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Discussion Starter #1
Over the last year that I have had my 5.1 system set up, I have become more and more aware that I am not getting the most our of my setup as far as soundstage and imaging go.

On a lot of material, everything seems squished into the center of the room.

One reason I know that I can get more out of my current speakers is that when I first auditioned them I was absolutely wowed at how things really opened up when switching from stereo to 5.1 for some of the demo material I brought along (like Dire Striats Live at the BBC).

The switch to 5.1 REALY opened things up. It was like going from this stage that fit into a flat wide box at the front of the room to something that filled the room. Like going from music on speakers to having a band in front of you. I have not achieved this in my room.

A layout of my room is posted below. I am in an all concrete construction aparment, so I have a very relfective environment. The only thing missing from the layout below is the display, which is a 50" rp sitting on a stand between the mains.

 

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Discussion Starter #2
After a lot of reading, here are the things that I understand can affect soundstage and imaging:

side wall 1st reflections
Ceiling/floor 1st reflections
distance from the side wall (position of speakers)
toe in

Current position of the mains is 20" from the side wall (from the center of the baffle) 7' from the rear wall (behind the display), 11.5' from the front wall, 8' apart.

This positioning gives me the golden trianlge (at 8') from my listening position.

The room is 11'w x 20'l x 8'h.

Furniture makes it hard to play much with seating or front to rear positioning of the speakers.

From what I have read, the first thing I need to tackle is positioning of the speakers. The question is, where do I start? I would like to have some logical method to apply changes so that its not totally random.

Thoughts/suggestions are welcomed.
 

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I suggest that you take a few measurements with REW first to see where you are at with the room as-is. That will take out a lot of guesswork. Then try moving your sub around for smoothest freq. response. Post your graphs here and you will get a lot of help understanding what to do.

I would start with first reflection absorption - acoustic panels on the side of the walls. Lots of info here about positioning them using a mirror. That will widen the apparent sound stage by attenuating delayed sound bouces from the walls.

Bryan P of GIK recommends acoustic panels behind the front speakers. Next I would add bass traps, starting in the corners of the room. Acoustic panels can be purchased ready made from companies such as GIK acoustics or you can make them yourself.

With such a reflective room, I expect that you could make significant improvements in sound quality. It will take some time and a few $s but the difference in enjoyment of your system is well worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the reply.

I have already done a lot of work with REW to deal with bass frequencies. The threads can be found here and here.

Because I do not plan to live here much more than another year (and I am cash limited), it is not worth pursuing bass treatments any further at this time.

At this point I figure I can get lots of bang for relatively few bucks working on the mains and soundstage/imaging. I do have some 2" 3lb fibre board I can use at first reflection points.

Technically, I should be using a combination of absorbtion and diffusion at first reflection points, but I don't think I have the room to do that. I also have the challenge of having a couch at the first reflection point on one side and I am not quite sure how to deal with that yet.

It is not possible to put absorbtion behind the speakers in this configuration.

One thing I am wondering is what the trade off is between distance from the side wall and having the golden triangle. I guess I just need to try stuff.
 

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I thought you had posted before about your room. You may want to build or buy some traps on stands so that you can take them with you when you move. GIK makes stands for the Monster traps and the end table and pillar designs that are portable.

You can also use R30 in DIY frames or stuffed up in a cardbox box (someone on here did that for the back of his room and got benefit.) A couple of months ago faced R30 was going for about $68 per 88 sq. ft. here (11 24x48 batts).

Definately try the fibre board since you already have it. Burlap cloth works well for a covering and it is inexpensive. Even above the couch might help if that will not interfere with seating.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Anything I build will definately come with me to any new abode.

Even above the couch might help if that will not interfere with seating.
For imaging/soundstage issues? I tried my two traps above the couch for bass issues. It didn't have any noticable effect.
 

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Yes, I was thinking about imaging. Bass traps, if they have membranes, are not designed to absorb mids and highs, which is where imaging happens.
 
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