Tonal Balance and Deep Bass

As I mentioned yesterday, I had, for some time — long before acquiring a hi-fi, in fact — fought the idea of placing my couch against the rear wall of my living space. When I finally did, however, I found that things both looked and sounded different. And not only different, but: better. And I'm not confusing the two. So, what's up with this?

Well, first of all, the place is more comfy. But, besides that, I soon remembered something John DeVore told me about speaker placement, room resonances, and physics and stuff. (I believe that monkeys were also involved — John likes to talk about monkeys — but we can forget about the monkeys for now.) Immedia's Allen Perkins, John told me, came up with a technique for speaker placement which features the listening position right up against the wall (like mine is now) and the speakers positioned directly between the listening position and the... other wall.

It's a little bit difficult to explain this without pretty pictures and some finger-pointing. Perhaps a PowerPoint Presentation is in order. Better yet: Allen's got some diagrams and formulas you can follow.

Allen explains that having the listening room set up in this manner eliminates early reflections, creating a good stereo soundstage and an unaltered perception of the speakers' tonal balance. I am all about the balance. Beyond that, sitting up against the rear wall, Allen says, results in better perception of deep bass. Kelli is all about the bass.

Allen also discusses room treatments. "It may be possible," he says, "to get even better results with carefully used room treatment."

To that, I say: forget about it. Seriously this time. I may have stuck some pillows in the corner for Kelli, but nobody's going to get me to stick pillows onto my ceiling. Not even Ethan Winer.

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Monty's picture

I have my small room situated much like your new layout. My listening position is near the back wall and directly in front of a window that I have treated with a homemade blend of easy on, easy off absorption material. I'm glad to hear you noticed a difference in sound. You might not have a year ago. That's progress toward your goal. It sounds like you have a little music goin' on in your heart as well these days. This is going to be a good year for you, I can tell.

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