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Adapting for Apartment living - smaller speakers?

Biggles

New member
May 7, 2014
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Hi chaps,

I'm hoping for some help adjusting my hi-fi to make it more suitable for an apartment pending a future move. And before I get stuck in I'll just say I have very little understanding of the technical aspects of hi-fi's - watts, ohms etc. all just confuse me.

My current speakers are a set of Tannoy 607 mk.IIs(http://www.hifidatabase.com/Detailed/Tannoy_607_1719.php), which I think sound good, but they seem quite loud to me, and they seem to project sound too far (if that makes sense) - if I have them set to a comfortable listening volume in one room they are fine in that room, but can also be heard round the house, which may not make me popular with neighbours in an apartment! They also don't seem to do quiet very well, turning down just makes them too quiet and I can't quite strike a balance in between. They're also pretty big so take up lots of space and aren't the easiest to transport.

So I was thinking of getting a smaller set of speakers, and I've been looking at the (budget choice) Cambridge Audio s20 speakers, or possibly the s30, (I'm looking at these as I vaguely remember one of them being a which best buy, or some similar award a little while ago) but I wanted to check a few things first.

Am I right in thinking smaller speakers will cope better for quiet, contained listening? Or is my current amplifier (A Denon PMA-520 - http://www.hifiengine.com/manual_library/denon/pma-520.shtml) part of the problem?

And the choice between the s20s and s30s, will the smaller s20s be better for listening in a small room without disturbing neighbours, or will the s30s (which seem to be generally better reviewed) do the job just as well?

Essentially, are smaller speakers better for listening at low levels in close confinement?

Many thanks,
 

gregory

New member
Sep 9, 2007
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Move into new gaff, set up stereo, play it, see if neighbours complain, then take it from there. Me personally, i always introduce myself to the neighbours and gather how they feel about things in general, you dont have to go into detail but it's nice to have manners and let them know what their in for, if anything, you might have a right nutter living next door to you who plays music at all times, loud, i hope not but you never know, anyhow keep what you have, the tennoys are great little speakers and i dont think the cambridge will beter them and your amp is no slouch either. Good luck.
 

Benedict_Arnold

New member
Jan 16, 2013
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When I lived in my flat on the outskirts of Aberdeen, Scotland, the old couple downstairs were as deaf as posts (and thus didn't complain) and the guy across the hallway was a professional bagpipe player (who couldn't complain).

Happy days...
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Try the Tannoy DC4. Small, beautifully formed and perfect in smaller room settings. I took them over more expensive speakers and would recommend them over the Q Acoustics Concept 20. Matter of taste though. Try a demo but for £300 new now, they're terrific value for money.
 

Covenanter

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2012
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I agree very much about talking to the neighbours. Living in apartments is about give and take. My LH neighbour has a little girl who stays every other weekend. I don't play music on those evenings so that she can sleep easily. During the daytime when both my neighbours are at work I play music at quite hgh volumes.

Chris
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
494
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19,270
We've got people above us and I'm quite strict about switching my music off before 10pm at the very latest (though it is usually 9pm) and also about not playing it before 10am. My amp also NEVER goes above 9 o'clock on the volume control and I often consciously mix up my listening so that if I've listened to an album or two of heavier, large-scale music I then move on to something more modest in scope.

We haven't got particularly quiet neighbours upstairs anyway, but it pays to be reasonably thoughtful.

Living in an appartment is very much about live and let live. Enjoy your hobbies, let others enjoy theirs but also be aware of what is reasonable, particularly with regard to those times when people have a right to peace and quiet.
 

peterpiper

New member
Mar 20, 2014
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I suppose I am lucky, I live in a detached house, but if I had to move to a flat or had thin walls and neigbours to consider i would just get a pair of very good headphones no problem, Some people actually prefer them over speakers
 

Biggles

New member
May 7, 2014
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Thanks for the input guys.

I think the wait and see option is probably the best. I think I'm just getting carried away with the idea of treating myself to something new! Although for size reasons I am still toying with the idea of downsizing the tannoy's... they just take up so much space conpared so some other bookshelf speakers I've seen.

As for headphones, I've never liked being a fan. I don't like being anchored down to something (although I suppose wireless are an option), nor do I like not being able to hear the phone ringing etc. and I rarely fine headphones comfortable for long durations.

As a slight aside from looking at smaller speakers, my amplifier impedance is rated at 6-16 ohms, and the Cambride Audio s20 speakers are rated 4-8 ohms. Most speakers I've seen have a single nominal impedance, my Tannoys nominal impedance is 8 ohms, safely within the range of the amp (assuming my grasp of impedance is correct). As the Cambride Audio s20s have a range, rather than a single figure, of 4-8, half in and half out of the range of my aplifier, would they have been safely compatible anyway?
 

knaithrover

Moderator
Nov 24, 2013
199
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18,670
After years and years of apartments, street houses and semis I must say going detached has been a revelation! My house is my single most important Hifi accessory.

Also, the S30's are excellent at low volumes - I used to run mine through marantz and nad amps and they were very sweet when quiet
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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One of the 'tricks' in these sorts of situations is to put together a setup that really sounds open and engaging at low levels. Some setups only seem to come alive at higher levels but others just sound naturally great at lower levels.

For some reason the mix of valves and high sensitivity speakers seems a natural for this kind of application, though not a cheap option by any means.

A more afordable option might be the Croft integrated with a suitable pair of speakers, the Croft will drive most things in this situation but speaker matching is critical, the Croft is quite 'picky'.
 

Covenanter

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2012
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Headphones can be really useful and I use them late at night. Yes they are not the most comfortable of things but they do give you the ability to listen to music without disturbing others.

Chris
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Seeing as the midrange is where it's at, as far as the majority of the music is concerned, you should consider speakers that excel in this area. Thumping bass late at night is a no-no I assume (same for me) and a sweeter treble is never a bad thing. Depends on the size of your living space, how much room you have to play with, but if you have a couple of feet to position speakers in, then you have a few options. I'd also add Acoustic Energy's 301 which has been well reviewed in the past alongside my earlier DC4 suggestion.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
947
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19,270
One option that worked really well for me, I regret selling them actually (a setup matter), is to consider a 2.1 speaker system like the Cambridge Audio Minx 21 satellites, and the X300 (middle in the range) subwoofer.

Don't let those satellites fool you - the combination is stunning and sounded more open than, say, a pair of BX2s. Just make sure the sub goes in a corner otherwise bass and integration will suffer.

This is of-course assuming your amp has an input for a sub/pre-amp.
 

mikeparker59

New member
Apr 6, 2010
4
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We must be a considerate bunch here. Nobody has mentioned that you might have your listening disturbed by your neighbours. I can detect a low rumble from my neighbour's TV most nights interrupting my TV viewing or music listening. Can't wait to move to a detatched property when something suitable comes up!
 

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