How far to space front speakers

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JohnMW, Jan 3, 2002.

  1. JohnMW

    JohnMW Second Unit

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    I have a Hitachi 53" 16:9 HDTV and the Klipsch RF3 II's. I currently have them 3.5ft from each side of the TV. Is this bad? Should they be toed in?
     
  2. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    The standard audio setup is to measure the distance away from the screen that you will sit. Then space your speakers 2/3 of that.
    So -
    If you sit 15 feet from the screen, the speakers should be 10 feet apart.
    Suit to taste, and many rooms prevent this.
    Tweak so that it souds best, there is no 'definite'.
    - CM
    [​IMG]
     
  3. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    Oh yeah, and toe in if you like. I've heard NO for home theater, YES for music. I cheat in just a bit, but my speakers sound best that way.

    I had another set that sounded best aimed directly at my head.

    Tweak. Over and over again.
     
  4. Shawn Shultzaberger

    Shawn Shultzaberger Supporting Actor

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    I use Klipsch KM4's. They are about 6.5' apart and are towed in just slightly. My living room dictates that I sit 7' away from the TV.

    I used to have them towed in a lot so that when playing stereo music it sounded like it was coming directly from the TV about 5' away. While using my AVIA setup disk I tried not towing them in as much and definitely prefer the sound this way. The sound is now more spacious and enveloping.

    My set up is 70%HT/30%Music

    The Klipsch just don't need to be towed in as much because of their horns.
     
  5. Scott-C

    Scott-C Supporting Actor

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    I had similar results when experimenting with the degree of toe-in on my speakers (DefTech BP10). I found that the more I toed them in, the more the soundstage collapsed. So, I went the other way and pointed them straight forward. Major improvement! After more exerimentation, I ended up toeing them in ever so slightly (barely).

    BTW, another thing you may want to consider, if you haven't already, is pulling the front speakers forward so that they are forward of the plane of your RPTV. This will help to minimize reflections off the sides of that nice big TV and may improve clarity. I have mine about 6" forward of my Mits 65" HDTV and really like the way it sounds.
     
  6. Steve Russell

    Steve Russell Stunt Coordinator

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    More important than the distance apart is the distance from any nearby walls-walls can really screw up the sound. I have my mains about 3 feet from the nearest wall(sides or behind) that puts them about 6 feet apart. I only use a tiny bit of toe-in as I feel that(in my setup) it narrows the soundstage.
     
  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Dont get too obsessed about how far apart. With only 2 speakers for music, good placement and toe-in to create a phantom image is important. But with a HT speaker set, you have a series of 5-6 speakers and you WANT them to draw your attention left/center/right as sounds move around.
    Try to place them roughly 45 degrees out from the center and then adjust to try and get the 2-3 feet of clearance from any large reflecting side walls/surfaces. (Mine are about 30 degrees out and the sound fine. This is just a guideline).
    Toe In: The main reasons to toe-in a speaker are:
    - reduce side-wall reflections
    - create an image
    - create a wide "sweet spot"
    Since each speaker has a different "throw pattern" of sound, it's hard to tell you how much toe-in will sound good with your speakers.
    It boils down to roughly 3 different ammounts:
    Plan A: Toe the L/R speakers in so the sound from each will intersect about a foot in front of the primary listening position. This is the traditional "Music" arrangement.
    Plan B: Toe the L/R speakers so the sound from each will intersect exactly on the primary listening position.
    Plan C: Toe the L/R speakers so the sound from each will intersect 1-2 feet behind the primary listening position. (This is how mine are setup).
    Pop in a favorite/typical movie and try all 3 and decide for yourself which sounds best. Hint: disconnect the center/rear speakers to focus on just the L/R sound.
    A inexpensive laser pointer is a handy tool to use. Just fire the beam, hold the pen along the side of the speaker to see where it is pointing. Hint: Roll the laser pen on a flat surface and notice the spot on the wall. If the beam is aligned with the body, the spot will not make circles and this pen will be a good one for alignment chores.
    Note: Each time you adjust the speaker toe-in, grab the SPL meter and check the levels. Some speakers have a very narrow/tight sound field so a few degree angle change can make a LARGE difference in the volume at the center position.
    Hope this helps. [​IMG]
     
  8. Jason Wolters

    Jason Wolters Stunt Coordinator

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    According to the Avia DVD...

    The fronts should not be spaced farther apart than the width of the screen. In other words place them right up against the televeision.
     
  9. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    That sounds crazy. Maybe they think it's a video-only system. Real-world use seems to dictate otherwise...
     
  10. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Well I understand the Avia theory: if you have L/R sounds matching action on the screen, you want the sound to originate as close as possible to the video image. This dictates putting the L/R speakers right along side the TV.
    Personally, I like the extra width in the soundfield as sounds move to the L/R speakers to draw my attention to the side of the screen. The only problem is you dont want a sonic "hole" between the center and L or R speaker as sounds move.
    A good movie that sends dialog to the L/R speakers when the actors are on the edge of the screen is Star Trek:Insurrection. Fire up one of the outdoor scenes with a group of actors, put it in a A-B repeat loop and turn off the TV. Then just listen to the sounds and the transitions. If the sound "jumps" from center to the side, you need to toe in your speakers some more or move them closer to the TV.
    Hope this helps.
     
  11. Jason Wolters

    Jason Wolters Stunt Coordinator

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    Another good example is in "A Bug's Life." The little ant has a homebrew device for chopping down plants, it basically looks like a wheel barrow with a rotating blade on the end. With my mains anywhere than right up against the TV, the sound of the rotating blade does not match where it should be if all things were propotional. THe way is sounds with the speakers spaced far away makes the object FAR longer than it actually is.

    If you are in a movie where you are running an electric knife to cut the Turkey and the camera, puts your blade just off of the screen to the left, than it will sound a little strange to hear the electric blade 3 feet to the left of the screen, when we can plainly see the camera has only moved a few inches.... This makes GOOD sense to me.
     
  12. Martin Rendall

    Martin Rendall Screenwriter

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    To complicate the question, what if you want a fairly "wide" sweet spot?

    As an example, my 3 chair sofa sits say 10 feet from the screen. The speakers are about 7 feet apart, and the width of the sofa is, say 6 feet.

    Now what?

    Thanks,

    martin.
     
  13. Jason Wolters

    Jason Wolters Stunt Coordinator

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    Again, I think you want to match the sound to the screen. Forget about the room. You want there to be a natural sound movement from left to right. I have my Fronts about 2' away on each side. I would like them closer, but I can't get them that way due to domestic reasons.[​IMG]
     
  14. Michael Cook

    Michael Cook Stunt Coordinator

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  15. BruceD

    BruceD Screenwriter

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    Well, I tend to think the opposite to the following quote because I also like to use my system for music. Forgetting about the room is dooming your sound system to mediocrity or worse.

    quote:

    --------------------------------------------------------

    "Again, I think you want to match the sound to the screen. Forget about the room."

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Most speakers have certain room positions where they sound best, most need to have some air around them, i.e. not up against a wall, TV, or cabinet. So experiment with position and toe-in to optimize yours.

    The recommendation to pull the main left and right speakers out in front of the TV screen's or cabinet's front edge is also a good one.

    I have a 36" direct view TV and my speakers are 7-8' apart, 18" out in front on the TV screen, and they have no problem accurately representing the soundscape intended by the director.

    BruceD
     
  16. MichaelG

    MichaelG Second Unit

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    The comments about toe-in reminds me about the speakers I ended up buying, the M&K 750THX system. These speakers are really designed for Home Theater and they have a built in toe-in for the tweeter only. So with something like that you have to face the speakers directly forward. The tweeters face slightly towards the center (based on L/R) and they sound excellent.
     

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