Vintage Advents too big for small room?

In my current house, where I'll be for at least another 5 years, my listening room is only 12' by 12'. I have New Advents, owned since new in 1978, tweeters replaced under warranty by the better ferrofluid ones, woofers replaced about 10 years ago with OEMs from Jensen, who owned Advent at the time. They're still beautiful and do everything they've always done, but they completely overwhelm this smaller room. I have no real choice but to place them in the corners. I've moved them out 6 inches, but that didn't help appreciably.

I've thought of two options: 1) buy some stands for the Advents in the hope of decoupling them from the room a little more, or 2) go with some much smaller monitors and stands that, just because of their size, would be farther from the corners of the room. Are there any other options?

Monitors would probably be something like Epos ELS-3, Ascend CBM-170, Triangle Titus - I would need to keep monitors+stands at $500 or less for now. Also, I've had trouble locating stands for the Advents - any reasonably priced suggestions?

The Advents do have a fair amount of heft in the low bass. Your room will be less than ideal for ANY speaker with true low bass response. You get a double reinforcement at some low frequency point because the width and length of the room are the same, and then you basically quadruple the problem by putting the speakers in the room corners. I cannot imagine a good outcome without some serious equalization plus tube traps and other bass-absorbing furniture and devices.

You're stuck with a tough room, so I'd suggest either a nice headphone system, or smaller monitors that have a pronounced rolloff below 60Hz or so... Especially if you'll be putting them in the corners!!!

I agree with you, and I wish I could get the speakers out of the corners, but in a room that size my options are limited. I do have a very absorbing futon couch opposite the speakers. I'm sure that most small monitors don't do much below 60hz, so that's probably the best solution. Any that you've heard and liked?
Hmmm, something like the VonSchweikert VR-1 or the Green Mountain Audio Europa's might be interesting and would probably work well with a little tweaking. Then there are the Paradigm Studio 20s, which could be had for a little less money. But, I'd still try to move them in from the corners.

Good luck to you; I believe you can find an agreeable solution.
When I had original big Advents I built short stands for them from spare shelving, 1" x 6"s or 1" x 8"s, in an H pattern, cheap and easy. Big cinder blocks work too - put some carpet remnants between the speakers and the blocks. Basically use whatever you can to get them off the floor. Forget all the ritualistic audio hoohah except getting some equilateral placement going. Place them sideways on top of a dresser or into a shelf; they'll sound great. Use books as elevators. Experiment with the tweeters on the insides or outsides. The Advents are fun so have fun with them.

Nowadays I'm running posh, high WAF, pampered ProAc 2000 Signatures on stylin' Target welded stands. The ProAcs are certainly sweet but some days I still miss the bulky, get the job done Advent magic.
Ritualistic audio hoohah? Maybe I need some of that. :-)

Rockvirgo: Getting the Advents up on just any old platform, at least for experimental purposes, is a great idea. I don't have any shelves or dressers in this room, so the Advents or any other speakers would have to be on the floor and vertical, both for space considerations and WAF. The Advents have served me well for 25 years now - I'd never part with them. If I can't make them work in this space, they'll go into storage for the next house.

Plato: I've looked at the VonSchweikerts and the Green Mountains and they're out of my price range even used. The Paradigms just slide under the $500 mark used but are rare. Would the speakers I mentioned above be too much of a step down from the Advents? I realize I'd give up some bass, but the room can't deal with it anyway.
Stands is a good idea. And moving them as far away from the corners as you possibly can--is there some room arrangement you haven't thought of that might be a little wierd but would work? I have in a second system of sorts a pair of very cheap but very efficient Radio Shack speakers and when they are in the corners they thump like there's no tommorow. I had Larger Advents for years and they were great speakers, plus, if you can find a way to use them you aren't out the $500--so it's worth your effort. As for a headphone system, sure they are great, I get the "best sound" from my headphones, but I'd rather listen to music in an open space. Good luck!
I think the Triangle and the Epos models you mentioned may be a good bet... Also, I just saw a pair of Signet SL-260 speakers on A-gon for a good price, and they could be a very good choice as well.

Your 12' X 12' room sounds very much like my master bedroom/listening room in my old Astoria apartment (11' X 11'). It's unfortunate that you can not place the Advents horizontally inside of/on top of a bookcase, because that would solve the problem. I do something similar today with my Acoustic Research 302's (24" X12" X12") in a 10' X 15' room.

What would help is to get the speakers off the floor (about 8 to 10 inches) and out of the corners, though they could still be close to the walls. Right now you have your Advents set-up the way we would them set-up in the 70's. A type of DIY speaker stand that would work and would have decent WAF (my own wife really likes them) is a stand made of Armstrong opaque glass blocks. These are the types of blocks that are used in glass walls.

Each block measures 8" X 4 " X 4". Each stand would use 6 blocks and would be 16" Wide X 12" Deep X 8" High, when finished. You would create two rows of 3 blocks each. Each block in a row would be epoxied together (a small dab in each corner) and the two rows would be pushed together. That easy. To finish off the stand, you would need to place a small thin Rubbermaid type mat (12" X 12" size works best) on top of the glass blocks and then place a 12" X 12" marble tile square on top of the mat.

This will give you a smooth surface to place your speakers on. Stable and solid as all out, my cats have yet to topple a speaker in 5 years. The stand looks like an extension of the speaker. Total Cost is under a $100 and it is all available at your local Home Depot.

If you are going the monitor route and this is tough without knowing your equipment ... try the NHT SB2 at $400 list, but generally available at $300. They are an acoustic suspension/sealed box design and will give you a sound closest to your Advents. Because they are a sealed box design, they can be wall mounted or will sit nicely on an appropriate sized wall sconce.

Regards, Rich
I love Audiogon. No matter where you're going, someone's always been there before.

I'm definitely going to experiment with the Advents first. Rich, those sound like beautiful stands. If I can get the Advents to sound right, glass stands would be great for a permanent solution.

Anybody ready to argue that smaller monitors would actually *improve* the sound in this room? I'm willing to spend the money if I can gain a marked improvement. For those of you willing to make monitor recommendations, the rest of my system is:

Music Hall MMF 2.1/Shure V15Vxmr
NAD 7140 receiver
Adcom GCD-565 CD player
New Advents, updated drivers as outlined above

MMF 2.1 to be replaced by modded Thorens TD 150/Rega RB250/Shure V15 when I can find the time to complete the mods.

Thanks again for everyone's help.

It just so happens that a friend of mine is selling a pair of 8" high stands. They were bought from a local high end audio shop, so they are of respectable quality. I doubt that he wants much for them. They just might be the ticket, if you want the least expensive way to address this issue.

Send me an e-mail if you are interested.

Give stands a shot ... no small monitor will ever sound as rich or as pleasing as a full range speaker that sports a 10" or so woofer. It's just the physics man. It is not that small monitors can't sound good ... they can ... but they will not be as rich sounding as your Advents.

I have two pair of the AR 302's ... these were reissues of the classic AR 5's from the 60's ... very similar to the original Advents. I use one pair in my main system and the other pair in a 2 channel HT system. It is tough to beat their warm, rich, full sound and I have owned many a small budget monitor ... EPOS 11; B&W 302; Wharefedale Diamond 8.1 ... the only ones that begin to approach the AR's are the NHT SB2's ... and I believe that is because they are acoustic suspension speakers ... just like the AR's.

If you want to read more about classic Advent speakers , give the underscored web-site a look.

Regards, Rich
I agree...try to find a monitor that doesnt sound thin or bright....Castle RIchmonds are very rich, musical, spacious, and fairly easy to drive...the B&W 601 is also a good choice...both at around $500 new...well below used...another good choice used is the PSB minis which are around 1k new...very good bass and mellow top end...

I'm already working on the stands. I agree that physics works against smaller speakers, but obviously the room is part of the physics too. Isn't that balancing act part of why we all love audio and spend so much time debating it here? :-)

One of the reasons I have wireless Ethernet in my house is so I can be listening to music while simultaneously reading and posting here...what could be better? :-)

David has to except that truly deep bass such as the advents will not be the strenght of a small monitor...however...a small speaker will image better, have improved transparency, and can be very involving in a more "audiophile" way...vs. "visceral" bass, any rate...I would go the monitor route myself...and in my humble can easily better the sound you are accustomed to...another sleeper...Monitor AUdio studio 2...about 4-$500 used...these are unreal with vocals, etc...
Forget monitors if you can't move them away from the walls and into the room. Their whole trick is imaging which demands away from boundry placement. Dimensionally, even happy sounding little monitors customarily make up in depth what they lack in height and width so don't expect much gain there. But if you're still dying to experience monitors check out the Epos line; they make some budget butt kickers.
How much room do monitors typically need? I can only get the Advents about 6 inches from the wall due to their size and my room constraints, but smaller monitors could be 12 inches or more from the walls. Would that be enough, or would monitors need more than that to function properly?
Okay, I got the Advents out of the corners and up on stands, and I'm beginning to remember why I fell in love with them 25 years ago. My next question is about spacing and toe-in. The only general rule I can find is that the distance from the speaker face to your ears should be 1.5 times the distance between the speaker centers. Is this a valid rule? If you have to err on one side or the other, is it better to be farther than 1.5/1 or closer? In this room I'm 8 ft (96") from the speaker faces, so theoretical ideal spacing would be 64". Due to furniture, electrical, and WAF limitations I can get them to about 70", or I can get them at about 50", with 70" being logistically preferable - that's where they are presently. Would it be worth the trouble to try them at 50"? If the crowd here has had experience to know it's not worth it, it would save me a fair amount of moving.

Additionally, I'm sure they'll need to be toed in a bit. Is the best starting point with the speaker faces perpendicular to my sitting point?

I may get this room listenable yet!
I wanted to revive this thread just to thank everyone for the great advice and provide an update. The depth of knowledge and helpfulness here on Audiogon is truly humbling.

After exhausting my possibilities with placement and room treatment, I broke down and bought a pair of Epos ELS-3s with 30" stands. As expected, they are a much better match for the small room, pretty much eliminating the boominess and mud I was getting from the Advents. At that point, I had changed nothing else in my system.

What I was NOT expecting, was the incredible increase in detail and speed. While the Advents were close to SOTA in the late 70s, time and technology march on. I just hadn't realized how slow the tweeters in the Advents had become, and how much faster the 5.5" mid in the Epos could move compared to the 10" driver in the Advents. The difference was phenomenal, especially in my small room, and even more so at low listening levels.

With the NAD 7140 powering them, I certainly wasn't getting the bottom octave or so that I got from the Advents, but what I got was so much cleaner I almost didn't miss it. Since then, I've added a Hafler DH-200 that I'm about halfway through modding, still using the phono/tuner/preamp in the NAD and now I'm not missing it at all. The added power and damping factor of the Hafler has improved the bass of the Epos' to the point where I'm giving my room just about as much as it can handle without overloading it. At low listening levels, I still get almost everything. I'm amazed, frankly.

I also built myself some speaker cables from nice 12 gauge OFC and gold spades and bananas. I'm stunned at the improvements I've gained just from these simple upgrades, and for about $400 total shipped. Next I'm ready to start modding out my Thorens TD 150, then probably a second round of mods on the Hafler. I'll be hitting you guys up for advice again, I'm sure.

Thanks to all who have contributed so far. Have I reached the stage yet where I can post my system without embarassing myself? :-)