Why can't a tweeter be at ear level and have the larger drivers above them?
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The whole "tweeter at ear level" thing is overblown. Just sit at a height where it A: Sounds good to you and, B: Presents a deep and largely horizontal soundstage. This is speaker dependent. I sit with my ears a good 12-20 inches above the tweeters in a near field arrangement and everything's splendid.
It's possible those designers are placing the tweeter underneath the woofer to provide a warmer and more coherent sound when listening on-axis, with the woofer at ear level.
4-17-15: UberdineI don't think it is. There are some very good reasons to have
the tweeter at slightly below ear level.
I sit with my ears a good 12-20 inches above thevery interesting indeed! I think that I have heard this almost
never. The "almost" was the keyword - I've had the same
experience in one of my setups where the speaker is a Tannoy with a
concentric driver & these particular Tannoy drivers are known to have a 90
degree dispersion so vertical dispersion is very good. Sitting above the
concentric driver does not seem to have any sonic demerits. You don't state
which speakers you have but for your specific speakers your sitting position
might be the best one....
It's possible those designers are placing the tweeteryou might be onto something here - i don't
think its done for "warmer" sound per se but i believe it's done for
more coherent sound.
The acoustical center of the tweeter is in front of the vertical plane of the
driver & the acoustical center of the bass driver is at (or maybe even behind?)
its vertical plane. So, sound from the tweeter will reach your ear faster than
the sound from the bass driver (unless you have a sloped baffle &/or do some
tricks in the x-over to delay the signal to the tweeter). So, if you have the
tweeter below the bass, the distance to the ear from the tweeter to the ear is
longer than the bass driver to the ear & this compensates for the different
locations of the acoustical centers of these 2 drivers. I.E. it time-aligns the
tweeter & the bass drivers.
yeah, Imhifiman, I remember a Dynaudio speaker that did this - it was the
Dynaudio Confidence 5
i agree with uber. Ear level with direct exposure may or may not be best. It all depends. Set it up whatever way sounds best. Forget about any audiophile dogma. The best tweak is usually the ones that are homegrown. It's the great equalizer and helps keep one of the audiophile merry go round. Think out of the box as needed and live happily ever after.
One rule to obey is to avoid early reflections that smear the sound. Too close to walls floor ceiling is all not good. Most tweets are all directional to some degree. So it's the reflections from room boundaries in the path of the sound wave that matters most. Ear level is just one option that delivers the most high frequencies to your ears which may or may not be a good thing. It all depends.
The ear's ability to localize sound sources is quite good in the horizontal plane but rather poor in the vertical plane. In particular, the ear tends to mis-judge the height of low frequency and high frequency sound sources (it's pretty good in the midrange).
Consistently over numerous controlled blind listening tests, listeners mis-judge the height of a high frequency tone as coming from higher up than it actually does, and mis-judge the height of a low frequency tone as coming from lower than it actually does. One way of using this phenomenon in our favor would be to put the tweeter below the woofer.
Another possibility is this: The axis along which the different drivers sum most ideally may be tilted in the vertical plane, and if that tilt is towards the woofer, it may make sense to put the tweeter below the woofer if that is more likely to put listeners along the ideal summation axis.
I doubt that a designer would put the tweeter below the woofer without having a very good reason for doing so, as it "looks wrong", and unfortunately looking wrong can be a difficult hurdle to overcome in the marketplace... imo too many audiophiles are still inclined to listen with their eyes.
It is directly related to how the speaker is designed and dispersion dynamics of the design. My current speakers have the tweeter well above ear level, but that is the way it was meant to be listened to. Some speakers need to have your ears directly on axis with the tweeters for the magic to happen.