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Argument against placement of HIFI rack / equipment / TV between the speakers

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PCA

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Came across this video the other day:


I had never considered placing my equipment anywhere other than between the speakers. Now this video is making me 'less satisfied' with my set up :) and my crab mentality is making me post this on the forum for the 'benefit' ;) of fellow members.
 

square_wave

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Tall racks with a bunch of gear in it and TVs are a "big no" in between speakers. If your rack is low and an open design, you can get away with it especially if your speakers are placed at least 4 feet more into the room.. Funny reflections will obscure the images in the sound stage.
 

SachinChavan

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Came across this video the other day:


I had never considered placing my equipment anywhere other than between the speakers. Now this video is making me 'less satisfied' with my set up :) and my crab mentality is making me post this on the forum for the 'benefit' ;) of fellow members.
This guy is a master at making a two minutes answer take 20 mins. The common-sensical reply is between 4:20 and 5:20 if you want to skip the chatter.

Yes, anything between the speakers can impact the image, but in real life we have many constraints and not just cable length to deal with. Most of us place the system in our living room and we can’t have the unruly cables visible. So we need some kind of rack or cabinet. Also many of us have only one wall in our living cum dining room where we can have both the TV and the speakers (even stereo). Some of us also have same HT system for both movies and music. In short, there are ample reasons to necessitate having equipment, rack and TV between the speakers.

So what can we still do? Firstly, pull out the speakers as much as possible into the room (way from the front wall). This will increase the distance between the speakers and the TV as well as the cabinet/rack. Also move the rack or cabinet as close to the wall as possible. In case of cabinet, that will also reduce the formation of air pocket behind the cabinet which can spoil the sound.

In my case, I made my solid wood cabinet way before I got into home stereo. And I love it - it adds classic charm to the living room. I can’t think of replacing it with an open audio rack (unless very carefully designed). Thankfully my cabinet’s height is short and ends just below the lower edge of my bookshelves. I made a short and long cabinet also because I like my TV sitting on it... I hate the look of a TV hanging on the wall.

06803B1B-E35D-4E75-B688-C40D2F1E9B4E.jpeg

I have had my struggles with the resonances from the cabinet and imaging. With time and experimentation (and some able guidance) I have been able to minimise the ill-effects on the sound (though they cannot be nullified altogether). I have done all the adjustments pointed out in a paragraph above. Incidentally, the heavy plasma TV sitting on top of the cabinet actually helps keep the cabinet resonance down with its weight. My speakers have a clear 72 cm behind them and the front wall now (plus 32 cm depth of the speaker itself). That allows me to have the cabinet and TV too without significantly adverse effect on the sound.

The idea is, we have to work within out constraints and figure out the best possible workable solution.

If I go for a revamp in future, I will get a custom made solid wood cabinet made - not an open rack, but with doors and back panels with speaker grill kind of material to get the best combination of aesthetics and sound. And unless I go for a projector, the TV will have to sit on the cabinet.
 
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PCA

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This guy is a master at making a two minutes answer take 20 mins. The common-sensical reply is between 4:20 and 5:20 if you want to skip the chatter.

Yes, anything between the speakers can impact the image, but in real life we have many constraints and not just cable length to deal with. Most of us place the system in our living room and we can’t have the unruly cables visible. So we need some kind of rack or cabinet. Also many of us have only one wall in our living cum dining room where we can have both the TV and the speakers (even stereo). Some of us also have same HT system for both movies and music. In short, there are ample reasons to necessitate having equipment, rack and TV between the speakers.

So what can we still do? Firstly, pull out the speakers as much as possible into the room (way from the front wall). This will increase the distance between the speakers and the TV as well as the cabinet/rack. Also move the rack or cabinet as close to the wall as possible. In case of cabinet, that will also reduce the formation of air pocket behind the cabinet which can spoil the sound.

In my case, I made my solid wood cabinet way before I got into home stereo. And I love it - it adds classic charm to the living room. I can’t think of replacing it with an open audio rack (unless very carefully designed). Thankfully my cabinet’s height is short and ends just below the lower edge of my bookshelves. I made a short and long cabinet also because I like my TV sitting on it... I hate the look of a TV hanging on the wall.

View attachment 47865

I have had my struggles with the resonances from the cabinet and imaging. With time and experimentation (and some able guidance) I have been able to minimise the ill-effects on the sound (though they cannot be nullified altogether). I have done all the adjustments pointed out in a paragraph above. Incidentally, the heavy plasma TV sitting on top of the cabinet actually helps keep the cabinet resonance down with its weight. My speakers have a clear 72 cm behind them and the front wall now (plus 32 cm depth of the speaker itself). That allows me to have the cabinet and TV too without significantly adverse effect on the sound.

The idea is, we have to work within out constraints and figure out the best possible workable solution.

If I go for a revamp in future, I will get a custom made solid wood cabinet made - not an open rack, but with doors and back panels with speaker grill kind of material to get the best combination of aesthetics and sound. And unless I go for a projector, the TV will have to sit on the cabinet.
Thanks for sharing your experience and the image of your set-up.

Just curious to know whether you push back your speakers and stands (to sit next to the cabinet), when you are not listening to them?
 

SachinChavan

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Thanks for sharing your experience and the image of your set-up.

Just curious to know whether you push back your speakers and stands (to sit next to the cabinet), when you are not listening to them?
Oh no. That’d be an extensive exercise, especially given that I position the speakers down to a mm. I’d like to bring the speakers further forward (to about 3 feet from the wall) but that’s not practical. This is the most I can bring them up front while leaving enough room to walk in front of them.

But I imagine if you/your speakers aren’t too picky about precise positioning, you could keep a carpet piece under the spikes and move them back after use.
 
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raghupb

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In most of our homes, we don't have the luxury of space or the will to argue effectively for it (with you-know-who).
So as @SachinChavan has pointed out, there are compromises that we have to live with.

Sys-3.jpg

I do push-pull when listening to music on big speakers. Otherwise the stands line up next to the AV rack.
I use floor tile boundaries to remember sweet spot.

Cheers,
Raghu
 

Fiftyfifty

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Hi,

I too prefer a low height horizontal rack like Sachin. Pulling the speakers out into the room can affect the sound in unpredictable ways and it may not be a great idea to pull them out too much, because the rear wall and side wall reflections are also affected.

I have a lightweight glass-wool panel that I place between the speakers and i front of the rack when I'm critically listening. It has a massive impact and the imaging gets super crisp, the panel almost sounding like a centre speaker! (In fact I fooled someone to believe that there was a driver inside the panel :) :)). Changing the position of this panel or adding more panels invariably impacts the imaging. For casual listening and when I have non-audio guests, I simple remove the panel so that the setup is socially acceptable. This is an inexpensive experiment worth trying.

The downside of this arrangement is that the remotes don't function with the panel coming in the way!

Pictures with and without the panel are attached.

Setup1.jpgSetup2.jpg
 
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Passive_audio_enthusiast

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Depends totally on how the rest of your the room is. If you set up your room without a tv in the center and then introduced a tv in the later. It only means your positioning of speakers or other furniture need to be rearranged to accommodate the new acoustics of the room. The idea is to kill the reflection from the screen reaching your ear. May be widening the speakers even more or bringing them to the front or even charging the toeing angle can get you back the same acoustics between the speaker and you. Things become more tricky when the screen size is large and the tv rack is more resonant. Imo this is another so called purist mindset without understanding what really causes the sound mess up.

And this is the point where snake oil products has its market.Yes they change the sound as it changes the room acoustics. But there is always lot of window for experimenting before jumping into products like that.

key is there is one solution for all rooms and equipments
 

SachinChavan

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Hi,

I too prefer a low height horizontal rack like Sachin. Pulling the speakers out into the room can affect the sound in unpredictable ways and it may not be a great idea to pull them out too much, because the rear wall and side wall reflections are also affected.

I have a lightweight glass-wool panel that I place between the speakers and i front of the rack when I'm critically listening. It has a massive impact and the imaging gets super crisp, the panel almost sounding like a centre speaker! (In fact I fooled someone to believe that there was a driver inside the panel :) :)). Changing the position of this panel or adding more panels invariably impacts the imaging. For casual listening and when I have non-audio guests, I simple remove the panel so that the setup is socially acceptable. This is an inexpensive experiment worth trying.

The downside of this arrangement is that the remotes don't function with the panel coming in the way!

Pictures with and without the panel are attached.

View attachment 47895View attachment 47896
What are those red rolls you have behind the speakers? Bass traps?

Did you check if half the height of the panel (just the upper half) is enough to get same imaging? Imaging is more relevant with highs and mids which usually doesn’t happen below the woofer level. That way your remotes could work too.
 

Fiftyfifty

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What are those red rolls you have behind the speakers? Bass traps?

Did you check if half the height of the panel (just the upper half) is enough to get same imaging? Imaging is more relevant with highs and mids which usually doesn’t happen below the woofer level. That way your remotes could work too.
Yes Sachin, those red rolls are giant bolsters made of glass wool :)

The panel does not do its job if placed behind the rack. So, to be placed in front of the rack, it needs to rest on something, like a stand or a stool, which kinda defeats the purpose. Moreover I need to stop the reflections hitting the rack.
 

Fiftyfifty

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To me, it is evident that the rack between the speakers is best avoided. My question, therefore, is whether it is better to have a longer speaker cable or a longer interconnect. What would be the maximum length of a 14 awg speaker cable, an unbalanced IC and a balanced IC, without noticeably degrading sq?

Thanks
 

SachinChavan

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To me, it is evident that the rack between the speakers is best avoided. My question, therefore, is whether it is better to have a longer speaker cable or a longer interconnect. What would be the maximum length of a 14 awg speaker cable, an unbalanced IC and a balanced IC, without noticeably degrading sq?

Thanks
Shorter interconnects. Technical explanation (most of it beyond my understanding though, but gives a reasonable idea):
 

Fiftyfifty

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Shorter interconnects. Technical explanation (most of it beyond my understanding though, but gives a reasonable idea):
Looks like there are folks who think otherwise:
 

arj

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The general view I have also heard is longer interconnects ( preferably balanced) ad shortest speaker cables as thats where the losses are minimum.

Thats why many of the serious high end setups have monoblocks as close to the speakers as possible with nothing else between them, while the pre and Source and rack are near their seating chair
 

raghupb

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Electrically speaking:
- Single ended ICs (keep as short as practically possible) + longer speaker cables (thicker gauge 10/12/...)
- Balanced/XLR ICs (can be long) + shorter speaker cables (thicker gauge 10/12/...)

Cheers,
Raghu
 

Fiftyfifty

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Electrically speaking:
- Single ended ICs (keep as short as practically possible) + longer speaker cables (thicker gauge 10/12/...)
- Balanced/XLR ICs (can be long) + shorter speaker cables (thicker gauge 10/12/...)

Cheers,
Raghu
If one uses a balanced IC connected via an RCA to XLR adapter at the preamp end, does this qualify as a balanced IC? The power amp end is truly balanced in my case but the preamp only has RCA outputs
 

raghupb

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If one uses a balanced IC connected via an RCA to XLR adapter at the preamp end, does this qualify as a balanced IC? The power amp end is truly balanced in my case but the preamp only has RCA outputs
This would still be a hack. Balanced and XLR are commonly confused.
XLR is an interconnect that allows long runs by providing +/- and ground for each channel.
This shields signal from picking up stray noise too, and they are more robust mechanically.

A balanced design is where shared circuitry between L/R is kept to a minimal.
Monoblocks are inherently balanced. In some preamps/dacs, care is take to have them separated as far as possible.
Sometimes with dual PS and/or dual PCBs; also the topology of layout is similar or mirror images, etc.
Summation to single ended is an option to provide RCA connections, but the true signal path would be from native circuit.

In case of a balanced system, the ideal way to interconnect is XLR.
So it is tricky when building a truly balanced system; and involves significant costs.

Cheers,
Raghu
 
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Fiftyfifty

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Thanks, but my question was slightly different: Does an XLR cable connected to an SE terminal via an adapter overcome the limitation on cable length? I think you are suggesting that it does.

Regards
 

arj

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Thanks, but my question was slightly different: Does an XLR cable connected to an SE terminal via an adapter overcome the limitation on cable length? I think you are suggesting that it does.

Regards
I am not sure but usually in the adaptor one of the signals and the shield are grounded..hence it is the same as an SE. I believe there are transformer coupled adaptors which do give the noise cancellation benefit of XLR
 
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