Originally Posted by QueueCumber
I hate to see speakers right up against the wall like that (as well as elevated above ear level) and no wall on one side. I don’t care how much frequency response correcting is done, or how much sound deadening material is used on the other side (sound absorption actually ruins my experience of the sound usually, TBH). I guess for movies you’re distracted enough by the visuals that it might not make a huge difference, but from a purely musical perspective it is not what I would consider ideal based on my own experiences with absorption, reflectivity, and speaker placement.
Just noticed the slanting ceiling as well...
Speakers up against the wall can be an advantage rather than a disadvantage if done right. Having said that, your concerns are mostly for problems that are well supported, even by Toole's own book. Sound deadening almost always absorbs the highs and some of the mids, but does little to the lower frequencies. Additionally, those lateral reflections are usually perceived to add spaciousness, so unless the side walls are very close the the speaker, absorbing them could "ruin" the sound for some people. From that perspective, an open wall may in fact be worse than a side wall 5 to 10 feet from the speaker.
The floor and ceiling reflections are known to change the perceived spectral balance of speakers, and ceilings at different heights probably impact that perception differently. Is that what you were getting at with the last, unfinished thought?
Here's an example of a speaker that takes advantage of on-wall placement:
It also has limited vertical dispersion in order to reduce the spectral balance changes associated with floor and ceiling reflections. Here's a quote from Dennis Murphy, who wrote a review in the thread I linked:
"Unlike my experience with so many controlled directivity speakers with wave guides or horns, I never sensed a constriction of the sound stage or any coloration... I also sensed a more immediate presentation of the recording venue, be it a studio or concert hall."
I am convinced that commercial speaker designers should seriously consider on-wall speakers properly designed to integrate with the wall. With the prevalence of projection screens and flat panel TVs, I think customers will appreciate the form factor as much or more than the acoustic advantages. The combination of wide horizontal dispersion and narrow vertical dispersion may be somewhat more controversial. I know Toole wrote that eliminating the floor reflection could be perceived as weird, though I'd like to know more about how that test was performed. I haven't noticed any negative impact from the reduction of the floor reflection by my own speaker, but that's a reduction rather than an elimination. Still, my perceptions of my own speaker are the least important. I'd much rather speak to the science, and allow others to hear them and offer their opinions.