Soundlab owners - room placement question

Next week I am getting some newly updated M3's from Soundlab. This is the first time I have tried an ESL and I am looking for some advice.

Where should I start for room placement? I understand it will take some time to move them around from this starting point for best results, but love to hear what other Soundlab owners are doing.

My room;

18.5 feet wide
24 feet long
8 foot ceilings
Carpet over concrete floor
No window to deal with
My room so anything goes!
Not open to any other room
300 watt SS amps combined with tube preamp
Listening position is flexible - again my room!
No sub right now - that could change if needed

Appreciate your thoughts.
The most critical setup dimension, in my opinion, is the distance between the back of the panel and the wall behind the speaker. In general, the more the better; you are adding delay to the arrival of the backwave energy, and the more the better. If you can do 7 feet, great. In my opinion 3.5 feet is the minimum; less than that and you probably should get the Sallie or make your own equivalent.

I used fake ficus trees to diffuse the backwave energy at the first reflection zones on the wall behind the speaker. This is where you could place mirrors and see the back of either panel from the listening position.

Distance to the sidewalls is up to you, but I'd say nine feet between the panels (roughly eleven feet center-to-center) is a decent starting point. They can go within inches of the sidewalls if needed.

Now I usually like some diffusion at the first sidewall reflection zones as well, those being where a mirror up against the side wall would show a reflection of the front of the panel from the listening position.

As for toe-in, the nice thing about SoundLabs is the tonal balance stays pretty much the same across whatever arc the speakers cover (60 degrees for the M-3). So playing with the toe-in is adjusting the relative amounts of energy going toward the side walls vs towards the middle, without adjusting the tonal balance. If a fairly strong toe-in works for you, that would probably eliminate any need for diffusion on the side walls.

Finally, measure the distance from panel to center of the sweet spot to within 1/8", and from there you can fine-tune by ear. Yup, there is an improvement in imaging from being that exact. Eyeball the panels to make sure they are both at the same vertical angle, and fix it with shims under the feet of one of them if necessary.

The above is for a "conventional" setup. Feel free to try whatever unconventional setup you feel inspired to; SoundLabs are a lot more flexible than most people realize. I had one customer who set his SoundLabs up in a "nearfield" configuration, so close to his listening chair that he could lean forward and touch them. Obviously this was a one-person setup, but it was pretty amazing for that one person.

Finally, feel free to e-mail me if you have further questions.

Best wishes,

Duke LeJeune
dealer/manufacturer/longtime SoundLab guy
Hello ,

Starting position:

Set the speakers up 11-12 feet from the back wall and 2 feet from the side walls.. Set your listening chair on the back wall and move forward until you have a lock on your soundstage (usually 2-3 feet from back wall) or were it works best for you...

You can move the speakers in until the focus in the middle is optimized with just a slight toe in for focus, room treatment will be a must with some diffusion necessary...

This setup will work very well with your Soundlabs !
Grannyring good to hear you are about to get them;My m2's are 3 ft off the backwall,8ft apart inside edge to inside edge,slight toe in, and I listen 10 ft from the halfway point between the panels.
I think Duke is correct with getting the panels off of the backwall by 3.5 or more is even better than what I have.
Duke also mentioned the ficus tree to diffuse the rear wave or using a sallie;I asked a question a long while ago on which should be used Diffusion or Adsorption and Rives Audio responded to use Diffusion;and I agree 100% on this issue as I tried both.
I think most important is to not rush the process in the setup procedure;your ears will tell you when it is right.
On using a sub I think your M3's will surprise you with the accurate bass reproduction they are capable of.
Hey Grannyring, this is Booboo's den saying sorry for the late response. I have the Sound lab M1s and love them!My room is very simular to yours in layout. It is 24 x 17 feet in dimensions and 7.5 feet tall. The speakers are on the long wall. They are about 5 feet from the back wall and 5 feet from the sides. You can see pictures on the virtual systems section on the all out asault page. My handle is BooBoo's den.The toe is about 25 degrees.From the center of the panel to my ears is about 7 feet.This is a nearfield setup but it is NOT in your face because this is a nice thing about the Sound Labs, never in your face.Diffusors will make them sound very open and make use of the rear energy without compeeting with the center image.The M1's are the 90 degree faced panels. I hope this gives you some new options!

I've got a room that's smaller than yours and I'm using A-1 PX panels in it. It measures 18' x 13' x 8' with a bulkhead around the upper edge to break-up the bass. The speakers are within 1" of the bulkhead. Bass traps in the rear corner, diffusion on the sides and absorption and diffusion on the back 1/3 of the room. RIVES did the room and it works very well.

I've tried the speakers out into the room with the speakers sitting at around 6' and the listening position at about 3'-6" from the front and rear walls respectively. They were 9" from the side walls. The toe in is pretty much center of the panel to each ear and measured very closely.

Now, recently I've moved the speakers back to 3'-6" on the advice of RIVES and the listening position forward to 6'. I moved the speaker away from the side walls to about 13". This really improved the sound dramatically for me but I think the major shift was in swapping the listening position with the speaker position. I tried 3'-6" for both listening and speaker and that didn't work as well. For those that are counting I think these are the 1/3 and 1/5th points in the room.

I've ordered a pair of SALLIE diffusers for behind the speakers as I'm told by RIVES that some diffusion behind the speaker regardless of position is desirable. I can't use the RPG diffusers because of a fireplace on the rear wall so the SALLIE is a good solution for me. It will also allow me to move around the rear diffusors to experiment.

It pays to play around with them and keep moving them. They are really easy to move on the carpet glides and you can switch to cones if you like, once you have them dialed in. It's pretty hard to go wrong in that, from my experience, Soundlabs sound fantastic wherever you place them however, some moves make them sound even better!
Ya, I am still playing. Right now mine are 7 feet from he wall behind them and they are about 3-4 feet from each side wall. My listening position is about 2 feet from the back wall behind me. My toe-in is very, very little.

So far I have found the closer I am to the wall behind me the better the bass and overall fullness of sound. If I toe them in so the centers hit my ears the sound is far to bright or aggressive for me.

I have a combination of diffusion and absorption behind the speakers (6 ft Ficus trees/sound panal. Behind my listening postition I have sound absorption.

Pretty good so far. Still looking for more body.
It sounds like you are finding what works for you. Generally the closer you get to the rear wall the greater the room will boost the bass for you. At 7' you are very close to the 1/3 point of the room so that should work quite well.

As for the body issue, that's a little tougher. Are you looking for more body in the bottom end or throughout the range of the speaker? It's my belief that the speaker is what it is with respect to body however, because it's such a transparent speaker, you can add body further upstream and hear it. There are limits of course so it depends how much you are looking for.

I don't really have a body issue with mine but I have a larger speaker in a smaller room driven by massive tube amps. You have 3,552 cubic feet and I have 1,872 cubic feet. Everyone says they need room and space from the walls and I think this is correct however, few pay attention to the pressure you are trying to create in the room. Speaker and amp combinations and how they interact with the room might be as important if not more for proper spectral balance and body.

If it's mainly the bottom end body you are looking for, then you could experiment with a sub but that's really difficult. I haven't tried a sub in years and never with my Soundlabs but I would think if you had a small, extremely fast sub that you kept as low in frequency as possible, you might gain the body you are looking for without messing with all the other things the Soundlabs do so perfectly. This wouldn't be my first choice though. I'd go the room route first.
I am actually looking for more overall body and not so much more bass. My tube preamp and CD player have good body and warmth.My amps are SS and perhaps tubes would give more body. I am going to play more with room placement and perhaps power cords for the speakers.
The tube amps might give you what you are looking for. If you can borrow a pair from someone or try one a dealer in your area might have then go for it.

I've heard the Soundlabs with both tube and SS amplification and each has it's strengths. I do think you get more body with tubes but at the expense of that extreme bottom end bass slam which doesn't matter much to me. Mine go plenty low and are very balanced with the rest of the frequency range. I think it sounds very natural even if it doesn't "rattle the windows".