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Speaker placement methods
Old 11th July 2012
  #1
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Speaker placement methods

I have moved to a new house and are trying to find the optimal speaker placement.
I am not looking for anyone to tell me where to place them, but what methods do you use to find it yourselves?
First I tried to place one speaker in the right corner and measureing with rew to find the best listening position.
I did this by moving from the front wall to the backwall as I taped numbers on the floor as I moved.
Then I started to move the speaker around in a matrix I had drawn up and measure.
Well, that did not work out so good..
Later I just started to move the speaker around on free hand and measure every new move I did.

So how to do this methodically the "best"/easy/whatever way?
I have read a great thread about this on gs but I can't seem to find it.

Thanks!
Old 11th July 2012
  #2
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boggy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Vulture View Post
............
So how to this methodically the "best"/easy/whatever way?
I have read a great thread about this on gs but I can't find it now.

Thanks!
First, you need to draw symmetry line in the room on the floor (I use coloured pvc electrical isolation tape, for "drawing"), but before that, you need to find it, i mean you need to find best possible symmetry in the room.

Draw couple of points (tape crossed) on this line with about 5cm distance (2") between points. There will be a places for the measurement microphone... so try to make points in range where is practical for you to sit.

I start for the first point and I use ARTA in RTA mode with periodic white noise, so I measure fast, continual and in real time,... vga display is oriented to loudspeaker (me).

I always move ONE loudspeaker by myself and watch what happen to PC VGA in same time, then I "draw" cross on the floor (with pvc tape) at point where I find BEST response. tweeter is pointed to microphone and angle to symmetry line is from 25-35 degrees (roughly)...

I use cheap light loudspeaker stands for this, they are useless for anything other... but it is easy to point at floor where loudspeaker is, and it is easy to move it.

For any of listening points I'll try to find best position for one loudspeaker and I mark it.

After I find a couple of best positions, I use more precise measurement methods using MLS or sweep (now you can use REW), then I again measure all situations, and show it all on the same graph. After that I choose best possible position for listener and ONE loudspeaker. This may be a bit tricky and some experience is needed.

Then I include second loudspeaker positioned symmetrically to the first and do new (precise) measurements with only one loudspeaker in one time (not both).

After that I do some position tweaking with target to find best match between loudspeaker response (Also need experience...)

That's all, after that only treatment can help to have better results.

I hope that I help you, if you have problem to understand what I wrote, ask freely, I will try to explain better, I hope.



Cheers

Old 11th July 2012
  #3
Gear Addict
 

additional option

+1 Boggy

Also, once you have a reasonable idea where the Mix position is going to be, set your speaker in your chair and use the RTA function just as Boggy described (ARTA, REW). Move the mic while watching the screen. This can be a very quick way to determine "likely winner" as far as position. When you like the mic's response curve, mark it...that is where you would locate that speaker.
Old 11th July 2012
  #4
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Thank you so much for your answer boggy!
So you basicly move the speaker around on "free hand" when you try out different listening positions?
But I think I understand what you are saying

Do you have any opinion if I should try to find the best speaker/listening posistion before I start adding treatment or after?
After I found my "best position", that will soon change ,
I tried adding a ton of rockwool(building a new bathroom) in the corners.
Before taking off the plastic though so it is more compressed.
But it actually made the frequency curve worse..
Made me think...
Old 11th July 2012
  #5
tkr
Gear Addict
You might take a look here:

http://www.cardas.com/pdf/roomsetup.pdf

yours tkr
Old 11th July 2012 | Show parent
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkr View Post
You might take a look here:

http://www.cardas.com/pdf/roomsetup.pdf

yours tkr
A lot of gold(en) here
I must say I am some what sceptical.

But thanks anyway
Old 12th July 2012 | Show parent
  #7
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boggy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Vulture View Post
Thank you so much for your answer boggy!
You're welcome.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Vulture View Post
So you basicly move the speaker around on "free hand" when you try out different listening positions?
Yes, I (my body) introduce some interference in response but not at frequencies of interest. And yes, I forgot to tell that I look at response below 150Hz, when move speakers. Also, there are always (light) stands (which can change height), so I can escape and look at response without my interference.
ALSO, because I can move speakers freely by my hands, this way I can move speakers up and down. Sometimes tilting speakers (positioned above or below listener head) is only way to reach good bass response in some rooms.
For really big speakers I need one or two assistants.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Vulture View Post
But I think I understand what you are saying

Do you have any opinion if I should try to find the best speaker/listening posistion before I start adding treatment or after?
I always try to find best position in untreated room because rooms are small and I must know where I have space for treatment. So I build treatment around this positions.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Vulture View Post
After I found my "best position", that will soon change ,
I tried adding a ton of rockwool(building a new bathroom) in the corners.
Before taking off the plastic though so it is more compressed.
But it actually made the frequency curve worse..
Made me think...
At least, I tried to explain how I do loudspeaker placement, so you can try something different and describe your experiences here... this way you can modify something in my steps...

Also if I have luck to have client skilled and enthusiastic enough, which KNOWS what he like to hear, after first rough position selection, we can start listening tests for all chosen best positons, and positioning may last until next morning sometimes... but... this is a best way to introduce room to client even without treatment... so he can know what treatment really can do later to his room.
Old 12th July 2012
  #8
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Perfect!
I will report back when I have tried out my new learned methods.

But back to building bathroom
Old 12th July 2012
  #9
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Important topic, Vulture!

And great responses by Boggy and Jeff!

Now we have several days of measuring and testing ahead!

Tip: Read carefully. There are many details in the answers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Vulture View Post
.........
I have read a great thread about this on gs but I can't seem to find it.
Thanks!
This might be the one you looked for
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/7377799-post6.html

Best

Ake
Old 12th July 2012
  #10
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Analysis from ARTA which I use for rough loudspeaker positioning, is called "Spa" (this is a writings on the button), settings are 48kHz, FFT16384, Periodic Noise (PN) White, without averaging. I attached picture with some "measurement" results. I use microphone from some headset, and laptop "loudspeaker" only for demonstration, because I'm currently at airport.
This measurements can be very fast and precise enough, so bad things cannot be missed.

Attached Thumbnails
Speaker placement methods-rtafromarta.jpg  
Old 14th July 2012 | Show parent
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akebrake View Post

This might be the one you looked for
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/7377799-post6.html

Best

Ake
That is actually the post I was thinking about!
But that was not a good solution to me.

The rta in rew is usable right?
Had a quick look at it but could not make it work.
I will have another go at it tonight.
Old 14th July 2012
  #12
I followed Stav's method from Mixing With Your Mind and I'm pleased with the results.
Old 14th July 2012 | Show parent
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Vulture View Post
That is actually the post I was thinking about!
But that was not a good solution to me.
What happened? Just curious...

Quote:
The rta in rew is usable right?
Had a quick look at it but could not make it work.
The RTA in REW is very capable. I have just played with it and was impressed.
Have not used it for comparison of speaker positions

Cheers
Old 14th July 2012 | Show parent
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baskervils View Post
I followed Stav's method from Mixing With Your Mind and I'm pleased with the results.
Do you mean the "ribbon effect"?
This is a (subjective) listening exercise, for determining the width of the "stereo scene". No measuring involved. I am sure its useful.

By (objective) measuring you will have a stable reference for comparing different placements of speaker and listening positions.


BTW Stav's book is great reading and highly entertaining

Best
Old 14th July 2012
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by akebrake View Post
Do you mean the "ribbon effect"?
This is a (subjective) listening exercise, for determining the width of the "stereo scene". No measuring involved. I am sure its useful.

By (objective) measuring you will have a stable reference for comparing different placements of speaker and listening positions.


BTW Stav's book is great reading and highly entertaining

Best
Yes. From Stav's approach: Think of sound as 2 flames coming from speakers and position speakers in an optimal way to hear the best part of the flame of sound. It removes the idea of visual placement and relies on sound and sound alone. I was surprised by where my speakers ended up - much closer to me.
Old 17th April 2013
  #16
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My experience: I have a difficult room and use RTA mainly for fine tuning, e.g., toeing speakers and moving one of them by few mm for minimizing high freq cancellation (> 10 kHz).

In my case, it was useful to look at the REW waterfall to find the best position of my speakers (one speaker at time). It took more time than using RTA (a sweep each time and graph normalization) but the final result was better than using FR with RTA. Maybe your situation is easier than mine.
Old 7th March 2014 | Show parent
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertopisa View Post
My experience: I have a difficult room and use RTA mainly for fine tuning, e.g., toeing speakers and moving one of them by few mm for minimizing high freq cancellation (> 10 kHz).

In my case, it was useful to look at the REW waterfall to find the best position of my speakers (one speaker at time). It took more time than using RTA (a sweep each time and graph normalization) but the final result was better than using FR with RTA. Maybe your situation is easier than mine.
Using ARTA in "RTA" mode, with periodic noise, this process become nearly real-time... Less than second of latency... here is some example/illustration which I have couple of days ago




(for more pictures click here)
Actually, he is studio owner trying to find a better loudspeaker position when listening place is fixed.




EDIT: because unknown reasons facebook images are blocked.... here is attached one below...
Attached Thumbnails
Speaker placement methods-1957715_580585415370975_18805207_o.jpg  
Old 29th March 2014 | Show parent
  #18
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A new version of REW has been just released. I did not notice before that the RTA can be set to 1/48th smooting and 32K sample, so now it is good, I am using it. Thanks.

-R


Quote:
Originally Posted by boggy View Post
Using ARTA in "RTA" mode, with periodic noise, this process become nearly real-time... Less than second of latency... here is some example/illustration which I have couple of days ago




(for more pictures click here)
Actually, he is studio owner trying to find a better loudspeaker position when listening place is fixed.




EDIT: because unknown reasons facebook images are blocked.... here is attached one below...
Old 1st April 2014 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertopisa View Post
A new version of REW has been just released. I did not notice before that the RTA can be set to 1/48th smooting and 32K sample, so now it is good, I am using it. Thanks.

-R
YEP!!! And the Room Sim it's a wonderfull tool too!...


Hey Boggy, what about speaker placement with a sub?
Should I measure everything at the same time or speaker by speaker?
Old 2nd April 2014 | Show parent
  #20
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Hi Alejandro,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alejandro Varela View Post
.....
Hey Boggy, what about speaker placement with a sub?
Should I measure everything at the same time or speaker by speaker?
With single sub, this may be a little tricky. If you have inputs in sub for left and right channel, then outputs for each "satellite", so you can measure left OR right channel at the same time, if you mute one of them, before subwoofer input. If there is some different setup, you can measure both channels simultaneously, then ignore everything above 200Hz.
Old 2nd April 2014 | Show parent
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boggy View Post
Hi Alejandro,

With single sub, this may be a little tricky. If you have inputs in sub for left and right channel, then outputs for each "satellite", so you can measure left OR right channel at the same time, if you mute one of them, before subwoofer input. If there is some different setup, you can measure both channels simultaneously, then ignore everything above 200Hz.
Thanx for your answer!
I get a very good FR measuring at the same time. I have little dips around 400 hz, maybe 'caused by desk...I'll test it next days.
Old 3rd April 2014 | Show parent
  #22
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Jolida's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boggy View Post
Using ARTA in "RTA" mode, with periodic noise, this process become nearly real-time... Less than second of latency... here is some example/illustration which I have couple of days ago




(for more pictures click here)
Actually, he is studio owner trying to find a better loudspeaker position when listening place is fixed.




EDIT: because unknown reasons facebook images are blocked.... here is attached one below...
The window on that front wall is left alone without any insulation. Does a window serve as an acoustically invisible wall to the low frequencies, such that u can leave them alone without applying thick absorption on whichever wall they are?
Old 3rd April 2014 | Show parent
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolida View Post
The window on that front wall is left alone without any insulation. Does a window serve as an acoustically invisible wall to the low frequencies, such that u can leave them alone without applying thick absorption on whichever wall they are?
We can't change the window, this space is rented.
There will be (movable) insulation module later. Now this window is a way for a ventilation and day/night sensation for an engineer.


Old 3rd April 2014 | Show parent
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boggy View Post
We can't change the window, this space is rented.
There will be (movable) insulation module later. Now this window is a way for a ventilation and day/night sensation for an engineer.


Ok. But how does a window behave acoustically? Do we need to have the same thickness in terms of insulation if low frequencies are of concern, or just a 2" panel is sufficient to avoid HF reflections?
Old 3rd April 2014 | Show parent
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolida View Post
Ok. But how does a window behave acoustically? Do we need to have the same thickness in terms of insulation if low frequencies are of concern, or just a 2" panel is sufficient to avoid HF reflections?
We don't have HF reflections here, because the window is behind the speaker.
The main problem with (this) windows is their vibration, and "buzz" generated this way... So, the solution of problems depends on a particular issue, there is no universal recipe.


Old 4th April 2014 | Show parent
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boggy View Post

I always try to find best position in untreated room because rooms are small and I must know where I have space for treatment. So I build treatment around this positions.
i was surprised, that my progressing treatment changed the SBIR. in the untreated room the best position was speakers almost touching the wall. now with lots of absorption trying to fix the low frequency response i need to move the speakers 30cm from the wall 10cm up to tame a big null

is that a common observation?
Old 5th April 2014 | Show parent
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seedee701 View Post
i was surprised, that my progressing treatment changed the SBIR. in the untreated room the best position was speakers almost touching the wall. now with lots of absorption trying to fix the low frequency response i need to move the speakers 30cm from the wall 10cm up to tame a big null

is that a common observation?
Yes, you're right. I stopped measurement before treatment, from the half of the last year, because it may be misleading.... or... you can find a better position after treatment, so measurement before treatment may be irrelevant, especially for (unpredictable) room adaptation





PS: This way it is possible to get FR below 200Hz within +/-3dB without smoothing, of course, with the right treatment.
Old 5th April 2014 | Show parent
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boggy View Post
Yes, you're right. I stopped measurement before treatment, from the half of the last year, because it may be misleading.... or... you can find a better position after treatment, so measurement before treatment may be irrelevant, especially for (unpredictable) room adaptation





PS: This way it is possible to get FR below 200Hz within +/-3dB without smoothing, of course, with the right treatment.
i see you spend around 50% of room-volume for treatments to get within that +/-3db range.
i'm targeting 20% (not quite there yet) and am getting +/- 10db. what would you have expected?
do you rely on the porous absorber calculator to find the right material (like i did) or only on experience?
i was expecting a little more effect to be honest.

what is the reason for measuring one speaker at a time? i saw my 127hz dip getting way deeper when L-R is measured together. are single measurement revealing the listening experience?
Attached Thumbnails
Speaker placement methods-pic1.jpg  
Old 5th April 2014 | Show parent
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seedee701 View Post
i see you spend around 50% of room-volume for treatments to get within that +/-3db range.
I didn't calculate treatment volume of a couple of last designs, but you are probably right.
Quote:
Originally Posted by seedee701 View Post
i'm targeting 20% (not quite there yet) and am getting +/- 10db. what would you have expected?
with 20% it is possible to get +/-5dB flatness, but this is also room dependent, despite monitor/listener positioning.
Quote:
Originally Posted by seedee701 View Post
do you rely on the porous absorber calculator to find the right material (like i did) or only on experience?
It is mainly experience (my own calculator)
Quote:
Originally Posted by seedee701 View Post
i was expecting a little more effect to be honest.
Everyone expects more... but there is no luck!
Quote:
Originally Posted by seedee701 View Post
what is the reason for measuring one speaker at a time? i saw my 127hz dip getting way deeper when L-R is measured together. are single measurement revealing the listening experience?
single speaker measuring is because we try to find the best position with room for one speaker and to find an overall compromise for both. Below 150Hz you can't sense sound direction, so the overall impression is closer to both speaker measurements at the same time. Single speaker measurements is useful to find each speaker anomalies in listening space... to find better position... at the end best overall compromise need to be chosen...



Old 5th April 2014
  #30
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Also, only for the smallest rooms, below 50m2, you need to use about 50% of room volume for the treatment and may still have a problems... for room volumes above 50 and below 100m2, 30-40% may be pretty enough for acceptable results. If room is even bigger you need less percent of the room volume for the treatment, but this not mean "less absolute volume of treatment"


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