Phase issue?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by soulboogaloo, May 16, 2019.

  1. soulboogaloo

    soulboogaloo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Versailles, France
    Hi there,
    sorry probably a rookie question, but I'm sure someone here could help.
    My whole hifi setup is in the living-room. I had spent hours placing my 2 tower speakers to get the best stereo image and was really happy with it.
    Then recently we decided to change the furnitures arrangement, basically the sofa was against a wall, the hifi stuff was against the opposite wall, with the speakers facing the sofa. We just swapped the sofa and the hifi equipment, among other changes to gain space in the room.
    Visually that's better, but now, I'm not happy with the stereo scene: it's more difficult to locate all the elements in the middle (like voices). Before it was easy to point a finger at the singer while closing your eyes, now it's... blurry...
    So I was wondering if it could be a phase issue... but frankly speaking I'm not sure to totally understand what it means! Then I was wondering if it possible, with the same equipment in the same room get this problem?

    Thank you all for your kind help!
  2. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    If it was a phase issue you would almost get no bass, is that the case ? Are the speakers hooked up exactly as before to your amp ?
  3. phred

    phred Forum Resident

    Doubt the image softening is a phase issue.
    Easy enough to check
    Reverse one towers input cables and have a listen.

    Then you will start the laborious process of tweaking speaker and furniture position seeking what you had before.
    In this process do only one thing at a time.
    I advise recording what is physically changed and what the result of the change is.
    (It is difficult to remember each change an its effect after a few hours of adjustments)
    patient_ot and bever70 like this.
  4. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Sherwood, OR, USA
    You can try the Waterloo Sunset setup test. It's a listening test to optimize an out-of-phase part of the mix in the song. If you're dealing with a phase issue this may help troubleshoot the speaker setup.
  5. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    It's possible I guess that when you moved stuff around you wired something out of phase. But just as likely, or more likely ever, is that because you'e moved the system and the listening position and furniture, you have very different frequency response at the listening position.

    The room and the position of yourself and the speakers in it (and the relationship between other objects and the listener and the speakers) will determine almost everything about what you hear due to the effects of boundary interference response effects, room mode related peaks and nulls, Move speakers a couple of feet or move listening position a couple of feet and you'll have significant differences of frequency response, you'll have differences of imaging, move some furniture around and you may have more or less flutter echo which will have a huge impact on imaging, etc. After you have a baseline of competent gear, the most important thing you can do for good sound is proper set up (sitting with a couch right behind your head is a pretty terrible idea actually) and room treatment, and measurements can really help vs. relaying on trial and error and listening. So, yeah, move equipment and listening position and furniture around in the same room and you have enormously different sound.
    bever70 likes this.
  6. soulboogaloo

    soulboogaloo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Versailles, France
    Thank you all, guys, for your replies!
    I will check the speakers connectivity just to be sure, but I'm quite certain I didn't do wrong on that matter!
    I will try to move speakers and maybe furnitures, one at a time as mentioned by @phred.

    Thank you again!
  7. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Washington, D.C.
    Proper placement of the speaker, the listening chair, furnishings, etc. can be a quite long and daunting process. Even a surprisingly small change can make a big difference. As suggested above, switch the wiring at the back of just one speaker to see if improper phasing is the primary issue. If that is not the problem, look to making speaker positioning changes. Because you complain of a lack of center focus, the first thing to try is changing the toe-in, try pointing the speaker more directly at a listening position centered precisely between the two speakers. Also, check to be sure that the distance from each speaker to the center listening position is the same.

    You can use systematic speaker positioning schemes to get a decent starting point for refining your positioning. I like the "Sumiko" method, but, other methods, such as the "Wilson" method work well too. You can google these for more detail. There are other basic practices that help with getting the best out of any given room. These include having some kind of floor treatment (carpeting or rug in front of the speakers (between the speaker and the listening position), making sure that there are no large, flat surfaces near the speaker or the listening position (side walls can be lined with bookshelves or other things to break up reflections; no coffee table in front of the listening position (or objects placed on the table to break up reflection), treatment on the back wall behind the listening position (can be decorative wall hangings, it does not have to be ugly acoustic treatment)).

    Whatever you do, take it slowly. It can take quite a long time to find the right solution and to simply get used to the new sound that comes with any major change to a system. Good luck.
    bever70 likes this.

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