a cautionary tale

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by andrew markworthy, Jun 20, 2004.

  1. andrew markworthy

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    We all know the rule book on good audio practice. High on the list of commandments is to put your speakers on stands. However, what the book says and what your ears tell you can be two different things.

    A couple of days ago we had to replace our TV and we got a nice looking LCD set and a new base for the set. With this new arrangement the home theatre speakers on stands seemed out of place - visually they dominated the new TV set (the old massive CRT set made them look slimline and inconspicuous). Anyway, my wife asked what would happen if we took them off the stands. Going into typical aggrieved male mode, I thought I'd demonstrate to her the inadvisability of taking speakers off their stands. So off they came, and to guarantee disaster, I did the following:

    (i) front L and R pushed close either side of the set.
    (ii) centre speaker put behind the TV.
    (iii) rear speakers join the sub-woofer behind the sofa.

    Admittedly the new set-up looked far better (practically nothing to see) but it should have been a recipe for audio disaster. So to prove my point I tried a couple of DVDs and was utterly amazed at the improvement in sound quality. Clearer treble, midrange unaltered, bass all there but more controlled than before, better imaging and spatial positioning. I'm pleased, and wife delighted because the room now practically devoid of wires and 'obvious' bits of hi-fi.

    The reason for mentioning this is not to say that everyone should jetison your speaker stands, etc (I think there are acoustic oddities about the room which make the new system work better) but don't slavishly follow the rule book. What works in an acoustic perfect room won't necessarily be right for you.
     
  2. andrew markworthy

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    We all know the rule book on good audio practice. High on the list of commandments is to put your speakers on stands. However, what the book says and what your ears tell you can be two different things.

    A couple of days ago we had to replace our TV and we got a nice looking LCD set and a new base for the set. With this new arrangement the home theatre speakers on stands seemed out of place - visually they dominated the new TV set (the old massive CRT set made them look slimline and inconspicuous). Anyway, my wife asked what would happen if we took them off the stands. Going into typical aggrieved male mode, I thought I'd demonstrate to her the inadvisability of taking speakers off their stands. So off they came, and to guarantee disaster, I did the following:

    (i) front L and R pushed close either side of the set.
    (ii) centre speaker put behind the TV.
    (iii) rear speakers join the sub-woofer behind the sofa.

    Admittedly the new set-up looked far better (practically nothing to see) but it should have been a recipe for audio disaster. So to prove my point I tried a couple of DVDs and was utterly amazed at the improvement in sound quality. Clearer treble, midrange unaltered, bass all there but more controlled than before, better imaging and spatial positioning. I'm pleased, and wife delighted because the room now practically devoid of wires and 'obvious' bits of hi-fi.

    The reason for mentioning this is not to say that everyone should jetison your speaker stands, etc (I think there are acoustic oddities about the room which make the new system work better) but don't slavishly follow the rule book. What works in an acoustic perfect room won't necessarily be right for you.
     
  3. StephenHa

    StephenHa Second Unit

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    trial and error always works best
     
  4. StephenHa

    StephenHa Second Unit

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    trial and error always works best
     
  5. Drew_W

    Drew_W Screenwriter

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    Audition rooms are even rarely that. But I'm glad you didn't overlook something that is oh so fundamental and often overlooked, and I hope you enjoy the benefits! Best thing about that is it didn't cost anything. [​IMG]
     
  6. Drew_W

    Drew_W Screenwriter

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    Audition rooms are even rarely that. But I'm glad you didn't overlook something that is oh so fundamental and often overlooked, and I hope you enjoy the benefits! Best thing about that is it didn't cost anything. [​IMG]
     
  7. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Well, I’m a little confused. The front and rear speakers particularly – they were small enough for stands, now they’re on the floor? And that sounds better?

    Both rear speakers are now on one sub behind the sofa, and that sounds better??

    Hopefully I'm missing something here!

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  8. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Well, I’m a little confused. The front and rear speakers particularly – they were small enough for stands, now they’re on the floor? And that sounds better?

    Both rear speakers are now on one sub behind the sofa, and that sounds better??

    Hopefully I'm missing something here!

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  9. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    if you have bookshelves on the floor, try tilting them back a few degrees, too.
     
  10. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    if you have bookshelves on the floor, try tilting them back a few degrees, too.
     
  11. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    I'm a bit confounded as well. It doesn't make sense to anything I've experienced, but, if you heard them sound better this way, I believe you. Maybe our wives have known better than us all along.
     
  12. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    I'm a bit confounded as well. It doesn't make sense to anything I've experienced, but, if you heard them sound better this way, I believe you. Maybe our wives have known better than us all along.
     
  13. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    My center channel speaker is really hard to hear when I put it behind my TV [​IMG]

    I think the primary purpose of stands is to A: raise the tweeter to ear level and B: leave no extra room for people to set drinks, food, newspapers, and other debris on.
     
  14. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    My center channel speaker is really hard to hear when I put it behind my TV [​IMG]

    I think the primary purpose of stands is to A: raise the tweeter to ear level and B: leave no extra room for people to set drinks, food, newspapers, and other debris on.
     
  15. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    Andrew,

    Are you sure you're not a Stepford husband? [​IMG]
     
  16. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    Andrew,

    Are you sure you're not a Stepford husband? [​IMG]
     
  17. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Much of the speaker-placement theory comes from years of experience with 2-channel music reproduction.

    Trying to create a 3-dimensional image with 2 speakers has long been the goal behind placement rules for music.

    But a HT system with 5 descrete speakers is:

    - A lot more forgiving of placement
    - A lot less information per second
    - More about impact (the subwoofer) than the L/R speakers

    I suspect if you had some favorite CD's and tried the placement your results would be different. Parts of the music/reproduction would have been lost.

    When playing with speaker positions for HT, try this:

    - Fire up a scene with lots moving sounds (Sci Fi or adventure movies are good for this).

    - Turn OFF the TV. This forces you to focus on the sound. (you often let your eyes over-ride your ears for placment clues).

    Good Luck.
     
  18. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Much of the speaker-placement theory comes from years of experience with 2-channel music reproduction.

    Trying to create a 3-dimensional image with 2 speakers has long been the goal behind placement rules for music.

    But a HT system with 5 descrete speakers is:

    - A lot more forgiving of placement
    - A lot less information per second
    - More about impact (the subwoofer) than the L/R speakers

    I suspect if you had some favorite CD's and tried the placement your results would be different. Parts of the music/reproduction would have been lost.

    When playing with speaker positions for HT, try this:

    - Fire up a scene with lots moving sounds (Sci Fi or adventure movies are good for this).

    - Turn OFF the TV. This forces you to focus on the sound. (you often let your eyes over-ride your ears for placment clues).

    Good Luck.
     
  19. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    Perhaps you were "listening" to your new TV..... focused on the image and oblivious to the sound......

    Sounds great with crystal clear imaging with "deeper bass black levels" type of phenomenon. The objective subjectivists conundrum.

    I would beware of the WAF here... a delighted wife could prove the existence of a sonic blind spot. ;*(

    BOK
     
  20. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    Perhaps you were "listening" to your new TV..... focused on the image and oblivious to the sound......

    Sounds great with crystal clear imaging with "deeper bass black levels" type of phenomenon. The objective subjectivists conundrum.

    I would beware of the WAF here... a delighted wife could prove the existence of a sonic blind spot. ;*(

    BOK
     

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