I just thought about a quick poll to get an idea on what’s trending out there or if there’s really a science behind sound acoustics particularly in the placement of hi-fi racks ultimately to achieve great soundstage and imaging.
Is Hi-Fi rack placement between speakers a good idea?
I vored no, but then I have a 77 inch TV between (and a bit behind) my speakers, so you could say I’ve broken my own rule. I’d say-though, pragmatically work with what you’ve got, treat the rest of the room sympathetically (soft furnishings etc.) And try to have the rack comfortably behind the front plane of the speakers if you have to have it between them.
My experience is that it’s not really specific to the equipment. Anything that you put in the room (particularly near the speakers) can have a positive or negative effect on the room’s acoustics.
I can imagine a scenario in which an equipment rack could be open and highly diffusive, and might have a positive effect.
I can also imagine a scenario in which an equipment rack could cause awful first reflections and have a negative effect.
There is also the issue of having equipment so near speakers, that more than usual levels of vibration are introduced. This would be particularly bad for tube equipment microphonics, or turntables. As for solid state electronics, that gets us into the realm of religious debates, and is probably best avoided.
I did not vote as there was no “Depends” choice lol. I think that if you have a large screen flat panel TV it can make for some reflectivity issues. Technically the best way would be to have nothing between your speakers but a properly treated wall but how many of us can actually accomplish this? I can not so I do as much as I can and treat the room as well as I can.
I agree, one of the wall (front) has a window and will be treating it with a thick curtain then perhaps if needed look at bass traps… it’s a lot of fun and can’t wait to start converting this small bedroom into a dedicated 2 channel listening room!
Thanks for your vote! I do like the idea of having the rack right in the middle, slightly behind the speakers, I am thinking 50cm should suffice. Interesting to note that at audio trade shows, dealers always showcase their products on racks right in between the speakers and that’s purely because they’re promoting their stuff and they need to be seen… anyway this is fun, cheers!
I see why you asked the question now. Naim are very much in the rack to the side camp.
I personally think like everything in hifi you should try the alternatives and see if you hear anything.
If you don’t then it doesn’t matter what the theories are or what others say.
Paul McGowan (PS Audio) and John Darko have both posted interesting videos on YouTube about this recently. My TV between the speakers is part of the system so it’s just a non-negotiable room feature like a window, sofa or bookcases.
I suppose with a rack you have a degree of control possible - a double-width low-level rack that’s under as well as behind the plane of the speakers/drivers might mitigate any ill effects.
interesting also is that one of Paul McGiwan’s points is that the visual distraction of the gear and its rack may make it harder for our brains to conjure the three dimensional illusion of stereo - so some of this is perhaps psychoacoustics. The old idea was to listen in the dark - the challenge then being to stay awake!
Interesting indeed, the whole poll thing was triggered listening to these guys. You spend time drawing what you want to see in your future room then you hear something I had never thought about (rack placement)… so yeah I think this whole thing may be very subjective and some people may just don’t care and others take a serious approach to getting the optimum listening room that works for you. Our ears belong only to us not others, definitely subjective…
Aside from the direct acoustics, having the rack in the middle means your cables can be a lot shorter which is a good thing. If you are into dipole speakers (like you should be ), then the rack is typically in the null to the sides of the speakers.