distance between speakers


been reading a few articles on speaker placement to get idaes on how to best position mine.
When people talk about the distance between spaekers do they mean inside edge to inside edge or tweeter center to tweeeter center ... or something else
also when they say x feet to the back wall do they mean x feet from the back of the speaker to the wall behind or x feet from the front of the speaker?
thanks
ray
rrm
I measure from the speaker driver (tweeter) itself, not the speaker cabinet, and I think most seasoned set up folks do also. Measuring from the cabinets would introduce far too many variables and make recommendations/observations unreliable.
I agree with Newbee. Measure from the center of the driver. Different speakers will require different distances in the same room. For instance, the ESP speakers in my room are spaced further apart than when I set up the N802's. Front wall spacing is different as well.
http://www.cardas.com/speaker_placement.php
Measure from the center of the woofer.
Look at the thread entitled Help What's Wrong With My System........some great ideas in there
I was reading that "Get Good Sound" book at my friend's place. That book is recommending a general guideline of 83% of the distance of the driver to the listener's ears (should be the same distance for each speaker) as a good place to start for the distance apart. Yes, as above, measure from the driver-center and not the cabinet.
Every speaker and every room is different. In my 50+ years of audiophilia, I've never had a room that didn't have irregular measurements or opennings that would defeat this extremely naive measurement concept.

You need a method that equalizes the energy from the speakers and fits them into the room in such a way that their energy is equalized. The Sumiko Master Set is the only method that I know of that accomplishes the goal. If you interested, a search on A'gon will easily locate some deeper discussion for you.

Dave
Every speaker and every room is different. In my 50+ years of audiophilia, I've never had a room that didn't have irregular measurements or opennings that would defeat this extremely naive measurement concept.

I appreciate the attempt to help with the second statement, Dave, but would you expand a bit on why you've included the first (quoted above)? I read back over the responses here, and see that most of them are basically saying what I suggested; that there are only very general guidelines to assist you in getting started and nothing so specific as you seem to indicate as being a sign of being "naive". Sorry if I'm missing something here or have misinterpreted you. In general, I agree that you should let the room and your ears determine where the speakers go, but it is a whole lot easier with a place to begin, and if you are taking notes and changing things a measurement or two could help keep track of things. That or simply putting some masking tape on the floor with notations. The OP's question is pretty simple though, and was answered straight away by Newbee.
Jax2: Question. Do you think that a bright and/or small room would reduce the 83% number? I've always found that putting speakers that far apart wrecks the soundstage. But I've always been in bright and/or small rooms (so putting speakers that far apart will put them close to the walls in a small room, and putting them that far apart in a bright room will increase the distance to my ears sufficiently to allow high-end reflection to distort the imaging).
Mockturtle - As I said in my post just before yours, and I thought I made clear in the original; the 83% was a suggestion for a general place to start, not a rule. I completely agree with Dave's observations that no two rooms should be treated the same and there are no hard and fast rules, just generalizations. I offered the number simply as to share a suggestion of where you might start. I do not agree that that the Sumiko Master Set is the last word in placement, and in fact it may not work well in some situations. An example is if you are forced to set up speakers on the short wall of a long room, or if you are forced to listen nearfield with limited space to move back placing your listening chair up against a rear wall - Sumiko, as I understand it, suggests a minmum distance of 2 feet from the rear wall behind you, which sometimes just doesn't work (in which case you could apply some treatment to deaden the rear wall). You have to work with what you have and optimize it however you are able. Certainly, when you are able to use it effectively the Sumiko technique seems to work well - I heard their room at RMAF '07, which sucked in terms of dimensions to work with, yet rendered brilliant soundstaging and was of the handfull of memorable sounding rooms there that year. In dealing with smaller rooms my experiences have been similar to what you are describing and it has seemed more critical to get the speakers away from the side walls to get a focused soundstage. In my room my speakers sound better currently spaced further apart than 83% (i checked after I read that figure and tried moving them closer but did not like what it did to the staging). I have no sidewall on one side and am listening nearfield. I tend to loose soundstage scale by moving them together. My room is very unusual and I am at task to tame it further while trying to juggle WAF, and have been making some baby steps in that regard. I believe the room is a very important part of any system.
Mockturtle,

FWIW, at the risk of being accused of being a contrubutor of more meaningless information, I think what Jax's comments meant was that if your speakers were 8.3 feet apart your ears should be centered and 10 feet from each speaker, and I assume the measurement was from speaker, not the plane of the speakers. IMHO, although it may have been just a coincidence in my present room and with my present speakers, that is about right on, except that I measure from the plane of the speakers (its easier for me to do that) and I usually end up with something closer to 90%. But I don't value the theory that much if it substitutes for actual listening - it is after all just another starting point. Speaker design and room design makes a huge difference when considering set up, both the starting points and the final set up.

Jax 2 - I just posted this and then found your answer. I'm leaving this up because I think, perhaps, it might clarify the distances 'from what/between what' issues.
Jax2 said:
"The OP's question is pretty simple though, and was answered straight away by Newbee."

I disagree. The OP's question implied that he was attempting to set up his speakers by measuring the placement. Newbee merely said to measure from the drivers.

Dave
Jax2, I should say that I think that you and I basically agree.

I feel a need to reemphasize the need to get away from physical geometric measurements and to place speakers via a method that places based on energy levels. There're so much misplaced support and belief measuring feet and inches, that I just keep repeating this mantra.

Sorry if it seemed like I was disagreeable.

Dave
Jax2: I apologize for not being clear enough. I knew you weren't suggesting the distance as a hard-and-fast rule. I was just curious as to what sorts of factors you'd found had impacted that distance.
Dcstep, You've made me curious. What should I have said? Something like "I don't know what you're reading but with my XXX years of set up experience I can assure you that the only meaningful set up theory and practice is embodied in the Sumiko set up methodology"?

Well from the nature of your post I guess you might well have done so, as presumptious as that might have been. :-(
Did anyone answer the OP's question about how to measure the speaker distance from the back wall? I saw a few responses that mentioned driver to driver for the distance apart, but I'm curious about how to measure distance to the back wall myself.

FWIW - I've used all sorts of measurement and placement schemes. I do not like equilateral triangles or the Cardas method (requires a too perfect room). I do like the basic premises of the 83% theory, the Audio Physics method, and the Sumiko Master set (in some way I found this similar to the Audio Physic method). As mentioned, these are good places to start and fine tune from there. Some good reading on the Decware site as well.
I disagree. The OP's question implied that he was attempting to set up his speakers by measuring the placement. Newbee merely said to measure from the drivers.

Hmm, you and I understood the OP differently then. I would not make the same assumption as you have. I see that he's reading articles (plural) on speaker placement and some mention measurements. He seems to want to clarify those points the measurements were taken from. I would never have read into that he is subscribing to any one of those methods. Just that he was curious enough to read more than one article. That in itself would prompt me to offer suggestions, as you and others have. Furthermore, Newbee suggested what HE used as the points in question. He did not suggest subscribing to using a specific methodology.

Yes, I think we basically agree, though I'm not entirely sure. I agree with some of the things you said - as I've pointed out later, I do not think there is a single methodology to use, that, as a rule, will work with every room, including the Sumiko one you suggest. But then I only have half of your 50 years in this hobby. Do you get a gold watch or certificate for your wall when you reach that landmark? :-)

Yes, I did feel you came off as disagreeable and thank you for the apology. Call me thin-skinned, but the phrase "extremely naive concept" as well as the general tone of your post rubbed me the wrong way.

Newbee - Yes, you've described it better than I did; essentially a triangle where two sides are identical (distance from ear to driver, not ear to speaker plane), and the base is 83% of those sides. Again, a suggested starting point.

If you came at this with no suggested starting points at all you might very well put one speaker in a corner in front of you and the other to your left side facing away from you and see how the sound pressure suits the music. Keep moving them around until you figure it all out and the pressure is equalized, and measurements are strictly verboten.

Mockturtle - No worries. I have had systems in various small rooms and, again, ran into some of the same challenges you describe (per my response). Sometimes a good solution, I've found is an asymetric corner placement. Man, Roger Sanders did that with his panels at a couple of the shows I've been to and was able to achieve a pretty impressive soundstage considering the size of the panels vs the size of the room they were in. Very impressive.

Marco
Clio09, Nice speakers I think. I've read about them and would like to hear them someday. I've always wanted to do business with Duke.

LOL at myself. I just erased a long diatribe about how to determine how far to place speakers from the wall behind them and why. Then the light went on! That was neither what you asked or wanted read.

As I 'thought' I mentioned originally, but didn't, I believe set up folks always refer to the front of the speaker. If I had to pick a driver I would pick the woofer because of it's utilization of the back wall in its output but I don't think anyone really has fine tuned their recommendations that closely.

FWIW
Clio09, Nice speakers I think. I've read about them and would like to hear them someday. I've always wanted to do business with Duke.

Ditto. His rooms were sounding GREAT at two the two shows I've heard them at. I think the Jazz modules were what was playing at THE Show recently...outstanding! He'd be a good one to ask about anything speaker/placement related (member: Audiokinesis). Definitely one of the good guys, and very talented as well.
Newbee said:

"Clio09, Nice speakers I think. I've read about them and would like to hear them someday. I've always wanted to do business with Duke."

I prefer Vienna Acoustic, but I must say that Duke had some of the best speakers at the last RMAF. Speaking of placement problems, he struggled a little early on, but really had his main room working well by Sunday. He's really a great guy that makes some great speakers.

Dave
At the 2009 THE SHOW the Audiokinesis speakers were from Duke's new Planetarium series. Same with 2008 RMAF. I've been extremely happy with the Jazz Modules. Duke has a forum over on Audio Circle if anyone is interested in learning more about Audiokinesis products.
At the 2009 THE SHOW the Audiokinesis speakers were from Duke's new Planetarium series. Same with 2008 RMAF.


Yes, then in must have been the Planetariums that I heard most recently as I do recall they seemed smaller than your pics of your own Jazz Modules. That system sounded fabulous and I went back a couple of times to hear it again. Alas, Duke was not able to be in attendance. The other show I heard his room at was actually RMAF '07, where he was playing what looked like much larger speakers (I think, Dreammakers). That was also a very memorable room. His seemless integration of low bass is remarkable, while the overall sound is very you-are-there...or rather the musicians-are-there.
You have the overall Audiokinesis sound pegged very accurately.

Those would have been the Dream Makers at RMAF 2007, which I believe won a best of show award from someone. At THE SHOW this year the Planetarium speakers (can't remember the model) were demoed in the VRS Audio room.