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Straight up or toed-in: Speakers in a room

FrantzM

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Hi

I am utterly humbled almost everyday by noticing how much I don't know about Audio.
I am an engineer (EE) and have been an audiophile for more than 50 years... Started very early ;)... but now can't hear past 15 kHz ...

I went through the subjective audiophile phase where speakers had to be parallel to the front wall (straight up), no matter which speakers, to, now toe-in them in as to form an equilateral triangle (ideally) but in reality a triangle with the listening position at the apex of the triangle.
Normally my L and R speakers (LSR 308) are toed-in that way, in my HT, an untreated room with large (most of the time opened) windows and furniture. Yesterday the speakers were moved while cleaning to straight up. I fired a movie and ... liked it ... a lot. The soundstage became bigger and the series I was watching , again, "The Expanse" took a new level of ... expansiveness :D... , tried another movie, Armageddon, same, enveloping soundscape... Finally tried the sound from Ma'Rainey movie on Netflix ... I did like it ... Finally tried to listen to some music on the system in stereo with the speakers straight-in and did not like what I heard. Imaging became quite diffuse.. etc... no longer the galaxy-wide soundstage , etc ...
The system was calibrated with Audyssey XT 32 (the smartphone App) with speakers toed-in, I did not recalibrate them for straight-up ... I seem to prefer the straight up for movies and toed-in for music :confused:. I will try 2 calibrations files: one for straight, the other for toed-in and report.

Various questions came to mind.

  • What's best way to position speakers as to have them presenting their most accurate behavior in a room?
  • We measure the on-axis behavior of a speaker but I don't think anyone positions their speakers so that they fire at our ears, on-axis. For that we have headphones and the soundstage of those mostly reside inside our head :(. Speakers are always at an angle, always. If we are to evaluate speakers in mono, for example, how should they be placed? In front of us? thus being at 90 degrees of our eardrums (more or less :)) or at the wall firing into our ears?

There could be more questions if the thread gets some traction. In the meantime, I am enjoying my HT a lot. I may move to objectively better LR speakers once I have extracted and learned the maximum from the current, LSR 308, inexpensive but soooo good sounding. I am looking forward to use them in my new room that I will treat as things progress, then move to their better brethren the 708 perhaps or some other active speakers reviewed by @amirm, @hardisj, @napilopez or @mitchco , or other people whose methodology I believe in.

Peace
 

mitchco

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Hi @FrantzM If you want to go "by the book" for the most accurate sound, then there are industry guidelines for monitoring/playback:
EBU Tech 3276, “Listening conditions for the assessment of sound programme material: monophonic and two–channel stereophonic."
ITU-R BS.1116-3, “Methods for the subjective assessment of small impairments in audio systems
Are a couple of examples and a diagram:

stereo listening configuration.jpg


Is a typical setup in most studios that record, mix and master the sound. So to get the most accurate representation on playback... Since I came from that environment, I have always toed in every speaker I had to this spec. This lets me hear the stereo image as it was intended. However, there are a few exceptions as some speakers "design" is a tradeoff between on and off axis response and the manufacture may specify an "angle of operation" to something other than on-axis to one's ears.

PS. The setup is the same for movies and MCH sound except for the addition of surround speakers. There is a spec for that too: See Figure 7 on page 20 of the ITU spec linked above.

Will be a good experiment to see what you prefer. Good luck!
 

egellings

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The owner's manual for my particular speakers, ProAc Response 3.8's, specifically states that the speaker should not be toed in. The speakers are a mirror imaged pair, and the tweeters are offset from the vertical centerline of the cabinets.
 

Kal Rubinson

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The owner's manual for my particular speakers, ProAc Response 3.8's, specifically states that the speaker should not be toed in. The speakers are a mirror imaged pair, and the tweeters are offset from the vertical centerline of the cabinets.
And for good reason.
The on-axis FR shows a notably rising treble which would sound overly bright. From: https://www.stereophile.com/content/proac-response-38-loudspeaker-measurements
ProAc on axis.JPG

However, the horizontal dispersion plot show a compensatory output reduction in that range towards the inside of each of the mirrored pair. From: https://www.stereophile.com/content/proac-response-38-loudspeaker-measurements-part-2
ProAc horizontal.JPG

Makes sense for this speaker. Speakers with flatter on-axis responses generally will work better with toe-in.
 
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amadeuswus

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Hi Kal
The measurements you posted look a lot like JA's from Stereophile… who might come along shortly to administer a crisp British rap on the wrist for not linking the webpage (unless I missed the link myself) .... ;)
 

Geert

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Another example. According to measurements my speakers have the flattest response in the high end at an angle just above 10. So I used a 10° toe-in as a starting point and fine tuned the angle by ear.
IMG_20210207_230930.jpg
 

Somafunk

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I've always toed-in/followed the "triangle" setup process for my speakers but ive always owned active studio monitors and listen relatively near/mid field, ie : not more than 2m from drivers so can't offer any thoughts on more of a hi-fi speaker experience.
 

chips666

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I use time intensity trading with my Klipsch RP-8000F
Works well for me
Enjoy...
 

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FrantzM

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Hi @FrantzM If you want to go "by the book" for the most accurate sound, then there are industry guidelines for monitoring/playback:
EBU Tech 3276, “Listening conditions for the assessment of sound programme material: monophonic and two–channel stereophonic."
ITU-R BS.1116-3, “Methods for the subjective assessment of small impairments in audio systems
Are a couple of examples and a diagram:

View attachment 118914

Is a typical setup in most studios that record, mix and master the sound. So to get the most accurate representation on playback... Since I came from that environment, I have always toed in every speaker I had to this spec. This lets me hear the stereo image as it was intended. However, there are a few exceptions as some speakers "design" is a tradeoff between on and off axis response and the manufacture may specify an "angle of operation" to something other than on-axis to one's ears.

PS. The setup is the same for movies and MCH sound except for the addition of surround speakers. There is a spec for that too: See Figure 7 on page 20 of the ITU spec linked above.

Will be a good experiment to see what you prefer. Good luck!

Update as of 4/15/2021
I like the LSR 308 toed-in .. in my configuration, b = 2.85 m, h is a bit more than the recommended .9 x b , I seat at h= 3 meters. I like it .. a lot ...
 
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