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Toe-ing in speakers? Do you or don't you? Why or Why not? (1 Viewer)

Chris PC

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I toe my speakers in for the following reasons:

1) Having them spaced apart about 64" tends to point both tweeters away from my listen position so I toe them in to aim more directly at the main listening position.

2) Sitting at either side retains more stereo imaging because of time intensity trading. For instance, when I sit to one side, or if someone else is sitting there, the speaker closests to that person is no longer aiming directly at them and the other speaker is aimed more towards them than if the speakers were not toed in. If you don't toe in your speakers and you sit in front of a speaker, that speaker is firing straight at you while the other speaker is firing way off axis. I find that toeing the speakers in gives you best on axis aiming for you main listening position and a good compromise when you are sitting at either side.

3) Less side reflections from the walls.

I have played with the degree of toeing in, but I find it generally works best the more precisely you have the speakers aimed directly at your central listening position. Lessening the toe in tends to make toeing in at all rather pointless. Seems like its all or nothing.

Consequently, I have also taken to slightly tilting my speakers upward a degree or two. I used to do this with my old two way Bostons and doing it with my PSB 6T's seems ok too. To accomplish this, I have only installed the feet on the front of my PSB 6T's. The idea behind this is to improve the phase relationship between the woofers and the tweeter. I'm not sure if it is necessary as perhaps the designer has already accounted for that. Also, I can't tilt them too much or the tweeters are no longer aimed decently at the central listening position. I also think I might reduce a bit of floor relection too, but not by a huge amount.

As a side note, depending how your room is set up, don't be afraid to point your speakers at slightly different angles than the standard flat orientation, in case furniture get in the way. Of course, you really should have a completely clear area in front of your speakers, but its not a perfect world. I know some people have couches sideways in front of their equipment and it wouldn't hurt to aim the speakers a bit to compensate. Its all in the tweaking.

Does anybody else toe in their speakers?
 

Vishwa Somayaji

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Jun 10, 2001
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I use the the AR-1 powered towers for the front and I do toe them in. I did not go too deep into the science behind it. It just felt more right!
 

Chris PC

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Yeah, there's no need for 'science' its true, but aiming the speakers more directly at you is pretty simple stuff to begin with. I just noticed the other stuff in the years after that seemed to be beneficial too :)
 

Justin Doring

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No, because the front baffles of my NHT 3.3s have a 15-degree toe-in built-in! :D
If I had standard front baffled speakers, however, I would certainly toe them in.
 

Saurav

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I have played with the degree of toeing in, but I find it generally works best the more precisely you have the speakers aimed directly at your central listening position. Lessening the toe in tends to make toeing in at all rather pointless. Seems like its all or nothing.
I think this might vary from room to room and speaker to speaker. With my current room and speakers, for instance, I find that pointing them directly at the listening position tends to limit the soundstage width to the speakers, while reducing the amount of toe-in allows the soundstage to go beyond the sides of the speakers. I usually play with toe-in until I get a good balance of center image fill (which increases with toe-in), and soundstage width (which decreases). All in my system, of course.
 

James Slade

Second Unit
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Nov 20, 2001
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Just a guess, actually I think I read a bit about this once on the Audio Ideas Guide website. I think when to toe in and how much might relate to the off-axis response of the speakers. This is what I seem to remember and it does sort of make some sense. Please let me know if this sounds silly to you.

Of course all that really matters is whad sounds good to you!
 

Todd_Michael_R

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Feb 21, 2002
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Interesting thread...

Just OOC, for those who do toe-in, how far apart are your speakers, how far is your sweet spot, and how much angle is the toe-in?

TIA,

Todd
 

Chris PC

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Actually, thats true, and my "all-or-nothing" statement does perhaps go a little far. Toe in seems to help my setup a little bit, so I like it. I guess the more off axis response you have, the wider the soundstage and the better the sweet spot without toe-ing in, so toe-ing in probably does depend on the speaker for sure.
 

Frank_S

Supporting Actor
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Oct 28, 1999
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Chris, how do you verify the toe-in and angle is equal for both speakers? I found that eyeballing them is very tough to get them close to each other in terms of their aim.
I pretty much took the guesswork out of toe-in and angle by using a laserlevel/pointer. I made a delrin holder to contain the pointer and installed 2 precision steel dowel pins in the fixture that line up with the rubber grommets at the top of my N804 speaker fronts. I simply place the small fixture with the laser pointer/level on each speaker and look to see where the laser hits the wall behind the sweet spot. Level the speaker before continuing.
I tape paper to the wall behind the sweet spot and place a small dot right where the laser hits the paper. I measure that distance from the sweet spot and mark the paper on the other side of the sweet spot the same distance. Then you level and toe-in the other speaker until the laser hits that spot and you're finished.
I realize this may be extreme for the masses but if you feel you need to know that your speakers are toed-in and level and equal distance from the sweet spot, I recommend you give it a try. There is a website that sells pretty elaborate tools to perform this process, I think Suarav might be able to give his input on this too since he was mentioned in the tweaks section of Stereophile Magazine several months ago regarding his laser pointer idea. :)
 

Chris Tsutsui

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Feb 1, 2002
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To measure my toe in I take each speaker, and measure the distance from the right rear edge to the wall. Then I measure the distance from the left rear edge to the wall.

If they are the same distances the toe is 0 degrees. I believe mine differ by like 1-2 inches. I just set both speakers the same way.

I toe in the speakers because I like the sound of the tweeters pointing more towards my ears.
 

Chris PC

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Yeah, I've been doing it by eye. I basically look at each speaker from where I am sitting and try to get them each aimed the same angle towards me :)
Eventually I will do it more precisely with a laser pointer or more precise measurements.
 

Bill_Weinreich

Second Unit
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Sep 25, 2000
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I found that with my Klipsch, I don't really need toe in. The horn tweeters have a rather wide pattern. Tried both butwith my minimal space, I had to place them that way.

Bill
 

Will Gatlin Jr

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Mar 7, 2002
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I use full range tower all the way around (7.2). I sit im my sweet spot and I angle all my spks until I can't see each side of the spk. For the rear, I turn around and do the same thing.
 

Jim_F

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May 15, 2000
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I toe-in my N805s (~6' apart, 8' from sweet spot) just a tiny, tiny bit. I perceive a nicely focused image this way. I do not like having the Nautilus tweeters aimed directly at my ears, though. I find that configuration to be unpleasantly "bright" and it also narrows the soundstage significantly.
 

John Desmond

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Nov 13, 2000
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I've found it helpful to use a mono voice recording to optimize the toe-in. Helps you make sure the voice is dead center. There's a Louie Armstrong song on "Sleepless in Seattle" that works very well for this.
 

Phil Iturralde

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No for CD Music & DVDs! Three reasons:
1) I sorta' followed Dolby Labs Figure 3-1 Typical 5.1-CH Room Layout (pg. 21) for my 20' x 30' w/10' vaulted ceiling HT/family room for both my previous JBL N24s and present JBL S26s.
2) Both JBL Speakers models have smooth, uniform response over the entire ±60° window (IN THE LABS note by Tom Nousaine - JBL 24s).
3) My setup is used mostly for group viewing** so I followed Dolby Labs 3.1 Front speaker placement - Figure 5B.
**Once or twice a month - Friday NITE DVDs w/family & friends - last group # = 7 (AVG) / highest group # last year = 20+ (Phantom Menace / Tarzan)
NOTE: Because my website is 'free', hosted by GeoCities, if too many HT enthusiasts visit, GeoCities will shut it down for an hour or so because it exceeded the specified 'freebie' Data Transfer Rate. Sorry about that, just bookmark it and visit my site an hour later or when everyone has gone to bed!
Phil
 

Chris PC

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May 12, 2001
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Interesting. I will continue to experiment but I still hold to my views about time-intensity trading. If you don't toe in the speakers at all, then when sitting directly in front of the side speakers creates a severely un-balanced stereo image of mostly that speaker. By toeing in the speakers, you retain a stereo image easier when sitting off center.
 

JoshS

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Jan 23, 2001
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hey everyone,

I don't toe in my speakers and the image and soundstage are fantastic.

I have Vandersteen model 1c's and the owners manual says not to toe them in. With the bases they use they're tilted back and fire straight forward,

I have tried to toe them in to see if the sound would improve but nothing seems to work better than straight ahead.

I think it's because of how the Vandies are designed, time and phase correct. I'm not sure exactly what this does but the sound is to die for.

Just thought I'd chime in on the subject.

Josh
 

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