Stereo image biased toward right

Nov 5, 2012
253
0
16
Portugal
#1
My room is asymmetrical as the left Golden Ear Triton 1 speaker stands near a corner while the right one sits in free space. The stereo image is biased toward the right, free standing speaker so that the sound is louder from the right, causing me to have to adjust the balance control to center the image. My amp and preamp are Dartzeel. I wonder what causes this imbalance and if it is the room? I should add that the imbalance is not extreme but noticeable when the balance control is centered.
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
10,996
10
38
Manila, Philippines
#2
Good news is I am 99.999999% certain there is nothing wrong with any of your equipment. Bad news is that the added bass of the left speaker is making the mids and highs of the right speaker sound more prominent than that of the left speaker thereby skewing the image. Yes it is the room. I'm pretty sure.

The fix may or may not be easy but I would recommend that you try putting the rack in the corner and have the speakers flanking it. That should even things out and might allow for a deeper and wider soundstage as well. Only problem is if the corresponding changes in furniture layout is feasible.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,095
25
48
#3
My room is asymmetrical as the left Golden Ear Triton 1 speaker stands near a corner while the right one sits in free space. The stereo image is biased toward the right, free standing speaker so that the sound is louder from the right, causing me to have to adjust the balance control to center the image. My amp and preamp are Dartzeel. I wonder what causes this imbalance and if it is the room? I should add that the imbalance is not extreme but noticeable when the balance control is centered.
my guess is that your dart 108 amp has non matched impedance settings on the rear; check the toggles and make sure they match. I owned the 108's for years and from time to time bumped my toggles and then had the same issue. the binding posts and interconnect inputs are so close especially with stiff speaker cables it's an easy thing to do. with the Evolution Acoustic or Transparent Audio Opus MM speaker cables.....both were very stiff and had to be routed through the handles and it was always a pain to get them tight. I cursed Herve' a time or two with his layout. and the 458's are even worse as the 'zeel' input is right above the speaker binding posts. argh!!!

good thing the amps sound so heavenly.

imped.jpg
 
Last edited:
May 30, 2010
13,977
48
48
Portugal
#4
Very simple to check - use the left channel of equipment as right channel and vice versa, exchanging the connections at the input and speakers. If everything stays as it was, it is not the DartZeels.
 
Nov 5, 2012
253
0
16
Portugal
#5
Thanks JackD for your response. After some research I too am convinced that the problem is room shape. I will try turning down or off the subwoofer on the left speaker to hear if there is a difference. The idea of moving furniture around might result in a divorce even if it balanced the speaker output: maybe not worth it? Meantime I am using the Dartzeel 18NS balance control, set to 10 o'clock, which centers the image. The control is designed to maintain a constant loudness since while it increases the volume on the left side, it is lowered on the right.
 
Nov 5, 2012
253
0
16
Portugal
#6
my guess is that your dart 108 amp has non matched impedance settings on the rear; check the toggles and make sure they match. I owned the 108's for years and from time to time bumped my toggles and then had the same issue. the binding posts and interconnect inputs are so close especially with stiff speaker cables it's an easy thing to do. with the Evolution Acoustic or Transparent Audio Opus MM speaker cables.....both were very stiff and had to be routed through the handles and it was always a pain to get them tight. I cursed Herve' a time or two with his layout. and the 458's are even worse as the 'zeel' input is right above the speaker binding posts. argh!!!

good thing the amps sound so heavenly.

View attachment 42366
Thanks Mike. I checked the toggles at the back of the amp and they are both set at the up position so must rule that out. Actually I am listening now with the balance control at 10 o'clock with no compromise of sound and voice at center of soundstage. There is the issue of an open door in the vicinity which might be an obstacle so I'll fool around with that. Actually I would never noticed except my dealer was here to install a new cartridge and pointed it out.
 
May 30, 2010
13,977
48
48
Portugal
#7
Thanks Mike. I checked the toggles at the back of the amp and they are both set at the up position so must rule that out. Actually I am listening now with the balance control at 10 o'clock with no compromise of sound and voice at center of soundstage. There is the issue of an open door in the vicinity which might be an obstacle so I'll fool around with that. Actually I would never noticed except my dealer was here to install a new cartridge and pointed it out.
If you need to move the balance control to 10 o'clock something must be checked carefully - it is a strong imbalance, as far as I remember the DartZeel preamplfier. Older units were prone to problems in the optical volume system.

The Hifi News Test CD has some excellent tracks to check imbalance, either acoustically or using a cheap voltmeter - ask your dealer to perform such tests if you not feel able to carry them yourself.
 

mountainjoe

Industry Expert
Mar 25, 2015
86
0
6
Bay Area, California
eigenaudio.com
#8
Good news is I am 99.999999% certain there is nothing wrong with any of your equipment. Bad news is that the added bass of the left speaker is making the mids and highs of the right speaker sound more prominent than that of the left speaker thereby skewing the image. Yes it is the room. I'm pretty sure.

The fix may or may not be easy but I would recommend that you try putting the rack in the corner and have the speakers flanking it. That should even things out and might allow for a deeper and wider soundstage as well. Only problem is if the corresponding changes in furniture layout is feasible.
I agree as I have a similar asymmetrical room setup and this was noted most prominently in the bass response. I had Bob Hodas setup my room and he said he didn’t think he could have achieved such a balanced response without the active bass control on my VR-55 speakers. The bass output on one side is about 3dB lower than the other due to the asymmetric room loading.

The VR-55s also have an adjustable rear ambience ribbon tweeter and this helped to balance out the soundstage. So it’s possible to compensate for an asymmetric room but it depends on your particular situation and the adjustability of your system (and room treatments). The best solution is to reduce the asymmetry to the greatest degree possible - I realize that’s not always possible (as in my case).

Cheers, Joe
 
#11
I have slight imbalance in my room due to the dimensions and arrangement. I compensate for this by moving one speaker slightly closer and toeing the other one outwards slightly

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
 

Folsom

VIP/Donor
Oct 26, 2015
2,557
2
38
Eastern WA
#12
Just move your listening chair.
Actually the easiest thing is to move one speaker forward or back. Very small amounts of asymmetry can make this necessary. It's to audiophiles own determent that they try to force perfect distances... A LOT of stereos could be a little better moving a speaker forward or back a couple inches to get a very strong center image.
 
Nov 5, 2012
253
0
16
Portugal
#13
The consensus here is that the shape of the room accounts for the imbalance between speakers, so I include a photo of the system. Note how the left speaker - the lower volume - is near a corner while the right - louder - is free standing. Thus the right speaker dominates with the balance control centered. system.JPG
 
Nov 5, 2012
253
0
16
Portugal
#14
If you need to move the balance control to 10 o'clock something must be checked carefully - it is a strong imbalance, as far as I remember the DartZeel preamplfier. Older units were prone to problems in the optical volume system.

The Hifi News Test CD has some excellent tracks to check imbalance, either acoustically or using a cheap voltmeter - ask your dealer to perform such tests if you not feel able to carry them yourself.
If indeed the problem is with the 18NS, I have intended to have it upgraded to the current model. However it sounds so good that I have put off that little disruption and have been too lazy to go to the trouble. The problem seems minor and in fact changing slightly my sitting position partially helps by being physically closer to the left speaker. As I said I didn't know there was a problem until a dealer noticed. Then these things get into your head and noticeable only (for me) with vocal music. Full orchestra or chamber group not so much.
 
Nov 5, 2012
253
0
16
Portugal
#15
Actually the easiest thing is to move one speaker forward or back. Very small amounts of asymmetry can make this necessary. It's to audiophiles own determent that they try to force perfect distances... A LOT of stereos could be a little better moving a speaker forward or back a couple inches to get a very strong center image.
That makes good, logical sense especially since the music leaves the speakers, the room takes over. This is as true with live music as with recordings.
 
#16
Like I said; Jack is right...the audio rack goes in the corner, and the left speaker ... the substitution.
* The right speaker goes a little further more to the right.

That is one quick better solution, just as Jack mentioned.
That speaker near the left corner is the main source of that unbalance.
Like Jack said; it's the lower bass augmented by that corner that is the poor imaging culprit.
 
May 30, 2010
13,977
48
48
Portugal
#17
The consensus here is that the shape of the room accounts for the imbalance between speakers, so I include a photo of the system. Note how the left speaker - the lower volume - is near a corner while the right - louder - is free standing. Thus the right speaker dominates with the balance control centered. View attachment 42367
Well, let us stay with consensus. However I feel unhappy that something that can easily properly diagnosed with a sound meter (even a mobile phone app will do) and pink noise is solved by net democratic vote looking at photos of the room. :confused:

I feel that when we pay small fortunes for equipment we should not have doubts on its proper operation.

BTW, did you try swapping the left and right speaker?
 
May 30, 2010
13,977
48
48
Portugal
#19
Francisco, Jack is not a rocket scientist, and without seeing any pictures he instantly focused on the obvious. Nothing could be more simple. There are no two ways about it.
Bob,

Golden rule of stereo audio - there are always many ways about it. :)
 

MadFloyd

Member Sponsor
May 31, 2010
2,391
3
38
Mass
#20
Couple thoughts:

1) I have one side open (left speaker) and that side tends to dominate as well.

2) the 18NS balance control does nothing between 10 and 2. The manual says it was designed this way on purpose so that anything close to 12 will be perfect balance.
 

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