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Trying to figure out reasonable stereo system for difficult living room

johnw188

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Hey all, long time reader with a problem that I can’t figure out by searching so writing up my first post.

I have a beautiful new apartment but I am struggling to figure out where to place speakers in my new living room/kitchen space. Attached is a floor plan, things are pretty set in these spots (I’ve fiddled with it a lot). It’s the first time I haven’t had an easy room for a stereo system and I’m struggling.

I know there’s no good way to make something perfect happen here, I’m wondering what the best I can do is. The windows are all floor to ceiling which makes room treatment hard.

My question is this - where would you place a pair of speakers in this space to get decent sound at the couch in the corner, and are there any speaker designs that would specifically do well in a weird layout like this? I was considering putting a pair on the north wall, one above the piano and the other on the gap between windows, tilted down towards the listening position, but I really have no idea. Top end of my budget is like $10k if something would magically make this work, but my assumption is that the room is bad enough anything truly excellent would be a waste.

thank you for any advice you can give!

9D38B1E6-7513-413C-AB1F-79F37560E607.jpeg
 

MakeMineVinyl

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I wouldn't put them above anything, especially the piano. Maybe speakers on floor stands flanking the piano to the the sides of the keyboard 1-2 feet away? They'd fire into the room at an angle like the piano, but at least both the speakers would have some degree of acoustic symmetry doing so.
 
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johnw188

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I wouldn't put them above anything, especially the piano. Maybe speakers on floor stands flanking the piano to the the sides of the keyboard 1-2 feet away? They'd fire into the room at an angle like the piano, but at least both the speakers would have some degree of acoustic symmetry doing so.
Oh hadn’t thought about that, that’s a really solid idea. One detail I forgot to mention - the piano is a digital hybrid and there’s no concern about resonant frequencies vibrating the strings.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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Oh hadn’t thought about that, that’s a really solid idea. One detail I forgot to mention - the piano is a digital hybrid and there’s no concern about resonant frequencies vibrating the strings.
The bigger issue with a speaker above the piano is the large flat reflecting surface of the piano lid. With the speakers on the floor to the sides of the piano, reflections wouldn't be as big an issue.
 

Daverz

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Uh, what other rooms do you have? ;)

It does look like a difficult room for any serious listening setup. All I can think of is, perhaps, speakers on either side of the island and listening chair setup in an equilateral triangle.
 

LightninBoy

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Unless you are willing to change the main listening position (couch corner), don't even try to go hifi. It's not happening and you'll just waste money. Just get something that looks nice and fills the room. Maybe some omnidirectional speakers, or Bose. And/Or ... gulp ... take the headphone route.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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Robin L

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I'm thinking that [if it is possible] speakers hanging from the ceiling above the cabinet between the kitchen and living room. Symmetrical, towards the back of the counter, firing towards the couch.
 

Timcognito

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Not an acoustics expert and there are many here better to help you. Up against your 1-7 wall might be good place for a pair of Larsen speakers that use the wall as part of design function. Haven't heard them just read some good reviews, some are in your budget. Just food for thought, FYI.
https://www.larsenhifi.com/ortho-acoustic/
 

Vini darko

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Is mono a option? A single revel floorstander next to the piano prehaps. Otherwise maybe go open back headphones and compact sub that can live under the coffee table/couch for serious listening.
 

Beershaun

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I'd honestly say mount them In the ceiling. Use them primarily as entertainment and don't worry too much about critical listening. Use room correction software to do the best you can and just enjoy having music in the room. Will be clean and enjoyable and asthetically pleasing.

I just thought of another option.
Those new Syng Cell Alphas. Set up a pair pretty much anywhere and the vertical woofers and orb shape with the 360 array plus DSP will make them very room independent. And they are a cool conversation piece if you like the unique style
 

HiFidFan

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Sonos.
 

Hipper

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Firstly I don't much like the idea of a coffee table (numbered 10) in between you and any speakers. They can reflect sounds to your listening position (LP). You might be better with two smaller tables at each end of the couch.

You could consider temporary speaker positions for listening and store them away when not in use. That would give you more flexibility.

You could also consider using DSP (Digital Signal Processing) in order to improve the sound at your LP. What you get, hardware or software, will depend on your source (if computer, software makes sense).

Good speakers won't be wasted if you plan to move again at some point. Nor will learning to use DSP.

Whatever speakers you do get you must try them in your room before buying. This is where a good dealer could help you.
 

FeddyLost

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Genelec coax speakers hanging from ceiling with GLM correction might work. Size and subwoofer(s) will depend on your budget and required spl.
Exact position must be decided according to daily comfort basis and some experiments.
I'd recommend adding something for diffusion and reflection if design allows.
 

Wes

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Ideas:

> 2 speakers

lots of DSP

if you have your back to a wall, put absorbers/diffusers on the wall

if the speakers have their backs or sides to a wall, put absorbers/diffusers on the wall
 

Duke

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My question is this - where would you place a pair of speakers in this space to get decent sound at the couch in the corner...


This might not be the exact placement to put the sweet spot precisely where you want, but hopefully it's a start. Not claiming this is perfect, but then you already figured that out:

Johnw188-002.jpg


The small corner that sticks out into the path between the lower speaker and the sweet spot is an issue, but perhaps not an insurmountable one, depending on what can be done along that wall.

... and are there any speaker designs that would specifically do well in a weird layout like this?


Imo you want constant directivity over a fairly narrow angle, down as low as you can reasonably get it. The wedges I've drawn are about 45 degrees wide; imo a pattern perhaps 60 degrees to no more than 90 degrees wide (-6 dB at the pattern "edges") should work.

IF the speakers have rear-firing drivers, like a rear-firing tweeter (at reduced level relative to the front-firing drivers), then the tonal balance should still be pretty good in the kitchen area, especially if the level of the rear-firing driver(s) is user-adjustable so you can dial it in.

If you get a "hole in the middle", toe the speakers in even more, such that their axes criss-cross a bit further in front of the sweet spot. An adjustable top-end can restore the tonal balance if it starts to get a bit dull from your listening position being further off-axis. Also since it might be necessary to put some diffusive or absorptive features along that wall leading up to the aforementioned corner, might want the option of goosing the treble in the lower speaker a wee bit anyway.

Disclaimer: What I've described is the sort of speaker I make. So if any part of my suggestion doesn't make sense, you can dismiss it as marketing.
 
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