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Stephen Mejias
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Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

Because speakers interact with the room in which they are placed, paying attention to the placement of your speakers within that room can make a big difference in sound quality. With your speakers optimally positioned, your system will sound better. And, in my experience, better sound leads to discovering more music.

And more music leads to more fun.

So, where should we begin? John Atkinson has made speaker setup a bit easier with his essay, "Getting the Best from Your Loudspeakers." JA takes the time to go over some of the basics

Elk
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

A nicely done article.

But speaker placement as fun?

linden518
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

How about this kind of speaker placement? (Buddha, this is your next project!)

jackfish
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

How about seriously considering room treatment?

Elk
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

This is deliciously odd!

I like the peering-out speakers and the pile-o-rocks.

linden518
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

I pilfered the image from 6moons' delicious profile of Bernard Salabert, the founder/designer of PHY-HP drivers. I don't know if I caught the bug first from Buddha or Michael Lavorgna, but I'm dying to listen to PHY driver-based speakers!

http://www.6moons.com/industryfeatures/phy/phy.html

Check out what he did to his Platine Verdier:

The wooden box at the far right is his CD player!

Editor
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement


Quote:

Quote:
John Atkinson has made speaker setup a bit easier with his essay, "Getting the Best from Your Loudspeakers."...To follow along, you'll need JA's Editor's Choice Sampler & Test CD, a suite of signals that'll guide you on your way.


Quote:
How about seriously considering room treatment?

Room treatment comes _after_ you have done everything I describe in the article.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Ariel Bitran
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

Quite possibly the most important article you'll ever read. I finally got my speaker placement down, toeing the speakers slightly less than I had them before, pushing them a little closer to the wall making adjustments to both the correct geometric placement and also considering my room, and damn!

My system has not sounded this good till now. The soundstage is so wide, bass response is great for these little Usher S520s.

What I learned most importantly is that what really matters isn't the math of it all, but how it sounds to you. Before I was blindly following rules without considering my room, but the after moving them around, playing around with a couple mistakes, I got it right.

now my system sounds inspiring.

Elk
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

He is inspired, nuts or both.

Regardless, I would love to take a listen. He is clearly after something. I may not agree but I bet I would learn something.

linden518
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement


Quote:
Regardless, I would love to take a listen. He is clearly after something. I may not agree but I bet I would learn something.


Only if every audiophile would take your philosophical position as his/her own, Elk!

I wouldn't know what to do with PHY-HP drivers, but I bet dbowker would. Judging purely from people's response from various PHY-HP driver-based speakers from Auditorium 23, Musical Affairs or Oceillia, they seem to really hit that sweet spot for a lot of listeners... especially the SET crowd.

Elk
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

I wish such drivers and SET amps, etc. were more readily available to hear.

Buddha
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

The speakers look like the room started to do the dance of seven veils and started right off with veil number seven!

I wonder which chair has the best sound.

This stuff is endlessly fascinating.

It makes me wonder how other people 'place for taste.'

I'll start a thread...

ncdrawl
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

I just used the reccomended 38 percent(according to Ethan), and gave a toe in so that the projected sound criss-crosses well in front of my listening position. set up per Duke LeJeunes directions www.audiokinesis.com (Dream Makers)

I use a tape measure, a laser level, and a piece of yarn.

Buddha
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement


Quote:
I just used the reccomended 38 percent(according to Ethan), and gave a toe in so that the projected sound criss-crosses well in front of my listening position. set up per Duke LeJeunes directions www.audiokinesis.com (Dream Makers)

I use a tape measure, a laser level, and a piece of yarn.

Totally interesting!

I think I do the opposite, and sit well inside where the projected sound would cross.

I've got some serious playing around to do!

After that, I'll experiment with much more toe in.

I wonder if, in the arc of speaker toe in, there may be more than one "optimum" imaging configuration. Kind of like a cartridge being spot on at two points in its travels across an LP.

I don't think I've ever toed in that much. Thanks for the insight. I'll try it with dynamic speakers this weekend, and then try it on my planars when I get home.

Cool!

KBK
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

Yes, one should always try toeing in so they are 'over crossed', at least once with a given pair of speakers, just to see what they do. Ie, the left speaker toed in so much that it is aiming past your right ear,and the right speaker, aimed past the left ear.

When designing a box/crossover, I tend to measure straight ahead and also at the same angle as the listening angle, from the approximate listening distance. Striking a balance between the two is critical. For our speakers the extreme toe in tends to create a bad response, but for the folks who design speakers by the book, and a few do..it can be a rewarding experience.

Monty
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

Extreme toe-in is something that I've never experienced as being beneficial. Granted,
I don't have the wealth of experience that many people have had with various speakers,
but I've yet to find it appealing with the dozen or so that I've used in my systems. My
experience has been quite the opposite, in fact. The point where the vocals are solidly
locked-in the center of the stage with minimal toe-in almost always seems to be the ideal
balance to my ears.

As for grills, it's run about 50-50 and very dependent on the listening level. I have a
sneaking suspicion that as I age, I might come to appreciate a bit more toe-in and naked
baffles.

ncdrawl
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement


Quote:

I don't think I've ever toed in that much. Thanks for the insight. I'll try it with dynamic speakers this weekend, and then try it on my planars when I get home.

Howd it go, Buddha? since I posted the above, ive tried toe-in with all my speakers, and have come to the conclusion that I do not like how speakers sound firing straight ahead(at least with the 15-20 so speaker models ive had over the years)

Ergonaut
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

I think quite a lot of this can also be dependent on the polar response of the speakers.

I ran a heap of tests looking at how treble unit design had changed over the years - taking into account the forward projected energy in relation to off axis energy.

In the tweeters of circa 1970's through to end of 1980's (more forward energy and low off axis energy - also poor uniformity to off axis) - The older Gale, KEF, Audax- Gauss, Stentorian and other units were also much more "wide-band" in freq response.-

As new materials were becoming economically more available to designers, such as titanium and kevlar in addition to process change with items such as aluminium coil forming using flatwinding techniques with less of the older materials such as mylar - gause - wax - oil - paper, the polar responses changed dramatically.

To show an extreme example - take a pair of Celestion Ditton 44's (circa 1974) and you'll find that they require a lot of "toe in" as ncdrawl refers to it. Because you'll acquire a lot of roll off and lack of uniformity in off axis response to the upper registers.

When you take a modern speaker system with the more modern postioning of full forward parallel, you'll notice no such drop off as the uniformity over more of the range of angles - though the treble units are much more "narrow-band" in terms of freq response there is more energy off axis than older variants (mid units doing more of the work because their development into newer lighter materials has also shaped capability) - taking a lot of the compromises out of crossover and filter design.

Crude but valid example

If I point my Celestion Dittons directly at me I get a fairly wide sound field. Stage width appears to increase.

If I put them full forward parallel - Stage width narrows - lots of treble roll off.

If I get my modern titanium capped Tannoy monitors (System 10's) and operate "toe in" - they sound slighty brash in the upper registers and easy to percieve stage width narrowing as I turn them in to "on axis".

If I place them full forward parallel stage width increases - treble is sweet, clear, controlled and lively.

What does this mean to a room

Well of course with more off axis energy - anything in the pathway of these signals is likely to effect them.

Reflectivity - multipath response - acoustic summing of converging sources, absorption, materials resonance etc etc etc.

JSBach
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

If that's on old Ortophon head shell I spy this guy is into nostalgia rather than fidelity. Maybe I can sell him my ancient Ortophon S.P.U.G 'GOLD' if he thinks things haven't improved since that era? The curtains look as though they wouldn't be all that absorbent but maybe the idea is diffusion? The speakers poking through look positively weird to me. As to the staggered listening chairs, if those drivers don't have a wide dispersion in the vertical plain the listeners in the top row will have to listen standing on their heads. Altogether a very, very weird set-up.

commsysman
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

In the northern hemisphere we usually spell it "vertical plane"; a 'plain' is usually defined as a large flat open space on the surface of the land (probably horizontal in nature, too...lol).

Doesn't everyone listen standing on their head in the southern hemisphere...or do they turn the speakers over???
All this technical stuff...whew!!!!

JSBach
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement


Quote:
In the northern hemisphere we usually spell it "vertical plane"; a 'plain' is usually defined as a large flat open space on the surface of the land (probably horizontal in nature, too...lol).
Doesn't everyone listen standing on their head in the southern hemisphere...or do they turn the speakers over???
All this technical stuff...whew!!!!


Thank you for the spelling lesson - we're never too old to learn. In the Southern Hemisphere we design Halcro amps and the world's best turntable standing on our heads.
Now, admit it. If those drivers don't have a very wide dispersion in the vertical PLANE that seating arrangement doesn't make any sense at all.

commsysman
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

John Atkinson's instructions are certainly very helpful and informative.

Another body of information that I find useful when doing setup of ANY speaker is contained on pages 6-7-8 of the Vandersteen 3A speaker manual, which can be viewed or printed from the Vandersteen website. Some of this information is specific to that speaker, but almost all of it is easy to use and helpful when setting up any speaker.

silversurfer
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

What a great post, thanks for the advise I am going to take advantage!

Freako
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

According to all speaker and room theories, it should be more or less impossible to obtain the amazing soundstage, imaging and surprisingly clean bass response I have managed to achieve with this setup. It happened through many adjustments of the speakers, lots of listening, more adjustments, more listening, some port tuning, thorough decoupling of the speakers and sub, plus a lot of luck. I am amazed that such inexpensive speakers (Audio Pro Black Pearl) are able to thrill me with such beautiful music! Sadly I can't place stands in the room, but there's not much to do about it.

rvance
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

Freako- It is VERY satisfying to get great results from modest set-ups. Your corner traps are cool, too!

One of my favorites was in a small living room (12' X 14')in a rental house. I had a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 7.2's on stands that were perfectly placed for the room's acoustics and the speaker's rear ports. Their little 4 inch drivers put out fast, smooth coherent sound with tight, well-defined bass at very dynamic levels. It was so much fun to play music for my visitors.

ncdrawl
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement


Quote:
According to all speaker and room theories, it should be more or less impossible to obtain the amazing soundstage, imaging and surprisingly clean bass response I have managed to achieve with this setup.

ah yeah, normally the speakers are in FRONT of you.

Freako
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

LOL, they ARE! Was it my "back wall" that confused you, or are you just being cute?

Freako
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement


Quote:
Freako- It is VERY satisfying to get great results from modest set-ups. Your corner traps are cool, too! The books are waiting for a trip to the nearest nursing home, eg on the way out

One of my favorites was in a small living room (12' X 14')in a rental house. I had a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 7.2's on stands that were perfectly placed for the room's acoustics and the speaker's rear ports. Their little 4 inch drivers put out fast, smooth coherent sound with tight, well-defined bass at very dynamic levels. It was so much fun to play music for my visitors.

I too have a very tight and "dry" sound, and the bass is incredibly beautiful

Grosse Fatigue
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Re: Fun & Easy Speaker Placement

This is my last contribution

Not always
I recommend myself turning your back to your speakers to get a more enveloping sound and reflexions from the side walls

In your case as a cure to narcissism

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