Need some tips
OK, we all know how painful and frustrating setting up a 2ch system can be. I recently started goofing around with all my speakers, trying out different amps with different speakers, etc BUT forgot to mark the spots where the speakers originally go for best sound.
Now the thing I'm talking about is the speaker placement and the effects it has on soundstaging. You know, say the left speaker is off by 1" or toe-in is off by a few degrees on one side and there's an imbalance in your soundstage. Sometimes the vocals or snares might be drifting a little too far to the left or righ, or stronger imaging and/or sound on one side vs the other.
I seriously have a problem listening to my system when it's not "perfectly balanced". So my enjoyment turns to anger and frustration when it doesn't sound 'right'.
After a whole evening and part of this afternoon of playing around with placement, I think I got it again. So I was just wondering what you guys do to get that razor sharp imaging and dead center center image?
I'm thinking about getting a laser pointer to help with toe in. Anybody try this method?
I use a string. Straight line and match the toe. For the rest of it, I try to get symmetry with a tape measure and some old fashion geometry.
Then I fine tune by ear.
Thanks Amulford. So far I've been using a tape measure to make sure each speaker is the same distance away from the listening position.
The thing I'm trying to minimize is the whole repetative thing of "listen, get up, adjust, sit, listen, get up, adjust, sit, listen..." YOu know what I mean. My back is hurting.
Damn right I do. My Amazings are 110 lbs each...
lol My La Scalas are about 150 lbs each but very easy to move around. I'd take them behemoths over setting up a pair of bookshelfs on stands any day.
I use the carpet indentations made from the speaker to determine where it should be placed.
I keep moving until everything is perfect.
1) Place speakers approximately where they should be.
2) Grab the measuring tape and adjust accordingly.
3) Request wife sit in sweet spot and play one of her requests.
4) Make final minor adjustments accordingly.
Works every time.
I like using a laser for making sure the toe-in is the same for both speakers and a string or tape measure to make sure they are the exact same distance from my listening position. Oh yea, do all this when nobody is watching :D
Another reason why it's hard to have a good sounding HT and 2 channel in the same room. If I use that formula, my speakers would be about 6.5' apart. It would be tough to watch a 92" screen, with the speakers in the way.:( I'm half tempted to take my 2 channel system and put it upstairs in the living room. But I don't think I can haul the 160+lbs. speakers by myself up the stairs. Because no way would my wife help me. She doesn't want a bunch of stereo gear cluttering up the living room.:rolleyes:
Originally Posted by Face
When I had a dedicated 2 channel rig and listening room. I used this formula and it had shocking results.
Originally Posted by Face
You must try it at least once IMO.
I think it may be a necessary evil when rolling amps. I know when I changed out amps my soundstage was wacked. It took a good 3-4 hours to find the ideal spot for the speakers with new amps.
Martin Logan suggests using a flashlight on top of your head to find the correct toe. Imagine this: just blew a ton on amps which the wife thought was nuts. She walks in the living room which is dark with no light on except this flashlight strapped to my head. She thought I went off the deep end!
The toe on my speakers is not identical nor is the distance from wall to wall. The room is kinda L shaped and the room required this "unconventional" set up to make the image correct. I don't believe there is anything written in stone where everything has to be within a nats a$$. Guidelines are just that, your ears will tell you what's right, even if one speaker is not where it is "supposed" to be.
Drink another vodka tonic, cheapest way of improving sound.
i used to use templates (say, of cardboard) to align the speakers with the wall behind them. in the next room, after alot of wtf moments i finally checked the wall. the speakers were on either side of a doorway. the alignment of the wall on either side of the doorway was off enough that i could see that the speakers were aimed in different directions from the listening position, so templates didn't work anymore.
now i just keep an old 78" level in the room. i span that across the backs of the speakers and use whatever's handy to align the toe on the side of the speaker that doesn't touch (a tape measure, block of wood, a toy... anything that i can slide between the level and corner of the speaker to transfer the distance works). i'll use a tape measure to get the distances from the wall close when i move the stands and just double check that i'm still in the ballpark whenever i'm done changing something.
my speaker stands have one screw in the center of the top plates that hold them together. i can make minor adjustments by just swivelling the top plate a little without changing how tight it is enough to worry about. this way i don't have to fool with resetting the spikes numerous times and re-leveling or unsticking the speakers from the top plate for every minor movement.
i also keep a small bullseye level in the room. if the speaks aren't plumb you're basically in the same situation as the toe being off. it makes a difference.
you can't have razor sharp with grilles on. but, sometimes if it's a close call and i've had enough of the game, grilles on can get me close enough. besides fuzzing things up, it changes how/where reflections hit.
i can't wait until i can get into a room that the speakers can be the same distance from each side wall and move serious permanent treatments in to. until then i just have to adjust placement/toe and move absorbent stuff around on the side with the close wall until it works for most frequency ranges. i find that changing toe to work for one tune doesn't always work for another tune and vise verse. i don't know, but this leads me to believe that a certain degree of toe brings, say, one wave length into focus and a different degree of toe changes the distance and wave lengths that get the bump and/or cancellation. i could be all wrong about why it happens that way though.
in the last room i was able to use a chair that was easy to move (an executive chair with wheels). if i was having a problem like above, i just moved the chair a little to find a sweeter spot. it was also nice to be able to move it if the soundstage was weaker or stronger from tune to tune or if i was just in a different mood and so on. i've missed that, but in a couple of months we're moving into a house that will let me surf the sweetspot again.
I used to have a tile floor in here, made it really easy to play with positioning.
I have carpet now. When my TV stand/amp rack was set up, I made sure it was perfectly centered in the room, so I use that as reference.
Thank you so much for the help guys. I really appreciate it. Never thought I'd get this much info. Well, this thread made me go out and purchase a laser pointer yesterday. I got the pointer that can shoot vertical, horizontal and single point laser. I use the vertical line and place the pointer at the inner side wall of the speaker cabinet to determine where the speakers are pointing and the horizontal line to make sure the tilt on each speaker is identical.
I was VERY surprised to see that even a few mm of toe-in or out, resulted in at least a few inches of error at the listening spot.
One thing I just learned about set-up. IMO, the laser pointer is a necessity! I'm not setting up another pair of speakers without them. My soundstage before was Nothing like what it is now. Even the 'feel' of the sound changed. Now when I listen, I'm completely absorbed in the music because the sound field is just huge. With better soundstaging also comes better tone for me. The timbre and placement of instruments is much better and way more stable.
DON'T waste your time in judging toe-in by eye. It will deceive you 100% of the time. Proper toe-in to the head will look like not enough toe in at all when judging by eye from the listening position. So I've had my speakers toed in way too much since I got into audio.
If you're hardcore into 2ch audio, please get a decent laser pointer. The difference it could make is tremendous.
Thanks again for the help guys.
I prefer my setup with minimal toe-in, about 1/2". My speakers are 8ft apart, and I sit about 10ft from the baffles. This gives me a wide soundstage without loosing a solid center image.
I think mine should be close. Its surprising how little toe in is needed. I've always thought 45 degrees was the norm.