Planar speaker placement


Hi again. I just came across this, being new to the hobby, but would like to put it forth for those few who might not know it yet, and to get feedback from those that do and have experience with it. It being hk/limage theory speaker placement. I tried this with my Maggies and, holy cow. What a difference it made in my room! The speakers disapear from the room and the soundstage is amazing. The speakers are brought out about 40%of the room size from the wall, instead of the usual 2-4 ft, set very close to the sidewall, amd tweeters on inside. I'm sure the regulars here have heard about it, and would like to hear your thoughts. Thanks for your time.
droleg
I am a little confused with your post . What factor has changed in this new speaker configuration v.s. your previous placement ? What aspect do you feel made the speakers disappear ? Is it the width between the speakers ?
Traditionally, maggies are placed about2-4 feet from  front wall and 2ish ft from side wall,  with the tweaters positioned outboard., depending on listening position , room acoustics, and whatnot. However this hk/limage method, developed by a Japanese fellow, i believe, has them almost in the middle(35-40%) of the room length away from the front wall,and 10-12" from the side wall, with the tweaters inboard. LOTS of space between the speakers, but the music is comming from ths space. 

The criteria to have them 10" to 12" from the sidewall is confusing . What if your room is 25' wide ? I think you are liking the greater space between the speakers ? Having that far apart gives a exceptional soundstage .
Mine are 10' from the front wall. Th wall i face from my listening chair. (That's feet). My room is 16 ft wide and speakers are 11" from side wall. Yes, lots of space between them. Again, i just came across this a couple of days ago and am experimenting.my room is 16x25.
Magneplanar says to set them at least 5-6 ft. from the front wall - I never heard of 2 ft.
this is known as midfield placement. What is really cool is if you happen to have a long narrow room, and place speakers in this fashion close to the side walls, you get a soundstage at both sides of the room. :^)
Watched a YouTube video titled "AnalogPlanet visits Audio Research".
In the first listening room, (the room where Warren listens to each unit to verify sound quality parameters are met), are a pair of Maggie 20.7s.
Warren describes them as being fast and accurate.
The room is long and narrow. The front wall, (the wall behind the speakers) is the narrow wall. The speaker end of the room is heavily treated. The speakers are placed against the (treated) walls and toed-in aggressively. They look to be placed 8-10 feet in front of the front wall. The tweeters are on the inside.
The video is in two parts. I found it both interesting and informative.

Tom
Thanks Tom. I'll check it out. As i've learned, there's several methods of placement. I guess it depends on your room, your music , your preference of which aspect of the sound is most important to you( soundstaging, acuracy, seperation of instruments, etc.). Warrens placement might be best for evaluating the equipment, but maybe not if you're listening to enjoy music.just have to try and see what works for you.   Regards.
yes, in the Audio Research video the speakers are very close to the side walls - but they have diffractors all over them
Magnepans have very little side wall reflections. They just need plenty of room behind them to build the soundstage depth.
Jim Smith has an excellent book titled "Get Better Sound". He also is very familiar with Maggies and has an entire chapter devoted to planars.
Invaluable aid for setting up a system to "play the room".
Best $ you'll ever spend in this hobby...

Tom
You might also want to read about setup & room treatments on Sound Lab's website. Dr. West's approach to live end - dead end setup has worked well with my Sound Labs and might be worth a try with your Maggies too. Cheers,
Spencer
kalali is right - the dipole design reduces side radiation - tho I assume diffraction helps quite a bit on the close side walls or a co. like ARC would not use it when testing

the book by J Smith is just a rehash of obvious principles that have been known for decades mixed in with a bunch of excess verbiage - it sells to people who don't know much, including where to find the info for free.   sad.
Yeah, but absorption & some diffusion behind the planars will improve the depth & clarity because without it all that rear-firing energy will reflect back and smear what is heard.

Agreed, with cone drivers first reflection points are much more impactful on results. Cheers,
Spencer
sbank
... absorption & some diffusion behind the planars will improve the depth & clarity because without it all that rear-firing energy will reflect back and smear what is heard.
This is not at all the case in my experience. Much of the depth and soundstaging of planar speakers is the result of the dipolar reflection. Manufacturers of dipoles could easily use cabinet design to obstruct the rear wave ... but they don't. It's by design.
Here's one for ya !  I bought a pair of Quad 2905 last week . I also bought a bigger Torus power conditioner and some cables at the same time . I placed the quads on the inside of where i have my king Sound King speakers . Been listening to the Quads since i got them home . 2 days ago i started listening to the kings again and i was impressed by something i had done . I was not sure if it was the bigger Torus or the new cables that was making the improvement . I started to isolate the changes to see what is causing the improvement in imaging and bass . Turns out it was the Quad speakers being next to the Kings ! Expensive room treatments !! I will be mimicking the quads with either a absorption or diffuser the same size of the Quads .
Anyone care to venture why the improvement ?
one speaker is driving the other


So much so good for the speaker industry !! Now audiophiles may buy an extra pair of speakers for placing next to the working speakers !

@MGM

I placed the quads on the inside of where i have my king Sound King speakers .
I started to isolate the changes to see what is causing the improvement in imaging and bass . Turns out it was the Quad speakers being next to the Kings !

Anyone care to venture why the improvement ?

Multiple speakers (even idle) in the room affect the sound in a couple of ways. If large enough based on the room size, they will affect the acoustics just by placing them in the room. An idle (not connected) cone speaker driver will resonate from the sound waves from another speaker playing the room. It will affect the sound.

^^^^^
What does this tell you about dealers that have 6 speakers set up in a listening room ?


couple questions.

Is your phenomena being observed when the Quads are plugged in and when they are not?

What happens when the positions are reversed. Quads on the outside.

I can take a guess but this info would help.

@cleeds Well that is interesting and it made me want to check out your system page, but :-( yet another guy who hasn’t shared. Come on dude, let’s see it and maybe I can learn something.

Take a look at the Sound Lab site, I read it all and spoke with them, and at least with their speakers, they recommend treatment behind the speakers.

I’ll also helped multiple friends with Maggies and in each case they preferred having some absorption, diffusion or both on the front wall. Hey, if you get better results without, that saves you expense, cool. But has anyone ever seen instructions from a planar manufacturer advise the owner to NOT use absorption or diffusion behind their speakers? I haven’t. Cheers,
Spencer
sbank
@cleeds. Well that is interesting and it made me want to check out your system page, but :-( yet another guy who hasn’t shared. Come on dude, let’s see it and maybe I can learn something

+1
Imagine playing a poker game with the guys; some decide to show their cards, some don’t. What’s the point ?

With that .....I’d just like to comment that if Kalali can do that with a watermelon, imagine what he can do with a sound room :^)

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sbank
But has anyone ever seen instructions from a planar manufacturer advise the owner to NOT use absorption or diffusion behind their speakers?

From point number 4 in my post here.

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/solid-state-amps-for-quad-esl-57/post?postid=1385630#1385630

Direct from the Quad ESL owners manual.

"As a general rule radiation of sound waves from the front and rear of the speaker should be restricted as little as possible. While corners and positions closer to the wall should be avoided. A corner position is often necessary for other types of loudspeakers because it accentuates the low frequencies, but such a position for the Quad will both reduce the bass seriously and cause deterioration of middle frequencies due to standing waves."


It is my opinion

if Planar/ESL companies advertise openly to place speakers well out from the front walls, their sales would drop. So if you place them up close to the front wall you better have something dealing with the back wave. This will vary by room.


"Is your phenomena being observed when the Quads are plugged in and when they are not? "

"What happens when the positions are reversed. Quads on the outside."

The quads do not have to be plugged in . I haven't tried reversing but I am curious .

I am starting to think the back wave is hitting the hard surface of the back wall and is getting blocked from my ears making the imaging clearer.

I posted a pic in my system page . I am in a new room as I just moved 6 months ago and have not done much experimenting yet with any absorption yet .

I picked up 27 sheets of Owens corning yesterday and will be making some treatments soon .
@ct0517 That vintage quad pic is a classic, OMG. Love the pipe!

So I understand the point to avoid corners, but the manual quote doesn't tell me why "sound waves from the front and rear of the speaker should be restricted as little as possible".  Is that a manual for '57s? It's been a while since I owned Quad ESL63USAs and I don't recall if that advice applied to them too. The designs seem similar enough that I'd guess their setup advice is similar too. Anybody with more insights about this? Cheers,
Spencer
Hi sbank
the Quad 57 manual can be downloaded from here.  

https://www.manualslib.com/manual/407327/Quad-Esl-57.html?page=2#manual

The 57 is unique and is a different speaker from the 63 both in the way it sounds and the way it is constructed. As far as construction, the way it was explained to me by Kent at Electrostatic Solutions years ago, and also a local fellow here in Canada that repairs ESL's  

The 57 is durable and tolerant of humidity changes - dry to humid conditions. The '63 with its different build, is not, and if subjected to continued high humidity will break down. Actually come apart.

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So that part of the 57 manual says.

The radiation of the sound waves from both the front and back of the speaker should be restricted as little as possible.


It goes on to say.

If the speaker needs to be close to a wall it should be angled so that reflections are not returned trapped. For example one end of the speaker could almost touch wall provided the other end was say two feet away.
The above assumes a wider room imo, where the speakers are angled in quite a bit at the listener. I Interpret this paragraph as - you can make it work - if you do this, but , for it to work good and really good means, putting them out there - don't be shy - 8^) away from the front wall. This is how I interpret "the back wave being restricted as little as possible "

Now in actual listening where it counts;  I have always listened since the late 70's when I was in my teens, to 2 channel in near field with cone speakers well out from the front wall. I have owned 7 ? different Planars/ESL's , still own 3 ESL's and all have benefited from being well out in the room if possible. 

Cheers Chris

There are extensive threads on the Maggie HK/Limage room placement on the Planar Asylum discussion forum. I have tried it many, many times over the past few years.  The benefits IN MY ROOM (14X20) are phenomenal, jaw dropping soundstage and depth.  The images of every instrument simply float behind the plane of the speakers. Every Maggie owner with a shoe boxed sized room should experiment with it. Note to those not familiar with the set up, it requires the panels to be about 40%+ out from FW, close to the side wall and perfectly parallel with the FW (no toe in at all) with tweets in. 

That said, I never stick with it long term in my room. I believe my room may be a little too wide. Regardless, when I measure the frequency response in my room it shows a large hump from about 500 to 1khz, followed by a cavernous drop around the crossover range, before recovering over 3 or 4khz.  Wendell at Magnepan advises that the "i" models should be used with the tweeters further away than the woofers. My experience with the 3.7 i reinforces this recommendation. Failure to do so almost always creates a suck out at the crossover between mids and highs, and a glare in the middle midrange. The Limage set up does exactly this in my room.  I had similar problems with an older pair of Maggie IIIa's, indeed the midrange emphasis was even more extreme. 

My preferred set set up in my room is either tweets out about 7.5 feet from FW with the tweets about 83% as far apart as I am from each other as I am from them, or with the speakers further apart but tweets in with a LOT of toe in.  The ratio is again around 83% or so.  In every case the woofer panels need to be closer than the tweets -- about two inches is often best. Again this leads to minimal toe in if tweets are out, and extreme toe in with tweets in. 

I understand that that some people try the Limage set up and never go back. Their rooms may be better for it (narrower or less damped) or they may be less affected or bothered by the frequency effects of tweets substantially closer than mid and bass panel. 

Droleg, could you perhaps share the frequency chart you are getting in your room? Are you able to avoid these pitfalls in your room somehow?
Cardiffkook, i would love to share but i have no frequency charts or analyzer to quantify overblown or lacking areas.  I believe it was the planar asylum forum where i came across this several weeks ago,  and have been experimenting with ppacement. But, for some reason, i do non seem to be getting a pronounced holes or overliness of frequencies in my room. Maybe the shape of my room, room tx, or my aging, not so acute hearing. Room is carpeted, w/2 rows of theater seating, 26x16. Walls are 6ft fertical, then slope in some , then horizontal ceiling at 10 ft tall. Speakers 9 ft from fw  and seating position 9ft back from plane of spkrs.  Not quite the 40% off front wall, but so far, seems to have best effect, but still moving them around and auditioning different arrangements.
buy a mic and your laptop will be your analyzer
Previously I had a large planer speaker and I found out exactly as the originator of the question himself experienced.  Even today with Martin/Logan SL-3 speakers I get much the same results.  Anyway in both examples I have eperienced, much, much of the actual spacial experience comes from behind the speskers themself.  Even more so if one listens quite close to the speakers themself.  The closer one gets also all the many problems associated with room reflections themself dissaper.  Thus the additional benefit of not requiring so many of the room treatment products avaliable today.  And they can get quite expensive themself.  Again, with planer speakers, the more you move them close to you, it is so much easier to become one with the music itself.  More like being there.  More real.
Again, with planer speakers, the more you move them close to you, it is so much easier to become one with the music itself.  More like being there.  More real.
Nearfield with big panels is IMHO more like listening to big headphones or like sitting within the orchestra... which is a very unusual seat :)
@alanholvey 
That's an interesting perspective but goes against what most planar manufacturers suggest and how they choose to demo their products. For example, Sound Lab suggests ideally sitting >=12ft. away from the speakers.
Since your MLs have dynamic woofer, they will behave differently. Cheers,
Spencer 
Since your MLs have dynamic woofer, they will behave differently.


True, but bass is bass. Unless you are using EQ with Subs - it is important for full range speakers without EQ’ed bass panels/woofers, to be on one of the room’s bass loading points for good bass.