Speakers for Small Rooms

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Adam_Stork, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. Adam_Stork

    Adam_Stork Auditioning

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    Hiya all, I'm starting to think about putting together a new audio system for my small living room: about 12 by 10 feet square, 12 foot ceilings of poured concrete. Please see the Receivers forum for a similar post in that direction and more information about the room.

    Before asking which speaker types or makes are best for small rooms, allow me to ask: am I crazy to want to go out and get decicated audio-only speakers, then get a cheaper home theatre surround speaker pacakge seperately? An HTIB will give me an amp and the home theatre speakers, but will often throw in a DVD player that I dont need, or the amp itself will be weak on full out audio performance, and the speakers themselves arent nearly as good for regular audio.

    I also don't want to clutter up my small space, so I'd like to keep the speakers to a minimum: the two main audio speakers (I should add they'd have to be of bookshelf size), L and R main channel, centre, 2 rear, and a small and discreet (not too bass heavy) sub-woofer.

    As for price range, with these needs in mind Im looking to spend about 500 USD or so for the pair of audio-only speakers and about 250-300 USD for the home theatre speakers. For that range the Yamaha NSP106 speaker bundle looks attractive but I'm concerned about their quality and their appropriateness for a small room (I like Yamaha amps, but I really don't know about their speakers). As for the two main audio speakers, well, there are so many choices and good names in this range I'd don't know where to start. Energy? JBL? Is Bose worthwile at the low end?

    Thanks in advance for your consideration!
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    IMO, it doesn't make much sense at all with a budget like that to separate it. Either get a great pair of stereo speakers and wait on the rest, or get the best front 3 + whatever surrounds you can with that money and do a little auditioning to find speakers that will fit the bill. I auditioned speakers specifically for music, because I listen to more music than movies, but they work great for movies too...

    Bose isn't worthwhile at ANY end.
     
  3. Adam_Stork

    Adam_Stork Auditioning

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    Thanks again for your help John.

    As for Bose...I always had a feeling they were overrated. I knew somebody who was a real Bose fanatic and swore by them...at the high end their stuff certainly doesnt sound bad...but the cost?

    Thats some food for thought: so I'm getting the worst of both worlds at that price range?

    I should also add that I still have, giving to me by my Dad, a pair of bookshelf Leak speakers made in England long ago (late 60's early 70's I think). To me, they sound great, but I can't help but wonder what the last 40 years of speaker developments have brought - even though in basic concept there is not much significant difference. So: worth replacing these old Leaks with something new? (These function and would function as the audio-only part and will not be used for home theatre L and R main channels) I'm hoping somebody will say "Whoa...Leaks? Jeez! Hang on to em!", then I can spend more on a quality surround sound speaker pacakge.

    So can you recommend a surround sound speaker package (I'd rather just get it all in one shot, as oppose to getting say woofer from one company, rears and centre from another etc.)?
    Remember that the key is the smallness of the room. If my old Leak's are not so hot, can you recommend a good pair of audio-only bookshelf speakers?

    Cheers!
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Well, first thought would probably be this deal, though just a bit above what you are saying for price, but should definitely do the trick:

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=222186

    The package system I was recommending seems to be sold out (not surprising at that price). It was the best deal I'd seen at about $850 shipped, the Mordaunt Short 900 package with 903 dipole surrounds.

    www.axiomaudio.com has a $1250 5.1 package, and you can configure a CBM-170/CMT + HSU STF-2 package for the same price from www.ascendacoustics.com (package S23-22)

    Never heard of Leak, will have to check around.
     
  5. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    1) Call Magnepan
    2) Order two pairs of the MMG-W wall mounted speakers ($299 per pair.....a steal)
    3) Order a subwoofer (SVS) from just about (SVS) anywhere, really.....doesn't (SVS) quite matter from where (SVS).....any subwoofer (SVS) will do.
    4) Mount the front pair of speakers on the side walls, about 2-3 feet from the front wall, and then angle them so they're facing the listening position.
    5) Mount the rear speakers either on the side wall or the rear wall.
    6) Allow speakers to break in for a while
    7) Enjoy both music and HT applications.

    These speakers will take up barely any space at all.....when they are not in use, you simply fold them flat against the wall.
     
  6. Adam_Stork

    Adam_Stork Auditioning

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    Thanks for the tip AlanZ, those speakers look amazing for a situation like mine where space is at a premium (love the idea of a flat speaker that folds out to the listening position) but unfortunatley the details of my layout prohibit these speakers.

    I actually gave a good hard listen to my old Leak 2020's. I don't know too much about them, but theyre made in England in an era when the Brits were the undisputed masters of sound. They are I believe Hi-Fi speakers, and likely one of the first "bookshelf" style speakers. My father worked for a geophysical engineering company, they bought these to use not for the lunchroom stereo but to reproduce sound from various arcane instruments. From what I've heard over the years, British speakers of this era (or any perhaps) have a particular style which some do not care for...anyway as I said I gave them a good listen to (they are as well positioned as possible) with various types of music and I find that they still sound good. So I think I'll keep em unless someone says that "bah, those old speakers are crap, they didnt have X or Y or Z that make modern speakers sound better...spend 1000 or X brand". I'm willing to pay to play; I understand that speakers are truly the heart of a system, to skimp on 'em is folly. The question is is it worth it to spend the money to get very good ones?

    Assuming that I wont "plug" the Leaks (hehe), that leaves the speakers dedicated exclusively to the home theatre: I'm leaning to the Yamaha NSP 106 and the Harmon/Kardon HKTS7 for a couple reasons: price, color, and the size of the sub: I have only one possible spot for it really, and both will fit; they may be small, but remember the small room and the noise concerns - bass is not something Im gonna go out of my way to find. I'm aware of the limitations of the HTIB-style speakers for the masses that these two sorta represent, but since my pure audio (DVD/CD) will be running seperately off the Leaks (or something else) then I dont think I need to break the bank on the surround speakers. Having said all that, are two good choices?
     
  7. Adam_Stork

    Adam_Stork Auditioning

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    Think I've found it: I was running through the old harware posts and found some favourable mentions of the JBL NSP1 system. It's got the size I want certainly: but is it too much for such a small space? I notice there seems to be something missing...the sub! Obviously JBL has upped the bass on all the other speakers; I can certainly say I wont miss a sub if that is the case; I'd like to save the room.
     
  8. Adam_Stork

    Adam_Stork Auditioning

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    Ah..I didnt look close enough: the centre has 2 built in woofers. So overall this system looks pretty sweet for me: JBL has a good rep, the price on this system is about right, and it cuts down on the amount of speakers.
     
  9. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I would not use the NSP-1 set without a sub. They are a decent set for the price though, but definitley do not cover low enough to give a full presentation for music (IMO).

    I'm kind of partial to that "British" sound [​IMG] The speakers I'm using in my bedroom are Brits - Mordaunt Short 902s. B&W are another well known Brit manufacturer.
     
  10. Adam_Stork

    Adam_Stork Auditioning

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    John, is that a personal preference? I can easily imagine that for many that NSP wouldnt have enough omph. But again, bass, at least for the movie part of the sound system, isnt too much of an issue...Im sure JBL designed this system with at least some bass performance...it may just be enough for what I need...though, eck , I certainly dont want some tinny set with no juice. I'd have to put my sub on the floor...and Im concerned about the low freq noise creeping its way everywhere. The centre would be mounted with the TV well away from the wall. I guess if worse comes to worse of course, I can always try and squeeze in a tidy little sub somewhere later on.

    btw - I know this isnt exactly the appropriate forum for asking about my Leaks - does anybody know of a good forum specifically dedicated to vintage British speakers?

    Thanks for helping a poor, somewhat stoopid n00b. [​IMG]
     
  11. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    IMO, these speakers were designed to be used with a sub, just as all smaller satellite-ish speakers are. ESPECIALLY for movies, there will be no bottom octave at all without a sub. I'm sure if Phil is around, he will chime in and give you more info on them.

    You can add a decent little sub from www.partsexpress.com for just $125, dubbed "Tiny Mighty". Well respected for the price, and I have bought countless items from them without issue. Item #300-632. Those two togehter should give you a pretty decent system for the price. I setup a similar system using a Sony SA-WM40 in a 14x14 room and it sounded fine. Since you already have the Leaks for music, I think you'd be all set.
     
  12. Adam_Stork

    Adam_Stork Auditioning

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    Thats a sweet little sub; and the price is nice too. Won't the 2 woofers present in the centre speaker bring me a bit too much bass though? Perhaps another speaker set is best for this particular sub, or perhaps I should just conisder a standard full set including a sub?
     
  13. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Nobody will ever accuse the NSP-1s of too much bass. Two drivers will raise the sensitivity of the speaker, not increase bass, because both drivers are playing the same thing.
     

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