thougts on my new theory please....

gmorrisgmorris Posts: 1,179
edited June 2004 in 2 Channel Audio
I’ve developed a new theory about my system. I’d like to see what everyone thinks.

Take my system for what it is. (Rti70’s, old Pioneer CD player connected via optical digital cable to Onkyo TX-SR601) Assuming my system where setup perfectly for my room, meaning speaker placement, X-over points ect….. I’ve come up with two solutions.

#1. Setup speakers for “accuracy”. Meaning, but not limited to, tonal balance & accuracy, frequency response & flat response, little to no coloration from placement ect….

#2. Imaging. Set up speakers for the widest & deepest soundstage, while still maintaining a rock solid center fill & image.

Both of these solutions are not limited to themselves. Meaning, solution #1 does not have no imaging at all, just that #1’s imaging is not as strong as #2. Along the same lines, #2 does not mean to say it is completely inaccurate, just a little less accurate than #1 for the sake of imaging.

Ideally, the perfect solution would be the summing of both solutions, utmost accuracy + great soundstage/image. But, alas, I cannot seem to achieve both.

Currently, I’ve got setup #2 going in the room. After trying for months with a conventional speaker placement, I got tired of the setup, and went with a radical placement. The speakers are now sitting right up against the side walls, pulled out from the front wall about 2.5 feet, and toed in to point just a bit in front of my head, while seated in the sweetspot. This results in the tweeters being about 10 feet apart, yielding an incredibly wide and deep stage. But with the speakers being so close to the side wall, the upper bass tends to get a little boomy, and vocals are a little thick. Upper mids & treble seem unaffected by this.

So what do you think is the better setup, #1 or #2? I prefer #2 because I like the 3D image alot. Tonal balance & accuracy are not as important, to me, because my system is the only one I listen to, so the tone & accuracy of my system are my reference, regardless if it is right or wrong.
Bob Mayo, on the keyboards. Bob Mayo.
Post edited by gmorris on
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Comments

  • dcarlsondcarlson Posts: 1,740
    edited June 2004
    Are you using this setup for 2 channel only? If so, I would suggest planning for an integrated amp and a new cd player or dac.
    SDA-2a, Anthem Pre-2L, Anthem Amp 1, MF A324 DAC, Rotel RCD1070

    Senn HD650 Cardas, Mapletree Audio Ear+ HD2, Kimber KS1030, Bel Canto DAC2, M-Audio Transit, Laptop.
  • gmorrisgmorris Posts: 1,179
    edited June 2004
    This is my 6.1 home theater being used in 2 channel mode. I use the system for 2 channel about 90%, home theater about 10%. So, the setup is more important for 2 channel.

    I guess I should have specified that these 2 solutions are related to speaker placement. I don't want to consider new equipment. I think the equipment is just fine.
    Bob Mayo, on the keyboards. Bob Mayo.
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,468
    edited June 2004
    Originally posted by gmorris
    Tonal balance & accuracy are not as important, to me, because my system is the only one I listen to, so the tone & accuracy of my system are my reference, regardless if it is right or wrong.

    I think you just answered your own question here. I would go with setup 2 and mess with 'toe-in" to achieve the imaging you're after. My speakers are very particular about toe-in, too much and they loose seperation, too little and imaging suffers. I found with mine, 1" of toe-in works perfectly.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amplifier: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 - Cables: Kimber Hero XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 dig coaxial
  • gmorrisgmorris Posts: 1,179
    edited June 2004
    Originally posted by steveinaz
    I think you just answered your own question here. I would go with setup 2 and mess with 'toe-in" to achieve the imaging you're after.

    That is exactly what I've done. I had to toe them in EXTREMELY because of the distance between them. Without alot of toe in, I found that sounds that were to the extreme right or left, sounded like they came right out of the speaker, they didn't project any. Toe in tightened up everything nicely, but still allows the stage to be fantastically wide & deep.
    Bob Mayo, on the keyboards. Bob Mayo.
  • madmaxmadmax Posts: 12,438
    edited June 2004
    I would do #2 for soundstage and center if it were me. To be acurate (to me) the soundstage and center must be right first. After that the remaining acuracy is determined by your equipment.
    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D
  • gmorrisgmorris Posts: 1,179
    edited June 2004
    Originally posted by madmax
    I would do #2 for soundstage and center if it were me. To be acurate (to me) the soundstage and center must be right first. After that the remaining acuracy is determined by your equipment.
    madmax


    Hmmmm, very interesting.....

    I have choosen #2 because I enjoy the 3D experience & realism that results from the wide & deep stage. But I never really thought that adding "better" gear upstream would improve things. I just kind of thought that any negatives in the sound (i.e. colorations, boomy bass ect...) were caused by the strange placement.
    Bob Mayo, on the keyboards. Bob Mayo.
  • dcarlsondcarlson Posts: 1,740
    edited June 2004
    Originally posted by gmorris
    This is my 6.1 home theater being used in 2 channel mode. I use the system for 2 channel about 90%, home theater about 10%. So, the setup is more important for 2 channel.

    I guess I should have specified that these 2 solutions are related to speaker placement. I don't want to consider new equipment. I think the equipment is just fine.
    Fair enough. ;)

    Just to clarify me statement a little. I was using my system in a dual setup as well, with 90% 2 channel through a Denon 2802 and a Yamaha 5 disc carousel through an optical cable. I upgraded my CD player and it yeilded a nice improvement. I then purchased an integrated amp for 2 channel and it blew me away and still does. Better imaging, soundstage, depth, bass tightness....

    For surround duty, I had the main preouts on the Denon feeding the integrated's Aux in. When it comes time for surround, I set the integrated's volume level at 12:00 and it's seamless. It gave me great 2 channel and great surround. It may sound like a compromise, but it's really not. Just something to think about if you want. :)
    SDA-2a, Anthem Pre-2L, Anthem Amp 1, MF A324 DAC, Rotel RCD1070

    Senn HD650 Cardas, Mapletree Audio Ear+ HD2, Kimber KS1030, Bel Canto DAC2, M-Audio Transit, Laptop.
  • gmorrisgmorris Posts: 1,179
    edited June 2004
    Dcarlson, I see what you're getting at know......

    I could pull that off, only thing is the Onk don't have preouts, so I'd have to switch speaker wires from amp to amp, but that would not be a big deal.
    Bob Mayo, on the keyboards. Bob Mayo.
  • dcarlsondcarlson Posts: 1,740
    edited June 2004
    That's too bad.

    Just get yourself a quality set of banana plugs and your set.

    Lately, I've been switching speaker cables with bananas from my integrated to my tube amp and it's pretty easy too.
    SDA-2a, Anthem Pre-2L, Anthem Amp 1, MF A324 DAC, Rotel RCD1070

    Senn HD650 Cardas, Mapletree Audio Ear+ HD2, Kimber KS1030, Bel Canto DAC2, M-Audio Transit, Laptop.
  • scottnbnjscottnbnj Posts: 709
    edited June 2004
    i'm thinking #2, while a wider soundstage, might still be compressing the image towards the center, where a portion of the image that is meant to be between the center and l/r speaks gravitates towards the center(this is my experience anyway, your room, listening position and speaks could well do something different).

    i would expect that if you used #2 with no or less toe-in the reflections off of the side walls would muddy the distinctness of the image (where say, image placement of different notes from the same instrument jump around a bit and don't sound as if they are coming from the exact same location), though, you would find more image information between the center and the l/r speaks and possibly a little more to the outside of the speaks.

    the off axis performance of your drivers will also be a factor, but your listening distance will decide that. that is what i would use toe-in to cure(ie as little toe-in as possible to maintain tonal balance if my listening position had to be closer than optimal).

    for me, i'd try to get the speaks as far apart as they could hold the image together with no or little toe-in and without creating the boom from being too close to the side walls.

    then if the image was unstable and jumpy(from reflections off of the walls), i'd think about treatments on the walls. with this strategy also, while even though moving your speaks in from the side walls a bit, depending on your speaks, you might also gain some image information from the outside of your speaks.

    also, i don't think you want your speaks the same distance from the back and side walls unless you are trying to reinforce the bass.

    if you are interested in wall treatments, there's a good article here:
    http://www.ethanwiner.com/acoustics.html

    but, that's just what i think i hear.

    )
  • organorgan Posts: 5,022
    edited June 2004
    Have you tried the equilateral triongle set up? From all the different set ups I've tried, this one sounds best to me.

    With the #2 placement, you may be getting some of that "hall" effect. This may sound nice in the beginning but may sound fake to you in the future. I've tried having the speakers further apart and the mids suffered. It's there but not as detailed or pronounced. Try to set the dstance between #1 and 2. Also, have you tried running analog cables from the CD player to the receiver?

    Maurice
  • scottnbnjscottnbnj Posts: 709
    edited June 2004
    Originally posted by gmorris
    ...I enjoy the 3D experience & realism that results from the wide & deep stage.

    though i'm sitting hundreds of miles away from your gear, i think possibly, the increased 3d might be from having the speaks further from the back wall(my experience anyway). where you might be percieving a loss in 3d when you move your speaks closer together(while maintaining the distance from the back wall and in the same listening position), you might really just be moving the 3d effect sweetspot closer to the speaks.

    that's what i think i hear with my gear in my room anyway.

    )
  • scottnbnjscottnbnj Posts: 709
    edited June 2004
    Originally posted by gmorris
    ... I never really thought that adding "better" gear upstream would improve things. I just kind of thought that any negatives in the sound (i.e. colorations, boomy bass ect...) were caused by the strange placement.

    whoooo haaahhh,.. if you want to **** like a bear, then eat like a bear,.. ~ahem~,.. i mean, big beefy sound starts with big beefy gear.

    )
  • gmorrisgmorris Posts: 1,179
    edited June 2004
    Thanks scott & organ for the responses (and everyone else too...)

    To answer one question first, I can not use the analog outs from the CD player because the Right analog out is broken. So, I have to use the optical out. Also, the DAC's in the Onkyo are much better than the DAC's in the 8 year old Pioneer.

    Regarding the equilateral triangle, that is about where I'm at now. I tried the triangle with the speakers closer together, in a more conventional location, but because of the small size of my room, I had to sit very close to the speakers and front wall. My seat ended up in the middle of the room, which just does not work. So, with the speakers spread wide, right up against the side walls, I'm able to keep my seat back, in a more desirable position. I then toed them in severely in order to virtually eliminate side wall reflection. My side walls are all ready treated, so that is not a problem. I tried little to no toe in (because of the lack of sidewall problem) but then there was no center fill. It just sound like a right & left speaker.

    Regarding imaging between center & R/L speakers, it is there about 90% when it should be, not there 10% when it should be. Sometimes (10%) the sound sticks to the speaker.

    And lastly, I'm not really in a position to buy any new gear. I'm saving for my wedding, which is in August 2005. What I'm trying to do is maximize my current system by using speaker placement to gain as much as I can.
    Bob Mayo, on the keyboards. Bob Mayo.
  • dcarlsondcarlson Posts: 1,740
    edited June 2004
    Thanks for the interesting link Scott. :)

    I'll be moving into to a house in a couple of months and definitely want to setup a treated room.
    SDA-2a, Anthem Pre-2L, Anthem Amp 1, MF A324 DAC, Rotel RCD1070

    Senn HD650 Cardas, Mapletree Audio Ear+ HD2, Kimber KS1030, Bel Canto DAC2, M-Audio Transit, Laptop.
  • scottnbnjscottnbnj Posts: 709
    edited June 2004
    Originally posted by dcarlson
    Thanks for the interesting link Scott. :)

    I'll be moving into to a house in a couple of months and definitely want to setup a treated room.

    of course! if you eat like a bear, you'll **** like a bear,.. ~ahem~,.. big beefy sound ends with big beefy treatment.

    )
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,468
    edited June 2004
    My spkrs are about 10ft apart, 14" from backwall, 30" from sidewalls, and toed-in 1". I sit about 9-10ft from the front baffles.

    Just as a reference.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amplifier: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 - Cables: Kimber Hero XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 dig coaxial
  • scottnbnjscottnbnj Posts: 709
    edited June 2004
    Originally posted by gmorris
    Regarding imaging between center & R/L speakers, it is there about 90% when it should be, not there 10% when it should be. Sometimes (10%) the sound sticks to the speaker.

    thinking back to your original post, in part you said to the effect, 'tired of trying traditional placement methods, went radical'. maybe that last 10% is somewhere in between.

    good luck, i'll keep an eye out for updates.

    )
  • gmorrisgmorris Posts: 1,179
    edited June 2004
    I went home yesterday, and sat down for a quick listen of Norah Jones, not that I really like her music, but it does make a great reference for image placement, which is after all what I'm trying to sort out. It still just wasn't right. To much sound sticking to the speakers. What is funny though, is Norah's voice is smack dead center, perfectly planted. But the guitar, bass, drums ect... all seem to stick to the speakers.

    I didn't move anything last night. I figured I'm going to have another try with the triangle setup. If it looks weird, so what I say! I'm going to find a happy medium to get the sound I want, but still have a normal looking living room.

    I'm thinking of starting out with about a 9 foot triangle. This will have speakers center about 1 foot from side wall. The seat should be allright.

    I'll report back tonight or tomorrow morning.
    Bob Mayo, on the keyboards. Bob Mayo.
  • scottnbnjscottnbnj Posts: 709
    edited June 2004
    this helps, now that you have reference material that highlights the problems stick with it until those particular problems are tamed. btw, i've used "come away with me" for this too.

    do you have a large tv or cabinet between the speaks? i'm thinking when the speaks were closer together at 2.5 from the back wall, the bass was finding the tv or cab to reflect off of when they were close together.

    against the side walls they might be too far away to get that center bass reinforcement. if moving the speaks closer to the back doesn't get it for you(lose 3d), or moving the tv forward, maybe a wide coffee table or two end tables somewhere between the speaks would help.

    even if you don't want it there permanently, it might help you figure out what is going on to place something that the bass can reflect off of close to the speaks to see if that starts drawing the mid/bass back to the center.

    another alternative might be tame the base port reflections off the side, back walls and/or corner(or some combination). you will lose some base, but if you really want your speaks where they are you might get your center back. in any case, it might not be too difficult to throw a pile of pillows or insulation (if you have it lying around) just to see what you can hear.

    )
  • gmorrisgmorris Posts: 1,179
    edited June 2004
    Originally posted by scottnbnj
    do you have a large tv or cabinet between the speaks? i'm thinking when the speaks were closer together at 2.5 from the back wall, the bass was finding the tv or cab to reflect off of when they were close together.

    In a work, YES!! (in the old arangement)

    With the new arrangement, the TV & rack are behind the speakers. I think they are just too wide. I'm going to start by moving them closer together. The only problem is the right speaker will tend to block the rack. So, I may have to move the rack closer to the center. Only problem with that is I don't want to use an extension cord with the Monster Power power center. So, I can only move the rack a little bit. As long as the remote still operates the equipment, I don't mind if the speaker is in front of the rack.

    I think I'm thinking about this too much. I just need to stop being lazy and move the speakers around to find the optimal placement, then move the rack & seat into an accomodating position.
    Bob Mayo, on the keyboards. Bob Mayo.
  • scottnbnjscottnbnj Posts: 709
    edited June 2004
    the problem you can look out for with norah with the rack off center, it might reflect the port bass image off the side of the cabinet enough that you can hear it.

    if you can't do anything about placement of the speaks in regard to the rack, and you still have the problem, maybe another similar object similarly situated near the other speak will help.

    )
  • scottnbnjscottnbnj Posts: 709
    edited June 2004
    Originally posted by gmorris
    Only problem with that is I don't want to use an extension cord with the Monster Power power center. So, I can only move the rack a little bit. As long as the remote still operates the equipment, I don't mind if the speaker is in front of the rack.

    i don't know how much gear you have plugged in there or how finicky they are. maybe someone that knows cord management can chime in here if i'm wrong, but i don't think it would hurt to try a short heavy gauge extension cord or appliance cord just to see if it gets your sound right.

    if your gear doesn't like it you can think about power cord upgrade later.

    )
  • gmorrisgmorris Posts: 1,179
    edited June 2004
    The Monster power center does not have a detachable power cord, so I'm stuck using the 8 footer that is hard wired into it. The only reason I don't want to use the extension cord is cosmetic. I don't think my gear is high end enough that I'd be able to hear any different with the extension cord in place. I just don't like the look of an extension cord.;)

    There is also a subwoofer on the opposite corner of the room. Although not as tall as the rack, it is about the same width & depth.

    Check out my showcase. You can get a good idea of how the room looks. Keep in mind the pictures are with the speakers in the old placement.

    http://clubpolk.polkaudio.com/showcase/view.php?userid=49817
    Bob Mayo, on the keyboards. Bob Mayo.
  • scottnbnjscottnbnj Posts: 709
    edited June 2004

    got it, nevermind everything i said about the rack. looks cool. i remember seeing your pics before too.

    i like the wall treatments. i can see why you jumped on that now. now that i see the room, i'm thinking you've got your work cut out for you to manage the bass port reflections and find breathing room around the speaks.

    concrete floor? maybe a couple of small strategically placed heavy throw rugs. is wall to wall padded carpeting a audio upgrade or a future waf helper? sadly not a cheap one if it is.

    i'm on the road for the day. i'll catch up when i can.

    )
  • scottnbnjscottnbnj Posts: 709
    edited June 2004
    Originally posted by scottnbnj
    got it, nevermind everything i said about the rack.

    HA! nevermind that i said 'nevermind everything i said about your rack', i can't keep track of which rack threads i'm yammering about.

    the rest was meant for you though.

    so sorry

    )
  • gmorrisgmorris Posts: 1,179
    edited June 2004
    Here is where I'm at now. Last night I started with an 8 foot triangle. I chose 8 feet because, first of all, I could fit that into the room, without moving my chair. So I got a pretty good looking setup with the 8 footer.

    The speakers are 45 inches from front wall to front of baffle, 16 inches from side wall to tweeter, with some toe in, enough to firm up the center image. The tonal balance is coming back into focus, as the speaker are not as close to the side walls. Bass is less boomy, but seems to have lost some focus. It seems bass is coming from all around the front of the room.

    I'm still noticing sounds sticking to the speakers. Only now, the sound seems to source from well behind the speaker, as opposed to coming right out of the speaker, like before.

    I was able to move move the rack into the center more, so that is all good.
    Bob Mayo, on the keyboards. Bob Mayo.
  • scottnbnjscottnbnj Posts: 709
    edited June 2004
    are you testing with your sub on or off?

    if on, it might help to get the mains sounding right first(w/ mains set to small if that's how you have it set with the sub on), then deal with the sub later.

    i'm starting to think too, with the power ports, it might even help to physically take the sub out of the room. then you can deal with the reflection later, if it creates one, after you bring it back.

    )
  • gmorrisgmorris Posts: 1,179
    edited June 2004
    I am testing currently with the sub OFF. I'm trying to get the front L&R speakers sounding their best, on their own. For most music, I don't use the sub anyway.

    I didn't get a chance to listen/fool with the system this weekend, after I moved things around Friday night. Hopefully, tonight I will have some time to sit down and listen.

    I think we're getting close here, a couple inches this way, a few degrees that way....... Wish me luck....
    Bob Mayo, on the keyboards. Bob Mayo.
  • scottnbnjscottnbnj Posts: 709
    edited June 2004
    good to see you haven't given up. i'm sort of suprised no one jumped all over me for the last post, but, i really haven't played with down firing ports and am just trying to apply what i've found with my rear ports.

    you're right on about the few inches/degrees. it was good you made large moves to get an idea of the max effect, then backing off to get it into focus.

    sometimes when you think you hear a change, playing with the tone controls will amplify or defeat the effect, and it might help you figure out which way you need to be going.

    or,.. it could just make you more crazy.

    paul mentioned standing waves in the stand height for lsi7's thread. as much as it applies to moving the speaks, sometimes moving your listening position forward or back a little will help too.

    good luck.

    )
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