My soundstage is terrible. i need help bad.

Ok i have the following pieces. Pioneer 39tx a/v reciever. I have Psb stratus silver i speakers, allantis biwire speaker cables. Tara labs vector 2 i/c. And a large subsonic 5 subwoofer. rarely used. I have little to no soundstage at all. almost sounds like a 5yrs old boom box. i dont understand which direction to go. I am going to be getting some psb stratus gold speakers here in the next 2 weeks from a buddy and im trying to get things straightened out before the new arrivals. do you think going to the better speakers will help or is it that i have everything setup wrong in the house. Cathedral ceiling home. Equipment set up on the highest wall. 26ft. and the seating postions at the lowest around 12ft about 4ft from the back wall. Im just confused on wehere to strart. My kitchen has to open doors to the right if ur sitting in my seating postion. I dont think the room is ever going to be able to give me what i want at any price. I just need some help on setup. lmk what you think i should do first. aprreciate all the info guys. this site rules. Kevin
HELLO..Hello..hello. Any chance of reversing that echo chamber and sitting on the opposite end?
Ngjockey is probably correct with placement. Also, this Pioneer receiver is not going to soundstage that well. Everything else looks okay including the PSB speaks. You did not mention CD/DVD source which could also be out of whack here.
For starters, sounds like you've got large expanses of reflecting surfaces which are creating problems. I would suggest you are likely to need some acoustic treatment to solve your problems. You can contact GIK Acoustics (see their website or forum at for a free evaluation of your room's issues. Their products are reasonably priced as well. Rives Audio also offers similar services at a higher, but pricier level. If you're not ready to go that far, I'd start with some self education by reading up on this subject at various audio internet forums dealing with acoustics. Is your room lively and "ringing" (usually bare floors, often lots of glass) when you clap your hands in there, or is it well damped with lots of carpet, drapes, upholstered furniture?

My set-up is similar to yours as I have a Cathedral ceiling in my living room, and my equipment is set-up on high wall (no other options for set-up), and for awhile I had issues in getting a decent soundstage. I was fortunate enought that merely re-arranging the furniture in the room and adding a couple of large plants and a bookcase filled with books at the reflecting points, seem to solve the problem. And I was able to to get decent soundstaging. Like Proton46 says, you got to be able to control the reflections that are happening in your room, especially if you have a lively room. Also, has Celtic66 says you might want to try another source and/or amp and see if that helps. Good luck in getting your "soundstage issue" solved.
the other thing is...check on your speaker positioning. make sure that if they're toed in that the angle is the same, distance to rear wall is the same, etc. Small differences like that can make a huge difference.
Speaker positioning is important . You did not state where they are located in relation to the walls etc.

Try setting them up 5 or 6 feet out into the room away from the wall that is behind them . Also get them a few feet away from the side walls .

A good place to start is to set them up in an equal lateral triangle in relation to themselves and your listening position . Something like 8 feet apart and 8 feet from your listening position . Then have them aimed at your head when you are in the listening position . These measurements are just a 'for instance'. The actual measurements will be dictated by the size of your room . And don't have anything behind or between the speakers like a TV or equipment rack .

See what this initial setup does for the soundstage . You can then play with the positioning for better sound , especially the amount of toe in , or how much the speakers are or are not pointed toward your head . A small laser pointer is quite handy for this . It has been my experience that speaker positioning has the most to do with soundstaging .

Once you read up on room treatments you can play around with them at little or no cost by using blankets , coats , pillows , rugs etc.

I don't know your speakers but they seem to have a pretty good reputation . I would look for a different source of amplification if it were me . If you are just 2 channel music look for an integrated amplifier . If you want multi channel music or H/T see if you can move up to a better H/T receiver or maybe seperates . If you buy used you should be able to do these upgrades for not a bunch of money as compared to your receiver .

Speaker positioning is a pain ! But it is real cheap and can be quite rewarding !

Good luck .
You need to upgrade your receiver. Try a good integrated. If you want sound stage then search/buy equipment that is know for that trait. Add a tube dac to your front end.
Well i was speaking with a friend on here and i was telling him about my issues. I have a pioneer elite hdtv big screen in between the speakers. the speakers are basically beside the tv not out in front at all. THe cd player is for now a dv37 pioneer elite dvd/cd player. 24/96 player. I have a nad c541 coming as we speak. I know that i have lower end stuff but i guess i expected too much. the speakers are about 3ft maybe a little less from the back walls. thanx for any help. Kevin
The big screen is a problem indeed. Bringing the speakers out may help. I see a plasma TV and a NAD integrated in your future.
Flyin2jz, I'm offering a contrarian opinion: there is nothing wrong with your amplification and cd playback. Don't worry about it being "low-end". All the money in your bank account being spent on replacing that gear will not resolve the problem you are having.

"Soundstage" usually refers to the ability of a system to create the illusion that real musicians are in the room. The speakers need to "disappear". It's my opinion that those PSB speakers will not disappear: their conventional design fights against that happening. Point-source omni-directional speakers would be a better candidate.

Also, as pointed out by photon46, you need to do some dampening in the room: tame reflecting surfaces. You don't have to spend a lot of $ to do this.

Do what you can with the listening environment, and strongly consider replacing the speakers.
I have owned a NAD 541 , it can do some amazing things with the soundstage , if it is in the recording ! It is the only CDP , that I have owned , that could give me a soundstage behind my listening position ! It was also able to put the musicians behind the speakers outside of my room while putting the singer at my feet ! Really quite startling the first time out !

Enjoy .

Definely pull your speakers out in front of your wide-screen TV. I myself have a large entertainment cabinet housing my TV and components in between my speakers. And I know for a fact that if I position my speakers behind or even with the entertainment cabinet, then I lose my soundstaging. Pull forward some, soundstaging returns. Btw, I used to use a NAD C542 CDP, and I got good soundstaging from it, so I would suspect your NAD C541 would do the same.
How far out in front of the tv do the speakers need to be? I really dont have a ton of room to do that. I could shove the tv back a bit and the speakers out in front but then the wifes gonna think im a nut. I have some psb stratus golds coming so hopefully it helps also. I think the nad player will also help. I just want what i heard in the low 90s. If it makes my eyes water and my balance off im good. SOunds like some kinda drug. hehe I am slowly getting the equipment that i heard when i had no money to spend at all. thanx a ton for the info. Im still learnin guys. Kevin
I thought you were concerned about soundstage. Now you're concerned about the tv?
Going from Stratus Silver to Stratus Gold will mostly make a difference in bass extension and ability to fill the space. If you put them where you have the Silvers, they'll pretty much image the same way. With this big a listening area, you need the speakers out more like 4' out from the wall behind them. And the Stratus Gold's extra bass extension will make proximity to walls more likely for the bass to overwhelm the tonal balance.

Is your Pioneer Elite a rear projection TV? Nothing kills a stereo image quite like filling the area between the speakers with a big flat surface.

Instead of getting Stratus Golds, maybe you should spend the money on a plasma or LCD display (I've even seen 65" 1080p LCD for as low as $2500) and hang it on the wall behind and between the speakers.

In responds to your question "How far out in front of the tv do the speakers need to be?" you're going to have to experiment with your own speakers, and find how far forward to go. With my speakers (Madisound AR.coms), I moved them 15" forward of the front of my entertainment cabinet, and that seem to get me the best mix of soundstage and bass responds. Truth is, speaker placement is often a trial and error type of thing simply because of the different variations of people's rooms, furnishing, listening wants and needs, ect.
To suggest the quality of your amplification, CDP and pre cannot positively impact the size and depth of the soundstage you are perceiving is simply rubbish....and so is the claim that only omni-directional speakers can throw a solid and large soundstage! Your speakers are fine and are capable of doing what you wish....

I would in order:

1. Check, play with, and/or tweak the Speaker set up as recommended above,
2. Upgrade your CDP and Amplification,
3. Treat the Room,

One or all three should get you were you want to be...

Enjoy the ride!

You speak of room treatment... I just moved to Scottsdale, Arizona from Short Hills, New Jersey. My stereo system sounded wonderful there. When I got here, the system sounded awful... like it was playing in a steel drum. The room here is 16 feet wide, 30 feet long with 12 foot (not cathedral) ceilings. The floor is French limestone solid with no basement. It was awful. I got furniture, rugs, big live cactus for the corners, etc. It sounded better but awful until a few days ago. The draperies were installed. One whole side wall (30 ft) is glass which looks out over the pool and gardens...very nice. The drapes are sheer panels of silk/linen..3 panels on each side, and one about in the middle. The panels are only about 2 feet wide or so. Suddenly the bass extends way deep down in the netherworld... the mids have depth and air...there was none at all before..the highs are silky sweet...they were brittle and unpleasant before. What a surprise.. 3 light and airy pieces of cloth really brought the whole thing together. I would never have guessed..
Hey, Stringreen! Did you change orchestras, or are you doing something different in AZ? You're a violinist, right? My brother is a cellist in Atlanta, who teaches a lot and plays in a string quartet. I grew up listening to a lot of cello! He studied under Lynn Harrell for a year.

I can weigh in on your room acclimatization experience. I just got a pair of Mirage OMD-15 forward-biased omnidirectional floorstanding speakers and I've been spending the last two weeks breaking them in and dialing them into the room as well. Being nearly omnidirectional, the user manual has many suggestions on speaker placement and what are desirable and undesirable wall surfaces. One that it particularly mentioned was that uncovered glass would produce too much sonic glare and brightness.

Behind each of my speakers is a tall narrow window. Typically, they're covered by both a pleated cloth shade *and* a pair of drapes--not heavy, but not sheer either. In attempting to dial in a fuller soundstage, I pulled back the curtains and raised the shade. The change was subtle, but it took awhile to get a handle on it. After a couple days I decided it brightened the sound a bit too much, so I pulled down the pleated shades again, but left the curtains open, and *voila!* The tonal balance fell into place and the imaging focus sharpened up.
Johnnyb53...Yes - I am a violinist. Actually, I intended to retire and just play for myself, but a private school here heard I had moved and asked me to run an instrumental music department. It will be better than practicing long hours and readying for a performance, and I just might do it. I met Lynn a number of years ago. Nice man..