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Speaker positioning question - manufacturer's suggestions

PH14

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I'm looking for a pair of affordable speakers for a smallish room. I have considered the Borea 02 or 03 from Triangle. I like their sound. However, Triangle suggests they need to be put 60cm from the back wall or side walls, and 2m apart. That's not possible in this little room, unfortunately. And it's impossible to test how bad sound will degrade if those suggestions aren't followed.

So I looked at alternatives and found the Dali Spektor 1 and 2. The manufacturer here says you can put them as close as 1cm to the back wall. I mean, wut??

Can someone explain to me how this is possible? There's no fundamental difference between the Dali and Borea design that I can tell (the 02 has a back port too, and Triangle makes no different suggestions for distances between the back ported 02 and front ported 03).

Can the suggestions from the manufacturers be trusted at all? Is Dali just saying this to make their speakers seem easier to set up and thus gain a sales pitch over the competition?
 

MarkS

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That's essentially all just marketing gibberish. But personally I'd want a few inches of space from the back wall for a rear-ported design.

If at all possible, buy both with return privieges and try them out in your room. That's the only real way to know.
 

HeadDoc12

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Some (but not many) speaker companies (DALI, Totem) will claim that some of their speakers are designed to sound good whether placed near or against a wall or not, but - generally speaking - all passive loudspeakers sound worse placed near the wall unless they have a truly unconventional design that uses close wall placement in shaping the sound. In those cases (Larsen comes to mind as an example), placing the speaker anywhere BUT near the wall will make them sound terrible. In the case of speakers that require near-wall placement, they are making some other compromise (imaging, tonal neutrality, whatever). Once you move into the world of active loudspeakers and DSP, these rules go out the window. Depending on your budget, if you really need to save space, going active - or at least using some kind of DSP - is the way to go.
 
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PH14

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Thanks for the tip! But I suppose those are very expensive? The Borea BR 02 and 03 come in active form, with BT but there's no word whatsoever on DSP correction. I'll try and find some models and see what price range we're talking about.
 

polmuaddib

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If looks are not a big factor for you, there are many budget studio monitors, measured here that will sound great. Kali, JBL, Adam and others. You can get them for around 500 to 600 euros a pair.
Most of them have switches that adjust their sound depending on their position.
Some even like the looks of studio monitors and then it’s a win win. Wish I was so lucky…
 

Hipper

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The basic fact with speakers is that the sound you will hear is the speaker plus the room. All speakers interact with the room they are in.

This means that if you hear the speakers in the showroom, then bring them home to your room, they will sound different.

Not only that, but they sound different if you place them in different locations in the room. And where you sit when when you listen to them.

All this means the only way to properly audition speakers is in your room, and you need to try out different positions and listening positions to get the best from them.

It doesn't end there either! Once you've settled on speakers and positions, you can improve things further with room treatments, subwoofers and DSP/EQ, or any combination of these.

These are all the most important guidelines for getting good sound from a speaker system. More important then other equipment, cables etc., as long as these are competently designed and built.
 

Thomas_A

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Some advices from Genelec here:

"The first solution is to flush mount the monitors into a hard wall (creating a very large baffle) eliminating the rear wall reflections and therefore cancellations. Another possibility is to place the monitor very close to the wall minimising the gap. This raises the lowest cancellation frequency so high that the monitor has become forward-directing, and the cancellation no longer occurs. Remember that the low frequency boost should be compensated for when the monitor is mounted close to the wall (up to +6 dB gain)."


The key issue is how the speaker is designed (active or not) with respect to bass and wall support. I would say for small rooms it you get "free gain" to design a speaker for close wall placement.
 

Thomas_A

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Some (but not many) speaker companies (DALI, Totem) will claim that some of their speakers are designed to sound good whether placed near or against a wall or not, but - generally speaking - all passive loudspeakers sound worse placed near the wall unless they have a truly unconventional design that uses close wall placement in shaping the sound. In those cases (Larsen comes to mind as an example), placing the speaker anywhere BUT near the wall will make them sound terrible. In the case of speakers that require near-wall placement, they are making some other compromise (imaging, tonal neutrality, whatever). Once you move into the world of active loudspeakers and DSP, these rules go out the window. Depending on your budget, if you really need to save space, going active - or at least using some kind of DSP - is the way to go.
I do not agree. In-, on- or near-wall speakers can be optimzed for their placement regardless active, passive or DSP. A speaker placed close to the wall needs to have less bass output to compensate for boundary gain. As Genelec says the SBIR cancelation will be higher in frequency and taken care for by both higher amount of beaming and a damping panel behind the speaker.
 

FrantzM

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Hi

After 50 years in the hobby. I don't have an answer to this question. I learned about SBIR (Speaker Boundary Interference Response). It could be years of (subjective) audiophile conditioning, it seems to me that a certain distance from the wall create a deep, realistic soundstage... the thing being so visual, I sincerely don't know and I hope some experts would shed a light on this.
I placed my speakers according to this article, they are about .85 meters from the front wall. I sit 1.45 meters from the back wall. Room is dedicated to HT/music about 5 x 3.3 x 2.8 meters (L x W x H). I like the results. Audyssey has helped a lot. I still believe that I can get a bit more from the speakers, JBL LSR 308, active. They are crossed at 80 Hz to a pair of subwoofers via the AVR.

I would appreciate that the experts chime in. Speakers however good they could be intrinsically, are to be placed and listened to, in a room. Sait room could have the best acoustic treatments available to mankind, the final results is determined by placement/positon of speakers and listener Position, because another important aspect of speaker placement is Listening Position. Speakers placement should always be with respect to a Listener, position in the room... People tend to forget this. I have seen, even here on ASR, people debating at infinitum of speaker choice and placement and they sit at the backwall... Not the best seating position , if one has the choice. Again need to hear from the expert on the subject.
Yes, placement is a forgotten and poorly understood aspect of music reproduction.

Peace.
 

Thomas_A

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My personal experience of using extensive damping the wall behind me, when sitting close to one, is poor. I get an anechoic feeling and it is unpleasant to have conversations. It is fine however to raise the sofa with soft neck rests, IMO, to damp the reflection. Cancelation occurs quite high in frequency when the distance is short.

Also I am not sure that reflections coming from behind you are as detrimental as those arriving from the front. Perhaps someone could point to some references if this has been studied in detail, especially adaption? I can imagine that a wall reflection from the speakers to both ears get a bit complicated when you are sitting with ears 10-20 cm from a wall. As opposed to sound that arrives from behind you.

optus-nackst%C3%B6d-ljusgr%C3%A5-1503040.jpg
 

Tangband

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Some (but not many) speaker companies (DALI, Totem) will claim that some of their speakers are designed to sound good whether placed near or against a wall or not, but - generally speaking - all passive loudspeakers sound worse placed near the wall unless they have a truly unconventional design that uses close wall placement in shaping the sound. In those cases (Larsen comes to mind as an example), placing the speaker anywhere BUT near the wall will make them sound terrible. In the case of speakers that require near-wall placement, they are making some other compromise (imaging, tonal neutrality, whatever). Once you move into the world of active loudspeakers and DSP, these rules go out the window. Depending on your budget, if you really need to save space, going active - or at least using some kind of DSP - is the way to go.
Totalt agree.
Im my opinion , you should never put a 2 channel speaker very near the wall if you dont put damping material around the speaker , about 70-80 cm around it .
Early reflections in midrange/tweeter area will sound very unclear otherwise.
A two channel setup will gain in sound quality if the speakers are away from the front wall more than 43-45 cm ( total reflection length will then be more than 80 cm.

Such a speaker must ofcourse have the proper baffle step correction for such a placement.

For best sound with two channel playback you also need som later reflections filling up the flawed stereo system - about 20 - 25 ms delayed sidewall reflections is optimal in my opinion after investigating this. This requires a rather big and wide room.

In 5.1 sound you dont need any ” help” from late reflections so both systems , ( 2 channel and 5.1 channel ) should be treated entirely different .

Regarding SBIR , I agree with Dr. Toole - its hard to treat , it will not sound better and its no big deal for two channel playback , because 2 channel playback is only a flawed illusion .

Just stay away from those early ( 1-2ms ) reflections and the sound will be much clearer.

This is something that can be tested very easily - put your two channel speakers very near the front wall and listen , then - put a 3 cm thick acoustical damper 100cm * 80cm behind each speaker and the sound will be much clearer . You have now attenuated some of the early reflections beginning from 800 Hz -20 KHz and this is why the sound is much better .

Put away the damper and put your speakers more than 43 cm out in the room - the effect will be about the same as having the 3 cm thick acoustical damper on the wall with the speaker near the wall . The sound will be clearer.

B46CE352-0999-441A-8F7F-C29181BCC3BA.gif
 
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Cote Dazur

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Can the suggestions from the manufacturers be trusted at all?
No.
Your sound is the product of your room and will depend on where you put the speakers and where you sit.
Affordable speakers well positioned and you seating at a good spot in the room can yield surprisingly good sound and cost nothing to achieve.
That said, if the room is small and is not well furnished, don't expect much, that way you will not be disappointed, but do not spend too much on gear as nothing will ever sound great in a poor room or if you have limited ability to place the gears where it will sound good.
 

Tangband

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No.
Your sound is the product of your room and will depend on where you put the speakers and where you sit.
Affordable speakers well positioned and you seating at a good spot in the room can yield surprisingly good sound and cost nothing to achieve.
That said, if the room is small and is not well furnished, don't expect much, that way you will not be disappointed, but do not spend too much on gear as nothing will ever sound great in a poor room or if you have limited ability to place the gears where it will sound good.
Agree.
Acoustics are different in every room, where even the thickness and density of the wall will have an impact to the sound .
 
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