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Thread: Advice on Positioning New RAAL Towers (so excited!)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2020
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    2

    Default Advice on Positioning New RAAL Towers (so excited!)

    Hey all! Happy new RAAL tower owners here (just arrived yesterday!) Really excited about the speakers so far and they sound totally awesome (thank you to the whole Ascend Acoustics team!). We are using an Outlaw 2160 receiver paired with a Rega Planar 3 for input. This is our first real stereo setup (coming from Paradigm v3 mini-monitors with a NAD L53).

    We are struggling a bit to get good placement in our (less than ideal) room and hoped you all may be able to give us some pointers.

    Our house has a single mid-sized (about 600-700sq feet) living room/great room style layout with lots of openings for entry to the kitchen, hallways, entryway alcove, etc. We only really have one location where the speakers go well, which is between a "old school" brick fireplace and the exterior wall with a window in it. The brick fireplace juts out into the room 8 inches from floor to ceiling, which creates a corner between the brick and the wall. The hearth extends about 3 feet into the room, but is only 14 inches high.

    The space between the hearth and the external wall is only about 8 and a half feet. Right now, we've got the speakers 5 inches in from either side (measured from the back corner of the speaker which is closest to the outside wall or hearth) and 1 and a half feet in from the back wall (measured from the back corner which is closest to the back wall). After toe-in, this puts the maximum space between the front-inner corners of the speakers at about 73 inches.

    Due to aesthetic reasons with our listening position (important to my better half!), we are trying to maximize the distance between the speakers to minimize how close in the listening position needs to be. I believe at 73 inches, the listening position should be about 100 inches out (based on the multiply by 0.73 recommendation in the manual).

    In the current positions, with toe-in to aim directly at the listening location, the back of the speaker is almost pointed into the corners between the hearth/back wall and outside wall/back wall.

    Between the speakers, we have a chair, lamp, and end table. In the current position, the space between the speakers at the height of the drivers is mostly clear, but the chair sticks out in front of the speakers lower down.

    On the outside wall, there is a space heater. At the current position, the speaker is mostly behind the heater and out of the path of the main heat updraft, but is still likely to be warmer than the other speaker in the winter.

    So, based on all of that, we hoped we could run a few questions by you all and see if we are doing anything massively stupid:

    1. Is it a big deal/no-no to have the back of the speakers pointing close to a corner like that, at 1 and a half feet out?
    2. Is the brick fireplace chimney corner (which only comes 8 inches into the room) likely to setup any odd reflections or other issues?
    3. Given 73 inches between the inner corners, is there any inherent issue with having the speakers this close together, other than the listening position being pretty close in?
    4. Is it likely for the chair/end table/lamp between the speakers to be an issue, even if the bulk of the obstruction is below the height of the drivers?
    5. Is the space heater something to be concerned with at this distance?

    We know at the end of the day what matters is that it sounds good and it definitely sounds good as is! But, given our newness to having a really nice pair of speakers, we would appreciate any feedback as to whether anything here may be a major issue or could be causing degradation we can't yet detect, especially without a better listening environment to compare to.

    I've attached a picture of the current setup. Any advice greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for the time!

    Tower Placement.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Manhattan Beach, California
    Posts
    6,545

    Default Re: Advice on Positioning New RAAL Towers (so excited!)

    Some things....

    In a corner and/or next to a wall is generally not good placement, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices.

    Anything in between the two speakers and (even worse)protruding in front of them is bad for imaging and soundstage. Looks like you can easily judge for yourself by moving the stuff out of the way and do some critical listening. Take your time.

    Heat really isn't good for anything. How warm will it get next to the floorboard heater?
    -curtis

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    73

    Default Re: Advice on Positioning New RAAL Towers (so excited!)

    Hopefully Dave will chime in with some guidance but honestly I would be concerned about both heat sources and especially that baseboard heater. Too much heat could potentially cause the cabinets to split over time.

    As for the acoustics - if your ears are happy... don't try too hard to find reasons they shouldn't be.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    NW Pennsylvania
    Posts
    567

    Default Re: Advice on Positioning New RAAL Towers (so excited!)

    I would move the right speaker a bit away from the wall and baseboard heater. Having another surface that close isn't ideal. Could a drape be hung in front of the window to reduce sound reflections?
    Nate

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Posts
    189

    Default Re: Advice on Positioning New RAAL Towers (so excited!)

    My wife has HAF issues when it comes to speaker placement...

    Being in a corner like that with a rear ported tower is problematic. There's no easy way to get around it. Unfortunately your room ultimately tells you where a speaker or sub will sound best and that's not always the most aesthetically pleasing for some, and downright not doable for others, but I do have 2 suggestions.

    You could try reason. It is a shared space after all and you should have a say as well, no? Would you get into trouble if you took a few hours to them out a little or try another location if you put it right back? Just to experiment. You might get lucky and find a better arrangement that you both can live with.

    OR, try moving them in tiny increments. When she's not around just scooch 'em out an inch at a time once every few days or a week. By the end of the month you should start noticing some improvements and she'll be none the wiser!

    With my wife I lean heavily on the former, but then gained a bit more ground with the latter method.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Advice on Positioning New RAAL Towers (so excited!)

    Thank you all for the advice! Really appreciate the feedback. I especially like the sage advice on slowly moving them into position over time, so my better half doesn't notice That's awesome! Definitely going to use that one!

    Really appreciate the advice/confirmation on the potential issues with the corners and the closeness of the side wall.

    I'll look into the possibility of a drape or potentially some treatment for the portion of the wall that isn't window, which may help a little as well. Thanks for the recommendation!

    I've been doing a ton of experimentation over the past few days and have at least tentatively settled on a setup that keeps the right speaker about 2.5 feet away from the heater/side wall (the side gets barely warm to the touch when the heater is on). To counter balance the reduced distance between the speakers, my wife agreed to pull the speakers out a bit further, which keeps the proportions to the listening position fairly close and puts the front plane of the speakers in front of the chair.

    I may be imagining it, but it does seem like the sound has more depth and the phantom center channel seems a bit stronger.

    Can't do much about the corners at the moment, but I've started a campaign to pitch an addition to add a listening room We shall see how that goes!

    Appreciate all the advice! Despite the not perfect location, really really enjoying the speakers. It's basically like all of our music is brand-new again. Now we just need to upgrade our house to match our speakers!
    Last edited by chapmad; 05-13-2020 at 07:43 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    167

    Default Re: Advice on Positioning New RAAL Towers (so excited!)

    Quote Originally Posted by chapmad View Post
    Thank you all for the advice! ... Now we just need to upgrade our house to match our speakers!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Posts
    189

    Default Re: Advice on Positioning New RAAL Towers (so excited!)

    Quote Originally Posted by chapmad View Post
    Thank you all for the advice! Really appreciate the feedback. I especially like the sage advice on slowly moving them into position over time, so my better half doesn't notice That's awesome! Definitely going to use that one!

    Really appreciate the advice/confirmation on the potential issues with the corners and the closeness of the side wall.

    I'll look into the possibility of a drape or potentially some treatment for the portion of the wall that isn't window, which may help a little as well. Thanks for the recommendation!

    I've been doing a ton of experimentation over the past few days and have at least tentatively settled on a setup that keeps the right speaker about 2.5 feet away from the heater/side wall (the side gets barely warm to the touch when the heater is on). To counter balance the reduced distance between the speakers, my wife agreed to pull the speakers out a bit further, which keeps the proportions to the listening position fairly close and puts the front plane of the speakers in front of the chair.

    I may be imagining it, but it does seem like the sound has more depth and the phantom center channel seems a bit stronger.

    Can't do much about the corners at the moment, but I've started a campaign to pitch an addition to add a listening room We shall see how that goes!

    Appreciate all the advice! Despite the not perfect location, really really enjoying the speakers. It's basically like all of our music is brand-new again. Now we just need to upgrade our house to match our speakers!
    I'll bet you're not imagining anything. 2.5' away from that wall is pretty significant, being that you were almost right up against it before. Pulling them out a bit I think likely helped too. I'd say you did great if your were able to gain that much ground. Are you still somewhat centered between them at your seat?

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