Speaker suggestions

Hello all, please treat me gently (I am a user and not up to speed with hardware) !

At the moment I use an RP10 and HDX as my source and amplification is 282/HicapDR/250DR.

My current speakers are KEF R500’s and at higher volume the bass booms a bit for my taste and it does feel like they are holding the rest of my system back. The room they are in is the library and prob 5mx5m with the walls covered in shelves with books. It is a solid floor with wood on top and no rugs.

As a family we do spend a lot of time in here and so my wife does not want anything too extreme looking, the KEFs are nice plain black boxes, although looks will not be the defining factor if a set of speakers are head and shoulders over anything else. I am looking to spend somewhere between 5-10k GBP unless people think I need to move that.

I am looking for a shortlist to demo so any thoughts on that ?

Many thanks.

Square(ish) rooms are inherently prone to bass boom when using speakers with extended bass response. This is a simple matter of acoustic physics.

The best thing to do is measure the bass response of the room first (e.g. by using REW) and post the results on here, then we can try to help you.

£5-10k can buy some good speakers. Even more so if you buy ex-dem or secondhand!

Meanwhile whilst 5m square is a reasonable sized room if it is indeed square that will make resonances more pronounced, notably at ~35Hz and multiples (~70, 140…). If your ceiling height is exactly half the width and length (2.5m) then the resonance at 70Hz will be even worse. This dictates great care needed in speaker and listening positions, and possibly a need for some degree of room treatment. If those are the frequencies at which your room booms it may not be the speakers themselves that are the problem.

If you do go for speakers, with that budget I suggest PMC Fact 12 (ex-dem not infrequently down to as low as £8k or so): an amazing sound for its small elegant packaging. I can also recommend the PMC EB1i, though somewhat older, typically £4K secondhand, though rare.

ATCs are worth considering - absolutely excellent midrange in the 40 upwards, the bigger ones progressively doing deeper bass. And their active versions might be affordable - there are a couple of threads on here discussing their SCM40 including the active version, well worth a search.

I can recommend PMC 25.26. The Russell K 120 or 150 might be worth a listen, well within budget. But whatever you choose, do a home demo. If you can do the REW that Xanthe suggests, so much the better.

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+1 to REW measurements. It is free software (full name Room Equalisation Wizard), though it needs a neasurinv microphone - the one they recommend is good, though I think it costs around £100 new. Aside from knowing what the resonances are, it is a useful tool in playing with room positioning, and invaluable both to help you decide if room treatment is appropriate, and assess what that might be.

@Xanthe thank you, never head of that but looks interesting, will give that a go. It actually throws up an interesting question. The hifi has always been in that room as we sit in there of an evening and read/draw etc but maybe it is time to think of moving it to another room. The sitting room does not get used much but is larger and oblong. I might try moving the hifi this weekend (costs nothing, just time) and see what I think of that and have a play with speaker positioning in there.

And thank you for the recommendations so far.

Larger and oblong may well give better sound - though books all around may well have been having some beneficial effect at the higher frequency end. If you can try, then great. Big question there is layout - starting with whether to ‘fire’ across or down the room…

I agree that you should look at your room acoustics first. If your ceiling is anywhere close to 2.5m high, it could further compound the problem, 5 being a multiple of 2.5!
You may be able to help by moving furniture and speakers around the room, and perhaps adding rugs, cushions etc. but I suspect you will need something more drastic to really get things under control, and measuring the room would be a good start.
Once you’ve done everything you can in the room, you might try some sort of digital room connection, although there will likely be a price to pay in sound quality.

I agree with all the comments above. In your new room if you haven’t got books all round the walls, you may well need a large rug or carpet to tame the higher end of the sound.

why don t you try sealed boxes, no port-no boom(well, most of it disappears)

The Goldenear Triton range are very discreet, easy to drive, and sound great. The only reason I didn’t get a pair was the ones I liked were too big for my room (distance from listening position to speakers is about 2 meters maximum).

So does the low bass…

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One solution might be to get some smaller speakers, probably standmounts, with limited bass. Then add a sub with room correction so that you can dial down the specific bass frequencies that are causing the problem. Some subs (e.g. Velodyne, I think) have this technology built in. Or you can add it to any sub via a MiniDSP box or similar.

I use that exact solution in a 3.5 x 3.75m room.

Yes that’s the general idea… Then you add a sub with DSP control.

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thanks @ChrisSU, sounds like a plan.I am going to go down the REW route first though, as it will be interesting to see what that comes back with more for my learning and understanding but what you are suggesting sounds like a very sensible idea to me !

If you go for smaller speakers and a sub, REW is very useful in siting and setting up the sub - it takes a LOT of the uncertainty out of the job.

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Hi biddler66

I am a fan of PMCs Fact speakers. (I run Fact 3s at the moment with 272/250). However, I do wonder if IBs suggestion of Fact 12s would be too much for a 250DR. I suspect you may be running into mullet territory. I would suggest trying Fact 8s. Quite apart from their sound, they look very elegant and in the right wood finish would sit very nicely in a library. I suspect your wife would approve. Furthermore they have switches on the rear which can reduce the bass by 3dB or 6dB which might help with your bass boom. I love the Fact sound (obviously) but be aware that some find it too lean; you would definitely need to audition in situ.

Other possibilities for your audition list are ATC SCM40 (ideally in active form if you’re prepared to trade in your 250). These are sealed box speakers but some have found them prone to boom in some rooms. And Kudos 505 and 606 would be within your budget. I have not been up close and personal with these, but have heard the 505s at the Acoustica show and was very impressed by them.

Have fun with the hunt and let us know how you get on



I can recommend PMC 25.26 also. Similar sized room but with rugs on a parquet floor.

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The advantage of the F12 is it isn’t lean - at least, not with Bryston amplification as I heard them: Naim may be different.