What speaker for my apartment?

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Hey I want to put together new speakers for my stereo. I live in a small apartment and my listening area is about 15' by 12'. I've got my furniture there too so not a lot of room for huge speakers. I want them to be as high efficiency as possible for small tube amps. I was thinking open baffles, but it sounds like they need to be far away from walls and that wouldn't leave me much space, although i could push them out of the way when I'm not using them. Don't have much use for heavy bass because of my neighbors lol, so maybe a ported box? I don't have a lot of room to do woodworking and I don't have any friends in that field, so complex designs are out unless its a cabinet i can buy either already fabricated or maybe a flat pack design. I'd prefer 8" and up drivers just so if I move to a house I could put them in a bigger horn loaded box or something. Here's my needs in order:

#1 High efficency (most important)
#2 Cost/ease of construction (Like 1000 or less for drivers, can go higher for an incredible pair though)
#3 Bass response (least important)
 
I've got a thread going in the subwoofer forum where I'm trying to understand how OB can give pretty good "apparent" low frequency extension at the listening position, but in the next room you hear nothing...

Seems like a good fit for anyone living in an apartment where they'd like to enjoy the full soundscape, but not at the expense of their neighbors quiet background...

OBs can be pretty efficient, depending of course on the drivers chosen.
OBs are by far the easiest to construct. Put legs on a thick wood slab so it stands and cut holes in it for the drivers...

Depending on the woofer you choose, you could have 30Hz at your ears and nothing at your neighbors living space. (Perhaps...FAIK maybe not possible in smaller rooms)

Anyway, just try getting away with a 30 Hz bass rolloff using a sealed, ported or bandpass enclosure whilst living in an apartment building - concrete cinderblock walls wont stop it.

I'm using one 18 in each side and one of the "standard" builds is a Goldwood 1858 18", plus whatever full range you'd like on top, that can at least meet if not exceed the Goldwood's 94db efficiency rating.

Amps are cheap and you could easily get some class D unit for the lows, while running the FR off your small tube amp. Then you dont have to worry so much about efficiency matching. Crossover at line level to, to save a bundle on speaker level xover parts costs. (Better part of $50 for a single inductor...)

They may be bigger than you'd like, but you may find the "like big headphones" aspect (at least to what the neighbors will hear bass-wise) appealing.

Hope this helps,
 
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OB needs space to breathe, so yes, away from walls.
Plus, OB needs bigger baffles, otherwise the bass will be non existent, especially since I don't think you will be using dual 15" drivers each side in that room.

For a small, non intrusive look, great sound and great reach in bass (for their size) I always suggest the TABAQ as it is very easy to build, and they sound amazing. Placing them near a wall will boost the bass output a little, and you may or may not need a BSC filter.

If you build them with Faital Pro drivers, they will have nice efficiency for your tube amp.

Do a quick search in the TABAQ thread for Faital, and you'll get the idea.

Thread here:
TABAQ TL for Tang Band
 
If you can live with no bass below 50Hz, and 11.5L sealed box with an Mark Audio Alpair 10 series fits the description but the high efficiency (88db is maybe not enough) and size of the driverr (6").

A 12" Fane 12-250TC can work in a 75-80L sealed box, and on low power would give you sound untill the low 40's in a small room. it's 98dB efficient so you will never use more than a few watts i think in that appartment.
 
I'd have to recommend the MA Alpair 12P but in a Pencil cabinet which is floorstanding....about a 1'x1' footprint....about the same that you'd need for speaker stands if you were to go with a bookshelf sized cabinet.

IMO the 12P needs the breathing room of a larger enclosure (floorstanding Pencils) to really shine. I built the smaller footprint Pencil (1'x1') instead of the larger SuperPencil (1'x deeper depth) and love them...they perform beautifully with very little wattage.

Mario
 
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Is it just me or do the suggestions seem to low in sensitivity? I'd like to see 96db+ if I'm trying to use fleawatts.

Here's a 95db two way that has ok bass with room gain. Cabinet is super simple. (you need two)

But from the same place you can do 96db with good bass for more $. (you need 2) $640 for the pair, that leaves plenty of money for plywood, glue, clamps/screws, and some ultratouch insulation to line it with (denim insulation, a bat is like $70 at Home Depot)

The Pi 4 would be really nice at 98db but the problem is it doesn't have much bass. It's also likely to crest the budget by going over a bit.

Here's an easy kit. But at only 96db without any BSC, the bass won't be super impressive, it'll be a little on the lean side to you with electronica or whatever. And you basically have to use a feedbackless tube amp with it or you won't get any bass. (I call it easy because of the flatpack)
 
Hey I want to put together new speakers for my stereo. I live in a small apartment and my listening area is about 15' by 12'. I've got my furniture there too so not a lot of room for huge speakers. I want them to be as high efficiency as possible for small tube amps. I was thinking open baffles, but it sounds like they need to be far away from walls and that wouldn't leave me much space, although i could push them out of the way when I'm not using them. Don't have much use for heavy bass because of my neighbors lol, so maybe a ported box? I don't have a lot of room to do woodworking and I don't have any friends in that field, so complex designs are out unless its a cabinet i can buy either already fabricated or maybe a flat pack design. I'd prefer 8" and up drivers just so if I move to a house I could put them in a bigger horn loaded box or something. Here's my needs in order:

#1 High efficency (most important)
#2 Cost/ease of construction (Like 1000 or less for drivers, can go higher for an incredible pair though)
#3 Bass response (least important)

Open baffles are huge, have a look at the JE Labs baffles.. I built a pair of them and they dominated my 30x14 foot room to the extent even I (who always prioritizes audio equipment) decided it was too much.

Given your space constraints, I would respectfully suggest that you'd be best served by a more powerful amplifier, and some more conventional speakers.

Even a 15W push-pull EL84 amp would really open the door to some very good speaker options.

The real success I have had to get a reasonable sound level with "flea power" amps, like SE 2A3 and the like, is with enormous washing machine sized speaker cabinets. The problem is always distortion on peaks, and even when it doesn't sound distorted, it add a harshness when the system lacks dynamic range when the speakers are less than 96dB/W sensitive or so (but better more). The next closest thing is open baffles with large drivers mounted. Ironically flea power amps don't sound too good with flea sized speakers, for the most part. Sensitivity is one reason, and the other is that small tube amps usually have high output impedance, which doesn't play well with complex crossovers or ported enclosures typical of smaller monitor sized speakers.

If you absolutely must learn this the hard way, I think large and sensitive full range drivers on open baffles are the most practical option- predominantly because if you at some point decide to go back to a more conventional approach, it is easy to sell the drivers and you're only out the cost for a sheet of plywood. I have some Goodmans 12" full range drivers from the 1950s which sound quite good used this way, and I would say Philips 8" drivers would be another good choice.

Back loaded horns are popular with some people, and I have a pair I built which use small 5" drivers. I think they would work well in an apartment with a tube amp, but they don't qualify as simple.
 
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Some random thoughts
- You’ve described a fairly small room, so even with moderately efficient drivers, you should be able to get satisfactory performance.
- By “small tube amps”, what amount of power are you considering? Have you had occasion to hear something that you you particularly like, or otherwise have a make/model/type in mind?
- As will / should be clearly detailed, OB - or large planar panels of any motor type - will have room placement considerations that don’t lend themselves practical in small rooms with a lot of furniture.
- Several folks have beaten me to the punch by mentioning Mark Audio / Alpair, and specific driver enclosure combinations, but there are at least a couple of models of Fostex that should be considered.
- For a budget of well under $1000 for drivers alone, you could do very well indeed, and still have change left for a couple of very nice dinners - or more powerful amp, etc. I could name a couple, but that’s probably subject for another thread/time.
- In my personal experience, the maximum size for a single driver/full range system that works well in a small room would be nominal 6”, which would mean something like Alpair A10, Pluvia11, Fostex FF165WK to name a few with which I’m most familiar. There are numerous enclosure enclosure designs proven to work well with any of these, but keep in mind that truly effective back loaded horns or Olson style manifolds - of which I’ve built / lived with more than a few - aren’t tiny, and some need almost as much “breathing room” as OB & planars. For example the FF165WK and MA/Alpair mentioned could work satisfactorily in small floorstanding or bookshelf sized monitors, and then be migrated to a larger BLH / manifold such as FHXL or Woden Valiant / Silbury when room size allows.

Any suggestions you find here are almost certainly based on the experiences and predilections of the members posting, and as always YMMV, caveat emptor, etc.
 
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I want them to be as high efficiency as possible for small tube amps.

Small tube amps almost always have highish output impedance, getting a speaker with flat (or complentary) impedance is as important as efficiency.

fortunately you are in the FR forum, and there are many suitable FRs. Often efficiency comes with the need for big boxes.

Howmuch amp? And how loud do you play (smallish room helps)?

dave
 
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The Alpair 12P 8" suits a small reflex enclosure and has a high 91.7dB sensitivity.

A12p is a 6.5”, and about 91 dB. It is only about a dB more than the A10p (5.25”) which i personally like better. Box sizes are about the same. A Pensil is a popular (with good reason) fairly simple to build standmount, which means no need for stands. Not a real small box.

There is also a standmount Classic Golden Ratio boxes freely available for there.

You could also look at the Fostex FF165wk, which is 92 dB, fits in about the same size boxes.

dave
 
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...For a budget of well under $1000 for drivers alone

To spend that on a pair of FR you are delving into the exotica. Best to start with something less ambitious to get your feet wet.

And to my mind, given the performance of some of today’s FR, a better way to spend to that amount is to add woofers and another amp to make a WAW. You can always start with just thar pai rof FRs.

dave
 
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I’m going to poo poo the Mark Audio drivers. They are not high sensitivity and being ported doesn’t give them much bass.

The only plus IMO is they seem like they are efficient for their sensitivity. They can do a lot with their watts. But I also think they need to be paired with rather gentle sounding electronics.

If the budget goes over including cabs the Audio Nirvana’s Super 12 ALNICO or 15 ferrite in some Parts Express cabinets would be very easy, driven by just about any tube amp, and provide bass (bsc would be an option too).

But really the Pi’s would be great.
 
Keep in mind the room size - 180sq ft - and cubic volume / floor space available for enclosures required by larger / higher sensitivity drivers to deliver their full potential, and just how loud apartment neighbour friendly listening levels might be - i.e. lower than you might think?

Poo poo the Mark Audio all you like, but I think there are more than enough members here besides Dave and myself happy to attest that they can be very satisfying, and certainly so if total system budget would allow for more that the as yet unspecified power level of “small tube” amp - which could range from 45DHT levels of less than 1 Watt, to close to 8 watts of 300B.

Which specific Parts Express cabinets did you have in mind?
 
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