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michalm's picture
Last seen: 4 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: Oct 5 2013 - 2:10am
B&W CM8 placement and room acoustics

Hi All,

I just moved into this nice apartment with high ceilings. The room size is 20 feet x 15 feet (6 m x 4.6 m). I just got a system that is: Rotel RA-12 + NAD C 521i + B&W CM8s.

The pictures of my current setup and of the listening space are attached. I also attached three drawings of the room (furniture is different in reality). As of now the sound is quite good. I can get some decent imaging, but I feel the soundstage can be much better. Within weeks I will get curtains on the tall windows so I am sure that will help a bit.

Just yesterday I discovered that the imaging got much better when I increased the distance between the speakers to what it is shown in the photo (6.2 feet, 190 cm) from 5.3 feet before. The listening distance (center of the sofa) is 7.5 feet (2.3 m) from each speaker. I will add that the wall opposite to the wall the system is on has a fireplace which is not in the center of the wall (seen in the drawings). I can rearrange pretty much anything and I can certainly add stuff to the room so please advise on what to do to improve the acoustics in the room. Also, could you advise on good live recordings that show good sound stage? I am new to all this and eager to learn... Thanks! Michal








JoeE SP9
JoeE SP9's picture
Last seen: 5 days 7 hours ago
Joined: Oct 31 2005 - 6:02pm
Sound stage

I've found that a speaker width of ~75% of the listening distance is a good place to start. The actual final positioning may/will take a while so take your time and don't rush it. Make small changes with width and toe in/out and listen for a while with each change.

Most pop and rock recordings are studio recordings and have little to no sound stage. Most pop and rock live recordings don't have much of a sound stage either. The use of PA systems and the over reliance on fixing it in the studio has a negative impact on sound staging.

Recordings made with a minimal number of microphones, usually classical or jazz, and little to no studio "sweetening" will produce the best sound stage.

I highly recommend Groove Note CDs. They are recorded live to a two track master (30IPS analog tape) using a minimal number of microphones, a passive mixer and no studio "sweetening" whatsoever. The CD is "cut" directly from the master. They compare very favorably to direct to disk LPs which many consider to be among the best recordings ever made. 

RCA Living Stereo recordings and Mercury Living Presence recordings are widely considered to sound pretty damn good. They were done live with a minimal number of microphones, passive mixers and little to no studio work. That they are all 40+ year old recordings doesn't say a lot of good things about a lot of modern recordings.

Please note: I make a definite distinction between imaging and sound stage. Imaging to me is the left to right positioning of musicians and instruments. Any two speakers spread apart will produce imaging. A sound stage is the impression/illusion of depth and three dimensionality. Imaging is easy. Getting a good sound stage is not always easy. Many speakers do a poor job of producing a sound stage. I suspect those B&Ws set up the way you have them in your room will produce a very good (wide and deep) sound stage when you've finished tweaking their positions.

Nellomilanese's picture
Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Joined: Feb 9 2013 - 9:30am
Room acoustics

I'm jumping in here because your room and set up it's very similar to mine. The carpet on the floor helps, so do placing the tv behind the speakers, excellent choice. Yes a courtain on the windows will help...I noticed same thing with my room...but it depends on the records...on some records the difference w or without might be very small or 0. Doors open will help also (less reflective surfaces).

Also, VERY IMPORTANT is to have the right wall (right from your position) treated on the reflection point....some paintings would help, even better some stylish acoustics panels.

Last but not least you might start thinking about some bass traps if the bass response is not good....i'm still experimenting one point I pilled all the pillows I have in the corners  laugh Good luck and keep on experimenting with settings, position etc Most of the time you'll go back to the previous setting/set-up but sometimes you'll find improvements ! After 7 months i'm still finding improvements....I just find out that a -3 Sub setting on the receiver helps A LOT with bass response, specially w poor/compressed files.

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