Everything matters. IF you can hear a difference, that is.
When you can hear a difference, then it makes a difference.
Do you notice a change in sound after vacuuming the carpet?
Changing the humidity in the room?
Adding/removing lighting devices? Having them on or off?
Wiping down the walls (anti-static fluid)?
You may want to read Jim Smith's "Get Better Sound."
He maintains there should be nothing between the speakers...
I’ve always suspected.....and assumed humidity would affect speakers especially (anyone with a guitar knows how their neck changes and expands in summer humidity vs. winter dry air)....enclosures and drivers would change mass etc.
Hard to get a grip on that though since it happens over weeks/months.......
Change after vacuuming the carpet...😮😮😮🤣🤣......you’re probably right, anything is possible!
toe in and out is critical. finding the best room balance location is critical. most speaker manufacturers have recommendations based on the speaker design as to the ideal approach relative to the listening position.
but once you think you are close; try laser aiming and leveling. we call it ’stereo’ since it’s 2 speakers providing one soundstage. the balance of these two speakers determines the precision and tonal balance you hear.
the taller your speakers are the more this matters as the drivers are then more prone to be out of alignment. i have twin 7 foot tall towers where this process is critical for optimization.
there are devices you can purchase that can be attached to the face of a speaker that will allow you to exactly aim the speaker. also to level the speaker sitting on top. it’s spins around indicating the top is level.
you get a tripod with a piece of paper with a crosshair at the spot for your ears. once the speakers are known to be located at the exact same distance then the trick is precise aiming.
of course; it helps to also center your speakers exactly if your room is symmetric. i have a symmetric room with a piece of tape on my hardwood floor precisely measured down the center line which helps to measure the speaker position, but also when i’m listening it allows me to ’sight’ down the center for critical listening times.
you spend all this money on gear, and spend lots of time listening. this last little effort does pay constant dividends in what you hear.
wall. ceiling and floor treatments are a whole separate question. but every stereo system benefits from perfect alignment.
I’m one who doesn’t believe equipment should be in between the speakers as it will negatively effect the soundstage and overall performance of the speakers. So it does not surprise me that moving equipment between the speakers has an effect. My rack is to the side.
On the other hand, yes, even small adjustment to the speakers themselves can can substantial changes; width, dimension from the front wall, toe-in, etc. without equipment between.
i agree -- you don’t want solid stuff consuming all the space between the speakers, especially where the treble and mids radiate (like big screen tv’s) - proper imaging requires space for the speaker’s normal radiation pattern to ’breathe’, do its thing
also agree toe in and space around the speakers to room boundaries are absolutely critical
proacs are imaging masters, you paid for these brilliant speakers, you should let them do what they are so good at doing!
... we call it ’stereo’ since it’s 2 speakers providing one
soundstage ...No, "stereo" does not mean two speakers at all. The word is from Greek and means "solid," or three-dimensional. A four-channel system is still "stereo" and - some would argue - can have advantages over a two-channel system.
I should update......the front of the Proacs are still over 2 feet forward of any rack or component. Sure, nothing between is nice, but also a compromise in symmetry (components to the side) or long interconnects, speaker cables etc.(Plus, it’s nice to play a movie through occasionally).
Mike posted above about speaker position and symmetry....that’s a given.
But as I mentioned initially.....these super-small changes in equipment or furniture position can have a fairly big effect on soundstage, soundstage size, and tonal balance.
Space forward your rack doesn’t change the negative effect on speakers providing good soundstage, depth, and imaging, IMO.
I also have a mixed room; 2 channel and HT. All my equipment, and TV, is off to the side.
A TV screen in between the speakers, even when behind, to me, is a ‘no no’.
I get that some cannot have a set-up with ‘nothing’ between the speakers, but if you can, might be worth a shot to try. If concerned about speaker cable lengths, IC’s, etc. That is why some put their amp and pre on the floor between speakers. On the floor minimizes the negative effect.
By the way.....just put on Art Pepper - Straight Life.......second track bass is incredible, deep, defined.....Art’s sax is recorded well too. And great jazz....
Anyone that’s got it, throw it on!
Things do get weird. Sometimes tiny changes cause huge differences both good and bad. Sometimes what we think are big changes make little or no difference at all. Only the fact you can recreate the effect by carefully repeating your changes saves us from concluding the whole process is just random chance.
IMO speaker placement (including distance from the walls, toe in, and rake angle), as well as furnishings, may tend to have a more significant impact than the choice between two good amps or between two good DACs. I'm amazed at some of the photos I see of very expensive gear with the loudspeakers crammed up against the walls and corners (along with minimal furnishings or room treatments).
We have a pine cabinet in the left corner of the front wall. Test tones seem to demonstrate its impact on imaging. An up-moving right-speaker test tone will seem to go straight up from about eye level toward the ceiling behind the right speaker. However, an up-moving left-speaker test tone will seem to go straight up from about eye level, then abruptly shift to the left after it reaches the top of the corner cabinet.https://www.audiocheck.net/audiotests_ledr.php
@tk21 That is so cool, I have a pine cabinet on a wall in an unfortunate place too. I can observe similar phenomena listening to music that creates a realistic and convincing sound space. What I experience is a deformation of the ’stage’. If you can imagine one of those inflatable soccer domes and then imagine one corner has collapsed inward, kind of like that. Music isn’t obviously being lost but spatial cues which give a sense of volume and depth of the space are definitely being altered. Interestingly switching to some digital versions of the same track often produces a great or even total reduction of the effect. I can’t and won’t claim that I observe this with 192/24 files but but with 96/24 or Red Book it isn’t that hard to detect. With low res formats it can be quite dramatic. This seems to indicate that the signals are deficient in spatial cues which are always subtle and tend to exist in the uppermost registers where low resolution digital suffers the most. I certainly don’t want to start another slug-fest over the merits of various formats but the concept of ’imaging’ was hotly debated when it first emerged and the same standard arguments emerged from those who had never experienced it to explain how the observation was impossible (ie. I’VE BEEN AN ELECTRICAL ENGINEER FOR 232 YEARS AND HERE IS WHY SUCH A THING IS TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE) Of course they are regularly exposed as the absolutist idiots they are when someone makes a discovery that explains very nicely the effect that the IEEE dunderhead 'proved’ was impossible. These are exactly the same individuals who in the late ’70s declared digital ’perfect sound forever’ with books of explanations and equations ’proving’ that digital accuracy HAD to be 100%. The discovery of jitter, aliasing, filter ringing, extinction effect etc. went a long way toward explaining why open-minded (eared?) listeners were unhappy with digital sound. The standard explanations about needing to re-learn how to listen and the beloved "flaws in the analogue source material"’ did nothing to generate faith in the recording industry or audio press (they have confessed to lying) or, interestingly, improve the quality of digital recording. The sound of digital recording did improve by orders of magnitude immediately after the recording industry and the press admitted that early digital recording wasn’t very good. To summarize, digital got much much better the moment it stopped being ’perfect’. Of course the story never ends here because even today we have someone saying that their 17 PHDs in physics and calculus and Electrical Engineering proves that you are suffering the aftereffects of LSD if you think your new speaker cables actually changed the sound. If you want to have some fun, find an old article from the time when these ’experts’ proved that a turntable could NOT affect sound quality. Show that article to a modern ’denier’ and be prepared to be amazed at how elegantly they PROVE that the two situations have absolutely nothing in common.
Has anyone experimented with adjusting the HEIGHT of
what is in between their speakers? How does this change
what you are hearing?