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Audiophile Newbie setting up his first 2.1 setup for Desktop

BlackVulcan

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First things first, my room setup is a small room (untreated, but plan to once I have setup my sound system) of around 11' (w) x 13' (d) x 10' (h) though there's also a 2' (w) x 5' (d) area behind it (where the door is, with the closet on the left and bathroom door on the right). Currently using Edifier S350DB speakers, which I'm upgrading.

Unfortunately, my setup is far from ideal where I have an L-shaped desk on the corner of my room (the open side is on the corner) with my monitor/speakers on the left (where the corner is). It's because it's facing my bed on the other side of the room (about 4'-5' away) and these are my 2 major listening areas (though I have a small exercise area past my L table directly to the far right of the speakers where the other corner of my room is). Floor is carpeted at least (though only the area between bed and table so around 5' x 6').

So that's already a potential issue since it's not symmetrical leading to potential reflections so I'm hoping for bookshelfs that won't be as badly affected. I'm currently looking at the ELAC DBR62s (UBR62s too big for my desk), after auditioning Wharfedale Diamond 12.1s, Klipsch RP-500Ms and ELAC B6.2s (also planning to test UB52s and UB5s), with an SVS SB1000 Pro running off a Loxjie A30 and wanted some tips if possible from those with more experience:

1. Considering my small room area, and near-field and mid-field listening positions, would the Loxjie A30 be enough to power my DBR62s? since my worry is the A30 is technically underpowered but idk what the impact is outside of max volume if my amp is underpowered (since I likely won't be reaching it anyway)
2. Are the DBR62s good considering the suboptimal placement? (since I hear the DBR62s at least are better off-axis and aren't as fussy about placement, esp since the Left bookshelf will likely be close to a corner and both speakers will have their backs almost directly on the wall)
3. How do I crossover the SVS SB1000 properly with the DBR62s? should I do it at 80hz or 60hz? (since DBR goes to 44hz) and if I'd rather rely on my sub for bass (and to help alleviate power draw from the DBR62s), is there a way for me to set the DBR62s to not output below 70hz for example?
4. What would the recommended placement for the SVS sub be? since on my S350DB I have it on the left floor of my table (practically corner of the room, directly below where the left DBR62 will be) but I've seen comments around that it may make the bass muddled or distorted?
5. I don't have the equipment for REW and likely can't afford to do it for this one-time thing, so I also wanted to ask on what the suggestions would be for room treatment to help compensate for the suboptimal placement?

Sorry if it's a lot, but even just helping with any of my questions would be suuuuper helpful
 

alex-z

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In a room that size you barely need any power, Loxjie A30 will be plenty. If you run an amp out of power, it will clip, causing severe distortion and potential speaker damage. Running out of power isn't a concern for your setup.

All speakers will be impacted by poor placement. Symmetry in the room is key for a good stereo image, move your setup if possible.

The Loxjie A30 has a subwoofer pre-out. However, it may not properly high-pass the speaker signal, that is something you need to test. If it doesn't, you should add a miniDSP 2x4HD.

The crossover point is partially dependent on room acoustics. 80Hz is usually best.

Subwoofer placement is wherever provides the smoothest output at your primary listening position. Do the sub crawl, then use EQ afterwards to clean up the response.

The Elac DBR62 are good speakers, but I would strongly recommend taking $80 out of the speaker budget to get a measurement mic. Being able to properly tune the response of your system is worth the money.

https://www.minidsp.com/products/acoustic-measurement/umik-1

In terms of acoustic treatment, not much will compensate for poor placement. Mineral wool panels of 5.5" thickness will absorb some bass and improve the room a great deal, but won't do much for the room modes below 150Hz.
 
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BlackVulcan

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All speakers will be impacted by poor placement. Symmetry in the room is key for a good stereo image, move your setup if possible.

Not very feasible unfortunately, as my space is very cramped as it is and I've already tried into looking at other configurations. How bad can it get if it's not in the center? since I honestly wouldn't know yet

Though I guess in this case, I'll find out once I get it (though I won't really have a good frame of reference)

The Elac DBR62 are good speakers, but I would strongly recommend taking $80 out of the speaker budget to get a measurement mic. Being able to properly tune the response of your system is worth the money.

I would buy it if it were only available in my country (PH) but it isn't, and when I was looking at what was available (mic and interface) would cost me around $200+ so it isn't very feasible esp for a one-time and I tried checking with contractors that can do acoustic analysis of my room but apparently their base rates are around $400-$600 so that isn't very feasible either

In terms of acoustic treatment, not much will compensate for poor placement. Mineral wool panels of 5.5" thickness will absorb some bass and improve the room a great deal, but won't do much for the room modes below 150Hz.

If it sounds bad when I move it in, I can try to figure out some way to try and make it more symmetrical I suppose (though if it's a choice between better sound or a room layout that is livable I'd have to choose the latter in the end, like I wouldn't move my bed into the center of the room blocking pathways or leaving dead inaccessible space)

That said, could you perhaps elaborate on "room modes"? I've heard it mentioned a lot in my reading, but am not really sure what it is

And honestly, goes without saying but thank you so much for all the good advice!
 

alex-z

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Room modes are low frequency reflections. Because the wavelengths are too large, they reflect off the walls before fully propogating. So you gets peaks and dips in the frequency response below the Schroeder frequency

https://amcoustics.com/tools/amroc?l=13&w=11&h=10&ft=true&r60=.45

This is why multi-sub setups are widely praised, because acoustic treatment for frequencies below 100Hz is too thick to be practical in small rooms. You should still add as many absorption panels as you can afford, just don't expect them to fix the deep bass. They are most useful for managing overall decay times, and SBIR.

SBIR = speaker boundary inteference response, the bounce you get from the speakers off the walls.
 
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BlackVulcan

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Room modes are low frequency reflections. Because the wavelengths are too large, they reflect off the walls before fully propogating. So you gets peaks and dips in the frequency response below the Schroeder frequency

https://amcoustics.com/tools/amroc?l=13&w=11&h=10&ft=true&r60=.45

This is why multi-sub setups are widely praised, because acoustic treatment for frequencies below 100Hz is too thick to be practical in small rooms. You should still add as many absorption panels as you can afford, just don't expect them to fix the deep bass. They are most useful for managing overall decay times, and SBIR.

SBIR = speaker boundary inteference response, the bounce you get from the speakers off the walls.
Thanks, though how do I read that?

One good bit of news tho, was calling AV stores again (mostly for inquiries on the DBR) and one of them actually sells the MiniDSP UMIK on an order basis so I may be able to get one ($100, which isnt too bad I guess)

If that's the case, though how do I react to the results of room measurements? (Amir never did part 3 of his room measurement for dummies series). Do I fix it with EQ? And if I do, will Realtek's EQ suffice or will I need to get something different? (Since the Loxjie's "EQ" isnt rly useful)

In the case I stick to this potentially very bad speaker placement, how do I read the REW frequency response curve (and more importantly assess impact to imaging, sound stage, and reflections)? Are there any posts here that can help with that?
 

alex-z

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The amroc tool basically just tells you where the room modes will be in a rectangular room. 43, 51, and 56 are your axial modes, the ones with 2 opposing walls. That is where good subwoofer positioning and EQ will help the most. As a general rule of thumb, with 1 subwoofer you can optimize for 1 seating position. Don't use EQ to fix deep nulls, as that will cut severely into your output headroom.

You should do a moving mic measurement, centred at your listening position. For a desk setup I would recommend 1ft on either side, 1ft above and below, and 1ft forward and back, for a total of 7 measurements.

Before you reach that stage, basic measurements will help with the speaker and subwoofer positioning. You want the left and right channels to have as similar a response as possible.

For EQ on my desktop I personally use EqualizerAPO and just copy filter settings from REW.

Imaging and sound stage are psychoacoustic effects, not directly measurable. Best advice I can give you is form an equilateral triangle with the speakers and listening position, and treat your first reflection points, including the ceiling. You want a consistent decay time across the entire spectrum if possible.
 
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BlackVulcan

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The amroc tool basically just tells you where the room modes will be in a rectangular room. 43, 51, and 56 are your axial modes, the ones with 2 opposing walls. That is where good subwoofer positioning and EQ will help the most. As a general rule of thumb, with 1 subwoofer you can optimize for 1 seating position. Don't use EQ to fix deep nulls, as that will cut severely into your output headroom.

You should do a moving mic measurement, centred at your listening position. For a desk setup I would recommend 1ft on either side, 1ft above and below, and 1ft forward and back, for a total of 7 measurements.

Before you reach that stage, basic measurements will help with the speaker and subwoofer positioning. You want the left and right channels to have as similar a response as possible.

For EQ on my desktop I personally use EqualizerAPO and just copy filter settings from REW.

Imaging and sound stage are psychoacoustic effects, not directly measurable. Best advice I can give you is form an equilateral triangle with the speakers and listening position, and treat your first reflection points, including the ceiling. You want a consistent decay time across the entire spectrum if possible.

Thank you so much for all of the help, once the UMIK comes I'll definitely work on that and hopefully find a good balance between livability and acoustics. So ideally the order of things to experiment with is:
Placement -> REW EQ -> Treatment (for reflections, and to mitigate bass modes which I won't try to fix with EQ)

Last 2 questions though, if for example in the end the placement is still not entirely symmetrical if I can find a way to get fairly even responses from the left and right channels (by some weird miracle with my room or furniture) would it be alright, or will there be other ways that it would fuck up my sound?

And if it's not still not balanced, would adjusting L-R balance be a good idea? or would it not really help with the distortions from asymmetrical reflections since all it really adjusts for is gain (since if one of the issues with asymmetry is how the perceived center from my listening position shifts and one side being louder esp for bass, would adjusting L-R balance help with that?)

Thank you again, so so much for all the help and I'm really sorry for using up so much of your time!
 

alex-z

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You can knock off the peaks with EQ and fix small nulls, just don't target big nulls. I generally set REW to not fix dips greater than 3dB, the overall boost setting.

Put in the treatment before you apply the final EQ. The response will change somewhat.

If you cannot achieve symmetry, at least toe the speakers inwards to reduce side wall reflections. I would also heavily consider narrow dispersion speakers, like the Klipsch RP-500M or RP-600M. Their natural frequency response is poor, but because you will be applying EQ that is largely irrelevant.

Rather than changing the L/R balance, EQ both channels differently if you must. I find that even 1dB difference in channel balance is noticeable for imaging, high frequencies should track each other as closely as possible.
 
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BlackVulcan

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You can knock off the peaks with EQ and fix small nulls, just don't target big nulls. I generally set REW to not fix dips greater than 3dB, the overall boost setting.

Put in the treatment before you apply the final EQ. The response will change somewhat.

If you cannot achieve symmetry, at least toe the speakers inwards to reduce side wall reflections. I would also heavily consider narrow dispersion speakers, like the Klipsch RP-500M or RP-600M. Their natural frequency response is poor, but because you will be applying EQ that is largely irrelevant.

Rather than changing the L/R balance, EQ both channels differently if you must. I find that even 1dB difference in channel balance is noticeable for imaging, high frequencies should track each other as closely as possible.

Thanks for all the advice! I'll consider the Klipsch when I sound test them again before I make my purchases this Saturday, but I just found them frustrating to listen to when I demo'd them last Saturday (then when I checked Amir's review I found out why) but will try again this weekend and see if it's better when EQ'd.
 
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