Don't be so sure!


I thought I’d post about this since frankly I’m rather embarrassed, and it’s a good lesson I think , for us all to remember. Anyway a few months back I got a new set of speakers (the just released Proac D30R) anyway I went ahead and set them up pretty much like how I’d setup most of the other speakers I’ve had in my room ( room is 15ft wide and about 20ft long open at one end to the foyer, and to the left of the speakers an opening into the dinning room) I had them on the shorter wall about 8 ft apart, a bit more than 4ft from the back wall ( measured from the back of the speaker) and toed into the listening area so that the inside of the speakers are just barley visible…I sit about 10 ft out from them… this is BTW pretty much the recommendation from Proac as regards placement of their speakers. Anyway I haven’t of late been really happy with SQ, it was sounding a bit sibilant, a little spitty, lacking in body a bit, just not as good as I thought it should sound. So I borrowed some echo busters and a few other acoustic products to play around with to see if it was my room or what… I also was thinking maybe my tubes are going or my power sucks or what ever. So the other day I tried toeing out the speakers a bit thinking maybe that’ll smooth things out… Nah no real improvement…I tried playing with the echo busters… nah not really any better, a bit maybe but not much. So today I said screw it I’ve gotta try something so I took all the acoustic panels out of the room un-spiked the speakers and stared from scratch.

I started by shutting off my Rel sub and moving the speakers to just a foot off the back wall… Humm well certainly it has a bunch more bass, and the mid range is nice and full, of course there was no soundstage depth to speak of, then I aimed the speakers straight ahead no toe in at all… Humm interesting… next I started moving them out a little at a time… all the while playing different music especially stuff that I’d though was overly sibilant before… Humm… Next thing I remembered is that I had this old XLO test and burn in CD… there is this very cool in phase , out of phase test… The way it works is that when you play it in phase it should sound very focused and when played out of phase it’s supposed to be super diffused, and the more diffused it sounds out of phase the more focused it’ll sound in phase…low and behold when I’d toe the speakers in, on the out of phase track it would be less diffused, and on the in phase it would sound sort of over focused.

I think you’re getting the idea… After many hours I ended up with the speakers about 8 inches back closer to the rear wall which gives the mids more body and the best balance between stage depth and over all robustness. The speakers are now about 6 inches closer together at about 7.5ft and very little toe in… in fact the out of phase test track is now totally spooky with the out of phase spoken voice of the test track sounding as if it’s coming from behind me and completely not coming out of the speakers at all!

All the sibilance is gone the imagining is to die for, soundstage width is nuts with stuff happening way way off the speakers left and right, and things happening way behind the speakers… focus of voices and instruments is crazy good, and tonality is spot on…All this was with out the Rel adding in the deep bass punch ( I have the Rel about dialed in with it set at 34hz)

Anyway what I hope I was able to explain is that sometimes we take things for granted in our setups… we get myopic… I certainly was… the speaker setup now looks so weird and wrong compared to the way it was… and it sounds so much freaking better… So never just assume that the way things are, are right… Don’t be so sure that the problems you may have are being caused by what you think…