Widening Soundstage

Question for the Audiophile Experts

How do I go about widening my soundstage without moving my speakers further apart
I like the imaging i'm getting but want a bit more air in the music
Any ideas how to proceed
Check out my systems page for details on positioning and equipment

You and I are so lucky with our uniquely shaped rooms!

Mine is a 20X30 L shaped demon.

I found speakers I owned prior, like Maggies and B&Ws just could not synergize in this room for big soundstage and all the other fixings of good sound.

The Maggies in particular were imaging and soundstage champs in my prior home where the room they were in was perhaps a tad smaller but a more normal rectangular shape.

I found the only way to really get the most out of rooms like these are omni-directional design speakers. These tend to be champs in regards to presentling a large soundstage, even in assymetrically shaped rooms.

I owned OHMs also prior and ended up going that way. In fact, I ended up with 2 new pair for two different rooms. Y

ou might consider doing an in-home audition of a pair of OHM Walsh 100 or 200 series 3 in that room. YOu have to contact OHM to discuss your case (www.ohmspeakers.com). John Strohbeen, the owner, designer and an MIT trained engineer will probably help talk you through to a solution himself. They offer a very generous in-home audition period so there is no risk if they don't pan out.

There are other omni designs out there as well that might pan out that you could consider. OHM is the one I would recommend.

You might tweak a wider soundstage and better imaging with more air out of your system in that room by jumping through various hoops to get there, but seriously, I think omni's are the fast track way to go for your case.
I'd try to get the listening position a bit further away and free from any reflective surfaces. This might require placing your speakers closer to the wall behind them, which may be challenging for the bass (EQ perhaps or experiment with a sub).
With what you have, I agree with Shadorne. Your listening position might be too close to the speaks and things might open up better with more distance. Play with the position of the speaks relative to your listening spot carefully. A few inches could make a big difference.

Also that open door behind the system could be sucking some of the life out of the soundstage. Try to keep it closed.

You might try to do more acoustic dampening of the side and rear wall also to help with the near field listening, but it looks like that could be a major project.

Try the omnis. If they don't work, send them back or buy them used at a reasonable price and resell them.
Trading the Sason's for Omni's is not worth it IMO. Try working with the room and speaker placement. What are the dimensions of your room? How close is the listening position to the back wall? How far out from the front wall are your speakers?

My room is not an ideal shape and I've been able to optimize it so that it has a nice 3D sound stage that extends out beyond both speakers. Could it be better - sure - but not until I get a bigger and more symmetrical room.

If your speakers are toed-in try them more straight on. Like Shadorne also suggested either move the speakers back a bit or your chair to be farther away.
The thing I have found with difficult rooms is you can either invest in treatments and go to great length to fight the room that you have to live and listen in or you can adapt the strategy of letting the room work for you rather than against you.

My conclusion from having used both omnis, planars and conventional box designs in various shapes and sizes of rooms over the years is that omnis will fill the room with sound more evenly and with greater ease for you in assymetrical rooms than more directional designs.

Thats not to say that placement doesn't matter with omnis because it does, but omnis just tend to work with the room more naturally than do more directional designs.

The OHms are acatually not completely omni, the top is covered by a more conventional wide dispersion soft dome tweeter angled inwards 45 degrees, which helps retain the naturally wide soundstage of the omni Walsh driver that covers the rest.

The soundstage almost always naturally extends completely to the side walls both left and right even if the speakers are placed more closely together and located either significantly right or left of center.

Toeing the OHMs outward to point the tweeter more directly towards the listening position can be used to reduce the width of the natural wide soundstage if needed. When properly set up a couple or few feet from the rear wall, the sound stage will also typically extend back well beyond the rear wall on good recordings.
If you read my systems page the dimensions of the room and postioning is noted please have a look
Looking forward to hearing your input on the subject

Thanks to the other posters for providing your suggestions
Put some casters on your chair and pull it up for near-field listening. Push it back when you're done to allow ingress/egress.

In general it looks like your listening position is to close to the back wall. Move everything forward.

Try a slight outward speaker toeing.

Good luck and let us know what works!
Use headphones.
Humor me: Try sitting up a little higher. It looks like your chair is a little low in relation to the tweeters. If sitting on a pillow works, shorter speaker stands may help?

I’d say try some other power cables. Following that or previous to it I’d say just roll some more tubes. The dodds are a bit forward sounding, geographically speaking, that is.

Playing with some other footer or amp stands for them may help out too or under the preamp and/or source itself.

My speakers sit off the short wall in my approz. 14 x 20 x 8.3 room… My sound stage extends beyond the wall behind the speakers, past the side walls and encroaches upon the LP, with the sound resting near to the sides of my chair.

As mapman said too, this is with well done CDs.

The Shunyata Taipa Helix Alphas add width and height while maintaining cohesion … the Elrod adds depth, and as well as the Voodoo Tesla II.

Personally for pure spaciousness without making wholesale changes I’d try some power cables first… They seem to set the stage for other system changes by allowing the sound field to grow vertically & laterally, and/or to deepen providing more rear of stage info and ambient retrieval…. And I say this is true regardless the components they are attached to as I’ve had these cables for some time now with different components

The Python A & later still, the Python helix A will, all by itself, gain you a quite expansive SS while still remaining coherent and intuitve… the helix version gives more refinement to the bandwidth and far, far greater rear of stage (depth) info. Place it on your source or as supply to the Dodds. The Elrod Sig III is best only supplying the amps or the power cond itself as it likes to pass more current better.

The sound Anchor stands I got for my Dodds just added focus or localization of the imaging, as did the tube rings I put on the 3 little tubes.

You put an Elrod Sig III on the supply to the amps and your stage will gain a lot of air right there. Add a Python A or Helix A and you’ll gain still more landscape… walls, not withstanding.

If you can get Telefunken tubes in your pre they’ll gain you goodly amounts of that spacious effect you seek as well.

Good luck.
I'm not an expert! Your proportions appear to be similar to what Wilson recommends 1 ( dis. apart) to 1.1 - 1.25( dis to chair). Point the speakers at a point aprox 2'-6' behind your head as a starting place then change toe in/out to see which works best. When your close break out the level and string to make sure the tweeters are the same distance away, this is make or break for SS. Put the string from your nose to one then the other speaker (an inside or outside corner of the box which is easily duplicated on the opposite side. Use the level to make sure the tweeters are firing at points of equal heights. I would try without panel in front of TV to start. You may have already done these things but I thought it's worth a mention.
I forgot, try changing rake by shimming rear of stands,I'm trying this with a 1/4" shim,the jury's still out. Seconding Elvick's observation.
change the toe angle so the speakers are pointing more straight ahead and you will improve the width. quick and simple fix.

thanks b
I want to give you another option: Rather than just the typical speaker repositioning or adding absorption center image between your speakers, you can try an electronic solution...

What I enjoy is connecting the left and right channel cathodes of a gain stage together with a capacitor. This has the effect of canceling the mono image, and expanding the stereo image. Attention to the capacitor value will allow choice of the cancellation corner frequency. Typically only a small value capacitor is needed. This may even give the perception of 'tightening-up' bass response.
Sorry Musicfile, I should have paid more attention. Guess I was ogling those Sason's a bit too much to read further :)

That being said I agree with Bobby P. Even though the manufacturer of my speakers recommends significant toe-in (45 degrees) so the signal crosses about 2' in front of the listener, I don't have the space to do that. If you look at my system you will see I have positioned my speakers so there is no toe-in and this did indeed widen sound stage.
One other thing. If you do decide to play with the toe-in (or wall to speaker distance for that matter), try making your movements in 1/8" increments. You'd be surprised how much difference there can be in such small movements.
every tweeter has a different radiation pattern. from what i could see the speakers mf has have a soft dome tweeter. most if not all soft domes are designed to be hotter on axis to present a wider radiation pattern off axis. imho, they sound better off directly on axis and usually have flatter response this way too. toed in to the listener brightest and most focused in the hf with a more compressed perspective of depth. toed out to the right and left of the listener better broadband focus and a more continuous sound with a wider stage. vastly superior layering too.
try this for yourselves.
my speakers come with a 10% off axis alignment tool.
Wow Thanks for the input ..I have a bit of reading to do

First off I've been experimenting with various speaker postioning and found the following

Posioning the speakers with no toe in definitely widens the soundstage but at the expense of imaging

I have measured the room and it's fairly even for bass response and mid range except for a 12db null at 80hz
The bass from time to time is not as quick as I would like it and would like it a bit tighter

Also, not sure if it's clearly visible in pictures but my staircase to the left really creates an imbalance for imaging expecially since it's so close to the listening positon.

For those reading please come the suggestions coming ln light of the additonal information provided

Yes, I saw the staircase as perhaps the biggest issue.

If all else fails, I still think you should consider trying omnis in that room in particular.
Yes, I saw the staircase as perhaps the biggest issue.

If all else fails, I still think you should consider trying omnis in that room in particular.

I have not heard them, but the new Pennys from Blue Circle might be worth considering. They use an OHM omni Walsh driver and conventional dynamic drivers for the low end. They appear to be fairly small and compact and are designed to go up close to the rear wall. These might work well in particular in that room due to 1) the omni design and 2) the ability to go up against the rear wall for listening at a greater distance when quarters are tight.

They were supposedly debuted at last years Rocky Mountain Audio Fest I read. I'm wondering if anybody heard them there?

Just a thought and something completely different....
"Positioning the speakers with no toe in definitely widens the sound stage but at the expense of imaging "

This supports what Mapman is suggesting. I'll throw in the Gallo Reference 3.1s (or Ref 3.5s coming later this year) as a great imaging speaker. I can tell, this is not an option you want to consider, but there it is.

Did you try toeing your speakers outward. Several of us have suggested it...
Gallo Ref 3.1's would be a very good possibility in that room as well.

I just think that you are going to always have a problem with designs that fire mostly forward (or forward and backward) in that room, no matter how good they are otherwise. You need something that fires out more laterally as well to truly address your issue. The Gallos fit that bill.
Get a pair of Shatki Holographs and put a pair of echo busters where your first speaker reflections are...

that will W I D E N the sounstage like nothing you can imagine (with the existing gear you have).

Are you suggesting I toe them out
Both of the speakers ??
I'm worried about the Left speaker as toeing it out will interfere more with the diagonal wall in front (my staircase)

I have no intention of changing speakers the Sasons are fabulous speakers and will be in my possession for a long long time ..I'm just trying to optimize the room and my musical experience

Thanks to everyone for your informative replies
I think what Bobby P is suggesting is not toed out, but just rotate them outward a few degrees at a time. As you found out, straight ahead results in loss of imaging. Now starting at your original position, rotate them outward gradually. You may find a position somewhere between your original toe in and straight ahead that gives you the balance of imaging and soundstage width you are looking for.
Yes, toe them out. It's free and easily reversible.
Have you tried moving them closer together, maybe 18 inches or so each and with no toe in?

Sometimes really good speakers like these will surprisingly cast a wider soundstage when closer together relative to your listening position than when farther apart, depending on room acoustics.

My Dynaudio monitors will cast a soundstage from wall to wall, about 12 feet wide, when only 4 feet or so apart and 3 feet or so out from the rear wall in a 12X12 room with my listening position on a couch along the rear wall.

Another radical yet inexpensive idea would be to try a Carver Sonic Holography device with the speakers also located similarly close together.

I owned on for years and despite the fact that some here will ridicule it, it does in fact work as advertised to create a wider, deeper and more holographic soundstage in places where it otherwise might not happen.
Moving the speakers a bit closer together is another good suggestion. I also do not use an equilateral triangle for my set-up. My speakers are 4.75' apart and my listening position is 5.5' away. You can play around with percentages, but usually making the speaker to speaker distance 85% of the speaker to listening distance is a good place to start.

Agree with you on the Sason's as well. I was very impressed with those speakers when I heard them.
Previously I had the speakers approx 6 feet apart and thought the soundstage was a bit narrow so I moved them approx foot wider with slight toe in (15-20%)and left them as is. The sound is good but a bit wider sounstage would be ideal

I may try moving my listening chair a bit more forward and see how that works out

Want wider stage? Play these CDs:

mf and swampwalker, i am not sure of the tweeter used in the speaker however, yes not toed straight out but toed out from directly on axis.
i would have to do an analysis to really know exactly but as i said, soft domes are designed up on axis as a rule to broaden the dispersion off axis. so the preferred listening angle will not be on axis but toed out from on axis. my suggestion is to make a 10% angle the length of the cabinet sides and with the point to the rear of the speaker, look down the hypotenuse to the listening position. do this for both speakers and see what you think. i am sure it will be better than right on axis.
mf, fix the alignment tool to the inside face of each speaker as suggested. sorry.

Thanks Bobby for your responses
The speakers have been re positoned
For critical listening a thick blanket covers the television

Have a look at the revised pictures and let me know if you would do anything differently
The rooom positioning needs to stay as due to WAF
It looks pretty good to me as best I can tell from the pics.

Does it sound better now?
Yes, it does !

it's a bit early to comment but at the moment it does definitely sound better and i've managed to widen the soundstage.

Will listen some more and report back

Thanks for all your helpfull input

Pat- Looking at your pix, it seems to me that you are listening near field, where, I would guess (I'm no psycho-acoustician) that soundstage width would inevitably suffer when compared to imaging. It is just a guess and I am glad that you are getting more of what you want.
Yes you're correct Swampwalker
This is a nearfield setup
I have the speakers set up in an equalteral triangle of 6'8" from middle of the speakers and slightly toed in
The room is approx 11x18
Imaging is not an issue unless I spread them way apart ..something I can't do even I would like to
Try a mono center speaker bleeding the signal from the left and right channels. You will need a mono amp and speaker with similar quality as your stereo setup. You will be surprised what you have been missing when you gradually turn up that center speaker. It's like realizing that you have a blind spot in your field of view that you've had all your life but never knew it until you did the simple sight test to demonstrate the empty area. Once you have the center speaker, you will be able to separate the other two and widen your sound stage.
That's a good suggestion and certainly different
I appreciate your "out of box" thinking
Some more improvements to the issue at hand

I found that by angling a mattress (roughly 30 degrees) behind my listening chair this helped widen the soundstage
and cleaned things up a bit - not sure why this is the case perhaps experts can chime in here

I also installed pio russian caps in my amps and this made everything so much more musical and soundstage widened a bit as well

Wow what a difference a month makes !!!
"Posioning the speakers with no toe in definitely widens the soundstage but at the expense of imaging "

This tends to be my experience, as well. When you try messing around with toe-in, do this: Take a piece of paper, draw an arc, and measure 1/4" increments on it. Tape it to the floor and use it to ascertain the proper toe-in for the sound you're after. Many times have I wondered while adjusting my speakers, "Where was that [toe-in] place where I heard the guitar over there?!"