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Salk Song Towers-How Close is Too Close?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hello Salk Song Tower Owners! This is my first post to this forum. After spending hours upon hours reading these and reviews about how great the Salk Song Towers are, I really want to treat myself to this musical experience next year. But, I need to ask for your help in determing if this makes sense based on my space limitations. I live in a townhome so my space for a great listening location is very small and not very flexible. I have a guest bedroom that I would love to be able to convert into a music listening room/home theater with a 5.1 set-up. My wish list consists of the Salk Sound Towers, Salk Center and the Salk Surround 1's. The bedroom is extremely small... 9' 6" W x 10' 9" D x 8' H ceiling. I have read that the towers can be placed just a foot away from the wall and still obtain great sound... does that also apply to the side walls? If I follow the rule of thirds... I would need to move my listening position 2 to 3 feet from the rear wall. That gives me only a little over 5 feet of disance from the front towers to my listening position! Is that too close even for near field listening? Will this lead to a letdown based on my expectations?

I know that I will need to buy or build bass traps to deal with room acoustic issues. I would mount the Surround I's on the back wall behind the listening position. I love to listen to jazz and blues music... The room would be used for 60% music (2 channel & multichannel SACD and DVD audio) and 40% movies.

Based on my limited space am I being unrealistic on what can be expected even from a stellar speaker? My alternative is my living room area, but it is the center of the house... too much household activity to seriously listen to music. I would definitely prefer to have a room that I could have exclusively for music listening and watching movies... my escape after a hectic day. Let me know if I am living in a fantasy world! Has anyone else experienced or experimented with the scenario that I'm dealing with?

I am a total novice in this area. Any and all feedback would be greatly appreciated. Happy holidays to everyone!
post #2 of 18
Hi I just tried listening to my ST's from 5 feet. I couldn't get them any closer horizontally than 7 feet because there's a couch between them. I think the imaging would be satisfactory if that distance could be narrowed to about 6 feet. In general, about all I can say is that there's nothing about the ST's that would make them any less suitable at 5 feet than most any other speaker. Arguaby, they would do better than most because of their broad dispersion pattern and controlled bass. So the question is really whether you will be happy with any speakers in that small a room. I've heard the HT3's in a room about that small. The bass was a little problematic, but the soundstaging was satisfactory.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Dennis,

Thanks a million for the quick response! Based on your response, I think I may take a second look at my living room space. I have attached photos of the space. There is 12 1/2 feet of depth from the fireplace wall to the couch. Plus there is an additional 3' 10" inches to the (purple) stairwell wall. That makes the total depth of the space a little over 16 ft. The room is 40 ft wide from the living room wall to the kitchen wall.

I am assuming that I would have a better soundstage in this area... or will this area have more acoustic issues than the small bedroom? The downside to this location is that it is the main family area... so there's a lot of activity and noise in the kitchen... plus I have 6 year old child with a five month old puppy!
I would have to purchase and install a new plasma or lcd tv over the
fireplace since my current set is a DLP and in the corner of the room. (I
know... this is not your problem.) Also, in your opinion, should I put the Surround I speakers at ear level on stands on opposite ends of the couch... or should I place the Surround I's higer up on the stairwell wall pointed down at the listening position? Thanks for the valuable feedback!
LL
LL
LL
post #4 of 18
Generally, the recommendation for surrounds is that they be above ear level.

As for moving the system away from that side wall -- absolutely.

WRT the Song Towers -- I haven't heard them. So, in that way, this is baseless speculation, but I think that the space constraints behind the speakers (as it is obviously a high traffic area right in front of your postulated new HT spot) might be problematic even in the 'new' spot.

But, again, actual owners of the speaker in question could answer that issue much more accurately than I...
post #5 of 18
What Dennis wrote sounds spot on. I sit about 7 ft. from the speakers, but have moved as close as 6 ft. without a major change in sound. 5 ft. is not the best place to sit for most speakers, but I can't think why the ST's wouldn't do very well in comparison to other choices out there.

If you are thinking of using the living room, but also have a spare room to use consider how much use you'll get out of the speakers with the placement. If your use of them is limited because you can't get some quiet time in the living room, the other room might be for you. However, if you think you'll never get to sneak off to the spare room, you might want to have them in the space where you spend most of your time (i.e. the living room). So I guess your major concern should be where you are going to get the most/best use out of them, and then make them work in that space.

Not sure if I rambled or not....wife came home with a bottle of Cuban rum and Cuban cigars tonight and told me to get drunk and stink it up. MIL is staying over and she wants to make it up to me. Headphones have to do for the week.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the responses so far... Bigjp, do you own the Salk Song Towers? I think I might be able to get close to 7 ft distance between the speaker and my listening position if I move the loveseat in the small bedroom closer to only one foot off the rear wall... how does that option sound?

Dennis,
You mentioned that you listened to the HT3's in room about the size I'm considering... the soundstaging was good but the bass was problematic. Did the room have any acoustic treatments? I am definitely planning on building or purchasing these elements to address those issues.
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlockett View Post

Thanks everyone for the responses so far... Bigjp, do you own the Salk Song Towers? I think I might be able to get close to 7 ft distance between the speaker and my listening position if I move the loveseat in the small bedroom closer to only one foot off the rear wall... how does that option sound?

Dennis,
You mentioned that you listened to the HT3's in room about the size I'm considering... the soundstaging was good but the bass was problematic. Did the room have any acoustic treatments? I am definitely planning on building or purchasing these elements to address those issues.

Hi Gotta catch a plane to warmer climes, but the room had a little treatment the first time I heard it, and more the second. It helped. But the HT3 bass is much stronger than the ST's. So I don't think it will be an issue for you. Off to Arizona.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks Dennis... Safe Travels.
post #9 of 18
Yes, I have the ST's. You should be just fine with 7 ft. However, if you plan to do 7.1 you'll have a hard time with it if you are that close to the wall. Once you get them you'll be able to play around with room layout and see what you can come up with too.
post #10 of 18
dlockett - welcome to the forums...well, sort of, since you've been around for two years. You get what I mean.

First of all, your living room is beautiful. I love the wood floor and artwork. I hope to own something that beautiful one day.

If you really do want to go 5.1 or 7.1 for home theater, I'd have to vote for using the living room. However, I completely understand what you said about it being traffic heavy, plus it's very beautiful, so I assume you'd like to keep that nice, clean look. You also have that tile, wood floor and glass table to deal with as far as reflections go.

As far as the surrounds go, ideally you'd mount them slightly behind the listening position and angled down toward the listener. You can also experiment and chose what you prefer, though.

You mentioned room treatments for the smaller room, but how willing would you and yours (wifey) be to treat your main living room, or perhaps completely carpet over that gorgeous wood? Also, if you didn't mount a plasma above the TV, where you place the speakers? I apologize for all the questions, as I know you are looking for an answer and don't want to be bombarded with questions in response to your question, but these answers will help us help you.

I have had the SongTower's 1 foot from the wall, and they sounded great. I haven't sat 6 feet away, but I currently listen at 9 feet, with them positioned about 9 feet apart. They sound fantastic. I do think you could make them sound good in the smaller room, but it will take some work. Likewise, it may take some work to get them sounding good in your living room. Whichever it is, these are fantastic speakers IMO, and worth trying in your home. Remember, Salk offers a 30 day in-home trial period.

Again, sorry for the questions, but the answers will be helpful. Hope to hear from you soon. If not, Merry Christmas!
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hey Nuance,

Great to hear from you. I've been totally a sideline member up to now... heck it took me over an hour trying to figure out how to post a thread! Your review of the Salk's was the tipping point for me on selecting them. I follow the Salk Owner's subscription pretty religiously even though I'm not an owner yet... I hop to change that soon!

As far as the living area goes, do you think that the 2 8' x 10' area rugs are not sufficient for floor absorption? It's definitely not in the plans to carpet the entire area. I am open to ditching the glass tables if that would help the situation. With the kitchen area so far away from the speakers, will the tile in that area influence the sound negatively? Probably the only additional treatment I might consider in the living room area is to do some type of absorption panel on the stairwell wall behind the listening position. Does the stairwell itself create additional problems?

Regarding the surround placements if I use the living rooom area, do you feel that it would be too far back if I had the Salk Surrounds almost 4 ft back from the listening position on the stairwell wall. I have seen some articles that state that 5.1 should be more so to the sides of the listening position... how flexible is that school of thought? Plus, if I went with the speakers to the sides of the sofa, I have not seen any speaker stands that could position the Surround I's a foot to two feet above the ears. Am I just not looking in the right places?

I take a look at that small bedroom every day to try to figure out the best way to make that a poor man's oasis for a multi-channel music/home theater room! I guess there is no such thing as a perfect room. I am absolutely willing to do whatever is necessary to make the room sound great if it is at all feasible. I have checked out GIK accoustics and they seem to have products that can help me deal with the small space issues Nuance, you mentioned that you sit 9ft from your Towers... how far are you from your rear wall in that setting? Based on the info that I have provided so far, which space do you think presents the best opportunity for an ideal listening location?

Now, I need to apologize for asking so many questions! Thanks for asking all the key questions and taking the time to respond to my call for advice. it's helping me to look at this from various perspectives. The more feedback the better informed decision I will make. I hope to pick you and the other Salk Owners brains in the coming weeks.
post #12 of 18
I live in a 621 square foot condo, so my space is at a premium. My "Living room" is about 12 X 9 and I have my 58" TV angled in the corner and my SongTowers are flanking it and are right against the wall. While the placement is not ideal, the speakers still sound excellent. They are between 4 and 5 feet apart and are around 6 feet from the listening position.

Doug
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Doug,

Thanks for the feedback... it sounds like my first option (small bedroom) is very similar to your space. I can definitely get that much space between the speakers and the listening position. A few additional questions about room acoustics... what is the height of your ceiling? Do you use any bass traps or other acoustic treatments? And, how far are is the rear wall behind your listening position? Muchas gracias.
post #14 of 18
Doug -

The carpets will help with reflections for sure, but you still have the bare area in front of the speakers, so that won't help. Maybe you could just put something decorative under the speakers (small carpet squares or something). Of course, just trying them out to see how it sounds won't hurt.

The kitchen should not interfere with the sound, as it's pretty far away. The best way to find out would be to try it, though. I also don't think the stairwell will cause too many issues, but I would treat the area immediately behind the speakers. Other than floor bounce and the ceiling, I'd say the spot right behind the speakers will cause the most issues.

If you use the living room, I'd place the rears behind the listening position, simply because that's really the only good place in that room.

If I were you, I'd try to make things work in the smaller room first. If you have no success you always have the living room.

Merry Christmas!
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Nuance,

I am definitely going to do all I can to make the small bedroom work. How far do you sit from the rear wall in your set-up? And do you have Surrounds with your Salk Song Towers? Thanks for all the great feedback.
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlockett View Post

Nuance,

I am definitely going to do all I can to make the small bedroom work. How far do you sit from the rear wall in your set-up? And do you have Surrounds with your Salk Song Towers? Thanks for all the great feedback.

No surrounds yet, but sometimes soon I hope.

My back wall is a ways away, probably 10 feet or so.

I hope you get the bedroom to work. Happy listening.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks Nuance,

I hope to place my order very soon... I can't wait to join such an enthusiastic group of owners!
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlockett View Post

Thanks Nuance,

I hope to place my order very soon... I can't wait to join such an enthusiastic group of owners!



Do let us know what you think when/if you order and receive them.
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