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speaker tilt / aim

1573 Views 19 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  sethwas

Now that I got my new Marantz AVR the image has changed for the speakers. So I decided to re-tilt them. Unfortunately I can't come up with a 'best' aim. I've listened to all sorts of music in stereo and either one speaker or the other becomes more prominent. I'm trying to tilt them so they both 'dissapear' into the room. I haven't had much luck. Now I have them tilted so much I'm wondering if I'm 'squeezing' the image too much to the point that when watching a movie there is 'overlap' with the center.

I know there are schools of thought where this is ok, and schools of thought which say aim the speakers to spread the image so that the center takes up the 'hole'.

Right now they are more toed in than I'd think is proper although it minimizes the speakers 'presence' in the room.

I also know there is no 'correct' as it's subjective but from a processing standpoint, which is better, more toed in or less. I don't sit far away, only 10' ear to center and the mains are only 3 feet to the left and right of that.

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Seeing that your L/R speakers are only about 7 feet apart or less, you should need very little toe in, since you are sitting 10 feet back from them. Are you able to get a laser pen or some other laser pointing device so you can create a target for the 2 speakers to converge on? I don't know what type of display you have in between the speakers, but if it is a televsion of some sort, how far forward do the L/R speakers project in front of the screen? Are they equal with it, etc? Of course, there's always checking to make sure your speakers were not connected out of phase by accident.
They are connected in phase. You can see photo's in my gallery. I was/am concerned that since the plasma is between the speakers that the surface is almost like putting the speakers at or in the wall even though they are a foot away. And the flat surface was having wierd effects.

edit: my wife is watching ER while I'm on the PC so I took a more recent photo:

Pioneer 42" PDP

Marantz SR8400 AVR

Denon DVD-2200

Dish/Hughes DVR 510

Samsung SR-T351 HDTV STB

Yamaha NS-777 mains with NS-C444 center and NS-555 surrounds with NS-333 backs.

forgot to add my SVS 20-39PCi.

Not that any of that is relevant.



P.S. That laser pointer isn't a bad idea.
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Have you tried bringing the speakers out about 2 feet from the back wall? What seems strange to me is that this changed only after putting in a new receiver? Or was the plasma installed at the same time? Another quick trick to try is to cover the plasma up with a thick blanket, and see how the speakers sound then. That'll let you know if it is interferring with your image. In which case, you will have to bring the speakers out more.
The plasma was installed around 3 weeks ago. When that was installed the acoustics did change, so I made the speakers face directly in front and then re-calibrated.

Now the imaging with the new receiver is 'broader' and I can hear the sounds eminating from 'beyond' the speakers, however on certain tracks the speakers become more prominent as the producers of the sound, not that the sound is coming from the rightish side, but from that specfic point where the speaker is. Since the electronics and how they control the sound to the drivers are now different, I felt it safe to assume that they needed to be re-positioned. So I adjusted the toe. I'll try moving them back to facing front and play some more. It could just be mind over matter.


P.S. I'll try the throwing a towel on the plasma trick maybe sometime over the weekend.

P.P.S. I could always throw in the towel and just by some new speakers :)...now where would I get the money...
I'd say if you had the money, add a subwoofer. I'd like to read your results after you're done.
What do you mean?

My first improvement was an SVS 20-39PCi which I got around a year ago. It's my favorite piece of the whole setup.

Oh...I see what you mean, I didn't add it to my list above. Oops. I corrected it.


P.S. You can see behind the traps which are at the entire wall space behind the speakers. I initially used them as bass traps on the ceiling corners but everyone had a fit that they were fugly so I put them there.

I really need a third behind the listeners to quell reflections there since my only acoustic problem of merit is echo. (at least to my untrained ears)

As much as I'd love a third though it's too big. I have the pictures angled funny between the rears to bounce reflections away but I'd like a proper diffuser or absorber for the rear wall. I may just go the foam route for behind my rears:


pardon the mess on the chair.
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Get them away from the wall. IMHO until you do you'll always be able to locate them.
How away is away?

I'm already over a foot.

All the scientific/theory reading I've been doing, especialy with rear ported speakers like mine, says that as long as it's more than a few inches away (like 6) there won't be any problems. the closeness is a muddyness or bass/room mode problem, not imaging.


Here's what I did. I don't have a laser pointer but I have a tape measure.

I moved the speakers so the rear is 22" from the rear wall. That's about 7.5" more than they used to be.

Now, assuming that the front and rear walls are parallel I have the speakers aimed so that they are dead straight (0 toe) to 1/16 of an inch.

I measured now and I went from 10' to the listener to 9'. That is speaker grille to where your heat sits. Incidentally I didn't have to change anything on my AVR since I went from closer to 10' now to actually closer to 8'. So it stayed at 9'.

What happened was this:

First the image itself became dead center spot on. I had to actually get up and go to the center channel to make sure it wasn't doing anything. When listening to satellite radio (my largest collection of CDish quality) going through all sorts of genres, standards, the channel seems to do the best spacial effects I'm concerned with. This is old style crooners or Harry Connick kind of things.

The singers voice is dead center with the essence of the band behind him/her. The thing is stuff like cymbals still becomes instantly localizeable, whereas the piano is floating and the strings too.

Like with wine tasting, I'll need more testing.


P.S. I love the mids and bass that this amp changed. So much more depth and kick. Must be all the power. I went from 110w JVC to a 104w marantz (per channel) and obviously the real power being pumped to those woofers is different.
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Originally posted by sethwas
How away is away?

I'm already over a foot.

All the scientific/theory reading I've been doing, especialy with rear ported speakers like mine, says that as long as it's more than a few inches away (like 6) there won't be any problems. the closeness is a muddyness or bass/room mode problem, not imaging.

I would say that part of the problem lies in those shelf sides that are next to your speakers. Creates a corner, especially with those rear-firing speakers. From the looks of it, it sounds like your last post has you going in the right direction.
Yes the side cabinets and shelf above is creating a loading horn that is well not exactly flat in frequency response. Moving out from wall will help with this but really a bass trap is needed to tone down the humps in the response curve.

When you change electronics did you reset all the sources on the cabling. I have seen oxidation also cause a problem on the cabling that can create dropouts during program (high resistance) if you have nothing but digital connection between sources and amp no need to check this but if you have analog connections do re seat the cabling.

Rear channels would be better if higher and farther away from you. The location on the couch is creating a near field listening of a speaker which unless designed that way will have all kinds of phase and frequency response problems.
All of them are set as small.

There are no analog sources in the receiver.

Everything was reset.

So when you run a test dvd that test each channel everything is working correctly? Seems like something changed more than just the TV. Steering modes in the receiver also seem to be confused by your description.
One other question Seth. How did you setup your speaker distances in the Marantz? Does this model do it for you or do you manually enter the physical distances? Can you disable this and just go to a direct stereo mode? When I switched from an older B&K preamp to a newer Pioneer Receiver, my image changed dramatically. The Pioneer setup the distances automatically with its own mic. I found that the localizing of speakers completely disappeared and I was more enveloped in the sound field. I do not listen to a lot of music CDs in the theater room so my application may be different from yours, but thought the comments might help you work through it.

I always set distances manually.

I also did all my listening in stereo mode.

I did this experiment last night. I simply pulled up a chair in front of the couch and listened to the speakers sitting somewhat closer.

Again the image changed but for the better. All the spaciousness came back. However, I didn't change the distances though even though I was about 2-3 feet closer.

So I'm beginning to think that the marantz is more precice in it's processing and is more subjet to where you sit relative to the speakers. In otherwords, for me to get the image from my 10' away my speakers have to be farther apart, even though this would mess with the surround since it would no longer be anchored to the screen.

I don't have the speakers toed at all now. I'm wondering if I toe the speakers to the couch headrests (r to r, l to l, and not cross the lines) if the image will get more controlled.

That is now that they are 7" closer and more away from the bookcase.

This is all splitting hairs really, especially since I don't do much stereo, but it's the principal of the thing.

I'm also wondering what happens if I have different speakers.

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There is a stereo mode and usually there is also a direct mode. The direct mode cuts out a lot of the additional signal processing and is the receivers answer to those that want a more audiophile sound. In direct mode, the speaker distance settings should all go away. Just another thought as these receivers are really setup for the home theater situation and the processing needed to achieve the movie theater feel. When you want to listen to "HIFI Stereo" you are usually best going into direct mode as that allows you to listen to just your components.

There is a 'source direct' vs. 'stereo'.

stereo: this mode bypases all surroud processing. in stereo program sources, the left and right channels play normally when PCM-audio or analog stereo is input.

source direct: the tone contron circuit and bass managfement configuration are bypassed for full range frequency response and the purise audio reproduction.

I tried it and the sound is flatter. It's better with the processing.

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