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#339583 - 02/22/11 09:21 PM Planning an Axiom purchase
Karl Offline
regular

Registered: 02/22/11
Posts: 5
Hi,

I expect to be purchasing Axiom speakers shortly and am looking for advice/pointers.

My goal is to setup my living room for 2-channel stereo listening. TV watching occurs in a different room. Most of my music collection is eclectic, but leans more toward jazz ('hard bop': Davis/Coltrane/Blakey) than anything else. The music has been ripped to FLAC and will be served via a Squeezebox connected to an amp (likely to be one made by Audiosource).

The room is an 18' x 15' room with an 18' ceiling. The room is 'open' at one end, which is to say that while one side ends in a 15' wall covered with windows, at the opposite end the room opens to a foyer. The demarcation is an open second floor hallway/catwalk that separates the foyer from the living room. The foyer also has an 18' ceiling and extends for another 18' feet or so. Were it not for the catwalk the whole space would be a 36'l x 15'w x 18'h cube.

Along one 18' wall a 6' x 7' x 15" cabinet is centered. The facing wall runs for 9' from the wall of windows and then opens to a 10'x10' eating area with a 9' ceiling. The floors throughout are hardwood covered with assorted rugs. The room in question has a 10x14 wool rug centered in it.

I am considering 2 primary listening positions:

(1) Facing the 18' wall with the cabinet. The idea is to put speakers on either side of the cabinet. Two chairs face this wall/cabinet (one with its back partially to the open eating area mentioned above).

(2) Facing the 15' wall with the windows. The speakers would be in the corners. A couch roughly 17' away would be the primary listening seat.

Of these, the first option is more desirable, simply because I prefer sitting in the chair rather than on the couch. And no, swapping the two pieces of furniture aren't an option.

I am leaning toward the M22 v3 bookshelf speakers, primarily because I think they'll be more 'out of the way' than floorstanding models, as well as give me more placement options as my needs/wants change. I'm unclear whether a subwoofer is needed/desirable with these speakers. I have been tempted by the M80s, but suspect between kids & cats floorstanding speakers are in for some abuse.

My questions:
1. I'm unclear on the difference between the M3 and M22. Does the application and room configuration above indicate one model would be preferable to another?

2. What kind of power requirements should I be considering? The music will be played at ordinary listening levels, probably shaded to the quiet side in the evenings, and need not 'rattle the walls'.

3. What should I know about speaker placement re the wall of windows and the wall with the cabinet on it? If I put the speakers on either side of the cabinent, should I be concerned about the cabinet shielding the sound in any way...or should I be more concerned about the sound reflecting off the windows? I have 6' of space on either side of the cabinet, so I have plenty of room for optimim placement.

If you can help with these questions or otherwise provide food for thought I would greatly appreciate it.

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#339589 - 02/22/11 10:05 PM Re: Planning an Axiom purchase [Re: Karl]
grunt Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 3569
Loc: Nirvana
Quote:

1. I'm unclear on the difference between the M3 and M22. Does the application and room configuration above indicate one model would be preferable to another?

The M3 is designed with a slightly less flat frequency response than the M22 to simulate more bass and is often considered the better choice when used w/o a subwoofer. I have not heard the M3 so I can’t comment on that. The M22 sounds good w/o a subwoofer but for a lot of music I find it lacking without one.

Quote:

2. What kind of power requirements should I be considering? The music will be played at ordinary listening levels, probably shaded to the quiet side in the evenings, and need not 'rattle the walls'.


If you go with the M3s or M22s and aren’t sitting to far away I imagine any midrange AVR or up will power them as loud as you might want.

Quote:

3. What should I know about speaker placement re the wall of windows and the wall with the cabinet on it? If I put the speakers on either side of the cabinent, should I be concerned about the cabinet shielding the sound in any way...or should I be more concerned about the sound reflecting off the windows? I have 6' of space on either side of the cabinet, so I have plenty of room for optimim placement.

Generally you want the speakers place so they form an equalateral triangle with the center of the listening position. About 3 feet from any walls or other reflective surfaces is also a good starting point.

Curtains over the windows will help dampen any high frequency reflections if they bother you but the nice thing about curtains is you can also move them out of the way. Some reflections help create more 3D sound out of stereo speakers. With that big of a room you are going to have a lot of ambience. It also sounds like you will have a lot of flexibility in placement within the constraints you mentioned. The best, really the only, way to find ideal placement especially in a non-symmetrical room is to experiment with positioning.

You mentioned not wanting towers because of kids. I’m thinking that unless you shelf mount the bookshelf speakers they are even more likely to get knocked over if on stands than tower speakers are. Also the reality is that in a room that big you would be better served with full range tower speakers IMO. A bookshelf+sub combo is very effective and give more placement options than towers or even towers+sub but in a room that big I don’t think you’d have any issues with placing towers.

One of the best ways to find out what will work best is to order a couple different sets of speakers and try compare them in the same room. It’s the only real way to know what’s going to sound best. Return shipping costs are reasonable especially for bookshelf speakers.
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#339590 - 02/22/11 10:12 PM Re: Planning an Axiom purchase [Re: Karl]
Adrian Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 6600
Loc: It's all about the location.
Welcome Karl.

The main differences between the M22's and the M3's, aside from the cabinet and driver configurations are the M22 uses the 5 1/4" dual woofers vs the single 6 1/2" of the M3. The M3 has a bit of a bass hump around 100-150hz vs the more linear freq response of the M22....some users prefer the M3 for it's slight boost in the bass, others don't. The M22 is more typical of the 'Axiom sound' I would say, often said to sound very much like the M80s with the addition of a sub.

Any receiver around 90-100watts should be fine at moderately loud listening levels.

I would try various placements of the speakers after you get them and see where they sound best to you.
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#339595 - 02/22/11 11:01 PM Re: Planning an Axiom purchase [Re: Karl]
JohnK Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10363
Karl, welcome. My first suggestion is that you not limit yourself to listening to 2-channel music source material on only front speakers. Using a mode such as DPLII, and especially with QS side surrounds, the enjoyment of 2-channel music is significantly increased. The natural ambience that's contained in the front channels(there was no place else to put it)although it came from directions other than the front is extracted and sent to the surrounds where it belongs. I never listen to 2-channel sources using only the front speakers when surround speakers are available.

The setup along the 18' wall should be fine. Separate the speakers far enough outside the cabinet so that they're about as far apart as your listening distance from them. As long as they're far enough forward to be slightly in front of the plane of the cabinet there shouldn't be any significant harmful effects caused by the cabinet.

I use and highly recommend for music listening(almost entirely classical in my case)the M22s. They're very flat, and in particular have no artificial mid-bass bump to add an inaccurate "fullness" in that area. For most music listening(excluding material such as pipe organ)they have sufficient bass without a sub, but this is something that you can determine after listening.

No special power requirements beyond the typical receivers rated anywhere in the 100 watt area would be present for listening to M22s at all safe(to your hearing)listening levels. I'd suggest that a Denon or Onkyo model with Audyssey MultEQ auto-calibration and room EQ be considered.
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#339599 - 02/22/11 11:23 PM Re: Planning an Axiom purchase [Re: JohnK]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10398
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
Another way to describe the difference between the M3/M22 is that the M3 not only has the aformentioned bass bump but also a slightly depressed midrange, where as the M22 is nearly flat across the spectrum for a more linear sound experience.
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#339605 - 02/23/11 12:21 AM Re: Planning an Axiom purchase [Re: Adrian]
INANE Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/04/04
Posts: 1660
Loc: Omaha, Nebraska
I've A/B my M3s with someone else's M22s. What others describe is true. The M3's have a fuller sound (low end) and the M22s have a more pronounced midrange.

So if you ever wouldn't want to use a sub then I would pick the M3s but if you don't mind having a sub always in the mix the M22's are a better choice.
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#339613 - 02/23/11 02:37 AM Re: Planning an Axiom purchase [Re: INANE]
fredk Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 7031
Loc: Canada
2channel music only listening = M80. Do not stop, do not pass go, no other choices necessary.

Seriously. I have compared my M80s with and without sub for music and in most cases you cannot tell the difference. I found that the sub did fill things in with my pipe organ music.

The advantages of the M80: excellent midrange, no bass hump and with a -3db point of 36Hz, ALL the bass music can deliver.

I know its not on your list, but it should be.
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#339615 - 02/23/11 06:14 AM Re: Planning an Axiom purchase [Re: Karl]
Karl Offline
regular

Registered: 02/22/11
Posts: 5
Thanks all for the replies. Exactly the type of commentary I was hoping to get. Here are some of my takeaways:

M22/M3: The M22s sound more like what I'm after. I don't have an issue with getting a sub.

M80: ...but the observation that M22s + sub = M80s gets me thinking. I started with M80s on the short list but thought placement issues would be too great. Now I'm not so sure. The comments above about putting the speakers in front of the plane of the cabinet and that bookshelf speakers on stands may be potentially less kid-friendly give me pause. The plan was to mount the speakers to the wall, but I think I'll revisit the 'form factor' question some more.

power: Thanks - 90-100w was what I figured as well.

placement: I take the point that I'll have to experiment. Doesn't sound like either option I described has any obvious flaws that scream 'bad idea'.

surround sound: I appreciate the comment and used to listen to music in a DPLII arrangement regularly. Over time I may add to my living room setup, but out of the gate (or out of the wallet I should say) I'll be starting with 2-channel listening. My assumption is that I can add surround speakers over time, regardless of whether I go M3/M22/M80. Let me know if this is a bad assumption.

Thanks again for the replies.

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#339616 - 02/23/11 07:25 AM Re: Planning an Axiom purchase [Re: fredk]
Argon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/24/04
Posts: 1443
Loc: Oak Ridge, NC
Out of curiosity - do the M60's have this mid base hump that you guys are talking about? I don't detect it - but what do I know?
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#339627 - 02/23/11 08:58 AM Re: Planning an Axiom purchase [Re: Argon]
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13318
Loc: Iowa
Welcome Karl. Another thing to consider is checking out the Hearing Things threads section. Depending on your location, there might be someone close willing to do an audition for you. That way you can hear the Axiom sound. smile
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