Dealing w reflective surface between loud speakers

Hi all,

I know its not ideal to have a big plasma or LCD tv screen slap bang in the middle of your two front loudspeakers and yet i'm sure that i'm not alone in having precisely that!

In your experience how has/does a reflective surface between the speakers impact the perceived audio quality and what solutions have people found for this problem [other than moving the screen somewhere else]? Some form of absorbent cover for the screen might make sense but where would you source this?

Many thanks
As I have previously reported, I purchased a light-weight reversible black/white comforter from Bed, Bath, & Beyond for about $35. I imagine you could buy the audiophile version online for less than $500.
I place it over my massive 65" CRT RPTV, which sits between, but behind, my speakers whenever I listen to my 2-channel system. Noticeably improved sonics, especially the higher frequencies and the soundstage.
I used to have a 57 inch rear projection widescreen TV that inhibited the sound stage; width suffered more than depth. I would put a large 2 inch thick piece of foam I got from U.F.O. (upholstery fabric outlet) in front of the TV to improve audio only; obviously it was visually obtrusive.

I have since acquired a 92 inch screen that sits back behind the speakers about a foot and a half. Front projection has come a long way and the inch for inch real estate is a no contest against flat panels.

And, my audio sound stage is stunning.
For the less than absolute anal set up specialist, and for only those using typical forward firing cone driver speakers, if you can get those speakers out a couple of feet from the plane of the TV screen, which should be no problem at all if you have already pulled your speakers out into the room far enuf to enhance the sense of depth of image and avoid unwanted bass enhancement, I wouldn't do anything. To check out the interference added by anything between your speakers, simply drape them with a heavy wool blanket.

Hope that helps a bit..
A friend of mine has the same problem. He purchased a large rectangular piece of audio foam (the kind with alternating indented/extended triangular rows) and just hangs it in front of his TV with velcro whenever he's listening. I think it cost him like $100?
In my huge swimming pool room I have a set of Bose 901 speakers nestled unobtrusively amongst the potted plants. In between the widely spaced speakers is a very wide and high window unit, reflective as hell. But, the Bose speakers project their sound up against the wall, and its reflective nature is ideal for the Boses. I attribute the good imaging to the environment these speakers operate in.

Many thanks for your responses!

My plasma sits about 3 feet behind my speakers - but even at that distance it hinders the soundstage. My situation may be worse than others because i use large planar speakers with bi-directional ribbons. A quick check last night with throwing some towels over the screen showed enough improvement for me to take this project very seriously.

I will check out the foam and comforter options locally to see what can be done.

Here is the way the designer of Rethm Saadhana speakers solved the speaker (boxes) vs room interaction problem.
Very clever and inexpensive I might add.
if you can get those speakers out a couple of feet from the plane of the TV screen, which should be no problem at all if you have already pulled your speakers out into the room far enuf to enhance the sense of depth of image and avoid unwanted bass enhancement, I wouldn't do anything.

I second Newbee, I would add that if you can get at least two feet between the edge of your speaker and the TV then this will help a lot too (distance has a huge impact as sound spreads geometrically and therefore signal drops rapidly with distance). Placing the TV behind and more in the acoustic shadow of the speaker baffle edge will help too (although sound waves do go round corners too - at least the signal level will be further reduced.)

Placing the speaker with a few inches of the TV is a No no - the sharp TV edge and the small gap will interfere and may even collapse your soundstage so that you become aware that sound is coming from the speakers...

The perfect way to deal with the problem is to have a smooth flat surface or wall that holds your speakers and the flat TV screen - everything flush as can be - with smooth transitions and as little in the way of sharp edges as you can design - gaps should ideally be filled with acoustic foam/batting and a picture frame smooth transition between joints.
Your clarification of speaker type would certainly support your complaint. In addition to my comments about how to handle the problem if the speakers were front firing cone/boxes, consider that the back wave of the speaker needs to be hitting a surface which has a diffusive nature AND optimally should be at least 5 ft from that surface(wall).

Now you have to consider the off axis radiation pattern of the back wave from the ribbon which may be strong enuf to cause a delayed bounce off the screen and muddy up the imaging/high frequencies.

The first thing that comes to mind is that your speakers are too close to the screen, laterally speaking. If you can increase the distance between your speakers until the distance between them and your sweet spot (Chair) creates an equallateral triangle. That way you will minimize the level of off axis tweeter strength. That might be enuf (assuming you treat the rear wall).

Another solution (from someone who doesn't think much about the benefits of a back wave, and prefers pin point imaging from front firing drivers (I've had electrostats & panels, but never ribbons) because while bi-directional speakers, omni's, etc all can create the impression of a huge sound stage, normally that comes at the expense of pin point imaging which suffers. Try placing some light material over the rear of the tweeter. This will not only reduce output which will hit the screen it will also solve some problems with the back wave off the wall. Initially use something really heavy so you will hear a dramatic difference and then start reducing the density of the materiel 'til it sounds right.

Or just cover the screen with something pretty that you can simply remove, fold and put away when you are not listening to music critically.

BTW, it would be helpful, and save a lot of collective effort, if we knew what speakers you were using and what the dimensions of your present set up are. Lot of guessing going on here. :-)
Kiwi- You mentioned looking into foam. Auralex makes some excellent products, and there are a number of options on eBay. Here's a page that might interest you: (