Small speakers, large room

Hi All
This is my first post. I have a pair or Neat Petite SX speaker on wall mounts about a foot below the ceiling pointing into a room lengthwise (slightly downwards and toed inwards) that is roughly 7m long by 5m wide. They are driven off a NAC122x/NAP150x pre-power, playing HD music streamed through a Sonos Connect and a fairly old Arcam rDAC.
The problem I have is that the speakers don’t “fill” the room which is probably understandable as they are small and wall mounted, and the room is fairly large. However, I can’t change that.
Options I am considering are one or all of these:

  1. upgrade the DAC to Chord Qutest
  2. install hard wood shelves to replace the B Tech BT77 wall brackets
  3. add a subwoofer to provide some oomph
    Any thoughts on whether any or all of he above would make a significant difference?

Or you could change the speakers that would better match your room & system?

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By “not filling” the room, do you mean not loud enough, or lacking bass? (Or both?)

If the former, you need to either sit closer, change the speakers for more efficient, or amp for more powerful (assuming the speakers are ot at their limit). If the latter, then change speakers for full range, or get a (music not special effects) sub, but research first including how to integrate it. (If both, then change for more efficient full range speakers, or combination of more powerful amp plus sub.)

I’d keep my eyes open for a pair of Allaes. You can get small loudspeakers to room filling levels but that would require change in amps and source.

I wonder if firing across the width of the room would help, but perhaps you already do so or it’s not practical.

Having speakers in the corners of the room, particularly when mounted near the ceiling or the floor is always going to give you a very uneven bass response.

Your answer to IB’s question is critical to us in helping you to finding the right answer.
You also need to tell us if there are any other sound problems as well (such as, for instance, the system getting ‘shouty’, hard or fatiguing when you turn the volume up). Without the full information, any suggestion we can make will be nothing more than guess-work.

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Do you mean you can’t change the size of the room, or the fact that they’re wall mounted?

As a first option I’d get the speakers down from the ceiling and put them on suitable stands at approximately eye level from your listening position.

Ok, thanks for the initial replies. A few points to clarify:

  • standmounting the speakers or getting floorstanders is not an option; it’s a family kitchen/living room not a dedicated listening room

  • Moving them would require a lot of work as the wiring is embedded in the walls/ceiling, hence looking at options that would avoid having to do this

Your questions and suggestions have been really useful for me to pinpoint what I am looking to achieve. In summary, I want a bigger soundstage and more bass at low volumes (I rarely, if ever, get the chance to play it loud). Perhaps I am asking too much given the restrictions outlined.

Some follow up questions:

  • would a more powerful amp just mean the system can play at higher volumes or does it drive the speakers more effectively at lower volumes too?
  • what does “full range” mean (from IB’s reply), and how does one determine if a speaker is more or less efficient?


The ‘more bass’ can be rectified using a sub; however if the speakers are mounted in the top corners of the room you probably already have another problem where one or two bass notes is/are much stronger than all the others and some are weak and some are missing entirely, a sub won’t magically cure this problem, but can start to ‘fill in’ the missing parts of the bass.

What do you mean by a ‘bigger’ soundstange? With speakers mounted in the top corners of the room you’re never going to get a natural layout to the soundstage anyway: it will at best be one dimensional and it’s also likely to be very uneven due to the reflections from the side walls.

I use Linn Kans, located on a mezzanine floor shooting out over a lofted bedroom. There is a lot of volume / space to fill, but they perform well driven by a Unitiqute. So my advice would be find a more stable platform for your speakers than the brackets - a strong wall shelf may be a simple solution.

Yeah, I may need to tweak the positioning and bring them a little lower. I will investigate using a sub too. Have you had an experience with using a sub in a stereo system?

I was thinking of replacing them with something like this from Hifi Racks or making a DIY version.

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Yes, I currently use one in a 272/555 + 300DR based system.

I use a DSP box (£120) to integrate it into the system and the room acoustics without affecting the quality of the signal to the main speakers.

OK. What does the DSP do and how does it all get connected? Thanks.

1 preout to poweramp & speakers

2 2nd pre out to DSP
3 DSP to sub.

DSP has:
1 a low pass filter to implement the crossover between the sub and the LF cutoff slope of the speakers.
2 a bandpass filter that removes the resonant frequency of my listening room.

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By full range I mean full output right down well into the bottom octave of music at whatever sound level you play, not rolling off higher than that. Manufacturers’ specs are not always a good guide, often claiming magical things for small speakers, and in any case will vary with the room.I suspect your soeakers will be limited at the bass end.

Re efficiency, manufacturers quote sensitivity in dB/W at 1m. The higher tge number the more efficient. I’ve looked up yours, and they’re quoted as 86dB/W, which is middling to low. But it seems from your last post that sound le el overall is not what you feel you are lacking.

I don’t know if it is relevant to your concerns, but with any speakers the further you are from them the quieter they’ll sound, and for any given room and positioning that would be much the same regardless of what speakers you use - so unless you have a very reflective room it is inevitably going to be quite quieter at the far end of a 7m long room compared to directly in front of the speakers fixed to one wall.

Incidentally, I note your soeakers are rear ported, so in any case mounting on the wall will not be the best for them, if you want to position against the wall it is better to use speakers designed for that , e.g both PMC and ATC make small wall-hanging speakers.

Before doing anything alse you could get some longer cables (almost anything will do for this purpose), to allow movement of the speakers, and play around with whatever latitude you may have in position - could they be on protruding brackets held a couple of feet off tge wall? Lower down? Closer together or further apart? Etc. If something makes a significant improvement you may be able to simply route cables neatly from the current wall outlet, at keast on a temporary basis.

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Thanks, IB. That’s all great advice. I’ll definitely look into alternative speakers, better suited to wall mounting. I might be able to do some limited re-positioning too.

Thank you!

Hi All - slightly separate question…would I get more improvement in SQ from adding a power supply like a flatcap 2x (£400-500 s/h) or upgrading my DAC to the Qutest (£900-1000 s/h). Irrespective of whether I add a sub or not.

As a reminder it’s a NAC122x/NAP150x amp and Arcam rDac.


I would anticipate the DAC giving a more noticeable change in overall sound quality than adding a PS, though the PS might make a difference to how well theamp drives the speakers. But you would only know how much better a different DAC will be by trying it…