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KobeeDog
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Joined: May 23 2014 - 2:24pm
Channel imbalance, or .. a hole in the soundstage?

Hey guys,

I've struggling with a problem with my system, and it's been going on for awhile now.

I have a small, dedicated music room that has been (I think) acoustically treated as much as possible.

The problem is that imaging is "off". It's not that one channel is louder than the other, it's more that the right side just does not sound as "balanced" or prominent. It's almost like there's a hole in the imaging at about 25% of the extreme right of the soundstage.

I've tried the usual stuff like speaker positioning, reversing cables, trying different preamps, etc, and the problem persists, which I guess points to the room.

Any ideas?

michael green
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signal blockage

Hi Kobee

It might be acoustical, but it might also be electrical. If the room is over dampened this can and does happen a lot. Also if there is blockage in the audio signal holes can happen in the stage pretty easy. There's one more thing and that is the mechanical part of the system that can be doing it. The stand the equipment is on or even the construction of the room.

There are lots of things that can make this happen. You might want to share more about your system setup, room and accessories. It could be something really easy or a challenge, but I'd be interested in looking at the conditions if you would like. Are you using any floorstanding tuners? There are floorstanding acoustical treatments including mine that can be used to fix this. If you do a little shaping of the front pressure zone this might be an eazy fix.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

audiophile2000
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Room Setup

Kobee,

would you be able to describe the room's dimensions a but. if you have a asymmetrical room design or an open space on one side, it could also be the cause.

It would be good to rule that out as if you have that design in our room it will complicate a setup.

KobeeDog
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Thanks for the replies, guys.

Thanks for the replies, guys.

The room is about 10x13'. On the walls there are multiple 2x2' panels that are 3" deep and stuffed with Roxul, and covered in porous fabric. I have a hardwood floor with an area rug with padding underneath. I also have home made bass traps in all four corners made out of Sonotube and Roxul. There is an opening on the left side of the room (just a door to get in the room). On the right is a CD rack and a bookshelf.

My gear is a Cary Rocket-88 amp, Decware CSP2+ preamp and a Jolida JD-100 CDP for a source. I've tried various speakers in the room, and always the same unbalanced sound.

geoffkait
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Balancing act

In my experience room treatments should be applied sparingly and one at a time, judging the effect of each thing you place in the room or on the wall. These room panels and such are not a silver bullet and it can be easy to get things all discombobulated. If it were me I'd take all the panels down and take them out of the room, then start over. Having said all that there are plenty of reasons why the soundstage in a room is not balanced and coherent. Actually, vibration in components can produce odd ball sound stages, shifted over to one side, unnatural, etc., as well as incorrect speaker locations, e.g., speakers too far apart. I never go anywhere with my trusty XLO Test CD, if for no other reason than the speaker set up track. Indispensable!

Geoff Kait,
Machina Dynamica

tmsorosk
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KobeeDog

Hello KobeeDog and welcome

Most of us have posted pictures and descriptions of are systems in the gallery section.
Not a bad idea so we can get a visual on what might be going on.

Tim

audiophile2000
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Couple of things

Couple of questions to help narrow in on the issues as it does at first sound like a room issue:

Door: When you say you have an entry way in on the left side, I just want to confirm that it is a door that you close when you are listening. I found if you have an open space on one side, it will skew the image a bit.

Obstructions: is there anything positioned in between you and you speaker (table or bookshelf on one side of the room. If you have a, asymmetrical setup with furniture between you and the loud speaker it could again cause some issues.

Symmetric room: are the speakers centered in the room, or if not are you treating early reflection points if you have it skewed to one side

Speaker placement: want to see how you are setting these up as this could also be part of the problem. The way I setup my system is to build a grid independent of the room. (there is always issue with room construction so if your referencing distance from walls when placing your speakers that can create an issue. I recommend picking a center point in between your speakers and making sure the speakers are equal distance from that center point. Then measure the distance form the tweeter to the listening position and make sure it the same on both speakers. This will make sure you are equal distance when listening. Once this is right you can play around a bit with wider or narrower placement or closer / further to the wall for the speakers and seat until you find the best placement in the room, just always make sure you have equal distance for the first to measurements. I personally use a laser measurer for this as it is easier, but a tape measurer will work. – after this make sure you have the same toe in on each speaker – I again use a laser pointer to reference how many inches away from center (at listening position or back wall if it is easier) the speaker is pointed at.

Do you have any pictures, that may also help.

iosiP
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I would suggest a "dummy" test first

1. Reverse the speaker wires, feeding the L signal to the R speaker (and R so L, of course). If the hole also reverses position the problem is with your electronics. If nothing changes go to #2.
2. Just mark the exact place of your speakers and then move the (currently) L where the R was (and R to L, of course. If the hole also reverses the problem is with your speakers. If nothing changes... well, just turn your back to the speakers and see (or rather listen) carefullly... you know, your hearing might not be symmetrical, especially in the treble region.

KobeeDog
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Good advice. Thank you.

Good advice. Thank you.

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