Soundstage wide and deep but not at all tall. . .

My system, like myself, is vertically challenged! This relates to another post I just made where I was considering adding a preamp. The shortcoming of my system is that vertically everything stays right at tweeter level at about 36" off the floor. The soundstage extends well beyond the speakers to the side, and depending on the recording extends 6-10" feet back. The speakers totally disappear, and imaging is quite solid. Everything else about the sound is so large and involving, but the "height restriction" reminds you that you are listening t recorded music. This seems to be the final frontier for a system that is otherwise very satisfactory.

System details: Cary 303/200 with internal volume control thru Harmonic Tech IC's direct into Spectron Musician II amplifier. Cardas Goden Cross bi-wires into Totem Forests. Recently upgrade both power cords to Fusion Audio Predators. Room is dedicated HT room with appropriate amount and type of room treatment.
Watch putting absorbative material near the tweeter.Especially at the first reflection point.This can cause your height problem-better to diffuse,then absorb.
Don't sit with your back to a wall - i.e. head within two feet - it will collapse the soundstage and completely mess up the bass. It is like listening in a cave or tunnel - sur eit may sound vague and wide but imagine using the left over cardboard roll from two paper towels and placing one to each ear...when you listen along a wall you are partially doing this Ceiling/wall/floor is like three sides of a tube.

If you can't fix this then get some rpg skyline diffusers behind your head.
Not much help but I have this same problem. I prefer to hear my music a few feet above the tweeters because it reminds me more of musicians on a stage. I have heard a few of my friends' systems (many much more modest than mine), and they all seem to originate the sound at least 1 ft above the tweeter. The only thing I can think of that could be the issue (and it most likely is), is my room. I am not able to bring my speakers out into the room and away from the sidewalls by more than a few feet.
Have you tried raising your speaker height a bit. Alternatively, very slightly tilt the speakers (w/ damping on front supporting spikes or where the speakers meet the stands) so as to have them point higher?

I had this problem of lack of height for some years and it was only relieved when I ran some Acoustats, and when I drove some good dynamic cone systems loud.

A few years ago I bought some speakers with SOTA tweeters, voila heighth appeared at normal levels, but since the speakers were tallish (48") I thought it was due to height. My last (present) speakers ar runts at 40" but also have SOTA tweeters and appropriate height. My conclusion is that the quality of the tweeters resolution can make a large contribution.

Also, FWIW, IMHO, if you are getting a lot of soundstage width, on the plane of the speakers, outside of the speakers, you are either playing recordings with a lot of out of phase information encoded, or you have something wrong with your set up. In a 2 channel system playing stereo recordings w/out recorded phase manipulation, all of the information on the plane of the speakers should be contained w/in the space between the speakers. If there is a sense of airiness and a huge 'soundstage' beyond the speakers laterally it is more likely than not the result of room/set up issues. Lots of folks like that sound but it can reduce your ability to get holographic (truely 3 dimensional) soundstaging.

Oh, FWIW re electronics being a consideration, I had no real low volume height with some pretty good stuff and I now get it with some pretty average stuff. Not to say that resolution in the electronics doesn't make a difference, just that it is not the first place I would look for a solution.
Thanks for the replies. I don't sit with my head by the wall, but 2.5-3' away. I tried tipping the speakers with no change in result. I have not tried raising them on a pedestal.

For what its worth, the speakers are about 4' off the front wall, and about 3' from the side walls. There is 2" of absorptive material at the first reflection points on the side wall, about 70" absorption on the wall behind the speakers. My head is 2'-3' from the back wall, which has a limited amount of high-frequency only diffusion. There is not much else I can do to tweak the room because I spent $$$$ having the walls and treatments covered in fabric.

Maybe this is just how the Totem tweeters work. On a positive note they have amazing lateral dispersion - and the listening "sweet spot" definitely accommodates more than one person. Maybe you just can't force them to go vertical. . .
tpsonic, can you please explain why you think diffuse is better than absorption at the first reflection point? I am beginning to try and get some room treatments and this information would be very helpful.
Jswarncke, a good preamp may help. In my experience a preamp expanded the soundstage in all directions. Also, consider some acoustic treatment on the ceiling. If you overdamp the sides and floor, this may reduce the height of the soundstage. Can you experiment with any sort of ceiling panels? Or may be even the triangles(i.e. echobusters or 8th nerve) in the corners behind the speakers? By doing that you may draw the soundstage up a bit.
Another solution - at least in my system - was the addition of a supertweeter to Klipsch heresy III's. The height was raised nearly 2 feet. Very satisfying.
If you lay on the floor when you listen, the sound stage will sound much taller!

Seriously though, I would play around some more with tilting the speakers back at various angles until you get it right (ie. to your satisfaction). I had the hawks (also the Arro) and while they do not deliver the height that my current speakers or in between speakers did, I never got a below the tweeter only height.

While with the Claws, these speakers may not be the easiest to play with tilting back, I would play around some more with this. Also, consider raising the speakers entirely. The Hawks are not that tall and maybe if you can get the tweeters above your ear level, they may deliver a bit more height.

By the way, of 2 out of 3 of my in between speakers, both had an upslanted front baffle for the midrange and the tweeters (Wilson W/P and VS VR 4 JR) and both delivered taller sound stages than the Hawks. But I always felt the hawks did a good job. Do you have them loaded with shot or sand? If not, perhaps you want to give that a shot to boot.
I don't sit with my head by the wall

Sorry - I went by the photos of your system. I would be concerned with what appears to be the placement of the listening position in the photo. That you have treated the wall behind the listener should help.
I believe I have read previously that a system being "out of phase" may cause the collapse of the vertical soundstage. Does any of your equipment invert phase?

Just passing it on as a possibility.........don't know this from first hand experience.

Good luck.
You may try an ACOUSTIC REVIVE - RR77 that way you would ad some deepth and widness.
Buy it on line with a one month trial
based on any particular room, acoustic treatment, and speaker placement......height, width, depth and center fill of the soundstage......will vary based on the ratio triangle of the speaker width and listening position and the degree of toe-in. the other varible is the specific driver dispersion, but since that is not changable you need to ignore it.

sitting height is a varible; but only to make sure your ears are at the appropriate height for your tweeter dispersion. beyond that issue, raising the speakers or sitting lower will not raise the image..... but it may change the tonality (in a bad way probably).

i recommend you start out with an equalateral triangle; where your ears are the same distance from the tweeters that the tweeters are apart. then toe-in the speakers so they point at the top of each shoulder.

see how this set-up affects center fill, width, height and depth.

now move your chair 4 inches closer. move it back.

move your chair 4 inches farther back, move it back.

toe in the speakers a bit more, move them back.

toe the speakers out a bit, move them back.

separate the speakers more, move them back.

separate the speakers less, move them back.

at an equalateral triangle; you are in a neutral postion; when you move closer you are in the near-field, farther is the far-field.

more height will typically come from the near-field with the speakers toed slightly outside your shoulders.....but that can come at a cost of center fill.

but you need to try all these different positions to see exactly how your speakers work and to what degree. it may take a few weeks and time spent with different positions before you are satisfied. the trick is to get a feel for what causes what and then what set of compromises gives you the characterisitics you prefer.

i know i could have simply said "sit closer, toe the speakers out" and not been as wordy...but i think you need to take a whole picture viewpoint since all these adjustments are so interactive.
I recommend playing with the toe in, to see if that makes a difference.
If it is a problem of phase, try switching your speaker cables (at the speaker end) by putting the positive wire into the negative posts and negative wire into the positive post, see if that makes a difference. Some setups can be more sensitive to being inverted or non inverted.
See if you can borrow a good preamp (tube).
Newbee wrote:

"Also, FWIW, IMHO, if you are getting a lot of soundstage width, on the plane of the speakers, outside of the speakers, you are either playing recordings with a lot of out of phase information encoded, or you have something wrong with your set up. In a 2 channel system playing stereo recordings w/out recorded phase manipulation, all of the information on the plane of the speakers should be contained w/in the space between the speakers. If there is a sense of airiness and a huge 'soundstage' beyond the speakers laterally it is more likely than not the result of room/set up issues. Lots of folks like that sound but it can reduce your ability to get holographic (truely 3 dimensional) soundstaging.

I have to totally disagree with this.

Just because one gets the soundstage outside of his speakers does not mean anything is wrong. Sure there are some recordings that will do this more than others, some might be recorded in phase or some out of phase.

To me, a wide soundstage with good depth and height is a better holographic (truly 3 dimensional) soundstaging.
But that is my personal preference, there is no right or wrong, But I believe the one with the soundstage stuck in the middle is the one that is wrong (to me).
Most audiophiles I know prefer the wide (beyond speakers) deep soundstage. This is how you really can get your speakers to disappear. Room/set up, placement of the speakers and acoustic treatment can play a big roll here.

I realize soundstage and imaging is not everyones bag, but to me it is important. I am trying to create the illusion of a live event, a real stage at times can be huge and some with many different musicians in different areas all over the stage.
When you make your speaker disappear, then I think your getting it right.

But my road might be different then someone else's.
There is no right or wrong, only what your presence is.
Now what toppings did you want on that pizza!!
What type of HF response are you getting? How was the stage before the new pc's?
Subjectively there is nothing lacking from the high frequencies. Plenty of air ad detail. The PCs did not change the stage, although they improved other areas. The background became quieter, which in turn seems to further highlight the location and separation of voices and instruments..
Hi Benie,

A couple of things FWIW.

Firstly, you are, for the most part, 'right'. Everything is a matter of personal choice and you are certainly intitled to yours as I am mine. Absolutes are hard to find....

It would appear that we have similar goals except that I'm not intent on replicating a live performance. I've long since acepted the fact that I will never hear that in my home in my life time. So, I go for what I can get, a reasonably faithful replication of what is on the recording, warts and all.

If the recording has out of phase information that enhances the sense of width, highth, and depth that is what I want to hear.

If the recording has no out of phase information (or very little, often referred to as being 'dry') then I don't want to hear any.

Consider that out of phase information that creates a sense of spatiousness can exist not only because of its presence on the recording, it can also be present because of set up, and, not infrequently, by the design of the speakers themselves. When your system/set up creats unrecorded phase information it will not, IMHO, inhance the sound of a recording which has this information imbedded in the pits and grooves. To the contrary.....

I believe that speakers which are reasonably resolving and designed to be accurate, phase wise and otherwise, and are properly set up in a good room where its acoustics have been duly considered, you will come the closest to hearing the information that is in the recording. Some recordings have a very expanded sense of stage and some have a very narrow stage all of which is the result of the recording engineers techniques, desires and/or competence.

I also recognize that this relatively hair shirt approach is not universal. It would be wonderful if all of my recordings sounded 'live' or, in the alternative, that I could make myself believe that they did. They don't, I can't, and that is probably a major personal failing. :-)