Tower Speakers and Room Size


I have been considering a speaker upgrade for my modest rig:
Rega Mira 3, Onkyo DX-7555, Infinity Beta 40 speakers with decent IC's and speaker wire.

My listening room is 16.5' by 13.5' with 8.5' ceilings. My guess is this would qualify as a small room?

I recently listened to the Monitor Audio RS6 through the Rega Mira 3 and Rega Saturn CDP. As you probably know, the MA RS6 has gotten rave reviews for the price range. My impression was that yes they have detail -- they had nice timbral detail and air, but something in the treble bothered me. It was as if the treble was almost too crisp sounding, which makes me wonder if they can get fatiguing.

Then I listened to the PSB Imagine T through the same rig. Slightly more recessed in the treble (as compared to the RS6), but with noticeably great imaging. I did feel that the bass was a bit vague compared to the RS6, since I thought bass was a strong point of the RS6. Nonetheless, I believe I found the Imagine T more pleasant to listen to.

The dealer says that they will have the PSB Synchrony series in stock for demo in the fall. My question is will the Synchrony One be too much speaker in my 13.5' by 16.5' room?

Also, neither speaker really blew me away. Sure, I shouldn't expect to be blown away in this price range, but perhaps I need to take another step up in terms of price to really hear a significant improvement.

In terms of feedback, what are your experiences with speaker size vs. room size? I do want towers, but if matching their size to my room size is important, I want to know that so I can narrow my search. Thoughts?
I think monitors will do better with soundstage and imaging in a room that size and my preference would lean that way.

I've heard the Synchrony Series floorstanders and liked them A LOT! They were hard to fault on a very good system driven by a Cambridge Azur 840c CD player, Rogue power amp and ARC Ref 3 pre-amp. I also heard my Linn Axis table with Denon DL 103r cart on them and that was also quite the toe tapper!
I have not heard any of the speakers you mention but I have fooled around quite a lot with different speakers in different rooms. The room size you have is pretty small, so you can probably get away with monitors and lower power. I have a bedroom system that is using monitors and 100 watts and a living room system that is using close to full range floor standers and 400 watts. It is shocking how mush easier it is to get those 100 watts to get loud in the small room than it is the 400 watts in the big room.

I think you could go either way, but there are some full range floorstanders that might be more than you need. Also if you are buying from a dealer and probably paying a premium then hopefully you can just take them home and see how they sound in your room
I agree with most of what the two previous posters stated. Medium to larger sized monitors or smaller floorstanders would be how I would lean as well.

However, regarding the PSB Synchrony speakers, I have heard one of the bookshelf (read: monitor) versions (not sure if it was the synchrony one b or the two b) powered by the latest bryston 4b incarnation, upper end bryston preamp and bryston front end and there was a certain tonality to the music that was just not right to my ears. Granted, it could have been the gear/ room/ lack of break-in, combo of the aforementioned etc, but it just didn't work for me.

I also briefly auditioned the floorstanders (again, not sure which ones), which were a different animal altogether, imo.
I liked them to a degree, however, they were a very 'big', sort of 'in your face' sounding speaker, which is not exactly my cup of tea. I'm sure many people (would) enjoy them, but I personally would look elsewhere.

anyway, i digress...

Without a doubt, though, correct speaker size per room is of utmost importance, as I've learned (over and over) the hard way. If you really want them, I still think you can get away with towers in that room - if you choose carefully.
If the Dynaudio's Focus 140's falls into your budget, it might be worth while to check them out. They are detailed, have excellent bass for a small speaker, a non fatiguing top end and nice imaging. I to have a small room 11x15 and these speakers fill the room with great sound. Good luck with your search.
I think you have more flexibility in speakers than you think ... sealed designs in floor standers would probably be more appropriate unless you have the option of pulling the speakers well out into the room. I used Dunlavy III's in a room similar to yours and they worked well
Thanks for the responses, all. I might add that my music choices are generally jazz, acoustic/roots, some blues and rock, some classical. Also, I do not typically listen at loud volumes.

I wonder also if there is a true definition of room size that is shared by manufacturers. American homes built in the past 10 years or so have much larger living spaces than older homes, or many homes in Europe, for instance. I have to wonder if speakers of European design don't take that into account, ie., what many Americans might consider a *small* room may not seem as small by European standards.
Before you buy any new speaker it is a must that you read Toole's 'Sound Reproduction' book. That should help answer the 'small room' question. I have both monitors and floor standers in the same small room, both ProAc's. Each has their merits. As someone earlier suggested, it is a must that you get a dealer to loan you any speaker before you buy, especially if it is a 'full service' store. Only when you put the speaker into your 'chain' in your room can you decide if you are getting the improvement in sound you are looking for, no matter what it sounds like in the dealer's place.
While we're on this subject, I'd like to pose a related question: If I happen to like a speaker that is more difficult to drive, how important will it be to match my integrated amp with an appropriate additional power amp? For instance, if I find a power amp that I like, is it as easy as connecting it to the pre-outs, or is synergy and system matching vitally important when adding additional power amps?

The reason I ask this is that I do not want to rule out a speaker that like but that may require additional power that my Rega integrated cannot produce. Also, my preference would be for floorstanders -- but then again, perhaps I haven't listened to enough high quality monitors. I have towers in my room presently, and though I would never say that they are particularly good in bass reproduction, I have never felt that the bass is out of balance in relation to the room. So I'm wondering if the emphasis on smaller speakers for a small room is overblown if one listens at reasonable volume, as I do. Thoughts?
I think 60 W should be enough to reach the threshold of pain in that room, even with Thiels or Magnepans. A bridge to cross when you come to it IMO.

At the same time 16.5' x 13.5' x 8.5' is pretty reasonable size, and not that small. I'm thinking of those poor guys stuck with 10'x10' rooms for domestic reasons.
Regarding Speakers in a 13 by 16
Why not try a used pair of Vandersteen 2 CE Sig IIs
these will work well in your room offer amazing openness, mid range clarity and performance in more sophisticated box less type design.
Daverz: While 60 watts will cause Thiels to make sound, every time I have heard Thiels with anything less than a huge power amp, I have been dissappointed. In fact, I thought little of Thiels until I heard them with a big Krell and a big Musical Fidelity. Then, they finally made sense. I would not run Thiels off a 60 watt integrated in any size room. Just my $0.02.

OP: Try to demo a pair of Silverline Audio Prelude. ~$1200/pair, slim floorstanders. As close to "blown away" as I have been by speakers in this price range. They should be fine with your amp.
I auditioned the Monitor Audio RS6's and Imagine T's using a SimAudio i-1 integrated and the Imagine's were the clear inner, but nearly twice the price. However, I got a great deal ($1600) for a new pair of Imagines and I'm very pleased with their sound; particularly the imaging. Although the Monitors sounded good, I just thought they were a little flat and lacked any punch. With the Imagine's, I not only hear deep detailed bass, I also feel it. They have great impact. I also listened to a pair of Theil 2.4's at the same audition and was very impressed with them. I'd have bought them if I only listened to Jazz, Classical or easy listening; I'm more into Rock. They have decent bass, but not as good as the Imagine's. Both are 4 ohms, so the 50w SIM actually puts out 100w. I think this is more than adequate for either speaker in an average listening room. My room is 24 x 13 x 8, and I have my speakers on the long wall. Hope this helps.
At that price, I don't think you're going to find a dynamic that "blows you away." I'd go instead for a moderate sized panel, used, because they have far and away the best bang for the buck. Magnepan 1.6's go for about $1000 used and will blow any dynamic in that price range out of the water, if your goal is musical realism rather than thunderous bass (you can always add a sub for that). There are also some fine stats available at that price, if you can accommodate them and like that sound.