Speakers with large "sweet spot" - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 43 Old 08-11-2018, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Speakers with large "sweet spot"

I've got a set of powered Klipsch towers (R-26PF) hooked up to my TV via optical. Generally speaking, I love the way they look and sound. However, I'm not a fan of how *small* the sweet spot seems to be in terms of imaging. I've got a 65" LG OLED, the towers are about 3 feet to each side, and the sofa is centered on the TV. If I sit in the middle of the sofa, the imaging is great (ie - voices sound like they're coming from the TV). If I sit on the left side, which is where I usually end up sitting, the sound is heavily skewed to the left side. I'd love to remedy this. I've also got their powered bookshelf pair (R-15PM), and I noticed the same is true - the soundstage/imaging sweet spot is pretty narrow compared to what I've heard before.

Are there speakers that would do a better job specifically in the imaging department? Or am I pretty much screwed unless I grab an AVR and manually change things like speaker distance, etc? I'd rather not have to specifically tune to a single seating position, but I'm thinking that may be a foregone conclusion.

I had my eye on the KEF Q100/150, thinking the coaxial setup would be beneficial. Is that true? Also thought about the Chane a1.4 because I read the tweeters do a fine job dispersing horizontally. I've also still got a soft spot in my heart for the original Swans Diva line, I may just look for a used 2.1 pair if there's no magical tweeter/mid setup that will fix my problem. I just picked up the SB13-Ultra, so I don't need the speakers to dig down particularly deep.
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post #2 of 43 Old 08-11-2018, 04:40 PM
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Revel. The wave guide for the tweeter gives a very large sweet spot. And, seamless transition to the midrange driver, smooth off axis response.

The entire line at various price points are similar in design and sound. See the Revel thread for more info.
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post #3 of 43 Old 08-11-2018, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swartzy.baby View Post
I've got a set of powered Klipsch towers (R-26PF) hooked up to my TV via optical. Generally speaking, I love the way they look and sound. However, I'm not a fan of how *small* the sweet spot seems to be in terms of imaging. I've got a 65" LG OLED, the towers are about 3 feet to each side, and the sofa is centered on the TV. If I sit in the middle of the sofa, the imaging is great (ie - voices sound like they're coming from the TV). If I sit on the left side, which is where I usually end up sitting, the sound is heavily skewed to the left side. I'd love to remedy this. I've also got their powered bookshelf pair (R-15PM), and I noticed the same is true - the soundstage/imaging sweet spot is pretty narrow compared to what I've heard before.

Are there speakers that would do a better job specifically in the imaging department? Or am I pretty much screwed unless I grab an AVR and manually change things like speaker distance, etc? I'd rather not have to specifically tune to a single seating position, but I'm thinking that may be a foregone conclusion.

I had my eye on the KEF Q100/150, thinking the coaxial setup would be beneficial. Is that true? Also thought about the Chane a1.4 because I read the tweeters do a fine job dispersing horizontally. I've also still got a soft spot in my heart for the original Swans Diva line, I may just look for a used 2.1 pair if there's no magical tweeter/mid setup that will fix my problem. I just picked up the SB13-Ultra, so I don't need the speakers to dig down particularly deep.
I don't know how the speakers are set up, but try angling the left speaker so it is aimed at the rightmost seat, and aim the right speaker at the leftmost seat. This is intensity trading and will often widen the sweetspot with horn speakers, but it is somewhat dependent on the off-axis response of the horn, so results may vary.
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post #4 of 43 Old 08-11-2018, 04:47 PM
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Supposedly, the concentric driver design of a speaker like the Q100/150 should provide really good off-axis response.

The problem with KEF is that they royally gouge you on their "matching" MTM center...you're better paying the same money for 3 x Hsu CCB-8 which will give you everything the Qs have, but more of it due to the much larger woofers (8" vs 5.25").

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post #5 of 43 Old 08-11-2018, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooddoc View Post
I don't know how the speakers are set up, but try angling the left speaker so it is aimed at the rightmost seat, and aim the right speaker at the leftmost seat. This is intensity trading and will often widen the sweetspot with horn speakers, but it is somewhat dependent on the off-axis response of the horn, so results may vary.
Nice suggestion. Just tried this, and while it does take care of the "sound is coming from the left" problem, it also totally destroys any sense of image. What I mean by that, is it sounds like the sound is coming from each distinct speaker instead of a uniform soundstage. Boo.

The Revel suggestion is interesting. The waveguide...is that the bit in the middle of the tweeter? Or the larger bit that the tweeter is set into? If the latter, that makes me curious about top-mounted tweeters (a la Swans Diva 2.1). I've owned almost that entire range, wish my young and restless self had paid more attention to the details...
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post #6 of 43 Old 08-11-2018, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by swartzy.baby View Post
Nice suggestion. Just tried this, and while it does take care of the "sound is coming from the left" problem, it also totally destroys any sense of image. What I mean by that, is it sounds like the sound is coming from each distinct speaker instead of a uniform soundstage. Boo.

The Revel suggestion is interesting. The waveguide...is that the bit in the middle of the tweeter? Or the larger bit that the tweeter is set into? If the latter, that makes me curious about top-mounted tweeters (a la Swans Diva 2.1). I've owned almost that entire range, wish my young and restless self had paid more attention to the details...
Yeah, that technique depends on the horn providing constant directivity, and not all horns do. I suspect yours might not.
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post #7 of 43 Old 08-11-2018, 05:13 PM
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How do you get uniformity with 2 speakers? Regardless of their spatial dispersion?

The speakers are described as being about 10' (3m) apart. If the listening position is 8' (2.4m) away, then if both speakers are producing a 1 kHz sine wave, there would be a null in the sound if you move less than a foot (30 cm) away from the center. I know that we don't normally listen to single frequencies, and the speakers aren't point sources in an anechoic chamber, but the lobing may still be pretty bad.

I doubt that the OP wants to get a center, plus an AVR to drive a 3.0 or 3.1 setup. I believe that an AVR can do an adequate job of sending the voices from a stereo signal to the center. (I mostly get stereo from my Comcast cable box, except for the ads. I have the box configured for 5 channel surround sound.)
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post #8 of 43 Old 08-11-2018, 05:21 PM
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I think you are ready to take the leap into an AVR. you could start out with a 3.1 set up. you are sort of limited for receiver choices since you mains are powered. you'll need a model with pre-outs and those don't start towoards the middle of the line of most makers.

if you like the co-axial off axis response, consider the volt kits from DIYsoundgroup.com; If you have the skills and patience for that sort of thing. I built a set of the volt 6 v2 for side surrounds and almost made them my mains.

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post #9 of 43 Old 08-11-2018, 05:27 PM
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my focals have the sweet spot from end to end/speaker to speaker. its pretty amazing, one of reasons I bought them.

Power: Marantz sr7008, NAD C 275Bee x 2, Video: Oppo 103, Samsung 75un6300
Speakers: Focal aria 948, Focal cc900, Klipsch synergy KSF 10.5, Magnepan LRS
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post #10 of 43 Old 08-11-2018, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by swartzy.baby View Post
The Revel suggestion is interesting. The waveguide...is that the bit in the middle of the tweeter? Or the larger bit that the tweeter is set into?
It's the larger bit, the kind of dished out part. The thing about drivers is that as the frequency rises, they tend to beam. This is true of all drivers, some more than others. It is also true of horns, and of waveguides.* They can be designed to beam fairly narrowly (for PA purposes, or to reduce room reflections), or more widely.

Recently I've been doing shopping rounds with friends, and liked the Revels (Concerta F36, $2k/pair) and Wharfedale Revas (they were on sale $1600/pair). We liked the Monitor Audio Silver 300 ($2k/pr) even more; the drivers sounded somewhat more integrated than the Revas and not as bass heavy as the Revels. The Focal 936s topped them all, albeit for $4k list. All of them we listened to while walking around since that is the one friend's use case, and they all were pretty good for that. However, any speaker will tend to have a sweet spot and due to physics will never sound exactly the same on the sides of the couch.


*Very roughly, I think of horns as having a very tight opening on the driver and being relatively long and deep. Some would even say less than the surface area of the driver, compressing the wave. A waveguide is a shallower more open thing without the compression. Those definitions are arbitrary, just for thinking purposes, as it's more of a continuum.
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post #11 of 43 Old 08-11-2018, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Welp, I'm going to go the AVR route. I just bought a Marantz SR5012 (guess they're being discontinued?). I'll see what kind of magic it can do with the Klipsch towers, but I'm already of the mind that they're better in a 2-channel music system than HT setup (I really, really like how they sound for music).

I just picked up the sub and AVR, and there's a whole bunch of crap to fix on the house we just moved into so I'm gonna try to keep any speaker purchase at a modest cost, I think I can eBay something that'll keep me happy for a while. Left-side-of-couch notwithstanding, I still want something with above-average imaging, which is the main reason I'm still drawn to the Q100. Kef is a brand I haven't ever had a listen to, but the Brits haven't done me wrong yet when it comes to audio equipment.

Would love to try out both Revel and Focal, but they're just too pricey for me at the moment. Some day.

I'm still curious on thoughts about top-mounted tweeters and how that could affect imaging, soundstage and dispersion. Any takers?
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post #12 of 43 Old 08-12-2018, 01:19 AM
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You might audition some KEF speakers. I was impressed with the q100s when I got them, I noted a good image and less pointed sweet spot. Could have been how I had them set up, but they seemed nice. Ymmv and good luck with avr!

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post #13 of 43 Old 08-12-2018, 01:57 AM
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Most 2 ways have good horizontal dispersion these days, I don't know if a concentric design will stand out there. But where it will stand it is vertical sweet spot is going to be extremely wide compared to a regular 2-way. So they make good party or ambient music speakers as you can stand up and walk around and they will sound much more uniform than standard 2-way.
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post #14 of 43 Old 08-12-2018, 08:11 AM
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Huge sweet spot - Ohm Walsh set up properly.
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post #15 of 43 Old 08-12-2018, 10:04 AM
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How about active Genelec speakers? E.g. Genelec G3 https://www.genelec.com/home-speaker...active-speaker. At least I'm very happy with them, even when listening off-axis.

I found also a blog post explaining their understanding of sweet spot: https://www.genelec.com/blog/sweeter-spot.
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post #16 of 43 Old 08-12-2018, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swartzy.baby View Post
I've got a set of powered Klipsch towers (R-26PF) hooked up to my TV via optical. Generally speaking, I love the way they look and sound. However, I'm not a fan of how *small* the sweet spot seems to be in terms of imaging. I've got a 65" LG OLED, the towers are about 3 feet to each side, and the sofa is centered on the TV. If I sit in the middle of the sofa, the imaging is great (ie - voices sound like they're coming from the TV). If I sit on the left side, which is where I usually end up sitting, the sound is heavily skewed to the left side. I'd love to remedy this. I've also got their powered bookshelf pair (R-15PM), and I noticed the same is true - the soundstage/imaging sweet spot is pretty narrow compared to what I've heard before.

Are there speakers that would do a better job specifically in the imaging department? Or am I pretty much screwed unless I grab an AVR and manually change things like speaker distance, etc? I'd rather not have to specifically tune to a single seating position, but I'm thinking that may be a foregone conclusion.

I had my eye on the KEF Q100/150, thinking the coaxial setup would be beneficial. Is that true? Also thought about the Chane a1.4 because I read the tweeters do a fine job dispersing horizontally. I've also still got a soft spot in my heart for the original Swans Diva line, I may just look for a used 2.1 pair if there's no magical tweeter/mid setup that will fix my problem. I just picked up the SB13-Ultra, so I don't need the speakers to dig down particularly deep.
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post #17 of 43 Old 08-12-2018, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by sijk View Post
How about active Genelec speakers? E.g. Genelec G3 https://www.genelec.com/home-speaker...active-speaker. At least I'm very happy with them, even when listening off-axis.

I found also a blog post explaining their understanding of sweet spot: https://www.genelec.com/blog/sweeter-spot.
The only Genelecs I'd be looking at for a midfield, wide sweet spot with be Genelec The Ones--8331, 8341, and 8351s with the three way concentric design.
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post #18 of 43 Old 08-12-2018, 11:53 PM
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They do provide uniform directivity though (above 1khz). The attached graph is the RP-150m, but I've also measured the lower end reference series and the old reference II series, they all exhibit the same behavior.

Might need to adjust both toe in and width apart to get a good Soundstage.
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Yeah, that technique depends on the horn providing constant directivity, and not all horns do. I suspect yours might not.


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post #19 of 43 Old 08-13-2018, 02:17 AM
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A waveguide is a shallower more open thing without the compression.
I always thought the compression took place in the driver by having (for example) a 4" diaphragm but a 2" throat, not the horn/wave-guide or anything else.

The horn/wave guide merely couples the sound from the driver to the air, no??
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post #20 of 43 Old 08-13-2018, 02:22 AM
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Originally Posted by swartzy.baby View Post
Are there speakers that would do a better job specifically in the imaging department?
Have you acoustically treated your room to make the room sound as good as it may?

I've always felt "fix the room first" and then start tinkering with other items.
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post #21 of 43 Old 08-13-2018, 02:29 AM
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post #22 of 43 Old 08-13-2018, 11:50 AM
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post #23 of 43 Old 08-13-2018, 12:09 PM
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The OP has a RP 26F with the 90 x 90 horn - wouldn't they project fairly wide dispersion both L/R and Up/Down? Odd that wouldn't produce a stable sweet spot from 8 - 10 feet away
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post #24 of 43 Old 08-13-2018, 12:33 PM
 
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PSA 210s. I can turn off the center speaker and trick people into thinking its still on.
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post #25 of 43 Old 08-13-2018, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by aohurst View Post
The OP has a RP 26F with the 90 x 90 horn - wouldn't they project fairly wide dispersion both L/R and Up/Down? Odd that wouldn't produce a stable sweet spot from 8 - 10 feet away
I thought this would be the case too. Part of it is that I'm physically closer to the left-most speaker about a full 2-3 feet, but I also have the smaller R-15PM powered monitors and have noticed that they are very directionally dependent when it comes to imaging - ie I have to be more or less full center and have them pointed at my ears, though maybe some of that is due to them being near-field (desktop use).

I got the Marantz today (lovely unit, by the way). This helped me discover an issue with running the Klipsches from the pre-outs: their volume doesn't appear to stay constant after power cycles. For tuning purposes I had the internal Klipsch amp turned up to what I think was about 3/4 power, and I'm still having to push the volume on the receiver to about 75 before it approaches what I'd call normal listening volumes. After a power cycle, the Klipsch volume seems to have jumped down to about its halfway point, which is really just too quiet unless I turn to Marantz full-on, which I'm not terribly interested in.

I'm definitely getting another set to use now. I found an old pair of those Swans Diva 2.1s I mentioned earlier for about $200 and picked them up. I'm not made of money, but I can afford to take a $200 chance on speakers I have fond memories of in the hope that they'll work out. And it they don't in fact work out, I'll probably look into ono of the following:

* Emotiva Airmotiv B1
* Elac Uni-Fi UB5
* Kef Q100

I've never heard a set of coaxials, and am very interested in how they do imaging-wise (I've heard good things). I've also never heard a ribbon, but likewise have heard very good things specifically about those that Emotiva employs. And they're the cheapest of the bunch, and they're center is reasonably priced so if the Swans don't work out then I'm probably going the Emotiva route.

Would love to take a chance on some of the pricier options mentioned here, but I'm not ready to drop that much more just yet.
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post #26 of 43 Old 08-13-2018, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Forgot to mention: The Audyssey MultEQ of the Marantz seems to have actually done quite a good job of fixing my initial complaint. While sitting in the position I generally sit in (left side of couch), things that would otherwise come from a center channel seem to be coming from the TV instead of the left speaker, more or less. So that's a big plus. Also it came with this brilliant makeshift "stand" for the calibration mic made of cardboard the you construct, I got a kick out of that.
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post #27 of 43 Old 08-13-2018, 02:17 PM
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I have the q100s and they do have a very large sweet spot. You can close your eyes and not be able to pinpoint where the sound is coming from. There have been times where I was listening to music in 2 channel mode where I had to double check that I didn't have the center channel actually playing.

These speakers provide excellent detail and work great for HT. Some people, however, find them a little bright for music. They definitely are a bit treble forward. Whether that is too much for you will depend on your ears. I am very happy with them myself.

As you may have read from other posts, you could buy a 2nd pair of q100s and use one for the center. Others have mentioned using a cheaper mismatched center as well.
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post #28 of 43 Old 08-15-2018, 04:07 PM
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Assuming that you're talking about binaural imaging, the only place that will occur is on a vertical plane equidistant from the radiators, regardless of the type of speaker. Move a foot or so off center scrambles the precise phase relationships that contribute to binaural stereophonic imaging.


Of course, most modern recordings are not binaural, they are multitrack mixdowns to stereo. In those cases, when people talk about a "wide image," what they often mean is the ability to maintain a consistent tonal balance from the radiators as one moves about the listening area (known as wide power response of a speaker.) Speakers with a narrower power response are sometimes acceptable or even preferable in a not-too-wide listening space where the listener is stationary, such as a smaller home theater. For music that "fills the room" such that one can walk around (or into the next room) and maintain a credibly consistent tonal balance, wide power response is usually better. Bose, notably their 901 and descendants, caters to this "stereo everywhere" approach.
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post #29 of 43 Old 08-19-2018, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coytee View Post
I always thought the compression took place in the driver by having (for example) a 4" diaphragm but a 2" throat, not the horn/wave-guide or anything else. The horn/wave guide merely couples the sound from the driver to the air, no??
That seems like what I meant to say, but obviously did not
I also think of "waveguides" as having a wide angle right at the driver, and horns having a tight angle right at the driver, though obviously that's not a precise definition.
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post #30 of 43 Old 08-19-2018, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coytee View Post
I always thought the compression took place in the driver by having (for example) a 4" diaphragm but a 2" throat, not the horn/wave-guide or anything else. The horn/wave guide merely couples the sound from the driver to the air, no??
That seems like what I meant to say, but obviously did not
I also think of "waveguides" as having a wide angle right at the driver, and horns having a tight angle right at the driver, though obviously that's not a precise definition.
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