I love sports and played football for eight years in school. I am all too aware how almost any sport is a game of inches. Until last night, it did not hit me that so is music reproduction. It also hit me how significantly those inches of speaker placement can change the perception of product performance up the audio chain.
Paul emphasizes all the time the importance of letting our ears do the judging. Rules like so many feet from the rear (or front) wall are guidance but that is all. There is so much truth in that.
My Focal 1038s driven by a BHK 250 stand six feet apart. I had them pointing straight ahead 28 inches from the rear wall. Music sounded good but the bass was not too strong and the imaging not quite right.
I moved them back almost against the rear wall. You would expect the bass to grow stronger at the expense of imaging. The image did collapse but the bass did not grow as expected. Mmmmmm. I did not dwell too much on the why. On instinct mostly, I moved the speakers ahead from their former positions at 24/24 to 28 on the inside and 29 on the outside (inches from rear).
I could have yelled Bingo! except it was 3 in the morning. Not that it mattered much. My spouse can sleep through an atomic blast and we don’t share wall space with condo neighbors on any side. I just enjoyed having the widest grin I remember as music realism arrived.
For those of you into classical music, Mahler’s 1st and 5th symphonies kicked ass… Beethoven never sounded to good. The interplay between violins, violas and basses was never as much in evidence. I got up to swing my aging hips to the rhythms of Talking Heads. I won’t mention what I did on disco.
I listened again first thing this morning to make sure it had not all been a dream. It hadn’t. I made small marks on the tile to remember the exact position of the speakers should they move on their own to screw with my mind.
My most musical PS Audio gear has never sounded so good and I’ve never felt as one with the music.
One small step for an audiophile, one giant leap for audiophilehood. Fives inches forward and one inch of toe-in. Who would have thunk!