SDA 2As: Got the width, want the depth

Last night I heard the new SDA speakers in a demo at Listen Up here in Denver. The sound quality is incredible, and the soundstage is fabulous. It sounds like there are instruments placed all around you. This is what I was hoping to get from my SDA 2A setup. I have tried many room configurations, and have achieved a nice wide soundstage, but not that sense of depth. It just sounds like a long straight lineup of instruments, but lacks that sense of depth and surround. Is there something someone of you have discovered to achieve that soundstage? I'm not prepared to drop 6 grand for a new set of speakers. I got my SDAs about 6 years ago and replaced all the caps and installed the newest Polk tweeters, so they are in good shape.

Comments

  • honestaquarianhonestaquarian Posts: 2,509
    Setup and electronics can have an effect. Show your setup (I.E. Post pics) and that might help to give the forum members a better idea of what you;re talking about.
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  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,216
    Depth - REAL depth and not convincing yourself of it - is the hardest thing to get in a system. 90% or more of speakers/systems I hear cannot do this. The fact that you can't get it isn't surprising, but I also wouldn't consider the system a failure because of it.

    If you want to talk about some of the things I've done to create this in certain systems, feel free to reach out via PM. I'll give you my phone number and we can try and figure it out together.
  • Also what kind of music do u listen to?
  • Mike ReeterMike Reeter Posts: 3,533
    The SDA Stage Depth, to my ears, has always been a little shallow, I think placement constraints contribute to this.

    But, the Original SDA's produce a very convincing Stage in width, height and 'center channel' imaging. The 'Live' presentation is the icing for me.

    Being able to bring the new L800's out into the room more so than the original SDA's, should produce a deeper Stage, as well as all the other attributes of the SDA Design.

    At least, that's what I'm hoping for :)
    SDA SRS 2.3TL's/SDA SRS 3.1TL's/SDA CRS+4.1TL's and some other stuff
  • jimclassjimclass Posts: 61
    I have had them set up against a wall, in different spaces, many configurations, and this is the best sounding yet. Nice open wide soundstage. Just wish it sounded more surrounding. Like the instruments were in a semi circle, not a line. Maybe I'm expecting more than they can achieve. Powered by NAD314 integrated amp, recently refurbished. I am a bass player and enjoy all kinds of music: rock, blues, jazz. Not much country or rap. It just has to swing and I'm in.
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,216
    The speakers might not be capable of it. The NAD I wouldn’t expect to be capable of it. Cables also allow that depth to open up so if you are shortchanging your system there you won’t get it.

    The reason I struggle with the concept of diminishing returns is because the parameters for improvement change. In your situation, with a two dimensional soundstage, there are only so many parameters to work within. Once depth enters a system, there is a whole new world of improvements that can be made. Without depth, images are more about size than having weight which is much more realistic. A cardboard cutout has size but no real weight. A person has weight and getting that right starts pushing the presentation away from music reproduction and into the realm of a performance.
  • jimclassjimclass Posts: 61
    The demo of the new L800s was in an acoustically corrected room, with high end Macintosh amplification. Depth was wonderful and stable. You could turn your head and face an instrument in the mix. The diagram in the booklet that accompanied my old SDA 2As showing the listener position and the placement of instruments all around in a semi circle is what the new L800s achieve. Mine never did that. But in a relatively near field listening position, the width of the soundstage is like 20 feet wide, with accurate center vocals. Just missing depth, which I can live with. I know my system is a small fraction of the cost of the one I heard in the demo, and I guess you get what you pay for. But the diagram in that old manual did promise more.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,642
    I might agree with Skip on that. The Nad isn't going to do wonders for the SDA effect. Gear and cables matter too, so maybe put some more focus in those areas. I also see what appears to be a wide open area on the left that is going to bleed sound out of the room.

    I know, we all work with what we have to work with, it's all good. Experiment a bit, doesn't have to cost the kids college fund.
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  • jimclassjimclass Posts: 61
    BTW, If I move the listening position off center the SDA experience completely goes away, even if just by a foot or two. So, great for solo listening, no so much for group. That is another thing the L800s fixed.
  • TennManTennMan Posts: 1,065
    jimclass wrote: »
    BTW, If I move the listening position off center the SDA experience completely goes away, even if just by a foot or two. So, great for solo listening, no so much for group. That is another thing the L800s fixed.

    Please elaborate. Are you saying that instead of just the center position everyone sitting on a sofa could get SDA with the L800s? If so that would be great.
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  • skrolskrol Posts: 2,825
    edited November 8
    What is between the speakers? Sound reflective surfaces (ie TV, fire place) between the speakers can impact the sound stage.
    Stan

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  • jimclassjimclass Posts: 61
    Unfortunately, this is the best space I have to set up my system. I know it is not ideal. But I have tried other spots in the house and this seems to work best.
    And yes, the L800s were much more forgiving re: listening position. The best position was centered down the line between the speakers, but being off to the side by a couple of feet did not ruin the effect.
  • K_MK_M Posts: 1,519
    edited November 9
    The SDA Stage Depth, to my ears, has always been a little shallow, I think placement constraints contribute to this.

    But, the Original SDA's produce a very convincing Stage in width, height and 'center channel' imaging. The 'Live' presentation is the icing for me.

    Being able to bring the new L800's out into the room more so than the original SDA's, should produce a deeper Stage, as well as all the other attributes of the SDA Design.

    At least, that's what I'm hoping for :)

    All of these effects (width,height depth) are aural illusions.
    They can vary from person to person, and placement of speakers and many factors.

    We have some very cheap speakers used with a vintage HK receiver, one day moved them around some, and suddenly the soundstage was unreal and huge and deep.

    Not so sure some of these illusions are produced more by simply a set up that happens to create the illusion well or what.
    But have not found any direct correlation that price creates it, as many times found accidental or experimental placement it just "Gels", and happens.

    After the above mentioned story, I think I realized there is no one factor that does depth, but placement and room are most of it.

    Again, VERY cheap stuff created by far the biggest illusion of huge image and depth.
    But it was an odd unusual set up and not practical really, but Memorable for sure!
    Lsi15, Lsi9, LsiC,Rta11t,M5jr+,M4, SDA SRS 2.3TL, Rti6....Still listing stuff, a work in progress.
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  • gmcmangmcman Posts: 1,494
    edited November 9
    Just for an experiment, if not mounted to the walls...move the wooden rack on the side of the speakers and move out of the way.

    Then place the speakers 3' from the side walls if you have the room, as well as about 8" from the front wall.

    Sit in the sweet spot and compare. You may not need to move the rack, could act as a diffuser but try different setups.

    Is it an illusion, or do the speakers look to be slightly toed in? Reason I ask is the left speaker appears to be slightly turned.
  • jimclassjimclass Posts: 61
    gmcman, I have tried what you suggested before, but did not move the rack. Will experiment again. BTW It did not work, the whole soundstage was destroyed.
  • jimclassjimclass Posts: 61
    Speakers are not toed in at all.
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 8,505
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.

    Village Idiot of Club Polk
  • jimclassjimclass Posts: 61
    Rebelsoul, why blame the NAD? It sounds so good. Can you be more specific?
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 14,715
    I'll give it a go. The NAD is 35wpc i find no 4 ohm rating. Those SDA2a are 4 ohm and drop into the low 3ohm side. I've had them and they need very good current to perform at their best. You may run that NAD to death if pushed hard. I've never been a fan of that "soft clipping" or "dynamic" power ratings they have for a few nanoseconds, you'll need more than nanoseconds with those speakers.
  • jimclassjimclass Posts: 61
    I'm not prepared to drop $$ on a new amp at this time, so first I will try new cables. It has been stated that they make a difference. My current ones are ribbon cable that I purchased at a hefty price back in 1990 from a hi-if dealer. I'll post after the new ones are installed. Thanks for the tips, everyone.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,642
    You can get a different amp for around 400 bucks, see which you like better and sell the other. Parasound HCA 1200 OR 1500, or B&k amps would work fine too.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • Those are never going to sound any better no matter what you do as long as they are being feed 35w. Although I suppose they still sound better than a transistor radio?
    2 channel: Anthem 225 Integrated amp; Parasound Ztuner; TechnicsTT SL1350; Vincent PHO-8 phono pre; Marantz CD6005 spinner; Polk SDA2BTL's; Cables ZU Mission IC's, SC and power cords, all into a PS Audio Dectet Power center.

    All TV's sound enhanced by Polk Magnfi Mini's.

    Other; S60'S, M10 series II, M7C's, Hafler XL600 amp, RB-980BX, Parasound HCA-1500 amp , P5 preamp, all in storage. All speakers have had crossover rebuilds, resulting in a small fortune invested in Sonicaps, and tweeter upgrades.

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  • jimclassjimclass Posts: 61
    New cables made no difference. Guess I need to go shopping for amp. I did hook up my Kenwood KA 880 SD, which is 100w per channel, and it did not change the soundstage. Leads me to believe the room may be the issue. But as I stated before, I don't have an ideal space for the SDAs
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