A Very Narrow Listening Room

Greetings all,

First time caller.

I'm about to start a new listening room project. I'm a lucky boy! But, the room I have to work with will be 11 by 21 by 10 ft., which is not so lucky. Even I know that will present some challanges. I'm open to suggestions on room treatments, placement of speakers, types of speakers / electronics combinations...anything. I do plan on listening "nearfield", hoping that will help. I'm not new to the hobby but I AM new to this type of room.

Are there ideas out there (short of not doing it at all)?
My feeling is any dedicated listening room is better than none at all.

The Cardas formula is worth a shot.

Speaker placement, simply stated

The distance from the center of the woofer face to the side walls is:

Room Width times .276 (RW x .276)
The distance from the center of the woofer face to the wall behind the speaker is:

Room Width times .447 (RW x .447)
This is all you need to know to place speakers in a symmetrical, rectangular room!

It's not the size, it's the dimensions. You have a room with many overlapping modes since the dimensions are even multiples. Can you chop off 3-4 feet? ;-)

Use one Acapella Sphaeron Excalibur and listen in mono. :)
Just a thought... I wonder if electrostatics might work well (e.g. Quads) as they have nearly no side wall issues and you could put them close to the walls. Since you have plenty of length, you could move them well out into the room. If modes are an issue, is one of the end walls blank? The idea of building a closet, or even built-in storage cabinets on one end of the room is not bad. With my Quads, I've built diffusors on the front wall, to tame the back wave from the quads without losing its energy. What are other's thoughts on this idea?
Place each spkr ~2,4 from its adjacent side wall (that's woofer centre to side wall). This is a starting for narrow, long rooms with spkrs firing down the long side.

Best, however, is to FIRST determine the distance fm the back wall. Move one spkr into the room & check the midbass energy -- I expect this to be b/ween 5-7' into the room. WHen that's OK, fine tune to achieve clarity in the upper bass/bass region. Then place the spkrs relative to side walls.

The trick for knowing when you have good placement is when you feel energy in the music. Then minor adjustments make a major sonic difference.

REMEMBER, being so close to side wall will require toe-in to avoid 1st reflections as much as possible.
Brilliant. Thanks to everyone for your help.

I've actually plotted my speaker placement with help from the Cardis site. It's looking like 2.5 ft. from the side walls and 4.25 from the back (approx.). My listening chair for critical listening will be around 5 feet from the speakers. The back wall (behind the speakers) is scheduled to be empty, with the exception of a large 1 inch thick canvas drawing of Beethoven in the middle, and two equipment racks on the floor. There is shelving planned along the left and right walls, beginning about 1 foot away from the speakers. The other end of the room will be used for a work area for cleaning and cataloging vinyl and maybe a loveseat in case anyone visits. I'm planning to allow for room treatment (traps, corner busters, etc.) in my overall budget.

Also in the budget will be money for new equipment. At the moment I'm using a Creek 5350 SE / Totem Model 1 combination. I was thinking of a Unison 140-watt intergrated with Von Schweikert VR4-jr's as a possible combination, if I can tame the low end. Am I way off "bass" here ?

I haven't thought of Quads or electrostats. I used to have a pair of Acoustat Model 1s that I loved! Can I get them far enough apart in my narrow room? For that matter, can I get ANY pair of speakers far enough apart?. I love the Totems but occasionally I listen to music where I feel I'm really missing the bass. I using a Hsu Reserch sub with the Totems, but they never seem to fully intergrate with the Model 1s.

The Excaliber / mono is a thought. Could they sell me just one? Can't quite swing the 325K for the pair, unless someone here could buy the one I'll have left over (kidding of course).
Now for something really different.....

Try moving your speakers closer (yes closer!) to the side walls BUT toe them in so that the axis of the speaker crosses well in front of you. Several thing will occur:
1) You may not find a meaningful change in the bass frequencies assuming you have them well out from the back wall;
2) You will eliminate much of the 1st reflections from the adjacent side wall and can easily tame the residual with minimal treatment;
3) You will change the 1st reflections from the ceiling to some degree, but more importantly you will alter the effect of the 2d reflection (and subsequent reflections) substantially, which can be a good thing;
4)you get to move your listening position further back from the speakers - its possible, depending on your room, to get an 8' speaker spread which should allow a listening position 8 to 9 ft back; and
5)You will get a pretty good stereo image for others when you have guests who will be sitting to your side; and
6) You may get a better, more solid center image.

Just something to think about, it's worked for me on many occasions.

BTW, plotting with the Cardas system is just a good starting point, it ain't the end all, Actually, I did use the Cara program on the Rives site and it pegged my speaker location perfectly, but missed the listening position by a foot. Try it - it even lets you select from different speakers.
Well, there you go. I'm liking that idea. In your opinion, would something like the VR4-jr's work with that arrangement? And I'm headed to the Rives site today. Thanks for your time and tip.
2.5 ft. from the side walls and 4.25 from the back (approx.)
The Cardas golden ratio usually works (when it does) in "normal" rooms (i.e. ones whose dimensions happen to follow the 1:1,618:2,618 sequence).

Your room is narrow, so I suggested you go for sqr of the above. This idea was suggested by C. Hansen at Audio Aysum.
By the Cardas method, the spkrs would probably be too close to one another.
Got it.

The toe-in method sounded great with the Totems in my old room. I believe I can make this puppy work. Thanks!
I have a 10x14 room with a vaulted ceiling that is 8 feet on one side and 11 feet on the other for my second system and have it set up like Newbee suggested. This is a terrific sounding room with a broad sweet spot. I use Triad System 3 speakers in this system which are 2 way stand mounts. These speakers are designed to be listened to with the grilles on and are cut out around the drivers which offers a more directional sound output. I would not recommend a speaker with a broad dispersion pattern. I also have room tunes panels in the corners behind the speakers with the reflective side out. The seating position leaves approximately 40 inches from the sofa to the wall behind. I would guess the speakers are about 2 feet out from the front wall at the farthest edge and toed in to cross in front of listening seat. Give something like this a try.
I'll be looking into the Triads, Rhljazz. Thanks.

It makes sense to shy away from speakers with a wide pattern.

My listening position will be more like 6 to 8 feet from the back wall (the one behind the chair). How much, if any, adjustment will I have to make for realistic bass?

It will help a lot if you get a Radio Shack Sound Level meter and a test disc with 1/3d octave pink noise tones up to at least 200hz (Stereophile test disc's with pink noise work fine). That way you can measure everything, speaker and chair location. FWIW, I have found, everything else being equal, that when my listening position has been about the same distance from the back wall as my speakers are from the front wall (+/- 6 to 8 inches) I get the flattest bass response, somewhat like set out in the Cardas system of 3rds.

Regarding the 4Jr's, I've never heard them, but the speakers I've used have had wide dispersion tweeters (Seas and Dynaudio) and configured as I suggested they were not a problem. I could easily imagine that they would if they were pointed straight ahead or listened to on axis. I assume there is much more involved that just the dispersion pattern of the speakers.

FWIW, if you are going to be listening in the near field, I would strongly suggest that you do not get speakers (or any other components) which have any kind of a reputation for being 'bright' by any name. At most you'd probably want neutal speakers which would allow you to find the tone you want thru the selection of components and assessories.
If I had your room, I'd consider trying to find a pair of Dunlavy's - they recommended placement along the long wall, speakers wide apart and toed in significantly. They're not in production any more, but you can find used models and they were very well regarded.
Again, thanks to everyone for their help. I have many things to think about. Hopefully I won't go into "audio paralysis".

Would it be of help (or interest to anyone) to give regular updates as my project progresses (it should begin late next week), especially if I can find a way to add pictures? I'm a bit new at this.

I AM planning on running dedicated power to my room, use better grade outlets and will be treating the room (Echobusters possibly) as things progress.

Again, thanks to all who've helped and looked at the thread. If anyone needs a great discount on new vinyl, go to VinylMatters.com and mention this Audiogon thread and I'll hook you up.
Regular updates please. It can be helpful for others in setting up their equipment under similar circumstances. Also, it gives the advise givers some feed back on what does, or doesn't work, under your circumstances. Good luck.........
I think the vr4 jrs wouldn't be an ideal match. They need a lot of room to show everything they can do. Space from rear, sidewalls, eachother, and from listening position. I have them 8' apart and do not think the sound integrated until 10' away. From other posts it seems a first order speaker is recommende for closer listening. You have good components. Get into the room and see what they can do. I do like the idea of using the electrostats if you like that sound.
I'm very close to my speakers, maybe 6-7ft away. Have no choice though. Zar
The new Listening Room project has begun. I'll post some photos as soon as I learn how to post them on Audiogon.

It turned out to be an 11.5 by 20-foot space just off the current 10 by 10-foot Library, so in total, it will be an L-shaped area with music in the rectangular area and books and computer in the square one.

The electrician will be running two 20-amp dedicated lines tomorrow (Wednesday).

I'm thinking that, with careful speaker choices and placement, along with acoustical treatment of the room, I'll be happy with the results. At the moment, I'm listening to music in our foyer so it WILL be a step up any way it shakes out.

As far as looks go, I've decided on a "Retro" kind of motif, with a charcoal/grey/off-white paint scheme, chrome track lighting and silver/chrome equipment racks. I feel that the better the look of the room, the better the music will sound. After all, we spend a lot of time there, yes? Might as well look pleasing...