Best speakers.......for the room

halohalo Posts: 4,989
So, I tried a variety of speakers in the new apartment since moving here just under a year ago. It wasn't that I was "unhappy" with the sound I was hearing, I just wanted to get the "best" I could within my budget (~ $600 - $700).

I started out with the Polk Signature Series S60 floorstanding speakers. By far, these were the best overall in this listening space.

Figuring that the LSiM series would be an improvement on the Signature Series, I jumped on a crazy good deal from Adorama to get the LSiM 705's. This was the 2d best pair of speakers in this listening space. I ended up selling the 705's to a fellow Polkie for what I paid for them and he is thoroughly enjoying them. I went back to the S60's and was very happy with them.

You can call it upgraditis if you like, but when the highly regarded and revered Usher CP-6311's were available somewhat locally, I had to try them out. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the results I wanted/expected out of these in my listening space.

Currently, I have a pair of KEF Q150 bookshelf speakers on Trans Decco 31" speaker stands. I tried these by themselves and they sound pretty good but there is a bit of a suckout in the midbass (around 100 Hz). I realized this after checking out some posts on the AVS forum as there is a lot of chatter now that these are available for only $299. I used an online frequency sweep generator along with my Radio Shack analog sound level meter at my listening position. Sure enough, I'm experiencing major dropouts and peaks at different frequencies as measured at my listening position. I was hoping that the concentric mid/tweeter design would provide a wide and detailed soundstage superior to that of the S60's but it doesn't seem to be the case here.

I tried adding a sub, but with the placement just outside of the left speaker, I still get the same results at the listening position. Elsewhere in the apartment, the sub is digging much deeper and picking up where the bookies leave off. at least, to my ears, as I haven't run REW room correction ware to nail down, exactly, where the peaks and valleys (nulls/nodes) occur.

So if I do buy a proper room measurement mic and utilize the REW software, I'll know where the issues are in the room. Then, I'll have to consult GIK for room treatments to solve the problems that bother me the most or to try and get as flat a frequency response at the listening position as possible. However, the addition of the GIK treatments will eat into the budget so, I have 2 choices as far as I can tell.

First, go back to the S60's as they seemed to work well in this listening space (far from perfect but better than anything else I've tried). Second, bring the Polk S15's I have in the basement storage upstairs, mate them with the sub. I may have to do the sub crawl but my positioning of the sub, overall, is somewhat limited due to WAF. The S60's seemed to provide a pretty decent sound from top to bottom with some dropouts in the bass as did the LSim 705's and I attribute this to the bottom power ports on the Polk speakers making room placement easier. The Ushers are the pickiest followed by the KEFs. Strangely, the Ushers and KEFs sound better at higher listening levels (not good for apartment living) while the Polk speakers were fairly uniform at low levels and high(er) listening levels.

I have played with the placement of the speakers as well as toe-in. The Ushers have been 3' from the front wall (and closer) while toed in with no noticeable difference in bass response (by ear) at the listening position. The KEFs are 2' away and toed in for their "best" sound at the listening position.

Both of the Polk speakers were facing forward, no toe in, and had the best results as far as a very wide soundstage/wall of sound that was immersive and enjoyable. They were, IIRC, between 18" - 20" from the front wall.

The measurement on the sound level meter at the listening position shows that the bass doesn't start to move the needle until I hit ~ 50 Hz. I know the sub goes lower than that but, whether the sub is on or off, the bass doesn't register at the listening position until ~ 50 Hz. As I said earlier, there's a big dip ~ 100 Hz - 130 Hz. This is with me eyeballing the needle and the frequency generator simultaneously. Obviously, a dedicated mic and REW software would tell me exactly what's happening.

I cannot move the speakers too far forward as I'll be listening near field due to all the furniture that occupies the apartment. I'm kinda stuck where I'm at in the listening position.

The right speaker is a little over 3' from the side wall with the exposed brick and tall windows (converted industrial space to a loft apartment). The left speaker has no sidewall anywhere near it as that side leads down a small "hall" to the outside door.

Sorry about the novel length post folks. I'm just wondering if anyone may have insight or suggestions. All of this experimentation is reminding me of what @erniejade went through trying to find speakers that would play well with his room.
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Comments

  • ConradiclesConradicles Posts: 5,782
    Those Ushers look really sweet.
  • oldrockeroldrocker Posts: 2,082
    Looks great....
  • halohalo Posts: 4,989
    Those Ushers look really sweet.
    I agree 100% These are beautiful speakers. I just have t been able to get them dialed into my room’s acoustics.
    oldrocker wrote: »
    Looks great....
    Thanks!

    How’s that Carver Crimson 275 working out for you? I was looking for the thread yesterday but I couldn’t find it.

    A little update...

    I connected the NAD integrated to the KEF’s and they really woke up. Must be a synergy thing as the Polk speakers sounded great with the separates. SMH.
  • oldrockeroldrocker Posts: 2,082
    I didn't pursue the Carver..
  • SCompRacerSCompRacer Posts: 7,115
    edited January 17
    The effort put forth in doing room sweeps is worth it. You may be surprised by what moving speakers around can do. Keeping good records of what you do will result in a best case positioning of speakers. It is easy to get frustrated. Just listen to music then and let things mull around in the brains background. I'm sure you will need some acoustic treatments to help.

    Are you using burst tones or continuous? Continuous tones will load up in the room and give you false readings.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's * Audio Research Reference 3 * Bottlehead Eros Phono * Park's Audio Budgie SUT * Krell KSA-250 * Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ & Pro 11+ * Signature Series Sonore Music Server w/Deux PS* Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC * Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive * AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm * AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R * Richard Gray 600S * NHT B-12d subs * GIK Acoustic Treatments * Sennheiser HD650 *

  • rpf65rpf65 Posts: 2,003
    Have you tried to place anything under the S-60’s to de-couple it from the floors?

    Extremely long shot, but the speakers could be causing some weird resonance that’s affecting the bass response in your room.
  • halohalo Posts: 4,989
    oldrocker wrote: »
    I didn't pursue the Carver..

    My bad. I thought you already had the Carver and that the rep from the company was discussing it in the thread.

  • halohalo Posts: 4,989
    edited January 17
    SCompRacer wrote: »
    The effort put forth in doing room sweeps is worth it. You may be surprised by what moving speakers around can do. Keeping good records of what you do will result in a best case positioning of speakers. It is easy to get frustrated. Just listen to music then and let things mull around in the brains background. I'm sure you will need some acoustic treatments to help.

    Are you using burst tones or continuous? Continuous tones will load up in the room and give you false readings.

    I was using the continuous tones. I’ll swap to bursts. I need to get my read on about the REW software. There’s a nice getting started guide over at AVS.

    I switched from the separates to the NAD C316 BEE integrated amp so the Bottlehead is not calibrated properly any longer for the impedance. Is there a “general/universal” impedance setting to use so I don’t have to bother you if/when I switch gear?

    I’m somewhat limited on the placement of the speakers. All the pics show the speakers in similar positions. I’ve varied how far the back of the cabinet is from the front wall and I’ve varied the amount of toe in. I don’t have a lot of wiggle room to spread them farther apart or place them closer together.
    Post edited by halo on
  • halohalo Posts: 4,989
    rpf65 wrote: »
    Have you tried to place anything under the S-60’s to de-couple it from the floors?

    Extremely long shot, but the speakers could be causing some weird resonance that’s affecting the bass response in your room.


    The S60’s were great. The best speakers I had in that apartment. Unfortunately, I sold them to buy the Ushers.
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 2,589
    edited January 17
    Victor you have mentioned of being in a wheelchair (I do hope that is ok to bring up) as I feel your listening position might be further forward than most if furniture is placed behind you? If that’s not the case, my apologies, but I know when I had my couch just 12” further forward the bass disappeared in my room. 12” back and it’s perfect.
    SPEAKERS - ELAC ADANTE AF-61, TOTEM RAINMAKER, SONUS FABER SOLO, DEFINITIVE TECH SM350, MIRAGE OASIS, SONOS PLAY 5 & 1'S, SVS SB16 ULTRA

    POWER - PS AUDIO M700, LINN LK240, MARANTZ SR5013

    PRE/DACS - PS AUDIO STELLAR GAIN, CAMBRIDGE AUDIO CXN V2

    SOURCE - DENON 2910, SONY CDX355, JVC XM448, REGA P2 (MODDED) ANIA CART, REGA FONO MC, XBOX 1 S, TIVO BOLT

    POWER/WIRES - AQ NIAGARA 5000, AQ HURRICANE HC (2M), AQ MONSOON HC (2M) , AQ COLORADO XLR (2M & 1M) AND RCAs(1M), AQ VICTORIA(1M), ACOUSTIC ZEN SATORI W JUMPERS(3M), ATLAS EOS PC, WW STRATUS X3/AURORA X1 PC, AQ CARBON HDMIs

    MISC- OKKI NOKKI RCM, HARMONY ELITE, SONY 75XBR900E
  • halohalo Posts: 4,989
    joecoulson wrote: »
    Victor you have mentioned of being in a wheelchair (I do hope that is ok to bring up) as I feel you listening position might be further forward than most of furniture is placed behind you? If that’s not the case, my apologies, but I know when I had my couch just 12” further forward the bass disappeared in my room. 12” back and it’s perfect.

    Hi Joe! Yes, of course, totally fine to mention that I’m in a wheelchair. It also brings up another variable. I sit higher in my wheelchair than most people sit when listening in their favorite comfy chair or on their couch. So, the tweeters have to be higher to be at ear level for me.

    My InnerSound hybrids ESL speakers were great for this because the electrostatic panels were so tall, I never had to worry about that. Singers were right in front of me, on my lap. lol
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 2,589
    But what about where you sit in relation to the back wall?
    SPEAKERS - ELAC ADANTE AF-61, TOTEM RAINMAKER, SONUS FABER SOLO, DEFINITIVE TECH SM350, MIRAGE OASIS, SONOS PLAY 5 & 1'S, SVS SB16 ULTRA

    POWER - PS AUDIO M700, LINN LK240, MARANTZ SR5013

    PRE/DACS - PS AUDIO STELLAR GAIN, CAMBRIDGE AUDIO CXN V2

    SOURCE - DENON 2910, SONY CDX355, JVC XM448, REGA P2 (MODDED) ANIA CART, REGA FONO MC, XBOX 1 S, TIVO BOLT

    POWER/WIRES - AQ NIAGARA 5000, AQ HURRICANE HC (2M), AQ MONSOON HC (2M) , AQ COLORADO XLR (2M & 1M) AND RCAs(1M), AQ VICTORIA(1M), ACOUSTIC ZEN SATORI W JUMPERS(3M), ATLAS EOS PC, WW STRATUS X3/AURORA X1 PC, AQ CARBON HDMIs

    MISC- OKKI NOKKI RCM, HARMONY ELITE, SONY 75XBR900E
  • SCompRacerSCompRacer Posts: 7,115
    edited January 17
    halo wrote: »

    I switched from the separates to the NAD C316 BEE integrated amp so the Bottlehead is not calibrated properly any longer for the impedance. Is there a “general/universal” impedance setting to use so I don’t have to bother you if/when I switch gear?

    I’m somewhat limited on the placement of the speakers.

    Manufacturers know their gear with coupling caps will be used for components with a wide range of impedances. Because of that, many will use output coupling capacitors way larger than necessary. Coupling caps act as a high pass filter. Since we care about the little things like SQ, we optimize coupling cap values based on gear in use for best performance. If we gotta make a swap, so be it. What are the input specs?

    Just moving to and away from a wall can impact the midrange. When I first placed the Salk's in my room, I used previous Eros speaker placement and acoustic treatments. That positioning for the Salk's sucked -15dB out of the midrange. So I had to go back to trial and error placement while doing sweeps.

    Just my experience and opinion, once you get the frequency response in your room the tightest you can from top to bottom, gear changes become less frequent.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's * Audio Research Reference 3 * Bottlehead Eros Phono * Park's Audio Budgie SUT * Krell KSA-250 * Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ & Pro 11+ * Signature Series Sonore Music Server w/Deux PS* Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC * Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive * AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm * AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R * Richard Gray 600S * NHT B-12d subs * GIK Acoustic Treatments * Sennheiser HD650 *

  • halohalo Posts: 4,989
    SCompRacer wrote: »
    Manufacturers know their gear with coupling caps will be used for components with a wide range of impedances. Because of that, many will use output coupling capacitors way larger than necessary. Coupling caps act as a high pass filter. Since we care about the little things like SQ, we optimize coupling cap values based on gear in use for best performance. If we gotta make a swap, so be it. What are the input specs?

    Just moving to and away from a wall can impact the midrange. When I first placed the Salk's in my room, I used previous Eros speaker placement and acoustic treatments. That positioning for the Salk's sucked -15dB out of the midrange. So I had to go back to trial and error placement while doing sweeps.

    Just my experience and opinion, once you get the frequency response in your room the tightest you can from top to bottom, gear changes become less frequent.
    Ok. I will look up the specs and get them to you.

    Your experience and opinion are pretty solid in the world of audio my friend; It is known throughout the land :)

    I’d like to get to a point where gear changes are less frequent. My budget will eventually change and then I’ll be able to entertain loftier audio goals. For now, I’m trying to get as much good sound as I can within a very limited budget. I know it’s not going to be perfect and I don’t expect it to be perfect but I’d like for it to be enjoyable :)
  • erniejadeerniejade Posts: 4,806
    The sub on the kef looks like it needs to be on the right since it looks like the left is an open space snd right can corner load it more.

    If you need a mic, i have one you can have. Just pay for shipping.
    Den: Lumin D1,Wireworld Silver Eclipse, KEF LS50 Wireless, Velodyne SPL1200, Technics 1200, Denon DL160, Jolida D9,
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    Have but haven't used in a while: LH Labs VI Dac, Cayin SCD50T

  • halohalo Posts: 4,989
    erniejade wrote: »
    The sub on the kef looks like it needs to be on the right since it looks like the left is an open space snd right can corner load it more.

    If you need a mic, i have one you can have. Just pay for shipping.

    Wowsa! Thanks Ernie!

    I'll see about moving the audio rack to the left side and placing the sub on the right. As of now, the bass sounds pretty good; Not overly emphasized or too thin. But, I feel like I can locate where the bass is coming from at times.
  • erniejadeerniejade Posts: 4,806
    "I feel like I can locate where the bass is coming from at times. " This exactly this is why i said more in the corner. Before you go moving the rack, just put it by the rack and see if it makes a difference. try it 2 ways, on the side of the rack behind the right speaker and then try it in front of the rack to the right of the right speaker. Do you have speaker wire going to the sub and then from the sub to the speaker or are you just running the speakers full range and trying to integrate the sub where the speakers leave off?
    Den: Lumin D1,Wireworld Silver Eclipse, KEF LS50 Wireless, Velodyne SPL1200, Technics 1200, Denon DL160, Jolida D9,
    USB helper: w4s Recovery
    Living Room: Teac AI-3000,T+A PA 1530R, Tyler Highland H2, Aries Mini, Grant Fidelity Tube Dac 11
    Have but haven't used in a while: LH Labs VI Dac, Cayin SCD50T

  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 2,589
    I can tell you the latter is much harder to achieve. ^
    SPEAKERS - ELAC ADANTE AF-61, TOTEM RAINMAKER, SONUS FABER SOLO, DEFINITIVE TECH SM350, MIRAGE OASIS, SONOS PLAY 5 & 1'S, SVS SB16 ULTRA

    POWER - PS AUDIO M700, LINN LK240, MARANTZ SR5013

    PRE/DACS - PS AUDIO STELLAR GAIN, CAMBRIDGE AUDIO CXN V2

    SOURCE - DENON 2910, SONY CDX355, JVC XM448, REGA P2 (MODDED) ANIA CART, REGA FONO MC, XBOX 1 S, TIVO BOLT

    POWER/WIRES - AQ NIAGARA 5000, AQ HURRICANE HC (2M), AQ MONSOON HC (2M) , AQ COLORADO XLR (2M & 1M) AND RCAs(1M), AQ VICTORIA(1M), ACOUSTIC ZEN SATORI W JUMPERS(3M), ATLAS EOS PC, WW STRATUS X3/AURORA X1 PC, AQ CARBON HDMIs

    MISC- OKKI NOKKI RCM, HARMONY ELITE, SONY 75XBR900E
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 30,906
    erniejade wrote: »
    The sub on the kef looks like it needs to be on the right since it looks like the left is an open space snd right can corner load it more.

    If you need a mic, i have one you can have. Just pay for shipping.
    erniejade wrote: »
    The sub on the kef looks like it needs to be on the right since it looks like the left is an open space snd right can corner load it more.

    If you need a mic, i have one you can have. Just pay for shipping.

    I'll agree with Brian's observation. Loading it in a corner will give you some more oomph.
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    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
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  • Joey_VJoey_V Posts: 6,938
    edited January 18
    All rooms have modes that are inherent of the room dimensions for the most part. You are experiencing first hand the relative difficulty with bass response given a fixed seated position

    Are you able to alter your seating arrangement?
    Joey's Gear:
    Current Gear:
    Torus RM15 -> Emm Labs DAC2x and TSDX Transport -> Cary SLP-05 preamp -> Boulder 2060 stereo amp (w/ Audioquest WEL Signature) -> new speakers
    Rotel RA1592 Super Integrated -> Sonus Faber Olympica 3
    Rotel RC1570 preamp -> Rotel RB1582 amp -> Focal Kanta 2

    Old Gear:
    Speakers: BW PM1 (3.5/5), CM10s2 (3.75/5), BW800D3 (5/5), Rockport Aviors (5/5), Sonus Faber Stradivari (5/5), BW 802D2 (4.5/5), Martin Logan Summits (4.25/5), Martin Logan Vantage (4/5), Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor (3.75/5), AV123 Strata Mini (3.5/5), ML Mosaic (3.25/5), Onix Ref1 (3/5), Sonus Faber Concerto (2.75/5), SF Concertino (2.5/5), Axiom M22ti (2/5), Polk LSi9 (3/5), LSi7 (2.9/5)
    Source: Squeezebox 3 -> PS Audio Digital Link III -> Cary 306/200 CDP -> Cary 306 SACD -> EMM LABS DAC2X/TSDX
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    Subwoofer: Infinity Entra2 sub -> SVS 25-31PC+ sub
  • halohalo Posts: 4,989
    erniejade wrote: »
    "I feel like I can locate where the bass is coming from at times. " This exactly this is why i said more in the corner. Before you go moving the rack, just put it by the rack and see if it makes a difference. try it 2 ways, on the side of the rack behind the right speaker and then try it in front of the rack to the right of the right speaker. Do you have speaker wire going to the sub and then from the sub to the speaker or are you just running the speakers full range and trying to integrate the sub where the speakers leave off?

    The NAD integrated only has speaker level outputs so I have speaker cable going from the NAD to the speaker level inputs on the back of the sub. The sub doesn't have speaker level outputs so the speakers are running full range. After tweaking the volume level last night while my wife listened, it is pretty close to blending but it still seems a little bass heavy on some songs, but just right on others. Obviously, after taking measurements, I can get closer to a better blend. I will try the different locations for the sub without moving the rack on the right.
  • halohalo Posts: 4,989
    Joey_V wrote: »
    All rooms have modes that are inherent of the room dimensions for the most part. You are experiencing first hand the relative difficulty with bass response given a fixed seated position

    Are you able to alter your seating arrangement?

    No, not really. I'm pretty much positioned where I will be for listening sessions.
  • SCompRacerSCompRacer Posts: 7,115
    edited January 18
    halo wrote: »

    No, not really. I'm pretty much positioned where I will be for listening sessions.

    When you were here, did I have you move forward from listening position where the low bass slowly nulls in the room. Keep moving and it returns? Thats why my two subs are where they are, between the speakers and against the wall. Heck, put it in the kitchen if you have too. :)

    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's * Audio Research Reference 3 * Bottlehead Eros Phono * Park's Audio Budgie SUT * Krell KSA-250 * Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ & Pro 11+ * Signature Series Sonore Music Server w/Deux PS* Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC * Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive * AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm * AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R * Richard Gray 600S * NHT B-12d subs * GIK Acoustic Treatments * Sennheiser HD650 *

  • halohalo Posts: 4,989
    SCompRacer wrote: »

    When you were here, did I have you move forward from listening position where the low bass slowly nulls in the room. Keep moving and it returns? Thats why my two subs are where they are, between the speakers and against the wall.

    I remember you telling me about it but I didn't put it to the test. I understand what you mean because, if I move to different locations in the apartment, the bass gets stronger/more prominent or weakens.
    SCompRacer wrote: »
    Heck, put it in the kitchen if you have too. :)

    I don't think that either of our wives would be ok with that :#

  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 10,298
    You can also corner load the speakers themselves

    Look back at one of the LSAF threads and you’ll see Raven audio corner loading Legacy Audio speakers
    2-channel: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures
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    Gone to new homes: (Matt Polk's)Threshold Stasis SA12e monoblocks, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, Dynaudio C4 platinum speakers, Modwright LS100 (voltz), Simaudio 780D DAC
  • halohalo Posts: 4,989
    txcoastal1 wrote: »
    You can also corner load the speakers themselves

    Look back at one of the LSAF threads and you’ll see Raven audio corner loading Legacy Audio speakers

    Thanks Ron :)
  • machonemachone Posts: 1,100
    This probability does not apply to your issue but I found that I get better bass with my 2.3TL's pulled out from the wall further than most. In my room at 6" the bass is muddy and hides detail. I am now a little over 8" and they have plenty of clean bass allowing all the details of the music through and very deep bass is better.
    It seemed counter intuitive to pull the speakers away from the wall for better bass response.
    It has taken a while to get their position settled but I think I am very close.
    Mojo Audio Joule v5>>Quantum Byte w/JRiver 24 and Fidelizer>> Starlight 7 USB >> Mojo Audio Mystique v2 SE>>ModWright SWL 9.0 SE Signature>>Hafler DH-500 Amp+ (Musical Concepts Fully Modded)>>
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  • halohalo Posts: 4,989
    machone wrote: »
    This probability does not apply to your issue but I found that I get better bass with my 2.3TL's pulled out from the wall further than most. In my room at 6" the bass is muddy and hides detail. I am now a little over 8" and they have plenty of clean bass allowing all the details of the music through and very deep bass is better.
    It seemed counter intuitive to pull the speakers away from the wall for better bass response.
    It has taken a while to get their position settled but I think I am very close.

    Thanks for your input!

    I tried the KEF speakers as far as 3’ from the front wall and the bass diminished. At 2’ the soundstage is pretty wide with a good, strong, center image and the bass is good for what the bookshelf speakers can do on their own. But, there are still peaks and valleys that I’ll have to diagnose once I get the setup/calibration mic. I’ll also have to get very familiar with the REW software so this may take me awhile.
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