Proper Speaker Placement

amplifiers, receivers and loudspeakers
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PeterW.
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Re: Proper Speaker Placement

Post by PeterW. » 27 Jun 2012 12:36

I know. Some manufacturers advise placing their speakers very close to the rear wall, etc. It was never meant as a one size fits all guide, but it should help for probably a majority of people here. Unfortunately, it doesn't take into account building materials or room treatment which are subjects that deserve their own threads with a lot of information. A lot of it is meant to deal with standing waves, etc. It certainly helped me a lot just researching it. I just wish I had the financial oomph to build what I want instead of having to rely on what I can afford to rent.[/quote]

I dunno... In over 40 year tinkering with the hobby (starting when I was of single-digit age) I have found that room acoustics are perhaps the easiest obstacle to overcome *IF* speaker placement drives the rest of the room and not otherwise. Pretty much anything from the provebial padded cell to an acoustical concrete vault with 'perfect square' dimensions (ideal for standing waves) may be overcome with careful speaker placement, a few accommodations as subtle as a framed canvas picture in the right place, and "good" speakers.

Sadly - what makes "good" in these cases does not necessarily include otherwise excellent speakers - one obvious example: Klipshorns which require corner placement for proper function will not be suitable in many cases. That these speakers are otherwise wonderful does not change that brutal fact. Generally horn-type drivers are difficult. Highly efficient speakers are difficult - that efficiency happens for physical reasons that do not afford complete placement flexibility.

Consider the difference between a horn and a dome - and I will exaggerate to make a point: One must be very nearly on-axis to hear a horn properly. At the same time, it will deliver more 'sound' (move more air) relative to the axis than a dome. With a dome, dispersion is over a much greater arc, so much more energy is required to make the same sound level at the same distance at any point over that arc. Greater dispersion allows greater flexibility in speaker placement as, typically, mid and treble are not the biggest issues once standing waves are addressed.

With that in mind, and with the psycho-acoustical fact that the ear 'prefers' louder sounds, and bass is also typically how 'louder' is perceived (again, this is greatly simplified and stripped), perceptions such as AR3a speakers being poor in mid-treble or that wallboard soaks up high frequencies and such are absolutely accurate when the real issues are missed, misunderstood or ignored. Because it is a fact that poor speaker placement relative to the materials, shape and size of a room will create conditions that support these perceptions.

I do keep a pair of AR3s - and I will match their treble to my Maggies with the 'true ribbon' tweeters - all other things being equal - as the AR placement does not force their bass over the treble and midrange. BUT! even a couple of inches from where they are now, and that signature AR *BOOM* comes right back. Especially in a room with horsehair plaster walls & ceiling, hardwood floors and lots of glass. Did it take time to get it right? Sure did. Finagling over a period of several days and several locations - and a _very_ understanding wife.

Peter Wieck
Melrose Park, PA

Per A
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Re: Proper Speaker Placement

Post by Per A » 08 Jul 2012 10:42

I have had very good results using the method given by
http://www.audiophysic.de/aufstellung/beispiel_e.html
Bass reproduction improved so that it became easdier to follow what the bass player plays and also imaging improved immensely. My listening room is nearly square, 4 x 4,5 metres which means the speaker are far into the room. What is unusual is their advice to use the sidewall reflections and placing speakers close to the sidewalls.

slawts
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Re: Proper Speaker Placement

Post by slawts » 17 Jul 2012 20:45

The Audiophysic has worked for me. I had to bring the speakers in so that they are 60 cm from the side walls on a 4m wall. They're only 50cm from the back wall but they're Monitor Audio Studios which are recommended to be closer to a wall.
I tried them at 50cm but the sound was muddy especially the bass. Originally they were 15cm a side further in and sounded congested - well in comparison to now. It's a very easy to follow site.

LousyTourist
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Re: Proper Speaker Placement

Post by LousyTourist » 17 Nov 2012 13:41

For those who place their speakers along the longer walls in the room the ratios are reversed; the placement from the rear wall is 27.6% of the total distance from the rear wall and 44.7% of the distance from each of the respective side walls. Again, if your room is 20 X 15 feet and you place your speakers so the longer wall is the rear wall then you would place them so the distance from the rear wall would be 50 inches and 107 inches from each side wall.
can someone help me with this? My room is 18ft x 12x... with speakers along long wall. By my calculations, 18 x .447 = 8.046 ft. Times two is 16 ft.... so by this calculation, my speakers should be 2 feet apart? As in the example above, where the room is 20 x 15, the speakers would be 107 inches, or 8.94ft in from each wall or about 2 feet apart.

What am I missing?

PeterW.
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Re: Proper Speaker Placement

Post by PeterW. » 17 Nov 2012 13:59

You are not missing anything at all. The issue with rigid formula based on symmetry is that they are also (mostly - but not always) based on the theoretical 'sweet spot' that bit of a few cubic inches where one (who adheres to the theory and the formula) must insert his/her ears. I am using the term 'must' only a little bit in exaggeration.

I suggest you use woofer-diameters about the 1/3 points of the wall. Not knowing the nature of your speakers, I will not suggest how far (or not) they should be placed _from_ the wall, but side-to side try this: Put one speaker at roughly the 1/3 point of the wall, choosing whether the nearest corner is active (door or window or similar) or not. Now, the other speaker towards the inactive corner wants to be somewhere between that other 1/3 point and the corner, but no closer than two (2) woofer diameters from that corner. And that is the speaker you will move about until you hit the sound and soundstage that most appeals to you. Then - do the same with the other one.

There is on one-size-fits-all, and most good speakers are remarkably resilient and tolerant of placement as long as a (very) few basic common-sense parameters are followed.

I will make a side note here: Since speakers have devolved into systems with mostly tiny little woofers (6" or less) and now requiring sub-woofers for any sort of substantial, realistic bass - placement for a wide, comfortable yet detailed soundstage has gotten much more problematic. It is almost as if manufacturers and designers (surely driven by the bean counters) have conspired around the 'sweet spot' theory so that they can deliver acceptable sound at a low cost, but make it the consumer's problem that it is so.

I wonder what it would cost to manufacture the AR3a (or the AR9) today? I know what a large set of Maggies does cost - and they are relatively inexpensive as these things go.

LousyTourist
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Re: Proper Speaker Placement

Post by LousyTourist » 23 Nov 2012 13:39

I went to the Cardas site and read what they had to say. Cardas said with speakers along the long wall, you need to create a 'golden ratio' between the speaker and the individual corner. In other words, place the speaker 1X from the back wall and 1.6X from the side wall. In my case I set the speaker 28 inches out into the room and about 4 3/4 feet from the corner.

The results were quite good. I will probably make some minor adjustments but I am quite floored by the difference from what I had. My previous speakers didn't involve any concept of room placement so this is new ground for me.

PeterW.
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Re: Proper Speaker Placement

Post by PeterW. » 23 Nov 2012 16:19

Again, it depends on the speakers. The Maggies like to be away from the walls and away from the corners. The ARs not so much away from the walls - but above the floors and away from the corners.

You will be continuously surprised by how small changes in placement may have significant changes in result - Keep at it until you find what you really like!

DON73
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Re: Proper Speaker Placement

Post by DON73 » 27 Feb 2013 21:56

I don't have the AR3a but I do have the similar AR11 and it likes to be up off the floor and a foot or so away from the back wall........or at least I like it that way.

Reiver
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Re: Proper Speaker Placement

Post by Reiver » 15 Mar 2013 00:22

HI all,

just got to add my 2p's worth here.

Now whilst I do not claim to have the mathematical know how, nor wish to claim that I know more than the clearly knowledgeable previous posters I would like to share my experiences of setting up a normal living room for critical monitoring.
The only claim I make to knowledge is that I have a good ear and the recording and mixing work I have done in less than ideal environments is testament to this.

As for proper speaker placement it will depend on speaker design (closed box, front ported cabinet, rear ported cabinet, passive reflex, etc) however, the basic things I learnt were:

1) Form an equilateral triangle with your head at the apex
2) Tweaters should be at around ear height
3) if you're in a square room, or rectangular room standing waves could be a problem, rooms with uneven geometry are less likely to cause issues.
4) these can be offset and ameliorated with soft furnishings or commercially available bass traps in the corners of the room
5) you can use line of sight to work out reflection points (behind your head, above your head, behind the speakers etc) these should be treated with some form of reflection damping. You can make perfectly usable and effective reflection dampers using rockwool, a wooden frame and some kind of decorative fabric covering, or you can buy commercially available aurlalex foam
6) Sofas, bookshelves etc all affect the geometry of the space you are listening in as they will absord some frequencies and ignore others. Unless you are working in a tailored environment ( in which case, go to a professional) the only real guide you have is you 'ear'

There are no hard and fast ways of setting up any real world space for critical or even just good old high fidelity listening.

My best suggestion would be to follow some basic guidelines (see above) and then find someone who can sort you out with a cd or tape of low, mid and high frequency tones played from low to high c at the same db and listen for any that are either overly pronounced or inaudible...
If, when in the listening position, you can hear all tones with the same perceived level then your system is optimal.

This kind of process has allowed me to set up studio monitors for critical listening in adverse conditions on more than one occasion. I have used it to set up my hi-fi and found it to have similarly pleasing results.

Hope this is of interest to folks out there in audio land.

Reiver

afs97cjh
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Re: Proper Speaker Placement

Post by afs97cjh » 04 Apr 2013 16:34

There was a Black Stuart who used to be on the PH7 mailing list are you he?

On speaker placement has anyone mentioned something called "master set"? (Do a search, you could add sumiko to the search terms).
I've used an abbreviated form of the whole method so starting with the speakers against the wall move one of them forward until all the sound seems to be coming from that speaker or as close to it as possible. Move it incrementally (a few mm at a time)around this point until you eliminate any bass resonance that may occur. I deviate from the "master set" method as I don't initially use any toe in and just move the other speaker out the same amount. then try a little toe in. This has worked for both Thiel CS1.6s (in living room) and Naim Allaes (in my escape the telly room and running from a spare Rega cursa/maia combo). The Thiels use 5mm toe in on a width of 22cm, down from 20mm following a source and amp upgrade. The allaes want no toe in at all.

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Re: Proper Speaker Placement

Post by TIgermanv8 » 02 Mar 2014 16:37

Hello, new to the forum.... Read through the first pages with the room diagrams and I agree with those specs.

However, being a Klipschorn owner, I realize that much of it doesn't apply... Here, PWK suggests that the listening area be just outside of the equilateral triangle ... There is 18 feet center to center between the K'Horns and I can see the outer sides of the cabinets.

I have also learned that the steep toe in at 45 degrees created a very wide sweet spot across the seating area.
Never thought that would work, but after setting it all up, Paul was right ((0;

.......Gary

Bill+Bill
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Re: Proper Speaker Placement

Post by Bill+Bill » 04 Mar 2014 00:08

Also a Klipschorn owner. I don't have to deal with any this. Quite simply, I have no choice, unless I make the custom false corners per the Klipschorn Manual. Yah right!

This is a great thread/topic full of lots of valid references. I want someone to invent a room modeling program that allows users to measure their room with basic tools. Perhaps and smartphone's microphone or a construction of a microphone array that provides repeatable measurements. I am talking about a program that is simplified to the most basic levels, so that any user wishing to get placement success- a success.

Any ideas?

colin_P
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Re: Proper Speaker Placement

Post by colin_P » 04 Mar 2014 01:01

Hi All,
I use my ears with the Nordost set up CD and music and lots and lots of trial and error.
Your ears should be a good realistic test but the acid test would be measurements I agree.
However, the result would tend towards an anechoic room I think and an OCD tendency to fuss over things to the point that you would loose the enjoyment of listening to the music.
Any normal room will have problems but try to get the best where you sit to listen.
kind regards... Colin.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Proper Speaker Placement

Post by JoeE SP9 » 12 Apr 2014 04:44

Bill+Bill wrote:Also a Klipschorn owner. I don't have to deal with any this. Quite simply, I have no choice, unless I make the custom false corners per the Klipschorn Manual. Yah right!

This is a great thread/topic full of lots of valid references. I want someone to invent a room modeling program that allows users to measure their room with basic tools. Perhaps and smartphone's microphone or a construction of a microphone array that provides repeatable measurements. I am talking about a program that is simplified to the most basic levels, so that any user wishing to get placement success- a success.

Any ideas?
Give REW (Room Equalization Wizard) a try. It's available as a free download from http://www.hometheatershack.com You have to sign up to download it but IMO it's worth it. A section of their forum is dedicated to REW. So there is plenty of support. You also need a calibrated measurement microphone. The Dayton EMM-6 (~$50) from Parts Express works quite well and each one has it's own unique calibration file. Being a condenser microphone it needs a phantom power supply/mixer. They are available from Parts Express for ~$25 and up.

The microphones in cell phones are not of high enough quality to be more than a gimmick.

IME equalizing for a completely flat high frequency response makes a system sound overly bright and harsh. A gentle roll off above 12KHz works best for me. Trying to recreate the sound of an anechoic chamber in one's room is a recipe for truly dreadful sound. Overly damped rooms (anechoic type) sound dull and dead.

It's almost impossible to accurately and correctly adjust for room response errors using only the ears.

The standard 10/12 band graphic equalizer is really not suitable for this type of correction. The sliders rarely if ever correspond to the frequencies where you need to make corrections.

Using REW, a calibrated microphone and a parametric equalizer to correct room response errors is a set and forget type of adjustment. If after correcting for room response errors you still feel the need to "tweak" the sound, well, that's what tone controls are for.

Room equalization should be done after the speaker positions have been pretty much dialed in. Several posters have given good advice regarding this. My only addition to that is; IME an equilateral triangle setup sometimes causes a "hole in the middle" effect. For this reason I suggest a speaker spacing of ~70% of the listening distance.

Bill+Bill
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Re: Proper Speaker Placement

Post by Bill+Bill » 12 Apr 2014 06:05

I'll give it a try. I have a McIntosh MEN220, that comes with a calibrated mic. I'll use a USB Analog to Digital Converter. I won't be able to get to this project until June. (Very Busy!)

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