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Speakers for a small room

May 14, 2016
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Dear hi-fi community,

First of all I want to thank all of you to share your knowledge and opinions on this forum. Me, as a hi-fi novice but eager to learn more, have gathered a lot of knowledge from all of you.

I bought a Cambridge Azur 851A amplifier and am planning to use it in a room of about 20m³ (EDIT 25) which is about 1400ft³ (EDIT 1800). Based on the forum I selected some speakers and went for an audition: B&W CM8 S2, Kef R500, Dali Opticon 6, Focal Aria 926. For my musical taste the Focal Aria 926 was really the best. I listen to pop and rock.

But the 926 are also the largest of all speakers tested. The audition room was quite large, and reading about accoustics I was doubting whether such floorstanders (40x11x14’’ or 1035x294x371mm) are a bit too big for my room. I have constructed the outline of the speakers from tin wood and put them in my room, and it sure looks large to me...

I know that there is no fixed rule on room size and speaker size, but does your guts say that I need to re-audition and maybe go for a floorstander like the Kef R300, Focal Aria 906, B&W CM5 S2, Monitor Audio Gold 200 or the Kef LS50 (albeit I do not read anywhere clearly whether my amp would have sufficient constant power to bring to most out of them)?

Unfortunately, where I live there is no shop / dealer that lets you audition at home. So, any opinions on my concern, short and long, are highly appreciated.

Kind regards,

Stijn
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
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Stijn Vanderlooy said:
Dear hi-fi community,

First of all I want to thank all of you to share your knowledge and opinions on this forum. Me, as a hi-fi novice but eager to learn more, have gathered a lot of knowledge from all of you.

I bought a Cambridge Azur 851A amplifier and am planning to use it in a room of about 20m³ which is about 1400ft³. Based on the forum I selected some speakers and went for an audition: B&W CM8 S2, Kef R500, Dali Opticon 6, Focal Aria 926. For my musical taste the Focal Aria 926 was really the best. I listen to pop and rock.

But the 926 are also the largest of all speakers tested. The audition room was quite large, and reading about accoustics I was doubting whether such floorstanders (40x11x14’’ or 1035x294x371mm) are a bit too big for my room. I have constructed the outline of the speakers from tin wood and put them in my room, and it sure looks large to me...

I know that there is no fixed rule on room size and speaker size, but does your guts say that I need to re-audition and maybe go for a floorstander like the Kef R300, Focal Aria 906, B&W CM5 S2, Monitor Audio Gold 200 or the Kef LS50 (albeit I do not read anywhere clearly whether my amp would have sufficient constant power to bring to most out of them)?

Unfortunately, where I live there is no shop / dealer that lets you audition at home. So, any opinions on my concern, short and long, are highly appreciated.

Kind regards,

Stijn
Hello, So you room is about 3m x 3m by 2.25m high? If so i think those Floorsatnders will be too much, most need some space around them and away from corners, think you maybe better off with some standmounts like Kef R300 or LS50s or smaller floorstanders. Not sure about your amp.never heard it.
 
May 14, 2016
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The room is a bit larger. More 4m by 3,5m and 2.25 height. My original measurement was thus a bit off. I corrected it. Sorry. But i guess it does not make the difference? Thanks for sharing. Highly appreciate it.

if someone else can confirm or have another opinion, please shoot.
 

Reijer

New member
Apr 22, 2014
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Hi Stijn.

Welcome to the forum. Are you from Belgium?

As mentioned before, for your roomsize floorstanders are big. It's a choice, but they are perhaps to big. Whatelse is in the room? What is your budget?

IMHO, in a room that big (small), monitors are better. There are many monitors, the brands you mentioned have also monitors.

Something else. Lately I've heard speakers from LSS, LSS Pulce with Pulce W subwoofer. Sounds really good for the money and availeble in every RAL colour. No HiFi stuff but pro speakers. SP110 are also nice speakers.

Good luck with your search.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
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I use the Aria 906 in a 4x4m room, and they are pretty sensitive speakers, so they can go way louder then I (or my neighbours) could bear. They sound the same as the floorstanders, without that extra bass oomph of course. Focal's Aria range is indeed very, very nice - balanced and big sounding.
 

Superaintit

New member
Feb 8, 2009
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Stijn Vanderlooy said:
I am indeed from Belgium.

The room is quite empty: a 2 person sofa and a bookshelf. Wooden floor, wall made of bricks. Nothing on the walls. I use it for reading, and want to add listening to music.
It's mostly based on personal preference...but I listened to the pmc gb1i in a room measuring 3 x3 and it sounded quite good. It's imo one of those floorstanders with a small footprint that sound quite good in a smallish room.

Ps: the current version of that speaker would be something like the pmc 23
 

hg

New member
Feb 14, 2014
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Stijn Vanderlooy said:
The room is quite empty: a 2 person sofa and a bookshelf. Wooden floor, wall made of bricks. Nothing on the walls. I use it for reading, and want to add listening to music.
The size of the speaker is largely irrelevant to the acoustical performance in the room but there may be other factors like taking up too much space. Of course in a small room one tends to sit closer to the speakers and so the bass may require less cone area. However many modern home speakers have too little cone area to handle musical peaks at standard listening levels and so it is less of a pointer towards small speakers than it may appear.

The acoustics of a large room and a small room are different with large rooms tending to be significantly better. However, this applies predominantly to the low frequency performance below a few hundred Hz. Above this frequency the speakers in a demo room and at home will sound similar in the way a person's voice would. The brain is used to sound in rooms and can largely hear through the room to the sound source except at the lower frequencies where it lacks information like where the sound is coming from (wavelength too long compared to distance between ears) in order to sort out what is going on.

So the speakers you liked in the demos you are also likely to like in your room with the exception of the low frequency performance which will be different and likely to be worse if it was decent demo room. Your room with hard walls and floor with little to absorb the sound is going to be lively with relatively strong and intrusive room modes. If you make no effort to control the bass in the room a speaker with deep bass (large) may sound worse than a speaker with little bass (small) because it has more output at lower frequencies to drive the lowest booming room modes. On the other hand, if you start controlling the bass in the room the large speaker is very likely to sound better.

The simplest form of bass management is to use DSP filters to lower the level of the peaks which is usually a signficant improvement in sound quality. Unfortunately DSP cannot fill in the dips and so it is not a complete solution. Your PC can do the DSP and so it may be zero cost apart from effort to find out what it can do if you can connect a microphone to the PC and connect the PC to your amplifier.

High quality bass in rooms normally requires multiple subwoofers and room treatment. Clearly that is not in the current budget but if you think you might go that way it may nudge the initial choice of main speakers towards ones with better >80 Hz performance and lesser <80 Hz performance. Subwoofers can also be used to absorb rather than create bass and in a lively room like yours it might be something to think about. For example, a pair of large main speakers and a subwoofer behind you to absorb the axial room modes. Perhaps I am getting carried away a bit but high quality bass in a smallish lively room is not going to happen without significant management.
 

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