DreamWarrior

So, I just finished setting up my new Cat 12's in my room.  I placed them where my old speakers were as an initial go, I think I want them a little wider apart, but I'm not sure I want to pull them any closer to the walls.  The imaging is good, but I want a slightly larger soundstage.  They sit about 13' from me but have only about 8' center-to-center.  The room is 15' wide, so if I set them out wider they may get too close to the side walls and get worse.  More problematic, I believe, is that the right tower will start to sit directly in front of my side couch.  So, I'm not sure what to trade there -- maybe I can deal with the soundstage with toe-in experiments?  Right now they are un-toed.  Either way, it seems I am missing out on some soundstage width in stereo (+subs) that I'd like to fix.

Anyway, after Audyssey XT-32 calibration, here's the curve I got:

post-calib.jpg 
This is 1/6th smoothing in Omnimic.  I turned Dynamic EQ off because it was adding bass boost I didn't want to see due to my using lower than reference volume levels, I presume.  I also chose the "Audyssey" setting, though I was quite surprised that both that and the "Audyssey Flat" setting of produced very similar curves.  Maybe these speakers aren't really needing a whole lot of what Audyssey can do to the mains....

Anyway, it looks ok to me, but there is certainly rolloff after 10k; I'm assuming this is by design?

Anyone have other impressions?

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audioguy
The measurements look great.  If my math is correct, you have about 40 inches space between your speaker and wall.  

My recommendation:  Put your Cats on teflon sliders and put tape (painters tape)  on the floor - one 3 foot section right at the front edge (running left and right)  of the speaker and the other at 90 degrees.

Mark one of the pieces of tape A, B, C etc spaced about 1 inch apart and the other piece marked 1, 2, 3 ext also marked about 1 inch apart.

Set your SSP so that your mains are set to full, and turn Audyssey off  and then run OmniMic through one channel and label the results using the numbers/letters on the tape that are closest to the inside front corner (for example, B5).  Then move the speaker closer to the side wall by 1 inch and remeasure; then put it back in the original space but push it either forward or backward (1 inch) and re-measure and save with the coordinates.

As you keep doing this in the various positions, you will quickly be able to determine what moving it in the various directions does.  Over time, you will end up with a spot that will still measure great  and maybe be closer to the side wall and maybe improve your soundstage width.  You will have to be concerned about dips that are cancellations that Audyssey may not be able to fix as you search for the perfect spot.

And I must add that when you get to a spot that measures the way you like and is maybe nearer a side wall, the you must listen and continue to make adjustments. 

I know this sounds like some serious effort and it is.  In my last room, I probably spent 100 or more hours doing that - easily.  But you paid good money for great speakers and if you expect to get the very best out of them, this effort is required.

I also hope you have appropriate room treatment in place or you will not get anywhere close to what those speakers are capable of.



If this is a clear as mud, let me know.


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DreamWarrior
Thanks!  A few things:

1)  Your math is close, but my measurements were probably imperfect.  I have 2'9" (according to a laser measure) between the speaker cabinets and the side wall.  So, I have some room to play with there, but I'm not sure how close I should really try to get.  Especially because...

2)  Unfortunately, this room is currently 100% untreated.  The measurements are just the room's natural response post-Audyssey.  However, while the frequency response may look good smoothed, it's a wreck unsmoothed.  I'll post that in a second...I still need to take the decay measurements, I think they'll look like crap....  I just need to figure out what/where to treat.  It may be especially hard for me because it's a living room and open floor plan, so the rear is never going to get treatment since there are cabinets in the kitchen and that space is just not treatable....  But, I can probably get away with some art panels and the like in the main room (like front wall and first reflection points) and maybe on the ceiling....  I dunno, I solicit (maybe even beg for, lol) advice here.

So I guess the real question I have, if you'd be so kind, is, what should be my next focus.  If my response is good now (and I suppose it is, at least when smoothed) should I leave them where they are and play with toe-in to widen the sound-stage?  Should I move them around first, then start worrying about the fact that if the sound stage widens, but they get close to walls and so light up first reflection points like crazy and make things nuts then deal with treatments...?  I just don't know what order to take...or maybe this is just a cyclical process?  I'm willing to do what it takes (within WAF, lol) but...I don't kno w what process to follow.  You've given me a great idea, but should I start there, or start treating first -- you mention both.

Anyway, here's the unsmoothed graph:

post-calib-nosmooth-s.jpg

It's pretty crazy above 1k, and a little nuts in the midrange, too....  I assume these are probably the places that reflections are just really messing with me.

Thanks for responding, any more help will be seriously appreciated!  I've never really went through this process before, but I really want to tweak these things to get the most bang for my buck.  And, if I learned anything already, it's that the frequency response is really a small part of it, because while they do sound good, I am sure they can only get better.

edit:  P.S.  the speakers are on carpet -- any recommendations on a good set of carpet sliders that work well and don't tear up carpet?  It's not like a berber or anything, probably just hardly above builder's grade stuff...so...if I ruin it, the wife ruins me, lol.
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DreamWarrior
Cool, thanks!  I'll check the Depot and grab something so I don't have to constantly pick them up and move them around....  When y'all finally settled on a location, did you pull the sliders out, or leave them underneath?

As for the sand...I'll consider it, once I find their permanent home, lol.  I don't hear a lot of resonance now, so I think I'll be ok...but....

Thanks again y'all!  Any additional critique on the non-smoothed response and maybe some recommendations based on that.  I can post pictures of the room, just not at the moment....  I've been listening to music (and drinking, lol) all night, so....  It's actually pretty awesome that I can listen even at low volumes now and hear detail I never did before.  And, at a whim, just push the volume to crazy and rip my ears a new one when I feel I need to.  I'm lovin' these things over my Paradigm 60's without a doubt.

That said, unfortunately there are still some drawbacks entirely related to my situation....  I seem to have some odd noises coming from the speakers when "idle".  These are noises I've heard before from other power amps (specifically a Parasound A21 that was connected to my old Paradigms).  Given the noise has followed just about every amplifier I've plugged into my walls (except the damn receiver) I can't really blame the Cats.  I just wish someone could help me figure it the heck out....  I've tried everything I know to, though...I think it's going to take an electrician or someone that's heard it before.  Ugh!  This house if full of gremlins, I guess.  Eventually I'll figure out where they are...maybe...so far they've eluded me, though.
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DreamWarrior
Unfortunately, I've tried quite a bit before when diagnosing with my other amplifier and came up short.  I had an electrician check the plugs, he said all was well.  The whole front wall (where everything but one sub is connected) is it's own 20 amp breaker, dedicated to that wall, verified by me when we built the house.  They didn't do exactly as I asked; I asked for three dedicated 20 amp circuits, on all the same phase.  They gave me three outlets on one 20 amp breaker, and then installed 15 amp outlets, presumably because they were cheap hopefully not because they were ignorant...but...whatever.

Anyway, at one point I disconnected everything from that wall, shut off every breaker in the house, had only the Parasound amplifier connected to the wall and to the speakers (no signal connection to the Parasound) and the noise still existed...so...it's been quite annoying [frown].
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Mark_Seaton
I haven't had time to dive through all of the posts, but a couple quick tips/comments:
DreamWarrior wrote:

So, I just finished setting up my new Cat 12's in my room.  I placed them where my old speakers were as an initial go, I think I want them a little wider apart, but I'm not sure I want to pull them any closer to the walls.  The imaging is good, but I want a slightly larger soundstage.  They sit about 13' from me but have only about 8' center-to-center.  The room is 15' wide, so if I set them out wider they may get too close to the side walls and get worse.  More problematic, I believe, is that the right tower will start to sit directly in front of my side couch.  So, I'm not sure what to trade there -- maybe I can deal with the soundstage with toe-in experiments?  Right now they are un-toed.  Either way, it seems I am missing out on some soundstage width in stereo (+subs) that I'd like to fix.



I would first start with toe-in adjustments.  Does "un-toed" mean they are pointing straight forward or directly at the listening position?  There is a balance to reach with the toe in at the listener between precise imaging and the width of the soundstage.  In simple terms, you want a little sound still hitting the side walls to give that wall-to-wall presentation.  With extreme toe-in, you reduce the high frequency energy at the side walls due to the 8" cone's function as a waveguide for the tweeter.  In most (not quite all) rooms I prefer the speakers aimed somewhere around the arms or shoulders of the listener in the main seating position.  This can vary a bit with the distance ratio of listener to speaker separation and distance to side walls.  The suggestions of putting furniture sliders under the stand feet is definitely recommended.  Once you settle on a location, leave it for a week and then take them out when you don't find yourself moving them.

Quote:

Anyway, after Audyssey XT-32 calibration, here's the curve I got:

post-calib.jpg 
This is 1/6th smoothing in Omnimic.  I turned Dynamic EQ off because it was adding bass boost I didn't want to see due to my using lower than reference volume levels, I presume.  I also chose the "Audyssey" setting, though I was quite surprised that both that and the "Audyssey Flat" setting of produced very similar curves.  Maybe these speakers aren't really needing a whole lot of what Audyssey can do to the mains....

Anyway, it looks ok to me, but there is certainly rolloff after 10k; I'm assuming this is by design?

Anyone have other impressions?


That is a promising measurement.  Sometimes Audyssey's adjustments, especially in the midbass will look minor in the frequency domain, but may be significant and more audible in the time domain.  The best bet is to always give a quick listen to compare.

The HF roll off above 10kHz is due to the measurement type in-room and is nothing to worry about.  Also note that "similar" curves can be audibly quite different if the difference is over a wide frequency range vs just a little bump/dip.

Keep tinkering and enjoy!

Mark Seaton
Seaton Sound, Inc.
sales@seatonsound.net
773-290-8436
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DreamWarrior
Thanks Mark!  I am loving them so far, but they do highlight how badly I need to fix this room.  They sound really good at lower levels, but once I start cranking on them, the room just lights up like crazy and my ears can't take it.  I mean, they still sound crystal clear no distortion, I can make out vocals beautifully, but...I just hear too much of the room at that point.  At least, it gets a lot more obvious.

That said, by "untoed" I mean they are pointing straight into the room.  I don't know if that helps/hurts....  Once the weather clears up, I'll be picking up the furniture sliders and start tweaking.  As I do, how often should I be re-running the calibration?  For example, if I change their toe-in, should I re-calibrate, or just listen/measure?  I assume if I push them towards the side-walls I may need a recal because it could really effect their interaction with the sub x-over?  Or, no?  I'm just...not good at this stuff.  I know when I hear something I like, I'm still learning slowly how to get there.

P.S.  I saw you visited Craig's room...you like?  If I could get them to sound like that in here, I'd be soooooooooo happy!  That room sounds incredible.  I can absolutely tell these speakers can do it!  And best, if they do, I think they'll have so much more in the tank that I can get the levels up even higher than he can!  Best of all worlds!!!!!!!

Maybe I can just pay you to come out and do it for me, lol...I do have money, am willing to write check!  HAHA!
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audioguy
DreamWarrior wrote:


As for the sand...I'll consider it, once I find their permanent home, lol.  I don't hear a lot of resonance now, so I think I'll be ok...but....


The sand, in my case, is much less about resonance and more about adding weight to the speaker/stand so that it sits more firmly in/on the carpet.  I have carpet, carpet pad and a sound control underlay that kept the speaker from being perfectly stable.  So in my case, the sand helps.
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audioguy
Since your speakers are pointing straight ahead, that means more of the sound is hitting the side walls.  For a temporary measure, can you put sofa cushions or heavy blankets or equivalent in the first reflection point (do you know how to locate it with a mirror?).   And then try listening. I would not worry about measuring as you attempt toe in as you are trying to manage image specificity versus soundstage width and the OmniMic measurements won't tell you that.  Once you are comfortable that you are close to the sound you are trying to achieve, then you can measure.  But DEFINITELY try using some kind of absorption material on the side walls as you listen.  

And FWIW, my speakers are towed in about what Mark suggested.  That probably point to a spot a foot or two behind my head.

The sliders I use are about 4 inches in diameter and make it really easy to slide them around.  I had them under my speakers (Cats and SubMersives) for several months of listening and measuring.  
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DreamWarrior
Ahh, ok, I see now about the sand.  My carpet and pad and all is probably not all that thick.  They seem pretty stable, especially once the speakers are on top.

I believe the mirror trick is that I sit in the listening position and have someone else hold a mirror against the side walls and move it down the wall until I can see the speaker cabinet; yes?

I'll see if I have some heavy blankets lying around, but honestly I should probably just go out and buy some material and fab up a quick pair of panels to move around.  I'm going to need them eventually anyway.
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audioguy
DreamWarrior wrote:
Ahh, ok, I see now about the sand.  My carpet and pad and all is probably not all that thick.  They seem pretty stable, especially once the speakers are on top.

I believe the mirror trick is that I sit in the listening position and have someone else hold a mirror against the side walls and move it down the wall until I can see the speaker cabinet; yes?

I'll see if I have some heavy blankets lying around, but honestly I should probably just go out and buy some material and fab up a quick pair of panels to move around.  I'm going to need them eventually anyway.


Mirror trick understanding is correct.  Specifically look for the tweeter.

If you are using these speakers in a multipurpose room consider (art) panels that are both functional and decorative.  Check these out.  You can select from a lot of different art or supply your own.
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DreamWarrior
Yeah, I've looked at those, but I saw a DIY art panel thread on AVS, so...may save me a lot.  In fact, I thought you had been a participant....

Thanks again...we'll see what I can do on my own.
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