You are here

Log in or register to post comments
bierfeldt
bierfeldt's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 hours 49 min ago
Joined: Oct 26 2007 - 2:30pm
Advice for less than ideal room

I have talked my wife into letting me get a new set of speakers.  My exact budget is grey but is in the $1500-$2000 price range.  

I started out listening to the Monitor Audio Silver 2's at commsysman's advice and they are awesome.  I should have just bought them and gone home.  However, I listened to the Revel Performance 3 105's and they were much more detailed.  Admittedly, $500 more expensive, but more detailed.  

They were both completely neutral, just the Monitor Audio's lacked a touch of detail.  I have also listened to the PSB Imagine Bs, the Dynaudio Excite 12s, the B&W CM5s and the Peachtree D5s.  I am planning but have not heard the Kef LS50s, the Sunfire CRM2s (recently) or the Monitor Audio Golds.  I also listened the the Wharfeldale Jades though they are enormous and won't fit.  

I loved the Revels, the Dynaudios and was smitten by the Monitor Audio Silvers.  I liked the Peachtrees, the PSBs and the B&Ws thought the B&Ws should be $500 cheaper and then would be a good deal.  I have very high hopes for the Kef's and the Monitor Audio golds and I am familiar with and love the Sunfire's.  I would need to pair the Sunfire's with either an NHT or a Focal Chorus sub.  All others will be paired with a Mirage Omni 10 because I have it already. In the longer term I would get a Sunfire HRS 8. 

So here is the question.  I have a non-tradtional room.  It is 10'x15' w/ approximately an 8' ceiling.  One speaker will be at about 7' in the air on top of a bookshelf.  The other will be at 3' on top of a lower shelf.  Not in the shelf, but on top.  I will still be close enough to the wall to need a port bung with the exception of the Sunfire's which aren't ported.  

Would any one of these speakers perform better or worse than any of the others given those parameters?  I can't do an in-home Demo on anything other than the Monitor Audios, the PSBs and the Peachtrees.  Not my first choices at the moment (TBD with the Golds) so your thoughts would be helpful.  I am aware of the range of the Sunfire's being an outlier only going to 95hz.   However, the impact of that being paired with a sub vs the benefit of not being ported is interesting to me.  

One other note, I will be powering them with a Rega Brio R which is a very conservative 50w.    

 

 

Bill B
Bill B's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 2 days ago
Joined: Jul 28 2012 - 1:59pm
height

The height disparity will be very noticeable in the sound (in imaging and soundstaging), no matter what the speaker.  Not to mention looking kinda funny too.  Wife would think it screwy if you put chairs or paintings or windows at radically different heights, tell her it's the same with speakers.  Can you consider rearranging things so the speakers are at about the same height?

Make it happen, cap'n.  But if you really don't have a choice (it's your house, right?), then place the high mounted speaker with its tweeter at the bottom, and the low mounted speaker with its tweeter at the top.

audiophile2000
audiophile2000's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: Oct 10 2012 - 9:51pm
height

Agree, the height issue will be very noticeable if you are looking for a system that can image properly at a listening position. In terms of placing the speakers in a bookshelf, despite the name most "bookshelf" speakers, most are not designed to be placed in or on a bookshelf, but rather on stands. 

If you are looking to place them in this configuration i would definitely try to demo them in this configuration or would give the manufacture a call for each speaker to see how it was designed. I have seen a few speakers that have variable cross-overs, so users can select if they are stand mounted or placed on a book shelf (although the speaker i am referring to is significantly higher in price, I wouldn't be surprised if there are speakers in your price range that were also designed for that purpose you are looking to use them in. (i don't know any off the top of my head, but also haven't really looked, but if you call the manufacturers, they are mostly very helpful and can guide you to the most suitable product in their lineup and many of the companies you mentioned will be honest if the application isn't ideal for their design).

The key with the above, is you don't want to take home a speaker that you love in the store, but doesn't sound good in your configuration. speaker setup and placement can really influence the final sound you are getting.

audiophile2000
audiophile2000's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: Oct 10 2012 - 9:51pm
height

Agree, the height issue will be very noticeable if you are looking for a system that can image properly at a listening position. In terms of placing the speakers in a bookshelf, despite the name most "bookshelf" speakers, most are not designed to be placed in or on a bookshelf, but rather on stands. 

If you are looking to place them in this configuration i would definitely try to demo them in this configuration or would give the manufacture a call for each speaker to see how it was designed. I have seen a few speakers that have variable cross-overs, so users can select if they are stand mounted or placed on a book shelf (although the speaker i am referring to is significantly higher in price, I wouldn't be surprised if there are speakers in your price range that were also designed for that purpose you are looking to use them in. (i don't know any off the top of my head, but also haven't really looked, but if you call the manufacturers, they are mostly very helpful and can guide you to the most suitable product in their lineup and many of the companies you mentioned will be honest if the application isn't ideal for their design).

The key with the above, is you don't want to take home a speaker that you love in the store, but doesn't sound good in your configuration. speaker setup and placement can really influence the final sound you are getting.

wkhanna
wkhanna's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 1 day ago
Joined: Jul 13 2007 - 1:46pm
height

None of the speakers you have auditioned will sound similar to the way they sound at the dealer's.

Your positioning format for both the unsymmetrical height & literally in a 'bookshelf' will greatly effect the way the speakers perform when in your home.

I greatly suspect neither aspect will enhance the performance of the speakers.

This would be easy to verify if you have two speakers now.

Place them on something fairly sturdy, both about two to five feet high from the floor & about three feet in front of  the bookshelf.

Settle into your normal listening position & try each configuration (your purposed location & out from the back wall a bit at equal height).

 

You may be quite surprised.

bierfeldt
bierfeldt's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 hours 49 min ago
Joined: Oct 26 2007 - 2:30pm
creativity

The issue has more to do with the furniture I have and the way the room is set up.  I have tried other configurations, but it is a multi-function room and this is the best layout for overall usability as a game / sitting room.  I will look for better speaker placement, but this is less about wife and more about an overfull room/ 

The Sunfire's actually do have a built in crossover to deal with different placements and the lack of a port might be beneficial.  Otherwise, I may just order the Monitor Audio Silver or Gold's and see what happens.  Just doesn't seem like there is any way around it. 

wkhanna
wkhanna's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 1 day ago
Joined: Jul 13 2007 - 1:46pm
Here is a possible option -

Here is a possible option - not limited to this brand only, of course....... Link

commsysman
commsysman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 18 min ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
LISTEN AT HOME!

Whatever you do, listen at home for two or three days before you make an irrevocable committment to anything.

IT IS ESSENTIAL, so find ways to do it. I just order them from Audio Advisor or whoever and listen for a week, and if they have to be shipped back, it was educational and fun anyway.

Nothing will sound the same as in the store; way too many variables that are all different.

Also; when you say that one speaker is more "detailed" than another, that is not always good.

That may mean that some things, particularly in the midrange, are excessively emphasized, and out of balance with the way it SHOULD sound. This can sell speakers, but that "gee-whiz" effect can get old in a hurry.

One record I always listen to for this is a guitar recording I have by Celedonio Romero.

If a speaker has an un-natural emphasis in the midrange, the sound of his left hand sliding on the strings will be excessive and overly emphasized. This is not the way you would hear it in a live setting, and is just not right.
 

I suggest that you get a NHT B12D subwoofer. you will need it regardless of which speakers you get. I have had it for 2 years and it is excellent.

bierfeldt
bierfeldt's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 hours 49 min ago
Joined: Oct 26 2007 - 2:30pm
Here is what I am thinking

commsysman - you comment of "If a speaker has an un-natural emphasis in the midrange, the sound of his left hand sliding on the strings will be excessive and overly emphasized." articulates what I was thinking about the B&W PM1s and to a lesser extent the CM5s when I was listening to them yesterday.   There were several tracks that produced some cringe worthy moments that sounded great on the Monitor Audio Golds. 

I have settled on three that I am going to demo in-home:

Revel Performa 3 105s - most detailed but I am concerned these may suffer from the same issue as the B&Ws.  That being said,  I am going to check the return policy at the Harman store in the city as they may give me a home trial.  I liked them better than the CM5s when I listened to those two side by side.  This is also my cheapest option. 

Monitor Audio Gold's - less detail comes through relative to the Revels but I am not going to say that is a bad thing.  The ribbon tweeter adds a touch of warmth that I truly love.  Ideal since AudioAdvisor has that great return policy.  Only a touch more expensive. 

Sunfire CRM2  - These sound great but are small enough to be wall mounted.  This gives me flexibility that I can't get with the Revels or the Monitor Audios regarding placement however. I will be overly dependant on the subwoofer as I will need to set the crossover at 100hz but improved placement may outweigh 40hz in frequency range.  Onecall is an authorized dealer and has 30 day return policy.  These are the same price as the Monitor Audio Gold's.

Now the question is, which one do I get to demo first.  I think I will need to call the Harman store and see what the return policy is as that is the cheapest.   

Also, deffinitely going to go with that NHT B12D sub.   

 

michael green
michael green's picture
Online
Last seen: 6 sec ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm
your room is your speaker

20 years ago you would find audiophiles trying to tell you that your room needs to magically disappear, and many would attempt to do this through dampening (dulling) the sound.  Listeners have wised up and now know that the room is the sound you are going to get. It's not a matter of shopping for speakers, it's a matter of finding a speaker that will voice to your room and your room to your speaker. It's about finding a speaker, and a placement, and the conditions of the room to make the sound happen.

It's fun (and the audiophile thing) to talk about models, but this really has little to do with the sound without looking at what sound the room is making to start with.

As the guys here have said (and it looks like your taking the advice), listening in the store is completely different from listening at home and I would put that comment at the top of your list, and maybe even tell them/us more about your room.

have fun listening!

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

bierfeldt
bierfeldt's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 hours 49 min ago
Joined: Oct 26 2007 - 2:30pm
Thank you all for the advice

Fortunately the Harman store in Manhattan had the Revel M105s in stock and they have a 30 day return policy without having a restocking fee.

I have started my demo and my initial reaction is extremley favorable.  I am going to spend Saturday expeirmenting with placements to try and get the sound perfect or as close to perfect given my room constraints.

The one thing I will say is that I was terrified that this was going to be a complete waste of money, time and energy.  I was wrong. 

The impact of the Revels vs the B&W M-1s was like the shift from my JVC boom box to my Carver and Infinity systemback in the 90s.  Revel makes claims about how the Performa 3s perform better off axis than the average speaker and maybe that's true.  That could be making the huge difference.  Maybe the B&Ws were just that mediocre (though they will be a huge improvement over the awful Polks I have in my family room). 

Even with sub optimal placement, this was such a gigantic improvement.  My only regret was that I spent too much time thinking about it. 

michael green
michael green's picture
Online
Last seen: 6 sec ago
Joined: Jan 10 2011 - 6:11pm
nothing like doing :)

I think the audiophile hobby makes things far more dificult than they need to be sometimes. I'm glad you got some great advice here and started to listen in your own place.

Have a great time Saturday, and keep in mind that your room has all the sound you need, you just need to stimulate it.

michael green

MGA/RoomTune

bierfeldt
bierfeldt's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 hours 49 min ago
Joined: Oct 26 2007 - 2:30pm
Keeping the Revel's

After trying several placments I have finally landed on the best placements I can get.  Ultimately, I raised both speakers up high to the top of the bookshelves and have them tilted down so that the two primary listening locations are very close to on axis.  It sounds fabulous and am looking forward to them getting worn in a bit as I only have about 20 hours on them and it looks like it may take 100 hours before they will sound perfect. 

The port bungs are dealing nicely with the speakers being too close to the wall.  What is still an issue is that I am getting a touch of reflection off the cieling but it is no worse than when I had the speakers to either side of the room near the wall.  I don't think I am going to be able to do better. 

The Revels are more forgiving than I expected and might even be a touch warm.  You hear a lot of detail but without it seeming unnatural the way the B&W PM1's sounded.  I feel real good that these were worth the $400 more than I would have spent on the Monitor Audio Silvers and am not going to take advantage of the Harman Store's return policy.

wkhanna
wkhanna's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 weeks 1 day ago
Joined: Jul 13 2007 - 1:46pm
Happy Camper

Glad to hear you are pleased with your choice!

commsysman
commsysman's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 hours 18 min ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am
SUBWOOFER

I don't know if you have a subwoofer in the system yet, but hopefully you will allow your main speakers to go as low as they can and not use the subwoofer above 50 Hz or so. Set its low-pass filter so it does not go any higher.

You said something before about crossing over to the sub at 100 hz, and to me that is a serious mistake. You want stereo sound from the main speakers down to at least 60 Hz for good overall sound quality. Run them without any artificial limiting of their low-frequency response. They roll off naturally at lower frequencies and it is a mistake to use some sort of filtering to limit them in any way.

The subwoofer is, after all, a monaural device, and is not going to locate a string bass or drums where they should be in the sound picture. 

bierfeldt wrote:

After trying several placments I have finally landed on the best placements I can get.  Ultimately, I raised both speakers up high to the top of the bookshelves and have them tilted down so that the two primary listening locations are very close to on axis.  It sounds fabulous and am looking forward to them getting worn in a bit as I only have about 20 hours on them and it looks like it may take 100 hours before they will sound perfect. 

The port bungs are dealing nicely with the speakers being too close to the wall.  What is still an issue is that I am getting a touch of reflection off the cieling but it is no worse than when I had the speakers to either side of the room near the wall.  I don't think I am going to be able to do better. 

The Revels are more forgiving than I expected and might even be a touch warm.  You hear a lot of detail but without it seeming unnatural the way the B&W PM1's sounded.  I feel real good that these were worth the $400 more than I would have spent on the Monitor Audio Silvers and am not going to take advantage of the Harman Store's return policy.

bierfeldt
bierfeldt's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 hours 49 min ago
Joined: Oct 26 2007 - 2:30pm
100hz was only for the Sunfire CRM2s

Sunfire warns that sending a high current signal to those CRM2's and to not have a crossover set at about 100hz would be bad.  It sounds like they can be damaged if you send several 300 to 400 watts of power to them and you don't restrict the signal. 

I am currently using an inexpensive Polk PSW125 which coincidentally has speaker level inputs and outputs.  The Rega Brio R I am powering the Revels with does not have a subwoofer out so I have to use speaker level inputs.  This does mean the low pass crossover is active and I have it set at 60hz.  That is where revel says the speaker output deviates outside of the +/- 3dB range and why I chose it.  It is -6dB at 56hz and -10dB at 44hz.  I could certainly set it a touch lower but I can't avoid using it with this subwoofer.   

I also have a Mirage Omni 10 which I am considering swapping in.  I am not sure if it is better sounding than the Polk and the issue is that it would require me to run two sets of speaker wire from the back of the Rega, and the manual for the Mirage does not say that is okay.  My Sunfire HRS 12 does say that is okay, but only if the amp is "internally common grounded" like the subwoofer. 

Part of the reason I was interested in NHT B-10d or the Focal Chorus is that it has the hi-level inputs and outputs so I am 100% certain it is compatible.  Interestingly the B-12d does not have those inputs.  Alternatively, I have a question out to determine if the Brio R is internally common grounded.  It it is, I would also consider the Sunfire HRS 8. 

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading