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Speaker Toe in and subwoofer phase big differences (1 Viewer)

Mike Up

Second Unit
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Dec 16, 2002
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416
I have 2 different HT systems. One in the living room and one in a media room/bedroom.

The living room has a large window and the subwoofer is on the opposite wall from the main speakers. The subwoofer is on the rear wall and is a front firing driver with a front slot port.

Since my speakers aren't separated a lot, I had stopped using toe in several years ago, to accomplish a bigger soundstage.

My media room speakers have a lot more furnishings that avoid reflections and the subwoofer is on the front wall next to the main speakers. The subwoofer is a bottom firing driver with a bottom firing round port.

First of all, toeing in my speakers has reduced a lot of reflections that actually made the speakers sound more energetic but less full especially in the living room by several fold. My soundstage actually may have improved despite expecting the opposite. The sounds are more detailed and articulate with a more specific placement out to the speakers and even a bit to the sides of them. This mainly on the living room system. The Media Room shown no difference in soundstage size but more detailed and articulate within the speakers. Both room speakers while not showing any signs of elevated treble output, seem to be more airy, detailed, and much more smooth. Most likely a result of less reflections.

Now the subwoofers on both systems seem to have more neutral upper bass response with the phase at 180 degrees. I could expect this from my subwoofer in the living room being on the opposite wall but not the Media Room subwoofer which is on the same wall, right next to the main speakers. All I can think is that the subwoofer is in-between the entertainment center and a bookshelf on that same wall and is creating reflections at 0 degrees and causing cancelations with the main speakers. Putting the phase at 180 degrees on both living room and media room systems, created more upper bass where the main speakers and subwoofer transition excellent. Otherwise at 0 degrees for both, there was a noticeable thinning of the bass at the crossover points.

Never had the time or free space from family to do this in depth as I have now where I can actually pinpoint the differences and correct for them.

The subwoofer phase and speaker toe in on both systems wasn't a minor change but a very large change in improving soundstage, imaging, and speaker/subwoofer transition.

Still very impressed with both system's Polk speakers which I had just received in the last few months. They have the neutral frequency response that doesn't add chestiness or over thinning of the voices. This helps a lot in movies and television with talking being more clearly heard. My wife had a hard time and didn't like my previous Infinity reference speakers which had a more predominant higher midrange, lower treble voicing that thinned male and female voices badly. After having the Polk speakers, the more natural character is really great. I'm enjoying music again.
 
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Dave Upton

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Mike,

I'm glad toe-in worked for you. It's almost always a good thing to have some toe-in. I generally put a line of tape on the floor that is parallel to the wall, and adjust toe-in about .25" at a time, until I get the best stereo image. You will be surprised how minor changes can make a large difference.

While position of your sub in room can often indicate how phase needs to be set, it's never quite that simple. If you have any digital delay in your system (Room Correction for example) this can cause a few ms of delay between sub and mains that can cause some of these issues and phase anomalies. Phase adjustment is the easiest way to fix egregious issues where subs are fighting the mains, but delay can help even more.

I always recommend folks correct phase and time alignment if they want an optimal experience. If your receiver has a distance adjustment for the subwoofer, I'd recommend adjusting that value up or down 2-3 feet at a time and repeat your listening test (or even better, measure with REW) until you get the best response.
 

Mike Up

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 16, 2002
Messages
416
Mike,

I'm glad toe-in worked for you. It's almost always a good thing to have some toe-in. I generally put a line of tape on the floor that is parallel to the wall, and adjust toe-in about .25" at a time, until I get the best stereo image. You will be surprised how minor changes can make a large difference.

While position of your sub in room can often indicate how phase needs to be set, it's never quite that simple. If you have any digital delay in your system (Room Correction for example) this can cause a few ms of delay between sub and mains that can cause some of these issues and phase anomalies. Phase adjustment is the easiest way to fix egregious issues where subs are fighting the mains, but delay can help even more.

I always recommend folks correct phase and time alignment if they want an optimal experience. If your receiver has a distance adjustment for the subwoofer, I'd recommend adjusting that value up or down 2-3 feet at a time and repeat your listening test (or even better, measure with REW) until you get the best response.
Thanks!

I don't use any room correction. I found Audyssey to be detrimental to the sound quality by making it compressed, harsh, and bright sounding compared to not using it.

I have measured out all my speakers and entered that for delay. I originally had my phase on both system's subwoofers correct but played with them to confirm. Adjusting a few feet +/- for delay is a good suggestion. I've done that in the past and didn't see any real differences but each time speakers get repositioned could change that.

The way my seating position is to the speakers, I don't need to angle them much to aim directly at me. I wish I could separate both system's main speakers further apart, but I don't have that luxury. I'd say both system's speakers are angled in by 17 to 20 degrees. This is the reason why I had my speakers aim straight toward the opposite wall, to widen the soundstage. With the speakers perpendicular to the front wall and aiming straight at the rear wall, I realized I could be getting standing waves that interfere more so with the sound quality. Toeing the speakers in didn't affect the soundstage in either system but made the speakers more detailed (not brighter), with better imaging, and more smooth.

Thanks for the advise, maybe I'll re-experiment with subwoofer distance. However right now, both systems sound remarkable. My Polk TL1600 system sounds so good, if you close your eyes, you'd expect normal sized speakers. Sound is great but you loose some output decibels. Many of your higher end, larger speakers have sensitivity just as low however..
 

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