• 04-03-2004, 06:01 AM
    T-Bone
    Imaging & speaker placement
    Here's one not so quick question for all you two channel people out there:

    How does one optomize the positioning of speakers for best imaging? How far away should a listening position be? I have heard that if you draw a line out from the face of each speaker, the lines should cross about 2 feet in front of your position. Is this common practice? The result, however, is substantial toe-in.

    My listening position is about 9 feet away from 2 bookshelf speakers (standmount). Are there any considerations about positioning on the stand itself?

    Any help is greatly appreciated... Thanks
  • 04-03-2004, 07:17 AM
    Jimmy C
    You're going...
    to have to play around with positioning to get results that are optimal to you.

    Room acoustics will (obviously) have a huge effect on final sound. I would imagine most of us do not have a huge, dedicted listening room shaped like a concert hall... we have to intertwine the stereo with our livingroom, for eg.

    Yes, if you want the tightest stereo image, toe in... as you say, sometimes so the meeting point is before you. This is also good if the speakers are placed near the side walls - less first point reflections that can blur the image.

    If, in that same room, one wants a wider image, you can flatten the speakers in relation to the listening position. But, image specificity may suffer a bit along with increased sidewall reflections. I think any modern, decent pair of speakers should be able to soundstage quite well, even parallel with the front and back walls.

    If you can pull the speakers into the room, you should be able to get better depth perception. I heard Paradigm's new S2 in a big room, well away from the walls. The imaging abilities were excellent - many different layers of instruments between the speaker and back wall. The sensation of "3D" is a lotta fun. Downside? Less bass as opposed to near back wall placement... always a tradeoff.

    As far as placement of listening chair, speakers, and room boundaries in relation to each other, that's very room, speaker type, and preference related. Many speaker companies recommend a set-up that will do their products justice.

    As always, play around!
  • 04-03-2004, 11:16 AM
    T-Bone
    3d Effect?
    Thanks for the speedy reply... much appreciated.

    I suppose that this might be a "That Depends" question, but how far away from the wall are we talking about? Also, how far should the listening position be away from the speakers, or is that important?
  • 04-03-2004, 04:21 PM
    Jimmy C
    The "3D" thing...
    ...Hello, again...

    ...in the case of my S2 demo, the speakers were probably 8' away from the back wall, and maybe 7ish feet from the sidewalls. Soundstaging, and especially "layering", were some of the best I have ever heard. My demo of the $20K B&W N800 couldn't hold a candle to the aural tricks the diminutive Paradigms pulled off. I'm not saying the S2 is "better" than the big-boy Nauts, but image placement was w-a-y better with the S2. The diff? The room.

    The N800 is a fairly imposing speaker... she needs room to breathe. One gripe I had about this speaker was the fact that the stage was somewhat "shrunken", or small. BUT... the room itself was too small for the transducer... not fair.

    OTOH, my S2 Paradigm demo was in a fairly large room... great for soundstaging, bad for bass (especially considering it's a stand-mount speaker)

    My other "excellent-soundstaging" demo was from the Ref 3A de Capos driven by a Naim stack. This was also in a large room - a basement, finished, probably 8.5' ceilings, with dimensions of maybe 20'x30'...at least in that neighborhood. Point is, MUCHO space behind the speakers, and no sidewall reflections. I would say we were listening about 8' away, with (roughly) an equal amount of space between speaker and sidewall, and speaker and backwall.

    Both were great listenings, but, of the two, I would say the de Capos were more realistic with regard to actual image size, and the Paradigms were a bit easier on the ears, tonally. Both were a lot of fun.

    Me? I'm fairly stuck... I'm in a relatively small room (14'x17'ish) AND I have to integrate a livingroom set. Overall, I can't kvetch... sounds pretty good. Plus, I'm in an ultra-quiet neighborhood... you wouldn't believe what THAT does for listening!

    So... how far back should you sit? Not sure, but try an equilateral triangle at first. If you have a rectangular room, try both long AND short wall placement... again, each have benefits and drawbacks. If you have a small, square room, try putting the speaker caddy-corner (speakers on adjacent walls, firing toward your listening chair in an opposite corner). All of this is, of course, if possible* :^)

    * If one is married, one can USUALLY count this placement option OUT