The often neglected tweak: speaker rake angle

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Helom, Jul 4, 2018.

  1. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    U.S.
    I've been experimenting with speaker rake angle/tilt over the past few months. In the past, I simply set my stands and speakers level with the floor, as is the typical recommendation in owner manuals. After many listening trials, I've concluded that this parameter can be just as critical as toe-in and wall distance. With my main system speakers, 1/4 of a degree can make a very audible difference, even in bass quality. I'm interested to hear of your experiences with this often neglected variable.

    Happy 4th!
     
  2. unclefred

    unclefred Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    I found that with both my former planars and my current Quartets, placing about a 3/8" tile under the front tilting them back improved everything. With the Quartets, on 10" solid stands, I had a bass node at my 10' sitting spot. When I stood up the bass increased and sitting slowly it dropped off a fair amount about a foot above my seated position. After tilting them the drop off was gone or close to gone. With the floorstanding planars, as is common with many planars, the vertical dispersion was challenged. Tilting them just that small amount opened them up.
     
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  3. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    U.S.
    That's similar to the bass issue I had. I'd sit down and the bass volume was substantially lower. About a 1/2° of tilt was all it took to completely solve that. The bass became tighter and midrange improved as well.
     
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  4. George P

    George P Love Will Lead Us

    Location:
    NYC
    After buying my B&W 704 S2 tower speakers, I realized the tweeter was a good 6" below my ear level. This caused the soundstage to sound too low, having a "down there" perspective. Since I was using spikes, I put a few bolts on the front 2 spikes on each speaker, lifting up the soundstage. So now it sounds like the performers are right in front of me.
     
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  5. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    1/4 of a degree? holy lazer levels batman!
    but seriously, for my speakers it isnt a parameter that has made much difference. i basically leveled them for aesthetics.
    i did have some tall tower speakers that were sensitive to tilt angle. a few degrees back and they sounded horrible. peace and happy quatro of july you too!
     
  6. Slippers-on

    Slippers-on Forum Resident

    Location:
    St.Louis Mo.
    A few years ago I noticed some speakers manufacturers tilted their speakers at an upward slope. I tried it with my stand mounts. Didn't work for me....Tilt in is no good either. I have a very wide sound stage. I have to point them straight with no tilt or angle or the sound is out of wack. Straight and forward, and magic...great sound stage.

    The 4th has been a great one...smoked a brisket, baby backs and a chicken. Happy 4th!
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
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  7. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    My Zu DW's are bottom ported, so, raising the front by 1/4" is recommended by the builder to begin with. With my Wharfedale 10.7's, level seems to work fine, but I may experiment raising the front a bit, just for the heck of it.
     
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  8. Vignus

    Vignus Digital Vinylist

    Location:
    Italy
    In my case, it improved sound stage
     
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  9. Raunchnroll

    Raunchnroll Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    And some of this has to do with the room itself. A slight shift can impact how the sound pressure waves interact with walls, corners, etc. There's really no substitute for tweaking - then listening.
     
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  10. Chris Schoen

    Chris Schoen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland, U.S.A.
    Ya, tilt the speakers enough, they will be reflecting off the ceiling too.
     
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  11. Riotvan

    Riotvan New Member

    Location:
    The Netherlands
    They recommend the same thing for studio monitors if the tweeter can't be put at ear level. Moving your head backwards or forwards will change the FR though but if it works for you it works for you.
     
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  12. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brazil
    I'm curious, I never tried it, gonna do that soon.
     
  13. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Burnout from the smoke pit

    Location:
    Ohio
    It’s a very big deal with a pair of heresy’s, not using the stands that angle them up makes for a very different experience.

    For the most part, if the tweeters are aimed at your ears, your in good shape. If angling helps to achieve that, I’d say it’s a good idea. Otherwise I think your just playing with the reflections in the room.
     
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  14. ggergm

    ggergm red right returning

    Location:
    Minnesota
    @George P, I agree with your opening post completely but in a different way. I make sure my speakers are absolutely vertical. I find that improves my image.

    I started a thread before where I pointed out the importance of making sure your listening chair is at the apex of the isosceles triangle that is your speaker set up. I use a tape measure to read the distance between my speakers' front baffle and the back of my listening chair, and move things to get the distance between the chair and the speakers absolutely the same, left and right.

    The reason I do this is to get the phase response of my system correct. If one speaker is three inches back from the other, that will put them 180° out of phase at 2,140 Hz. See below for the math and logic used here.

    As the tweeter is just the right height for my listening chair with my B&W 804 Diamonds, I don't have to lean them back. In fact, it's the opposite. I need to make sure they don't lean backward or forward. That should keep my ears at the center of an arc that cuts through the speaker drivers. The speaker designer is assuming the tweeter is at ear level and on a time aligned speaker like my 804, has the rest of the drivers in phase with the tweeter. By keeping that arc focused on my ear, I make my set-up match the intentions of the designer.

    What you are doing, George, is the same thing, except you are leaning your speakers back a hair to make sure your ear is at the center of that arc. No wonder the image pops into focus. Your speakers are now in time alignment with your chair. You are in phase with them.

    I only began thinking about this when a buddy came over and noticed he could see the top of one of my speakers better than the other. I got out a level and realized one speaker wasn't truly vertical. That's easy to have happen with speakers which have adjustable feet or spikes. I've been meaning to start a post on this subject since then. Thank you for doing it for me. :righton:

    - - - - - - - - - - -

    (One of the handiest formulas in audio is you take the speed of sound and divide it by the frequency to get wavelength. The opposite is true. Take the speed of sound and divide it by the wavelength to get the frequency of that wave.

    Sound travels at roughly 1,070 feet per second at sea level. Multiply that by 12 to discover sound travels at 12,840 inches per second. Divide that by 3" to find that a 3" long wave is 4,280 Hz. Since we are dealing with a 180° out of phase issue, we want half of that, or a frequency of 2,140 Hz. Half of a 2,140 Hz wave is 3" long.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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  15. royzak2000

    royzak2000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London,England
    My Sonus -Fabers have the rake angle built in, through adjustable stands the front spikes are longer than the rear, they recommend the maximum in most rooms, mine are about two inches higher in the front.
     
  16. George P

    George P Love Will Lead Us

    Location:
    NYC
    A B&W sales manager told me that the sweet spot for my speakers (not sure if this holds true for your speakers as well) is actually to line up the ear with the space between the tweeter and midrange. I tried it and I agree, the treble is smoother in this position.
     
  17. ggergm

    ggergm red right returning

    Location:
    Minnesota
    I don't know, either. It will give me something to play with, though. Oh, boy, I get to play with my toys. :bdance:
     
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  18. George P

    George P Love Will Lead Us

    Location:
    NYC
    I should also say that in my room, I am unable to get an equilateral triangle. My speakers are about five feet apart and 9 feet from the listening station. Otherwise I have everything else equal the distance from each speaker to the listening position, the toe-in, and the height of the tilt for each speaker.
     
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  19. ggergm

    ggergm red right returning

    Location:
    Minnesota
    @George P, you generally don't want an equilateral triangle, where all three sides of the triangle are the same length, for speaker set-up. You want what you've got, an isosceles triangle, where the speakers are closer together than they are away from you. I usually keep pulling my speakers farther apart until I end up with a hole in the middle of the image, and then nudge them a bit back closer together to eliminate that hole. Some speakers, like Magnepans, like to be relatively close together in many rooms. Most box speakers image the best in a set-up somewhere in the ballpark in which you're playing.
     
  20. George P

    George P Love Will Lead Us

    Location:
    NYC
    Thanks again!

    Do you generally toe in as well, with the above setup?
     
  21. ggergm

    ggergm red right returning

    Location:
    Minnesota
    No. I just want things pointing at me.
     
  22. George P

    George P Love Will Lead Us

    Location:
    NYC
    OK, but to get them pointing at you, you'd need to toe-in, right?
     
  23. qwerty

    qwerty A resident of the SH Forums.

    Vandersteen detail how to set their speaker rake angle in the manual (downloadable from their website).
     
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  24. ggergm

    ggergm red right returning

    Location:
    Minnesota
    Yes, considering that, I do toe them in.
     
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  25. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    Many, MANY moons ago, when I was in college, I used to put a tennis ball under the front of each of my speakers. Worked like a charm! Perfect angle to the couch.

    That's kind of a goofy example, but I do agree with the OP that it's an important thing to consider.
     
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