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Speakers vs room size


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18 replies to this topic

#1 of 19 OFFLINE   GeoffP

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Posted July 21 2005 - 08:53 PM

Is it better to get the biggest speakers I can afford or if the room is small then should I shrink my budget and get lesser speakers?

I have a 10.5ft x 17fx room and originally was looking at the KEF Q-series with Q11s at the front and Q4s as the surrounds, but I'm concerned that I may be over-doing things a bit. I also demo'd the Q7s front and Q1 back, which still sounded good. But of course both demos were in-store rather than at home (where I have two glass walls in the room) so i'm not sure if the difference will be as noticeable at home as it was in the shop.

Anyone else here using KEF Q-series all around? Happy with them?

thanks
Geoff

#2 of 19 OFFLINE   Thomas_A

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Posted July 22 2005 - 04:24 AM

Quality vs. Quantity... Don't worry about size as much as the quality and sound reproduction of the speakers. In a room your size... some nice sized book shelfs all around with a sub and matching center would suffice. You will be happier with better quality/sounding speakers...then just the largest you can afford.

Thomas.

#3 of 19 OFFLINE   Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted July 22 2005 - 03:44 PM

Geoff,

What you should really pay attention to at the stores is the size of their room compared to yours. The reason is that small rooms reinforce bass frequencies. In other words, if their room is appreciably larger than yours (and this is usually the case) and the speaker your demoing sounds well-balanced, when you get it home it’s going to sound bass-heavy in your smaller room.
Quote:
or if the room is small then should I shrink my budget and get lesser speakers?
Not lesser, just smaller. I suggest taking a look at Axiom Audio’s site for a frame of reference. You’ll see that they recommend certain speakers based on the size of the listening room. The speakers for large rooms are bigger models with multiple woofers.

So, I think the 11’s you’re considering are way overkill. They will probably sound really bass heavy in your room. Not to mention, extension down to 35 Hz? You want a sub anyway, so there’s no reason to get speakers that substantial in a room that small. The Q7’s are probably too much too, possibly even the 4’s.

I’m with John - smaller speakers with a sub are most likely what you need.

Regards,
Wayne

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#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted July 23 2005 - 08:46 AM

I agree. While big tower speakers (even ones with built-in subwoofers) look and sound impressive, the smart money is on a set of nearly identical "monitor-style" speakers, and a hefty subwoofer.

Music lovers want the sound to be impressive .. in the next room. But HT surrounds you with an array of speakers focused on a few chairs. You need a good sounding mid-range and tweeters and not much more for the array.

But the subwoofer - this is the thing that gives you the "hand of god reaching into your chest" feeling with movies. My advice would be to buy an array of smaller speakers, but put more money into a good subwoofer. This is the thing that impresses.

Also, with small rooms you DONT want several speakers trying to produce bass. It creates complex interactions that .. are hard to fix. A single bass source in the room is a lot easier to adjust and get great sound.

(People with 2 subwoofers are advised by most experts to stack them on top or next to each other to minimize problems. A set of 5 full-range speakers may sound impressive at first, but it is a real pain to adjust.)

Hope this helps.

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles

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Posted July 24 2005 - 04:43 AM

Quote:
the smart money is on a set of nearly identical "monitor-style" speakers, and a hefty subwoofer.

Always. Posted Image

I don't think I could even fathom a floor-standing speaker unless I hit about the 10K/pr pricepoint. Standmounts are ALWAYS better for the money.

#6 of 19 OFFLINE   Justin Ward

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Posted July 24 2005 - 12:46 PM

If you wanted just a 5.1/7.1 I'd go bookshelves all the way around and a nice sub. I might consider bigger speakers only if you wanted to run 2-channel only.

#7 of 19 OFFLINE   GeoffP

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Posted July 24 2005 - 04:02 PM

thanks all, these comments are extremely helpful. I shall start again, this time looking for 4 matching bookshelf types.
Geoff

#8 of 19 OFFLINE   R:o:b

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Posted July 25 2005 - 03:57 AM

i sort of disagree with most of the comments. if you like the sound of the floor standing speakers, then get them. just because you have a small room now doesnt mean you should sacrafice for it (not saying that floorstanding sounds better then bookshelf). a sub is a neccecity for a system whether 2/5.1/7.1 system so that should not be a deal breaking decition. and in regards to the floorstanding having more bass, most reciever have crossovers and equalizers for that reason. also if your set the fronts and centers to small, like i did with my floorstanding speakers then the frequency is cut off anyway...

go with what u like to hear... dont let size be the onylthing u look at

#9 of 19 OFFLINE   Greg Bright

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Posted July 26 2005 - 12:17 PM

My 13 x 19 room has always had tower speakers and a sub. I wouldn't consider book shelf speakers unless they could play flat to 80Hz and produce reference level volumes. That's a lot to ask of a small two-way speaker. Towers are usually three- and occasionally four-way designs that have greater power handling, higher efficiency, more extended frequency response, and an intangible WOW factor that is not the same as the WAF.
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#10 of 19 OFFLINE   Justin Ward

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Posted July 26 2005 - 12:24 PM

Quote:
My 13 x 19 room has always had tower speakers and a sub. I wouldn't consider book shelf speakers unless they could play flat to 80Hz and produce reference level volumes. That's a lot to ask of a small two-way speaker. Towers are usually three- and occasionally four-way designs that have greater power handling, higher efficiency, more extended frequency response, and an intangible WOW factor that is not the same as the WAF.

There are 2-way bookshelf designs that can do this as well. My Adire Audio HE 10.1s are a bookshelf stlye design but are capable of high SPL. They are also 95.5 db/w/m which is very efficient by most standards. Covers 60Hz to 20 kHz quite well too.

However, I can see what you're saying with the typical 6'5" inch, 87-89 db/w/m efficient bookshelf speaker. I wouldn't dismiss all 2-way smaller speakers to be incapable of large, capable sound.

#11 of 19 OFFLINE   Greg Bright

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Posted July 26 2005 - 12:31 PM

I certainly didn't intend to imply that all small (meaning not floor-standing) speakers can't meet certain undeniably high standards. I would gladly trade my towers for these

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#12 of 19 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles

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Posted July 26 2005 - 12:36 PM

A tower is limited in many of the same ways a bookshelf is, except in bass *extension.* Everyone seems to have the mistaken impression that towers can play louder. They can't, except in the bass department, and there the benefit is mostly just extension. Which a sub can do better.

I have no bias *against* towers, but more than it you had 1K to spend on a speaker, 1 grand would get you far superior sounding bookshelves than 3-way towers or something like that. Much better to sacrifice some bass extension for better sound where it really counts. Plus if you have a good sub you lose very little at all. This has always been my bias.

#13 of 19 OFFLINE   mackie

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Posted July 26 2005 - 12:41 PM

Quote:
I wouldn't consider book shelf speakers unless they could play flat to 80Hz and produce reference level volumes.


This isn't the case with most quality bookshelves. Paradigm, Boston Acoustics, Klipsch, Polk, B&W ... all make bookshelf speakers that will play flat from below 80hz. If you want loud, Klipsch is the ticket!

Buy the speakers you like the best. My question about floorstanders and a 80hz crossover is, "why am I paying more for something that I don't use?"

My advice, and treat is as advice and not fact, is to take the same money you planned to spend on the floorstander and buy a better quality bookshelf speaker. Also, buy a good sub which you'll need for movies even if you buy floorstanding speakers.

#14 of 19 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted July 27 2005 - 06:36 AM

To help clarify things, I think it would help to define what "bookshelf speaker" means to each member.

For me, this designation fits speakers with woofers ranging in size from 5" to 8". Anything smaller for me is a "satellite"; anything larger* is a floorstander. My own front mains, Boston Acoustics CR9s, have an 8" woofer with their 3dB down point being at 42Hz.

One issue I'm not very well informed on is the issue of the maximum undistorted output of such a speaker in relation to the system's subwoofer. In other words, if a person cranks up their system to "X" volume level, can the bookshelfs keep up with the sub? Sure, a speaker may be able to generate something down to 80Hz (standard THX crossover point), but does it have the capability to generate enough of that sound down to that xover point so it won't get drowned out, or worse, be damaged while doing so (especially the tweeter)?

I've been discussing this exact issue with another member here and I'm thinking that a large bookshelf like my own CR9s--in my particular 22 x 14 x 8 room--paired with a good 12" sub ($400 to $700 brick-n-mortar category) crossed over between 60Hz and 80Hz should create a truly full-range system that can be turned up to near-concert volume levels without fear of damage or speaker imbalance.

What do you guys think?

* this includes large 70s-era "bookshelfs" like the Large Advents (10"), JBL's legendary Century L100 (12"), and Acoustic Research's 10"/12" models.

#15 of 19 OFFLINE   Justin Ward

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Posted July 27 2005 - 06:41 AM

Yeah I suppose the definition of a bookhshelf speaker may not be the same to everyone. Many might not consider my Aidre HE 10.1s to be bookshelf speakers. They are relatively large and have a 10" mid-woofer.

#16 of 19 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted July 27 2005 - 07:08 AM

Justin: are those the ones with a coaxial woofer/tweeter? If so, to me those could actually be placed on a shelf without too much problem. The Advents/JBLs though are too large AND heavy for me to be comfortable with that situation.

Here's an analogy to my issue above: our old 1978 Buick Regal with a V-6 could make it to 95mph on a smooth road but had a worrisome floaty feeling and the steering wasn't very solid feeling anymore. But in my parents friend's Audi 5000 sedan at the same speed, the Audi felt as if it were only going 40mph, i.e. solid/planted and with precise steering.

Same speed but different reactions!

#17 of 19 OFFLINE   Victor Ferguson

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Posted July 27 2005 - 08:07 AM

IMHO I think speakers should be able to play at least a 1/2 octave to a full octave lower than the crossover point. For example, if you are going to run a crossover at 80hz at a minimum the speaker should be flat to around 60hz and preferably 40hz.

#18 of 19 OFFLINE   Bob*S

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Posted July 27 2005 - 08:53 AM

IMHO I think speakers should be able to play at least a 1/2 octave to a full octave lower than the crossover point. For example, if you are going to run a crossover at 80hz at a minimum the speaker should be flat to around 60hz and preferably 40hz.


I also think that having plenty of room below the crossover helps with sub integration and this along with the fact that every monitor I have liked ends up costing as much or more by the time I've added stands has me looking to floorstanders once again.

But I do basically agree that at a given price point, a monitor from the same manufacturer will outperform a floorstander. The monitors will often image better but I think this is becoming less of an issue with the narrow floorstanders which have a significantly reduced baffle area.

Bob

#19 of 19 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted July 27 2005 - 09:14 AM

Check out these bookshelf(???) speakers with optional bass extension thingy (click on "megapod kit"):

Podspeakers

I'll bet they have good imaging and decent bass.


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