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AR 90 setup


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Since the purchase of the AR 90's, the speakers have been working in the same room, being its dimensions 26,24' long; variable width: 10,17' thru the first-half length and 12,80' thru the second one; and 8,20 heigth. In principle, very unfavourable dimensions for short wall positioning. FYI, I didn't get the user manual when buying the speakers.

For many years - 10/12 - the speakers were simetrically positioned against the rear 10,17' short wall, beign the distance to lateral walls roughly 2' in order to let a minimum distance between speakers of 6 feet. The overall sound quality was not bad but horrible: soundstaging was unexisting; bass response pure booming with aboundance of standing waves; midrange congested; etc, etc.

The second relocation attempt resulted of moving away the AR 90's 8' from the rear wall and my goodness, for the first time I came accross with soundstage, :+ , that is, the perception that the sound was expanded beyond the room bounderies together with the appearance of the air around the instruments. Unfortunatelly ;( , sonic perspective was very distorted with central image backward moved away and more protagonism of the lateral sides of the stage, in a way like an inverted "V". Standing waves dissapeared because deep bass cancelation.

Finally, I decided to test the long wall setup under Immedia methodology recomendations, and for this purpose, I set the speakers in the cross points of the even division of the room in quarters, both cross and longidutinally, beign the speaker's centers asimetrically located inside the room at 6,23' the right one and 13,23' the left from the short 12,17' wall, and the distance to the front long wall 2,5'. Both speakers have 12º internal rotation (toe in).

Now, listening position is at only 1,6' from the rear wall and the listening angle is 68º, 8º more than the generally recomended. And this are my impressions and conclusions after one month of critical listening:

1) Long wall setup is the best solution with narrow rooms such's the present case. You can move away the speakers from lateral walls, thus eliminating early reflections and, at the same time, lets you to increase the distance between speakers and consequently the soundstage width.

2) To locate the cabinets in the even cross division of the room in quarters provides a natural bass reinforcement. Believe me: it's difficult to listent to modern high end/ high price speakers with the depth, articulation, precission and cleaning bass supplied by the AR 90's when adequately positioned.

3) 2,5' of distance to the front wall provides an acceptable image depth, though to double the distance would be better ( but not possible in my case )

4) Is the simmetrical set up approach rule of thumb or myth ? Maybe when you have a room the ideal golden ratio dimensions, first approach could be short wall positioning as method Cardas recommends, but there are many other situations where the long wall approaching can give many advantages.

5) definitively, listener can be located on the vertex of an isosceles triangle with no loss of center; our ears can admit 68º - 72º depending of type of speakers, placement and music under listening. The AR 90's work very well with 68º with all type of music.

6) I don't agree at all with some of the AR's OWNER REFFERENCE MANUAL reccomendations for placement: I do agree with the asymetrically setup and corners moving away suggested, but not with the 2" maximum distance from the rear panel to the wall; bass response is good ( maybe a little booming ) but soundstage simply doesn't exist, it desapears.

Finally and once I reached my 60's, I know that I'll never abandon this two creatures unless force majeur. If I kept them for many years beign bad positioned, can somebody imagine for I leave them after this new setup ?




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