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Positioning: my small room nightmare

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Positioning: my small room nightmare

Postby headlynx » Sun Oct 28, 2018 2:06 pm

Hello all,

I have spent hours trying to improve my terrible sounding room and finally understood the main issue was modes. Dimensions are 260*350*230cm. 260*440cm*230cm if I leave the storage space open.

My speakers are Adam A7X and I read they had front bass ports which makes them ok to place close to the rear wall.

Following this ( ... sitioning/) I came up with two options for positioning my speakers.


What would be the best solution according to you? In option A the rule of thirds is not respected and listening position is close to the front wall, while option B makes me worry about stereo imaging since it lets the speakers 120cm only from each other.

Also, I am unsure what to do with the storage space. Shall I close it or leave it open?

Any opinion welcome.

Thanks all!
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Re: Positioning: my small room nightmare

Postby James Perrett » Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:41 pm

I don't know your speakers but, if they can be used at close distances, I'd go for the right hand arrangement where the speakers are closer to you. Working closer to the speakers means the room effects are reduced as you hear a higher proportion of direct sound compared to reflected sound.

If your speakers don't sound so good close up then I'd suggest using more acoustic treatment at the back of the room - in fact this might be a good idea in either scenario.
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Re: Positioning: my small room nightmare

Postby Funkyflash5 » Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:57 pm

I have their predecessors the Adam A7s positioned about 120cm apart and the imaging is really good in the sweet spot but disappears pretty quickly as you move away from it. It's a tradeoff that is okay with me in the space I have, but ymmv.
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Re: Positioning: my small room nightmare

Postby Wonks » Sun Oct 28, 2018 11:04 pm

All you can really do is try it out. Run up a sound (say pink noise) on a mono track and pan it from left to right, whilst listening with your eyes closed. If you can clearly position the sound as it moves, and centre is centre and left and right are left and right, then your stereo imaging should generally be fine. Though without sufficient room treatment, it will probably be a bit dodgy at some frequencies.

Even if the sweet spot is narrow, if you don't move from the sweet spot when mixing, it really doesn't matter.
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Re: Positioning: my small room nightmare

Postby CS70 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:02 pm

A few ideas: you may benefit from some treatment in the back, as your speakers will fire towards it and with two meters distance the reflection will be noticeable when you listen at a good volume. If you do have bass traps already, a diffuser could help average the reflections from mid-highs on. However, if the problem is bass modes, the main solution is more bass trapping.

Do not forget the ceiling. In my room - which had a lot of high frequency ringing due to floor and ceiling materias - an absorption panel on the top of the mixing chair, with 15cm air between it and the ceiling did wonders to make the area sound good.

Of the two positions in your drawing , I would perfer the right hand one, at least if you are DAW based and have a monitor on the desk. Having the speakers so far back will make part of the sound hit the back of the monitors, which isn't good. Of course if you have the monitor hanging from the wall it's not an issue, but with the "storage space" as a front wall, I guess that's not the case. Also on the desk, you want to angle the monitors so that the sound doesn't hit the desk itself.

The stereo image wouldnt worry me too much - you simply angle the speakers until you get a reasonable image, and you can always test the locations of the instruments with headphones, a regular stereo grotbox or even the car.
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Re: Positioning: my small room nightmare

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:52 pm

Like the others, I'd favour the right hand positioning, but I suspect the final sound will depend on just how solid the doors on your storage is.

In most cases, doors, windows and cupboard doors tend to let through the majority of the sound, so the acoustics at low frequencies in particular are likely to effectively be for the room INCLUDING the storage area.

The important thing to avoid with your listening position is being exactly half way between the front and back of the room, as without extensive acoustic treatment this often becomes a place where the bass end drops off alarmingly (it can seem like a 'hole' as far as bass is concerned).

I'd always tend to adopt a listening position closer to the front of the room if possible (as you often get very lumpy bass as you get closer to the rear wall), but as stated above you also want to avoid 50% between front and back. Plenty of people recommend a spot 38% from the front of the room to get the most balanced frequency response and minimise the effects of room modes.

However, with your room this position will depend on how solid those storage doors are. I doubt that they will alter the bass frequencies at all, in which case you should measure the 38% point from the back of the storage area and try that first of all.

Of the two positions you've suggested, the one on the left seems to have its listening position about 50% between the 'front of the storage area' and the rear of your room (BAD), whereas the one on the right SEEMS close to the optimal 38% point. However, if that storage area frontage is effectively 'invisible' at low frequencies then you are once again placing your head at about 50% between the back of the storage area and the rear of the room (again BAD).

I reckon Wonks has the best advice - try different positions and see, but hopefully this 38% should help you find an optimum position depending on how solid the storage doors are.

Hope this helps! ;)

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