Do smaller speakers sound better in smaller rooms?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by David Barteaux, Feb 3, 2002.

  1. David Barteaux

    David Barteaux Stunt Coordinator

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    Just curious. Would say B&W 805's sound better in a smaller room as compared to larger full range 804's in the same room?
     
  2. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    I would say they do. IMO, there is a supreme rule in dealing with floorstanders,... they need room. If you are not going to give them the proper room, you're better off with bookshelf speakers/monitors. I see so many setups with nice floorstanding speakers, but they are pinched into some far far less than idealic (sp) placement situtaion. Near field listening will almost always favor the monitor. I would have purchased the N804's, but my room could not do them justice. With the 805's I am able to acheive better sound because I am able to realize 95+% of their capaiblity, besides about 65% of the 804's because of space limitations. I had some Paradigm 100's in a room that could accurately give them justice, and there is no doubt in larger rooms, the floorstander will excell, but the 805's dominate all over the 100's even in a large room. I would say that if you don't have at least three to four feet to the rear, and the sides, you're better off with the 805's.
     
  3. Craig Morris

    Craig Morris Stunt Coordinator

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    I have learned the hard way about matching a speaker's size to your listening space. When I moved, my OM-6's became overpowering in my small 10' x 15' room. Granted I have 2 issues to cope with other than their frequency response... they have built-in subs, and they are omnipolar.

    I don't know if what I'm about to say is accurate or not, but it's my perception. I find it difficult to get even bass response from a full-range speaker in a small room. Also, in a series like the B&W (and many other lines of speakers) the drivers and crossovers are the same in the smaller speakers. The way I see it you are paying for 2 things as you go up the model line. 1) deeper bass, and 2) higher ultimate volume capabilities.

    I'm going to try a stand-mount with a separate sub, hoping that the flexibility of the sub's placement and crossover will allow me to achieve more even bass response.

    As far as volume, well... the Totem Model One's are tiny and yet they were able to play louder than I would ever listen, and that was in a room far larger than my own.

    I've become a fan of smaller stand-mounted speakers, particularly if used in a small room, and perhaps with a subwoofer.
     
  4. David Barteaux

    David Barteaux Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes that is my thought as well. I use B&W 604's in my 14x20 room and feel that the bass response is very overpowering. I had Energy Veritas book shelf speakers home for a listen and found that the bass was not as deep but it was much more accurate. For home theater you cross over at 80HZ anyway so the floor stading speaker becomes a bit of over kill. Also I have spent many hours of positioning my 604's to get the bass response to be smooth at the sweet spot. I found with the smaller bookshelf that this task was a much lesser ordeal. I have to bring home the Nautilus 805's home for a listen.
     
  5. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Smaller rooms will boost low bass more, thus a larger speaker with more low bass might sound boomy. Of course that isn't a problem if your speakers are designed specifically to complement a small room, or have a limited low bass response anyway. My large towers in an 11x14 room are tuned lower than usual so there's more rolloff in the 30-50Hz range. The bass does not sound boomy or 'constrained' in any way... probably only about 3-5 dB peak at 40Hz.) If I had speakers with a perfectly flat response to 40Hz (as many large towers are) I'd have something like a 8-9 dB peak which would lead to excessive boominess. Not good.

    If you have a sub, there's probably little use for full-range mains. While some people like the sound of their towers better than their sub... that may be because the sub isn't optimally placed or calibrated.

    All else equal the larger version of a similar speaker may still sound better depending on its drivers and crossover (which are often different). The larger speaker will probably be able to play louder and have better quality bass (save for a possible room-induced boominess). The smaller speaker might have better imaging. I don't know for sure since I've actually never heard two such speakers (like the 804 and 805) side by side.
     

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