Tower Speakers Close to Back Wall

I need some advice on what types of speakers to consider for an upgrade.  The speakers will be in a combination living room/dining room that is 21’W x 24’deep with a cathedral ceiling that is 14’ high.  The listening position is a sofa that is 12’ from the front wall.  The speakers will be be positioned within 24” of the front wall, which is mostly windows.  Due to furniture constraints, the speakers cannot be put out much farther into the room.

My current system is simple.  I have a Roon server elsewhere in the house.  I have a Matrix Mini 3 Plus as a Roon Endpoint/DAC connected to a Rotel 1570 Integrated amp which is connected to a pair of Golden Ear Triton 5 speakers.  I also have a subwoofer. 

I have owned several different sets of tower speaker over the years.  Those speakers have had either down facing, side facing or front firing bass ports.  The wall behind the speakers has windows or window treatments, depending upon time of day.   There is also a metal radiator than can rattle along the entire wall.  I figured that the variety of stuff on the wall behind the speakers combined with the minimal distance to the wall would result in acoustic issues with speakers that have back firing speakers.

I would like to spend less than $4000 to upgrade the speakers whether they are new or used.  I would consider another amplifier as part of the upgrade if I think that it is necessary, but I would prefer not to spend the money.  My questions are whether I should consider back ported speakers or if I should stick to either front ported or acoustic suspension speakers due to the limited amount of space that I have behind the speakers.  I look forward to hearing your suggestions.


24” measured from the driver face is actually good for the bass, as bass is omni directional and the close boundary minimizes the 1/4 wave cancelation your get between 3.5’ and 6’ into the room. This is why you often see subs close to the front wall.

Towner speakers are rarely full range and some room gain helps them. The sound stage is what suffers with boundaries. The port is omni directional too. Rear ported just means it is closer to the wall than a front port.

If you get a speaker that has some bass roll off (99% do) a close wall boundary will flatten them out.

A used pair of Revel 226be are a good example of a speaker that could be placed close to a wall and not sound too bloated.

in the link below the last graph shows the same speaker in two different rooms. The home theater room has them out into the room (false wall) and the living room has them closer to the front wall. You can see how it effects the bass

@flyfish77 Your room is a bit bigger than mine but I have 25-foot ceiling. Everyone told me that my speakers should not be too close to the front wall. I have them only 17 inches from the wall to the back of the speaker. The speaker has 12-inch woofers and lots of bass. I am not having any issues with fatigue or what seems like bad sound. My room is fairly naked with only some IKEA shelves for my kids toys. This room is not treated. It is the high ceiling and far away side boundaries that are saving the day.

You maybe able to put a lot of speakers into that space given what I observed in my room.

However, before I do anything with the speakers I would consider your gear before the speakers (your room is likely fine). I used to own the Matrix Mini i-3 Pro. It is the most versatile DAC I had owned but the sound quality is about a 7/10 in the scale of DACs I have bought. You can easily improve on that for low cost. The same on the Rotel amp.

Here is a 30-day home trial suggestion with your existing speakers. Get a PeachTree GAN1 and ideally a Sonore Optical or the much cheaper BluesNode package from PeachTree.

This is a very good sound. I have the GAN1 streamed with the fibre optic OpticalRendu. I also got mine modded by and it then was as good as $15k of gear I had in my office system. You void your warranty doing what I did but the cost was relatively low. The results are amazing.

A speaker is not going to make a weak source sound better. Even if you buy ’better’ speakers you are not feeding it a great signal.

BTW - I am comparing the GAN1 to a CODA @16 (currently own) and Benchmark AHB2 (maybe own again) amps.

BTW2 - I just saw you have subs. In that case, the BluesNode is what you would need to stream not the better OpticalRendu.

Consider Flexible Positioning

My room is smaller, but similar in use to yours, but my speakers are at the dining end of the room.

I have my heavy speakers on 3 wheels, so I can readily move them. Three wheels because more weight per wheel than 4, and 3 wheels don't wobble, put them anywhere, they find stability..

1. out several feet from side and rear wall, normal toe in for best imaging for single centered listener, speakers aimed directly at centered listening chair

2. same location, but alter toe-in for two listeners, maintain inside front corner, rotate left front corner to aim left speaker at right chair; right speaker aimed at left chair. Produces decent l/r sound, some sense of space and imaging; far better than hearing ’your side predominantly’.

3. pushed back into the corners, because the leaves are in the dining table for a large group. They sound darn good, and you are not concentrating on imaging or playing loudly so too much bass is not an issue.

My chairs are all ’transparent’ backs, the center ones rotate 180 degrees, to either listen to music or watch video.

see photos here