Small space speaker placement problem

Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
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5,163 11 6
#21
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.
Thanks for doing all that homework I gave you :). I don't think I have anymore ready ideas. If I recall correctly, the B&W 602 speakers I heard some years ago may have had a "somewhat flabby sounding bass", to use highly technical language ;). But my memory might be wrong on that.

Don't despair, this can be sorted out. Write all this out as clearly as you can and see what Jim Salk thinks. He actually likes puzzles like this. He may have completely different suggestions than I had.

Good luck.
 
P

Pam jost

Enthusiast
Ratings
5
#22
Thanks for doing all that homework I gave you :). I don't think I have anymore ready ideas. If I recall correctly, the B&W 602 speakers I heard some years ago may have had a "somewhat flabby sounding bass", to use highly technical language ;). But my memory might be wrong on that.

Don't despair, this can be sorted out. Write all this out as clearly as you can and see what Jim Salk thinks. He actually likes puzzles like this. He may have completely different suggestions than I had.

Good luck.
Ok, here's what Jim said:
You can have a floor-standing speaker like the Veracity HT1-TL (as an example). This would be the same drivers as the Veracity HT1 Monitor speakers, only in a floor-standing cabinet. When you think about it, does the woofer know whether the cabinet is on a stand or is floor-standing? Of course not. So I don’t agree at all with what you’ve been told about not considering floor standing.

With a 3-way speaker like our Song3’s, there may be a bit more justification for a statement like that. But they measure perfectly at 1 meter (39”). So if the drivers integrate at 1 meter, they would certainly integrate at 5 – 6 feet, which is not all that much less then an ideal 8 feet.

And the advantage of most floor-standing speakers is that they normally play deeper than a monitor using the same drivers. Since they don’t take up all that much more floor space (if any),this is a great move up in performance.

Normally, you would like to see an equilateral triangle with the speakers as far apart as the distance to the listening position. It doesn’t look like that would work with a couch in between them, but you would be close. So I don’t see any particular problem there.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
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5,913 21 47
#23
With all the windows and mostly bare floor I also wonder how you might benefit from some absorption....what was your previous room like?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
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#24
My previous living room was rectangular, long and narrow. My setup didn't need to project towards the length of the room but rather than narrow width of it. I sat about 10' away from the speakers on a sofa so there wasn't anything next to the speakers except one bookshelf on the left side. No sound issues!
I meant more in the way of absorptive vs reflective surfaces.....was the room carpeted for example?
 
P

Pam jost

Enthusiast
Ratings
5
#25
I meant more in the way of absorptive vs reflective surfaces.....was the room carpeted for example?
Aha! There were bare laminate floors but now I have an area rug that sits under the sofa and where you see the coffee table in the photo. The sofa isn't actually as wide as the one in the photo by about 2" on each side. The speaker on stands don't sit on the rug since it's not large enough but it does extend to under the couch that I sit in opposite when i listen. **Another difference is these are 9' ceilings whereas I've had 7-8' before.

A rug never even occurred to me but now it's making more sense.

I think at this point I should go into my local shop, show new photos of my space and give dimensions and see what they recommend. The Salks look amazing but I just wouldn't want to ship them back (and pay $$$) if they didn't work out!
 
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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
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#26
I'm just thinking that if the speakers sounded good before it's more your room that needs treatment rather than new speakers...
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
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#28
We're on the same page as I was literally reading about absorption panels, etc. So a rug would decrease my treble and clarity, correct? Invest in absorption panels? Something like these...https://www.acousticpanelscanada.com/collections/wall-panels ?
Might improve clarity rather due extra reflections? I'm not a fan of highly reflective rooms even without audio considerations myself. I've not dealt too much with room treatment other than via furnishings like carpeting and substantial drapes (and I'd probably diy any panels). Absorption at first reflection points is often recommended tho. Not familiar with that vendor but there are a few around, realtraps.com and gikacoustics.com come to mind. Some with more experience hopefully can offer further.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
5,163 11 6
#29
I'm not at all sure that a rug on the floor or absorption panels on the walls would address the problem with muddy bass that was described earlier. Those treatments tend to make a room sound generally less "lively" by covering reflective surfaces.
 
P

Pam jost

Enthusiast
Ratings
5
#30
I'm not at all sure that a rug on the floor or absorption panels on the walls would address the problem with muddy bass that was described earlier. Those treatments tend to make a room sound generally less "lively" by covering reflective surfaces.
So perhaps removing the rug would set me back to better sound, but I'm hoping there can be some workaround to leave the rug.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
5,913 21 47
#31
I'm not at all sure that a rug on the floor or absorption panels on the walls would address the problem with muddy bass that was described earlier. Those treatments tend to make a room sound generally less "lively" by covering reflective surfaces.
Just exploring ideas and comparison to old room...muddy can have various interpretations, too.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Samurai
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1,804 3
#32
My understanding is that a rug with a good pad will help attenuate higher frequencies and minimize floor bounce and some other reflections. This very thin layer will not do anything to clean up bass. Likewise, IIRC, wall panels to absorb excess bass energy need to be built to around 4" thick. If not, you are again only attenuating the highs and maybe some mids, depending on the thickness of the panel.
Bass traps tend to be large, depending on the type, and can eat up a lot of space. Just a quick google search on them, and perusing the google images of them is almost enough to cure anybody of wanting them. ;) On the other hand, that boomy/muddy quality, as I understand it is excess LF energy... whatever the frequency is, a room mode is being excited.
Perhaps some type of trap could help, but without going after room measurements first, anything you do will be a shot in the dark.
A solution could maybe come in the way of borrowing some speakers from a friend or local HiFi shop... something different than the 602s. I see some different numbers for the 602s; d'Appolito tested the s2 version here and the FR is -3dB @48Hz (B&W says 52Hz with -6dB @43Hz). I would suggest to try something lower in the mid 30's, if possible. Regardless, set them up and see if the problem persists. This may at least tell you if it is the room overall or something between your speakers and the room.
 
P

Pam jost

Enthusiast
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5
#33
Here’s Jim Salk’s finale. Thought anyone?

Even with the rug, I don’t think that is the issue. It seems there are plenty of hard surfaces in the room. Even if it were fully carpeted, it should not sound like you describe. I think it is the speakers themselves. B&W is a great company. But we’ve replaced many B&W speakers over the years as they are somewhat lifeless. They make their own speaker drivers (woofers, midranges, tweeters). This is certainly good for business, but they have far less experience with cutting edge driver design than companies whose only business is produce drivers and experiment with a wide variety of cone materials and mechanical designs. The best drivers are made by companies that only produce drivers…not speakers.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

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#34
I would agree. My limited personal experience with B&W was disappointing based on their rep. No bass compared to other speakers in class, poor overall SQ. Hell, the deftechs sounded better to me. This was in a horrible audition room. But I have been stunned by the number of people on this forum claiming dissatisfaction with the 600 and even 700 series B&Ws.
Just my 2¢, ymmv.
 
K

kini

Audioholic
Ratings
44
#35
Here’s Jim Salk’s finale. Thought anyone?

Even with the rug, I don’t think that is the issue. It seems there are plenty of hard surfaces in the room. Even if it were fully carpeted, it should not sound like you describe. I think it is the speakers themselves. B&W is a great company. But we’ve replaced many B&W speakers over the years as they are somewhat lifeless. They make their own speaker drivers (woofers, midranges, tweeters). This is certainly good for business, but they have far less experience with cutting edge driver design than companies whose only business is produce drivers and experiment with a wide variety of cone materials and mechanical designs. The best drivers are made by companies that only produce drivers…not speakers.
Seriously? There R&D budget likely exceeds all "boutique" speaker and driver manufacturers total expenditure and revenue combined. It's ignorant to assume that B&W doesn't have a cutting edge R&D department.
 
Gryph

Gryph

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
32
#36
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!

I can’t offer much more than to second that advice to give the Focal Aria 906 a listen. I’ve recently added these speakers for 2 channel listening, no subwoofer and am more than happy with them.
If you do decide to go custom build but still want to stay with a stand mount, a pair of the Salk built BMR’s would probably be hard to beat.
The BMR is probably the only stand mount speaker I can see myself upgrading to from the Focal’s but that is not in my budget at the moment and as I’m loving the 906’s I’m fine with that.
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

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#37
Seriously? There R&D budget likely exceeds all "boutique" speaker and driver manufacturers total expenditure and revenue combined. It's ignorant to assume that B&W doesn't have a cutting edge R&D department.
Nobody is assuming/claiming they (B&W) do not have or are not performing cutting edge research and development. This does not mean that their speakers are right for every person or every room. That statement is akin to similar comments about the greatness of KEF: I cannot listen to KEF because they cause listening fatigue. That does not mean Andrew Jones failed in any way or is a horrible designer. They, very simply, are not right for me.
Similarly, you are suggesting that renowned companies like Raal, Scan Speak, Seas, and SB Acoustics cannot produce better drivers than B&W can. Yet in the right hands, the sum of those parts may be used to create speakers that quite readily outperform large OEMs like B&W, Monitor Audio, KEF... just to name a few.
:)
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
5,163 11 6
#38
Here’s Jim Salk’s finale. Thought anyone?

Even with the rug, I don’t think that is the issue. It seems there are plenty of hard surfaces in the room. Even if it were fully carpeted, it should not sound like you describe. I think it is the speakers themselves. B&W is a great company. But we’ve replaced many B&W speakers over the years as they are somewhat lifeless. They make their own speaker drivers (woofers, midranges, tweeters). This is certainly good for business, but they have far less experience with cutting edge driver design than companies whose only business is produce drivers and experiment with a wide variety of cone materials and mechanical designs. The best drivers are made by companies that only produce drivers…not speakers.
I agree with what Jim said. B&W is a very large and well-known speaker company. They've made a wide variety of speakers over the years, so most of my comments are general because there have been so many different B&W models over the years.

Some of B&W's speakers are very good, such as much of their 800 series speakers. They're well designed, well built, and very expensive. Other speakers, especially the B&W 600 series speakers, have had problems. I believe B&W consciously decides what prices and how many audible flaws get corrected in each of it's speaker lines. I am familiar with two of these audible problems: 1) Low frequency muddiness in the 2-way 600 series speakers, and 2) high frequency harshness, especially when playing at higher volumes. I believe Pam jost's issues with her 602 is due to #1.

1) The low frequency muddiness is more than likely due to a cabinet volume not suitable for the 6½" mid woofer's electro-mechanical properties (called Theile/Small parameters). Speaker designers choose what cabinet volume they will use, not simply for appearance reasons, but for bass performance. In technical terms, this can be summarized as total system Q, where a low Q design keeps the bass driver's motions well damped, and tends to result in lower overall bass volume and a "dry" or restrained, but more accurate sound. In contrast, a high Q designs produce louder bass, but come at the expense of poor damping of the driver. It's sound can be described as louder, "fat" or even sloppy. When a single bass note is played over a poorly damped woofer, it plays that note, but stops slowly. It tends to ring on and on. A well damped woofer or mid-woofer stops readily after a single note, keeping the driver cone under better control. Playing most popular rock music tends to mask this flaw, as the bass in the music often plays more or less continuously. Other types of music reveal this flaw more readily.

I don't know what type of music Pam jost likes, but I do know that lower volumes are preferred. Years ago when I heard a B&W 602 s2 speaker, I readily noticed this flaw. I've heard other speakers that did this much worse, but I easily recognized it in these speakers. In my opinion, this feature of 602 speakers, plus the confined space where they are placed, contribute to the muddy bass sound that Pam jost described.

I think B&W consciously decided to build these speakers this way, as an effort at appealing to a particular set of buyers. It didn't hurt that high Q bass cabinets & drivers tend to cost less than well damped designs. Please note that B&W doesn't reveal critical details of its drivers, cabinets, or what the designers and marketing people intended. B&W carefully guards all this as proprietary information.

2) A high frequency harshness is caused by a highly resonant (noisy) Kevlar fiber mid woofer, combined with a crossover frequency, 4,000 Hz, that is much too high. Listeners easily hear the harsh sounding noise made by the Kevlar driver when it goes into break-up mode at roughly 4 to 5 kHz. I think the crossover should be much lower, perhaps 2 to 2.5 kHz. This harshness is easily heard only if the music stimulates it, and not all music does this. It also can be better heard at higher volumes. When listeners complain that a speaker causes "listener's fatigue", this is the cause. I don't think this appears to be a problem with Pam jost, so I won't go any further with it. I do know that I find this high frequency harshness particularly unpleasant sounding. Once I learned to recognize it, I could never unlearn it. Not everyone reacts that way.

There is a well known review of B&W 602 s2 speakers published a number of years ago. The author, a well respected speaker designer named Joseph D'Appolito. This review honestly shows all its data, but unfortunately the author clearly knows how to walk around the two worst flaws of this speaker without calling them to the reader's attention. This problem is not uncommon in audio publishing.

These problems were more than likely brought on by efforts to keep the prices lower, while maintaining the brand and it's image. I can imagine the battles between the speaker designers and product engineers on one side and the marketing department on the other side.

That is a very long winded way of saying I agree with Jim Salk. Small companies, like his, make use of any good sounding driver commercially available. They emphasize good design principles. Large companies, such as B&W, seem to prefer to emphasize brand identity over good design. B&W certainly isn't the only speaker manufacturer that does this.
 
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S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Ratings
5,116 34 17
#39
I agree with what Jim said. B&W is a very large and well-known speaker company. They've made a wide variety of speakers over the years, so most of my comments are general because there have been so many different B&W models over the years.

Some of B&W's speakers are very good, such as much of their 800 series speakers. They're well designed, well built, and very expensive. Other speakers, especially the B&W 600 series speakers, have had problems. I believe B&W consciously decides what prices and how many audible flaws get corrected in each of it's speaker lines. I am familiar with two of these audible problems: 1) Low frequency muddiness in the 2-way 600 series speakers, and 2) high frequency harshness, especially when playing at higher volumes. I believe Pam jost's issues with her 602 is due to #1.

1) The low frequency muddiness is more than likely due to a cabinet volume not suitable for the 6½" mid woofer's electro-mechanical properties (called Theile/Small parameters). Speaker designers choose what cabinet volume they will use, not simply for appearance reasons, but for bass performance. In technical terms, this can be summarized as total system Q, where a low Q design keeps the bass driver's motions well damped, and tends to result in lower overall bass volume and a "dry" or restrained, but more accurate sound. In contrast, a high Q designs produce louder bass, but come at the expense of poor damping of the driver. It's sound can be described as louder, "fat" or even sloppy. When a single bass note is played over a poorly damped woofer, it plays that note, but stops slowly. It tends to ring on and on. A well damped woofer or mid-woofer stops readily after a single note, keeping the driver cone under better control. Playing most popular rock music tends to mask this flaw, as the bass in the music often plays more or less continuously. Other types of music reveal this flaw more readily.

I don't know what type of music Pam jost likes, but I do know that lower volumes are preferred. Years ago when I heard a B&W 602 s2 speaker, I readily noticed this flaw. I've heard other speakers that did this much worse, but I easily recognized it in these speakers. In my opinion, this feature of 602 speakers, plus the confined space where they are placed, contribute to the muddy bass sound that Pam jost described.

I think B&W consciously decided to build these speakers this way, as an effort at appealing to a particular set of buyers. It didn't hurt that high Q bass cabinets & drivers tend to cost less than well damped designs. Please note that B&W doesn't reveal critical details of its drivers, cabinets, or what the designers and marketing people intended. B&W carefully guards all this as proprietary information.

2) A high frequency harshness is caused by a highly resonant (noisy) Kevlar fiber mid woofer, combined with a crossover frequency, 4,000 Hz, that is much too high. Listeners easily hear the harsh sounding noise made by the Kevlar driver when it goes into break-up mode at roughly 4 to 5 kHz. I think the crossover should be much lower, perhaps 2 to 2.5 kHz. This harshness is easily heard only if the music stimulates it, and not all music does this. It also can be better heard at higher volumes. When listeners complain that a speaker causes "listener's fatigue", this is the cause. I don't think this appears to be a problem with Pam jost, so I won't go any further with it. I do know that I find this high frequency harshness particularly unpleasant sounding. Once I learned to recognize it, I could never unlearn it. Not everyone reacts that way.

There is a well known review of B&W 602 s2 speakers that published a number of years ago. The author, a well respected speaker designer named Joseph D'Appolito. This review honestly shows all its data, but unfortunately the author clearly knows how to walk around the two worst flaws of this speaker without calling them to the reader's attention. This problem is not uncommon in audio publishing.

These problems were more than likely brought on by efforts to keep the prices lower, while maintaining the brand and it's image. I can imagine the battles between the speaker designers and product engineers on one side and the marketing department on the other side.

That is a very long winded way of saying I agree with Jim Salk. Small companies, like his, make use of any good sounding driver commercially available. They emphasize good design principles. Large companies, such as B&W, seem to prefer to emphasize brand identity over good design. B&W certainly isn't the only speaker manufacturer that does this.
Very astute observations, Swerd. I would say there is a bit more too it than this, but a lot of what you say is sensible suppositions. Something to keep in mind in an upcoming review to be published very soon.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
5,163 11 6
#40
Very astute observations, Swerd. I would say there is a bit more too it than this, but a lot of what you say is sensible suppositions. Something to keep in mind in an upcoming review to be published very soon.
Yes, there is quite a lot more to it than what I said above. But (believe it or not) I was trying to be brief :oops:. I don't like how wordy I got.

An upcoming review… interesting. By any chance, would this review have anything to say about a certain speaker company's abandoning its highly recognizable yellow Kevlar drivers after all these years?
I wont mention any names :cool:.
 

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