Depends on the amount of drivers and how far back your listening chair should be.
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Inna, I don't understand what you mean by a fixed position is an exceptable compromise.
But moving around is not a compromise ?
Once you get your speakers positioned in the best possible place in the room, then get your seating in the best possible position in the room, how can that be a compromise ?
We all know that everything in this hobby has some form of compromise. But floating around your listening position is not going to give you stability.
Just my opinion of course.
Since stereo reproduction is a psychoacoustical phenomenon, I tend to move forward and back by around a foot while listening depending on the recording. My thought is that the perceived soundstage for any given recording is dictated by the person who was originally twiddling the knobs, and that individual's setup (distance from monitors, toe-in angle, nature of control room acoustic, their hearing and personal taste) all have an effect as to how and where the soundstage unfolds upon reproduction.
For a point of reference however, I tend to use a mono recording to 'set' where the listening distance ought to be for my room and system, other times I'll use pink noise.
Either way, a good system (and room) should be able to present a satisfying presentation without necessitating the proverbial "head in a vice". Just a thought.
I chimed in with the 83% formula on the last thread not as a rule but as something that has worked for me in several past set ups and is providing good results in my current listening room and system. Interestingly, I was at a friends yesterday and we installed some outriggers on his PSB Synchrony One's. I brought along Jim Smith's "Get Better Sound" and explained to him how the 83% formula was designed to work and that he may want to consider moving his listening position accordingly. We put the outriggers on the speakers and did some listening in the usual location--with the speakers 86" apart and a ear to speaker distance of approximately 14 feet. We had already calculated the "correct" listening distance using the 83% formula (I believe it was around 103") and had made a mark on the carpet at this spot. We listened to several tracks in the original position and then moved the chair forward to the 103" mark. The effect was quite pronouced. The sound became much more present, evenly balanced and coherent when listening from the closer position. We both moved back and forth a few times to experiment and confirmed that the sound was noticably better using the 83% formula. The funny thing about all this was that my friends 22 year old son has always moved the furniture around to sit in the exact spot (103") where the system sounded the best. Dad kept telling him he was sitting too close and needed to move back but the kid insisted on sitting front and center. Sometimes we can learn things from people who are not audiophiles and therefore bring few preconceptions to listening to music via a stereo system. The kid figured out where to sit by trusting his ears!
Dodgealum that was interesting . My young daughter also moves the listening chair ahead about one foot when we are not home , claims it's way better . But what does she no a age 11 , she has also become a diehard turntable groupy thanks to a so called friend of mine . I often twist and turn with discomfort until I realize that the chair was left in the forward position . Two of the above posters mentioned that the amount of drivers could have an effect on distance , I have felt for years that large reference type speakers required more distance back for the sound to blend and integrate . Regards Tim
I would think that different speakers would make for different positioning. Due to the constraints of my living room, my speakers are along the long wall about 7'10" (center to center) apart and I sit a about 7' back and I get excellent sound. Even my speaker maker, who at first thought they were too far apart, thought the soundstage was great the way it was, after he heard it.
All of those formulae are great for starting points but there are too many variables to be absolute. Those kids are onto something. Trust their ears.
Dodgealum - thanks for advising someone to trust their ears. WAY too many audiophiles do not do this. For another example, I am constantly amazed at how many people will determine what they are going to spend five or six figures on simply by looking at some numbers and at what others say, without ever listening to the product beforehand. The kid is definitely on to something. There are far too many variables involved in any given audio situation to generalize very much at all. I'm of course not suggesting that the opinions of others don't matter at all, or that the numbers don't matter at all. But you need to be happy with the sound if it's your system, and you can only do this by trusting your own ears. It is easy to get some ear training if you feel it is necessary. I spent two years listening and researching to things in my budget before I bought anything in my system, and ever since I have kept listening and researching, waiting for the day when I can finally buy what I have decided I really want.