Tower speakers

54 comments on “What Size Speakers Do I Need for My Room?

  1. H. T. Neo Phyte

    Clint,
    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.
    Thanks…
    H.T.

    • 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
        or
        #2: R-14S Surround Speakers for our front side surround speakers + R-14M Monitor speakers to handle the rear channels
        or
        #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?
    Tom

  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

    Hi,
    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

    Clint
    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.

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