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What are the effects on speakers placed right against front wall for medium/far field distance listening?

Digby

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Basically, as thread title. I think many Brits/Europeans (probably a distinction without a difference for those from further afield) live in homes that don't have the room to have speakers as far from the front wall as would be optimal for mid/far field listening (say 3 metres +), so what are the effects (positive/negative) of having a speaker close or immediately against to the front wall, and can negative effects be mitigated by particular designs?
 
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tmuikku

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Hi, there would be very strong reflection from the wall. By strong I mean the wall is so close reflection is about as loud as sound the speaker, without much extra attenuation unless you have absorption behind the speaker. Mind you, high enough frequencies more or less project forward with a typical speaker and less towards the wall.

What the reflection means? it pretty much directly affects frequency response, timbre you perceive. Take your mobile, play some white or pink noise with it and listen how it sounds like when you put it close to a wall, or further away. Pretty distinct difference in timbre isn't it?

The very close boundary reflected sound interferes strongly with direct sound. Luckily all of your room boundaries do this so it might not be too bad as its only one of six in a cubicle. Typically though, at least in my normal living room and speakers, all the reflections pile up and seem to combine as massive dip on low midrange and make the whole midrange quite lumpy and makes a bit hollow sound. This might be what you have used to listen so probably doesn't matter much.

It would have some spatial effect as well, less defined stereo sound. But, if you listen quite far, beyond perceived critical distance then it doesn't matter much as direct and room sound is perceived as one and sharp spatial effects are not there anyway.

If you have to put speaker close to wall, like I do, then you can couple long wavelengths with it having a bass speaker very close to wall. Speaker is one with the wall when center of cone is about 1/8 wavelength away from the wall. Its a round trip from driver to wall and to your ear, thus 1/8 in order to keep the total path length shorter than 1/4 wavelength or so, to maintain constructive interference. Then higherup wavelength gets so short you just cannot be close enough the wall, unless you make in-wall system. So, on higher frequencies you must rely on speaker directivity to reduce sound towards the wall. You could also add some acoustic treatment on the wall.
 

boxerfan88

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It can work ... I have mine setup pretty close to the front wall ... and my MLP is about 2.3m away.
I tried my best to follow the manual and keep dwall < 0.8m.
I also used a bit of PEQ to tone down some of those peaks mentioned in the picture below.


2023-07-27 22_43_59-Neumann_Setting_up_Studio_Monitors_08_2014.pdf (SECURED) - Adobe Acrobat R...png
 

ozzy9832001

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Basically, as thread title. I think many Brits/Europeans (probably a distinction without a difference for those from further afield) live in homes that don't have the room to have speakers as far from the front wall as would be optimal for mid/far field listening (say 3 metres +), so what are the effects (positive/negative) of having a speaker close or immediately against to the front wall, and can negative effects be mitigated by particular designs?
If it's a concrete wall your doomed. :)

Concrete will reflect nearly all the sound whereas drywall will allow some to pass. Combined with the front wall reflections, the floor, ceiling and sidewalls can cause a boost in your bass frequencies as high as 12+ dB. As explained above it can also cause some issues in the low mids as well. Either hollow sounding or like you are in a tunnel. It's normal though and some speakers even have DSP to counter this. A subwoofer can help smooth out the response, but won't really help with the low mids/high bass.

At farfield listening you'll be hearing a lot of room sound to begin with. Treatment on both front and rear walls is a first step in managing the bass.

If they have to be near the wall they should be as close as possible.

On the positive side, the extra bass boost will require a lot less power from the speakers.

That's the nature of the beast. Virtually all room have to make compromises.
 

sam_adams

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Basically, as thread title. I think many Brits/Europeans (probably a distinction without a difference for those from further afield) live in homes that don't have the room to have speakers as far from the front wall as would be optimal for mid/far field listening (say 3 metres +), so what are the effects (positive/negative) of having a speaker close or immediately against to the front wall, and can negative effects be mitigated by particular designs?

Take a look at what Roy Allison had to say about this situation.
 
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