Need help optimizing sound - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 06-17-2014, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Need help optimizing sound

Hey folks.

I'd like to get some tips on how to optimize the sound from my setup to get it closer to what I heard when I demoed the speakers at the local hifi-store.
When I first demoed the speakers, I was amazed by the vocals and depth, but I just can't seem to be able to reproduce the same result at home.
The local hifi-store got a dedicated soundroom and a pretty expensive set of amps. So either I need to do something about my room and/or get a new amp.

So first off, one of my concerns.. My speakers are standing on a pretty deep desk as seen in the attachment. Would that cause any major problems with how the bass is produced?

Secondly, my room is pretty small. Probably 2 meters across from the TV to the sofa and as you can see there's barely room for the desk between the wardrobe and the window.
I've been thinking of replacing the desk with a proper TV-stand, which makes room for the speakers to stand on proper speaker stands. Would that help?

Thirdly, I've grown tired of all the settings and adjustments on the AVR. I'd really like to get something that's solid, with less things to mess up. Oh.. and I'd like to purchase a turntable at some point, which either limits me to those with integrated RIAA amp, or buy an external RIAA amp... The money for an external amp could potentially be used towards an integrated amp with RIAA phono (win win?)

Any suggestions for a newbie who's getting carried away?

Setup:
B&W 685 S2
Pioneer VSX-923
Philips 42PFL6678S
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Last edited by Stahp; 06-17-2014 at 11:22 PM.
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post #2 of 12 Old 06-17-2014, 11:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stahp View Post
Hey folks.

I'd like to get some tips on how to optimize the sound from my setup to get it closer to what I heard when I demoed the speakers at the local hifi-store.
When I first demoed the speakers, I was amazed by the vocals and depth, but I just can't seem to be able to reproduce the same result at home.
The local hifi-store got a dedicated soundroom and a pretty expensive set of amps. So either I need to do something about my room and/or get a new amp.

If you are listening at the desk, raise them off the desk, so the tweeters are at ear-level, then experiment with the toe-in. You want symmetry, both in angles and distance.

If you are playing to the sofa, move them to the front of the desk as an experiment. Again, the tweeters should be at ear height.

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Originally Posted by Stahp View Post
So first off, one of my concerns.. My speakers are standing on a pretty deep desk as seen in the attachment. Would that cause any major problems with how the bass is produced?
It certainly could. Placement is a primary consideration in making speakers speak well. They tend to like being "in the open", not reflecting off a flat surface like you have them.

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Originally Posted by Stahp View Post
Secondly, my room is pretty small. Probably 2 meters across from the TV to the sofa and as you can see there's barely room for the desk between the wardrobe and the window.
I've been thinking of replacing the desk with a proper TV-stand, which makes room for the speakers to stand on proper speaker stands. Would that help?
Move things around first, see what does help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stahp View Post
Thirdly, I've grown tired of all the settings and adjustments on the AVR. I'd really like to get something that's solid, with less things to mess up. Oh.. and I'd like to purchase a turntable at some point, which either limits me to those with integrated RIAA amp, or buy an external RIAA amp... The money for an external amp could potentially be used towards an integrated amp with RIAA phono (win win?)

No opinion here, except turn off all the junk options on the AVR. I'm sorta upscale 2-channel digital. Nice DAC, big amps, big speakers, and a smallish room, but well placed.

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Originally Posted by Stahp View Post
Any suggestions for a newbie who's getting carried away?
Sure, slow down on the equipment lust. As indicated in your title, you are interested in learning about optimization. Think later about equipment changes.

Read about speaker placement, there are lots of sources, here is one - http://realtraps.com/art_room-setup.htm


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stahp View Post
Setup:
B&W 685 S2
Pioneer VSX-923
Philips 42PFL6678S
That gear certainly looks sufficient for nearfield listening.

I'll be back later...


equitech 1.5RQ > digits > miniDSP > behringer > benchmark > krell pre and monoblocks > reQuest

Last edited by RayDunzl; 06-17-2014 at 11:50 PM.
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post #3 of 12 Old 06-18-2014, 11:03 AM
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ARRRG!.

OK, step one is to put a DIY absorption panel of the front wall. You need to get rid of the short distance reflections. Then the imaging will come back. About 3 inches of compressed FG ( Owens Corning 407 or fiberglass ceiling tiles) covered with cloth.

Fancy amps are not the answer, so don't sweat that.
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post #4 of 12 Old 06-18-2014, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions. I brought my speakers over to a friends house for him to listen as he's considering going from Klipsch to B&W.

My speakers immediately performed better in his living room. Borrowed his Klipsch RB-81 and they don't seem to thrive in my room.

Definitely need to to one of two things:
1. Get my own apartment with a larger room to allow for better placement/stands
2. Spend money on improving my room at my parents house.

We're both using Pioneer receivers and pretty much the same settings, only difference is the price tag. He's using a Pioneer SC-series while I'm using a VSX-series.
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post #5 of 12 Old 06-19-2014, 04:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stahp View Post
Hey folks.

I'd like to get some tips on how to optimize the sound from my setup to get it closer to what I heard when I demoed the speakers at the local hifi-store.
First cut: Come as close as you can to acoustically treating the room and locating the speakers similarly to what they do at the hifi store.

Quote:
When I first demoed the speakers, I was amazed by the vocals and depth, but I just can't seem to be able to reproduce the same result at home.
The local hifi-store got a dedicated soundroom and a pretty expensive set of amps. So either I need to do something about my room and/or get a new amp.


The room and speaker positioining is far and away the more productive path in most cases.

You've got a good amp, spending more money on that with just mini-speakers is putting the cart well before the horse.

Quote:
So first off, one of my concerns.. My speakers are standing on a pretty deep desk as seen in the attachment. Would that cause any major problems with how the bass is produced?
Reflections off of the table top are often a big problem. As Ray wisely suggested, raise the speakers up off the desk and point them at your ears. Unfortunately that may make the bass even weaker, but it will help the midrange which may indirectly help the bass.

The weak bass usually comes the room being too reflective or positioning the speakers too far from walls, corners and/or the floor and/or the ceiling.

Quote:
Secondly, my room is pretty small. Probably 2 meters across from the TV to the sofa and as you can see there's barely room for the desk between the wardrobe and the window.
I've been thinking of replacing the desk with a proper TV-stand, which makes room for the speakers to stand on proper speaker stands. Would that help?
Maybe.

Quote:
Thirdly, I've grown tired of all the settings and adjustments on the AVR. I'd really like to get something that's solid, with less things to mess up.
Sounds like you don't understand what the settings do, and are in denial about their potential to help your situation. Running away from knowlege and power is usually not a good strategy.

MCACC might help your system by restoring a modicum of good balance between bass and the rest once you corrrect your speaker positioning situation.

Quote:
Oh.. and I'd like to purchase a turntable at some point, which either limits me to those with integrated RIAA amp, or buy an external RIAA amp... The money for an external amp could potentially be used towards an integrated amp with RIAA phono (win win?)
If you can't get a straight up AVR to work well for you, then diving into the complexities of vinyl seems like a big risk.


Quote:
Any suggestions for a newbie who's getting carried away?

Setup:
B&W 685 S2
Pioneer VSX-923
Philips 42PFL6678S

Not seeing a BD player or other signal source, the signal/music source is...


Friendly advice:

KISS

Keep It Simple, Stupid ;-)

Last edited by arnyk; 06-19-2014 at 04:28 AM.
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post #6 of 12 Old 06-19-2014, 09:36 AM
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Many folks, even those who spin vinyl, recommend not getting into it unless you have an existing library. Like many others, vinyl was my primary source back in the day before digital, and I was very happy to let the record collection, and turntable go as I switched to all digital source. You couldn't pay me to go back!

In any case, I am curious as to why you are considering vinyl?

Heavily addicted SACDBA member, starting the twelve steps tomorrow!
Jay
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post #7 of 12 Old 06-19-2014, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Pet Motel View Post
In any case, I am curious as to why you are considering vinyl?
As a kid growing up in the 90's, we barely had any vinyl and if we did I probably helped break some of them. We mostly had casettes and CD's. I guess it's a bit charming to go back in time and use the same quality medium as they used back then.

My friend who got me into the whole craziness with music and speakers also introduced me to vinyl and I find it to have a pleasing sound. It's not the clinical pureness of the newer digital recordings, but yet not as bright as the remastered recordings on spotify.

I also like the idea of having a physical copy of the music. Grab a plate, pour some whisky and just relax.
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post #8 of 12 Old 06-19-2014, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Stahp View Post
As a kid growing up in the 90's, we barely had any vinyl and if we did I probably helped break some of them. We mostly had casettes and CD's. I guess it's a bit charming to go back in time and use the same quality medium as they used back then.

My friend who got me into the whole craziness with music and speakers also introduced me to vinyl and I find it to have a pleasing sound. It's not the clinical pureness of the newer digital recordings, but yet not as bright as the remastered recordings on spotify.

I also like the idea of having a physical copy of the music. Grab a plate, pour some whisky and just relax.
Fair enough, charm has it's place. For me, the charm faded as quickly as the sound quality of the record. It never sounded as good as the first playing, and the noise just increases with time to the point of distraction. Plus, you need to turn the darn thing over every 15-20 minutes. Careful handling (no fingerprints) thorough cleaning, caution with that stylus, yeah there's a whole lot of charm to be found in that vinyl platter LOL. Just remembering the "good old days" helps me appreciate the digital discs all that much more. I will say that the album covers, and printed material were way cool.

Heavily addicted SACDBA member, starting the twelve steps tomorrow!
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post #9 of 12 Old 06-22-2014, 02:46 AM
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I have three turntables in the storage closet. One day I'll give them to Goodwill. I'm astounded that anyone wants to fuss with vinyl or anything analog in this day and age. But, oddly, it appears to have a solid niche.
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post #10 of 12 Old 06-22-2014, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Not seeing a BD player or other signal source, the signal/music source is...
I'm using a PS3 as BD player and up until yesterday I had my computer running spotify connected to the receiver through HDMI. I'm now using my iPhone as source through airplay. Can't see any difference in quality going from HDMI to airplay, but it's tricky to evaluate without having the option to switch back and forth without any pause.

I bought a TV table yesterday which made my speakers alot happier. The sound is just awesome. Just need some speaker stands as they are currently sitting on top a pair of Klipsch RB-81.

Just hope that the Klipsch aren't passively generating some deeper tones :P Would suck to give them back and realize the sound got duller.
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post #11 of 12 Old 06-26-2014, 07:09 AM
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If you go to the Cardas website, they have a article on room dimensions. Also, google for Jeff Merkel. He put on a nice seminar at the Axpona convention in Chicago regarding acoustics in rooms / speakers. I believe you can download his presentation which is very interesting.
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post #12 of 12 Old 06-26-2014, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post
I have three turntables in the storage closet. One day I'll give them to Goodwill. I'm astounded that anyone wants to fuss with vinyl or anything analog in this day and age. But, oddly, it appears to have a solid niche.
It is odd. I have three turntables and use each of them at least once a week. Those 800 lps keep clamoring for more air time.

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