Building a speaker system in a small room (I have no idea what I'm doing)
May 16, 2015 at 3:38 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 60

evanft

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Budget: $5,000 for speakers, amp, etc.
Interests: Music only
Existing Equipment: Schiit Yggdrasil, Schiit Mjolnir, Sennheiser HD800
Room Size: ~10x9x8, no adjacent open areas
Placement restrictions: Pretty much can only point to one side of room because of windows and doors
Aesthetic or Size Concerns: Nope
Sonic Signature: I prioritize detail retrieval/resolution and neutrality
 
So I'm thinking of turning an empty room in my house into a dedicated listening room. The problem is that it's a very small square room with wood floors. We're talking something like 720 cubic feet here. Unfortunately, this room is my only real option in my house for a listening room.
 
Right now, I'm really only into headphone audio. My current headphone is the HD800 with a Schiit Mjolnir. I'd want to get as close to those in perfomance as possible, especially in regards to resolution and detail retrieval. I'm big on neutrality, but I like to avoid treble nasties whenever possible.
 
My budget for the speakers, amps, and related accessories would probably be in the $5,000 range. I've done some googling, but I'm still not sure what I should be looking at.
Is there any point in pursuing this, or am I so limited by my room size and shape that I should just stick to headphones?
 
May 16, 2015 at 4:32 PM Post #2 of 60

Steve Eddy

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Ha! My office here is virtually the same. 10 x 11 x 8.

No, I don't think your room would prevent you from putting together a nice system. I would suggest doing a near field setup, with the speakers a bit forward from the walls and the listening position just shy of the center of the room.

Being near field, you really want a good point source. Like a Tannoy DMT 12 or even a 15. Tannoy is no longer making them, but you can find them used for a good price. There's a pair of 15s on eBay for $1,649. But they're in New York and for local pickup only. Don't know where you're located. Buy they're not a terribly difficult loudspeaker to find, and they sound fantastic in my opinion. They were originally intended for studio monitoring.

You could get a decent amp for not a lot of money too, which would leave you a budget for some room treatment since this will be a dedicated room. Although near field listening takes a fair portion of the room out of the equation, with such a small room, you could benefit from some good room treatment. Check with Real Traps. I'm sure they can advise you on what would work best for your situation and budget.

So that's the direction I would suggest. I think you could end up with something very nice with a $5,000 budget and still have a bit left over.

Good luck!

se
 
May 16, 2015 at 6:09 PM Post #3 of 60

riffer

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I'm about 11x13 and I have Totem Arro's.

Very good speakers, but lacking a bit of bass. They can be placed as little as 2' apart and close to the wall. Totem Forest is probably the limit for my room.

I had a Simaudio Moon i-5 with them, but there are all kinds of good options out there.

Blue Jeans cables are good. Get them for your initial setup. If you want to fool with cables after that, go ahead, you may be surprised how good they are.
 
May 16, 2015 at 6:35 PM Post #4 of 60

alexsv

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Last year at the California Audio Show near San Francisco we exhibited an under $5K system with cables included. We received a bunch of very favorable comments and later great audio press coverage for having a great sounding and musical room regardless of cost.
 
The system consisted of:
 
Fritz LS 3/5A speakers. Stand mounted with 5" woofer and a 1" silk dome tweeter both from ScanSpeak $2499
Wyred4Sound mINT integrated amplifier with built in DAC. $1499
WyWires Blue series cables $695
 
These speakers will do a great job in a small room due to the smaller mid/woofer. They are rear ported so they'll need to be placed at least a foot from the back wall. They do put out plenty of bass but won't overload a small room.
 
Good luck!
 
May 16, 2015 at 7:09 PM Post #5 of 60

evanft

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Thanks for the replies. I've ballparked some of my budget:
 
$600 Amp: Rega Brio-R (used est.)
$300 Windows 8.1 tablet (used est.)
$300 Listening chair
$50 Extension cords

$200 Power stuff (conditioner or whatever, if needed)
$500 Room treatments

$100 Speaker stands
$100 Misc. crap
 
I'm taking a hard look at the KEF LS50. They go for $1,500 new, $1,000 used. They're apparently right up my alley, sound-wise. But if you take out what's listed above, you're left with about $2,800 to spend. That's more than double the going rate for used LS50s.
 
May 17, 2015 at 3:06 PM Post #7 of 60

cel4145

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Is low bass output important to you? If so, check out reviews on the Rythmik Audio F12 subwoofer to pair with some bookshelf/monitor sized speakers. Rythmik uses a direct servo technology that helps to improve accuracy. They are an Internet direct vendor, so a much better value than what you can typically get from hifi shops and traditional speaker brand subs.

Speakers? Ascend Acoustics Sierra 2s. I'd take these over the Kef LS50s, but do your own research and decide:
http://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/1501474-kef-ls50-vs-ascend-sierra-1-a.html
http://forums.audioholics.com/forums/threads/ascend-sierra-2-and-kef-ls50-comparisons.91521/
http://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/1749850-kef-ls50-vs-ascend-sierra-2-vs-monitor-audio-silver-2-a.html
And note that Ascend is a distributor for Rythmik, so if you like the Ascend speakers you can order your sub from the same place and may get a discount (not sure; I know they offer it on HT setups).

Also, definitely spend some time learning about room treatments and saving a good chunk of your budget for that like Steve said. A $500 pair of speakers in your room well-treated can out perform a $2000 pair of speakers with no treatments.
 
May 17, 2015 at 9:57 PM Post #9 of 60

cel4145

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I'm sure it's a nice speaker, but not something I would recommend for near field use due to the offset tweeter.

se


I wonder how much of a difference it actually makes? There are plenty of studio monitors that use the offset design.
 
May 17, 2015 at 11:57 PM Post #10 of 60

Steve Eddy

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I wonder how much of a difference it actually makes? There are plenty of studio monitors that use the offset design.


I know. But I guess some people like listening with their heads in vices to avoid the lobing effects that are inevitable with offset tweeters like that. Or don't mind the lobing effects if their not listening with their heads in vices. For serious near field I would never use anything with offset tweeters.

se
 
May 18, 2015 at 10:32 AM Post #11 of 60

yage

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I suggest the ProAc Tablette. I heard them at the Capital AudioFest in 2013. It was a helluva little speaker. Not a point source, but the room was very small and I was probably sitting 3 feet away. Spectacular imaging and clarity - however I'd caveat this with the fact that the demo track consisted of a lone female vocalist with backing band, so no idea how it sounds with more complex material. Still, I came away very impressed. Quite a bit more than the LS50 if purchased new, but still within your budget I believe.
 
EDIT: Another compact coaxial speaker you might want to audition is the Vandersteen VLR (retail $1275, http://vandersteen.com/products/vlr-wood). I've never heard them, but I do own a pair of Vandersteen floorstanders (the 3A Signatures) and they are fantastic.
 
May 18, 2015 at 10:55 AM Post #12 of 60

cel4145

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I know. But I guess some people like listening with their heads in vices to avoid the lobing effects that are inevitable with offset tweeters like that. Or don't mind the lobing effects if their not listening with their heads in vices. For serious near field I would never use anything with offset tweeters.

se


I have offset tweeters on my speakers nearfield, and I don't hold my head in a vice. I think you are exaggerating a bit. LOL
 

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