Speaker Width?


Hello all,

Currently my speakers are 12' apart and each speaker is about 10' from my listening position. Picture here: https://imgur.com/a/etiV2q8

Would it make sense for me to move them closer together? (switching with my amp and subwoofer on each side). Curious on thoughts and how people typically space their speakers!
bclark8923
Oh man. Oh man.


So you have Be tweeter speakers, and you have then up against a bare wall and ..... << sigh >>


There’s so much here.


You space and turn the speakers for the best image. That is, you have the illusion of specific instrument and vocalist locations being in specific places. The image should be precise at the extremes, center and all points in between.


I’d start by spacing your speaker about half the distance they are now and in front of that cabinet. Throw a blanket across it. Move them as wide as you can before you sacrifice the center image. Also experiment with toe-in. Sometimes they like to fire straight, sometimes at you, sometimes cross in front of you.  Pay attention to the imaging between the center and sides. Sometimes you get a Left, Center and Right image, and nothing else. That's also not good.


Talk to GIK acoustics. They will give you great advice and have inexpensive and very good products to tune your room.



So one principle you are not aware of is avoiding early reflections. You have the speakers too close to the rear wall and the cabinet. The rear wall will make them boomy. The wall and cabinet will mess with the frequency response and imaging. Usually about 2’ out from the rear wall is a good starting distance, and far from side walls. That’s one reason room treatments help. They can reduce these early reflections, and give you more placement flexibility, as can thick blackout curtains.

Your speakers are probably too far to produce a good image, but moving them in further with that cabinet is also not optimal because you are getting closer to those reflective surfaces. This is why I'm recommending you find out, at least as an experiment, how good your speakers can sound. The blanket is a test. Listen to my suggestions, see how good you can get it, and then that will help you decide what to fix.
So it's not that I'm not aware of those aspects, its that I can't pull them any further into the room because my girlfriend doesn't like how that would look. (maybe a couple inches which I'll figure after I figure whch width). Just looking for advice on closer to the cabinet or closer to the walls which is most likely to give the best effects for being in a room that is wider than it is deep (best I can work with)
I always set up my rooms along the width. It's a much better solution for a variety of reasons. I'd get those things down to at least 10 feet apart, if not 9 or 8. It'll make for much more coherent center fill. 
Oh man you are just killing those speakers having them jammed up against the wall like that.  There are only two or three speciality makes designed specifically for that kind of placement.  With all that furniture in the way, I'd try and move them closer to each other and listen from a bit closer also.  This last can be achieved by moving them out from the wall.  They need air to breathe. 
Hi bclark, If you put something on the bottom of your speakers so that you could pull them out for listening and push them back when not, maybe your girlfriend would be OK with that! I installed -Herbie's Lab- "Giant Fat Gliders" on my speakers so I could do just that.Good Luck, Tish

Post removed 
+1.  Herbie's gliders are excellent.  You don't necessarily need the giant fat ones.  The regular ones work very well on wood or tile floors. 
Thanks for the tip on the gliders! I may have to give that a go, I moved them closer together and they're about 8.5-9' and I moved them out about 5" and that already made a very big difference.

And trust me I know they need to breathe but we live in a small-ish san francisco apartment, the plan is to buy a house in 2-3 years and we agreed to wait until we can find one that is also very speaker placement friendly :) 
buy the Jim Smith book - get better sound
Um, honestly, you may be much better off with bookshelf speakers that are horn loaed or use a D'appolito configuration. That way you can put them on the furniture, next to the TV bracket.
I agree that getting the speakers away from the wall is important, but I also think that how far is probably dependent on the specific speaker including where its bass port is located.

In my situation I can only get them about 2 feet from the sidewalls and maybe 2 feet from the back wall. There is simply no practical way around that.

But when I really set out to get them positioned correctly they actually sound better a little closer to both the side and back wall (the back wall is actually bookshelves...which may be acoustically damping with all the books??).

My point is that once you get them in the ballpark then spend some time fine tuning and leave them where ever they sound best regardless of how that fits with the general rules.

Mine are about 8 feet apart, slightly toed in with tweeters pointed straight at me at eye level. But my seat is 15 feet away which is slightly too far. If I’m really serious about listening I’ll pull my chair into the room about 3 feet and it makes a difference.

What a bunch of weirdos we are. ;-)
You know, IMHO, it's not hte speakers, it's the cabinet.

If you could get a simple single-width rack, all your problems get solved.
That cabinet is killing any chance of good imaging and soundstaging. 
Start by using the Herbies Gliders and move the speakers away from the side wall and closer to the console. Then pull the speaks forward with possible toe-in.

Your TT may need to be moved due to acoustic reverberation from the speaker cabinet. 

This is experimentation, it may not be your final positioning.


You're getting a lot of good help from everyone already. As you just found even seemingly small moves can make a big improvement, especially when starting from such a low level. 

A couple more seemingly small ideas that should help a lot- that plastic tote box sitting on the right on the coffee table? Even small stuff like that is a surface that reflects sound that ruins imaging. Even that green sofa cushion or whatever it is on the left. If you can't move these maybe play with trying to at least get the stuff ruining the sound to be the same on each side.

Speaking of symmetry, maybe its the photo and maybe that's not the sweet spot but it sure looks cockeyed to me. If it really is as bad as it looks then your biggest bang by far will be to tweak the speakers and the listening spot into as close to perfect symmetry as you can possibly manage.

As others have said some work best pointed right at you, some in a little more, others out a little more. But regardless of whatever that is they all work best when pointed exactly the same and at exactly the same distance. Exactly means exactly. Measure carefully and tweak the speakers until they are pointed as close to perfect symmetry as you can get. Within 1/8" is a good goal. It looks like you are at least a foot off center so this should make a huge difference.

In case you're wondering, all this tweaking will pay big dividends when looking for that new home. Its almost impossible to teach someone what to look for. But once you do it you just know.
I hate to break up the party but getting back to cold hard reality for a second, as it turns out, generally speaking, speakers should be a lot closer together rather than a lot farther apart. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “but the soundstage will be wider when the speakers are far apart.”
Thanks! Yeah a lot of those boxes and what not were just out while I was cleaning and moving everything around.

the picture is cockeyed because I had to use pano mode to get the whole room in the view but things are equally spaced and placed.

theres definitely no getting rid of the TV stand as this is a mixed use living room and my girlfriend likes the stand.

and bookshelves wouldn’t work we normally have a 75” TV up there and bookshelf’s on top of the TV stand would cover up part of the TV. 

Fortunately these are front ported and not rear ported to allow for more flexibility with rear wall placement.

i could put acosutic panels behind the speakers what are thoughts on that as well?
I imagine ditching the girlfriend is not in the cards.
Here’s another angle of my room for you all to see what I’m working with. In this picture the speakers are as wide as the first post but don’t look as wide because of the side angle.

https://www.reddit.com/r/CozyPlaces/comments/alifpz/just_finished_my_dream_apartment_in_downtown_san/?st=JSKWEWXR&sh=b4ca09d0


That actually makes things look a little better. I think the pano made things look worse than they are. The cushion of the chaise part of the sofa is in the way a little but looks like it just blocks the woofer and not the mid and tweeter. I have a couch corner that does the same thing. I’ve pulled the couch out of the way and it did not make an appreciable difference so I don’t worry about it. I can still see all drivers from my sitting position.

It also looks like you could move them in to be closer together and slightly in front of the cabinet and then put them back when you’re done with serious listening as mentioned above. It looks like that could knock a good 6’ off the total distance between them. Even a set of furniture sliders would make that easier and not cost a lot....and probably wouldn’t affect SQ either........
Thanks!

i also wanted to note I added Isoacoustics Gaia II fest which improved the sound. Would switching to spikes on top of Herbie Gliders be a better solution? 
I have a similar room with similar dimensions. When my small maggies are in play they easily move to and from ideal listening locations to more traffic friendly considerations. When I have my big Green Mountain Audios in play (each weighs a hell of a lot) I have them on casters that allow me to role them into listening position and role them back to  accommodate foot traffic and aesthetic considerations. I use almost and equilateral triangle when considering and experimenting in appropriate placement and let my ears do the rest.  
Get rid of the girlfriend
Wait, does she have a sister that isn't so fussy? ;-)
A guy by the name of Jim Smith has been advocating a speaker placement width of ~80% of the distance to the listener.  Works for me.

There is more to it than that as others have mentioned.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOrZEreKB8Q
Mine are about six feet apart center to center, about two feet from rear wall, listening at about nine feet from speakers, cabinets tilted so that I cannot see either side of the cabinet at listening position. It works for me. Plus nobody else is here to not like how they are
Although I agree with most of the advice you're getting, it's really no wonder this hobby dying off (LOL / Kind of)
I also highly recommend the Jim Smith book, as others have above. It is one of the best values available in getting the best sound you can from your room and equipment. His book deals with your issues and puts them in order of significance for sound quality. 
Seems as though you have decided you prefer to f the girlfriend
and the musicality.

Really strongly recommend either:

1 - Ditch the cabinet
2 - Get cabinet top speakers, maybe even horn loaded like the small Hsu or Klipsch units.

Best,
E
What kind of speakers are they.  Wasn’t able to view picture of your room.  Need to move them closer together.  8’ to 9’ apart and move them forward from wall.  Call Mark Kreckler at Soundings in Denver.  He is an expert on master setting speakers.  Tell him Larry Edwards sent you.  He is easy to work with.
I agree.  That's a huge waste of those nice speakers.
You won't beat those Isoacoustic Gaia's, certainly not with Herbies sliders. The Herbies provide flexibility for positioning but the Gaia are superior for sonics.

Pulled them further into the room and thats about as good as I'll get them, definitely sounding better and a more even center image across the whole couch.

https://imgur.com/a/FNpVWsr

Thoughts on putting acoustic panels on the walls behind the speakers? What size would work well to the left and right of the TV?

And would rather have these speakers now sub optimally and then when we get a new house can fit the house to the speakers!
Talk to GIK Acoustics. Great advice, and very very good prices on effective products. :)


Also, look at their Art Panels. They'd be a lot better to look at than a bare wall. :)
The worst offender in the new photo is the coffee table. Big flat surface so close to the direct sound path is just plain bad.

The ear interprets sounds arriving within 4 to 6 milliseconds of each other as being the same source. Sound travels approximately 1 foot per millisecond. So the rule of thumb is you want at least 6 feet between  straight line distance and the reflected distance.

With that coffee table its probably well under 4 feet. And that thing is huge! Smearing imaging like you won't believe!

What you need is to help your girlfriend out with some better interior decorating ideas! I see a much smaller table, oval, made of say rattan, with maybe a nice round vase on it, slender, or deeply carved wood maybe, anything to break up the surface, and sitting on some nice thick and plush decorative fabric. Lol!
I lot of folks say that a table in front of your listening position is a big no-no. Having been at this audio stuff for awhile, I would certainly tend to agree, in theory. I also have my rig in a shared living space and need to consider my wife’s needs. I put some nice sliders under our coffee table and slide the table out of the way when listening at night. You can see my rig under virtual systems here on the Gon.

Well it turns out I like the sound as much, if not more, with the table in front of me. I do place a fabric throw, magazines etc...on the table. After critical listening I have found the coffee table with folded fabric on it absolutely sounds as good. It surprised me, but is nevertheless true. The table is 4 feet wide, but only 18 inches high. The short height helps. I no longer slide the coffee table to the side.


"Is that a bong?"

Sure looks like it...Legal in CA, I guess.
"Although I agree with most of the advice you're getting, it's really no wonder this hobby dying off (LOL / Kind of)"

That would be funny if it wasn't so true! ;-)
+1 tomic601 Jim Smith Book. The only way to go. 
I understand the constraints.  I've heard that Salk model and they are capable of incredible depth of soundstage, which you will miss out on.  But that's one of life's compromises, I suppose.
In my small office I had 2 desks. I realized that the second desk facing the speakers was messing up the sound. Once I removed this desk, which only contained a keyboard, the sound improved by a large amount.

I forgot if I removed the desk after the GIK acoustic treatments or before. Whatever, the case the 2nd desk is permanently out of the room. So the suggestions people here have made on your coffee table carry a lot of weight with me.

I currently have my electronics between the speakers. I plan on moving everything except an amp from in-between the speakers.

BTW - good luck with the house situation in the Bay Area. The best audio setup I had in California was in Los Altos Hills where I rented a cottage with a massive living room out in the woods (hills). 
+1 geoffkait

(did I just do it?)
It's love. Just took awhile. : )
I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. ;-)