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  1. #1
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Speaker Placement Cardas Style

    It's been slow around here, so feel the need to contribute. I posted this at AK, where I felt more people would benefit from reading it. I think most guys at AR are in tune to placement.

    For full information and other Cardas, genius inspired concepts, check his site here.

    For the infamous Cardas calculator, check here.

    I have my room set up like most of you guys do. I have 2 young kids, 1 and 3 years old. I also have a wife who although supportive, has limits.

    I keep my room with a basic and traditional set up. For placement I use a bastardized Golden Cuboid, with heavy implementation of the "rule of thirds".

    For any of you guys who have small spaces, or room restrictions, the rule of thirds is a great concept. Symmetry is your friend in terms of speaker placement.

    I tried to photograph my space as best I could.








    In order to implement the Cuboid, I have put Magic Sliders on the base of my stands. Magnepan owners will slide their speakers in and out in order to save space when not listening. For casual listening or shut down, mine will be against the wall. Aside from that, I must move the chair back and line out the cable.




    Now, here is the Golden Cuboid on paper...




    My room is 18 feet wide, so roughly 5.5 from the side walls and 8.5 from the back. Distance inbetween will be the same as from the rear, making the "cube". Distance to your listening seat will be the same value also, with the seat centered "between", making a triangle.

    Here is my room...







    So, of course, how does it sound? Hahahahha...

    I could write a book. All I will say is that for those who think they have depth and soundstage...think again. I am enjoying the same level of imaging, although everyone is a bit bigger and far more well defined.

    To try and put it into words, it's as though the players were all crowded together before, and now they have space. The impression goes as wide as deep. There is also an audible improvement in detail, clearly the timing of the room nodes has changed.

    I am stoked and frankly I don't want to put it back. It took me about 10 minutes to set up. i will use this if i figure to have a session for an hour or more.

    Thanks go out to Mr. Cardas, a real audio genius.

  2. #2
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    OK so something more realistic...


    I have decided that 3.5 feet out from the wall will not pose any threat, well actually that's backwards. My kids will not pose a threat. My wife won't care either.

    Right now I have basically moved them straight back. 3.5 feet from the rear wall, 5.5 from the sides and 8.5 in between. My seat is 7.5 feet from each speaker, centered of course.



    There is still much improvement in this configuration, but not to the extreme of my first post. With the proper cube, it sounded like players were behind the speakers. That effect is still evident, but to a much lesser extent.

    I have compensated for the change with some toe in. I have gone as far as 30 degrees right down to none. Right now I have about 20 degrees, and this seems to help.

  3. #3
    Charm Thai™
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    Did your existing speaker cables reach the speakers pulled that far out or did you have to swap for other longer cables? Just curious.

  4. #4
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Poppa,
    How was the bass response when the speakers were far from the front wall. It doesn't look like you use a sub, so wouldn't the bass response suffer heavily from having the speakers that far out in the room? I would think so.
    Sir Terrence

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  5. #5
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Poppa,
    How was the bass response when the speakers were far from the front wall. It doesn't look like you use a sub, so wouldn't the bass response suffer heavily from having the speakers that far out in the room? I would think so.
    Not always. some time ago I pull my speakers of the wall and the bass sounded more natural...I was surprised.
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  6. #6
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon
    Not always. some time ago I pull my speakers of the wall and the bass sounded more natural...I was surprised.
    I would not disagree with the naturalness of the sound(Is that a word?). My contention is that a speaker that far from the wall will have absolutely no deep bass support whatsoever, so I was wondering did he notice any weakness (or changes) in the bass frequencies below let say 50hz?
    Sir Terrence

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    18 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid surround/ceiling speakers
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  7. #7
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Early reflections might have created some bass cancellation. Moving them out from the wall might have reduced the cancellation. I know with my MoFi OML1's further out in the room the bass is cleaner, tighter and sound deeper. I am sure it varies speaker to speaker and room to room. I remember the AR 10pi. The speakers had a three positioned switch for positions tha affect the bass. Against the wall, on the floor against the wall and on stands out in the room were postions for the switch. It was reported the bass would sound equally good in any of those places when the switch was set correctly.
    JohnMichael
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  8. #8
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Excellent !

    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    To try and put it into words, it's as though the players were all crowded together before, and now they have space. The impression goes as wide as deep. There is also an audible improvement in detail, clearly the timing of the room nodes has changed...Thanks go out to Mr. Cardas, a real audio genius.
    Soundstaging can take on multiple dimensions when the speakers are able to *breathe* in the room. But, use any speaker placement strategy as a starting point. I experimented with the Cardas formula for dipoles and found the most neutral response differed from that placement. Rooms contain many variables and sometimes there are tradeoffs. I agree though that the best sounding systems I've heard place the speakers far from the walls.

    rw

  9. #9
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Poppa,
    How was the bass response when the speakers were far from the front wall. It doesn't look like you use a sub, so wouldn't the bass response suffer heavily from having the speakers that far out in the room? I would think so.
    Funny you should ask. I was thinking about this at work tonight. I didn't really go through the usual gambit of bass driven recordings that I have. Using the proper cube, I tested alot of jazz and rock. I didn't notice any improvement or decrease in bass response, but i found the bass player was easier to localize on recordings with "weak" bass.

    My LP of Bossa Antigua was always hard to make out the bass, or to find him in the staging. With this set up I can find him immediately, so I suppose there is a tad more presence bass wise.

    I am warming things up right now and plan to put on some hip hop, and a Marcus Millar album which all have crazy exagerated bass response. We'll see...

  10. #10
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Dissapointing...

    ...well, to answer your question Sir T. I would say the bass doesn't particularily suffer.

    The issue I am having, is specific with my 3A's. They are the most transparent, neutral and detailed speaker I have had hooked up. The problem is that they are revealing my amps weakness in the bass region.

    High points for localization, detail, tone and audibility. The problem is that there is no real depth or richness to the bass. I realise now how coloured my last couple of pairs are. The Mission 707 sounded amazing, although with a hump in the lower mid. They conveyed the full depth of the bass so that it could even be felt with hip hop and other bass heavy genres.

    As I said, the 3A's brought the bass to the forefront. On older jazz recordings, this is a blessing.

    I should add that everything sounds great, but i do enjoy a little bit of kick with my bass. I may throw the 707's back in to do some comparing. Tommorrow I have the house to myself.

    Any thoughts here guys? What would YOU do in this scenario? I have a powered sub that I can throw into the mix...should I? It has high and low level input/outputs and gain/dB control.

    BTW here are some CDs that I used last night...










  11. #11
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Poppachubby have you worked much with toe-in? The manual for my OML 1's said to very little toe-in. I kept reading in reviews where speakers are pointed at the listening position. Once I aimed my speakers I was impressed by how solid the image and full the bass sounded. Sounds like the speakers are better out in the room and now a little toe-in may help.
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  12. #12
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    The problem is that they are revealing my amps weakness in the bass region...I should add that everything sounds great, but i do enjoy a little bit of kick with my bass.
    The issue may have to do with compatibility due to its impedance characteristics. The amp may not necessarily be *weak* in the bass, but if the speaker exhibits a "Scream Machine Roller Coaster" profile, then it is not a good match for any high source impedance amp - mostly tube, but some low feedback SS amps as well. The Advents I have in the garage and the Polks in the HT both suffer this issue so I drive them with SS amps. What happens is that the frequency response tends to track severe spikes and valleys.

    While not exactly your speaker, this 3A model is one of those that likely fares better with SS.

    rw

  13. #13
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. Yes John I have been playing with toe in, but tommorrow I'll try again and push it to the extreme. I hate to say it, but my Missions might be coming back into the mix (sigh).

  14. #14
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    The issue may have to do with compatibility due to its impedance characteristics.
    rw

    Boy, you weren't kidding. Frankly I can't even summon the language to describe what happened here last night. Suffice to say, I have not gone to sleep.

    Of course, I am aware of matching in regards to impedance. I think this instance is great testimony to the superb performance of the Apogee. Even while incorrectly matched, it still performed remarkably well. The bass issue was the only obvious symptom. Upon putting them on my HK Twin 630, I noticed that the SE-40 was making the upper mid range a tad nasally.

    The 3A Apogee, even while at the bottom of their line, is a special speaker indeed. I am in total awe at how amazing it sounds now. Of course, the bass opened right up, along with more clarity and a ton a immediacy. The attack is fast and precise. These are without a doubt the greatest pair of speakers I have ever owned, and all for the princely sum of $60.

    I put the Missions back with the SE-40, and things sound amazing. They will clearly be tough to dethrone. I am now trying to come up with a nice fit for the 3A's, in a location which they can be enjoyed.

    Honestly, it's kind of tough to admit that they're a poor match to my main system. I was really set on them, but clearly the REAL enjoyment is just about to begin. Anyhow thanks for the tips and support fellas...

  15. #15
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    ...well, to answer your question Sir T. I would say the bass doesn't particularily suffer.

    The issue I am having, is specific with my 3A's. They are the most transparent, neutral and detailed speaker I have had hooked up. The problem is that they are revealing my amps weakness in the bass region.

    High points for localization, detail, tone and audibility. The problem is that there is no real depth or richness to the bass. I realise now how coloured my last couple of pairs are. The Mission 707 sounded amazing, although with a hump in the lower mid. They conveyed the full depth of the bass so that it could even be felt with hip hop and other bass heavy genres.

    As I said, the 3A's brought the bass to the forefront. On older jazz recordings, this is a blessing.

    I should add that everything sounds great, but i do enjoy a little bit of kick with my bass. I may throw the 707's back in to do some comparing. Tommorrow I have the house to myself.

    Any thoughts here guys? What would YOU do in this scenario? I have a powered sub that I can throw into the mix...should I? It has high and low level input/outputs and gain/dB control.

    BTW here are some CDs that I used last night...
    For me Pops...a speaker has to move me without to much exaggeration. A speaker does not have to be full range that goes down to 27hz for me...so I dont even look for that in a speaker....Now I like color and tonal abilities from a speaker, but not to the point where the music sounds artificial. I like to feel it in my chest, but you dont need it to go down that far for that. You know I talk about passion, romance and feeling that I have to have from a speaker. In my opinion if the Speaker is showing you the flaws of the amp, then its the amps fault and not the speakers...it shows me they are good speakers. They are not exaggerating the bottom end. Perhaps giving it to you the way the music was recorded...if so then its not the amps fault either. IF I where you I would have a conversation with those who own that particular amp before I dis the speakers.

    From the way you described your listening position, it sounds like near field listening. And if so, then the bottom end of the set up cant be that soft...or should not be. IF your speakers are not exaggerating or blooming the bottom end, and they really are not deficient in the bottom... then you should be ok with knowing you have a good pair of speakers...and they just dont go down that far...so in that case use a sub to pick up where your 3A's drop off. But most audio hobbyist aren't as reserved as I am about it. But if you are satisfied with it just flip the switch on the sub when listening to hip-hop and be satisfied with being moved by your very fine system and when money permits, get a newer set of Reference 3A's. My buddy LeRoy who is well schooled in what makes a very good speaker has pretty good experience with the Reference 3A speaker line and he would be the first to tell you they are a very good speaker indeed.

    And my other audio pal, MrPeabody who is a bass head by the way...is learning to be satisfied with his less bass heavy Fortes...he is sacrificing a lot of bass for a more detailed, lively sound with more passion and romance. He calls it the fun factor.

    But you do know unless you have a speaker that really goes down low with-out a sub, you really aren't doing hip-hop as good as it was recorded to be heard any way unless you have a sub. Do you even have a sub Pops? I've never heard you really talk about one.
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  16. #16
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Thanks for the insight Frenchie. The issue is most definitely NOT my amp. My amp is fantastic. I think you hit it on the head, the 3A are a super neutral speaker, revealing the true source.

    I don't need to tell you that with alot of jazz recordings the bass is the weak point.

    The question is, now that I am faced with a pair of speakers like this, is it what I really like? I put my Missions back in about 3 days ago, along with my sub. I figure that this configuration matches really well with the SE40, so I can regain perspective.

    I will put the 3A's back in, along with the sub and see how it goes.

    Aside from all of your great advice, the issue of impedance matching is a big one with a tube amp. It can make the world's best pair sound like crap. As I said, I think there was a bit of a nasally response from the 3A's and if so, the match is most likely poor.

    I will hear it right away this time. The Missions are crystal clear, and I will be lsitening for it once I switch. I'll keep you posted. On the other hand, I have REALLY been enjoying my sub.


  17. #17
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    I just threw them back in and used the same track, same gain. Wow. They sound great, of course the sub cleared up the bass issue. The upper mids are so much more rich with the 3A, and overall the sound has texture that the Missions does not.

    I will stick with this...yes!!

  18. #18
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    So, it's the 3-A's and a sub?
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  19. #19
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    I just threw them back in and used the same track, same gain. Wow. They sound great, of course the sub cleared up the bass issue. The upper mids are so much more rich with the 3A, and overall the sound has texture that the Missions does not.

    I will stick with this...yes!!
    Thats all it took. Glad you are having a fun factor ! Imma sure your 3A's are very passionate....not sterile at all so enjoy My Man and have lots of fun. And you gots plenty gear...you can act like Hyfi and switch the sound around when you get ready.
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  20. #20
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE SP9
    So, it's the 3-A's and a sub?

    Yessir.

  21. #21
    Sophisticated Red Neck manlystanley's Avatar
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    Hello Pops,
    Great thread!! I have become convinced that people are missing more from room acoustics then they realize. Further, many people who be better off adding $500 in room conditioning then in adding thousands in new equipment.

    When I had I had a pair of magnepan 1.6's, and was fighting bass reflections, I followed the 'theoretical placement' rules as well. I was amazed at the difference that it made. I could hear the graininess of CD's vs the smoothness of vinyl. But then, the speaker placement would not work with my wife and I did not want to be moving everything around.

    One question, can you fake out these placement rules by putting room conditioning?

    Thanks,
    Stan
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  22. #22
    Forum Regular budgetaudio76's Avatar
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    Having speakers away from room boundaries will not necessarily diminish the bass. As acknowledged by several members.

    When i was a teen i had mid sized floor standers. KLH modell 8840 in the mid 90s.

    One evening we had the playing in a HS basket ball court. All enclosed. In the dance floor we felt and heard all aspects of the music. Heck we could even feel our pant legs vibrating.


    Speakers were about 10 to 15 from rear walls and about 20 to the corner the backs faced. It was so friggin loud we had to yell at each other . Djed for school dance that evening.
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  23. #23
    Forum Regular budgetaudio76's Avatar
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    Having speakers away from room boundaries will not necessarily diminish the bass. As acknowledged by several members.

    When i was a teen i had mid sized floor standers. KLH modell 8840 in the mid 90s.

    One evening we had the playing in a HS basket ball court. All enclosed. In the dance floor we felt and heard all aspects of the music. Heck we could even feel our pant legs vibrating.


    Speakers were about 10 to 15 from rear walls and about 20 to the corner the backs faced. It was so friggin loud we had to yell at each other . Djed for school dance that evening.
    Audio exploits of the past year
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    even more here!
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    and yes its been a slow but full 3 or 4 years yet!

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