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I was always under the impression that the distance from the speakers to the listening position should be 1.2X the distance between the two speakers. Some believe it should be equal to the distance between the speakers. My listening position has been set up for two years now at the 1.2X distance. It sounded great or so I thought.

The other day I had a fellow audiophile stop by to listen and while he was in the listening seat I stood about 3' behind him to be out of the way. We put on the UHQR version of Kinda Blue. I noticed that the soundstage was more developed and  it sounded like the band was actually occupying the space in the room. We decided to move my sofa back 3' and see what it sounded like. Wow! Major improvement. It sounded like I was actually sitting at a club listening to a band on stage in front of me instead of hearing a recording of a band. It seemed that this change allowed the sound to "bloom" into the room before reaching my ears whereas before it was constrained to between the speakers.

Just wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience and/or if someone can explain to me why this time honored assumption about equilateral triangle speaker/listener position is not the case in my room.

Thanks in advance to all.

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Like a lot of time honored assumptions, that one gets more credit than it's due.  Sometimes it works, of course.  After all, broken clocks are accurate twice each day, too.  It all depends on the shape and size of the room, how far apart the speakers are, the radiation patterns of the loudspeakers, the construction and materials of the surfaces in the rooms, the contents of the room, and all those things people study in second year college physics classes.

If you want to study that last bit, this is a great place to look:  https://www.feynmanlectures.caltech.edu/I_toc.html  Look at chapters 39-50.

Khan Academy has some great classes, too.

You might find articles of interest here, too:  http://www.davidgriesinger.com

Of course,  you can always read what Richard Vandersteen has to say in the instruction manuals for his loudspeaker products and use that, at least as a starting point.  I don't think it's likely that he wants his company's products to not sound great in your listening room.

 

Edited by BKDad
double redundancy of a phrase
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Just wanted to add this:  http://www.davidgriesinger.com/Acoustics_Today/AES_preprint_2012_2.pdf

I am not the guy to judge all the science behind this paper.  But,  Griesinger does state that one of the basic ideas behind Vandersteen loudspeaker designs is important to what he calls acuity and the ability to localize sound.  

"How can sounds that overlap each other in each critical band be separated? The secret lies in their pitch and the phase relationships of their harmonics."

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Gsal,  I am asked every day about how far the speakers should be away from..............  We have an extensive setup section in our owner's manual but if you study it, you will find the formulas for the speakers and listening position taken to the extreme form a grid of the entire room (except for the immediate boundaries)!  While they do help to resist obvious ratios that would repeat and cause big problems the gist is to try every possible domestically acceptable placement and use them where they sound best.  We never give any exact ratios because people would blindly limit themselves to them and possibly never find the best location in their room.  It is a lot of work to find best placement but once you do every properly designed speaker will be best placed in that location.  The room determines best not the speaker design for the most part (not the dimensions exclusively but also construction and textures of the materials).  Once you have found the best placement not all listeners will agree but at least you found the one you like best.  Some like setups that give an immersive sound similar to headphones (an in-head experience I hate because I never experience it live) or a setup that puts the listener in front of the performers which is most natural for me.  This is why there are so many options because we all have different expectations.  I am well aware of this and share what works for me and hope like hell enough of you agree so we can stay in business.  RV

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2 hours ago, Richard Vandersteen said:

Gsal,  I am asked every day about how far the speakers should be away from..............  We have an extensive setup section in our owner's manual but if you study it, you will find the formulas for the speakers and listening position taken to the extreme form a grid of the entire room (except for the immediate boundaries)!  While they do help to resist obvious ratios that would repeat and cause big problems the gist is to try every possible domestically acceptable placement and use them where they sound best.  We never give any exact ratios because people would blindly limit themselves to them and possibly never find the best location in their room.  It is a lot of work to find best placement but once you do every properly designed speaker will be best placed in that location.  The room determines best not the speaker design for the most part (not the dimensions exclusively but also construction and textures of the materials).  Once you have found the best placement not all listeners will agree but at least you found the one you like best.  Some like setups that give an immersive sound similar to headphones (an in-head experience I hate because I never experience it live) or a setup that puts the listener in front of the performers which is most natural for me.  This is why there are so many options because we all have different expectations.  I am well aware of this and share what works for me and hope like hell enough of you agree so we can stay in business.  RV

Thank you for your comments RV. I am well aware of the extensive setup section in the owners manual and have used it to choose the right distance from the front and side walls (after much experimentation). So many people in the industry, however, do suggest the equilateral triangle or the 1.2X distance with regard to the final listening position that I never questioned that part of the equation. I assumed that the nearfield listening experience that those distances create was best. Having recently attended the Capital Audio Fest I was exposed to far too many setups that had the listener almost on top of the speakers. Then I visited the Now Listen Hear room and listened to the Kento's in a large room with listening positions much further away. It was far and away the best sound at the show and got me thinking. Despite the fact that I was quite satisfied with my setup at the time, I decided to try moving farther away. I was very happy to find that by doing so I achieved a soundstage much like what I had heard with the Kento's at the show. The performance was now "in the room" not in my head.  My post was simply intended to get other Vandersteen owners to experiment with this aspect of speaker placement in their rooms. Thanks again for your feedback and thanks to everyone that has replied thus far.

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Funny you should bring this up.

When I was at Audioconnection and Mr. V. was introducing the Kento's, I moved to the room with the 7's. I sat in the 'primo' seat initially, but preferred sitting a row or two back. I just didn't feel comfortable with all that direct input.-Probably why I like Omni directional speakers so much.

Courses for horses, I suppose.

Bob

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Interesting, I’ve been experimenting myself recently, and started saw an interview with Jim Smith, who believes/created the 83% (with tweeter to tweeter = X, Distance to tweeter from ear = Y. X/Y = 83%.). Well, this meant spreading my Treo’s farther apart, something I tried before, but was never happy with the it. But, I didn’t know the 83% part of the equation, or distance to speakers. Well, long story short, I tried it, and it works very well for me. I am much more pleased right now.

I’ve also used Richard’s guidelines as a starting point as well, and still do refer to that, (see my grid on the drawing below).

But as you say, you have used the 1.2 multiplier, essentially 82%, and you preferred something else. And really, that’s all that matters. I do believe a combination of Richard’s guidelines, and the 83%/1.2 equation is probably a good starting point. 

As an architectural designer, I actually recorded most my changes in my CAD program so I have it all on file, including revisions. 

Bottom line, what sounds best to you is ‘correct’, but trying very different setups will tell what your room can and cannot do.

I do go a bit crazy with this 😁 But, as I live in a small little bungalow, which I love, I have to utilize every inch of my room wisely.
 

 

8FCC26BA-18DC-4774-824B-784E5E130F4B.jpeg

Edited by bkeske
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19 minutes ago, bkeske said:

Interesting, I’ve been experimenting myself recently, and started saw an interview with Jim Smith, who believes/created the 83% (with tweeter to tweeter = X, Distance to tweeter from ear = Y. X/Y = 83%.). Well, this meant spreading my Treo’s farther apart, something I tried before, but was never happy with the it. But, I didn’t know the 83% part of the equation, or distance to speakers. Well, long story short, I tried it, and it works very well for me. I am much more pleased right now.

I’ve also used Richard’s guidelines as a starting point as well, and still do refer to that, (see my grid on the drawing below).

But as you say, you have used the 1.2 multiplier, essentially 82%, and you preferred something else. And really, that’s all that matters. I do believe a combination of Richard’s guidelines, and the 83%/1.2 equation is probably a good starting point. 

As an architectural designer, I actually recorded most my changes in my CAD program so I have it all on file, including revisions. 

Bottom line, what sounds best to you is ‘correct’, but trying very different setups will tell what your room can and cannot do.

I do go a bit crazy with this 😁 But, as I live in a small little bungalow, which I love, I have to utilize every inch of my room wisely.
 

 

8FCC26BA-18DC-4774-824B-784E5E130F4B.jpeg

Smaller spaces will make positioning more sensitive.  Experimenting with placement is free and even failures are educational, but success can make thousands of dollars' worth of improvements.  Enjoy the music.  RV

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5 minutes ago, Richard Vandersteen said:

Smaller spaces will make positioning more sensitive.  Experimenting with placement is free and even failures are educational, but success can make thousands of dollars' worth of improvements.  Enjoy the music.  RV


It is a challenge Richard, but my latest set-up sounds really good (right at the 83% ratio) vs all the variations tried prior. I never thought I could get the Treo’s to sound this good in my room, and essentially disappear. But I have. The stage is much wider now, and imaging within it better than ever…..just with a couple small tweaks. But getting the right combination of them (tweaks) is the key to a setup working, or not.

I am enjoying an earful of Strauss symphonies this evening, and an enjoying it. Thanks!

 

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42 minutes ago, Richard Vandersteen said:

Smaller spaces will make positioning more sensitive.  Experimenting with placement is free and even failures are educational, but success can make thousands of dollars' worth of improvements.  Enjoy the music.  RV

@Gsal

^This^

 

One can actually show a difference as the speakers are moved into the room, and a difference in when the sofa is moved away from a back wall.

I try an hold my ground on the “into the room distance( (Behind the speakers), but relent to WAF pressure for Sofa to wall, and where the speakers go left to right.
Other rooms might respond different, and other SOs respond to varying degrees.

I am generally more like an equalateral triangle (or wider), than like an isosceles triangle… because of the crap between the speakers - like TV, table/rack, TT, etc.
And then one needs a bit more toe in as they get wide.

The center channel also takes up room;

520005A9-C691-421E-A70C-0B624E19FD73.jpeg

 

^looks like this needs the laser tilt adjustment^

Edited by Holmz
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On 11/16/2022 at 4:02 AM, Gsal said:

I noticed that the soundstage was more developed and  it sounded like the band was actually occupying the space in the room.

Gsal, your comments piqued my interest as well.  My Quatros have been in the same position for a few months now.  Once an equilateral triangle, I moved my couch back about 4" a few weeks ago.  Instruments seemed to occupy a little more of their own space, but not a big difference.  My left speaker is only a few inches from a half-wall by the front door; thought I might tighten up the bass a little (and maybe expand the imaging) by moving it in a tad.  Yesterday, after a couple albums, I moved both speakers a couple inches closer together, but not any farther into the room.

While I haven't yet observed any increase in soundstage width (it may have even decreased just a smidge), there was an immediately noticeable improvement in the depth!  And, all the instruments were better defined.  While part of my brain listened for more width, I was basking in the pleasure of hearing a more defined, "in the studio" sound.  

As Richard stated,  "Experimenting with placement is free and even failures are educational, but success can make thousands of dollars' worth of improvements".

 
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2 hours ago, GdnrBob said:

@bkeske,  what is the object labeled bc f12? Subs?

Bob

ahhhh…..my cheapo BIC F12 subs Bob. Two of them. Connected directly to my Belles MB200 mono blocks, and ports stuffed. Tuned to behave themselves and play nice with the Treo’s. They do their job….for the time being.
 

One of my next replacements to come.

Also, have to correct something in my post above. 1.2x is actually 80%, not 82%. Brain fart. Happens in older age.

Edited by bkeske
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17 hours ago, Steve Edwards said:

Gsal, your comments piqued my interest as well.  My Quatros have been in the same position for a few months now.  Once an equilateral triangle, I moved my couch back about 4" a few weeks ago.  Instruments seemed to occupy a little more of their own space, but not a big difference.  My left speaker is only a few inches from a half-wall by the front door; thought I might tighten up the bass a little (and maybe expand the imaging) by moving it in a tad.  Yesterday, after a couple albums, I moved both speakers a couple inches closer together, but not any farther into the room.

While I haven't yet observed any increase in soundstage width (it may have even decreased just a smidge), there was an immediately noticeable improvement in the depth!  And, all the instruments were better defined.  While part of my brain listened for more width, I was basking in the pleasure of hearing a more defined, "in the studio" sound.  

As Richard stated,  "Experimenting with placement is free and even failures are educational, but success can make thousands of dollars' worth of improvements".

 

Glad to hear it proved beneficial Steve. Happy listening. My Quatro's arrive today. Exciting!

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I have done a shittonne of experiments in this regard. I have a small room, which opens into another room at the back. My room is 130" wide.

With speakers out 1/5 from the side walls, 18" to edge of speaker, 26" to center of speaker, I have 78" between the center of the drivers.

And here I am going to not only buck against the 1.2x trend, but move towards a number that as measured by the general public, and probably even most people here will APPEAR to be closer to 0.9x

WWtf?  Nobody has ever said this before.... But I digress, it's not really 0.9x. It's 1.0x, but there are two tricky things to take into consideration.

I have 78" between the drivers. I should sit 78" back from the edge of the speakers.

Wrong on two fronts. That is not an  equilateral triangle. An equilateral triangle according to my calculations would have me sitting just 65" back from the invisible line between the speakers. Also, as stated in Vandersteen manuals,  (read the manuals!) the acoustical center of the speaker is the center of the speaker.

So 65" - (1/2 of 10.25") = 59.875" back from the front edge center of my 3a signatures.

Not until I got both of these correct did it click.

I also have tried to compensate with toe - in, but it absolutely destroys the soundstage. Flat toe in,  EVEN in spite of sitting so close seems so counterintuitive, but it's the only way to go. I have maybe an 1/8th inch toe in, but it's really just as close to flat as I can get without being negatively toed in.

I also find that many traits are somewhat transferable from dimension to dimension in audio, and have subconsciously been adjusted at the ear level already in each room. Eg, time/distance, toe-in/boundary reflections,  phase/brightness to name a few.

Which is simply to say that often times an objective improvement in the spatial domain requires an equal and opposite adjustment. If you have a defect, and a compensation from baseline perfect, and you correct the defect, the compensation then becomes and presents as a defect and must be removed.

So if you try the equilateral triangle setup, you may need to undo other compensations. Specifically, if moving from the 1.2x to 1.0x position, the front wall first reflection will shorten and you may need to move the speakers out from the front wall. The bass will (ignoring room modes) get louder, which may require an uncompensation of corner loaded bass... Aka pull the speakers out from the front of the room

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