Bowers & Wilkins Speaker Owners - Toe In

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by George P, Mar 3, 2020.

  1. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    I am curious how much you B&W owners toe in your speakers.

    Are they straight ahead, no toe in? Toed in tight?

    Mine are toed in to meet at a spot behind the listening position. The speakers fire over each shoulder.
     
    The Pinhead likes this.
  2. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
  3. GyroSE

    GyroSE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sweden
    I've a pair of B&W Nautilus 804's- bought them new back in 1999. No toe in right now. I did toe in the 804's before but during last year I wanted to test something different to try to make the sound image bigger. I like how they sound now but I liked when the speakers were toed in as well. I'm soon going to start to experiment a bit and try to find out of I prefer toe in or no toe in. I recently purchased IsoAcoustics Gaia II feet to put under the 804's- as soon as I've mounted those I'll start to experiment with the toe in.
     
    George P likes this.
  4. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    Thanks for sharing that.
     
  5. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    I am curious about how toe in affects midrange. Is it like treble, where you get more midrange with more toe in?

    I am asking because I am sometimes getting a somewhat fatiguing sound at louder volumes and I think the upper mids is where the harshness is. At the same time, I don't want to lose the focus I have now.

    Changing my toe in is a fair amount of work, as I have my speakers on spikes, so I wanted to get a better understanding of all this before making any changes.
     
  6. Slash21

    Slash21 Member

    Location:
    Singapore
    I have been experimenting this for some time with my 702 s2. I am no expert but below are my personal findings... speakers are about 6.5-7 feet apart.

    Straight Ahead:
    - Less high frequencies
    - Soundstage is bigger, and vocals sound more open
    - Sound gets warmer as well
    - Instruments do not sound so defined

    Toe-In:
    - All the high frequencies comes back, the cymbals, the clarity ... which was what I liked initially about the B&Ws
    - Soundstage is small, the vocals becomes small and recessed
    - You can hear deep into the recording, every background sound is very clear

    I am still discovering for myself which I like. Finally I have them toe-in (but not directly at MLP, just a bit off) and have them wider apart (about 8 feet) to compensate for the small soundstage and I think I like this best. I also noticed in b&w av shows, they are wide apart but toed-in.

    As to which is best or the "right" way to listen to these pair of speakers based on their original design, I have not found anyone who can tell me... would be curious to hear your thoughts @George
     
  7. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    My 704 S2s didn't sound right (focused soundstage, clear highs and mids, balanced EQ) until I toed them in. I have them aimed so that they fire over each shoulder.
     
  8. Slash21

    Slash21 Member

    Location:
    Singapore
    If you toe them out ever so slightly, vocals become more open. do you find it so?
     
  9. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    I get that it is a bit of a hassle, but experimenting for yourself with different amounts of toe-in is the best way to get a good understanding of what happens.
     
  10. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    I feel you have described the pros and cons very well. I listen to lots of different brands of speakers and these findings are true for any speaker. In practice this means you have to experiment to get the best compromise.
     
  11. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    For me, soundstage focus is the most important thing and when I toe out slightly, I lose focus, so I have stuck with what I have.
     
  12. Slash21

    Slash21 Member

    Location:
    Singapore
    Thanks for validating my observations... yes indeed true on the experimentation
     
  13. monovinyl

    monovinyl Forum Resident

    My go to for several years were B & W 802 Series 2 speakers. They seemed best with a slight toe in. Recently replaced the Series 2's with 802D2's...been experimenting. Slight toe in still seems best.
     
  14. Hendertuckie

    Hendertuckie Forum Resident

    Location:
    Belmont, Nevada
    801S3's! The Tweeters and Mid-ranges are slightly toe'ed in. The bass drivers are pointed straight ahead.
     
    progrocker likes this.
  15. Raylinds

    Raylinds Resident Lake Surfer

    I think a lot has to do with how they interact with your room. What works in my room, may not work in yours. IME spending a day experimenting with speaker placement can pay big dividends. Don't take the easy way and do what others do. I personally enjoy the process.
     
    HiFi Guy 008 likes this.
  16. DrZhivago

    DrZhivago Hedonist

    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    Generally speaking. Most B&W speakers (including mine) require some degree of toe-in. Unless your room is totally out of ordinary (in a bad way), the degree of toe-in will depend on your preference of centre-image/soundstage width ratio.

    Regards
     
    George P likes this.
  17. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    :agree:

    My speakers had previously been placed to fire over each shoulder. However, I made some upgrades on my system and now have much clearer mids and highs, so I don't need to toe in as much. Actually, I had to toe them out a bit, for many recordings were sounding harsh/fatiguing to me. I toed out a small amount and things seem a lot better, wider stage too. Gonna leave it like this for awhile and see how things go.
     
  18. Wasatch

    Wasatch Music Lover!

    Toe in.
     
    intensemojo likes this.
  19. brucej4

    brucej4 Forum Resident

    In my current smaller room, my DM7 Mk2 are toed in toward my chair.

    In past larger rooms, it varied from toed in to straight, because I often was not able to have a permanent chair in the sweet spot due to room layout.
     
  20. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
  21. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC
    Hi @Slash21,

    Due to the fact that my entire system (minus speakers and cables) is new, I have been experimenting with toe in again on my 704 S2s. Like you, I have found pros and cons to having them toed in vs straight ahead. Well, to be honest, I have not tried them straight ahead, but I have tried them toed in tight and less toed in.

    I can't increase the distance between them (about 5.5 feet), so my only options to adjust are distance to wall behind them, toe in and rake angle. I spent a very long time when I got the 704 S2s determining the optimum distance to the wall behind them and figuring a good rake angle, so I have kept that the same.

    I previously needed to toe them in so they fired just over each shoulder, but now I can toe out from there a bit. This gives me a more even EQ, wider soundstage and like you shared above, a much more open center, resulting in voices that sound bigger, fuller and more real. Yes, I have lost a little clarity, but I think it is worth it.

    By the way, excellent job outlining the strengths and weaknesses of toe in above!
     
  22. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SUDACA ROÑOSO

    I'd say it would depend a lot on the room and whether it's treated or not.
     
  23. pscreed

    pscreed Upstanding Member

    Location:
    Land of the Free
    Good thread OP. Nautilus 805 guy here. My scenario is probably not relevant because I’m listening in the near field maybe 5’ away from speakers, so I am toed in probably 30 degrees.

    Just can’t resist posting in a B&W thread. I really do love their speakers.
     
    George P likes this.
  24. Echoes Myron

    Echoes Myron Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    805 D3...very little toe in.
     
    George P likes this.
  25. George P

    George P Notable Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    NYC

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