Speaker placement frustration

@Marty_SF you need a bigger pair of speaker or sub with that size of room :sweat_smile: confidence 60 or magico S5 perhaps

I love ATC… but I’m not sure they are the best solution for your room. ATC bass is very linear, designed for recording studios. It the right room its devastatingly good, but for HiFi I want more scale, more fun. That’s what I get from the K6 Signature and the detail from the ribbon tweeter cannot be beat. Imagine the best 2-way speaker that makes bass.

The ProAc K10 in your room would be my choice.

The only other speaker I’ve enjoyed in a 500 system was the Magico S5.


Magico S5 rocks !!

Before selling your speakers, I’d suggest taking a more methodical approach to positioning. The process can be tedious, but should take no longer than an afternoon and can produce sublime results. This is a modified version of the Sumiko method, popularized by John Hunter, before he became the owner of REL acoustics. Here’s the TLDR:

  1. Lay down a grid of painter’s tape to keep track of placement (the process is iterative). Guessing the boundaries of the grid can be tough, but you can use conventional placement wisdom (i.e. equidistant triangle from listening position, rule of 38%, etc.) or Wilson Audio’s “zone of neutrality method” (link below) to figure this out. Label each line of the grid (think of these as coordinates like latitude / longitude).

  2. Play “Ballad of a Runaway Horse” by Jennifer Warnes, and move the speakers together from back to front on the grid (keeping their positioning along the horizontal plane constant). Listen for equal impact, timbre for each note in the bassline. You’ll find a single position where every bass note will play the most cleanly. You now have a general idea of far your speakers should be relative to your listening position. Take notes. For good measure, play a few of your favorite tracks and play close attention to the bass. Are all the notes equal in their articulation and impact?

  3. Pick a song with an emphasis on vocals. You can continue using Ballad of a Runaway Horse, but chances are you might be deathly tired of it by this point. While keeping the speaker depth constant (z-axis), move the speakers in tandem along the horizontal axis of the grid (for example, if you move the left speaker 1 inch to the left, the right speaker should move 1 inch to the right). You’re now listening for a few things, the singer’s voice should be locked in the center and localized to a relatively small point in space. The speakers should also “disappear” at this point and you should have a perfectly “focused” sound stage that not only has width and height, but depth as well.

  4. Here’s where it gets a bit tedious. Your changes from the previous step, while producing a rock-solid center image, likely caused a regression to the bass response you worked so hard for in step 2. However, you now have reference points for depth (from step 2) and width (from step 3), you can now fine tune and experiment with points on the grid with these guardrails in place. Note taking is critical at this point, otherwise you’ll just be spinning your wheels. Wilson Audio installers actually use a scorecard during the stage of their speaker setup process that is analogous to this step.

The things they grade for are

  • Low Bass Extension
  • Upper bass quality
  • Sound stage (center focus)
  • Sound stage (ambient bloom)
  • Harmonic Balance
  • Sense of Dynamics
  • Flow

Ultimately, you determine the criteria for what sounds good, but be sure to take notes on every new position. You’ll discover one that sounds “best”. At this point you can stop or break out the microphone / REW and double check your work.

I don’t believe that adding subwoofers without proper positioning of your mains will do any good. In the setup video for a REL six pack, John Hunter emphasizes this point very strongly here.

For setting up the “grid”, LOTS by New Record Day
Speaker positioning (sumiko method) seminar by Bob Robbins at RMAF14
The Wilson Audio Setup Procedure (W.A.S.P.)


I haven’t heard it but I’m certain S5’s are great and do rock. It’s just that they have a price problem :slight_smile:


Thank you so much for writing in detail , I do appreciate it. Looks like we looked up similar references/content. I remember that 6 pack video and his other content, John Hunter is a great resource, so is that grid video. I also read Paul McGowan’s most recent title , “The Loudspeaker”. I started using the painter tape once I moved here but I guickly realized I could use the tiles as my grid. But first they had to be measured since walls are not always parallel or perfect. In my case I was lucky to see all tiles are same size, equal distance from windows from one end of the room to another, so I used the painter tape less, just to make mini corners on near optimal spots.
All the feedback from the forum (thanks again everyone for hearing me out) and your description made me go back again for some more iterations, I think I have better positions for them now. Still a bit more treatment needed, but center image(still not rock solid), dynamics, bass quality and pace are showing great progress. Can’t say they’re optimal but there’s hope. I just had to bring them out into the room more, and spread them wider. I started from them being very close per the earlier feedback, tested them close together in a decreasing distance scale from listening position. When they are close together, stereo image is all together, it’s just not these speakers’ cup of tea to be close, confirming once again, especially in a long wall placement format. Then I started spreading them apart, initially a by few inches each time, then inch by inch. Then toe in takes even more iteration which is the part that frustrates me the most, it’s like house of cards falling apart at the last card. Anyway more to play with later this week, also sent an inquiry to GIK Acoustics for their professional opinion. I’ll also try the REW over the weekend just out of curiosity to learn more about my room. Thanks again for taking the time to share your feedback in detail.


@Marty_SF i do feel you … because until today , I am still tweaking my system For the past 5 months… I am constrained by space ( it’s in a game room) whereas you have too much space … and I know the frustration involved. Hope you get it all right soon :muscle:t2:

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Thanks @naimophile , I feel the same. While I’m a fan of Dynaudio, I think it’s time for me to try something new. S5’s have a reputation in that top echelon but also a bit out of my path, my dealer’s upgrade program doesn’t work for those. They are also a closed design with no ports so it is something that needs a home demo, especially in my challenging place. I wish I could hear the Vimberg’s , it’s got that Tidal Audio heritage and everyone who hears them in shows raves about them but they are so hard to find - I think 3 dealers in US or maybe less. Similar to Toyota and Lexus, but I think Tidal is more like Bugatti and Vimberg is like Bentley lol. Other than that my closest option is Scala Utopia and I haven’t heard them either, so that’s the next step for me while I work on the treatment.

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You can do it !!! Best of luck!!! :clap:t2::clap:t2: shall hear from you on the outcome of the challenge ! Very interesting challenge

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Whatever approach to finding best positioning for speakers and listener is used, using a tool like REW with microphone to assess all trialled positions is far faster and easier than listening tests, literally taking seconds to produce a visual image showing performance, readily and reliably/repeatably allowing comparing of different positions. Listening can then be done to decide between two or three positions which may be similarly good but with different pros/cons.


yes, I’ve seen your pic that the room is spacious.

that 's will expose the limitation of the amp more clearly.

and the sound will lose the balance.

for instance : a care with 2.0 liter na engine can driving well on street but can;t running good in the race.

you can find the same secret on nait 50 , a small box but can driving floor standing spearker

your room is ok because the cotton sofa has already eliminated the unnecessary reflection especially bass

what you can do is to ajust a little toe in to verify the sound

In addition, I’ve used mono mono A amplifier 200w to drive C1 platinum

that;s the reason MJ choose dynaudio as the speaker for his concert

C1 is much hefty as compared to C2, yes, it. looks weird

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@Marty_SF Have you tried any very near field or near field configurations?

Innocent Bystander gives some other measurements larger than Wilfried’s that may work.

It might be worth trying near Field set ups at various distances from the windows behind the speakers, including very far out into the room.

Another option is if any of the windows open wide, placing the speakers in front of open windows.

You could use very good open backed headphones and enjoy the view and the Music together, without any room effects.

You could use various forms of Specialist or other types of curtains to absorb soundwaves on the various windows, as part of a general room treatment exercise.

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Ah - I only just saw this post above, so maybe you have tried very near field or near field configurations at various distances from the wall/windows behind the speakers.

Someone mentioned facing a different direction. There is of course the slightly odd approach of not having speakers in front of you - though if behind you the big window’s reflections might be worse as they would then be facing not behind the speakers.

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I do sympathise having moved house and had to go through a similar process.

The mistake I made was trying to set up the Hifi before the room was fully furnished. Once we added two large bookshelves and lots of books behind the speakers, plus a few cd storage and vinyl storage units along the side walls, and thick velvet curtains for the bay window, things became much easier to set up.

The bookshelves really worked wonders for diffusion and the curtains and sofa for absorption.

Looking at the photo of your fabulous room, I suspect all that glass will be the main issue.

Adding thick curtains and bookshelves will probably ruin the aesthetics of your room, so having it professionally treated will probably look much less intrusive.

I also added an REL sub, not strictly necessary but it worked really well not just in terms of basss but everything else just clicked and the imaging and placement is much clearer now. Also means I can get a fuller sound at lower volumes.

I ended up with a set up that sounds much better than in my old home, but spent a long long time endlessly tweaking speaker and listening chair positioning over many weeks. Stick with it though as perseverance does pay off!

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After the recommendations from GIK rep and a listening session over the weekend (Sopra 2 and ATC 100SCM), I ended up doing 2 things: Ordered 4 more acoustic panels, 2 of them being bass traps. Also ordered a pair Scala Utopia Evo. As we all know a lot of this has to do with availability and how deals come together, so this one was the best option for me compared to Vimberg or Magico, and I’m actually pretty excited about it, because I really enjoyed that open midrange of Focal quite a bit. Once they’re in and when the break in process begins, I’m hoping to post more on how things changed (hopefully for better :slight_smile: ). My room will be just like a Naim-Focal booth at an event lol.


With you all the way here. I tell everyone the subs don’t work the way you assume they should … loads of bottom end. The presence and atmosphere they create is incredible.

I run two Rel No.25 with my S800s powered by S1 pre and active 500s which you wouldn’t think needed anything to enhance the sound. The difference the sub makes is huge. See if you can get a demo :+1:


The subs help to pressurise the room … there’s a lot of air in your space to move

Lots of glass in this room bass works well.