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 Near-Wall Placement for Loudspeakers

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Sonic.beaver



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Join date : 2009-09-18

PostSubject: Near-Wall Placement for Loudspeakers   Fri Nov 25, 2011 6:49 am

Hi Zonees

There is a common view that all speakers (except those that are specifically designed) should be pulled away from the front wall of the room, the further out the better. The typical distance recommended is 3 feet or more. But there is an alternative that is possibly better!

In small rooms, particularly with mini monitors, Sonic has found you can get a very nice soundstage that projects into the room and also has good beyond the loudspeaker imaging if:

a. the speakers are placed within a foot of the front wall, slightly toed-in or straight ahead

b. the listener sits with head about 2 feet or closer to the opposite wall



Why does this work? The speakers are now activating the front Pressure Zone and the listener’s ears are in the PZ art the rear wall. Remember the Tune Theory – your room is your loudspeaker and pressure zones are what we listen to. With our ears near a wall, our brains, via the Haas effect will effectively zero out the sound of the rear wall and all you get is the ambient envelopment. It is almost as if the 7 to 10 feet between you and the speaker plane has come closer than it looks to the eyes.

Sonic applied this in a room about 12 ft x 10 ft x 8 ft with Tangent RS2 mini monitors (anybody remember them?). The characteristically wooly bass of the Tangents was not a problem, the KEF T27 tweeter was sweet and the imaging was solid and the orchestra spread outside the speakers -- the Tangents were about 5 feet apart along the 10 ft wall, very slightly toed inwards. Good depth too for this untuned system driven with a CD front end and tube amps.

The proviso is you need to be at the other end of the room for this to work. All the problems associated with near wall placement came back when I moved the listening chair away from the rear wall. When I moved to about 1/3 down the length of the room, I could hear the front wall and the squashed feeling of the speakers being too near it. The bass started to go out of control, there was no ambience and the soundstage became confused.

This set up will be a boon to audiophiles who live in places which constrain their speaker placement. I have seen many set ups which fire across an apartment living room -- speakers at one wall, listener on sofa at the other wall.

In my pre-Tune days I would think this was horrid and suggest the speakers are pulled out. Listening and with Tune-experience Sonic finds this set up can work very well and is a good staging point for more Tuning.

You might want to have thin rug like a grass mat or a cotton duree between you and the speakers. This can soften a treble reflection of the floor which can be annoying in some set ups.

As I understand it now, near-wall placement is not a compromise. It can work very well and better than if the speakers were 3 ft out as long as you sit in the right zone of the room. Other than near-wall, the halfway point is particularly good too (what Sonic uses) and beyond that is X-treme nearfield which is not for everyone.

Oddly the position that I have found to be rather poor has been having the speakers at the 1/3 points of room. These are null points – while the steady state frequency response may be less uneven here, you also get no pressure and therefore a loss of efficiency. Yes, and we don’t listen to steady state test tones…I have tried my Magnaplanars at the 1/3 length/width points and I could hear the soundstage shrink along with a loss of impact.

Sonic
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Michael Green
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PostSubject: Re: Near-Wall Placement for Loudspeakers   Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:38 am

This is a great example of how to use your room.

Many people try to mix listening philosophies only to find it doesn't work. The out come of that type of listening usually ends up in blaming a component for not sounding right. This is unfortunate. As Sonic is showing making the room a major part of the system is the way to go. Our rooms are far more than speaker placement, they are speaker ear placement. Using the pressure zones in the room as speakers can make the near wall experience quite pleasant.

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