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What size speakers for large room?


Active Member
Hello everyone!

I'm buying some 5.1 speakers for a large cellar / basement which is a 760 sq ft rectangular room (33ft length x 23ft wide). I'd prefer bookshelf rather than floorstanders (I'm going to wall mount them), purely for aesthetic and styling reasons.

The TV is in one half of the room, facing towards the length of the room, as will be the speakers. The side speakers will be side on pointing to a sweet spot in that first half of the room. The second half of the room, further away from the TV has got weight training equipment.

I'm just going to be casually watching TV or films or listening to stereo music so I'm not after some blow your ears out system. My current volume levels for watching TV tends to be -5 to 1db. I'll also be watching TV or listening to stereo music whilst I workout, which has a seating position at the other side of the room.

Will bookshelfs be powerful enough? I've been told that they will not be and that I'll either need floorstanders at the front or floorstanders all the way round, which I really don't want.

To my knowledge, audiophiles tend to want overly powerful amps and speakers so there isn't a strain on either element. I always think that manufacturers measure speakers v room size on the fact that everyone is listening to sound at high volumes.

Advice and your thoughts please!
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Distinguished Member
You ask what size speakers for a large room, then immediately kill the most logical answer - Floorstanding.

But it is about size, within reason, a larger room demands larger speaker. But, as well as the room size, we must ask - how big is the screen and how far from the screen will you be sitting?

If you are sitting 10ft to 12ft from the screen, that is very different than if you are sitting 20ft from the screen.

As to Bookshelf, yes they can work, but it depends on how far away from them you are. I'm speaking of the Prime Seat for movie watching here. I think if the Prime Seat is in the roughly 10ft to 15ft range, you are not going to have a problem with Bookshelf speakers. But, the larger the better, especially if you are 20ft o 30ft away when you are working out.

Next is the issue of budget. What is yours?

As to wall mounting the speakers, well... your life, do as you will, but that is less than ideal. especially if these are large bookshelf speakers.

I would say minimum of 6.5" (165mm) bass drivers on the bookshelf speakers. Preferably 8" (200mm) bass drivers, though those are very hard to find.

Also, it is not quite clear whether this is a Stereo system or a Surround Sound system. Your equipment list implies you have both. But which will be in this room? Or perhaps both.

Just a few thoughts for now.



Active Member
Steve/bluewizard, thanks for your reply. I've seen your replies previously, so your knowledge is much appreciated.

Answers to your queries:
Screen size: 55inches. I'll either be sitting 10-15 ft away in the nearer part of the room or 20-25 ft away if working out. Though note that if I'm working out, I'm not really watching TV or listening to the music that closely - more of an ocassional glance if I'm watching a football match.
Speaker budget: I'm looking at budget to mid level - this isn't my main system, so I'm not going mad on quality. Anywhere between £500 - £1200 though I'll stretch to £1500 if I have to.
System use: 5.1 & stereo - I'll be watching TV, films and listening to two channel / stereo music.

Question 1: I presume mounting large bookshelves on a wall is problematic?
Question 2: Do you believe that most bookshelves would struggle to project sound (whether stereo or 5.1) to 20-30 ft away?



Distinguished Member
The problem for me is that I have no long term experience with bookshelf speakers. The only pair of bookshelf I had were back in 1975 or so. Now, I suppose in one sense I could call all my other speakers bookshelf in that they were not the common towers found today. But they all universally had 12" bass drivers. Typically we call these Monkey Coffin speakers.

So, I'm not the person to tell you what Bookshelf will do in a room. I'm guessing that bookshelf with 6.5" (165mm) bass drivers would do a fair job at the longer distances, and most certainly would do the job at the closer distance.

But the perfect solution is Floorstanding, though they need not be the largest floorstanding.

Consider this full 5.1 set of Monitor Audio Bronze 5 -

Monitor Audio Bronze 5AV10 Black Oak 5.1 Speaker Package - Monitor Audio - AudioVisual Online - Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

Or these with the previous BX5 and BX6 -

Monitor Audio Bronze BX5 AV Natural Oak 5.1 Speaker Package - Monitor Audio - AudioVisual Online - Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

Monitor Audio Bronze BX6 AV Walnut 5.1 Speaker Package - Monitor Audio - AudioVisual Online - Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

Also, regarding bookshelf, if you are listening to music, you can choose to play in All-Channel Stereo, which will send music to all the speakers increasing the overall output of the system.

Given that you have other system, if the movie watching in this room is not completely serious, then consider putting in a better Stereo system rather than a AV Surround system.

Good Stereo amp + Floorstanding speakers can make for some amazing sound for both Movies and Music.

Bearing in mind that I personally have a large Stereo System for movie watching, so I'm biased toward that option. Though I do get very good results.

The Yamaha RN500 AM/FM Network Receiver have 80w/ch, DAC, Network Streaming and is currently a mere £310 for several sources. Peter Tyson currently has the Yamaha for that price, and they have excellent prices on the Monitor Audio BX series.

Yamaha R-N500 Black Network Hi-Fi Amplifier - Yamaha - AudioVisual Online - Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

Audio Visual On-Line also has the amp for that price, and has both Monitor Audio BX series and the older Wharfedale Diamond 100 series on close-out.

Wharfedale Diamond 155 Rosewood Quilted Floorstanding Speaker (Pair) - Wharfedale - AudioVisual Online - Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

Wharfedale Diamond 157 Rosewood Quilted Floorstanding Speaker (Pair) - Wharfedale - AudioVisual Online - Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

I know that is not what you asked for, I'm just saying, consider it as a possibility.

Can you explain why you don't want Floorstanding or Bookshelf on Stands? Why wall mounted?

You choice is not a problem, I'm just curious. The answer might help us help you find better solutions.

As to Wall Mounted Bookshelf, it can be done, but you need good wall mounting brackets. The cheap ones will probably not hold the weight. Though a 6.5" bookshelf is not really huge. But do get good brackets. Typically Bookshelf do not need a lot or room behind them. So, I suspect this is workable.

At a modest price for a good speaker, if you can find the older Wharfedale Diamond 122 or the Monitor Audio BX2, both with 6.5" bass drivers, I think you will be getting A LOT of speaker for a very modest price, well under your projected budget.



Active Member
Hi Steve/bluewizard

Thanks for your detailed answer. I'll certainly checkout your suggestions.
In answer to this question from you: 'Can you explain why you don't want Floorstanding or Bookshelf on Stands? Why wall mounted?'
Answer: Purely from an interior design and aesthetic point of view, I'd like a different look in this room to my living room which has floorstanders. I want the speakers to be in the background so to speak, and not too visually evident. I plan for other pieces of furniture at ground level, hence why I want them out of the way, higher up on the wall.

That said, if I'm not convinced that bookshelves will be powerful enough, and will struggle even at moderate sound levels, then I will definitely get floorstanders.

Your stereo option is a fair suggestion, but I definitely want 5.1 sound, even if I'm only occasionally watching.

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