question about speaker placement. dead end room?

sorry for what may seem like a stupid question but here it is anyway. my "hi-fi mentor" came over yesterday to give a listen to my new system upgrades and tweeks. recently upgraded my power lines and cords along with IC's and speaker cable (still waiting for one final IC and power cord but i'm 90% there).

he stated that regardless of what i upgrade and how good i think it sounds, my speaker placement is too close to the rear wall. he said i shouldn't bother upgrading anymore until this can be resolved (waste of money until i get the speaker position right in his opinion) my aerial 7b's are about 14 inches off the wall measuring from the rear port and 28 inches if measuring from the front woofer. the room is such that even testing the aerial's at a "good distance" off given wall is impossible. my listening position would be way too close.

i use a velodyne dd12 which comes with a very useful/in depth tuning kit. spent many hours with this kit and finally got a pretty flat curve in the end (which also happened to sound right/good to my ears). it did take alot of work to get rid of a few huge base peaks, but i did get them hammered out eventually.

there is no way to put the aerial's in a postion that meets the general guidelines of speaker placement...per the cardas web site and other resources. would need to relocate the entire system to a different room and install a new dedicated ac line. neither of which is something i want to do.

my question is....

do i really have a "dead end room" where i've basically gone as far as i can go?. am i wasting my money on these IC and power source upgrades when such a glaring "sin" is present in my system.

like i said before....i think my system sounds pretty good. just wondering if i'm spinning my wheels (and tossing money away) by pushing forward with small, incremental upgrades and tweeks.
So, by "way to close", how close do you mean? I know a couple of people who have their speakers half way out into a room and their seating position is only about 5 feet from the front plane of the speaker. It sounds AWESOME in their room. The speakers absolutely disappear to the point that you cannot even place them with your eyes closed. Also the soundstage depth is amazing.

Obviously this type of setup won't work for many people because of WAF, etc., however it can be extremely satisfying in some rooms, with some speakers....


thanks Reubent. should have mentioned that my speakers are about 10 feet apart due to a doorway and HT. if i move the 7b's 4 feet off the rear wall, i'd be about 6 feet away listening, but they would still be 10-ish feet apart. take a look at the pic's of my system and maybe it will become clearer (large wood coffee table is usually where my gaming seat is in the pic). and yes....the speakers would be almost in the center of the room. not something i could pull off while still enjoying the room. my buddy said i was trying to make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t, with regards to this room. lol!
What are your room dimensions?

Ceiling Height?

How far apart are your speakers, and how far away is your current listening position?

How far is each speaker from the sidewall?

Is there any way to put the speakers on the short wall, and then pull them out further into the room and move your listening position back, assuming your room is rectangular and not square?

Please describe the rest of your equipment?

At what freq. is your subwoofer crossed over at?

Are you driving the Main Speakers full range or are you just adding sub bass at the lower frequencies?

What is your room like; wood floor, carpet, glass windows, etc..?

How's your neighborhood? Maybe you want to move!! (LOL)

If you hear an improvement in sound with the upgraded cables, than it's not a waste of money.

I agree with your friend that your speakers are too close to the front wall. In my experience; depending on the type of speaker that you have and the room size, I have found that 3-4 feet from the front wall works well in most situations, for sound-staging, and bass coupling to the front wall. My distance is measured from the rear of the speaker and not from the front of the speaker.

How does it sound, too close to the wall? Is it muddy, dull, boomy, narrow depth perception, poor sound-staging, imaging?

If you can describe how it sounds now, then maybe people here could advise you better.

Sorry, I didn't realize your system was posted.

Maybe you could answer some of the other questions though.

Can you mount the TV over the fireplace and have the speakers flank the fireplace and place them 3 -4 feet into the room?

How close would you be then?

thx Rich. over the fireplace was my initial plan when i moved in but man does it get hot (i'm a pyro maniac come winter and go threw 2 cords of wood per year =) ) would put the TV pretty darn high.

to answer some of your questions.....

ceramic tile floor with some carpet in center

left speaker is 4 feet from side wall while right one is about 7

8 foot ceiling. **ceiling is wood** (yet another dagger)

dd12 x-over is set at 65

7b's are getting full bandwidth. using the sub for low base only (7b's have great mid bass imo)

system sounded real boomy at first. used the dd12 "tuning kit" (including mic and graphic link to TV) and sorted it out. nice flat-ish curve now that also sounds good in real listening. many hours of fiddling with the kit seemed to pay off in the end.

i've got a big array of windows right behind my listening position....about 10 feet wide.

and don't forget my monstrosity of of a fireplace sticking out.....brick and mortar to add insult to injury

neighborhood is pretty good. moved in last year so i need to stay put for a while lol!

What are your room dimensions; width x length?
oooops....forgot. room is 12x25 with the fireplace sticking out about 3 feet into the 25 foot length. this makes for two 3'x4' covey holes at each corner next to fireplace.

the only possible option i've come up with is putting everything opposite the fireplace. but then the fireplace would be behind me (not good for a pyro like myself. i really enjoy the flames)

could always seal off that PITA doorway but then i'd have to wear dirty cloths all the time =) (doorway leads to laundry room)
Ok, Now we are on to something. You have plenty of length in your room.

I believe that you have your audio system on the wrong wall. You will need to be open minded about my suggestions:

I know it will be a pain in the neck to move it and re setup that sub, but I think it will be worth it.

I'll quote my Father, he's still alive, but he used to say; "Son you need to get your priorities in order."

I know this is harsh, and I'm sorry that I have to be the one to tell you this right now, but your priorities are your TV and your Fireplace.

If you want to make your Audio System your priorities then you have to move your set-up.

1) Your speakers can flank the fireplace and place them about 4 feet out into the room, then you can consider a front projector and a motorized pull down screen above the fireplace, and put it up when your using the fireplace.

2) You could also leave the TV where it is and buy a second pair of movie speakers to flank the TV, and move the Audio Speakers to the sides of the fireplace.

3) you could also put the speakers opposite the fireplace, along the the window wall in conjunction with the TV, and buy some curtains to cover the windows. Then buy a couple of swivel chairs, or a couch the offers seating on both sides, like they have in hotel lobbies, or a sectional couch that you can move around.

You could also probably consider some stick-on acoustic ceiling tiles for the wood ceiling.

Well, there you have it.

second set of speakers just might work Rich. you're a genius!. question is...will in need to pull the speakers out 4 feet in front of fireplace or the back wall?.

4 feet in front of fireplace would put it in front of TV. 4 feet from back wall would work near perfectly. just need to reposition some equipment so my speaker wire will reach.

make listening to music a priority?? such a simple answer. your dad was smart man!

3- 4 feet is the general starting point..., it is the distance from behind the speaker, to the wall directly behind the speaker, also called the front listening wall, because you are facing it.

If the "back wall in your room" is the one with the windows then yes that would work there too, you should start with the links below, for best positioning.

Here are some links on speaker placement:

The first link, has 3 additional links at the bottom of the page, regarding speaker placement.

Good Luck,
Time for a 'Toole', the book that is: 'Sound Reproduction'. A must read for you and your hi-fi mentor. But yes, the speakers must come out from the wall.

How is that book, I was thinking of getting it?

Is it an easy, enjoyable read or is it a more technical reference book?

looks like i've got some more reading to do.

pulled out my old Boston Acoustic VR60's. they'll be perfect for HT front use. already have a nice leather chair for the new listening position too. will keep the couch aimed at the TV.

plan on moving stuff around next weekend.

i have a feeling this is gonna work out great. a fantastic idea that won't cost alot. can't thank you enough Rich (and your Dad)
How is that book, I was thinking of getting it?

Is it an easy, enjoyable read or is it a more technical reference book?


It is an easy read but he tends to ramble on. I don't find it to be very well organized but it is full of gems.

Flyde Toole and Sean Olive were the first people to seriously look objectively at sound quality and try to quantify things that were important.

Thanks! I'll check it out!
While it is generally true that if speakers are placed too close to the front wall, imaging becomes flatter and the sense of sound enveloping the listener and filling up a large space is compromised, that hardly means that it is pointless to try to work with a particular room use demand/arrangement.

First, all speakers can be made to sound quite dramatically different by making very small changes in placement. You can make a huge change in sound just by moving the speakers a tiny amount and by making corresponding changes in the toe-in, vertical rake angle, etc. Finding the best arrangement can be a haphazard trial and error process, or, you can use more systematic methods. Do an internet search for the "Sumiko" method or the "Wilson" method. With some experimentation, you will find that there are MANY spots where your Aerials will work well that won't require a radical do-over of your system or your room.

If you are willing to change speakers, you can also look at speakers that are meant to work in close proximity to room boundaries and with other difficult placement requirements. The Audionote and Gradient brand, for example, design speakers for such applications.

Finally, I have heard all sorts of room treatments and dedicated listening rooms with extreme acoustic makeovers. At best, I would say, proper acoustic treatment is a crap shoot. It is still hard to predict the result and "more" is often "less" desirable. Some of the weirdest systems I've heard were in ultra expensive specially built and treated rooms. One can easily go too far, based on some philosophical or scientific system/principle. I would say take room treatment slow and easy. Start with things that won't make your room look ugly and uninviting and won't compromise the functionality of the room. For example, a few small tapestries/wall hangings can be enough to tame high frequency slap echos and often work better than putting too much treatment on the walls. A carpet on the floor in front of the speakers often works well too. If possible, avoid a big coffee table between the speakers and your listening position.

Good luck on your efforts. While your friend is somewhat correct in suggesting that proper speaker placement and room treatment are a priority, I would not agree that it is pointless to try to work with the rough demands of a particular setup and room and to also upgrade your other components.
Looking at your system specs and pictures, there are many things that stand out as being less than optimal (room dimensions, speaker location, tile floor, center speaker on the component rack, etc.); much of which has been mentioned by the previous respondents.

But if your system sounds "pretty good" to YOU, then what's the problem? You only have to please yourself (and, presumably, she who must be obeyed).
Toole's book is not a light read, but it captures everything you need to know about acoustics. Give it a try, you will like it and then know what an 'authority' is.
get a tube or class A amp. You won't need the fireplace in the winter and can reorient the listening position.

It is a discussion of Master Set - also called the Sumiko method.
Br3098, i totally agree. my concern isn't really about how good my system sounds. like you said...i like it and am enjoying it. no problem there. the issue is with my obsession to improve and "make it better". seems a few folks have the same problem around here =)

the best analogy i can use is this. putting a tricked out suspension into a car with all season tires (upgrading IC's, speaker wire, power supply on a system with non-optimal speaker placement). even though the suspension will help the cars handling (new upgrades did sound better to me), would it be smarter to address the tire's instead or first? (speaker placement)

it does seem like a silly question though (and i say so right off the bat). should i stop trying to improve my systems various "connections" due to room constraints and speaker position. am i wasting my effort/money here and should i focus on the room and placement first.

Larry's reply hit it spot on. the room in question is not just a listening room. it's my family room where we watch TV, play games and just hang out. i do not want to/can't make it a place where only i go to hear music. the room must be comfortable and inviting while still sounding "good". i have no plans to dedicate the room to hi-fi. once i get the speakers into a decent location, window treatments and some additional carpet is all i plan/am willing to do.

Rich was also spot on by pointing out that if music is a priority, it needs to treated as such. that's why his suggestion of adding a set a speakers really appealed to me (and my budget since i already have an extra set of decent speakers). it will still be a family room but can become a good listening room too (by sitting somewhere else in the room to listen).

my life has always been one big compromise lol!. finding the right balance, as opposed to perfection has become my calling card. this is just another example.

i'm back on course for now. thanks to all for the great advice/input!
From the looks of your picture the speakers are firing across the room width. I would bet that your seating position is right agains the wall - is this true?

Have you considered placing the speakers on either side of what looks like a fireplace and firing down the room length? This would allow many more speaker-listening position placement combinations and just importantly give you additional space behind your listening chair.

I too have read Dr. Floyd Toole's latest book and would highly recommend it.