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dumbo
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Nearfield Listening & Lousy Room Dimensions

OK,

So here is a question that has had me thinking for quite a while. How much can nearfield listening compensate for a room that most folks would consider too small for a given tower speaker? The size of ones listening room seems to stir many different opinions on weather or not a given room is considered too small or just right for certain speaker.

My listening room leans towards what I would consider the small side at 12w x 9L but it does open up into a larger area due to a "Half Wall" that is directly behind my listening chair. This "Half Wall" only occupies the area directly behind me from floor to ceiling but does not completely enclose my listening room in a way that isolates it from the larger room behind me .

I use a rather large tower speaker in this room which incorporates 3 X 10" Bass drivers in a sealed cabinet (Legacy Audio Sig III) and I sit a short 7' away from the front plane of the drivers. In my opinion I do not feel as if I'm being blown out of the room by any certain frequency range despite usually listening at a fairly loud level on most occasions (+95db). The sound I hear is probably not the most transparent but it is very full and engaging due to my seated position.

What is the driving force behind the determination if ones room is too small? Is it total volume or cubic feet of a given area? Is it simply the distance between listener and the front plane of the speaker? What if the volume is fairly large in total but it is not of a continuous nature and instead is made up of a series of smaller areas that link together separated by partial walls that do not cut off a given space fully in any way?

I have read info in the past that suggests that nearfield listening may actually be a good thing in rooms that are small because it can eliminate allot of the room related issues altogether because you are seated at a distance that is prior to the distance in which all of these nasty variables take place.

Please post your thoughts...Thanks

tmsorosk
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Room size

 Hello dumbo

Near field listening can minimize first reflections , but I've found some larger multi driver speakers need some distance for the drivers to blend and integrate , of coarse that will very , depending on design . Your room being open to the rest of your house is likely whats saving you from room overload . Many folks prefer an open room to a closed one . My own room that is moderate in it's size ( 15' X 26' X 9' peaked ) sounds less compressed and fatiguing when the  doors in the room are open ,  I do lose sound stage  dimensionality . The total volume of your room increases when the room is open to the rest of the house .                                      

 

                                                                                                                                                                                 Regards  Tim

dumbo
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Hey Thanks for the

Hey Thanks for the information. I had forgoten that some larger speakers need more distance from the listener to properly integrate. I guess a small clue as to how well a given speakers may integrate at distance can be seen by observing how closely spaced all the drivers are to one another, or at least the Mid/Tweeter sections that is.

wgb113
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There are some great White

There are some great White Papers by Floyd Toole and Sean Oliver on the topic over on Harman's website.

Their combined research has shown that with careful speaker placement, listener placement, acoustical treatments and EQ that any room can sound good if not great.

Bill

kager
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Nearfield Listening

I recently purchased a pair of the Magnepan MMG's.. My room is around 11' x 14' with speakers 3 feet from the front 11' wall and I sit about 7 feet from them and they sound awesome. I noticed if I move my head forward while seated the bass increases and moving my head back the bass decreases.. I did take a lot of time adjusting the speaker positions and find I have them in the right location in the room for me..

Jerry 

barefoot
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Nearfield and Near Field
dumbo wrote:

Hey Thanks for the information. I had forgoten that some larger speakers need more distance from the listener to properly integrate. I guess a small clue as to how well a given speakers may integrate at distance can be seen by observing how closely spaced all the drivers are to one another, or at least the Mid/Tweeter sections that is.

Hi All,

My first post here. 

Yes, the spacing of the drivers and the crossover frequencies can give you some reasonable indication of a speaker’s nearfield performance.   Closer spacing and lower crossover frequencies will typically allow the wavefront to coalesce at shorter listening distances.   As others a have mentioned, nearfield listening can somewhat diminish the negative effects of early reflections. It usually will provide little to no help with low frequency room issues.  

Of course, we’re not really talking about the true acoustical near field.   This occurs where the listening distance is much smaller than both the driver diameter and the sound wavelengths it is emitting.  In this region you do eliminated the room effects almost completely.   But this is millimeters away from a woofer.  And in a multi-way speaker there is no true near field because you can't get close enough to any two drivers at the same time.           

Small room are just more difficult, no getting around it.    

Cheers,

Thomas

Thomas Barefoot, President/CTO, Barefoot Sound (manufacturer)

Doctor Fine
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Small Room Pitfalls

The general consensus of mastering engineers over on their blogs is that small rooms reinforce the bass too much for large bass drivers.  And there is the issue that to integrate the space between drivers in a large box you really have to sit father back.  Other wise you hear the individual tweeter and woofer, etc.  So to answer your first question---it is BOTH things.

This is where size matters---and small is "better."  However if you are not trying for accuracy but live for better bass then putting a bass shy big speaker in a small room may help its tone by making the bottom sound louder.  But imaging may suffer.  Personally I own speakers in different ranges so that I don't have to keep buying the darn things.  It is nice to all ways have the "proper" tool for the job if you move from one house to another.  I just have different listening rooms and they are all big fun.

That open back wall at your house actually means your room's bass dimension is the sum of BOTH rooms.  So your speakers are not at all too large for the combined area.  The bass waves may even be well "trapped" to avoid the worst excesses of standing waves by virtue of the wall acting as a semi-bass baffle.  That is, the longest waves are being broken up so that they do not reverberate into a "Tsunami".  Rooms are exactly like a swimming pool...  Waves build up if it is large and square.  It is a GOOD thing not to have bass build up as it drowns out details in the mid bass and mid range...

Besides three 10's are not necessarily all that much cone area.  I have a very similar slightly larger room setup and use two eights for mid bass, two sealed 12s for bass and two vented Velodyne 15s for deep bass.  There is no bloat or boom in my room as the crossovers are tightly dialed in.  And like you I have "vented" areas to trap excess bass.  The bass is very dry until something with true bass comes on and then it is like god is speaking to you, haha.  And VERY clearly without any cheezy boominess.

But if you open or shut the door to a room fifteen feet away, the bass will get tighter or softer!

Remember one rule if nothing else:  Your goal is to not hear ANY of your equpment.  You simply wish to exist in space with a perfect soundfield of the finest sounding instruments and voices---perfectly arrayed before you.  If you can achieve THAT illusion, then you have a well thought out system.  It will not happen by accident.

You are asking some EXCELLENT questions.

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