Better to have seating closer to front or back?

Discussion in 'Room Acoustics, System Layout & Setup' started by Epetti, Nov 14, 2017 at 11:32 AM.

  1. Epetti Enthusiast

    Epetti
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    Working on tuning my game room setup to improve acoustics, the first thing I'm looking at is seating position. The current seating is a sectional that is in the dead center of the room both length and width wise. From a practical perspective this is the most convenient spot for free walking space throughout the room, but from everything I'm reading it's about the worst possible position for dead zones, especially for bass.

    To be fair, the room is not a perfect square, it's 19' wide by 23' long but with a 6'x7' notch in the back corner where a staircase is outside the room. Not sure if that changes the need to get the seats away from lengthwise center. Anyway, I probably have wiggle room to push it about 1.5' back or 2' forward if that'll make a difference. Question is, all other things being equal, what are the considerations for being closer to the front in a home theater setup or closer to the back? In both cases it's still going to be a good 10' away from the wall.

    Off the top of my head it felt like if I'm closer to front I get advantages of needing a smaller screen and less power to the speakers since I'm closer to them. But closer to back improves off-axis viewing for people on ends of the sectional and gives a roomier feel just because there's more open space in the room.

    Any other considerations, acoustical or otherwise?
  2. mtrycrafts Audioholic Slumlord

    mtrycrafts
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    Welcome to AH. :)

    Interesting question.

    Good thing your room is not square, perfect or otherwise. That is the worst room for acoustics.
    You posted your room dimension, but what is the TV or projection screen size? This will determine the desired distance from it. You really don't want a small screen; bigger is better. You certainly don't want the seats on the back wall either.

    What audio setup do you have or strive for? 5.1, 7.1 or an Atmos 7.1.4?

    You nail down the seating location, then a sub or a pair can be moved to the best location, hopefully.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017 at 1:12 PM
  3. TheWarrior Audioholic Samurai

    TheWarrior
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    Moving too close to the rear wall can have sounds reflected off the rear wall arriving at your ears at about the same time as the direct sound which can confuse the sound stage, possibly make things sound overly bright, and other problems.

    Trust your ears to find the happy medium where it sounds good at all seats - listening critically to familiar media on loop while adjusting speaker distance apart/from wall behind them/ and toe in, will get you there!

    Bass is a problem in all small rooms - small relative to the size of sound waves at bass frequencies. If you can move your subs around and take acoustic measurements, bass can be made as good as you are willing to put in the effort. Descriptors like 'tight' and 'fast' describe the time domain, and when you are propagating sound pressure waves that measure dozens of feet in diameter, math and a bit of intuition are needed to ensure your ears are hearing everything.
  4. Epetti Enthusiast

    Epetti
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    Thanks for the tips.

    A little bit of time and a tape measure today made me realize moving forward wasn't going to work. It got too cramped too quickly. Found a good balance moving back that gets it out of the dead center but still leaves 10 ft to the back wall which should be enough. The position was just a starting point but wanted to get that sorted because if I change that everything else has to shift relative.
  5. yepimonfire Audioholic Samurai

    yepimonfire
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    Try 38% distance from the rear wall, this should theoretically give the best bass response.


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  6. jslivingston Audiophyte

    jslivingston
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    Like the guy above me stated, there's actually a lot of math involved with the different types of room modes that puts the best spot at 38% for your head.

    It doesn't matter if it's front or back, the symmetrical room will act the same way, either way.

    That picture shows the general idea as well as for setting up acoustic treatment on the first reflection points on the side walls and ceiling, if you're into that too.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2017 at 12:27 PM

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