What size speakers do I need for my room? Tower speakers

What Size Speakers Do I Need for My Room?

I know that it’s fun to have gigantic speakers in your home theater. That goes double when you want to impress your friends. But what size of speakers do you really need? Do you need really huge speakers, and are they worth it? Yes. Yes, they are…at all costs. The bigger the better! Monstrous, gigantic speakers sitting three feet away from your face and pumping out 105dB of ear-bleeding sound is exactly what you need! Just ask your spouse or the person sitting next to you. What? They ran out of the room screaming? I see.

What Size Speakers Do You REALLY Need

Actually, no, you don’t need Godzilla-sized speakers in every listening room. You also don’t want to be sitting around listening to sound from a small jobsite radio either. There’s a balance to be found. The truth is, I once downsized my speakers when I went from a larger room to a new home. I needed to shrink my home theater. I know, I know—that’s sacrilege…but, really, it makes a lot of sense.

If you want to understand anything about room acoustics, remember this: Loudspeakers always interact with the room in which they are placed. That means that if you place really large speakers in a small room, the room is going to have an effect on the sound produced. Conversely, if your speakers are too small, you’ll end up with a situation where you have to drive them way too hard to fill the space. That risks distortion as a result.

So how do you size up the speakers to the room? Well, you start with the room.

What Size Room are You Trying to Fill?

Understanding your room is a big deal. THX guards their definition of small, medium, and large rooms. They treat it as proprietary knowledge they’d rather drag to the grave rather than divulge. Still, the following definitions should put you in the ballpark:

  • Small room: Anything under 1,500 ft^3
  • Medium room: Anything from 1,500 ft^3 to 3,000 ft^3
  • Large room: Anything over 3,000 ft^3

Another way to think of it is that a bedroom-sized listening room is going to be considered “Small”. A larger living space will be considered “Medium”. Finally, a room the size of a small banquet room (presumably with tall ceilings) will be in the “Large” category. We’re almost never dealing in Large rooms in the DIY (do-it-yourself) home theater realm. That’s good news because larger tower speakers can do just fine in medium rooms. The next things to look at are the dimensions and the listening position. Both play a part in determining what size speakers you may want to use.

Room Dimensions and the Listening Position

When I downsized my speakers, I did it because the speakers I had required it. They needed a certain distance to the listening position before they would converge to form a cohesive image. In essence, what I had was a pair of speakers that were trying to play well for a person sitting behind me. I needed speakers that imaged properly where I was sitting. Since I was unable to move my sitting position, I decided to downsize. I went for the next size speakers down that were made to work in a shorter room. In this case, my room now measured just 13 feet long.

But that didn’t mean that I had to compromise on sound quality. I’m going to say this once, so pay attention. It will change the way you think about speakers:

Speaker size has little to do with the quality of sound you can expect to get.

In Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Yoda says, “Size matters not.”

This principle holds true for speakers as well (with the hopefully-obvious exception of tiny cube speakers, that is!)

I know that likely goes against everything in you. It defies the logic of why larger tower speakers cost more. It also flies in the face of why they play lower and provide more output than smaller speakers. But consider this: a full spectrum of audio can be achieved through the use of a well-placed and well-calibrated subwoofer. So whether your main speakers can play down to 50Hz or 20Hz shouldn’t really matter. And there are very few tower speakers (though some exist) that can beat a traditional subwoofer at 20-30Hz in terms of tactile bass response that you can really feel.

Larger Speakers vs Larger Output

But what about output? Larger speakers tend to have more output due to more drivers and additional power handling. While true, that’s of little importance if you have a smaller room. The room itself, through the acoustic principles of boundary gain and reflection, should give you enough output to hit the levels at which you want to listen. It doesn’t do much good to buy a speaker with greater output and power handling if you never need or use it.

Quality Over Quantity

When you pick out speakers, check out the specification that gives you the Sensitivity rating of the speaker. This number indicates how much output it delivers when fed 1 watt of power and measured from 1 meter away. The more sensitivity a speaker has, the less amplifier power it needs to produce volume. That means you will be able to play that speaker louder than a comparable speaker with a lower sensitivity, assuming the amplifier is identical.

A loudspeaker with a sensitivity rating of 85dB SPL is going to need a lot more amplifier power than one with a rating of 94 dB SPL. The bottom line is that you will want to take this into account when you pair speakers with your existing gear. You also need that info when shopping for a new AV receiver as well.

Towers vs Bookshelf Speakers

Some tower speakers also try to do too much. In attempting to play low enough to qualify as a “full-range” speaker, some models skimp on the important midrange, allowing those frequencies to get muddied a bit as the speaker dips down low to pick up the bottom end. A nicer pair of bookshelf speakers coupled with a subwoofer avoids this and lets the speaker handle high frequencies through the mid-bass range, which it can do without too much distortion or difficulty.

How do you tell which towers are skimping? In general, they look like they’re trying too hard. A tower speaker that makes sweeping claims about how low it plays, while being really inexpensive, might be a good giveaway. You can’t have it all—at least not for a bargain price. I much prefer putting my money into a well-tuned bookshelf speaker that can give me good mids and highs. I’ll add a sub to pick up everything else.

What Size Speakers You Need Involves Lots of Factors

Adding to the above items, there are a few other things we might add to the list when considering speaker size and form factor. Here is a brief list of things you may want to keep in mind when determining what size speakers you need for your room:

  • Small children fare better around tower speakers
    If you have small toddlers in the home, or even active youngsters in general, keep in mind that a pair of bookshelf speakers on stands may not be the safest thing you can have in the home. I’ve seen a speaker or two fall in my day, and the floor isn’t the only thing that can get damaged. Keep this in mind as you shop.
  • Are you primarily into movies or music?
    If you’re a movie-buff you almost undoubtedly want to make sure you invest in a great subwoofer. That means it’s even more acceptable to go with a higher quality bookshelf speaker over a tower. If music is your thing, you may want to see if matching 4 speakers all around is something you can pull off. Whether towers or bookshelf speakers, matching 4-5 speakers all-around is definitely the way to go if you’re a die-hard music aficionado. What size speakers you get isn’t as important as making sure you match them where needed.
  • What’s your upgrade path?
    If you can think far enough into the future, you may want to invest in a pair of bookshelf speakers up front, along with a subwoofer. Then, when you’re ready, you can move those bookshelf speakers to the back and invest in a pair of good-quality tower speakers. The advantage here, of course, is that you may not be able to afford both towers and a subwoofer initially, so this is a way to step into a nicer surround system gradually. Planning your upgrade path is a skill we highly recommend you put some time and energy into—it can save you lots of money in the long-run and net you a much better-sounding system sooner than later. Check out our Upgrading Your Speakers Hassle-free article for even more advice on this topic.
  • Cube speakers, contrary to marketing and infomercials, can’t defy the laws of physics
    Despite what you may hear on TV or read in a magazine ad, tiny cube speakers cannot produce accurate sound. Here’s why: Cube speakers can’t play much below 150Hz, and the accompanying “bass module” can’t quite reach up high enough to fill in the gap. As a result, you get big frequency response holes that aren’t a problem with a real bookshelf speaker-subwoofer combination. That bass module also can’t deliver serious output below 40Hz, so you get a lot of boomy bass, but very little real tactile response. In summary, if cube speakers impress you in the store demo, its likely because you can’t compare them to a true surround system.


Remember what I said earlier: What size of speakers you have does not determine, necessarily, the quality of sound you will get. There are tons of examples of bookshelf speakers sounding better than their tower-sized counterparts. Remember that a subwoofer is your friend—even for music-listening. Pair the speakers for the room and the listening position and don’t overdo it. If you are sitting less than 10 feet away from your speakers, a pair of towers may simply be too large to properly image well. Don’t be worried if your speakers don’t “look” big…you want them to sound big.

Are looking for tower speakers or bookshelf speakers? Did this article change your mind at all? Let us know in the comments below.

81 Comments on What Size Speakers Do I Need for My Room?

  1. H. T. Neo Phyte

    I have enjoyed your articles. What do you think of this set up for a HT in a 20’X15’X9′ (LXWXH) room? Klipsch KL-650s for front left and right, Klipsch KL-7800 for center and back left / right. Receiver: Pioneer SC-57. All are THX Ultra2 certified. Sub Woofer: Klipsch SW-112 12″. Blu-Ray: Sony 5100. Controls: Control4 HC-250 Home Automation Controller w/ SR-250 Remote. Apple TV. Sonos Connect. Not sure on TV yet, leaning towards Pansasonic Viera Plasma.

    • I’m in love with your room! Do you have this all purchased and configured yet? If not, have you considered a cinemawide projection screen in lieu of a TV? You have the room dimensions and the products in mind to use a nice perf screen and get a really theatrical-quality experience. In that case you could even forgo the KL-7800 and use another KL-650 for your center (though the KL-7800 is perfectly fine). I might also recommend eventually upping the Blu-ray player to an Oppo BDP-103 since the rest of your gear is so premium. Let me know how the Control4 does for you and if you’re using it with an iPad or similar.

      • H. T. Neo Phyte

        Clint, thanks for your quick response. This is what I am planning on doing – I will definitely pursue the Oppo and look into the projector screen. I plan on using an iPad with the controller. A few more details about the room: 1) it is an upstairs media room with bedrooms nearby, 2) TV viewing will be across the width, not across the length – the viewer will be about 12 feet from the TV, 3) the front speakers will reside on bookshelfs. Key question: is this set up overkill for this room or is it ok? Thanks….

        • It’s not overkill, but you’ll probably want to limit the screen size to around 100-inches or less (diagonal) for that distance (and, yes, I’m the only person I know who “limits” the size of a screen!) You may also find that you can only really fit the center channel behind a perf screen at that size. That will let you get a nice wide soundstage from just outside of the screen.

          And if you end up going with a television, that’s not a deal-killer either. It should still look and sound great.

  2. Evral Tatum-Mcfield

    I would like some imput regarding, buying 5 speakers system for music listening Or 2 bookshelf speakers and a sub woofer,as i said before, its only for music listening, not home theater configuration, willing to spend less than $700 for it,Thanks for the advise!!

  3. In Love with Klipsch

    We are in the process of updating our main living room and need some help with what to purchase for a somewhat large 2 story room please.
    Our Family room is 18′ x 16 and is connected on the back side to very open Kitchen & Breakfast room, while the Dining, Hallway, Foyer, and open Staircase flank the right hand side. The ceiling reaches up past 20 feet and opens to the landing at the top of the stairs and more open rooms there as well. Basically, we don’t have many walls to block in any of the sound for us, so we have been thinking we would need a set up for medium to large size rooms. Our 2 recliners are currently set back about 14 feet from the front of the TV and speakers.

    For various reasons, we purchased the Onkyo TX-NR838 7.2 Atmos Ready home theater receiver and are now trying to decide on the best options for speakers from the new Klipsch Reference series (we have access to a significant discount on these is the biggest reason for this choice).

    On our way to 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos Surround Sound, we have so far purchased the below speakers:
    Klipsch Reference RB-61 II Bookshelf speakers,
    Klipsch Reference R-25C Center Speaker,
    Klipsch Reference R-12SW Powered subwoofer, &
    Onkyo SKH-410 Dolby Atmos® enabled add-on speaker modules to be used as the Height speakers.

    Now, my questions are:
    Should we return the RB-61 II Bookshelf speakers and replace them with either the R-28F or R-26F Floorstanding Speakers? We currently have the bookshelf speakers placed on top of our entertainment center, tilted down towards the listening area at about 20-30 degrees.
    Also, we were considering the R-14S Surround Speakers for our front side surround speakers paired with either a 2nd set of the R-14S or R-14M Monitor, or even the Compact Performance Series CP-6 to handle the rear channels.

    When we built the house, the folks selling the surround wiring option were not as helpful as they could have been, so we now have surround sount speakers coming out of the wall at a height of 11 feet and 16 feet across from each other. Therefore, I am expecting we will need to aim whatever speakers we install here down, just not sure at what angle.

    Any help you can provide is much appreciated.

    • Your room sounds wonderful—don’t sweat the openness. The first thing I can note is that you may want another subwoofer in order to properly pressurize a room of that size and volume. Those Reference Klipsch speakers will be fine—they are very efficient and play very loudly, even in a large space. I am not a fan of placing them up high and tilting them down, however. You may want to consider getting stands for them if possible (it should be possible, since your alternative is buying towers which have to be positioned somewhere). I almost always advocate for bigger speakers, but you may want to try what you have first (with stands) before you trade up immediately. Of course, if the costs of stands gets you near to the towers, then you might as well upgrade to Klipsch towers.

      For your surround issue, you can also extend the wiring and drop them down on posts if you do it right, to get them lower. That’s more of an aesthetic issue than a technical one. Hope this helps a little!

      • In Love with Klipsch

        Thank you very much for your quick response and helpful advice.

        Due to our discount, the tower speakers will actually end up as almost $100 less in cost, so I think we will definitely upgrade to those.

        I guess my only remaining query is on what configuration to use for the surround sound speaker options:
        #1: R-14S Surround Speakers for our front side surround speakers + a 2nd set of the R-14S speakers to handle the rear channels
        #2: R-14S Surround Speakers for our front side surround speakers + R-14M Monitor speakers to handle the rear channels
        #3: R-14S Surround Speakers for our front side surround speakers + Compact Performance Series CP-6 speakers to handle the rear channels?

        What combination do you feel will give me the best sound for the room and receiver?

        Thanks again!

        • I’m a fan of using dipole or dipole speakers for (side) Surrounds (5.1), but not for the Surround Back (7.1) speakers due to the nature of surround mixes and what they are intended to convey presently. I would recommend the R-14M’s for the back—particularly with the move towards more point-source surround effects these days.

          • In Love with Klipsch

            Oddly enough, that is the same advice the Home Theater guy at Best Buy told us, but with the amount we are spending on this room, I really wanted a 2nd opinion.

            You are awesome to get back with us so quickly!
            Thanks again and Happy New Year!

  4. Chris in Texas

    This is great info for those of us trying to dial in great rooms.

    I have a huge great room approximately 30′ by 30′ with a cathedral ceiling 16′ tall in the center. My home theater is on the left half of the room with the sectional sofa seating area approximately 15′ from the 60″ TV. The larger walls are hard surface, which tend to cause echos. The floors are also concrete except for the area carpet under the sofa. All this to say the sound in the room bounces around like crazy and definition is hard to achieve. Anyone in the kitchen/dining area disrupts the listening experience.

    I’m trying to design a sound system for the theater area that I don’t have to turn up loud to hear clearly, so I’m not trying to fill up the whole room, but get great definition in that area. I’m really just trying to get clarity for regular TV and the occasional movie in that area without overwhelming the rest of the room.

    I currently have a Sony box surround system with a center bar, small cube speakers, and a subwoofer, running from an older Yamaha receiver.

    I figured getting 4 bookshelf speakers targeted to the seating area would allow me to listen in clarity with a lower volume, but I’m not sure if this is overkill compared to surround sound speakers. As for budget, I don’t want to spend a crazy amount, but keeping it around $1k is doable.

  5. Nik

    Hi Clint
    I have a 13ft sq room which already has in wall and ceiling speakers. The house was ex-display so the current speakers are no good. To replace them I was told the Bowers & Wilkins CWM 7.5 in wall and B&W CCM 664 ceiling with an ASW608 sub would be ideal. Seems a bit pricy though, is it good value for a ripper home theatre system?

    • I don’t quite understand what you’re saying. You probably mean you have 13′ x 13′ room, so that seems like a lot of speaker—but quality is important. You’ll have to decide how much you want to spend and what your goals are.

  6. Helen

    Hello, I’d really appreciate your thoughts and advice on my setup if you have the time…
    I have a 14’x11’x8′ room. Yamaha dsp ax763, Samsung LE40D503, Windows 7 64bit HTPC, B&W ASW610 subwoofer, B&W 685’s as main L/R speakers, B&W VM6 as centre speaker and B&W M1’s L/R surround speakers.
    A bit of background to my problem…. I moved in with my boyfriend about 6 years ago. He had a Yammy amp that had never been setup properly and as I’m the only one of us that uses a computer I said I’d download the manual, learn about the settings and get beautiful surround sound for our movies and music. And so it began…….
    Being a girl I understood nothing about this stuff (sorry for being sexist ladies!). I had to learn about audio signals and cables right up to setting audio and video renderers on the HTPC for highest quality playback. During this time we’ve upgraded the amp and speakers but it’s still not “right”.
    Using the movie “Pink Floyd – The Wall” as an example….. my boyfriend insists that the detail in the audio is just not there. His friends are always full of opinions but most lack any real knowledge, including one who told him you don’t need a subwoofer for a home theater surround sound setup (don’t get me started!!) and another who said he had done loads of surround sound setups and you “just need to plug the speakers into the corresponding positive and negative outputs on the amp”.
    Don’t get me wrong, my boyfriend really appreciates all the time and work I’ve put into this and says he couldn’t have done it himself but because I’m the one who has learnt it not him, when his mates voice there opinion he believes they know what they’re talking about.
    So… today he was told that our speakers are too big for our room and that’s why he can’t hear the fine details in the sound. OK…. I don’t know everything (far from it) so am prepared to look into this. Is he right???
    Any/all opinions, help or advice offered will be hugely appreciated.

    • Speaker size is such a generalized statement… I think that you can oversize a speaker, but in general, a high QUALITY speaker will do well just about anywhere. Since I don’t have specifics it’s hard to give you more advice. Also look at your room acoustics. A lot of times, having too many hard surfaces (floor, glass tables, etc) will result in a more “muddled” sound.

  7. Gyan

    Convincing and very informative article. In a medium size room I am planning to position Vintage bookshelves( wharfedale 304) along with a decent active subwoofer. The amps wd be marantz pm 6005.Your take on the setup please. Suggestions if any wd be deeply appreciated.

  8. tom

    I see no use for a sub other than to shake the floor, scare my cat or annoy neighbors…
    I am running a 1979 80w akai amp with sw135 speakers, the bass they kick out is already shaking the wood floor from my 5m by 9m living room.

  9. Mohan

    Hi clint, I appreciates your help in deciding the speaker sizes fro my Home theater room(19′ x 13′). Personally I dont like Bose but I am not able to get same configuration similar to Lifestyle® SoundTouch® 525 entertainment system in Kipsh.

  10. tom

    Hi Clint,
    I have a 20x14x10 room that I am converting to full home theater room. I am planning to put projector in it and screen size is expected 120-140 diagonal size. 14 feet is width. there will be 3 rolls of seats. however, I have limited budget for speakers and planning to spend $1500 the most to fill the room. I already have two bose bookshelf 301 and polk audio center channel cs10.
    can I still use these speakers in my new home theater room with new speakers? or should I buy whole new sets? I already have Yamaha RX-V677 7.2-channel Wi-Fi Network AV Receiver with AirPlay.
    can you recommend me type of speakers to buy to make this room real theater feel like, within my budget?

  11. tony

    So I am redoing our Football weight room. we currently have 6 small indoor outdoor speakers that pull maybe 50watts each. They run off A Denon 605Watt 6 channel amp and a Onkyo 805Watt 7.1 channel receiver. We are looking to do two large thunder boxes on either end of the room. ( roughly 30 yrds long +) They each would have a 2, 4 inch tweeter, 2, 6×9 speakers and 2, 15′ either Alpine or Kicker maybe power acoustic ( not sure which is actually better for sustainable use. ) We are building thunder boxes in our mascots likeness for these boxes. Do I need to buy an additional amp frock the place. Many Thanks , Stereo set up challenged in Portland

  12. Cait

    I am an avid book listener and collector (about 500). I have tape/cd players in every room and I carry whatever I’m listening to from room to room as I do housework; 6 currently in use. As a crazy thriftier, I have been buying systems at $5-$15. They work beautifully. (People throw away the best stuff.) Sometimes they come with multiple speakers. The AIWA came with 4! Do I need to hook up more than 1? Sometimes space is really limited(>200sq ft.)

  13. Pingback: Introduction to Home Theaters | Handy Blog

  14. Norbert

    hi Clint,
    I hope you are well.
    Thank you for the article on the size of the speakers.
    I am a really uneducated consumer re sound so was hoping on your support on the below question.
    Would like to explore the home theater quality sound in my small living room (LxWxH – 20x10x8ft). yet I would not like to through money for smth which is not fit for my room. Have a 42″ screen tv that may change to 50″ in the future.
    Would a LG sound bar LG LAS450H – 200watt, be too much for the room? Watching distance from the TV is its width, i.e. less than 10ft. I would not spend more than 200 usd on this area, :). if not appropriate, what would you suggest?

    Thanks a lot for your time,
    God bless you!

  15. Satish

    I have a rather small dedicated media room (14^11^8) and I ended up buying 2 RP-280 FA towers, corresponding sub woofer, center channel and 2 surround speakers.

    I feel like they are way over what I actually need for the room. But would they produce bad output in such a small room? Other option for me is to leave them in the living room which is much bigger space.

    Any suggestions? Now I’m trying to decide whether to just return these gems and just get more appropriate ones for small room.

  16. rajan

    which one of this speaker highly sold ,which one will perform good decent music among this two KLIPSCH SPEAKERS.klipsch- RB-61
    II vs RB-81 II

  17. Mrigen Das

    Hall size is : ” 70 ft length, 25 ft wide, 9 ft height”. For that hall I want to get an idea about adequate sound system required for cultural programme and approx budget also. Thanx.

      • Chris

        Hi Clint,

        My 15 year old house was originally configured with a bose lifestyle system which has finally failed for good and now looking for a well thought out system for the unique space I have.

        I have a unique shaped room (hexagon) that acts as a kitchen, dining room and living room. Each wall is 20′ long and 3 of the walls have a lot of glass as they look over a lake. The ceiling is 18′-20′.

        What do you recommend?

  18. Matt Blattner

    Hi Clint,
    Know this thread has been here for sometime but I have been reading everything under the sun the past few weeks while planning out my system (keep going back and forth). The room is about 23’x17’x8′ its a basement living room, 65″ TV on the 23 foot wall, and i view from about 13 feet back.

    I love the look of tower speakers but am worried if they would be overkill or not, I have been wanting to go with the DefTech DP9060’s for left/right and the matching CS9060 center to start, paired to a Denon X3300W receiver. I plan to expand out the system but buying the new tv and the above gear is enough for right now! Do you think those towers are overkill, maybe a lower powered model? Also any input on the DefTech towers, very mixed feelings on them i see. Also my main use is for movies/TV and gaming.

  19. Scott

    Hi Clint,
    Thanks so much for all your input, it certainly is appreciated. The dilemma and question I’m facing is that I’d like to upgrade my current subwoofer in a room that is approximately 27′ x 25′, where half the room, (13.5′ x 25′) has my TV and speakers setup, whereas the other half is not being used for viewing at all, but is open to the other side of the room nonetheless.
    So here is my questions, should I buy two Klipsch R-12SW subwoofers, with an approx. value of $400 each, and rated as one of the best subs under $500? Or should I opt for one higher end sub in the range of $700 to $800 dollars? The three options I’m looking at for the higher end subwoofers are, the HSU Research ULS-15, the Martin Logan Dynamo 700w, or the SVS SB-2000.
    If it was simply a matter of two bad subwoofers, or one good subwoofer the choice would be simple, however, seeing that my room is so big, and that the Klipschs are highly rated for being only $400, it makes my decision less clear. Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated, and thanks in advance.

  20. Dante

    I’m so confused! I currently have a Marantz Sr7010 utilizes as a 5.2 set-up. The cspeakers are all in curling Niles Directional 7.5. My dilemma is that the center channel is completely muddled. Room size is 14’w x 18’ l x 12’ h, the right hand side is open to a larger kitchen and dining area hat is impossible to close off. I’m toying with upgrading to a 5.2.4 system so that I may utilize the existing in-ceiling speakers. Do you have opinions on speakers that will not overpower the room? I’m thinking center channel, bi-amped front tower speakers with good mid-range, and rear bookshelf for surrounds. I would be build this over time for cost purposes, so center channel first? Then towers, then rears? Any help would be appreciated. Would be used mostly for movies, but music as well.

  21. stan

    I realize this is an older article, but exactly related to my struggles in determining best speaker layout for my basement. im about to finish it, so the pressure is how to wire it without being able to experiment with the finished environment. anyway, its music im into, not vide/movies. my basement is a square of about 28X 28, but then also with an additional bump out on one end thats 15 by 15, so essentially its 43 long at its longest and 15 wide for one section and 28 wide for the other section, all connected and open, no walls. My question is can i use my JBL LX 600 floorstanding speakers, old but i love the sound, combined with in ceilings or should i just go all in ceilings?

  22. michelle

    HELP! PLEASE! I have no clue about sound systems or surround sound, We have a 40’x70′ shop with 20 ft ceilings. we are trying to buy a system for, We throw lots of house parties and want the bass bumpin and the music loud! Can you point me in the right direction on speaker specs or systems i would need?

  23. Shecky

    My question is about audio and stereo speakers. We are building a geodesic dome and have the big room to fill. The diameter is 45′ and it’s 23′ deep with a hieght of 29′. Basically half the dome. Sad to say that I can’t use my ProAc Response 3 speakers because of
    everything else that’s along that wall. I’ve been told that speaker placement should be facing out from that middle wall toward the outside of dome. So I want to put some monitor size speakers on their sides above the doorways and tilt them down at an angle towards that outside wall. I have an Emotiva XPR-2 amp with the matching preamp for power. Amp puts out 250w per side.
    Do you have any recommondation for smaller speakers to mount on the wall? I’d use the ProAcs but they are sand filled so that won’t work.

  24. Chandra Prakash

    Sir i have drawing room of 20*20 and i am looking for Sony iv300 with 5.1 channel speakers giving output if 1000 watt. Is it good for a small party. I do not have good knowledge about sound systems. Thank you

  25. Ajay

    Hi, Clint,
    I am starting to build a 5.1 system and thinking of buying Elac 249.3 Floor Standing Speakers for an room size of 12 X 15 feet which will be mostly used for watching TV and watching movies. The reason for buying full size speakers is that my house is rented and you have an option when you shift to the new house with bigger room size.Shall I down size the speakers and kindly recommend surround, centre, Sub and AVR for the same. Many thanks in advance.

  26. daddyora

    Clint – great stuff on AG, thanks for the work. My question would seem to be universal but very little found on the subject. For my new 5.1 (5.2 ?) HT I’ll need to put the L/C/R speakers in a built-in bookshelf surrounding the TV. Ceiling surrounds. Obviously, the problem is setting front speakers in bookcase cells (some ability to vary dimensions but 12″ deep). Can optimize placement, toe-in, out to edge, etc. About 7′ apart. Now, what about speaker ports ? Sealed, front, back, radiators, etc ? Block the ports ? Sound absorption in cells ? What is the best design for new speakers ? 80% movies (dialogue clarity is important, loudness not). Listening area about 13x13x10 but open area surrounding LP. Budget around $2k for L/C/R.

    • Sealed for sure. You may also want to experiment with dampening the inside of the cavities in which they are placed. I’d toe them in a bit if possible and pay attention to the center channel placement as best you can.

  27. Jerry

    Hello Clint,
    My question is about a weight room. We want to run music in it but it needs to be louder than the students in the weight room. On top of that, its quite large. The dimensions are 57×110 about 5300 sq. ft.
    We have no equipment yet so we can start from scratch, however, they have left me with a very tiny budget to work with. Is there any way to make this size room work with 3 speakers (L,R, M), an amplifier, and a receiver? If there is, what recommendations would you have me start looking at?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Typically for that type of application, you’re going to need a greater number of speakers to spread the sound around the room (sound coming from in-ceiling speakers as opposed to having it all come from one end). You can do it “simply” but it will still take some resources. You’ll want a multi-channel amplifier and enough ceiling speakers to cover the area with decent sound that doesn’t distort. trying to run it all off a single AV receiver will likely result in distorted audio and insufficient room coverage.

  28. Yvonne Johnson

    I have an Audio Technica turntable. I need surround sound and really need to hear the music in detail as I am a musician trying to play the music I am hearing. I have a large 25 x 21 room with 13′ ceilings. 2 walls are mostly glass. This room opens up to the kitchen which is 18 x 21.

    Please provide the speaker set up you would recommend. Side note….we need speakers for the TV as well. It has plenty of sound on its own but the acoustics in the room make it hard to hear what is being said.

  29. John Colton

    I have a small room and had my heart set on tower speakers in hopes I will, within 5 years, have a larger room for this HT setup. At this point, I plan on LRC and one or two subs. I’d like to use SVS Prime or Ultra center and either the tower or bookshelf for sides. For sub, I like the SB-1000. Overall, the room is 19 by 25, but the listening area is only 12 by 12, which means sitting around 6-7 feet from the speakers or even 3-4 feet using side chairs. The layout is here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/7hMCLLXH9iZqpq1e6.

    I have a reasonable budget for this, so I can be talked into 2 subs or even an upgrade to SB-2000. Would rather skip the PB to save a few inches. I can also be talked into Ultra vs Prime. My alternative was Klipsch RP-440C and 2 x RP-250F for towers.

    My questions are:
    1. Bookshelf or Tower?
    2. One sub or two?
    3. Upgrades?
    4. SVS or Klipsch?
    5. Perfect receiver for this? Onkyo TX-NR575?


  30. Rajat Tandon

    Thanks for your awesome comments her.
    I have living room in apartment size 14 ft x 18 ft with a extended open dining area.
    Currently i run bose two 301’s /10 to 150 w 4 to 8 ohms / IEC 75 w continuous 6 ohm) at ear height from a Yamaha v rx377 which start giving power to speakers at around 50% volume.
    I listen little louder but listen atleast 3 hour a day if not less most of time music week me movies)
    I want o upgrade in around 2200$ budget And I have been saving hard for this but am confused reading several reviews on master switch audiogun and listening in Best Buy magnolia.
    My taste is jazz and dance music. I like high clarity and high bass clean sound.
    My kind of music is almost available on YouTube mostly.
    I just want really good quality immersive sound one is can get get in this budget?
    Please help me to start with some setup and then eventually upgrade this full furnished basement setup which I will be moving in next 6 months.
    Options and my confusions
    sonos play base with woofer and 2 back speaker
    B&w 802 d3 and nice peachy tee nova
    Elac speaker with Yamaha 1070 Avr rage
    Or something which has Capabilities of all.

    Help me find a way to my music listening zenith.


  31. Charbel

    Hi Clint,
    I am very new to this domain and i was asked by my client to setup the sound system for a conference room of L:10.85 meters, W:9.77 meters and H: 8.55 meters. First row of people will be sitting at 2m from the projection screen (installed along the width of the room), while the last row is expected to be at 10m.
    I am looking to mount two JBL 306P MkII 6″ Powered Two-Way Studio Monitor (56W, Class-D, Sensitivity 92dB/1m, max continous SPL 92dB and max Peak SPL 110dB) and connect them to a small Yamaha MG06 6-Input Compact Stereo Mixer which has Stereo Balanced Outputs. I am thinking of mounting the speakers in the corners of the room, to the left and right of the projection screen, at a height of 1.5m (the bottom of the speaker will be at that height).
    The speaker will be taking on a Shure lapel microphone connected to the Mixer and casually attendants would interact with him via a Shure Wireless Microphone.
    Will the above setup work and people sitting at the front, middle and the back be able to hear well the presenter without being annoyed of very high “volume” or very low “volume”, or i need to add more speakers towards the middle of the room?
    Thank you in advance for any advice you may provide.
    Best regards,

  32. Abhisek Ghosh

    Hi, I need your views on my potential HT setup:
    Front L/R = Martin Logan 60XT, Centre = Martin Logan 50XT, Side Surrounds = RBH 515, Amp = Wyred 4 Sound mINT, A/V Receiver = Onkyo THZ RZ730, Subwoofers = SVS SB2000 (2, diagonal opposite corners). Room dimensions : 5.1M x 3.9M x 2M.
    My question is about my rear surround speakers – I can put another pair of RBH 515, but I have 1 pair of Morel Soundspot SP – 1.
    Given the specs (and after hearing them) I know the Morel will not produce the same level of sound or clarity as the RBH 515, but given I am placing the rears on my ceiling, should I save some bucks by re-using the Morels, instead of buying another pair of RBH?
    Appreciate your help.

  33. Anand

    I have, following combo for a 300 sq ft Living area extended also into Kitchen,
    Denon AVR-X4300H.
    definitive promonitor 1000
    definitive promcenter 1000

    but confused over subwoofer buy
    was looking at Definitive – SuperCube 4000 or 2000?
    please advice what other options or changes I should make?

  34. Lamont Simpson

    Dear Clint, read your literature online about the speakers and found it to be DYNAMIC! It comes at a time when I’m currently going through a bookshelf speaker crisis in my life and really need a true audiophiles help with my dilemma. I’m currently in the small room category and am using a relatives Polk Audio RTI A3 bookshelf speakers with a sensitivity rating of 89dB with no subwoofer and have recently auditioned at home a pair of Klipsch RP-600M with a sensitivity rating of 95 or 96 dB. I’m using a 2.1 channel Onkyo receiver at 100 watts per channel. There will be no home theater use for my setup, strictly music with a genre of R&B, soul, funk, disco, rock, alternative and alternative rock and some jazz. While on some tracks the Klipsch do sound more full bodied than the Polk, at times on some tracks the bass seems to overshadow the treble. I’ve heard from some people in online forums steer me to other brands such as Philharmonic Audio AA+ and Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE but I’m absolutely torn and don’t know where to turn. Can you provide me with any help whatsoever on this matter which will be gratefully appreciated. With all technical respect, Lamont Simpson.

  35. Jeff Smith

    Currently building a house with a living size of 17′ x 22′ with cathedral ceiling height of 18′ down the center. Torn between using in wall speakers vs satellite speaker style system. With the in wall speakers can I place them at an elevation of 9′ out of view? Or do the fronts r wa ally need to be place at the sides of my tv?

    • I almost always choose in-walls over small satellites. However, I do think it’s important to try and get the tweeters nearer to ear level if at all possible. I wonder if inverting in-walls would get you closer (with the tweeters at the bottom)?

  36. Jeevit

    Hi, I have a room size (width)12*28*10 (high). The TV places on the 12 feet wall and the seating distance would be like 27-28feet from the screen. What is the ideal requirement for this room size. What would be the best column speakers or packages can I buy for this type of room…a bit worried …(mostly things would play from tv, normal channels, limited movies but greatly audio…love music) thanksnin advance…

  37. Shrija Alexander

    I have a room with an audience capacity of 700 people standing. It is primarily used for bands and musical performances of all kinds, from solo acoustic, jazz to rock, pop, hiphop and comedy. The room is 28 Metres wide, 20 Metres deep, and the ceiling is 6 Metres high. It has a flat floor. The stage is recessed into the wall, 1.5 metres high, 8 metres wide, 8 metres deep
    with 2 metres extending into the room. It is central along the width of the room. There are bars in the 2 rear corners of the room, and the main doors are at the back opposite the stage. What kind of sound system would you advice?

  38. Sandeep

    We are in the process of setting up our TV and home theatre. The room is 20’X10’XX9’ (LX WXH). We have decided on the following-

    – TV – LG C9 65”
    – Receiver – Marantz SR5013 7.1
    – Front – Klipsch RP 600 MP
    – Centre – Klipsch RP 600 C
    -Sub – Klipsch R-120SW
    – Rear – Klipsch RP 500 MB

    Do you think this is alright or an overkill.


  39. Joe Zayden

    I have a 11.5ft wide x 24ft long room, I’m currently making it to a theater room. I am curious what size speakers would you recommend for that space.


    • How far will you sit from the speakers? If you are within 12 feet, you can go with bookshelf speakers (depending on brand). There are reasons to go with tower speakers, but for most rooms, bookshelf speakers are fine.

  40. D


    I have a room which is 19x19ft dedicated living room with sofas. Not open plan. Issue is i don’t want bookshelf speakers, as i want something thin and discrete, hence looking at the kef t301 x 5. Question i have is will these be powerful enough for the room size? Are there any other speakers to consider? Which sub would suit this size of the room? What specification should i be looking out for? My budget is $2000k.

    Thanks in advance all

  41. marianne

    HI. I am currently upgrading a sound system with new speakers. In the past have had Klipsch, and AR2’s and Infinity towers. The current contemporary house has very few walls and the listening area is about 2000 ft. LR,DR, Den, Kitchen stairway and loft. I Love all types of music and watch TV and movies. Please could you advise.

    • Very much depends on budget and seating distance (read this). Klipsch or other horn-loaded speakers with high efficiency are good if you are sitting far away. If you are closer (within 15 feet), I like KEF in open rooms like yours. The concentric driver design is a little more forgiving of open spaces.

  42. Brian

    Hi. My question is about speaker placement in a large room. We have a new home build Great Room/HT. It is 25’W x 40’L x 16’H. The sitting area will be 15’ from the the short wall and TV with windows on each side of that wall. This prevents in wall FLR speakers. Also, unfortunately, due to construction plans, the use of in wall side surrounds will have to be 12’high! So, I’m planning on using KEF R11 for Fronts, a KEF Ci5160 center and KEF Ci200 x 4 for side surrounds to make a 7.1 system. There will be lots of acoustic treatment and 2-4 SVS subs.
    Is this a reasonable plan? Will side surrounds this high be a problem? How much spacing between surround speakers can there be in this size room? Thanks

    • Having high surrounds shouldn’t be too much of an issue. They should be far enough away that you’ll still get a convincing surround experience. If they are going to be very far away, you’ll want to test them before you install them. Run your room correction and see what the trim value is on the surrounds. If it is lower than the maximum, you’ll be fine. Good luck!

  43. Donald Peter Gallo

    Hi Clint,
    He seem like just the guy to answer my questions. I have a tiled living living room that I would like to install a 5.1 system. Looking at Klipsch RP6000F, RP 504C and CDT-5650-Cll in the ceiling surrounds and a SPL-120 .Receiver is a Yamaha RX-V6A.
    I appreciate your efforts for all of novices.

    • Tiled rooms are very acoustically reflective. If you can, put a thick rug between you and your speakers. The Reference Premiere speakers from Klipsch are very nice. Most people don’t need the output from a floorstanding speaker and can save a bunch of money by buying bookshelf speakers instead. Check out these two articles for more information (LINK and LINK).

  44. Harold shabelman

    I have a room 30 ft long and 15 wide with wooden floors . Would like bookshelves and receiver under 450$. I will be listening from 25 ft away. Any suggestions? Sorry if this is duplicate request, not sure other wen thru

    • At that price point, you are going to want to look for something used. Generally speaking, you’ll want a speaker with high sensitivity. Horn loaded tweeters will be the order of the day. That said, sitting 25 feet away is very far. You are unlikely to be able to hit reference volume at that distance unless you get extremely lucky in finding a deal on a used set of speakers and a receiver. For specific recommendations, reach out to the AV Rant podcast. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction

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