• 03-12-2007, 10:53 AM
    TSH
    Small Office System - looking for advice
    I have a main stereo system in my basement that I use for my more serious listening (NAD C352 amp and C542 CDP, Monitor Audio Silver 6 speakers). However, I am spending a lot of time in my office these days and I am thinking of adding a really budget system to that room because the little Harmon Kardon speakers with my PC don't quite cut it.

    I would be looking to re-use an old integrated amp and disc changer (as well as my PC as a digital source) and I need to buy speakers. Would eventually upgrade amp and cdp, but not a high priority now.

    The room is a near perfect square of 10 feet x 10 feet. Desk is pushed up against one wall, facing a window. Desk is 4 ft long. There are book cases on the both side walls, to my left and right when I am sitting at the desk.

    I suppose my options are:

    1. Book shelf speakers actually sitting on the side book cases and aimed at my head from the left and right (almost like surround speakers in a H/T setup)

    2. Book shelf or other speakers mounted up in the corners and angled down into the listening position

    3. Stand-mounted speakers behind my sitting area and aimed at my back.

    Listening volume would never be very loud as it is primarily for background music while I work. Any thoughts on how best to setup the speakers?

    And, then, price-wise, at the small budget bookshelf level, should I just pick up a pair of Paradigm Atoms? Any other thoughts on something that would fit well if I upgraded integrated amp and source later? In total, though, I cannot imagine spending more than $1,000 in total equipment for this room.
  • 03-12-2007, 11:05 AM
    Dusty Chalk
    The Paradigm Atoms would certainly be good, as would the PSB Alpha, which was recently very well received by Absolute Sound.

    My personal choice for this several years ago was to get a pair of Spendor LS3/5's, but I think those go for >US$1K these days. Those are designed for nearfield listening, and you minimize the problems your room would introduce by listening to them that way. You definitely want to concentrate only on speakers that are designed for nearfield listening.

    Also, my current system is a pair of Quad 12L actives which I got for pretty cheap; I'm thinking a pair of 12L passives might sound quite good as well.

    Might I also suggest a quality pair of headphones, if you can't find something in the speaker world to meet your needs?

    I should also mention: at one point, I had my speakers on a ledge above my monitor and pointed downwards -- this was perfectly adequate for nearfield listening, as, from the point-of-view of the speakers, my ears were in the plane of the tweeters' axises...er...whatever they're called...

    Finally, if you insist on speaker listening, and you find that your room is giving you interaction, if you can rearrange it to be situated in a corner, I find that works well, too. I highly recommend it.
  • 03-12-2007, 11:16 AM
    markw
    If you spend most of your time in front of the monitor,like I do,
    then near-field could be the way to go.

    I've always run a pair of JBL L-26's off my old Marantz receiver on the side walls for company and it worked great,. But I've recently been rooting around the "spare parts" bin and have hit upon a surprisingly effective alternative for the "B" speaker position.

    I have a pair of old Minimus 7's at eye level, flanking the monitor about 5 feet apart from each other. These provide virtually perfect near-field reproduction at low/moderate levels of virtually everything I listen to but, since there's always a fly in the ointment, they lack a little bass.

    I also had a passive subwoofer lying around that I drafted into service. IT has a fairly high crossover but with these tiny speakers it all balances out.

    So, a small pair of crystal clear speakers and a small sub could be the answer to your problems.
  • 03-12-2007, 12:47 PM
    TSH
    Thanks for the quick responses. Question - what is near-field listening? I think I understand it to be I will be NEAR the speakers, but are there speakers that are designed for this? How do you know what is designed for this purpose?
  • 03-12-2007, 01:10 PM
    topspeed
    Near field is exactly as it sounds; near the speakers. This way, the listener doesn't have to worry about first order reflections. There are speakers that are designed for this and one of the key ingredients is the crossover. First order cross-overs usually need room for the drivers to properly coelesce, so stay away from them.

    I really like Dusty's suggestion of the Spendors if you can swing the bill. Really nice driver integration and a fabulous midrange, which is exactly what you'll want in an office environment where you can't "crank it!" The Von Schweikert VR1's are also nearfield friendly and while they are as pricey as the Spendors, you can buy them used for around $600 on audiogon.com.

    What's your price range?
  • 03-12-2007, 02:58 PM
    Dusty Chalk
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TSH
    Thanks for the quick responses. Question - what is near-field listening? I think I understand it to be I will be NEAR the speakers, but are there speakers that are designed for this? How do you know what is designed for this purpose?

    Yes, and I happen to know. In the case of the Spendors, I know because of their heritage -- they evolved from the BBC LS3/5a, which was designed specifically for monitoring in nearfield circumstances -- it's just part of its history. As to how to know whether or not other speakers are designed for nearfield listening, it's really up to the manufacturer to let you know -- you might find the information in ads, in the literature (usually available as PDFs from the manufacturers website), or in reviews ("such-and-such speakers need room to breathe" means they're not good for nearfield listening, and so on). Unfortunately, there's not a checklist that says, this speaker is designed for nearfield listening or not. Your best bet is to ask about every individual speaker you're interested in. I happen to have experience with the above-mentioned Spendors and the Quads, so can personally vouch for both of them. I can also vouch for the Insignia NS-B2111 -- that just makes sense, what with its coincident drivers and all. Pretty much any small speaker with a front (or no) port should work, as long as you put your ears in the plane of the tweeters, and as long as the woofers aren't too far off. Or if the drivers are coincident, such as is the case with the Insignias.

    Unfortunately, I do not have experience with neither the Paradigms nor the PSBs, perhaps someone else with personal experience with them can pipe up.

    Also: Totem. Mite, I think? A friend of mine said it worked well in his dorm room, which I believe was on the order of your 10x10 office.

    And since PMC's have a heritage from the studio, I would think that they would work, too.

    Dynaudio definitely need room to breathe. Even their Special 25 -- which I've used in nearfield listening circumstances, were adequate, but are back-ported, so really should be set more in the midfield.
  • 03-13-2007, 08:30 AM
    TSH
    Thanks again for the responses.

    Price range would be maxed at $500. Recognize this is limited budget, but this is really secondary listening and I am hoping not to spend too much time at work in the office, and more time in the basement just listening to the other system.

    Over the next couple of weeks I will go and listen to some speakers that are purported to fit the near-field bill and see what happens.
  • 03-13-2007, 11:20 AM
    flippo
    speakers
    This web site has some decent prices on mission bookshelf speakers like the M70s or the m31. The m70s's also have brackets for wall mounting for sale there. here is the web site: http://www.tsto.com/cgi-bin/TSTO.sto...serTemplate/30
  • 03-13-2007, 12:11 PM
    audio_dude
    i like the missions, the woofer on top design might be good if they're mounted on wall brakets.
  • 03-14-2007, 11:22 AM
    topspeed
  • 03-14-2007, 01:02 PM
    TSH
    Thanks for the many suggestions. It looks like I have lots of research to do.
  • 03-15-2007, 09:57 AM
    3db
    PSB Image B25
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TSH
    I have a main stereo system in my basement that I use for my more serious listening (NAD C352 amp and C542 CDP, Monitor Audio Silver 6 speakers). However, I am spending a lot of time in my office these days and I am thinking of adding a really budget system to that room because the little Harmon Kardon speakers with my PC don't quite cut it.

    I would be looking to re-use an old integrated amp and disc changer (as well as my PC as a digital source) and I need to buy speakers. Would eventually upgrade amp and cdp, but not a high priority now.

    The room is a near perfect square of 10 feet x 10 feet. Desk is pushed up against one wall, facing a window. Desk is 4 ft long. There are book cases on the both side walls, to my left and right when I am sitting at the desk.

    I suppose my options are:

    1. Book shelf speakers actually sitting on the side book cases and aimed at my head from the left and right (almost like surround speakers in a H/T setup)

    2. Book shelf or other speakers mounted up in the corners and angled down into the listening position

    3. Stand-mounted speakers behind my sitting area and aimed at my back.

    Listening volume would never be very loud as it is primarily for background music while I work. Any thoughts on how best to setup the speakers?

    And, then, price-wise, at the small budget bookshelf level, should I just pick up a pair of Paradigm Atoms? Any other thoughts on something that would fit well if I upgraded integrated amp and source later? In total, though, I cannot imagine spending more than $1,000 in total equipment for this room.


    Thats the speaker I'm recommending for you at that price point. I'm sure you can even find these at a lower price. They are increadable speakers for the money and I think you would be happy with them. Give em an audition. Good luck