I tried that golden ratio speaker placement...WOW!

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by 89grand, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. 89grand

    89grand Banned

    Yeah, it's nuts. Friday after I did the calculations I thought, hmmm, that's going to put the speakers way forward. After I moved them to that position and saw just how much closer they were to the seating position (about 6 feet vs 10 or more before), I thought, they're going to sound like they're right in your face, this is going to sound like shit.

    I fired them up and thought WTF...they sound further away than they are, the sound stage has depth I've never even approached before, and the tonal balance is considerably better as well. I played two mono recordings from Elvis, I Got Stung, and King Creole, and I would have bet money that the sound was coming not from the mains, but the center channel that is about 3.5 feet further back behind the mains. I kept listening to it, trying to detect the mains and I couldn't. The image was so centered and deep that 9 out of 10 people would have bet money it was the center speaker that was actually playing.

    It's bizarre that speaker placement can change things to this degree.

    I might have to check out those Maggie MMG's after all, because they wouldn't even need to be as far out in the room, the calculator says about 10" less. Plus they're easier to move then the JBL's.:scratch2:
  2. tomlinmgt

    tomlinmgt AK Subscriber Subscriber


    Couple of things....

    One, a few have mentioned acoustic treatments. Some absorption in the right places (on wall behind speakers and at first reflection on side walls) will give you back much of the improvements you lose when you move the speakers to a more "liveable" position. I see you have none...you really should give very,very strong consideration to getting some panels up. I've yet to hear of one person who didn't hear a noticeable improvement in all the areas you mentioned you experienced an improvement in after they put up some absorption panels. And most of them just kept the speakers right where they'd always had them. On the front wall behind the speakers is a great place to start.

    Second, as far as the MMGs go I have a set and have done much research and experimentation wrt their placement. The only way you can get away with getting the planar dipole magic from them without having them at least three feet out from the front wall is if you get some deliberate diffusion behind them. By saying "deliberate diffusion" I mean real diffusion panels....either commercially available units or something you build yourself. I built a pair of five feet tall by three feet wide diffusion panels to place about two feet behind my MMGs and it was like I put a much better Maggie model in place of the MMGs after I situated the panels behind them. I have a thread detailing the construction of the panels and the effect they had. The diffusion panels do wonders for my dipole Infinity QLS-1's as well.

    - Michael
  3. 89grand

    89grand Banned

    Some non-unsightly room treatments would definitely be a plus. I've looked into it quite a bit. I really wish I had a dedicated listening room where I could put speakers and treatments wherever I wanted without causing any issues.

    Like in my living room, I cannot keep the speakers where they are now, full time, it just wouldn't work with the general space or with movies. Treatments could present a problem as well. Behind the speakers would be fairly easy, but the side reflections may not. If the first reflection happens to be where a window is, I can't cover the window with anything. Or on the other wall, it may be where furniture is and has to stay put.

    I need to make some measurements and see just how much I can really do in this room.

    If I ever buy some MMG's, I'd probably use a traditional speaker for my movies, and leave the MMG's off to the side against the wall when not listening to music being as thin as they are, then just bring them out when I wanted to listen to them.
  4. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

    Heavy curtains work pretty well for windows. You close them while listening.
  5. Copa1934

    Copa1934 My ears are bleeding Subscriber

    Check the link again. I could swear it touches on this, uses a different multiplier. I could be wrong, but thought I read it there.
  6. spkrdtr

    spkrdtr spkrfixer Subscriber

    So, who's right, George Cardas or Jim Smith?
    Who's Jim Smith? He's the auther of the book 'Get Better Sound'. http://www.getbettersound.com/ (I have no personal iffiliation).
    Jim's a consultant who's done 100's of room installs of 2-channel systems - many for high end audio gear companies doing demos at audio shows. What he preaches in his tip #77 is instead of an equilateral triangle espoused by Cardas that the leg between the speakers be 83% of the equal distances between the listener and the speakers. He does mention that 'some compaines recomend an equilateral triangle. But goes on to provide ways to test and optimize the distance between the speakers. Smith's book goes into much detail about setting up a room for optimum acoustics enjoyment.
    It appears that Cardas takes a different approach in setting the speaker/listener interface from Smith. Whereas, Cardas locates the speakers using the golden mean formula based on the series 5,8, & 13 and THEN plunks the listener down equidistant from the speakers the same distance that the speakers end up apart after applying the 0.618 X Back wall distance, Smith locates the listener position first in a place that minimizes room mode effects (tip #76) and then the speakers are place roughly 8-10 feet (X) from the listener and .83 times whatever X is.
    I'm going to try both techniques with my speaker set up in my 13 foot sq. room and report back what I've found.
  7. craig25

    craig25 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    These posts have the ring of truth. I did the calc's and put a mark on the floor. Tomorrow I'll move some things around and check the WAF. Do three leather couches in a 13 by 19' listening room count as bass traps?
  8. Wes_in_VA

    Wes_in_VA AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I tried all the applicable Cardas methods and none are doable in either my main living room seteup or my listening room/mancave.
    'Course, I have considered swapping the living room system so that the stereo is along the short wall and not the long, but it would involve a considerable amount of work and a major amount of consideration from the WAF: the speakers would need to be 5' out into the room.
    But still...:scratch2:
    I think it's time to read the Smith book and see what he has to say.
  9. 89grand

    89grand Banned

    I will say I got some improvements just from switching my room around 90 degrees recently, going from the long wall to the short wall.

    If that's doable, I'd at least try that.
  10. Gang-Twanger

    Gang-Twanger Resident Wharfedaliophool Subscriber

    That's funny... I trial-and-error'd my way to the Jim Smith approach and didn't even know it... Only took me 3 years. :D I'll tell ya though... Once I found that sweet spot, it was like hitting a switch. Suddenly everything became three-dimensional and open.
  11. jn229

    jn229 Super Member

    Tried this golden ratio tonight, (think I’ve tried it before) with my room it means my chair is a mere 63” away from the speakers. Sitting in my chair the placement seems wrong, way to close (I’ve been using Jim Smith’s ratio). Looking on from the other end of the room the system has a nice balanced appearance; but then it is the golden ratio. When listening the sound stage is very tight in accuracy and is extending beyond the outer edge of the speakers. Sound stage depth is not as great as before. The tonal structure top to bottom is spot on. When sitting this close the music can get in your face and seem over powering at times.

    Gaining knowledge on how your speaker performs within your unique room characteristics is beneficial. My speakers use stands, so I’m also playing with height and tilt. Seems like it tis never ending fiddling, but got to admit it is fun!
  12. Gang-Twanger

    Gang-Twanger Resident Wharfedaliophool Subscriber

    Maybe certain speakers don't work with that method. It totally-worked for me (except that now my speakers are sitting on their sides, another thing that does not work for all speakers). Or perhaps you need to use that ratio with bigger distances. Some speakers don't do well with semi-nearfield placement.
  13. 89grand

    89grand Banned

    I'm deviating a bit, in that I'm a bit further back from the speakers than the speakers distance from each other, but it works great that way.

    I'm not too sure any distance has to be exact. When I first set it up and listened Friday night, I had measured wrong and my speakers were about 10-12" closer to the back wall than recommended, and it still sounded really good, nearly the same as now, even though I moved them out more to the exact spot they are "supposed" to be in, they sound only slightly better than the wrong measured position.
  14. Gang-Twanger

    Gang-Twanger Resident Wharfedaliophool Subscriber

    I had good results with both equilateral and with the listening spot being a couple feet farther away than the speakers are from each other, but it seems like a great general idea for someone to try if they want better sound. I needed to break out the tape measure and make sure all my distances were correct, but it really-helped (The W60E's are finicky like that, however, the W90's are MUCH-easier to place and don't seem to suffer from the same limitations in terms of positioning.
  15. 89grand

    89grand Banned

    I'm pretty close to a equilateral triangle, but not quite. I'm less than a foot further back than the speaker center to center distance.

    This sounds so much better, that I think I could sell a pair of Thrusters if I did the demo in this configuration Lol!
  16. jn229

    jn229 Super Member

    New day, grass cut, G-jobs all caught up, time to rest and listen. The speakers are set to the golden ratio, last night I found the listening position to close. So, the system is warm, the beer cold and my listening chair is inching away from the speakers till the best results are achieved. At this point a decision as to whether the speakers remain here or I spread them apart again. Did I mention the cold beer(-:
  17. spkrdtr

    spkrdtr spkrfixer Subscriber

    I guess a 3rd option to try is a combination of Cardas' Fibonachi series with Smith's un-equilateral triangle. Thus, position the speakers per Cardas' method, measure the resultant distance between the cabinet centerlines and divide by 0.83 and that becomes the distance you sit from each speaker. After doing that, you then can experiment with different toe-ins. :thmbsp:
  18. Gang-Twanger

    Gang-Twanger Resident Wharfedaliophool Subscriber

    Good point. I would have my W60E's toe'd out quite a bit rather than pointing straight at me. Hey, wow, I just realized that they're not toe'd in OR out right now. They're just pointing straight back at the wall behind me. How 'bout that. I didn't even notice that I never toe'd them when I flipped them on their sides. I'll have to see if there's room to toe them in a bit, but you lose that room when you flip them like that. Still, they sound great pointing straight back. Wide and seamless. Not the case when they're sitting vertically. There I prefer them toe'd in towards the listener a bit.

    *EDIT* - Nope. I just tried toe'ing them in a bit, but they sound best pointing straight back (or with very-little toe-in at all, which is how I have them right now after trying different spots for a bit. These really do make great bookshelf speakers like they said... If I had a bookshelf big enough and wide enough, I could place one speaker at each end and just point it straight back. Pretty-cool.

    It's funny how the audiophile thing changes a person. I mean, I'm listening to Kraftwerk's "Autobahn" right now. There's gotta' be something really-wrong with that.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2012
  19. tomlinmgt

    tomlinmgt AK Subscriber Subscriber

    :nono: Yeah, and your method for data collection just became tainted! Been there, done that. As a matter of fact, I pretty much always collect my data under similar circumstances. :beer: :D
  20. jdwk

    jdwk AK Subscriber Subscriber

    question: I have 5 large leslie dame cd racks down one long wall of the listening room (I have about 6000 cd's there is no other way to have it) it basically creates a "wall" that is about 7 inches closer than the real wall...do I mesure from the spines of the cds or put the tape measure between one of the gaps in the rack and still count the part the cd shelves occupy?

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