What do "speaker distance" settings do? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 4 Old 06-15-2007, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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My receiver (Pioneer VSX-D409) allows me to adjust the settings for "speaker distance" for each speaker. What does this do? Does it increase or decrease the volume of each speaker depending on the setting, or can you use this to introduce a tiny bit of audio delay or something?
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post #2 of 4 Old 06-15-2007, 02:24 PM
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post #3 of 4 Old 06-15-2007, 02:31 PM
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The distance setting is for time delay. It does not affect the speaker volume, there is a separate set options for that.

Ideally you'd have all the speakers equidistance from the main listening position so there would be no need for delays to time-align the speakers. But obviously many speakers are in rooms that don't facilitate this kind of placement, often surround speakers are much closer to the listening position than the mains. Delaying those channels appropriately makes it so that things stay time-aligned.

You usually can't add whole system delay because the receiver will usually figure out the relative delay between channels, not absolute delay. Though some processors may have additional delay capabilities to stay in sync with delayed video for instance, but this is usually different from the individual channel delays which are usually relative, not absolute.
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post #4 of 4 Old 06-15-2007, 03:25 PM
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To answer another common question on this: The distance that matters here is the straight line distance from each speaker to where your head would be in your preferred listening position. The length of speaker wire that happens to run from the amp to each speaker is not relevant, even if the various wires differ substantially in length.

That's because the electrical signal from the amp to the speaker travels along that wire at the speed of light -- essentially instantaneous. Whereas the sound from each speaker travels to your ears at the much slower speed of sound through the air.

Also "dipole" speakers -- surround speakers that fire to either side rather than straight ahead -- typically don't get a distance adjustment. That's because dipoles work by bouncing the "ambience" surround sound off the walls and other objects (to make it less localizeable). So their audio time signature is more diffuse and less likely to be annoying if not time adjusted to line up with that of the main speakers.

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