What works for omnidirectional speakers?

Emperyan

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Hi everybody,
I am going to move to omnidirectional speakers soon, and I wonder how a room should be treated differently for the likes of MBL, German Physiks or Bayz. They have a pretty different radiation pattern - evenly and in phase in all directions. So we are going to deal with very different problems than with conventional speakers.
Any theoretical ideas or any real life eperiences with omnis and room treatment?

Best
D
 
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Rhapsody

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I was a dealer at one time for MBL and now a Bayz dealer. I've never found either the MBLs or the Bayz to prefer the long wall. Not saying they won't work well on the long wall. Actually probably setting up 10+ pairs of omni speakers I can't remember placing the speakers on the long wall.

imho it would totally depend on the specific room and of course personal preference like any speaker/room/preference.
 
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Emperyan

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I have also heared MBL representatives who mentioned that placing the speakers on the long wall is better. I suppose that with omnis, if the side walls are closer, it´s harder for the brain to distinguish the early reflections from the direct sound and then the imaging suffers.

With regular speakers, it works well for imaging to place absorbers at the point of the early reflections, as the reflected sound is different from the direct sound. But with omnis the reflected sound will be exactly the same as direct, only a little bit later. So I wonder whether it makes sense to diffuse rather than absorb at the early reflection points - or do nothing at all.

The same question for the wall behind the speakers. When I saw MBL showing their speakers on shows, the almost always put large plants behind the speakers. My best guess is that they are trying to somewhat diffuse the sound from the back wall.
 
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Rhapsody

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I have also heared MBL representatives who mentioned that placing the speakers on the long wall is better. I suppose that with omnis, if the side walls are closer, it´s harder for the brain to distinguish the early reflections from the direct sound and then the imaging suffers.

With regular speakers, it works well for imaging to place absorbers at the point of the early reflections, as the reflected sound is different from the direct sound. But with omnis the reflected sound will be exactly the same as direct, only a little bit later. So I wonder whether it makes sense to diffuse rather than absorb at the early reflection points - or do nothing at all.

The same question for the wall behind the speakers. When I saw MBL showing their speakers on shows, the almost always put large plants behind the speakers. My best guess is that they are trying to somewhat diffuse the sound from the back wall.
Diffusion works well with Omnis, not so much absorption. Omis like refections vs dampening, but again it always depends on the specific room.
 

caesar

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I have lived with MBLs for nearly a decade. I absolutely love them, and have heard them in several rooms in my house, as well as in a number of other rooms, and , of course shows... and if stars align, I will upgrade to MBL x-tremes (hopefully a good number of years) before I die...

So from both passion and experience, I have to disagree with some of the responses above...The answer is, as with most complicated things in life, is that it depends. :)

First of all, you need a good balance of reflective and absorptive surfaces to make them work right... some folks complain of the bottom up balance of the MBL speakers and whine about overwhelming bass, while others cry about brightness... so getting this balance of reflective and absorptive materials in the room is key ...

In a perfect world, I would place the speakers on the long wall, if you can get away with it* (see below). If you do, your system will have a much larger soundstage, with instruments occupying distinct 3D spots on that soundstage, shooting dynamic waves of music from each of the spots on the soundstage, emulating the real thing :) ... This is exactly what the MBL team does at shows, and they always get mentioned as one of the top rooms anywhere and everywhere they present the system...

I would place the speakers at least 5 feet from the front wall (wall the speakers are closest to). Then play with positioning from the side walls. The farther you can get them away from the side walls, the better...

Toe the speakers in - notice the lamellas on the radialstrahler ... there is one that faces straight front on all three drivers. It also lines up with the mbl logo on the bass cabinet ....You want that lamella firing straight at your listening position.

The theory, and supposedly the MBL patent, is that this sound wave hits you first, then the rest of the waves generated by the other lamellas. This sounds correct to your brain just as an instrument, say a violin for example does when it radiates sound as it is being played. This set up is very important to getting the most from the radialstrahler.

Another cool thing to potentially get are some SMT wings.... acrylic ones are portable and will get the job done ....
They help focus the images by delaying the secondary reflection waves , so you primarily get direct sound from the speakers... there are some threads on them here ... also, if you get the SMT wings, you can get the speakers closer to the walls due to time delayed diffusion... (SMT says 0.6 -1.0 meter is good enough, but play around) ... SMT wings take an already incredible experience to the next levelll

But the problem with the long wall is that it's harder to control the bass.... Check out this :
Typical Long Wall vs. Short Wall Spikes and Nulls....

When the speakers are on the short wall, it's easier to control the bass peaks and nulls in your room... if you place a lot of absorption in the corners (intersections of any walls) in the first 1/3 of the room (as gurus like Art Noxon recommend) you will capture the bass waves "at the source", and the bass waves won't "wash over" the speakers and cloud things up... it's truly amazing how properly controlling the bass provides greater transparency and dynamics in the rest of the frequency range and transforms audio systems... kind of astounding so many audiophiles spend insane money on gear, while neglecting the objective reality of physics/ room acoustics)

So if you can get proper absorption of big, bad bass waves while having your system on the long wall, it's the ideal. But this is more complicated... Otherwise, go for the short wall, and you will have a lesser stage, but a more transparent and dynamic sound.

Out of curiosity, how big is your room? Where are the reflective and absorptive surfaces in your room? And what is your ancillary equipment, especially the amps? (4 high current amps is always better than 2, as it gives you near - horn- like dynamics and microdynamics).
 

Emperyan

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Thank you, this is very valuable information - and pretty much in line with my theoretical thoughts on the topic.

But on the other hand it´s somewhat bad news for me as I am pretty inflexible in placement in my room. I don´t have a dedicated listening room, but it´s the living room which also has to be approved by my wife. And she won´t approve any prominent diffusors (except for maybe some plants). My left side wall is all windows, anyway.

The room is about 47 sqare meters with 560cm on the front all where the speakers are placed. Unfortunately, I can hardly place them further than 80cm away from the front wall and 90cm away from the side walls. Speakers are 380cm apart and listening position is also 380cm from the speakers (in a golden triangle). In this listening position, my conventional speakers make for a huge soundstage. But hopefully the omnis will still image well this wide.

Left side wall is all windows and therefore all refective. Front wall and right wall are wood and also somewhat reflective in high frequencies but absorbing for low frequencies (very little bass modes in the room). Floor is partly covered with long carpet and there are absorbers on the ceiling at the first reflections - so I guess floor and ceiling won´t be a problem.

Btw, I won´t get MBLs but Bayz Courante. But I guess their requirements will be similar.
 

Rhapsody

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Thank you, this is very valuable information - and pretty much in line with my theoretical thoughts on the topic.

But on the other hand it´s somewhat bad news for me as I am pretty inflexible in placement in my room. I don´t have a dedicated listening room, but it´s the living room which also has to be approved by my wife. And she won´t approve any prominent diffusors (except for maybe some plants). My left side wall is all windows, anyway.

The room is about 47 sqare meters with 560cm on the front all where the speakers are placed. Unfortunately, I can hardly place them further than 80cm away from the front wall and 90cm away from the side walls. Speakers are 380cm apart and listening position is also 380cm from the speakers (in a golden triangle). In this listening position, my conventional speakers make for a huge soundstage. But hopefully the omnis will still image well this wide.

Left side wall is all windows and therefore all refective. Front wall and right wall are wood and also somewhat reflective in high frequencies but absorbing for low frequencies (very little bass modes in the room). Floor is partly covered with long carpet and there are absorbers on the ceiling at the first reflections - so I guess floor and ceiling won´t be a problem.

Btw, I won´t get MBLs but Bayz Courante. But I guess their requirements will be similar.
If you are in Euro and are interested in Bayz you really should talk directly to Zoltan. No one knows Bayz like Zoltan of course, AND he is so good at the in room characteristics of the speakers that he designed, as well as always accessible to customers.

I also KNOW the Bayz are a bit different than MBL as they have rear ports, which are not an issue, but need to be considered regarding room placement. Plus the Bayz are so easy to drive:)
 

Lagonda

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Kudos to you sir ! You conned Caesar into a constructive helpful post, by making him think you where buying MBL ;)
 
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Beachman

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Emperyan,

With 47 SqM, Bayz Audio will sound exceptional. The Courantes were exhibited in Sweden in 100 SqM with no problems, had plenty of SPL, and they sounded incredible!

Use of diffraction will yield a euphoric experience and will more closely resemble a live performance. But, absorption will always be required to address discrete room problem areas whether omnis, monopoles, or dipoles are used.

Today, both diffraction and absorption are available in aesthetically pleasing configurations that are artistic. For example, absorption panels are available with photos, pictures, artwork, etc. Diffraction is available in beautiful wood configurations.

First things first: get the speakers set up and adjust their placement for best sound. This is the most important step. After trials and the final placement is determined, then address room acoustics.

Should we be honored with your choice of Bayz Audio, please do not hesitate to call/email us for recommendations or with any questions you might have as it would be worthwhile to meet and speak with Zoltan.

Mark
 

caesar

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May 31, 2010
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Thank you, this is very valuable information - and pretty much in line with my theoretical thoughts on the topic.

But on the other hand it´s somewhat bad news for me as I am pretty inflexible in placement in my room. I don´t have a dedicated listening room, but it´s the living room which also has to be approved by my wife. And she won´t approve any prominent diffusors (except for maybe some plants). My left side wall is all windows, anyway.

The room is about 47 sqare meters with 560cm on the front all where the speakers are placed. Unfortunately, I can hardly place them further than 80cm away from the front wall and 90cm away from the side walls. Speakers are 380cm apart and listening position is also 380cm from the speakers (in a golden triangle). In this listening position, my conventional speakers make for a huge soundstage. But hopefully the omnis will still image well this wide.

Left side wall is all windows and therefore all refective. Front wall and right wall are wood and also somewhat reflective in high frequencies but absorbing for low frequencies (very little bass modes in the room). Floor is partly covered with long carpet and there are absorbers on the ceiling at the first reflections - so I guess floor and ceiling won´t be a problem.

Btw, I won´t get MBLs but Bayz Courante. But I guess their requirements will be similar.

One thing to consider in a shared space are the acrylic SMT panels. They will definitely help add symmetry to the room.

Matts from SMT says they can be placed less than a meter away from the speakers. I believe they can be ordered with casters, and wheeled away when your wife wants to use the room; so no approval will be necessary if you have some space to store them.

Good Luck!
 

Lagonda

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Naw, all good. We are just sharing experiences. I like most open designs (with proper amps).
I'm not sure MBL experience is directly transferable to Bayz speakers, the rear porting of the Bayz will definitely change room coupling parameters in the bass region.
 
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Rhapsody

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I'm not sure MBL experience is directly transferable to Bayz speakers, the rear porting of the Bayz will definitely change room coupling parameters in the bass region.
100% agree after living with and having installed both MBL and Bayz speakers. The two brands are very different designs, totally different sensitivities, different bass delivery designs and sound different as well.
 
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BruceD

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100% agree after living with and having installed both MBL and Bayz speakers. The two brands are very different designs, totally different sensitivities, different bass delivery designs and sound different as well.
Interesting analogy--so a recorded source will sound "different" through each speaker--

So which one is the correct facsimile of the original recording? they both cannot be"right" surely ?

Like I said Interesting:confused:

BruceD
 

Lagonda

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Interesting analogy--so a recorded source will sound "different" through each speaker--

So which one is the correct facsimile of the original recording? they both cannot be"right" surely ?

Like I said Interesting:confused:

BruceD
You know that only Horn speakers with SET amps is correct and natural, don't you read WBF ? ;)
 

Rhapsody

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Interesting analogy--so a recorded source will sound "different" through each speaker--

So which one is the correct facsimile of the original recording? they both cannot be"right" surely ?

Like I said Interesting:confused:

BruceD
I'm on the "other side" meaning I'm not into what is more true to the source. I have 20 sets of speakers and they all have different sonic presentations. I just try to listen to the ones that let me enjoy the music. I'm more into the music and would rather listen to the music that I enjoy even if the recording is not so great, but I happen to love the musical performance.

I can enjoy music through MBL's, Bayz and a whole lot of other speakers. I appreciate those that care which is more true to the source, personally I could care less, I like the one that gives me goosebumps when listening to my favorite tunes, vs if they are producing sound more similar to the original recording.

Going a step further, from having played in studios, where you get the studio sound, or on stage where you get the live sound and then play it back in a different room, to me they are all three different experiences anyway.
 
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BruceD

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I'm on the "other side" meaning I'm not into what is more true to the source. I have 20 sets of speakers and they all have different sonic presentations. I just try to listen to the ones that let me enjoy the music. I'm more into the music and would rather listen to the music that I enjoy even if the recording is not so great, but I happen to love the musical performance.

I can enjoy music through MBL's, Bayz and a whole lot of other speakers. I appreciate those that care which is more true to the source, personally I could care less, I like the one that gives me goosebumps when listening to my favorite tunes, vs if they are producing sound more similar to the original recording.

Going a step further, from having played in studios, where you get the studio sound, or on stage where you get the live sound and then play it back in a different room, to me they are all three different experiences anyway.
Yes fair enough Bob--I agree with the understanding of the transition from performer to listener has many fields to navigate --also
it is up to the individual listener to interpret his or her acceptance of which is the most pleasing Portrayal.As in your case and indeed most of us here--we can sorta feel/hear/sense when that happens.

Sometimes I wonder how popular Ben and Jerry's would be if they only served Natural Flavor;)

Apologies to the Thread for the digression--please continue

BruceD
 
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Emperyan

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I find it really interesting to hear that the Bayz sound significantly differentl than the MBL as both feature a fullrange omni radiation pattern (except for deep bass). I also know German Physiks speakers and I would consider them pretty similar to MBL in this regard - though they are a bit different dynamically and maybe in colouration.

In terms of being true to the source, I am mostly with Bob here. When I listen to music at home, the most important aspect for me is that the presentation triggers an emotional reaction in me - the kind of emotional reaction that the artist intended. So being true to the source (whatever the source is after recording, mastering, playback) is not the main goal, but if it´s too far away from the source, what is delivered is not the artist´s intent anymore. And especially with acoustic instruments I need them to sound natural and close to the live experience, in order to sink into the music and thoroughly enjoy the music itself. Otherwise I always end up with thoughts like "Well, what is this? A REAL oboe sounds somewhat different...".

But especially with acoustic instruments and voices, they will sound different in every room. Put the same orchestra in different concert halls or the same Jazz trio in different clubs and they will sound vastly different. So I guess, to capture the amosphere of the live performance recorded, we also have to recreate the room signature of where it happened. And that´s the most tricky part as you will only have one and the same room at home for each recording - and in 99% of the cases it will be much smaller than the original venue. And to my ears, listening extremely near field to avoid room acoustics as good as possible, never ever sounds like "being there". So I guess the dynamic speaker reproduction itself is still pretty flawed. And it seems that including some of the current room acoustics is able to make up for this in a way. But it seems to be a very complex topic.
 
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kodomo

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The most problematic are the frequencies below your rooms schroeder frequency. Depending on the size and decay time goal, it would lie between 100hz to 150hz in most rooms. These frequencies are not very much dependent on the type of speaker.

I would recommend starting to treat your room corners with deep enough absorbers that could actually work on these frequencies. Front and back wall can be both diffused or one could be absorbing and the other could be diffusing. It depends on your expectations and your distance to these walls.

Other than that, I agree with mostly diffusion for your room but first things first and that is bass nodes and better controlled bass decay.

Congrats on your new system.
 
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