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  • JFS
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Setting up speakers in room
I am looking to set a listening area for a stereo system:
I have been looking at this website:

The layout at realtraps looks good, but I still would like some feedback on setting up my room. I'm not understanding enough to feel comfortable setting up. I live in a basement; I have uploaded a sketch I made of the room measurements. I was thinking of having the speakers at the front of the room,  where I have the 14' measurement drawn.

I'm not sure what I should get for speakers; am hoping that figuring out the best listening position will help with understanding what I should choose for speakers, and what I will need for amplifier power. I was thinking of using some larger bookshelf speakers since I have read that they will be better for midrange with a smaller cone than they of floor standers (appreciate advice on speaker selection), and I am also hoping to contain the sound from my neighbour upstairs, at least as much as possible.

According to the 38% rule that will leave me about 7' from the wall for a listening area. If I put the speakers 2' from the wall that will leave me 5' from the speakers. I'm thinking that this will help to keep the volume down as I am closer. Would like to know if this is a good distance for listening and soundstage?

I need to keep costs down so would appreciate references to material that will help to apply this and maybe a test tone CD or other method to help place speakers and any materials to help condition the room. How hard will this be for a novice to do and what can I expect on a budget.

  • Bero1707
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Re: Setting up speakers in room
Reply #1

  • JFS
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Re: Setting up speakers in room
Reply #2
Thanks for the link. I found a video on youtube to help with positioning the speakers as well:
The Hans Beekhuyzen Channel

Now I'm trying to figure out what size of speakers I will want for my listening area. I will probably set them up 4.5' to 6' apart. Will it matter what the room size is? What kind of speakers will be good for this listening position?


  • Audible!
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Re: Setting up speakers in room
Reply #3
So you're looking to get a pair of speakers and an amp to fill a roughly 250 square foot space with a central listening position about five feet in front of the speakers?

The is a reasonably near field listening position. Since you're already considering test CDs you might be a candidate for some nice near field monitors and a decent amp. Depending upon where you live, Craigslist may be your best bet for reasonably priced high quality electronics. Buy a name brand receiver with good reviews and some nice 5.25"-8" 2-way bookshelf monitor style speakers if you're near a metro area. You can get powered speakers if you wish, but they don't tend to be as common, and so are not often discounted as much.

Personally I would spend as much of your budget on the speakers themselves upfront, and upgrade the other components later as required. I'm a fan of Paradigm Mini monitors, which can be found in various versions quite inexpensively. I use mine in a somewhat similar context - about 8-9' away. There are lots of nice speakers out there, and even more terrible ones. I like the PSB, elac, Pinnacle, definitive tech, and energy 'connoisseur'speakers I've heard in recent years, but I'm by no means current and those are by no means the best values per se.

For budget purposes new in retail, the Micca PB42x is supposed to be reasonable (be sure to get the x version with the actual crossover; I'd buy the passive vision and a beefier amp). eBay can also be used.

1)What are you looking to spend, ideally and at maximum?
2)How much latitude do you have with the people upstairs vis a vis loud, low frequency thumpings and bumpings? This will inform whether a subwoofer is a reasonable idea.
3) What are you going to be listening to mainly?
4) Is there something about the room that you think makes acoustic treatments particularly important?
  • Last Edit: 18 December, 2017, 09:24:35 PM by Audible!

  • JFS
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Re: Setting up speakers in room
Reply #4
I have heard about nearfield listening, but am unsure of the definition. Is this sitting close enough to avoid the room reflections? Do the speakers need to be set up in an equilateral triangle?
How do monitors compare to regular speakers in sound quality: soundstage, stereo image, .... I haven't listened to monitors, but I would like to try; maybe I can find some place to listen. I think there is a shop that sells Paradigm. Would these work with all types of music or do I need better recordings?

I had a pair of speakers 26"x13"x 9.5 with a 7" driver. The people upstairs complained when I turned them up. This is why I would like to scale down a bit in  size; not sure about a sub. Also a closer listening position  would fit my room setup better. I am more about having a good sound than filling the suite with volume, as long as enough at listening position. I imangine bass would be the biggest problem with neighbours.

What i have been listening to mostly over the years is rock: electric and acoustic: Led Zeppelin, John Fogerty, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac. Also like folk. Recently I have been listening to Classical as well.

I don't know if there is any thing particular about the room that needs treatment. I have just done research that says room treatment would make a big difference in the sound. I think I will try to minimize the amount needed by placing speakers and listening position.

Spend: I was thinking of about $1000 to $1500. I am hoping to keep it lower if I can find some used. I am interested in stereo, and am not sure if I will get a receiver or an amplifier. Will have to see what comes up. Also not sure about how much power I need, but was thinking 50w to 100w. Is it more important to get an amp that wil be able to put more current out for lower impedances?
  • Last Edit: 20 December, 2017, 04:03:01 AM by JFS

  • Audible!
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Re: Setting up speakers in room
Reply #5
Typically speakers labeled as monitors have been designed to respond fairly linearly across most of the audible spectrum and therefore are appropriate for all material. Given your experiences with speakers sporting 7" woofers, I'd go for speakers with a 6.5 or 5.25" low/mid driver, and maybe cut the bass output by 3dB in the former case when you turn it up.

The ability of your amplifier to drive low impedance speakers is most important if you have such speakers. Personally I prefer to have a receiver/amp that can readily drive 4ohm loads just in case, and have been inordinately pleased with my (bought as an old floor model) NAD receiver, which is rated at 50W/channel, but can push >40amps if required. That said, most recent receivers can drive most recent speakers pretty well; I've liked H/K, and onkyo as well, although the onkyo reciever I had died just outside of warranty.

Except at the very low end (when new), I don't see much of a reason to eschew standard receivers since you can often find totally functional recievers with THX rated amplifier sections cheaply in the used market, particularly if you don't care about HDMI switching. The upgrade pace in the AV receiver market has been quite rapid recently because of the evolving nature of home theater standards (4k/HDR/Atmos etc). If you don't care about these check boxes but rather want a powerful, low distortion stereo amplifier with some minor input switching, extremely capable higher end five or even ten year old models (that function perfectly) can be found for very, very little, which is not really the case with separates.

For$1000 you should be able to find something extremely nice in the local used market in terms of a speaker+reciever package. If there's a local paradigm retailer, that means you're likely to find some superb speakers used in the area as well; the studio s20 speakers would fit your needs nicely, if you can find an older version used in your price range (they're about 1500 new per pair). Just be sure to verify that everything works before you pay.

I would buy the speakers you like the best in your price range with an amp that can drive them, set them up as well as possible, and only worry about acoustic treatments afterwards, to tweak the sound. The speaker is the most critical (most often limiting) component in a modern digital to analog signal chain, so focus most of your attention there. 50W sustained is a lot of power for most speakers (many are rated in efficiency by what dB output they can produce with one watt in a specific band; typically >85dB in an anechoic chamber), so high current output seems a relevant concern regarding an amp to me.
  • Last Edit: 20 December, 2017, 03:20:43 PM by Audible!

Re: Setting up speakers in room
Reply #6
As the previous poster says, don't ignore the second-hand/used market. You can do the equivalent of a significant trade-up by buying used or ex-demo speakers. I know I did - I went into shop for one model, but left with the next one up in the range for the same price, because they'd been unboxed and played a couple of times in the shop's listening room. If they are in good condition, that's a sweet deal.