L/R placement: which is better... too close together or too far apart?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff Meininger, Jun 12, 2002.

  1. Jeff Meininger

    Jeff Meininger Second Unit

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    Our living room has a very odd shape (probably a good thing for HT acoustics), and it's making speaker placement difficult.

    Basically, the viewer's head is about 11 feet away from the TV and center channel. The front speakers can either be 17 feet apart, or 5 feet apart. If they're 17 feet apart, their height relative to the center channel on top of the TV will be perfect. If I position them 5 feet apart (either side of the TV), they will be about 2 feet closer to the ground than the center channel, and set back behind the TV screen surface by about 3 feet.

    I have a bit more flexibility with the rears. Should I space them as wide apart as the fronts if I go the 17-foot route, or should I move them in a bit closer to the sides of the couch?

    With such a wide setup and short distance to the TV, I should use some pretty crazy toe-in for the fronts, correct?

    Thanks!!!
     
  2. BrianWoerndle

    BrianWoerndle Supporting Actor

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    17' is a really big distance. If you use the 5' they will be close enough to the TV that you might get distortion if they are unsheilded. If they are shielded then I would go with the 5'.
    If you have to go with the 17', you have a lot of distance to overcome. Make sure that they are toed in towards the listening area, and that you calibrate them with a SPL meter. You are probably going to have to turn your center and rears way down to get them to sound equal with the fronts. If your reciever has delay settings, turn them to the most delay as well, so the sound from the center channel doesn't beat the fronts. You will lose imaging that far apart, but you should be able to overcome the other problems if you carefully calibrate them.
    Good Luck.
     
  3. Jeff Meininger

    Jeff Meininger Second Unit

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    Good advice. Just to clarify, there is 17' between the speakers... the speakers are not each 17' from the TV (more like 7' to the edge of the screen). That's still a big distance compared with most photos I've seen of other people's setups.

    The speakers are not shielded... I guess that really leaves me only the far-apart option. Bummer.
     
  4. Kevin Parker

    Kevin Parker Stunt Coordinator

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  5. ChrisAG

    ChrisAG Supporting Actor

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    Another issue to consider in the 17' option: how close will the speakers be to the side walls? If they are less than 2' away, reflections may be a problem, even if you toe in the speakers. I had the same problem as you (though to a much lesser extent, going from 9' apart to 6'), and having the speakers closer together resulted in noticably superior sound.

    If possible you should try it both ways to see what sounds best.
     
  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    you'll have to do it both ways and see which sounds better to you.
    i would imagine going with the further distance. if the speakers are too close you won't get any separation or imaging - everything will seem to come from one source.
    separating them out (even excessively so) will allow for the soundstage to develop. properly calibrating your system (including level, delay and distance) should help.
    again, you'll have to test for sure...
     
  7. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    Depends a lot on the speakers and the volume at which you play them. Like Ted says, placing them too close together will mean you don't get much soundstage width. However, placing them too far apart could make the center image fill (in stereo, not counting the center channel) disappear, especially at lower volumes. This will result in all the sound appearing to come from the speakers.

    Try both and see, that's the only way to know.
     

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