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Speakers for apartment with high ceilings

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello all --

I've been lurking for awhile now, but I finally joined up to request some advice for a new setup. Thanks in advance for the assistance - I'm not completely unfamiliar with home audio, but I definitely have a lot to learn.

I'm looking to put together a AV setup for my new apartment, and I'm trying to balance a number of different issues. The room itself is quite large (at least by apartment standards): about 15' x 15' with very high (20') ceilings. However, despite the large room volume and obvious need for some serious air movement, I'm not looking to blast a system at high volume - I've got neighbors above, below and to either side, so I'll have very little opportunity to crank things up past a comfortable listening volume.

The system will be connected to a TV and home theater PC for movies and such, but generally I'm more of a music listener and would like to prioritize that in choosing components. I primarily listen to all sorts of rock and jazz. Though I've had a 5.1 setup in the past, a surround setup is not really a necessity here.

Though relatively uninformed, I'm envisioning a 2.0 setup with a decent set of floorstanding towers. Hook these up to a midrange AV receiver for possible future upgrades to surround. I figure this could give me a good, full-range sound for music without a booming sub to upset the neighbors. I know it won't be ideal for movies, but hopefully it will be good enough. Would anyone recommend a different plan?

As an audio novice, I wonder about how the large size and high ceilings of the room will impact my speaker choice, particularly if I don't plan on listening at very high volumes. I'd like good sound, but don't want to have to have to blast things to get it.

I'm budgeting anywhere from $600 - $1000 for a pair of towers. I know this is somewhat limiting, but I would definitely appreciate any recommendations.

Thanks again.
post #2 of 7
$1000 is relatively low budget for decent towers. What is your listening area? If you are going to sit within 6-8 feet from speakers - this is one thing, if you expect all that space filled with sound - this is another. For close listening you can get away with bookshelf speakers, maybe adding subwoofer too to handle low bass. But decent sub will cost at least $600 by itself.
post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by griffon42 View Post

Hello all --
I've been lurking for awhile now, but I finally joined up to request some advice for a new setup. Thanks in advance for the assistance - I'm not completely unfamiliar with home audio, but I definitely have a lot to learn.
I'm looking to put together a AV setup for my new apartment, and I'm trying to balance a number of different issues. The room itself is quite large (at least by apartment standards): about 15' x 15' with very high (20') ceilings. However, despite the large room volume and obvious need for some serious air movement, I'm not looking to blast a system at high volume - I've got neighbors above, below and to either side, so I'll have very little opportunity to crank things up past a comfortable listening volume.
The system will be connected to a TV and home theater PC for movies and such, but generally I'm more of a music listener and would like to prioritize that in choosing components. I primarily listen to all sorts of rock and jazz. Though I've had a 5.1 setup in the past, a surround setup is not really a necessity here.
Though relatively uninformed, I'm envisioning a 2.0 setup with a decent set of floorstanding towers. Hook these up to a midrange AV receiver for possible future upgrades to surround. I figure this could give me a good, full-range sound for music without a booming sub to upset the neighbors. I know it won't be ideal for movies, but hopefully it will be good enough. Would anyone recommend a different plan?
As an audio novice, I wonder about how the large size and high ceilings of the room will impact my speaker choice, particularly if I don't plan on listening at very high volumes. I'd like good sound, but don't want to have to have to blast things to get it.
I'm budgeting anywhere from $600 - $1000 for a pair of towers. I know this is somewhat limiting, but I would definitely appreciate any recommendations.
Thanks again.

Infinity Primus P363. They are usually about $500 a pair but the Infinity site and Amazon, Crutchfield etc. are blowing them out for under $200 each.

There is this fairly complete review of an earlier version:

http://www.stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/605infinity/index.html

I don't think they have gotten any worse since then! ;-)

With this pricing and your budget, you could add a sub and really have something!
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
@ap1
Thanks for the quick reply. I think your question is exactly what i'm struggling with.

Yes, my listening area will be around 8 ft from the speakers/TV. But this will be right in the middle of this large volume room. I don't need to "all that space filled with sound" at a high volume (neighbors, as mentioned), but will I lose sound quality in the primary listening area just by virtue of the huge space around it?

Thanks.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Infinity Primus P363. They are usually about $500 a pair but the Infinity site and Amazon, Crutchfield etc. are blowing them out for under $200 each.
There is this fairly complete review of an earlier version:
http://www.stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/605infinity/index.html
I don't think they have gotten any worse since then! ;-)
With this pricing and your budget, you could add a sub and really have something!

@arnyk

Thanks for the tip. Given the issues of neighbors and the music priority, should i be considering 2.0 or 2.1? I don't have much experience with subwoofers, but the little i've had has always been dominated by booming bass that doesn't necessarily blend well and shakes the walls (which I can't do in this place). Am I way off on this?
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by griffon42 View Post

@ap1
Thanks for the quick reply. I think your question is exactly what i'm struggling with.
Yes, my listening area will be around 8 ft from the speakers/TV. But this will be right in the middle of this large volume room. I don't need to "all that space filled with sound" at a high volume (neighbors, as mentioned), but will I lose sound quality in the primary listening area just by virtue of the huge space around it?
Thanks.

The most important consideration for getting bass is providing large adjacent surfaces to reduce the solid angle that the woofers reproduce sound into.

If you hang a speaker in space, its bass is minimized.

Sit the speaker on a surface or back it up against a wall and the speaker now operates into a "half space" which will boost the bass as compared to free space.

Sit a speaker on a surface (floor), or place it under a surface (ceiling) and back it up against a wall and again you've boosted the bass. Ditto for putting it in a corner well away from the floor or ceiling. The speaker is operating into "quarter space".

See how adding adjacent surfaces makes the speaker "sound fuller"?

If you don't use adjacent surfaces to prop up the bass, your remaining alternative is lots of bass boost and a speaker and amp that can handle the load.


Please notice that the first problem isn't the space, its the absence of boundaries.

To complete the story, small rooms additionally prop up the bass by introducing bass boost below a certain frequency. As the room gets larger, this frequency is reduced until very little gets boosted.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

The most important consideration for getting bass is providing large adjacent surfaces to reduce the solid angle that the woofers reproduce sound into.
If you hang a speaker in space, its bass is minimized.
Sit the speaker on a surface or back it up against a wall and the speaker now operates into a "half space" which will boost the bass as compared to free space.
Sit a speaker on a surface (floor), or place it under a surface (ceiling) and back it up against a wall and again you've boosted the bass. Ditto for putting it in a corner well away from the floor or ceiling. The speaker is operating into "quarter space".
See how adding adjacent surfaces makes the speaker "sound fuller"?
If you don't use adjacent surfaces to prop up the bass, your remaining alternative is lots of bass boost and a speaker and amp that can handle the load.
Please notice that the first problem isn't the space, its the absence of boundaries.
To complete the story, small rooms additionally prop up the bass by introducing bass boost below a certain frequency. As the room gets larger, this frequency is reduced until very little gets boosted.

Thanks for the detailed explanation. I'll suppose i'll have 2 surfaces in the room described: the floor, and the wall behind the speakers. That being said, what is the best solution for a large room like this? Does this essentially mean that a powerful subwoofer is the only reasonable option?

Similarly, if the mains are not particularly well suited to handle the space (for example, only one moderate size woofer in a tower), can this excess space cause problems in the midrange as well?
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