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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Wayne's thoughts on optimizing the rear wave of a dipole speaker to enhance the imaging make a lot of sense to me. So, I spent some time yesterday messing around adding reflective panels behind my ESLs to see if I could better optimize the sound. Because I'm still monkeying around with the ESL toe-in angles, I wanted something easily and quickly adjustable.

Here's what I started with.
front wall before.jpg

I mounted a couple of cabinet hinges to the edges of the hardwood trim on my built in entertainment center. They are pretty solid little hinges and hold steady at whatever position you put them in.
hinges.jpg

I bought a couple of 1"x12"x4' black veneer shelf boards to use as reflective panels. These are the same boards I used for the bases under the ESLs to help with isolation.
refelctive board.jpg

right channel board.jpg
The current speaker toe-in angle is 10 degrees. Once I had the panels mounted, I placed a mirror flush against the reflective board and I shot the laser from the center of rear of the ESL panel into the mirror and adjusted the angle of the hinged board until the laser spot hit my LP. From my measurements, the reflective panel's angle is 16 degrees. Repeat for the right channel.
laser dot on mirror.jpg
laser dot on LP.jpg

I made it all the way thru Bob James Playin’ Hooky and partly thru the Robinhood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack last night and felt the detail was just spectacular. Some of this could be psychological but I believe I’m hearing clearer separation of instruments and more dynamic sound in terms of transients. I’ve got the angles marked, so I'll give it a few days and change the angles and see if there's a difference to me. I also want to try some absorption between the panels as Wayne suggested to see if it makes a difference for me as well. It's pretty cool all the tweaks you can make to change the sound. Hopefully, in the near future I can take some measurements and get some thoughts on the graphs.

front wall boards 3.jpg

BTW, Wayne should change his id from AudioCrraver to THE Magician.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Although I do play music with my subs integrated, my other big change this weekend was a little more more for HT performance than music. The Halo P5 allows me to null out HT bass mgmt when listening to music only so I can mildly blend the subs in without them taking over. When not in HT Bypass mode, the P5 is out of the equipment loop and my audyssey settings are active. So, again, in an effort to optimize, I tried relocating both subs, moving one outside of the right channel main, kinda-sorta corner loaded (as much as I can corner load anything in this room), and, moved the second V1500 nearfield, which is about 3' from my LP.
nearfield sub.jpg

Wow, that was no small change. If you’ve looked at any of my other “help needed” posts over the past couple of months, you know I have 7,200 cu. ft room. I just can’t tell you how pleased I am with these two PSA v1500’s. They do a very good job pressurizing this room complete with precision and slam. I watched Lone Survivor again and during the chopper scenes, you feel air from the blades whooomp, whooomp and the RPGs hit you like a crack of lightening.

BTW, a side benefit from the sub moves is I can give the wife an opportunity to put some female junk like ivy, baskets, etc. around the equipment rack to try an appease her some. Expect to see some fake potted plants in some future post. Do they make acoustic absorptive fake plants? Anyway, lets call it a win-sorta win deal.
front wall finished.jpg
 

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Wayne has does an awesome amount of work here presenting the details of his journey and he is spot on. One thing I have learned recently is the importance of Symmetry, all else being equal, the left speaker if possible, should "See" the same thing as the right speaker and vice-verse. By see, I mean for example, if there is a soft cushy footstool out 3' from the left speaker, there should be something similar out from the right. This works also with rear walls, side walls and front walls. This is where absorption, deflection and diffusion properties need to be very well controlled.

Speaker and sub-woofers do their thing wherever they are placed, as you understand, it is our job to make everything around the speakers and sub-woofers work for us, the listener. :T
 

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There! Now you've done it! Now I've got to build a couple reflective panels to position behind my Motion 12s. I thought I couldn't possibly be happier with these speakers but now..........well.........I gotta try this!

old, old arkiedan :eek:lddude::eek:lddude:
 

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I forgot to mention, beware of your high back recliners. They will kill surround and ambient information presented by the front two speakers, big time.
So listen in low back chairs and see if you hear the difference.
 

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My uncle is an expert and he without a doubt says everything has to be perfectly aligned, leveled, plumed, toed all at the exact same angle to within .1° and 1/64th of an inch.

100% most crucial part of setting up your system.
 

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Tally I would tend to agree that things should be well aligned and in good order, however, in real life it is oft times hard to get a room/system set up that carefully. Remember we move our heads, our bodies, we look around, close our eyes, open our eyes, eat some popcorn, take a drink....etc, all of which would through those measurements off by a huge margin.

We have to get all things close to correct, if possible very close, however not many things are perfect and proper. Sound-staging depends as much on the equipment and recorded media as it does on the setup in the room. Perfect measurements cannot overcome bad recordings and/or equipment and as such, because we rarely have perfect rooms, perfect equipment and perfect recordings, this issue becomes so very complex. But when all does come together, we can be transported to a recording site. Even the fake recordings that are made in a studio are wonderful to become a part of.

So your uncle in theory is correct, but in the real world, we try out best to do that, but falling short can still present a wonderful sound space into which we can partake. :T
 

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...and now for some less popular comments, most of which will have to be teased out of a :rant: about the dynamic nature of life (mine, in this case:)).

There are many factors to consider with one's listening chair, and comfort is certainly a critical one. If you aren't comfy, you aren't really going to fully enjoy the experience – just part of the witch's brew bubbling in our brains. Too high is one consideration, and so is reflectivity – I keep a thick blanket covering the back of my leather seat.

Ah, ESLs – one day, I will return to planars and it will probably be a pair of electrostatics (may just keep the 3.7s). I learned a few lessons in the dozen-odd years I enjoyed Magneplanars. Recent events forced a reconfiguration, which is a mixed blessing. In the stead of my 3.7s are a pair of Def Tech Mythos ST, which are of the MTM over a bass unit design. The new speakers are significantly closer to the front wall, as is my seat. A Mythos 10 in the center and a pair of Mythos STS in the rear fill out the new arrangement. The pair of Def Tech Reference subs didn't move much. For HT and multi-channel music, the new setup is phenomenal.

I adored the 3.7s for glorious music, in stereo – I will miss them. After years of experimentation, I tried something I thought was nuts...or, an approximation of it – Limage, as it's called. I had already found that they got better and better as I pulled them away from the front wall - just needed to orient them in an unconventional manner. A reflection off the front wall which arrives within ~20ms of the direct sound will invariably produce comb filtering of some degree. On the other hand, the interactions of those same reflections increase the salience of directional cues. As with all things, the benefit has its cost. Sound is also a lot messier than our laser sharp rays of reflected photons. Anyway, 9'3” was the best my cables could do, and the Maggies sounded better at that distance than anything less – just sayin'. Alas, I no longer have such a generous space to dedicate to the cause, hence the radical shift.

On a side note, my screen got bigger. Well, I perceive it as larger because I sit 10' closer to it now. As with some things, the cost purchases a benefit...or three. It's been a long time since I had a center channel – wow! I also underestimated the impact of full-range rears.

Not only did my dedicated room layout change, but I'll also be yielding the room in the house where my seriously suped-up MMGs are located. They will remain, so I will get to listen to them from time to time, but they will be my daughter's – in her little cave. I predict that she is going to fall in love. I discovered some surprising things about them over the years. One is that the symmetry of the surrounding room matters far less with a near-field setup (heretic!).

Okay, on with the stoning. :hide:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
No stoning today Kevin. I'm pretty new to all of this, just reading, trying this and that and learning as I go. But, you seem to be following the standard convention for planar set-up aren't you? I'd love to have the ability to have my mains 8-9 feet from the front wall but that isn't in the cards so I default to trying other options.

Like many others, I have characteristics that ultimately are not changeable for one reason or another. Room dimensions/layout, construction, and even furniture options come to mind, all requiring compromises and trade-offs,...benefits and costs as you put it. We settle for a 90% solution because squeezing that last 10% out isn't practical for one reason or another. I can create and enjoy perfect symmetry but it comes at a cost, whether it be a financial, functional or an aesthetic one.

I sat on my little craftsman wheeled shop stool the other day and just slid back and forth a foot at a time from speaker plane to PLP and, yet again, had to conclude Wayne was right-- that ~6' seemed to create the best imaging. That's a non-starter for my room, as 9' is the best I'm going to be able to do without my wife up and deciding she is just finally going to have to shoot me in the head.

Moving some of my gear out of the built-in entertainment center which was built especially for this gear; buying a new eq rack to put the aforementioned displaced gear, along with and a bunch of new gear, then it taking up so much room; buying 2 giant black boxes and having one in front and one right behind her seat; putting pillows and quilts in places that wouldn't normally have them (including over the aforementioned rack and gear... sans amplifier of course); screwing boards to the walls; and so on, has me near the end of the line placement, set-up, symmetry and option-wise.

Maybe it's time I realize it may all just be in my head, or come to grips that I'm at that 75-90% mark and the rest is diminishing returns. Afterall, I'm not giving up my Lazy Boy for nothing, too many hours invested breaking her in just right. Gotta have priorities...plus I'm afraid of bullets.
 

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Real life kind of wins out most of the time. That includes practical room use, some sense of order and decorum, living in peace with a spouse or significant other, and of course deciding just how far to chase the diminishing returns. I even get tired of fiddling with this stuff once in awhile, but I always come back to it, call it a sickness, maybe it will be classified as an official psych disorder someday.

Then every once in awhile something amazing happens, & I get a big pay off. I am a bit of a hope junkie, too.
 

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Haha too funny, wives do not want us dead, they want us in their Debt, its different. If you beg enough or should I say negotiate enough, all may turn out well, but then one day, the big request will come and you will have to go along with it, even if it is dressing like barney the purple...well I dont know what he is actually. How do I know ?? Dont ask. Never the less pretend like your wife is Mr. Potter from Bedford Falls and just go along with it until you are in a place of strength and pay her back proper.

As to the listening chair, I find I am in a different camp than many fine gents, probably 95% of other fine gents. A high back chair seems to rob the listener of the natural ambient cues in music that allow our ears to hear the sound unencumbered by the sound suction device built into a lazy-boy high back chair. It tends to get worse with a heavy blanket over the chair as the sound will get flatter than without the high back and blanket.

Lets do a test, sit in the comfy listening chair and play a song that you know very well, and at some point, sit straight up with your head away from the seat back, I bet the sonic frontier changes a good bit. Sit back and it is probable that the sound will loose its sparkler and sound space abilities. Sit up away from the back again after a minute or tow and experiment. This might change your mind.
Now what I said above is doubly true for movies with surround information. The back of the chair will block a good bit of the sound going on in the rear of the room as it seems to act as a wall in and of itself. Once again, watch and listen to something good and move your head away or get into a chair with a lower back or no back at at all and you will know the power of the soundtrack young Jedi.

Lastly, there is indeed a special place for that blanket, put it over a television display if there is one in the room. That giant hunk of finished glass or plastic is not a welcome component for music in 2 channel. It acts as a giant mirror and causes the sound stage to jumble a bit, so my opinion, when not watching movies and just listening to music, cover the screen. Try these ideas and let me know what you think.
 

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Real life kind of wins out most of the time. That includes practical room use, some sense of order and decorum, living in peace with a spouse or significant other, and of course deciding just how far to chase the diminishing returns. I even get tired of fiddling with this stuff once in awhile, but I always come back to it, call it a sickness, maybe it will be classified as an official psych disorder someday.

Then every once in awhile something amazing happens, & I get a big pay off. I am a bit of a hope junkie, too.
Hope now that defines many of us, what a great word you bring up. Without Hope there would be little enjoyment on those days when things are not working right or you dont feel so well. As the band Klaatu once wrote....

So let us feel Hope
And feel the sunrise in our minds
To give Hope is to enlighten all mankind
Ah but lose Hope and life seems black as blind
When faith gives way to fear
When motivation disappears
All is lost if one abandons Hope
 

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I love this place!!! Just can't stay away from this thread. Everyone is eloquently contributing entertaining and informative material with insights galore. Home theater tech talk and life lessons all dressed up in one amazingly enticing smorgasbord of activity! What a ride. Did I say I love this place?

Sent from my iPad using HTShack
 

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Compromises and trade-offs are just part of life for the overwhelming majority of us. The bare truth is that I sat down with pencil, paper and the various acoustics calculations in order to design a dedicated listening room...then friends goaded me into adding video. So, it became an HT room as well, but not fully blown. It was a trade-off and a compromise, but it was enjoyable. For speaker placement, I relied on the Cardas formula.

It sounded very good, but it wasn't perfect. I added the second sub. I moved my 3.6s (at the time) out a bit more - better, but not perfect. I added more acoustic treatments - especially bass traps (ASC). Eventually, I re-routed my speaker cables in order to get them (3.7s by this time) nearly 10' into the room - better still, but not perfect. Along the way, I played around with the various non-standard configurations - Rooze is one that is quite entertaining, effected by rotating the speakers ninety degrees from 'normal' (requires a very narrow tweeter - ESLs need not apply). I finally ended up with them as close to the side walls as I could manage with my ceiling shape (room above a garage) and perpendicular to the side walls (had to forfeit a bit of distance from the front wall in order to move them to the sides) - near as makes no difference, perfect.

Well, life has a way of getting interesting. It did so this year, but it is entirely a list of first world problems (in the wake of a death in my immediate family). My 'dedicated' room now doubles as my bedroom - will be moving up there this weekend (practical room use). Something had to give. Rather than shackle the system I loved (Is it fruity to feel so strongly about an audio system?), I decided make some radical changes. Change is fun. I've boxed the majority of my former system, but I'm not exactly in a hurry to sell the stuff (and I might not do it). It's hard to predict the future.

The crux of the biscuit is that finding the last 10-20% often involves surprising turns. After lots of experimentation (which I find to be fun), I think I found that elusive quality, then a surprising turn reset the game.:laugh:

---

I'm a pretty tall guy and my head is fully above the top of the back of my seat. The blanket just squelches the reflections off the leather. Fortunately, I don't have a TV in the room. When I listen to music, the screen is rolled up in its box. Don't need a blanket for that problem. There is a window in the room, but it is covered with acoustic foam that is covered with a nice rug (nailed to a frame that I screwed to the wall), with a music theme.
 

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I learn so much here Lou, you are right, a free post doctorate in audio/video addiction for which there is no escape once bitten....

Kevin, thats for your insight, very well spoken. My condolences for you and your family, I feel your pain as my Mom died last month as well and dagnabit, I miss her.
My room is HT and audion as well, but I have not figured out the best mix for both...and I dont have the change to go all out and do both in a way that I would like. You are right, first world problems.
 

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For sure, this is an awesome resource. I really do enjoy reading the tales and seeing the photos of what others afflicted with this passion have done (or plan to do). This world is littered with marvelously creative minds, and I'm nothing, if not an idea vampire. My membership here is much more recent than my membership at a couple other audio sites, and what brought me here was REW. I never even posted here until a speaker evaluation was brought to my attention on the planar asylum. Once I peered into some threads, I realized (though I wasn't surprised by the discovery) that there was much more on offer here than REW.

I think it's impossible to strike an ideal balance between the demands of stereo and those of HT. It's interesting to compare the pros and cons of different equipment designs, especially speakers. Although my new setup does HT far better than the previous one did, it gives up less as a stereo than I expected it would. It kind of takes me back through the cobwebs of memory to a time when I thought Julian Hirsch had the greatest job on earth. I'll never have such a job (or its perks), but, looking back, lots of audio equipment has come and gone over the years...and I've thoroughly enjoyed the whole journey (even the processor craze of the late '70s / early 80s).

It's tough when we lose people. The equipment is just stuff, although it is a means to a blissful end.:bigsmile:
 

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As to the listening chair, I find I am in a different camp than many fine gents, probably 95% of other fine gents. A high back chair seems to rob the listener of the natural ambient cues in music that allow our ears to hear the sound unencumbered by the sound suction device built into a lazy-boy high back chair. It tends to get worse with a heavy blanket over the chair as the sound will get flatter than without the high back and blanket.

Lets do a test, sit in the comfy listening chair and play a song that you know very well, and at some point, sit straight up with your head away from the seat back, I bet the sonic frontier changes a good bit. Sit back and it is probable that the sound will loose its sparkler and sound space abilities. Sit up away from the back again after a minute or tow and experiment. This might change your mind.
Now what I said above is doubly true for movies with surround information. The back of the chair will block a good bit of the sound going on in the rear of the room as it seems to act as a wall in and of itself. Once again, watch and listen to something good and move your head away or get into a chair with a lower back or no back at at all and you will know the power of the soundtrack young Jedi.
I recently took some measurements with/without the thick blanket on the high back of my listening chair. There is comb filtering from the reflection off the back of the chair, which is a stiff fabric. The blanket gets rid of the high-frequency part of the comb filtering, but not the lowest, the wavelength is too long to be affected. So there is always a big dip, and the frequency and and depth shift as the head moves around. The higher, finer dips of the comb filtering, which really mess up imaging, are knocked out by the blanket, so the imaging seems better with the blanket in place. But the big dip almost becomes more noticeable with the blanket, attention is drawn to it, and that dip drains the life out of the the music. So I am not sure which is better, but I usually favor leaving the blanket in place, favoring the preservation of imaging information. Plus I lean forward a bit more, as Savjac suggests, to lessen the effect altogether.

I value the comfort of the high back, too, being a cat-napper, but am thinking about a lower back (shoulder level). Maybe a motorized headrest that moves into place as I fall asleep??? Or a contoured dentist-chair headrest behind the back of the head where it does not disrupt hearing??? Neither exists that I have seen. The serious listener ends up having to invent room treatments, custom reflection panels, and now listening chairs.

Another thought: Comfort is relative. When the sound is right, and we are talking here about ways to really make it R-I-G-H-T, I will put up with a lot - head in a vice, etc. - for its sake. And when it is right, it is a truly special experience.

A thought about diminishing returns. So much of what we do in audio ends up being a lot of trouble for a tiny bit of improvement. This soundstage work can really defy that principle, though. As Kevin360 put it, the prize can seem almost in reach and then somehow it slips away. But on a good day, it gets a little better and a little better and all of the sudden - - - BLAMMO!!! - - - BIG payoff! - the stars align and something astounding happens and your audio world is transformed and you can't leave because you're afraid you might find out you were dreaming. But it is just as good the next day. And the wife wonders why all the sudden you are listening for 6 hours at a time instead of 45 minutes, and you try to explain and she gives you the "yes, dear" eye roll. Just be thankful, make a note to get her flowers and some Amazon bucks, and go listen some more.

Edit: And try to figure out how to reproduce it.

My first big soundstage BLAMMO happened over a year ago, pretty much by accident, and I have been trying to figure it out ever since. I think I am getting close. But I have thought that before, too, and been disappointed. Being the hope junkie that I am, I endeavor to persevere.
 
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