Do you toe in your surround speakers?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KeithH, Jul 16, 2001.

  1. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    My Sanus Natural Foundations speaker stands for my surround speakers came fromwww.electroshops.com today. Now that they are assembled and my Energy e:XL 16s sit atop them, I am trying to decide how to position them. This is my first experience with speaker stands, as I had the surrounds mounted on the wall in my old house (didn't want to do that this time). The sales person I ordered from at electroshops.com said that I should not toe in the surround speakers. He said that because the surrounds provide ambience and auxiliary effects, you don't want to toe them in to the sitting position. He said toeing in the surrounds will cause the surround effects to drown out the information coming from the mains and center speaker. This makes perfect sense. I was just wondering how others position their surrounds. By the way, I didn't have enough speaker wire tonight to connect one of the surrounds, so I can't do any listening tests at this point.
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  2. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    I understand why he would tell you that... but it's really a matter of personal taste. Dolby Labs will tell you to mount them directly in line with the listening area and 2-3 feet above ear level (to lessen localization and make the surrounds more ambient-sounding).
    A system with the surrounds toed toward the listening position can sound just great, so long as the levels of each speaker are calibrated with a SPL meter and a good calibration disc (Avia, VE, etc.). Otherwise, as that guy told you, the surrounds will overpower the front soundstage.
    If your stands are at about ear level, you might want to try pointing the speakers in different positions and see what you think. If you're sitting a few feet away from your back wall, you might like it with the surrounds toed toward the back wall (giving you a more enveloping sound from the reflection off the back wall and the tweeters being off-axis from your ear).
     
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Thanks for the replies. I realize that I will have to experiment to determine which placement works best.
    Scotty, I have direct-firing surrounds, not dipoles. One problem with my room that I will have to live with is that the surrounds are along a short wall, which means that one surround is in front of the wall, but the other one is not. The rear right surround has far more open space behind it than the rear left. There's nothing I can about that. Somehow, I'll make it work. It may be that I won't be able to position the surrounds symmetrically as a result of the short wall.
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  4. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    I've had my setup in three different homes and each has had its own peculiarities which forced various mounting of surrounds. First of all, I have directs.....I started out with mine on stands pointed at the SS and found that I (most of the time) kept them turned 2-3 db down. Then, I had them 6 ft up on the wall dirctly to the side of the SS angled down and ran them pretty much flat to 2 db up. Now I have them on the wall behind the SS, and fooling around with them has led me to set them slightly toed and angled. They don't fire directly at the SS, but just over it. I keep them about 2 db or so up.
    My mains are very strong so I seldom drown them out but I do like a lot of rear action. Of course, the amount of info going to the rears changes with most dvds.
    The wall mount behind the SS seems to be the most pleasing to me. They are set up with VE, spl meter and running through a Yammie 2095.
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  5. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Donny, thanks for sharing your experiences. The stands makes re-positioning the speakers very easy. They are fixed at 3' high, but I can change the angle. I realize that I can adjust the levels of the surround channel output on my receiver too. Thanks again.
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  6. Andrej Dolenc

    Andrej Dolenc Stunt Coordinator

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    Reading this thread makes me realize I gotta play around with my surrounds as well. Mine are directs as well. What I'm noticing, and this is more noticeable with DPL when watching TV, is that sweet spot for the rear channels is tiny. I mean move my head 6" left or right and it's noticeable. My setup is the couch and rear channels are up against the back wall of the room, toed in to fire a little in front of the couch.
    One thought that I had, and am curious if anyone has tried this, was to see how the setup sounded if I took the rears and pointed them towards the ceiling. Diffuse the sound from those speakers that way a bit. Anyone success stories?
    Andrej
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  7. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Andrej, I haven't tried this myself, but it could be an interesting experiment. Some people mount their surround from the ceiling to direct them down into the room, but why not try directing them in the opposite direction? All of the suggestions here sound reasonable to me since I am concerned about being overwhelmed by the surrounds. One thing I failed to mention about my set-up, which is probably common, is that my listening position is much closer to the surrounds than to the mains and center speaker. I guess my spot isn't so sweet, huh? [​IMG] Oh well. There is nothing I can do about it.
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  8. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    If you want to hear a unique mounting option... a friend of mine mounted bookshelf-sized surrounds ALL THE WAY IN THE CORNER, FLUSH WITH THE CEILING. They're still pointed straight along the wall, but he says this gives them a nice dispersion since the sound is reflecting both off the back wall and the ceiling. Although I thought it would, it actually doesn't sound half-bad in his room.
     
  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Jeremy, that is an interested route to take. It certainly keeps the surrounds out of the way in comparison to the way I have them on 3' stands. You know, it is often said that a subwoofer should be placed in the corner (on the floor, obviously [​IMG]) so that you benefit from reflections off the walls. I believe it has been said that placement of a subwoofer in a corner offers an 18-dB increase in measured bass output, presumably because placement elsewhere diffuses the sound. The flipside to this is that placement of a subwoofer in a corner can cause the bass to be boomy. One shouldn't have this problem with bookshelf surrounds mounted in the corner of the ceiling.
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  10. Barry_B_B

    Barry_B_B Second Unit

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    Keith and all,
    I have a set of inexpensive Atlantic Technology dipoles; they definitely sound best when positioned in the least possible direct position, even under DD situations. Main reason seems to be they are not a close timbre (?) match to my front three and my theater area is limited, plus my listening position is right against the rear wall. I plan to experiment more later in the year with this, but so far the rears sit directly off to the sides bouncing slightly off the back wall.
     

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