My speakers don't "dissapear"

Equipment used: Krell 400xi, Krell DVD Standard, Focal Utopia Mico Be's.

I have had my system for a couple months now. I have tweaked and moved and adjusted (even rearranged my living room) to get the speakers to image and "disappear" but no luck. No matter what I do, I can clearly tell the sound is coming from the speakers, no soundstage.

Will more burn in help? I only have about 40 hrs on the equipment in it's current state.
First of all, burn in your equipment. Put either a burn-in disc, a CD with a lot of high and low synthesizer, or heavy metal CD on repeat and let it play 24/7 for 2-3 weeks. Keep changing the music once or twice a day. When you go to work, if you can, crank it up so that the speakers will settle in.

Second, go talk to the dealer where you bought the speakers and ask him to show you how to place or set the speakers up properly.
Assuming you have not placed them on a table or bookshelf or against a wall or next to a TV (any of which can collapse the sound to the speaker), then you have a problem. Do you have an incorrect setting in your DVD player/amp (is it converting CD's to pseudo surround or something - adding a "stadium reverb effect" for example - also many players with DSPs have many options for sound processing like "all speakers" or "pseudo surround" and "two-channel stereo straight through - no proceesing"). If you have fully exhausted the DVD and amp DSP menus you should take the speakers back or investigate if you have a problem elsewhere.
At one point, I ran the Krell 400xi, Krell SACD Standard, and Focal Micro Utopia BE's. I had no trouble getting the speakers to disappear. At 40 hours your equipment is not even remotely close to being broken in. The Micro Utopia BE's in particular take a very long time. I'd estimate approximately 400 hours for them to really come around. I was using GutWire Chime interconnects and speaker cable as well as GutWire power cords which definitely helped in getting the best out of this combination of gear. I don't know what you're using for cables, but break-in is probably most of the issue.
Two questions:

Does your listening room have 8 ft (or lower) ceilings?
Do you have a coffee table directly in front of your listening seat?

Are your speakers wired out fo phase?
Do you have them near walls or furniture, or anything else? Giving us a lot more information about these kinds of things, where you're sitting, room treatments, etc. would help us help you.
Sounds like your system is out of phase, check settings and wiring...+ to + and - to - ...left ch to L ch ect..
It may be the case that you are expecting too much from your system. Have you heard other systems image as well as you expect from your system?

Most problems can be attributed primarily to the location of speakers. Proper location can be really hard to achieve even by "experts." While there are methods that can be employed for locating speakers (e.g., the Sumiko method, the Wilson method), ultimately, it comes down to moving speakers and listening to the results.

Generally speaking, the further you can get the speakers from the back wall, and to a lesser degree, the side walls, the better the imaging will be. Also, try to avoid big reflective objects between the speakers and in front of the speakers. Bookcases or other uneven surfaces to the side of the speaker is helpful too. If your listening seat is near the wall behind you, that can be a problem too. The best location is with the ears well away from the back wall and the back wall being diffusive (again, a bookcase, or if the wall is bare, a tapestry is great for reducing high frequency glare). If you cannot get five feet or so from the back wall, sometimes it makes sense to get really close to the back wall so the sound is integrated with the back wall reflection; some in between locations, say three feet from a back wall, can be quite bad.

Start with the speakers somewhat close to the wall and then slowly move them forward toward the listening position to find a spot that works. A good location would be one where the imaging is right, and bass response is reasonable. Generally speaking, bass is most prominent with the speaker close to the walls and corners, but, there are all kinds of nodes, so don't assume that after a certain point of pulling the speaker away from the wall, the bass will always be weak. You could find a node where bass is surprisingly strong well away from the walls and corners. The difference between a weak bass point and a strong one can be a matter of less than an inch; placement is that critical (google the Sumiko method of speaker placement).

After finding a reasonable spot, you will still have to adjust for toe-in and for proper tilt of the speaker. Generally speaking, little or no toe-in will give a bigger soundstage and less sound seeming to come directly from the speaker, but, the image may be diffused and location of instruments may not be drawn sharply enough (particularly a central vocalist). More toe-in toward the center listener will sharpen images but cause the size of the soundfield to shrink. Change of the backwards tilt of a speaker will affect tonal quality, integration of the drivers and the apparent height of the image.

One more thing to consider. Good imaging, particularly sound that seems free of the speaker, can only be achieved at one precise spot, usually a central spot equidistant from both speakers. I have hardly ever heard a setup where multiple listeners heard good imaging; move just a little toward one speaker and the image moves into the nearest speaker. The exceptions involved HUGE rooms, with the speakers placed very far apart, and in one case, it also involve three front speakers.
Are your speakers wired out of phase?

Good one! Translation = "Is one speaker wire reversed from the amp to one speaker. I.E. Black amp post to Red speaker post on one speaker while the other speaker is properly wired with black to black and red to red."
Leave your door unlocked. It may take awhile but they will disappear forever.
Leave your door unlocked. It may take awhile but they will disappear forever.

Indeed - like the thread about the economy. It was erased and I can't find Macrojack's wise comments. Just like the $300 billion of taxpayer money that may get erased with the Freddie and Fannie mother of all private enterprise bail outs. It seems capitalism has become a ponzi scheme - when things go well and state assets are sold off (privatized) it helps make money for bankers but when things go badly wrong the taxpayer steps in once again to clean up (and banks are saved). Man this ponzi system of capitalism is great (if you happen to be on the right side of the gravy train that is....)
Its a job for Criss Angel I think.
I'm afraid the only change the candidates are looking for is in my pocket.
"Are your speakers wired out of phase?" Years ago, I had a pair of Rectilinear III's that came from the factory that were in fact, wired out of phase. I simply wired them out of phase from my amplifier and the problem was solved, but the take home point is that this CAN and DOES happen. (Just my 2 cents, FWIW). Happy Listening
If two speakers are out of relative phase, the sound seems to be coming from everywhere (or nowhere in particular), but, usually not straight out of the speaker. But, an incorrectly wired speaker could be an issue. If the drivers are incorrectly wired in one speaker, this could damage imaging while not obviously being out of phase (I've seen speakers with such internal wiring issues).

Still, my bet is that it is a speaker placement issue. IT sometimes takes a whole lot of experimentation to find a good spot. I've seen a few rooms where a really good spot just did not seem to be available, but even there, persistence at least yielded the best of a bad situation.
That combo should disappear nicely. I've heard it happen impressively with my own ears with the 400xi and Focal Profile series and decent Audioquest cables.

Are the speakers too close to the rear or side walls perhaps? Also, what kind of ICs and speaker cables used? Clean power is another consideration. Do you use/need power conditioning? What is the room like? Is it extremely dead acoustically perhaps?
I had the same problem with my Mini Utopias. I tried everything, but still couldn't get it right. The Focals can be a bit on the shrill side, so that might have had something to do with it. I bought a pair of SP Tech Timepiece 3.0's and I wouldn't even know they were there if I couldn't see them. All I hear now is music pure music. I'd look into the Timepiece Mini's if I were you.
Are your speakers pointed at you (toed in)? If so please try aiming them straight ahead and then very slightly begin to toe them in. Also while aimed straight ahead, try small incremental changes in separation distance. There is a sweet spot. I run my Thiel CS6s straight ahead and my Thiel 2.4s with just a slight toe in.

Don't give up!!!
Okay, this is just a guess...

It looks to me like there's a double diffractive edge below the tweeter, formed by the horizontal slot on the front baffle. The ear might be picking up this diffraction as a secondary sound source with a seriously skewed spectrum, as it will occur within the critical .68 millisecond time window between the arrival of the first sound and the kicking-in of the precedence effect.

You might try stuffing something absorptive into that slot, like a thin slice of foam, or otherwise smoothing it over (maybe just a piece of masking tape would help - or better yet duct tape, for that macho look). While you're at it, tape a piece of foam or felt or something along the top edge above the tweeter as well. The sides of the cabinet look like they're nicely radiused, so I don't think they're an issue.

If this helps, you might consider going all the way and contacting Jim Goulding at, as his felt tweeter surrounds work quite well (they received a Golden Ear Award from TAS a couple of months ago).

If this doesn't help, I have another idea but its implications are more expensive.

I note that we have not heard from the OP since his first post. We have no idea of the specifics of his listening space, for example. He should provide more details.
What is your address, I'll make them disappear.
You might try stuffing something absorptive into that slot, like a thin slice of foam, or otherwise smoothing it over (maybe just a piece of masking tape would help - or better yet duct tape, for that macho look)

I wondered about that - it is an extremely odd design - like an acoustic "notch" filter at a specific frequency - I wondered if it is deliberately designed to reduce ringing from the metal tweeter....perhaps tuned at a specific frequency based on the depth - just like a tube trap or resonator only very small....
22 posts in one day! wow.

I read thru all the posts and a few of them stood out:

1. Yes I have the speakers on either side of a plasta TV, but the speakers are about a foot in front of the TV stand.

2. Yes, I have a coffee table. A big one too. Rug under it, tile floor everywhere else. No wall treatments (we rent).

3. PS Audio P500 regenerator for DVD Standard. Balanced power transformer for KAV-400xi (1000VA).

4. Nordost Shiva PC's. Quattro fil balanced IC's. Red Dawn speaker cables.

5. 9 foot ceilings, stereo and tv is diagonally set up. Speakers are firing into an open space. Non parallel walls.

6. Speaker phase is correct. System sounds fantastic, but the speakers don't quite dissapear.

7. Speakers toed in at the moment. Will listen to them aimed straight and with slight toe in.

I'll start with speaker placement and more burn in time. The speakers sounded great in the showroom (Sound by Singer, NYC), but in my house (I live in Cyprus, 3rd largest island in the Mediterranean) it seems a little off. The living room is rather "live" so I should probably look into room treatments as well.
I have all Pass Labs Monoblocks and a Pass X-1 Pre as well as a pair of JM Lab Diva Utopia BE's with a couple different digital sources but the main player is a Meridian G08. for amp, pre amp, cd player connections I use XLO Balanced. I am using the Harmonic Tech for my speakers and they sound great. I just swaped out the Harmonic Tech for the Kubala-Sosna Emotion and I will tell you the Kubala speaker cable destroyed any and all focus and imaging I had.I could toe them in 30 degrees or more and still nothing! At 3800.00 for the Kubala, I was upset. The JM Utopia Be's, all of them, can vanish in a room and image beyond the boundries of the walls. I have had Utopias(old style), as well as Mini Utopia's and all, especially the new BE's image as well or better than anything I have heard as far as box speakers go. The Be's imaging is one thing that sets that speaker apart from most anyway. The problem isn't your gear or your speakers, it is probably your cable. The Kubala is 3 times the price of my Harmonic Tech and the Harmonic Tech destroy the Kubala. I have a friend who has the Nova Utopia BE's and experienced the same issue with these cable. I would try replacing the speaker cable before anything else. I couldn't believe the difference when I took out the Kubala, everything came back and the speakers vanished in the room with precision imaging with the speakers not even toed in. trust me, give it a try. Those speakers you have are Reference Monitors and the reviews on them speak for themselves. I would try XLO, Harmonic Tech Magic 2, or Synergistic Research Tesla series. My friend with the Nova Utopias swears by the Synergistic Research. I would borrow a couple pairs of speaker cables just to see if that is were te issue is. I a ton of experience with JM Lab and they can be cable sensitive speakers!
If you're not already doing it I'd recommend putting a blanket or quilt over the plasma when you're listening to music.

My experience with this had pointed almost always to the speakers themselves and also how they interact with a particular room (probably why they disappeared better at Sound by Singer). If you go through different positions, toe-in, etc. and it's not working, might be time to borrow another pair of speakers that are known to disappear well (i.e. Joseph Audio, Totem, Vandersteen, Usher, etc.) just to see what happens. That's what I'd do because otherwise you might end up spending gobs of time and money trying to achieve something these speakers just don't want to do in your room and/or with your equipment.

Best of luck.
"stereo and tv is diagonally set up"

From your description, short of a defect in speaker wiring or such (doubtful) this may be working against you the most compared to the norm.

Also, what's the distance between the speakers and the walls?

Burn in time may also be an issue with this equipment according to others here more knledgeable on this than I.
Thanks for your further information. Here's my suggestion:
1. move the spkrs another foot (towards you) away from the screen.
2. experimentally, GET RID of the coffee table or at least get it out of the field between the speakers and you.
3. take the rug that's under the coffee table and put it in front of the space between the speakers. OR get a larger rug, covering most of the space between the speakers and the listening position.
Happy Listening!

The living room is rather "live" so I should probably look into room treatments as well.

Tile floor - BAD
Coffee table in front of speakers BAD

I assume your home is brick block/concrete with reflective walls - BAD (these do not breathe and they will reflect all the energy back into the room - a claustrophobic cluttered sound)

=> you need acoustic treatments in a bad way unless you can accept that it simply won't sound like it did at the dealer even if it has the potential to do so.
The way my house is built is rather unconventional. The living area is open to the dining area, but in a diagonal fashion. So the way it is set up now, there is no rear wall. The speakers are about a foot and a half away from the side walls. The side walls taper out away from where the system is set up. And yes, the house is all block and plaster.

Before I begin to rearrange again, I'm going to try these two suggestions. First, move the speakers out another foot to aleviate any interaction from the television screen. Second, fire the speakers straight ahead instead of toed in and hopefully, this will minimize any reflections from our coffee table.

As far as speaker cables are concerened, I'm upgrading from a 3M set of revision I red dawn cables to a 2M set of Revision II Red Dawn cables. Before receiving my quattro fil XLR's, I was using "the best" radio shack RCA's (they were temporary, don't flame) and it was a huge improvement moving up to the quattro fil balanced IC's.
Nordost will give you detail but not not alot of warmth or bone to the music IMHO.
Based on your last post you need acoustic treatment bigtime - if you can't aesthetically treat a highly reflective space then don't throw good money after bad with expensive cables, IMHO. You simply won't be able to re-create that great sound in the dealership. Look on the bright side... you live in Greece and while you are still enjoying the sun I'll be shoveling snow and freezing my %^$&'s off!!
I second Soix's response.before you buy new cables or treatment,try to borrow a pair of speakers and see if the problem persists
Nordost cables works well with Krell IMHO, contrary to what other folks said. With your system you must have the support of the dealer, he should be able to let your speakers disappear. Of course, the acoustic of the room is very important and also here, a good dealer should be able to give you some good suggestion, and I do not mean "spend more money"!!!
Good luck!
40 hours on a new pair of high end speakers? This is not the time to make judgements about what your system will or will not do, period. All this conjecture means very little in my opinion. All your gear and cables need to continue to settle in, and the speakers need break in, or whatever you choose to call it. Leave the system untouched other than to play music, and if you can 24/7. From all reports, these speakers need hundreds of hours. Leave all your cables untouched.
My bet is that the coffee table between the speaker and listening position is a major problem area. If it cannot be moved elsewhere, I would at least put things on the table to diffuse the reflection, such as magazines, art objects, some kind of cloth covering, etc.

As far as room treatment, most of the serious audio treatments are pretty ugly and intrusive. Wall coverings (tapestries) on large, flat surfaces do a really good job with higher frequencies and can actually look good too. Some people also used potted plants in corners of the room to act as diffusers (I personally have not tried this, I use stacks of 16" ASC tube traps).

I would certainly hold off on trying alternative speakers/gear. Your speakers should be good at imaging, and if they are not, the problem most likely lies elsewhere. I would concentrate on trying different placement and geometry (toe-in, angle between the speakers and the listener, backwards tilt, etc.).
Well, here is what I did. I tried most all suggestions, but the three that worked best for me were these:

1. Move speakers more forward, away from the plasma TV. Coffee table has magazines and other objects on it already to diffuse any reflections.

2. Fire the speakers with less toe in. They are firing almost straight ahead with good results.

3. Move the speakers closer to each other. I had them about 8 or 9 feet apart, and now they are closer to 6~7 feet apart. My listening position is about 7 feet away.

The third change made the biggest difference. I was anticipating a soundstage width collapse, but the exact opposite occured! Even the lowest of the bass improved and the overall bass to midbass range smoothed out significantly.

I moved a lounge chair into one corner as well and I think that also contributed to a smoother lower end.

All in all, it's a huge improvement than before. Certain recordings "dissapear" more than others now. It's at the point where it's approaching what I heard at the dealer. I'm hoping that some more burn in will settle things down a bit more.
Aren't you glad that you didn't waste a bunch of money on cables ? You used good common sense solutions instead of voodoo- and they did not cost you a cent. Good lesson learned.
Musicnoise gives sage advice, but don't think that better cables are all voodoo....when your system is ready and so is your spirit of inquiry, demo some MIT cables and let me know what you think. The cable company and/or Joe Abrams at Equus audio can help you out.
Good to hear that things are looking up. I am not surprised that No. 3 worked best. With the kind of spread you had, you probably had a big hole in the middle of the stereo image. Most listeners seem to prefer a triangle, defined by the center of the speaker to center of speaker and to the listener's head, that is and equilateral triangle or narrower than an equilateral triangle. So, if you are seven feet from each speaker, the centers of the speakers should be 7ft apart or less. If the center image is still to diffused, more toe-in will help.

I'm finding when a system that should sound good doesn't, the placement within the room relative to walls is the first suspect and also the cheapest (though tricky) to fix.

I should have been more specific about this before tossing in other less likely possibilities into the frenzy as well, especially those that might still benefit but also add cost.

Yes, and also toeing in speakers so more sound reaches your ears directly would also clearly work against making the speakers "disappear".
With all the suggestions I received, my system is getting dialed in just right. I am starting to notice a few things here and there though, but really, I'm nit picking now.

When auditioning equipment at the dealer, all my listening was done on a chair that was a hair too high for the specific speaker stand / speaker combo. For the most part I was leaning forward to lower my ears. Yesterday, when listening at home, I leaned forward to grab a cd from the coffee table and there it was. The sound was almost exactly what I heard at the dealer. As I leaned back, the highs muted a bit and there was a very slight loss of coherency. It's like I auditioned the speakers in a "near field" set-up. I'll be experimenting with moving the speakers closer to my listening position, but as of now, I really like what I hear when I get closer to the speakers.

Another thing I noticed was driver integration. During a guitar solo, as the guitarist made a run up the neck, the soundstage rose slightly as the notes went higher. I'm assuming it was because the music being played was near the crossover point and revealed the transition from mid to tweet. The speakers are firing level with the tweets about 3 inches higher than ear level. My stands are adjustable and I'm thinking that adding some forward tilt will help things out.

I'm starting to really enjoy the system and all my CD's.
Good news. Enjoy!
Because of the shape of the baffle and the placement of the drivers (tweeter over the bass unit), speakers have an asymmetrical radiation pattern as far as height dispersion pattern. If the tweeter is too high, you could tilt the speaker forward, but, that may not have the same result as tilting the speaker backwards if the the tweeter were too low. In other words, it may work or it may cause other problems. You need to give that a shot, as well as lowering the speaker and either have it fire straight or even tilted up a little. A lot of stand mounted speakers are "voiced" to be on lower stands with the speaker tilted slightly up.
Since my first set of Red Dawn cables were damaged I had another set on order. In the meantime (for most of this thread) I was unsing DIY cables and finally, this morning, I replaced them with red dawn revision II, 2 meter cables.

All I can say is WOW! I'm glad I optimized my set-up with the DIY cables. The muted highs are muted no more! Bass is smoother than ever and quite tight. Overall coherency is spot on. All other aspects like stage width remained the same. The ONLY drawback, and it's a minor one, I noticed was in the midrange. Before, vocalists were up front and center and in your face. Now, it's like they took a couple steps back. Not too much of a drawback, but enough to take notice although the improvement in the frequency extremes makes the presentation much more enjoyable to me so I'll gladly live with it.

I really have to thank you guys for all the tips in seting up and optimizing my system. It's very enjoyable and the music just flows. Thanks again guys, I really appreciate it. Trust me, I'll be back when I decide to try some tweaks like bass traps and room treatments. In the meantime, I have like 100 cd's I need to listen to...
I suggest you look into some room treatments (I use GIK panels) to tame first reflection areas and bass traps for room corners. It's a small price to pay for big sound.