Some speakers of course will work better when up close to backwalls than others. I think there was even a thread some time ago regarding which are more suitable for that purpose. You might want to run a search?
I've always believed that it's preferred to fire into the shorter dimension of a rectangular room, dividing the wall into thirds as reasonably as is possible. My room is similar (18 x 12) and this arrangement works quite well despite the fact that speakers sit toed-in & within a foot of the backwall (by necessity) so I never even tried them when pulled well-out into the room. Fortunately my speakers happen to be one of those models that are designed to work near walls, so I still get decent staging (although I'm sure it would be better yet if I could pull the speakers out a few feet). Of course the sofa sits in the nearfield, but this arrangement sounds fine whether listening seated, or when further away in adjacent rooms.
The room is fairly live & I use no special acoustic treatments, although the whole ceiling is sprayed with 1" thick cellulose insulation fiber, which really helps knock down the slap-echo. Other than that, just have drapery, wall rugs, a large floor rug & stuffed furniture.
So your proposal seems reasonable enough, & I think that you'll be pleasantly surprised once you get it all tweaked in. Good luck!
Bob's advice is good. I've listened to the Hales and you are in luck in that they do sound fine near a rear wall. They actually suffer more from side wall interactions due to their dispersion pattern. There are several websites that have good information on speaker placement. There are a variety of formula's and ideas, but one is common: Take time and listen. We have had numerous requests for tips on speaker placements and have made this available on our website. If you go to www.rivesaudio.com, enter the website and click on Acoustical Issues. This will take you to the listening room. There you will see an item for speakers. Click on this and you will find the link to the document I'm referring to. It's a brief tutorial and hopefully helpful.
No problem with your new arrangement. I would experiment with absorbtion behind the listening position. Also, consider having the speakers slightly off center along the long wall. My current listening environment, although larger, is set-up this way. I have the benefit that behind the listening position opens into the rest of the home and the results are wonderful. No acoustic treatments are necessary.
Obviously, this type of situation would be pretty speaker dependent. Having said that, i tend to prefer setting up speakers on the long wall if possible. More direct sound with less side-wall reflections taking place produces a very vivid soundstage and increased detail when it comes to imaging. I have a very hard time listening to systems that are firing into a long / narrow room as the sound seems so "un-natural" and "crammed together". This is especially true if the speakers are traditional front firing boxes. This is probably one of the reasons that i also like omni's and planar's i.e. increased "air", "space" and "depth".
The bottom line is to try it and see. Most all of your expense will be in labor, so you'll be getting off cheap : ) Sean
Could you put your speakers flanking the opening to the dining room? I bet this would give great depth to the soundstage.
I have always prefered setting up speakers along the long wall. Dunlavy and Audio Physics have some interesting thoughts about this arrangement on their web sites.
My main concern would be if the new 8' listening distance gives the drivers a chance to gel together. If memory serves the drivers in the Rev3s are somewhat far apart, so this may be an issue. If you experience a lack of coherence between bass/mids/treble you may need to back the speakers up closer to the wall. It might not turn out to be an issue at all, but it would be something I'd watch for.
Tim brings up a very good point! Intergrading drivers at the listening position may compromise ideal speaker to room boundry positioning. I think it's safe to say that the vast majority of us deal with some compromise in this regard. What did Hales recommend as a starting point? Trial and error may be your only resolve.
Gentlemen, thanks for all the encouragement/insights. I moved the speakers last night as a trial and I'm quite surprised by the result!
I placed the speakers a foot away from the wall and 7' apart (inside edge-to-edge) with a slight toe-in. I couldn't believe my ears! Much better left-right staging and precise image localization. It felt like I could reach out and grab any particular image. Oh, the thrill of having Leonard Cohen's larger than life presence in between myself and the speakers! I only listened to two CDs last night but I'm sold on the long wall method.
Some other observations:
- Lack of soundstage depth -- doesn't project out behind the speakers that much. May need to pull the speakers out a little.
- Increased bass response. May be it is all real and I just had a null before. Or, it may be the distance/driver-integration that Tim pointed out.
- I lost the dog! Amused to Death by Roger Waters, which is QSound encoded, has a dog barking behind you. In fact, the album projects a lot of images behind you. I seem to have lost all that. This is probably due to the fact that I'm seated next to the wall as opposed to in the open between the two rooms.
Looks like I'll be busy this weekend optimizing the new set up. Thanks a lot to you all.
Bob, you're right. It even sounds better in the dining room.
Rives_Audio, I'll check out you website.
Sean, I also have a distaste for ported speakers. I can't give an educated reason for it though.
Nighthawk, this change was necessitated by demands of unobstructed access to the dining room.
Unsound, the Hales manual, though very detailed, is a study of Fields and Waves in itself! I haven't looked at it in a while, but I don't think it covers long wall placement.
The rule of thumb is 1/3 into the room. If that doesn't work for your room 1/5 is the next best. Your seating position also should follow that rule. If this doesn't work for seating, Lugnut's comment of "experiment with absorbtion behind the listening position" is what you will need if you end up 1/5 or right at the wall as recommended by Audio Physics and Dunlavy. At any rate a min. of 8' and better at 10' between your ear and the tweeter.
The problem you may find in your room is that at 1/5 the depth will suffer, you may need acoustics on the speaker wall to help this.
BTW, I'm set up on the long wall, 1/5 for the speakers and 1/3 for my ears.
Wywhcan, congratulations. A little room treatment can go a long way. If your head is nearly flush against the opposing wall a section of absorbent material can be beneficial. If driver intergadation is challanged by moving your speakers out frome the back wall, some absorbent or difussing material may restore some loss of soundstage depth. My limited experience has demonstrated that long wall positioning allows for more spread between speakers, as such you may expand the sound stage (you may have to modify toe in) and due to increased distance from speaker to listener may allow for more distance from the rear wall. Of course there are other considerations such as bass loading due to closer corner proximity. Don't be afraid to experiment. It will be most helpfull if you keep notes re: sound impressions vis a vis speaker location (actual measurements). Good listening.
I really believe you will find that with substantial absorbtion behind the listening position the stage depth will just go on and on. I don't know a bunch about acoustics, but after 30+ years of placing speakers along the long wall that, shifting the entire arrangement a couple of feet to one side makes a huge, positive difference.
I´m also in the long wall club.....
What song /time Amused does have the dog effect=?
The dog effect is on track#1. You really have to increase the volume a bit to hear the first dog effect behind you right at the start of the track. Sometimes later the dog moves to the right and the barking is more pronounced. A lot of people miss the first dog effect since it's level is much lower than the second one. There was a thread on this a while back: http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?cspkr&1015691388&openflup&1&4#1
BTW, do you get the old man monologue on the first and last track placed squarely to your left? Same for Merv Albert talking on Perfect Sense 2.
Jadem6, Unsound, Lugnut
The speaker wall is completely bare. I may consider a thick wall rug or something. I don't think I'm allowed to place tube traps or any such materials.
Yes I got the dogs and the old man monologue as well.
Where do you hear the cougar(?)roar at the beginning of track one?