Congrats on your room, nothing like a dedicated room for 2 or multi channel! You mention your ceiling, what is it? Finished? Flat or are joists exposed? I find the floor and particularly the ceiling are the biggest problem with reflective sound.
And what are you missing in the sound stage? Specificity of imaging? or instrument separation? holography? Generally the more space between your speakers the more of these characteristics are enhanced. Closer the speakers the narrower the stage but it can give a more rich presentation and stronger image.
Yogi is right about speaker placement - if you have not spent many hours moving them around you will never find the sweetest spot. Sounds like you have plenty of room to experiment. Personally, I am more about the tone and balance than soundstaging qualities.
Good luck - now get to work moving those B&W's around!
Can't agree more with the comments posted by yogiboy & pops. I moved my system from our living room to a much larger family room, and found that small adjustments in speaker positioning sometimes made significant changes to the soundstage. After getting a pair of sub woofers, had to outfit the room with a lot of bass traps and spent more time moving the subs and the main speakers around. When I thought I had it as good as I could, just for grins I moved the side speakers forward about 2" and the soundstage improved dramatically!
Agree that there's no substitute for playing with placement, but the good news is that, unlike most things in this world, it's free. I'm very into the 3D holographic imaging thing, and my room is similar to yours except 3' more narrow. In case it's helpful as a starting point, after many hours of fiddling with placement my speakers ended up 5' 3" from the front wall and 5' 3" apart both measured from the front center of the speakers and speakers toed in so they aim toward my shoulders. Obviously many many variables here so your results may vary, but I'm getting very good imaging and soundstaging with this positioning so maybe this could be a good starting point. Hope this helps and best of luck.
I like Pop's response. Believe it or not everyone has a slightly different perception of what constitutes a good sound stage. FWIW I started with the Cardas recommendations and after a long time I ended up with my speakers 9' apart, 5.5 ft off the back wall, my chair 9 ft from the plane of the speakers and about 4' off the wall behind the chair, slightly off an equilateral triangle. I toed the speaker in so their axis crossed in front of my hear to avoid sidewall reflections. What I get is a very clean clear precise imaging between the speakers with substantial depth. What I don't get is out of phase sounds outside the boundaries of the speakers that is not in the recording itself, unlike many panel and bipolar speakers make and a lot of folks seem to love.
Lots of good recommendations from others. 800 series need about 10 feet for the drivers to align. I would do this in about 4 steps.
1) I would start with a 10 foot triangle, with the drivers pointing straight out and the speakers at least 5 feet from the wall. From there I would move speakers and chair together - toward or away from the front wall and listen.
2) You can begin moving your chair further away (if desired) and listen.
3) Start angling them in. Horizontally.
4) Adjust for rake. Vertical. This will affect the smoothness heard at the listening position and the imaging height.
See also this link from Patrick at B&W for some more placing tips, adjusting rake (tilting forward or back in the vertical plane)
Have fun and hopefully you get back to listening to your music soon.
Speaker positioning requires a lot of patience IMO. It's taken me months to find the right speaker position/listener position for my S5s. Play around with toe in to get the 'best' balance of imaging and soundstaging (best being what you like most). Once you think you have it, then maybe consider adding some treatments to the wall behind the speakers. I use Vicoustics and it has really helped deepen and widen the soundstage.
Remember, have patience, and good luck!
I agree with all the above posts but would like to add - measure from your seating position to the center of the speaker base. I was amazed at what an inch or two can make. From there start with no toe in and adjust from there a couple of degrees at a time. As you adjust the toe in also verify the seating position to speaker base.
I would say the speakers are too far apart. From what you describe the speakers are 10 feet apart with you 13 feet back. I would start with the speakers 6 feet apart (centerline) pointed straight ahead with the listening position 8 feet back, then moving the speakers further apart until the center image begins to break up. Then experiment with toe in and listening distance.
I haven't seen any questions asked that I would need to give you guidance.
Is the wall behind your speakers the 16ft wall or the 20ft wall?
Are you firing into the carpeted area or away from the carpeted area?
How much Furniture is in the room and where is it?
No Windows? If yes where are they?
How far is your seating position from your speakers in their current configuration?
There are a couple of methods to follow, one has already been mentioned. with the above questions answered, we'll get you set up fairly quickly where you will definitely pull a decent sound stage.
Please let me know,
Guys thanks for your responses and some very helpful tips.
Tim to answer your questions.
The wall behind the speakers is the 16ft wall.
The carpeted area is where the speakers are placed. It extends beyound the speakers about 6ft towards the listening area.
There is one sofa in the room (3 Seater) in the listening area and two rather large chairs with cushions in front of the sofa. The chairs are in between and forward of the speakers (not directly in front.
There is one window 1ft*8ft on the left close to the ceiling. More of a skylight. Does not open, just for light. The seating position is about 12ft from the speakers.
I would like to tune the room so that it has a more generous "sweet spot" as compared to one within a few inches of one single position. Audio is more of a communal experience with my children and friends usually joining me. I would like the children to experience what a decent system sounds like compared to the MP3 they usually listen to.
To widen the sweet spot try crossing the axis of your speakers several feet in front of your present listening chair. That should do it, but you are still talking about a fairly focused image that will be appreciated by several people sitting in front of the speakers. If you want something more than that you probably need something like 'omni' speakers which would do a much better job of filling a room (at considerable loss of specificity).
If you start with the premise that most speakers are too far apart (one supposes because somebody assumed that placing them far apart would provide a bigger, wider soundstage) then you’re on the right track. If you start out with the speakers much closer together - say 4 feet apart -then use the speaker placement track on the XLO Test CD which if memory serves is actually the out of phase track, moving the speakers very gradually apart and listening as you go you will undoubtedly discover the placement where the sound all comes together. When I had Fulton floor standing speakers that sweet spot turned out to be five feet apart.
Thanks for the answers, here you go, this will get you a soundstage...
Speakers..... 3ft off each side wall.... 4 ft off the back wall. This should place them approx. 10ft apart. Listening Chair.... 9 to 9.5ft centered in front of your speakers... You will still need a throw rug On the floor in front of your sitting position and you will need something to dampen the wall behind your sitting position. A curtain or rug hanging on the wall should work wonders. Measure the distance between your midbass phase caps, this should be the same distance as your markers on the back of the chairs. (explained next) This should leave around 7 ft to the wall behind the speakers.... Sit in your chair, Put objects on the back of the chair approximately 6 inches on each side of your head is as markers... so, you'll have 2 phones, 2 calculators, 2 butter knifes, what it is doesn't matter. These will mark where you point your speakers. Tow your speakers in to point directly at these 2 points. The tow will help tremendously on getting rid of interactions with hard side walls. . If you have any mid or high frequency peaks, start moving your tow outwards, be aware, as you get close to speaker dispursement properties hitting your wall, this will effect frequencies and sound stage.
Overall, this will put your very close to where you need to be and will pull a soundstage. It will not compensate completely for all room problems, but the rug and padded rear wall along with the carpet on the front of the room will help tremendously.
10 ft away is a good distance. After listening for awhile, I would experiment with padding on the ceiling between your speakers and listening chair. I hope this helps, Tim
By the Srafi,
the speakers in between your speakers and sofa have to go... I do fear that you'll need a few ceiling tiles, decent size rug in front of the sofa and on the wall behind, Not necessarily in the center, but toward the corners, you'll need some sort of soft material... curtain or rugs hanging. You might be seeing that we are somewhat dealing with the room as well as a decent placement. I hope all of this makes sense, its not always easy to get the point across on a forum like this.
One of the most difficult things I experienced is to get the tonal balance correct. It took me a while to realize that speakers placement changes as you change the volume level of your playback and music selection. If I were to make the adjustment with predominately vocal reference track then the sound may not be at its best when playing classical music.
I doubt there is one position for all types of music. It is just a compromise.
I can't tell much of how your room looks from that video, but tow in is a different animal as far as tonal balance... a full tow pointing at the ears should be as close as you can get to the actual frequency response of your speaker. As you turn the speakers outward, you star rolling off the top end - mid, the farther you turn toward straight, the more you roll off the top, at some point, you will start dealing with the interaction of your speakers dispersion bouncing off the side wall and that will also effect your tonal balance along with the top end roll off. Then with panel speakers or baffleless designs, you have to deal with frequencies being projected from both sides of the speaker. With these 2 designs, you have much more room interaction to deal with.... My post were mainly directed to the Op who is using a standard baffle mount drivers with his B&W's
Thank you timlub for your insight. Using REW, there is a dip around 200Hz. I have also deliberately created peak at the bottom frequencies because a flat response did not sound attractive.
The strange think is contrary to a slight bump around 5kHz in REW measurement, the actual spectrogram of musical content shows a loss around 5khz. When speakers turned outwards the intense of HF reduces but evenly spread. In the video, the changes can be heard every 15 seconds.
When listening to each position individually without referencing to the original recordings, all of the people who auditioned preferred the intense and clear sounding 15 second setup. However, when the same sound heard referenced to the original the preference changes.
You are right that line array bipolar speakers may behave differently.