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{Updated Jan. 2017}
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A Horrible Choice for SHL5 Speaker Placement

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  • A Horrible Choice for SHL5 Speaker Placement

    I was wondering if anyone has faced the unfortunate dilemma of having to place a pair of SHL5 speakers on their side on a bookshelf? If so, how was the sound affected? (I realize that this is akin to hanging a Turner painting upside down, but nevertheless ...)

  • #2
    I like your simile!


    • #3
      Anyone??? Does anyone have advice in response to my question? Thanks.


      • #4
        Hi Nathanu,

        In the SHL5 manual, you can find the minimum distance required for SHL5 placement from the side and rear wall. Mine is about 3 feet way from side wall but my room is well treated so you need experiment with the placements since no rooms are identical.



        • #5
          Harbeth does breath a lot of low bass via the cabinet. I think you will be fine if there is some space above the speaker for the cabinet sound to radiate into the listening area. You may want to place something soft underneath the speakers to decouple it from the shelf to prevent resonance.

          Speakers placement is enormously complicated. Even if you place the speakers some distance from the boundary (walls) it will still create a hump somewhere in the base region. By placing the speakers very near the boundary (as in your case) you won't get a ugly hump, but a more or less uniform lift in the bass region. But having one side of the speakers resting against the shelf would reduce the bass output - so the end result may not be bad after all! Anyway the end result is very hard to gauge unless you do precise measurements.

          I would not pay too much attention to it. I can bet you that whatever you have is good enough for music enjoyment. The human brain has enormous capability to adjust to variations to sound quality. A good tune would sound equally beautiful whether it is sung by a soprano or a baritone.

          I have a pair of C7 placed very near the wall and a huge shelf as well. The left speaker is almost sandwiched between the shelf and the left wall, the right speaker is placed against the shelf on the left side, and open out to the dining area on the right.

          Terribly speakers placement. But how does it sounds? I can only say that the C7 still sounded a lot better than my old speakers.

          I have a P3ES2 setup in the bedroom as well. If I started listening to a piece of music in C7 then switch to P3, the bass will sound weak. Conversely if I started listening in P3 then switch to C7 the bass will be overwhelming. But very soon the brain will adjust to the different sound presentation of the two systems. I regularly take the same music from the living room to the bedroom and vise versa - without even noticing the rather drastic change in the sound scape!

          The human mind response to music goes way beyond mere sound. A Beethoven symphony would sound equally wonderful on period instruments as well as on modern instruments, despite the vast differences in sound qualities of the instruments.


          • #6
            Thank you for the guidance. Would I be out of my mind to place a pair of SHL5 or M30 on their side?


            • #7
              Originally posted by nathanu View Post
              Thank you for the guidance. Would I be out of my mind to place a pair of SHL5 or M30 on their side?
              Not if you like the sound. I have friends having speakers placed in the least recommended positions which for some it is due to space constraint and for some they like coloured sound and some like the boomy sound. But if some Hifi gurus criticize the sound then it must be due to bad speaker placement and not the Harbeths.



              • #8
                I think if you listen in the near field at moderate levels, it tends to relax placement matters.

                Also if the listening is more on tone, timbre and details; instead of the usual hi-fi aspects of sound stage/imaging width and depth and height.

                I mean, looking at those photos of the BBC studio, I would guess its near field and low level listening.


                • #9
                  Room mode calculations ....


                  I tried a speaker placement formula found from a cable manufacturer for a rectagular room, using the width as the placement area. I am surprise of the results I have gotten and am enjoying the current setting of the speakers.

                  If you have a rectangular room and using the the short side (the width) as your placement area, try this...

                  RW = Room Widtth
                  Speaker to side wall (centre of cones), RW x 0.276%
                  Speaker to rear wall (front of cones), RW x 0.447%

                  I have only based on the above 2 pointers to move my speakers to try, it fits my room and my listening preference. Not sure if it will for you, but good fun.

                  There are other 2 pointers provided, which I have not tried as yet...
                  Speaker to Speaker, RW x 0.447%
                  Speaker to opposite side wall, RW x 0.724%


                  • #10
                    Listening in the ultra near field ... (1.5m away!)

                    My listening distance from the speakers is less than 1.5m and the distance between the speakers is less than 1m. I find that listening position is even more critical when it comes to near field listening. Slightly tilt my head or poor speaker placement will ruin the image badly.