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Is large toe-in recommended

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#1
On-axis always produce the flattest frequency response. Does it means we should always go for large toe-in?
 

solderdude

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#2
Depends on the speaker, listening room, listening position and how and what the purpose of the speakers is (monitoring, mixing, hifi listening).
 

svart-hvitt

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#3
Depends on the speaker, listening room, listening position and how and what the purpose of the speakers is (monitoring, mixing, hifi listening).
What different needs between «monitoring», «mixing» and «hifi listening»?
 

solderdude

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#4
listening distance, tonal balance, SPL ?
 

svart-hvitt

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#5
listening distance, tonal balance, SPL ?
I am not trying to argue here, but I thought it’s evident that neutral sound depends on geometry and the equilateral triangle and speakers on axis were the first advice to any monitorer, mixer and hifi listener. As you deviate from this first advice, you colour the sound at the listening position. Wouldn’t you agree?

The «recreational listener» whose preferences we don’t know, may have different needs, of course.
 

solderdude

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#6
In principle toeing in so the fronts of the speakers are facing you is the way to go (recommended indeed I would say), most certainly for mixing, but for some hifi speakers some deviation is allowed and less toe-in is possible without problems.

For some hifi speakers the manufacturers recommend not to toe in the speakers (I seem to remember).
The directivity pattern of the speaker itself is also of importance here whether or not they should be toed in exactly or have a certain tolerance.
 
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GrimSurfer

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#7
It's primarily about getting the axis of the speaker's drivers pointed at a single listening position. We're not talking about achieving Pythagorean accuracy here -- anything within a few degrees will work in most cases. Such resolution is entirely achievable with string, a tape measure, and a protractor. Or ditch the protractor and use basic trig.

Perfectly matching the angles sounds great, but the effects of a perfect match can be undermined by acoustic asymmetries in a room. So don't feel there's anything to be gained by using a surveyor's theodolite or sextant to match the toe in angles to single degrees. The first reflection points of the L and R speaker can be quite different... if not in location, then in acoustic reflectivity.

Most loudspeakers have reasonably broad dispersion. Tweeters often have tighter dispersion than meds and woofers.

And nothing I've said above is about neutral sound -- that's the role of the amp, speakers, and room. Positioning speakers correctly helps spatial effects... also called sound stage.
 

Sal1950

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#10
I am not trying to argue here, but I thought it’s evident that neutral sound depends on geometry and the equilateral triangle and speakers on axis were the first advice to any monitorer, mixer and hifi listener. As you deviate from this first advice, you colour the sound at the listening position. Wouldn’t you agree?

The «recreational listener» whose preferences we don’t know, may have different needs, of course.
I mostly agree with only a couple caveats
The manufacturer recommends something else, he voiced the speaker with that in mind.
If you find the sound on-axis too bright and wish to tame the top end a bit.
 

edechamps

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#11
My speakers are set up directly facing me, as I know they have the best response on-axis (Genelec studio monitors). I thought that was true for most speakers, but @sergeauckland pointed out this is not necessarily the case, and some speakers might be specifically designed for off-axis listening.

If there are multiple listening positions (e.g. the entire width of a couch), then additional toe-in might improve the response and imaging for off-center positions somewhat, according to that paper by GedLee.
 

LTig

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#12
On-axis always produce the flattest frequency response. Does it means we should always go for large toe-in?
If you have neutral speakers (flat on axis response), then yes. It may even be better in some cases to let the on-axis lines cross before the listener position (e.g. speaker turned 45 degree instead of 30). According to Grimm Audio (they demoed the LS1 in Munich Highend 2019 just so) this reduces the reflections on the side walls. Another advantage is that the sweet spot can get bigger: if you move your head from the middle position to the right you are moving your head closer to on-axis of the left speaker and away from on-axis of the right speaker. This counter acts the loss of amplitude of the left speaker and the gain of amplitude of the right speaker due to the change in distance.

OTOH we often see and read that hifi speakers are not toed in at all or, if toed in, only a little bit. This is either just a personal preference (the sound looses directness, due to change of FR and an increase of room reflections) or the speaker has no flat on axis response and the off axis FR is better. Looking at JA measurements of highend speakers at stereophile I got the impression that the more expensive the speaker and the more exotic its design the worse is its on-axis FR. Just the opposite as with good active studio monitors.

EDIT: @edechamps was 1 minute faster - the linked PDF tells better what I wanted to say.
 

svart-hvitt

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#13
If speakers are neutral, then on axis and the equilateral triangle makes sense, doesn’t it?

If speakers aren’t neutral, it’s anybody’s guess and we can’t give general advice, right?

If you deviate from on axis with neutral speakers, you start to «EQ».

Neutrality is normally a safe choice. For «lazy» ones, right?

All speakers should have wheels and adjustable height, motorized of course, GPS controlled per iPhone app. So every track could have GPS and height coordonates, for every person on earth.

Neutrality is a safe choice, wasn’t it ;)
 

Sal1950

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#14
All speakers should have wheels and adjustable height, motorized of course, GPS controlled per iPhone app. So every track could have GPS and height coordonates, for every person on earth.
I love the idea. Then I could set preferred positioning for each recording and enter it as meta data to my media player. Then each time a new selection comes on the speakers automatically return to the chosen sweet spot.
 

svart-hvitt

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#15
I love the idea. Then I could set preferred positioning for each recording and enter it as meta data to my media player. Then each time a new selection comes on the speakers automatically return to the chosen sweet spot.
Professor Butts is already on the case.

 

SIY

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#17
Or get your speakers pre-angled with less radiation to the outside angles.

nht.jpg
 
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#18
@kaka89 which speakers are you using, and what’s the room like? As @solderdude said, it all depends.
I'm using Harbeth M30.1

I thought the rule of toe-in should apply to all speakers tho, as on-axis almost always produce the best response, also eliminate room reflection. In what situation no toe-in would work better than toe-in?

Edit: This is an incorrect graph
318harbeth.H302fig5.jpg

* this is an M30.2 measurement from https://www.stereophile.com/content...-anniversary-edition-loudspeaker-measurements
 
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MattHooper

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#19
I haven't found a speaker yet that I preferred to toe in severely (pointing right at me). I tend to find a more pleasing/believable imaging/tonal balance with most speakers either facing forward, or with a little toe-in. Too much toe-in and I find the sound often gets a bit too squeezed smaller and opaque sounding.
 

andreasmaaan

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#20
I thought the rule of toe-in should apply to all speakers tho, as on-axis almost always produce the best response, also eliminate room reflection. In what situation no toe-in would work better than toe-in?
Some (very few though) speakers are designed so that the correct axis is slightly off the central axis. Geddes’ speakers are the most famous examples probably.

* this is an M30.2 measurement from
That’s actually the vertical polar response. The (normalised) horizontal polar response is this:

8DF65151-8C97-4D23-B975-64593C8D5C68.jpeg


And the on-axis response:

8CB71A2E-BB35-4B4E-9A9F-DD641CD31F1E.jpeg


This confirms indeed that the central axis is the close to the correct axis to listen to these speakers, although if you were around 20 degrees off-axis you would be receiving equally good (neutral) direct sound up to around 10kHz, and then a slightly rolled-off top end above that.

You can see from the horizontal polar response that these speakers have a bit of a directivity mismatch between the woofer and tweeter, so that there is more off-axis energy at the bottom of the tweeter’s passband (around 2500Hz up) than at the top of the woofer’s pass band. The designer seems to have compensated for this somewhat by giving the tweeter a 1.5-2dB dip in the on-axis response in this frequency range.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, these are speakers that might perform best at any listening angle from directly on axis to up to 20 degrees off-axis (pointed at a point either behind or in front of the listener). It depends a bit on your high-frequency hearing and the distance from the speakers to the side walls. I would say experiment and find the angle that sounds best to you, but would expect something very close to on-axis to be be most preferred.
 
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