PMC DB1i alternatives for bad placement

kieranhightower

Standard Member
Hi all,

I'm running a Naim Unitilite with PMC DB1i speakers.

Unfortunately due to room layout and having 2 young children, the speakers are placed on shelves in alcoves either side of the chimney breast in my living room (I know, bad placement, but there's nothing I can do about that until my kids are older or I move house).

The PMC speakers are really not working for me with that placement. I thought they'd be ok due to the transmission line 'vent' rather than being 'ported', but unfortunately they sound muffled and boomy, and are fatiguing to listen to. I've played around with positioning, and putting them on acoustic foam & rubber pads to isolate from the shelves, but haven't managed to get them to a point I'm happy with them, so I've decided the time is right for a change.

From Googling, options seem to suggest:
  • Neat Iota bookshelf speakers
  • Dali Menuet
  • ATC SCM7
  • Spendor A1

My current inclination is towards the Iotas, but a local hi-fi shop has suggested that as they are rear ported I am likely to have the same problems with them as I do with the PMCs, despite all the reviews suggesting they are really easy to place in/on actual book shelves & close to walls. Thoughts?

Unfortunately I haven't found anywhere local (Bristol) where I can audition any, so I might end up buying blind and hoping for the best.

Will one of the speakers mentioned be an improvement, or am I wasting money trying to fix an unfixable problem (the speaker placement)?

Another thing that hurts is that to trade in my PMCs for the Iotas, I've been quoted that I'd need to pay an additional £400. On paper, the PMCs are arguably the better speaker, so it's painful to have to pay £400 + the speakers to essentially downgrade (albeit for something that hopefully works better in my actual house)... Is it worth it???

Anyone got any Iotas they're looking to sell (white or black)?

Any advice greatly appreciated!

Kind regards,

Kieran
 
Last edited:

Orobas

Well-known Member
Hi all,

I'm running a Naim Unitilite with PMC DB1i speakers.

Unfortunately due to room layout and having 2 young children, the speakers are placed on shelves in alcoves either side of the chimney breast in my living room (I know, bad placement, but there's nothing I can do about that until my kids are older or I move house).

The PMC speakers are really not working for me with that placement. I thought they'd be ok due to the transmission line 'vent' rather than being 'ported', but unfortunately they sound muffled and boomy, and are fatiguing to listen to. I've played around with positioning, and putting them on acoustic foam & rubber pads to isolate from the shelves, but haven't managed to get them to a point I'm happy with them, so I've decided the time is right for a change.

From Googling, options seem to suggest:
  • Neat Iota bookshelf speakers
  • Dali Menuet
  • ATC SCM7
  • Spendor A1

My current inclination is towards the Iotas, but a local hi-fi shop has suggested that as they are rear ported I am likely to have the same problems with them as I do with the PMCs, despite all the reviews suggesting they are really easy to place in/on actual book shelves & close to walls. Thoughts?

Unfortunately I haven't found anywhere local (Bristol) where I can audition any, so I might end up buying blind and hoping for the best.

Will one of the speakers mentioned be an improvement, or am I wasting money trying to fix an unfixable problem (the speaker placement)?

Another thing that hurts is that to trade in my PMCs for the Iotas, I've been quoted that I'd need to pay an additional £400. On paper, the PMCs are arguably the better speaker, so it's painful to have to pay £400 + the speakers to essentially downgrade (albeit for something that hopefully works better in my actual house)... Is it worth it???

Anyone got any Iotas they're looking to sell (white or black)?

Any advice greatly appreciated!

Kind regards,

Kieran
In terms of speakers up close to a wall.. sealed speakers are generally the better ones to go for.. or forward ports.
Focal speakers are made to go against a wall. They are polite, nicely balanced and generally in-offensive. I'd recommend if you can now shops are opening to go have a listen to a pair of the Aria 906's and the Chora 806. sevenoaks, audio t .. should both stock them :)
 

FRFT

Active Member
I personally don't worry about the port position of a speaker (front or rear), unless it's literally less than a few inches distance from the wall where this can actually affect a rear ports function.

You can look round for speakers that are designed to sit near a wall or even hang on a wall. For example, instead of the ATC SCM7, you could try the HTS7, which I believe is just an on wall version of the SCM7. XTZ also have a speaker like this, the 95.22.

I think the main thing that affects how a speaker sounds is the way it's tuned. If it's tuned to sit far from the walls, it'll sound boomy near the walls. You could probably fix a lot of this with eq.

Perhaps it's worth checking the owner's manuals of the speakers you're looking at to see their suggested placement
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Hi. A friend has ATC SCM11's against a wall, on the floor. He has fashioned wedges to tilt them upwards. Conventionally you'd say awful positioning. They sound great. So, in my experience, very unfussy about placement. I imagine the 7's have similar properties.
 

FaxFan2002

Well-known Member
You can get wall mounting brackets for the DB1i's from PMC (I might actually still have mine somewhere) as I had the same issues with placement, these worked well for me.
 

kieranhightower

Standard Member
Thanks all. Some food for thought there.
Another option that's been suggested is ProAc tablette 10 (and the tablette 10 signature edition). Anyone got experience of those? I could pick up a 2nd hand pair for not much more than a pair of the Neat Iotas... Not sure which would work best? (Although the Iotas have rear ports the general consensus is that they can be placed anywhere...)

I'll have a read on the other suggestions. Going to be difficult to find anywhere for home demos to try it in this particular layout though so will likely be chancing it and buying blind (with the exception of the Focal Arias which I'll go speak to Seven oaks about this weekend...)
 

Orobas

Well-known Member
Thanks all. Some food for thought there.
Another option that's been suggested is ProAc tablette 10 (and the tablette 10 signature edition). Anyone got experience of those? I could pick up a 2nd hand pair for not much more than a pair of the Neat Iotas... Not sure which would work best? (Although the Iotas have rear ports the general consensus is that they can be placed anywhere...)

I'll have a read on the other suggestions. Going to be difficult to find anywhere for home demos to try it in this particular layout though so will likely be chancing it and buying blind (with the exception of the Focal Arias which I'll go speak to Seven oaks about this weekend...)
The Iota's are nice speakers... work well against walls.. but they are pricey for the sound.. and you would probably need to add something like a bk sub to the mix to gain bottom end.. I do like the Iotas :)

The tab 10's.. NOT the signatures are the ones to look at for against wall use.. again.. you may need a sub for the lower end. the tab 10's are proac's answer to the LS3/5a speakers.. thin wall infinite baffle type.. flat and neutral across the board but with a small lift in the bass department. You will be room size hampered by them though in that anything over a 3x3.5m room will find them struggling to fit it fully...

Both worth a listen bearing in mind their lower end... this is something the focal will not suffer with though due to its sheer size.. its not small!!!

Closest on your list to match the Aria for wall placement and sound would be the Spendor A1.. beautiful beautiful speaker and will sit against a wall... wont match the aria's low end though .. but the A1 is much better than the Chora 806...

Also.. just as a side note as to why i mentioned the Aria's in the first place.. they are sold as a matching speaker for Naim's Uniti Atom so they work well together
 

FRFT

Active Member
I wouldn't advise buying anything second hand as you will have no idea what it will sound like until it arrives and there is no returns policy.

I still would not worry about the port unless your speaker is literally less than a few inches from the wall. What's more important is the position the speaker has been tuned for
 

Rob Sinden

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Traditional hifi speakers aren’t designed to be used in these locations so any of these suggestions will be compromised. You should get a home trial of a Lyngdorf TDAi1120 with RoomPerfect.

This is exactly what RoomPerfect was designed for and is why the Lyngdorf will get much better results with these or any other speakers than the Naim.
 

kieranhightower

Standard Member
In case anyone is interested, I've had a couple of speakers on home demo:
  • ProAc Tablette 10 Signature Edition
  • Sonus Faber Lumina 1 (recommended by the dealer)

I've dismissed the Tab 10s. Although they were clearly fantastic speakers with loads of detail, they suffered from the same resonance issues I have with my PMC speakers. Shame, as I had high hopes for them.

The Sonus Fabers (front ported) I didn't know anything about and, surprisingly, they're pretty good! They don't suffer nearly as much from the poor placement/resonance issue, and they are definitely a better match for my room. However, they aren't nearly as good as either the Tab 10s or my existing PMC DB1is at low volume (which I need for late night listening in a semi-detached house & young kids asleep upstairs), and do not offer the same level of detail. They do sound much more natural than either of the others for speech though, so the best option I've tried when hooked up to my TV for AV use. A contender, but I'm hoping I can do better!

I've got some Neat Iota bookshelf speakers on order for home demo - see if they're as good as all the reviews make out.

I've been told my Unitilite isn't powerful enough to drive ATC SCM7s, so they're out. Someone suggested that Spendor A1s are better suited to classical/folk type music (I'm more into alternative/rock).
Focal Aria 906 is still to be trialled...
Any other suggestions? Dali Menuet?

I've had a read up on the Lyngdorf amps and they sound...interesting. Replacing my Naim Unitilite wasn't really on my agenda, but I guess it's not out of the question if it means I keep my PMC speakers. I can't find anywhere nearby (Bristol) that stocks them though so if the Neats don't work out I might try and find a dealer who can courier one for me to try...

Fun times :)
 

Orobas

Well-known Member
In case anyone is interested, I've had a couple of speakers on home demo:
  • ProAc Tablette 10 Signature Edition
  • Sonus Faber Lumina 1 (recommended by the dealer)

I've dismissed the Tab 10s. Although they were clearly fantastic speakers with loads of detail, they suffered from the same resonance issues I have with my PMC speakers. Shame, as I had high hopes for them.

The Sonus Fabers (front ported) I didn't know anything about and, surprisingly, they're pretty good! They don't suffer nearly as much from the poor placement/resonance issue, and they are definitely a better match for my room. However, they aren't nearly as good as either the Tab 10s or my existing PMC DB1is at low volume (which I need for late night listening in a semi-detached house & young kids asleep upstairs), and do not offer the same level of detail. They do sound much more natural than either of the others for speech though, so the best option I've tried when hooked up to my TV for AV use. A contender, but I'm hoping I can do better!

I've got some Neat Iota bookshelf speakers on order for home demo - see if they're as good as all the reviews make out.

I've been told my Unitilite isn't powerful enough to drive ATC SCM7s, so they're out. Someone suggested that Spendor A1s are better suited to classical/folk type music (I'm more into alternative/rock).
Focal Aria 906 is still to be trialled...
Any other suggestions? Dali Menuet?

I've had a read up on the Lyngdorf amps and they sound...interesting. Replacing my Naim Unitilite wasn't really on my agenda, but I guess it's not out of the question if it means I keep my PMC speakers. I can't find anywhere nearby (Bristol) that stocks them though so if the Neats don't work out I might try and find a dealer who can courier one for me to try...

Fun times :)
The Sonus Faber's need better amplification really than the Unilite but they showed you what they sound like though :)

As i mentoned.. the Aria 906 is sold as a pair with Naim's bigger all in one.. they should also would just right with the little brother.

As for the Spendor A1.. yes correct.. they are not rockers! They are however a polished benign speaker that is a joy to listen too :)

The Iota's as i mentioned might need a sub for the low end.. they are nice speakers but they do lack on the bottom :)

Just thinking on a tangent.. but.. it might just be that Rega's little RX1 might have the sound at lower volumes... but will probably struggle at higher volume.. worth a shot at any case
 

larkone

Distinguished Member
Just thinking on a tangent.. but.. it might just be that Rega's little RX1 might have the sound at lower volumes... but will probably struggle at higher volume.. worth a shot at any case
A friend has just purchased the Rega RX1s with a Lyngdorf 1120 and a BK Gemini II (2nd Gemini in plan) - no issue with volume at all, can play way louder than is comfortable. His view is it is the best hifi he has ever owned. My Lyngdorf 1120 is powering Rega RS1s which have similar specs to the RX1s with no issue.
 

password1

Distinguished Member
The Iota's are nice speakers... work well against walls.. but they are pricey for the sound.. and you would probably need to add something like a bk sub to the mix to gain bottom end.. I do like the Iotas :)

The tab 10's.. NOT the signatures are the ones to look at for against wall use.. again.. you may need a sub for the lower end. the tab 10's are proac's answer to the LS3/5a speakers.. thin wall infinite baffle type.. flat and neutral across the board but with a small lift in the bass department. You will be room size hampered by them though in that anything over a 3x3.5m room will find them struggling to fit it fully...

Both worth a listen bearing in mind their lower end... this is something the focal will not suffer with though due to its sheer size.. its not small!!!

Closest on your list to match the Aria for wall placement and sound would be the Spendor A1.. beautiful beautiful speaker and will sit against a wall... wont match the aria's low end though .. but the A1 is much better than the Chora 806...

Also.. just as a side note as to why i mentioned the Aria's in the first place.. they are sold as a matching speaker for Naim's Uniti Atom so they work well together
Aren't Naim and Focal owned by the same company?

They may work well together but I don't think that is the only or main reason they are paired together.
 

Orobas

Well-known Member
Aren't Naim and Focal owned by the same company?

They may work well together but I don't think that is the only or main reason they are paired together.
Yes you are correct .. In 2011 Focal merged with Naim and became Vervent Audio Group and started to build Naim tuned speakers as a result :)

But this is the same with Monitor Audio / Roksan and also with the likes of the Audiolab / Quad, Mission, Wharfedale and Castle Acoustics partnership.. and a few other brands out there :)
 

kieranhightower

Standard Member
Hi all,

Firstly I'd like to thank everyone for your advice & contributions so far! It's all been really useful!

Yesterday I loaned some Neat Iotas & some Spendor A1s. I've had a couple of hours of play with them so need to do more analysis, but initial thoughts are:

Spendor A1: Wow! Lots of detail and clarity! Hearing parts of tracks I've never heard before. Rather than just hearing a bass guitar I can hear the individual notes being played with a clarity I've not heard before. No obvious resonance issues either. It feels very laid back, not particularly punchy. Sometimes feels like it's missing something, needs more energy, especially at the low end. I can see why people say they are not rockers & better suited to classical/acoustic music. Maybe I just need to get used to it. Didn't seem as good as my PMC DB1is at low volume (probably due to lack of bass).

Neat Iotas: This is confusing me. They sound great for their size. Clarity & detail is good, but not as good as the Spendors. Bass is definitely more in-your-face than the Spendors, even to the point of being boomy in my alcove setting. I did experiment with bungs which helped to control the boom. They are a lot more lively, "fun", and punchy than the Spendors. But if I'm already having to mess about with bungs, am I better off just choosing a speaker that just works in that location?

So I need to decide whether I want fun and lively, or pipe-and-slippers laid back clarity. At the moment I'm leaning toward the Spendors.

OR

Would a Lyngdorf + my PMC DB1is give me the best of both worlds? I know the PMCs have more bass and are more punchy than the Spendors, so if that can be controlled by the Lyngdorf to stop the boominess/resonance, then that could be the answer... Not sure if my PMCs would have as much detail and clarity as the Spendors once the bass has been tamed. I guess there's only one way to find out.... FIGHT! :)

Focal Aria 906's have been ruled out as they physically won't fit on my shelf. So if just looking at speakers I'm pretty much out of options.

I'm enjoying this :D (my wife less so...)
 

Orobas

Well-known Member
Hi all,

Firstly I'd like to thank everyone for your advice & contributions so far! It's all been really useful!

Yesterday I loaned some Neat Iotas & some Spendor A1s. I've had a couple of hours of play with them so need to do more analysis, but initial thoughts are:

Spendor A1: Wow! Lots of detail and clarity! Hearing parts of tracks I've never heard before. Rather than just hearing a bass guitar I can hear the individual notes being played with a clarity I've not heard before. No obvious resonance issues either. It feels very laid back, not particularly punchy. Sometimes feels like it's missing something, needs more energy, especially at the low end. I can see why people say they are not rockers & better suited to classical/acoustic music. Maybe I just need to get used to it. Didn't seem as good as my PMC DB1is at low volume (probably due to lack of bass).

Neat Iotas: This is confusing me. They sound great for their size. Clarity & detail is good, but not as good as the Spendors. Bass is definitely more in-your-face than the Spendors, even to the point of being boomy in my alcove setting. I did experiment with bungs which helped to control the boom. They are a lot more lively, "fun", and punchy than the Spendors. But if I'm already having to mess about with bungs, am I better off just choosing a speaker that just works in that location?

So I need to decide whether I want fun and lively, or pipe-and-slippers laid back clarity. At the moment I'm leaning toward the Spendors.

OR

Would a Lyngdorf + my PMC DB1is give me the best of both worlds? I know the PMCs have more bass and are more punchy than the Spendors, so if that can be controlled by the Lyngdorf to stop the boominess/resonance, then that could be the answer... Not sure if my PMCs would have as much detail and clarity as the Spendors once the bass has been tamed. I guess there's only one way to find out.... FIGHT! :)

Focal Aria 906's have been ruled out as they physically won't fit on my shelf. So if just looking at speakers I'm pretty much out of options.

I'm enjoying this :D (my wife less so...)
I did warn you that the Aria's were not small lol!

You might be able to source a part ex pair of Spendors with a BK sub .. a bk sub comes in at around £320.. connects from speaker out too.. doesnt need a dedicated sub input.

Thats a much cheaper way of upgrading over keeping the DB1's and getting the Lyngdorf and far easier to set up than learning Lyng's room correction lol.. although the Lyng will give you the best "electronically balanced" sound for the room .. not neccesarily to your ears.. but to the amp's programming :)
 

davidf

Well-known Member
You could take a look at the Ophidian Minimo and Mojo loudspeakers. These look a little similar to the PMCs on first viewing, as they use a similar bass loading system to transmission line, and provides a similar end result, but if you place your hand over the rear facing vent, there’s no high velocity airflow, which helps when placing them near a wall, so they don’t suffers the sort of issues you’d get with conventional ports and transmission line loading. They also don’t have the bass warmth that the PMC DB1is have, so should lessen that issue naturally.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Personally I’d go for the Spendors.

You obviously love them. And the lack of ‘attack’ is simply a very good speaker getting everything right and nothing being over emphasised.

So many speakers are ‘tuned’ to be a bit immediately noticeable, for want of a better word.

Bit once you’ve gotten used to a pair doing the job properly, it’s hard to go back to those with ‘flair’.

Another point is that it takes a lot more than a couple of hours to get the brain re-trained to a new sound. Before that all it’s doing is comparing between the old and the new.

Ps, it’s also very easy indeed to tell what RoomPerfect does.

In my room for instance, it removes a bass bloom centred at around 70Hz, and adds volume to decibels further down.

The extra joy from the 1120 is worth every penny, and I think Spendor and RP will be a superb match.

Also, there is no sound quality or bass quality lost at low volume.

I frequently listen above my neighbours bedroom after midnight, at really low volumes; cellos still sound like cellos, they still have the same heft, just quieter.

And a whacked drum (for instance), whilst quiet, is still very obviously and enjoyably realistic.

No impact is lost.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Ps, with regards to the neighbour, comment, I mean listen to music... naturally... erm, yes I do... your honour.
 

kieranhightower

Standard Member
Thanks again for your comments.
I've got myself a Lyngdorf TDAI-1120 to play with over the weekend. I've set it up with the PMCs and I'm pretty impressed already, and I haven't even run Room Perfect yet... I'll let you know how I get on.

Still tempted by the Spendors (I very nearly bought a pair on Tuesday) but if Room Perfect can tame the bass on the PMCs then maybe no need to change the speakers after all... 🤞
 

Orobas

Well-known Member
Thanks again for your comments.
I've got myself a Lyngdorf TDAI-1120 to play with over the weekend. I've set it up with the PMCs and I'm pretty impressed already, and I haven't even run Room Perfect yet... I'll let you know how I get on.

Still tempted by the Spendors (I very nearly bought a pair on Tuesday) but if Room Perfect can tame the bass on the PMCs then maybe no need to change the speakers after all... 🤞
Room Perfect will do more than tame the bass..

You may have to manually adjust the settings once it has done its sweep and setup though..

Remember.. Room Perfect or Dirac etc will not adjust the sound to your ears.. they determine what is the best sound electronically in terms of feedback at different frequencies and balances the sound out accordingly.
 

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