Get Rid of Your Fear of Imperfection!
The Audiophile System Room Placement Dilemma
RULE NUMBER ONE! - NEVER SET YOUR SYSTEM UP FULLY WITHOUT LISTENING TO IT FIRST~!
RULE NUMBER TWO! - MAKE IT MOBILE AT FIRST~!
This will save you a HUGE amount of work, if your room is problematic. Second thing is BUY A CHEAP FLOOR CART from Tractor Supply or WalMart. You will always be able to use it later. Put your amp and a source, like a CD player or DAC on the floor cart, and maybe put a heavy piece of cardboard under each speaker (no spikes!) at first. That way you can easily slide your components around while testing for the best room placement for your system. THIS IS NO BULL! Room placement is HUGE! This will literally change your music playback life.
When setting up a new system in a room, take your amps and speakers, the longest cabling possible, and a heavy duty long-wired plug strip, and start experimenting. What you will find by doing this is that you literally saved your audio system from the possibility of never hearing what it could actually do!
Do you know how many people out there have spent tens of thousands of dollars buying audio gear trying to make their systems sound good, only to suffer from poor system placement within a room - and they never even knew it??? THOUSANDS, MAYBE TENS OF THOUSANDS~!
The first thing you should EVER do is experiment with a trimmed down system first before even putting in an audio rack. Do it ON THE FLOOR FIRST! That way you can move the system around easily to find out where it sounds best. And remember the most important thing about this is SPEAKER PLACEMENT FIRST! Don't worry about where the amp and source is while doing this. Move the speakers around first. They are the most important part of this equation. Move the amp and source only when you have to. This will save you hours of work. You can of course also put your rack on the cart if that is easier and safe for the equipment.
Bring an office chair on wheels for the task ahead and give yourself some time to find out exactly what room impact your walls and ceiling and floor have on your new expensive audio system. If you are patient, you will save yourself a HUGE amount of potential problems, and possibly keep from chasing something that you caused in the first place. I cannot express how important doing all of this is... but I've been doing this for 45 years. So PLEASE give this a try, especially if you are just getting into High End Audio! We're not talking about a Bose Wave Machine here... this is the Raven Audio website. We are all about audiophile level products, and this will change your audio life! OK, let's go...
The Long Skinny Room Problem:
In my experience, the worst thing you can do to an audio system is put it in a room and measure exact distances from the corners, and place your new system within that room according to perfect measurements. This is the ABSOLUTE WORSE method of setting up a high end audio system. In fact, only a few rules are good for audio ALL the time. But in my opinion, this is the first one! Put your system on the LONG wall... never the end of a narrow room. If you ever see Raven Audio at a show... our system will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be on the long wall, closer to one wall than the other.
What will almost always take place when you do that is - a sucked out midrange, and loss of bass response. This is where the experts would say.... "here's why" but not me.
What I CAN tell you is, imperfect placement is always going to be your friend. If you have a listening room that is large enough... say 20' by anything larger... the narrow room rule may not apply. And a high ceiling can work to your advantage, lowering floor and ceiling reflection problems. But even then excellent speakers and components can really help here.
If your room is very close to square, that can be another nightmare. But I can help you through that too, as long as you aren't ADHD! And I am just kidding a little about that, not putting down the disorder - of which I am a bonified member!
The Square Room Problem:
If you can stand it, place your system closer to one corner than the other, as much as you can physically stand it without throwing up when entering the room. This is where a lightswitch and mood lighting can help too, but let's talk about audio setup. The worst thing - as I said before - is perfection. ESPECIALLY in a square room! Most hotel rooms are 15' x 16', or 13' x 14' etc. and that is precisely what I am talking about here, because bedrooms in homes are the same way usually.
What you will need to do first, is push that system towards one corner or the other, and then listen to the difference. It will not be a small thing. Next, if you are still having problems with your sound, take the speaker closest to that corner and move out out into the room farther, and angle it inward like you normally would with any system. Tow both speakers in and put your listening chair in the normal equilateral 9' triangle. If you don't have that much room, simply do something similar, on a smaller scale. This works as well on a nearfield setting as a larger room setting.
and what you will find is... as you move things around, suddenly your system will come to life. The bass will get large and deep and tight, and the midrange will gloriously extend out into the room slightly past the plane of the speakers. This is when you found the best placement for your system. The only problem you will have left is, you will have to then decorate around that angled placement. I think what you will find is... you and your guests will find that setup unique and hugely satisfying. If you figure out something outside of this explanation, PLEASE call me so I can share it, or share it here yourself.
The Irregular Room Problem:
Actually, this is a LOT of times the perfect scenario. I love imperfect rooms for audio systems... UNLESS the room is less than 10 feet in any one direction and that makes an "hourglass" type of situation where there are actually two different small rooms connected - don't set up a system in that room if you can avoid it. Then there is no real equation for making any imperfect room better. In my experience, it is usually WAY easier to tame equilateral rooms. These will usually have half-walls, or walls missing, large windows, sliding doors, etc. These rooms are going to be easily tamed usually. Much easier than the other two scenarios.
So, have fun, stick with the same process of "Make it Mobile First" and you'll easily be able to figure out the most perfect location for your system yourself.
See... no boring science-ridden explanation here. As long as you take your time and experiment with the system location, you are going to figure out what location your speakers, and therefore your system should be within any given space. And it will NOT be a small result. What usually happens is you go WOW... that is WAY BETTER! When you find that spot, yeah... its pretty mind blowing the difference you hear, almost every time.
You can always call me, but measure your room first and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to help you if you really get into a pickle that you just can't figure out.... and as long as I'm not in the middle of something, I will try to help. Evenings are best. Make sure you aren't calling me during a show weekend... and I'll try to be there for you.