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Old 21st August 2007, 07:14 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Default best of a bad situation

I could use some advice in trying to make the best of a bad situation. My new home is laid out as you see in the image below. There is no listening room - just the open space living/dining area. Up until a few weeks ago I had a set of Cambridge Soundworks Ensemble II sats sitting on the piece of "entertainment center" furniture with it's subwoofer in the position shown. The entertainment center is solid birch with doors enclosing the TV and audio equipment. The sats' foam surrounds started to rot away and I replaced them with a set of full range DIY speakers that I built a couple of weeks ago (Cyburg's Needles).

Click the image to open in full size.

I rarely used this audio system prior to replacing the speakers (preferring my DAC/headphone amp/Grados at my PC) but have just set up a small laptop & DAC to serve as a FLAC audio source and find myself using it quite often now. I will be adding a Squeezebox 3 soon to replace the laptop. My current amplifier is an Onkyo TX-904 receiver but that will be replaced in a week or so once the 41Hz Amp10 I just finished is cased up. A powered sub is next. (yeah, I've got early DIY fever...)

Until such time as I add a flat panel TV over the fireplace, the tube television must live in the entertainment center. At that point we'll be rearranging the furniture so that the couch faces the fireplace and is flanked by the arm chairs, with the speakers to each side of the fireplace. Sadly, that won't be any time soon and, in the interest of marital bliss, the furniture must remain essentially where it is until then. There are just the two of us so the couch is fine right now (the TV is on an extending swivel and the doors fold back and in).

However, I am struggling with how best to position the speakers and would appreciate any advice. I know that I will not get an ideal listening situation out of this - I'm just trying to improve it for the time being. I currently have the right speaker toed-in as shown to help offset the difference in distance between the two. The thinner line at the end of the stairs is open rung railings.

I would even consider changing the speakers if that would help.
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Old 21st August 2007, 08:10 PM   #2
Svein_B is offline Svein_B  Norway
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... And what would you say seem to be the problem that worries you ?


SveinB
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Old 21st August 2007, 08:17 PM   #3
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Very poor sound stage mostly - vocals and some instrumentation seem all over the place. Also, treble is a bit harsh (I'm using the notch filter recommended for the Needles).
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Old 21st August 2007, 08:29 PM   #4
Svein_B is offline Svein_B  Norway
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The Tangband W3-871s in the needle are among the sweetest sounding speakers I have. I have only experienced a hint of harsh treble when I used SCR/Solen polyprop capacitors in the notch filter (unless it was just my imagination).

I guess soundstage will not be ideal with your set-up, but the only explanation I can suggest if it is really bad is double check that the drivers are not wired out of phase.

SveinB.
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Old 21st August 2007, 10:22 PM   #5
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Location: Brooklyn, NY
I don't think it is the Needles. While testing the new Amp 10 I had them hooked up in another (pretty empty) room and they sounded much better than in my living room. I know that this may also be because of the Amp 10 vs. the Onkyo so I will wait until my case arrives and the Amp 10 is driving them.

It is more that I was hoping that there might be some change in position, etc that could improve the situation. Perhaps I'll just move one of the arm chairs away and turn the one near the fireplace to face the speakers for serious listening.
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Old 21st August 2007, 11:37 PM   #6
peter_m is offline peter_m  Canada
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Join Date: May 2007
A shot in the dark here:

Maybe add a carpet in front of the TV/wall unit to reduce reflections from a hard floor surface. Also the right speaker is kind of stuck in a corner... maybe move the wall unit/TV away from that corner and allow more space between right speaker and the wall/shelf area... maybe make more room between the speakers and the wall unit...


Also remembered your other posts here: http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showt...06#post1267806

Could be a combination of floor reflection and your baffle's not having rounded edges causing diffraction... Try giving the sides a bevel like this: http://www.humblehomemadehifi.com/DD...n/image034.jpg On the up side, they look awesome! Also did you consider the notch filter?
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Old 22nd August 2007, 12:10 AM   #7
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Location: Brooklyn, NY
There is a carpet about 4 feet in front of the speakers. I'll try tossing a throw rug or blanket down directly in front to see if it make a difference.

I can't move the entertainment center much - perhaps 4-6 inches and then it sticks out past where the wall ends and the stairway banister begins. I could move the right speaker closer to the shelves, however, and the other a bit to the left.

Yes, I'm tending toward either beveling or simply routing off that edge. I did install the notch filter and it made a noticeable improvement.
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Old 22nd August 2007, 05:32 PM   #8
Svein_B is offline Svein_B  Norway
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I did a quick measurement of the effect of the edges as built by bobtrancho

The effects seem relatively small. I posted my measurements in the Cyburgs Needle thread since other needle builders might be interested.

SveinB
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Old 22nd August 2007, 06:11 PM   #9
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Thanks Svein,

I have made a few changes which have improved things considerably.

- I moved the entertainment center as far as I could toward the stairs - 5" or so - to open up the corner a bit
- I moved the left speaker about 24" away from the entertainment center and about 6" back
- I moved the right speaker next to the shelves and out about 3 inches.

This has improved the sound stage significantly - more definition and better clarity as to where vocals and instruments are placed.

I will wait until I have replaced the laptop as the primary sound source to make any further changes. I am sure that the laptop (it is a Tablet PC) is introducing noise, even with the DAC. I think that the touch screen is the culprit - probably adding noise to the USB power (this is a USB powered DAC). When I play direct from by CD player I get much cleaner sound.
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Old 22nd August 2007, 07:26 PM   #10
peter_m is offline peter_m  Canada
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Bob, nice of you to report your results. I guess we can all learn from this... LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!!!!
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