I am currently using a KEF LS50 and it sounds great in my treated room in 12x11x9 room. I have been thinking about getting a floor stander in their using DSP but I abandoned that idea recently after hearing some non-DSP capable electronics.
So now I am looking at better monitor speakers than my KEF LS50 to use without DSP. I recently heard the Harbeth 40th annviersary 7es-3 and it sounded rather good. A very pleasing sound but lacking some details. I was told to check out the much better, Harbeth Super HL5+ for my room. I have heard the 2x more expensive TAD ME1 with the same electronics and that speaker sounded incredible. It had details, a very smooth sound on top, and not too much bass to overwhelm a room (a perfect amount).
Yesterday I messaged an A’gon user who owned the TAD ME1 in a similar sized room and he said it worked well after he added room treatments, especially for the first side wall reflection. I already have room treatments (take a look at my virtual system page). I am looking to buy the TAD ME1 once my lottery ticket hits.
The TAD ME1 can SUPPOSEDLY be placed closer to the back or side wall due to the fact that it is ported to the side. The Harbeth’s I looked at are front ported. Everyone I spoke to tell me that means it can be placed closer to the back wall. However, I read a discussion by Alan Shaw, the Harbeth designer, who said that front, read, or side port does not have any bearing on closeness to the back wall. I bring this point up because with a small room from every little bit of space counts.
I moved to a smaller room 10.5x14ft a couple of years back and worried that my Kharma 2.3ce would overdrive. Initially the fears were realised however much experimentation with placement well away from the front wall got the system to the point of acceptable. Changes upstream since have lifted the SQ well beyond that of the last property and far beyond what I'd have anticipated.
If you're limited to placement in corners Audio Note work well. Raidho standmounts can be wonderful in a small space but need some space likewise some of the smaller Kharma could work.
Klipsch Heresys with a tube amp like the Atma-Sphere M60 would be perfect. A smaller Pass amp like the XA 60.8 would also do. You can put the Heresys right up against a wall. You can also put them up on stands at ear level. Subwoofers in a small square room will be difficult. You will certainly need room control. 2 JL Audio Fathom f112s would be fine. Put them tight into the corners of the front wall.
And from out of left field we have a speaker which few on Agon have heard or owned: the Ohm Walsh Sound Cylinder! Speaking from ownership experience these will kill everything mentioned above - and no need for any sub woofers! Incredible 3-D sound and imaging in ANY size room!
@daveyf I looked at your virtual systems page and see you have your current speakers away from the wall. These speakers are getting some buzz and I am curious to hear them. They would not work for me because I like my speakers closer to the back wall with some distance from me.
@yyzsantabarbara I am also in S.Calif, so listening to the Vimburg's isn't an option yet either. The TAD's would seem to be an option, but also difficult to source for a listen. Plus, I am not sure i would cotton to the hard beryllium tweeter! This is why I have stayed away from the Magico line and others with 'ringing' dome tweeters. Presumably the Vimburg's wouldn't have this issue, but who knows?
Excel Audio in Newport Beach (near the airport) has the TAD ME1 speaker setup with the Luxman m900u and c900u. If you are close by go have a listen to that system. I am buying the Luxman set and unless I find something I like better and will work in my small room, I will get the TAD ME1.
’Ringing’ dome? Magico new tweeters definitely don’t ring, not in sound and not in measurements. In fact most “soft” domes will harden much faster, and will sound quite nasty at high SPL. The M2 highs were sublime in Munich.
Agree with the Raidho suggestion (or Borresen if you can swing the funds). Consider the D1 or possible even D2 if it's a dedicated room. Nice thing about Raidhos is they're designed to be placed wide apart and close to side walls (though they need 3+ feet from front wall). They're amazing speakers with a glorious tweeter. Smaller Vivids are also quite nice in a smaller room. I moved from a large room with full range Peak Consults (and subs) to a smaller 13'x16' room. Both my Raidho D2 and Vivid 1.5 sound great in this room. Bass is solid and tight to 40Hz. On some music I miss the extended bass I was used to, but for most music it isn't an issue (either that, or I've adjusted). Room treatments and bass traps can be a great help if it's a dedicated room.
Other possibilities: Though not at the same sound level as Raidhos and Vivids, the Larson speakers work up against the front wall and work well with room modes. I heard them at a dealer and was impressed. I'd also consider Kii standpoints--their DSP evens out the bass response and goes quite low. Haven't heard them but would like to...
Do you like electrostatics? If so, consider either of the Janszen models. The controlled directivity minimizes wall and ceiling interactions, which is helpful in a small room. They sound great, too! --very low distortion and maximum transparency.
Well if it is electrostats you want then go with the Sanders Model 10, The panels cross to the transmission line sub at 175 Hz which will allow them to operated 2 feet from the front wall. You will need to put acoustic foam behind them. No big deal. roberjerman I sold Walsh speakers back in the 70's and they were painfully colored back then. Hopefully they have improved them since then but it is a difficult concept. I love the idea of no crossover. Except for subwoofers x-over are nothing but trouble, A necessary evil.
When someone mention "at any price" the ears do perk up. Some great thoughts here Davey. I heard the Floorstander Vimburgs at Axpona in a bigger room. I swear I thought I heard the rosin on the bow when the violin was playing. Best sounding cone in a box speaker I have heard. The Borreson I heard was a true bookshelf and it was-as so many people say-Which speaker am I hearing? Two to look at. Now for non cone in a box options. I am sitting in front of a pair of Sanders 10s I picked up this weekend. My room is 14 x 16 x 8 plus open to kitchen on far end so a lot bigger than the 10 x11 you have. I cancelled every appointment I had this week as I am mesmerized by the sound. Sanders has been doing electrostatics for 40+ years. I am not familiar with the Jantzen product but it sounds interesting too. Muraudio was another one I missed that had people talking. Have fun shopping!! Question-If money is no object, why are you in such a tiny room? I have some doubts regarding the veracity of your proposal.
Raidho D1.1's. Absolutely amazing and perfect for a smaller room. If you want slam type dynamics, maybe another choice. Maybe the Magico A3's. I would also audition some Harbeth's or DeVores. Depends on the type of music that you like to listen to. I own the Raidho XT-2's, which I love, but with an unlimited budget would go for the D-3.1's, which are considerably more $$$. That is my dream speaker. I listen to all kinds of music, from hard rock to acoustic and even some classical. But on my Raidho XT-2's, on good recordings, there is the "they're in the room with me" type sound. Fantastic.
Limited deep bass, to minimize the impact of room nodes down low. Cardioid dispersion takes the side wall reflections out of play. Gentle top end for natural octave to octave balance. Excellent performers in pretty much every respect (assuming there’s enough grunt from your amp).
@firsnot. In the area that I live, a speaker, basically any speaker, is a mere fraction of the price of the room. Therefore, the budget for a speaker (any speaker) that would work in a small room is nothing compared to what a large room will cost me. If that makes any sense to you.
@keithr Unfortunately, i wasn’t that impressed with anything at the show (particularly suitable for a small room).The Magico M2’s were ok, but I suspect too difficult to drive with the kind of amps I prefer.
If you have ANY woodworking skills at all, you might throw together a Mark Audio Pensil 10.3 enclosure for an Alpair 10.3P. Single-driver system, no crossover, very simple enclosure. Makes for a very nice small-room speaker. No warts, very detailed and musical.
Im currently using Harbeth p3esr 40th anniversary with an a/d/s pb1500 sub from the 80's and a Rouge amp and preamp running nos Mullard and rca tubes. Harbeth have a surprisingly good bass on there own for there size but with a good sub the mids which is what these speakers are know for even become more alive and detailed. Theres something magical about Harbeths mid range.
@keithr I will put the Stenheim’s onto my audition list. I thought the larger model 3’s were ok at Long Beach, but not in any way ground breaking or “lust worthy”. Nonetheless, their room was a factor ( as was everyone else’s that day) and the speaker was well built. The little stand mount may be a contender. Do post back when you have had a chance to listen to the big brother...model 5?
I use Nola Micro References in my 11 by 14 room, along the long wall. They work very well, and have excellent bass extension on their own, I agree with the idea of smaller monitor speakers for a room of that size; you can try to integrate a sub for any deeper bass you'd want.
Lenehan Audio ML1 or ML2 reference. I am currently in an apartment, so I have my ML2's in storage. I have my ML1's on springs for both sound quality and it decouples them from each other and the floor. Helps keep the neighbors happy :-)
If you want to know more, or who nearest you may have them? Ask Mike which recording studios use them, and the older ML1 vs Magico Mini's in NYC. I don't know of more recent comparisons, sorry. [email protected]