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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 5.1 focal profile setup, 2 full range floorstanders, big centre speaker and big bipole surrounds.

Right now I sit around 14.5ft from the front 3 speakers but I was contemplating trying to make 7.1 work by moving my couch further forward into the room, this would put me about 10 feet from the 3 fronts.

My question is would this be too close, I know obviously I can turn the volume down but I have always been led to believe that floorstanders need room to breathe and need to be driven hard to get the best out of them?

There is always a recommended viewing distance for screens but not really for speakers, are there any guidelines on listening distance for full range speakers or the minimum size room to use them in?

Kind Regards
Marty
 

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Hello,
Marty, I am a huge fan of Focals and 10 Feet is fine for SQ. In truth, most folks sit less than 10 Feet away from there Front Stage (Mains, Center Channel) Especially in Europe and Asia where Rooms tend to be smaller.

In terms of upgrading to 7.1, if you happen to have an Audyssey DSX equipped AVR/SSP, I highly recommend trying it out in lieu of Surround Backs. In my experience, I have been far more impressed with either or the Height and Width Channels in the Front of the Room than adding speakers to the back.

I too sit 15 Feet from my Front Stage and if not for using MartinLogan Electrostatic Speakers would definitely add either Height or Width Channels. I am still contemplating using ML's Motion Series to accomplish this as the ones I own are far too large to be used in such an Application.
Cheers,
JJ
 

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Right now I sit around 14.5ft from the front 3 speakers but I was contemplating trying to make 7.1 work by moving my couch further forward into the room, this would put me about 10 feet from the 3 fronts.

All speakers ideally need roughly a meter circumference around them with nothing to cause diffraction.
Next comes the issue of BSC with box speakers. If the speaker is too near a wall it will sound too bassy because most speakers compensate for bass going backwards. If the speaker is too far from a wall, it had better have a full 6db of BSC else it may start to sound shouty. A measurement microphone will reveal the realities if you've got one.

The best advice I can give you is that you want your speakers spread a solid 8-10 feet apart to give a width to the soundstage, and toe them in enough so that the seating position is getting the part of the frequency response that is least deviant (a good example might be to have a person sit down at the sweetest spot, and aim a laser pointer at their nearest shoulder, and aim the speaker there...with certain speakers I would even aim it a full 45 degrees adjacent to the front wall. 10 feet should be plenty if your speakers have a half-decent crossover where the drivers are acting coherently. In fact, by coming closer, you are actually improving headroom as the speakers and amp need to work less an order to reproduce the same volumes at the seating position. This should improve dynamic clarity as well as help balance out the "direct sound" relative to the "Reflected sound".

My question is would this be too close, I know obviously I can turn the volume down but I have always been led to believe that floorstanders need room to breathe and need to be driven hard to get the best out of them?
NO speaker should "need to be driven hard" to get the best out of it. Distortion always rises as SPL rises. The only reason a speaker might benefit from being louder is that it excites more activity in terms of room reflections, to compensate for its shortcomings. The best speakers in the correct rooms do sound great at high SPLs but all speakers sound best when the least stress is placed on them.

Amplifiers are a bit more complex. Most good amps should sound the same at all volumes, but the reality is, especially with class AB, that you're going to have some level of distortion as the speaker hands off from class A operation to class B operation. So some amps sound poor, most commonly refered to as "The grainy transistor sound" at low volumes, and need to be loud to open up. If your amp is doing this, you need a superior amp. Many excellent class AB amps have extremely low levels of this sort of distortion, so don't let it scare you away from class AB. Just be aware that this is possible.

There is always a recommended viewing distance for screens but not really for speakers, are there any guidelines on listening distance for full range speakers or the minimum size room to use them in?
At minimum, you need to be far enough away that the different drivers converge into a single point source. With some poor speakers this won't happen at any distance, but with most good speakers it's usually 2+meters away

Try to keep an equilateral triangle between the two speakers and the so-called sweet spot in terms of distance. Try to keep that distance far enough that the speakers create a believable soundstage without losing the center image. Try to keep speakers 1m or more away from boundaries. Try to avoid any objects in the path between the speakers and yourself. Try to avoid rear wall (behind you) reflections as they are going to hurt the perception of space... so keep the couch reasonably far from that wall, and add broadband absorption if necessary. And make sure room acoustics are appropriate for listening.... smaller rooms generally have poor acoustics (excess early reverberation), while larger rooms are generally more difficult to get the deepest bass in but good later reverberation (desirable). The correct amount of diffussion, absorption, and diffraction can go a long way. You'd serve yourself well by measuring speakers inside the room to know to which capacity you can improve the sound. Getting closer to the speakers will not hurt the sound, unless you've got them spread 14-15 feet apart. In this case, try to get them closer (if 10ft from each speaker, then you want the speakers 10ft from each other).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Great advice from you both, thanks :T

My speakers are about 2 feet from the front wall and just over a foot from the side wall, due to the size of the room (18ftx13ft) I cannot move them any further out as it would put the left speaker right in front of the visitor couch on the side wall.

They are either side of my pj screen so they are about 10 feet apart which is good then.

I am more interested in rear surrounds than front height and width, although that might change at some point, so my next question is what speakers to use for rear surrounds, clearly it would be better to get focals but the trouble is I have bipoles for sides, focal profiles only do a standmount direct firer (bookshelf) this would mean the rears are too low, half of the speaker would be below the couch?

The other thing that has come to mind is the pj screen is 9ft wide x 6ft high, I am not sure if this is too close to sit :scratch:


Kind Regards
Marty
 
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