Small room dilemma!



In a room 13ft long x 9 ft wide, am I best to go with a full sized package eg. floorstanders, centre and rear speakers or should I go with a sub and small sattelite system? The room is completely empty apart from the TV. Any opinions? Or has anybody got a similar sized room and can tell me what kit they have and how well it performs? I keep reading that buying expensive powerful floorstanders is wasted money if the room is too small because they swamp the room with there sound and bass. Any help would be appreciated.
To give of their best, floorstanders frequently need to be away from the walls which tends to be impractical in most houses.

The ideal compromise are standmounters with a sub woofer which will give you the best of all worlds.
If you have the money to spend, have a look at uncle erics threads on the Gallo Sub Sat set-up. These look pretty hard to beat for £1200 for a 5.1 set-up all in via his power buy. The general view is they are beter value for money performance wise than M&K speakers costing nearly £800 a pair.

I really wish I had known about them before I upgraded my set-up.:(
I also have a terrible room problem. Small and square! Also quite full of furniture! My room is 3.3 meters by 3.2meters, smaller then yours in fact.

I have M&K's S-85's for the front three - (left and right stand mounted and centre on TV) and 2 M&K K4's for the rears. V-125 sub for bass; sitting just to the right of the TV.

All sounds very nice in a small, square room. I’m sure the room does suffer from bad dynamics but I think it demonstrates you can get pretty good sound in a small, square room.

So, go for it. But PLEASE read through this site and ask the guys questions. They will ultimately help you make the right decision….
Got to agree with Ian there - buy some pukka 2 way standmounters and a good sub and you'll be able to keep check on the bass.

If you can get away with it buy 3 pairs of the same speaker and save the 6th for centre rear as and when....

Its kind of the sub/sat combo but using speakers built without compromise...

Originally posted by robwells
Got to agree with Ian there - buy some pukka 2 way standmounters and a good sub and you'll be able to keep check on the bass.

Any suggestions of some 'pukka 2 way standmounters by any chance?
Firstly, floorstanders needn't be expensive and powerful - in many (not all though) cases, they are little more than a standmounter with a built in stand (or else the standmounter is a floorstander with half the cabinet missing :) ).

Examples of this type include Mission 701/702e (although the 702e adds biwirability too), Diamond 8.2/8.3 etc etc.

True, the floorstander will sometimes suffer with more cabinet coloration (larger panels flex more if not braced enough), and may have a slightly different alignment which may aid bass slightly (won't be much though if everything else is designed properly).

Often though, the floorstander is cheaper than the standmounter and a pair of stands.

It's true though that some floorstanders are purposely designed to be such (ie don't have a standmount twin/sibling), and often feature multiple driver arrays, capable of serious volume levels - they are often large in stature too.
In a small room they may well be total overkill and simply look ridiculous anyway - they may also need quite a bit of power to really get going, by which time your ears are bleeding :)

Something like the Diamond 8.2/8.3? - I really wouldn't worry.
Just pick the one which fits in with your decor the best/looks best to you. In absolute terms there may be minor sound differences, but these are so small that many people wouldn't even notice - perhaps a very slightly depper bass on the 8.3s - nothing more really, and certainly nothing worth getting concerned about, at least IMO.
You'd probably want to avoid rear ported speakers too if you are putting them against the wall (this really applies equally to floor and standmounters)

As to what you should buy, well that's a bit more tricky.
You need to decide how much you want to spend, and really what type of speakers you would like.
Some go for sub/sats, like the Kef eggs. While they can be very effective, my opinion is that they are outgunned for less money by more conventional speakers - but then they are very small and compact, and do look pretty neat too - if size is an issue, you could do worse. Correct subwoofer positioning is vital for these setups to work IMO - as the sub is going higher (in freq) than is ideal really then it can become locatable - and this can be bad news for stereo imaging (depending on the position of course). Somewhere at the front (roughly between the main left and right ? ) is where I'd put it. If you can't do this, I'd really think hard about a sub/sat combo, especially if stereo music is on the agenda.
That said, it also depends on the room - it's hard to be definitive as there are so many variables. What works really well in one room may only be average in another and so on, and peoples expectations are always different.

As you only have a TV in the room, I'd suggest diverting some of your budget to a sofa and some curtains - perhaps even a carpet too! :) :) These really add to my enjoyment :)
"Any suggestions of some 'pukka 2 way standmounters by any chance?"

You need a budget to start with, how much are you looking to spend?

If you use a good dealer you'll be able to get some demos and choose which you prefer.- pref try with a sub you're interested in too. (if you're going 2nd hand for the sub buy it first and take it with you..)

mission/b+w/kef/tannoy seem to quite reputable for a starting point, but I can only recommend the b+w's as I own some...

have heard some tannoys 5 years back, and some missions 4 years not really able to advise you on specific models etc..

Some of the other people on this forum are installers/ in the trade and have a lot of experience of loads of speakers..they'll help you more than I.


so i supose that my:
aegis 3 fronts
aegis centre
aegis 2 rears
aegis 1 rear centres
and aegis sub
is overkill for a room 12' square then?

:D :eek: :D
I had a pair of Mission 773e floorstanders in a small room (about 16' x 9'6") last year and after many hours/days/weeks of fiddling, tweaking and experimenting (i.e. positioning, bunging the bass ports, etc) I just could NOT get the bass to sound acceptable. It was always overpowering and fatiguing - just not fun to listen to.

I decided to sell them and replace them with a pair of pukka standmounters, as you say, and have never looked back. Got myself a pair of ATC Active 10 standmounters and they are an unimaginable improvement over the Missions (okay, so they damn well should be, being £900 dearer! :p)

Anyway, I'm not sure what about the Missions caused them to sound so awful in the small room (I had them in a bigger room - about 16' x 12' - previously and they sounded just great). I assumed it was simply a matter of larger cabinet volume equals boomier bass, but it may have had more to do with the fact that the 773e's have two mid/bass drivers, or maybe it was just that they are bass reflex designs? The ATC's I have now have a single woofer, less than half the cabinet volume (10L vs. 22L), and are infinite baffle designs, so it's not exactly surprising they sounded better in the small room! :)

That said, I've now got the ATC's in a bigger room (similar in size to teh previous big room - about 16' x 12' or so) and the bass on these babies is fantastic - beautifully tuneful, fast, strong and surprisingly deep & powerful. It's how bass *should* be. I'll never go back! (And - /me cackles wildly - I've now ordered an ATC subwoofer to go with them! 108dB SPL, 20Hz/-2dB of wonderful ATC sub-bass - woohoo! :D:D:D)

Anyway, yeah, I wholeheartedly recommend you go for a pair of high quality standmounts. However, it *really* is a function of budget. If you can stretch to it, I would recommend £500 as a starting point for really *great* standmounters whose designers were less constrained by budget than with cheaper models. In that price neighbourhood, have a look at the ATC SCM-7's, AVI Neutron III's, Sonus Faber Concertinos, Dynaudio Audience 42's and 52's. If you can stretch a bit more, definitely give the following a try: B&W CDM-1NT's, AVI Pro-Nines, ATC SCM-10's (passive), and the Acoustic Energy AE1 Mk. II's.

Also, consider the 2nd-hand market. You can find some real bargains if you have a look around, in hifi mags (Hifi News, Hifi Choice), hifi dealers, and online (these forums, classifieds, newsgroup, etc).

You might want to consider a sub-sat system as well, but in my experience these are almost always a comprimise designed for space-saving and/or style - a good pair of standmounters will almost always sound better. (On the other hand, Uncle Eric's Anthony Gallo micros seem to be generating a small storm of excitement, so maybe they're worth a try.) Plus, if you get the urge to plumb the depths you can always add a quality subwoofer when budget allows.

Anyway, hope that helps,

Originally posted by Sly
so i supose that my:
aegis 3 fronts
aegis centre
aegis 2 rears
aegis 1 rear centres
and aegis sub
is overkill for a room 12' square then?

:D :eek: :D

Well, I did say

That said, it also depends on the room - it's hard to be definitive as there are so many variables. What works really well in one room may only be average in another and so on

There are no hard and fast rules written in stone - only guidelines which can help to get it right. There are always exceptions to those guidelines - they aren't definitive (despite a lot of people wishing/expecting that they are).

How do you know that Aegis 1s or 2s all round wouldn't have been even better :p :) (although I've left myself wide open here for the response that you tried it :) :) )

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