Help with speaker placement in my real life room


Hello all, I just set up a pair of Wilson Sophia 2's in my living room.  They are on wheels at the moment so I can tweak the position.  Can you give me a bit of advice on placement with the limitations of my room? I tried the Wilson Audio Setup Procedure, but as I was on my own, it was very challenging.  I plan to do this again when I have a helper.  I then went the route of getting the speakers as far as I could from the back wall, and varied distance between speakers and toe-in degrees.

What I settled on for now is sounding very good, but perhaps still not perfect, hard to say. The thing is, the triangle is far from equilateral, as you can see from my drawing. I tried to get it close to equilateral, but that would require the right speaker being very close to the side wall. When I did this, it sounded far worse. Do you think this is ok, or by the book, to have a listening distance to speaker distance ratio like the drawing is indicating? I want to know of there is some rule that I am missing that may be holding me back.

The right speaker’s tweeter is 51” from the back wall, and 37” from the side wall

Here is a link to my updated schematic drawing of my room and speaker placement.
https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/5421#&gid=1&pid=6

Thanks!
Mark
marktomaras
Suggest speaker placement calculator on cardas.com Cheers,
Spencer
 I checked out the Cardas formulas, but it places my speakers beyond the boundaries of what is possible in a non-dedicated room, so I more or less wrote off the Cardas method.  As it is, the tweeters are 51" out from the back wall, and the Cardas method has them significantly further into the room I think. :-(
theres only so much I can get away with!
It looks like it aught to work as is, but I would be concerned some with 1st reflections off the right side wall windows.

You might try to toe in your speakers until the axis crosses in a foot or so in front of your head. Speakers can be hot on axis, that is why I recommend that they be toed in beyond your head - it can replicate the firing straight ahead position with out some of the downsides of that. It would do a couple of things in addition to reducing side wall reflections. It would help widen the sweet spot for listening and for better or worse it will change the reflection pattern off the ceiling. Take your time , a lot of it, before you reach conclusions about what is best for you in your room. Inches matter in both locating speaker and listening positions. 

FWIW, I had the same results with Cardas but it  was a good starting point.
Newbee, hello again!  Different month, different thread...

I just added a photo of the right wall windows on my virtual system page.  As you can see, the bank of windows has a large set of plantation shutters covering it.  As these have an uneven shape, could this be acting as a diffusion panel, and thus not creating a large issue?  How does that affect your recommendation of degree of toe in?

thanks!
Are you trying to minimize bass room nodes, side/back wall reflections, imaging width or some combination?  Once you've dealt with room modes you should then focus on soundstage issues.  Having your loudspeakers different distances from the side wall actually can help with room modes.  The equilateral triangle should be considered a starting point and you should move your listening position backward until you balance out detail vs. soundstage/imaging.  Then play around with toe-in.  You may have to repeat the process several times before it's optimized.  And I also wouldn't discount the possibility that your current positioning really is the best set of compromises.  Good luck!
Even though I like the blinds some thick material window treatments could sound better. I would also be tempted to relocate the flexi rack (nice one BTW) and have the power amps on the floor sitting on platforms. It may not be that much of a hindrance seeing that your Wilson’s are a noticeable distance forth of it and the wall. However I am suspect. While looking I think I would be most concerned about the window wall. Especially since the opposing side is wide open.

I am thinking bass might be somewhat looser having the speakers on wheels that may not be the best way to sample location placement. 
Hi Mark, 

Re your windows w/plantation shutters, certainly  better at diffusion than just plain glass which would be very reflective, and certainly the open/closed positions of the shutters will affect  it even more, but I'm not at all sure how broad the bandwidth would be, as compared to 'severe toe in'. I only mention this toe in because it is free (!) and worth trying just to find out, for example, if side wall reflections are affecting your sound negatively. BTW, if you go to many shows you will have noted that many set up's have this type of toe in as it helps eliminate a lot of the upper frequency room issues exhibitors are faced with. FWIW, I'm not sure I would like diffusion on the side walls, damped yes, diffused not so much. I like diffusion more behind the speakers and the listener position. 

 You could also hang a heavy blanket over the shutters and determine from this the extent of the differences with a 'wall' with minimum high frequency reflections, one without - just glass, and one with the shutter blades open/closed. Different speakers sound differently depending a lot on their tweeters dispersion characteristics. I'm not familiar with yours. 

Another thing to consider re the toe in I suggested - it can take a lot of the room issues out of the sound stage, makes it more of a 'near field' listening experience. For some this is bad - folks like all of the bouncing sound waves which can appear in the form of a 'larger' soundstage with sounds appearing outside the speakers. For some this is good - you can get awesome clarity but you won't get soundstage affects outside of your speakers (which is actually the 'correct' sound for a properly set up system, wherein all in-phase information occurs between the speakers and only out of phase information on the recording can appear outside the speakers. 

But, as I said in my other post, your set up looks pretty good, and my suggestions assume something which may not exist. Be careful, anxiety can be expensive. :-) 






That's a good idea putting them on wheels to position.   I solved part of my room issues with some curtains and a small area rug.  I put sub on a Gramma platform and decoupled my speaker stands on spikes.  Since placement could only take me so far so those things went a long way.

One of the best tweeks was when I swapped TVs and set up another family room, I put the 55" in our other family room and put a 47" in its place in my listening room.  The wife and kids gravitated toward the larger TV...... I then pulled the speakers away more from the walls and removed some furniture.    Now with the kids in the other room, my wife actually listens to music or watches a movie with me.  
Mark, having just gone through speaker placement in my small room, I can say that using an SPL meter helped me tremendously.  Also, dont be afraid to try speaker positions that may not make sense (visually or logically).   I cannot believe how much better my speakers sound now and the setup I ended up would be something I never would have imagined before. My speakers are not very close the sidewalls, pointed straight ahead.  
tboooe,  how exactly did you use the meter?  Did you play some sort of test tone?  I have old school tube gear, not a home theater rig or anything like that.  Can I make use of a meter such as this in  my system?  I see that there is a SPL meter app for iPhone, I wonder if it's any good, or if the iPhone mic is up to the challenge.  thoughts?
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/spl-meter/id309206756?mt=8

Mark, I dont have a home theater set up either, just plan ol 2-channel with a sub. All you need are some test tones (I bought a test tones cd from Rives audio ages ago) and an SPL meter. I dont know how good the iphone is but I used a Radio Shack one. Another relatively cheap method is to use free room analysis software Room EQ Wizard (REW) and get a usb mic from minidsp for $75.

http://www.roomeqwizard.com/
https://www.minidsp.com/products/acoustic-measurement/umik-1

Everybody has different preferences but I normally start with the bass and midbass region. I try to get the region from 20-1000hz as flat as possible in my room. This is important to me because I listen mainly to acoustic music and I really tend to focus on the vocals more than anything else.  In my room, the freq response from 20-1000hz is +- 2db except for a -4db dip at 200hz and +4dp hump at 40hz. Still not perfect but this is the best I could do in my little room.  Once I got this region dialed in I messed around with toe-in. The end result was much different than how I previously had my speakers positioned.  Remember to move in small the speakers in small increments. I wouldnt try to do speaker setup all in one session. It takes a lot of patience and creativity. I am still amazed at how good my system sounds now.

Let me know if I can help in any way.
Thanks tboooe, if you can, send a photo or two of your speaker setup, I'm curious about the unexpected placement.  thanks!
Mark, I will send some pics shortly.  In a nutshell, my speakers are very close to the sidewalls (> 1') with zero toe in.  I sit in an equilateral triangle.  In fact, toe in created dips at 630 and 315hz.  

It should be noted that I have bass traps in the corners and panels at the first reflection points on the side walls and ceiling.  I am sure those helped a bit too.
Tboooe,  very interesting.  I was debating the theory of the perfect equilateral triangle as a starting point, versus the potential advantages of being far further from the side walls, as in the Cardas method.  I can go full equilateral, but my speakers will be darned close to the right wall.  Perhaps I'll give that a shot tonight.  As they are, the speaker to speaker distance is 100" measured at the tweeter, and the tweeter to my ear is more like 135".  They sound good where they are, and I have taped the floor so I can easily get back to this point.  I'll keep you posted.  thanks!
Yeah I am beginning to think side wall reflections are not that big of a deal.  I think getting the mid bass and bass right is the most important thing to do.  Also, addressing the ceiling reflections had a bigger impact.  For me, the equilateral triangle setup was required to 1. get the distance between the speakers wide enough so integration could occur and 2. to move my speakers far enough away from the front wall to lower the freq at which I was getting a room mode.  

Definitely keep me posted.