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Room acoustics. Positioning speakers on a diagonal, rather than conventional placement


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Didn't mean to post twice, I think this is the correct forum for this post.

 

I am not sure what size room I may end up with yet, but I'm intrigued about the idea of placing speakers on a diagonal, that is, with their back side facing a corner of the room, rather than one of the short walls. Decware has an article the describes this.
DECWARE - Article about Setting up a Listening Room without Treatments

 

I've seen some folks post photos of their listening rooms that are set up this way. Theoretically, you can get better imaging and better overall staging in a relatively small room.

 

Thinking through a couple of configurations will help me figure which room might be best in my house, and what modifications may be required. (another interesting concept is using a closet as a bass trap).

 

Anyone using this 'diagonal' configuration? What is your experience.

 

 

 

 

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I have in the past when I had a particularly small listening room. It worked great. Here are some comments from another thread on this exact subject! I believe it works well...

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f23-dsp-room-correction-and-multi-channel-audio/basic-room-correction-20430/index2.html#post321262

 

Best,

John

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

Synology DS213+ NAS -> Auralic Vega w/Linear Power Supply -> Auralic Vega DAC (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> XLR -> Auralic Taurus Pre -> XLR -> Pass Labs XA-30.5 power amplifier (on 4" maple and 4 Stillpoints) -> Hawthorne Audio Reference K2 Speakers in MTM configuration (Symposium Jr HD rollerball isolation) and Hawthorne Audio Bass Augmentation Baffles (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> Bi-amped w/ two Rythmic OB plate amps) -> Extensive Room Treatments (x2 SRL Acoustics Prime 37 diffusion plus key absorption and extensive bass trapping) and Pi Audio Uberbuss' for the front end and amplification

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Mine is on a diagonal:

 

Fortuitously, the only reasonable way to set up the speakers in our living room is on the 45° diagonal, flanking our fireplace:

 

1071-living-room-photographed-listening-position-fireplace-and-speakers-are-one-corner-room-i-e-45%B0-angle-walls-left-and-right.JPG

 

 

I remember reading about this trick (after the fact) in Jim Smith's book, but was mystified until I read the Decware guy's explanation. Thanks for posting it.

 

Since I have not had it set up any other way, I don't know how much it helps, but to me it sounded better than a lot of those hotel room displays at audio shows, even for much more expensive equipment.

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I quote Inferno and Wgscott,

 

an asymmetrical and diagonal placement of the speakers (provided that they are symmetrical with reference to the listening point) can be advantageous and will smoothen the bass response.

 

Flavio

Warning: My posts may be biased even if in good faith, I work for Dirac Research :-)

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I quote Inferno and Wgscott,

 

an asymmetrical and diagonal placement of the speakers (provided that they are symmetrical with reference to the listening point) can be advantageous and will smoothen the bass response.

 

Flavio

 

All very helpful. I would definitely try Dirac after I get my room setup. Most of the diagonal room setups seem to be in rooms that are most often relatively small, and not a lot longer than they are wide. If I am able to use the longer, larger room in our home, I might consider building a bass trap / closet at one end to reduce the ratio of length, and then configure diagonal speaker placement.

 

I found the ray tracing diagram in the Decware article very compelling. I wish there were some tools to help model these things, so you could narrow down to a few configs that have highest probability of meeting your needs before you get everything set up in the room. That way, you could determine if you need to do some remodeling in advance, rather than very laborious trial and error work.

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What must be kept in mind with regard to diagonal setup, particularly in the absence of acoustic treatments, is that such placement, the system is then focused on what is effectively a bass horn (the corner) in between and behind the speakers. This is audible, to say the least. (Stand in the corner between the speakers to hear an even more pronounced version of this. Then go back to the listening position and note how that "color", while certainly less than in the corner, of course, is still prevalent.)

 

Now some may *like* what they hear in such an arrangement and I'd never argue with whatever brings anyone their listening pleasure.

I just think there are considerably better ways to set up a system, which will - at least to my ears - be far more effective at getting the room and system to "disappear". I'm speaking purely from a standpoint regarding hearing *past* the system (and room) all the way to the recording - with no consideration for convenience. Of course, in some situations, where the room must serve multiple purposes, the user may have no other option.

 

As always, just my perspective.

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

The Soundkeeper | Audio, Music, Recording, Playback

Barry Diament Audio

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What if that corner is filled in with a big stone fireplace?

 

Hi wgscott,

 

The corner is still the "mouth" of the horn. And the stone is a reflective surface too.

 

With a wide "corner", there is the larger whole, along with two additional "corners", close to the speakers.

Of course, in a multipurpose room, this may be the only option.

(Though I'd probably still want to seek and try alternatives myself.)

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

The Soundkeeper | Audio, Music, Recording, Playback

Barry Diament Audio

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I agree that massive amounts of bass trapping is very pleasurable for the room (it cuts down the bass modes, reduces ringing (RT60), and if placed correctly, can help with first reflections (as a secondary benefit after corners are treated). This helps the detail be heard much more clearly.

 

That said, I like to add extra levels of diffusion if lots of bass trapping is used (to keep the room dynamic). But if you can't add extensive room treatments, the diagonal can help (I believe primarily with the first reflections). Presumably, adding DIRAC can help with the bass modes from the room "horn" that you describe.

 

Since DIRAC addresses bass modes but not first reflections, this is a rational solution in an untreated room. Kind of dealing with each of the issues as separate concerns. I don't have DIRAC yet so I can't comment...but understand it is very good under 500 Hz. The only thing not addressed would be RT60 times in such a setup...

 

Best,

John

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

Synology DS213+ NAS -> Auralic Vega w/Linear Power Supply -> Auralic Vega DAC (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> XLR -> Auralic Taurus Pre -> XLR -> Pass Labs XA-30.5 power amplifier (on 4" maple and 4 Stillpoints) -> Hawthorne Audio Reference K2 Speakers in MTM configuration (Symposium Jr HD rollerball isolation) and Hawthorne Audio Bass Augmentation Baffles (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> Bi-amped w/ two Rythmic OB plate amps) -> Extensive Room Treatments (x2 SRL Acoustics Prime 37 diffusion plus key absorption and extensive bass trapping) and Pi Audio Uberbuss' for the front end and amplification

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Hi John,

 

Indeed, properly designed and implemented cylindrical traps can address room modes (the fundamentals from the corners, the first harmonics from the midpoints, and the second harmonics from the quarter points) and early reflections, and also provide diffusion for late reflections. In my experience, one device, in sufficient quantities, does it all and does it quite well.

 

As to the "horn" and the issues it engenders, like all room issues, it is based in time. Only some of the symptoms manifest in the amplitude domain. And these exist outside of the loudspeakers, in the room itself. Hence, I always say that attempting to address a time-based problem (in the room) with an amplitude-based approach (changing the amplitude response of the loudspeakers) is very much like attempting to fix a broken arm by wearing a different hat. ;-}

 

To my ears, such "remedies" don't remove the first problem, they add a second one: now the response from the speakers is skewed. What is heard (at least by this listener) is not the algebraic summation of the two amplitude errors, it is the two distinct amplitude errors. And the original time-based problem remains. I'm very much for addressing any problem at its source, not at its symptoms. (If someone who has not eaten in too long suffers from a bad headache, the answer is not aspirin, it is food.)

 

Just my perspective, of course. (I understand others hear it differently.)

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

The Soundkeeper | Audio, Music, Recording, Playback

Barry Diament Audio

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Is the following about right?

1) the room becomes part of the speakers, so positioning the speakers and treating the room are like working on an extended speaker cabinet?

2) whereas a totally dampened room would tend to behave like near field speakers where the room has little/no effect on any reflections, but room dimensions would still have an effect,

3) and that in either case, tools like Dirac can still be very helpful.

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I just read through some of Barry (bdiament)'s articles on his website - some of the best summaries I've seen - very concise, comprehensive and provide very helpful explanations

 

I concur. Also, his blog is excellent and insightful and invites one into experiences we would not be privy to, or at least I have not been. Enlightening auditorily speaking?

 

Best,

Richard

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I just read through some of Barry (bdiament)'s articles on his website - some of the best summaries I've seen - very concise, comprehensive and provide very helpful explanations

 

Link please.

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Hi John,

 

Indeed, properly designed and implemented cylindrical traps can address room modes (the fundamentals from the corners, the first harmonics from the midpoints, and the second harmonics from the quarter points) and early reflections, and also provide diffusion for late reflections. In my experience, one device, in sufficient quantities, does it all and does it quite well.

 

As to the "horn" and the issues it engenders, like all room issues, it is based in time. Only some of the symptoms manifest in the amplitude domain. And these exist outside of the loudspeakers, in the room itself. Hence, I always say that attempting to address a time-based problem (in the room) with an amplitude-based approach (changing the amplitude response of the loudspeakers) is very much like attempting to fix a broken arm by wearing a different hat. ;-}

 

To my ears, such "remedies" don't remove the first problem, they add a second one: now the response from the speakers is skewed. What is heard (at least by this listener) is not the algebraic summation of the two amplitude errors, it is the two distinct amplitude errors. And the original time-based problem remains. I'm very much for addressing any problem at its source, not at its symptoms. (If someone who has not eaten in too long suffers from a bad headache, the answer is not aspirin, it is food.)

 

Just my perspective, of course. (I understand others hear it differently.)

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

The Soundkeeper | Audio, Music, Recording, Playback

Barry Diament Audio

 

Barry,

 

I appreciate your ideas very much. I am a big proponent of physical room treatments (as you know already from several threads) so please don't take my comments as "computer and/or room layouts are better than good speaker placement and smart room treatments" as that is not my belief. I do believe that not everyone can lay out their rooms "properly" or their rooms are significantly challenging due to size and/or shape, or that they can't (or significant others won't) add adequate levels of room treatment. In these cases, I think folks ought to try different techniques and settle on what sounds best to them...it is truly a personal taste issue in my mind. Trying different things leads to greater understanding (which is why I am encouraging people to turn their speakers 180 degrees and listen to the reflections to really "hear" what those sounds sound like).

 

That said, I read some of your blogs today and as a result am experimenting with a different layout of some of my key room treatments. I have to say that my early impressions are favorable. I have an "L" shaped room and The deep part is to my left and behind me and the narrow part is to my right. I had diffusion on the near wall to the right and absorption on the deep, far wall to the left. Reading your comments on diffusion in one of your blogs caused me to change my absorption to the near, right wall and the diffusion to the far, deep left wall. This has resulted in a wider, deeper (and more importantly) smoother soundstage. I am will listen for a month or so before I make final judgements but my first impressions are favorable. Regardless of if I keep it as is or change it back, thank you for sharing your thought process as it can really help others (like me) understand our rooms better. They challenge me to try new configurations and really listen to the room.

 

Best,

John

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

Synology DS213+ NAS -> Auralic Vega w/Linear Power Supply -> Auralic Vega DAC (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> XLR -> Auralic Taurus Pre -> XLR -> Pass Labs XA-30.5 power amplifier (on 4" maple and 4 Stillpoints) -> Hawthorne Audio Reference K2 Speakers in MTM configuration (Symposium Jr HD rollerball isolation) and Hawthorne Audio Bass Augmentation Baffles (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> Bi-amped w/ two Rythmic OB plate amps) -> Extensive Room Treatments (x2 SRL Acoustics Prime 37 diffusion plus key absorption and extensive bass trapping) and Pi Audio Uberbuss' for the front end and amplification

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Barry,

 

I appreciate your ideas very much. I am a big proponent of physical room treatments (as you know already from several threads) so please don't take my comments as "computer and/or room layouts are better than good speaker placement and smart room treatments" as that is not my belief. I do believe that not everyone can lay out their rooms "properly" or their rooms are significantly challenging due to size and/or shape, or that they can't (or significant others won't) add adequate levels of room treatment. In these cases, I think folks ought to try different techniques and settle on what sounds best to them...it is truly a personal taste issue in my mind. Trying different things leads to greater understanding (which is why I am encouraging people to turn their speakers 180 degrees and listen to the reflections to really "hear" what those sounds sound like).

 

That said, I read some of your blogs today and as a result am experimenting with a different layout of some of my key room treatments. I have to say that my early impressions are favorable. I have an "L" shaped room and The deep part is to my left and behind me and the narrow part is to my right. I had diffusion on the near wall to the right and absorption on the deep, far wall to the left. Reading your comments on diffusion in one of your blogs caused me to change my absorption to the near, right wall and the diffusion to the far, deep left wall. This has resulted in a wider, deeper (and more importantly) smoother soundstage. I am will listen for a month or so before I make final judgements but my first impressions are favorable. Regardless of if I keep it as is or change it back, thank you for sharing your thought process as it can really help others (like me) understand our rooms better. They challenge me to try new configurations and really listen to the room.

 

Best,

John

 

Hi John,

 

I agree 100% that folks should try everything in order to find out what works for them. (I have often posted that while I report my own experience, my best suggestion to anyone reading it is to *not* simply take my word for what I've written but to listen for themselves and draw their own conclusions.)

 

I'm glad if some of my suggestions might be working for you. ;-}

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

The Soundkeeper | Audio, Music, Recording, Playback

Barry Diament Audio

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Hello,

 

by diagonal placement I mean one speaker along one wall and the other along the other wall... at different distances so that they excite different low frequencies, asymmetrical with reference to the walls but symmetrical with reference to the listening point.

 

No bass horn effect... something like this:

 

3-128.jpg

 

Ciao, Flavio

Warning: My posts may be biased even if in good faith, I work for Dirac Research :-)

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Beautiful setup, Flavio ! can you describe the panel that you have between the speakers.?

 

Hi Quaveda,

 

those are the speakers and electronics that I'm using but that is not my place... it is Roger Sanders's setup at a HiFi show so I don't know about the panel :)

 

Flavio

Warning: My posts may be biased even if in good faith, I work for Dirac Research :-)

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...asymmetrical with reference to the walls but symmetrical with reference to the listening point..

 

Hi Flavio,

 

The setup shown in the photograph may have the speakers *equidistant* from the listening position but I would not call it symmetrical.

The right speaker is getting reinforced by the wall it is close to, both in the bass as well as by the time smear (and cancellations) the treble reflections will engender.

 

Just my perspective, of course.

 

Best regards,

Barry

Soundkeeper Recordings

The Soundkeeper | Audio, Music, Recording, Playback

Barry Diament Audio

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Hi Flavio,

 

The setup shown in the photograph may have the speakers *equidistant* from the listening position but I would not call it symmetrical.

The right speaker is getting reinforced by the wall it is close to, both in the bass as well as by the time smear (and cancellations) the treble reflections will engender.

 

Just my perspective, of course.

 

Best regards,

Barry

 

Yes Barry, this is your perspective.

 

Roger and I see it differently (that's the reason why he is using it at the shows)... anyhow there is place for more than one opinion, the nice thing is that anybody can try both an asymmetrical placement and digital room correction easily, and without costs, to then listen (and measure) by himself.

 

Ciao :) Flavio

 

p.s. the distance from the walls can certainly be different if space allows, and I certainly agree that the walls reinforce the bass at certain frequencies... it always happens, what I'm talking about is a placement at different distances to smoothen the bass

Warning: My posts may be biased even if in good faith, I work for Dirac Research :-)

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Yes Barry, this is your perspective.

 

Roger and I see it differently (that's the reason why he is using it at the shows)... anyhow there is place for more than one opinion, the nice thing is that anybody can try both an asymmetrical placement and digital room correction easily, and without costs, to then listen (and measure) by himself...

 

Hi Flavio,

 

I'm not so sure Roger went to that show with that particular placement in mind. (I would tend to doubt he was looking forward to placing a speaker right next to the wall.) Usually at shows, the person setting up makes the best of a not-so-good situation.

 

With regard to trying things out, indeed, we agree! That is what I always suggest above all else: that folks try things out for themselves and draw their own conclusions. ;-}

 

Best regards,

Barry

http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.com

http://www.soundkeeperrecordings.wordpress.colm

http://www.barrydiamentaudio.com

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