Speaker placement advice

Having moved house a while back, been trying to sort out the positioning of my speakers - Fact 8s. Lovely speakers but the room is very high and very live with an engineered wood floor and lots of large windows and hard surfaces. I asked advice from PMC and got this really useful advice from one of their studio engineers I thought I’d share in case it was of use. Cheers Paley

We have tested some of the iso-acoustic isolators here - they make a surprising difference, especially cleaning up the mids. Rug is a very good idea to tame reflections from the floor and also dampen some flooring resonances. The rug should be positioned mid-way between yourself and the speakers, at the reflection point.

Aim for an equilateral triangle if possible, bringing the speakers closer together. Or listening from further back. However, to reduce the influence of the room, listening from closer would be better.

If you have an equilateral triangle, you can also try not toeing in the speakers. I tend to prefer this sound, but this is personal preference. If you don’t toe them in, you might find that they sound more ‘natural’ at the top end - but I’ve not personally experimented with fact.8s.

I would also try to ensure that you are not sat below the apex of the ceiling, especially if you are looking down the length of the apex with the speakers symmetrically either side. This setup is likely to focus reflections at your listening position and sound strange. From an overhead view, you could try rotating the setup by up to 90 degrees to ensure that you are not looking along the length of the apex, and not sitting below the apex. For your space, I would aim for somewhere between roughly 15 - 30 (or 60 - 75 degrees). This would also ensure that the speakers are at different distances away from the hard windows and walls - important in a difficult space because this will help to diminish the severity of acoustical room modes which affect the frequency response. Doing as I describe may theoretically reduce stereo-imaging because you’re no longer symmetrical in the room, but I think the benefits in terms of overall tonal balance will outweigh any ‘loss’ in stereo imaging accuracy in a large, live room. It may even help the stereo imaging due to not being below the apex of the ceiling.

Other than this, you can try acoustic absorption in the room: curtains, soft furnishing, or acoustic panels designed to be hung overhead. These panels would be most effective mid-way between the listening position and the speakers, or near to the speakers. Likewise on the walls, mid-way between listening position and the speakers. You’re aiming for a “reflection free zone” at the listening position, but this is easier said than done.

4 Likes

Very interesting.
I am trying new layouts in my room at the moment and although I don’t have the same speakers, I am sure much of this advice translates… :thinking:

I found this advice interesting as well, although I don’t understand the ceiling apex factor. We moved this year from a house with thick plaster walls and generally a warm sounding space to a large apartment with 2 glass walls in the main room. I have found minimal changes to toe-in to have rather dramatic differences in the sound of my Harbeth HL5 Xd/ Naim Nova system.

The search tool is worth using…

Every room is different, so any guidance can only give possible options, but needs investigating specifically for your room, your layout and your system. The following thread in particular contains much info, including several different approaches to finding the right solution for the individual and their room, and I commend it to you:

The room interface: the hardest part to get right in any audio system. This overheard from no less than Mike Valetine at the one and only Ascot Show.
Boomy bass is the number one problem to get sorted. Speakers not too big for the room: always a temptation, and an amp with “grip”. i e. money!
Depends on design. Some speakers are cofigured to be flat on the wall which can make them a bit too dimentional with almost no depth to the sound. Then speakers designed to work into the room can be domestically intrusive, but your Mahler symphony can sound like some instruments are from next door. That’s my preference but each to their own.
Positioning by small amounts can make all the difference and its free!
Once you get it right and its not easy then listen to the music and not the system.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard this suggested before. Even with non-rectangular rooms, symmetry seems to be the recommendation - but with the caveat that there may be an implicit assumption that we’re talking about an acoustically treated control room, not a living room. 45 degrees I’ve seen (ie spanning a corner) which would maintain symmetry, provided the rear walls are distant enough to not interfere too much.

In any case - I’d love to know if this positioning works!

Any chance of a picture?

So, it appears that PMC is recommending Isoacoustics Gaia for their speakers as well. Nice. Marten not only strongly recommends the Isoacoustics Gaia footers for Marten speakers but has collaborated with Isoacoustics to develop their own Marten isolators based on the design of the Gaia. In essence, the Marten isolators are the same as Isoacoustics Gaia, and the difference is only in cosmetics (slightly larger size and different logo)

In my experience, the biggest difference with the Gaias is in the bass. They clean up the bass as it all sound more defined without the bloom, boom or resonance. The bass impact may initially appear to be slightly less but it’s a more accurate reproduction in the room as your ears get used to the new sound. Apart from the bass, there is also less smearing of notes and slightly improved separation and detail across the frequency spectrum.

2 Likes

They are? Last I read on the PMC site, their FAQ says unless using massive granite slabs, anything else is of questionable benefit. Not saying I agree but that was their official statement until recently.

I assumed so from the first post.

"I asked advice from PMC and got this really useful advice from one of their studio engineers I thought I’d share in case it was of use. Cheers Paley

We have tested some of the iso-acoustic isolators here - they make a surprising difference, especially cleaning up the mids."

I nearly bought a set for my Omegas, but what held me back is, they are so unsightly. The simpler the lines on the speaker, the more they stick out like a sore thumb. I could possibly get away with them on a visually “busier” speaker.

I do notice that PMC have removed their FAQ on spikes and speaker support entirely.