Speaker placement

If I wanted my system to "open up" and not be quite as "boxy", is there a direction I can go in moving my speakers to change this?
without knowing your speakers, the rule-of-thumb is to move them as far from your rear and side walls as your room permits, while maintaining something close to a unilateral triangular configuration, the speaker centers and sweetspot being the apexes and the “sides” of 8 ft. or more. this is, at best, only a starting point for experimentation in an ideally dimensioned listening room.-cfb
Check out cardas web site they have a good section on speaker placement www.cardas.com
There is NO set formula that works for all speakers in every room. Due to differences in reflection points, reinforcement and cancellation nodes, radiation patterns, slight irregularities of room dimensions, etc... It is all a matter of trial and error. While there are some computer simulations (CARA) that supposedly take ALL of this into consideration, i have not yet attempted to try it even though i do own it.

I would suggest running the speakers with little to no toe-in. In order to do this, you have to play with the spacing from speaker to speaker, speakers to side walls, etc... This affects the width of the soundstage and how strong the central image is. Once you get this right, you can then play with the distance from the wall behind the speakers to the speakers, etc... This affects the tonal balance due to room nodes and the overall "depth" of the soundstage. You may have to go back and forth between the front to back and side to side spacing a few times to get it as "dialed in" as possible since all of these changes interact with each other.

Rather than try to use some type of "generic" formula that does not take into account the specifics of each installation, this "fine tunes" the specific characteristics of your speakers to the specific characteristics of your room and listening position. Short of inputing TONS of very specific data into a computer, this is the only way that i have been able to achieve the results that i've been happy with. I did a post about this quite a while ago and will see if i can dig it up. If i can, i'll post a link. I think that you'll also find that putting the speakers on the long wall rather than firing into the depth of the room will help IMMENSELY. Hope this helps. Sean
See Thiel's website. And the manufacturer of your speakers
Momma always said, "Boxy is as boxy does".

There will be a limit to how much you can reduce boxiness by repositioning your speakers.

You see, boxiness is caused primarily by internal resonances that re-radiate through the drivers and/or through the port; by internal resonances that re-radiate through the cabinet walls; by panel resonances in the cabinet walls themselves; and by diffraction, primarily at the cabinet edge.

All of these result in unnatural colorations. Am I implying that there are natural colorations? Yes! For example, the ears are quite forgiving of even-order harmonic distortion and comb filter effects, as these are naturally occuring phenonema. But boxy resonances are not, and the ear has a low tolerance for them.

When listening at normal volumes, imagine putting your ear right up to the drivers. There's just as much sound coming off the back side of the drivers as the front, and all that goes into the box. Unless it is completely absorbed, it eventually comes back out to haunt you. Back when I built my own speakers, I used transmission lines because that enclosure type does the best job of getting rid of coloration from the backwave of the driver. I even did it on tweeters - I popped the back off of tweeters with a rear chamber and loaded them into a short, tightly packed transmission line. I also experimented with very rigid panels and various panel damping techniques, including mass-loading and even sandwich enclosures with a layer of plumber's putty in the middle.

There are several aftermarket products that can reduce boxiness. You might experiment with adding DeFlex panels inside the boxes. You might try felt around the edge of the front baffle - but this can also suck the life out of the sound, so listen for that. If you have ported speakers, you might try tightly packing the port with drinking straws cut to about 5% shorter than the length of the port (this will preserve the original tuning but reduce toilet-paper-roll midrange colorations).

Unfortunately, it is expensive to build a box that doesn't sound like a box. Fortunately, there are speakers out there that don't use boxes, or that make limited use of them, and one of these might make sense for you. Maggies, InnerSounds, Martin Logans, Sound Labs, Quads, and in discontinued lines there's used Apogees and Acoustats. I've probably left some out.

If you find a good deal on a pair of used Gradient Revolutions or anything by Paragon (now sadly out of business), these speakers are about lowest priced box speakers I know of that don't sound like boxes.
Duke, do you know how to fix all of the problems associated with a port ? It's really quite simple and cost effective. Stuff a large, wadded up wool sock or old t-shirt into it and then sell it. Buy some speakers that are stuffed and sealed with a relatively low Q or find someone that knows how to consistently build a good transmission line. Anything less is literally a "boom box" that lacks transient response, offers "one note resolution" and rings way too much. It is hard to build a good system based on a speaker system that is neither accurate or musical. Sean