open them up... The Tannoys have left me with no regrets what-so-ever. They make almost everything sound realistic. They are a blast. They are alive. They are what I remember liking the best about live music. But they can put it out. While I was breaking them in, I put on a Boccherini cello concerto while I mowed the lawn. My neighbor stopped by and said: "Those speakers sound great! Where are they?" and I had to tell him with a straight face: "In the house."

Both have to be a pulled a good ways into the room to get a good stereo image. Same as most speakers. Soundstage is just more complete with the Tannoys, IMHO. But it all depends on what you are looking for. I honestly don't think you can go too far wrong with either.

Best!

Steve

 

 

Thanks for the Tannoy/Cornwall comparison @sbrogdon , I appreciate it, as this is germane to the direction I've been considering.  Not to say I won't research all the other speakers mentioned.  

+ 2 On the JBL Everest DD67000

at this level, you need to get out and hear different designs.... what is the budget and ancillary equipment ? best to you. I had a 20 x 40 x 10 room, presents challenges and rewards....fun

enjoy the journey and the music

+3 on the JBL Everest DD67000.  Add in a pair of JBL SUB18's.

Or, JBL M2's with SUB18's.  The waveguides are wonderful in larger rooms.

MAGICO M6 get them ASAP!!

@tomic601 Curious to hear about how you tamed your room.  I'm currently using a Lumin U1 Mini into PS Audio DSJr. into Backert Rhumba pre-, into Pass XA30.8 into Vandersteen Treo CT's in the subjeft listening space.  I use Qobuz through Roon and have an AudioLab CD player, though I hardly ever use it.  I've just moved the Treo's into the room, and don't yet have a rug to tie the room together :)  I'm thinking the Treo's may work, but am here trying to find another solution in case they don't.

Hi OP. First, what a lovely system you have put together:-) should sound great. In the Charleston great room we had Vandersteen 5a with an Ayre 200 wpc amp. With built in powered subs and 11 bands of analog EQ no problem filling the space. That is a big room to fill w Treo. I would set them up for the 15' chair per the manual ( tilt # washers ) Probably less toe in than normal and the Treo has directivity control in grill and is designed to be near back wall. In my current room ( see Casa Pacifica system pictures, it's a large volume but speakers are on a segment of the long wall. Good bass to below 40 HZ. I would certainly try what you have, mess around w placement. Consider adding two sub3, they have the EQ to tame room . Please do join us at Vandy owners web forum at factory site. Best to you !!! Jim

speaker 101

Never make rm  size a  1st consideration when choosinga  speaker, 1st consideration, is 

the level  of fidelity of a  speaker, Colored?

Muddy?

Fatigue, resonances, loud shout, etc .

What you need to ask 

**Hey guys , what speaker do you think offers the highest sound fidelity?**

Spaeker 101

Spaeker 102,

**which speakers do you guys think I should avoid due to flaws?**

Seas Thors are flawed, as they have xovers and low sens db level. 

But excellent as FR assist. 

Next Q. 

 

I was going to say Klipsch Cornwalls as well, but Tannoy is also very good choice. I sometimes wish I hadn't gotten rid of my Tannoy DC8TI's without giving them a fair chance. 

If you can afford the Magico M6's, why not get the M9's? Talk about $$$$$$.

Magnelplaners IF your hardware is good enough.

They will blow you out of your skin if set up properly.

You will be sorry if you do not try them even if you do not like them in the end.

Cheers!

@doni Are you planning on using the Pass 30.8 amp or changing to whatever you decide is a good match for the speakers? Many of the speakers mentioned would benefit from more power; some prefer SS or tubes. 

As to personal opinions:

I prefer the better Tannoys to Klipsches for more natural tone and more transparency. The Klipsch are strong in terms of lively, "jumping out of the speaker", but lack attributes of many of the best speakers.

Of all the dynamic speaker options, Vandersteen 5 or 7 are fantastic and are more tuneable to your specific room than most. Hard to go wrong, and even if you change direction later, resale value is among the most stable of all brands.

But if it were my money, Soundlabs are the ticket. IMHE, head and shoulders better than the suggested Maggies, which I've heard many times in many systems. Soundlabs do require relatively high power, as do the bigger Maggies, so take that into consideration. You should have seen the jawdrop of my 20.7-owning friend when he heard my 30yr old Sounlabs!

One other option, sort of off the beaten path is the Classic Audio Reproductions line. @atmasphere is well versed on the subject! I've heard them at shows doing a fantastic job in huge rooms. 

Cheers,

Spencer

 

@sbank I'll probably use the 30.8 during the colder months and then switch to Belles Aria separates when it gets hot here in the Southeast.  My tube amps are all low power (<10wpc).  Then there's always Class D.  Which Tannoys would you recommend for my space?

 +2 On the JBL M2's with SUB18's.

@doni The Tannoys I've heard & liked are the Turnberry & Kensington, but they also have other models specifically designed for large rooms. Maybe someone who has compared those can comment. Cheers, 

Spencer

One other option, sort of off the beaten path is the Classic Audio Reproductions line.

We've done ballrooms with the Classic Audio Loudspeakers T-1 and T-3. With that room size using those speakers I'd recommend 100 watts if you plan to crank it up. That would be true of any of the Tannoys as well. If you have a Klipsh corner horn set you might get by with 20-30 watts. That's a big room- you don't want to push the amp hard if you want the best sound- it makes a difference!

I would agree with the Nola KO for a large room. I have to say I heard the new model, The Champ. Nola was in a large room at The Capital Audiofest. The Champs carried the room with no problem.

Who is the Nola dealer in the U.S.?   These look interesting.