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Sorry, Hal1, you made this comment five whole years ago and I'm afraid I didn't see it. Yes, my Quad set-up is indeed excellent. I earned my living as a shorthand-typist so you can appreciate I had to make sacrifices so I could have something which was intended to last me for the rest of my life. I still have it but it will soon be time to part with the Quad ESLs (oh, that is going to hurt so much) and I will in the very near future be selling the turntable. I haven't played my LPs for over 20 years and it is time to part with them. I have about 850 and I'm finding to my dismay that music doesn't sell any more. Only noise does. Well, that's certainly the case on TradeMe and that is where I am going to have to sell them.
As many will know we have our primary hifi in our old house in South-West France which presents no problems. BUT, we also have a city apartment in the Netherlands. Here we do have a problem with choice of speakers.
The living space in this apartment is L-shaped. One arm comprises the kitchen/dining area, the other arm comprises the sitting area/desk. The junction of the L is currently occupied by a couple of easy chairs.
Problem: The hifi and speakers are currently located in the sitting/desk area, which means that listening to music while in the kitchen/dining area is not enjoyable. We can always move the hifi but what about suitable speakers and their location in what is in effect a L-shaped listening space?
Advice needed: which type of speakers and where to place them. We are not looking for the sweet spot associated with traditional directional speakers. So what do you suggest? This is an acoustical nightmare.
First, in a small (?) room I would advice to go for small speakers without too much bass extension. Second, you can only have a realistic sound stage in one of your three listening locations. So either you use more than one set of speakers, and switch between them, or you compromise. Where do you prefer to listen most seriously? For me, the kitchen would be the least important, but that is for you to decide. I would probably go for the easy chair area in the middle, locate the speakers there for best sound, pointing to the desk area, and listen in fairly near field. But I may have misunderstood the arrangement of the furniture and its function.
My personal favourites for small room and appartment use are the Harbeth P3ESR, but they are not cheap, and like a bit of power (2x100 watt in my case).
To me the first question to ask is: where do you spend the majority of your time - in the kitchen part of the room or the sitting area? The answer to that should guide you on where to place your equipment to ensure the best listening experience.
If you also want to be able to listen to your music in the less-frequented part of the room without having to increase the volume of your system to a neighbour-annoying level, the simplest answer may be to add a couple of inexpensive bookshelf-size speakers in that area for casual listening. You could either connect them to your main system or add a separate front end if you want to be able to listen to something not playing on your main system.
For what it's worth, I had a similar issue in my house, where I have adapted a small bedroom to use as a gym and wanted to play bouncy, rhythmic music there to offset the tedium of exercising on a machine. I was able to deploy my back-up system, an old Quad 44/405 front end and Rogers LS3/5a speakers. By adding an inexpensive Denon streamer I can now access all the music stored on my network hard drive, or listen to internet radio, while I sweat.
I have just started reading the excellent contributions on this subject. I have also struggled with the problem of room accoustics, speaker placement, etc., over the years. However the other issue I have always grappled with is the definition of natural sound. Having attended live concerts in a number of venues over the past 50 or 60 years I am still amazed at how different these various venues sound. For example, many years ago I used to attend a lot of Bournemouth SO concerts in Portsmouth Guildhall and in the Bournemouth Winter Gardens. The Portsmouth venue had a much brighter accoustic than the more reverberant latter. When the BSO moved from the Winter Gardens to the Lighthouse in Poole I found the accoutic even more reverberant. More recently I have been attending concerts at G Live in Guildford and the sound is even brighter than Portsmouth with the high frequencies very much to the fore even to my tired ears with their appalling high frequency hearing.
Bearing in mind the restrictions of domestic living I find now that, instead of fiddling endlessly with equipment, I prefer to concentrate on two other strategies. Firstly, I do not buy any recorded music unless I have heard at least a sample of it first and am happy with the kind of recorded sound it provides. Secondly, I listen to music on one of three different sytems depending on which gives me the most satisfying sound for that particular musical item. One features a Naim amplifier and large floorstanding speakers (the most difficult to find the best position for), another somewhat middle of the road system used with the TV, and last but not least a Harman/Kardon system attached to my computer and which comprises tiny but very transparent speakers with subwoofer located in a small room.
This may seem very odd to many audiophiles, but I find that the kind of sound the record companies produce is the most important issue for me. To give just one example, I do not like to listen to a very reverberant recording of the Bach Brandenburgh Concertos featuring one player per part; such recordings sound to me totally out of balance with very heavy bass and the violins far too recessed. One can spend a lifetime (and a fortune) trying to perfect a system at home and life is far too short when there is so much wonderful music to listen to.
Whatever means you use and however you listen, enjoy the music.
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