I wish my "Far Field" sounded like my "Near Field"

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by Jayrosc, Jun 2, 2018.

  1. Jayrosc

    Jayrosc Super Member

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    Of late I've been enjoying a small office system comprised of a Marantz 2240 and a pair of AR17's hooked in to Spotify Premium. Pretty good imaging, but I'm mostly digging the nice buttery bass this set up provides along with very very pleasant vocals and super smooth mid range.
    Here's the thing. The way the room is set up I'm listening from about 14 feet away. This morning I was playing Bowie's "Let's Dance" and went over to the Marantz to get a little more volume. While there I immediately noticed the guitar part (played by Stevie Ray Vaughn by the way) was dancing back and forth from right to left in a sort of call and response style. As I backed up that effect diminished and by the time I got to the chair it was all but gone.
    So, that near field listening rivaled headphones. I like it.
    Wish it was there from my chair!
    I can't move the speakers into the room more nor can I move the listening spot in.
    Anyone got any tips?
     

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  2. Condorsat

    Condorsat Audio Enthusiast

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    Sub placement & implementation. Every room is different (acoustically) … you have to get the sub to "play the room" and integrate well with the speakers your using.

    Some speakers (bookshelves) I've owned were easy to set up with Sub (Kef Q100) and some were just not (Pioneer BS 22).

    I just "cowboy it" and try various positions/placements until and room configurations until I get it to sound the way I want.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2018
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  3. sqlsavior

    sqlsavior AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Try hanging a quilt or sleeping bag on each of the side walls from immediately in front of each speaker to a few feet back as a test. If it helps, then make some absorption panels for those locations. Some absorption above and between the speakers on the back wall may help as well. You are trying to lower the relative volume of early reflections from the walls around the speakers, because early reflections are more confusing to the brain than later ones.
     
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  4. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

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    Hanging any sound absorber on a side wall can be very effective when placed at the first reflection point. To find the first reflection point sit in the listening position and have someone move a mirror along a side wall. When you can see the speaker closest to that wall in the mirror you've found the first reflection point.
     
  5. Grenadeslio

    Grenadeslio Super Member

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    Hate to harsh your mellow, but the speaks jammed into the corners aiming down the side walls will always be problematic. If they can't be pulled out, I would at least try toeing them in a bit, should help to reduce the smearing that's ruining the imaging.
     
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  6. MannyE

    MannyE Exterminate! Subscriber

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    Indeed. Just take those speakers and move them 10 inches forward and 10 inches in and be amazed. Then do all the room setup stuff everyone else mentioned and you will have amazing sound.
     
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  7. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

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    How far apart are the speakers?

    All audio enthusiasts should have a dedicated listening room. I'm also among those who don't. The government should subsidize that for us - let's start our own party. I sit about the same distance as do you, but the distance between the monitors is only about 7 feet, therefore I'm well back of the sweet spot (and I'm somewhat closer to the left, worsening the image that much more). It's a compromise many of us make - sub-optimal speaker/listener placement. Regardless, I still prefer the sound of speakers to headphones, and my big rig over the small one in the guest room that's situated better for imaging.

    EDIT: Oh, I didn't see the pic. Yeah, that's pretty bad placement. Further away from walls will be better, though you may lose some bass reinforcement - which could be a good thing, too.
     
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  8. TudorTurtle

    TudorTurtle Well-Known Member

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    I didn't get excellent far field sound until I got an excellent far field room. :(
     
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  9. imral3

    imral3 Well-Known Member

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    Must be married! LOL!! Can you move your listening chair just for music time and return when done? I love the near-field sound. All my listening is done at my desk setup. I can extend my arms and touch my Polk speakers.
     
  10. Boozehound

    Boozehound AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Yes that's just it, a lot of people just don't have the room/space, and I for one won't post anymore pic. of fear of being bashed.
    Even if we are not asking for better sound.

    OP I would go with the advise from Condorsat.

    Best-

    Boozehound
     
  11. GChief

    GChief AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Then it’s time to go a different direction with your system. If you can’t move things and do room treatments to optimize it then what’s the point of having it? Go headphones/nearfield.

    :beerchug:
     
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  12. sqlsavior

    sqlsavior AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    What sub? I see no mention of a subwoofer in the OP.

    @Jayrosc - Pillows and thumbtacks work for absorption testing, too. Even for bachelor decor. :)

    [​IMG]

    I'd try a couple on the side walls immediately next to (and in front of) each speaker.
     
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  13. quiet

    quiet AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    You actually made a lot of progress this morning. You found out just what your missing. This is a good thing.
    Your sound is going to get real good real fast. For little effort or money.
     
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  14. MannyE

    MannyE Exterminate! Subscriber

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    Maybe I missed it but I don’t see anyone bashing him for his pic. Just some pretty good advice on what to do.

    If he can’t permananrly move the speakers then like someone else suggested, just move them for listening.

    My wife hates the way speakers look with a passion but she tolerates them. Believe me, if I had the money I would engineer and have built a system of moving platforms and doors to completely hide the system unless I was using it.
     
  15. reydelaplaya

    reydelaplaya AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I’m by no means a pro at this aspect, moreso have only just gotten lucky with space and placement, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

    [​IMG]

    From what I see in the provided photo, that reflection point is basically going to be on the walls right in front of the speaker pretty much starting at the front edge. It should probably work to tone down those reflections especially since they appear to be reflecting so quickly they may be almost cancelling each other out by the time the sound gets to your listening position - certainly at least killing that great nearfield stereo image. As you move closer to the speakers, like you described, that first reflection stays aimed behind you to the point you start just hearing the speakers as intended.

    As for a wall treatment there, start with two terry cloth bath towels, each one hung on the wall right off the front corner of each speaker. A little blu-tack to hold them temporarily in place should be good enough for the test.

    Once you’ve got them hung, head back to your listening spot and see if there’s any improvement. If so, that’s where you need to invent some type of permanent solution since I doubt the bathtowels will fly long term. LOL

    One of the cheapest and easiest ways I’ve dealt with reflections and echos in my own listening room was to make fabric wall-hangings. Find a picture frame that’s at least the size of the speaker baffles, or make a frame out of wood (cellular pvc also works great because it cuts cleanly and assembles with that blue plumbers glue in minutes). Then stretch the fabric (we’ll call it art ;) ) over the frame and attach on the back with tape or whatever. You’d want to use a soft, absorbent fabric for this (flannel, thick cotton that doesn’t have a sheen to it, that kind of thing) - artwork or art canvas would NOT be a good choice since it’s a taut and painted or coated reflective surface.

    To give you an idea what I’m talking about, here’s the one that’s hanging over my sofa.

    7C7B298D-131E-4E72-80C7-4C3E08E9C7F6.jpeg

    That’s just a scrap piece of fabric that fits the ‘style’ of my room stretched over a 4’x 4’ back frame made out of a cut/mitred trim board from HD.

    It was cheap, looks like art, and creates a big sound absorbing spot on the wall behind my sofa.

    It sounds like you’re definitely limited with how much play you’ve got with movement, so the best way to deal with what you have is to work on those reflections. And this solution may be a reasonable compromise to work within the limitations.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
  16. reydelaplaya

    reydelaplaya AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Additionally, at the distance you’re sitting back from the speakers, you may also find you’re getting a second, opposite reflection along the wall about halfway back. That mirror trick will also show you that. In this case, you’d be seeing the reflection of the right speaker along the left wall, and vice-versa - this would be reflecting the sound of the left speaker into your right ear, and the sound from the right into your left, essentially killing good stereo imaging. The same treatment solution should work there too.
     

     

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  17. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

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    Nobody's bashing. It's bad placement. If that is where they must go, then bad placement beats no placement. I don't get to optimize, either, but luckily was able to avoid such close proximity to boundaries, fore and aft. I've lived in rooms with worse choices, though. And he is asking for better sound, so we naturally address placement. Good advice followed on ameliorating the situation once the OP confirmed placement lock. I also agree with Condorsat, but that involves changing placement, which the OP says is a no-go. Wall-hangings seem a good bet; let SWMBO pick 'em.

    Me? I changed speakers from flagship K-horns to midline Monitor Audio floor-standers because the latter were more amenable to my space. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
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  18. Powertech

    Powertech Active Member

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    It's difficult to get this right isn't it. Most recording studios use nearfield monitors for mix downs because that is the way they are set up - I guess most people have seen pictures of studio setups with speakers very close to the mixing desk. Then at home most people tend to listen at a far field position.
    I have noticed with my system (3 way floor standers vertically aligned) that you need to be at least 6 feet away from the speakers before the sound from the individual drivers starts to become a single sound source. Small bookshelf speakers will be different and I guess panel speakers will be different again.
    If you have a near field setup, I guess small speakers with a well integrated sub will probably give the best results.
     
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  19. Jayrosc

    Jayrosc Super Member

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    The room width is only 7' 6" so those speakers are 6' 6" apart, tweeter to tweeter. As always, there's really good advice coming from AK folks here. Looks like I'm about to embark on the room treatment adventure, though work demands might delay my beginning it for a few weeks. Mind you, this set sounds great already, so it's not as if I'm sitting here grumbling about crappy sonics. I guessing that some well placed decent sized "fabric art" as was suggested by Reydelaplaya will help quite a bit. Plus, dialing a system in is half the fun, so I'm gonna do it when I can enjoy it!
    As for the headphone option, forget it. Headphones sound good, but I don't find them relaxing or comfortable.
    In general, I've noticed that in every set up I've ever done it is getting good imaging that proves the most difficult. I mean way back in the days of my bedroom at the folks house, then my apartment in college, etc..
     
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  20. Grenadeslio

    Grenadeslio Super Member

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    The absorption panels are great, but I would still try a bit of toe-in, this doesn't require moving them any farther into the room and should help immensely with the sidewall reflections. This you should do before the wall treatments as their placement may change.
     
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