Loft floorplan / listening area - please critique

Need some advice on positioning and speaker styles for creation of listening area in the living room area of loft apartment.

I have uploaded a piece of the floorplan with the proposed speaker positioning (approximate of course) at this link. Note that the ceiling heights are 12.5ft:

I would like to use my system when friends are over and for the whole family to enjoy and that is why i would like it positioned as shown in the attached. The other option was to use what is shown as 'Bedroom 2' as the listening room/den but i thought this room was a little small and again would not be able to project the music into the main living area. The problem of course is that there are a lot of large windows in the living room and it is also quite a large area. We will probably have blinds of some sort installed on the windows, but unlikely to have curtains.

I would appreciate any suggestions on speakers or room treatments to look into. My wife is sensitive to having too much audio treatment hanging on walls or on floor so i need to integrate everything in a way that is aesthetically pleasing. I am fascinated by the MBL 101E and plan to go demo these soon, although I have read that they are very sensitive to the room and positioning. On the positive side I think this type of speaker might have the capability to really fill the large volume of the living areas with luscious music.

Would love to hear critiques and comments about how you would go about setting up a 'livable' listening area in this type of space. In my previous home I had a more traditional room so I am new to the loft environment.
Unless you have really small speakers, bedroom two is too small. If you get the MBL's then it is completely out of the question! The first thing that grabs my attention is you speaker placement. You have what appears to be two big windows close behind them. Sonically that's going to be a big problem. The reflections are going to ruin your soundstage and everything else.

The farther you can get from the windows, the better your system will sound. How would your wife respond to sliding your system 45 degrees and centered around one of the corners? That might help minimize the influence of all that glass. You could move the system into the left hand corner, then the sofa would be away from the door of bedroom two...

It looks like it might be a fun music room if you can tame your reflections... Good luck!




I agree bedroom 2 really is out of the question as it is too small for anything but a tiny system.

The other option is to relocate the listening area so that the speakers are close to the left hand side wall of the living room (so that there are no windows behind). The opposite side of the room essentially. But this would then require us to locate the dining table on the other side, where I had positioned the speakers in my original layout. It might all turn out to be a bit awkward ..
Actually your living room set up looks like it will work well. As Nrchy suggests the speakers will sound better if the front of the speakers is out into the room (some 4 to 5 ft I would suggest) and if you can do that you might get away with minimizing reflection problems off the windows behind them with out doing anything. In a similar set up I just put a couple of large/tall, easy to care for, plants.

You also have some potential problems with reflections from the side walls, especially the glass windows. Something you can do to minimize these reflections without adding a lot of audiophile treatments, is to simply toe in your speakers so that the axis of the speakers crosses in front of the central listening position. This also accomplishes another important thing considering your proposed uses. It creates a much larger central listening position.

Assuming that you are using classical cone/dynamic speakers when you position the speakers firing straight ahead you not only have to deal with 1st reflection points the central sweet spot is the only really great stereo listening spot. If you move to the left for example the stereo image moves to the left. If you are sitting directly in front of the speaker most of the sound seems to come from that speaker. If the axis' are crossed in front of you and you are sitting, for example, in front of the left speaker, you will hear the left speaker sound well off axis and at a reduced level. You will be hearing the sound from the right speaker on axis but from from a greater distance so it will sound more balanced (with the sound from the left speaker) and present a reasonable center image and stage. It ain't perfect, but it works quite well.

That is what I have done in a 13.5x19.5x9 ft room with speakers with the fronts 65" from the back wall, 18" from the side wall, and the central listening seat 9'6" from the front plane of the speakers. With carpets, bookcases, and ordinary furniture, I have minimized reflection problems with out audio type treatments on the walls.

FWIW, but it's worth trying.

BTW, different speaker types can present different opportunities as well as liabilities, so consider that if you haven't already selected your speakers.

Hope that helps a bit.
Thanks newbee - that makes sense. I think my main concern is are all the windows in the area. If there are blinds on these and we draw them then I think we could reduce a lot of the reflections and bass loss. Does anyone know of 'audiophile window blinds'? Might be something that is both aesthetically pleasing and very helpful.

I guess another issue is that it will be very difficult to evaluate the speaker directly in my environment pre-purchase, especially if i go with something pre-owned from audiogon, which would be my preference. So I feel like I am doing a bit of a crapshoot.
Well, I don't know of 'audiophile' grade blinds, but if I were to get some I would chose some with soft surfaces as opposed to plastic or hard wood, and I would absolutely select vertical blinds unless you are going to operate with them fully closed during listening sessions. Cloth vertical blinds I would think would not only work but could easily gain decorator approval.

BTW, its not really that much of a crap shoot if you do some reasearh on the radiation patterns of the various speaker types you might choose from. They all create different sound fields and set up problems as well as sonic differences. Take your time! IMHO, though, and most generally speaking, the easiest speakers to set up are dynamic/cone based speakers. Panels and electrostats are the hardest and you have fewer options to get them to their optimum set up/sound.
Your loft layout looks exactly like the one I use to live in. I put heavy roman shades on the windows and then a heavy curtain. It turned out beautifully and worked great.

I tried the angled in the corner thing but had too many problems with bass that way. Your layout is what worked best for me. The sound easily fills the whole loft this way. A couple nice tapestries, thick rugs or carpet, and some cloth furniture and you will be good to go.

I agree that direct radiating(cone) speakers will be the easiest to arrange in this space but with some additional planning I'm sure you could make most any speaker work for you.
I would not put the equipment in between the speakers and agree about crossing the speakers unless they are dipoles or bipolar. But you will still have to experiment.