What are speakers supposed to sound like?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by EdNichols, Jan 13, 2004.

  1. EdNichols

    EdNichols Second Unit

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    This may be one of the dumber questions that have come up on this forum but how do I know when I have my speakers toed in right and they sound like they are supposed to? Right now with music the singers voice is "suspended" between the speakers about 5 feet in front of me and the instruments are coming from the sides. Is this how it supposed to sound? If not, can I get the singer to "move" where he is singing directly in front or next to me? Something like headphones?
     
  2. Ryan Tsang

    Ryan Tsang Second Unit

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    Hard to say Ed. Different discs are mastered differently.
    Some speakers require more toe-in than others. Start with them pointing straight out, then toe them in a bit at a time. You should listen for vocals that seem to come from a spot right between the speakers (assuming a symmetical setup) without the soundstage shrinking too narrow. Find a balance that suits your taste, and repeat with a dozen or so discs. Some like a wide, sound everywhere presentation. I like a more focused/smaller/intimate presentation of a female vocalist singing in front of me. Too much toe-in might cause sound to be too forward and collapse of the soundstage.
     
  3. JakubH

    JakubH Stunt Coordinator

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    Personally I find the Chesky 'Ultimate Demonstration Disc' very useful for this purpose, it features minimalist recordings with a voice commentary before each track telling you what to listen for, and how to identify various problems. Just my $.02.
     
  4. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Ed, you want to get a good solid phantom center image from the sweetspot, but not so much that everything collapses to the center. I'd toe-in just until you've achieved that solid center image (most speakers require at least a bit of toe-in to really anchor it), but no more.

    I have a nearfield setup, and my speakers are toed-in so that they're both aimed at a spot behind my head (not directly at my face). But different rooms and different equipment means there's always variables, and slight changes in position make a big difference.

    (And, btw, if you've got 'em pushed up against the front wall, get 'em outta there! I need at least 3 ft from the wall to the front of my speaker baffles before I get good imaging and get rid of the bass boom. The closer to the wall, the more bass support you'll get, and this could be important if you're running tiny speakers with no sub. Again, slight changes in positioning can make a big difference. Experiment, experiment, experiment. Hint: get a good friend to do the lifting while you lounge in the sweetspot doing the listening!)
     
  5. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Yeah you aren't kidding! With early Beatles CDs it's supposed to be John and Paul on the right, drums and bass in both, guitars and other knick-knacks on left! (I might have switched vocals and instruments)
     

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