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Help with placement and room treatment: Boston Acoustics A400

Discussion in 'Listening Spaces' started by Coopergang, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. Coopergang

    Coopergang Boston Acoustic Fanatic Subscriber

    Messages:
    67
    Location:
    Ohio
    I have a pair of boston acoustics A400’s on my back wall but i would like some tips on how to make them sound better/where to place them. Also would like help on room treatment.

    Here are some pictures
     

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  2. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    Well it seems your placement options are limited. The dresser between the speakers is a serious obstacle to the A400's excellent imaging abilities. I can't see the wall opposite the speakers & dresser - can they be placed there?

    Also, the speakers should be placed 6' to 8' feet apart for the best stereo effect.

    Nice job on the restoration BTW. :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
  3. MannyE

    MannyE Exterminate! Subscriber

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  4. Coopergang

    Coopergang Boston Acoustic Fanatic Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Ohio
    I can place them further away from the dresser by moving the night stand from that wall and having the speakers have more breathing room. Would this help at all? The wall opposite of the dresser is where i sit to listen.
     
  5. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    Almost anything where they're not "pigeonholed" would be an improvement.
     
  6. Coopergang

    Coopergang Boston Acoustic Fanatic Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Ohio
    Will do, ill give them each another foot away from the dresser, its all I can do for now until i have enough saved to move out. Im getting them recapped this december and hopefully that will make them sound better, the bass is present but seems to be lacking without a subwoofer. While my pair of a70’s seem to have more bass than the a400’s.
     

     

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  7. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    Hmm...recapping should have little effect on LF response, if at all.

    For whatever it may be worth - I had once felt my T1000 were somewhat deficient in the bass department when used with a mid-priced receiver I had purchased new with the speakers. The difference when I upgraded the electronics was nothing short of dramatic. Being the A400 is a 4 ohm speaker, the importance of amplfication with high current capability is all the more critical.

    With the right electronics, the A400's bass output should not need to be supplemented.
     
  8. Coopergang

    Coopergang Boston Acoustic Fanatic Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Ohio
    What would you recommend to power them? I currently have a Sony STR DA3700 ES, and i use the “bi-amp” option for the a400’s. Some say it does nothing some say it does, i seemed to notice a little difference. Either that or placebo.
     
  9. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    I quickly checked the specs and noticed the output of the STR DA3700 ES is lower at 4 ohms than into 8. Clearly this unit is not designed with high current capabilities- few AVRs are, if at all. Personally I would recommend a McIntosh MC2120 connected to the front channel preamp outputs of the Sony unit for a start. If you have more money to spend on blue meters, go for the MC2105 or MC2125. Then at a later date, upgrade to a McIntosh preamplifier (or tuner-preamplifier) for the next advancement.

    With my Boston T1000s, I use a McIntosh MC2505 (50 wpc w/meters) with a McIntosh MX113 tuner-preamplifier and the LF response is the best I've ever gotten from the speakers with the tone controls set to flat. The T1000 is supposed to be flat down to 40 Hz while the A400 is flat into the 30s so they should be even better.
     
  10. Coopergang

    Coopergang Boston Acoustic Fanatic Subscriber

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    Location:
    Ohio
    I was thinking of getting a dedicated stereo amp, ill look into the McIntosh. As for now though would turning the bass nob up hurt the woofers on the A400’s? The mids sound great and so do the tweeters.
     
  11. Silentnet

    Silentnet AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    No, eq adjustment shouldn't hurt anything.

    Also nothing against McIntosh, they certainly make good gear, but if your budget won't allow a visit to the land of blue meters there are many options that will still be worlds better than the Sony out there for much less money.
     

     

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  12. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    Agreed on the use of the bass control but by all means turn it down if it begins to sound distorted.

    Next best thing to metered McIntosh is non-metered Mc. ;) Same goodness at roughly half the price. Another consideration is the MC2100 which are usually around the $500 range if you're not too fussy about cosmetic condition.
     
  13. Coopergang

    Coopergang Boston Acoustic Fanatic Subscriber

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    Location:
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    What recievers would you recommend? Do any modern ones have sub pre outs? Or will i no longer need a sub.
     
  14. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    Most of the receivers that would do justice to the A400 would probably be larger models of the vintage variety - which will either be cheap because they're in need of repairs. If they don't, they won't be cheap - especially if the cosmetic condition is high - which are pretty much the only examples a restorer is likely to bother with- nobody is going to undertake a painstaking refurbishment of units in visually abused condition.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that receiver options are going to be limited for these speakers in order for them to perform their best. A McIntosh MAC4100 would be another good option which will have no difficulty with the 4 ohm load but again, it won't be cheap. A Pioneer SX1250 is another possibility, Sansui 9090 or any number of other top of the line receiver models of the mid/late '70s.

    However I think a dedicated power amplifier & preamp would be the best way to go, as well as being a lot easier to service - especially Mc which enjoys considerable support for parts & repair services for older units. Receiver repairs are generally difficult due to the inherent complexity of installing three basic components in a single chassis.
     
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  15. Coopergang

    Coopergang Boston Acoustic Fanatic Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Ohio
    I have taken into consideration everyones input and have decided to make both big and small adjustments. I also got some NOS tan grilles for my A400’s.

    I spread my speakers out away from the dresser and also increased the distance the A400’s are away from eachother to increase stereo seperation. The sound is a lot more open and I have a much better phantom center now.

    Im going to replace my Sony STR DA 3700ES with an Adcom GFA 555(ii probably), and also buy a nice preamp(suggestions please, would like it to have a sub-out).

    Later this winter I am going to get my A400’s recapped by an audio repair center near me (Orban Audio). They quoted me at $220 per crossover, I have no idea how reasonable this is but if anyone else wants to recap these crossovers ill happily pay.

    PICTURE!
     

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  16. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    If the speakers could be pulled out forward so they're not obstructed by the sides of the dresser, I think it would make a considerable improvement as well.
     
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  17. Coopergang

    Coopergang Boston Acoustic Fanatic Subscriber

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    I can do that, arent they made to be up against the wall?


    One sec trying it....


    Youre right it does sound better, but not by a ton. As for now ill have them up against the wall until I put them in a bigger room. Just to save space.
     
  18. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    The dispersion will significantly be affected and the stereo image blurred by the reflections off of the dresser. Boston even designed the the grille frames to help minimize diffraction. If you feel the inside edges, you'll find they're sharp, rather simply squared off.

    Wall placement isn't mandatory with the A400 although it certainly can be without the ill effects that can often occur with other speakers. However the furniture is going to have a negative effect in this situation.
     
  19. Coopergang

    Coopergang Boston Acoustic Fanatic Subscriber

    Messages:
    67
    Location:
    Ohio
    As for now I need the dresser where it is. Im only 19 so im still saving up to move out. But I do see your point with the reflections. Would acoustic paneling on the side of the dressers help at all? Atleast until I can get the dresser out of the equation and get a proper rack.Thank you so much for responding and helping me with these problems!
     
  20. 62caddy

    62caddy Trust but verify Subscriber

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    That might help somewhat however the dispersion characteristics will remain compromised and it's these qualities for which BA products are so well regarded. Needless to say if they took the time to bevel the edges of the grille frame to minimize diffraction, it's not difficult to imagine an adjacent barrier extending a foot beyond the front of the speakers having a significant impact on the speaker's imaging capabilities.

    I realize that your options for ideal placement are limited due to the priorities of making the most efficient use of the space available. As you say, you'll just have to "rough it" until you can find your own digs giving more freedom to optimize your setup. In the meantime simply try to adopt as many of these suggestions as you reasonably can which will help to improve your listening experience.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018 at 2:38 PM
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