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post #1 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 08:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Suggestions for compact (lifestyle) speakers in big room

Hello,

I am looking for suggestions on some compact speakers to use that will sound good in a huge room. I realize going to smaller speakers is going to compromise on the sound quality but I want to minimize it as much as possible. These speakers are going into a family room and I want to keep the speaker size smaller for the WAF. Following are some details

- The room is 2 story (~19-20 ft tall ceilings) and has openings into Foyer which also is 2 story and into Kitchen that has 9 ft fall ceiling
- Hardwood floors
- Main listening area would be about 13-14 ft away
- Fronts (L and R) will be 10 feet apart
- Surrounds will be 12 feet apart
- Speaker will be wall mounted on mounts that can articulate so that the position can be changed
- The usage will be -- 30% music, 50% regular TV (shows, sitcoms etc) and 20% movies
- The expectations are NOT to have a reference listening area or have movie theater feel. I am looking for good sound capability with about 20% usage at more than moderate levels of sound.

Below are some choices that I am looking at

Smaller size
- Cambridge Audio Minx 21 speakers LINK HERE for all 5 speakers either with their X500 sub OR some other brand high quality smaller sub
- Polk Audio TL350 Speakers LINK HERE with Polk DSWPro550wi (10" 400W sub) LINK HERE
- Orb audio Mod2x speakers LINK HERE for all 5 speakers with a high quality small sub
- KEF E-Series speakers LINK HERE

Slightly bigger size
- Definitive Technology ProMonitor 1000 LINK HERE for all 5 speakers with one of Def Tech subs or some other brand high quality smaller sub (~SVS, HSU etc)
- Focal Super Bird Speakers LINK HERE ($1200) for 3 speakers (F, C, R) and Focal Sib speakers ($200) for surrounds LINK HERE

I am trying to keep the speakers price under $1000 excluding the sub. The speakers will be driven by a high quality receiver - for now I have Onkyo 805 receiver which has quite a bit of head room - LINK HERE

Are there any better options out there?

Below are a few photos of the family room

View from Top showing surround speakers


View showing 3 speaker wires (from Left to Right - Surr R, Surr L, Left)


View showing Front speakers, notice how the front Left is not on wall where TV will be mounted, as there is a return cold-air vent and speaker can't be wired on same wall


View showing all 4 speakers including ceilings

Last edited by mekatoka; 08-09-2014 at 09:00 PM. Reason: More detail based on responses below
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post #2 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 08:11 AM
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I would go with the Minx, they are probably the best sounding of the bunch and there aren't many other good competitors. What is your budget for a sub? Something like a SVS SB-2000 would be great if it's within your budget, or the smaller SB-1000. You have a arge space which would need a couple big ported subs, but that doesn't seem feasible.

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post #3 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 08:11 AM
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Not possible, captain.

Inwalls?

http://www.speakercraft.com/products...category_id=48

Krell Evolution 900e x 7

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post #4 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post
I would go with the Minx, they are probably the best sounding of the bunch and there aren't many other good competitors. What is your budget for a sub? Something like a SVS SB-2000 would be great if it's within your budget, or the smaller SB-1000. You have a arge space which would need a couple big ported subs, but that doesn't seem feasible.
I have been reading the MINX thread and there were some concerns about the speakers being able to fill the room with sound. Does anyone have experience using these speakers in big rooms like mine? How do they perform?

I haven't thought about it yet, but I would put about 500 - may be a little more for the sub. I wouldn't have room for 2 subs and don't want to be running wires all over the family room. I currently have a SVS PC12-NSD but I don't want to put that there.

Last edited by mekatoka; 08-08-2014 at 08:18 AM.
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post #5 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fatbottom View Post
- The room has been pre-wired with 14 guage wire at 4 spots. The surrounds are not at the best spot due to the room configuration.
- I am not opposed to in walls, but I am worried that will in-wall I wouldn't have maneuverability to set up proper sweet spot.
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post #6 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 08:17 AM
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If you can go a little bigger, something like the NHT SuperZero 2.1 would fair better in that space.
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post #7 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 08:18 AM
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Forget it. You need speakers with a wider FR that 3" cubes. Go for inwalls if you want the most invisible system. Ideally, grow a pair get want you want ignoring your wife.

Tiny Sats in a huge room would sound awful.

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post #8 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 08:34 AM
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Small speakers can only give you so much - period

If you need to go small - then Monitor Audio Mass 50
http://www.audioadvisor.com/Monitor-.../#.U-TdauZd2PY

That would allow more money towards a subwoofer - like SVS PB-2000
http://www.svsound.com/subwoofers/po...0#.U-TfUeZd2PY

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post #9 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
Small speakers can only give you so much - period

If you need to go small - then Monitor Audio Mass 50
http://www.audioadvisor.com/Monitor-.../#.U-TdauZd2PY

That would allow more money towards a subwoofer - like SVS PB-2000
http://www.svsound.com/subwoofers/po...0#.U-TfUeZd2PY
However, I would still aim for the NHT SuperOne 2.1 speakers

Ask NHT for a price on 5 speakers
http://www.nhthifi.com/Bookshelf-spe...&category=3772

Then buy a good subwoofer from someone like SVS

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post #10 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post
If you can go a little bigger, something like the NHT SuperZero 2.1 would fair better in that space.
Too boxy, was looking for something that is more attractive when they are mounted on a pivotable mount on walls. I have a spare speaker set that I don't use anymore - Energy Take5 that are about same size but I think they would look hideous on the walls. This is not my main room, will be doing a dedicated theater build later.

We are moving to a newly constructed home and these speakers will be used in Family Room.
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post #11 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mekatoka View Post
Too boxy, was looking for something that is more attractive when they are mounted on a pivotable mount on walls. I have a spare speaker set that I don't use anymore - Energy Take5 that are about same size but I think they would look hideous on the walls. This is not my main room, will be doing a dedicated theater build later.

We are moving to a newly constructed home and these speakers will be used in Family Room.
Check out the Focal Sib then: http://www.accessories4less.com/make...s-black/1.html

Or in white: http://www.accessories4less.com/make...r-white/1.html

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post #12 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post
Thanks, I have come across that set earlier but when I looked at that site I wasn't sure. Are they reputable dealer?
Looks like they have better frequency response

Speakers > Polk LSi25, Polk FXiA6, Polk LSiC
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post #13 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mekatoka View Post
Thanks, I have come across that set earlier but when I looked at that site I wasn't sure. Are they reputable dealer?
Looks like they have better frequency response
They have been in business a long time - and are a good company.

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post #14 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mekatoka View Post
Too boxy, was looking for something that is more attractive when they are mounted on a pivotable mount on walls. I have a spare speaker set that I don't use anymore - Energy Take5 that are about same size but I think they would look hideous on the walls. This is not my main room, will be doing a dedicated theater build later.

We are moving to a newly constructed home and these speakers will be used in Family Room.
I agree with others - if you want to actually hear the speakers from about 20' away (considering mounting location and height) you are going to need a speaker with a driver larger than 3". These "cube" speakers work in very close quarters (even in a Bose "demo" area) where the speakers are only 4 feet away but they do not have enough power in the mid-range frequency to go much further. This "mid-bass" disperses in a room the further away you get - the highs from the tweeter are the only directional part that can be "aimed" at the listener. You will end up with a hole between 80Hz (highest from the sub) and 300Hz (the lower frequencies from satellites that don't disperse completely) - male voices live here.

I wouldn't recommend any bookshelf / satellite speaker with a mid-driver smaller than 5.25" (unless there are multiple 4" drivers) - which means the speaker is going to be at least 10" x 5" on the front - a speaker of that size has a chance of blending with a sub. I understand you don't want boxy - some speakers are boxes with rounded corners - would you consider those?

NHT Absolute Zero
Absolute Zero Bookshelf Speaker - White


ProMonitor 1000 Compact high definition satellite speaker - White
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post #15 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 10:32 AM
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You didn't mention if this was a music only system with 4 speakers and a sub or a surround sound system - you didn't mention a center channel speaker - which (I hope) means this is for music only - is that right?

The center channel is the most important speaker in a home theater setup when listening to a soundtrack - if you have any hope of understanding the dialog you either need really good front left / right speakers located directly in front of you at a 30 to 40 degree angle (for a phantom center) or you need an actual center channel speaker. The center would be critical to your enjoyment of your entertainment system if you are watching movies in this room.

2-Ch (HT L/R): Oppo BDP-105 BD, Adcom GFP-750 pre, Bryston 10B Sub Xover, Bryston 4BSST2 / Paradigm Signature S4 v.2 (L/R), (2) SVS SB12-NSD (Subs)
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post #16 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 10:37 AM
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Soundbar?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...=-1&isNodeId=1

Downloadable FREE demo discs:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1475769/de...ently-authored 

Did you really need to quote that entire post in your reply?
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post #17 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mtn-tech View Post
I wouldn't recommend any bookshelf / satellite speaker with a mid-driver smaller than 5.25" (unless there are multiple 4" drivers) - which means the speaker is going to be at least 10" x 5" on the front - a speaker of that size has a chance of blending with a sub. I understand you don't want boxy - some speakers are boxes with rounded corners - would you consider those?
- The NHT Absolute zero are still too boxy - the Def Tech ones are better and I have seen them in person
- I see you listed Def Tech Pro Monitor 1000, I was considering them and were listed in my post. But they were on the upper end in terms of size.
- I was searching Focal and found Focal Super Bird (LINK HERE) which are huge but are decorative enough. Not sure if I want to spend 800 for the pair.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mtn-tech View Post
You didn't mention if this was a music only system with 4 speakers and a sub or a surround sound system - you didn't mention a center channel speaker - which (I hope) means this is for music only - is that right?

The center channel is the most important speaker in a home theater setup when listening to a soundtrack - if you have any hope of understanding the dialog you either need really good front left / right speakers located directly in front of you at a 30 to 40 degree angle (for a phantom center) or you need an actual center channel speaker. The center would be critical to your enjoyment of your entertainment system if you are watching movies in this room.
- I have updated my original post with that info - it will be 30% music, 50% regular TV (shows, sitcoms etc) and 20% movies
- If I do go with Def Tech Pro Monitor series was planning on getting Def Tech Pro Monitor 2000 for center

Speakers > Polk LSi25, Polk FXiA6, Polk LSiC
Subwoofer > SVS PC12-NSD
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Computer > Mackie MR5 Studio Monitors

Last edited by mekatoka; 08-08-2014 at 11:42 AM.
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post #18 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't want soundbars in that room - I already have a Sonos Playbar that I intend to use in another room.
I got that room pre-wired already so I want to use them If it was a Soundbar - I would have gone with Sony HT-ST7 (LINK HERE)

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post #19 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mekatoka View Post
I don't want soundbars in that room - I already have a Sonos Playbar that I intend to use in another room.
I got that room pre-wired already so I want to use them If it was a Soundbar - I would have gone with Sony HT-ST7 (LINK HERE)
I'm glad you are not even considering a soundbar - I have a really hard time recommending them. I had an hour to kill last week, so I listened to 14 different soundbars at a local store. The least expensive one that had even somewhat acceptable sound was $700 (Polk 9500) - and there were a couple (like the Bose) over $1000 that sounded even worse. I saw that Sony soundbar and it sounded pretty good but I think it was $1250 and I completely dismissed it because of price.

There are so many better ways to go than a sound bar - three modest bookshelf speakers ($130 ea), a $100 AVR, and a $100 sub will destroy any soundbar - usually at a lower cost. If it is an issue of aesthetics, a "passive soundbar" which is just three discrete "speakers" in a single enclosure made to look like a soundbar - often with 7 or more drivers - driven by an AVR is a much better way to go. The Paradigm Trio can be had for under $500 on eBay.

2-Ch (HT L/R): Oppo BDP-105 BD, Adcom GFP-750 pre, Bryston 10B Sub Xover, Bryston 4BSST2 / Paradigm Signature S4 v.2 (L/R), (2) SVS SB12-NSD (Subs)
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post #20 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mekatoka View Post
- The NHT Absolute zero are still too boxy - the Def Tech ones are better and I have seen them in person. I see you listed Def Tech Pro Monitor 1000, I was considering them and were listed in my post. But they were on the upper end in terms of size.

- I have updated my original post with that info - it will be 30% music, 50% regular TV (shows, sitcoms etc) and 20% movies
- If I do go with Def Tech Pro Monitor series was planning on getting Def Tech Pro Monitor 2000 for center
Too bad about the NHT - they would probably sound good.

Sorry I didn't see that you already had the Def Tech Pro Monitor 1000 listed - they were below your other list and I didn't see them. I actually listened to these one day (in a MUCH smaller demo room) and they weren't bad. I preferred the small Studio Monitor speakers (I think it was the Studio Monitor 45 or 55) and they were about the same price - but they probably don't come in white which is probably a deal breaker. The Pro Monitor didn't seem "non-boxy" but I guess the back of it is curved. The Polk OWM5 was the other small speaker I listened to, but I thought all the Def Techs beat them (as they should - they were more expensive).

For music, I think you would be much happier with the Def Tech satellites with a bigger mid-driver than any of those "mini-cube" speakers have - for that reason (and because I listened to them) I would recommend the Def Techs. That center and an internet direct sub from SVS, HSU, etc would probably round out those satellites nicely. You aren't going to get reference level sound in a room that big, but you already know that.
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post #21 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mtn-tech View Post
Too bad about the NHT - they would probably sound good.
I checked the specs on NHT and the range of the Def Tech is better as per the manufacturer stated specs. I listened to a handful of small speaker sets in BestBuy Magnolia room
- Jamo speakers
- Def Tech 600, 800 and 1000
- Polk monitors
- Speakercraft in ceiling speakers

I didn't quite like the sound from any one of them. They were not demoed to me and I played some source they had running using the AV switcher myself. I will go and demo them properly with a salesperson and take my own source material. At the moment I am leaning towards Def Tech's but I am not ruling out in wall speakers.

The only reason why I didn't consider in-walls is because of sound leakage in to other rooms. I have no experience with in walls so far and I am not sure how they sound in other rooms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtn-tech View Post
....You aren't going to get reference level sound in a room that big, but you already know that.
Haha yeah, I am sacrificing some sound for aesthetics here as it is family room.

Speakers > Polk LSi25, Polk FXiA6, Polk LSiC
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post #22 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 05:15 PM
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Def Tech is better as per the manufacturer stated specs. I
Ignore them. Made up nonense. Apparently my surround speakers go down to 45hz (Def tech) they have two 5.25" woofers. LOL.

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post #23 of 36 Old 08-08-2014, 05:35 PM
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Go with these and if it's not load enough add an amp.

http://www.axiomaudio.com/m22-on-wall-speaker#t-3
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post #24 of 36 Old 08-09-2014, 12:31 PM
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Ignore them. Made up nonense. Apparently my surround speakers go down to 45hz (Def tech) they have two 5.25" woofers. LOL.
Agreed. Def Tech's specs are completely unreliable. For instance, they describe their ProSub 600 as 22 Hz - 150 Hz, and it is utter nonsense. S&Vs measurement of the sub indicate it to be -3db down at 36Hz, and if you look at their measurements, it's off the chart before 22 Hz and already about -28 db



(see the blue trace)

This would be like Honda claiming that their Civic could do 175 mph. Maybe down a long mountainside with a stiff wind at its back (lol)

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post #25 of 36 Old 08-09-2014, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mekatoka View Post
- The room has been pre-wired with 14 guage wire at 4 spots. The surrounds are not at the best spot due to the room configuration.
If you need to use tiny speakers, consider using only 2 of the prewires, and set the speakers up to cover a smaller part of that room as the listening area. Or think about using 6 speakers.

I see where you said you want to use the pre-wired locations, but if you insist on tiny speakers, you're making the wrong compromise.

Or as an alternative - bigger inwalls are probably less visible and will produce more sound. You need to better understand where directionality fits in, you seem to be over-emphasizing it - it matters most for the treble, the fronts may be reasonably on-axis to the listening area and the side/surrounds aren't that critical. There are options to make them somewhat directional. You should consider the in-wall option too if you go with the prewire locations. They also can be higher WAF due to lower visibility.

Last edited by buzzy_; 08-09-2014 at 01:15 PM.
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post #26 of 36 Old 08-09-2014, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post
If you need to use tiny speakers, consider using only 2 of the prewires, and set the speakers up to cover a smaller part of that room as the listening area. Or think about using 6 speakers.

I see where you said you want to use the pre-wired locations, but if you insist on tiny speakers, you're making the wrong compromise.

Or as an alternative - bigger inwalls are probably less visible and will produce more sound. You need to better understand where directionality fits in, you seem to be over-emphasizing it - it matters most for the treble, the fronts may be reasonably on-axis to the listening area and the side/surrounds aren't that critical. There are options to make them somewhat directional. You should consider the in-wall option too if you go with the prewire locations. They also can be higher WAF due to lower visibility.
- I have updated my original post with photos that show the room and speaker pre-wired locations
- I am considering in-walls as well, but worry about placement issues because of weird locations
- I started out with the intent to use smaller speakers speakers but it doesn't seem like I will get decent setup. I am now looking for some eye pleasing speakers around 10-12" height.

Speakers > Polk LSi25, Polk FXiA6, Polk LSiC
Subwoofer > SVS PC12-NSD
Receiver > Onkyo 805 / Emotiva XPA-3
Computer > Mackie MR5 Studio Monitors
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post #27 of 36 Old 08-09-2014, 03:12 PM
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I was going to respond to this thread, but once I saw the O.P.'s massive room volume, budget, aesthetic preferences, and size and mounting restrictions, I knew I couldn't help. I wish everyone the best of luck in trying to help satisfy the O.P.'s needs. You got a tough one, guys! And I truly wish mekatoka the best of luck in his search. It's an impressive room and deserves impressive sound.
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post #28 of 36 Old 08-09-2014, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
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I was going to respond to this thread, but once I saw the O.P.'s massive room volume, budget, aesthetic preferences, and size and mounting restrictions, I knew I couldn't help. I wish everyone the best of luck in trying to help satisfy the O.P.'s needs. You got a tough one, guys! And I truly wish mekatoka the best of luck in his search. It's an impressive room and deserves impressive sound.
That seems like I am asking for the moon here As you can see in the photos - aesthetic preferences and mounting restrictions are something that I would like to not change as much as possible. The only thing that can be changed is the budget. What would you suggest if the budget was flexible with in reason?

Speakers > Polk LSi25, Polk FXiA6, Polk LSiC
Subwoofer > SVS PC12-NSD
Receiver > Onkyo 805 / Emotiva XPA-3
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post #29 of 36 Old 08-09-2014, 04:51 PM
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A separate room for serious listening/viewing, and whatever makes the wife happy for this room.
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http://www.avsforum.com/t/1475769/de...ently-authored 

Did you really need to quote that entire post in your reply?
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post #30 of 36 Old 08-09-2014, 05:45 PM
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That seems like I am asking for the moon here As you can see in the photos - aesthetic preferences and mounting restrictions are something that I would like to not change as much as possible. The only thing that can be changed is the budget. What would you suggest if the budget was flexible with in reason?
Obviously, one can attain excellent results with a smallish size budget ($1k, not including sub), if the room size is not larger than 1,500 cu.ft. to perhaps even 2,000 cu. ft. For larger rooms, the price begins to rise pretty rapidly. For extreme rooms like yours, you don't want to know .

However, your happiness depends upon your goals for such an impressive room. Any suggestions would require more information, such as:

1. How loudly do you see yourself playing movies and music?
2. Are you looking for nice clarity in a relaxed atmosphere where sound levels are rarely above moderate levels? Or would you like to jack up the sound levels on your favorite music from time to time?
3. Do you use music mostly for background, or do you critically listen to your music?
4. How much tactile feel do you expect from movie LFE? Do you want to hear a deeper bass or do you want to feel it as well?

Sonically, if your demands are reasonable, then the budget can be close to what you mentioned. However, if you are looking for realism in your music, something that may send chills through you, and if you want to watch a blockbuster LFE movie and actually feel what LFE is all about, then the price automatically rises, and can rise extremely quickly.

The people here will know more about various high quality bookshelf speakers than I'll ever know (I don't own bookshelf speakers.). That being said, I've auditioned a few that I liked (or rather was surprised at their capability and sound quality for the price), and a few I didn't like.

Since you mentioned Def Tech, there are two models that I enjoyed. They were the Studio Monitor series, the SM-55 @ $600/pair and SM-45 @ $400/pair. That puts you without a center channel and speaker stands for $1000. You'd need to add another $300 for the center and $200 or so for the stands, putting you at $1500.

No matter what speakers are suggested, it is your responsibility to go out and audition them. We each have different views in what constitutes high quality sound. If you choose an I.D. company, you can audition them in your home for a certain length of time before deciding to keep or return for a refund.

Subwoofers are a different topic, and you can best be served by going to the subwoofer section of this forum: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/113-su...s-transducers/

I wish you the best of luck.
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