How do you properly set up a horn speaker


Hi- I have a set of Classic audio T1.4 horns that I am setting up - Do horns get set up the same way as regular speakers- I was going to use the cardas method but want to be sure that is fine- Also my room is 15x28 but at the point where the speakers are is a bay window(treated) that jets out to 17 feet so when using the calculator from cardas do I use the 17 feet where the speakers sit or the 15 feet which is the rest of the room- Thanks for the input-
fluffers
They are treated no different. Horns are just waveguides (and yours are more like traditional waveguides on say a studio monitor rather than a true horn on like Advantgarde), and all they do is focus the far off-axis sound emission forward, giving you a wider soundstage and some added output.

Since Cardas isn’t asking your listening distance, it isn’t calculating for first reflections, so I would use the distance directly perpendicular to the speakers.
Some horns can be placed closer to room boundery then conventional but otherswise its like the setup for most loudspeakers consider radation patern and toe in if needed.
I have Classic Audio T3.3s, very similar and have good results with them only a few inches from the wall behind them. I find it helps to have them toed in to the listening position.

I recently moved, in my old room I had the speakers close to the rear wall there as well and imaging was spectacular. At shows John Wolff and I have often set them up fairly close to the rear wall if the room was small. I think the best sound we ever got was at the Munich show three years ago; in that room Purist Audio had a program that did the speaker placement and despite very little in the way of room treatment, it worked quite well.

In a nutshell they don’t seem to be picky.
So for more of a 3d sound would closer to the rear wall or further out in the room be better- according to cardas- I should have the speakers almost 7 feet out into the room????
I have no experience with your speakers but at the risk of stating the obvious, do what many of us do and have someone or two move the speakers as you listen and let your ears decide which placement is optimal. Every room is different.
Good luck.
So for more of a 3d sound would closer to the rear wall or further out in the room be better- according to cardas- I should have the speakers almost 7 feet out into the room????
Like I said, I've had good success with my T-3s only 6 inches from the wall behind them. I don't think you need to worry about Cardas. The horns are helping you out here.
Cardas placement has to do with speakers that act as omnisirectional sources, as pretty much all dynamic driver speakers do to some extent up to about 9KHz. Horns don't really act like that. Horns aren't really wave guides. They're compression transformers. They lose their effectiveness once the size of the wave exceeds the dimensions of the horn mouth. That tends to make them vastly more directional than a dynamic speaker and allows for much more liberal placement. Cardas is intended to avoid boundary reinforcement and effects. You can't really reinforce a horn with a room unless you're using part of the room as the horn, like the Klipschorn.

At least that's my understanding of the things...
There's no one and done method of speaker placement. Horn or otherwise. Its a process of trying to reach the best (in your judgment!) balance of frequency response and timing. If you go through the process you will probably wind up as I did with pretty much the Cardas arrangement of speakers about 6 feet out from the back wall and about 3 feet out from the sides. But what about "about"?

The really thorough systematic way of doing it is to start somewhere like that, play some bass warble tracks at various frequencies and write down your Radio Shack SPL meter readings with the meter where you will be listening. Which where you will be sitting matters as much as where the speakers will be. So each speaker placement generates several readings as you vary the listening position a foot or so closer or further back for each speaker placement. Of which if you are thorough there will be a lot.

Imagine a grid on the floor under each speaker. You might start 6' out and 3' in. Then 3' 4" in. Then 3' 6". Etc. Then try 6' 6" out by 3' in. You get the idea. Don't forget to check the frequency response at each of your three listening positions for each speaker placement!

Tedious yeah, but you know a better way? There isn't one!

Okay now you got speakers positioned for frequency response. Next you work on imaging. This is where you have to get really nitpicky precise. If your room is symmetrical you can measure from the wall to a corner on each speaker. If not then you will need to use a framing square and straight edge or line. This is also the method you will have to use if your room is asymmetrical in any way. If this sounds beyond anal well sorry, it works. We struggled forever in the Talon Audio room at CES one year until I said hey these conference room walls are FUBAR lets forget them and go to the framing square tape measure method. Boom. Done.

Yeah folks I set up the Talon Audio room at CES one year. Consider that when second-guessing this advice.

Final step is to fine-tune the toe-in. Toe-in varies a lot by speaker type and listener preference. What does not ever vary is that it must be absolutely symmetrical. As little as 1/16" off and you start to lose it. 

The final final step is to double-check toe-in with a laser level. This is because its easier to measure the base (speaker base not speaker bass, oh never mind) but midrange/tweeter level is what counts and this will be off and everything becomes a lot harder if the floor isn't level. Then you get to tweak the speakers to get them level and double-check yet again.

What? You didn't do all this?

Whatever you have now, it will be a whole lot better when you do.
3 of my in home front loaded horn systems are all near rear wall and or corner.  Its one of the benifits of horn ownership. But you wont listen and will just drek it all up by placing like a crazy audiophile and later sell and try something else hey its what most are doing so have at it.
@fluffers --

It seems you've got wonderful speakers - congrats. 

Be pragmatic; pay special attention to advice from someone with actual experience with speakers very similar to yours (i.e.: poster @atmasphere ) or horns in general (i.e.: poster @johnk ). As an owner of horn speakers myself I'll concur with the suggestion to start out with your T1.4's close to the rear wall, and then work from there. Really, don't bother yanking those fine speakers way into the room or theorize too heavily on placement, both of which I believe will be strongly counterproductive. Keep them close to the rear boundary, and toe them in a bit. Then try and fine tune from this outset. 
This link helped me with setup of my horn speakers. I played with toe in until I was satisfied. 

http://libinst.com/PublicArticles/Setup%20of%20WG%20Speakers.pdf

@fluffers , you have an absolutely magnificent set of speakers.  Very nice choice.

Here are some general principles that might be worth being aware of:

1.  Early reflections are detrimental to imaging and clarity, and can cause coloration.  The relatively narrow pattern of your T1.4's (in both the horizontal and vertical planes) works in your favor here. 

2.  Late reflections are generally beneficial as long as their spectral balance is similar to the first-arrival sound.   Again, the relatively uniform directivity of your T1.4's (resulting on smooth off-axis sound) works in your favor.

3.  As a general guideline, the "fuzzy dividing line" between "early" and "late" reflections is about 10 milliseconds, during which time a sound wave will travel about 11 feet.

4.  Decorrelation is your friend when it comes to the reverberant field.  If we can get the left speaker's reflections to arrive at the right ear before they arrive at the left ear, that would be great.  When the first reflections arrive at the opposite ear, the ear/brain system tends to interpret them as spaciousness.  When they arrive at the same ear (especially if they are "early"), the ear/brain system tends to interpret them as coloration. 

There is an unorthodox setup geometry that takes advantage of the beneficial radiation pattern of your T1.4's:  Extreme toe-in, such that the speaker axes criss-cross a foot or two in front of the center sweet spot.  I use 45 degrees as a starting point.  This results in negligible early reflection off the near-side wall; instead, each speaker's first significant sidewall reflection will be off the OPPOSITE side wall.  This not only gives a long time-delay, but also gives us decorrelation, as now the left speaker's first sidewall reflection arrives at the right ear, and vice-versa. 

An additional benefit of this aggressive toe-in is an unusually wide sweet spot, with decent soundstaging across a much wider area than you get from a more conventional setup.   You see, the ear localizes sound by two mechanisms:  Arrival time, and intensity.  For the off-centerline listener, the near speaker "wins" arrival time, but the FAR speaker "wins" intensity, because the listener is far off-axis of the near speaker but is very much on-axis of the far speaker, so the two localization mechanisms average out to a certain extent.  The KEY to this is, the response of the near speaker must fall off smoothly and quickly as we move off-axis, and a good horn or waveguide speaker does this (conventional cone-n-dome speakers do not).

So at some point as you are experimenting, you might give this extreme toe-in suggestion a fair chance to win you over.   You might need to adjust how far apart the speakers are, and you want to avoid having reflective objects in between the speakers. 

Regarding soundstage depth and distance out from the wall, your T1.4's will be far more forgiving than most speakers because their radiation pattern doesn't allow much early energy to reach the wall behind them, at least not in the mids and highs (which are what matter the most for imaging).   So you can focus more on what distance from the wall gives the best bass.   Also, as you move the speakers forward you will be increasing the ratio of direct to reverberant energy, and you may find that the imaging becomes more precise but the sense of envelopment is decreased.   So there may be tradeoffs, but my guess is there will also be a "Goldilocks zone". 

Duke

dealer/manufacturer/fan of Classic Audio speakers

Guys - thks so much for all the informative responses-I am going to move the speakers back and start there- So if my room is 17' wide( do to a bay window and 15'5" the rest of the room by 28 deep- How far apart should I start to place the speakers - Again I truly appreciate the guidance from someone who does not have the knowledge you have but want to get it right-
I’m assuming you like the dynamics of these speakers, I would suggest starting with them 7 feet apart and slightly towed in and close to the wall.    In Reality I would suggest moving them as in selling and starting with a better speaker , they honk too much and are fatiguing from the 2 times I’ve heard them.  But if you like the. This would be a good place to start 
So if my room is 17' wide( do to a bay window and 15'5" the rest of the room by 28 deep- How far apart should I start to place the speakers - Again I truly appreciate the guidance from someone who does not have the knowledge you have but want to get it right-
Get them as far apart as you can- you get a bigger wider more realistic soundstage and they have no worries doing center fill. If this means there is a wall near them left of the left speaker and right of the right speaker you will have to toe them in to take advantage of the controlled dispersion of the midrange unit and to minimize reflections- all per Duke's excellent post above.
Excellent info from Duke. I feel distance between the speakers ( horns, and in this case the 1.4s ) and the listener is very critical, and requires a greater amount of distance between the two. I am thinking the " honking thing " batman mentioned was because he listened to them nearer field than normal. Although my 50 year experience with horns have been centered around the 5 original Klipsch Heritage models ( modding, tweaking and upgrading them ), I find the Heritage line to be some of the most " coherent " of the horns ( I have heard many different horns ). Whether nearfield or not, the 3 drivers of the Heritage blend very well ( coherent ). To get a speakers drivers to blend, as in the 1.4s, ime, a greater listening distance is necessary between them and the listener. And lets face it; speakers of this design ( horns ), and price range, do better in a larger room. Just my take, experiences and opinions on the subject. Keep in mind, I am not suggesting that everyone go out and buy a pair of Heritage models, but I do believe PWK did his homework, and created a line of 5 great products, that with some additional work, are quite amazing. Enjoy ! MrD.
Horns can work wonderful in nearfield keep in mind most older music was master using horns many times in nearfield only horns that require distance are those not properly time aligned. I use a massive pair of community leviathans in my office nearfield system its far better than any of the crazy costly modern sota dynamics I have used in same. Klipsch horns are not time aligned and need more space or they sound forward a good reason for Klipsch owners to get out and hear other horn designs.

I am thinking the " honking thing " batman mentioned was because he listened to them nearer field than normal.
He was trolling. The horns on the T-1 per the OP have very smooth response, nearfield or not. When people hear them, they often remark that they have the speed and clarity of ESLs.
JohnK, you stated quite a while ago that you preferred Altec 19s over any Klipsch model. That is fine and dandy with me, as we disagree on that point, but I do not think you are suggesting that the 19s are good at nearfield listening. What horns are time aligned ?Atmasphere, I know a few people who do not like horns, period. I heard a pair of Classics at a show some years back, near field, and I liked them very much. But one of my audio show traveling comrades  did not particularly like what he heard. His comment when we left the room was " it was too much ". He left before I did. I'm all in when it comes to the majority of good horns, but many horn hybrids are not coherent to me, particularly the transition from the woofer to the mid horn ( in either a 2 way or 3 way ). Enjoy ! MrD.
My Oris 150's sound best close to/up against a rear wall, in the corners toed in, to my ears anyhow. My Oris 150's stomps on my Klipschorns with a heavy boot to.
Atmasphere, I know a few people who do not like horns, period.
I do too. But not all horns are created equal- like all tech, there are good examples and bad examples. As we all know rooms at shows are not always the best place to do an audition. I'm really hoping we get better sound at the new RMAF; we've always struggled with false ceilings and false walls at the old venue.

And I've met people that wouldn't take horns seriously without even having listened to them. I remember Harry Pearson saying in TAS 'horns ain't high end'. Boy was he wrong!
Congrats on your speakers, fluffers. I get the privilege of hearing the Classic Audio T-1.5’s and Hartsfields at Johns listening rooms tomorrow. I’m quite excited to hear his creations. I know your speakers are at least 350 lbs each, so good luck with your placement of them!