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Small speakers and severe toe-in

Discussion in 'audio' started by Alex S, Sep 22, 2022.

  1. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Having spent a few days with small speakers near field, 1.8m apart and 2.5m distant with minor variation, I have decided that quite severe toe in, ie crossing in front of the listening position, works best for all three speakers I’ve tried. Speakers are ProAc Ref 8 sig, AN AX2 and Tannoy Autograph Mini. Give it a try if you haven’t already.
  2. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    More mid field there...(?) Should vary somewhat according to polar pattern/lobing etc etc I reckon. I do seem to recall a P J Walker article suggesting just that but at greater distances FWIW:)
    tuga likes this.
  3. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Yes, I guess mid. I'd like to get nearer but would need longer speaker cables. Either way, the speakers are more than half way into the room. Just experimenting with various off-axis placements. I might try toe-out next.

    There's a lot to be said for small speakers that you can place where you want and then just move out the way when you're done.
    AndyU likes this.
  4. hifi-dog

    hifi-dog pfm Member

    unless your stands and speakers a blinking heavy like my scm 11 and filled stands. but agree mine are toed in quite a lot too.
  5. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    My stands are sand filled Partington Dreadnought Broadsides. Helps burn a few calories.
  6. Darren L

    Darren L pfm Member

    I've been using SF speakers in similar positioning for 25 years, works a treat just as the designer intended .
  7. omers

    omers pfm Member

    It sounds strange and confused to me. Maybe it's my eyes.
  8. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The extreme toe-in seems popular in some Tannoy camps, though I’m not personally a fan as I listen in the ‘hot seat’ only and like a wide deep soundstage. The crossing narrows things too much to my ears. I can see how it would improve off-axis listening though as you’d never be outside the dispersion pattern of at least one horn. I have mine aimed so they would cross maybe two metres behind my head, so gently toed-in so I can see the inside sides of the cab. FWIW I’d expect the tiny Tannoys GRF Minis to be very directional, more so than full-sized ones as the bass-mid is such a small ‘horn’ for the tweeter.

    I’ve found this right for me with other speakers with wider dispersion (e.g. conventional dome tweeters) too. I set up for a triangle and the speakers are gently toed-in to cross a fair way behind the listening seat. There is a school of thought with LS3/5As not to toe them in at all and just fire them straight at the back wall. That just looks too odd to me, but did seem to sound good when I briefly tried it. This will all be hugely room dependent though, the brighter and more reflective the room the more advantage from toeing in to a quite extreme level (i.e. more direct sound, less wall-reflections). My rooms are deliberately well damped so not an issue.

    PS All my findings are firing across a room, i.e. speakers on the widest dimension. I’ve never liked firing down a room at all so have never installed a system in that orientation aside from one flat where it was absolutely unavoidable due to an open-plan kitchen in the same space. That wasn’t a good room!
  9. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    My room is okay in the sense of no major nasties. I have to fire down the length. There is some room treatment that I took from my acoustically ghastly studio. These experiments started in earnest when I borrowed the Tannoy Autograph Minis. They have super clean and clear treble but it's hot and spotlit. Off-axis is less fatiguing but they are essentially unbalanced without the use of subs that I really don't want at this time. Imaging is good almost regardless of toe-in.

    The ProAcs are also voiced hot but they are better balanced if slightly inferior speakers. They seem best with severe toe-in or firing straight. Again, with only minor fiddling they image really well and essentially disappear.

    As for the Audio Notes, I tend to just plonk them down and listen to music. All three speakers are rear ported FWIW.
  10. EIffel

    EIffel Cereal Killer

    There is a theory (with valid arguments) that with speakers with a narrow distribution pattern (Klipsh horns, etc.), extreme toe-in is a good way to broaden the sweet spot. There are a few papers on time-intensity trading which explain why it should work, although it does look odd at first.
  11. Beobloke

    Beobloke pfm Member

    Ken Ishiwata was a big proponent of this method and most of his demos at Munich were set up like this. Looked odd but seemed to work.
  12. hifinutt

    hifinutt hifinutt

    i already do this with tannoy eaton and get a superb imaging and sound
  13. Durmbo

    Durmbo sister

    Until now I've had my LS3/5as with just a few degrees of toe in & been happy with it. This morning, on reading this thread, I've been experimenting with different positions. The speakers fire across the room.

    Having the speaker sides invisible to me at my listening spot gives a welcome wider sweet spot. Imaging & instrumental coherence are improved - the latter quite markedly. Bass appears tighter. I'll keep this arrangement.

    With the speakers crossing in front of me I got a very wide sweet spot at the expense of any enjoyment. Everything was messed up. On The Fall's Perverted by Language - one of my favourite albums - the sound actually made me nauseated even at low volume. I am crazy sensitive to sound stimuli & have even vomited at some sounds but have never experienced anything like this in audio before! :eek:
    omers likes this.
  14. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    I’ll make a note not to invite you over :)
    brumjam, AndyCC72 and Durmbo like this.
  15. omers

    omers pfm Member

    Couldn't have said it better. I too felt sick.
    Durmbo likes this.
  16. Durmbo

    Durmbo sister

    Speakers, room, whatever: clearly mileage may vary.
  17. foxwelljsly

    foxwelljsly Me too, I ate one sour too.

    I had some LS3/5as on enormous sand filled stands with M8 spikes on the bottom. It's far easier to move my 104/2s with 25mm casters.

    In fact, you could say I've got casterdy. Boom. You're welcome.
  18. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Ha, I’ve just found a way to tame the treble on all three pairs of small speakers I have: use a passive preamp. I’ll decide if there’s a loss of dynamics and whatnot later.
  19. omers

    omers pfm Member

    Which passive active preamps ? Couldn't detect loss of dynamics on the Townshend Allegri, but also no taming of shrill treble.
  20. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Khozmo passive, Sugden Headmaster as active.

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