Speakers That Will Party Hard

A friend built a house and turned his large basement into a party ballroom. My wife and I didn't know him during that process and he had those tiny "wall wart" sized Bose satellites installed in each corner of the dance floor. Also had two subwoofers installed, however, the problem is those plastic Bose mini-speakers. They don't sound very good in general and when the music gets cranked a little, they break up badly.

Anyone have any idea of good satellite speakers to replace the offending Boses? It would be nice if they could play loud for longer periods of time and also sound musical.

Thanks in advance, people!
This may sound like heresy but in my younger days I had a dedicated party room like your friends and had a pair of Bose 901 III's hanging from the ceiling which could really crank out the sounds.

On a more audiophile type recommendation, if your friend has the room and inclination this sounds like the perfect room for some Klipsch La Scalas.
first of all, have him get a decent amp. the breaking up is probably due to the quality of the amp more than the speakers. if he thinks bose are great, it is most likely that his 200 watt amp came from best buy or someplace along those lines. peak power is different from constant power, but low end equipment sales people don't know that. if he insists on sat's, try boston acoustics. i'm not a fan of satellite speakers in general, but those are decent sounding vs. the bose, and will probably take the abuse a little better. if it's just dance music being blared, go to a music store like sam ash or guitar center and get some dj speakers. they will do the trick quite nicely and won't sound any worse than the bose.
Ron wants to stick to ceiling hung satellites so there are no obstructions on the floor. He has Harmon Kardon amp and a Crate mixing board and Cd players. I've played around with the system and it really sounds like the speakers misbehaving; they've breaking up like crazy. But I will check the amp again. However, those tiny Bose sats look like toys and don't sound very good even at lower volumes. I just don't get that concept. The mid/mid bass drivers can't be more the 2.5" diameter.

I'll check out the Boston Acoustics as I know they make a respectable product.

In the 70s and early 80s I would go to a disco which used 4 ceiling hung 901s, two banks of Piezo tweeters, and two 6 ft tall horn loaded floor woofers. Man, we used to party 'till 4am, that is after the owners would lock the doors at 2am after kicking out the non-regulars. They paid off the local cops and would whip out the vodka and rum until everybody gassed around 4 in the morning.
You friend can't have his cake and eat it.

He will not achieve anything even remotely approaching a party hard sound level with satellite speakers....

Small satellite speakers definitely vary in quality and SPL output from manufacturer to manufacturer,however, they remain fundamentally near-field small speakers that will never play loud with any degree of accuracy....let alone at levels necessary to please a packed room of dancing party-goers. Satellite speakers are ideal for distributed low level sound without ugly imposing boxes that attract attention....they can sound very nice and make an ideal choice for many home systems in small rooms and have the highest WAF factor.

The only complete solution for your friends described problem, would be to get some bigger boxes. 12" base woofers are probably a minimum required with 15" being preferable....this means big ugly speakers.

If your friend is happy with bose (just unhappy about the SPL levels), then you can probably find a pair of efficient big box speakers for around $1500 or less that will more than meet occiasional basement party needs. Remember the "boxier" and larger the speaker the more likely you are to get an extended base response and SPL levels necessary to please a "party hard" crowd.

A word of caution, avoid the next best WAF factor speakers: the very popular tall narrow speaker designs with small (6" or smaller) base drivers. Whilst tall narrow designs can perform extremely well for individual listening and are very estheticly pleasing, these designs necessarily compromise base performance at high SPL's in order to achieve the nice tall shapely design. (if you friend doesn't believe this, head to the dealer and simply take the grill off just about any 6" base woofer cone and watch the antics/high excursions at high SPL levels).

If your friend wants party hard sound but absolutely nothing on the floor in the room then these in wall speakers are probably a good compromise: although they will not play as loud as 12 or 15" woofer systems, these four 8" drivers per pair of speakers should get the party going!

Paradigm SA-35's


Four of these would certainly outperfrom the bose satelllites!
Good suggestions all. However, some satellite speakers will work for this situation. The music is not played anywhere near "techno club" levels. These people are ballroom, Latin, and swing dancers so they find rhythms and phrasing in dance music, not just beats. I actually just realized that a local dance studio uses JBL pro monitors (with 6" woofers) and a couple of subwoofers, and is able to play that system real loud. I'll bet Paradigm has something that'll work so I'll check a high end store not far from here that carries Paradigm. I'll suggest Ron replace his subwoofers also, I bet a couple of Velodyne would work just fine.
Tomryan, instead of JBL (very harsh) try Dynaudio BM-6A $1,699 / Warfdale pro active $339 / Genelec 8030A $599 which put out almost bass as the big Dyn's. They all have serious bass impact being active monitors even if you don't need the volumes.
check out NHT 0's
There are lots of small speakers that will work in this situation if he uses a home theater receiver so you can use the bass management to choose a high crossover of 100hz or so. Onkyo avrs have an All stereo mode that works great for partying... sending full stereo signals to all speakers. With a good sub.... like hsu and 4 small speakers from paradigm or nht... etc... he will be able to rock the house, have good sound and not have huge speakers in every coner.
I'd go looking for a pair of Soliloquy 5.0's and hang them. They are small and can go wicked loud while still sounding great.

In a large room and with the dancers obviously not sticking to the sweet spot, a loudspeaker's power response (summed omnidirectional response) is much much much more important than its on-axis response. All the moreso given that a dancehall's acoustics are likely very lively. Unfortunately, very few small speakers are designed to have good power response. The BBC-designed LS3/5a was among the few.

Any speaker not designed for corner placement will almost certainly have poor tonal balance when placed in a corner.

I agree that the Bose satellites are being asked to do something way beyond their capability.

What size/weight speakers are acceptable? How many will be used? What's the room size? What volume level is required? What's the available amplifier power? Budget?

Sorry to ask so many questions, but this is an unusual application. If I had to make a suggestion knowing only what's been posted so far, I'd suggest you look at the little Mirage omnidirectional speakers. At least they'll have a fairly smooth power response, which I believe is highly desirable in an application like this.

Cdc - The speakers will have to be passive as Ron already has an amp and is only agreeable to replacing speakers. I know JBLs have a rather well deserved rep as being on the "bright" side of things. However, the studio that uses four of them doesn't have that problem. For whatever reason, their music never sounds harsh or tense. I had forgotten about Genelec and that's a good idea. I know of a DJ service store not far from me.

Duke - The speakers have to be no large than what would hold a 6.5" woofer. Will have 2-4 ea. Room area to cover is 19ft x 39ft. Hard to say how loud is loud. We'll have to bring some speakers home and try them. Again, the music will not be played anywhere near as loud as a club would. His amp is 100wts for 2 channel which should be more than sufficient, however, it is a mass market Harmon Kardon so I'll check that with the speakers. Most of these type of amps are badly overrated. Not sure of budget as Ron is still bummed out about buying "the best speakers in the world", Bose, and getting such poor performance. I've tried explaining some basic physics as regards speaker size, construction, and ability to reproduce the electrical signal being input. Ron's face just glazes over.
Thanks, guys. I hadn't even thought about those brands which both have dealers nearby. The Sols are really too nicely finished for this application. We'll want something finished for lots of use.
Try Nola Minis.

They would probably work in corners since they're designed to be pretty flexible - they sound OK in an actual shelf or turned on their sides for centers so I don't think corners would be that bad (although obviously they aren't going to sound their best mounted like that).

They're musical, very dynamic, they play LOUD without getting compressed or breaking up, they have more bass heft than most any speaker their size...and if those folks ever want to actually *listen* to music they'll do great too.

Oh...and they're relatively forgiving of modest elctronics. They'll sing with good gear but they do fine with receivers.
Good choice. I like the idea of checking out and supporting high end companies if possible.
I second the LaScala recommendation. PA level sound with Audiophile quality.