Loudspeaker design and modern living.

Has anyone else noticed how inappropriately designed many loudspeakers are when it comes to placement in a modern home?
Do all Americans have huge listening rooms?
The reason I ask is lately I have been drooling over the latest Martin Logan Electromotion ESL speakers which are supposedly designed for both stereo application and home theatre.
On downloading the manual I was not too suprised to see, under Speaker Positioning section...'best placed 2 to 3 feet from rear wall'..
Well thats the Martin Logans out of the question then!
In a modern living room it is near nigh impossible to place speakers this distance from a rear wall and then sit in an ideal position.
Why do speakker manufacturers insist on designing their boxes like this if they wish to actually sell a fair number of them?
I guess I'll be sticking with my sealed-box design for a while longer yet. |(
 

Craig M.

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chebby said:
Where is Lindsayt?

If I recall correctly, his answer to another - similar - post was to recommend buying a large, detached, Victorian house.

i think chebbs, it was actually a dilapidated mansion. :)
 

Crocodile

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Alears said:
Do all Americans have huge listening rooms?(
On average, it would appear so. Always amuses me when I see the Cardas method of speaker placement recommended to UK residents. Meanwhile, back in the real world...

But then us Brits have the smallest living spaces in Europe & around 1/3 the size of Australia & the USA. So maybe emigration is the answer?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8201900.stm
 

chebby

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Crocodile said:
But then us Brits have the smallest living spaces in Europe & around 1/3 the size of Australia & the USA.

Well, yes but...

22 million Australians have 3 million square miles to fit into.

Whereas 62 million of us Brits have to squeeze into 94 thousand square miles.
 

Shanka

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Hi,

I would agree that buying a detatched property would be the best upgrade to my listening, I live in a converted victorian house and already bought the downstairs flat much bigger space, just need to buy out the other neighbour to get the volume control up to 11

Have fun
 

idc

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My issue are the wires. I want compact wireless active speakers that I can hang on the wall. Are there any?

I went head-fi mainly because of the problems with fitting speakers into small rooms with children apprently getting priority for space
smiley-yell.gif
 

CJSF

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The idea of setting up a hifi system in a modern 'tag wall' house would fill me with despair . . . ? However I'd love to have a go as a challenge . . .

My home was an un known quantity, in fact I had little hope or aspiration to producing a true out of the box performance, especially as my last proper listening room was perfect.

I thought the 12ftx12ft Victorian cottage room I now have was going to present problems with a capital 'P', one being along the lines of, how close can the speakers go to the wall . . . how close 'must' they go to maintain a practical living space? I was also stuck with the speakers I had dug out of storage that I could remember very little of after nearly 20 years?

Chebby was helpful digging a few fact from the net for me, I get the impression that 'transmission line speakers can back up close to a wall if required, in fact desirable if more base was the aim? As it has turned out, my study/office/listening room/late night retreat situation, (see, no mention of Horlicks) dictates the speakers are better each side, at the front of my desk, speaker front baffle 660mm from the wall. Doors and fittings dictate the speaker spacing was not wide enough at 5ft between driver centres and that they had to sit off centre to the side walls? A speaker in the middle of the doorway leading to the kitchen was not good.

My next concern, the room is square with tallish 8ft6" celling.

Amp, CDp and TT had to go on a free standing bookshelf cupboard, no option. The right speaker sits within 12" of a free standing open shelf unit that houses most of my record and CD collection.

An unpromising start, although, I had got a feel of how the room sounded, when I temporarily placed said speakers on a 4ft 6" shelf with 2ft between them . . . not as bad as you might think.

I have pushed, pulled, prodded and pocked, adjusted, tweaked and moved most items by a few centimetres here or there. After 12 months, one has achieved near perfection within the confines of the system. It became obvious as time progressed that the room was not as limiting as I had first thought, provided I did small, almost unperceived adjustments that did not upset the living space. They however did affect the hifi's performance. The final revelation was the kitchen door, the right speaker is close to storage shelves, the left speaker is by the kitchen door, said door opens into the listening room beside the left speaker. Serious listening, set the kitchen door about half open, makes a matching baffle to the right speaker, balanced sound, perfect imaging, wide, deep, high sound stage.

Listening position is not perfect in the central sweet spot . . . so, the vagaries of the Croft amp come into play, it has separate volume controls for left and right channels. I simply adjust to suite . . . plus, some records are over biased or seem to react in strange ways to my less than ideal room . . . no problem, the amp is within easy reach, adjust accordingly.

So a listening situation far from ideal, living comes first??? 'Adapting' was the answer, which, in the end has proved to be a most rewarding hifi listening and most important, musical experience shared between the two of us.

One final point, sitting listening to music is fine but a 12ft square room is still 12ft square . . . at night, draw the curtains, snug, cosy, choose your music, a couple of fingers measured up the glass maybe? . . . then turn the lights off, a very small lamp by the TT perhaps, I even turn that off, cos I sit by it. A new musical dimension emerges . . . trust me, try it, it works, the last vestiges of the walls disappear, you can transport to the virtual reality of the performance in hand. Works really well with live performances or recording with natural ambiance like churches . . . I'm drifting as I type . . . . .

So I have gone from the problems of modern living and speaker design, to a full listening experience by adaption of what is available . . . I hope thats not to much of a leap from what the OP intended?

CJSF
 

chebby

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idc said:
My issue are the wires.

I went some way down that path getting rid of my last 'traditional' seperates system a year ago. Four less 'boxes' and about ten less cables (mains leads, USB cable, ethernet cable, interconnects etc.) and getting wireless (AirPlay) operation of much that required hard connection to a computer and a seperate DAC before.

The remaining cables were all - eventually - replaced with much shorter runs (2.5m speaker cables instead of 3.5m, 1m HDMI cables instead of 2m).

Suprisingly (given the number of 'WAF' related threads on here) I was the one who got fed up with it all and wanted to rid the place of clutter and bulk and wires and darkness. My wife has never once complained about the presence of hi-fi in thirty years. (She actually quite liked the old Naim system.)

It wasn't due to kids either. They were never a problem, with regards to the hi-fi, even when they were little.

I will never go back. Any future changes will be to another 'all-in-one' (whenever and whatever that might be).

The only concession I made to 'WAF' was choosing Maple or Light Oak speaker veneers (to go with our other furniture and lighten their looks) but I prefer those finishes too.
 

CnoEvil

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Audio Note make speakers that are designed to work best in the corners and against the wall; and some brands like Kef and PMC have models with boundary compensation (albeit at a price).

Most ported speakers need a bit of room to give optimum performance, so it's then how much compromise there is, when this ideal isn't practical.....and that could depend where the port is placed.
 

CJSF

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CnoEvil said:
Audio Note make speakers that are designed to work best in the corners and against the wall; and some brands like Kef and PMC have models with boundary compensation (albeit at a price). Most ported speakers need a bit of room to give optimum performance, so it's then how much compromise there is, when this ideal isn't practical.....and that could depend where the port is placed.

How does that work with 'transmission line speakers' Con? According to what I read, explanation in Wikipedia, if don right, there should be minimum air movement at the port? I've got 'Raising Sand' on now, excellent base line. A strip of tissue 25mmx100mm Blue Tacked to dangle over the port with about a 10mm gap, volume set at a reasonable level. There is a distinct sucking and blowing of the tissue. So are Wikipedia wrong or have I misunderstood . . . more than likely:O

I'm also wondering about PMC's advice that the speakers can be put close to a wall for enhanced base. Again have I been dreaming, got it wrong . . . or is this something peculiar to ‘folded horn transmission line’, type speakers?

CJSF
 

CnoEvil

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CJSF said:
How does that work with 'transmission line speakers' Con? According to what I read, explanation in Wikipedia, if don right, there should be minimum air movement at the port? I've got 'Raising Sand' on now, excellent base line. A strip of tissue 25mmx100mm Blue Tacked to dangle over the port with about a 10mm gap, volume set at a reasonable level. There is a distinct sucking and blowing of the tissue. So are Wikipedia wrong or have I misunderstood . . . more than likely:O

I'm also wondering about PMC's advice that the speakers can be put close to a wall for enhanced base. Again have I been dreaming, got it wrong . . . or is this something peculiar to ‘folded horn transmission line’, type speakers?

CJSF

For their Fact 8 speakers, here is PMC's info:
http://www.fact-speakers.com/technology/control.aspx

and here: http://www.fact-speakers.com/downloads/PMC-fact8-Manual.pdf

Apart from that, I don't have the technical know-how to answer your question.
 

moon

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chebby said:
idc said:
My issue are the wires.

I went some way down that path getting rid of my last 'traditional' seperates system a year ago. Four less 'boxes' and about ten less cables (mains leads, USB cable, ethernet cable, interconnects etc.) and getting wireless (AirPlay) operation of much that required hard connection to a computer and a seperate DAC before.

The remaining cables were all - eventually - replaced with much shorter runs (2.5m speaker cables instead of 3.5m, 1m HDMI cables instead of 2m).

Suprisingly (given the number of 'WAF' related threads on here) I was the one who got fed up with it all and wanted to rid the place of clutter and bulk and wires and darkness. My wife has never once complained about the presence of hi-fi in thirty years. (She actually quite liked the old Naim system.)

It wasn't due to kids either. They were never a problem, with regards to the hi-fi, even when they were little.

I will never go back. Any future changes will be to another 'all-in-one' (whenever and whatever that might be).

The only concession I made to 'WAF' was choosing Maple or Light Oak speaker veneers (to go with our other furniture and lighten their looks) but I prefer those finishes too.

I have just grabbed one of the Monitor Audio i-deck 200 at the new lowered price. Its sound exceeds my expectations by some margin. Combined. with an ipod or ipad it makes a really really good in one solution.

chuffed to bits!! :)
 

Electro

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CJSF said:
CnoEvil said:
Audio Note make speakers that are designed to work best in the corners and against the wall; and some brands like Kef and PMC have models with boundary compensation (albeit at a price). Most ported speakers need a bit of room to give optimum performance, so it's then how much compromise there is, when this ideal isn't practical.....and that could depend where the port is placed.

How does that work with 'transmission line speakers' Con? According to what I read, explanation in Wikipedia, if don right, there should be minimum air movement at the port? I've got 'Raising Sand' on now, excellent base line. A strip of tissue 25mmx100mm Blue Tacked to dangle over the port with about a 10mm gap, volume set at a reasonable level. There is a distinct sucking and blowing of the tissue. So are Wikipedia wrong or have I misunderstood . . . more than likely:O

I'm also wondering about PMC's advice that the speakers can be put close to a wall for enhanced base. Again have I been dreaming, got it wrong . . . or is this something peculiar to ‘folded horn transmission line’, type speakers?

CJSF

This video might give you a little more insight into how the advanced transmission line works in your LB1's and all PMC speakers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=683FoCDilOE
 
A

Anonymous

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Alears said:
I guess I'll be sticking with my sealed-box design for a while longer yet. |(

Sticking with the EB2's isn't the worst thing that could happen to you, I suppose...;)

Next to the EB2's there are more sealed-box designs: the ATC SCM 7 and 11, Harbeth P3ESR and Monitor 20 (plus other LS3/5A "clones" like Stirling), Spendor SA1 and S3/5R2, the Xavian Primissima II and the Xavian XN 270 Evoluzione, for example.

And of course there are rear ported models, designed to be placed close to a rear wall or even in a corner. Examples: several Audio Note models, Rega RS1, Sonus Faber Toy to mention a few.

The fact stays however that choosing loudspeakers for a "normal" :shifty: living/listening room in many cases is a difficult thing. Most manufacturers seem not to know what the average living/listening room looks like... :wall:
 
This is where companies such as B&O and Bose become a viable option. But as we all know this comes at a price. However, many of the mainstream brands such as Panasonic, Sony, PMC, Vienna Acoustics, Monitor Audio, B&W etc etc. offer a 'lifestyle' range to their traditional offerings.
 

CJSF

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Electro said:
This video might give you a little more insight into how the advanced transmission line works in your LB1's and all PMC speakers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=683FoCDilOE

Thanks for the link Electro, short and sweet but yes, I understand better . . . why doesn’t everyone do it like that? . . . Or stick with a sealed box?

CJSF
 

Electro

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CJSF said:
Electro said:
This video might give you a little more insight into how the advanced transmission line works in your LB1's and all PMC speakers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=683FoCDilOE

Thanks for the link Electro, short and sweet but yes, I understand better . . . why doesn’t everyone do it like that? . . . Or stick with a sealed box?

CJSF

To put it simply ,very few speaker manufactures bother to try and design a transmission line speaker because it is far more expensive , time consuming and technically difficult to get it right , but I am very glad that PMC have and I am sure you are too :)
 

CJSF

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Electro said:
To put it simply ,very few speaker manufactures bother to try and design a transmission line speaker because it is far more expensive , time consuming and technically difficult to get it right , but I am very glad that PMC have and I am sure you are too :)

I can see the point at the lower end of the market, there is just not the cash in the build, but ratchet up the price column, why have designers and consumers not latched on???

I sit and listen to my LB1's, and marvel more and more. Relaxed, delicate, great image, reality and musicality . . . put some Philistine music on and they rise to the occasion . . . I like a bit of 'Philistine' from time to time, all with a simple and modest intigrated amp, a simple TT and the sweetest of cartridges . . . They said it could not be done, perhaps that ought be; 'should not be done', after all, 'it just not cricket old chap' . . . :rofl:

CJSF
 

oldric_naubhoff

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Electro said:
To put it simply ,very few speaker manufactures bother to try and design a transmission line speaker because it is far more expensive , time consuming and technically difficult to get it right , but I am very glad that PMC have and I am sure you are too :)

LOL! far more expensive? a few planks of MDF are supposed to raise the cost of a speaker in some considerable manner? most manufacturers don't bother with TLs because it's not worth it. simple port works just fine, if not better. (sorry, I know this is a little bit off topic but couldn't help myself...)

here's measurements of PMC DB1i

http://www.stereophile.com/content/pmc-db1iii-loudspeaker-measurements

note the ATL's output on the graph.

and here's the same set of measurements for Dynaudio Focus 140. (I choose Dynaudio deliberately because I used Focus 110 for a year and never heard any reflex related noise. of course, badly implemented port will sound bad but it's not the fault of the principle but the manufacturer)

http://www.stereophile.com/content/dynaudio-focus-140-loudspeaker-measurements

and here's another affordable, small monitor. Epos M5i

http://www.stereophile.com/content/epos-m5i-loudspeaker-measurements

hint; compare output into mid frequencies from PMC's ATL and then Dyns's and Epos's port. I really can't see how ATL is superior to simple port. and not only me. here's what J. Atkinson wrote on the bottom of PMC's measurements (in case you didn't reach so far): "However, as with other transmission-line designs we have reviewed, it remains unclear to me what sonic benefit is gained by the increase in system complexity".

and now a few words on topic. someone at the top of this thread was seemingly jeering out of Lindsayt's advise in another thread to move houses to a bigger one. well, I think it's brilliant idea. if your living room is some 3m*3m box you can't really do much about it. maybe except buying some decent set of cans.

and I think you harm yourself buying such small houses in the first place. if there's still demand developers will keep building them. I live in Ireland now, which according to the graph from the link about houses' sizes does not differ much from the UK and on the beginning I was shocked how small an average house was. I thought it was really hard for a family to fit in. and I didn't even take hi-fi into account. at that time I wasn't into hi-fi yet so didn't even bother about squeezing in the speakers. right now I'm renting quite a nice apartment which is just big enough for my needs. but if I were to buy anything it would definitely be something with bigger living-room. and definitely with a higher quality finish. those standard cardboard divider walls are simply hilarious. my take on the subject is; you buy a house for a life so it'd be better if it's something you feel comfortable in, isn't it?
 

matthewpiano

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I'm very happy for those people who are in a position to simply choose to live in a big house, or a detached house, or one that doesn't have a particular type of wall construction, but for most of us reality has to be part of the equation.

For me, hi-fi should fit into the home and it shouldn't be a matter of the hi-fi dictating everything else. There are components and, particularly, speakers out there to work in most different rooms and it is simply a matter of finding the best match. Hi-Fi is important to me because of the musical pleasure it can bring, but life is about a lot more than just hi-fi and there are many other considerations when choosing where to live.
 

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