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Turning speakers on their side

 

Anonymous
 
This question is for a multi-channel set-up. What happens when speakers are turned on their side? Is there an audible difference?

The space I have in my bookshelf is limited vertically but not much in width. Hence, I thought I could get a larger bookshelf speaker and turn it on its side. For example, I can fit Paradigm's Studio 20's standing, or Studio 40's on their side. I think the Studio 40 would fill my room better (19' x 18' with an opening in the back similar to a window).

What would happen if I used three center speakers?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jimvm

Gonzales, Louisiana U.S.A.

Post Number: 25
Registered: Apr-05
Anon - I could be wrong, but I really doubt you could hear much of a difference between 40's upright and 40's on their sides in that large a room. Three center channel speakers might work. The CC-470 uses the same drivers as those in the 20's and 40's.

Let me add that I was faced with a similar dilemma -- large room (18' x 18' x 12' open to other rooms). I liked the sound of the 20's better than the 40's but wasn't sure if they would "fill the room." My dealer told me to pay for the 20's; that if, after 10 days, I was not happy with them to return them for full credit toward the 40's. It was an offer I thought was fair and reasonable. Long story short, I took the 20's and, robust speakers that they are, they "filled the room." Why not see if your Paradigm dealer is willing to make you a similar deal?

Just a thought.
 

Anonymous
 
Jim, what you are saying is music to my ears (pun intended). I will ask the dealer if he is willing to agree to a similar situation.

I have read a number of posts where people claim to like the Studio 20 better than the 40's. What's your take?

 

Bronze Member
Username: Jimvm

Gonzales, Louisiana U.S.A.

Post Number: 26
Registered: Apr-05
Well, IMO the 40's are truly excellent speakers, but to my ears they did not image quite as well as the 20's. Though the 40's use the same two drivers as the 20's, the addition of the bass driver and the larger cabinet in the 40's gives the 40's a fuller sound. But, to me, they also result in a slight loss of imaging.

By the way, my 20's are placed in a "bookshelf" too. Actually it is a custom made, cherry wood, built-in wall unit. I designed it so that my speakers actually rest on the base cabinet of the unit (as opposed to one of the moveable shelves) so that cabinet resonance is kept to a minimum. I have them situated as far forward as possible so that the baffle is virtually clear of the base cabinet. To me, they sound every bit as good as they did in the showroom. True, if I pulled them out and place them on stands, I might realize a noticeable improvement in sound, but they sound good enough for me.

In putting together my modest system, I have learned that compromise is a given. Almost all of us have to in one way or the other -- due to costs, WAF, room configuration, etc.

Hopefully your dealer is a reasonable fellow. If he's amenable, he'll tell you that any returned speakers must be in pristine condition and be re-packed in the factory boxes with all paperwork, etc.
 

Anonymous
 
Jim, how much room do you have behind, and on the sides of the speakers? My bookshelves are solid so the speakers will not rattle at all.

I will buy a sub to complete the HT package. Do you think you would still notice a difference between the 20's and the 40's while the sub is on?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jimvm

Gonzales, Louisiana U.S.A.

Post Number: 27
Registered: Apr-05
I have a little over 9" behind the speakers and 3-4" on either side of them. I believe the difference in fullness between the 20's and 40's would be greatly diminished with the sub on.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Audioholic

Post Number: 11
Registered: Apr-05
'Anon - I could be wrong, but I really doubt you could hear much of a difference between 40's upright and 40's on their sides'. HA!!!! IF that were the case, P'digm would put the tweet's on the side, no? Or the back. Or the bottom. C'mon guys....if it didn't matter why is the tweeter on top, facing forward? Asthetics? Hardly. High frequencies are very directional. Ya'all could with some basic audio theory. Ask your dealer his/her opinion on your q.
 

Silver Member
Username: Touche6784

Post Number: 295
Registered: Nov-04
correct me if i am wrong here, but arent the tweeters still facing the same direction if they are placed on their sides? mission puts their tweeter's underneath the woofer, does that make all the engineers at mission idiots? some bipole/dipole designs have two tweeters and only one woofer, is that a bad design? "Ya'all could with some basic audio theory." you could use some typing lessons or a grammar overview, that makes no sense.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kano

Post Number: 466
Registered: Oct-04
I believe the placement of the tweeter on the speaker is to have it as close to ear level as possible while a person is sitting down.

 

Bronze Member
Username: Rushwj

Post Number: 19
Registered: Feb-05
I agree w/ Kano, tweeter postioned at ear level is the usual placement.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Jimvm

Gonzales, Louisiana U.S.A.

Post Number: 31
Registered: Apr-05
Paul - I did preface my belief by saying that I could be wrong; no need to get nasty. From reading your post, I'm not sure you understand what we're talking about. We're talking about simply turning the speakers on their sides so they would fit on a narrow shelf; the drivers would still be facing forward in any event.

I'm not the world's foremost audio authority but it just seems to me that as long as the baffle and drivers (including the tweeters) are facing forward, it shouldn't make much difference in a large room whether the boxes are on their sides or standing upright. I say in a large room because the speaker box on the Studio 40 is fairly tall (long if it's on its side). So, depending upon how their placed, the tweeters could be farther apart or closer together. That could make a difference in the imaging and/or soundstage. I think that in a larger room, where you'd normally be sitting farther away from the speakers, it would tend to make less of a difference. By the way, there are lots of two-way and three-way speakers which have tweeters on top and in the middle, and, even a couple of two ways with the tweeter on the bottom (Mission).

Nothing I said would necessarily negate the positioning of the speakers so that the tweeters are at/near ear level as they should be.
 

Silver Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 614
Registered: Jan-05
Sometimes a little common sense goes a long way. Providing the speakers are at(or near)ear height while laying on their sides, there will be no loss in sound quality by laying them on their sides.

Other than that, there is no reason against doing as you're proposing providing they're sitting on a solid base. And for Gods sake, dont buy 3 center channel speakers unless you want 'all midrange' output.
 

Silver Member
Username: Timn8ter

Seattle, WA USA

Post Number: 181
Registered: Dec-03
The challenge is achieving a proper polar response pattern especially horizontal in the case of a center channel. This is made easier by placing the tweeter either above or below the woofer which you will see in the majority of center channel designs and standard speakers as well. Laying the speaker on it's side can cause some dissymmetry in the polar response although with a simple two-way speaker being listened to at a typical distance of 8-12 feet in a HT it may be very difficult to detect. However, laying a multi-driver speaker with a top centerline tweeter on it's side will create an obvious problem. As has been said, the ideal setup would be three identical speakers of identical configuration and height for the front LCR. This is almost never acheived in typical home theater setups but the closer you can get to this the better your results will be.
 

Anonymous
 
Paul_oshtbucks, can you elaborate on the reason that 3 center speakers would be "all midrange"? Don't all CC's have both woofers (mid-ranges) and tweeters? Are they built in such a way that the higher frequencies are eliminated?

Paul Bayless, according to the dealer, placing the speaker on its side would have no effect on sound. We even tested some bookshelf speakers both upright and on their side, and I can't tell the difference. However, getting some reassurance from this forum is always good.

Timn8ter, some speaker manufacturers offer LCR speakers. Are they really identical speakers? If so, why would it be wrong to use three CC's? Or for that matter, why should I buy a CC, when a third identical front speaker would be better? Would you mind chiming in on the question posted to Paul_oshtbucks?
 

Silver Member
Username: Timn8ter

Seattle, WA USA

Post Number: 182
Registered: Dec-03
As always, these types of things depend on the goals of the designer. Technically "LCR" speakers should be identical but "buyer beware" may be an appropriate attitude. Many dedicated center channel designs that I've seen do tend to have better mid-range response than treble or bass, especially bass. The assumption is that these frequencies will not be missed and that the LR or sub will compensate. This is in opposition to the Dolby standard but occurs nonetheless. Dedicated center channels are usually a compromise because the average consumer will sacrifice adhereing to the Dolby standard if the speaker looks nice sitting on top of their TV. My buddy Dan designed some killer LCRs that are identical. The interesting thing is that when the speaker is sitting upright there is a noticeable polar response issue because the tweeter is to the side of the mid-range but only noticeable if you are listening to a single speaker and move from one side to the other. When placed horizontal the owner has the option of either placing the tweeter on the top or the bottom depending on how high the speaker is sitting.
 

Silver Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 623
Registered: Jan-05
Anon,
It depends on what you expect from your surround system. I for one, dont believe any small 2way bookshelf deserves a place as the foundation of any home theater.(otherwise known as front speakers) Not if you expect a realistic theater experience.......

My requirements, might (and most obviously) differ greatly from others on this forum.
 

Anonymous
 
Paul_oshtbucks, I do not disagree that floor-standing speakers would sound even better, but ... I've got to work with whatever cards I am dealt. No full size speakers in this set-up. I am sure that I will be happier watching a movie with my HT set-up than through the TV speakers alone (my other alternative).

Timn8ter, do you have any suggestions regarding nearly identical LCR's? I take it that you would advise against using a third bookshelf as a center speaker. Correct?
 

Silver Member
Username: Timn8ter

Seattle, WA USA

Post Number: 183
Registered: Dec-03
I know people that have done it and are very happy with the setup. The particular speaker being used is designed well enough that the tweeter and woofer behave very much like a single-point source at a typcial listening position, in fact, I think you'd have to be extremely close to notice the separation between the tweeter and woofer. Being a designer I don't follow the usual commercial offerings so I don't have any specific recommendations, at least until the reviews come out on my own designs ;-). In case anyone is interested, here are the LCRs that Dan designed.
http://www.acoustic-visions.com/~acoustic/products/speakers/complete_kits/kit_lc r.shtml
 

Bronze Member
Username: Audioholic

Post Number: 14
Registered: Apr-05
Christopher, if it made no difference where the tweeter is, why did P'digm put it above the woofer? It's there for a reason. That reason is simple: It works best there with the woofer used, the crossover used and the crossover frequency chosen along with the dispersion pattern of said tweeter. If anyone here thinks it doesn't matter, please do some more research. Of course P'digm is gonna tell you it don't matter....they want to sell speakers. Call a few high-end shops and ask them the same question.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Audioholic

Post Number: 15
Registered: Apr-05
Jim. I wasn't getting nasty. P'digm Stud. 40's are not an inexpensive speaker. Therefore, it seems illogical that anyone would be using them in a low-fi setup. The speakers were designed the way they are due to reasons pointed out in my previous post. CAN you lay them on the sides? Sure. CAN you face them backwards? Of course you can. CAN you lay them down so they fire upwards? Piece o'cake. Are they DESIGNED to be used like that? Not a chance. To the poster(s) claiming it's ok as long as the woofer/tweeter are at ear level, wrong again. The tweeter should be at ear level....not the woofer in most designs, due to phase issues and imaging. Can you hear a difference? You tell me. Should be pretty obvious.
 

Silver Member
Username: Touche6784

Post Number: 327
Registered: Nov-04
paul b, you wrote "IF that were the case, P'digm would put the tweet's on the side, no? Or the back. Or the bottom. C'mon guys....if it didn't matter why is the tweeter on top, facing forward?"

my point was to say that the statement u just quoted was flawed in that laying a speaker on its side is not changing the where the tweeter is on the speaker itself. considering theres a lot of bs going around in the audio world considering enhancement/degradation of sound, i am sure some people wouldnt notice a difference or care to notice one. considering how large the studio 40s are he may think his only option is to turn them sideways. i did just try turning my speakers on their sides and did notice a slight difference in imaging. so i guess i will have to agree with you there.
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