Small space speaker placement problem

P

Pam jost

Enthusiast
Ratings
5
#1
So, here's a new(ish) thread now that previous discussions have led me to believe my problem may be speaker placement (and maybe different speakers). This is all I have to work with: speakers on the sides of the couch. I sit 6' feet away facing this couch and the speakers.

What the hell am I going to do to get them out so they sound less muddy??? Wall mount smaller bookshelf speakers? My massive B&W 602 bookshelves are not happy being squished in here.
2263couchfacing.JPG
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,946 3
#2
Rooms are always the problem! ;)

What does the other side look like, where you sit?

If they had to be there by the couch, I would wonder first about pulling them forward so they aren't quite so much in the nook. Maybe not great for entertaining... but I'd rather listen to good music without any humans to distract me. :p

Wall mounting isn't bad... but bolting a speaker to a window? Ha! Don't think the landlord will like that.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
6,189 21 51
#3
Umm, what speakers? Where/how did you position them particularly? Stands? on the floor? on the tables? That nook probably isn't helping in any case.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
5,217 12 6
#4
What the hell am I going to do to get them out so they sound less muddy??? Wall mount smaller bookshelf speakers? My massive B&W 602 bookshelves are not happy being squished in here.
Try a simple experiment. Is it the speakers or their position?

Move the 602s to a temporary position, out away from those corners on either side of the couch. What do they sound like? Try moving them around bit by bit until you get a feeling that their muddy sound is or isn't caused by being close to walls or corners.

If it's the speakers, it's time to shop.

If your answer says it's the corner positions and not the speakers, you have options:
  1. Rearrange your furniture?
  2. There are speakers designed so that they don't sound muddy when mounted on or near walls.
Personally, I think it might be the speaker position. But why guess when a simple experiment might answer your question?
 
M

markw

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,890 7 168
#5
I'm unclear on this.

Are you talking about a pair of surround speakers for a HT setup or a pair of main speakers for a typical two channel setup?
 
P

Pam jost

Enthusiast
Ratings
5
#7
Umm, what speakers? Where/how did you position them particularly? Stands? on the floor? on the tables? That nook probably isn't helping in any case.
You don't see them??? They're this new invisible speaker that just came out! This photo is the previous owner's furniture but the idea is the same. The speakers are next to the sides of the couch, on stands.
 
Last edited:
P

Pam jost

Enthusiast
Ratings
5
#8
Try a simple experiment. Is it the speakers or their position?

Move the 602s to a temporary position, out away from those corners on either side of the couch. What do they sound like? Try moving them around bit by bit until you get a feeling that their muddy sound is or isn't caused by being close to walls or corners.

If it's the speakers, it's time to shop.

If your answer says it's the corner positions and not the speakers, you have options:
  1. Rearrange your furniture?
  2. There are speakers designed so that they don't sound muddy when mounted on or near walls.
Personally, I think it might be the speaker position. But why guess when a simple experiment might answer your question?
Curious which speakers are designed that sound decent mounted on a wall. I agree, I think it's more about placement but let's see!
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,946 3
#10
You don't see them??? They're this new invisible speaker that just came out! This photo is the previous owner's furniture but the idea is the same. The speakers are next to the sides of the couch, on stands.
Nice.
Either that, or they are the new B&W 602 Pillow-Soft Series! Ha. I think I remember an April Fools add by Kef or somebody like that with a pillow-speaker.
I'm guessing no BFC needed in those XOs. (That's for you, @Swerd !)

But seriously, folks... :)
Again, depending on where you go with this... I'll use Salk as an example here since he does so much custom work: Look at his Bookshelf and Monitor offerings, and you can see that he has several with front ports. If you had those positioned in a way to not bounce off of and around the walls of your nook, I think you would would get better sound. Also, when somebody mentioned KEF and more near-field listening... I think the better point being made from that example is that with speakers offering good mid-range and above dispersion, it is easier to sit close. Obviously you don't need a jumbo tower, but a good ribbon tweeter, or the BMR mid range driver of the speaker Swerd and I were talking about offer that great dispersion. I think the Kef LS50 does, too. (I personally am not a fan of Kef, but that's another story... they can sound good, real good.)

Anyway... short story long, If you experiment with your current speakers like @Swerd suggested above, and you can get better sound, and live with them in a different position, then great! If you are still having problems, then consider the alternatives.

Cheers!
 
ski2xblack

ski2xblack

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
795 6 4
#11
Curious which speakers are designed that sound decent mounted on a wall. I agree, I think it's more about placement but let's see!
It depends on the particular speaker, but most designed for on wall/in wall are expecting them to be out in the middle of the wall. It's the proximity to the corners that compounds the issue.

So if you must use the corners flanking the couch as your placement, you might get better results with speakers with more narrowly constrained directivity, to limit the influence of the immediate boundaries in that recessed alcove where the couch sits. A wide dispersion speaker, like the BMRs that were recommended in the other thread, probably won't fare as well when shoved back into corners (boomy bass, highs splashed all over that lively acoustic environment),where something like the KEF LS50 might fare better (corner loading will likely benefit the bass, as the KEFs start to roll off much higher than BMRs, and the somewhat narrower dispersion means less high frequencies splashing off nearby walls).

Too bad you don't have the luxury of free standing placement well away from those corners. If that were the case, then BMRs would rule the roost. But with your room and placement constraints, you may be better off with LS50s, or heck, even a pair of Klipsch RP-600M stuck in the corners and aimed so as to eliminate any hard early reflections in the alcove.
 
K

kini

Audioholic
Ratings
45
#12
So, here's a new(ish) thread now that previous discussions have led me to believe my problem may be speaker placement (and maybe different speakers). This is all I have to work with: speakers on the sides of the couch. I sit 6' feet away facing this couch and the speakers.

What the hell am I going to do to get them out so they sound less muddy??? Wall mount smaller bookshelf speakers? My massive B&W 602 bookshelves are not happy being squished in here.
View attachment 29456
Try a pair of Klipsch RP600Ms. The horn should help with side wall bounce. Also take a look at the DefTech D9 and D11. They have top mounted passive radiators and a deep wave guide for the tweeters.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
5,217 12 6
#13
I'm guessing no BFC needed in those XOs. (That's for you, @Swerd !)
Depending on what Pam jost finds when she tries moving speakers to different positions, we may have to discuss baffle step compensation (BFC). It's complex, so I'll wait before talking about that.

In short, placing speakers very close to walls or corners reinforces low frequencies more than higher frequencies. It depends on how wide the speaker cabinet's front baffle is. When the OP said the speakers sound "muddy" and "unclear" in their normal position, I think this is consistent with speakers located close to walls when they were designed to be placed at least 1 or 2 feet away from walls.

I believe, but I am not certain, that B&W 602s were built with what is called BFC, a form of equalization built-in to the crossover. If so, they are intended to be placed further from walls. But in this case the owner has them very near walls, essentially in corners. This would result in too much bass and muddy sounding voices in the mid range.

Despite what others have suggested, port vent location, front or rear, has nothing to do with this. Neither do horn loaded drivers. It about the physics of wave behavior and how sound waves propagate.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
5,217 12 6
#14
Curious which speakers are designed that sound decent mounted on a wall. I agree, I think it's more about placement but let's see!
The more I think about this the more these speakers (below) look like a good solution. I know, I should stay quiet until we hear from you, but here goes anyway.

Salk WOW1 mini-monitors. They're Salk speakers, designed by Dennis Murphy, so I know they'll sound smooth, detailed, clear (especially in the mid range) and never harsh or distorted.

They're small & light:
7" wide x 9" deep x 10.75" tall​
23 pounds​
For our Canadian friends:
178 mm wide × 229 mm deep × 273 mm tall​
10.4 Kg​
Within your price range:
$1295 (US) per pair in black satin or white finish. $1395 (US) per pair in a standard veneer*
I don't know what it costs for Canadian customers, but I know that Salk does fill orders from Canada. Shipping from Detroit, Michigan is extra.
* Standard finishes include curly maple, curly cherry, curly walnut, oak and straight mahogany. Wood veneers can also be dyed. So, for example, you can have deep rose-red curly cherry or electric blue curly maple. Custom veneers or automotive finishes quoted on request.

Jim Salk is an expert at using dyes to match a customer's existing furniture. An emailed photo can be enough for him.

I read the review of WOW1 speakers linked on that web page. It got me thinking that these speakers might work for Pam jost. See page 2 of the review where the reviewer asked Jim Salk this question:

I found the WOW1 to do a great job even when placed up against a wall. I know giving them room is probably still desirable, but from a technical standpoint how bad is it to push them against a boundary?​

Now, I wonder what Jim Salk could do if Pam jost emailed him. Tell him about your B&W 602s, where you keep them (include that photo of the sofa in the alcove),your complaints about their muddy unclear sound, and that you listen 6 feet away from them. Would it be possible that he lower the amount of BFC in these speakers to accommodate those needs? Could he build them to include threaded inserts for wall mounting, or recommend another method of wall mounting? Jim is excellent at listening to customers and understanding what they want and need.
 
P

Pam jost

Enthusiast
Ratings
5
#15
The more I think about this the more these speakers (below) look like a good solution. I know, I should stay quiet until we hear from you, but here goes anyway.

Salk WOW1 mini-monitors. They're Salk speakers, designed by Dennis Murphy, so I know they'll sound smooth, detailed, clear (especially in the mid range) and never harsh or distorted.

They're small & light:
7" wide x 9" deep x 10.75" tall​
23 pounds​
For our Canadian friends:
178 mm wide × 229 mm deep × 273 mm tall​
10.4 Kg​
Within your price range:
$1295 (US) per pair in black satin or white finish. $1395 (US) per pair in a standard veneer*
I don't know what it costs for Canadian customers, but I know that Salk does fill orders from Canada. Shipping from Detroit, Michigan is extra.
* Standard finishes include curly maple, curly cherry, curly walnut, oak and straight mahogany. Wood veneers can also be dyed. So, for example, you can have deep rose-red curly cherry or electric blue curly maple. Custom veneers or automotive finishes quoted on request.

Jim Salk is an expert at using dyes to match a customer's existing furniture. An emailed photo can be enough for him.

I read the review of WOW1 speakers linked on that web page. It got me thinking that these speakers might work for Pam jost. See page 2 of the review where the reviewer asked Jim Salk this question:

I found the WOW1 to do a great job even when placed up against a wall. I know giving them room is probably still desirable, but from a technical standpoint how bad is it to push them against a boundary?​

Now, I wonder what Jim Salk could do if Pam jost emailed him. Tell him about your B&W 602s, where you keep them (include that photo of the sofa in the alcove),your complaints about their muddy unclear sound, and that you listen 6 feet away from them. Would it be possible that he lower the amount of BFC in these speakers to accommodate those needs? Could he build them to include threaded inserts for wall mounting, or recommend another method of wall mounting? Jim is excellent at listening to customers and understanding what they want and need.
Ok, so I've experimented by pulling the speakers out from the alcove and they still sound muddy. The true test was Radiohead on vinyl, which has sounded amazing but not here.

I'm going to email Jim Salk now along with the photo of my situation. I'm also going to listen the the KEF LS50s (wireless) this weekend and explain my situation. I may squeeze in another shop to hear Focal Aria 906s which someone elsewhere suggested. I'll let you know what Jim says!
 
P

Pam jost

Enthusiast
Ratings
5
#16
Depending on what Pam jost finds when she tries moving speakers to different positions, we may have to discuss baffle step compensation (BFC). It's complex, so I'll wait before talking about that.

In short, placing speakers very close to walls or corners reinforces low frequencies more than higher frequencies. It depends on how wide the speaker cabinet's front baffle is. When the OP said the speakers sound "muddy" and "unclear" in their normal position, I think this is consistent with speakers located close to walls when they were designed to be placed at least 1 or 2 feet away from walls.

I believe, but I am not certain, that B&W 602s were built with what is called BFC, a form of equalization built-in to the crossover. If so, they are intended to be placed further from walls. But in this case the owner has them very near walls, essentially in corners. This would result in too much bass and muddy sounding voices in the mid range.

Despite what others have suggested, port vent location, front or rear, has nothing to do with this. Neither do horn loaded drivers. It about the physics of wave behavior and how sound waves propagate.
Here are some additional shots of the space to see what speakers are projecting into...

**Note: These are a realtor's photos which make the space look vastly larger than reality ;)
2263livdiningpatiodoor.JPG
2263livingkitchen.JPG
 
Last edited:
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
5,217 12 6
#19
Ok, so I've experimented by pulling the speakers out from the alcove and they still sound muddy. The true test was Radiohead on vinyl, which has sounded amazing but not here
Interesting. I have another question. Does that muddy sound happen only with vinyl, or do you hear it with other music sources, like Radiohead on Spotify?

If you have the muddy sound on both sources, the problem is the speakers and/or their location.

If you have the muddy sound only with vinyl playback, you might have what is called acoustic feedback. Mid bass coming from the speakers is transmitted through the air, floor, or furniture to the turntable. That mechanical energy goes back into the tone arm & phono pick up, generating more mid bass through the speakers, leading to the muddy sound. Where is your turntable located? Nearby the speakers? Usually, relocating the turntable or physically isolating or cushioning it, fix that problem. An alternative is relocating the speakers.

Thanks for the photos, they help us understand what space you have to work with. In the first of those two photos, is the distance between the sofa and table & chairs about 6 feet? I can see how taller towers, roughly 4 feet tall, might overwhelm the sofa area, even if they have small footprints.
 
Last edited:
P

Pam jost

Enthusiast
Ratings
5
#20
Interesting. I have another question. Does that muddy sound happen only with vinyl, or do you hear it with other music sources, like Radiohead on Spotify?

If you have the muddy sound on both sources, the problem is the speakers and/or their location.

If you have the muddy sound only with vinyl playback, you might have what is called acoustic feedback. Mid bass coming from the speakers is transmitted through the air, floor, or furniture to the turntable. That mechanical energy goes back into the tone arm & phono pick up, generating more mid bass through the speakers, leading to the muddy sound. Where is your turntable located? Nearby the speakers? Usually, relocating the turntable or physically isolating or cushioning it, fix that problem. An alternative is relocating the speakers.

Thanks for the photos, they help us understand what space you have to work with. In the first of those two photos, is the distance between the sofa and table & chairs about 6 feet? I can see how taller towers, roughly 4 feet tall, might overwhelm the sofa area, even if they have small footprints.
Spotify is clearer than vinyl although I think it could still be clearer. The issue with pulling out the speakers is id then be sitting 2-3’ away. The amp and turntable are along the wall where the guitar in the photo is placed.

I think I need to find another side of the space to put the speakers, wall mount them perhaps. It’s just not making any sense where they are so far. Sigh.
 

Latest posts


newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis